Page 4 2nd Anniversary Packet This Page is Dedicated to the World's Greatest Optimist -- The Desert Prospector
DESERT RAT SCRAP BOOK
The Pack Rat's Nest
By ALLEN J. PAPEN, Glorieta, New Mexico
I camped with an old "desert rat" prospector, one night a few years ago, near Beaty, [sic] Nevada. While sitting around the campfire that evening he told me an interesting story of a pack rat.
He said he was pocket mining, as he called it. He occupied an old rock cabin close to his work. A family of pack rats lived close by. They often raided his cabin and following the habits of their kind, generally left something to replace what they had taken.
One night he left a quartz crystal lying on the table. The next morning the crystal was gone and in its place he found a gold nugget. The next evening he placed another crystal on the table. In the morning that was gone but a second nugget had taken its place. He then placed several crystals on the table. In the morning one crystal was missing but, there was another nugget. For several days, each moning a crystal was missing and a gold nugget had taken its place.
"By gosh," he said, "I got nervous. I thought that that rat had located a cache of gold ore. One nugget a day was too slow. I tried to locate the nest from whence these nuggets came but without success."
"How long did this replacing of crystals with gold nuggets continue?" I asked him.
"I got eight of them," he said, "before the rats were scared away by my search for their nest."
PASS THE GRASSHOPPERS
It is very true that what one does not know will not harm him.
The California Indian probably had great fun in selling a kind of meal to Fremont's men in 1845, which the purchasers relished well. Bidwell, in his memoirs wrote, "It was rich, spicy and pleasant to the taste."
It was so well liked by early pioneers that demand for it grew until the Indians became careless in its manufacture.
When the travelers found in it the legs, wings and heads of grasshoppers, the demand was killed.
The "rich, spicy" meal was nothing more than grasshopper meal.
LAW OF THE DESERT
In the trackless waste of the great Nevada Desert, it is often difficult for the most experienced desert rat to find water for himself and his burros, and in many places throughout the desert the whitened bones of man and beast bear grim testimony to this fact.
In the hope of providing for the desert sojourner in an emergency, the Nevada Legislature passed a law soon after the building of the first transcontinental railraod, requiring trains to stop at the signal of a distressed desert traveller and provide him and his animals with water. It is recorded that in 1906, when a train was speeding along from Salt Lake City to Los Angeles, it was flagged by an old prospector with three staggering burros in the heart of the hot dry desert in Nevada. Fortunately for the old man and his burros, the engineer was acquaited with the statutem and pulled his train to a stop. Water forr man and beasts was handed out by the bucketful, and the train moved on. —Outdoor Rambler, Ione, California.
If a fellow works hard an saves his money by the time he is 50 he can afford a nervous breakdown.
Arriving home very late, Frisco Freddy sliped off his shoes, entered the house very quietly, even got into the bedroom without disturbing the "battle axe."
Just as he was easing himself into bed, however, his wife slightly aroused and groaned, "Is that you, Fido?"
Thinking quickly, quicker than he ever did before, Freddy licked her hand.
Perplexed Oriental: "Our children velly white. Is velly strange."
Spouse: "Well . . . Occidents will happen."
From the Brewery Gulch Gazette, a little weekly newspaper printed in Bisbee, Arizona, that you can get for $2.50 a year. Just send them the money and you learn of the West.
What the New Yorker is to the East, the Gazette is to the Gulch.
A Great Collection of Relics, a Faithful Reproduction of a Composite Old West Ghost Town
Open Daily, 12 noon to 9 P.M. Come and have FUN and a GOOD DINNER
KNOTT'S BERRY FARM
BUENA PARK, CALIF.
22 Miles Southeast of Los Angeles
How To Get Along In Mexico
Is just one of the many interesting bits of information contained in
by JOHN W. HILTON
(Illustrated by the author)
Chapters have such titles as:
The Love Life of the Jumping Bean
The Social Aspects of Carrying Water
The Illiterate Book Seller
The Begger Who Smelled Like Violets
$5.00 at your Book Store
THE MACMILLAN CO., NEW YORK
How To Rub-Out An Earthquake
Things have come to a fine stew in Palm Springs. We're having a lot of adverse comment about a crack I made in the Reader's Digest (which picked it up in Harper's) to the effect that "The climate is sexy."
Harry, I wasn't talking about the PEOPLE — just the CLIMATE. Is that bad? Is that slander? Is that true or false?
I know you have a brindled beard and your hais is white as San Jacinto's Peak — but was I wrong? What we need right now is an expert opinion — and I'm sure there's enough of the Pan left in you so that you should know.
IF IT'S PALM SPRINGS IT'S NEWS
Palm Springs had three spots in the news in 1948: a rain storm, a little earthquake that knocked a few bottles off slippery shelves (mostly whiskey and perfume), but the third "whoopee" was a wild story — "Palm Springs, Wind, Sand and Stars" in Harper's Magazine for August, '48. Seems the writer, Cleveland Amory (a very proper Bostonian) talked to a Palm Springs girl, Priscilla Chaffey (for 11 years editor of one of the Palm Springs newspapers). Priscilla was quoted as saying, "Our climate here is sexy."
All your Editor has to say is that our Desert Folks have always been very, very healthy and very friendly. Priscilla, I wish we could have the expert opinion of the old Desert Pioneer in the picture in the next column. —>
Then too, the answer may be in John Hilton's . . . "How To Be a Desert Rat and Like It" . . . on page 5 of this packet.
WHERE IS THAT EARTHQUAKE?
"Cactus Slim" Moorten says things are different in Palm Springs than they used to be. Even the weather doesn't work the same. Along in the fall of the year when days are getting shorter they take a spurt for a week or two of being a few minutes longer. Reason — the sun finding notches in the mountains.
Slim says "Another curious fact is that it freezes a 8 degrees higher in Palm Springs. When the radios says it's going to be 40 degrees before sunup, I look out the window and see frost on the ground and ice, too, in spots.
WALKING TALKING ROADRUNNERS
Just read a very interesting article on birds and found something that you ought to know about. It seems that most birds have four toes on each foot, three in front and one behind and that birds of the Parrot family are a little different, having two toes in front and two behind . . . Now a Roadrunner's foot has two toes in front and two behind, so that ought to make it a member of the Parrot family . . . What I am getting at is that you ought to catch yourself a Roadrunner and educate him — then you would probably have the only talking Roadrunner in the world for your Museum.
Old Timer McRae who lives just west of Fort Oliver is adding another room to his shack so's he'll have room to take a Sunday paper.
Harry, you old fossil, you have often mentioned the various Petrified Forests and Springs in the desert that will petrify wood, and you have probably been petrified yourself a few times around Christmas and New Year's — BUT I'll bet that you probably haven't seen any Petrified Lightning . . . Well, practically right out your own back door, there are barren sand dunes that have been struck with lightning. The intense heat fuses the sand and forms tubes, which are sometimes 30 feet in length. These tubes vary in size, some being three to four inches in circumference although most of them are a little smaller . . . The interior of the tubes is [sic] glossy and like glass, so now get busy and figure out something that they can be used for . . . High class Rockhounds call he Fulgurites, but between you and me, they are just Petrified Lightning.
PLAY — In the Sun - - In the Water and Under the Wind
You Can Float In
250 Feet Below Sea Level
Salton Sea — A beautiful inland body of salt water — area 306 square miles, 25 0feet [sic] below sea level. Its salt content is twice that of the ocean — Its surface is the fastest motor boat course in the world.
Swimming and Boating
Desert and Seashore Homesites
9½ Miles East of Meca, [sic] California
BRIGHAM YOUNG AND HIS 20 WIVES IN GRAND MELEE
[image: riot in overloaded bed - man atop wardrobe]
Polygamy was Brigham Young's own invention among the westward bound Mormons according to officials of the Re-Organized Church of the Later [sic] Day Saints, with headquarters in the "Garden of Eden" at Independence, Missouri. Abner Blackburn says "there was much talk about polygamy" after Brigham Young took over, which is further proof that Joseph Smith did not start plural marriage as charged by Utah Mormons. Brigham had 21 wives, 20 of whom lived in the Lion House, where the "Lion of the Lord" sometimes presided, away from danger, high up on the clothes closet as portrayed in the above early day caricature. WHile westward bound, early in 1846, at Council Bluffs, Brigham sent several hundred of his able bodied men to enlist in the Mexican War. He was short of food and money, and now of man power which probably was responsible for him and his Elders taking on plural and younger wives. Emilia was always his favorite, and for her he built a separate palace on Brigham Street. Descendents of Emilia today claim they are the only legitimate heirs of Brigham, leaving hundreds of others without claim. The George Edmunds Act of 1882 and 1887 broke up Brigham's polygamy business by making it a Federal crime subject to $500 fine and 5 years in jail. Many Saints never went to jail by practicing it secretly.
From The Pony Express. By permission of Herb S. Hamlin
LEGEND: A lie that has attained the dignity of age.
This is the 2nd Anniversary of this publication, which means there's been 8 copies come off the press. The first packet was published the 15th of April, 1946, and here it is December 15th, 1948. Thirty-one months to get to be two years old.
I did it without hired help except for the printing, and never ordered it printed until I had the money to pay the printer. Worked out, building Adobe Houses, Fairs, Floats, Swimming Pools, etc., to get the money.
It's been fun. I like your letters even if I did not answer any of them, not even the ones in which you enclose 50¢ for a year's subscription and then forget to put in the 50¢. There is always the possibility a letter may have a 10 years subscription (with a $5 check in it). I have a few. Sure it's fun!
I do have subscribers in every state in the Union and a coupl'a hundred going to Foreign Countries (mostly Canada and Mexico).
Most of my patients re-subscribe, so I guess you miht say this paper is a success. Viva La Anniversary!
From the Preachers Pack
"The Ministry of Humor"
By DR. WILLIAM EVERETT ROBERTS
Pastor of the West Adams Presbyterian Church, Los Angeles
"Humor is not the mark of a superficial character. Only Humor is song. Men express themselves through laughter just as deeply as through tears. There are certain strenghtening states of mind such as love, joy, peace, friendliness. These all build health. Humor is contributory to all these. It is one of the paths of happiness.
"Humor is not the mark of a superficial character. Only serious minded people can produce rich humor. Men like Mark Twain knew all about the sorrows and heartaches of humanity. Because they knew these experiences they could provide the antidotes for them.
"Humor has its definite mission because it helps to promote true fellowship and fellowship is the chief value of human living. Men who have fortunes and no fellows are poverty stricken, for money can't furnish satisfactiuon for soul hunger. On the other hand, men who enjoy the fellowship of congenial spirits do not need to consult their properties to know their wealth.
"If we have a grouch, let's check it. If we have a laugh, let's share it. For folks who can laugh together can live together."
THE LORDS MINE
By JOHN C. HERR
Proprietor, Wickenburg Ore Market, in the Wickenburg Sun
Out beyone Salome and a few miles on west of the own of Hope lies the settlement of Desert Wells, on the edge of a great desert valley where some years ago a number of colored families took up homesteads on the promise of water from the Colorado River.
The years passed and as prayers for water went unanswered, one by one these families gave up the long struggle and took the road back.
Only one family remained — one of great faith — the family of Raymond Perry. A family that trusted in the Lord and believed in the power of prayer.
A few weeks ago Raymond was awakened in the night by a vision. A vision of a rich mine in the desert. The great vision was so clear he could not sleep and walked about outside the house, waiting for the break of day while his good wife prayed that the great vision might be true and that the Lord would guide his footsteps through the desert to his dream of dreams.
And so it was that Raymond Perry, guided by something greater than himself, walked 10 miles ion a straight line to a very rich lead deposit. One that may become a great mine.
Raymond has already taken out and marketed enough ore to prove the value of the mine and has been offered a lot of money for it. But he says, "This is the Lord's mine and He is going to keep it."
Next June when it gets hot (and it does get hot!) Raymond is going up in the high mountains where it is cool, and spend the summer fishing. For 15 years he has toiled and sweated through the heat of the desert, always with an eye on the cool mountains to the north and a wish in his heart to go fishing.
Highest prices for meteorites, any size iron or stone, or any native (natural) iron — NOT iron ore but metallic iron.
For Desert FUN Follow the SUN
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Grubstaker: The late Scotty Allen
THE PONY EXPRESS
STORIES OF PIONEERS AND OLD TRAILS
Our Aim and Object — To rescue for America the old Pioneer Spirit by relating true stories of famous Frontier Trails.
Herb S. Hamlin, Editor
Address All Mail to
THE PONY EXPRESS MUSEUM
500 Virginia Ave.
San Mateo, California
Published Monthly at Placerville, Calif.
THE WEST Is Still Wild
I have a big old 44 Colt "Trouble Stopper" with notches on its handle and by gee I have to use it every night because I don't like trouble — yes sir'ee, I lay that old shooting iron on my well stuffed old office chair so's "Whiskers," my dog, and "Sin," my cat, won't fight all night to see which sleeps on that soft chair seat.
Rip-Snortin', the Old Time Prospector is back from his vacation. It was an alcoholiday.
Alaskans Learn Silversmithing . . .
TUBA CITY — Four students from Wrangell and White Mountain schools in Alaska are being sent by Indian Service to boarding school here to learn the art of making cast silver jewelry. Two of the students will be from the Haida and Tlinget tribes, and two will be Eskimos. Their instructor is Chester Yellowhair, famous for his beautiful work in cast silver. It is planned that upon their return the students will teach other Alaskan natives, using distinctly Alaskan designs from their traditional totemic material. —Desert Magazine.
The largest black opal in the world, with a value placed at $200,000, was found in northwestern Nevada. —Desert Magazine.
WATER WATER By H2O
He knew he was great. Had he not read it in the morning papers again and again in the evening papers? A great director of a great motion picture. Great he must be. Of course the papers stated that the stars had been cleverly chosen, the story was brilliant, the costumes beautiful, the music refreshing and snappy, the settings colossal, the photography superb. But he was there in person so he could take the bows for all of this, he and his beautiful wife, and everyone in Hollywood's newest CAFE OF YES was aware that he was the fellow that made "SUE GOES UPSTAIRS," the great hit. He also knew the hit would be talked of only until another came along to take its place — two weeks, if he was lucky.
Then the singing waiter came to his table and all eyes were turned his way and he had a chance to smile at a few he had missed. As the song went on — a song about "no matter what you drink the night before, it's water, water, ice cold water in the morning." While the waiter did a shaky imitation of the morning after, a splash of water socked "our here" under the chin, wilting his Bond Street shirt, as the crowd roared with laughter. Mr. Great Director slapped the apologizing waiter and, turning, saw the profile of his beautiful wife. She and his brother, both forgetting his importance, laughed with the crowd.
He thought he heard hisses as he hastily fled from the place, not stopping for his hat. As he reached the curb he could hear the laughter and the waiter's song, "Water, water in the morning," ringing in his ears.
As he shot down Hollywood Boulevard in his big blue roadster he could see his name in electric lights. On and on he drove through the summer night — Berdoo, Banning, on into the desert to make the wrong turn at a detour, his radio blasting, blasting out the lauhter from the cafe he had just left.
Many missed Mr. Great Director at the preview the following night, but it wasn't till long after they had left the theatre that Yuma Slim, a prospector crossing a narrow strip of the desert, heard someone singing "Water, water," and investigating, found a big blue car miles off the main highway, out of gas, a thirst-crazed man slumped in the seat.
It took Yuma Slim some time to figure who was hollering for the waer, but knowing more of the ways of the desert than of radios, he gave him water from his canteen.
The next day when Mr. Director left for Hollywood, Yuma Slim said to him, "I guess that fellah singin' that water song saved your life, and he's darned comical, too." "Yes, he saved my life alright and I can repay him. I am going to have the writers make a spot for him in my next picture.
TO YOU THAT LOVE THE DESERT
Harry Has Given An Appetizer
To Really Know Our Desert Read
THE Desert MAGAZINE
Edited by Randall Henderson
For 11 Years the Desert Dwellers Bible
Send 25¢ for sample copy - - - PALM DESERT, CALIF.
It is estimated that half a million snakes and twice that number of lizards were lkilled for their skins and turned into shoes and purses last year, for milady's fancy.
DESERT ROUGH CUTS
A HAYWIRE HISTORY OF THE BOREGO DESERT -
BY HARRY OLIVER
Pat Boomer who's always got a patent pending, has gone and taken to raising chickens. He's doing it all by machinery. Everything is to be automatic. You push a button and it works.
It's bad business for a stranger to push buttons around Pat's house; you might stop the windmill, you might feed the hogs off hours or you might accidentally lock the gate when the mother-in-law's coming.
Pat had us all breakin' our backs shovelin' into that separator he invented for dry gold mining. The patent must still be pending. All we ever found was two horseshoe nail and the Widow Winchester's false teeth. Pat sure is a mechanical cuss, so mechanical that he forgot it takes a little romance to breed chickens, till that new-fangled solar heater incubator of his refused to show any results without a rooster. I was wonderin' about that and wasn't surprised when he come to the Busy Bee store and asked me who's got the best roosters.
A storekeeper's got to be diplomatic, so I said, "Well, Joe Webb says he has, so does Scotty. Better get one from each ofr them. That's the way we do things here."
He took my advice. About a week later we were all out on the porch when here comes Pat in his flivver, its fenders floppin' like the ears of a hound dog. Pat gets out, and talkin' like he always does to machinery, like as if it understands him, he tells the car to wait. He got cured of swearin' at machinery; seems once he told a meat-grinder to go to hell and it up an' bit his finger.
Strange enough, he didn't come to talk about his fancy contraptions. He had somethin' else on his mind. He hands me one of them mail-order envelopes, forgettin' that they always make me see red, and says, "Take a squint at what's inside, old timer."
I did. And there were four of the prettiest little gold nuggets you ever seen.
"Either Joe or Scotty's got gold on his place," says Pat.
Funny, the interest gold can excite. Everyone talked at once. Of course Joe and Scotty got most of the attention.
"Gold on my place?" says Joe lookin' suspicious at Pat.
"Gold on my place?" says Scotty. "Hoot, Mon, you're daft."
"Well," says Pat, "I got a rooster from each of you, didn't I? Well, they took to fightin' this mornin' an' one of them got so badly licked I had to kill it."
"Not mine," snaps out Joe.
"Whose else could it be?" says Scotty.
They were both right proud of their roosters and wouldn't stand for no slanderous reports. They side tracked Pat's story and it looked like they'd come to blows before the boys dragged 'em back to the subject of gold.
"That gold," says Pat, "come from the crop of the rooster that got beat."
"Then the gold's from your place," says Scotty to Joe.
"Wrong again," says Joe. "My roosters keep in practice by lickin' rattlesnakes."
"Congratulate him, boys," says Scotty.
"No rooster of mine gets licked, gold or no gold," says Joe.
There was no stopin' 'em. Finally Pat gets disgusted, says something about inventin' a gag for folks that argue too much and heads himself home.
Late that night, as I was shuttin' up the store, I saw the lights of two langerns flashin' in the dark, one to the east, the other to the west. Knowin' the geography down here pretty well I guesses that, roosters or no roosters, there was some preliminary gold huntin' goin' on in two chicken yards.
The Jackass Rabbit
In the early days of the West, naturalists referred to the rabbit with the long ears as the Jackass Rabbit and Mule rabbit . . . Inasmuch as the common name for a Jackass was shortened to Jack, the same happened to the Jackass rabbit and it is now called a Jack rabbit. The average desert Jack can get going at a speed of 35 to 40 miles an hour for quite a distance . . . When going at top speed it makes leaps of from 10 to 15 feet and cannot be caught by ordinary dogs . . . Greyhounds can catch them if they are in a straight run, but will not stand a chance if in a bushy country.
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