Thursday, June 2, 2011

A Lively Ghost Town

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Randsburg, a small town on the western edge of the Mojave Desert, hangs on the side of a mountain and is sometimes described as a living ghost town. Like Jerome, Arizona, it retains most of its old west, mining town character while holding on to life. There are shops open on weekends and the General Store, along with a bar called The Joint, stay open on weekdays.

Randsburg is one of a trio of towns that were part of the mining district in the Rand Mountains of Kern County. Gold was first discovered in the area in 1896 and, just as the gold was becoming more scarce, miners discovered silver and tungsten. The mining continues to this day with several mines still producing.

A small amount of tourism contributes to the economy of Randsburg. (I have yet to visit on a weekend when the antique stores and the museum are open.) Many residents still prospect; others work in mining operations nearby. The Rand Mining Company, as well as the Twenty Mule Team Borax Mine in Boron, employ their share of Randsburg residents, while some folks commute to the nearby salt flats, for example.

There is enough to see in town to motivate several trips. However, it is not looking good for my return until after summer is done. June is another surgery month for me, then by July and August no one in their right mind will want to be that close to the Mojave Desert. At least not in my humble opinion.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Some Joy Even in Mudville

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That phrase "no joy in mudville" keeps running through my mind. While other bloggers post beautiful images of spring blossoms, I look at our barren place and think what is this about? While we have some beautiful days periodically, there are new mud puddles replacing the previous mud puddles which replaced get the picture. The temps are still dropping into the 30's most nights. Plant ye your flowers if ye dare. We haven't dared.

Meanwhile, I have drowned the choruses of "woe is me" by returning to a flirtation with adding textures to photos. If anyone is to blame for encouraging me, it would be Mark Graf. After a couple of his recent posts rekindled my curiousity, I decided to give texturing another try. This time around I wised up (this is definitely thanks to Mark) and stopped trying to work with my own textures. Some things need to be left to the experts. There are textures out there created by people a whole lot smarter than me, and I regret wasting so much time before I got the message. (The bulk of the textures used here are from Shadowland.* More about that later.)
*Edit: Shadowhouse Creations is the correct name of the source. My face is red. Don't know what I was thinking about.

You may have guessed by the whine above that my blooms were photographed indoors. I am also experimenting with walking indoors. We have an old treadmill that has been stuck in the garage waiting for that famous garage sale we need to hold. I hadn't used the thing in years because each time I did my back acted up. I am ready to give it another go. So far, mixed reviews and hoping for gradual improvement.

Clearly, walking in our garage doesn't hold a candle to striking out on the lower valley trail headed for Cub Lake; but, it beats no walking at all. The trails are still fit only for the sure of foot, which doesn't describe me. So, the garage it is, for now. Yes, while a half hour flies by out on the trail, ten minutes in the garage crawls along at a glacial pace. Still, with sufficient rewards at the end medicine goes down a little more easily, right? Eventually, those trails will be dry again and I want to be ready.