The Cool Of The Morning



Looks like another hot one today.  July on Vashon, the grass is mostly dying from lack of water.  It begins to look like another place this time of year which will get back to being green in September and October.  Sitting writing this post in the cool early morning before the hustle and bustle of the day.

I am working on getting the firewood in for the winter, a little behind schedule this year.  The tractor is humming away powering the hydraulic log splitter.  And voilá out comes fuel for those wet dark months.

In the neighborhood it is Anamaria’s birthday tomorrow.  She walked with her buddies Alida and Laura and they all joined Kelly and our gang on the trail in 2014.  Hot days there too in Pamplona, Estrella and Viana in August.  Anamaria became known as the Princess of Viana.  Maybe I can find pic.  Happy Birthday Amiga!

Thinking about yesterday with all the great pilgrims that came to walk Phil’s Camino.  Not only walk but converse and share information and inspiration.  Many good things came out of that exchange.  Have to mention that Dan from Olympia got a boat load of extra credit for showing up with his official t-shirt.

Some talk yesterday centered around the Lourdes Pilgrimage also.  And it sparked some reflections which maybe we can cover tomorrow.  Graces are still coming to us from there and may they continue.

So, thank you Dan and Jeanne, Chuck and Linda and Joe and Terry for sharing the trail yesterday and for bringing your energy.  Please come back again when you get a chance. And Happy Birthday to the POV.  You all make it happen!

Dusty loves again, Felipe.




The Trail Today



A beautiful July morning here in the neighborhood.  The sky is blue and a slight hint of a breeze.  I am anticipating pilgrims coming for our 9 AM walk.  Two parties actually.  Usually we are not that busy but it is the summer rush.

A group is coming from St Michael’s Parish in Olympia, WA.  Olympia is the capitol of our state and south about 45 minutes on I-5.  If I am not mistaken they have a cancer survivors group and this is some of them.  Welcome!

And Terry and Joe Matthews from California will be here.  Terry wrote the book Cancer: Exploring Your Path.  We talked about this on the blog in the past when I had read it but just in case you missed it it is a guide to a person fresh into the cancer scene when things are overwhelming.  Those are hard days and this book seems like the ticket.  Thank you Terry for that effort.  Welcome Terry and Joe.

I liked the blog post yesterday.  I feel like we have arrived in a big sense.  More to come on that in future days I am sure.

Time to go find my boots and logbook loves, Felipe.


Time Was Getting Short

Annie and I back along the trail.


Four years ago now Kelly and Rick and I were putting the finishing touches on our training before our big adventure in Spain, time was getting short.    I guess we are having fun since time is flying so.  And Caminoheads the blog is cruising on in that four years doing what it does best, keeping the flame of the Way going.  And the documentary film Phil’s Camino has a life of it’s own doing what it does best, inspiring those that need it.  And that effort has morphed into the hour long version Phil’s Camino, So Far So Good.  Alperfect once again.

Just like on the Camino it is better to think about the miles that you have accomplished than to dwell on how many more you have to go and how that will happen.  I really don’t know where all this is going, this effort of ours.  Well, other than ultimately, “This train is bound for glory!”  We know that.  But I think that Caminoheads instead of a movement toward a goal or an effort designed to accomplish something is more of a zone to be in.  A place to be, a sanctuary as our friend Terry Hershey calls it.  Lately we have been using the word neighborhood, thank you Mr Rogers.

A place to be.  A place to be at the tapas table again.  Ah, that brings a tear.  No big explanation needed there.  We are grateful that somehow we were called to be a part of this.

And at the same time it is not some sort of exclusive club.  We don’t say that we are somehow special.  This Camino dust that we have been inoculated with is free for anyone everywhere, at any time.

And then the trail here at Raven Ranch is another part of this neighborhood.  It lives on because it seems to fulfill what we need, what we have been waiting for.  Always ready for us to thread on it’s back.

I guess that I needed this today, to look back at where we have come, the miles already walked.  Always remembering though that it is this present moment that is most important, that is the address of the neighborhood where we want to be.

A long way dusty loves, Felipe.





Shoveling Manure

Spring comes late at high latitude and high elevation. Pics from William in Calgary.


Yup, that is on my list today.  We have a lot of pilgrims coming and trail cleanup is always happening.  Of course, Spain has manure, maybe I should leave it.

We have a walk this afternoon at four.  The daughter of my oldest friend is coming.  I haven’t seen her in many ages.  And maybe Father David will show up, he’s been threatening lately.   We could talk about his last homily.  One line of it has stuck with me bigtime, “healing is a form of reconciliation”.  Let’s talk more about that Father.

What is that line from Phil’s Camino, “healing is being reconciled with the bigger picture”?  I think that we are on the same page there.  Perhaps there is more that we can uncover if we work at it.  Some of this stuff is akin to, “you can have your cake and eat it too”.  In other words, they are way better than they even first appear.

Sometimes words fail us and that is a sign.  If we are talking about a topic that is hard for us to articulate then perhaps we are on uncharted ground, it is an area that we are unfamiliar with, we don’t have the words.  I think that is an interesting place to be, a place of discovery where we are not just shoveling our usual manure.

I think that Wiley and Hanna are back from their short California trip.  They got in at midnight so they are probably sleeping in.  Maybe they need some milk from town?

Miss you, love you, Felipe.




Rick And Maryka

A view of Vashon Island in 1950’s magazine.


Guess who showed up for yesterday’s walk?  The very Rick and his daughter Maryka that  walked with me over the last stretch of the Camino in 2014.  They have a cameo in Phil’s Camino showing us going into Santiago together, four years ago now.

Maryka’s Mom Carolyn and friend Anthony were here hiking and joining us at the tapas table yesterday also.   Oh, the weather is so glorious for us now to do these get togethers.  You will have to stop by.

In the early 1950’s a watercolor painting showed up in Ford Times magazine depicting a scene on Vashon Island.  Ford Times was a publication that promoted vacation car travel.  And you can see the pic for today is this painting.  It is of the back side of the Burton Community Church, My Rebecca’s church, with Quartermaster Harbor in the background.

This week we have at least three parties from out of town to do Phil’s Camino.   Wiley and Hanna’s wedding is coming up in less than a month.  All kinds of activity going on.  So we are busy but fun busy.

Oh, and the corn miracle that happened, the deer that are braving the electric fence and getting into the corn have switched from eating the crop to eating the weeds.  How about that?  There is some nightshade that is related to tomatoes and potatoes growing in there that they love.  So, I am not going to stand in the way of volunteerism on this one.

Well, just a little catch up on the news here at Raven Ranch going on here today.  All the news fit to print so to speak.  None of it earthshaking but important to us nonetheless in the history of us.   I like that, The History of Us, has a certain ring.

Off we go to walk, 0900 on a Monday.  Always good, love, Felipe.







“Blooming Where You Are Planted”


We got two tremendous comments from the Caminoheads Neighborhood on yesterday’s Intrepid Little Flower post.  We are so blessed to have such talent, experience and sources of inspiration feeding into us.  Am publishing both their comments right here, right now:


“Phil, knowing plants, I think those little blue flowers will be BACK, because the sweeper scrubber did not get the ROOTS.  Check next time you are there…

“All these plants in cracks reminds me of being in China bringing home one of my girls, a small city for China, standing at an intersection, a 1’by 1′ triangle by the road, with a full grown cabbage!  Right there!  I wondered who would eat it, how who would harvest it was decided… but that space was occupied and opulent:).  Also I wondered why my cabbages are not so beautiful:).  This was not a prime growing spot!

”Lots to think about.  love, Michelle”



“Hola Amigo Felipe!

“I was looking for just the right opening to tell you about Camino-connected stuff “flowering” in my neck o’ the woods, and you have certainly provided it today!

“Item one, the anesthesiologist who took me “under” for my cardiac bypass surgery and made sure all systems were working during the procedure contacted me last week. We had spent some quality time both pre and post surgery talking about my activities before the heart operation. He was most intrigued by the Camino saga, and the seed was planted in fertile soil. His call was to let me know he is taking his two young teen daughters and going to walk two weeks of the Camino starting August 1st. They hope to make it a yearly event as the girls grow up and add two weeks walking every year from the point they finish up the prior year. I was just thrilled by this news and told him how proud I was of his decision. He turned it right around and gave ME all the credit for doing such an inspiring thing to prompt others to “go and do also”.

“And the second Camino-connected event is even more powerful. A friend I met at a CEW (Christian Experience Weekend) retreat several years ago was using the event as a help in his dealing with the death of his wife by cancer. His daughters were only 7 and 9 years old at the time of their mom’s passing. We really bonded at the retreat and have stayed closely connected, if only by calling and writing. He used the CEW experience to help him decide to enter the deaconate program at St Ambrose U. After a year of that, it was clear to him that his true calling was to the Priesthood. His daughters enthusiastically supported his decision and are his biggest fans. No surprise there, huh? As he was nearing the end of his studies, he felt strongly called to walk the Camino following his ordination. He too remembered my enthusiasm in describing this amazing Pilgrimage when I presented the talk at CEW gatherings. He and a fellow priest did in fact walk the entire Camino Frances and felt it provided them with many answers to the questions that go with the beginnings of priesthood.

“The “Rest of the Story” wonderful part is, Fr Bill has just been assigned to our Parish!! What a thrill this is for all of us, and just as thrilling for him, as he will be within 20 miles of the town his now-grown daughters live in. How’s that for blooming where you’re planted!

“A long post, but I don’t think there’s a charge for excessive verbiage. 😉

Semper Fi,



OK, lot’s of good verbiage and things to think about here.  As for Felipe this pulls his 3C’s together nicely.  Let’s review now, remember the 3C’s are Cancer, Catholicism and Camino, not sure of the order.  In other words those might be thought about as the Crack, the Seed and the Bloom.  As Michelle said, “OCCUPIED AND OPPULENT”.  That is new, big and bold!  I will have to grow into that!

Feeling totally full, thanks, love Felipe.







The Intrepid Little Flower

Here is one of the pics that William sent recently. Probably a lot of these are growing up from some sort of crack.



This phrase “The Intrepid Little Flower” popped up yesterday when I was writing.  It seems appropriate when thinking about my experience living with cancer.  I am just a little plant growing in a crack in the concrete doing what I can.  And to actually flower is a joyful experience.

Just yesterday I saw two little blue flowers right together each on a stem less than an inch long.   The whole thing was miniature and easily missed by the hurried traveler.  Then last evening I returned to look for them and the stairs where they were growing had been cleaned and they were gone.  Yea.  Makes a guy want to carry a camera.

Ah, one of my adorable nurses just told me she is going to do the Camino next month.  And she just saw Phil’s Camino last evening so she is getting pumped.  And I am pumped up just hearing about it.   I M getting high just thinking about her going.  So happy trip and godspeed to her and her group.  “Buen Camino!” I think is the phrase.

At the hospital today because of the holiday yesterday my usual day.  And the sun is out so brightly.  Will be done in maybe two hours.  So much stuff to do back at the ranch most involving beating back the jungle.

Time to go.  Fun being with you, Felipe.


The Fourth 2018

This from William. We’ve had horses, cougars, mountain beavers and now hoary marmots. Fact!


Here we are once again at the birthday party for our nation.  It is still early in the day before the noise and hoopla.  Our usual round the Island boat race got canceled because of rough water conditions.  But our  amazing Island fireworks show will go on this evening at dusk like always.

Rebecca, was just telling me that one of her teaching associates is leaving on a two year stint in the Peace Corps to rural South Africa.  She is a two time cancer survivor and now seventy years old.  So, apparently they do make them like they used too!  Way to go Georgia!  Think about that Camino for a minute.

We had a whole family here yesterday to walk and they stayed for a  tapas get together afterward.  Plenty of time for great conversation and sharing.  In this group there were three generations, two nurses and a cancer patient all happily traveling together.   Obviously a lot of good dynamic going on there.  They were here April 12th of this year, we looked it up in the logbook.   I am pretty sure that we will see them again down the trail.

Those of us that are the intrepid little flowers that are growing out of our particular cracks in the concrete need to cheer each other on.  It is a place that we find ourselves that we as yet don’t totally accept but we are learning to make the most of it no matter what.  That is the name of the game so to speak.

OK, the corn calls me.  Glad you stopped by loves, Felipe.




Another Sighting

Well, I guess we will run with this and see where it takes us, this cougar thing.   Steve-O sent this in and this is exactly up to date.  Big cats popping up all over the place!


Pretty exciting stuff and just in time too.  The darn deer here are getting so cheeky that we need some active predators to push them back into the primeval forest.   I was out in the corn last evening weeding and looked around and there was a two point buck in there with me just having a good old time feeding away.  Wild Kingdom is fine but Not In My (dang) Backyard, right?  Only paying customers please!

Boy, I got to cool down.  So what else do we have here?  Dr David Zucker and myself are showing Phil’s Camino to the oncology nurses at Seattle Cancer Care Alliance in the evening Wednesday July 18th.  QandA afterward I am sure.

Annie is cooking up a bunch of sneak showings of Phil’s Camino – So Far So Good (the new long version) in California in the near future.   Here are the details that I just copied from Facebook

Happy to announce we will be screening the rough cut several times in July!
1) Wednesday July 11 in Santa Cruz, CA 7 PM
2) Thursday July 12 in San Jose, CA 7 PM
3) Friday July 13 at Adventure 16 in LA, CA 6:30 PM
4) Saturday July 28 in Lake Forest, CA 10 AM

I am attaching the first two posters below, so please share with your SJ and SC peeps! Posters for the other two dates to come. Thank you and I hope to see you all there!  (Annie)


OK, off we go.  See you tomorrow loves, Felipe.