Calico Mine & Ghost Town, CA

Calico Mine & Ghost Town

Calico is a ghost town located in the Mojave Desert region of Southern California. Founded in 1881 as a silver mining town, today it is a county park. It is located in unincorporated San Bernardino County off Interstate 15, 3 miles from Barstow.

Calico Mine & Ghost Town

At its height, shortly after it was founded, Calico had a population of 1,200 people and over 500 silver mines. Besides the usual assortment of bars, brothels, gambling halls and a few churches, Calico also supported a newspaper, the Calico Print. In the mid 1890s the price of silver dropped and Calico’s silver mines were no longer economically viable. With the end of borax mining in the region in 1907 the town was completely abandoned. The last original inhabitant of Calico before it was abandoned, Mrs. Lucy Bell Lane, died in the 1960s. Her house remains as the main museum in town.
In 1951, Walter Knott, founder of Knott’s Berry Farm, purchased the town and began restoring it to its original condition referencing old photographs. In the late 1950s, a western garbed man with Custer whiskers known as Calico Fred was a local fixture.  Though five of the original town buildings exist today, many others were recreated as replicas of their originals on preexisting foundations. In 1966, Knott donated the town to San Bernardino County, and Calico became a county regional park.
Today, the park operates mine tours, gunfight stunt shows, gold panning, a restaurant, the Calico & Odessa Railroad and a number of general merchandise stores. It is open daily, and requires an entrance fee. Calico is a registered California historic monument and the “official state silver rush ghost town” of California.
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Old Town Temecula, CA

Old Town Temecula, CA

Old Town Temecula

A collection of historic 1890s buildings, antique stores, shopping and restaurants, Old Town Temecula is also home to such events as car shows, western days and summer entertainment. Specialty food stores, unique boutiques, dozens of gift and collectible stores and 7 large antique dealers do business in the district.

Old Town is also home to the Temecula Museum which features exhibits about the local band of Native Americans and the local natural history and city development.

Old Town Temecula, CA

Wine Country

Over forty years after Richard Break and Leon Borel first planted 56 varieties of wine-making grapes in five different locations for the newly formed Rancho California Development Corporation, the Temecula Valley has become recognized as a full-fledged appellation boasting more than two dozen wineries and more than 3500 acres of producing vineyards. A short drive east on Rancho California Road from historic Old Town Temecula takes you into Temecula Valley’s wine country. There the visitor will find wineries and tasting rooms ranging from the rustic to the elegant, from a quaint chateau to a lavish resort, from a “Mom and Pop” operation to the corporate conglomerate. Home of the Temecula Valley Balloon and Wine Festival, held annually at Lake Skinner, visitors come to taste the regions wines and enjoy the warm climate.

Old Town Temecula, CA

Go To Their Webpage

Published in: on May 25, 2010 at 1:13 AM  Comments Off on Old Town Temecula, CA  
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Preparing Edible Cactus

Edible Cactus Pads
Edible cactus is also known as nopales (no-PAH-les), nopalitos or cactus pads. This vegetable is popular in Mexico and other Central American countries, parts of Europe, the Middle East, India, North Africa and Australia. Its popularity is increasing in the United States where it can be found at Mexican grocery stores, specialty produce markets and farmer’s markets.
Edible cactus is characterized by its fleshy oval leaves (typically called pads or paddles) of the nopal (prickly pear) cactus.
With a soft but crunchy texture that also becomes a bit sticky (not unlike okra) when cooked, edible cactus tastes similar to a slightly tart green bean, asparagus, or green pepper.
Cactus pads contain beta carotene, iron, some B vitamins, and are good sources of both vitamin C and calcium.
What is the difference between cactus leaves (edible cactus or nopales) and the prickly pear?
As part of the cactus plant, the prickly pear is a fruit that is 2 to 4 inches long and shaped like an avocado. Its skin is coarse and thick, not unlike an avocados and it ranges in color from yellow or orange to magenta or red. Tubercles with small prickly spines can be found on the prickly pear’s skin. This fruit’s flesh, which ranges in color also from yellow to dark red, is sweet and juicy with crunchy seeds throughout.
The prickly pear can be diced like pineapple and used as a topping on yogurt or cereal or blended into a smoothie.
Availability, Selection, and Storage
Edible cactus is available year-round with a peak in the mid-spring and the best season from early spring through late fall. When picking them wild wear gloves our use something rather than your hands to pick these up to avoid the spines, I prefer the use of a small fire to burn the spines from the fruit. Even after this type of preparation be extremely careful for remaining spines use gloves when available.  When buying edible cactus, choose small, firm, pale green cacti with no wrinkling. Be sure to pick cacti that are not limp or dry. Very small paddles may require more cleaning because their larger proportion of prickers and eyes.
Edible cactus can be refrigerated for more than a week if wrapped tightly in plastic.
Edible cactus is also sold as:
Canned — pickled or packed in water
Acitrones — candied nopales, packed in sugar syrup and available in cans or jars.
Preparation
The edible cactus you buy should be de-spined though you will need to trim the “eyes,” to remove any remaining prickers, and outside edges of the pads with a vegetable peeler. Trim off any dry or fibrous areas and rinse thoroughly to remove any stray prickers and sticky fluid.
Edible cactus can be eaten raw or cooked. To cook, steam over boiling water for just a few minutes (if cooked too long they will lose their crunchy texture). Then slice and eat! Cactus can also be cut and sautéed in butter or oil for a few minutes.
I prefer cactus to be added to scrambled eggs and omelets, or one can add to diced fresh and added to tortillas. They can also be substituted for any cooked green in most dishes.
The pads can be served as a side dish or cooled and used in salads. They taste especially good with Mexican recipes that include tomatoes, hot peppers and fresh corn.

Cactus Recipes

Published in: on March 12, 2010 at 2:53 PM  Comments Off on Preparing Edible Cactus  
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Bodie Ghost Town State Historic Park, CA

Bodie State Historic Park, CA Map
More than 170 buildings are protected in a state of “arrested decay” on more than 1,000 remote acres, administered by the California Department of Parks and Recreation.

Seasons / Hours
Bodie State Historic Park is open year round. It opens at 8am everyday but closing time changes seasonally (mid summer closing is at 7pm, mid-winter at 4pm).
Winter Visits
Bodie is open all year. However, because of the high elevation (8375 feet), it is accessible only by over-snow equipment during the winter months.
Many four wheel drive vehicles get stuck each year in powdery snow that is deeper than it first appears. Spring thaws bring mud, and wheeled vehicles are not advised. TOWING FACILITIES ARE NOT AVAILABLE. Snowmobiles must stay on designated roads within the park.
Winter weather is often unpredictable. Sub-zero temperatures, strong winds and white-out conditions are not uncommon. Call 760-647-6445 for current conditions
Rates & Fees
$5.00 per person – $3.00 per child (No Credit Cards) – pets must be leashed.
Facilities
There are no services, camping, lodging, food vending or stores. There is one bathroom one museum open during the summer where books on Bodie and a few other items are available for sale. Restrooms (flush toilets) are located at the parking lot.
Bodie Ghost Town State Historic Park, CA
Climate
At an elevation of 8,400 feet, it’s hot during the summer, and potentially very cold during the winter. The weather can be changeable and layered clothing is recommended.
Location – Directions
The park is northeast of Yosemite, 13 miles east of Highway 395 on Bodie Road, seven miles south of Bridgeport.
Latitude/Longitude: 38.2122 / -119.0111

From U.S. 395 seven miles south of Bridgeport, take State Route 270. Go east 10 miles to the end of the pavement and continue 3 miles on an unsurfaced road to Bodie. The last 3 miles can at times be rough. Reduced speeds are necessary. Call the park if there are any questions about road conditions.
History
The town of Bodie rose to prominence with the decline of mining along the western slope of the Sierra Nevada. Prospectors crossing the eastern slope in 1859 to search for gold, discovered what was to be the Comstock Lode at Virginia City and started a wild rush to the surrounding high desert country.
By 1879, Bodie boasted a population of about 10,000 and was second to none for wickedness, badmen, and “the worst climate out of doors.” One little girl, whose family was taking her to the remote and infamous town, wrote in her diary: “Goodbye God, I’m going to Bodie.” This phrase came to be known throughout the west.
Killings occurred with monotonous regularity here in Bodie, sometimes becoming almost daily events. The fire bell, which tolled the ages of the deceased when they were buried, rang often and long. Robberies, stage holdups and street fights provided variety, and the town’s 65 saloons offered many opportunities for relaxation after hard days of work in the mines. The Reverend F.M. Warrington saw it in 1881 as “a sea of sin, lashed by the tempests of lust and passion.”
Nearly everyone has heard about the infamous “Badman from Bodie.” Some historians say that he was a real person by the name of Tom Adams. Others say his name was Washoe Pete. It seems more likely, however, that he was a composite. Bad men, like bad whiskey and bad climate, were endemic to the area.
Whatever the case, the streets are quiet now. Bodie still has its wicked climate, but with the possible exception of an occasional ghostly visitor, its badmen are all in their graves. Only about five percent of the buildings it contained during its 1880 heyday still remain. Today, it stands just as time, fire and the elements have left it — a genuine California gold-mining ghost town. Designated a state historic park in 1962, it is now maintained in a state of “arrested decay.”
Bodie was named after Waterman S. Body (also known as William S. Bodey), who discovered gold here in 1859. The change in spelling of the town’s name has often been attributed to an illiterate sign painter, but it was really a deliberate change by the citizenry to ensure proper pronunciation.
You can see the Standard Mine and Mill on the west slope of Bodie Bluff. Because the old mill buildings and surrounding area are extremely unsafe, they are closed to the public. The mine was known as the Bunker Hill Mine when it was registered in July 1861. It passed through several hands before being sold for $67,500 to four partners, who changed the name and incorporated as the Standard Company in April 1877.
The Standard Mine yielded nearly $15 million over 25 years, and its success caused the 1878 rush to Bodie. In only a year, the population rose from about 20 to an estimated 10,000 miners, gamblers and other entrepreneurs. The Mill was destroyed by fire in 1898, but was rebuilt the following year. While the boom lasted, some 30 companies produced $400,000 in bullion per month for an overall total estimated at $90 to $100 million.
Published in: on March 12, 2010 at 2:23 PM  Comments Off on Bodie Ghost Town State Historic Park, CA  
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How to Make Maple Syrup at Home

Maple

What you need to start

First, you will need to obtain a sap spout from either a local farm supply store, or a sugaring supply company such as Leader Evaporator Company a sap bucket (also available at your farm or sugaring supply store), and some kind of cover to keep the rain and snow out.

Next, select a maple tree that is at least 14 inches in diameter (which would make it at least 40 years old). Drill a hole with a 7/16 drill about 1 to 1 1/2 inches deep…at about waist high. Hammer your spout into the tree and either attach a
sap bucket or a plastic bucket. .Put only one tap per tree.

Sugaring season begins around mid-February and goes until March and early April (depending on where in New England you live and how early the spring thaw arrives.)

How do you know when its time to tap? Check the outdoor temperature during the day and at night: If its gets 40 to 50 degrees F during the day and somewhat
below freezing at night, you can bet the sap is flowing.   This combination temperatures during the day and night pushes the sap up from the roots into the trunk and branches, where it freezes, and then the next day as it warms up, it drips out your spout.

How much sap do you need? It takes 40- 50 gallons of sap to make a gallon of maple syrup, so you might expect in 4 to 6 weeks to get 40 quarts of sap from a tree which would make one quart of syrup, this is why it is recommended to take advantage of several trees at once . Sap looks like water and is about 2% natural maple sugar.

Directions for making sap into syrup

Collect the sap from your bucket every day the sap drips (some days may be too cold or too warm and you won’t get much of anything) and try to boil it within 24 hours. Since you are evaporating most of the water, you will be producing lots of steam so back yard boiling works best on a gas grill. As the water is evaporated, the sap gets thicker and starts to look golden brown.

When the boiling is getting near done, and reaches 212 degrees F. the syrup will double in volume so be sure to have a large enough kettle to handle this expansion. When your product is near syrup, it might be best to take it inside and finish cooking it on your stove (be sure to have the exhaust fan going or you may loosen your wall paper with all the steam).

Maple syrup is cooked enough when its 219 degrees F. so a candy thermometer is critical. Overcooking will result in burning of the syrup and the pan. Maple syrup needs to be refrigerated once it’s done, and will keep for a couple years in
a glass jar. After all your hard work, pure maple syrup never tasted better.

Cooking with Cattail

Cattail
Cooking with Cattail Shoots

In early spring, cattails send up small, immature shoots that are rich and succulent and taste a bit like zucchini. These first sprigs of fresh cattail can be put into stir-fries, soups, pasta sauces, or any other recipe that calls for fresh, green vegetables. My favorite preferred use is in Asian-style stir fries. Their taste especially complements the texture and flavor of water chestnuts.

Cooking with Cattail Hearts

When cattail shoots mature in mid spring, the rich “heart” at the base of the leaf-blades becomes full of nutrients. These can be used in the same contexts as cattail shoots, but will lend a slightly stronger flavor and crunchier texture. A cattail heart’s texture is something like a cross between a bamboo shoot and an artichoke heart, and its flavor is like a cross between a rutabaga and a melon rind. They are ideal for pickling and canning.

Cooking with Cattail Heads

One of my all-time favorite foods is what I call “cat on the cob”, a delightful dish that tastes remarkably similar to sweet, white corn. Immature cattail heads that do not yet have a cotton-like texture– best harvested in early summer— are tasty and wonderful additions to any meal. They can be boiled or put into soups and stir-fries, but I prefer to cook them in a buttered skillet over medium heat and serve them in place of corn.


Cooking with Cattail Pollen

When the flowers, or heads, of the cattail plant mature in mid-summer, their pollen can be gathered and used in the same context as corn starch. The pollen gives an excellent flavor to breads and pancakes when it is added to flours, or it can be used as a thickener in gravies, soups, and
stews. Its flavor is mild and barely noticeable, but it makes a fine addition to the pantry of any foraging chef.

Cooking with Cattail Roots
The cream of the cattail crop is its rhizome, or root, which can be harvested any time between late fall and early spring. Cattails store starches in their roots over winter, similarly to potatoes and carrots, and provide a succulant, fibrous meal base when the root is properly harvested. These rhizomes can be prepared like potatoes or used along with them. Cattail roots make a great addition to mashed potatoes, greens, and root-bakes.
Regardless of the route you choose for cooking cattails, be sure that you have properly identified the plant. While there are few poisonous plants that resemble the cattail at any stage of life, it is still critical that all foragers cook wild plants only if they are certain that it has been accurately identified.
When the flowers, or heads, of the cattail plant mature in mid-summer, their pollen can be gathered and used in the same context as corn starch. The pollen gives an excellent flavor to breads and pancakes when it is added to flours, or it can be used as a thickener in gravies, soups, and
stews. Its flavor is mild and barely noticeable, but it makes a fine addition to the pantry of any foraging chef.


Save 10% on RedRock Back Country Adventures

Save 10% @ RedRock Backcountry Adventures

Scorpion Sting Treatment

Scorpion
Scorpion sting aid is simple. In fact, you can treat a scorpion sting at home with ingredients you probably have in your medicine cabinet right this very moment. If you live in an area where scorpions are plentiful, you may want to take note of the ingredients needed for this scorpion sting remedy and pack up a little baggie of supplies to bring along with you when you take your kids to the park, go hiking or go camping; it is also wise to have another first aid pack set up at home for quick response. It’s important to respond quickly to a scorpion sting just in case the reaction is severe.
Scorpion Sting Symptoms
A scorpion sting is never fun. The following are common symptoms of a scorpion sting:
Intense pain at the sting site
Mild swelling around sting site
Numbness in area of sting
Sensitivity to touch
Nausea or vomiting
Excessive salivation
Scorpion Sting Treatment
If a scorpion stings you, follow this scorpion sting first aid plan for minimization of pain:
Wash the affected area: If possible, get the site of the sting under cold water immediately.
Medicate topically: Apply a layer of ointment containing an antihistamine, a corticosteroid, and an analgesic.
Apply ice: Hold a bag of ice over the ointment on the area. The ice will reduce the pain and inflammation.
Medicate orally: Take one dose of Benadryl (antihistamine) and one dose of a pain killer (acetaminophen).
Go to the hospital: Because some scorpion stings can be fatal, you will need to go to the emergency room to get evaluated for scorpion anti-venom. If possible, get someone else to drive you.
Ice as needed: Keep applying ice until pain is tolerable.  You may experience pain for any length of time between a few hours to a couple days.
Watch for A Serious Reaction
Of all the types of scorpions in the United States, only one type is seriously toxic: the bark scorpion. The bark scorpion is found in Arizona, California, and New Mexico. The sting of the bark scorpion can cause serious symptoms, including anaphylactic shock, which can result in death. If you notice any of the following symptoms, seek immediate medical care by calling 911:
Muscle spasms
Hyperventilation
Racing pulse or heartbeat
Disorientation
Anaphylactic shock
Items to Pack for a Scorpion Sting Treatment Package
If you live in or are traveling to an area where scorpions are common, have the following on hand in case of an emergency:
An ointment containing an antihistamine, a corticosteroid, and an analgesic
One oral dose of Benadryl
One oral dose of acetaminophen
All three of these items are small enough to fit into a wallet, purse, knapsack or first aid kit.
Published in: on January 6, 2010 at 2:03 PM  Comments Off on Scorpion Sting Treatment  
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Quicksand

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Quicksand isn’t just in old Westerns, it’s also a real backcountry hazard. Learn how to save your life when faced with the slippery stuff.
Appearance:
Part of quicksand’s menace is its deceptive resemblance to solid ground. Underneath the firm-looking crust–which can be sand, silt, clay, or other grainy soils–is a slurry of soft, wet, quivering earth nicknamed “jelly mud.” Unlike regular mud, which compresses to support weight, this quagmire collapses easily. The water that saturates the soil (and creates the muck) often flows underground  and isn’t visible on the surface, though quicksand also can develop beneath shallow pools.
Quicksand requires only soil and water–in the right amounts. When the ground is dry, the constant friction between individual sand grains creates a stable, interlocking foundation. But when the ground becomes saturated, water molecules push apart the grains, reducing the intergranular friction and the soil’s weight-bearing ability. The soil becomes “quick” when the water pressure supporting the sand equals or surpasses the weight of the sand, creating a floating suspension with the consistency of wet concrete that will trap your leg, and won’t let it go.
Salt makes quicksand less stable, especially in clay-like soil, by reducing the elasticity between sand grains. As a result, people generally sink deeper in ground saturated with saltwater than with freshwater. Salt eroded from sandstone canyon walls in southern Utah generates an ideal environment for quicksand when it accumulates in silt-filled arroyos.
Location:

Quicksand typically forms along the inside curves of rivers and sand washes,  where natural springs or runoff saturate an area of soft sediments. Other common spots include marshes, coastlines, and riverbanks. Quicksand can be persistent in canyons fed by spring water, and can appear rapidly after floods, spring run-off, or during low tide . Post-flood conditions can be particularly dangerous, says Mike Salamacha, a BLM ranger in the Arizona/Utah Paria Canyon Vermilion Cliffs Wilderness. “Everything is wet, and you can’t tell where the quicksand is until you walk on it.” Quicksand can develop from Alaska to Florida, but hotspots include the marshy coasts of the Southeast, such as Florida and the Carolinas, and the canyons of southern Utah, northern Arizona, and New Mexico.
How to release yourself if trapped:
Don’t struggle. Since the human body is half as dense as quicksand, you won’t sink much below your knees, or to your waist under rare circumstances. Fighting the suctionlike pull can be exhausting–especially if you’re hauling a heavy pack–and can cause you to sink deeper by making the solution more fluid. To extract yourself, stay calm and lean backwards to spread out your weight while backstroking to firmer ground. Kick your legs slowly to loosen the surrounding sand, and move deliberately toward the edge. Ditch your pack if necessary. In areas prone to quicksand, like canyons and marshes, use a stick or trekking pole to probe the surface.

Ubehebe Crater, CA

Ubehebe Crater

Ubehebe Crater is a large volcanic crater in Death Valley National Park, California. It is located at the north tip of the Cottonwood Mountains. The crater is half a mile (one kilometer) wide and 500 to 777 feet (150 to 237 m) deep. The age of the crater is estimated from 2,000 to 7,000 years old.”Ubehebe” (pronounced YOU-bee-HEE-bee) is a Native American word meaning “Big basket in the rock.” The crater was formed when magma migrated close to the surface and the heat of the magma flashed groundwater into steam, throwing large quantities of pulverized old rock and new magma across the stony alluvial fan draped across the valley floor. The magma rose through a fault that lies along the western base of Tin Mountain (movement on this fault was responsible for uplift of the entire Cottonwood mountain range).

The resulting large steam explosions are called a hydrovolcanic or phreatic eruption by geologists and the pits created are known as maars. Ubehebe was the last and largest in series of similar eruptions in the immediate area (its eruption exceeded the tensile strength of the bedrock by 10 times). Earlier eruptions created a group of much shallower maars to the south and another to the west. Little Hebe is a spatter cone that grew in the middle of one of the largest maars in the south group. The only significant deposit of lava in the volcanic field is contained in Little Hebe.

Published in: on January 4, 2010 at 2:19 AM  Comments Off on Ubehebe Crater, CA  
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