Limestone Historian — Don Fife — Oct. 14th

The busiest month seems to be October. Add a visit to Lucerne Valley on October 14th

Don Fife to speak on gold mining in Lucerne Valley CA

— this Saturday — for an insider’s look into mining history with geologist and limestone historian, Don Fife. He grew up in the community when  his father was mining here.

Join us at Lucerne Valley Community Center just east of the library on Hwy 247 East, from 3-5 pm when Lucerne Valley Museum and History Association once again hosts  its “Evening Desert” series. The presentation is free and open to the public. Light refreshments will be available. Home schoolers, bring your students!

Have questions or need directions, call 760-248-6777 and leave a message before Saturday.

This Heat Driving You Crazy?

Many Things Can Drive You Crazy

I’ve been hearing that when the heat index in your area gets too high or too humid, it causes folks to think there is no relief. Heat begins to drive them truly crazy.

I’ve also known for years that people can find strange ways to cool down. Not just a pool, a garden hose, or the bathtub… but weird ways. I would rather attempt tp stay warm in Winter than cool in Summer.

toddler in basin of water

Cool in a Pool

Sticking a plastic bag of ice down your pants or under your armpits — well, that would work, but not much in public. Sucking on ice pops is only temporary and turns your tongue blue… or orange. Well, you get the idea. Standing with your head in the freezer is silly, but it does feel good until your eyebrows frost up.

Look For relief

Have a friend with a pool? Volunteer to clean it for swimming privileges. Find a cooling station in your closest town. Go to the movies — that’s a cool idea, although it can get a bit pricey if you go often. Many towns have teen centers or senior centers with massive Air Conditioning units. In my area we don’t have those with AC. The High Desert is equipped with evaporative coolers — those big water-guzzling “swamp coolers” that work when it’s dry and hot. It’s down side is the humidity levels — the higher it goes the worse the unit works.

The “Down Side” to Heat

Some folks have given up on creativity to cool down. They actually go crazy, berserk with the thought of immediate relief they can’t find. Their solution is to end it all.

It’s an extreme look at a one-time version of their solution. It’s not funny. And I’m trying not to be.

If you know of anyone who is suffering from the heat, the high humidity — and act as if they want to take themselves out of their suffering, please, call help for them.

resource list

The following list is gathered by public health administrators, like Veterans Affairs, who wish to stop the public health issue that can creep up on some folks. You think “Bullying” is bad… print and keep this list handy.

Suicide Prevention Resources

Warning signs of suicide

  • Talking about wanting to die
  • Looking for a way to kill oneself
  • Talking about feeling hopeless or having no purpose
  • Talking about feeling trapped or in unbearable pain
  • Talking about being a burden to others
  • Increasing the use of alcohol or drugs
  • Acting anxious, agitated or recklessly
  • Sleeping too little or too much
  • Withdrawing or feeling isolated
  • Showing rage or talking about seeking revenge
  • Displaying extreme mood swings

What to do if you see warning signs of suicide?

  • Do not leave the person alone
  • Remove any firearms, alcohol, drugs or sharp objects that could be used in a suicide attempt
  • Call the U.S. National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (8255)
  • Take the person to an emergency room or seek help from a medical or mental health professional

 The more of these signs a person shows, the greater the risk. Warning signs are associated with suicide but may not be what causes a suicide. Information from the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. 

Have a great summer and stay cool,

Rusty LaGrange

Crazy Weather for Mother’s Day

Everyone is talking about this crazy Spring weather.

Driving rain

Crazy weather caught drivers off guard and hail topped it

I know it can get boring talking about the weather, but in this case, it’s crazy weather. Folks in So. California’s High Desert have been fried, dried, froze, then beat again by extremely high winds.

 

Desert Bloom

Desert Aster, a showy spring bloom

Everyone is talking about this crazy spring weather. So, I must admit, that yes, it’s been crazy. The rain brings such an abundance of wildflowers that it’s the prelude to a color explosion.

In a span of a few days, we went from Springtime conditions of 68 to 78 to 96 degrees, followed by high winds, a short rain shower and then torrential rains with hail, followed by wind and hail. Then only to be dusted by snow in the upper mountains.

Desert blooms

Buttery Yellow Beavertail

As with these crazy seasonal changes, we noticed over time that these series of weird weather patterns are just that — patterns that do come through every ten years or so.

White Frills

This one looks like a Whirling Dervish with white skirts and a yellow turban

With Mother’s Day coming in a few days, let me remind most of you that snow has been recorded on Mother’s Day about every ten years here, and with flurries of snow in the foothills. We usually don’t expect snow this late, that’s why we consider it so odd.

Yup, it’s crazy but that’s what we like about the High Desert.

So instead of talking about the wildflowers, why not go out for Mom’s Day and enjoy a nice breakfast followed by a refreshing walk through the wildflowers.

It will do you good.

Rusty

new owner of HighDesertBlogging.com

Let me know what you think

Looking in My Own Backyard — Museums Hold Many Treasures

Enjoying the Summer as you hunt for antiques and treasures?

I was looking around in my own backyard for groups of people who would associate with the theme of the Southwest. I know it’s a wide-open subject. Among those that enjoy living in the High Desert, and often tell me about there favorite places to eat, visit, and buy, I realized they are also my prospects for my new digital magazine — VintageWest.

Collectibles are fun to find

Hunting through a grand assortment of goodies

Topping the list are those who love rummaging through the tight aisles of an antique store on the fringes of the Mojave River. Out in Oro Grande are  several new antique and collectibles shops, not to mention the many shops scattered throughout the Victor Valley. They’re eclectic, full of treasures, and reasonable in pricing. Times can be very tough for these newer entrepreneurs so if you love the hunt, then by all means take a drive to your favorite vintage place — most have air conditioning, too.

Mind Your Ps and Qs Antiques

Packed with colorful items in themed rooms

Then I thought about the folks who return to a place they enjoy. Families that come here to camp or even better, families who want to search out the Southwest history that lured them here so many times before.

If you now live in the High Desert, you may be one of those who came to visit only to decide that this was Your Country. Something led you here and you just didn’t want to return. These aren’t gold seekers in the same sense as the early pioneers who broke desolate ground to survive the desert’s heat and cold. These people would be better described as Southwest Seekers. “Southwest” being the definitive clue word. Whatever it is that draws people to the region is the same that drew families to Alaska, except the weather.

A jail worth peering into

An old weathered building once held outlaws

Once here, claiming the desert as their “forever home,” it wasn’t long before they, too, wanted others to know about this desert region. They became teachers, historians, authors, and even museum members, and docents. Their history is now a commodity to share and develop. In doing that, a small network of curators, their docents, and a growing number of members, took on the task of keeping the Southwest alive.

Whenever I venture into a new town, I always look for the local museum. I gain my bearings, learn about its history, and meet a few families that are still here —  third and fourth generations.

Now, in my own backyard, are the small museums, the ones that display family histories, they survive on generous donations from other families just learning about their new surroundings. They find adventure in reading about the trails that brought them, and the previous generations, to this land. They crave the stories of the early days, the tools that shaped this land, and the rich, full history that they can see and touch in museums and through historical societies.

A desert shack was once a home for settlers

An old home that beckons

If you are a Southwest Seeker, then you have set before you an array of little history nuggets: Victor Valley Museum in Apple Valley, Route 66 Museum in Victorville and Barstow, Apple Valley Legacy Museum focusing on the Roy Rogers & Dale Evans influence in the Historic Apple Valley Inn complex, Mohahve Historical Society, Lucerne Valley Outdoor Museum, Mojave River Valley Museum in Barstow, and Railroad Museum at Harvey House in Barstow. These are just a few.

There’s plenty more.

Apple Vally's Legacy Museum

A Legacy Museum devoted to the days of Roy Rogers and Dale Evans

Farther out are the clusters of Searles Valley Historical Society’s historical homes, and museums in Trona, the northern tip of the Mojave. South of the Victor Valley is Johnson Valley and Yucca Valley with its Nature Museum. At the extreme end of the Mojave are the tribal lands of the Chemehuevi, Serrano, and Southern Paiute gathered in one point of interest at Malki Museum, just east of Banning on the Morongo Indian Reservation.

This list by no means names the only museums, but the ones where new families coming to the High Desert can search out and find their own treasures, their own pieces of history and interests as they define their own backyards.

Rusty

Gaining Southwest Audiences

I’ve always suspected that for every person who shows interest in the High Desert of Southern California, there are at least 100+ more who are secretly wondering, maybe reading, or even visiting it. Those visitors, Southwest enthusiasts, are newcomers arriving daily as vacationers, relatives of local residents, and even transplants from the urban regions.

The last frames of a mine at Doble near Big BEar

The last frames of a mine at Doble near Big BEar

Whatever you call yourself, be content in the fact that you’ve found a place to learn more about what this desert holds for all of us. I won’t be a cheerleader for everything High Desert, but I will share the gems of what makes this particular region so inviting to so many.

Did you know that the area is a history magnet for German and Japanese vacationers? Their cultures were void of any “cowboy heritage”, stories of outlaw shootouts in the dusty streets never happened, and not one Stetson-styled hat was created for fending off the blazing sun. Their early cultures exist from European warlords, Kings and royal families, and castles surrounded by acres of poor subsistence farming. Actually, the only continent close to sharing our Old West history would be Australia with its large land tracts, penal colonies in a vast desert countryside, and the eventual growth of large ranches — known as stations — of cattle, sheep, and horses.

Closer to home, I find that the culture of film making, Wild West storytelling, and the abundance of rural landscapes were “the perfect storm” to romanticize the culture of the Southwest. It remains the staple of many late night movie watchers who can now enjoy old movies from the comfort of their bedrooms –whether in Berlin, Tokyo or Perth. Movies have brought us closer together.

Since this blog is covering my continuing journey to produce a digital magazine worthy of the readers who love the spirit of the Southwest, I can only do what comes naturally and share my knowledge and extensive background steeped in its rich history.

I plan to cover selected topics each issue that will encourage the Southwest enthusiast in all of us. Admit it, you wore a straw cowboy hat at least once when you were little.

I knew it.

 

Rusty LaGrange

Fresh Starts

Historically, this site has been running since early 2008. It’s had its ups and downs. I allowed myself to get side-tracked several times but knowing more was in store.

At this site you will find my continuing development of a non-fiction book close to publication and a new project, a creative vision that I’ve been working on for a year but, until now, was putting the infrastructure in place.

I’d like to think that even though we have great ideas, sometimes the timing is not right. I don’t call it procrastination … rather simmering in anticipation.  I’ve been treating myself to some self-discovery in digital magazines and marketing. I’m itching to get it uploaded.

My newest creation will be a digital magazine with a regional Southwest flavor, an appeal to the tastes of vintage and antique collectors, and crafters, as well as those who wish to read more about the Southwest deserts — in particular the Mojave Desert in poetry, short story, history, and family outings.

I know books that obsess on Route 66 and I know a few authors that will be introduced here as well. For me, I enjoy the balance of a readable experience with many topics with a common thread. You can find numerous titles on Mojave Desert trails, its colorful history and the legends that still survive. But VintageWest Magazine will bring you singular focus on sites and sounds that bring you directly into the desert that we call home.

For living out in the middle of nowhere are artists, authors, photographers, and poets who arrived here and never chose to leave. Some are entrepreneurs, some just downright creative sorts who love to do what they do without apology — those are the truly gifted desert dwellers, “desert rats”, non-conformists who will do what others never would allow themselves to do. We know you admire them for their freedom and spirit.

I plan to capture that.

This digital magazine is  — VintageWest Magazine. Don’t search for it yet. It’s coming. In the meantime, if your curiosity is overwhelmed, you can email me and I may tell you what’s in store.

And, to be sure, I plan to have the first 100 subscribers to the magazine named as Charter Subscribers. As Charter subscribers, a few bonuses will come your way. As we grow, you’ll become the Old Guard, the ones who took the daring step to support my dream of being an editor/publisher of a magazine full of the stuff we love to read.

Within the pages, you will find regional advertisers who offer the best of what the Mojave gives. More on that later. Advertising will allow me to venture past the basics and, in time, offer pay for authors’ insights and creativity. We work hard to express ourselves in the form of creativity we enjoy.

I’ve also been growing a cadre of creative writers and bloggers who love the Mojave Desert and wish to share even more of their aspects of what the desert can offer. You’ll see items on foods, recipes, and hospitality. Read about their passions, their history, and their dreams.

Welcome to my digital universe & live it through VintageWest Magazine.

 Rusty LaGrange