The Chocolate Mt. Gunnery was part of General Patton's 1940s Desert Training Center where hundreds of thousands conditioned for harsh fighting, and old shells still wash after storms down to my property. Guys like TJ are "range runners" who scavenge for rocket fins and helicopter shells big as goblets which they recycle. There are rare [...]

By | March 3rd, 2017|Digs|Comments Off on BOMBING RANGE


My three nearest neighbors own a total of 70 dogs and 30 cats for protection, companionship and repulsion of rattlers or scorpions. I have none for the opposite reasons, but buy dog food for chipmunks and rodents. I snack myself, no big deal, and Good Day brand is preferred for rich flavor w/out aftertaste. Other [...]

By | March 3rd, 2017|Digs|Comments Off on CHIPMUNK MAID SERVICE


The valley’s abuzz about the ostensible trailer heist and subsequent incarceration of Pa Quick. He’d gained permission to remove a trailer from another property but Big Jake spotted him and radioed the sheriff who came with big city back-up. "Show us your license," the police demanded, and Pa Quick responded politely, "For driving on my [...]

By | March 3rd, 2017|Digs|Comments Off on PA QUICK GOES TO JAIL


TJ went to town for gas, he reports, and was attacked by a "wide-eyed, drug-crazed idiot" who pulled a knife on the smallish 50-year-old and quickly found his face in the dirt with three broken ribs. The sheriff watched the fray and showed as a character witness where a judge listened compassionately to the self-defense [...]

By | March 3rd, 2017|Digs|Comments Off on T.J. ORDERED TO AGGRESSION CONTROL CLASS


"Corter did", says TJ, my nearest neighbor at one mile. "Did what?" I reply. "He did." "I can’t get through your drawl." "Died." Corter was the oldest Sand Valley denizen, into his eighties and nobody’s favorite - none would pay his cremation fee - but we got on well. The population shrinks 5%, and I [...]

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


One of my most colorful experiences ever was while bicycling on a recumbent through Baja years ago when I hit the Monarch butterfly migration. I saw a butterfly in each cubic yard from ground to twenty feet high for a day-and-half. A Sand Valley version of the orange cloud occurs annually this month with the [...]

By | March 3rd, 2017|Digs|Comments Off on PAINTED LADIES


I’m considered a tycoon as a sub-teacher in this sandbox where others survive by odd jobs among themselves, social security and SSI (disability). Here, as in other remote necks, money rarely changes hands because it isn’t in hand. Moreover, its illegal for a SSI recipient to accept the "green", so money is left in cupboard [...]

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


Sir, a juvenile sidewinder, lived on the property for a year but hasn’t surfaced this month and I fear the worst, perhaps an owl. You may recall our initial meeting while I was knocking together something and there was a SISIS at my feet. I wear ankle weights and this sound has always been the [...]

By | March 3rd, 2017|Digs|Comments Off on TO SIR WITH LOVE


Then there’s rest. My days end reward is an evening walk through the wash. Its sandy dry but covered with green bushes and tracks since the rains. The valley receives a few inches per year in February and July cloudbursts when the big wash runs and everything living celebrate. The dirt road along my property [...]

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


My ten acres, Rancho Scorpion, lies on the western foothills of Sand Valley on the bank of the largest dry wash. It’s a slice of heaven in fall, winter and spring when the sun is reasonable, I see many animals, and the wind whistles over the hills, down this wash and liquidly between my anchored [...]

By | March 3rd, 2017|Digs|Comments Off on WIND DEVIL