Fulltime Roadrunners

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

It’s Beginning

February 9th, 2016

The “season” is nearly upon us. The high temps for the next 8 days will be in the low 80°s and ya’ll know what that means!  The water in the river and backwaters is getting warmer making the fish come out of their deep funk and start biting again.  The Largemouth  and Striped Bass are biting on jigs, yellow and orange lures, chatter baits and worms (according to recent guests in the campground).  One of the folks out here said he was using small Bluegill he caught as bait for the catfish and he was catching Bass with them (largemouth). 

We have Largemouth, Smallmouth, and Striped Bass, Crappie, Blue Gill, Tilapia, Channel Catfish and Flathead Catfish (the big guys) in the Lake, our little lagoon and the River. 

Here’s a couple of pics of catches the last couple of years.

Channel Catfish                                22” 5 lb. Largemouth Bass

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2 15lb and 1 17lb Flathead Catfish

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57 lb Flathead Catfish

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We are nearing the end of snowbird season for the Canadians now.  We didn’t get as many as in the past, but they have to pay $1.20 Canadian for every $1 American so it’s more costly for them to come down.  Most of them are starting their slow journey home.  We’ll miss them, they’re a fun bunch.  Of course, we still have many U.S. full-time RVers who stay in the area until it’s too hot for them.

Yesterday the host site’s power went out.  It seems one of the two inverters has quit.  The maintenance man (jack of all trades and busy as all get out) spent most of the day here getting it working with at least the remaining inverter.  We really need to be careful with our power usage now and if we need A/C we’ll have to make do with our small portable unit and the 2000 Honda generator….. at least until the system is fixed.

The water level of the river is continuing to get better and more consistent.  It’s measured by the flow of cubic feet per second (cfs). As the flow increases the surface elevation of the river increases.  The higher the elevation, the easier to launch your boat and navigate the river without running onto a sandbar.  A surface elevation of 219’ is pretty good, 220’ is great and 218’ is doable.

I go to this website to track the flow and elevation of the river here at the campground.  There are measuring stations along the river that record and transmit the info on an hourly basis to:

Bureau of Reclamation Lower Colorado River Daily Report

I check the “release” at Parker Dam, & note the time when the release has been increased.  After noting for several months I learned that the release from Parker Dam reaches our campground (which is on the report as Oxbow Bridge) in 26 to 28 hours.  So if they start releasing more water at the dam I know it will show up here the next day at the same time plus 2 to 4 hours.  I post this info on a white board along with weather and display it on a bulletin board at the road to the boat ramp.  That way our launchers will know what the current level is and if it will be rising or lowering.

There are still birds at the

 Cibola Wildlife Refuge

…but they will be leaving soon so if you want to enjoy them, get out there soon.

Here’s a few shots of what you might see December through February.

Mule Deer

Burrowing Owl

Sandhill Crane

Canada and Snow Geese

On the home front – Not much going on.  I’m still trying to grow a garden. In the process there is a major battle between me and the mice.  So far they’re still winning.  Even with 1/4” wire mesh circling the pot from the inside, the mice are still getting in.  Overnight my watermelon radishes went from beautiful green sprouts just putting on their secondary leaves to bare dirt.  They were totally devoured.  I don’t plan on giving up until it just gets to hot to grow anything!

Enuff for now.

Ya’ll stay healthy and happy!

Toodles.

Per Request

January 29th, 2016

We seem to have many people trying to find our campground.  They’ve heard of it from friends or acquaintances and want to check it out.  We got a phone call today from one gentleman we met at the La Posa Long Term Visitor Area in Quartzsite AZ way back in 2008 today.  He wanted to know how to get here and what the coordinates are.  Thom said to go ahead and post the coordinates on this blog…..  if someone wants to do us harm, their GPS will have them wandering around the farm lands in the area so much they will die of old age before they find the campground. 

So, here ya go:

BLM Oxbow Campground, Cibola, AZ, near Palo Verde, CA.
33°23’15/6”M  114°42’43.53”W

For those of you who intend no harm to us…. Directions found on the BLM Oxbow Campground Site:

From I-10: Exit at Neighbors Blvd. /CA-78 in Blythe, California, heading south on Highway 78. From I-8: Exit north on Ogilby Rd. Turn right on Highway 78 heading north. The site is approximately 3 miles south of Palo Verde, California, at Colorado River mile 100. Turn east onto gravel road at sign marked “Colorado River.” Oxbow is ¾ mile east of Highway 78.

Link to that Site:

http://www.blm.gov/az/st/en/prog/recreation/camping/dev_camps/oxbow.html

With all that, this might help a bit as well.  The sign at the intersection of Hwy 78 and gravel road says Colorado River on green sign, Cibola Wildlife Refuge on brown sign and drawing of boat on ramp on green sign.  Here is a Google Earth pic of the area I did today. Click on the pic to enlarge it.

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The BLM has done some great stuff out here making the campground better.  Our boat ramp has been extended 12’ to make it easier to launch your boat without running off the end of the ramp.  There is access to the Colorado River from the lagoon you launch in.  We’ve had crews out here cutting down weeds, ‘n reeds, opening up the view and giving better access to the water and beach.  They’ve trimmed the trees to make parking RVs much easier and giving more room for setup.  Here are a couple of photos.

 

 

We’ve been living here at the campground for almost 2 1/2 years (1 month short) and still love it.  Ultimately we want to live full time in Quartzsite, but I’m not in a hurry. 

I hope to get get back to blogging again a bit more regularly. If for no other reason than to keep our regular guests aware of what’s happening out here on the river and in the campground…. fishing reports, weather expectations, etc..

Ya’ll stay healthy and happy.

Toodles.

Ten Day Schedule?

August 6th, 2015

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It looks like I’m unintentionally on a 10 day blogging schedule. There are so many little things that are taking my time away from both my beading and my blogging.

A quick note for those I’ve given the Bureau of Reclamation hourly water level website address to, I’m pretty sure I’ve figured it out.  When Parker starts releasing larger amounts it takes approximately 26 to 28 hours for it to reach Oxbow Bridge.

With having 3 generators now it’s take a lot more of Thom’s time. We run the diesel 20K genny from 6 or 7 p.m. to 6 or 7 a.m. the next morning. Then we turn it off and plug in to the battery power. When it’s not too hot we just run the fans and the portable A/C, giving the sun time to reach to solar panels to start charging the battery bank. Usually around 10 a.m. we usually have to get the propane genny running for 1.5 hours to supplement the battery bank, especially if we had to get the big A/C running early.  Around noon we get the gas 13.5K genny going and run it until 6 or 7 p.m. starting the cycle all over again. Thom has to fuel the 13.5K every day and the diesel genny every few days. I only have to guide him backing the truck to the generators so he can reach the fuel tanks. In the process of doing all this Thom has to move the power cords from one to another, to the power stand and back (the plug is trying to fall apart from being pushed pulled and pried).  Of course the county just has to call him for jury duty when the temps will be above 110°(114 today and tomorrow)

Since Thom has to leave by 6 a.m. tomorrow to check in for jury duty at 8. He’s been making sure I know how to start the two new gennys and which plugs to move where so I can switch from the 13.5K  to the diesel when 13.5  runs out of gas.

We try to give our supervisor plenty of notice when we need fuel for the jump tanks.  Then I find myself worrying about getting that fuel before we run out. To top it off, our supervisor is in California fighting a fire (actually he’s an investigator) and will be gone for two weeks. We will definitely need more fuel a time or two during that time so we have to call his supervisor and trust him to fit us into his super tight schedule. Even if he just has to take the time to find someone to come help us out, that’s an added pressure on him.

Thom also goes in to Quartzsite on Thursday to a cardiologist (I’m going with him) for both an echo and electro cardiogram. The beta blocker, very low dose, seems to be helping slow down those cluster beats.

My Dish Satellite Internet is down right now (went out Tuesday at around 3:30 p.m.). Dish says it’s a gateway issue and usually these issues are resolved within 2 hours… it’s after 6 p.m. now so maybe it’ll be back soon.  Will post as soon as it’s back up.

We had a very exciting moth (for me) out here and Thom happened to be outside when it landed on one of the Mesquite trees one evening. This is called a Black Witch. It’s wingspan is anywhere from 4” to 7”, this one had a span of 6.5” - 7” and I think is beautiful. They eat tree sap and love the Mesquite sap due to it’s sweetness. That’s probably why it landed on the Velvet Mesquite which has a thinner bark and is easier to penetrate. This is a male, the female has a cream colored bar in the middle of its wing.

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Earlier that morning I had a new favorite dragonfly fly right in front of my face and land on a rock in front of me. This is the male White-belted Ringtail Dragonfly. I just think he’s so pretty.

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We also have a new critter in our pond. Last year we had a big adult beaver, this year we have a juvenile beaver. I thought it was a muskrat. Both the beaver and muskrat have the rodent face and this juvenile was only about 18” long in the body.

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I have to say I’m quite glad we only have about 1-1/2 months left of summer. It would be easier to deal with if we didn’t have fids (furry ‘n feathered kids), but we do, so we have to take extra precautions and consider them every time we leave the house for more than a couple of hours.

If you’re thinking about selling the stick house, buying and living in an RV and doing a lot of that off the grid, I’d recommend you think long and hard about doing so with fids.

On a happy note, we had, for the first time, an American Kestrel in the campground.  It was in here trying to catch one of the many fledgling White-winged Doves that come in here to feed. I managed to get a couple of decent shots of him… it is a male.

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Hopefully, the next time I post to the blog I’ll have more positive thoughts….. like I won the lottery, or something. Yeah, I realize I gotta play it to win it.

Ya’ll stay healthy and happy!

8/08/15  Got internet back yesterday morning, finally publishing this post to the blog. More to come soon.

Toodles.

Good News

July 24th, 2015

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Yesterday our supervisor brought out a 20K diesel generator to supplement our power until we get shore power. It’s on a lease and is costing them less than the one we had last year. We’ll have it through October which is when our supervisor is predicting the shore power will be here. It’s supposed to be here sometime in September but he says that realistically it probably won’t be done and ready for use until sometime in October.  We’re also getting a security system (cameras).  The security system is already purchased and just waiting for power.

Not only did we get the Whisper-soft generator, they also bought a 13.5K gas generator (noisy). He brought that out here today. We use the gas generator during the day and the diesel at night. This will save on our Hondas and the BLM Propane generator.

See ya’ll…. it’s all coming to fruition…. finally.  Minimal bitching (at least to the BLM), a lot of patience and a lot of faith.  Of course, there’s still a chance something will come along to set the shore power back, but I plan on being a Pollyanna about it.  For those of you young kids reading this, you’ll need to Google Pollyanna.

The storm I posted about last time ended up leaving us 1.25” of rain.  We’ve had a total of about 2.5” for the year. Phoenix says they have another monsoon on the way this weekend, but we’re just getting hotter temps. I’ve no idea when we’ll get another storm, but when we do I hope it’s a little milder. I don’t know how many times our supervisor is willing to replace a storm destroyed easy-up canopy.

Thom is still in the process of getting all his cardiology evaluations. After wearing the heart monitor for 10 days, it was only able to record 18 hours of activity (due to our living off grid) and those hours showed nothing unusual. When he was it Yuma for the consult with the cardiologist in Tucson the cardiologist decided to have him hooked up to a monitor and he had an episode like those that brought all this testing on.  He said she (cardiologist) said something about cluster beats.  Thom has an appointment with a cardiologist in Quartzsite to get the echo cardiogram on Aug. 6th. Hopefully that will determine what’s going on and what to do.

A month or so ago we bought an infrared turkey fryer (no oil required). I’ve cooked a boneless pork loin roast (a bit tough), chicken legs (absolutely yummy), 10 lb. bone-in pork roast (to die for… moist, tender, fall apart pork, tremendous chicharoni from the skin and lots of leftover for pulled pork sandwiches). To top it off, I have a lovely pork bone in the freezer with enough meat to make a great winter soup in a few months. Last night I did rack of pork ribs. Here’s a shot of the ribs just before I put them in the cooker, and then a shot of the “fryer”. They came out with a crisp crust, moist meat and tender also. YUM!

If it hadn’t been pretty breezy, the mesh lid wouldn’t have been on it.

Today I walked down to the inlet to see if the carp were close to the bank like they tend to be this time of the year. I not only got pics of the carp, but got a bonus of 2 dragonflies and 1 damsel. The carp were about 10” long… they get up to 3 ft..

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This first shot is the Black Saddlebags Dragonfly, the second is a new one for my life list, a female Red Saddlebags, and the last is a male American Ruby-spot Damselfly.

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To top off the photos. I have a young Black Phoebe that hangs out in the Screw bean Mesquite tree at the end of the ramp (hunting insects). I got a decent shot of him this morning.

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Thom got a notice that he has to show up for grand jury duty on Aug. 5th. He has to go all the way to Parker, which is 93 miles away. At least he gets paid mileage and daily stipend.

It looks like all the hustle and bustle of getting power resolved and medical appointments is slowing down, so now I can get back to feeling creative and getting a hummingbird going. I don’t have many orders so it will be nice to take my time.

Ya’ll stay happy and healthy.

Tah!

Ups ‘n Downs

July 19th, 2015

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The temperatures are going up and down, humidity is going up and down, my energy level is going up and down, and my patience is rising and falling as well.

When I see the high temp for a day is going to be under 105° I feel a sense of relief. Unfortunately when I get out of bed on that morning and go outside to turn off the propane generator, it’s already over 80° with a humidity of about 80% (this is usually a little before 6 a.m.). Luckily, unless a storm is predicted, as the temp rises the humidity drops. It rarely gets below 40%, but that’s better than 80% or even 60% when the temp is above 100°.

We had a big storm predicted for this weekend with high winds, heavy rain, and flash flooding. The predicted storm and flash flooding pretty much kept people away from the campground and boat ramp. When there is a high probability of flooding, the Bureau of Reclamation tends to run the river’s water level low, so it can handle the flooding waters coming into it. We didn’t get any of that. Yesterday we got all of 0.02” of rain and that’s all for the whole “big storm”. Oh well, maybe next one.

The humidity lately is really sapping my energy making it more difficult for me to be patient with those of our guests who are less than endearing. We’re lucky most of these annoying people are only here to launch their boats and park their vehicles while they go play on the river. If they were campers I don’t know how long I could tolerate the brats.

Our thoughtful guests totally outweigh the prima donnas though. We have one couple who live in San Diego and come out here regularly to launch their boat. They have a summer house in Palo Verde, just 3 miles from the campground. Yesterday afternoon they showed up with a very special “hug” for us. I think back in my son’s high school days this kind of thing would be called a Warm Fuzzy.

This was particularly special to me because it brought back many wonderful memories of my teen years. Julian, CA was a real treat to visit back then. I don’t think it’s changed much since then. The last time I was there was 50 years ago. This particular pie company wasn’t open then, but there were a couple of cafes that served the best homemade fruit pies ever. This Boysenberry Apple Crumb pie is to die for! Alice, if you happen to read this, thank you so much. You and Jeff are truly special people.

Remember the photo of the Cicada I posted last time I blogged? I suspect it was a male because it was just sitting there making noise. The males don’t eat because all their energy while developing was put into growing noise making body parts.  The female does eat.  They eat water heavy sap. Mesquite trees are known for their sweet sap and sweet seed pods, which is why it is so totally noisy this time of year in the many mesquites we have in the yard. The mesquite trees also have thin bark so it’s easy to get to the sap.  Here is a female sucking sap from one of our Velvet Mesquite trees. You can see under her leg the proboscis stuck in the tree.

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This is what happens after she is done eating. Amber in the making. Wonder if I put some in the fridge, it would stay cool enough to eventually turn into the gem (a few hundred years from now).

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I just have to share this pic of some sap because I just think it’s cool. When I gently touched the drop it swung back and forth like a pendulum.

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We still don’t have shore power or the diesel generator so poor Thom is still playing musical generators with our power cords.  Our 10K generator is back in the shop. It appears the voltage regulator has gone out. When we first start the generator, plug the house into it and then turn on the big a/c the meter goes OFF the CHART. It only took 1 time to learn to turn on the portable a/c first, then the little one on the RV, and then the big a/c.  This wasn’t a situation we want to live with though because we didn’t need to destroy another something in the RV so it went back to the shop and we have no idea when we’ll get it back.

Such is life when it’s off the grid.

Oh m’gosh, ya’ll won’t believe this!

This is what I get for complaining about no rain.  In less than 1/2 hour we have received 0.81 inches and it’s still pouring down.

Okay, 45 minutes later and it’s pretty much done. In about 45 minutes we got 1.13” of rain. Our little concrete pad the RV is on is surrounded by a huge puddle of water.

Thom spent most of the day today going back and forth to Blythe to get enough water to go through the process of “shocking” our fresh water tank. It had developed an algae bloom. It’s done, the tank is clean and our water is good for the next few weeks. During the summer it’s a never ending battle to keep our water tanks potable. If the BLM’s plans ever come to fruition this would be paradise on earth for the hosts.

It appears we have reconnected to the internet so I can now upload this to the web. Then I’m going to pour myself a drink and sit back and chill!

Ya’ll stay healthy ‘n happy!

Toodles.

Summer’s Challenge

July 3rd, 2015

It can be a real challenge living in an RV alongside a river in the Sonoran Desert during the summer. We get the scorching heat of the desert and because of the heat the clinging humidity from the river. An RV is less capable of mitigating the heat and humidity than a stick home would be. Last weekend we had temps of 110°+ and humidity ranging from 35% – 55%. Those numbers give us a heat index of over 120°.  There are days I think I’d rather hop in the car and find a nice cool motel room with a huge selection of free movies, and has free WIFI and room service. But knowing me, I’d last about 3 days before I yearned to be back in my RV in the campground with all the wildlife and beauty. I keep reminding myself summer is only 3 1/2 months long and then we get 8 1/2 months of lovely weather, give or take a few days.

It’s monsoon season now and we did get a thunderstorm last Wednesday. It gave us 0.03” of rain, lots of fun thunder and lightning, and it cooled us down a little bit.  On Wed. the hi temp was 105° and the humidity was 85%. Not real comfortable.  Right now the temp is 107° (it’s cloudy) but the weather station says the heat index is 123°, with a humidity of 40%.

We’ve been having to run the propane generator a lot more this week due to the cloudy weather. I let our supervisor know Tuesday we were down to 30% in the propane tank and he ordered a delivery that same day. Today is Friday and it hasn’t been delivered yet. We are down to only 5% so we can’t run the propane genny. We are now keeping the house cool with our own super noisy 10K Duramax genny until the propane arrives whenever.

Last year we had Apache Cicada’s in the campground the first week of July and this year they are back.  I think they are kinda pretty with their markings and long lacy wings. At the bottom of the section with the white line across the top is what looks like “eyes”. I think that’s the part it vibrates to make that continuous loud cicada noise.

(Remember, when you click on a photo it opens full size in a new window, just close that window to come back to the blog).

We are getting some business from the Hippy Hole. The mosquitoes are twice as bad over there as they are here so a lot of people are paying the fee to launch here. We even have a couple of campers that moved over here from there due to the mosquitoes. I just hope they aren’t big partiers who get louder as the night goes on.

I now have 5 beaded hummingbirds in inventory. Actually, I am only considering 3 of them as inventory. I want to keep the Raven and the last Jacobin I did which is more true to the real birds colors. Here is a couple of pics of the newest White-necked Jacobin and a Rufous Hummingbird I finished a couple of days ago.

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I’m giving myself until after the 15th to just create, then I’ll get back to taking orders and filling them. I’ve already got 8 orders to start on after the 15th. The next one I’m doing because I love purple is another Costa’s for inventory and then I have some “different” colors I want to play with. Not sure what kind of bird it’ll be, but I’m hoping it turns out interesting.

As is pretty obvious, most of my thoughts this time of the year are weather related and I’ve already bored you to tears with those, so I’m going to close this and get my month end reports sent off and get a big ol’ pork roast out of the freezer to thaw for the slow cooker tomorrow. I can almost taste that pulled pork sandwich for 4th of July dinner.

Ya’ll stay healthy and happy.

Toodles.

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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