October paperbacks, opening cans, heifer
once more around the world,
the note, a mystery solved, and futility

Finally! Got this shot a few days before coming down off the Kaibab last month. Took it through the back window. It doesn’t show the tall funky ears all that well—oh well, two out of three.

This past summer I finally got back to having a hummingbird feeder hanging off the back of my trailer.

Since acquiring a Kindle, I’m not reading as many paperbacks. There is one thrift shop I visit each winter that still sells paperbacks for 25 cents and always has an extensive selection. I fill a tote bag and I’m set for the year. I exchange books when I have the opportunity and I’ve had some luck on town-run days with stopping at an RV park to ask if I could exchange books. Only one park said no; the exchange was just for those staying in the park. Didn’t make sense to me; there would have been new books to choose from for those staying at the park.
Paperbacks are somewhat fragile and improper use can damage them. Pages are meant to be turned from the top corner. There is much less chance of tearing a page.
Also, the first knuckle of the index finger of the hand holding the book should be on the middle of the cover, giving a smooth curve to the cover and following pages. Paperback bindings are not designed to have the book opened wide; the pages start to let loose from the glue. This is not merely my take on it; this is how it is.
When I get an abused paperback, I repair it. I’ll reglue binding and pages and tape ripped or fraying covers. I figure this is giving something back to the book for the enjoyment of the story it held for me. A way of giving thanks.

I came across something that Stephen King said. “I take a book almost everywhere. Books are the perfect entertainment: no commercials, no batteries, hours of enjoyment for each dollar spent. What I wonder is why everybody doesn’t carry a book around for those inevitable dead spots in life.” Wow, I have something in common with Stephen King!

I came across a magazine ad that started with, ‘Tired of opening cans by hand?’ WHAT?! It then went on to describe a battery powered can opener. Good grief. I could have fun writing about this lame-ass idea.

Last month was the fall equinox, and time for another Heifer International donation. I decided to branch out. This time I went for something in their ‘Improve Living Conditions for Families’ category. I chose the ‘Gift of a Healthy Home.’ The site states:
“This gift will support projects that give families the opportunities to earn the income they need to improve their living conditions. The gift of a healthy home:
Helps families purchase roofing materials, bricks, concrete and more.
Lowers risk of disease and exposure by providing adequate shelter.
Food, water and shelter are the three essentials for survival. However, in many of the impoverished communities where Heifer is working, all three are in critically low supply. These unhealthy conditions don't give a child much of a chance, which is why the first thing so many of our project participants do is put the money they generate with their livestock toward improving their living conditions.”

My Heifer International tally is now six goats, two flocks of chicks, one flock of geese, one flock of ducks, and a ‘Gift of a Healthy Home.’ Next donation will be on the winter solstice.

I first read Joshua Slocum’s book about his late 1890s circumnavigation, ‘Sailing Alone Around the World,’ in the early ‘70s. I remember enjoying the story but about the only thing I retained over the decades was the night with the carpet tacks. I downloaded a free audio book of it from Librivox a few months ago and just recently listened to it on an iPod nano. What a great story.
I can’t just sit and listen to a podcast or audio book unless it’s a moving day. They are priceless for getting me through the drive (I hate driving but love being a passenger). They also make all the time I spend doing odd tasks around camp more enjoyable. Sometimes I even listen to an audio book when I’m out taking Meadow & Mesa for a walk. The last time I accessed the Apple site, I noticed they discontinued the iPod. Guano. Guess I’ll try to pick up an extra one at a Walmart or online. Couldn’t do this lifestyle without a nano.

I leave a blue enameled bowl of water out for M&M, on the table if it is not in direct sunlight. I rinse and refill it each day, but at a camping spot last month, the water got pretty low on a number of days. One afternoon, I was off a ways sitting in the shade, reading. While drinking some water, I caught movement over on the table. I looked over and there was a small bird taking a bath in M&M’s water bowl. Water was flying everywhere! A chuckle, and another little unexpected treasure. A mystery solved—life is good.

I had another unexpected surprise last month, but not one of the little, up close ones. Being off-the-grid, I was totally unaware of the lunar eclipse. I went outside after dark that evening, as I do every evening—and WHOA! Way cool! BIG smile.

I talked about security on the February 2008 page and town-run days on the July 2014 page. If I’m going to be away from my camping spot for a day, I like to leave it set up so it sounds like there is someone not all that far away, will be coming back soon, and have friends coming. I think it was Greg, from Los Alamos, who suggested that I add something about a camp cam to my note clothes pinned to the door on town-run days. So my present note (if it is sunny) reads:

Jason is off hiking. I’m checking out two other spots to camp.
We’ll both be back around the time you plan to get here. If you’re reading this, you’re early!
Don’t even THINK of using the solar bag. Say hello to M&M.
You’re on our new trail cam.

This is how I leave my two low-rider chairs. Each paperback is bookmarked as if two people are camping here. Maybe leave an old mug or two sitting out. Thieves are more leery if there might be someone around, and more than one person.

Well, I’m back to my favorite October and November spot in southern Utah. Looks like there was a good deal of rain here this past summer. There was water damage on the roads going into my spot and the last spur was pretty much overgrown with grass at the turn.

I think I figured out why this spot didn’t feel as good back in May, as it does in the fall. I winter in spots where one can see off into the distance in various directions. During summers I’m in the mountains hemmed in by trees (just where I want to be) where I generally cannot look off into the distance. When I pulled into this spot a couple weeks ago, I set up, stood back, and looked around. One can see for miles, 360. It felt as if I was taking a big, long, deep, deep breath—with my eyes. My world expanded from under the trees into a panorama. It felt good, very uplifting. In the spring, it’s not nearly so much of a change. Yes, at this time, this is the place for me to be. And like the woods, it’s nice and quiet with no one around, except for the ravens, pronghorns, coyotes, and rabbits. Been into Moab to visit with friends; will be doing it a couple more times while in the area. Wish I had more opportunities to visit with friends throughout the year.

One morning, I was reminded that I was back in the desert. I was rearranging my water buckets the day after running into Moab, putting ‘new’ water towards the back. I pickup up one bucket and there was a small rattler snugged up underneath it. Luckily it was cold. I tried to sweep it onto my shovel with a corn broom. That didn’t work and the little one moved off to a spot where he wouldn’t be disturbed. I don’t kill snakes but I like it best, when they are not around my pets.
I was thinking of all the times I blindly reached under the trailer, behind a wheel to pull out the fire pan. Who says you can’t teach an old dog new tricks.

When it’s windy here, ravens sometimes soar back and forth along the bluff. One time I went out and tried for a photo. These two shots were typical, either open sky or part of the bird.

One would come down close but trying to keep the bird in the viewfinder was what I believe is generally referred to as, ‘an exercise in futility.’ I missed every single raven that came in close, looking right at me; I could see their eyes. Guano. Even though I didn’t get a good photo, it was a most enjoyable experience—another little treasure.
I’m going to see if I experience any little treasures during the coming social-fix season. Or do they only occur when I’m off-the-grid?

I missed listening to Sirius radio the whole time I was under the ponderosa up on the Kaibab. It’s nice to have a variety of music and classic radio shows again.

September sixty minutes sixty years—2355 minutes
September Triple 18—pecs/delts: 2055; core: 2160; legs: 12,625

A ship in port is safe,
but that’s not what ships are made for.
Admiral Grace Hopper

A Nash trailer is safe on the asphalt and in campgrounds,
but that’s not what Nash trailers are made for.
Meadow & Mesa

RVwest article ‘Following a Free Spirit’

RVwest article ‘The Spaces Between the Places’



MdmLibrarian said…
I like your idea of leaving a note while away. I usually leave my pet door unblocked so my cat can come and go, but it makes me nervous to think someone might actually try to get into my house if I'm away for any length of time. I'm going to use that little trick - thanks for sharing!

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