Fulltime Roadrunners

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

Still Surviving

June 25th, 2015

Help is on it’s way.  The BLM is providing us with gas for our Honda generators, and ordering propane right away when we tell them the tank is down below 30%. We use the Hondas to run the portable A/C, and the propane generator supplements the power to the batteries on the solar system which we use to power the house including the big 15K a/c on the RV.  We are now running the Honda AND the propane generators all night long so we can have both a/c’s on all night. 

We have another 13K a/c over the bedroom, but every time we’d run it, it would run 15 to 20 minutes then trip the breaker.  Even though the other two a/c’s were running all night with a fan blowing up to the bedroom and a fan in the bedroom, it would still be mid 80’s until the early hours of the morning.  One of the guests who have been here since the 19th does air conditioning and offered to come take a look at it.  After telling him what was happening, he said it could very likely be a bad breaker. He attached an amp meter to the breaker (20 amp breaker) and we turned on the a/c.  After about 10 minutes it tripped and the meter only read 16 amps.  Right next to this breaker is a breaker for the washer/dry we don’t use so he switched the wires and , viola, the a/c ran all night long giving us the best nights sleep since the heat hit.  If I had time and could stand the oven being on in the RV, I’d bake him a cake or cobbler.

We’re not seeing many snakes at all now.  I guess the heat is such that they only roam around at night after the temps get low enough. The lizards are sure active though. Every time I walk outside I see a lizard scurrying away.  I’ve seen 3 separate Desert Spiny lizards, the male and female I shared in my last post and a youngun’ about 1/2 the size of the female. Other’s we have out here are varying sizes of the Giant Spotted Whiptail Lizard, the Ornate Tree Lizard and the Side-blotched Lizard.

(Remember, for all photos you can click on the photo to enlarge in a new window, when finished looking at them just close the window to come back to the blog.)

Giant Spotted Whiptail
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Ornate Long-tailed Tree Lizard
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Side-blotched Lizard
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I mentioned earlier that “help is on it’s way”. The BLM has purchased a 20K diesel generator for our campground (host site only) and it should be here the first week of July. They have already filled our diesel jump tank so we’ll be ready to go when it gets here.

Not many people coming out to go fishing, but those who do are doing pretty well. One guy caught a 50 lb. Flathead Catfish out of the river (not a back water) just a bit up river from here. I took photos for him, but with his camera and IPhone and didn’t get any with my camera.

With the temperatures getting up above 110° and staying there during the daytimes, our guests on the point have been doing a great job of beating the heat. These shots are all in our lagoon.

And here’s a photo of their group, shot from the Oxbow Bridge.

We’d welcome this group of people back any time!  They are a joy to have in the campground. They are respectful of us, the land they are staying on and the creatures who share this land. Usually when we have a group like this at least one of them can and will be a pain in the…. tongue (from my biting it constantly), but every single one of the people in this group are lovely to have around, even the kids (the older I get the less tolerant I get to brats).

A week ago we had a snake I rarely see go through our campground. This one is quite difficult to get photos of because it is so very fast. It’s actually called the Red Racer. This one was at least 6 feet long. The first pic is the whole snake and the 2nd is after it hid under a board and started feeling safe, it stuck it’s head out to see what was happening. You’ll often see them moving along with their head up in the air like that looking for prey.

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Planning and preparing meals has been challenging. I don’t want to heat the house with the oven, nor do I want to stand outside in the sun in 115° to cook on the BBQ. Last night fixed a shrimp salad and was so disappointed. Where can you buy (in the state of AZ) shrimp that is NOT farmed. The shrimp last night was mushy and flavorless. I haven’t been able to find shrimp that is wild caught and not farmed in the stores I have access to. I love salmon, but can’t afford wild caught. Produce is hard to find at a reasonable price and it’s rare to get fresh. Although, on that point, we do have Van Dyke farms in Blythe that we buy whatever and whenever we can find. We don’t mind paying the price for it (about the same as the stores) because we know it’s fresh. They have yummy melons and fresh corn. We are eating a lot of veggies, fruit and cheese now and a lot less meat, but when we do eat meat it’s often Schwan’s precooked chicken patties or precooked chicken breasts.

Pineapple has been available at a reasonable price so I’m buying a lot of it. I learned that if I slice it, lay it out flat on a cookie sheet and freeze it, I can store it in plastic bags in the freezer and pull it out as I want/need it. I find eating it after it’s thawed just a tiny bit is super refreshing, like a pineapple ice.

California grocery stores have raised the price of a dozen eggs, med or large, to near $5. We were in Quartzsite yesterday but didn’t think to look at the General Store, but next time (next week) we’re definitely stopping there for eggs…. still under $2.00/doz.

I made my beaded parrot. I have a lot of changes I’ll be making next time. The beak will be orange or black/charcoal and the colors will be per my choices not the pattern.

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Thom just went out to get the propane genny going and it wouldn’t start. Said it sounds like the starter and he’s not a mechanic. We’ve switched to our big ol’ 10K to keep the a/c’s going.

All I can think of for now so I’ll quit rambling.

Ya’ll stay healthy ‘n happy!

Toodles.

I’ve Been Threatening-

June 19th, 2015

—or is that promising, to write in the blog.

It’s been a challenge out here this year.  It’s been hotter than it was last year and we don’t have any supplemental power to help run the A/C’s to keep us cool.  We are relying on the propane generator to keep the big a/c going and our Honda’s to keep the portable genny running.  When the highs outside get over 110° it takes both of the a/c’s to keep the temp in the RV down to 88°, which isn’t good but better than 110°.

Between the mosquitoes and heat, we are spending as little time outside as possible. Luckily, the mosquitoes have abated pretty much except for early morning and late evening when the temps are down.

The high temps out here have been above 110° (as high as  120°) for over a week now, and are forecasted to be for another week. 

Since it’s too hot for me to sit outside in the fresh air to work on my hummers, I’m getting as much done as possible holed up inside. I finished my last order and have been doing what I can to build inventory and try some of the new patterns I’ve purchased.  I did my first attempt at the White-throated Jacobin; the Raven, which is Thom’s favorite bird; an Anna’s Hummingbird to go into inventory; and am working on a parrot right now.  I bought the parrot pattern over a year ago and am finally getting around to trying it. I’ve taken time off from accepting orders and am working on things I want to try as well as building up a bit of an inventory.

Here are pics of the White-necked Jacobin Hummingbird and the Raven.

 

Here it is…. HOT, HOT, HOT, and we have a couple in here with their 5th wheel and boat to camp for the weekend, and are expecting 7 more RV’s in here tomorrow to camp.  At least all of them are well equipped to deal with the heat.  The group of 7 bring a large diesel generator to power all of their a/c’s and the one that came in this evening is prepared to run their genny all night.

(Next Day)
The group of 7 is all here now.  I’ll catch up with them all tomorrow to see what we have…. preferably in the morning while it’s cooler. I’m going to enjoy the group.  They have children and the kids always have questions about their surroundings.  There’s nothing I like better than sharing info about “my” desert and “my” river.

The smoke was a lot less this morning, but a hefty breeze from the west kicked up and brought the big haze back. I can’t believe that we haven’t had a campfire restriction here in the area since we have had less rain than CA has had.

We are still in a heat wave. We’ll have temps from 114° down to 110° from now through Friday. I pray the Monsoons don’t hit while we are in these temps. Have I said this before? I’ll say it again. This is unusual to be this hot for this long this time of the year.  Last year when we got this hot, it only lasted 1 or 2 days.  (I think … a reread of the blog may prove me wrong)

We have finally received word on what kind of mitigation we’ll get for our power situation.  Power still won’t be out here until probably sometime in the Fall,  but the BLM has purchased a 20K diesel generator for us to have out here so we can survive. It may seem like they are taking advantage of us (which I’ve never ever thought), but it does take time for things to get approved.

This heat is definitely taking a toll on my garden.  The leaves on the tomatoes have all turned brown, the cucumber leaves are curling and the only nice cuke I have isn’t going to get longer than its current 4”. It’s an Armenian Cucumber and they get up to 18” long.  My Jicama is doing great however.  It’s truly a lover of HOT weather.

We have a couple of Desert Spiny Lizard out here dancing around each other.  He wants to make babies and she’s not so sure about it.  It’s been going on for days so I bet we’ll have baby Spiny Lizards running around in a few months.

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I’m almost done with a a 3D parrot, a new pattern.  I bought it a year ago, but this is the first chance I’ve had to give it a try. I have a lot of changes I want to make on the next one.

Time for me to say g’nite.  I’m sure there will be stories to share from the weekend. In the meantime….

Ya’ll stay healthy and happy.

Toodles.

The Heat Is On

June 12th, 2015

It’s getting close to the middle of June and the temps are climbing rapidly.  Today was predicted to get to 104° but made it up to 106°, and it will get warmer every day, up to 112° on Tuesday, and 115° on Thurs.  We are barely able to stay cool at this point, I’m pretty concerned about doing okay when it gets 10 degrees hotter.  We’re burning propane like crazy in the BLM generator to supplement the batteries so we can run our big A/C, and even then we’re only able to get the indoor temp down to 83 or 84.  We’re also running one of our Honda generator to power the portable A/C as a supplement. I guess if we need to run the portable all night, we’ll switch Honda’s and run it all night.

Business is still doing pretty good out here at the campground for the month.  This weekend isn’t very busy at all yet.  Only a couple of campers and a few launches.  Maybe it will pick up tomorrow.  For me, personally, it would be better if it didn’t pick up.  Then I wouldn’t have to go outside in the heat and skeeters to sell passes or check permits.  I hate insect repellent so much that I avoid using it until I get swarmed the minute I go out.  I almost always end up with at least 3 bites at the end of the day.  At least the humidity has dropped to 35%, so it’s not quite so unbearable.

In spite of the stress of working at beating the heat, I often find myself suddenly feeling a serenity and peace and recently realized it always come when I’m sitting and looking out my window at the river or standing on the bank looking out at the river.  The sun shining on the river, the wind blowing up white-caps on the river, the shadows of the trees and brush on the river, the sunrise reflecting on the river. 

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Another think that makes being out here worthwhile is the joy I feel when I look out the window and see something exciting, or Thom calls me on the radio to tell me about something exciting I want to take photos of.  The King Snakes mating, the first Hooded Oriole and Western Tanager of the year, and the Desert Spiny Lizard this morning trying to attract a mate.

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All this in my front yard. Is it any wonder I love it out here?  There is never a day without a hummingbird, even when the feeders are empty. (They come to the window and scold me for not filling them).

This month is Thom’s birthday month and next month is mine as well as our anniversary so when we found a turkey fryer at a great price we splurged and bought it.  It’s called a fryer, but is actually an infrared roaster (propane). I cooked a boneless pork roast in it and it turned out pretty good, super moist, but I’m not cooking anything else without buying the accessory pack for it.  I have a whole chicken I’m dying to try, but the accessory pack will allow me to hang the chicken midway in the fryer to get a more even ‘cook’ on it.  Hope to get the accessories when we go to Yuma next time. They have them at Home Depot.

I finished the last of my hummingbird orders a week ago and am now taking a month off from orders and creating for myself… to build inventory and to try new patterns.  I’ve done the Raven and am pleased with it.  Of course, I can see where some changes can be made.  I have a pattern for a parrot and hummingbird earrings and intend to try those as soon as I get a few hummingbirds for inventory.  Will be making an Anna’s Hummer next.  Here’s a couple of shots of the Raven. The Raven is Thom’s favorite bird and one of my favorites. We are both thrilled when we see one.

 

We got our dryer fixed yesterday and today was laundry day.  When you’re off the grid even doing laundry isn’t super easy.  Thom went to Blythe and got water so we could do laundry. We have to hook a hose to the tank on the water trailer and run the pump on the trailer to get water to the washer, then when the washer is done we run the 10K generator to run the dryer to dry the clothes.  The towels HAVE to be dried in the dryer because they are stiff as a board if dried on the clothesline.

Okay Judy, ramble on.  Nah, I think I’m done for the night.  Gonna cut myself a bit of the Santa Claus melon we bought at Van Dyke Farms in Blythe and enjoy the heck outta it!

Ya’ll stay healthy and happy.

Toodles.

Staying Busy at the Oxbow Campground

June 6th, 2015

Our flow of guests at the BLM Oxbow Campground has been pretty steady all of last month and so far this month.  Most of our campers have been coming in groups of 3 or more.  The group we have in here now are a bunch of internet friends, some meeting in person for the first time.  They are spread out all over the campground, most in tents on the north side of the lagoon.  This is the first time this group has come here, although a couple of the folks have been here a time or two in the past.  Word is spreading about us.  It would be nice if this place brought in as much business in the winter as it does in the summer.  On the other hand, it’s really nice to have some alone time out here during those months.

The BLM brought their big shovel in and built a gravel road connecting the bathroom road to the road that run alongside the lagoon.  They cleared some space and put two spurs for RV’s to park also. I understand they hope to make more room for parking/camping over there.  Here’s a photo of the beginnings of the new road, followed by one showing the new spurs.

To view the photos full size just click on photo. It will open in new window,  close that window to come back to the blog.

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I finally got around to my first attempt at making a White-necked Jacobin Hummingbird with my beads.  I’m happy with the first attempt but can see a thing or two I will change when I do it again.  I’m making a Ruby Throat right now, which will finish off my list of orders.  I think I will take some time off from orders for a while (maybe a month) and have some fun building an inventory of the different kinds of birds I can make. I have a parrot pattern and will be trying to make one fashioned after the colors of my Quaker Parrot.  And I want to make one each (at least) of the different kinds of hummingbirds I make.  Here’s a couple of photos of the White-necked Jacobin I finished the other day. For those of you who are friends on Facebook, just scroll on by, I’m sure you’re quite tired of seeing these. Winking smile

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Yesterday Thom was changing tires on the Pressure Washer trailer and broke his ratchet wrench.  He went into Sears at Blythe to get it replaced (lifetime guarantee) and saw a turkey fryer at a tremendous price. When he got home he told me about it.  I did some checking online for this brand and model and everything I found was fantastic so we called to find out how long it was on sale. Yesterday was the last day so back to
Blythe, but this time I went with him and the Turkey Fryer came back with us.  It’s actually an infrared fryer, so technically it would be a roaster. It runs on propane.  I’m thawing a 3.2 lb. boneless center cut pork roast to try out tomorrow.  I’ll let ya’ll know if it’s any good.

Our temperatures are definitely warming up now.  Today is our last relatively cool day (at 99°), then it goes to the 100’s a few days, a couple more days at 99°, and then back to hot.  Our power won’t be here probably until fall now.  Southern California Edison Power is dragging their heels getting things done and the BLM, being Government and having requirements, takes time to process all the paperwork and plans. I know our supervisor is working on something to help us survive the heat, but I don’t know what and he won’t say anything until it’s a sure thing.  It’ll be interesting to see what they come up with. 

We still love it out here and still want to stay for as long as we can. 

I’ll finish the blog off with one of my favorite lizards.  This guy is really large, from nose to tail tip about 14” long.  The Desert Spiny Lizard.

Ya’ll stay healthy and happy!

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