The Last Morning

South along Tekison Creek.

The last morning here in the desert. Overcast sky overhead looking for the sun to break through maybe. The guys and Kaya, the Belgian Shepard, are up the hill back of camp chasing the tricky Chukar Partridge. I haven’t heard any shots yet.

I feel great about the whole thing now. Everyone has had some success. James has just been starting up the last few years bird hunting and he is finally starting to hit them. Wiley who has been doing great for years had a slow start this time. I felt bad because I had talked him into taking a different shotgun than the one he was used to and he was not hitting anything with it. Then yesterday on a whim I said why don’t you try mine and he went right out and got one straight away. And the cool part is that gun is a really old classic that Wiley inherited from his great grandfather Ollie and he had never used it. So, now he went with it again this morning, good deal.

So that’s the hunt. We are packing up to get back to Vashon today. So, this is the last chance to get a few more birds. I didn’t shoot anything except some tin cans and they aren’t very good eating.

I didn’t see the Big Dipper all night, too cloudy so I don’t know if it is still there. Had a dream that was interesting and thought provoking. I am still trying to figure it out as it is not as transparent as the last.

I will publish these posts from the trip tonight or tomorrow morning when I get home. So, take care, miss you, love, Felipe.

A New Day Dawns

My truck Aldo, after Aldo Leopoldo.

A new day dawns and I want to tell you that the Big Dipper was there again last night. It was a little overcast so I didn’t get as good of view of it but it was there. Nothing like making sure.

I had a goosebump moment yesterday afternoon. Remember how we were talking about the North Star and how it is the way to orientate ourselves. And how I was saying that to me Christ is the Big Dipper showing me the Way. Well, have been reading Mathew Kelly’s book Rediscovering Catholicism and pretty near finished when I ran into this about the saints on page 301.

“They were not timid, whimpering or noncommittal. They were brave and bold. Why? They knew their essential purpose. They moved always in the direction of the great spiritual North Star.”

Yea, no joke, “the great spiritual North Star”! How do we do it here at Caminoheads?!? Right on track.

Well, James, got two nice Chukar Partridge this morning. So he can take those home to show off and make a gourmet meal. Just as I am writing this a flock is calling up on the hillside. “chukar, chukar, chukar”, yea that’s what they sound like. Wiley and James are gearing up to run up there. There are quite a few birds around, you just have to get to them which is no small problem.

I’m going to stay here and drink coffee and talk to you. Oh, I hear some wing beats and some shots. Felipe reporting from the front. So, we are going to have a archery shoot this afternoon. We all have forty to forty five pound bows and it is very open here. I will be fun to do some long range shooting.

Well, maybe that is it for today. It is fun for me to do this away from home stuff, feel like a real reporter. Speaking of real reporters, Steve Watkins has a new book out or almost out called Pilgrim Strong. Let’s check that out.

Love, Felipe.





A Little After Ten

Wiley’s new truck getting a workout.

Man, all of a sudden this feels like Spain, the Meseta, boarderline desert here where we are. I was up at six before the sun and made breakfast, went for a little hunt and back to do the dishes. I signed on as cook on this trip.

I was awake before dawn and spent a couple hours looking at the sky. I was toasty in my sleeping bag and had a good angle on the moon and the Big Dipper. All was quiet except for maybe a mountain sheep kicking some rocks loose.

The moon is in the final crescent so we see it early. There it was hanging above the horizon. And below it, as if it wasn’t pretty enough was another bright body, a planet maybe.

I just drew that on the IPad, all kind of by accident. Sometimes I just luck out.

But it was the Big Dipper that stole the show. When looking at this constellation you have to be impressed by its usefulness. The two stars that form the sidewall of the cup away from the handle point to the North Star. This being the most important star in the night sky. This is the same as True North. It saved my butt more than once.

The slaves escaping from the South on the Underground Railroad were told to follow the Drinking Gourd, their words for the Big Dipper. But beside its usefulness there is the beauty of the darn thing. There it is setting there like it has for millions years now.
What a treasure.

I was looking at the structure of it, the seven stars. It looks so perfect if not slight worn. So many have used it, yes it’s bound to be a little battered. The cup is in pretty good shape but the once elegant handle has a little bit of a crook in it. Well not anything to worry about really, just reporting. It still all points to the North Star, which is the important part.

And what if that was the really really important part. What if Christ, the Living Water, is pointing the way for all of us. What if that has been hanging there all this time to show us. Well I am not saying I made some important discovery but it will never be the same for me from now on.

Who knew science could be so fun. And who said the sky is science anyway. OK, time to figure out lunch I see the boys half a mile away and they are looking hungry.

Felipe with reports from the field, Me.x



Just A Little Irish Whiskey

This is a pic from out there a few years ago.


Just got on the red leather couch with my IPad and a little glass of spirits.  Finally, it’s 8 PM.  Was extremely busy today and just now I get a chance to write to you.  Was working on our tractor for half the time, getting it ready for autumn tilling.  Then the rest of the time I was scurrying around helping to get Wiley’s new truck street legal so he can take it on our trip tomorrow.

I have Mass in the morning then I am free to go.  James is going to bring a good camera so we will have pics for you.  Here I am going to make a list of ten things to photograph, like a scavenger hunt:

1. something interesting in the sagebrush

2. someone snoozing

3. sunrise/sunset

4. find a turkey

5. the Columbia river in the distance.

6. Phil cooking

7. mammal, rabbit, coyote or cougar

8. birds, partridge, quail

9. raptor

10. pic of camp from higher elevation

We are taking the Elk Hotel which is our 12 ft by 12 ft wall tent.  It has been years since we have had it out.  Wiley and I spent all kinds of nights in it in all seasons in the past.  It has provision for a wood stove so it can get toasty if there is wood handy.

Well, have to go.  But wait, what about the blog for the next few days.  I may just come up with something interesting out there.  Will type it up when I get back for you.  Thanks for your loyalty.  We are in this together, love, Felipe.

Felipe’s Fantastic Walking Schedule, October, Friday The Thirteenth.

Keeping it alive!


Visitors ~ I try and put this schedule up once a week so here we are.  This is our regular schedule:

Monday 0900-1000

Tuesday 1600-1700

Thursday 0900-1000

Sunday 1600-1700

But I am going to list a few exceptions as I will be out of town:

Sunday October 15

Monday October 16

Tuesday October 17

and Thursday October 19.

Hope to see you soon after that, Felipe.x

The Day After

We are persistent little buggers, that’s us.


Wow, what a dream yesterday, right?  Still high on that and will be for months.   We could still talk about that a little.  It is sort of strange to me that the action took place at a prison but it makes sense the more I think about it.  One, we are all sinners and fall short continually.  There is that.  But in spite of that we don’t live in a prison in our earthly existence unless we want to.  This would be to live in a mental and spiritual world where this is the reality.   This would all be in our head so to speak.   But that would be a world where God would be spiteful and unforgiving.  Clearly the dream points to God as being the opposite.

Yea, it would be a dream to have a dream like that every six, eight months.  It would be a real help to buoy me or anyone up.  Maybe we should all sign up.

Well, Wiley and I are trying to leave on Sunday for a five day hunt over in eastern Washington.  James, Wiley’s buddy is going with us.  Ideally I will go to early Mass with Catherine and then leave shortly after that.  It pretty much takes all day to get in there and get camp set up.  The last part of the drive is really rough taking two and a half hours to go the last sixteen miles.  We call these kind of places MON or Middle of Nowhere.

So we will be gone through Thursday.  I will put up another blogpost with the right info for visitors.  I missed going last year although we had the same crew two years ago but we were there in November which was pretty harsh.  September can still be hot but this October trip should be perfect.

Thanks for following along.  It is always fun to have you here.  Love, Felipe.


The Warden Comes Out For A Smoke

Sometimes beauty works.


Was up very early this morning.  Got the dishes washed, the woodstove cleaned out, the garbage and recycling headed out the door.  All before breakfast and all before writing to you.  I was like the White Tornado or a squirrel on steroids which I was.

I had a load of steriods yesterday at my treatment.  I keep requesting that they cut them back a little but they keep sneaking them in.  I am getting the picture that the steriods are largely related to my sleeplessness during the early part of my chemo cycle.  But really some great realizations have come out of that sleeplessness.  I was able to put it to good use at times, remembering the sessions where I talked with my tumors for instance.

So I think that the steriods are influencing my dream life also.  Had a doozy this morning.  Maybe that is why I jumped up early as I didn’t want to forget it, you know how that is.  And we all know how dreams work in that so much of the message is transmitted between the lines and we just absorb it without much action or words being spoken.  Least that how it seems to me, a lot can happen in a very short time.

This dream is on par with my dream of the beautiful woman with the disfigured face that I had at the retreat in February.  If you want to look that up in the archives it is February 13th of this year.  OK, Felipe let’s have it dude, you have 250 words racked up already and you haven’t even started.

Yup.  So, I am playing this prisoner at a penitentiary, sort of a Jack Nicholson character that is a little too smart for his own good sometimes.  So he is out in the sunshine next to a little porch hung on a old brick building.  He is soaking up some rays being outside on his own which is probably rare and highly against regulations.   He has a phone and the warden’s phone directory and he is busy making calls to a sorts of places on the list.  He is scamming different things to better the situation for himself and his buddies.  So maybe he is trying to get pizza delivered every Thursday night or trying to influence the outcome of a jail baseball game.  It all little rinkydink stuff, sort of innocent.

So right in the middle of this the warden comes out on the porch for a smoke.  I gulp, saying, “busted”to myself.  Only he just says in this casual way, “I see you are trying to find out where the Big Band sound went to.”  It was seemly a totally off the wall comment that had nothing to do with anything especially the rules and regs that you would expect.  There was no “you’re busted.”. The conversation continued although I don’t remember it but it was just two guys talking.  And they BOTH appreciated it, like it was a relief from the usual, the expected.  There was no warden and prisoner anymore.

That’s it but it sort of fits in so well to my situation is the beauty.  Before going to bed I was reading a big book of bios about the saints that Padre Tomas gave me.  It is leaving a big impression on me especially the ones who I can relate to.  Some had such gruesome ends to their lives; it’s all very moving as you know.  And I remember praying as I fell asleep about how badly I was doing on all fronts, like my religious life is sophomoric.  But I see the parallel between this and my dream.  The phone calls are prayers to different saints me trying to better my situation or that of my friends or my world the penitentiary.  Not that praying to saints is bad but it is more about the quality of my hopes and wishes.  This is largely the quality of my prayer life and right in the middle of that the Warden or God saunders out for a smoke.  And what does he start talking about,  not the rules and regs that are a large part of the norm of my/our existence but the Big Band sound and where did it go.  The Big Band (Big Bang perhaps) sound I take as his dream.  “Where did My Dream go? “, right?

What a reminder that prayer is a conversation simply put.   Just two guys on the porch.  No rules and regs, no positions are needed or wanted.  How beautiful, how simple really.  It speaks to me, I’m weeping.

Take care in these turbulent times.  There is solid ground to stand on but we have to find it.  With you always, love, Felipe.





Meeting Rasmus


Steve my buddy that gave us Sture ( pronounced stura) the flat coat retreiver came by for a visit yesterday.  Sture you remember from Phil’s Camino the film.  Well Steve shows up with a nine month old flat coat puppy named Rasmus.  So, we got to meet him for the first time.

He is still in training but should be part of adventures in the future.  One great thing is how is has some of the same mannerisms that our dog Sture had and we had forgotten about.  I guess it has been a long time.

At the hospital today getting treatment and bored to death.   Am looking forward to being on the road back to Vashon this afternoon.   Two important baseball games on the tube later.

Miss you, love, Felipe.





What We Talked About Again

From Lucia, saw it on Face Book.


My Rebecca questioned me about yesterday’s post thinking that I was to vague.  She has called me on this before so maybe I ought to pay attention.  So, maybe I will explain what was going on yesterday from a different angle.

So basically, we had the two tracks that were traveling along seemingly independent of each other.  We had the purely medical track recorded by the hospital personnel.  I don’t know what is even in there but it has to be volumes by now.  Then we have this journal occurring here with over 1300 entries.  It attempts to explain the day to day business of being Felipe with interactions with Catholicism, Cancer and Camino.  Trying to connect the two tracks or exploring the area that lies between them is the effort that is interesting me at the moment.  This is what I was writing about yesterday that maybe was vague.

It is sort of like trying to connect art and science perhaps or religion and science.  At first there may seem to have little connection or that they are even opposed to each other.  But underlying there may be all kinds of similarities.  And maybe this knowledge would help both efforts.  This is what I am trying to get at.

When I mentioned things that Jim and I talked about they are just snippets of all that went on.  But they are things that stand out to me.  And they may seem disjointed at first but they all lie in this area of interest.

One other thing that I remember now was this Jimism, that one definition of health is when a person is total unaware of the state.  In other words they are aware of health only when they are unhealthy.  They are then aware of the lack of it.  When you are blissfully healthy you are healthy.  This may seem simplistic but it is valuable for this exploration.

OK, let’s not forget the important stuff like praying for Betsy as she makes her Camino.  Or for Las Vegas or for Puerto Rico.  We all take our turns at the hard stuff.  Love you, buoying you up, Felipe.




What We Talked About

Felipe and Jim at the archery backstop.


This is regarding my oldest friend who was here at the ranch for five days.  Hope he survived, as I haven’t heard from him since.  No, I am sure he is fine, just resting up.  I did want to pick his brain while he was here because I have been trying to fill in some blanks with my medical history, in the broad sense.  Let me back up a little.

Since my diagnosis in 2011 the hospital has kept extensive records on me.  All kinds of things are recorded and that is one very amazing information stream.  Then this blog which has been going for three and a half years recording a different aspect of me.  It’s all very personal in another way.  In each we are talking about the same individual and his connection  to his surroundings in another manner, through another lens.  These two tracks are related but not necessarily well connected as they appear to be two parallel tracks.

I realized that there is an area between these two tracks that needs exploring and that is one reason why I started this conversation with Jim.  He maybe being able to act as a bridge from one to the other.  OK, that is the background.

One thing that we covered was how diagnosis works.  It is not always a one shot deal that we think that it should be.  We are hungry for answers and want them now.  But a lot of times there is time involved because the diagnosis needs to be made on the evidence of a pattern that has to develop.

Another thing was the way that things happen and we try so hard to match them up cause and effect.  This takes time also to sort out because some things that we think are effects would have happened anyway and just look like it was a result of the certain cause that we had in mind.

We talked about how God has a way of showing up in bodies that are no longer healthy.  Jim had good quotes for a lot of these things but I am repeating  just the meat of the ideas.  This one is so true in my case as witnessed by this blog.  My cancer largely flavors my writings in a lot of ways.  And talk of God largely flavors it as well.  Without the heightened awareness that the cancer brought this whole complex dance wouldn’t have happened.  There is this dance between and amoung Catholicism, Cancer and Camino that we are always working with here at the blog that influences but is not described in my medical records.

OK, that is enough for one day.  Time to get moving, walk time, love you, Felipe.