Thursday, February 25, 2010


The weather cleared a bit so while I was beading, Doug was sifting more dirt. He is determined to find more gold.

I promised some pictures of my projects. So here goes.....

The first, beginner's project is a simple spiral bracelet. It was a fun, quick job and I didn't even put a clasp on it. I think I'll take it apart and reuse the beads for something else. It's pretty, but I would never wear it.

Next, came the Tic-Tac-Toe bracelet. Again, I will probably never wear it because of the dark color I chose. But, I did finish it!

The project that I worked on yesterday is my favorite. I call it the dagger bracelet because of the type of beads used. It's a little complicated and very popular here. Unfortunately, I made it a little too small and I don't want to take it apart. Oh well, I had a ton of fun and there's a zillion more things to learn and make.

I am constantly amazed at the number of activities in this place. While we were beading, there was line dancing in the next room and that was immediately followed by a nature hike. I also discovered polymer clay projects being taught. And of course, my personal favorite is the library.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Beading Classes

The weather sure can't make up it's mind around these parts. After a couple days of rain and wind, we are now basking in the sunshine in shirtsleeves. But, the next storm is due tomorrow. I'm not complaining because we are still far luckier than most of the country.

Doug is still digging dirt (and finding flakes of gold) while I have been taking beading classes with our neighbor Wanda. It's a neat group of people here at North Ranch that are willing to share their expertise and they have lots of supplies at almost cost to complete our projects.

I'm out the door now to complete a bracelet that I started. Pics later........

Sunday, February 21, 2010


Sure is hard blogging when the days all run together. We've just been doing the normal stuff......laundry, dishes, grocery shopping, and dirt.

Doug had an offer to help another guy with a huge dry washer that required three people to keep shoveling dirt into it. He and two of our neighbors spent a day in exchange for a bucket of the good part of the dirt.

They all came home stiff and sore from the work, but each worked their bucket and came out with a dozen flakes of gold. Definitely not worth the pain!

The weather has turned bad again with torrential downpours yesterday.....all day. So, when the desert dries a bit, we'll head back to our favorite spot and dig our own gold.

Nascar today!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Dinner with the Neighbors

It's been a quiet couple of days. Just enjoying the sunshine while waiting for the next storm to roll through.

One of our neighbors is flying back to Wisconsin tomorrow (brrrrrrr) so we decided to have a farewell get-together last night. Six of us gathered on our little patio and barbequed hamburgers with all the fixings. Thanks to Wanda, we also had potato salad and chocolate cake. I provided the wine.

The neighbors, Roger and Debbie, have decided to become full time rvers after spending three relaxing weeks here in their trailer. They had tons of questions and we were glad to answer any that we could. So, now they are heading home to sell their house and belongings, look for a larger rv, let their friends and family know and start a new journey.

It was a fun evening until the wind kicked up and the temperature dropped. By 7:30 we were all tucked into our own little homes trying to thaw out.

Just another day in paradise.

Monday, February 15, 2010


Yup, we spent the day in Surprise, AZ. Actually, it's a suburb of Phoenix. We had a ton of errands to take care of and that was the closest place that had everything we needed.

About 40 miles south of us, the town is one long strip mall with Hwy 60 running right through it. We found transmission fluid, haircuts, shoes and about a zillion other things. Of course, we didn't buy all zillion things but it's been weeks since we shopped in big, chain stores. It was fun seeing all the things that we didn't need.

That was our excitement for the day. Then, it was back home to play in the dirt. Doug's still finding flakes of gold.......just no more nuggets. But we'll keep looking

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Many Happy's

Happy Valentines Day!! and Happy Chinese New Year!!

We're still digging dirt and finding gold flakes. It looks like we'll be here another week.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Checking Out a Mining Claim

Some friends of ours bought a mining claim, sight unseen, about 36 miles south of the park. After checking the maps, we all decided to take a ride out to see what might be there.

We drove out Vulture Mine Road for many miles until it turned to dirt. Then, we drove across some desert roads until we came to this big wash.

The cars were unloaded and we started hiking into the hills to try and find the corner marker for their claim. Here is most of the group. That's Debbie, Bill, Wanda (with her hand in front of her face) and Doug. The other member is in the background, Roger.

Here's Roger.

After finding the corner post and deducing the direction of the rest of the claim, we all headed into the hills to test some of the smaller washes for traces of gold.

Bill and Wanda found a good spot.

Doug and I climbed higher and found another good testing area.

After carrying small buckets of dirt back down to the cars, the guys panned the soil looking for traces of gold. I photographed their best side!

They weren't too appreciative of my sense of humor.

It was a warm, fun day in the desert that resulted in zero gold. Still, we had a good time visiting and got to see a new area. Who could ask for more?

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Propane Problems?

We thought we were out of propane because we had no heat the other morning, so we unhooked the power and water and sewer. Then drove to the entrance of the park where the giant propane tank is located.

While Doug and the propane-filler-guy took care of business......

I took some pictures of the sign out front......

and the clubhouse.

Then we drove back to our site, resettled in, hooked everything back up, turned on the propane furnace and nothing. No heat. I guess Doug's next project is to check the furnace.

Monday, February 08, 2010

Nothing to Say

I'm at a loss for blog words. We're still playing in the dirt and hanging out with friends. Our stay here at North Ranch has been extended for another week. (gold fever)

The weather has been iffy with rain, then sun, then overcast with showers and today.....sun again.

We're feeling contented with our simple, quiet lifestyle and if we find enough gold we'll spread the contentment around. Wish us luck!

Saturday, February 06, 2010

A Sightseeing Day

It was such a beautiful day that we decided to take a ride to Stanton. It's about 6 miles along some washboard, dusty, dirty roads but there was a swap meet that we thought might be fun.

Wrong. The swap meet was a waste of time. Still, it was an interesting little place. This is the front of the Hotel Stanton that was built in the 1860's when the place was known as Antelope Stage Stop.

This is the original stage stop and saloon.

Interesting place......

After our visit, we decided to take a picturesque drive up the back roads to Yarnell. We were warned about this road but couldn't resist.

First we forded a stream in 4 wheel drive. (no picture....I was holding on tight.) Then the one lane road started curving up the mountainside. It was only about 10 miles but took us close to an hour to drive.

There were lots of hairpin turns and switchbacks with a loooooong drop off my side. At one point, we had to pull over to the edge and stop to allow nine 4 wheelers to zip past us.

Once we reached Yarnell, Doug had to stop at the hardware store and then we just cruised through some of the residential areas.

Someone's creative endeavor just screamed for a photo op.

Then we stopped at the St. Joseph Shrine. An interesting stone trail led up the mountain through the 14 stations of the cross, so we got our exercise. Another interesting place in an out of the way town.

Friday, February 05, 2010

Lazy Life

Nothing much happening around here. We did go dig some more gold dirt yesterday. I intended to get some pictures and I even remembered my camera. Unfortunately, when I went to use it, I discovered that I had left the memory card in the computer. Maybe next time.

We haven't found anymore nuggets, but we are still finding some flakes. Those will add up eventually. Still, I'd be lying if I said that it was as much fun as finding nuggets.

It's a little overcast today. Compared to the rest of the US we are doing great! I think we'll take a ride up to the little town of Stanton. It's right in the middle of all of the claims and they're having a garage sale. From there we'll take the back roads up to Yarnell. We've been told that it's a really nice ride.

Perhaps I'll even get some pictures!

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

The Jail Tree

We had such good luck with our first trip into the desert for dirt, we spent yesterday there too. Now we have buckets and buckets of dirt to pan. Keeps Doug busy!

Today we ran into Wickenburg for some groceries and discovered the Jail Tree.

This little piece of history was the method for detaining drunks and reprobates. Adobe jails were easy to escape from and because this was a gold mining area, the miners were too busy to build a normal jail. So, instead, they chained the bad guys to this old mesquite tree.

The whole town has figures like this guy to narrate the historical spots. He really looks real!

We finished our errands just as the black clouds started rolling in. The forecast is for more rain tomorrow so we'll probably just hang out at home.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

There's Gold in Them Thar Hills

It's been a busy couple of days for Doug. On Sunday, he and Bill heard about a couple of mining claims that were for sale for a really great price. Since they weren't too far from here, the guys decided to take a look.

After 4 hours in the desert and through a major wash, they came to the conclusion that there was a reason that the price was so cheap. Inaccessible and not much evidence of gold! So, that idea was bagged.

But yesterday was really exciting! Doug finished panning (by machine) his dirt from our trip to Weaver's claim a few days ago. Lo and behold!

A nugget! Not a flake, not a picker.....but a real honest to goodness nugget! Our mentors Bill and Wanda were just as excited as we were. In fact, they told us that it is worth more as a nugget than it's value as gold weight. Yippee! We're on our way to being rich.....well,

We also found enough small flakes to fill the bottom of one of our little bottles. What a good bucket of dirt! Now we both have gold fever.

That was our excitement for the day. Now, we can hardly wait to go get some more dirt to pan. To the desert and beyond............