Saturday, October 31, 2015

Did this Bird Dress up for Trick or Treat?

Yellow Bungie/Parakeet at feeder

Lots of different birds come and go at the feeders in my sister’s backyard.  But lately we have had a special little one visiting, one with a quaint, special chirp as it sits in the surrounding trees.

Yellow Bungie/Parakeet at feeder

We are not sure where the Yellow Budgie/Parakeet came from…and it was not alone.  A green Parakeet, or perhaps Cockatiel, was seen with it the first day it showed up about a month ago, but we only saw it for two or three days, and from a distance.  I have been waiting for the moment to capture this little one on camera…it does not show its face very often, although we hear its distinct chirp on most days.  It seems to hang with the many Finches, and flies between three or four backyards in the neighborhood.

Skruffy and Squirrel face off
Then there is the ongoing drama of Skruffy and Bubba versus the Squirrels.  When we last left this drama, Skruffy had touched the Squirrel we have named Jackie.  Jackie is the proud mother of three young squirrels, born earlier this year, and now are getting close to their mothers size.  In relation to humans, we would say they are in their “teens”.  We “think” this is their daddy in the tree to the left, and below.

Squirrel staring down Skruffy

As teenagers do, these three little squirrels have have been playing games with Skruffy and Bubba.  While daddy eats, they play…chasing each other…teasing the dogs.

Juvinelle Squirrel coming down the tree

The drill goes like this….and I will say right up front that getting a “sharp” picture of these guys running around is not easy to do with my camera.   One of the young squirrels will come down the right side of the tree, while Skruffy is sitting on the left side of the tree.

Skruffy running after Squirrel down on the ground

They will wander down onto the ground…she takes off…they cut back to the tree running around the other side and up the trunk…

Skruffy running after Squirrel down on the ground

...with Skruffy in wild pursuit.  I think they learned this from their mother Jackie…but they have two good eyes, and much more speed than Jackie, and poor little Skruffy is …

Skruffy running after Squirrel down on the ground

…left empty handed…err….empty pawed.  Until a couple of days ago when Bubba got in on the action too. Don’t have pictures of this, but Arny and I both saw it.  Bubba was sneaking up on the squirrel who was down on the ground while Skruffy's view was blocked by the tree on the other side.  It kept an eye on Bubba, who was slowly crawling up on it when out of the blue, Skruffy attacked around the tree.  That little squirrel, who had been up and down numerous times playing with Skruffy for the past half hour got slapped on its butt by her paw before it scrambled up the tree, up the limb, out a limb to another tree and over to the safety of the other side of the fence.  But all is fine, and it was back the next day with the other two teenage squirrels to “play again another day.”

nut shells on the ground under squirrel feeder

If you look closely at the base of the tree (above) you can see the shells and even some nuts which have fallen out of the squirrel house which up in the tree.  Bubba has a bad habit…he LOVES to sniff and lick up the seeds and shells.  Arny told me that very next day after Skruffy touched the young squirrel, Bubba was over at the base of the tree, nose down to the ground, sniffing and licking.  One of the young squirrels, perhaps even he one Skruffy embarrassed the day before, came down the tree trunk, took its front leg and hit Bubba right on the head.  Bubba looks up real quick, the squirrel is long gone up into the tree, and Arny said that he had not laughed so hard in a long long time.  Bubba never did know what hit him.  Dogs 2, Squirrels 1.   Oh, if I had only been there to get a picture of that one!!!!!

Note:  We have seen Jackie a few times since Skruffy hit her butt a few weeks ago, but she visits the "feeder" less often, and generally in the early morning when the dogs are not out.  Perhaps she is weaning herself away from her young ones...or perhaps she is afraid of the dogs.  Of all the squirrels, she was the one which was less afraid of Arny and Sandy before the dogs arrived...we hope after we leave she will again strike up that relationship.  As for Skruffy, she will continue the chase, and we doubt she will ever get any closer than she has already gotten.  Bubba, well...he might be a little embarrassed about all the teasing we have given him for letting a squirrel hit him upside the head.  Today he ran away...first time in well over a year that he had taken off.  Luckily, Arny's friend Steve was headed down the street and saw him, and when he called Bubba over to his truck, Bubba ran over and hopped in.  Steve had Bubba back home before anyone knew he was gone.  Bubba, who has a history of doing this type of thing, will be more closely watched, and we all have our fingers (and paws) crossed hoping it is the last of his adventures. 

Monday, October 26, 2015

Some of the “W’s” of Life

Weather
Pre-sunset, Citrus Heights    Sunset, Citrus Heights

Had some rain within the past ten days, and it looks like we are going to have some more this week…but not enough…yet.  El Nino is upon us, and it looks like it will be a wet year in California, I think they need a number of wet years to help out this situation.  El Nino affects Florida too, and I am certain it will be a wet year this winter in Sunny Florida.


Wings
Humingbird    Humingbird
Humingbird

With all the bird feeder in my sister’s backyard, we see lots and lot of wings every day.  I still say that the Hummingbird is one of the greatest little creatures ever created..I can watch them all day long, their grace, their speed, their determination.


Woodpeckers
Northern Flicker Woodpecker     Northern Flicker Woodpecker

Of course, the woodpecker ranks right up there with the hummingbird.  This big Northern Flicker showed up this past Friday, and for awhile it was chirping and singing up a tune…before it went over to the nearby palm tree and pecked up another type of tune.  Have seen a lot of Nuttall's woodpeckers too…but I never seem to have my camera when they show up on the nut log hanging from the tree.


Windows
Windows 10

Yes, it is time to stop thinking about Windows 10…it is time to change over to it..  Mom and dad have two computers that I need to change over, and we have two also…soon to be three.  Decided to buy another ASUS laptop for just over $260, and convert it to Windows 10 first.  Then move mom and dad’s computers over to 10, and then our computers…although I might not get that done until we get to Florida in December.  And I might just stay on Windows 7 for awhile longer…just don’t see an immediate need to change it over yet.


Where
Mom and Dad along 17 mile drive

Look WHERE mom and dad are at!  Sister Patti and Donna took them over to the Monterey area, and somewhere along the famous 17 mile drive, they found this bench to sit on with the Pacific Ocean in the background.  Later they stopped at Pebble Beach where the girls took a walk, and mom and dad had hot chocolate and a slush (or something like that)…at Pebble Beach that cost them around $10!


What

Which brings up the subject of “WHAT have we been up too lately?”  Well, (should have added “WELL” to my list of W’s too) a little of this, a little of that.  Watched Arny’s mom last weekend for a good portion of a day so that Sandy and Arny could celebrate their 27th anniversary.  This weekend Arny went down to Bakersfield to the California Hot Rod Reunion.
Bradford Fiat Dragster with Arny For years Arny has helped the Bradford Racing team at some Drag Races where Randy Bradford drives the car.  To the left is a picture I took off the Bradford website which shows Arny running along side the car as it gets ready to race a few years ago.  By-the-way, Arny did the paint job!
So with Patti gone with mom and dad, Arny down in Bakersfield, I helped Sandy with Arny’s mom all weekend.  It sure is difficult to get old where you need people to help you with basic every-day tasks that most of us don’t think anything about.  If I had a nickel for every time she has apologized for “inconveniencing me” I could probably fill up the gas tank!  She is such a gracious, sweet old lady…and sometimes when I help lift her off the potty, she will say, “We just have to stop meeting like this….”.   She turns 93 in December.


When

Which leads me to “WHEN” are we going to head back to Florida.  We will head out from Citrus Heights on the day after Thanksgiving.  By Sunday we should be in Yuma, Monday I’ll go over the boarder to get some new glasses, and on Tuesday we hope to head to Phoenix for two days.  By the following Saturday we need to be in Fort Smith Arkansas, and on Wednesday I have my annual check up in Little Rock…so either Sunday or Monday we hope to make a quick trip up to Kansas City to see my youngest son Ryan.  By the following Saturday we hope to be sleeping in our Condo because just a few days later Marcia has an appointment with her Neurologist who just retired…so we are not sure yet if that appointment will be moved to another day or not.

map


Whether

We have not decided WHETHER we are going to do the Alaska trip next year or not.  And if we don’t, will we at least make it up to Hyder in July or August to see the Bears along the Fish Creek Wildlife Observation Site.  Hyder is the Eastern most city in Alaska, and is on the Pacific Time Zone, unlike the rest of Alaska.  It is half way to Anchorage, and “if” we did this, we would be spending a few months at places along the way such as the Grand Tetons, Yellowstone, and Glacier down in the States, and Banff and Jasper in Canada.  I will probably map out a few options and make our decision next year.


Why

And that brings me to “WHY”.  Why I have not written a blog for so long is anyone’s guess.  I think many bloggers have time periods where they want to take a break…and I have had a few of these before.   And that leads me back to WHAT, as in “What are you going to do this next month?”  For that, I will just make you WAIT and see.  (and I didn’t even use the word WHO, which was first on my list of W’s and I couldn't think of a thing to say...or the word WASH which is last on my list…which is for Washing the Motorhome…and it will remain last on my list for a bit longer.)

Thursday, October 15, 2015

About One of My Hometowns

Citrus Heights Map

I first moved to Citrus Heights during the summer of 1975, while I was home for the summer from college in Iowa.  Mom and Dad had decided to move from South Sacramento, which was becoming a bit like a war zone, up to Citrus Heights.  Over the next ten years I lived in Citrus Heights at three more locations with friends after I moved out in 1977.  One would think I moved every year during those years…living in ten different locations before finally marrying the first time in 1985.  (It did not stop there, I moved seven more times over the next 10+ years after getting married…but that’s beyond the scope of this post)

Parents house on Monte Corita    Duplex on Sayonara with Jay

House left was mom and dad’s house, house right was a corner duplex that I lived in with a friend and previous co-worker Jay.  I moved out, he moved out and his parents moved in and lived there for another ten years or so.

Duplex on Denio Way with Jay    House on Schooner owned by Brad

House left was another duplex that I lived in with Jay until he got married…around three years had passed from when we first shared a duplex.  I had lunch with Jay last week.  House right was my friend Brad’s house…he was also a co-worker as he managed one restaurant while I managed another, and we also co-managed a restaurant together before I got promoted to run another location.  I moved out from there when he married Daria...I really need to get down to the Modesto area to see them too.

Sylvan Corners

Three of the four places I lived were less than 2 1/2 miles from this intersection. Although the fancy sign was not there, it was called Sylvan Corners even back then.  I had no idea that this corner was the spot of the first school in the area, nor that the community was called “Sylvan” until 1910.  As we travel in or motorhome we tend to get to know a bit about the history behind the town, community and/or National, State or local park we camp at.  Yet I knew very little about Citrus Heights until I started to talk to Arny about it, and then did research as I would if I was visiting it for the first time.

Sa Juan High School

I had driven by San Juan High School more times than I could count, since it was less than a mile from two of my residences, and along a busy corridor.  I had no idea that it was first established, at a different location, in 1913, offering the youth a chance to go beyond Elementary School without having to live in Sacramento and attend Sacramento High School (which is where dad went to school). 

Sa Juan High School 1915

By 1915 a high school (pictured above from school’s website) was built along Greenback Lane, and twenty years later it was replaced with the makings of what is present day San Juan High School, which has seen many additions and improvements over the years.

12 Mile House

Another landmark that I had passed many times as I drove along Auburn Blvd just along the border of Citrus Heights is the 12 Mile House which was built in the 1920’s, but probably had its roots from previous buildings at this, or near this, location which were also known as 12 Mile House, or 12 Mile Station.  In late 1920’s this building was built as a bar, and remained an active bar for many, many years, closing just before the new century began.  It is the only business building still in existence that pre-dates World War Two within Citrus Heights.

14-Mile Roadhouse   14-Mile Roadhouse

Just a mile down Auburn Blvd is the 14-Mile Roadhouse, build around 1851 as a stopover for the teamsters taking supplies up to the mining camps.  Its name was derived from being 14 miles from where the old Auburn road left Sacramento.  I thought maybe this was the route of the Pony Express or a Stagecoach line, but those followed the Highway 50 route.  Old Auburn Road did become U.S. Route 40, one of the original 1926 U.S. Highways, which was replaced by I-80.

First church in Citrus Heights

Another structure which I had passed by many times over the years is this old white Baptist Church, dedicated in 1921 as a Quaker Friends Church, and is the oldest and first Church in Citrus Heights.  It became a Baptist Church around 1975 after the Friends Church moved to a larger location.

Sunrise Mall

In 1970 ground broke for Sunrise Mall, and by 1975 there were 101 shops anchored by J. C. Penney, Liberty House, Sears, and Weinstock's.  Macy’s replaced Liberty House in 1984.  In 1996 Weinstock’s was replaced by a larger Macy’s, and Macy’s, Penney and Sears are the current anchors and there are still over 100 other stores in or on the Mall’s property. 

Sunrise Mall

I can remember in the late ‘70’s and early ‘80’s that one could hardly find a parking place during the Christmas rush…but you could do all of your shopping right under one roof.

Rusch House

There are a few older homes from the early 1900’s still around, and one of the best is the Rusch House, which sits on the corner of Rusch Park.  Built in 1916, it sits on the original 480 acre Volle Ranch.  Fred and Julia Volle crossed the plains back in 1853, settling in Sacramento before moving to what is now Citrus Heights.  Ten of their eleven children grew up on the ranch.  Fred Rusch, their grandson, and his sister Julia were raised by the Volle grandparents because their mother died shortly after giving birth to Fred.  By the time Fred was 15, he was managing the ranch.  These two grandchildren inherited the house, and in 1950 gave 15 acres to establish the park, and thus created the Sunrise Park and Recreation District.  

Sylvan Cemetery    Sylvan Cemetery

The Sylvan Cemetery started in 1862, and many of the original settlers of the community are buried here in the 18 acres cemetery.  I was impressed with the section they set aside for veterans, many of whom served in WW2.  Again, I had driven by this cemetery many times, and had never entered it until today.  Actually raised in Sacramento, I just never took the time to find out about Citrus Heights despite living here four different times.  I am glad that I finally explored some of its very interesting history.  From ranch land, to farm land, to residential housing…and there are many other communities around Sacramento which have just as interesting histories as Citrus Heights does.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Tale of the Amazon Package


Slow Cooker Bags

A few weeks ago my sister Sandy introduced us to Slow Cooker Liner bags.  She had cooked a pulled pork in her Crock Pot , pulled out the bag and didn’t even have to wipe down the slow cooker (although she gave it a quick wipe down), we were sold.  We like the Crock Pot when we have electricity…but the mess is sometimes hard to deal with (too much water use to clean it fills up the grey tank).  Now it is going to be so easy, and very little water usage.

Amazon notification

I placed the order on Friday, and with Amazon Prime that means it would come on Sunday.  It was being shipped via USPS.  A little before 4 I got my text notification that it had been delivered, went out front and NOTHING….it was not there!  My online notification said “Your package was delivered. Please look in your mailbox or wherever you typically get mail.”   It also gave a USPS tracking number.

USPS notificaiton

The USPS site said that it had been delivered, and left on the front porch.  With mom and dad just two doors down, I thought maybe it got delivered there instead…but no, it was not there either.  Nor was it at either neighbor’s house.  There are only nine or ten homes on the street…I just couldn’t understand it.

Can't find it link

So I clicked the “I can’t find it” button, doubled checked the address (we have had many things delivered here in the past four years), and then pressed the “Still can’t find it” button.

Still can't find it link

Well, that did not help much…even tonight (Monday night) it is giving me the “It still may be on the way…” message.

family

We have a LARGE family…most of it on my mom’s side.  She was one of eleven children, dad just had one brother who we called “Uncle Red” due to his red hair.  Although he is no longer with us, Aunt Flo and their eight kids are.  Uncle Red’s first wife died back in the ‘60s after having four kids.  Uncle Red married Aunt Florence who had three kids…they solidified the family by having an eighth child.  One of the younger boys’ wife works with a lady who also lives on the same Court as my sister and my parents.  She called dad this afternoon and said that her co-worker had a package delivered to her house on Sunday which was meant for them…and that she would drop it by after she got home. She probably didn’t even see it until she was leaving for work this morning. Now how crazy is that???
Postman Dog Delivery
Why the postal worker delivered to the wrong house is beyond me….the address was very clear on the package, and the addresses are not even a close match.   Unless the postal worker heard about how Skruffy actually touched a squirrel yesterday and it scared them???   Don’t worry…Squirrel got away totally undamaged, and Skruffy seemed to have a bit of a strut in her walk the rest of the day. Yep, I think that scared the postal worker away….

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Electrical, Fumes, Molding & Hubs

Breaker Box

During our trips to Washington and Utah we came up with a short list of items that needed to be taken care of.  Number one on the list was with our breakers in the motorhome.  A few months ago we had our 30/20 breaker act up on us when we had the microwave going at the same time we had the air conditioner going.  It did not take long for the main breaker and/or the A/C breaker pop on us.  In our unit, this happens to be a dual breaker.  Sometimes only the A/C trips, sometimes they both trip.

BD3020 Cutler-Hammer Breaker

As time went on, it started to trip with just the A/C going.  As breakers get hot, and as they trip more and more, they degrade.  The last few times it tripped, it felt very warm.  The heat is a sign that the breaker was showing signs of internal arcing, which creates a situation where it trips very easy.

Old breaker showing arcing signs

This picture above shows the top back of the old breaker, where it plugs into the electrical pole of the breaker box.  The nature of this double breaker is that it has a single pole for both breakers.  In the previous picture you  can see where the wires are screwed into each of the breaker at the bottom.  The 30 amp (left side) has a much thicker wire than the 20 amp (right side) has.  It is hard to see, but in that hole where it connects to the breaker box there is obvious signs of arcing.  As the connection becomes loose, due to the movements of the motorhome as it goes down the road, the electricity will start arcing through any gaps…which causes heat…which causes further breakdown in the connection…which causes more arcing….(I think you can see where this vicious circle is going…)   It is an easy fix, we had to order the new breaker, which cost $22.  Amazon has them, but we got it a day earlier going through a local electrical shop for basically the same price.  If you have never changed a breaker before, you might want to ask someone who has to show you how, or watch a few YouTube videos on it…it is not easy, and safe if you are sure you are unplugged from the electrical box outside AND you keep your generator off and your inverter off.

---NEXT---

Laptop Power Supply Melted

While we were in Truckee before our emergency run to Utah, we were both using our computers and almost the same instant we go, “What is that smell?”  I quickly found that it was my electrical cord to my laptop, which was a twelve volt adapter instead of the standard 120 volt.  In all my years this is the second time I have seen one melt like this…however the first one was a 120 volt type.  I feel that much of the fault is with me since I had the aircard and the Wilson Signal Booster each plugged into a USB line.  This was probably a bit much for the 12 volt cord to handle, it got hot and melted.  Thank goodness we were here to stop any damage from being done…and thank goodness it wasn’t lying on the carpet which would have melted too.  Easy fix by ordering two new ones, just in case I have a problem again.  If you are using a laptop, please check the cords for heat…they are usually at the power block, or at the connection to the laptop.  Had a Sony laptop once that melted at the connection to the laptop…not a fun thing either.

---NEXT---

generator exhaust

Above is a picture of our slide out, the driver’s door, and the white arrow which points to the generator exhaust.  Although we try not to run the generator very often while camping, there are times that we must to charge up our batteries, make coffee, run the microwave, etc.  When we do, I have to shut the windows of the slide, and the kitchen, and just have the vents open…one pulling in air with the other pushing it out because Marcia can smell that exhaust way more than I can. 

Exhaust Tubing

Today I ordered this flexible exhaust tubing.  It is 1 1/2 inch, while the exhaust pipe is closer to 1 1/4 inches.   The length of this exhaust tubing is 25 feet….most like closer to 16’ before it is “expanded”.  I figure this 16’ will give me enough length to keep exhaust smells away from our window.  It is something I will put on and take off as needed, and for short “rest stop” uses of the generator, we just won’t open the windows.  I have not tried this yet, and will try to give an update as to how it works.  To me, it is better than running a pipe up into the air like I have seen some motorhomes do.  One must be careful because the exhaust will heat up any type of pipe like this.  Won’t be able to use it on grass or weeds, and I must keep it away from the tires.

---NEXT---

Entry Door molding

This little black molding which goes around our door entrance has been giving me fits for a number of months now.  This time I tried some Gorilla Glue, and it seems to be holding.

Entry Door

Here you can see it with the door closed.  I think it is a combination of the screen portion of the door catching it, and also we both have a tendency to grab the door frame as we enter and leave, and this naturally puts pressure on this molding. 

---NEXT---

Box

Marcia has this nice box that she stores her Vitamins and Herbal pills in.  She uses these to combat her M.S., as she is on “NO” M.S. medication, and on only two medications to fight the physical manifestation of what the M.S. has done to her body. 

Hing fixed

The hinges have been coming off this box, and Arny had just the perfect screws to fix both hinges.  I will be looking into a good, sturdy plastic box with a good solid lid for her to use on future trips…a box like this is just not up to the rigors of travel and storage behind our La-Z-Boy chairs. 

---NEXT---

Old Hubs     Old Hubs

The last little fix was dealing with our HHR, the tow car.  All four hub caps have shown the wear and tear of many miles and car washes.  The front drives side hub cap had been partially damaged ever since the tire shredded in Florida on our way out to California.  Ever since then, we have heard a vibration while driving with our windows open…especially at slow speeds.

New Hubs

Again, Amazon to the rescue….ordered four new hubs for around $35, with an extra $7 for four Chevy stickers to stick in the middle of the hub, and….

New Hubs

…there we are, four new hubs, and guess what?  The mystery sound is gone.  The old hubs were rattling and were the cause of the noise. 

handyman
All that fixed, and I didn’t even hurt myself!  Well, they were easy fixes…those nagging little things that seem to build up until you just knock them all out.  Or, another $100+ down the drain…and the start of new, fresh list. 

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