Staying Healthy On The Road

It has been harder than I thought. At home, I was very strict about what and when we ate, and it seems now a lot of that has flown out the window.

We still are not eating meat, and are actually eating less dairy, but the processed food has been slowly creeping in. We hardly ever eat out - maybe twice a month, if that; however, the boxed, bagged, and canned food is filling up the cupboards. I am hoping that once we get to Tucson there will be better fresh produce available at a much cheaper price - I so miss Aldi's. I was under the misconception that because I was in the south, where they could still be gardening, I would be able to get good and inexpensive produce but the produce is actually higher here than it was when we were at home.

A typical day for us is a hot grain for breakfast, either oats, quinoa, or rice, and on occasion a fresh fruit. Then for lunch maybe Annie's Mac and Cheese with a frozen vegetable thrown in, or PBJ tortillas with carrots and celery. Then supper is usually some sort of lentils or beans with rice and a side of veggies. I have become all about the one pot meals. It just makes life so much easier on a small three burner gas stove.

You will notice that we are not getting near enough fruits and veggies, which is super sad!!! We are getting about 3 or 4 servings, when we should be getting 9 to 13, and is what we would normally be getting at home. At least we have our Juice Plus to help bridge the gap from what we are getting to what we should be getting. We love our Juice Plus, and I can't image how we would be feeling, with all this hiking and playing, without it.

Another disappointment is that we have not really been able to have our Tower Garden up and going. I had envisioned the beautiful spinach and lettuce we would be eating in the middle of January but sadly the tower garden is now packed away until . . . . It has just been too hard to keep things alive when we are running on limited battery in primitive areas. We finally let the kids pluck the miniature lettuce and swiss chard as we packed it away until we figure out another alternative. John says our next big purchase is solar panels, which would really help when we are primitive camping and boon-docking.

So for now, we are doing the best we can and Living Life to the Plus.

What kind of meals do you fix on the go, which require little prep?



So Worth the Hike

The view of the canyon as you approach it from the road.

We started for Boquillas Canyon a little later in the day than we expected but it was so worth it. We had honey straws on a pebbly sandbar with the Rio Grande River babbling past us. However, the start of our journey was not as glorious, and there were moments when I didn't think we were going to make it.

At the Boquillas Canyon overlook.
Let me back up a moment. Before we even got to the canyon, while still on the drive down, there is a scenic overlook, and a sign that tells all about how the canyon was formed on a fault line. The sediment lines are horizontal on one side of the canyon and at an angle on the other side.
At the overlook you can see the now almost abandoned Mexican town of Boquillas, which was a thriving tourist stop before the boarder closed after 9/11. You can also see down in the bottom left a few Mexicans, a couple horses, an old truck and some tarps hung from the trees for shade. These guys are keeping an eye out for any tourists who might leave a donation for the wares they have set up on the rocks pictured there in the front. On one of the signs it reads, "donations of clothes, shoes, and food welcome", so the next day we bagged up some of the kids clothes that we were going to take to Goodwill in Tucson. John and Hanna took 6 brown paper bags full of clothes to the look out, held up the bags, and before they even got the bags set down, there were men hoping on horses and racing across the river, which is the boarder, to get the goods.

Past the look out point, and down into the canyon, is the trail head parking lot. From the parking lot you look up to the point where we are standing here - that should have been my first clue that this 1.4 mile trip was not the easy hike the literature said it was. The trail began with an almost vertical ascend for what seemed like forever for this out of shape forty something gal who was toting thirty-five pound (each) twins - one on the front and one on the back.

After reaching the summit, the rest was downhill, and a steep downhill with turns and large rocks, which at times seemed worse than the going up.

Then we entered the sunny valley - remember me saying we had gotten a later start than planned; it was high noon when we arrived in the valley, and it was HOT. The saving grace was the lush green vegetation, and the promise of the river in front of us.

Right before we rounded the last corner, seen to the left, there was an older Mexican singing a sweet song in Spanish in the hopes of getting some donations. We never bring any money with us when we hike, so he was out of luck there but we did promise to bring him some clothes the next day, which is what John and Hanna did after they dropped some off at the look out point. The singer was very grateful for the sacks he recieved.
This is the final approach to the river. You can see the layers, which reminded the kids of a cake.
The Rio has a surprisingly green tint from the silt, which is a beautiful contrast to the copper colored canyons.

And finally, this is where we stopped to suck on our honey straws. Everyone but John and Ciara waded in the Rio, and enjoyed the shading spot on the river. The only damper on the moment was when John, the glass is half empty kinda guy, said, "You know, we have to climb back up that damn hill to get out of here". To which I replied, "Thanks - I needed that". But in the end, this trip was totally worth the aching thighs and shoulders the next day, and in a few years, when we come back, it will be so much nicer because everyone will be able to walk in and out on their own.



Wash Day

Nine people for eleven days with limited clothes starts to get pretty funking smelling fairly quickly, so we relied on the camping skills I learned as a young girl when my family would go backpack camping in Colorado - thanks mom, those skills are paying off.

The whole tribe washing their clothes.

We waited for a slightly windy day, so the clothes would dry quicker, and we broke out the white dish pans, put a little soap in them, (even a rock to scrub the clothes on), a little rinse water, and wahlah - clean clothes! Well, maybe not clean clean, but at least the smell was gone.

Lexi taking her turn at scrubbing on the rock.
Scrubbing the clothes clean was not as easy as it looks. By the middle of the day, my wrists were killing me, my back was screaming stop, and my fingers had completely shrivelled up. Plus we had only gotten through half of the laundry.
John attending to the solar dryer.
John attending to the solar dryer.
John likes to make his job a little more glamorous, so he called it loading the solar dryer.
We ran out of room, and had to hang them on our fence. The bird enjoying the clean smell.
We ran out of room, and had to hang them on our fence. The bird enjoying the clean smell.

At one point in the day, we looked over and there sat a bird, who has been frequenting the camp for crumbs left by the kids, enjoying our nice clean laundry. We hoped he didn't leave any droppings on the clothes making it necessary to rewash.

It actually took us three 1/2 days to finally get through all the laundry you seen pictured in the beginning. By the end of it, we were all plum wore out.

We now have a new motto - if it ain't stink'n , brush it off and wear it again.



The Desert Is Drying Us Out

When we were in Biloxi, Ms I was going crazy with the amount of moisture in our camper. Every morning we had condensation on the windows, and the water in the window sills would have to be soaked up with two, or sometimes three, tea towels. We had sweating walls creating mildew on the linens stored in the cabinets that shared an outside wall. We spent every morning opening up cabinets and airing things out.

Now in the desert, we are enjoying the dryer climate. In the morning, we wake up to a a little bit of steam on the inside windows, which dissipates quickly as the sun warms the desert.

We are also noticing a change in our skin, and everyones lips are cherry red from being chapped. The little ones do not enjoy the Bert's Bees lip balm because of the menthol in it, so it is Boudroux's moisture cream for them. I have also used all the jojoba and grape-seed oil, and we are on the last bottle of our Shea and Argon Oil Baby Lotion.

I am also noticing the dryer my skin gets the older I look :( The lines are more pronounced, and the skin is actually sagging in ways it has never sagged before. Or maybe the stress from traveling is finally catching up with me.

And our scalp . . . talk about drying out. It is making a hat a necessity for this dark, rarely washed hair.

Although I am sure this sounds like complaining, it is not. I am actually very thankful for this dry weather, and the chance to dry out. But what a difference 500 miles can make.



Imbolc In The Desert

Normally we are in the midwest for our celebrations and can physically feel the seasonal changes that move the wheel of time. However in the south, the seasonal changes are not as pronounced and one must look for the subtle changes. We took advantage of the unusual weather and landscapes to create beautiful memories.

To welcome Brighid, we manipulated the elements to illuminate the desert and renew the light in our hearts.

We created a elemental wheel and sundial out of the readily available rocks.

The keepers of the circle.

Used native sage for cleansing the celebration area.

Welcomed Brighid with our short sleeves and sun dresses.

And celebrated!

We also give a little extra thanks to Brighid for blessing us with our two precious babies born February 6th, two years ago.

Hope you all enjoyed your Imbolc and created wonderful memories where ever you are.