The Salt Shaker – August 2020

Hallelujah!  Praise the Lord!  How beautiful it is when we sing our praises to the beautiful God, for praise makes you lovely before him and brings him great delight!  How great is our God!  There’s absolutely nothing his power cannot accomplish, and he has infinite understanding of everything.  Psalm 147:1,5 (The Passion Translation) 

Greetings to our friends, family, and followers:

Praises – Ankle much better; insurance; safe travel; God’s amazing creations
Prayers – Wildfires along west coast states; trailer awning and other repairs; Craigslist instrument sales; RV park(s) for our time off

This was our third month in Pacifica, California which was a blessing for us to be in a beautiful place with great weather.  After our week “off” John’s ankle was much better.  He continued to use an ace wrap to strengthen it a bit and only had a few nights that it was sore.  It did make our evening walks a bit shorter and bicycle riding didn’t work at all.  We did spend two days at the coast, sitting on a bluff whale watching (no, we didn’t see any whales) and at the edge of the sand bluff a bit further north just enjoying the wind, waves, and pelicans flying.

John continued repairing the classroom building behind the trailer, working on the corners, fascia, and exterior walls.  More of the same volunteer work, only slower this month working alone.  After getting Connie to help once (?!) he devised a fixture to act as another “set of hands” to continue putting up the new fascia boards.  Final touches included caulking, priming, and painting.

Connie spent most of her volunteer time this month at the Elementary School building, touching up the paint around the base and as high as she could get with a pole.  Her fun project was packing 138 backpacks with candy and goodies for the students to pick up along with books and supplies before online school classes started.  She continued to do the watering along with planting another area with the potted plants started in June, leveling gopher holes, cleaning up a parking area after the storm, and using a saws-all for a couple of hours to trim tree branches.  Evenings were used to redo the pink “Pi Shawl” and our week off we sorted more music with lots of typing to catalog and know where to find each song.  This reduced our weight a bit more and saved some storage space.

Our animal adventures continued as well.  The rest of the deer ball team showed up one evening in a dugout, along with repeated sightings of the 8-point buck and his harem.  Connie said her final farewell to the goats with a handful of leaves and some scratching.  Lots of hummingbirds zooming about the grounds, some new chicks being herded to their pen, and enjoying Ms. Turkey flying over the fence to wander around the ball field and parking areas.

Overall, our weather was wonderful except for a few days with some smoke smell, glowing sky, and ash in the air from fires to the south.  The fires came from lightning strikes from an unusual and unexpected August thunderstorm passing through about 3:30 am Sunday August 16.  Connie woke to John scurrying around outside the trailer, getting things put away and trying to get the awning pulled in.  By the time she was up to help, a gust came up and took the awning to the ground as we were winding it up!  One side up, one side down; one trailer door functioning with a bit of a scrape, the other catching on the protector shield.  Although our insurance will cover the repairs there were lots of calls, paperwork, and connections to be made in less than two weeks’ time.  We had a wonderful insurance adjuster who was able to help John get the awning rolled up and secured so we could travel.  However, finding a mobile RV repair service is turning out to be very difficult, RV service centers are backed up with trailers needed for fire workers in California, and it is very hard to get parts due to COVID shutdowns of factories.

That was the beginning of our stress as we prepared to hit the road again.  There was what we now call our “break” day.  John found cracks along the side edges of our roof which he sealed; we will likely need a new roof in the near future.  In checking out our non-functioning water pump he drained the fresh water tank and the spigot broke off; no fresh water storage, but we didn’t have a way to pump it anyway!  Connie was doing dishes and the kitchen faucet handle fell off; a tiny plastic set-screw type piece broke off so we now use the short rough pokey end until we get a replacement faucet installed. 

Travel “moving day” came and we left on our 5-hour trip inland and north a bit to Chico, CA.  About an hour into the trip the van tire pressure idiot light started flashing, thankfully after driving through the big cities and across the toll bridge.  We pulled over and found our rear tire pressure was over 95# – not good as we requested the oil change service to check the pressure and they should have been 80#.  Once we let some air out, we continued our drive past Vacaville, where a lighting fire had crossed the interstate leaving lots of black grass and white piles of ash where trees had been standing.  There were many other dry brown grass fields and hills with sheep and cattle, and a hulling-shelling business with “gravel” piles of nut shells.  We knew our destination was in the foothills at a resort very popular in the 1940-50s, but didn’t realize the fairly narrow road runs into a canyon and ends at YWAM-Chico formerly “Richardson Springs” known for the mineral (Sulphur) springs that are here.  Yes, there is a rotten-egg smell in the air quite frequently!

It was dry, dusty, sunny, and 95 degrees when we arrived – what a change!  We parked with a swimming pool view out our living room window and discovered the gravel parking area was full of sand burs, which John worked at getting cleared out around the trailer at least.  We have no phone service, no text messaging, but do get 4-5 TV channels and there is great wifi service so we can use email to stay connected to the “outside” world.  Our two air conditioning units are on most of the day (it has cooled off a few nights) and our living room unit has decided to drip water occasionally; add that to our repair list.

We still have wildlife – deer, woodpeckers, squirrels, robins, partridge, hummingbirds (our feeder was up about 12 hours overnight before being found), dragon flies, butterflies, and a report of a mountain lion up the canyon.  On cooler evenings we will take a stroll, seeing a red moon one night.  And we have started our volunteer work – remodeling a small 3-room cabin!

If God doesn’t build the house, the builders only build shacks.  If God doesn’t guard the city, the night watchman might as well nap.  It’s useless to rise early and go to bed late, and work your worried fingers to the bone.  Don’t you know he enjoys giving rest to those he loves?
Psalm 127:1-2 (The Message Bible)

Thanks for traveling with us and supporting us with your thoughts and prayers!
John and Connie Nicholas, Salty Strings Music Ministry

Contact Information:      Mail:  John & Connie Nicholas ~ Salty Strings Music Ministry,
3916 N. Potsdam Ave. #3962, Sioux Falls, SD  57104

Phone – John 909-336-8910 or Connie 909-336-8912      Email –
Facebook – Salty Strings Music Ministry                         Web site:

ONLINE DONATIONS via PayPal through our web site


  • August 27-October 29 – Youth With A Mission, Chico, CA (north-central)
  • September 21-24 – SOWER reunion, Turner, OR (north west)
  • October 27-30 – traveling south through California Phoenix/Tucson AZ area
  • October 30-November 25 – Youth Haven Desert Ranch, Eloy, AZ (south-central)
  • December, January (February ?) – Time off, south-east Texas?