Monday, March 02, 2015

Home again...

We decided that since with had the trailer out we'd head out on a road trip.  Not a very long one, just over to San Diego to see Number One Son, Significant Other and the sights.  It was a good week.  Long enough to see stuff; short enough to still be happy in the trailer when we got back. 

What do you think the odds are that in a place where we get maybe 2" of rain a year that it would be raining when we hooked up?  Small odds for sure.  Now what are the odds that it would be raining when we unhooked a week later?  Tiny, right?  But that's what happened.  Rain around here is usually like mist in other places but we had it going on both when we hooked up on the 22nd and when we unhooked on the 1st of March.  Not only that it was really raining (by anyone's measure) when we hooked up to leave San Diego.  Jeez! 

The trip down was pretty uneventful except there was some kind of traffic slowdown on Cajon Pass so rather than worrying about keeping everything down to a reasonable speed we got to worry about getting to the park before they closed.  The GPS estimated our arrival at 15:30 when we set out but we actually made it to the part at 16:55; only 5 minutes before the office closes.  Doing 6-7 mph for the entire length of the pass makes quite a difference!  The uphill side was going fine; it was just the downhill side that had the problem.  We called the California DOT hotline but they didn't know of any problem and we didn't see one.  Who knows; it's just California traffic.  

We got one of our usual spots overlooking Mission Bay. 

It's expensive but we get that water fix whenever we look out the window.  Water, boats, ducks; what's not to like?

We managed to hit Pacific Beach a couple times.  It's fun walking along doing people watching.  We saw this one guy who was shirtless; he must kiss the mirror every time he looks in one.  Then there was the woman who had some obvious help in the bra department who also thought that 5 lb. of makeup was appropriate for the beach.  Wow, some poeple.  Happily they were the minority!  We also went to IKEA.  I know it's not to everyones taste but I like seeing different things and IKEA has it's own style.  I believe they are planning a store in Las Vegas but that's down the pike a ways.  One of the most fun things was going to the Poway Farmer's Market (son lives around there).  It was fun looking at all the stuff and we got a couple little items.  The stalls were really into organic almost anything.

Trip home was pretty much like the trip going except we were spared the slowdown.  Instead we got rain most of the way!  The forecast was for wind and snow above 4,000 feet so I was happy enough with the rain.  We got here to find an entire weeks newspapers thrown in our yard.  The delivery person apparently doesn't read the 'hold' notices.  Needless to say we aren't impressed.  The paper is my wife's thing so she is trying to figure out if she wants to cancel the subscription or if they can manage to convince her to keep them on.  We'll see.

Now that we are home; I can BBQ again so I'm off to the store looking for a likely subject.  Maybe I'll even remember to take a photo.  Thanks for stopping by.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Excitement - over stupidity!

Ok, so my wife and I decided we should get our under-used trailer out of it's parking spot and do a little cleanup on it.  How tough could it be aside from the obvious washing, waxing, etc.?  So we back the big bad F-250 up to it and....  Hmmm,. can't get the tow ball under the trailer hitch!  Hmmmm.  I do remember when parking the trailer that I thought there wasn't much extra that I could raise the hitch.  How the hell do we raise the trailer hitch?  I've got to admit it took us any embarrassingly long time to figure out we needed to dig a couple holes to let the truck wheels down thus lowering the ball rather than raising the hitch. 

ANYWAY, 15 minutes with a pick axe (even the ground is tough out here) and a couple shovels allowed the hitch ball to dive under the hitch and away we could go!  Apparently during the time without the trailer the truck's rear suspension found another half inch or so of height.  Interesting!  So now we have the rig out and are cleaning away.  Not sure yet if we'll go anywhere; My wife isn't happy with the slideout; she is afraid it has gotten crooked in the frame somehow.  Maybe we'll just tow it over to Las Vegas and get the dealer's opinion. 

In my spare time I decided to make hummus.  No photos, sorry.  The recipes aren't tough.  The one I decided to follow included a can of chickpeas (garbonzo beans), tahini, yoghurt, garlic, EVOO, lemon juice, salt and pepper and a jalapeno.  They carefully recommend removing seeds and membrane from the jalapeno first. Then you basically beat everything up in the food processor and there you are.  Well, the jalapeno's we've been getting aren't very spicy so I not only don't remove the membrane, I add a second, quite small, jalapeno.  The first problem was that the food processor would just throw everything off to the side of the container without even mixing it.  Grrr!  Finally I pulled it all out and fed it into the processor a spoonful at a time.  Pain in the ass but it got the stuff to a reasonable consistancy.  Hmmm, I've got to admit, my inner Mexican (I'm from Iowa, German and Scotch-Irish parents, so he's not a big influence) failed me.  Damn, that's hot stuff!  Well, not to some people, but a little goes a long way for me.  Should have doubled up the garlic instead; can't be far enough from the vampires! 

We did have a little rain a couple weeks ago; just enough to wake the weeds really.  So we have to go kill weeds.  We have a fairly large yard and it's all covered with just rock so when the weeds grow they have plenty of room.  So my wife and I load up sprayers with Roundup and go to it.   We get tired spraying after a while so it takes us several days and took 18 gallons (68L) of spray!  We buy the concentrate whereever we can find it (Walmart or Home Depot) and it runs about a $1 a gallon of spray in the really large size and I've got a few more years worth besides.  I'm hoping most of our lawn mainenance is done for the year. 

Otherwise, not much to report.  It's been a REALLY mild winter.  Back in December the bird bath was freezing; not much since then.  The last half of January and most of February have been about 10 degrees (F) above normal.  For example, that means today was 74F (23C),  Not tough to take!  We had our daughter over for lunch last weekend and ate outside; had a hard time not just laying out there all afternoon.  Sorry Boston but there it is.  We'd sure love some of that snow melt though!

Friday, February 06, 2015

I am not dead

Stealing the title of my post from Croft is just one of the things that's kind of lame about these days.  It's being a nice quiet winter with a few bumps in the road.

Like lots of people my wife and I caught the bug that is going around though it was pretty mild for us.   My version included going through about a box of Kleenex a day for a week.  My wife's version was more about coughing her poor head off.  We spent quite a bit of time hiding at home and preparing comfort food for each other.  There are a couple other physical problems we are dealing with but this isn't that kind of blog.  Life in the fast lane!

We did manage to find some salmon that we smoked.  It's not the same as the wild caught Pacific salmon we used to get in the Pacific Northwest but it was pretty good.  This is farm raised Atlantic salmon; it's got more fat but I guess is easier to raise.  We took a filet that was about a pound and a half (.5 kg) and cut it into sections that were about the same thickness.  Then we marinated it for about three hours then smoked it for about five.  Pretty good stuff.

We also had time to do more bird watching.  We bought a new hummingbird feeder; the first one we've ever had that has a perch for the birds.  Amazingly the hummers are happy to sit down while eating.  I never knew!  Anyway now we are sold on perchs for the hummers.  We had a group of six at one point but I was slow; only got three in this photo.  Still, it's a new high for us.

Every now and then I have to get a photo of the mountains around here.  They really make the place special even if I am too lazy to look around for a position without the light pole in the way!

So, you see, you haven't missed much by my lack of blogging..  It's pretty sad when cooking a piece of fish is the big deal in your life.  Hopefully we can get things going here in the near future.  Thanks for stopping by.

Wednesday, January 07, 2015

Well, this is different!

Ok, how about a kind of dull story?  Usually my wife and I drink decaf coffee because she has a problem with the caffeine.  Today she didn't want any coffee so I decided to drink some instant with caffeine (Starbuck's Colombian) that I bought for our daughter-in-law back in 2013.  Turns out there were six packets left and I've had them all.  I'm actually high!  I'm so wired I can't believe it.  This is like being drunk without the alcohol.  I'm amazed.  Ok, it doesn't take much for me but really this is bizarre.

There is a danger of this becoming a bird blog but I've got to share another bird photo.  Our new hawk friend showed up again yesterday but not for lunch. 
He came by for a bath!  What a deal.  Like I said, it doesn't take much for me these days does it?  LOL  Anyway it was great seeing this lovely creature enjoying himself. 

To balance all the bird photos I've been posting; here is one of a shadow I spotted this morning.  We have this little wooden figure of a coolie carrying water.  It's been in the family for quite a while.  It's just a cheezy souvenir kind of thing but it certainly has sentimental value.  It also casts a great shadow!

Aren't you glad you don't have to earn your living carrying water in barrels?  I am!  Have a good one!

Saturday, January 03, 2015

Deja vu all over again!

Happy 3rd day of the new year!  I'm sure most people are like us:  up to their ears in leftovers.  Wow.  Even when you try to reduce the proportions in a recipe there still seems to be a lot.  Of course there are those times when my wife says 'should I make a smaller amount of X' and I say 'no, that's really great.  I can deal with the leftovers'.  Hmmm.  Does the word 'idiot' spring to mind? 

We were happily dealing with some of the afore mentioned leftovers yesterday at lunch when my wife looked outside and saw another hawk-pigeon interaction.  Yep, another pigeon lunch for the hawk. 
This time at least he/she was dining on the rocks so we didn't have a bunch of blood to clean up!  I was shooting through the venetian blinds so that's the reason for the blury parts of the photo.  The hawk was keeping a pretty good eye on me!  Apparently it prefers to dine in private.
It's a pretty bird though.  Because of the varigated chest feathers we assume it is rather young.  After being sure the pigeon was no longer going to escape the hawk took it's prey off over our wall out into the desert to finish eating.  You might think this would give our back yard a bad rep with the local pigeons.  Nope!
This was taken 3 minutes after the previous shot.  Pigeons sitting on the electric line as though nothing had happened.  Hmmm, kind of sounds like some people.  Turn your head and what you can't see didn't happen. 

Can you tell that things are a little quiet around her these days?  My big deal is hoping this old laptop keeps on running for a while.  I'd like to go directly to a Windows 10 model but that might be a while.  As in so many things only time will tell.  Thanks for stopping by.  Have a good one.

Thursday, January 01, 2015

Happy New Year!

Here's wishing a safe, healthy and profitable new year for everyone!   2015 sure came around quickly.  It takes me about six months to get used to a year then we have to start planning for the next.  It's confusing sometimes. 

Just in case you saw the post about the hawk and his/her lunch, I'd like to point out that there are plenty of birds left in the 'hood. 

We typically have a pretty low-key New Year's celebration and this year was no exception.  My wife and I celebrate it alone and mostly talk about the past year and plans for the next.  I used to be pretty good at having a 5-year plan; lately that's gone by the wayside but I'm hoping to resurrect it this year.  There are always the lose weight kinds of thoughts but also places to go and things to see.  I'm 67 this year and realistically traveling around for another 10 years is posibbly optimistic.  Who knows.  I had a nephew die this year and it's not like I live such a superior lifestyle! 

Our plans for 2015 include travel of course.  We have tickets to visit Ireland; that's the big international trip.  We've spent quite a lot of time visiting 'mainland' Europe but missed out on Ireland and we each have ancestors who lived there.  That should be fun.  We are also hoping to make visits to some of our 'local' sites like Yosemite, San Franscio and the Grand Canyon.  The last time we visited the Grand Canyon was over 30 years ago!  Not that I expect it to have changed but it is certainly worth a re-visit.  Also we have another one of those 'special' birthday years coming up so that will probably involve travel, maybe even extended travel.  We'll see how that works out.

I don't really have a 'bucket list' but there are certainly places I want to visit and re-visit.  We spent a week in our nations capital back in 2003; we both want to go back for at least two weeks this time.  In spite of living in New Jersey for a couple years, we haven't seen nearly enough of New York City.  All of Western Europe is calling to me.  Australia and New Zealand are on my list.  We talk about Central America but I have to admit the media attention about the drug cartels has us a little gun-shy (so to speak!  Sorry about that!).  A trip to Alaska via the water is definitely on the list.  My wife has known for years that an Alaska Cruise is about the only one she is going to get me on.  Even better, I'd like to visit using the Alaska Ferry system because then you choose the amount of time you stay in various areas for yourself  rather than have the cruise line 'help' you.   We'll see:  there are certainly 10 years worth of destinations.

There are also plenty of things I'd like to do here; chief among them managing to contribute to the community in various ways.  Good thing I'm retired!  I wouldn't have time to do all this stuff if I was working.  Gotta go.  Thanks for stopping by.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Happy Holidays!

Hope everyone is having a great holiday season.  We are keeping it pretty low key this year:  no visitors and no gifts.  Just a lot of holiday music and a little extra care with food and drink.  Not having kids around makes a big difference!

We have lots of wind today with gusts up to 50 mph (80 kph).  We'll be going into Las Vegas to visit our daughter but it shouldn't be a big deal.  The desert is normally pretty windy if it isn't absolutely still so we've plenty of experience driving in it.  There is a little snow on the mountain but not a lot.  California has been getting the brunt of the rain only leaving a bit for us. 

We had some excitement the other day.  A hawk came in and caught a pigeon!  We didn't see the actual capture but he sat on the pigeon on our patio for a while and nibbled on it.  Finally he took it off to the far corner of the yard to complete his meal.  Wild life includes death for some.
Now that I've got that cheering news over; guess it only remains to repeat my wish that everyone have a great holiday season.  I'll try to return before New Year's Day!  Take care.