A Traveler and his Cat exploring America.

Monday, December 30, 2013

At the Flea Market

I had a stack of a dozen or so old (1970's & 80's) magazines - Lost Treasure, Treasures and Prospector.  They had these great stories of lost treasure, abandoned mines, ghost towns and the like in the desert.  Many of the articles included old photos and it was fun for me to search out these places when I had my old Land Rover.  Now with the motor home I am confined to established roads and cannot do this anymore.  But I hated to just throw these magazines away.  I've had them in the back of my car for months not knowing what to do with them.  Yesterday at the flea market there was this seller giving away old "guy stuff" magazines.  I thought here was my chance to pass my treasure magazines on.  I went back to the car, got my stack, returned to the spot, stooped down and slipped my magazines into the box.  They are on the right in this photo.

Before I could stand up and walk away, this guy was onto them like a duck on a June bug.  He looks like and old prospector doesn't he?  He walked away with a few in his hand.  I thought how it would be funny when someone later came along, picked up a couple Treasures magazines and said to the seller "So these are free; I can just take them?"  
"Sure, help yourself."  Hmm...I don't remember having those magazines.

I told the story to my wife when I got home.  
"Geeze, I can't believe you did that.  You're weird." 
And that my friends is why she married me.

Here are some nice vases. 

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Nature is Confused

"For most of history, man has had to fight nature to survive; in this century he is beginning to realize that , in order to survive, he must protect it." - Jacques-Yves Cousteau

In conjunction with yesterday's post, here is our fig tree beginning to push forth in December.

Here is our peach tree budding out in the first week of winter.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Scary Weather

 "I would feel more optimistic about a bright future for man if he spent less time proving that he can outwit Nature and more time tasting her sweetness and respecting her seniority." - E.B. White

It has been so warm here lately that even frost cannot succeed in forming anymore.

Scary stuff for end of December weather.

These photos were taken two weeks ago when conditions were like they are supposed to be here.

Friday, December 27, 2013


"Adopt the pace of Nature: her secret is patience." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

This is part of this week's Weekend Reflections

Thursday, December 26, 2013

From One Comes Many

"Solitary trees, if they grow at all, grow strong." - Winston Churchill

This redwood tree is made up of many separate trees growing from one source.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Let's Go For a Hike

Where should we go?  First though, where are we?  Well we are at Y looking at this sign.  We parked the car at X.  That where the Little House on the Highway is stored at a small RV storage facility.  My home is situated right about where O is.  I've been on all the trails of the park numerous times.  Now I take to animal trails cross country just to explore and find new things.  Well being this is a weekend with a lot more than the usual amount of visitors, let's head away from them towards Z on Two Quarry Trail and search for an animal path to follow.


And we're off.

Guess we better not go this way off the trail.

Let's go further along and see what we can find.

Oops, not here either.

Ah, here we go.  See the faint animal path?  Deer are the main path makers.

After several hours of this, with lots ups and downs and nary an animal or bird to be seen, 
let's start heading back.

 Wait, what are these doing here?  I've come across this type of debris a few times hidden away in the never visited reaches of the park.  My guess it is left behind from the days of long ago when men quarried cobblestone from this area for the buildings and streets San Francisco, and then to help the rebuild of the city  after the great earthquake of 1906.  Soon thereafter the quarries ceased operation for cobblestone streets weren't that great for automobiles.

 These barrels tumbled down from the top of this steep ravine long ago.

 What is really interesting is to think some of these boulders came down from above sometime after the barrels.  Notice how this rock crashed into the side.  Imagine the force in the torrent of water needed to dislodge the boulders.

And that my friends is all I have to show for our half a day wandering through the woods last Saturday.  That's not to say I didn't enjoy myself.  How about you?

Monday, December 23, 2013

Apocalypse Soup

I saw this recipe on a online news magazine I read.  The premise behind this soup is it's a complete meal you can make with nothing but 8 cans from your pantry and a packet of seasoning mix.  Imagine the power is out and you've eaten everything in the refrigerator that you could before it all spoiled.  There is no getting to the store for the roads are impassable and even if you could get to the store you would find most all the shelves empty, cleaned out, bare.  Basically, this is apocalypse food.  Here's what you need:

1 (15oz) can black beans, drained
1 (15oz) can pinto beans, drained
1 (15oz) can sweet corn, drained
1 (14.5oz) can petite diced tomatoes, drained
1 (12.5oz) can white chicken breast, drained
1 (10.75oz) can cream of chicken soup
1 (10oz) can green enchilada sauce
1 (14oz) can chicken broth
1 packet taco seasoning

You will need a can opener.  Remember, this is the end of the world and there is no electricity.  
Only one can had a pull top.

Everybody on the top row, get ready to be drained.

The chicken breast meat can use a bit of chopping up with a knife as it will not fall apart during cooking.
Easy to do while still in the can before draining.  In fact, I forgot to drain this but didn't think it made a difference in the end.

Dump everything into a pot.
This is a three quart pan and there wasn't much room to spare.  You may want to go a bit larger.
Stir well while cooking and be aware of the cream of chicken soup.  It will tend to stay together in one clumpy yellow mass, so break it up while stirring.

It took about 20 to 25 minutes to get to eating temperature.  I hope you don't have an electric stove.
No power, remember.  Well there's always the gas bar-b-que outside.

I wasn't under survival conditions for this preparation so I took advantage of that fact and added some shredded cheese and sour cream.

This was amazingly good and my wife was very surprised considering the source.  We could only eat one bowl each as it was quite filling.  There was 3/4's of the pot left over so there's several meals to be had in Apocalypse Soup, Pantry Soup, 8 Can Soup, Damn Good Soup, whatever you want to call it. 

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Saturday, December 21, 2013

An Unwanted Early Christmas Gift

I checked the trail heads several times after finding that knife a couple weeks ago.  I never saw a note.  
So I guess the knife is mine.  I got a sheath for it off of eBay.

I am not a knife guy and it isn't like I am going to go hiking about with this hanging off my hip.  
Its like getting a Christmas gift that you really don't have any use for.
Oh well, thank you whoever you are who lost it.
Hopefully you'll find a new knife under the tree Christmas morning.
I am hiking again today.  What will I find this time?

Friday, December 20, 2013

Always Check Your Settings

I don't know what this is but I bet it was even nicer looking in the earlier stages of life.

Here is a good example of when you have the white balance adjust incorrectly.  
The first photo is with my little Canon point & shoot. 

These next two are with my Nikon DSLR with the white balance maladjusted.

This is one of the larger shelf fungi I have come across.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Ledson Marsh

This is Ledson Marsh.  On this day I thought I would hike around the entire marsh.  There is a trail around 3/4's of it.  The other one quarter I was really looking forward to.

Part way around I saw the marsh was all dried up.  I shouldn't have been surprised considering the extreme drought-like conditions California is in.  But hey, I'll make the most of it and explore what is usually unexplorable.

I came to the portion where the water runs through it and was concerned about sinking into deep mud.  I was surprised to find it solid.  Just beneath the surface the water was frozen solid.  This was like being on the tundra of Canada and Alaska I thought. 

Not all the water was frozen,

just along the edge,

  which created an interesting effect. Incidentally it was a very pleasant warm day so I do not understand how this can remain frozen.

 Eventually I had to follow some animal paths through the reeds and cattails in trying to get to the unexplored quarter I was seeking.  Here I was thinking of Humphrey Bogart and Katherine Hepburn in the movie The African Queen.

I couldn't get through to the other side and dejectedly had to turn back.  Now which way did I come?  Well these guys helped guide me back to the trail side of the marsh.  Once on the trail I noticed my pants just covered with little stickers.  I don't know what I got into but it looked like a miniature porcupine had got me.  I spent about 15 minutes pulling stickers from my pants and socks.

Next time I will attack the unexplored quarter from a different approach.