Copper Mountain Mesa NEWS
By Bob DeLoyd
My personal Journal at Blogger
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Call me with news at (760) 362-5203
or write to 874 Border A-9 JT, Ca. 92252
E-Mail me: CopperMountainMesa@hotmail.com


2009


01/05/2008

Our little community has heard that longtime resident Hoss Kuhn passed on the night of Friday 28 at the High Desert Hospital. Hoss was a gentle giant who loved his motorcycles and his wife Sandy. Hoss had helped out at the USDA food distribution for many years until he fell ill. We all knew he was going to go soon but not this soon; just a few weeks ago Hoss threw a big birthday bash for his beloved Sandy. We all will miss him riding his cycle, roaring down Winters Road with Sandy on the back holding him tight.

I made my “Famous” sweet potatoes with raisins, maple syrup, butter, and brown sugar, which everyone liked last Thanksgiving (at least they said they did). I got everything together and headed on down to the community center for potluck. Let me see; there was Rick and Bob Seeley, Bob Stonebraker and his Family, Judy Bowman, Rose, Lee and Marcie Hines, two couples that I’ve never met before: one couple lives on Daisy Lane over by Bob Seeley and the other lives down on Winters Road by the well. Gosh, I am sorry that I don’t remember their names (must be the cold weather). The couple that lives on Winters had grown up in Torrance where I did some of my growing up too. Marcie brought some macaroni with hamburger, and Clarice Stonebraker brought her extra crispy lasagna, she blamed it on a John Wayne movie she was watching at the time, the cheese was a little burnt but it was still great. There was coffee, two kinds of pies, and when everyone had their fill we all sat around and jawed for a spell. There were no sweet potatoes left!

Thought for the week: Life is full of possibilities; you just have to choose them carefully.


01/12/2008

Our little community on Sunday night got some rain and the electric power went out around 11:15pm. It was very dark outside and I thought if it wasn’t for the rain and clouds I’d be taking out the telescope! I’ve been wanting to take the scope out since the year began but it has been cloudy every night! I was also hoping to see the Quadrantid meteor showers on the 4th, but the clouds spoiled that too. The power came back on around 7am, Monday, so I was the only one with electric power in my neighborhood for a while. Solar power has its advantages!

My friend Larry Carlock who I haven’t seen in thirty years arrived with his son Lee and his daughter Brianna. We told stories of friends and times gone past. We reminisced about our first (and my last) skydiving jump. On the way there we stopped at a store and happen to see a newspaper picture of an expert skydiver hanging from electric power lines (it was his last jump too) and we wondered if this was a bad omen. I was the first to dive out of this perfectly functional aircraft, with my feet dangling out of the plane waiting for the word “GO” and when it came I felt like not jumping, really, but also thought if I didn’t I would feel like a real loser, and the next second I found myself pushing off and falling through the air! The chute opened up with a quick jolt. I was enjoying it until I looked down and saw that I was over some kind of factory bordered by electric power lines running alongside a freeway! Yikes! I had to maneuver my chute away from these hazards and run with the wind, which increased my speed. When I hit the ground I was going too fast and injured my right leg. Later I was told that after I left the plane the pilot and instructor were a little worried that they may have dropped me off a little too soon; I can tell you that they did! Larry went on to make another 140 jumps in his skydiving career, and I got to walk around on crutches for two weeks.



01/19/2008

Our little community got woken up on Thursday 10th with our neighbor’s house on fire. I quickly headed over thinking on the way that there would be just a slab of cement left, but I arrived and it seemed pretty much intact. An investigator from the San Bernardino County met me at the gate and asked me a few questions about the owner who lives elsewhere. We went into the house and it was a complete mess; south side of the house was scorched pretty badly and the floor was burnt through where a couch was, and the rest had smoke damage. I figured it was started by a light on a timer that had shorted and caught the couch on fire that created a lot of smoke, which was noticed by the neighbors who called the fire department, who arrived just as the place reached its flash point and burst into flames. Later I called the owner and went back with plywood and nails to board up the house.

Last Saturday the night sky was very clear so I took out my telescope, my laptop with an observatory program running, and a small pair of binoculars and started searching for comet 8/p Tuttle. I had to wait for the waxing crescent moon to set before I could make out the constellations in that part of the sky. So I watched as the moon set around 9:15pm passing behind the mountains to the west and seeing the trees on the ridge as the moon slid passed them. The comet was in the constellation Cetus and very hard for me to find. It was a small greenish fuzz ball and I had to verify it with the help of the laptop computer. Mighty cool!

Thought for the week: One thing that doesn’t hold my interest: Television News! I get all my news online or from newspapers, but not fed to me with commercials, Politics, and troubled Celebrities.


01/26/2008

Our little community doesn’t want you to forget there will be a Memorial for Juanita Marx to be held during potluck on Saturday, January 26th at 4pm!

Last November Ron Dehart and I drove to the Big Morongo Preserve to hike down into the canyon towards Desert Hot Springs. Some of the vegetation is growing back after the Sawtooth Fire of July 2006 and you can still see that much of the trees have died in some areas. We talked to Dee Zeller who is the resident caretaker for the Preserve, he told us that they were mighty lucky in the fact that much of the wildlife survived the fire. I got a few pictures of a Mule Deer that was foraging for food on the grasslands, and another of a big bird’s nest in one of the tall trees that had survived the fire. The trail that we were on had gone all the way through to Desert Hot Springs until a developer bought property at that end of the trail and had fenced it off. I asked Dee if there was anyway around that fence or just climb over it. Dee said there was no way around and he had heard the developer had a few folks arrested for trespassing who climbed it. Before the fence, folks would park their cars at the Preserve and hike down to Desert Hot Springs and then take a bus back. Dee was mighty unhappy about that fence!

Thought for the week: Saw a Dragon Fly the other day and couldn’t believe they're still flying around this late in the season. Life has its little mysteries.


02/02/2008

Our little community last Saturday had Juanita Marx’s memorial. I got ready by cooking up my special recipe for yams. Then I hopped into the Gross Polluter and headed on down to the community center around 4pm. There were already a bunch of cars parked along the front row so I parked in the back. Dana and Karin Van Noort drove up and parked next to me. Animal was sitting outside and greeted us as we walked in. I haven’t seen him since Hoss’s wedding. Animal, that’s his nickname, made some spicy beef stew that was mighty good. I started taking pictures of everyone and jawing with folks. There were a lot of framed pictures of Juanita covering two tables that showed her in different stages of her life and I took pics of those too. Other folks who came to say goodbye to Juanita were: Rick and Bob Seeley, Lee and Marcie Hines, Mary Hodges, Bob Stonebraker, Ray and Ila Foyil, Frank and Mary Poole. Sherry and Thomas Felix with their Granddaughter, Rose Matich, Ruth Tuttle, Ruth Malton, Brenda Zimmer, Chris Jonas, Juanita’s daughters Judith Bowman and Eve Heart, and some others too. We all got in line for the food that took up two tables. There was so much good food there that I sampled everything and got mighty stuffed! After everyone finished eating Chris got the microphone and said some nice things about Juanita, and Stoney said a few thoughtful words too. Then Eve took the stage and told us about life with her Mother, who would always be on the move from state to state with the two young girls in tow, never leaving them behind. Eve joked that her Mom would move just because she didn’t like cleaning house, and also telling us that her Mom really believed in marriage being married five times. Eve did a very elegant job of speaking! Then Rose got the microphone, said a few words and broke out in tears. We all had a moment of silence and said goodbye to our neighbor and friend Juanita. Then we had cake!

Thought for the week: Life is to be lived not watched on a small screen!


02/09/2008

Our little community was broken into late Friday night or early Saturday morning of last week. The thief had busted in through the back gate and forced open the lock on the back door. Then this snake slithered over the counter to gain access to the kitchen and helped himself to what food we had. Fortunately the refrigerators were left unlocked by Maryhelen and Ruth Tuttle for the first Saturday breakfast or else this scumbag would have broken them too. There was enough food left for the breakfast but all of the bacon, orange juice, and potatoes were missing, so the folks who run the breakfast reduced it by a dollar and made do with what they had on hand. The police have a good idea who may have done this but so far it is just speculation. This parasite may have been interrupted in his pillaging of our center because of what he left behind. If you have any information on this break in of our little community please come forth and call the Police so that they may remove him from our community before he breaks into your home!

Holy smokes it was windy last Sunday! I had stuff blowing all over and had to go chase it all down. Even stuff I had tied down got loose! My Fat Cat didn’t want to venture outside so I let him stay inside and he don‘t like being inside. I called Bob Stonebraker (Stoney) up to see how he was faring, he said that his electric kept going out for a few minutes at a time; it even cut out when I was talking to him. These short outages effected our whole area I’ve been told.

Steve Tuttle dropped by with more info of the break in. I showed Steve my new telescope and we jawed about having a star party at the community center some night when the weather improves! Steve is VP of our center, is also into astronomy and has a telescope.

Thought for the week: You should learn a living before you earn a living.


02/16/2008

Our little community wants to remind you to come down every Tuesday night and play some Bingo. There’s a lot of bingo action and the folks are friendly, plus it helps support our community center!

There will be a Total Lunar Eclipse that takes place this Wednesday night as the Earth comes between the Sun and the Moon and casts its shadow onto the lunar surface at 5:43PM. Totality will begin at 7:01PM, last until 7:51PM. You don’t want to miss this because it will be the last “total” lunar eclipse until the year 2010 on December 21.

One clear night last week I took out my telescope, I wanted to checkout Epsilon Auriga that is 2,000 light years away in the constellation Auriga close to the bright star Capella. I am interested in it because it is an eclipsing binary with an unseen companion. There is much speculation if it is a protoplanetary disk forming protoplanets around a star; a very big star too cool to emit light; or even a black hole. Epsilon darkens for two years every 25 years. The next eclipse will begin in 2009. I would think that this binary eclipse would be on the list for the Hubble Telescope to have a look-see!
Mars is now between the two stars Nath and Zeta that form the tips of the “horns” of Taurus the Bull. While I was looking at Mars with the 2 inch eyepiece I had two airliners and a satellite come cruising on pass my field of view. The first airliner startled me! Lots of traffic out there! While I was in the vicinity I thought I’d have a peek at the Crab Nebula: a star that went supernova in the year 1054 AD and is about 6,500 light years away. It looked like a port wine stain on black velvet and not like the beautiful pictures you see in astronomy books.

Thought for the week: In times of adversity just smile: it’ll put your antagonists off guard.


02/23/2008

Our little community is usually a quiet and peaceful place. We as neighbors respect those around us. Well some folks called me about a neighbor who is causing much troubles in and around their neighborhood and wanted to know, being that I write about the area, if I could do something about the problem. I told them that they needed to keep calling the proper authorities so that there is a record of the complaints when and if things get out of hand. I also said that I would write something ambiguous about the subject. I then called the folks who own the property to let them know what was going on with their renters. There wasn’t much they could do, they said, until there was some concrete proof, like a police report, and that the folks should keep calling the authorities to report any problems. Is this ambiguous enough?

My old friend Larry Carlock called. We talked about astronomy and a bunch of other science stuff. We also had a remembering of the band we used to belong to in the early 60’s called the “Aces Wild” and had a good laugh of the lyrics to our theme song “We comb our hair with a hard, hard, hard nail file”. Jim Carter was on drums, Ernie Taylor was lead singer, and Larry and I played guitar. We played at a few parties and store fronts (with the owner’s permission). We weren’t very good, but we found that if we played loud enough at a party nobody noticed. I guess when your young anything is possible and some of us kind of lose that when we get older.

Thought for the week: Did you know that a quarter held nine feet away from you is the same size as the Moon at that distance?


03/01/2008

Our little community sure had a lot of good food sitting on the table waiting to be devoured at potluck last Saturday. I think I’ll have a sugar rush tonight from all the cakes and other desserts that were pleading for me to eat, which I did. All the usual suspects were there including a few newcomers: Sherry and Thomas Felix with their Mother who made a chocolate cake to die for, Dyan Carroll with Bill Mccavley and Dorothy Jacobsen, Bill and Jan Bonner, and Cal and Donna Myers. We all ate our fill and sat around jawing. What a fine time we had!

At 6:30pm on Wednesday of last week the sky had cleared of clouds and the Moon was already being covered with the Earth’s shadow. It was 39 degrees outside with the wind blowing so I put on my long johns and wrapped myself up really good for an hour of Moon gazing. I setup my telescope and then called a few friends to tell them that the eclipse had begun. I noticed a difference in this eclipse than the one I saw last August; this one wasn’t as red. Seems that the right lower quadrant of the moon was brighter. I believe this was because the Moon didn’t go through the whole umbra but skimmed the lower right side of it. Plus the last eclipse lasted longer. Astronomical events like this brings to peoples minds an awareness of their position in the universe and reminds them that there is much more going on than what takes place in their everyday lives, if they’d only look up.

Birthdays for March: Andy "Joe" Lane, Seimi Shiba, Dulce McDermott, and Beverly Long.

Thought for the week: I have recently found that the fraud department at my credit card company was closed on weekends. They may have weekends off but the identity thieves work 24-7 and could’ve been charging stuff to my card right at that very moment.


03/08/2008

Our little community had March blast in last Saturday by a downdraft of cold air that formed a thick dust storm that traveled quickly on the ground from the west. I got the Fat Cat and myself inside just as it hit.

The customer service line was long at WalMart and to pass the time I started conversing with folks around me. There was Donna, originally from Oklahoma but lived out here most of her life. She would like to move back there one of these days but doesn’t want to leave her two grown kids who live here. Michael lives in JT and smokes Bugler “roll yer own” cigarettes: two packs were stuffed in his shirt pocket. His roof had blown off during the windstorm. Laying in bed when it happened, he could see the night sky, and rolled over and went back to sleep only to be awakened later by falling rain. And Janet from Arkansas. Looked to be dressed for a Grateful Dead concert and hadn’t been in the desert very long. Said there were more jobs in Arkansas then here. My turn came to go to the counter and said goodbye to my line friends that I just made.

Bob Stonebraker told me a story of him and his son Jimmy fishing in the 60s. Jimmy, too young to bait the hook himself, Bob would have to stop fishing, unhook the fish and re-bait the hook every time. Before Bob could get his pole in the water, Jimmy would already have caught another fish and at the end of the day Jimmy had caught five fish to Bob’s two. Jimmy said to his Father, “Now who is the better fisherman?” I thought that was kind of funny.

Thought for the week: I was putting honey on some crackers when I read the label which had an expiration date 0f 02/06/2010. I thought that honey kept almost forever! Maybe it’s the plastic container that goes bad?


03/15/2008

Our little community was sad to learn of the passing of Chuck Sercu, on Sunday, February 17 in Watertown, Tennessee where he had recently moved to be with his Family in his final months. Born in Buffalo New York, Chuck graduated from Seneca High School in June of 1959 to become a Long Haul driver for Bekins Van Lines. Chuck also raced stock cars at the 605 Speedway, bartender, and did auto body repair. Chuck even started businesses of his own: A drywall company, and Chucks Fleet Service. Chuck was a board member at our community center and helped put on many activities.
Chuck was my friend. I would go over for a visit and walk around to his back porch where he’d be sitting at a table cluttered with odds and ends of car parts, drinking a beer and smoking cigarettes. He had this cigarette lighter that said “GIT-R-DONE” every time he’d light one up. We’d be sitting there jawing while his young son Joseph bid for our attention. Other folks would meander by: Jerry and Barbara Turnbough, Bob Stonebraker, Andrew Nevsky, Stuart Watson, Chris Jonas, and a few other folks. Chuck loved to barbecue and would always have some kind of meat cooking, the smells of it would fill the air to make your mouth water and stomach feel empty.
Chuck lived a hard but full life and I will miss these late summer afternoon get-togethers and so will a lot of folks. Goodbye my Friend!

Chuck's Family has setup a Guest Book that you may view and sign: Charles "Porkey" Sercu

Thought for the week: I hate these time changes twice a year! They’re leftovers from an era when most in our society were farmers without electricity. It doesn’t have anything to do with the realities of today’s world. Also it isn’t healthy to mess with someone’s sleeping patterns, or a whole nation’s. We should get rid of it, now, and for good!


03/22/2008

Our little community has just learned that Florence “Flo” Carpenter had passed away on March 10 at Sky Harbor Convalescent Home. We are holding a memorial at potluck for Flo on the last Saturday of this month, all are invited. Flo was a really nice gal who played bingo and went to the potlucks at our community center. Flo retired from the High Desert Hospital in the 80s where she worked in housekeeping. I remember Flo at our potlucks where she got around using a walker. It is sad to see another old timer moving on and another empty chair at bingo and potluck.

Come on down and play some Bingo at our community center every Tuesday at 6pm! Kathryn Quinn is the new caller who has replaced our longtime caller Chris Jonas. Beginning with the Action Game, three Speedos, two at regular pay, and a fourth that pays double. Then they play regular Bingo. They also have You-Pickup-Em, Blackout and Powerballs (Jug ball, sometimes four Powerballs). Ruth Malton won Powerball last week.

Thought for the week: I was sitting outside listening to all the sounds of my front yard, meditating on this and that, when I felt the rays of the Sun warming my face and I thought to myself that these are photons that were created at the core of our Sun by fusing hydrogen into helium, taking somewhere between 10,000 and 170,000 years to reach the Sun’s surface, and then another 8 minutes to hit my cheek. All these buzzing bugs and chirping birds in my yard that I see, all the vegetation growing there, and all life on good old planet Earth depends on this little yellow ball some 93 million miles away to keep shining for their existence. And has been doing so for 4.57 billion years! Fascinating!


03/29/2008

Our little community doesn’t want you to forget that we’ll be holding a memorial at potluck for Florence “Flo” Carpenter 4pm on Saturday 29th .

In my quest to get out more often and mingle with folks, I emerged from my cave and drove the Gross Polluter down to the Joshua Tree Music Store where they were having a sidewalk sale on guitars and other music equipment. I was content just dabbling around with the guitars they had on display and listening to the folks playing country and western, when they asked me to play along. Yikes! I told them I didn’t know country and western. “What do you play?” one old guy asked. “Just stuff I made up and I don’t sing very well,” I said. “Well this is what it’s all about, so go ahead and play yer song.” (picture is of the country/western band taken by me)
I’ve never sang in public before, got really nervous, someone pulled a microphone up to my face, so I closed my eyes and played “Love Will Find a Way Home”. I noticed that the guitar was out of tune; dang I should have checked that first. The other guitarists are all excellent players and tried to follow along as best they could. I got through the song okay and when I opened my eyes back up I saw that there were fewer folks hanging around, “Well I warned you guys,” I said, and spent the next half an hour trying to redeem myself by fading away into the background.
I’d gone out to be among folks who have the same interests as I, had played the guitar and sang in front of an audience. Though I don’t think I did very well, it’s that I gave it a go that really counts. I had fun and these are mighty fine folks! I might just do it again (if they let me).


04/05/2008

Our little community had a memorial potluck for Florence Carpenter last Saturday. There was already a line of cars filling the parking lot when I arrived. Many of Flo’s Family were there: Her sons Gary and Ray with his wife Carol, her niece Violet Jonas, and nephews Roy, Gerald, and Christopher Jonas, four grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren. Plus many from our community to wish her farewell. There was a lot of mighty good food to go around and everyone got their fill. As we ate dessert folks would go up to the microphone that was setup and say a little something in remembrance of Flo: she was an aircraft assembler during World War Two, a Foster parent in La Puente California bringing up thirty some kids, played board games and canasta, loved to tell stories and make people laugh. Flo also played the organ and did handicrafts to keep her hands busy. Flo was many things to many people. There were pictures of Flo beginning when she was a cute child, then going through her life as she aged. I only knew Flo in her later years and spent much time examining those pictures and getting to know her a little better. These pictures that I saw summed up a life of a woman that was well lived, who gave love and was loved.

I’ve been spending hours removing the Sahara Mustard weed from around my yard. This weed is invading our desert, is first to sprout before others, can grow very rapidly, and prevent other plants from growing by taking up most of the moisture and sunlight. You can do a search online for Sahara Mustard and see for yourself what this weed can do to our desert.
Here is a link to the Desert Museum: Sahara mustard (Brassica tournefortii) that describes that plant, has pictures, and the devastating effects it has on our desert!

Thought for the week: Having wealth with lots of possessions is much glorified in our society, but thriftiness and happiness should be our goal.




04/12/2008

Our little community’s Vice President Brenda Zimmer called saying that our community center had been broken into again last week. This time they got in through the front door, then went into the kitchen and broke the locks on the two refrigerators and took some food. Bob Stonebraker had asked them not to lock the doors to the refrigerators because they would cost more to fix then any food that would be pilfered, but no one listened. Anyways we all hope that the police catch the thief before we do.

Got quite a bit of that invading Sahara Mustard weed removed from my property but there is so much more to pull. I’ll just do a little bit each day till I get it done. It seems to be a fruitless situation because there are so many of them and I can’t seem to get them all. My only hope is that I can get rid of most and that the bugs and critters will eat the majority of what is left. I believe that the Sahara Mustard weed is going to be a major problem in the coming years, and that we all better get a good start on removing this invader of our desert land before it’s too late!

Birthdays this month are: Carol Lane, Patty Bradley, Mary Helen Tuttle, Marie Morrison, Bob Stonebraker, Bill Bonner, Ruth Malton, Roger Toomes, Brenda Zimmer.

Thought for the week: Taxes, I need to start preparing my Taxes! That’s what I did for the better part of last week: Taxes. Have you ever tried to hunt up some particular information at the IRS? One section will refer you to another, one form needs another form. Call them up to ask a question and you can get two different answers. It seems like nobody totally grasps these Tax laws of ours.


04/19/2008

Our little community has been calling me about the TV being down last weekend. We all live out in the desert and get our TV broadcasted to us through a UHF transmitter that goes down every now and then because of the high winds. The folks said that they had tried calling the station who broadcasts our signals but they didn’t answer their phone. Some of us folks, me included, depend on this UHF transmitter for our entertainment and news. I told them I’d write something about this in my column.

I stopped off to visit Lee and Marcie Hines last Monday. Lee had back surgery on the fourth and is recovering nicely; of course he had to show me his stitches. His daughter Leeann and her daughter Caren drove from Granada Hills to visit Lee after the operation.

A friend told me of the last community meeting: they yapped about this and that but didn’t decide on anything worth deciding on, they decided. Well at least they tried!

Bob Stonebraker’s son Jimmy and his Family came up last Sunday from Norwalk for the day to “surprise” Stoney on his 88th birthday.

Don’t forget that Earthday is on Wednesday 22nd. It’s a good time to reflect on what you can do to leave a smaller footprint on our planet.

Thought for the week: Did you know that the Sun converts 657 million tons of hydrogen to 653 million tons of helium every second. That the 4 million tons (subtract 653 from 657) is converted into energy that is radiated out to space. And that our Earth receives only 4 pounds of this energy every second that keeps our planet warm, supports all living life, and about a trillionth of a gram of this falls upon the solar panels which I use to power my home. Cool!


04/26/2008

Our little community has been constantly windy for many months now. I have asked some old timers if they can remember it being this windy for this length of time. They can remember it being windier, but not for this long and not as consistently as it is now.

On a few nights centered on May 5th the trails of fragments left behind by Halley’s Comet will come streaking across the night sky at 44 miles a second. Named after a star in the constellation Aquarius, the eta Aquarid Meteor Shower’s radiant appears to come out of the 4th-magnitude star eta Aquarii that’s 184 light years away from Earth and sits almost exactly on the Celestial Equator. Look towards the eastern horizon around 2:30am as Aquarius rises and expect to see 5 to 10 meteors per hour.

My old neighbor Scott Sorensen called me. He lives in Lancaster now with the buffalo I used to care for when he lived down the street from me. The buffalo are doing fine and they are expecting two more little buffalos shortly! I might take a trip out to see them soon.

Spring-cleaning! I am kind of a slob sometimes. When I have things on my mind I just don’t notice stuff lying around here and there. It’s a clean mess but a mess all the same. It builds up until it gets in my way and comes to my attention. My little brain can only hold so much and I have to set something aside to have the capacity to focus on something else. This something else this week was the kitchen.

Thought for the week: Logic and common sense are what keeps the water out of the boat; but love is what fills the sails and your heart is what sets the course. (co-written with my sister Donna)


05/03/2008

Our little community: I was sitting on my porch enjoying the day when a truck caught my attention that had stopped down the road. A lady leaped out, ran into the desert, picked something up, and jumped back into the truck. When the truck rattled slowly on by I saw it was full of smiling children with two adults. They stopped just up the road and the lady got out to retrieve something else. So I made my way up to where they were and had a look see.
I met Egie Eaton, her husband Marvin Burns, and their five grandchildren, who were out cleaning up our desert of trash and collecting any glass or metals they could turn into the scrap yard for cash. This proud family had fallen on hard times recently; Egie had been laid off since January as a purchasing agent in the construction industry; Marvin a master mason does jobs as they come along. There’s nothing steady anymore since the housing market collapse, they told me. Their family has taken to collecting anything that they could recycle for extra cash to make ends meet, plus it gets them out of the house.
Their daughter Melissa Burns, after loosing her job and home, had to move in with Egie and Marvin with her four girls and one boy: ages four to eleven. Egie has been around horses all her life and raises nine of them on their property and says the children love them. “I believe that it’s good to have animals around kids”, she said, “but there doesn’t seem to be a market for horses these days, nobodies buying them and you can’t even give them away. I just hope the price of feed doesn’t go any higher”.
They asked me to write a “Thank You” to all the folks that come out to hand them cans and other recyclables. “It is nice to know that there are people who care enough for those they don’t even know”, Egie said.


05/10/2008

Our little community is warming up. Isn't spring wonderful! On my daily jogs through the desert I’m seeing all kinds of critters coming out of their holes to prance and skitter about the desert! Bob Stonebraker called for me to come over and take some pictures of baby doves that are in a nest by his tool shed. I went on over but the Mom and Dad were both on the nest and wouldn’t let me see their babies. I didn’t want to disturb them much so I’ll try again another day.

Only four folks showed up for potluck. Bob and Rick Seeley were there when I arrived at 4pm. We sat around reminiscing on the “good old days” when the place would be packed with sounds of folks yapping and their kids running around doing whatever mischief kids do. Judith Bowman showed up just as I was leaving and I stuck around a little longer to have some of the strawberry pie she had brought.

Our friend Wessel arrived from Holland this week for a short stay. I went over for a visit; we had a discussion on the many issues that effect our planet. It’s refreshing getting an international perspective. Wessel said the way to find out if a restaurant makes good hamburgers is if the waitress asks how you want it cooked. It was getting late and Wessel jokingly blamed it on me for talking so much, when in fact I was doing most of the listening!

Birthdays for May: Tim Herrera, Jackie Johnston, C. Myer, Karen Van Noort, and Mary Moowea.

Thought of the week: Seems to me that we can’t wait for the government to do much of anything about the environment. We should take on the responsibility ourselves, like: drive less, conserve water, use more efficient products in our homes, and act responsibly as a consumer. That would be a good start!


05/17/2008

Our little community: There’s been a red car sitting in front of an unfenced house for several months now and folks been thinking that both were abandoned. Somebody was now there working on the car as I pulled unto the driveway to have a look see. He is US Navy Corpsman HM3 Matthew Clupper and was stationed at Al Taqaddum Air Base in Iraq for the last ten months.
His unit was helping the small village of Al Kabani with medical assistance, security, rebuilding a school, and furnishing the children with shoes and school supplies. They even built a water purification system so that the residents wouldn’t drink the water from the lake, which gave them worms. When he left the village was safe and the folks there could walk around without feeling threaten, grateful that Americans were there and their children being happy; sounds like Matthew made a big difference at Al Kabani.
Matthew was putting new speakers in the red car: a little reward, he said, for coming back safely from Iraq. Waiting for his carpeting to dry out after a pipe broke flooding his house, I told Matthew that he was lucky that nobody messed with his car; some folks around here may have started to eye it for parts. Matthew told me that he’d be lost if his car was stolen. He said that it would have cost him to store the car at the base so he just parked it here at the home he rents and hoped for the best. That totally sucks, I said, that you have to go over to Iraq and the base charges you to store your car! Incredible! I told him that the next time he has to go overseas that I’d be honored if he’d park it at my home.

A week ago Friday our neighbor Mike Villarreal accidently bumped into the back of a school bus as it came to a stop on Lear Avenue and Valle Vista Road to unload children; receiving minor injuries to himself, the driver of the bus, and an eleven-year-old child.


05/24/2008

Our little community had a taste of what will become summer this last week; we want you to be especially aware of the symptoms of heat exhaustion, which are: feeling dizzy, being nauseated, having moist cold skin, a rapid heartbeat, cramps, headaches, excessive sweating, forgetfulness, and just feeling plum tuckered out. Now some of these may seem to be normal conditions for some folks we know, but take special care when the weather is very hot. Older folks are more susceptible to heat exhaustion for a number of obvious reasons. They’re most likely not to take precautions, ignore the symptoms, and can be very cantankerous when you are trying to help them. We should check on our older folks on a daily basis; especially the ones that you know that live alone and have few visitors. Just drop by to say “Howdy”!
If you find someone you suspect has heat exhaustion: get him or her quickly to a cooler location, loosen their clothing and have them drink cool water (not coffee or alcohol). Then lay them down and elevate their legs a little. Try to cool them down by spraying or sponging them down with cool water while fanning. Depending on how severe stand ready to call 911 if you haven’t already! Heat exhaustion can rapidly turn into a heatstroke and we aren’t Doctors so it‘s best to let professionals handle the situation.

I went over to the community center last Sunday to help Chris Jonas setup the bags for Monday’s USDA food distribution. Chris found the back gate open and marks on the door where we store the food. Somebody had tried to break in again the night before! We both agreed that we need heavy chains and locks on all doors because it is just too dang easy to pry the latches open; but will the board listen to us?

Thought for the week: Global warming? If you don't believe in it I really don’t care and don’t desire wasting my time debating it with you. But I want you to just think of all the emissions from vehicles and power plants you are filtering through your lungs!


05/31/2008

Our little community has been having some weird weather lately! What a contrast: having high temps one day then going to low temps the next. The only thing consistent was the high winds. I got woken up early one morning with the sounds of somebody walking with heavy boots on my roof, which turned out to be my patio trying to fly away to Arizona. I quickly put on my shoes and made my way outside into the wind that was gusting out of the Northwest blowing sand, dirt, and anything that wasn’t tied down. I fixed the patio by propping up some two by fours to stop it from flapping around and becoming airborne.

Was over at my Friend’s house to check on his dogs. I fed them hotdogs while I ate a ham sandwich and watched the Science Channel of the live broadcast of the Phoenix Mars Lander as it first approached the atmosphere of Mars. Everyone at JPL in Pasadena was all tense waiting for word that the parachute had deployed; when it did there was some slight cheering. Then when the heat shield had been jettisoned; a lot of smiling faces. Then the freefall drop for two and a half seconds as the vehicle disconnected from the chute; at this point they held their breath. Then rockets fired to slow the vehicle and they counted off the meters: 100 meters, 90 meters, 40 meters, 10 meters, touchdown! The whole room exploded into cheers, jubilance, and relief. I wished I could have been there. It must feel really great to be involved and have contributed to something this historical and to the furthering of human knowledge.

Thought for the week: If you need to get things done you better get it done while you still have the day to get it done in.


06/07/2008

Our little community had a delightful “Last Saturday Potluck” at our community center. When I arrived Bob Stonebraker was sitting at a table outside jawing with a few local folk: telling jokes and swapping tales. They were also discussing another break-in at the center a few days ago! This time the dirty scoundrels took two gallons of ice cream and other items. Chris checked the front door to find that if you give it a good jerk that it will come open when locked. Steve Tuttle came over later that night to fix the latch that locks it. Good one Steve!
We had Thirteen hungry folks show up: Lee and Marcie Hines, Cal and Donna Meyers, Stoney, Bob and Rick Seeley, Ruth Molten, Rose Matich, Dynn Carrol and her mother Dorothy Robinson from Landers, Chris Jonas, and me. There was enough food on the table for everyone to have seconds. I especially liked the chicken casserole that Donna made; we topped it off with a spoon of sour cream, which made it taste great! Dynn brought Asian salad. Bob Seeley’s fruit plate had to cost him a bunch. Dorothy had a mighty fine broccoli salad. Marcie cooked up lasagna that was very satisfying. Most everyone brought a little something and we like to thank them all too!
Our “Last Saturday Potluck” is open to everyone. Just bring a little something to share with us desert folks. It is on, like the name implies, the last Saturday of the month, at 4pm.

Thought for the week: Isn’t it wonderful to be alive in an age where just about any information on just about any subject can be retrieved in a matter of seconds!


06/14/2008

Our little community: I went to a birthday party over at Lee and Marcie Hines. I’m not really very good at writing birthday cards so I dug into my garden to extract a few Century Plants (agave) to present instead of cards: we are celebrating four birthdays that are from the last two months and this month!
There was Cal and Donna Meyers, Bob Stonebraker, Bob Seeley, Dynn Carrol, Dorothy Robinson, Sherry Rotruck, Seimi, Bill and Jan Bonner, and a couple from Desert Hotsprings that were guests of the Bonner’s. Lee had barbecued beef and pork ribs that were mighty tasty. There were three kinds of salads and two strawberry cakes: there was plenty to eat and it was all really good because it was all gone when I left. We all sang Happy Birthday to Bill, Lee, Stoney, and Sherry before we had the strawberry cake with ice cream. It was more like a reunion of old friends because we haven’t done birthdays this way in a long, long while.

Ron Dehart called to say he had finally caught the packrat that has been chewing wires and collecting stuff for a few months now. Ron decided to tear his house apart to find it. It had its nest in a draw under his bed. Along with other objects of the rat’s treasures Ron found that the rat had collected three mousetraps that were set around the house to trap the little bugger. Ron was so impressed with the packrat’s ingenuity that he didn’t have the hart to kill it and was able to shoo it out the front door.

Birthdays for the month of June are: RaeLynn Herrera, Sherry Rotruck, Lee Hines, Mary Riggio, ILA Foyil, and Karen McBurney!

Thought for the week: If you are consistently late does that make you on time?


06/21/2008

Our little community center will be shutting down for the months of July and August. Except for Potluck and the USDA Food Distribution everything else: First Saturday Breakfast, the Board Meetings, and Bingo will all be closed to start again in September. We like to thank all those who work hard to make our community center so successful!

Don't you forget to come over to our community center for Potluck this next Saturday 28th for some real down home cooking. Starts at 4pm and goes on till ya ate so much we have to carry ya out in a wheelbarrow! Everyone is welcome to bring their victuals to share! Also there will be a Patio Sale all day, 9am till 4pm, the same Saturday as Potluck! So come on down to our lovely Community Center where there will be Lots of Goodies!

On my evening walk I came across a horny toad lizard that let me pick him up. Kind of cool! Him sitting in the palm of my hand where I could get a closer look-see at all the intricate patterns with different shades of brown across his back. I rubbed his belly and let him go.
Made me reminisce way back when I was in kindergarten at Whites Point Elementary school in San Pedro. We had a horny toad in an aquarium that we could pick up to pet. We also had a white bunny rabbit in a cage, an ant lion, and a cocoon of a caterpillar in a fish bowl that was kind of boring to watch. The horny toad was my favorite!

Thought for the week: Some folks like to stir the pot and serve the stew without all the ingredients.


06/28/2008

Our little community is having a Patio Sale this Saturday from 9am till 4pm! Then put yer teeth in and stick around for Potluck! So come on down to our lovely Community Center where there will be Lots of Goodies!

Bought me a DTV converter box with the $40 coupon that the government sends out (1-888-DTV-2009 or online at WWW.DTV2009.GOV). I had earlier called the station (County Service Area 70 TV-5 at 367-1833), which sends our signal over UHF; a nice lady told me we wouldn’t be needing converters in our area. But I bought one anyways just in case I wanted to someday sell my old analog TV set. Well I connected it to my TV just to make sure it all functioned ok and wasn’t really expecting to receive anything. I turned the dang thing on; it did a scan, and found four channels! Unfortunately three were paid advertisements and one was a Spanish station. I tried it later that night and found that the three advertisement ones changed to Korean and Armenian languages, while the third played Spanish. I watched a little of a Korean soap opera, but had trouble keeping up with the subtitles. I’ll tell you one thing the picture I received was crystal clear just like satellite! Maybe someday we can get some American-speaking channels on it. That would be nice!

I ran into Egie Eaton and her husband Marvin Burns as they drove by looking for recyclables. I had written in my 05-03-08 column about their family’s plight, which many families are facing during these days of financial distress and hardship. They stopped and we chatted for a while. Their truck has been repossessed and they are now driving a small car to collect aluminum cans and such stuff that can get them a little money. I sure hope their luck changes.

Thought for the week: If you just focus on the trail you’ll miss the splendor of the countryside.


07/05/2008

Our little community was having Potluck last Saturday, so I drove up to the center on my Trusty Scooter where I found Bob Stonebraker sitting outside in the shade among the odds and ends of used merchandise that Marcie Hines had on display at her Patio Sell. Marcie made a whole seventy dollars for our center!
Besides our regular folks who showed up there were some old and new faces:
Dana and Karen Van Noort haven’t been to our potluck for a spell and I was glad to see them. Karen has been laboring in her new garden and Dana been working very hard collecting scrap iron and driving it down to Indio.
Joaquin was there for the first time. I usually see him driving his dune buggy down Winters Road on his way to Twentynine Palms. He would stop by my house to yap. Joaquin knows my friend Dale Knoll from Landers.
Cyndy Aholelei is another first timer to our potluck and was helping Marcie with the Patio Sale. Cyndy lives on the west side of Border Ave on Winters Road about three miles down.
Brenda Zimmer’s sister Carol came with her son’s family and their very adorable baby girl.
I was delighted to see Ruth Tuttle had came and she gave me a big hug when she saw me.
Down here for the weekend Frank and Mary Poole came a little late, but there was still plenty left for them to eat.
I’d say there were over twenty folks who came to feast at our potluck and I think that is mighty fine indeed!

Birthdays for July are: Rose Matich, Dana Van Noort and Bob Beggs. It's Karen and Dana Van Noort’s 15th Anniversary.

Thought for the week: Let us not forget the sacrifices of the few so that the many can stand free. Happy Independence Day!


07/12/2008

Our little community had a wonderful Independence Day! Bunches of folks went to watch the fireworks display down at the Marine Base; Bob Stonebraker and I were among them. We setup our chairs, had our cameras ready, and waited for the fireworks to begin were we parked at the end of Poleline Road on a street that took us closer to the Base. It was a mighty nice display and lasted over twenty minutes. Lots of oohs and aahs from all the kids down the road from us.

Well it's been pretty dang hot around here lately! My Fat Cat lounges in the shade outside on my patio floor where I pour water on a towel for him to keep him cool. I have to do this when I let him inside for breakfast because if I tried to do it when he was there he'd make a mad dash for the safety of the battery room: he don't like water!

One night I was looking to the western part of the sky when I eyed what I believed to be Mars. So I got out the telescope to check it out, and it was Mars in the Leo the constellation (last time I saw Mars it was in the horns of Taurus). I also saw a beautiful binary system with an orange and yellow star I didn’t recognize, and found it was Algieba about 126 light years away. Saturn was nearby, had it sighted and focused when a faint satellite came zipping across my field of view. So I followed it till it vanished into the west. Cool! I didn’t realize at the time that I had been using a 6mm eyepiece so the satellite must have been very, very small. Maybe it was Ed White’s space glove he lost in his 1965 spacewalk! Nah! Well maybe!

Thought for the week: If you think too much of what other folks are thinking of you, you won’t have anytime to be doing any thinking for yourself!


07/19/2008

Our little community’s long time resident and friend Linda Dehart called to say goodbye. Linda has been visiting here for these last two weeks and will be leaving soon to go back to Austin Texas where she has started a new career as a grade school teacher. It’s a dang shame such a shining talent, as Linda needs to leave our state to acquire work as an educator! Linda told me that she misses all her friends here in Copper Mountain Mesa. We’ll surely miss her too!

Getting mail on a hot day: I jumped on my Trusty Scooter, which I’ve been riding since gas prices have gone up so high, to drive the six miles down to where my mailbox is. Only two miles of it are paved and when I hit the blacktop of the paved portion the air hitting me was hot like a convection oven. Sweat evaporated off my clothes and they sat on me like they were newly pressed. The heat just escalated to where I believe that you could cook pizza on that asphalt. Fetched my mail and drove on home to water my plants and myself.

Last Saturday night I was driving home tired and ready for bed after a twelve-hour grueling computer repair marathon at my friend’s home in JT when I noticed that it had rained pretty dang hard while I was away. Fat Cat was impatiently waiting at the front gate for me to get home and feed him. After I fed him he decided to barf it all up on the rug, great! It was nice and fresh the next day after the rains cleaned out all the lingering particulates of the fires and exhausts from whatever. The air smelled sweet and made it a beautiful day!

Don't forgit POTLUCK is next Saturday!! So get on down there at 4pm to our Community Center and get yerself stuffed!

Thought for the week: I received a computer to fix the other day from a friend’s father who took out the hard drive saying that he didn’t want me to have it because of his personal data on it. I looked at the computer and noticed that there was no CD drive. He had the wrong drive taken out! You got to hand it to these older folks! His personal data is safe with me because I’ll wipe the disk clean. I wonder if he took a sledgehammer to the CD drive?


07/26/2008

Our little community had two attempted break-ins at our center this last month but these thefts were thwarted by the new deadbolts we had installed on every door at great costs to what little savings we have. These burglaries have been going on for the better part of a year now. It is sad that somebody feels that they must inflict damage on the folks of our community by their petty thievery and vandalism. We may be a little community but we have a big heart and I believe that if this person needs food or help of a kind, all they’d have to do is ask.

Now don’t ya fergit to come to the Last Saturday of the Month Potluck at our community center today at 4pm! There be some mighty fine folks bringing some mighty good grub to share! Now ain’t that what a community is all about? Yes, indeed it is!

Thought for the week: The Andromeda Galaxy is 2.5 million light years away. When we view that galaxy as a whole the light from the nearest edge arrives at our eyes one hundred thousand years before the light from its rear edge does! Now that gave me pause to think of scale and just how immense our universe is! There are billions upon billions of these galaxies in every direction we look! Our own Milky Way is one hundred thousand light years in diameter with 200 to 400 billion stars and we sit on a rocky planet that orbits one of these; a yellow G2 type star, that is two-thirds the way out from our Galaxy’s center. Cool!


08/02/2008

Our little community had potluck last Saturday like every last Saturday of the month. I cooked up some macaroni and cheese to share and headed on down to the community center. Karen and Dana Van Noort were there with Karen’s sisters husband Bruce who lives in Clovis out near Fresno. He has a home out here where he plans to move in with his wife when she quits the IRS in two years or so- brought fried roadrunner they said, but I believe it was really chicken because the legs had too much meat on them. Dynn Carrol and her mother Dorothy Robinson brought eggplant parmesan and stuffed peppers all picked from their garden and some mighty fine chocolate cake, too! Chris Jonas prepared his famous macaroni salad which I ate plenty, also took some home with me. Marcie Hines cooked up lasagna and scooped out ice cream. Donna Meyers made this outstanding dish of scalped potatoes that everyone raved about. There was a lot of food and the center drew quiet as everyone started feeding. Well I ate the food like a starving coyote and woofed it right down. Someday I’ll learn to take my time eating when I am at these gatherings and not be such a hog. Everyone stayed afterwards to help clean up the mess we made.

Birthdays for August: Ruth Tuttle, Sayoko McDermott, Joseph Evans, Frank McDermott, Lauren Villarreal, John Jefferson, Fred Frederiksen, and Bob Seeley.

Thought for the week: On one of my evening walks, I was listening to an astronomy lecture on galaxies: their discovery and history. Astronomers first had thought that the Earth was the center of the universe, later on, it was the Sun, then the Milky Way, and then in the 1920s Edwin Hubble’s discoveries revealed that there are billions upon billions of galaxies. Our status as being central in the universe has been dwindling throughout the centuries, but I believe that we are the center of “our own” universe in a non-scientific but meaningful way. It’s like the old saying goes: “Wherever you go there you are”. And if that ain’t the center, I don’t know what else is!


08/09/2008

Our little community has been broken into again! The thieves broke in through the south side door that did not have a deadbolt. I was under the impression that we just recently had deadbolts installed on all the doors, but I guess I was mistaken. The thieves made off with an old computer that wasn’t any good for much. Maybe someone will bring it to me to be fixed! Now that would be a hoot and make my day!

The 2008 Perseid Meteor Shower is coming on the night of Monday, August 11th, and best seen before dawn on the12th. The meteors are the remains of the comet Swift-Tuttle and the shower has been observed for over two thousand years. Look towards the constellation Perseus in the northeast after 9pm. These meteors hit Earth’s atmosphere at 132,000 mph creating some magnificent bright trails across the heavens. The meteors will increase as the night grows older and as the Moon sets behind the mountains to the west around 2am. You can bet that Fat Cat and I will be outside watching for some Earthgrazers!

Thought for the week: By not turning on my outdoor lights at night I have found that I don’t get any of them nasty flying ants and other airborne critters hovering around my head while trying to sleep.


08/16/2008

Our little community wants everyone to know that we are having a Labor Day weekend Barbecue on Saturday, August 30th starting at 4pm at our lovely Community Center: 65336 Winters Road, which is located four miles east of Border Ave and five miles west of Lear Ave. We’ll be cooking up hamburgers and hotdogs. There’ll be salads and other goodies for your consumption. Also if you or any friends ya know are musicians there’ll be an open Microphone! So come on down and fiddle, sing, dance and play. Everyone is welcome to attend with emphasis on having fun!

I started watching the 2008 Perseid Meteor Shower early Tuesday morning at around 1:30am. As the Moon set behind the southwestern hills and the sky became darker opening up the universe in all its grandeur, I saw the first two Earthgrazers coming in parallel streaking across the heavens at 132,000 mph in a race to their deaths in the upper atmosphere. Cool! I stayed up until a little after 4am as my Fat Cat had abandoned me earlier for the comforts of his bed and I was growing tired. I saw many meteors that night and had the time to ponder on the nature of our existence on a small speck of a world adrift in such an immense cosmos. This always fascinates me to no end!

Thought for the week: Who is the bright light in the cave of your soul? I only ask because I have just found mine.

08/23/2008

Our little community has a lot of critters roaming around. I found one drinking out of a water bucket I leave out for them; it was a Red Racer snake! He was sticking his head right into the water. He noticed my approach and raised his head around to give me a look-see. He sniffed at me with his tongue, then ignoring me, dropped his head back into the water and went right on drinking! Wow! To cool! I went and grabbed my camera but he had his fill of water and was making his way through the chaparral very quickly- they can travel at 7MPH. I did get a quick picture of him as he slithered away.

A neighbor asked me if I saw anyone dump garbage on Winters Road and Borland Pass. I told him that when I was on my bike ride that I saw a green homemade camper shell lying off to the side. He said that he saw and knows who dumped it there and is going to report them to the police if he could only find the license plate number he copied down. I don’t like people who dump in our desert and I hope they get in big trouble!

Thought for the week: Watching too much television can suck the creativity out of us, replacing it with a false sense of reality, that we integrate into our lives and become who we are not. I remember when I was in college I was too dang busy and didn’t watch the tube for four years. I was happy then; going to school, studying my lessons, working at my job, and doing things that I’ve never done before. It was a wonderful time in my life! For some time now I’ve been limiting myself to just a very few select programs I enjoy, using that time saved from viewing of “reality shows” and other meaningless garbage, to go out into the “real” world to create my own adventures and my own realities and not theirs.


08/30/2008

Our little community ain’t got the best phone lines in the State and I believe that it will be many years before we get high speed internet, if we get it at all! But right now I’d settle for having a good connection: I called the telephone company about my phone line going dead every now and then for the past few days. Once I got passed the Robot and got hold of a real person I told the Service Rep very quickly that my phone may go dead as we talk and this has been a reoccurring problem for some years, and also that the problem is intermittent sometimes going dead every five minutes or going dead after an hour or so- of course it didn’t die when I was talking to the Rep! “Well we will send a repairperson out to your home next Monday.” About a half an hour later the evil Robot called and said that “We believe we have found and fixed the problem. If this is correct press 1, if not press 2”, I pressed “2”. “Please hold while we connect you to a Representative”, said the Robot, and then the line went dead!

Thought for the week: A couple of friends stopped by my house to yak for a spell. They told me they aren’t Democrats anymore but Republicans! Wow what a big switch for them! I told them that I was neither. I guess I’m a kind of political agnostic; I would like to believe that politicians could create a better society for the common good of all and not just for themselves and their buddies, but I haven’t seen any proof of it yet, and I am not that gullible to accept it on faith.


       

Legend of the High Desert

From Bob's Stuff
        By Bob DeLoyd

Early Friday morning of the Labor Day weekend, a small caravan consisting of one large truck, an RV, and an assortment of cars made its way down Winters Road in Copper Mountain Mesa, to its final destination on a five-acre parcel of desert land. Students from the Art institute of Los Angeles of Santa Monica College began unloading and setting up the equipment for a four-day shoot.
I stood around taking pictures and asking questions. I was quite impressed by the professionalism and effort put forth by these young future filmmakers. I watched a scene played by actor JW, “that’s what I go by,” as the sinister villain cowboy; dressed in a long black coat, wearing a silver mask, carrying a whip, with a six-shooter in his belt. The script called for JW to be shot, but it took a couple of takes because the small explosives on his chest failed to detonate.

The “Legend of the High Desert” is a short film directed by Andrew Wright about two brothers, one lives in a cubical, and one lives in a car. They are brought together in search for five acres in the High Desert that they had inherited, but unbeknownst to them they face an evil gunslinger from the past that haunts the area waiting to take his next victim, said Producer Marchette Stamps and Associate Producer Mica Rausch. I asked these students where did they get the financing for the production and was told it is their last year in college and that their families and friends had put up the money. I thought it nice that families and friends were so involved and these students are being helped out in such a way; that takes a lot of love and pride.

I sat down and chatted with Director Andrew Wright’s Mom and Dad, Mike and Lori, who provided most of the financial backing for the production. Mike said some of the equipment was borrowed from work and the rest was out of pocket. Just the insurance for the truck used to carry props and camera gear, he said, was eight-hundred dollars. Lori told me that Andrew, 20, was already interested in films since age five and she had walked in on Andrew and Ryan Elwell when they were both nine years old playing with the family video camera. Andrew also started playing golf at age three his dad said. “We want to help him live his dreams.”
Andrew has two short films on the internet: One called “Balls of Gold”, and “Coming Home” about his brother-in-law Glen Kelly coming back home from Iraq, both can be seen at MySpace TV. He also had an idea for an epic based on the Greek 300 who stood up against the Persians at Thermopylae in 480 BC, but was stunned when he saw the trailer for the movie “300” on television. That dashed his hopes for making that short film, but his mom was relieved saying that they wouldn’t have to go out to find three-hundred friends for the shoot; he even wanted to include the rain of arrows!

“Legend of the High Desert” will be in postproduction for four months, after three years of college this short film will be Andrew’s last thesis. They have hopes of having it played at film festivals. I wish them success! Other members of the cast and crew, but not all, are; Actors Luc Bishop and Charley Heydt, Production Designer Tammie Childree, Director of Photography Ryan Elwell, Assistant Camera Melissa Ramirez and Noney Riddle, and Script Supervisor Mary Stasilli, who will be shooting a thesis in Big Bear next weekend based on the story “On the Rainy River” by Tim O’Brien.
By Monday evening, the students were busy putting all the props and equipment into the large truck for the long journey back home. They had completed what they had set out to do.


09/06/2008

Our little community had a wonderful and successful Labor Day Barbecue over at the community center. Unfortunately I arrived an hour late but still there were a whole lot of folks having a fine time eating hamburgers, hotdogs, and potato salad. All my friends from potluck were there. I walked around taking a bunch of pictures, making new friends, and munching on Brenda Zimmer’s chocolate cake with peanut butter frosting.
Annelies Kuiper of the Membership Committee wrote of the Barbecue:
“Despite cloudy skies and a flash flood watch, the turnout was double what we had hoped for. Fortunately, we had plenty of food to feed the masses! A few of our Pot Luck regulars brought delicious dishes to accompany the outstanding food spread provided. Many familiar faces showed up, as well as a surprising and welcome number of young families. Our donation jar was generously filled and the event was declared a huge success. This has inspired the Membership Committee – Brenda Zimmer, Katherine Quinn and Annelies Kuiper – to organize more Community events in the near future. Halloween anyone?”

The First Saturday Breakfast is starting back up this Saturday so don't forget to come on down, have a cup of Joe, and yak at yer neighbors! Also Bingo has already began play last Tuesday so if ya missed that one we'll reserve a seat at the next one just for you!

Thought for the week: I was at a local market being rung up when I heard a crash! Bottles of jelly and yogurt had fallen out the bottom of my bag! The box boy was on the floor cleaning it up as a little rat dog on a long leash was trying to get to the spilled yogurt. The woman on the other end of the leash was pulling, and yelling at him. I thought to myself what was a dog doing in a grocery store. After it was cleaned up I was rolling my cart following the woman with the dog out when it decided to squat and take a poop just inside the sliding doors! The woman was franticly trying to clean it up as folks walking in were narrowly missing it as I shouted out warnings. Now we know why markets don’t allow animals inside!


09/13/2008

Our little community had a power outage last Sunday and my friend Seimi Shiba called at 8:30pm to inform me that there was a power outage in our area! It started at 6:35pm. I went outside and sure enough all the lights in our area were dark. Seimi always lets me know when we have outages because I use Solar and batteries to power my home, otherwise I wouldn’t know!
Later, I went outside to take advantage of the outage with telescope and binoculars and watched the setting of the first quarter Moon as it slid behind the mountains to the southwest. It looked like a large ship slowly sinking, with the bow going down last.
The night sky is a different story with all those outdoor lights that folks use to transform night into day turned off, and the Milky Way looks so grand and our area looks so pristine! It’s a dang shame that some folks just have to bring the “city” out our way. I did a little stargazing then I went on back inside a little after 2am. Before I went to bed an hour later, I peeked through my window and saw that the power had been restored and the lights were blazing away again.

The MBTA (Morongo Basin Transit Authority) is having a meeting at 3:30pm on September 18 at the Helen Gray Education Center- 6601 White Feather Rd., Joshua Tree, CA, 92252, to discuss “Unmet Needs”.

Birthdays for September: Randell Herrera, Mike Villarreal, Donna Myers, Kimberly Herrera, Marcie Hines, and Ed Drzal.

Thought for the week: Life is an adventure and we should treat it as such!


09/20/2008

Our little community is starting to cool down some from the heat of summer and it’s time for us out here in Copper Mountain Mesa land to get outside and work on our homes.
I’ve been working on my patio and spent most of last week measuring this and that, digging holes for posts, and hammering nails. I had dug another hole for a pier and stuck it in, but when I went to get the post that sits on the pier, I found that I didn’t have any left- Dang! So I hopped in the Gross Polluter and headed down to Home Depot- why is there a “T” at the end of depot? Must be the dang French again sneaking into our language! Anyways, when I arrived I was helped by an employee whose name was Gar Dean. We jawed a bit. He told me he’d taken the job there because of the housing downturn- he had been a framer for thirty-five years. Gar has been living in the area for over thirty years and has watched it grow up from a small town. He hopes it doesn’t grow too much more.

Don’t forgit that our Potluck is next Saturday 27th at 4pm!

Thought for the week: And what, may you ask, is the "Gross Polluter"? The "Gross Polluter" is my 4 cylinder $250 Toyota truck. When I first took it down to get it smogged it didn't pass! The test printout said it was a gross polluter! I looked at all those 8 cylinder gas guzzlers on the road, and I thought to myself, fine, my little truck is a gross polluter. Of course I got it fixed but the name stuck. Now ya know!


09/27/2008

Our little community doesn’t want you to forgit that our “Fabulously Fine First Saturday Breakfast” will be next Saturday morning. I heard that Bob Stonebraker gave his seal of approval and said that the grub has improved a whole lot, and he is mighty particular about his biscuits and gravy! So come on down for some fine home cooking and have a cup of coffee and sit and jaw at your fellow neighbors.

Thought for the week: I go on evening walks and listen to astronomy lectures. One lecture I thought interesting was about the force of magnetism: why is it that the Earth’s magnetic field can be over whelmed by small refrigerator magnets? The answer was that magnets lose their force because of the inverse square law: magnets lose strength inversely proportional to the square of the distance from the magnet. Therefore, you can take a small magnet and place it next to a compass, which locally overpowers the Earth’s magnetic field. Then draw the magnet away by several feet, the compass is no longer affected by this tiny field that weakens by the square (a number times itself) of the distance. From a source a few thousand miles beneath our feet, Earth’s magnetic field is so great that it still extends out into the upper atmosphere and into space to reflect high-energy particles emitted from the Sun’s solar wind causing auroras and protecting life.


10/04/2008 <

Our little community had a wonderful last Saturday potluck! I went on over to the community center on my Trusty Scooter carrying the pot of macaroni and cheese I made. I walked in the door a little after 4pm and everyone was already eating. Hey, you guys ain’t supposed to start eating until 4:30! Well we got hungry they said. There were some mighty exciting dishes on the table to choose from and I decided to sample them all! I couldn’t blame them one bit for starting early; there was Ruth Tuttle’s Konkydoodle, Dynn Carrol’s Okra Vegetable Salad, Pat Kant’s Potatoes Au Gratin, Marcie Hine’s Chile-Roni and hamburger dish, Dorothy Robinson’s Tortilla Casserole, and topped off by Donna Meyers delicious Homemade Cake and Bob Seeley’s Fruit Platter.
Some new folks showed up: Mike Kant and his wife Pat, who moved out our way last March from Arizona. They live over by Lear Avenue. Then there was Susan Atzei and her brother Tim who live just a ways behind the center. They came with their friend Daniel Gray; he lived in Alaska before coming out here to stay. They are all mighty nice folks! I asked them how they like the desert so far; they said it takes some getting used to. I agreed telling them that some folks see the desert as a barren wasteland were others see all the wonderful life that abounds and the gentle solitude and freedom that one can cherish if one can live in the moment and let it grow from within.
Well dang it I was stuffed to the max again! So when I got home I went on a longer walk than usual to work some of it off.

Birthdays for the month of October: Larry Catron, Colleen Schweitzer, and Scott Lane.

Thought for the week: You can be lonelier in a big city then out here in our Little Community. Because out here you will always find good friends who are here for the same reasons as you are.


10/11/2008

Our little community: I hopped on my Trusty Scooter and rode over to Danna and Karen Van Noort’s home for a visit. Danna was watching a NASCAR race where the cars were tailgating really close to each other (kind of like the 405 Freeway at rush hour). Danna said that the speed limit of the track was reduced to something like 195 MPH and drivers had to use drafting to maneuver into position. Driving so close at that speed there was bound to be an accident and there was; we saw something like fourteen cars in a fantastic collision with racecars going every which way! Fortunately, nobody was injured.
They showed me a DVD, which had a PowerPoint presentation of their Grand Daughter Katrina’s graduation from high school. It was done very nicely and had my eyes watering up and I don’t even know her! It showed Katrina when she was a little baby all the way up to a young woman with a bright future ahead.
Before I left, I took a tour of their garden to get some ideas building and planting mine. It seems that okra, squash, and bell peppers are the way to go up here in the desert. I rode off with a bag of okra and bell peppers that they had given me.
Stopped off at Bob Stonebraker’s to give him some okra and sat and jawed for a bit. As I was leaving I noticed that my Angels baseball cap had fallen out of the scooter somewhere and had to drive back to Karen and Danna’s before I found it in the middle of the road. Lucky me!

Thought for the week: If you think that life is passing you by, it probably is! So put on yer old running shoes and go chase it down!


10/18/2008

Our little community: I was invited by Ruth Denison to her eighty-six birthday party when I was over at her all-women's Dhamma Dena Desert Vipassana Center one day while helping her with a computer problem. Ron Dehart warned me to bring my guitar to the party or I’d end up dancing. I arrived the following Monday for the party with guitar in hand.
Internationally known Ruth Denison was born in eastern Germany in 1922. With much hardship she survived the Russian occupation after World War Two, escaping horrible conditions to make her way from tyranny to freedom in Berlin and then the United States. Ruth is the only woman of four westerners given permission by her Burmese Teacher Sayagyi U Ba Khin to teach Vipassana; a 2600 year old Buddhist meditation technique to observe sensations leading to insight into the nature of one’s own body and mind.
There were quite a few of Ruth’s friends who showed up. Local artist Linda Sibio gave a surreal impromptu performance of a young girl who grows old into her eighties. She gave a nice ending to it and everyone applauded.
Ruth gave a little sermon on what reaching eighty-six meant to her, love, community, and how we all are born fresh again with each and every birthday. Then we all sat down to eat chocolate cake! At my suggestion, we sang Happy Birthday to Ruth. Then I was asked to play my guitar. While I was playing a song I’ve made up, people were doing this dance, so Ron was right! I enjoyed being there with these fine folks, and I was glad to have been invited! I hope I get an invite to Ruth’s eighty-seventh birthday!

Thought for the week: Life is a garden; you have to continually pull the weeds for it to mature.


10/25/2008

Our little community has been having such beautiful weather lately that I spend much of my time sitting outside doing nothing but enjoying the nice days. It seems like the flow of time slows a bit when I listen to the quiet activities of critters buzzing and flying around on a lazy day in my front yard.

Don’t you dare miss our Potluck that is this Saturday the 25th at 4pm! Everyone is welcome to come and bring some grub to share with us desert folks!

Last Monday the sky was clear and I thought that I might view a few of the Orionid meteors that should be streaming across the heavens late that night. I went out around 10pm but I guess it was too early because I didn’t see a one. Then I tried later at 3am before I went to bed and when Orion would be higher in the Northeast sky. I wasn’t let down! Even though the third quarter Moon was out and washing out the smaller meteors I saw many quickly shoot across the sky in bright white streaks, cool!

Thought for the week: I watched “NOVA: Saved by the Sun” last Tuesday. I’ve seen this episode before but I enjoyed it the last time because it featured folks like me who are trying to leave as small a footprint on our environment as possible. One so-called “Physicist” said that solar cells are only good for powering calculators and other small devices! I thought that was rather amusing that I am able to watch this guy say that on a TV that is run off my home’s electric that’s powered by solar cells, which also runs my refrigerator, computer, lights, and other “devices”. So much for any credibility this particular Physicist may bring to the table! Experts! They’ll get ya every time!


11/01/2008

Our little community potluck was last Saturday and Stoney called to ask if I’d like to ride down with him and I said that would be fine. He drove up and honked and I was out the door with my mac and cheese that I made. Eleven folks showed up, but there was plenty of food to go around: Marcie Hines’s cheese and beef enchiladas with a side of Spanish rice, Chris Jonas’s famous macaroni salad, Rose Matich brought peas, Pat Kant cooked up a tuna casserole, Bob Seeley’s fruit platter, and of course my mac and cheese. There might not have been that many folks attending but the quality of their company are what really matters in the end, and these are all fine folks! Dynn Carrol and her Mother couldn’t make it because they went to San Diego for a visit with her son who is stationed there.

Our Vice President Brenda Zimmer wrote this from Vermont: “I’m sitting in Vermont at the moment really enjoying the scenery it is so BEAUTIFUL here but I’ll be coming back home around the 1st of the year.
My trip was very good; I flew into Burlington late Saturday night the 11th of October. I’m enjoying this place so much cause I know when I get back to California I won’t see trees like these ones; leaves so pretty in colors of orange browns reds and light pinks and I love the grass. I haven’t done much sightseeing as I’m here to help my niece (Carol’s daughter) and her family move back to California. But I have volunteered some time at the youth center here in Swanton Vermont. The place has 3 bowling lanes, imagine that! I sure do miss the desert!”

Birthdays this month are: Jan Bonner and Joel Levey.

Thought for the week: Making mistakes is part of life but so is correcting them!


11/08/2008

Our little community has been having such beautiful days lately! It reminds me of spring, but it also reminded me that winter is just around the corner bringing the cold with it. Do you remember the “Great Snow Storm of November 2004”? It started on Sunday 21st and dumped over six inches. The electrical power went out about 9:30 Sunday morning, depending on whom ya asked. Folks who depended on electric to heat their homes and cook their food were out of luck. Most stayed in their beds with lots of covers until 6:30 A.M. Tuesday morning when the power came back on. Burr!

Chris Jonas came by after Tuesday’s Bingo to give me a list of winners so I could put them in my column for next week and post them on the website. We stood outside and jawed a little. Chris used to be a cook and told me some stories of the places he worked. One was the bowling alley in Twentynine Palms where he had a Friday night special of fish that would pack the small café. His liver and onion dinners were to die for they were so good, he said. Maybe I can get him to cook up them liver and onions someday!
I don’t play Bingo and I won’t pretend I know anything about these games, so I may have gotten something wrong. There were sixteen Bingo players, winners were: Marcie Hines, Bridgette, Rose Matich also won Super Ball, Bob Seeley, Deanne, Pat Kant, Cal Myers, and Kim. Donna Myers and Ruth Tuttle both won and split “Double Action”.

Thought for the week: As I am writing this voters are going to the polls to elect a new President for our Great Nation. Whoever we elect has an immense undertaking to carry our country forward and into calmer waters. May we all support this new President and wish him God’s speed!

11/15/2008

Our little community had its Annual General Membership Meeting where we elect members of the board. I got there at 1pm just in time to catch the food that was laid out for us members, and it was quite a spread of grub. Someone made some peanut butter cookies that were mighty fine. There was a vegetable plate with dip, ham and beef sandwiches, and a fruit platter. After lunch, order was restored and the Board was back in session. There wasn’t anyone willing to run against the current board so there was a motion to reelect the Board members, somebody second the motion, and we all voted yes. Therefore, we have a new Board of directors for our community, which was the old Board, but that’s okay. They shuffled around the leadership a bit and Steve Tuttle, who is now President, said that we only have enough money in the coffers to run the community center for two more years. Steve promised he’d do all that’s possible to save our center. We all said our goodbyes and I was off for home with a couple of sandwiches I absconded from the leftovers.

Thanksgiving dinner at our Community Center starts at 1pm on Thursday 27th. Membership and a food dish are required; you can sign up for membership at the front door for $7 and become a member of our fantastic community. Turkey and mashed potatoes will be provided!

Don’t fergit that our Potluck will be on Saturday29th! So bring down yer leftovers from Thanksgiving for us desert folk to share!


11/22/2008

Our little community doesn’t want you to forget that our Potluck will be on Saturday 29th! So bring yer leftovers from Thanksgiving for us desert folk to share! Also there will be Thanksgiving dinner at our Community Center starts at 1pm on Thursday 27th. Membership and a food dish are required; you can sign up for membership at the front door for $7 and become a member of our fantastic community. Turkey and mashed potatoes will be provided!

It has been almost 20 years since I’ve seen my old friends Bob and Linda Vandenberg and I was really thrilled that they would come all this way from Temecula for a reunion. They brought their wedding album from 1978 where I was the “Best Man” and I scanned then into my computer. We looked so young in them days. I gave them the grand tour of my property and my solar home. We sat around in my patio reminiscing on old times and bringing ourselves up to date with the present. Before they left we picked up a copy of the Hi Desert Star for a keepsake. Then it was all hugs and then they were gone from my life again, for a little while I hope! It was worth all the cleaning of my house for their visit!

Thought for the week: Did you know that if the Sun was suddenly turned off the atmosphere would freeze and plummet to the ground creating a layer about 30 feet thick of nitrogen and oxygen on the surface of the Earth! I hope no one figures out how to do that!


11/29/2008

Our little community was getting ready for the Thanksgiving Holiday this last week, including me. I needed to pick up some stuff for Thanksgiving and headed over to Stater Brothers in Twentynine Palms. I checked out the new store nearby called The Dollar Tree. I was looking at an item but it had no price, in fact nothing I looked at had a price label. So I asked a worker there what the price was. She looked at me like I was mentally challenged and told me that everything in the store was a dollar. Well now I felt like an idiot! They actually have some decent stuff and I ended up buying a bunch of needed knickknacks. Then I went down the street to Rite Aid and finally found the long sought-after shoe horn I’ve been looking for, and I tried many stores and not a shoe horn in the lot. Most of the young store workers, when I ask for a shoe horn, think I mean some kind of musical instrument. Imagine playing a shoe!

Thought for the week: Especially in these uncertain times we live in; May you all have had a wonderful Thanksgiving.


THANKSGIVING HOLIDAY 2008!!!

12/06/2008

Our little community had a wonderful Thanksgiving dinner down at the Center. As 1pm rolled around I got ready to go with an apple pie and some cans of peas and corn to contribute and got there little later and started taking pictures. There were over twenty folks. I counted three turkeys that Steve Tuttle and Ray Foyil had started cooking when they arrived at the center at 6:45am. Maryhelen Tuttle was in exceptionally good cheer as she coordinated the goings on in the kitchen. Bob Seeley led the group in silent prayer to give thanks for what we are thankful for, and then it was everyone for themselves as we lined up to fill our plates with turkey, mash potatoes with gravy, stuffing, and all the usual Thanksgiving fare. The food was very good and everyone praise the gravy. I ate a little more then I should have it was so excellent!

Thought for the week: Christmas of 1941 must have been a rather harsh one filled with the uncertainties of war: Pearl Harbor with 2,403 American deaths, the fall of Hong Kong on Christmas day. It seemed the whole world had erupted into evil chaos. On Christmas Eve President Franklin Roosevelt and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill spoke to our nation on radio from a White House that was guarded with mostly fake wooden antiaircraft guns because the real ones were in short supply. I mention this now because our nation’s future, the same nation of Christmas 1941, is again threatened by many uncertainties. The folks of Christmas 1941 triumphed over tremendous odds and evil, so shall we because this is America and we are Americans!


12/13/2008

Our little community’s Thanksgiving weekend was unbelievable! First I went to Mike and Stevie Villarreal’s to attend their dinner party that they have every year for neighbors and friends. I went around taking pictures of the guests, some I’ve seen from last year; there were over twenty-five folks who showed up. Mike and Stevie’s home looks like something out of Knox Berry Farm with a lot of rustic decorations out of the old west: wagon wheels, old lanterns, and stuff like that. My good friend and neighbor Joyce Ware showed up and I gave her a big hug. A gal named Cherry who works with Stevie down at the Hi Desert Medical Center trotted up on a horse that she rode from Landers. The ride back at night will be a pretty cold one she said, but was prepared with extra warm clothing. There were lots of kids running around and they seemed more interested in Cherry’s horse than anything else. We started eating around 3:30pm and I was one of the first in line because I had to go to the community center for Potluck at 4pm.

We had a better turnout at Potluck than I had expected with nineteen desert folks showing up! With everyone bringing a little something there was plenty of good grub to go around. It’s great to live in a community with such fine folks!
When I arrived back home my belly was mighty full but not as much as it was on Thanksgiving. I think I’ll just lay off food for a while!

Thought for the week: You can visit paradise but you can never live there.


12/20/2008

Our little community had a big storm pass through here last Monday leaving lots of rain behind and lowering the temps into the 30s. As I’m writing this it’s a beautiful Tuesday afternoon; a reprieve before another storm comes in on Wednesday. (Little did I know that on Wednesday it would be the worst storm since 1979, which I'll write about next week)
On Monday afternoon Bill the “FEDEX Man” had a package for me, he honked as he drove up and I ran out in the rain to pick it up. He said that Yucca Valley is deep in snow and the roads are really slick there. He also got stuck a few times in the snow.
It was dang cold and rainy all day! Monday evening I made myself some pancakes and eggs: comfort food! Started a nice fire in the wood stove, heated some water and soaked my cold feet in it. I’ll tell ya that feels mighty good after having cold feet all day and soaking keeps them warm all night. This is the desert and we go from extremes here; over 110 degrees in the summer to sometimes less than 32 degrees in the winter. I have found that if you can keep your head and feet warm your whole body will stay warm.

There will be no Bingo on the 23rd and the 30th of December due to the holidays. There will be potluck on Saturday 27th!

Thought for the week: May you all take care and be safe! Merry Christmas!


THE GREAT SNOW STORM OF 2008!!!
12/27/2008

Our little community had a massive storm come through last week. It started raining around 2am then changed to snow around 9am Wednesday, snowed all day and into the next. So much snow had fallen that the plants were sagging and pushed down by the weight of it. My two palm trees looked squished! Fat Cat didn’t like it when I took him out into the snow, he gave me the evil eye, and ran and hid under the truck.
I fired up the woodstove and sat down to listen to the news on the local FM station who said that HWY247 was shut down from Yucca Valley to Lucerne Valley, and HWY62 was closed from Yucca Valley to the lower desert basically cutting us off from the rest of the world for a time. All schools and post offices were closed. Yucca Valley Historical Society said it was the worst since the 1979 snowstorm. Electricity was out on the west side of Copper Mountain Mesa for about two hours and our dirt roads have deep ruts and muddy spots making it hard to navigate. Mountains in the National Park looked “Majestic” standing tall with their white crowns and covered in powered robes of snow.
We had a snowstorm in 2004 but nothing like this. What made the storm in 2004 bad was the electric power went out for a few days.

Our community would like to thank all those who donated to our Christmas Basket for needy folks, especially Sandra Foyil and her two brothers Mark and Dorian who contributed in the memory of their beloved granddaddy Tex Foyil.

Thought for the week: Goodbye to 2008 you been one hell of a year that we’ll all remember!