The cover of Northwest Catholic Magazine from March 2015.

0800, this is when I usually start to write the blog post. Had breakfast and partial coffee but am not overwhelmed by news and opinions. It’s early and I have an hour to get some kind of snippet out to you before 0900 walk time. That’s sort of the engineering of the process but still need something to write about.

Around here that is largely solved by a couple of ideas. One is the need to report on my cancer journey and it’s ins and outs. Two is the saying that “once you reach Santiago your Camino begins”. We worked on the meaning of that for years and now I just report on my day to day walk. So that is Cancer and Camino and then the third C, Catholicism, has to be sprinkled in. That is a good way to put it because I never seem to be long winded about it but it is always there sprinkled in. Sister Joyce said that I resided on the mystical side of Catholicism. This I take to mean that I am more concerned with the experience of it than the meaning of it.

This morning I got up at 0500 to try and get an appointment for the vaccine. But that was closed on the web. Locally I think that we are out of vaccine so I will have to check in periodically. Yea, that will be nice to get out of the way but we wait.

A few years ago a fourth C appeared for us and that was Corn. I think Henriette had something to do with that realization. So, here and now there is corn news because I did get a window up on the calendar for planting this Spring. It is pretty far away now but I have had folks fly in to help and I wanted to do this for them. So that will be May 10-12. Yay!

So there is a little 4C update on this Monday morning. Walk here in a minute. There is a little blue sky out there peeking through.

peeking through loves, Felipé.

A Certain Peace

Virgin Mary and Child on the trail.
(photo P Volker)

A certain peace has settled over the land, at least as far as I can see and hear. I think that we all feel like we lived through a close call. And now we take a collective breath.

And then there is the pandemic. Crises aren’t happy to just come at us one at a time but now appear in bunches. Yike. Tomorrow morning I will be up early because the appointments for the vaccine here on the Island opens up at 0530. Would like to score a couple of those for this week for us. It is our turn being we are older than dirt and medically shot full of holes.

I would really like to get the Moderna shot since that is the company that Cris is associated with. But it doesn’t seem like there will be a choice. But thinking of you Cris anyway!

Speaking of Cris she really hates it when I write about American football. I don’t know what possibly could be wrong with it personally but I will make it short. But today is a huge football day with four teams playing to see who will be in the Super Bowl February 7th. And this year the Buffalo Bills are in the mix so I will be routing for them this afternoon!

Well Catherine will be here momentarily. Time to walk and say our rosary then off to church for Communion. What a great ritual, probably will miss it when real church starts up again.

peace be with you loves, Felipé.

Good, Bad Or Just Different?

I don’t know about that title. But we move on anyway. So glad about this last week in our country’s history. We followed the pattern of the handing over of power and got it done. Around this Vashon neighborhood there is a certain sense of peace which has descended upon us in spite of the mound of other problems. I think that this has given us some degree of confidence to continue working along.

Well, on the home front our corn seed has arrived. Delicious eating in August starts here. We have the seeds for the three variety succession of Sugar Buns (70-80 days to maturity), Bodacious (80-90 days) and Golden Jubilee (90-105 days). That should do it, hang on taste buds?

The big three!
(photo P Volker)

Looking forward to a good corn crop this year, God willing. Last year’s was so dismal and in keeping with 2020. But this is a new year and new ideas and energy will be pumped in to resuscitate the life of the project. As the light returns to our days so will the energy return to the corn.

Felipé in his lucky shirt.
(photo Henna Volker)

return of energy loves, Felipé.

From Karen From Cambridge

(photo K Kelly)

Sitting Still

COVID storms on here in the UK and over Christmas my brother went down to it hard. Being clinically vulnerable due to my chemo, it scared me, left me somewhat afraid to go outside. He’s the first person close to me who’s had the disease. And with the uk news full of spiraling cases and drowning hospitals, I had a bad few days. Walking in the countryside has kept me sane through lockdown but now I was scared to go out.

Then I dreamed of the Camino. Of the simplicity of it. Of sitting in the cafe, in the early afternoon watching the peregrinos pass. When the day is over and the walking done. The glass of rioja, the bowl of padrón peppers. Writing in my journal. The peace of it. And on waking I realized that this is a time in my life for sitting quietly, and watching the outside world, without needing to engage with its fearfulness. I can be here, without engaging in the fear or craziness. I can witness it and rest.

And when the time is right I can go on.

Karen, Caminoheads England Bureau Chief

The Morning After

(photo K Burke)

Well, there was some hoopla for ya. Somehow the designer of all that pretty well filled it out and the lack of an audience was minimized. Maybe I am just getting used to living in a Zoom world.

It is hard right now to focus on anything else but yesterday’s event and the ripples from it. It is just the headline news no getting around it. Went to a Zoom party last evening with My Rebecca. Most people we didn’t know. They were having fun. I have to admit that I feeling left out of the celebration spirit in general. Maybe that is a sign of me being a true Independent.

There is such a need for bridge building, that is what I see in our divided land. I can only get so happy about wins and losses of the Parties. For me Amanda’s poem made the most sense of it all. Thank you Amanda, couldn’t do it without you.

Off to walk momentarily. It’s a shorty post today but it is all I can do.

bridges loves, Felipé.


Well, we got our Joe sworn in today and not only just sworn in but sworn in in massive style. Oh, my gosh. Did we need that or what? The call for unity was front and center. We here at the ranch were very moved.

But for me the whole show was stolen by a twenty two year old poet. If you did not see the presentation by Ananda Gorman, Google it up! She followed so many great acts and still stole the show. I need the t-shirt.

She Put a Spell on Me

Zoom cocktail celebration loves, Felipé.

Elbow Macaroni

This Mexican cross a gift from Catherine.
(photo P Volker)

If you have been around here for a little while you know that we pay attention to our dreams. They can give us guidance and inspiration which we are often in need of. Well yea, fine and good but you know how wacky things can get with dreams. The Dreammister must have a sense of humor. Anyway last night I had a dream about elbow macaroni. I am trying hard to come up with details but so far nothing.

Well, that is exciting news! But you see that is the trouble today that nothing can compare with the drama coming out of Washington, that other Washington as we say around here. Twenty one hours before Joe takes the oath and we are waiting for the slew of pardons to come down any minute from Donald. We are clinging to our present patchwork of normality as we shove the Covid and everything else to the back burner.

But my elbow macaroni niggles. And my Mexican cross joins in. The scattering of body parts and everyday items look like a scattering of macaroni, sort of haphazard. But the more I dissect it, the cross that is, I see some order maybe. The head in the very center could be Christ and that is physically connected to a set of praying hands and a Sacred Heart. Then the other items that swirl around those seem random and disconnected: arms and legs, breasts, leaves, an ear of corn, a hat but all parts of life.

In between the drama I ponder.

In between the drama I ponder loves, Felipé.

Spring Cleaning?

I know it isn’t quite time yet, at least month wise for spring cleaning. But I am sure seeing and feeling the need this year like never before. Not only inside but out. Not only physically but in all ways. We got dust bunnies on dust bunnies in all venues. I just checked it out, trust me.

Had a hard time getting in gear this morning writing the blog. Some days are like that. But I took a little walk around the house with the camera hoping for some signs of Spring and a little inspiration. Well, a few things were showing signs of new life, early birds like quince and rhubarb. Of course, other things like the bulletproof kale persist no matter. There are some new flower shoots shooting up hither and yon in little micro environments. Hellebores actually bloom in the winter here and I found one of those. So things are happening, it is just a matter of looking.

OK, I know there are other places still in the deep freeze. For sure but the tide has turned. Change is going to come even for William up North. Are you still there William?

Here are a few pics from around the ranch, late January shots:

Kale is a survivor.
(photo P Volker)

Brand new flower shoots. Don’t ask me what kind.
(photo P Volker)

Buds on the quince opening!
(photo P Volker)

Hellebore blooms.
(photo P Volker)

Tapas table awaits!
(photo P Volker)

Spring is out there loves, Felipé.


I know, yes, one of my signs is upside down.
(photo P Volker)

scramble – make one’s way quickly or awkwardly up a steep gradient or over rough ground by using one’s hands as well as one’s feet.

Back in the olden times, back in the mid 1960’s, I made a big purchase of a 305cc Honda Scrambler motorcycle. For that time and place and me it was an awesome machine. Mine was black although the advertising pic of Roy Rodgers with his showed a red one. I remember they had three models with the 305 engine a sporty runabout, a cushy road bike and the gnarly all business Scrambler. It was an easy choice.

But back to today, to the here and now of early early 2021. Scramble was the word I came up with this morning to describe the present times for me, for us. Life is never easy, right? But from this last year onward it seemed like the whole playing field has been tilted and not in our favor. Now we scramble where before we walked.

I think we just have to take that in and not let it frustrate us. It is always easy to have unrealistic expectations and the accompanying frustrations. Learning to downshift a gear and slow down is what I see as a Way for now.

though not tilted loves, Felipé.

Thanks Ryck

Thanks Ryck for your message yesterday. It was a message from “ground zero” or close since Ryck works in DC but I don’t know if he is going into work or not these days. So, if he isn’t in DC proper he is close.
But not a peep from him about this situation or “crickets” as people say now. He chose to give us that wonderful vision of the house on the hill from the Camino.

Yes, I think we need to check in with the things that inspire us and sustain us in these trying times. We need those touchstones to keep us righted. We need to know always which way is up.

Thanks Ryck. Thanks for your effort and your inspiration. We move forward more easily now with your help. And as we go we are thinking of our own touchstones that maybe we need to dust off and shine up.

dust off loves, Felipé.