Splattered paint art.

I visited an artist’s home. He is an artist who uses a lot of bright colors and uses a style of splattering or spattering the paint. He used his artistic technique on the outside of this home and also the inside. Most people use just one or two colors on the outside of their home. This artist used many! He even painted some of the trees, rocks, and a small piano that stays outside.

Salvation Mountain.

Salvation Mountain is very large outdoor artwork museum. It was made of adobe, straw, and many thousands of gallons of paint but it started out just as a small art project with dirt and painted cement. It took 28 years to build!! I saw some parts that were worn out and cracking and I could see that there were bales of hay, tires, and big sticks— maybe trees. Desert art can be difficult because of how hot the weather is. 
The artist originally worked on his art project for four years and then it collapsed into a big pile. He was probably disappointed a little but he decided to learn from that happening and he pushed through and kept creating. He also moved his project to a bit better of a spot where collapsing was less likely.
The artist was named Leonard Knight and he died in 2014. Salvation Mountain has volunteers who work there to help the painting or to answer questions visitors might have.
The art is ok to climb and explore but visitors should only walk only the yellow part when exploring the main part. The artwork is full of sayings and ideas from the Bible. 

Beauty Shop Museum.

I visited a beauty museum inside of a beauty shop. The man who owns it collects beauty items and also assembles beauty art pieces. Mama talked to him about how he is going to have a display at the San Francisco International Airport Harvey Milk Terminal. Harvey Milk was a man who worked in San Francisco government and he was shot and killed. He made a well-known speech called The Hope Speech.

Harvey Milk described how gay people should not hide— that they should be proud and seen. He felt this would make other non-gay people discriminate less (treat them better) and make less bad things happen to people who were gay. 

Anyway, I learned that the owner of this museum and salon will have his art featured at this remodeled terminal. I feel happy that I saw all of this in the place it usually is. I think it is pretty cool that the art will travel and be seen by a lot of people!

World Famous Crochet Museum.

This is a small museum and it is very full of crochet items made by an artist named Shari Elf. She has an art studio next to the World Famous Crochet Museum. My sister and I looked at everything up high and down low. Shari has a little sign that basically states that these items are for looking at and not touching or moving around. This museum building used to be a photo processing booth. Before photos were on phones, cameras had to have their photos developed in order to be seen. I enjoyed the colors and seeing how many items were crocheted. I learned some crochet when my sister used to live in the hospital and volunteers did activities for people living in patient-family housing. One of the volunteers taught me how!

A Swap Meet.

I visited an outdoor marketplace full of treasures. This is a place where people can come in and set up a little outdoor shop. There are also a few shops that are like regular buildings but they look very old. I got a pair of blue ankle boots with pointy toes. They are old and not quite yet my size but my feet are growing so eventually they will be right. We saw a lot of colorful art as well such as stained glass windows and this beautiful Crystal Cave. Sadly, the Crystal Cave was being remodeled when we visited so we had to stay outside and just peek in. Next time, I hope we can go inside.

Streets of Bakersfield

At my house we are always listening to music. When we go to see live music shows, we usually get to bring a treat. This time we all tried Red Vines. We saw Dwight Yoakam. He is a country music singer. We stayed up very late watching him. My sister fell asleep for part of the concert. I wore some solar eclipse glasses for the show and that meant I could see almost nothing.

You Can’t Always Get What You Want.

Daddy says this is “Rock n’ Roll history!” I got to go to a concert with loud music at night. The musicians in this band are older than my grandparents and they run around and are very active! I learned that the singer goes backstage for a little extra oxygen in the middle of the show and this helps him feel pretty great.

We have a record player at home and I know how to put the records on without scratching them. Before and after this concert I have been playing this music.

We were up very late at night! I did not see ANY other kids my age, and definitely no kids who were my sister’s age.

Organic Farm.

I visited an organic farm. This means the farm workers do not use any dangerous chemicals to help the plants. This also meant that my sister, my friend, and I could pick vegetables and herbs directly from the plant and eat them. I ate a lot of small tomatoes, cilantro, chives, peppers, and on the side near the fence, blackberries. I also was able to pick beautiful flowers and create a flower arrangement for my room. My sister learned which tomatoes were ripe. She already knew about blackberries— that they have sharp thorns and also that you don’t pick the ones that are still pink.

20 pounds of blueberries.

Blueberries are very easy to pick. They roll off the plant and into your hand when they are ripe. There are no thorns. When picking, you don’t have to reach too high up. Younger kids can pick them easily too. My family has picked over twenty pounds so far this July.

Petting Barn. (Twice)

I taught my sister how to pet goats and be brave. The adult goat is not pregnant but her belly is wide on both sides because she eats and then digests her food all of the time so her abdomen bulges. I love to pet goats. We also patted young cows, called calves and two pigs. The pigs have feet that look like high heels. They turned over so we could rub their bellies. I really hate that people eat these animals and wish that they would not wear their skins either.

Gum Museum.

I am allowed to chew gum during standardized testing at school because it is supposed to help your brain focus on the testing. Otherwise, no. But I did get to chew a ball of gum while visiting this museum and when I am 9 I may chew it more regularly.

This Gum Gallery is run by a woman who started collecting with her sister in the 1940s. There are gums from all over the world and from all different years. Mama and Daddy noticed gum from when they were young.

This was a great place. We just had to call Joanne and she said to come on over! She was so kind. She gave me a hug and kiss when we left. She was very nice to my little sister too.

3,500 Seeds.

I took a Junior Ranger booklet to-go and will mail it in for a badge to be mailed back to me. The outside temperature was 111 degrees so we did not hike. I still learned a lot though. The seed math was challenging for me. Mama is going to work with me on math each day this summer so I am ready for next school year’s math.

Big Bend.

I went to a national Park called Big Bend. The Big Bend is the turn of the Rio Grande is. I got to get right next to the Rio Grande, the shallow water was warm. It was not very wide where I went and right across from where I was, it was Mexico! Sometimes when I look at the desert it does not look like a lot is going on, but then when I start looking at the ground and at plants, I see different bugs and animals. I found two dead butterflies and brought them to the ranger. She and I worked to identify them but it was not easy. We thought one was definitely a Monarch. The ranger said that she usually has a hard time identifying butterflies because they are so quickly moving but we laughed because these ones were definitely NOT moving and still it was difficult! I worked to earn my Junior Ranger badge here. I also spied a small, beautiful, velvety, red bug. It did NOT blend in!! That probably means it is poisonous or pretending to be! I was wondering if it would be ok to touch to see if it were soft. Mama said please do not touch it. I also let a millipede cross the road and touch my boots. We carried her to the other side to show Daddy and my sister and then it left.

A Question.

Mama and I talked about this and how Dr. Martin Luther King Junior said I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character. We also talked about how he likely has experienced racism in his life already. This town had just had a big storm and lots of trees had been knocked down. People were all gathering on their porches and enjoying their friends and families outside because their electricity was still off.

Voice-O-Graph.

I went to a recording studio and record studio and looked around. Daddy and I recorded a song on a 1947 Voice-O-Graph. A Voice-O-Graph is a way to record your voice into a small record. The booth is the size of an old fashioned telephone box that you get inside. Voice-o-Graph used to be at fairs and other fun events and there was even one at the top of the Empire State Building in New York City! Once tape recorders started being popular, these were not really popular anymore. This one has been fixed up.

95% in Kentucky.

I visited a Bourbon distillery. Bourbon is a drink with alcohol in it and it is not appropriate for children. Bourbon is mostly made in Kentucky. I learned that 95% of it is made in Kentucky, actually. The tour guide explained how it is made. There is a lot of very special equipment. There is something called mash at the end and that doesn’t have any alcohol in it– I think it is the used up corn and grains. Farmers come to the distillery to pick it up and feed it to their cows. This made me worried at first because I thought that feeding them this would kill them. I don’t eat cows.

Alpine Slide, Finally.

When I was a few years younger I stopped by this place that has a slide with little carts and it is called an Alpine Slide. I was too small to ride it then though, so we kept driving. But this time we went here on purpose to ride. It was so fast and fun. I rode with my Daddy. Mama rode with my sister. Mama had to really hold on to my sister because the lift up is pretty open and up high. The bar that protects you is sometimes up high or down low. Mama and my sister got a down-low bar for one ride and so she had to be extra careful. My hat flew off on my last ride and then was run over, so now my hat has markings on it.

It’s Ramadan.

I learned a little bit about Ramadan. My auntie explained it to me. She is part of a religion and she is a religion called Muslim.

Ramadan is a special time when Muslim people do not eat or drink all day unless the sun has set and it is dark outside. It is called fasting when someone does this.

I learned that going without anything to eat or drink each day all day for a month helps someone remember to not take things for granted and appreciate what you have. 

Hydroponics.

I learned about hydroponics and aquaponics. They are pretty much similar. Aquaponics is where water is used to make food and plant vitamins are added to the water. In hydroponics, fish make the plant vitamins and that helps the plants grow as food. I saw this inside of a pizza restaurant!! The food being grown was basil for pizzas and the fish that were giving their poop to the plants as vitamins were Japanese Koi. I had pizza with cheese that was made from nuts instead of from cow milk. Sometimes this is not so tasty but this pizza was so very, very good.

Another thing I liked here is I got to try Sweet Tea. I love tea and this is just tea with a lot of sugar in it so it is very tasty to me.

The last thing I liked was that the art on the wall was all made from pizza boxes. I love when art is made out of non art supplies.

Salamanders and Snakes.

I hiked, watched a film, worked on my Junior Ranger booklet, and earned a new badge! Mama bought us a stuffed River Otter and a baby Opossum. I saw a dam on my hike but no river otter. I wish I had seen one! What I did see on our hike was a snake in a creek I was crossing. The snake was flopping up onto the rocks and the snake had a SALAMANDER IN HER MOUTH!!! We looked at the snake examples in the Ranger Station and we are pretty sure she was a Northern Water Snake. My sister hiked without holding hands and said “hi” and “bye” to every single person we met on the hiking path. She fell several times and each time she just dusted her hands off, (we tell her “dust it!” when she falls so it gives her something to do instead of cry) but the last fall gave her some big scratches on her little knees. I felt so sad for her but she was too mad to let me kiss her. I only saw one salamander but there are many, many types here. The one salamander I did see was in that snake’s mouth!

Salamanders and Snakes.

I hiked, watched a film, worked on my Junior Ranger booklet, and earned a new badge! Mama bought us a stuffed River Otter and a baby Opossum. I saw a dam on my hike but no river otter. I wish I had seen one! What I did see on our hike was a snake in a creek I was crossing. The snake was flopping up onto the rocks and the snake had a SALAMANDER IN HER MOUTH!!! We looked at the snake examples in the Ranger Station and we are pretty sure she was a Northern Water Snake. My sister hiked without holding hands and said “hi” and “bye” to every single person we met on the hiking path. She fell several times and each time she just dusted her hands off, (we tell her “dust it!” when she falls so it gives her something to do instead of cry) but the last fall gave her some big scratches on her little knees. I felt so sad for her but she was too mad to let me kiss her. I only saw one salamander but there are many, many types here. The one salamander I did see was in that snake’s mouth!

Manners (Duke).

I have been to most of the states but this was a new one for me today. North Carolina. I went to a visitor center to learn about this state.

My sister wears diapers, she does not use the toilet yet but she is at the age where if she has to poop she hides and squats and peeks at us. Inside the Visitor Center I saw her doing that and all of the ladies working there had been talking to us and saying how darling we were. I told Daddy, “She’s doing a big duke right now!” And the ladies there said “Oh my” and another one said “Wellll then!” And they seemed quite surprised. Mama was not happy that I said this. Duke is a slang term for poop but it’s not a very rude word or a “bad” word. But Mama and I discussed how talking about poop, no matter what the word, is rude in public. I also learned that people in this area might have more rules and feelings about manners or special ways to behave.

Something very funny to me is that I learned that Duke is actually a college… a very expensive one that is hard to go to if you want to go there. I saw a sign that said Duke Center and that was just SO funny to me.

Strawberry Farm.

I met a woman who grew up on a farm and was selling strawberries. She is going to be 86 in July! Visitors could pick their own berries or buy ones that were already picked. If picking, there are guidelines for selecting berries. For example, do not pick ones that are a little bit white or green at the top. They are not ready! These berries had gotten wet in the rain so they were not going to last too long, which is good since we ate the whole box load.

My Sister Loves Birds.

.

I visited the Castle Clinton National Monument and earned a Junior Ranger badge. While I was doing this with Daddy, my sister walked around with Mama looking for birds.

It was an old fort to defend. Later on, it was used as an immigration center like Ellis Island, then later on gardens, an opera house, and an aquarium. Now it’s close to where people buy their tickets for taking the ferry to Liberty Island or Ellis Island.

It used to be connected to Manhattan by a bridge but then the water area was all filled in with land and so now it is a part of a park called Battery Park.

The day I was going to Liberty Island, the ranger would not give me a Junior Ranger booklet because she didn’t think I would be able to finish it if I were going to see the Statue of Liberty. So I went back the next day and got one and completed it and the same Ranger was there.

Afterwards, I had a conversation with my parents and learned what the word personable means. Not everyone is personable. Rangers are usually personable.

Hopeless and Deep Fountains.

A while ago, I read a book about some people surviving the World Trade Center bombings in September 2001. I know a lot about it. Today I visited the World Trade Center memorial. A memorial is a place where people go to remember someone or something. This memorial is in the place where one of the very tall World Trade Center buildings used to be. It is a square shaped (just like the buildings) fountain wall going down deep into another square almost like a box. No matter where someone stands they cannot see to the bottom of it. The names of the people who died are in metal and if the person who died is having their birthday, a white Rose is placed at their name. This place felt sad. It was easy to share for a long while. 

Brooklyn Bridge.

I walked across the Brooklyn Bridge. This bridge was built 136 years ago. The man who built it got his foot crushed and his toes had to be removed. This sounds horrible but then his body got sick from an infection in his blood and he ended up dying. After he died, his son took over the bridge building work but he got very, very sick from working on the columns that go under water and he was no longer able to do the work. So his wife studied architecture and math and took it over!

Boarding School.

I visited my friend who teaches at a boarding school. A boarding school is where students live at the school. My friend teaches Physics. I know about inertia and momentum so I think that is what physics is about. This boarding school did not have students in it when I took my tour because they all went home.

Crater Swimming.

I swam inside of a crater filled with water. It was warm water and I liked that a lot but what I did not care for was wearing a life jacket because free swimming is not allowed. Every single person has to wear a life jacket.

I learned that the water was around 90 or maybe 95 degrees and it is naturally there, not filled up by people. The water gets heated by the earth’s insides, where a lot of heat is trapped. The walls and ceiling are made by minerals building up a little bit at a time for a very long time. I think it was 10,000 years. There is a hole in the top and I could see the sky. About 25 years ago or so, people used to get into the crater through the top! But now there’s a tunnel to go through the side.

I got mixed up in my mind about this at first. I thought that all craters were created by meteors and that’s just not true!

Fluff.

I found a beautiful area near the gas station where there were cotton tails. I took the fluff out and it was so windy it all flew into our car and Mama screamed with surprise. Mama got back in the car and just let me do this for a while. I loved it. This was a really fun stop to let all this fluff blow around.

Population.

Population means how many people live someplace. This place used to have a family that lived here but they moved. You can’t exactly buy a town but a businessman from Vietnam bought everything in this town and a man who was in a war in Vietnam was actually the caretaker of the area for him. I have not been to Vietnam but my Grandpa has because he was in a war there. Mama told me that this businessman bought the general store and sold his Vietnamese coffee at the general store and so we wanted to buy some but the general store is permanently closed so we could not!!

A drop of rose oil.

I visited a special rose garden where rose water and rose oil are produced. I got to help stuff the container used for distilling the roses and making oil.

It was just glorious to smell the enchanting scents and I spritzed rose water on myself and my sister and Mama.

I learned that to harvest the roses for rose oil, it is so expansive. Each pound of roses creates about one drop of rose oil!!! This is why it is very special.

Wind Sculptures.

I went to Mel Gould’s Buryville. Mama says there is a documentary about him so we will watch that soon. He was born in 1929 or 1930 or so, in California. He moved to this area in 1955 and has filled his property yard area with metal sculptures from vehicles and machines. There is a lot of wind here and wind is included in all of the sculptures, meaning they move on springs or twirl with the wind. They were really nice to look at. His underground workshop is an old school bus, camper, grain solo and a 55,000 gallon gas tank that he buried!! It would have been very interesting to look at. We all also hoped he was home and well enough to come out to maybe offer us a tour but we didn’t see anyone at all. I learned that Mel Gould helped the artist, Christo with some engineering of art before. Christo has made very big art and is very well known. I saw pictures of a fence made a long time ago by that artist. We put $3 in the donation box.

Routes West.

I learned all about people traveling from the East part of the United States to the West part. People who traveled by covered wagon had a really hard time. They had to leave behind their belongings on the route because sometimes they had to push their wagons up hill. This meant they left items behind like a piano. I know if you are moving you would want to bring your piano but it seems very difficult to take a piano on a journey like that. So many people had to leave behind their books that it was called “the prairie library” which sounds a little bit silly. I also learned about the Pony Express where mail was sent on horseback. Also I listened to audio about the Reed and Donner groups who had a VERY hard time. The gold rush brought a lot of people west also. When cars were very big and gas for the cars was inexpensive, people also traveled the same ways. This museum was in an arch shape and went over an entire freeway!

3,500,000 Gallons.

This is the world’s largest pool that comes from a natural spring. This means there are larger pools in the world but this one is natural. This pool was built around the natural spring in the 1930s. It was a project so people would have jobs at that time. I learned that no chlorine is needed to keep germs out because 15 million gallons of fresh water come up into the pool every day. The pool is 3 feet I. The shallow part and 25 feet deep in the deepest part. The water is always between 72 degrees and 76 degrees. 

Jean Lafitte.

I learned about Jean Lafitte. He and his brother were French pirates— they smuggled and pirated. Later on Jean helped the Americans win the War of 1812, the Battle of New Orleans. His death is a mystery and no one really knows what happened at the end of his life exactly. I visited his area and earned a Junior Ranger badge in the French Quarter and then again at the Chalmette Battlefield. 

Preservation Hall.


I sat in the front row, on the floor, of a small music hall to hear live music. This place is very well known. We had to wait an hour in line and the music was 3/4 of an hour, which is 45 minutes!  Mama, Daddy, and my sister stood in the back but I was offered a spot in front and I was so close, I almost had to duck when the trombone player played his trombone!! Afterward, the musicians talked to us in the hallway. They were very nice and said I was like a princess and my sister too. I usually wear my headphones at concerts but I didn’t wear them tonight but I did okay. 

Mardi Gras World.


I visited a huge warehouse where many of the Mardi Gras floats are made for the parades each year. The business has been handed down in a family and they make a lot of floats. But even with so many in this warehouse, I learned that they only make 1/3 of the floats for the parades. That means 2/3 are made other places. But the 2/3 isn’t made in one place, so this one still makes a lot. They make heavier pieces but for the floats, they carve styrofoam, which is very light and then, since that is not nice to paint since the paint won’t really be colorful, papier-mâché is added and then that gets painted. The floats are pulled by tractors but the tractor wheels aren’t filled with air, they are solid rubber so they don’t pop on a parade route!!!  Mardi Gras parades go on for many days and are very popular here in this city. 

Fractions + Treadmill.

With Mama, I exercised a total of 7 miles in one night while Daddy settled down my sister and got her to sleep. I noticed that one lap on the treadmill was 1/4 mile and I knew that this meant I needed to do four laps to equal one whole mile. 1/4 + 1/4 is 2/4 or 1/2. Then another 1/4 is 3/4 and another after that is 4/4, which is one whole.

Cemetery Tour.

I went on a tour of a well known cemetery that first was used in the year 1789. That was 230 years ago. I learned that people
were buried in tombs above ground instead of underground and a lot of people say that this is because the ground is too wet here and coffins would just pop up out of the soft ground. This could happen and probably did, but mostly these tombs are there because the cultures of Spain and France did this type of burial, and many people from Spain & France moved to this area. I also learned that in one tomb, maybe 80 people could be buried. The person who died was placed inside. Because the inside of the tomb is warm, the flesh decomposes and goes away quickly, in about one year. Then the bones are swept down to the bottom of the tomb and the space is ready for the next person. My sister sat in the mud and dug in the dirt there for a little bit and when we got back to our room, Mama had to cut her fingernails to get the cemetery dirt out. 

Beignets.

I went to a café with a famous pastry called Beignets. They are pretty much small, square pieces of fried dough, not too different than donuts.  They are piled so very high with powdered sugar! I saw waitpeople with powdered sugar all over their shoes. It was funny to see that. This café has been open since the year 1862! That is 157 years. I learned that the café is only closed on Christmas Day. It might also close if there is a hurricane also, but it pretty much never closes. It is open all day and all night long, which is called 24/7. That means 24 hours a day and 7 days a week. I love beignets. 

Wildlife Center.

I toured a wildlife center. My parents took turns driving around an area where you can open your car windows and feed wildlife.
You’re not allowed to feed the bison in one area though. The animals were mostly very curious and knew that cars meant snacks. I fed aoudads, zebras, zebus, watusis, camels, mules, water buffalo, bison, llamas, and goats. I stood on a platform next to giraffes and fed them lettuce. Their tongues are blue/black and so very long. I noticed that fallow deer, red lechwe, and sika deer were shy. They got close but wouldn’t stick their heads in my car. I went into a special room with baby and small animals. I saw armadillos chasing each other around. They were not the type of slow, sort of lazy armadillos from this area. These ones were jogging! As soon as I went into the baby room, an animal jumped on my Mama’s head! It was a lemur! Lemurs jumped on me too. They were so gentle and their hands were soft. You can’t legally have a pet lemur but I think one would be so nice to live with. All of these animals require really special and specific care.
This is a nice place to see them up so close. I always worry at these places though, if the animals are treated well and if they have happiness. 

Dr. Pepper


I toured a museum where Dr. Pepper and other sodas were invented and made. Some of them are no longer made. I found out that pharmacists used to make the sodas! I enjoyed sampling a Dr. Pepper. I don’t usually drink soda. I know a lot of people call it pop. 

Mammoth Nursery.

I went to a place that used to be a dairy farm. Back in 1978, a couple of boys were out hunting for arrowheads and found bones instead! They told the university that was close by and they helped keep the bones safe for learning and exploring. I got to see where the only mammoth nursery is known to have been found. That means a lot of babies and mamas. The mammoths here were not wooly ones because this area wasn’t cold. The mammoths were about 14 feet tall and weighed 20,000 pounds!!! They lived here thousands of years ago. I learned a lot and became a Junior Ranger again.