Fulltime Roadrunners

Fulltime Roadrunners
Staying Put at BLM Oxbow Campground on the Colorado River, Cibola, AZ

Rattlesnake Hwy 1

March 29th, 2013

I swear Ron and Deb have parked their RV right in the middle of Rattlesnake Hwy 1!  Ron called this morning around 10:30 with another snake at his place.  They’ve had 4 snakes, 3 of which we moved further out into the desert.  All 4 snakes were different snakes, not one or two returning to what is apparently a favorite hang-out.  Today’s snake was 3.5 ft. in length and skinnier than the others.  It’s coloring was about halfway between the charcoal colored one and the sandy brown one.  The 3rd one we didn’t catch was sandy brown and quite a bit smaller than the others.  I’m only sharing this one pic of today’s snake because I love the way the tongue shows so clearly.  All 3 of the snakes we captured closed the first eyelid over their eyes and found and followed us by “smelling” us with their tongue… and sensing our body heat with the tongue.


Yesterday we showed Ron and Deb where we’ll be parking the RV for the summer… at Senator’s Wash Boat Ramp.  We talked to Sandy and Jack, the Winter hosts there, and they informed us they won’t be leaving until sometime between May 1 and May 11th.  That’s quite a bit later than we expected and it means we get to sit out here in the desert without shore power.  We’ll either be using a lot of gas in the generators or sweltering in the 100+ degree temps coming up soon.  Jack & Sandy also told us they would be back next Fall around the first of Oct.  We were really hoping they would decide to “retire” from the job and let us have it for the whole year.  Now I have to call Bill and try to get an idea of just what he has in mind for us next Winter.

With all the snakes at Ron & Deb’s, I’ve been reminded that we need to keep our eyes to the ground, looking all around us as we walk out here.  We need to be extra careful moving rocks, or brush or even firewood to the campfire.  It’s not just because of the snakes, but the scorpion’s, nesting tarantula’s, etc.  Usually the Tarantula’s are very docile, but if a female has babies, you can count on her being aggressive.  If a male is trying to mate with a female, and you interfere, you can count on him being aggressive.  As well as seeing the dangers, if you keep looking around under bushes & such you’re liable to see the beautiful Desert Iguana.  I haven’t seen one yet this year, but I know they are out there, I can hear them chittering from inside their holes under the Creosote Bushes.  They do this to warn us away.

We work tomorrow, so I probably won’t be posting unless something special happens.

Ya’ll stay healthy ‘n happy!


Catch-up Time

March 27th, 2013

It’s been 5 days since my last post.  Again, I have to wonder where the time goes.

We worked last Saturday and half of Sunday (Bob and Dot took over at noon).  We didn’t sign anyone up on Sat. and one couple on Sunday.  People are leaving by the droves.  Of course the Canadians are running out of time for being out of the country.  They don’t have insurance after a certain period of time out of country so most of them are heading home.

I’ve been wanting to go for a ride along Plumosa Rd., the road from Hwy 95 to Bouse, AZ, to see if we might spot some Bighorn Sheep that frequent the area.  So on Monday we took a late afternoon drive out that way.  No Sheep, but I did get a shot of a wildflower I’ve not seen in our Sonoran Desert before, only up in the Great Basin Desert in Utah.  Of course this flower will be in my album of flowers, but it’s so pretty, I wanted to share it with ya’ll here.  It’s the Parry’s Penstamon.


We did the circle route back to I-10 thru Brenda, AZ just so we could stop at what we call the Cheese Curd place for dinner.  It used to be a yellow food wagon, but is now a trailer that looks like a juke box.  They make the best deep fried cheese and jalapeno cheese curds.  They also make great onion rings.

Yesterday (Tuesday) Ron called us.  They had another Rattlesnake.  Again, their dog, Buzz found it.  We went marching over there with snake stick, trash can and camera in hand.

This snake looked like the ones I’m used to seeing out here… more reddish, sandy colored diamonds.  Definitely a Western Diamondback.  The first one was a charcoal color and could possibly be a Mohave Rattlesnake.  I need someone who knows snakes better than I do to ID it.  This snake was about 4.5 feet long with 9 rattles (which means it’s shed skin 9 times).  This is pretty big for the snakes we see out here.  I think the biggest we’ve seen was 5 – 5.5 feet with 12 rattles.  This 2nd snake was angrier and feistier.  I wasn’t able to get pics until Thom got him/it into the trash can, and taking pics after release was a bit scary due to the way he was totally on the defensive and ready to advance on the threat and strike.  When you take your eyes off the snake and onto the view finder of the camera you loose track of the snake until you can focus on it with the camera.  We had here a 4.5 ft. snake that was about 5 – 6 feet away.  During those 1 or 2 seconds of not having that snake in my eyesight it could easily have advanced on me the 3-4 feet it would take to get within striking distance.  Of course, Thom was right there with his stick to protect me.  It’s still a huge adrenaline rush, and I’m NOT an adrenaline junky!  This is a pic of our beautiful snake in the trash can ready for transport.

Here it is after release, recoiled into defensive mode.


Last night Thom did a couple of loads of laundry.  Since we had the big generator running and therefore plenty of power, I got the ice maker going and made another gallon bag of ice, plus topped of the bag about half full in the freezer.

Today while I was putting things in our truck in preparation of going into town to drop off mail and then visiting our friends Larry and Phyllis, Debbie called to me from her yard.  They had yet another rattlesnake over there.  We took the snake stick and trash can over there, but with the snake being behind a wheel under a slide in the RV there was no way we could reach it to get it out.  It looked to be around 3 feet.  This one was also the reddish brown of the one yesterday.  We have no idea why they are always at Ron and Deb’s and not our place.  We feed and water the critters and they don’t, yet the snakes go to their place and not our place which has a lot of their food.  I’m certainly not complaining!  Willow, our dog would try to play with them and get herself hurt.

We met 3 of the neatest people today.  I had Thom drive into the contact station compound so I could check out a cholla bush that was ready to bloom and while there another car came into the compound, which is marked For Authorized Personnel only.  I went over to tell them they shouldn’t be there.  They were just checking things out and had questions about the LTVA’s and just what they were.  We got to talking and shared lots of info with them.  I mentioned I was an amateur photographer and one of them said he was a photographer.  I showed him where the Cholla bush was blooming.  He and another guy took pics of the plant.  We then told them we were going home and would be stopping at Ron and Deb’s to see if the snake was still there, they were welcome to tag along.  Unfortunately the snake had moved on so they weren’t able to get the pics they were hoping for.  We exchanged cards.  Was I ever surprised to discover the photographer was a staff photographer for The New York Times and they were down this way doing a story (documentary?) on the Colorado River.  I really hope we see one or all 3 of these guys again!  They all are so interested in this area and the way of life of those of us who spend the winter season in the BLM LTVA’s.

Buckhorn Cholla Flower.

American Idol is on and I won’t be able to concentrate on this blog and enjoy the show, so I’m gonna say g’nite.

Ya’ll stay healthy ‘n happy!


A Touch of Excitement

March 22nd, 2013

Spring is here and with spring we get fun and exciting sightings.

Yesterday I got up early.  I think it was a noisy bird that woke me up.  I heard the noisy call again and looked outside into the Ironwood tree and saw one of the more beautiful birds to visit us here in Q.  It was a Bullock’s Oriole dropping in for a sip of hummingbird nectar.  Actually it was TWO B. Orioles, a pair.  The male is the more colorful, but the female is pretty in her own right.


They stuck around long enough for me to get a few good photos.

I wish I’d had some orange out for the woodpeckers.  It’s my understanding the Orioles love oranges and grape jelly.

As if yesterday wasn’t exciting enough, Ron called me this morning to tell me they had a Rattlesnake in their yard.  I grabbed my camera and Thom grabbed his snake stick and trash can and off we went to Ron and Deb’s (about 100 yds from us).

The snake was curled up very beautifully under a small creosote bush.  Ron and Deb’s dog, Buzz had been barking at it, so it went into it’s defensive pose.  When I walked around the bush so I could see it, it started rattling lightly.  While I was on one side, stomping my feet and making shuffling noises (to keep it’s eyes on me), Thom was on the other side of the bush trying to get his snake grabber into a good position to grab the snake.  Of course the two of us coning at him from both sides really upset him and the sound of his rattling increased tremendously.  I’ve never heard a snake rattle that loud here in Quartzsite.  I have in Southern California, but not here.  Thom did catch him, as usual, and put him in the trash can.  Here is a shot of him still under the bush.  Isn’t he beautiful?!!

And this is a shot of him after we carried him out into the desert a ways and released him.  He was on his way under a tree and cover…. all the while keeping a close watch on us.  He’s about 3.5 feet long and had 9 rattles (which means he’s molted 9 times).

What an exciting way to start the day!  Adrenaline rush and all.  I’m a little more nervous around the snakes.  I always make sure I keep my distance, and I always, always! keep my eye on the snake.  Buzz was lucky Deb grabbed his leach before he could get to the snake.  I guess Ron and Deb plan on not letting Buzz out on leash to sit in the sun anymore unless they are with him.

My 65th birthday is in July and I’ve received a couple of pieces of mail from Social Security regarding Medicare.  I guess I need to take the info and forms to work with me tomorrow to see just what I need to do and when.  I’m sure it’s time to get the ball rolling.

We’ve got our Federal Income Taxes completed and should be getting our refund any time now.  We still need to file Utah Non-resident Income Tax, but there’s no hurry.  We owe them a little so just need to file by April 15th.

I finally managed to be in the right place at the right time to get a shot of Momma Mourning Dove in her nest.  The light was just right for the camera to see and record her little self.


I have created several Desert Wildflower photo albums and will be posting them today.  If I do it right, you should be able to access them by clicking on them in the list to the left.  They are sorted by flower color.  I’ll keep adding to these albums with the hopes they might help people identify desert flowers.

I’m also uploading a new recipe to the recipe files.  This one isn’t for food though.  It’s a natural mosquito repellent.  I will be giving it a try wen we get down to Senator’s Wash where the mosquitoes breed.

Ya’ll take a peek at the new stuff and let me know what you think.

In the meantime…

Ya’ll stay healthy ‘n happy!


PS.. For those who read this blog and haven’t met us I want to clarify something.  Even though Thom spells his name with the TH, it is still pronounced like Thomas without the AS.  I know when you read it, if you’ve not heard it before, you say it in your head pronouncing the TH.  This has been confusing to a lot of people, including my parents and many of our friends we’ve met through the blog.

This ‘n That

March 19th, 2013

I’m not sure where our days are going.  We don’t seem to be accomplishing a lot, but the days disappear too quickly.  I can’t believe the month of March is more than half gone.

The weather is quite lovely now.  The highs are in the mid 80’s and lows in the mid 50’s.  Because we leave the windows open all day long, the temp inside matches the temp outside, but 85 is quite bearable if we have the fan running.  We have a little oscillating fan that draws very little power so the solar panels keep the batteries charged even when running the fan (and a few other things).

We had lunch with Bob and Dot yesterday.  We went to the Sizzler in Blythe and thoroughly enjoyed both the food and the company.

This morning we had one of the Ravens do 3 loops flying by the Palo Verde tree across the wash.  He flew quite low… about 8 to 10 feet off the ground.  He was apparently scoping out the Mourning Dove nest in the tree because he landed on a branch just a few feet from the nest.  I couldn’t stand the thought of the Raven getting in that nest, possibly injuring the momma and eating the egg or eggs, so I stepped outside which scared the Raven away.  We can’t see in the nest so don’t know how many eggs are there.  M. Dove usually lay 1 or 2 eggs.  We can’t see the eggs, but when hatchlings start poking their heads up we’ll be able to see them.  I go out and check on the nest every 2 days or so.  I keep hoping to get a photo but it’s pretty well hidden amongst the branches.

Every now and then I’ll stick a round of orange on a stub of a branch in our Ironwood tree outside my window for the Woodpeckers.  Today I put one a little over 1/4 inch thick out and the female Gila Woodpecker had it all eaten within 2 hours.  Here is a photo of the male Gila Woodpecker eating on a chunk yesterday.


One of the female Harris Antelope Ground Squirrel (HAGS) was pregnant.  Today I saw signs that she’s had the babies.  You can see in this photo that the babies have been suckling.


Today Thom and Ron went to the shed and moved a few things around.  They brought home some pieces of wood that Ron will use when he and Deb get to their next location in Prescott, AZ.  This morning Thom and I measured the honey wagon trailer.  Then he and Ron measured the shed and made sure we could rearrange “stuff” so the trailer will fit in there when the time comes.

I spent a bit of time outside sitting in the shade taking pics of the squirrels and birds.  I watched as a Mourning Dove flew across the wash to the dead tree and as soon as it landed one of the branches nearby started bobbing.  It didn’t look like a natural bobbing so I looked at it thru the zoom lens on my camera.  It was about 25 feet up in the tree and was a Desert Spiny Lizard.  I usually expect to see lizards on the ground so was a bit surprised to see this big guy so high up in the tree.  This isn’t a very good shot, but you can see it’s a lizard.  (In between the two vertical branches)

Here’s a shot of it with a dove in the tree as well, to give you perspective on his size.  He is a big dude.  The dove – upper left corner, lizard – lower right corner.

He was bobbing to warn the Dove away.

Thom defrosted the freezer just now.  Since it was 84 degrees in the house he just set our oscillating fan on top of the ice maker in front of the freezer to blow warm air onto the ice.  Worked great and as an added bonus, it acted as an A/C and dropped the temp in the house 2 degrees.

It’s time to think about cooking dinner, so I’ll quit rambling and say g’nite.

Ya’ll stay healthy ‘n happy!


Last 3 Days

March 16th, 2013

Last Wednesday we went to the BLM Volunteer appreciation meeting and potluck.  The BLM furnished the Pollo Asada and pop/bottled water.  We turned in all our paperwork to get our “reimbursements” for the season which will be direct deposited into our bank accounts in 3 weeks or so.

We still don’t know when we will be moving to Senators Wash, so I guess we’ll just get ready to move and sit tight until we are told to get down there.

Thursday Thom had a Dr. appointment and after that we had to drive to Parker to pick up another prescription since the one he was given a week ago didn’t do any good.  We had a $26 co-pay last week and this prescription came in at a mere $53 co-pay.

We’ve had some pretty warm weather the last 3 days so haven’t been doing a lot outside.  Yesterday we were going to have lunch with Bob and Dot, but they had to postpone a few days so instead we went for a ride to the Oxbow Campground and then the Cibola Wildlife Refuge.  We were at the refuge at the wrong time of day (around 2 p.m.) so there wasn’t much wildlife.

This Great Egret (also known as the white morph of the Great Blue Heron) was sitting on a buoy at the Oxbow Lake by the boat ramp.

One bird we did see a few of in the Wildlife Refuge was the American Kestrel.  I think the one I got this photo of was a male and he had a small snake in his mouth.  There was a female Kestrel on a wire across the road from the one with the snake.

The weather is getting cooler for the next 5 or 6 days, highs in the 80’s.  That’s my kind of weather.  We can get a few things done outside during the mornings and errands in the afternoon.

The Brussel Sprouts, Sugar Snap Peas and cucumbers have sprouted.  It looks like something is eating my pea sprouts.  The first 4 sprouts that came up are totally gone with only 3 sprouts left.  Guess I need to plant a few more.  I have to find one of our spare grills to cover the pot with to protect the plants.  While I’m at it, I think I’ll cover the cukes too.  I’ve already covered the Brussel Sprouts.

There is a hillside between Quartzsite and Blythe that has been covered with Sand Verbena for a month now.  This is one of my Mom’s favorite flowers.

I found a new recipe online that I really want to try.  I’m sharing it “as is” in my recipe links, but I have a couple of things I want to try before I recommend it to ya’ll.  If you like it “as is”, go ahead and try it… let me know what you think.  I have a recipe for cheese cake that has both cream cheese and sour cream.  When I try this recipe I’m going to add a bit of sour cream with the hopes of giving it the taste of my favorite ever cheesecake.  If I like that, I’m going to give a try of adding chopped fruit.  The recipe will be linked to the left as Crescent Roll Cheesecake.

Will try to post again soon.  In the meantime….

Ya’ll stay healthy ‘n happy!


Busy Days

March 12th, 2013

Winding down the season can bring busy days.  Monday we just had lots of errands to run in town.  Today we went in to the storage shed and cleaned out some things… gave away a couple of things that have been in there for 3 years and threw away more things that have been there and unused for 3 years.  We have a lot more to do at the shed before we move to Senator’s Wash, but there’s still plenty of time.  Ron and Deb are going to use part of the shed this year for storage so we need to make sure they have the space they need.  We hope to be done renting a storage shed by the end of next season.

I have been receiving forms and paperwork from Social Security/Medicare since I qualify for Medicare coverage in a few months.  It’s all kind of mind boggling, but I’ll wade thru it.  It looks like I may qualify for “extra help” in prescriptions.  That would be fantastic since I take 7 prescription drugs and a couple of them can be pretty costly.  Ya know, they say getting old isn’t for the meek, and that is soooo true!

Tomorrow we have our end of the season BLM “volunteer appreciation” meeting in Yuma.  Starts at 9 a.m., Pollo Asada at noon, handing over paperwork for reimbursements and we’re done.  We still work until sometime in April, but the season is definitely winding down.

After the meeting in Yuma, we plan on going to Fry’s market and my favorite produce stand.

Thursday Thom has a Dr. appointment, and Friday we are doing lunch with our contact station coordinators and good friends Bob and Dot.

Temps are rising here.  In the 80’s now, soon to be in the 90’s.  All of our time away from home means Willow has to be outside in her pen.  Good thing we have it set up so there is always both shade and warm sun.  When we are down at Senator’s Wash and temps are in the 100’s Willow will be inside with the A/C running!

Flowers are popping out all over and I’m so ready for a nice relaxing “wild flower viewing drive”.  Heck!  We’re retired, so why do we have to work so hard to find time to do retired type things?

Tonight we had the opportunity to see the PannSTARRS comet right after sunset.  I did manage to get a shot or two… not good shots, but kind of OK shots.  The “smile” at the top is the new moon.

I’ve rambled enough again.  Time to quit and say g’nite.

Ya’ll stay healthy ‘n happy!


Another Surprise Today

March 10th, 2013

We worked yesterday and today.  Yesterday we had no (read that as zero) registrations at all and today only 2.  Good thing I had my computer with card games to play… and camera with flowers to shoot.

Towards the end of the day a man came in saying he was looking for Judy and Thom.  I told him we were them.  He told me he was Dave, who has sent me a couple of emails because he and his wife Jean read our blog and were worried because I’d taken so long in between blogs.  He and Jean sat in the station with us talking and getting to know each other.  We thoroughly enjoyed meeting them and hope we get to see them many more times.

It’s kinda funny…  On my walk out to the port-a-potty I noticed a hill of sand behind the port-a-potty covered with flowers, and right next to the port-a-potty another nice little flower.  Then when we left work we stopped at the dump/water station to refill our water tank and I found the gorgeous Fairy Duster blooming in the wash just behind the dump station.  Sooooo…. does this mean it takes a lot of stinky stuff to make the pretty flowers?

The beautiful Phacelia on the hill behind the port-a-potty.

The flower next to the port-a-potty is the Fagonia

The Fairy Duster bush – I love this flower!

One Fairy Duster flower

Actually the flowers are popping out all over and I expect to see many more this coming week.  The storm is over, the weather is getting warmer (80’s & low 90’s) so the flowers will be exploding.  Being a nature lover, I’m excited.  You guys, being my blog readers, get to put up with my pics of the flowers and whatever critters I see.

Time for me to say g’nite and go find something for dinner.

Ya’ll stay happy ‘n healthy!


Stormy Weather

March 8th, 2013

We have a storm going through today, but so far it’s not near as stormy as predicted.  We got a little rain last night around 3:30 a.m. and nothing since.  Not even much wind.  Thunderstorms are supposed to happen this afternoon.  I’m hoping to get this written and posted before the winds get here and I have to bring down the satellite dish.

Yesterday a Hawk came through attacking a dove.  It apparently got it’s talons on the dove but the dove got away.  Unfortunately it has a broken wing and is walking around with it’s wing dragging nearly on the ground.  I wish there were something I could do for it, but I have to be hard hearted and let nature take it’s course.  The dove will eventually become a meal for one of the other desert creatures out here – Bobcat, Coyote, Hawk or even one of the Ravens we see hunting out here.

On a happier note, we have a pair of Mourning Dove nesting in the Palo Verde across the wash from us.  One of them is sitting on the nest and the other continues to bring nesting material to build up the nest more.  I hope we get to watch the progression from eggs to hatchlings to fledglings.

A couple of days ago I was out putting up my wind spinner and on the way back to the trailer I noticed some Desert Star blooming right at my feet, so I quick grabbed my camera and went for a walk around my yard and snapped some photos of some of the first Desert Wild Flowers blooming right here in my yard.

(Remember – if you click on the photo, it will open to full size in a new window, just close that window to come back to the blog)

Desert Star:

Purple Mat:

Devil’s Tongue (Green flower in the center):
This is called Devil’s Tongue because of the sword shaped green flower petals.

When the sun shines again I’ll go out and get some shots of the lovely little Brown Eyed Evening Primrose to show you.

We finally managed to get out to visit Lee and Ilse yesterday.  Lee gave me a lovely Road Runner carved out of Ironwood.  On our way out to the car to go home I heard one of my favorite birds calling, the Cactus Wren.  I looked around until I finally saw it at the top of a power pole.  I managed to get my first shots of the Cactus Wren for this year.

I just had to put the Internet Dish down so I won’t be uploading this until later this evening or even sometime tomorrow evening (we work tomorrow).

I have two more recipes to add to the recipe files:  Deb D.’s “Sweet Hot Mustard” and a quick pickle recipe I got off of cooks.com, but modified it quite a bit to give it more of an oriental flavor.  My version tastes almost like a Bread and Butter pickle.  I hope to get them added when I get my internet back.  (internet is back and recipes are linked to the left under Recipes)

I think it’s time for me to fix up a cup of hot chocolate, and sit back to enjoy the wind and rain.  The storm has finally arrived and is just as predicted – wet and Wild.

Ya’ll stay healthy ‘n happy.


Nice Surprise Today

March 5th, 2013

Sometime mid-morning today, Thom called to me from outside saying we had company.  I had just finished my shower, so I quick ran a comb through my wet hair and went outside to see who was here.  What a wonderful surprise!  It was our friends Bob and Sue who camps with the group for a short time every winter.  Bob is Deb B.’s brother, Sue is his wife.  We sat outside in the lawn chairs and chatted for quite a while.  They won’t be camping out here this year since the season is nearly over, but maybe next year.  It was fun to get all caught up again.

Yesterday I spent a bit of time getting a pot of Brussel Sprouts, a pot of Sugar Snap Peas, and a pot of Cucumbers planted.  I hope they do well in the warmer weather we’re having and will continue to have.  AND I hope they will be easy to transport to Senator’s Wash because they won’t be ready for harvest until after we get there.  Sometime in the next couple of days I hope to get my big pot planted with Swiss Chard, with the hopes the plants will grow larger leaves.  If I’m lucky it won’t be too hot down there before they mature.

Alanna and Tom returned this evening from their weekend trip to Phoenix.  Hope they had a great time.  Last I heard, they were planning on leaving here this coming weekend.  Sure gonna miss them!

Thom was called in to work yesterday to fill in for Dot while she did some errands for friends.  He put in about two hours then came back home.

Here’s a picture of our Contact Station at the entrance to La Posa South LTVA.  The lady by the Saguaro Cactus taking a picture is our Dot.  Like me, she loves the wildlife, she was shooting a Redtail Hawk.


No new recipes today.  If you have any you want to share, email them to me or send me a link to them and I’ll check them out.

In the meantime, it’s time for me to go. 

Ya’ll stay healthy ‘n happy!


New Feature

March 3rd, 2013

I’ve had a great show of interest in my adding a recipe section to the blog, so I threw it together this evening and posted 3 of our favorite recipes to it.  They are all easy to do in an RV Kitchen or on the BBQ.  I use a Weber Q grill so it has a cover and I never grill without the cover, so if my recipe doesn’t say close the cover during cooking time, that should be assumed.  The links to the recipes are on the left side of the blog under Recipes (go figure).  When you click on a recipe, it will open in a new window, just close the window when you are done.

It just dawned on me that the recipes are in Microsoft Word, so if you have problems opening them, I will save them in a PDF or  text file.

Today was another work day, only 6 registrations.  We have a couple of “regulars” who come in just to talk (shoot the bull).  One of them is a young man, 26 years old, who appears to have a small screw loose, and can be difficult to talk to, but I find myself compelled to indulge him in his need for conversation and friendship.  Another is a guy who reminds Thom of his father (who is no longer with us), so Thom indulges his need for conversation.  He’s all alone out here and enjoys spending time talking to Thom.

Weather is gorgeous still and I’m loving my life!

Ya’ll stay healthy ‘n happy!


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