Unexpected Tools

A hatchet and a sharpening file and a fire

The hatchet has been used muchly. It has helped others. It has held an edge for a long time. It is very light, which makes it harder to split heavy logs, but easier to be precise. It is small and lives at the foot of the bed (with a machete).

The sharpening tool ( made by Smith’s) is used muchly, also. It folds up and hangs on a nail on a bed leg. Great for the must-have pocket knife.

This is the camp area. Third year here for the winter. “My”spot.

The open hood is to deter the animals. Old timers say so. Found the glove in the grocery store parking lot. Heavy duty leather. I can lift burning logs. The solar set-up (generator and solar panels) is doing great for my needs. I will go into a deeper look at what I use in the next post.

The fire in the mornings has been a great tool. Found myself getting annoyed if someone else started arranging the logs in the fire. Without asking me. Adding more wood. Without asking me. Who’s fire was it?

Ha. The fire in the morning is a great tool for learning.

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Truck Camping Chores


Oh these morning fires are so yummy. That steel container has 2” of water , then stuffed with cut up veggies, garlic powder, onion powder, Old Bay, Siracha, salt and pepper. When the fire was just ashes I put the container in the middle.and went on a walk. So easy. And only 1 container to clean!

That was so much fun I tried a sweet potato next.

The sweet potato was very sweet, a soft mashed potato consistency and intensely flavorful.


Finally retired the topper’s old back curtain

And “hung” the new one.

This was a gift from Diane.

Sometimes it is hard to do chores (like doing a major reorganization, arranging the solar storage better, giving books to the Salvation Army Thrift Store, doing laundry, etc. ). Sometimes it is all that I can do. Nice having the freedom and time to follow a non schedule.

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Truck Camping and a Fire

“I never have fires.” So said I for years. But it is cold in the mornings in the desert. I snuggle with the teddy bear, named Strength, until I have to get up.

I caved. For the first time in 45 years of camping I have started having a fire in the mornings with coffee.

I wish that I had started this ritual years ago. So sweet to have warm legs and hands. 5 AM in the desert is very chilly, especially if there is any wind. The wood is so dry that starting the fire is a snap. I just wipe a paper towel in some bacon grease and light it under the wood. Woosh. Its lit. The bacon grease comes from a $1.50 jar at Ken’s. What luxury.

There are several places selling wood here in Quartzsite. Most offer a selection of pinon, juniper or pine. Delicious smell. I can have three morning fires per box of wood. $10. I spend the first day chopping chunks off of some of the larger pieces with my handy Fiskars hatchet, then laying out the wood for the morning’s fire. I love the process. I also like the mellow way it starts the day.

I don’t have any normal fire tools … like a poking stick, or a grate to cook over. I spend the money out of the “entertainment” budget line. I am planning on doing two boxes per month, instead of buying coffee or cookies at the Pilot gas station. Yumm! I got a present of a lottery ticket from the folks at Pilot. If I am a winner the fires will happen every possible morning. I am hooked.

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Hunting for Anything

I drove out to a place where I am allowed to hunt for gold. I got to this area at 7am. I didn’t leave until 5pm. This is what I found:

The pieces of tin were paper thin. The curvy nail was wrapped around a rock.

The rock was what is called a “hot rock”. It caused the detector to beep like crazy. The tiny bit of pipe cleaner took me at least 45 minutes to dig out. I was sure it was gold.

I moved several times, but no luck. Still had a ball trying to get better at detecting, better at looking where to detect, better at scrambling over rocks in the washes. Still having fun. Love being in the desert.

Came back into town and saw a sleeping dog.

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Mice and Rats while Truck Camping

I hope this is my last diatribe about these critters, but I did want to share what I have learned.

They have finally left. It is quiet every night. I have cleaned out, again, and found little pieces of foil that they chewed. An ear bud, chewed. The rubber cover on the phone has been chewed through.

Kangaroo Rat | Visit California

Kangaroo rats have long tails and big hind feet with four toes. They have large heads with big eyes and small ears. They are a sandy brown color with a white underbelly.The kangaroo rat is almost perfectly adapted to life in the desert. They can survive without ever drinking any water, getting needed moisture from their seed diet. They have excellent hearing and can even detect the silent sound of an owl approaching. Their large back legs enable them to jump up to 9 feet in one jump in order to escape predators. (Thanks to https://www.desertmuseum.org/)

how to get rid of packrats in your car

Pack rats are nest builders. They use plant material such as twigs, sticks, and other available debris. They are particularly fond of shiny objects. A peculiar characteristic is that if they find something they want, they will drop what they are currently carrying—for example, a piece of cactus—and “trade” it for the new item. They can also be quite vocal and boisterous. Getting into everything from attics to car engines, stealing their ‘treasures’, damaging electrical wiring, and creating general noisy havoc can easily cause them to become a nuisance. Offspring are born naked and helpless and must be cared for in nests called middens. Some female pack rats have been known to deliver up to five litters per year with each litter having as many as five young. (thanks to https://citypests.com/how-to-get-rid-of-pack-rats/)

The consensus on all of the websites was to:

#1 get great rat traps.

Got these. They really work. Took me a while to figure them out. I wrecked two before I realized that I needed to be more careful at springing the traps when I pick them up in the morning. I was stomping on them and breaking a small notch that held them open. Also took me a long while to figure out how to bait them without losing a finger nail or two.

#2 get lights.

Both kangaroo rats and pack rats like to hunt at night. These solar beauties throw lots of light under the engine. They are so bright I worry that I am bothering camping neighbors. I gave away two of these to a nearby first time camper who was having rat problems. Two were enough for me, placed under the engine every night.

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