Digs

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FRESH PROJECTS

These months are a march of projects from sunrise to sunset that feature skills from pioneer homesteading and ranch maintenance. Beside the burrow, there’s fresh accomplishments: A sunken roman-type bath with a cooling mist system, remodeled trailer, a gigantic tin shader, picnic table, rainwater catches, fence, utility trailer, and open-air kitchen with propane stove. As [...]

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BURROW BO

The grand news is the completion of the "hole" that I’ve picked and shoveled for a year until last week’s storms made tossing out the final 4’ of dirt easy. Now it’s 10x12’ and 8’ deep, a human burrow and uncommon in these parts. I’ve prepared a 8x10’ shed and slid it along a slick [...]

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BOY QUICK

A neighbor at four miles was raised in this valley and resembles John-boy Walton. I say he’s half-coyote and part jackrabbit, once jeered and now an uncanny athlete. When I was 8’ deep in a hole having to pole vault exit with a shovel, he ran up the side handless as Spiderman. You may recall [...]

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NEW EGG DIET

My neighbor at two miles has a leaky chicken roof and Old Martha, full of wrinkles where the smiles have gone, is penniless. I take a half-day to spread tin and tar, finish and the lady starts giving me ten eggs every other day, in addition to a similar collection down the road. All life’s [...]

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JESUS CHIPMUNK

You may have heard about the "Jesus chipmunk" in a hole by my trailer. Some months ago I discovered a small round rock blocking His burrow entrance and as I have no visitors there was no figuring it. A week passed and still no resurrection .then suddenly the bolder was gone. Almost sadly, I learn [...]

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Desert News

All the News that’s Fit to Print Surprisingly much occurs in two months in Sand Valley. These journal entries are for Feb.-March 2001. Nothing’s the matter with Sand Valley that a rise in the Pacific won't cure, but that hasn’t happened and most precious in the desert is water. This is especially true since the [...]

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Trapped in an Hour Glass

Trapped in an Hour Glass Summer ‘04 ‘You can’t escape!’ My neighbor, TJ, whistles through the last two teeth.  ‘Sand Valley is locked in.’ ‘I don’t’ understand…there’s been no rain.’ ‘It don’t matter!’ Rancho Scorpion’s is my 10-acre spread in a hot basin called Sand Valley adjacent to others like it.  They are divided by [...]

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Baptism by Sun

A journal of forty-five days in Sand Valley with advice for aspiring converts I often enjoy a challenge until it transpires and this, the first day in Sand Valley after three straight months before a computer under air conditioning, stacks up as another. I was raised in a cold swath across the northern United States [...]

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Hot Blues in Sand Valley

Entry Sand Valley is actually a depression hemmed by hills, but we ten citizens of the 100 square miles call it a valley within mountains to raise the spirits.  It’s paradise during the six winter months when outside folks visit and talk of buying dream acres, as I did three years ago, and it’s a [...]

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No Footprints

Four years ago, after many bristles with the brush with death, I homesteaded in the peaceful California Sonora desert with Sir the Sidewinder on ten acres of open desert under a blue sky called Rancho Scorpion. Here’s the everyday eyeful.   No footprints. I wheel the White Bird into my sand driveway, cut the engine, [...]

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