Fulltime Roadrunners

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

We’re Still Alive

April 27th, 2013

… and still on track for moving on Wednesday.  We have 2-1/2 days left to get ready to move.  The only problem we see would be the heat.  It’s 4 P.M. and 98F here.  We have the portable a/c running and it’s doing a pretty good job.  We went to visit some friends this afternoon and when we got home at 3 P.M. it was 94F inside.  It’s now down to 90 and with the fan blowing the cool air, it’s very tolerable.

It doesn’t look like my Ironwood tree is going to be in full bloom before we leave here.  I guess we’ll have to come back here in a week or so to see and photograph it, or just forget this tree and find one closer to our new home.  I absolutely love ‘my” tree though and was so hoping to get to see it in full bloom.  Here is a shot of one of the branches that gets more sun than the rest of the tree.
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On our way home from our friends we stopped so I could get photos of a Saguaro in bloom.  The blossoms weren’t fully open yet.  I don’t know if they open more in the evenings or these were just starting to open.  I’ll have to look it up when I go online.
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Our family of six baby Quail hadn’t visited for 2 or 3 days so I was quite worried they were easy pickings for some critter like the Raven or Bobcat or Coyote or Hawk, etc.  They dropped in for a visit today though so I’m happy.  It looks like one of them has a broken or deformed wing though.  I seriously doubt it will survive for long.  They’re fun to watch.  Momma or Daddy will take a dirt bath and they will jump right in the bath with them or wait until they leave the hole and them jump in and scatter dirt all over themselves just like their parents.
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In the top pic you can see the baby with the bad wing to the far left.

My garden is going great.  I’ve got 2 cucumbers set on the plants, and lots of flowers.  It appears that Armenian cukes love the heat!  The hotter it gets, the healthier they look.  My sugar snap pea just opened it’s first flower.  I’m trying to keep them in the shade except for early morning.  They don’t really like the heat.  We’ll see how they do.

We plan on taking our cargo trailer to Senator’s Wash on Tuesday and then move on Wed.  We’re going to try to take the garden “cage” in one piece so we don’t have to take it apart and put it back together.  I’ll be driving the little pickup with that and the garden in it on Wed.

I may not post again until after next Wednesday. I suspect I’ll be pretty busy for the next 3 days.

In the meantime, ya’ll stay healthy ‘n happy!

Tah!f

 

Hot, Hot, Hot

April 22nd, 2013

Written April 21, 2013

Today got way above the low 90’s… all the way up to 99F.  It got up to 94 in the house.  Thom and I did things in short stints outside.  Debbie Dunn… you have no idea how much I appreciate those neck/head coolers you gave us… absolute life savers for me.  Tomorrow is supposed to be a little bit cooler and will continue to get cooler as days go by.  I hope we can stick it out here, but if not, it’s nice to know we have a place to go with electricity.
As far as our pets surviving the heat…. we use a spray bottle to give the parrots a shower several times a day and our darling dog, Willow, does pretty good.  She gets up on Thom’s lap where the fan will blow on her and we made it a point to go into town for hamburgers so she could be in the air conditioned car.  Yes, she got a bite of my hamburger.  One good thing about this heat… we don’t have much appetite.

On our way back from town driving thru the LTVA to our home we saw a very long snake on the road.  We stopped and it crossed the road and headed for shelter.  Thom pulled off the road and we got out, me with my camera, and caught up with it.  This snake was a relatively thin, sleek, non-poisonous snake (no viper head) at least 6 ft. long.  I got a few shots of it and after we got home I got out my kindle and ID’d the snake as a Glossy Snake.
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Today a pair of Quail brought their brood of babies to introduce them to the food and water here.  The babies are so tiny!  I saw several of them, maybe 8 – 10.  Here’s a pic of 4 of them and on the right the momma’s tail.  3 of the babies are fairly easy to see, but the 4th one is behind the big rock at the bottom.
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I’m having a ball right now with the birds in the morning.  The migratory birds are coming through.  When we managed campgrounds in the Ogden Canyon we saw Lazuli Bunting on a regular basis.  We’ve been coming here for 7 years and this is the first time ever that I’ve seen a Lazuli Bunting in my yard in Quartzsite.  Mari!  Can you believe this in my yard in Q?!!
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I also have an Ash Throated Flycatcher that visits me every day.  He always announces his arrival with a sharp call.
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It’s nearly 9 p.m. and I’ve made that my bedtime now.  Temp is down to 82F inside so we should be able to get to sleep if we use only the sheet..

Ya’ll stay healthy ‘n happy!

Toodles.

Have a Move Day

April 20th, 2013

I talked to Bill a couple of days ago.  He wants us down at Senator’s Wash on May 1st so we can have plenty of training and experience before we get hit with the super busy Memorial Weekend.
Jack and Sandy won’t be gone yet, but they will have moved their big motorhome out of the hookup site so we can have it, and they will have their smaller class C motorhome hooked up to power right next to our hook-up site, so if they need A/C between the 1st and the time they actually leave they’ll have it.  They are supposed to be out by the 4th, but there is a possibility they won’t make it if his surgery is more involved than they expect.  At that point I don’t know what all of us will do.  I’m sure we’ll work it out though.

We had several cool days that would have been perfect for working if it hadn’t been for the durned winds.  Yesterday and today were quite nice with temps in the 80’s.  Tomorrow through Thursday will be in the low 90’s, then back down to the mid to high 80’s for a couple of days.  We probably be moving during temps of the mid 90’s.  It will take us two or 3 trips initially to get the RV, cargo trailer and our garden moved, then after we know where things go and what we’re doing, we’ll be coming back to Q to pick up some things in the storage shed to take down there.  It could take a couple of months to get totally set up down there.  We’ll see.

Until then we keep on trucking.  It’s nice to have lots of time so we don’t feel rushed and don’t just throw things here and there to stow them and get on the road.

Today a White Winged Dove dropped in for a snack.  They are bigger than the Mourning Dove, but smaller than the Eurasian Collared Dove, they have gorgeous turquoise eye shadow ringing their eyes.  I think they are quite striking.  The White Winged Dove is one of the biggest contributors to the propagation of the Saguaro Cactus.  They eat the fruit, and when perched in a tree, “drop” the seeds to the ground.  That is why you see so many Saguaro Cactus growing near the foot of a tree, often times robbing the tree of nutrients and water so the tree dies, leaving a lovely free-standing Saguaro.  Be sure to click on the photo so you can see it full size and see the “eye-shadow”.
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The flower buds on our Ironwood Tree are swelling and turning lavender color.  I may just get to see it bloom before we leave in 11 days.  The Ironwood tree is interesting in that if it is going to bloom in the spring, it’s leaves will turn color and drop so it can put all it’s energy into the flowers and seeds.  Sometimes only some of the branches will bloom so those branches will be pretty much lacking in leaves and the other non-blooming branches will still have plenty of green leaves.  Desert plants propagation methods totally intrigue me!  This is a branch of flower buds.
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See the yellow leaves in the background… most all the branches on this tree will be blooming.  One way or another I’ll get photos of it.  This is what it will look like… a shot off the web I found, not mine.  Again, click on the photo so you can get the full beauty of this tree.
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I’ll be taking down our bird feeders and watering hole in the next 5 to 7 days.  Bees are swarming the water and we’re getting 50 or more dead bees a day in the water.  The birds don’t seem to mind them much.  The rabbits and squirrels don’t worry a lot either, I guess their fur and feathers are thick enough the stingers can’t get to the skin.  I scoop the dead bees out of the water in the evening and by morning they are all gone.  I guess maybe the scavenger beetles are getting them, or something else.

This town is so empty.  You could shoot a cannon down Main St. and not hit anything.  Tyson Wells is totally empty.

Time to say g’nite.  I’m going to try to get to bed earlier now so I can get in the habit of getting up earlier at the boat ramp.  It opens at 6:00 a.m. and I’d like to be up and about by at least 6:30 a.m. down there so we can get a bit done before it gets too totally hot.

Ya’ll stay healthy ‘n happy!

Toodles!


Time Marches On

April 17th, 2013

Written 4/17/13 6:30 p.m.

We’re slowly getting ready to move.  Bill said he’d have electricity for us somewhere by the 15th (2 days ago), but we haven’t heard from him.  I’m sure he’s super occupied with closing LTVA stations and getting things changed over to summer season.  I’m going to call him tomorrow and at the least leave a voice mail.  Temps will be up into the 90’s by Sunday and we’re going to want to have a/c if the temps get up to 100.

Our shed/garage is down and in the storage shed.  Thom has a gazillion pallets piled onto our extra flatbed trailer that used to be the honey wagon.  We’ll be storing this in the maintenance yard here at La Posa South LTVA.  Our honey wagon will go into the maintenance yard as well, at least until we get what we need at Senator’s Wash out of the storage shed and can fit the honey wagon into the storage shed.

The “dog run” is down and ready to stow.  When we leave Willow alone now we will be leaving her in the house.  She’s good inside without potty breaks for at least 5 hours.

I’ve been sorting and stowing things in the house.  Sure wish we’d quit accumulating “stuff”.  I’m not sure where we’re going to stow things like the ice maker, soda stream, 1 cup coffee maker, etc.

Ron and Deb left late this morning and are now at their new home for the summer in Prescott, AZ., a cool spot in the mountains of AZ.  This is them on their way out:
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It’s been very windy again today but nice and cool.  Currently, our satellite dish is down, but it looks like the wind will die down enough for me to put it back up soon.  The winds are only about 10 mph, but now and then we get a good gust of 25 or more, so I’m holding off until I’m confident the wind won’t harm the dish as it’s going up.  If the wind doesn’t die enough I’ll wait until tomorrow or Friday to post this.

I never did get my ride out back to get photos of Cholla and Ocotillo, but I did go for a short walk near the storage shed and got a shot of an Ocotillo by a Saguaro out there.
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There was also a Cane Cholla (also known as Walking Stick Cholla) just starting to open.
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My garden is growing wonderfully.  My cucumber already has about 5 blossoms on it, even though the plant is only about 10 inches tall.  It’ll be interesting to see if anything comes from those blossoms.  I just hope we can keep these plants whole and healthy during the move and setup.

I am so totally enjoying watching the critters outside my window, but it’s about time to start weaning them off of the food and water so they go elsewhere to find a source while the spring bloom and growth is still happening.

I won’t have a “watering hole” down at Senator’s Wash.  The wild burro’s would just keep it dry, and the reservoir is just a couple hundred feet away.

It’s still quite gusty out there.  I’ll just say g’nite for now and write more tomorrow or when I can.

Ya’ll stay healthy ‘n happy!

Tah!

 

More Windy Days

April 13th, 2013

Written 04/13/2013
We had a couple of days of really nice weather… temps in the 80’s, humidity in the teens and just light breezes.  It’s changing again, temp today is in the low 90’s, winds up to 30 mph, with winds increasing the next few days and temps back down in the mid 80’s.  Monday the winds are expected to be high enough the weather service is recommending that not just the high profile vehicles, but everyone stay off the roads.  Tuesday and Wednesday are supposed to be windy also just not as bad as Monday.

We’re at work today for the last time this season.  If I get this blog finished while here or later in the evening at home, I’ll get it posted tonight before I have to put it down for the night.  I have no idea when I’ll be able to raise the dish again for the next few days.

We had to run down to Yuma yesterday to go to Sam’s Club for some of the bulk items we buy.  We were running out of a few things.  The Ocotillo and Cholla plants were blooming beautifully.  We didn’t have time to stop so I could get photos.  We’re going to spend the cooler hours of the morning tomorrow getting a few things done for the move, then I’m hoping to get out  to get some photos of the Ocotillo and cholla a couple of miles back from our camp site.  After that I have to get serious and spend my days getting things ready to move.

Five days ago I went out to check the Dove nest and it was totally empty.  The Ravens have been hanging around a lot, so I figured they got the babies.  We’d been having big winds those days.  Two days later I noticed a couple of smaller dove out in the yard and realized they were fledglings.  One of them had the longer top feathers of the tail missing… only had the tail feathers with the white tips.  You’ll be able to see the difference between the two photos posted below.

My theory is the Ravens DID get to the nest, but the babies were developed enough to get away and hide in the thicket of the branches of the tree where the huge Raven couldn’t go.  The one baby lost his upper tail feathers to the Raven (or maybe a hawk).  Then, in the last two days those babies worked hard at learning to fly and they are now down in our yard partaking of the seed we make sure is out there for the birds in the area.
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0412mdovefledgling

We did hear from Bill.  We still don’t know when we can be down at Senator’s Wash to start work, but Bill did say he would have a place for us with electricity by the 15th of April so we can use our A/C when needed.  That means 2 moves, but it’s better than sweltering in the 100+ degree temps. 

The winter hosts down there told us they’d be back the first week in Oct, but Bill says that’s not a certainty, so our winter plans will still be up in the air until we hear more.

Got an email from Mari saying she and Scott are going to be joining us at Senator’s Wash the 26th of May, and are planning on being home by the 2nd of June.  We are so looking forward to seeing them again!  That will be Memorial Weekend and we’ll be hopping busy, but they can chill in the lake or under the A/C in their camper, or under a shade tree while we are busy.  We’ll have evenings and the days after Memorial day to visit and catch up.

It’s still 89 degrees in my house, I don’t think I’m going to cook.  Got some hot dogs out of the freezer, a can of Bush’s Baked Beans, and a few veggies I can use to make it a “healthy” dinner.

I won’t know for an hour or 2 if I can post this tonight or not.  It’s still quite windy.

In the meantime… Ya’ll stay healthy ‘n happy!

Toodles.

 

The Last Week

April 10th, 2013

Things are really winding down out here on the BLM LTVA.  Only 6 days until it becomes a two week area requiring an annual pass.  People can still stay here but only for 2 weeks, then they have to move a minimum of 25 miles for 2 weeks.  Anyone who has an annual pass but prefers to stay in the short term areas can use the dump station, water and garbage bins here.  They still have to move 25 miles away for 2 weeks.

I still haven’t been able to contact Bill to find out just what we need to do, and when.  It’s all up in the air.  We could be here another 1 or 2 weeks or another month.  I vote for 1 or 2 weeks, but won’t know until I can talk to Bill.

I’ve been looking into Medicare and supplemental insurances for me.  I’ve got packages on their way to me so I can study them, then when I make my choice I can fill out the paperwork and send it back to enroll, or even easier, I can call to enroll.  I still have a form to fill out and get back to Medicare to see if I qualify for “Extra Help” for my prescriptions.  Obama may say his plan is better, but it looks like our monthly income will drop by over $200/month (almost $300).  That’s the combined cost of Medicare (withheld from Social Security), and the cost of the supplemental insurance and prescription insurance.  It’s a bit confusing and a lot frustrating.

Today is day 2 of a 3 day wind storm.  We even got a touch of rain last evening.  While sitting here typing this the garage/shed started making a huge rattling, flapping noise.  We had one of those large whirlwinds that look like a mini tornado go right through our yard right across the shed.  We have straps across the top on both ends, but the strap broke on one end, letting the whirlwind walk the end of the tent all over the place.  I was afraid we were going to lose it.  We just got back inside from jerry rigging (is the term “jury” or “jerry” rigging?) a fix that hopefully will last until Thursday or Friday when we plan on taking it down.

We put our internet satellite dish down on Sunday and it’s still down.  I did put it up during a lull in the winds after the rain yesterday, but put it back down.  When the winds pretty much quit around 9:30 last night I was going to put it back up for a quick email check.  It made huge banging sounds and the data on the computer tracking it progress went crazy with bad numbers.  The dish is staying down until the winds have quit enough for Thom to get up there and check it out.  Hopefully it’s nothing serious, but I’ve got a bad feeling.

We have 2 baby Mourning Dove in the nest in the Palo Verde tree across the wash, about 75 feet from our trailer.  A pair of Raven have been trying to get into the nest to lunch on the babies, but the branches are pretty thick in there with lots of long thorns, plus, whenever I see them trying I go out and chase them away.  The babies should be fledging pretty soon.
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I’ve also got 3 new critters to add to my various “life lists”, two insects and a toad.

The insects are both blister beetles, so called due to the fact secretions they produce will cause painful blisters on skin and predators mouths.  One of them is called the Master Blister Beetle.  It is very colorful and quite large.  The ones we had here were here to mate and very active.  They are 2” long and shiny black and red orange.  When picked up they secrete their yellow blood at the joints.  The blood causes painful blisters.  While I was taking pictures of them, I looked down closer to my feet and noticed 6 of them marching towards my sandaled feet.  I walked to the side of them and they turned and continued marching towards me.  I changed direction 3 times and they followed.  It freaked me out, so I walked completely away from them until they dispersed and then I went back to get more shots of individuals.
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The other beetle is called the Inflated Beetle.  It carries an air cushion between it’s body and wing covers.  It’s thought the purpose is to insulate them against the heat.  They will be out trundling around in the heat of the day.  They are a really interesting looking critter.  It only gets to be about 1” long.  This beetle has a yellow or white nitrogenous secretion on it’s body which will cause skin irritation and blisters to tender skin.

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It seems that many of the smaller desert critters have some sort of defense mechanism to deter predators.  The beetles have their secretions and the Master Blister Beetles bright red orange coloring is a clear warning to predators that they don’t want to mess with them.  My toad has it’s own defense mechanism and coloring.  It’s called the Red Spotted Toad.  It gets to 2 – 2.5” long.  It has red orange to red warts all over it’s body.  Again the warning color to predators.  You can see glands behind it’s eyes.  When threatened, these glands secrete a poison that will blister the predator’s mouth and cause vomiting.  Our little toad has come to our yard for the watering hole.  He’s been going for a swim in it the last 3 evenings.
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Our desert is still quite colorful with Spring flowers.  Most of the ground flowers are done, but the Palo Verde trees are gorgeous!
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We got asparagus for 99 cents/lb the other day.  I’m going to cook up the last of it for dinner – Toast, topped with steamed asparagus, topped sliced boiled eggs, topped with cheese sauce.  One of my favorite easy, light meals.

By the way, I tried the Crescent Roll Cheesecake recipe yesterday.  It’s quite good.  I recommend modifying it by using only 1/2 to 2/3C sugar in the cream cheese; only use 1/4 stick of butter and just a sprinkling of the sugar/cinnamon.  Next time I make it, I’m going to leave the cinnamon/sugar off and put either a fruit sauce over the top after it’s cooked or a rum sauce of some sort.  I also put about 1/2C of sour cream in the cream cheese mixture. 

I waited too long to blog this time, so the blog is too long.  My apologies.

Time to quit and think about dinner.  There’s a good chance this won’t get uploaded to the internet until tomorrow.

Ya’ll stay healthy ‘n happy!

Tah!

New Recipes

April 2nd, 2013

I’ve posted 4 new recipes in the recipe section in the Recipes links on the left.

7-up Biscuits (sounds tender and flakey - haven’t tried yet.

Better Than Fries Potatoes (haven’t tried, but could be done on BBQ and lots of innovations possible, anxious to try)

Easiest Ever Peanut Butter Fudge (again, I haven’t tried, but will as soon as it’s cool enough to cook inside the house)

EZ Butterfinger Pie (haven’t tried, but doesn’t look like it can go wrong and you could throw it together in 5 minutes with ready made crust)

Ya’ll give a few of these a try and let me know what you think.  If they don’t live up, I’ll remove them.

Ya’ll stay healthy ‘n happy!

Tah.

Sidewinders and Other Stuff

April 1st, 2013

We worked Saturday.  The contact stations are now on alternating days closed.  When the station across the highway is closed we are open, and visa versa.  We work again on Wednesday to spell Bob and Dot while they run errands away from Quartzsite.  They will take our day next Sunday.

The only reason Saturday wasn’t a totally boring waste of time is we did have 1 registration and I was able to roam around the contact station and get photos of the Cholla and Hedgehog flowers.  While I was out shooting the Cholla a Desert Iguana ran right past me.  I followed it and managed a couple of photos.  These guys are herbivores and eat mostly Creosote flowers.
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0330diguana

Sunday Dot called me to tell me the Hedgehog Cactus at the front of the contact station was in full bloom, so I drove down to get photos.  12 lovely blossoms on this cluster of Hedgehog Cactus!

Ron stopped at the contact station on his way out on Saturday to inform us he had a very large rattlesnake under his trailer again and would like us to get it moved after work if we felt like it.  We went over there after work, but the snake was nowhere to be seen.  We went home and on my way from the truck to the RV I noticed a small rattlesnake under OUR trailer.  I alerted Thom and he came with the snake stick and trash can.  We figured it would be an easy catch due to it’s size, but when Thom stuck his hook rod under to pull the snake within catching range, the snake moved away… in The Sidewinder Side-slither.  Sidewinder’s are smaller and quite a bit faster than Western Diamondbacks.  They are also a bit more aggressive, they will advance on a threat to try to scare it away. Thom did manage to get the snake within catching range with a rake and we put it in the trash can with the snake stick for transport.
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Here’s a shot of him under our RV.
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This guy was large for a Sidewinder.  He was 2.5 ft. long with 12 rattles.  They only get to about 34” long.

My spotting this snake so quickly brought home to me just how much of a habit it is to sweep the ground with my eyes watching all the places a snake is likely to be.  Thom goes out every day 2 or 3 times and does a walk-around looking for snakes.  Better safe than sorry!

Yesterday was Easter so for our dinner I cooked a Spiral Sliced ham, yams and fresh pineapple slices.  It was way too hot to run the oven, but the BBQ did just fine cooking it all.

My Brussel Sprouts plants are a thing of the past.  I took the grate off the other day so they could get better sunlight and I forgot to put it back on in the afternoon.  When I went out to water my plants all 9 Brussel Sprouts were totally gone.  I have a feeling that if I try to grow them now, it’ll be too late in the season and the brussel sprouts will go to seed without producing the sprouts.  I still have my Armenian Cucumbers and Sugar Snap peas growing beautifully.

It’s time for me to fix dinner.  Simple meal tonight – fresh green salad with ham chunks in it, maybe garlic toast too (made on the BBQ).

Ya’ll stay healthy ‘n happy!

Toodles!