Fulltime Roadrunners

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

Mo from Thom

June 29th, 2013

Judy made an interesting observation tonight/today? ” It is interesting when we used to think of cooling off as when the temps get below  below 100 now it is when we are getting below 110.”  Have we descended into the depths of Hell,, Nawwww  this is way to much fun to be hell, jus a tad warm though.

Thom

It’s Been Too Long

June 28th, 2013

It really has been a long time since I last posted.

Mom is doing just fine.  She went home from the hospital the day after I blogged.  I just wish she’d realize her limitations and not be so stubborn and determined.  I understand though.  She wants to live her life as much as possible and currently there isn’t much living to be done when your stuck in a small room with a TV, uncooperative phone and family that doesn’t call or visit much.  I’m guilty too, of not calling as often as I should.

The head man at the Yuma Field Office dropped by to see how we were doing, since our direct supervisor has been off on fires for the past few weeks.  While I was talking to him he told me we were front and foremost in bringing in fees for usage permits, and the Law Enforcement Officers were really pleased with the way we were doing things.  Maybe that will be enough for them to ask us to stay for the winter.  The grounds look 100% better – cleaner, better groomed and greening up nicely since we’ve been watering every week.  The walkway to the beach is usable now, it used to have thorny mesquite trees across it that prevented walking on it.  Anyway, wish us luck, we’d love to not have to move this fall.

We’ve had a couple more interesting days since I last blogged.  Ya’ll need to stop by our campfire this fall or winter, wherever it may be, to listen to the stories.  I don’t want to share them now on the off chance our area is still needed at times during the summer.

The temperatures have steadily been rising this week with today being the beginning of the really hot, dangerous days.  Our weather station said it got up to 119° today.  NOAA predicted 117°.  NOAA predicts 118° tomorrow, then steadily dropping to 117, 115, and back down to 105 by next Wed.  Our bedroom A/C quit working earlier today.  It works, but it keeps tripping the breaker.  We’re sure the power box can’t handle the heavy usage in this heat.  Up to today it’s done okay. We’re hoping it will start working right after the temp gets back town to 100 or so.  It would help if we could run it all night.  I expect problems again tomorrow.  We need to have someone come out to check the power pedestal and see if there is anything that can be done.  In the meantime we plan on jury-rigging a shade over the top of the pedestal to keep the afternoon heat off it.

In spite of the heat, I’m trying to get out every morning for a walk along the beach.  Yesterday and today I managed to get photos of 3 new (for me) dragonflies, and a new bird.

This is the Mexican Amberwing Dragonfly, the first one is a male, the second one a female.  Remember you can click on the photo and it will open full size in another window.  Just close the window to come back to the blog.
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This is the Blue Dasher
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This last dragonfly was exciting to me.  When I saw the white spots on all the wings I knew it was a different one.  This is the Spangled Skimmer.
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This is my new bird.  Our dear friend Lee (Ole Frog) lives in Quartsite year round and he has shown me photos he’s taken of the Black Phoebe.  I saw one yesterday during my morning walk.  This one is a juvenile.  He has more brown in his coloring and the edge of his wing is a rusty brown.  The adult Black Phoebe is just that… black.  And the light color on the lower belly is white.
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Here in the Yuma, AZ/El Centro/CA area there is a lot of farming going on.  The fields are growing one thing or another year round.  Fall and Winter we have lettuces, broccoli, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, and probably a few others.  In the spring and summer we have grains, melons, and soybeans.  After they have harvested the grains the farmers burn the fields to get rid of stubble, weeds and improve the productivity of the next crop.  We’ve had smoky skies for the past couple of weeks.  It’s hell on our lungs, but makes for some interesting photos.

This is the Super Moon we had June 22, and 23.  This was taken on the 22nd and the sky was full of smoke turning the moon orange.
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This is a shot I took this morning around 5:45 of the view across the lake.  The smoke in the air is such that the sunlight has made our view look like fall.  I really like this view.
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We were really quite lucky today.  Neither one of us wanted to spend time outside and were hoping the people would realize it’s too hot out to even be playing on or in the water.  They did.  Not a single “customer” today.

I imagine that tomorrow and Sunday will be a bit different, being non-work days.  We’ll probably get a few people, but hopefully most in the morning and late evening.  It’s 6:30 p.m. and temp has dropped from 119 to 112°.  Our low tonight is predicted to be in the mid to high 80’s.  I’m convinced that if we can get through the next 4 days or so without much stress or discomfort, we will do fine and be happy this summer.  Wish us luck.

Yesterday we went for a “short” drive to our mailbox and to drive the McKinley road to the Imperial Dam.  Silly me didn’t take pics on the dam road.  Thom decided to take the Ferguson Lake Road that runs alongside the Christian Center where the mailbox is.  Part of the drive was interesting, even pretty in spots, but the road towards the end was the kind of road that puts me into a hyperventilating panic!  You come up a hill, go over the top and can’t see the road until you either drive off the cliff or are miraculously still on the road.  You drive along a road that has been cut at the very top of a ridge 12’ wide… washboard road that wants to walk you over the cliff on either side.  I have problems with heights and sharp drops.  My heart got a tremendous aerobic workout yesterday!  Needless to say, we won’t be doing that road again anytime soon.  Here is a pic of the Ferguson Lake, just so you can see I survived.  As you can see, the skies were still smoky.

Time to find a bite to eat.  Not cooking tonight… too hot.  I imagine that since the weather will be keeping me inside a lot more now, I’ll be posting to the blog more… my floors will be cleaner… dishes will be done more often… etc. etc.

Ya’ll stay healthy ‘n happy.

Tah!

 

Interesting Weekend

June 17th, 2013

This last weekend was kind of interesting.  On Saturday, in the morning around 9:00 we had 3 cars come in and park.  When I asked if I could help them, the “spokesman” said they were a religious group and needed to pray to the lake, would only be here about 10 minutes.  I told them they could have 15 minutes without paying, but could not go in the water, etc unless they paid.  They grabbed some bags ‘n things out of their cars and headed down the stairs to the beach.  When I saw a watermelon come out of the car I decided I better keep an eye on them.  When I walked over to look down on them they were in a circle holding hands, bowed heads with one in the center.  I figured they were truly here for the purpose they stated.  But, when they came back up the stairs (about 12 – 15 minutes later), they were all sopping wet, head to toe.  After they drove off, I went out to look down on the beach and lake and saw a watermelon and many white “thingies” floating on the water about 40 feet out.  I’m guessing something like offerings and prayers to the God/Gods.  At any rate, if we’re here next summer, I’ll know to not let them use our lake for their ceremony!  That watermelon could be kinda hard on the prop on a boat.

With our temps hitting 3 digits by 10 a.m. or so, Thom goes out and sprays down the yard, my hanging basket and the aloes a bit just to keep them from getting too hot.  On Sunday, while I was inside doing email, etc on the computer, he caught my attention by waving his arms and pointing to one of the rocks in the yard around the Aloe plants.  There was a beautiful Desert Iguana there.  I grabbed my camera and slowly went out the door to take pics. 
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When Thom started spraying the Aloes the water sprayed on the Iguana as well.  He really got excited at the feel of water on his neck and back.  He followed the spray to a depression in the rock and started lapping the water up with his tongue.  I doubt many people get the opportunity to get photos of a lizard lapping water.  Am I lucky or what?!!
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Yesterday afternoon we had two young couples walk in to the compound to use the swim beach.  I mentioned to Thom that it seemed odd they’d walk in from Squaw Lake about 1/3 mile from here in 105F heat, so he went out to question them.  They said they bought their permit down there and walked here to spend time with some friends using the beach.  After they went down to the beach Thom decided to see if a car was parked in an odd spot between here and Squaw Lake.  While he was gone Peter, our head BLM LEO (Law Enforcement Office) came by and asked if anything was going on, I told him about the 2 couples and what Thom was doing.  Thom and Dennis, the Squaw Lake host, were at the car they came from, it was without a permit.  I called Thom on the 2 way radio and told him Peter was here so he came back, told Peter what the young man told him about buying the permit down there.  Peter talked to the two couples when they went back to the car and they were given an expensive ticket for not buying a recreational use permit.  He and we all really get upset with people who want a free ride!  What’s really crazy is the guys were active military and they can go to the BLM office, show military ID and get a free annual pass for these areas.

Today we went in to Home Depot in Yuma to pick up Thom’s birthday present… the battery powered leaf blower.  We had to order it online for in-store delivery.  It works good for our purposes and will keep Thom from having to sweep the walkway down to the beach.  He’s happy.

On the left of this blog there is a list of recipes.  Most of them I’ve tried, some of them I haven’t tried yet, but they sure sound good.  One of them I have tried is the Natural Mosquito Repellant.  I thought the lemon “juice” would be sticky with sugars, so I substituted lemon oil (15 drops) with about 4 drops of lime juice.  Otherwise I followed the recipe.  We don’t have great numbers of mosquitoes, or huge mosquitoes here, but we do have biting gnats and flies, and other biting bugs as well as a few mosquitoes.  When I spray myself with the Natural Mosquito Repellant I am bite free and as an added bonus I smell good.  When I don’t use the spray in the early morning or the evenings, I get bug bites every time.  I’d love for some of you in heavy skeeter country to try it and let me know if it works at all.

Our reservoir/lake has lots of water now.  They are finished with the work on the dam, so water levels should be back to normal for the rest of the year.  Our boaters and water skiers are sure happy.

My mother turned 89 on June 13th.  She lives in an assisted living compound.  She doesn’t get around very well at all anymore, but is still determined to be independent.  Yesterday she went outside at the compound and for whatever reason fell.  She doesn’t know what happened.  She hit her head, ended up in the hospital and the cat scan showed bleeding on the brain.  They did another scan today, but I don’t know what the results were yet.  I called her today and she’s not happy being in the hospital, but at her age, I’m quite happy they aren’t letting her go home until they know all is well. 

Time to say g’nite.

Ya’ll stay healthy ‘n happy!

Toodles.

 

 

On The Spot Weather

June 12th, 2013

A few years ago we bought a weather station and have loved having weather results wherever we were parked.  It may not predict weather, but it’s nice to have wind direction and speed (especially to let us know if the satellite dish needs to come down), current temp (inside & out) and barometer.  The rain gauge and anemometer broke on our old station.  In searching for replacement parts we quickly learned it would be cheaper to buy a new station than to buy replacement parts.  We set up our new station today, same station as our last one, only it has solar that recharges the batteries at the station and a different software for tracking weather on the computer.  I just need to delve into it to find out how to post online with it.  I’m already loving it so far.  We’ve set up the station on a hill about 200’ from the trailer on a hill that is difficult for the average child or burro to access.
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I came down with a “bug” yesterday and spent half the afternoon in bed.  Feel a whole lot better today and should be 100% tomorrow.  Good thing too, since we need to do grocery shopping and couple other errands.  If there’s time I’m going to get my hair butched… or at least cut way short.  It’s barely long enuff now to tie back in a ponytail and short enuff half of it comes loose and flies about into my eyes.

I check out the NOAA weather report every day online.  I’ve gotten to the point where I’m acclimated enough now that when I see the hi temps are going to be below105F I’m thinking “that’s livable, we can get some things done if we do it before noon”.  I do believe I’m truly adapting to the heat.  I’m not saying I don’t still melt when it’s 108 and I have to be out in it for longer than 10 minutes, but I can function pretty good at under 105.  Thom manages in the heat very well.

We are still getting brand new baby quail families!  They are fewer than the ones we got earlier this spring, but we’ve two families of 6 in the past couple of weeks.  Today we had one family of 6 that couldn’t have been more than a day old.  We now have 7 families visiting us.  Makes me feel obligated to get seed out for them every day.  Gamma’s gotta feed them babies.

An adult male Black Headed Grosbeak dropped by for a couple of days last Monday.  I think they are so pretty, even if they do have a fat beak.
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This morning while I was out walking Willow for her morning potty break, we had a couple of Turkey Vultures sitting on posts by the boat ramp.  When I got too close they took off.  This is a few shots of one of them finding another perch.
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Again… if you click on a photo it will open in a new window, when you are done with that pic, just close that window and you’ll be back at this blog.

I’m still waiting for some supplies I requested the first week we were here.  I have to admit, Bill has been super busy, what with putting out “fires” at the other locations and dealing with real fires.  Apparently he has been on a fire in New Mexico this last week.  We should have, but don’t have, keys to the bathrooms and control closet here on site.  The maintenance guy, Al, told us 4 weeks ago he’d have copies of keys for us, but we’ve not seen them yet.  The Winter hosts had keys but they took them with them rather than turn them over to us.  Pretty territorial, eh!

I am covered under Medicare starting July 1 so signed up for supplemental insurance this afternoon with Humana.  It’s going to take a big, big bite our of our very fixed income.  Thom’s supplemental costs $150 and mine will cost $151/month.  What with the cost of Medicare, we are going to barely get by with our Social Security.

Getting old ain’t easy!

All in all though, we’re happy and loving life.  As our dear friend Linda says, “Life is good!”.

Ya’ll stay healthy ‘n happy.

Tah!

Day 40

June 10th, 2013

We’ve been here 40 days now.  We’re doing pretty much okay.  The heat saps us when it gets above 105F, but we are learning to deal with it.  Thom has started to take naps after he’s done his early morning trash pickup.  I don’t get as active as he does as early as he does, but I’m out and about more when the people come in to get permits and use the lake and beach.

We’re on our own out here a lot more than I expected to be.  Bill, our supervisor, works fires during the summer so he’s not here much and not available to take phone calls from us.  The BLM has Law Enforcement Officers, but they don’t have enough of them to cover their territory well.  This weekend we had no Law Enforcement support at all, but we don’t really feel isolated and alone because we always have 911 in the case of emergency which gives us support by the Imperial County Sheriff’s dept. as well as the military law enforcement from the Yuma Proving Grounds who monitor the 911 calls and respond when they are available.

Thom’s birthday was the 5th of this month.  I ordered a battery powered leaf blower from Home Depot for in-store pickup.  It was supposed to be in-store today, but I received an email today saying it was shipped today, not available in store.  It should be here in a week or so.  It feels really good to be able to buy something for Thom with money I earned from selling my crafts.

We also ordered a new weather station which arrived today.  The rain gauge and anemometer on the old one broke and it costs less to replace the whole station than it would to replace parts.  It’ll be nice to see what the wind speed is again, and the rain quantity.  We can still get inside and outside temps as well as barometer readings, but the software for tracking the info doesn’t work with windows 7 on the old system.  I look forward to getting this one set up this week.

Here’s a shot of last night’s sunset.
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…and a shot of our view at dawn.

Time to say g’nite.

Ya’ll stay healthy ‘n happy.

Tah!

Adapting

June 8th, 2013

We’re still adapting to the heat.  From what the locals are telling me, we won’t see two digit highs again until mid to late September.  Thursday and Friday were the hottest we’ve seen so far 112 & 111F.  Today it only got up to 104F.  Our lows are from 72 – 78F so far, but we’ve been told they will be in the 80’s & 90’s in a month or so.  Send positive energy to our air conditioners please, they may need it to continue running trouble free 24 hours a day for 3 months.

I’ve a feeling we’ll never see a cucumber from our garden this year, the plant may like the heat, but 111 – 113F is a bit high I think.  Maybe if it were planted in the ground it would fare better, but being in a pot which is more vulnerable to the heat….
My tomatoes are still bearing fruit but the plants look like heck!  The leaves and fruit are getting smaller by the day, they still taste yummy though.  My Brussel Sprouts look as healthy as ever but are growing very slowly.  They are a cooler weather veggie anyway, so I didn’t expect much from them.  One day I’ll be in a position to be able to grow a garden like I want.

The wild life we’re seeing isn’t as plentiful and diverse as it was last month.  The heat is keeping everything but the birds down during the heat of the day, even the reptiles.  The Quail and yard birds are here off and on all day, fighting for the seed.  The “yard birds” are the house finch, house sparrow, cowbirds, grackles, and Abert’s Towhees.  The keep me entertained during the day at the feeder on my window.
Brown Headed Cowbird (much smaller than those in Utah) at feeder:
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Male House Finch at feeder:
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Male Grackle in the yard:
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I start Medicare insurance July 1st, so I need to be sure and sign up for supplemental insurance this next week.  After doing a bit of research I’ve decided to go with Humana.  None of them are really what I want – everything for nothing – so I’m going with the best I could find.  It will be nice to be able to go to the Dr. and only pay half a fortune for it.

I’m finding I want to sleep in every morning, but when I give myself permission to do so, I learn that it isn’t easy to let go of “things I should be doing” and let myself go back to sleep.  The latest I’ve slept in the last 3 weeks is 7 a.m.

Speaking of sleep, I’m tired and ready to say g’nite.

Ya’ll stay healthy ‘n happy!

Toodles.

Heat

June 6th, 2013

Today the temp got up to 110F.  We are experiencing the heat we’ve been expecting.  As hot as this feels I’m not sure I’ll be okay when the temps hit 120F.  I’m fine as long as I can stay indoors, and at 110, I can even go out, talk to people who come in and deal with questions, etc.  BUT, I have to get back inside after 10 to 15 minutes, or be wearing the “cool tube” Ron and Deb gave me.  Tomorrow the high temp is supposed to be around 113 or so.  I have to admit I hope the heat keeps people from coming in here this weekend.  Just enough people to pay for our being here would be nice.

To me, this is the beginning of summer here.  We’ve had a breeze all day today, but I’m tellin’ ya, at 110F the breeze does nothing to make you more comfortable out there, just makes you feel you are being cooked in a convection oven.  I find it’s pretty easy to be out and about when the temp is 105 or lower, but when it gets above that, it’s better for me to move slow and get back inside as soon as I can.

Luckily we have our trikes out of the box and off the rack on the 1 ton pickup so when we have to go chase people down, we can hop on our trike and use the motor to go get ‘em.  We also will use our trikes to do a tour around the compound to make sure all the vehicles in here have permits and have complied with the rules.  So far I’m using the pedals, but I know I’ll use the motor when it’s hot.

I have two goals I want to meet while here… I want to get my fishing license and Colorado river stamp, learn how to clean/filet the fish like Lee does and catch some fish here.

Another goal I have, is if we get to stay here year round, I want to get a real garden going and see what I can grow.

Will let ya’ll know how we survive this weekend and the heat.

Ya’ll stay healthy ‘n happy!

Tah.

Momma Quail standing watch over her babies.
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We’re Still Alive ‘n Doing Good

June 5th, 2013

We’re in the swing of things now where work is concerned and are now in a basic routine.

The weekends are relatively busy starting on Friday afternoon.  Thom gets up at sunup, gets dressed and goes outside.  He grabs his 5 gallon bucket and “pickers” and walks the compound picking up trash left by the weekend users.  They usually are pretty good about cleaning up after themselves, but occasionally we get some real slobs.  After cleaning up the compound he goes down to the beach (3 flights of stairs) and picks up trash from down there.  Again, most people are pretty neat, but some are quite messy.  He’s found clothes, including sandals, shirts, pants and swim suits.  He also shovels up burro droppings into a wheelbarrow to fertilize the trees with.

Due to the fire danger the picnickers are not allowed to have charcoal BBQ’s on the beach, but can use the two provided by the BLM on the 1st & 2nd level by the picnic tables.  They can take propane BBQ’s down to the beach.

The rest of the week is very quiet with only two or 3 cars coming in to launch or picnic/swim, but Thom still gets up at sunup to take care of trimming trees, watering trees and grass, shoveling or sweeping rocks/gravel off of stairs, walkways and boat ramp.  I get up every morning (except days off) by 6:00 a.m., get ready for the day, grab my camera, invite Willow to come along and do a walk-around in the compound looking for things Thom might have missed, and possible photo ops.  The early morning view across the lake is absolutely beautiful.  How can you have a bad day when it starts like this.
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One of the joys of my life here is to watch the many Gambel’s Quail families come to eat.  I have families of 12, 14, 16, 7, and 21 babies.  The family of 21 babies is relatively new and the family of 7 babies is only about 2 or 3 days old.  When 2 families come in at the same time they mix themselves up, but on their way out they always get straightened out and with the right parents.  It’s really hard to get clear pics of the babies because their markings are such that they blend in with the surroundings.  This is a pic of babies from 2 different families.  The two on the left are from the family of 14 and the tiny one on the right is only a couple days old from the new family of 7.

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I’ve taken all my bird feeders down due to the burros knocking them to the ground… seed and hummer feeders.  I’ve got one seed feeder on my window up too high for the burros to get to and am going to throw together a pot of flowers for the hummers to come too.  I hope to hang it high enough the burros can’t eat it.  They leave my succulent plant alone so maybe I’ll get lucky.

We’ve had temps in the 3 digits several times but never in a string of more than 3 days… until this week.  It will be getting up to 110 this weekend and will be in the mid 3 digits for at least 7 days.  I anticipate the temps under 100 will be few and far between except nights which will be down in the 70’s… for now anyway.  We are now on our way to finding out how we handle the heat.

I see I’ve got another long blog going here, so I’ll save more for later which might mean I’ll post again soon.  In the meantime, here’s a pic of a Common Carp hunting food on the shoreline of our lake, it’s about 3 feet long.
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Memorial Weekend campers on the north shore of the lake.
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Ya’ll stay healthy ‘n happy!

Toodles.