Tuesday, June 28, 2011


Can anyone advise me? I understand that there may not be many of you reading this blog and even fewer commenting. However, recently, when I try to comment myself in response to someone else's comment, it won't post and says the comment is by Anonymous. I'm wondering if any of you have tried to comment on this blog and are having the same difficulty. I'm also wondering if blogger changed something that I'm completely uninformed about. Also, this Sign In/Sign Out thing doesn't seem to be working the same way it used to. Stuff like this just makes me want to completely throw the whole blog away! Everything was working perfectly smoothly for over a year and now, glitches! WHAT IS CAUSING THESE STUPID GLITCHES????

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Swell Times

We took off for a camping trip to the San Rafael Swell. This was K's first visit and J's third to the Swell. One of the oldest things we found was an Allosaurus dinosaur track approximately 147 million years old. We figure it's about a size 14. Bless K for getting everything ready for the trip. We had great weather, though still hot during the day, and good times. We just love to explore and learn, chat and ask questions, and make camp together. That watermelon hit the spot, oh yes it did!

Desert Flora included: Cottonwood Trees down by the river (please note the cotton), Prickly Pear Blossoms (bright fuschia and yellow, but the fuschia was blurry in my photo), and whatever holds the ground together when things get washed out. You never know what's underneath you where you walk!

We paid a visit to Swasey's Cabin. The Swasey Boys were legendary. This cabin was built, I believe, in 1920 (or 1921?).

K enjoyed all aspects of Dutchman's Arch.

J has had a long time interest in petroglyphs and pictographs. K helped J on an interesting scavenger hunt through the desert to locate many sites she had not previously visited. Some of these are 1000, 2000, and 3000 years old! J paid a visit to the Lone Warrior.

We drove a lot of dirt roads and sandy washes. We were glad to have a high clearance vehicle with 4-wheel drive. The San Rafael River is overflowing it's banks right now.

J at the Wedge and K catching a breeze at Little Grand Canyon.

Swell Scenes! The San Rafael Swell is a geologic desert paradise. You really must go!

Besides the usual multitudinous rodent varieties, fauna on this trip included: antelope (a small herd and later, a loner), lizards galore (but they wouldn't stand still long enough for a portrait), a butterfly sipping thistle, and a deer (not pictured). We were in an area called Jackass Benches checking out a sinkhole when something caught my eye in the distance. I said, "Honey, I think those are jackasses staring at us." The binoculars confirmed there were three, but the picture isn't great.

As we often do, we ran into some livestock herding. The cows had men on horseback and a few cow dogs gettin' them dogies along. We passed a ten year old boy driving the pickup with a big, long, horse trailer being pulled behind. When we ran into the sheep herd, we couldn't find any humans at all. Then we noticed that mixed into the herd were three white dogs who had everything under control. In fact, miles back we finally ran into a human with a horse that didn't have nearly the control over the sheep as those three white dogs. Hope those dogs got a great dinner because they were rock stars as far as getting those sheep up the road was concerned!

We left the desert by heading home through Huntington Canyon. There's plenty of snow left at 9000 feet! We were both tired when we got home. J hit the shower and went straight to bed. K made multiple trips hauling all the camping equipment inside. Bless his heart.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Closing Rangers

So Taylor and I were closing rangers last night. I had the last tour of the day. Earlier in the day I was on trail patrol and from the morning, we had been getting reports of a rattlesnake around half-way. Royce asked me to look for it on my way up. He came down to escort a sick person and couldn't find it then OR on his way back up. I looked carefully and for a long time and couldn't find it on the way up. When I was at Dead Dog, some visitors reported again that they had seen a rattlesnake somewhere down around half-way. We asked 600 Adam to check it out and he was able to find it and babysit it until Royce could move it. I particularly enjoy the way Royce talks about moving rattlesnakes. He says, "That snake is unpacking boxes and selecting new draperies." Later in the afternoon, there was another report of a rattlesnake around half-way. This time our law enforcement ranger and Royce were on scene and Royce moved it (possibly the same one, we're not sure) again. We do this to protect the snakes. Anyway, Taylor and I were heading down the trail from the Junction and I said, "Okay, Taylor, let's look for snakes!" Were were just happily chatting as we approached Watch Point when we heard the buzz. We stopped and backed off as Mr. Snake decided to move on off the trail. I thanked him for giving us fair warning and pulled out my camera. He settled to the side and I grabbed a couple of pictures. He didn't really care for the flash and buzzed us again. We backed off. I said, "Okay, Snake, we are going to walk past you and you can have the whole trail all to yourself for the rest of the night!" I walked past and Taylor said, "Jody, don't leave me!" When she walked past, SHE got buzzed again! Goodnight, Mr. Snake. There will be more people this morning, so I hope you can figure out your strategy for dealing with us.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Mexican Lasagna

1 chopped onion
2 chopped bell peppers
2 cloves minced garlic
1 pound burger (we used turkey)
1 14.5 ounce can of diced tomatoes
1 15 ounce can kidney beans, well-drained
1 15 ounce can black beans, well-drained
6-8 small tortillas
3 cups Mexican shredded cheese (or whatev)
1-2 cups salsa/picante (depends on you)

shredded lettuce
sliced olives
sour cream

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cook onion, peppers, and garlic along with meat until meat is done. Add tomatoes and beans. Let simmer 10 minutes. Spread cooked mixture (about 1/3 of it) on bottom of baking pan. Cover with tortillas. Cover with 1/2 of the cheese, followed by salsa. Repeat this pattern until your personal masterpiece looks the way you think is best. Dust the top with a bit more cheese. Bake 30 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes out of the oven. Top with all your faves!

This recipe is heavy on the vegetables and fiber while being lighter on the carbs. I was doing my J-loves-fresh-vegetables happy dance in the kitchen because of the smell of onion, garlic, and peppers cooking! So wholesome! We only used 4 tortillas for our entire recipe. If you compare that to chicken enchiladas, it's far fewer carbs. I couldn't get K to go for the whole wheat tortillas. You can tweak this thing however you'd like with all of the toppings and desired sides. Beautiful meal. Something new.

This was the first time in ages (ages) that K and I had two whole days off together. Too bad I was too wiped out to do anything. I kept taking these involuntary naps. K kept helping, organizing, sorting through our camping equipment, and whatever else he could think to do to help me. We did manage to put our finances in order, go out to dinner at Sizzler where K had the Classic Trio and I enjoyed the salad bar. We also made trips to Costco and Smith's, so exciting, I know. Our plans to hike and go to the movies (we even have several free passes/gift cards) dried up due to time constraints. I knew I would collapse after finishing my twenty-first year of teaching, boarding a plane to Vegas, driving through Death Valley, meeting K in Woods Cross, flying to Boston, and working full time at the cave. But I also knew I could collapse because I happen to be married to an incredibly understanding guy. We got his hair cut and the kitchen scrubbed clean. We did many, many loads of laundry and now we have fresh food in the fridge (first time since May). Oh yes, we also washed all of our ranger uniforms. So, the point of this rambling is...I love this man. I'm so glad we are married. How thankful I am to have this Sweetie Pie to help me. He soothes me. He makes me laugh. And although it sounds dumb, we had the best time making Mexican Lasagna. It's the little things...you know?

Sunday, June 12, 2011

OSV and Antiquarian Society

On this day, we were taken to the American Antiquarian Society in Worcester (pronounced "Wooster"). All I could think was, "Do the terrorists know???" This is a book vault with ORIGINAL records of things especially from 1640-1876, but beyond as well! I saw tea from the Boston Tea Party. I saw original artwork by Paul Revere. I saw a REAL stamp from the Stamp Act! I've got to go back! They also brought out a copy of the Book of Mormon from 1840. They had an older one, but it was locked up. America is some kind of place!

So, lucky me! I brought a rain poncho on the trip in my backpack. I was the envy of all the other teachers at OSV. Then I got this great idea to take a boat ride on the river. It was a COVERED pontoon ride and I was spared from the heaviest part of the downpour. Also, I was the only passenger. I innocently asked if they sell bug spray at the gift shop. The captain gave me some of hers! AND...in all my wandering around, I found a nice warm fire at the Freeman Farm. The girls were baking apple pie.

This is some of the tornado damage from the week before. All of the people at Old Sturbridge Village were so thankful that the village was mostly spared. All of the buildings here have been taken from different sites around New England, disassembled, transported, and reassembled at OSV. This is looking out the back door of the Freeman Barn.


We spent a good portion of our day at the Boott Cotton Mills. This loom room is SO LOUD! We didn't have time to visit the museum. I loved everything about our day at Lowell. I would not have made a very good bobbin girl.

Ranger Alex is talented: mountain dulcimer, banjo (100 year old banjo, traded for it in London), guitar, and fiddle!

I am drawn to the stories about the textile industry in Lowell, Massachusetts. I've read so many books about this era in our history. This is a boarding house where forty girls would stay in ten bedrooms. A woman would cook for them three times a day. These girls worked hard! Life was so much different here than the world of farming they had known.

Peace field

Peace field was the presidential home of John and Abigail Adams. Beautiful! The library was fantastic! One piece of tile in there is backward at John's request. He said that humans weren't perfect, so he wanted some sort of imperfection in his library. The garden was stunning. The carriage house was also gorgeous. I think it was all aptly named.

Light summer linens.

Hartwell Tavern.

Old North Bridge.

New England Stone Walls.

Like any good interpretive park ranger, this man paused for a moment to use his PPE (personal protective equipment) before firing his musket (earplugs and safety glasses).