Tuesday, January 31, 2023

As January Comes To An End

 The last day of January is usually a day from where we look forward to warmer temps. And today is no exception. This last day of the first month of 2023 is making sure that we are eager for February and March. Our daytime high today will top out at a meager 16C (55F) and, to make it worse, a cold northerly wind is blowing down the desert. But we bundled up and did our every-day-morning-walk with Dixie.

Of course, 16C is still a whole lot different than the freezing temps our friends and neighbour have to endure back home.

The Cherry Chisel Pie 🍒🔨

But I have to report about my last attempt of creating a cherry pie in the baking department of our home on wheels.

I have never made a pie in my entire life. Pies are a North American Idea which never took off in Europe. Hence my ignorance about making one.

In my missing knowledge I turned to a German recipe of a "Murbeteig". This even might have worked out, if I would have had our electric stove at home, but gas stoves seem to be different. One of the challenges is that one cannot set a precise baking temperature. It just has a range from - to.

So I got too much heat which transformed my German "Murbeteig" into a concrete underlay which, at time of consumption, could have led to a few missing or cracked teeth. But it looked lovely and....well the filling was delicious. Just too bad that I had invited our dear camper neighbours to indulge in coffee and cherry pie. I am just now realizing that I could have become liable to big dental bills.

Luckily, it all went down with a lot of laughter and forgiveness. And now it's your turn to laugh, cause when you look at the pictures you will discover the hammer in use.

Monday, January 23, 2023

The Weekender

Again the Weeks are flying by and already it was a weekend again. Our neighbours had gotten news about a car show being planned in Calexico.

But before it was time to go, my neighbour Ron and me had a little project going. The headlights of our van have been showing their age with yellowed and scratched plastic covers. For a long time I had thought about how to revitalize the dull plastic covers, and now Ron had suggested he would take care of it. 

He instructed me to buy some sand papers of 1000 and 3000 grit. He began with the 1000grit until the surface of the plastic was completely dull. Continuing with the 3000 grit the surface was now prepared for polishing. Ron has a small electric polisher and when he was done the covers appeared to be beautifully clear and clean.

The finish, however, was a headlight varnish, carefully applicated with a piece of foam. Now, my headlights really looked like new. It sure was an amazing transformation and it saved us hundreds of dollars for replacement lights.

Shortly after 1pm we took off for Calexico and found the show on the parking lot in front of the "Cardenas Food Store".

Maybe we got just a tad disappointed as there were only 3 old cars from the fifties, while the rest was modern Mustangs, late model Hondas, one Porsche and a Lamborghini, nothing of which interested us.

Below: A special lowrider 

While us 2 men were still wandering up and down the parking lot our wives had entered a Dollar Tree store where we found them busy browsing along the aisles.

The rest of the day was spent in camp.

Sunday morning brought very low temperatures in the early morning hours. The little bird bath Bea is providing, had a solid layer of ice, and for the first time I was wearing my thick jacket on our morning walk with Dixie. But as it was very sunny it warmed up quickly to about 65F, though we continued to feel a cool breeze all day long. At least, it kept the flies away.

In the afternoon we received an invitation to attend to a camp fire. The hosts were Karl and Cathy from NY States. They have by far the most beautiful site here at the Hot Springs LTVA. Their place is always raked gravel, they have a small cactus garden and a really beautiful lightshow around their trailer. Karl has also made a gorgeous burn barrel of a  washing machine drum. 

The side is decorated by drilling holes showing a variety of different pictures, illuminated through the fire. A real piece of art.

We spent 2 hours with the small group until it got a bit too chilly.

Monday, January 16, 2023

Who Was Calamity Jane?

Not everyone would know about Calamity Jane. Today, we would almost call her a feminist as she broke through some typical men's barriers.
But let's take a look:

Martha Jane Cannary (May 1, 1852 – August 1, 1903), better known as Calamity Jane, was an American sharpshooter and storyteller. In addition to many exploits she was known for being an acquaintance of Wild Bill Hickok.

Late in her life, she appeared in Buffalo Bill's Wild West show and at the 1901 Pan-American Exhibition. She is said to have exhibited compassion to others, especially to the sick and needy. This facet of her character contrasted with her daredevil ways and helped to make her a noted frontier figure. She was also known for her habit of wearing men's attire.

Contrary to what one might believe, she was not a revolver lady, but received her nickname for a good deed:

It was during this campaign [in 1872–73] that I was christened Calamity Jane. It was on Goose Creek, Wyoming where the town of Sheridan is now located. Capt. Egan was in command of the Post. 
"We were ordered out to quell an uprising of the Indians, and were out for several days, had numerous skirmishes during which six of the soldiers were killed and several severely wounded. When on returning to the Post we were ambushed about a mile and a half from our destination. When fired upon, Capt. Egan was shot. I was riding in advance and on hearing the firing turned in my saddle and saw the Captain reeling in his saddle as though about to fall. I turned my horse and galloped back with all haste to his side and got there in time to catch him as he was falling. I lifted him onto my horse in front of me and succeeded in getting him safely to the Fort." Capt. Egan, on recovering, laughingly said: "I name you Calamity Jane, the heroine of the plains." I have borne that name up to the present time".

In 1876, Calamity Jane settled in the area of Deadwood, South Dakota, in the Black Hills.

On September 6, 1941, the U.S. Department of Public Welfare granted old age assistance to a Jean Hickok Burkhardt McCormick who claimed to be the legal offspring of Martha Jane Cannary and James Butler Hickok. She presented evidence that Calamity Jane and Wild Bill had married at Benson's Landing, Montana Territory (now Livingston, Montana) on September 25, 1873. The documentation was written in a Bible and presumably signed by two ministers and numerous witnesses. However, McCormick's claim has been vigorously challenged because of a variety of discrepancies.

McCormick later published a book with letters purported to be from Calamity Jane to her daughter. In them, Calamity Jane says she had been married to Hickok and that Hickok was the father of McCormick, who was born September 25, 1873, and was given up for adoption to a Captain Jim O'Neil and his wife. During this period, Calamity Jane was allegedly working as a scout for the army, and at the time of Hickok's death, he had recently married Agnes Lake Thatcher.

Calamity Jane does seem to have had two or four daughters, although the father's identity is unknown. In the late 1880s, Jane returned to Deadwood with a child who she said was her daughter. At Jane's request, a benefit was held in one of the theaters to raise money for her daughter's education in St. Martin's Academy at Sturgis, South Dakota, a nearby Catholic boarding school. The benefit raised a large sum; Jane got drunk and spent a considerable portion of the money that same night and left with the child the next day.

After the death of Wild Bill Hickok Jane also claimed that, following Hickok's death, she went after his murderer Jack McCall with a meat cleaver, since she had left her guns at her residence. Following McCall's execution for the crime, Jane continued living in the Deadwood area for some time, and at one point she helped save numerous passengers in an overland stagecoach by diverting several Plains Indians who were in pursuit of the vehicle. Stagecoach driver John Slaughter (what a name!) was killed during the pursuit, and Jane took over the reins and drove the stage on to its destination at Deadwood.

So there you have it. 

Sunday, January 15, 2023

Party At The Ranch

 Every year a special event brings snowbirds of the Holtville Hot Springs together in a party to celebrate the birthday of a local rancher. His name: Enrique DaSilva.

Senor DaSilva has a long love-relationship with the visiting snowbirds from the cold north.

Yesterday it was time again to head out to the ranch. We were greeted by Elvira, Enrique's wife. And since we were the first guests to arrive, we were given a tour through her outstanding garden. It is indeed hard to describe with words, so I rather let the pictures tell the story of oh-so-many years of creating and collecting all the artifacts, much of which were found at garage sales. But it takes the truly gifted hand of Elvira and Enrique to create a wonderland of beauty like we witnessed yesterday.

The clock (to the left) is about 5ft. tall

Of course there is no party without music. So the DaSilvas had a band at the ready for everyone's enjoyment. In order to blend in, yours truly and his wife Calamity Jane were a little dressed up for the occasion.

Here are a few more pictures of the party:

Thursday, January 12, 2023


 The new year came around faster than fast, and before we knew it almost 14 days are gone. While most of coastal California went through terrible, even catastrophic weather we have been spared for all of it. That is, if you don't count a few cloudy days. Rain??? Not here. Maybe we got a few droplets, at least we could see some flowers along the I-8 today. 

See, we were headed to Squaw Lake, just a tad north-east of Yuma in the Imperial Dam area. No, we did not pull the trailer over there, but went with the van to meet up with friends from Prince Edward Island,(PEI). With us we had a delicious picnic with hot coffee, fruits and sandwiches. 

While there usually is a fresh breeze blowing down from the dam behind us, we all seated ourselves along the van away from the wind, and the weather couldn't have been more beautiful. Bea had a great time looking for birds and in a few days she just might get around to add a story to her blog "Sidewalk". Our friends Bob and Karen had brought another nice couple from Ontario, who hadn't been around in the area earlier.

Both Bob, Karen and the couple from Ontario are camping in the pioneer RV-Park in Wellton, east of Yuma.

Before we went to our meeting place at the lake we had been running a few errands in Yuma. Both propane and gas are quite a bit cheaper in Arizona, compared to California. Taking advantage of that is always on our mind when visiting this busy city just next to the California border.

Getting home again just past mid-afternoon, we were ready for coffee with our neighbours. Lately, we have seen more campers pulling in here, some of which have stopped by with us to have a chat about things around here. And that is just the beauty of being here, most people are so relaxed and friendly.