Friday, September 22, 2017

A little catching up to do.

To complete the jobs in progress from the last post; I bought new Trojan batteries from a local auto parts house. After spending the better part of a day cleaning the battery trays I installed the new batteries. This was not quite the chore I anticipated as the new batteries are not as heavy as the old T105RE batteries. The 105 RE’s were not available so I had to settle for the T105 batteries.

We left early on Monday the 28th and drove to Boulder Creek RV Park South of Lone Pine on Hwy 395. It was an easy trip but warm as the temps were about 103 going up the desert.

One of the reasons for staying at the RV Park was to test out the new AC unit we just had installed. I must say, it worked quite well.

The next day we drove to Glass Creek, a Forest Service campground North of Mammoth where our friends Margot and Larry had saved us a spot in their campsite.

For the next 2 weeks we explored, laid around camp, took walks, had campfires and BBQ’ed. We attended the annual Mammoth Library Book Sale and each came away with large bags of books. They sell the bags for $5 and you can put as many hardback books in it as you can stuff in. Oh, and still be able to carry it. I got some that I never would have bought otherwise. How about "The Making of the Atomic Bomb" a complete history of the nuclear bomb making effort by all governments through WWII. It read more like a college text book but was also fascinating. Or the complete history of building Hitler's "Eagles Nest" with drawings and photos.

The weather was perfect. Warm days in the 70’s with cool nights in the 40’s. I did make one boo-boo, I forgot to put the propane heater in the RV before we left so I had to bite the bullet and buy a Mr Buddy heater to take off the morning chill.

On Thursday the 14th of September we left as it was predicted to get down into the 20’s overnight and be that way for days . We drove to Ridgecrest and stayed at the Elks Club for 2 days. Clyda had not been back to Ridgecrest since we left in September of 1963 and moved to the coast. It was an eye opener as little remains of the town as we knew it. The population now is about 28,000 but was less than 6,000 when we left there. We spent some time trying to find all three places where we had lived. We found 2 but not the 3rd one.

It is not an upscale community by any means, in fact the locals we talked to at the Elks Club said that Kern county is dumping its jail overflow on Ridgecrest. There are lots of houses I would just call shacks in any other location but people are living in them.

We came home on Saturday September 15th with no problems other than my truck exhaust brake had stopped working. The vacuum compressor was running full time so I disconnected power to it.

This week I took it back to Buellton where I had it worked on in June and just got it back this afternoon. The computer module had failed again so it was replaced under warranty.

I have been doing my fall trimming this week. Most of it is now in various garbage cans waiting for a day next week when I will shred it all. I have also dug up a flower bed of “Naked Lady” bulbs. This bed had not been dug up in years and some of the bulbs are huge. Clyda wants to plant the extras in front of the garage. The ground however is hard as a rock so I put some water on it tonight hoping to make it easier to dig. I still need to dig up a bed of Agapanthas in the back yard but I think I need more water on it before I can tackle that. I think the roots go to China somewhere by the amount of prying I tried today. It is almost beyond my “senior” ability anymore to do some of this stuff

Naked ladies (Amaryllis Belladona)
That brings us up to the present.

Friday, August 25, 2017

Not so fast!

Whoever said that “Time goes faster as you get older” certainly was right. I can’t believe how fast the summer has gone and how long it has been since I last posted.

We finally got the RV back on Monday. As we were leaving the coast we saw people pulling off to watch the Eclipse, however, there were no good places to pull off so we kept on going.

I have spent the last three days putting all the solar panels back on the roof, putting the TV antenna back and also the Maxxair cover over the rear kitchen vent. I even checked out the TV to make sure I had that all done correctly.

I think my garden is at an end. I thought that several weeks ago but the beans got a second wind and we have frozen 9 vacuum packed meals with another few still in the refer that I picked in the last few days. The zucchini and yellow squash are done while the tomatoes are still producing. I have been making salsa with all the tomatoes but the other day I over did it. I had picked up some chilies at the grocery store and didn’t look at the heat content. Anyway, that batch of salsa was wayyyyyyyyyy tooooo hot for me. I should have tasted the chilies before I used them. My bad, that batch went down the garbage disposal. Maybe it will clean out the sewer line.

Now that we have a good RV we are going on a short trip for a few weeks to the Eastern Sierras. Unfortunately, we picked the hottest time to go. We are heading into a heat wave next week so we plan to get an early start on Monday.

But, not so fast. I had been suspecting that my 10 year old Trojan T105-RE 6 volt batteries were failing. A check of the specific gravity this morning showed that one of the batteries was not taking a charge, in fact the battery was very hot as it was being over charged as the charger tried to bring it up to the proper voltage. I disconnected that battery from the other one and tried charging separately with a line charger. No luck. It just won’t hold charge. Definately bad.

So, neighbor Paul suggested I call a local car parts house as they also stock a small amount of RV parts. Low and behold, they have Trojan batteries, so tomorrow morning I will go down and get 2 new ones. These buggers are heavy at 67 pounds a piece so getting them out of the RV will be a chore.

 How about a 6 1/2 foot tall rose bush.

Monday, July 24, 2017

The days just slip by.

We were gone for a week with the RV to camp with Budd and Brenda at Pismo Beach.
They had invited us to join them at their private RV park which we have done several times in the past and always enjoy it.

I think we played every board game in our basket of games we keep in the RV. From Marbles and Jokers (a variation of Pegs and Jokers) to Sequence and Dice Sequence, to Checkit, to Mexican Train, to and including shuffle board played on the new shuffle board in the Club House.

We also ate out a couple of times as well as stopped for ice cream a couple of times. Must have our ice cream you know.

We did our usual stop at Miners Hardware where they have everything, and at RV World for a few parts for our RV.

We visited with our friends Becky and Ron and Becky’s daughter Annette who was visiting from Minnesota. Very nice to see Annette.

We had very nice weather for Pismo as it usually is chilly with the ocean breeze however, we had some really nice days. We BBQ’ed several times as none of us like to eat out that often.

When we left last Monday we dropped our RV off at the repair shop to have some major maintenance done. It will cost a lot but we have decided to keep it a few more years and I want to make sure it will be ready to go when we want to.

My garden is still producing but some of the plants have suffered from the hot weather a week or so ago. I have picked most of the pole beans and Clyda froze them today. Tomorrow I will vacuum pack them with the Seal-a-Meal so they keep better in the freezer.

I have an appointment with my urologist tomorrow after experiencing a kidney stone episode last week. The pain lasted 2 days then quit. So I don’t know what is going on. Should find out tomorrow.

I have been working on family history much of the week. I have so much information on so many families, all related to me, that I need to get organized. I have made a start but it is only a small step on what I need to do. But I will just plug away.

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Back home after a HOT road trip.

We had talked about doing a road trip to Oregon with the car earlier in the year but couldn’t make all parts of it come together until the middle of June. Our plan was to visit several of our friends both going and coming. We spent the first few days with our friends Cindy and Gary in Walnut Creek. They have a great backyard with a very nice pool which we spent our afternoons lounging beside and floating in. The pool temps were nice and warm which invited long stays in the water. Great hospitality also.

We also attended a Fathers day car show in Danville and then a nice lunch courtesy of Doug and Michelle, Cindy and Gary’s son and daughter-in-law. They were showing of ftheir newly remodeled kitchen.

After a great lunch and later in the day we drove to Redding, CA in the heat of the day with outside temps at 113 degrees. I had picked the motel using and Clyda about had a heart attach when she saw it. It is located in the old part of town near the Sundial Bridge and looked like the old motels of the 1960’s. However, it had been completely refurbished inside and out and was very nice and comfortable. They also served breakfast the next morning.

When we left the motel we stopped at the Sundial Bridge which spans the Sacramento River and walked across it, took a few photos, and then hit the road to Roseburg, OR as the temperature was rising.

Mt Shasta

We arrived at my old Navy buddy Gary’s house about 2:30 PM. Gary’s wife Judy was Clyda’s friend all through their school years. We spent the next few days playing board games, laughing a lot and eating. Gary and I had played pinochle while in the Navy but do you think we could remember the rules? Not a chance. We eventually made up what we thought were reasonable rules and played several games. I never could find rules on-line that worked like I remember. Maybe some day.

Playing a board game on the patio after dark.

Installing lights on the patio.

Salmon for dinner, yummy.

 Visiting a fish hatchery.

We left Oregon and drove to Williams, CA and another motel for the next two nights. In between we visited our friends Jack and Judy who live in Kelseyville near Clear Lake. We didn’t get to see them this winter in Arizona so we had a nice visit catching up on all the happenings with everyone.

Sign in hotel room in Williams.

The next day we drove to Bakersfield via Hwy 99 instead of I-5 because 99 has more 3 lane road than I-5 and has had a lot of repaving in the last few years. Also, it is more scenic than I-5.

We stayed with our ex-neighbors, Budd and Brenda, and their daughter Kori and Granddaughter Jessica. Because of the hot weather we had to visit two ice cream shops just to cool off. The first shop used nitrogen to freeze the product while being mixed in big special mixers. Pretty cool, and good ice cream also. The second shop was the old traditional ice cream parlor from years ago with great sundaes. What better way to cool off.

We did spend a fair amount of time setting several puzzles while keeping out of the heat. It made for a nice relaxing stay.

We arrived back home this past Tuesday and have been catching up on yard work, etc ever since. On Thursday I took the trailer in and had new tires put on. The old ones were 4 years old and I had one blow out and a screw in another which had been plugged and patched and which I no longer trusted as a road tire. I did save two of the tires as spares of which I carry one with me at all times plus the normal spare. Better safe than sorry.

The garden is producing lots of things, like yellow squash, zucchini, and loads of cucumbers. I think the neighbors are going to receive the excess soon.

I did make cucumber salad a few days ago and plan to make relish maybe on Monday. Clyda wants to make zucchini bread and I want some zucchini pancakes soon.

The boysenberries are all done so I need to remove all the old canes and shred them. Of course the new canes have grown up through the old ones which makes it a real job to remove them. All in good time.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

And more time passes.

We flew to Houston over Memorial weekend to attend our grandson’s high school graduation. It was a busy weekend with us arriving late Wednesday night and then taking granddaughter Ivy to the Department of Motor Vehicles twice on Thursday to get her drivers license (she forgot an important piece of paper the first trip).

Then it was time to go to Matthew’s graduation which was held in a very large facility owned by the school district which all the schools use for events. There are so many high schools (eleven) in the Cypress-Woods District that the ceremonies are scheduled every four hours throughout the day. Matthew’s was at 8 PM on the first day. It took a long time to get into the arena and we ended up sitting in the nose bleed section up high. It turned out alright as we could see Matthew march in and he was facing us when he received his diploma.

There were 781 in his graduating class. He graduated Suma Cum Laude. Quite an accomplishment. He has been accepted to attend Texas A&M University in the Engineering Department in Aerospace Engineering.

On Friday we all went out to dinner at a very nice restaurant in fact it was at this same restaurant that we celebrated our 50th wedding anniversary.

On Monday Daughter-in-law Diane suggested that we attend a Memorial Day service at Bear Creek Park. It was a nice service with a color guard, a bugler playing taps and a few short speeches. Oh… and they served cookies and lemonade after. Loved the cookies.

Tim had me help him with a few projects around the house but I don’t think we actually completed any of them. We did get a good start on a few.

We flew home early Tuesday morning and were back at the house shortly after noon.

I spent the last few days working in the yard cleaning up some areas and replanting in other areas. It never ends.

Here are a few photos from the garden.

 Boysenberries are looking good. 

Yellow squash and zucchini.

Cucumbers climbing the trellis.

California poppies in the iris bed.

One of our three Lions Mane plants.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

And time passes!

Indeed it does pass. I just returned from 10 days of working for Rancheros gate guarding at the main gate in the back country. The time did pass fast but included a day of rain on Sunday May 7th. Thank goodness, us at the gate did not need to travel on any of the ranch roads during the rain but oh-boy the mud on all the other vehicles coming into and going out of the camp must have added about 200 lbs to each vehicle. All were a light tan in color wherever the mud touched them. The mud will be hard to wash off as it is a treated mud which becomes as hard as cement when dry.

All in all, the 10 days flew by with few problems. The weather for the first few days was sunny and warm with temps in the low 90’s then it cooled off after the rain and turned windy which meant many days with hoody’s on for warmth.

Spending as many as 18 hours per day on duty pushes us old men to the limit. However, with three of us taking turns during the day we all survived as usual.

Last Friday after packing up everything and having Clyda come up with the car to take some of the extraneous stuff home, two of us drove to Santa Maria to the Elks club for a few days of R & R. We did the same thing last year. It allows us to clean up the RV’s, dump our holding tanks and partake of a good “cook your own steak” dinner at the Elks fabulous cooking facility. Very good!!!

Clyda and her high school friend and another couple came up on Sunday so we went wine tasting on Tuesday to our favorite Sisquoc winery. After tasting, we had a picnic lunch with a nice bottle of wine.

Again, the wind blew the whole time we were in Santa Maria which put a damper on things but we managed to do some outside cooking for the group.

We came home on Thursday so I could attend a picnic for all the old Delco retiree’s. It is the only time I get to see many of the folks I used to worked with. The group is getting smaller, older, and bent over. It happens to all of us I guess.

I have been cleaning up all the stuff I took with me for Rancheros including the RV. All the laundry is done, the RV is cleaned up, and a dead mouse in a trap has been tossed out. Ready for another trip whenever we can plan one.

Wednesday we fly to Houston for our grandson’s high school graduation. We will only be gone over the weekend.

I don’t know what this flower is called. It is a succulent and we have it in three places in our yard. I looks like it will take over as it spreads easily.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Things are still green but the temperature is rising.

I did get the batteries in the truck replaced a few days after I purchased them, It was not a big job but I was surprised to find sand under the batteries on the tray. This is from the wind storm we had back in October while camped in Panamint Valley. The sand obviously got into everywhere so I still find it when I move or change anything on the truck or RV.

I got the pole beans planted in the garden and they are breaking through the ground.

I have been putting down cardboard on the garden pathways to keep the weeds down and then covering them with bark. It makes nice paths. The cardboard and bark will eventually breakdown and supply future mulch to the garden. It is the lazy man’s way to garden and I am all about doing it the easy way.

We have had a small amount of rain in the past two weeks. Mostly less than a half inch each time. Every little bit helps but usually we get wind after the rain and the benefits of the rain are lost due to the wind.

I mentioned that temperatures were rising and the last two days are an example of that. Yesterday was around 90 degrees and today was over 80. I don’t think it will last however but day time highs for the next week will be around 75 degrees, Still nice enough for me.

Next week is dedicated to getting all my Rancheros equipment rounded up and checked out. The propane stove and BBQ need checking and I am trying to decide if I need my neighbors camp stove out of his old RV. I have borrowed it for the last two years and it is useful but also more equipment to take along as I need an extra propane tank to use with it. Still deciding on that. Using it does give me more options for cooking.

May will be a busy month for us. After I am through with the Rancheros we are camping with a few friends for several more days. As long as the RV is out of the yard we might as well use it. We get home around the middle of the month then fly to Houston to attend our grandson’s High School graduation. Hard to believe that much time has passed. We will return after Memorial Day.

A flower from our yard. It is a Monkey Paw. I have never seen one this big.