Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Happy Holidays to all

One of the agate slabs waiting to be shaped and polished.

We are hanging out in Deming, New Mexico waiting to start our workcamp jobs on Jan. 2. Last Thursday I went to the Gem and Mineral Society workshop to learn how to operate all the equipment used to shape and polish stones. After our trip to the desert a while back, we have a 5 gallon bucket overflowing with rocks we picked up. They are mostly agates that polish really well. Some of the bigger ones are sawn into slabs about 1/4" to 5/16", then sawn and ground into the shape you want to make a piece of jewelery out of. The workshop at the club has a bunch of grinders and saws to accomplish this. The folks in the club are really helpful and willing to answer all the questions one has on how to turn a dirty, ugly rock into a beautiful stone. They can also tell you what is a good rock to work on and what will never polish to a usable stone. Some rocks just will not take a polish, so are not worth the time. I have a lot to learn about all this, but it is really fun to watch something so plain turn into something so pretty.

I have been doing a lot of carving and woodburning. The "hand holding the cross" I carve seems to be a favorite. I carved 2 more last night, as I had given away or sold all I had made up. Glad people like them. We went out to the desert to gather more yucca shafts to make walking sticks out of. I woodburn them instead of carving them. Different for me, but fun.

For Christmas, Louise and I both got new phones. We also bought ourselves a new rock tumbler, the old one was not big enough to handle all the rocks we are picking Louise received a Kindle from the kids as well as a book of Christmas stories that she read and enjoyed a lot. Gift cards for restaurants and book stores were also received. I used one to order the carving and woodburning books and videos I have been wanting yesterday. The Ohio family sent dvds of the second season of Kung Fu and our favorite potato chips and Ester Prices candy....YUM YUM. Pictures of the grand kids were also sent our way. THANK YOU EVERYONE!!!! Our hope is that we can get all the kids and grandkids together for a Christmas in the future. With all the pressures of jobs and the distance between them all, I don't know if it is even possible. Six kids in 3 states and us living on the road, makes it very hard to work out all the details. Maybe some day. We spent Christmas Eve and Christmas day with our Escapees friends here in the park. As with most Escapees events, we ate way to They are having a New Years Eve party here that we will go to, should be fun.
Yesterday we went to the local movie theater to see the movie True Grit. We both thought it was a very good movie and would recommend it. Don't know about taking small kids, a lot of killing going on in it. We both really like westerns and this was a good one. The movie complex here has bowling lanes and video games as well as the movie screens, all in the same building.
Till next time

Duane and Louise

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Triple the fun

Hello faithful readers, herewith are pix and prose from our last four days. As usual, the pix are top to bottom today to Saturday. Now, in case you think that I skipped school the day they taught counting to four, let me qualify that we spent Sunday doing nothing. That said, today we went to jewelry wrapping class at a local rock shop called the Black Hat Trading. They have buckets and cases of all kinds of rocks and minerals, plus teach classes in jewelry making and beading. Today Duane and I both made silver rings, gold bracelets, and learned to wrap cabochons, which are gems or stones rounded on one side and flat on the other. We did this in four hours. We are now multi talented.
mine on left is copper suspended in glass
Duane's on right is tiger eye

I say our rings and bracelets are identical. Duane says that his is much better.
The next 3 pix are of our day geochaching in the desert yesterday. We drove about 30 miles to BLM land to begin our hunt. There were 100 micro caches commemorating Medal of Honor winners. We are proud to say we found them all. We packed lunch and spent 5 pleasurable hours driving along the dirt road jumping in and out of the truck every 1/10 mile or so hunting our quarry and signing the logs. Our reward for our perseverance was the beautiful sunset and the fact that we got back on the highway before dark.

This cache is in a piece of yucca. It is representative of how the caches were hidden, in plastic "test tubes" with a roll of paper naming each MOH winner and a list of cache finders.

These next pix were taken Saturday on our field trip with our new club, the Deming Gem and Mineral Society. This is a rather fancy name for a bunch of rockhounds, but you couldn't find a nicer bunch of folks unless you were at a blacksmith convention. We were taken in a train of seven vehicles to several different spots (again out yonder on BLM land) in search of agates, or, more specifically, BIG agates. Mostly, of course, we found smallish ones, but Duane and I each found a respectable specimen. Of course these must be cleaned, cut and polished. I put Duane in charge of using the saw at the club, since I don't allow myself too near power tools, especially the sharp kind. When our rocks are presentable, then we can put our new wire wrapping skills to good use. The pix give a idea of what you see when you leave town limits. This the "country" outside town. The Hereford is representative of not only the open range, but of the type of cattle that were the elite before Black Angus became king.

This is me in my desert rat outfit. The sun is hot here, but the breeze kept me in my sweatshirt. I'm holding my water and my rock bag.

Here we all are at the last stop, but it could have been either of the other two. Here we found agates. I must say that I like the people in this club. I now know that I am not the only person in the world who gets out of a vehicle and immediately looks at my feet for interesting specimens, or walks around with the odd rock or two in my pockets.

We really enjoyed our sightseeing and rocking and caching. As I said we took Sunday off and have planned nothing for the next two days except for our walks and maybe cleaning and sorting our rocks. Christmas Eve Duane will take me to church at 5pm. At 7 is a gift exchange with the Escapees. After that I have planned my usual ritual of reading Dickens' A Christmas Carol. I always look forward to that. Christmas day we will have bacon and sweet rolls for breakfast and open presents sent to us by family members. At 3 we will be sharing dinner with our Escapee family. All in all a very pleasant ending to a very pleasant week.

More as it happens,
Louise and Duane

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Deming, NM

My Christmas tree farm

We have arrived in Deming, NM. Our workcamping don't start till Jan 2 so we have been doing some running around. Yesterday evening we went to the Gem and Mineral Society to see what that was all about. They have a great shop that members can use to cut and polish the stones that they find in this area. We talked to several people that has offered to take us out in the desert to show us the ropes of rock hounding here. There are a lot of areas around here that one can find geodes that when cut and polished make great jewelry items. We are going today to a rock shop that teaches wire wrapping of the stones that you polish to see what the classes cost. Look out ladies, you may have rock art coming your They have a meeting tomorrow, we will join their ranks then.
I seem to have gotten in a little rut lately. I have started carving Christmas trees. I think I'll carve a few more before I'm done with them for a while. Not sure what I will be working on next. One never knows what I will get inspired to carve next, at least I don't know. I have several things I have started and set aside, maybe it's time I finish them.
Well we are off to the rock shop
Till next time
Duane and Louise

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Pecos Geocaching

Main Street Pecos
This was the second geocache we found today. The first was at the Pecos zoo. I forgot to take a picture there.
This is the other welcome sign in town. This one is on Business I20

We looked a little while to find this one. I wish we were taller, I had to lift Louise up to reach this one. I think I hurt my Not really, but I do have to get in better shape if we find many of these

I thought I may have lift her again, oh good, she can each it.

This is the original cemetery in Pecos

This one was easy to find.
We spent the day around Pecos doing a little geocaching. This was the first we have been out hunting for some time. We went looking for 6 different caches, found all 6. One of them took us back to the town of Toyah, almost a ghost town now. After finding that one , we drove out a gravel road a couple of miles looking for agates. I read on the net that you could find them along the gravel roads in that area. Louise did find a few little ones. We didn't spend a lot of time there, why, because we had to back to the rv park for ice cream at Escapees parks always have ice cream on Sunday. I try not to miss that.
Tomorrow it's on the road again. Deming, NM, our next workcamp job, is about 300 miles west of here. Our plan is make that drive tomorrow. There is not much to see between Pecos and Deming so no stops except for fuel and lunch. We hope to get there early afternoon and get sit up for our 2 1/2 month stay there. We are not do to start work till Jan, 2, but may see if they need us to start next week. We will see.
Till next time
Duane and Louise

Friday, December 10, 2010


West of the Pecos Museum

Primitive hair perm machine

The price of vanity

Saddles, hats, barbed wire, actually worn and used
by area residents

Branding irons

Original saloon, scene of shootings below the animated
bar tender relates the story of the shootings below

Riggs was acquitted of murder. It was self defense!
Yes! We did get all the way to Pecos and the Escapees TraPark RV Park, after an interesting, and fortunately incidentless drive. We passed out of the hills and into the desert country along the way. We actually went out of our way to stay at TraPark. We hadn't been here before and wanted to see the area. We arrived around 3ish, checked in and met our future boss, Brandy. She and her husband Jim manage TraPark now, but will be our managers at Deming in January. As usual with all Escapees managers, they were very friendly, helpful, and welcoming. This is the smallest Escapees park, with small lots, but we fit our 40' rig in with a little careful maneuvering, set up and spent a quiet evening watching tv for a change. Here we were able to get CBS, home to our favorite Thursday evening shows.
This morning we awoke refreshed to sunshiny skies, and joined the coffee social at the clubhouse for some lively conversation. Then we jumped in the truck for a tour of Pecos. First stop was the museum. This is housed in the former Orient Hotel and Number 11 Saloon. It is three floors and 50 rooms of items from 1880's Pecos. From there we drove around the town a bit, then went home for lunch. Later we drove west on I20 for 18 miles for a driving tour of Toyah. This was once a thriving town of 3000, but now only about 100 people live there. I guess you could call it a living ghost town. Most of the buildings and houses are empty, but they boast a new high school! Back on the road we went in search of what I term "really good ice cream". We stopped at the Pecos Walmart and the Flying J. No joy. Then on a whim we stopped at the Stripes gas station/mart. What luck! There we found Haagen Daz and Blue Bell! Armed with two pints we headed home for a sweet treat. Duane spent the afternoon computering and chatting at the clubhouse. I finished some grandkids gifts I had been making. Tomorrow Duane has nothing planned. I intend to get Christmas gifts wrapped and boxed, ready to mail before we leave on Monday.
Basta por hoy,
Louise and Duane

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Boerne, TX and Toilet Seat Museum

Boerne, TX
Longhorn steers

View from rv

View looking other way

Toilet seat museum

Etched with dremal tool

Louise signing Escapees seat

Louise and the artist Barney Smith
Free at last! We finally got our fender put on and shook our hooves for the west! We made it as far as Boerne (rhymes with journey), TX, just northwest of San Antonio. We arrived at Hilltop RV, hooked ourselves up and settled in for the afternoon and evening. I worked on getting the last of my handmade gifts done. Duane tried to nap away his headache. Today was a big day of touring and shopping. Our first stop was the Toilet Seat Museum in San Antonio, since we love this type of Americana. The artist and curater was a retired master plumber and skilled artist who paints and etches his seat lids in themes. He also uses all kinds of materials from swizzle sticks to polished rocks (which he cuts and polishes himself) to hardware. His museum is his little garage in back of his house. I was impresses with the seats dedicated to his wife's hobbies of quilting and sewing, and the ones utilizing his mother's vintage buttons. Duane found the cowboy based ones. I'm glad he did; I missed them. Barney told us about the Escapees. We were proud to sign that one. After a pleasant visit, we finally left and headed to the nearest shopping mall for some Christmas shopping. After lunch it was time to head to downtown Boerne. We found the mall area and the bronze sculptures of the longhorns, then headed for the bakery for some sweet treats. We took pix of the Catholic Church and the old courthouse and jail. We also toured the old courthouse which had been restored to its 1909 look. After our tour we headed to the Walmart to finish our shopping, let Taco Bell feed us, then went home. Tomorrow we head to Pecos. Will we get there? Wait and see!
Later dudes and dudettes,
Louise and Duane

Friday, December 03, 2010

Parts are in

The part is in for the fender on the trailer. We are going to stop to have it put on on our way out of town Monday. After the repair is done we will point the truck west. We have to start our workcamp job on the 2nd of Jan. in Deming, New Mexico. I want to be there in a couple of weeks to get settled in before Christmas. The plan is to do a little site seeing between here and there if we can find some neat places to visit. I have found a few things on the net that look interesting. We will hang out here at Rainbows End till then.
We have arrived into the 21 century. In the last couple of days Louise and I upgraded our phones. I got a Droid Incredible from Verizon, Louise got an Evergreen from A T & T. We added texting to both phones. The sales people thought it quite funny that neither of us had ever sent a text message. They were more then happy to show us how it was done. I'm sure they had a good laugh after we left. Now our kids can quit teasing us about not My phone has internet on it. I have spent all day running the battery down learning how to use this I am learning my way around it pretty well. My phone can do things I never knew I needed to be able to do on a phone. We are calling them our early Christmas presents.
Louise has been busy at the sewing machine making things for Christmas. I have spent my time carving. We hope to get things sent out soon. Where has the time gone. Seems like the older I get, the faster the years go.
Till next time
Duane and Louise

Monday, November 29, 2010

Thanksgiving and a new carving

Happy Thanksgiving everyone. We hope you had a happy day. We started our day with our walk under beautiful skies. We wore shorts and tees. At dinner at one rain poured down, then the sun returned. By dark we were running the furnace trying to stay warm and dry. Meantime we had a good dinner and a good time with our Escapee family at the Activity Center here in Livingston.

Tom and Mary, who decorated our table

Their handiwork

Our family dinner

Bob and Sharon, fellow trainees and current managers

Duane's new inspiration
In our down time while we wait for our new fender we keep on making projects. Duane found this wood after he spent three days straightening his shop. Its amazing what treasures we keep finding! He finds wood he forgot about and I find fabric I didn't know I had. Our ultimate goal is to use most of our existing stocks of supplies to lighten our load, so keep looking for new wonders to appear from our little house.
Time to get busy again,
Louise and Duane

Monday, November 22, 2010

The shop

I thought I would post a couple of pics of the carving shop in the trailer. I spent yesterday arranging things a little different to make room for the dust collector I bought. Now I can use my power tools to sand and fine tune things in the shop. I use to have go outside, hook up cords and set things up to sand. Now I can do it all in the shop. One of the residents here that I met earlier this year let me use his shop to make a bench top tool holder so I could get my portable tool box off the bench. This made room for the dust collector. I guess I don't have any excuse for not Oh wait... I can always say I don't have the right size wood...
Till next time
Duane and Louise

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Hangin around

On Wednesday we traveled to Celina, TX to visit with son Duane Jr, wife Brandey, twin granddaughters Emma and Ava. It's a 250 mile trip so we spent the night there. The twins are growing up in a hurry now. They are 17 months old now and starting to get into everything. They are giving their parents a run for their money. They know what they want and are not happy when they don't get They are nearing those terrible twos, hang in there Brandey. They are a lot of fun at this age. Watching them relate to each other is amazing. They laugh a lot and play together really good most of the time. Of coarse they have their little deputes over who gets what toy and such. Then there is the occasional oh, wait that is not funny is it? We had a great time visiting and chatting with all. By the time we get back to this area they will be SOOOO big.
Pine cone
Indian 4 1/2 in. tall

These are my 2 latest carvings. I saw the pine cone in a magazine and had to carve one. The Indian is a scaled down model of a larger one I had done a year ago. I'm not sure what I will work on next. I spent today cleaning the shop and looking for a drill bit I thought I had. How do we lose so much in such a small house??? We are always misplacing things and finding them months later ... maybe the mind is I wanted to make a tool holder for in the shop, hence, I needed the drill bit. I have a really nice travel box that son JR. made for me. When we are sitting I want to make a bench tool holder so I don't have to set the travel box on the bench. I just bought a bench top dust collector that takes the place I use to set the tools. Now I can use my power carver and sander in the shop without creating a bunch of dust. Before, I had to go outside to use them. Sure makes things easier and saves me a lot of time.
We are still waiting to hear from Heartland about the roof problem we have. Well, I say we have problem, not so sure they agree. It is not leaking now but has bumps showing up under the rubber. I am worried that down the line something may break through and cause a leak. We shall see. Our plan now is to stay in Livingston till the Monday after Thanksgiving, then head out. I hope it works that way.
Our friends Paul and Marsha Weaver are coming to Houston the first of the week. We are going to meet them for lunch on Tuesday. Looking forward to visiting with them again. We met them earlier this year here in Livingston, then again in Knoxville. We always have a great time sharing our travel stories.
Till next time
Duane and Louise

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Still in Livingston

I just finished this cypress knee Santa. I think I'm going to start on another one tomorrow. We hope to find out wants going on about the trailer tomorrow. We are waiting to hear what, if anything they are going to do with the rubber roof. There seems to something under the rubber showing up. The service center manager said it looked like they didn't clean the roof before putting the rubber on. They sent pictures to Heartland and we are waiting for an answer. We shall see what happens next....
We spent the last 2 days in Lake Jackson, TX visiting youngest son Jesse. We had not seen him since Jan. and since we are leaving Tx soon, thought we would pay him a visit. He just started working at a hospital there in the nuclear medicine department. We spent today driving to the beach for a look see. Boy was it WINDY and COOL. Did a lot of chatting and some game playing and then it was back to Livingston. Ice cream social tonight at club house. Got to
Till next time
Duane and Louise

Friday, November 05, 2010

And we're off, again

We picked up our glasses today. That was the last of our things to do here in Shreveport. We will be heading to Livingston, TX in the morning, staying at the Escapees RV Park for the next week or so. We are looking forward to moving on down the road. While in Livingston we hope to meet up with our son, Jesse, that lives down that way. When the trailer is fixed we will head out again, on the road to New Mexico. We start our work camp job in Deming Jan. 2.
Till next time
Duane and Louise

Sunday, October 31, 2010

My latest carving

This is my latest carving. I found the pattern on the web and thought I would give it a try. I think it turned out pretty well, hope others like it to.
We are just about done with all the doctors here in Shreveport. One more to go, the dentist on Wednesday. I think we will head to Livingston, TX for a week or two before heading on to Deming, NM. We have an appointment to get the last of the things fixed on the trailer while we are in Livingston. . At least I hope it is the last. When we are not going to doctors we have been working on project here, me carving and Louise sewing. I have the Christmas ornaments for the grandkids about done. I had 9 to make year, who knows how many it will be next
Till next time
Duane and Louise

Monday, October 25, 2010

The "HAIL" you say

What's left of the vent covers
Hail stones on the ground

Louise holding some of the stones, BIG HUH !!!!
The first night spent in Shreveport was an exciting one! About 10 PM it started to pour rain followed by pouring hail stones. It sounded like a 1000 hammers hitting the roof. Then the sound of breaking! The hail stones were riddling the roof vents. I had put Max Air covers on 2 of the vents that we keep open a lot. The 2 that we hardly use I didn't put covers on, BIG MISTAKE!!!! The ones with the covers survived just fine, the ones without, not so much. As soon as the hail stopped I headed to the roof to put plastic over the broken covers to keep the rain out till I could get them fixed. It was lightening and raining so I didn't spend much time up there. Luckily it didn't rain much after that. This morning I had to go get some blood work done for one of the doctor appointments that we are here for, then we headed to the rv supply place here in town. They had the covers in stock that we needed and I picked up Max Air covers to put over the new ones. We seem to be the lucky ones here. Some of the rv's have broken air conditioning covers and fridge vent covers. Several had awnings out that look like they were hit by a shotgun loaded with really big shot. The truck has some dents in it to, but not to bad. I hope that is the last of the hail storms we have to go through, but I doubt it. Oh the life on the
Till next time
Duane and Louise