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Navigating blocks & Desert Gardening

Okay! Well, this is a turn. WordPress went and changed on me. Has it really been that long since I posted? I am faced with a screen (literally) telling me they welcome me to the ‘wonderful world of blocks!’ WTF? Alright, I’ll bite. We’ll try this. (I didn’t read the directions – and evidently, ‘see next tip’ might be part of a direction. I have not clicked on it.) I’ll pout for about a minute, then click it.

Evidently the tip was ‘Add title’. Wasn’t it just easier before when I had that at the top?

This whole blog is going a different direction. LOL!

Want to share my past week with y’all, as we never say in rural desert land.

Damn. There are more plus signs on this version than any of my school tests. I’m giggling. This thing is writing itself.

Okay, pressed enter and we seem safe enough to begin what I intended to write.

Oh, no. ‘start writing or type/to choose a block.

What is a block?????

Shall I try it?

Okay, so, a ‘block’ is either another paragraph, media or … a bunch of other stuff.

I truly had this down, didn’t need remedial directions. But, thanks I guess?

Let’s being shall we?

Me this morning – #nofilter (lol) Seriously though – just really good light and black and white.

That, my friends, was a block. I’m literally laughing out loud now. Sorry, I can’t get over this. When did this happen??????????????????????? Why was it needed?

I wanted to chat about my rural adventures. And, I shall.

So, last weekend, my brother-in-law was in town visiting.

Here’s us. Me, “look guys! It’s our last name!” Them: We shall look off into the distance and be majestic.

Truth be told, my long underwear was pink and I looked like a hermit crab without a shell. Have you ever seen that?? I have. My son used to have some and anytime they shed their shell, they wouldn’t make it into the plethora of ‘new choices’ and end up all crabby and shriveled and pinkish – kinda like a toe that had been in the bath too long and, yeah. Then, they died. I survived obviously, but did change this pic to black and white. Because, ew, shriveled hermit crab legs.

Let’s get back to rural living eh?

My guy went shopping and brought home some new plants.

Butters checked them out, approved and moved along.

Then came the day I lost any kind of ‘girly’ I had remaining on my hands. We gardened.

Wait! FIRST! I had cleaned the kitchen and cleaned. Let’s talk about this ‘life hack’. Fabric softener sheets on grease.

I took the oven top completely apart. Then soaked the um, thingies, in the sheets.

Worked fine for the ones that had seen less combat. But, after pouring boiling water on the other ones, still had remnants, so, I’m giving that experiment a 5 out of 10. Oh, and about the boiling, yes, I had to be creative because, after all, my stove was in fact ‘apart’.

But! Here’s a very clean oven and some quiches I made.

Plus, a Mexican lasagna.

So, I was Ms. Clean and cook. THEN the plants needed attention.

I know how to plant a tree. And, easy peel navel orange tree needed introducing into our world.

I wanted to do it – after successful trees at my other home, but, my guy is a go-getter and my non-girly hands had already suffered many blows. Go ahead.

Watering time.

Prior to all of this – you’re probably not going to be able to sleep wondering how my phalanges lost their decorative claws. So, here are the planters that were meticulously made by (not me.)

I added the flowers. I’m nothing if not a team player. (insert squinting laughing emoji here).

We also (he) planted more potatoes.

And we added to our seedlings.

I’d like to share now, after (unsuccessfully searc;hing for the spell check feature) that you can flip back and forth from ‘Block’ to ‘Document’. So – there’s a thing I learned.

In between writing this thrilling post, I bathed Butters. Which, brings me to my next set of pics.

I am trying to get her out and about more. Because I hadn’t already done enough yesterday, I decided to hike with her into what we call ‘the square’.

She did very good at ‘wait’. (Mostly when she was navigating areas like a freaking mountain goat, and I was trying not to lose my balance/teeth/in tact bones.)

Okay! Let’s go!

Very deep hoof imprints! Must have been muddy when that happened.

Always something captures my attention – this was hard to take with Butters excited about moving on.

A moment of “Wait!”. (This was before I fell on my arse because she was mountain goating.)

Another pretty spot – still don’t know how I managed this shot either. I think she was being very good at “Wait!”

Waiting.

It was only after getting home and reviewing pictures that I found this amusing and was a tad confused. I think it’s a feather? But, by happenstance, looks like – well, um, anything you can conjure up lol!

She handled it regardless.

I let her lead the way – and she was sure to mark plenty of territory. Hopefully won’t be long before she can be off leash, at least there. But, with coyotes, steer, burros and snakes – not sure I want her to have that much freedom.

She’s definitely living her ‘best life’ out here though.

Not living on a ‘block’ anymore.

(See how I tied that in? Brilliant.)

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Saturday Homestead Shoot

There are days I wish we lived closer to ‘town’ – but mostly, I’m so grateful for our privacy, land and peaceful hearts.

I see beauty in everything.  I look for good everywhere.  Even the most simple of things stun me and fill my heart with appreciation.

Without further ado, (okay, a little more ‘ado’ because this meme cracks me up whenever I see it).

I present to you the scenes and views that captured my eyes and heart today.

The monarch I fished out a pool of water drying off for it’s flight.

The shadows from this aloe reminded me of Wilson’s hair from Castaway.

Because we all need some backbone no?

Sun

Butters making sure her shadow doesn’t escape. She’s no Pei-Pan. Keep a foot on it!

Our vegetable garden (which consists only of onions currently) with the bamboo fencing splaying it’s shadows across the dirt.

Aforementioned bamboo with our namesake sign

Listening to the real homesteader chopping wood

Only caged bird on the property – cage door is open though. Even faux birds deserve a chance to be free

Old outdoor sink and plenty of wood

Our gorgeous Palo Verdes and Mesquite trees

The newly finished culvert and rock work

The sun outshining my inner culvert shot

More rock work and view to other side of culvert

Wild desert ‘creek’

Shadow play – and future site of a bridge

Beautiful steps

The wood eater

 

Bottom line is that there is not a direction I can turn without feeling awe and gratitude.

 

 

Moved! Steep Grades and a Special Neighbor.

Well, it’s been a week since I’ve moved into my new home!

Yes, I had that exhale moment.

Still have a lot to do – but for all intents and purposes, we’re moved!!!

I’ve been adjusting to the longer commute, that just happens to be on a road they literally test vehicles on.  No kidding – Ford brings their trucks covered in sensors and hauling tons of weight and drive up and down the grade.  (Here’s an old article about this HERE.)

On the side of the road there are jugs of water that good Samaritans have left for struggling vehicles of the non-test type.

Regular commuters know that the air conditioning needs to be off for the majority of the trip, which, in triple digits can be quite taxing.  And when I say taxing, I mean, sheets of sweat, wet undergarments and complete loss of electrolytes.

Once that hill has been taken though, it’s worth the while.

Let’s get onto introducing you to one of my neighbors.

I say neighbor, but, it’s more like … um … a land mate?  Pet?

I’ll begin with our introduction.

I was sitting on the porch, enjoying a light breeze in the early evening.  Rose bushes were rustling, pine trees pining.  I had a hose running to water the length of the thirsty trees and looked over to check on the progress.

To my surprise, atop the picnic table was  – well … take a look yourself.

I slowly got up and put my dog inside the house.  I then calmly stated, “Um, honey?  There’s a snake on the table.”

Now, I have been aware in my 15 years in the desert that the territory comes with desert creatures.  I’ve had my run ins with an assortment of them.  But, not a snake.

I’m actually quite fond of them.  Had wanted one years ago.

But, considering our location, not all snakes want to be your friend.

My honey came out and we watched from a distance to make sure there was no rattle.  Then, got a little closer to assess the head shape.

He went in as my fascination grew.

Snake (I’ve since named Yogi – because, c’mon, pic-i-nic table!) came closer.  I grew braver.

And, closer still, into the rose bushes.

I followed Yogi around for a while, until it moved off into another lot.

 

I reached out and posted photos to a snake site.  I was informed it is a non-venomous gopher snake, good to have around!  I was also taught that if I needed it to scoot, I could spray it lightly with a hose.

I fretted a little about it interacting with my pup.  I certainly don’t want to have my time outside or hers dictated by our new friend.   Still haven’t quite worked that out yet.  (Any advice is welcome!)

Following night, we were outside when my guy announced, “Your friend is back.”  Sure enough.

 

 

This is such a low-key snake.  I mean, you can literally walk next to it.

But, the issue of the dog.  So, with Butters inside, I decided to try the spritz method.  It worked.  Yogi went back under the fence and curled up and cut its eyes at me.  Had a look of complete inconvenience and indignation.  To add insult to moisture, two sparrows alighted upon the fence and looked down upon Yogi.  I entrusted them to keep watch.

 

SO!  What to do, what to do?!  I’m an animal lover so definitely harming one is out.  Relocating it would be useless as it’s bound to be replaced by another – I mean, we have nothing but desert next to us and own 2.15 acres of it ourselves.

Must find a way to cohabitate.

I guess I’ll have plenty of time to consider just how to do that during my commute.

 

Mother /Daughter Hike (without my better half *AKA Compass*

My love is currently hiking the Warner section of the Pacific Crest Trail.  Me?  I had plans with my mum to hike a route previously done with him to show her a mine hole.  Yeah, okay, probably a better word for it, but that’s what I’m calling it.

I woke up to his photo of where they slept last night.

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Yeah, OK hearty hiker and Naked and Afraid contender.  I do NOT want to dig a hole to um, ‘do my business’ and what the heck would be crawling off that rock in the night?   I’m just jealous lol.  But, also kinda serious.  Would love to camp anywhere if there was at least the amenities of a toilet and running water.  Whimp right?  I don’t need much. But, splashing water on my face, brushing my teeth and hair with a mirror is the last of the vanity things I care about.

ANYWAY!

SO!  Mum and I were going hiking.   I wanted to show her an easy hike that culminated in a mine shaft.  (AKA: Mine hole. lol)

I forgot that my tiny car was a tiny car and once we got to the turn off I was a little worried about making it to the spot to park. Guess how I knew we were there?

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The C+A I left behind when I went last.  Can’t believe it was still there!  Had to park carefully, a lot of soft sand.  (Whole other story, but first time I came out to my guys house, had to have them tow me due to THEIR soft sand.)

Parked and ready to go!  I totally knew where to start.

What I didn’t factor in was that when hiking with my gold mining guy, a hike takes 10 times longer due to “See that?”  “Do you see this vein?”  And constant and adorable samples taken.

As for my mum and I?  We just hiked.  So … got thrown a little off course.

Began normally.

Oh! And I now have a new rule!  If you aren’t seeing Burro shit on your hike, you have no business going that route!  (IE:  the fucking mountain we went up last hike.)

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So, clearly on the right path here.  LOL.

We got to a point when we could circle back, but, didn’t seem right.  I mean, when my honey and I went, it was hours … so we kept going. (I was not factoring in the geological stops and lessons and samples.)

We kept going to the point we found ourselves in what we labeled a ‘residential area’.  Very over grown, and lots of nooks and crannies, we went back.

My mum has now multiple times asked me, “Do you know where you’re going?”  Yes, I knew.  But, wasn’t entirely sure how lol.  I was looking for that ‘mine hole’.  We tracked back – we took other routes – because, I was CERTAIN the first time my guy and I went out, we walked FOREVER.  We had not.

We eventually found a place I thought was my original grotto, and was certain we were on the right path.

Um, Was NOT original grotto. Spoiler alert – we found that later.

We were having too much fun to care.  Just being out there – together.

We tracked back a bit and decided that we should mount a mountain to get to the trail we were looking for.

Found it.  BUT!  unfortunately, passed the mine hole in doing so.

This happened instead.

First time my guy and I did this route, there was ONLY the boat.  My mum said, “There’s a car?”

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Sure was – and apparently an old police car.

The closer we got, I dug into my backpack for my knife and pepper spray.  The car was tagged with graffiti on the hood and I have NO clue how it got there in such a short time since my last hike there.  This became more of a concern when we passed it and it had clothes inside.  (My mums words, “Hope there isn’t a body in there” didn’t go unnoticed.  I was more concerned with a walking talking one.)

Wanted to take a pic of the inside of the car, but honestly had that ‘gut feeling’ we needed to keep moving on.  Someone was obviously living in that car.  We had my mum’s steel toed hiking boots and my knife and pepper spray.

Wind was blowing so I would have been like, “Keep kicking mum!  Keep kicking!  I’ll slice him and when the wind dies down spray him.”   Dramarama imagination.

We pass the car and keep going … all the way home.

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And, for a joke, here is me finding THE golden nugget!

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Sent that to my guy lol!  The golden nugget of today was actually getting to spend one on one time with my mum and that exceeded the hike.  So great to go out.  So great to be with her.  So great, ANY day to wake up and get to do anything.

 

 

An awful haboob thrust itself through our town this evening – luckily (insert sarcasm here) it happened as I was driving home.  I could see clear skies to the left and the right of me, but the bulk of the onslaught was ahead of me.

A ‘haboob’ by the way, is a WALL of a dust storm.  Insane.  And it comes here in monsoon season.  Here’s a picture of it from someone elses point of view.

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The devastation around it?  I’ll finally give my location up and say, it was from the Willow fire. (google it)

Someone I care for has a brother who lost his home and all its contents to this fire.

We watched it for two days – it was dangerously close.

I digress.

I’m driving home – in a new-to-me car (Yes, I finally decided I was hemorrhaging money and if it totally gave out I would have NO bargaining power. )

Here’s the new car.

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I didn’t pick it.  I don’t care about cars. I DID research it’s reliability which is ALL I cared about.  The dealer decided for me.  Based on my budget.  Beggars cannot be choosers.  It’s a 5 speed, which is fun, considering I mentioned in a previous post how I missed a stick shift.

All I know, is when I wake up and have to go anywhere, I can get there – and get back.

Someone asked me today “Are you excited about your new car?????”  And yeah, I kinda am.  But, not in the way that we used to wash our first car within an inch of its life and bought extras for it.  I’m just SO grateful to have a RELIABLE vehicle.

Does that mean I’m a ‘grown up’ now?  Or, a non-materialistic chick?  I don’t know.  All I know is I’m happy to know there are only 33,000 miles on it and I can get where I need to be.

ANYWAY! I’m driving home, and the plan was, go grocery shopping.  Heck no, not in those conditions.  It passed quickly.   Sprinkles happened.  We’ve decided to go early in the a.m.

I could NOT see 10 feet in front of me.  Crazy.  Someone flashed their lights at me, and it could very well be because I still don’t know how to handle the ‘automatic lights’ and maybe I was on high beams.  I’m learning.

Back to the haboob.

I arrived home – and things just don’t feel right.  I feel awful for my honey.  Stuck at home.  Probably (hopefully) excited that I AM home – and I have nothing to give for at least an hour. I have to decompress.

He’s working so hard on his art – and the current competition he’s in.

But who doesn’t want to leave when they want to leave??

No one.

That’s who.

Nic asked me “WHY did you get a 5 speed??? What if I have to drive you somewhere in an emergency??”

Me: Learn stick.

But the thing is – my honey needs to escape.

As trapped and blinded as I was by the desert, I’m sure he feels that everyday.

We’ll fix this. Somehow.