Much the same as for anywhere and anyone else, times were both good and not so good. Once, after a forty day stretch of having nothing but jackrabbit to eat, their pet badger found its way to the dinner plate. The Mitchell’s felt terrible about it, but what has to be done has to be done. From the experience, Jack came up with the following technique for preparing badger:
First remove the head and hide and probably the insides. Mix a generous amount of dish soap, a gallon bottle of PineSol, and a goodly quantity of Alka Seltzer together in a large wash tub. Don’t forget the Alka Seltzer because if you happen to taste the meat, or get some in you, the seltzer will fizz and the animal will think a rattlesnake crawled into its hole and it’ll come right out of you possibly leaving you alive. Soak the badger in it for six weeks. This will give the meat a shiny, silky texture when you take it out of the oven and gives the chemicals a chance to thoroughly penetrate the meat and saturate it with its subtle and aromatic chemicals.
Your badger is now ready for the oven. Next, find an old piece of concrete that will fit in the oven. Strap the badger to the concrete, surround with overly-ripe limburger cheese, then salt and pepper liberally. Be sure to tie the badger down tight to the concrete as you don’t want it to escape-it may still be able to. Place the whole thing in the oven that has been preheated to 500 degrees. Next, set the temperature to 2800 degrees and call in a fire alarm. After the fire is put out, open all the doors and windows to get some fresh air in the room, pry open the molten oven door, scrape the badger and cheese off the slab, throw them in the garbage and eat the concrete. I recommend serving with a sledge hammer and suggest a boiling pot of very strong coffee to wash it down. You’ll need it.
Letters from Lizards to Lizards about Lizards
It is not you but, me. I am leaving you for another female of our species. I have learned that female whiptails do not need male whiptails in order to reproduce. I do wish it could have been different. I am just so much more comfortable. Best of luck to you.
Much love. XO
Pioneer Trail – by Mintor Jackson Steorts
Wagon wheel furrows cut deep in the sand,
winding through desolate desert land,
on through arroyos, climbing a rise
to snow-covered mountains that reach to the skies;
ruts that the elements tried to erase
from the deserts redoubtable face,
but fate has preserved, through all of these years,
the trail of the wagon train pioneers.
We follow their route in a multi-wheel drive
and marvel that anyone could survive.
Through famines, and droughts, and blizzards and rain
on a rumbling ox-drawn wagon train,
and eke out a living from off of a land
of solitude, emptiness, cactus and sand;
Did they vision rainbows way over there
where we find a cauldron and the smog laden air?
What will the future historians find
when they search for the trails we leave behind?
Will our many-lane highway be plain to see,
that leads toward that “Great Society?”
Or maybe they’ll excavate someday,
through atomic ashes to our freeway,
and wonder how anyone could survive,
on a careening, rumbling, four-wheel-drive.
Mohave III – Scrapbooks of History, (c)Mohahve Historical Society, 1966 – page 119
~ William E. Mutschler
Mrs. Kemper Campbell
by Eva Neal
Mrs. Kemper Campbell, with her husband and their law partner, Mr. Sorenson, acquired the Verde Ranch in 1924. Mrs. Campbell, now 76 years of age, recalls that the original Verde ranch was approximately 4000 acres. The Campbells retained the north portion of 1900 acres, while Mr. Sorenson retained the south portion. Part of the Kalin ranch, from the south portion along Bear Valley Road, is now being developed for the new Victor Valley College.
Mrs. Campbell describes the red House is consisting of nine rooms and in good repair. The print of the red House is used to the courtesy of Mr.’s is Campbell and it is from her collection. The “red house” was built in 1870 by John Brown Sr. and was used by the Mormons as a hotel and stopover. It was a meeting place of the pioneers on their journeys south to the San Bernardino Valley. In 1867, John Brown homesteaded the Verde Rancho, which became the first major ranch of the Mojave River Valley. Horse and cattle raising and production of alfalfa have been the major uses of the ranch by a succession of owners: the Coles, Sterlings and Greers before the Campbells and Mr. Sorenson became owners. The Campbells operated their portion as a working ranch. In the 1930s they added attractions for guests, and for many years it was well known as the “North Verde.” after the death of their oldest son during World War II the name was changed to “Kemper Campbell Jr. Ranch” in his memory.
Adapted from Mohahve I – Scrapbooks of History, page 93 – Mohahve Historical Society
in the summer of 1845, Benjamin D Wilson, own part of the interest in the Jurupa Rancho, site of the present city of Riverside, led a troop of Calvary in search of cattle rustlers.
Setting out from San Bernardino Valley, he divided his command. Most of the men he sent through Cajon Pass, keeping only 22 Mexican troopers with him to follow a trail across the mountains. Two days later, Wilson and his men reached the lake where they sighted scores of grizzly bears.
Most of the soldiers had been vaqueros. They formed in pairs and drew reatas, each pair attacking a bear. One looped a rope around bear’s neck; his companion roped same bear by a hind foot. Then the men drew apart to stretch the rope taut and hold the bear a prisoner. They bagged and skinned eleven bears, stretcher their hides and continued across the mountains to join the rest of the command on the desert at Rancho Las Flores, on the Mojave River.
Here the reunited party engaged Indians in a fight, after which Wilson and his 22 vaquero-troopers returned home by the way of the lake. They again found the place overrun with bears, and the same 22 soldiers brought in eleven more bears– enough to give them a bear rug apiece as a trophy. It was then that Wilson gave the name of Bear Lake to the little body of water.
Years later the name was changed to Baldwin Lake. The name survives, however, in Big Bear Lake which was created in the site of the Talmadge Ranch in 1884 when a dam was built to provide a constant water supply for the Redlands District.
adapted from ~ Pioneer Tales of San Bernardino County – WPA – 1940.
Johnny Lang set out one day in 1894 to search for a lost horse. He ran smack into a band of wrestlers and found a fortune in gold.
Johnny was plodding over the little San Bernardino Mountains, in that area known today as Joshua Tree National Monument, Where masses of rock form fort-like walls around hidden valleys and grass meadows. Here it was that the rustlers pastured their stolen stock. They ran choice cattle and horses ranches in Arizona, into the little San Bernardino’s ( by easy stages), and from there they spread through Southern California, selling their contraband herds.
The first thing Johnny knew one of the rustlers lookouts who drew a gun and threatened him. ” You ain’t lost no horse,” the gunman said. “Git going!”
Johnny made his way back down the mountain and return to the camp. There he met another prospector, a stranger, who pointed out a nearby hill as a likely spot to dig for gold. Johnny took his advice. He found a rich outcropping of ore and staked out a claim which he called the Lost Horse Mine.
News of the strike brought on a gold rush– and that was the end of the last great band of organized rustlers entrenched in California. The minor sworn to the hills and valleys and drove the rustlers from their hideouts. Johnny Lang made fortunes during his lifetime and never saved up any. One day in 1928 he was found dead. He died with his boots on, still searching for gold in the wilderness of rock.
adapted from ~ Pioneer Tales of San Bernardino County – WPA – 1940.
More about Johnny Lang & the Lost Horse Mine:
The Mormon Road going south across the Oro Grande Wash would come up and head straight into the Joshua trees and juniper woodland. The slope was fair, the ground hard and the trail reasonably straight. There were variations, though. To the eyes of one, one way around a bush may look easier than it does to another. Trails evolve. If one branch is significantly better than another, that branch becomes wider and more popular. These branches and shortcuts may join together later. These variations due to mankind and weather begin a process I have heard to be called, “braiding.” It is quite possible for the main alignment, the busiest, the center-most version in the corridor to remain in use providing its continued existence to this very day.