Fulltime Roadrunners

Fulltime Roadrunners
Winter Boondocking in the desert. Summer Workamping wherever

Still Coping

July 19th, 2014

We’re still doing good out here.  When things go wrong we have been able to either work around it or fix them.  It’s not been fun and every time we think we’re on the road to being able to work on catching up and getting ahead we end up having to spend more to make things work.  We haven’t gone under though, so all is well and life is good.

The Monsoons still haven’t hit here, all around us, but not here.  This morning was the first time it looked like it might happen since I last posted, but it didn’t hit.  I think it dropped 10 or 12 raindrops, and no wind to speak of.  The dark clouds did keep the temps down and with the breeze it was quite comfortable outside this morning.  An hour ago, though, it was 111° and no so comfortable.  A pic of our dark skies this morning.
darkskies-0719

In managing our power and a/c usage, we don’t use the smaller a/c over the bedroom until we get the diesel generator going.  This is during the hottest part of the day when the sun is beating directly on the a/c unit.  On the hotter days it will run for about 15 minutes then trip the breaker.  After it has a chance to cool down, we get it going again.  When the temp gets below 100° it will stay on.  Thom went on top to get dimensions and figure out how to mount a shade cloth over it.  Unfortunately there isn’t any way to anchor it.  Back to square one.   Earlier this week the diesel genny would shut down in the middle of the night and Thom had to go out to get it started.. two and 3 time a few nights in a row.  We called the rental company and they brought out another exchange.  We’re on our third one now.  This one is working great… for now.  I hope it continues.  I can just see the rental company telling us we’re a jinx and they aren’t sending any more.  He he.

Our little oscillating fan fell to the floor and broke a blade so it’s no longer usable.  I didn’t realize until it broke how much I rely on it to help keep us cool.  I have to go to Quartzsite on Monday, so I’m definitely going to stop at ACE Hardware or Kmart to replace it.  I’m going to Q to buy some beads I’ll need for a project I want to try, and to pick up some apricots I’m buying from a friend there, Pamela.

I finished and sent off the Seattle Seahawk hummingbird my cousin’s daughter ordered and plan to make one for myself, only with a regular short beak.  
 seahawk2-0714    seahawback2-0714

Before I start that one though, I’m going to try to make a Bullock’s Oriole.  They are so striking and beautiful… that’s the one I need the beads for.
0321bullocksmale6

The water pump that was here for pumping water from the lagoon to water trees wasn’t in working order so it was sent in to be fixed.  Got it back, ran fine but still wouldn’t pump water.  Sent it back, was gone for about 2 weeks, but when it came back it finally worked.  So now Thom is pumping river water from the lagoon into our portable black water tank (had been cleaned) and is now driving it around to water the trees in the campground.  If I ever get a working garden, we’ll use this to water the garden too.  I don’t want to try to plant anything without having the shade cloth to protect the young plants, not even the jicama which is supposed to be a lover of full sun and heat.

We’re still not besieged by rattlesnakes.  Thom did see one two nights ago while walking Willow at 10 p.m., but it was on the edge of our campground.  I couldn’t get out there fast enough to get a pic before it headed down into a field.  Yesterday morning we did have a lovely 4-1/2 foot California King snake hunt through our yard.  I love these guys.
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The Gentian (Texas Bluebell) is finally blooming down by the lagoon.  It should continue to bloom through the summer and in to September.  Another thing of nature I love here.
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My mind has gone blank so I’m going to say g’bye for now.  Will post again when I’ve something to say.

For my “parting shot” - Post Sunrise this morning with sun path on the Colorado River.
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Ya’ll stay healthy ‘n happy.

Toodles!

Last Couple of Months

July 10th, 2014

I just haven’t felt like posting lately.  Don’t know why.  Maybe I’m just afraid everything I have will be negative in spite of all the positives we still have in our life.  One of the negatives is the heat.  The positive that comes with it is we have learned to deal with it, adjust, and we are acclimating.

We’ve had high temps in the 3 digits every day since early June.  In order to keep cool we had to use our big diesel generator to help run the RV air conditioners.  The big diesel genny isn’t meant to be run in hot temps, but we had to use it or melt in our house.  In the process of keeping us cool, the generator worked too hard and just quit, never to run again.  Luckily we still have our Honda 2000s and the portable room air conditioner, plus the BLM’s solar system and propane generator to supplement when the sun was scarce so we were able to get by for the couple of days until the BLM rented and brought out a 20K Whispersoft Generator.  The rental agreement allows us to run the 20K for 16 hours/day.

We are now getting high temps running 110° and higher consistently.  We are managing to deal with it by running our portable a/c with the solar system from the time we get out of bed until the temp in the house gets uncomfortable, then we switch on the large RV a/c and turn off the portable, running it occasionally to boost the cool… still on the solar system.  We usually run the propane generator an hour or so in the morning to top off the batteries on the solar system.  At 3:00 p.m. we start the 20K generator (diesel), switch our power cords to it and run the whole RV on it’s generated power until 6:00 a.m.  Then we start all over again the next day.  If we have to go someplace, like Yuma or Blythe, we leave the portable a/c running so the pets don’t get too hot.  It’s a challenge and sometimes a hassle, but we’re getting by.  I do have to admit there are times when I wonder just what the heck we were thinking when we signed up to do this, especially on a particularly hot weekend and I have to spend more time outside with guests than I do inside in the cool air, but then I remember all the plusses and joys.  The heat and discomfort only lasts 3.5 months while we have lovely wonderful weather the rest of the year.

Monsoon season has started and will continue now through August and into early September.  We have had no rain, but have had some wind.  We had one night with thunder and lightning, but it was happening a few miles away from us so we only got a smattering of rain drops, not even enough to wet the ground, just enough to smell good and drop the temp by 10 degrees.  I hope we get at least one good rain storm in here.  For the rest of the summer we have to pay attention to what’s happening around us.  If there are storms to the south of us we probably won’t be able to get to Yuma unless we go the long way around through Quartzsite.  Even going through Quartzsite might not let us get there.  This week they have been hammered by two storms.  Extensive damage to RV’s, carports, windows blown out and flooded washes closing roads.  The wind caused two RV’s to roll over, one of them 3 or 4 rolls with 3 people inside.  The people only had a few cuts and scratches, thank heavens.The owner is a BLM volunteer, working maintenance during the summer.

We’ve been getting a lot more critters through here since it started heating up.  I’ve seen several migratory birds – two types of Tanagers, 2 types of Orioles, 3 or 4 types of Warblers, and the Black-headed Grosbeak.  AZ also get the Blue Grosbeak and Rose-breasted Grosbeak, and the Cardinal, but I’ve never seen any of these.  I’ve seen 5 different types of Hummingbirds out here – the Black-chinned, Anna’s, Costa’s, Calliope, and Rufus.  I may have seen an Allen’s, but I wasn’t able to verify it.  We get lots of different water birds.  We’ve seen Bobcat (Willow chased one), Cougar, Raccoon (Willow chases these every time she sees one), Skunk, Cottontail Rabbits, 1 Rattlesnake last year, 1 King Snake and 3 Gopher Snakes.  Two of the Gophers and the King were 6 feet long, the 3rd Gopher was about 5 feet and the Rattler was about 4 feet.  We haven’t seen any Rattlesnakes this year yet.  Lots of different lizards.  And, of course, we have a gazillion bugs!  The Apache Cicadas have been vibrating very loudly for the past 3 weeks.  Today I finally got a picture of one in a tree.  They blend in quite well.

This heat makes it difficult for me to cook.  When it’s 84 to 86° inside you don’t want to use the oven or stand over a hot stove.  When it’s 110° it’s difficult to keep the BBQ cool enough to not burn your food.  We’re not necessarily eating healthy right now.  We do eat more salad though, it’s easy to fix and requires no heat.
We had to go to Yuma yesterday so I got a very large pork picnic roast going in the crock pot before we left.  We now have enough leftovers for lunch and dinner for 3 days, plus meaty bones for yummy soup when it starts to cool down.  The crockpot did warm up the house a bit, but not too bad.

If anyone wants me to share more of something or want me/us to share more about our living where and how we do, just email me or post a comment.

Now I’m going to share some of the photos I’m taken the last two months.

Black-chinned Hummer – male        Cedar Waxwing
blkchnthroat-0510 cedarwxwing4-0522

Cottontail Rabbit eating Birdseed        Desert Spiny Lizard (8” w/o tail)
ctntlstump-0602  dsrtspiny2-0527

                                              6’ Gopher Snake
gopher-0525  gophertongue-0525

Special Guests having fun                           Apache Cicada
dallas-kids-jetski-0608  apachecicada-0705

Widow Skimmer Dragonfly                    3” Palo Verde Borer Beetle
widowskmmrfem-0604  palovrdeborerbtl-0704

Ya’ll stay healthy ‘n happy!

Toodles.

Time Flies!

May 6th, 2014

It seems like January was just a few days ago, yet here it is May already. 

We’re getting a few things accomplished out here.  The BLM gave us an “easy-up” shade canopy to put over the table outside where I write the annual passes for our guests.  I managed to get it put up all by myself other than having to have Thom help me position it over the table to give us the best shade.  It’s a great place to sit and bead while watching for new arrivals.

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Thom finished putting together and filling our raised garden.  Just yesterday I transplanted some Armenian Cucumbers to it.  I’ve started some Jicama also, but the plants are teeny tiny still.  If they survive and get big enough, I’ll transplant them into the garden near the cukes.  They both need something to climb on so we’ll be putting in trellises on that end of the garden.  We also want to put up some shade cloth before the summer gets too hot.  At least we’ve got it started and we’ve got plenty of time to work on it as we can.
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It’s getting hotter out here in the desert.  We’ve had several days in the 3 digits.  Thom is getting quite acclimated to the heat, he will go outside and sit in the shade to watch the arrival and departure of our guests.  I can only last 15 or 20 minutes out there, even in the shade and with a breeze.  105° is quite warm whether it’s in the shade or not.  I hope we can do well when the temps get above 110°.  I understand that when they do it’s not for many days so hopefully we can get through without it costing us an arm and a leg in diesel for the big generator.

Spring at Oxbow Campground and the surrounding area is a bird watcher’s paradise.  We get all kinds of warblers, tanagers and orioles.  The last couple of days any time I look out my window I see up to 6 or 7 Black-headed Grosbeak.  The first one is the Male, second a female.

bhgrsk-0421  bhgrsbkfem2-0501

We get a Lazuli Bunting now and then, and, of course, all those hummingbirds! 

Yesterday on our way in to Quartzsite I had Thom stop above this place across the river from us called the Hippy Hole” so I could take a photo of the American Avocet all in a row.  I think they are so pretty.
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I made a hummingbird for a gal in Quartzsite and delivered it yesterday.
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The gal I buy my 3D bead patterns from has created a new pattern for a beaded Phoenix.  I bought the pattern and now I’m excited to get it started and see the results.  While in Quartzsite I bought some beads I need for the new pattern..  As soon as I’ve finished this post I’m going to bring out the beads and start working on it.  Today is a cooler day, 9 a.m. and still only 67°.  Only supposed to get up to 78°.  It’s windy though and supposed to get windier.  Since I’ll be pretty much holed up inside anyway, it seems only right that I do some beading.

The Bureau of Reclamation is still releasing copious amounts of water from Parker Dam.  I’m beginning to wonder if we will ever have a beach on the pond again.  The boaters are loving it though.  Fishermen not so much.  At least the people fishing the river aren’t real happy, but those fishing the backwaters and lakes are still getting lots of action.

I do need to get a couple of things done before I can bring out the beads, so I’m going to say g’bye for now and get busy.

Ya’ll stay healthy ‘n happy!

Toodles!

Desert’s Dangerous? Critters

April 26th, 2014

I want to write a post basically devoted to the dangerous critters of the Sonoran desert and truths about their actual danger.

But first just a note to let you know we are doing fine out here.  The weather hasn’t gotten hot yet, just relatively warm.  That’s a good thing since it may take a bit longer than we’d hoped to get shore power. It seems the bid came in quite high, prohibitively high.  The powers that be are trying to find a work around and/or get the electric company to revise their bid somehow.

One of our regular guests was fishing the other day and caught a turtle.  The only turtles we have out here are Soft-shell Turtles and I’ve been told they are quite aggressive, their heads look like snapping turtles.  This lady turtle had a 10 inch shell.  Cliff decided to keep her, butcher her and make a meal or two from her.  She had 32 eggs in her in various stages of development.  I’m not sorry she won’t be laying those eggs, we don’t need a bunch more turtles in our pond.

Okay, on to the “Dangerous Critters”.  I’m only going to share what I have found out about the ones I’ve managed to see and take photos of.

One thing to keep in mind in the desert – where bugs are concerned, red usually means danger, keep a wide birth.

Starting small, the Velvet Ant is very wide spread and there are several different kinds.  I’ve seen the Red Velvet Ant (very pretty) which comes in Red, Orange, White and Beige; and the Thistledown Velvet Ant (camouflaged as a thistledown blowing on the ground).
0708rdvlvtant2about 3/4” long

thistledownvelvetant-1010thistledownvelvetant-1017About 1/2” long

The velvet ant is actually a female wasp without wings who wanders the desert looking for a nest of a ground wasp.  She lays her egg in a hole she’s eaten into the legless pupae of the ground wasp which becomes the food for her baby until it matures.  The female Velvet Ant has a stinger and her sting is very, very painful.  They are not aggressive and will try to avoid you if possible.  The name "Cow Killer Ant" was given to the velvet ant because of the reputation of the female’s sting. It is said that the sting is so painful that it could kill a cow.  Don’t allow your children to go without shoes in the desert, even around your yard, and don’t YOU go barefoot.  If you get stung by this lady, you’ll wish you never took the shoes off.

Blister Beetles

Arizona Master Beetle
0406blisterbeetle2About 1-3/4” long

These blister beetles get very large, up to 2 inches long.  They respond to disturbances by reflex bleeding from knee-joints and other body parts. If this clear green blood gets on your skin it causes painful, itchy blisters which take a very long time to heal. In the process of mating it also secretes this blood and transfers it to the female.  I’ve experienced the blistering of the Master Beetle personally.  We were in Quartzsite and they were on the ground and climbing the grass plants to breed.  Apparently they’d left their blood on the plants so when I walked through the little plants the chemicals got on my ankles.  I broke out in painful blisters that took 1-1/2 months to heal.

Inflated Beetle (AKA Desert Spider Beetle)
0406inflatedbeetleAbout 1” long

Upper surface coated with yellow or white nitrogenous secretions which can cause painful blisters if it gets on your skin.  These beetles are not always yellow, sometimes their secretions will be white or greenish.  These beetles will also appear mostly black.  When I see one of these, I think of it as a “trundle bug” because it’s goes trundling around the desert floor.

I’ve only seen the Blister Beetles in the spring.

Tarantula Hawk
tarantulawasp3-1101Nearly 2” long

The Tarantula Hawk is not aggressive except with a Tarantula spider or if you annoy it somehow…. swatting, etc.  The female tarantula hawk captures, stings, and paralyzes the spider, then either drags her prey back into her own burrow or transports it to a specially prepared nest, where a single egg is laid on the spider’s abdomen, and the entrance is covered. When the wasp larva hatches, it creates a small hole in the spider’s abdomen, then enters and feeds, avoiding vital organs for as long as possible to keep the spider alive. After several weeks, the larva pupates. Finally, the wasp becomes an adult, and emerges from the spider’s abdomen to continue the life cycle.

Because tarantulas are not easy prey, tarantula hawks are equipped with a powerful venom that is reputed to create one of the most painful stings in the insect world. In fact, according to the Schmidt Sting Pain Index — a pain scale rating the relative pain caused by some insect stings — the tarantula hawk rates as the second most painful sting ever measured.
This is a good link for more info on the Tarantula Hawk:
 http://www.desertusa.com/insects/tarantula-hawks.html

Tarantula

Tarantulas give some people the creeps because of their large, hairy bodies and legs. But these spiders are harmless to humans (except for a painful bite), and their mild venom is weaker than a typical bee’s.

Scorpion:
scorpion1

Most of the scorpions we see in the Quartzsite, Yuma area are Giant Hairy Scorpions which can get up to 5” long.  They look dangerous, but their sting is no worse than a bee’s.  If you open this photo to it’s larger size, you can see the hairs on it’s appendages.

We do have a scorpion with a rather potent venom: the Arizona bark scorpion, found at higher elevations on trees, under bark. I wouldn’t recommend sitting against a tree to take a nap.  At best, a sting from that scorpion can be rather annoying, or, at worst, the scorpion sting can be extremely painful with longer lasting effects.

Deaths from scorpion stings are very rare. People who are prone to have allergic reactions to stings, and those with undeveloped or compromised immune systems (the very young and very old), may have strong or severe reactions. Small pets may also have adverse reactions.

Rattlesnakes:

Western Diamondback
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Speckled Rattlesnake
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Sidewinder
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I love snakes, they can be so beautiful.  Rattlesnakes can be a bit scary though.  I can be comfortable around one as long as I can keep my eye on it at all times and it’s at least 6 feet away. Rattlesnakes rarely bite unless provoked or threatened; and if treated promptly, the bites are rarely fatal.  They are more afraid of us than we are of them.  They will try to get away rather than attack you.  Snakes don’t see us so much as feel the vibration of our approach and sense the heat of our bodies.  If we surprise them before they feel these two senses they will rattle to warn us we are too close, otherwise they will move away.

Rattlesnakes can control the amount of venom they deliver (babies cannot).  Many times they don’t deliver any venom with their bites and it’s quite rare for them to deliver all their venom.

I’ve not got a photo of the Mohave but it is usually a darker version of the Western Diamondback.  I do need to warn you with a quote from DesertUSA regarding the Mohave:  “The Mohave rattlesnake may be the most dangerous venomous snake in the Sonoran Desert. Quick to go on the defensive, the Mohave has very toxic venom that has caused human fatalities. Venom toxicity varies among different populations. The seriousness of a bite from this rattlesnake, as from any rattlesnake, depends on many factors, including, but not limited to, the amount of venom injected and the health and size of the victim. A person bitten by a Mohave rattlesnake should seek medical attention immediately.”

Another quote from one of the sources I found:  “Rattlesnakes tend to avoid wide open spaces where they cannot hide from predators and will generally avoid humans if they are aware of their approach. Rattlesnakes rarely bite unless they feel threatened or provoked. A majority of victims are males, often young and intoxicated. Approximately half of bites occur in cases where the victim saw the snake yet made no effort to move away. Caution is advised even when snakes are believed to be dead; rattlesnake heads can see, flick the tongue, and inflict venomous bites for up to an hour after being severed from the body. Most species of rattlesnakes can control how much venom to inject and have hemotoxic venom, destroying tissue, causing necrosis and coagulopathy (disrupted blood clotting).”

When I get a photo of a Centipede and hopefully Giant Desert Centipede, I’ll share it.  In the meantime, know that they do bite (pinch with pincers), and it can be painful, but not dangerous.

That’s all for now ya’ll.

Please feel free to share this information with people you think need to know.  My blog is open to the public.  I do monitor comments so spammers can’t use the blog to spread their evil.

Ya’ll stay healthy and happy!

Toodles!

Easter Weekend at Oxbow

April 20th, 2014

Apparently we have two groups that come here every Easter Weekend, one a large family & friends group and the other a large friends group.  Both groups camped on the point so they got acquainted and turned into one big group – boating, jet-skiing, swimming, ATV’g, motor bikes and evening partying.  Both groups were very nice, fun people so it’s not been a chore having them here.  It will be nice to have a quiet, peaceful campground when they are gone today.  One of our regular boaters is friends with the family group and they came out to go boating with them.  When they got here yesterday, the gal came over with an Easter basket for Thom and I.  There was a note on it saying “thank-you for all you do.”  That was a nice pick-me-up.

Last Friday we had several military helicopters fly by, mostly over the river.  I was told it was the Marines doing training for terrorist attacks.  They flew by at least 5 times.  Yesterday we had the military jets fly the river.  Here’s a couple of shots of the helicopters.
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marineopovrrvr2-0417
They were both quite low and loud, especially the 2nd one.  I kinda like the “whomp whomp” sound of the big blades.

We still haven’t started building our garden.  I was hoping to have it ready for my seedling cukes and jicama.  Probably won’t be ready for the cukes, but maybe the jicama.  The jicama hasn’t sprouted yet, it takes quite a while for them to grow but they are heat tolerant plants.  We certainly have a long growing season here , so I’m not worried about that.  We’re supposed to take two days off every week, but Thom is so intent on making this campground better and keeping it well maintained, I’ve not yet managed to get him to take a full day off work at the campground.  I’m trying to get him to give some time to the garden.  I can’t lift those big concrete blocks without hurting my back.

The birds out here sure know it’s spring.  The Grackles are all doing their whistling, screeching and calling while stretching, puffing, fluffing and bobbing to attract a make.  We have both European Collared Dove and White-winged Dove puffing, fluffing, cooing and chasing to try to get a mate.  When the dove start chasing each other the flap of wings almost sound like small guns.  The bull-frogs are calling, woodpeckers pecking trees to mark territory and squawking when any critter gets too close to the boundary, and the warblers are singing their beautiful songs.  Spring is definitely not a quiet season here, especially when you consider the people coming out in their noisy boats and the jet-skis (I call them river maggots) buzzing and blasting up and down the river.  I’ll take the critters any day!

Here’s a couple of the migrating birds that go through every year.  We had the Lazuli Bunting in Ogden Canyon all summer long up in Utah, but they only come through here on their way to their summer homes.  This guy hasn’t quite got all his spring finery on yet, but I’m sure he’ll be bright and handsome when it’s time.
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And this one is a new one for my Life List.  It’s not really a remarkable looking bird, just tiny and cute.  This is a Cassin’s Vireo.
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We have a whole bunch of hummingbirds out here, mostly black-chinned hummers.  They go through approximately 5 cups of sugar water a day… if I make it every day.  I mix it light on sugar, but that doesn’t seem to bother them.  Standard mix is 1 part sugar to 4 parts water and I mix it a little less than 1 cup sugar to 5 parts water.  That still means I use nearly 1 cup of sugar every time I make it.  I have 4 feeders, but many times I’ll let one or two sit empty for a day or two.  If a feeder has nectar in it this is what it usually looks like.  Quite often we will see a hummingbird with a tuft of feathers sticking out on the the back of it’s neck or back… that’s from the other hummers poking at it with their beaks.
busyfeeder3-0408 

Tomorrow we are going to Quartzsite so I can pick up some more beads for an order I got for another Anna’s Hummingbird.  Since we are going to be there, I placed an order at the East Side Breadery to pick up while there.  Jenny makes yummy breads and goodies!  Gonna get gas at the Flying J (cheaper than Yuma even) then head over to Blythe to do a bit of grocery shopping.  If we’ve time we will stop at Lee & Ilse’s place for a short visit.  I’m going to do my best to keep us away from the campground as long as possible.  We definitely need a day off!

The day’s half over now, but I still want to leave this sentiment for ya’ll.


healthhappiness

Toodles!

Back to Normal

April 16th, 2014

Our Motorcycle group trickled out Sunday morning.  It’s taken this long for me to get to a point where I want to talk about it so I’ve just stayed away from the blog for a few days.

We had well over 100 people in here from toddlers to grandpas.  Friday night was non-stop noise until after Thom went out to try to quiet them down around 2:30 a.m.  Then they were back at it around 7 a.m. Saturday morning.  Bill, our supervisor and another ranger, Ray, were here all day Saturday.  The booming of rap music and foul language flying around all day (from both the music and the campers) was hard to take.  About 3:30 Sat. afternoon, Bill told Thom and I to lock up the house, hop in the car and get away from the nearly over-powering noise for an hour.  It was heaven.  We just went to check mail and took a drive through the refuge.

The campground did very well income wise, but it also took a bit of a beating.  In spite of the fact that we handed out 1-1/2 cases of 55 gal. trash bags, Thom picked up 3-1/2 fifty-five gallon trash bags of trash, 3 broken camp chairs, an empty ice chest, cardboard boxes, etc.   We found unused trash bags on the ground.  We saw many trash bags filled with their belongings being packed into their cars.  We’re still running into trash here and there.  They also deliberately broke large branches off two trees along the river. 

Bill talked to the officers of each of the 4 chapters (San Bernardino, Riverside, Los Angeles and Phoenix AZ) Saturday morning telling them that in the future they need to call him well in advance to make arrangements for coming here, always the weekend before Easter.  He will set some ground rules and they are expected to see they are obeyed.  Because it is usually only them in here at that time, we give them some leeway, such as quiet down a little at 10 p.m., more at midnight and no noise after 2 a.m.

Saturday when Bill left he told us to go into our house, shut the door and do not interact with the group at all.  We were off duty unless there is an emergency.  Our Law Enforcement Officer also stopped by and told us to lock ourselves in, there were some “thugs” out there and we were to stay away at night.  Wow!

There were some really nice people in the group and they were fun to talk to and help out. 

A couple of pics of the weekend “party”.

Parking lot side of campground. Nice Harleys.


River side of campground.


Launching their jet-skis.

The water level of the river is still quite high, but they are slowing down the heavy release from Parker Dam.  It will be interesting to see if we have sandbars when we have low water.

Our temps have gotten warmer than I expected for April but for the most part it’s still only in the 90’s and relatively comfortable.  It could be a long, hot summer.  We did pretty good at Senator’s Wash and should do just fine here.  In the meantime, it’s spring and the mesquite trees are covered with blossoms and I even have a flower on one of the Desert Lilies in the campground.
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Desert Willow

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Honey Mesquite Flowers

Spring also brings the Warblers back.  Here is a Wilson’s Warbler taking a shower/bath in our sprinkler.
wilsons2-0405wilsons-0405

I have a potato salad to throw together and a beaded Anna’s Hummingbird to finish.  I better hop to it!

Ya’ll stay healthy ‘n happy!

Tah!

And it Begins…

April 11th, 2014

This post may take me all weekend to get written, but I need to get it started NOW so I can share “stuff”.

Those live Bluegill paid off for our Flathead Catfishermen.  The first night they kept two 15 lb. fish and 1 17 lb.
flthdcats2-0330

The 2nd night they caught this one….. 57 lbs.!
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They said they got a years worth of catfish eatin’ with this fishing trip and they would definitely be back.  I’d settle for one of those 15 pounders!

Looks like the busy season has started and will just continue to get busier as days get warmer. The day our mancationers left we had some college students come in for Spring Break.  One of them had his parents motorhome and boat with a couple of friends in tents and another guy & gal with their own small toy hauler.  I have to say I was very impressed by these young people.  They were very respectful with Thom and I and very respectful of the campground and rules.  They were there for a good time, but, to be honest, they were quieter than our mancationers, and neater than them. 

We had a few days with nearly no campers and it was really quite nice.  There was a table over in the area by the lake that was falling apart and needed repairs.  The BLM bought the lumber and hardware we needed and Thom totally rebuilt that table.  Keep in mind that the table was anchored to the ground with cement and rebar.  Thom had to crawl under the table to pull bolts and remove the rotten wood, then again crawl under to attach the planks he cut to rebuild the table.  It only took him 3 days to tear apart, rebuild, and caulk and paint the new table.  Believe me, I’m impressed.  These 3 days were 100+° and the table was in full sun.  He had to do it in the cooler morning hours.  He was in a hurry to get it done because we had a couple come in who are with the Motorcycle Club who come in here every year and they said the group would be here this weekend and they always stay in that area by the lake.  He got it done in time, the group is here and still trickling in,but they have chosen to stay right up here in our main campground are.  Linda, you know what table I’m talking about… here’s a pic of the rebuild.
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  For those of you who follow this blog and have been to our campground…. these guys in the motorcycle group have totally filled up the area on the west side of the boat ramp as well as all of the point except for Linda and Al’s spot and they continue to trickle in. 

I’m sure I’ll be posting more about this group as the weekend goes by.  We haven’t collected any money yet for camping fees because it’s complicated, but hopefully that will happen before bedtime tonight.

My first impression of this group is they are kind of rough… bad language, easily angered, etc.… but they love and enjoy each other. They respect the campground and it’s rules.  We expect them to push the limits, but also believe they will be reasonable if spoken to.

We’ve handed out big black garbage bags to them so they have lots of space for garbage other than the ground. 

Like I said, I’m sure I’ll be posting more about the group called “The Chosen Few”.  We have 3 chapters of the Chosen Few in here, the hosting chapter from Los Angeles, quite a few people from the Riverside Chapter and just a few from the San Bernardino chapter.  Here’s a shot of a couple of their motorcycles.
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Yesterday I planted some Jicama seed and a different brand of Armenian Cucumbers in starter pots.  I’m hoping our garden will be far enough along when these starts are ready for transplanting.  I’m anxious to see how the Jicama goes.  It’s supposed to be perfect for growing in the desert as long as it gets water.  It tolerates heat, and is bug resistant. 

I was able to add a new bird to my life list.  Today we had an Inca Dove in the yard.
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I’m sorry, but my mind is totally filled with thoughts of the group camping/partying in here.  It finally got cool enough to turn off the a/c and open windows so the air is filled with the noise of their music (heavy bass booms), motorcycles movin’ about and children yelling and screaming and teasing.

I’ve lots of thoughts I’m trying to put together, but they’ll have to wait until tomorrow when it quieter.  My mind doesn’t function well with so many distractions.

Ya’ll stay healthy ‘n happy!

Toodles!

Lots Happening

March 28th, 2014

Happening slowly, but still happening.  Looks like the water level on the river and our pond has reached it’s peak and pretty much staying there for now.  It will recede slowly according to the Bureau of Reclamation guy who comes out here to launch his boat to check levels and maintain river equipment.  Surface level of the river is 224’ still but the flow has slowed down by 2,000 cubic feet/second.  They say it will be at least a 6 week time period for us to really start seeing the decrease again.

The BLM is still saying we WILL have “shore” power here in time to see us through the heat of the summer.  To RVers, shore power refers to power provided by a source other than your own RV… a place you can plug in and be assured of a steady power source.  That’s pretty important when the summer temps get over 110° and even into the 120’s and you desperately need the power for an A/C. 

We are also supposed to get our UTV out here in the near future so we can start using it to do rounds and to haul the pressure washer to the bathrooms for deeper cleaning and for generally getting around the campground to do our job instead of putting the wear and tear on our own pickup.

We know it takes time and there are many other considerations within the Yuma Field Office beyond the Oxbow Campground so we are trying to be patient, but that doesn’t keep us from reminding our supervisor these things still need to be fulfilled when he can fit it in.  I want these thoughts to be in the front of his mind, not the back.

The season is continuing to ramp up.  We were getting a few water skiers and wake boarders, but with the high water, which is colder, they don’t wanna come play.  But, the fishermen are coming out more and more.

The last couple of days we have had a couple of folks come out to catch live bait for Flathead Catfish.  The Flathead is a live fish eater, not a bottom feeder, and is considered the Cadillac of catfish eating.  These guys come out in the morning or afternoon to catch the Blue-gill for bait and then go fishing for the Flatheads at night.

Our “mancationer” group of men that were here last October are back.  They come here to go fishing for catfish during the day and have a good time in the evening.  They always quiet down early enough to not be annoying.  They usually have a fish fry their last night here, assuming they catch enough fish.  These guys are the ones who gave Thom and I our first taste of catfish last October when we’d mentioned we’d never tasted it.  We loved it!  Today they caught a good bunch of fish down river – along the banks and in the backwaters.  They were only out about 3 hours and between 4 of them caught 12 channel catfish, with a couple of those fish being pretty good sized.  Here’s a pic of their catch today.  (click on the pic to go to full size pic, close window to come back to blog)
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Looks like a pretty good fish fry coming up!

Only one of the guys does the fileting of the fish and I watched him do the first 3 of them today to get an idea of how to do it when/if we catch a fish.  Looks pretty simple with the trick being – have a sharp, flexible filet knife.  I’m ready!

There is a place down river on the other side of the river that is an isolated piece of state land.  This is right on the river and a little backwater and people come to this place, called Hippy Hole, to camp for free and party.  If the water is high enough they can launch their boats and can almost always launch their jet skis.  Unfortunately it has no amenities whatsoever which means many of the people who camp and even use it for day use will come to our campground to use the bathrooms and trash dumpster.  We have an ongoing battle keeping these guys from filling our dumpster and using our facilities.  They work hard at trying to outfox us and sneak in.  And,  because they are partiers and young they take dares from each other to do outrageous things in our bathrooms and campground, etc.  Thom did a drive around today checking for new campers and went past the Hippy Hole… there are several people there so we expect this weekend to present a few challenges, to say the least.  There’s nothing we can do other than take license numbers and file reports.

Most of our water birds are gone, but we are getting a few migrating birds coming through.  I had a male Bullock’s Oriole drop by one day.  I keep hoping he or others will come by again.  Today I saw a flash of yellow acting much like a warbler.  I’m hoping it’s a yellow warbler and I can catch a good picture of one flashing it’s color.

I’m seeing lots of little lizards and with the Mesquite bloom in full force, lots of bees, and some butterflies.  Today we had a Monarch on a Mesquite bloom.

We do love living here and watching our world change with the seasons and nature and even manmade events like flushing the river, and fire control weed removal.  Sure have a lot more Cottontails in our campground since all those weeds were cut down and the acreage dug up.  Probably destroyed a few burrows.
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The gal that runs the food shack in Cibola wanted to see my bead work so I showed her my hummingbirds.  She wants me to display some at her shack for sale and has ordered one for herself.  She didn’t want a traditional hummingbird like an Anna’s, Costa’s or Black Chinned, she wants one all purples.  I started it a couple of days ago and have the head finished.  I am throwing in a bit of black and white for contrast though.  I hope she likes it when it’s finished.  If not, I’ll start over.  If I’m pleased with it, I’ll post a pic to share with ya’ll.  If I’m going to put them on display for sale/order, I need to build up my inventory so I’m planning on doing Costa’s, Rufus, and Black Chinned as time allows.

Does it sound to you like I’m rambling?  Sure does to me.  Must be time for me to say g’nite.  Hope to post again soon.

Ya’ll stay healthy ‘n happy!

Toodles!

And it Begins…

March 23rd, 2014

The weather is pretty consistent now with highs in the 80’s, lows in the high 40’s and low to mid 50’s, sometimes a stiff wind, always a light breeze.  The water temp is in the low 60’s and the fish are biting.  Makes me think of the song that goes “Summertime, and the living is easy… fish are biting…” or something like that.  We had a wind from the south the other day that was strong enough some kayakers had to paddle to go down river, and that was with a water flow of 8,000 cfs.  We had a beautiful view of the river that day, what with all the whitecaps and sun making the water sparkle.

The Bureau of Reclamation is still releasing copious amounts of water from the Parker Dam.  Our water level this morning is 222’ (surface elevation) and the flow is 13,314 cubic feet per second.  It’s my understanding that Mexico wants more water from the Colorado River and at the same time the Bureau of Rec wants to “flush” the river in an attempt to wash a lot of the silt/sand out to get rid of the many sandbars that have developed.  It’ll be interesting to see if it worked when the water level gets back down to 217’ at flows of 3,000 cfs.  Here is a picture of Al ‘n Linda fishing on Dec. 21, 2013 on the pond’s beach, followed by a photo taken yesterday of that same area.

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Of course the warmer temps, high water levels, and biting fish are bringing out the water recreationists.  We have several people coming out to launch their boats for fishing in the early mornings and several others coming out to launch mid-mornings and head out to go water skiing or wake boarding.  The snowbirds are stopping in here for a few days to a couple of weeks on their way home to cold country.  Up until this last week most of our guests are people with existing annual passes, but now we are getting returnees buying the annual passes.

I still haven’t found or made time to try fishing again.  It’s been several days.  Until the Bass are done spawning I’m only gong to try for catfish or the larger blue gill/sunfish.  There are way too many fisher persons taking home the bigger egg laden females, or females pulled off their “nests”. Without the protection, the eggs won’t survive.  These people only care about filling their freezers now and don’t think about the future generations of the fish.  Besides, catfish taste better.  I plan to release any bass I catch until they are no longer spawning.

I’ve mentioned we get some interesting people in here.  Some are scary, some are sweethearts, and some have lived lives that have given them  a never-ending number of stories to tell.  One of the scary people is a single guy who came in last December and bought an annual pass, which allows him to camp here for 14 days then be 25 miles away for 14 days, then he can come back for another 14 days… which he has done since he bought the pass.  He sold his home and lives in his car, a fairly new Chrysler 300.  He’s tall ‘n skinny ‘n loud.  He is bi-polar and takes meds for depression.  He often goes into the food stand in the trailer park in Cibola and comes on to the women with words and actions, being quite touchy-feely.  He parks right next to one of our bathrooms and when our lady campers go to use it he flirts with them in such a manner that their husbands have told them to take one of the men with them or a gun when they go to the restroom.  He’s done nothing against the rules or the law so we can’t make him move away from the restroom or ban him from the campground.

On the other side, there is another single guy who is a veteran who suffers from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).  This guy has an annual pass but usually stays in out of the way places on open land along the river.  He does sometimes come in here and camp if there aren’t many people and his favorite secluded spot is available.  Obviously, he’s not comfortable around people and it takes a while for him to warm up to anyone.  Wherever he camps he gathers trash others leave behind and throws it away in our dumpster.  This guy gets permission from the farmers to go into their fields and harvest what the pickers reject.  He has brought us some of his pickings including broccoli and lemons.  Broccoli straight from the field sure tastes better than that from the stores!  I still have frozen lemon juice from some of the lemons.  He also fishes for food.  We haven’t seen him for a while now.  Maybe he’ll be back.

We are learning a lot about our area, and the people who live here, from our guests.  Many of them have been coming here for years and tell us stories about Jeff, the host who was here for well over 20 years and pretty much built this campground.  They tell us stories about the local people and sites to see, places to fish, etc.  One couple who is here now used to work out here with Jeff.  They love it here and come back several times a year.  We get many fun stories from them.

Living here is a joy for us and we wouldn’t change it for anything.  Sure, you’ll hear complaints from us about the heat and the prima donas and bugs, but they are just nuisances and nothing to chase us away.

Ya’ll stay healthy ‘n happy!

Tah!

Still Alive

March 16th, 2014

It seems I took a 3 month vacation.  I haven’t written in the blog since December.  I’m back at it now and my head is full of things I want to write about in the blog.

Al ‘n Linda arrived here a couple of days before Thanksgiving.  We had a wonderful time with them until they had to head back towards Maine (in a round-about way) the middle of February. I cried when they left and still feel sad when I look out my window. My view is prettier, but much emptier. 

Scott ‘n Mari were here over New Years.  We had a great New Years Eve campfire, with good food and good friends. Doesn’t get any better than that.

Marv ‘n Deb came over for a couple of days.  It was wonderful to see them again.  Sitting around the campfire with them was kind of bitter sweet.  It hit home that last winter was the last time “the group” would be sitting around the campfire together.  “The group” being Thom ‘n me, Marv ‘n Deb, Al ‘n Linda, Ron ‘n Deb, Scott ‘n Mari, Bob ‘n Susie ‘n a few others who popped in now and then.  It would be wonderful to get all of them together out here for a couple of nights.  Now that Bob ‘n Susie have seen the size of the bass we have in here we may be able to entice them out.  It sure was wonderful to sit and relax by the fire with Marv ‘n Deb and catch up!

Life out here at the Oxbow Campground is totally different from life on the BLM LTVA in Quartzsite.  They both have their own sort of beauty. The Quartzsite desert has wildlife we don’t get to see here at Oxbow, like the two types of ground squirrel, Desert Iguana – which I dearly miss, hardly any Quail and to see a Mourning dove here is rare.  We don’t have much cactus or creosote or Ironwood, but we do have beautiful Cottonwood, Mesquite, Willow, and even the evergreen Tamarisk are pretty.  We don’t have much in the way of wild flowers here either. I’ve learned that since we arrived here the first week of September something is always blooming.  Mesquite was blooming last fall and is blooming again now, the evergreen Tamarisk (salt cedar) blooms year round, the deciduous Salt Cedar is blooming now,

side note – a real plus here – I’m looking out my window watching a 3.5 foot tall great egret walk along the bank of the river.

the Cottonwood bloom in February, the Arrow Leaf blooms in the winter, willow trees blooming now, and the Desert Willow blooms in spring & summer.  The sunsets at Quartzsite are gorgeous, almost noon-existent here, but the sunrises over the river are absolutely breath taking.

Here at Oxbow, we also have the Colorado River, Oxbow Lake, and our pond.  I love being able to look out my window and see the river floating by.  I love watching the many faces of the river, from slow meandering water interspersed with sand bars to water rushing by carrying lots of debris because of the high level of the river.  It’s really lovely when the wind is blowing pretty good creating choppy whitecaps speeding down river.

The downside of being right on the water is the myriad of bugs. I have to keep all my baking mixes and powders sealed in ziplock bags or the tiny beetles invade them. In the heat of summer we get invaded by flies of all sizes. Right now it’s mostly the little fruit flies, but the larger flies are becoming more and more.  The ants are starting to come out again also so we’ll have to keep an eye on them.

I’m still trying to get veggies to grow out here.  I’ve had pretty good luck with radishes and Swiss Chard.  The cabbage worms decimated my turnips and brussel sprouts.  I tried my cukes a bit too early and the cold got to them.  I’m having another go round now.  A couple of weeks ago I planted more cucumbers and today I planted some stubby carrots seeds and transplanted a heat hardy tomato I got last Thursday.  All of these in pots still.  I also planted a pot of regular sized Marigolds and a pot of dwarf Marigolds.  I’m hoping we have the raised garden built by the middle of April, but by then there will only be a couple of things I can plant and expect to grow… if I’m very careful and find some shade cloth.  I intend to transplant my Marigolds into the holes in the cinder blocks we’re building the raised garden with. The marigolds should help keep the bugs out of the garden.

I’m going to close for now and share a few pics that have been taken over the past few months. I still plan on sharing some stories about some of our guests and some of our thoughts about the local area and people, just at a later date.

Raccoon trapped in the garbage bin

My new Granddaughter, Bailey Faith, born 12/27/13
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Our campground from across the river.
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Lastly, a 22” 7 lb Large-mouth Bass caught in our pond.

Until next time…

Ya’ll stay healthy ‘n happy!

Toodles!

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