I crave this austere land for what survives and for the insights of reasonable people, but the time comes to hit the dirt road to town and earn a stash sub-teaching for the next summer of travel. It’s been a charming two months. Before departure, I had overlooked a Flycatcher (robust bird that catches tossed [...]

By | March 3rd, 2017|Digs|Comments Off on HATE TO LEAVE


The Mouse Wars continue these months after the summer ‘99 inception when, one sultry evening after an extended absence, I returned and drank a pint from an open water jug in which a mouse had died and dissolved. It held an aftertaste like tea along with a tail and paws. It knocked me down for [...]

By | March 3rd, 2017|Digs|Comments Off on MOUSE WARS


Laura, TJs wife, isn’t rattled by much. She shags rattlesnakes with a stick, eats dog food, and knows more of Mother Nature than anyone around but Boy Quick. This week she and TJ sped to the city hospital to get her "engine tuned" (hysterectomy) and I was drafted to property-sit their 40-acre Independence Square. However, [...]

By | March 3rd, 2017|Digs|Comments Off on KNOCKOUT GAL


Search the computer net for "killer bees" and discover the most attacked USA county is mine, Imperial. Look closely, the epicenter is Sand Valley. My theory is that hysterical reaction in surrounding townships biases the statistics. Take the removed burg where I sub-teach. One morning a sweet-tooth counselor sprinted into my agriculture class and whispered [...]

By | March 3rd, 2017|Digs|Comments Off on KILLER BEES


Visited the Quick family’s unique compound today. Three trailers stand flush side-to-side with doors banged out for passage. One is given to birds, many which Boy snatched by hand, while the middle trailer is a family room with an extended clan of dogs, cats, lizards, snakes and guinea pigs. A colorful macaw tugs with its [...]

By | March 3rd, 2017|Digs|Comments Off on THE QUICKS


My favorite cartoon has two thought balloons: One floats above a man with chin in hand - "What’s it all about?" The second is above an amphibian struggling from water to land - "Think, reproduce, survive." I grew up in a sweep of states contiguous with the Canadian border and my main memory is snow. [...]

By | March 3rd, 2017|Digs|Comments Off on WHY AM I HERE?


The panoramic scope of world migration takes humans away from deserts for needs and comforts. This valley remains one of the most inhospitable regions and the extreme thought of who’s toughest seeded naturally after rubbing elbows with a few of them. In a forthcoming special "Toughest in the Valley" I struggle to choose one among: [...]

By | March 3rd, 2017|Digs|Comments Off on NEW CANDIDATE


Illegal alien traffic has diminished to nothing along this established "wetback" thoroughfare, or they’re getting caught less. "Coyotes" (drivers) transport the illegals across the Mexican border (an hour to the south) with the illusion of a big city (like Los Angeles) but abandon them in Sand Valley. Last summer I came home to a dozen [...]

By | March 3rd, 2017|Digs|Comments Off on BORDER HOPPERS


Nobody’s been shot in three years. The last was Big Jake who took a .45 in the thigh after his shotgun blast fell short of Dizzy following an argument over choice of radio stations. He limped leaking red to a neighbor's porch, recovered and a month later canoed the Sierras. "Getting’ shot don’t spoil a [...]

By | March 3rd, 2017|Digs|Comments Off on GUNS


An afternoon storm heaps sand and cuts streamlets in our roads, scouring them into non-recognition. Ive become lost twice driving to my own property. Drivers marooned by a downpour wait until the rain stops, the sand sucks the water rapidly, and they peel out over where flowers grow a week later. Hardly a car per [...]

By | March 3rd, 2017|Digs|Comments Off on ROAD NEWS