Saturday, April 30, 2022

Gold Mining Fun!!

 With temperatures in the 40's at night and 70's during the day, it couldn't get any better in Jackson California.  Unless that is, my oven would actually cook!!!

Yessirree ... that breakfast casserole just didn't want to get done.  After an hour in the oven at 375, I upped it to 400 with no success.  When offered the oven next door that was already hot, I took them up on it and cranked THEIR oven up to 400.  Another 20 minutes and it was done, just as everyone was finished eating.  Just my luck!!  Of course there was a ball game here and there.

Gorgeous park and yes, it's expensive.  $194.00 for three nights, which would have been worth it had we been riding the speeders.  With that cancelled, we got in the spirit of the gold rush and headed off to see how gold was mined.

With the Gold Rush of 1849, the placer mining operations (getting gold from the rivers) dried up completely.  Mr. Kennedy knew there was gold anywhere you could find quartz, which was a product of plate tectonics from millions of years prior.  That created the Mother Lode that runs over 150 miles long from Northern California to the south.  

Kennedy discovered that lode in Jackson and began mining operations.  He didn't make much however, and sold out for a measly $5,000.  In the early 1900's a group of investors in San Francisco bought the place and began mining deep in the ground.

Here's our group getting info from our guide.  If you are ever in the area, this is a GREAT place to stop.

Mines dotted the country from North to South as they worked their little piece of the mother lode.  Many head frames can still be seen in the area.  This particular mine played out and was purchased by an eccentric artsy person in San Francisco.  It was eventually donated to a group who sought to preserve it, which is why it's still here today.

Miners not finding gold themselves, went to work in the big mines, arriving at the brick Change House.  Everyone had their own locker to leave their street clothes and change into their work clothes.  Mine owners were apparently worried about these guys stealing their gold.

On the way back out at the end of their shift, they were required to leave their work clothes, shower and be inspected to be sure they weren't carrying any of the good stuff, then were allowed to get dressed and leave.  With mine temperatures from 85 to 100 degrees with 100% humidity, I rather imagine that shower felt pretty good.  Their lunch boxes were also inspected every day before leaving.

It was pretty hard work for these guys making little to no money, but I guess it was better than starving.

Most gold mines were drilled or worked on a slant from north towards the south as you see here.  All those colored lines are section where they followed the mother lode outwards, which wasn't much more than a few yards.  Instead, the Kennedy Mine drilled straight down (the line on the left) and worked the side sections out until the quartz rock disappeared.  

This is the head frame of the mine.  The entrance is under the triangle of steal.  This was originally all built of timber.  Fascinating history here.  The mine opening is at 1200 feet elevation, but was over 5,000 feet deep.  That means it was 3800 feet below sea level at the bottom.  

This area of the mother lode didn't really produce all that much gold.  They had to crush one ton of rock to get barely 1/3 ounce of the yellow stuff.  There's a lot more to the story, but I'm out of time this morning.  I'll post the rest of the images tomorrow along with some of the harrowing stories of gold mining.  

Friday, April 29, 2022


I was up at the usual hour yesterday, got packed in record time since I only required stuff for four days, then sat on my duff for three hours trying to be patient.  They said multiple times that the check-in time was 3:00 pm.  They lied.  I could have come in any time after 11:30 am.  I'm putting that in my memory bank, hoping it doesn't get lost.

The drive through the construction was a 35 mph (in a 55 zone) white knuckle OMG kind of experience, sure I was going to hit the wall any second.  Thankfully, no one honked or gave me a bad time ... probably cuz they could see just how close it was!!

In no time my turn-off came up, which I flew right by.  The sign was almost completely covered by bushes and I missed it.  On to Stockton I went, surprised that the road wasn't too bad.  I seem to be having a little trouble with the truck shifting gears ... it seems sometimes it stays in low gear (high rpm) when it could easily shift up.   I'll check on that when I get back home.

Finally, still having really no clue exactly where to go, I spotted this sign.  YAY!!  I made it!!

This place is huge and spectacular!!  No surprise since it's a really big casino on an Indian Reservation.  Everything is immaculately groomed and beautiful.  I'm parked right dead center in this picture, which I took from the internet.  There are concrete pads are very far apart with perfect green grass for Cooper!!

I'm pretty sure I'll be back here, even if I don't gamble.  It's a nice place to spend a few days antiquing or checking out the biggest kitchen store in the Central Valley.  Weird, yes?  A kitchen store in Jackson.  I remember it well since I used to drive two hours to get here, just to see what they had (back in the old days of course).

Our rally leader was the last to arrive with a flat tire on his truck.  I thought they said car, so I gave them my little battery operated air compressor.  When I found out it was the truck, I gave them my bigger one and a long extension cord.  An hour later, they were aired up enough to drive down to the gas station.  We think he has a bigger problem with the tire rim, and I'm buying a bigger portable air compressor!

Time to set up for happy hour, so someone brought out their easy up.  This one was not so easy.  It took six people to get it together.  I'm hoping there's no wind because the park said it could only be put up on concrete, not the grass.  

We have a pretty big crowd I'm happy to say, with at least four new member rigs.  That means new items for the snack table!!  I went to finish making my meatballs, but discovered I had no pan big enough.  I need to rethink all that stuff I took OUT of the rig.

We held a short meeting and discussed future rallies.  As you can imagine, no one wants to do the work, me included, but we do love to meet up.  We have decided to pick a place we have been before and a date we think will work, then let everyone make their own reservations.  We can meet up for happy hours and dinners but otherwise be on our own.  We'll see how it goes. 

As for now, one member has a place near Carson City and has offered her corral and driveway for the big July 4th celebration and parade of train engines that have all worked in the Carson City area.  That's going to be a great train rally.  No hookups, but I have SOLAR!!!   We'll see if I can work that out.  

In the meantime, I'll take some better pictures of the area.  Today we tour the local gold mine, having been displaced for an hour by the fourth graders from school who have precedence.  Then I'm off to the kitchen store!!!

Thursday, April 28, 2022


 Actually, I feel like gd morn ... it was a short night.  Things that go bump in the night easily wake me up.   I can't seem to get over the fact that my neighbor took up residence in his attic next door when he and his wife broke up.  I'm constantly listening to my ceiling when I hear noises, since my attic is as big as a hotel suite!!  

None the less, Cooper and I were up, both looking forward to coffee and a ball game.  Yes, this goes on every morning, first thing.  I roll the ball to him with my foot, he rolls it back, I kick it again, repeat!

Sometimes his roller nose makes it go a little wonky.  This goes on for about five minutes while I practice balancing on one foot, then I kick it clear across the room.  That signifies the game is over and it's time for that chewy treat!!  Hard to believe he's 13 years old.

After games and coffee, I checked the camera.  Seems there's a new cat in town!!  Instead of throwing out that old chicken leg, I tossed it to the kitties.  No foxes showed up this morning, just two kitties who ate everything but the bone.  No wonder I never find any mice around this house.

I did a little packing, getting most of the food into the fridge.  There's not much in the way of clothes and boots since I never really unpacked it when I got back from Tucson.  I'm checking everything twice and three times to be sure I don't forget something important like my checkbooks.  I can't tell you how hard it was to balance when I got back!!

Finally it was time to head to the dentist!  Just teeth cleaning on this day.  Heck I can't afford anything else.  One time they asked if the Doc could just check my teeth.  Sure I said, not knowing it was going to cost me $150 just to shake his hand.  

Now of course they want x-rays!  In fact, demand them since it's been five years.  I have no problems whatsoever, so I'm not sure why this is required other than the $271 it will cost me.  I know, I squeak when I walk!!  

The huge rose bush at the front door had the most amazing smell.  You may wonder why I'm standing in the garden.  They are still requiring masks.  Sorry I said, no can do.  They made me wait outside.  I'm thinking I need a new dentist.

I do like the gal that cleans my teeth though.  She's a bubbly talkative youngster who just got an RV and loves to camp out.  This weird picture is of her dental floss.  I use it constantly, which I think is one reason I don't have bad teeth.  It's funny, but I can't seem to find any floss around here.  I've no clue why, so I asked what she uses.  It's coconut flavored, which of course makes it very expensive.  I'll see if I can find it online.

Once again I got an A+ and I was out the door, $100 poorer.  I may just have to start going to Mexico for cleanings.  

Later in the afternoon, I cooked up a batch of meatballs.  There's a happy hour with appetizers at 4:30 today, so I'll be prepared.  I cheated for the second happy hour ... I just bought a big bag-o-chips.  So much easier to prepare!!

I spent the rest of the afternoon wondering why I'm not spending all day packing.  I guess I don't require near the stuff I usually do.  Less is certainly better when it comes to packing.  I'll be off today around noonish since they don't allow check-ins until 3:00.  I don't know why, there's only concrete, and it's not like they have to clean up the room and wash the sheets.

Here's hoping the trip is a breeze!!

Wednesday, April 27, 2022

Blogger and Bingo

What's up with Blogger?  I've no idea.  All of a sudden when I checked it yesterday, there was some new captcha response block.  It doesn't ask you to find the pictures of motorcycle fenders or ants on the ground, but it does look different for both you and I when it comes to responses.  I didn't change anything, so I have no idea.  

I would try to get it back to what it was, but going through all that programming stuff takes hours that I don't have since the RV rally is back on.  More on that later. 

It started out rather different yesterday morning.  I don't remember the sun coming up this far to the left of my house.  It's usually straight out front.  Did I miss some epic earth rotation?  It was still nice sipping my coffee outside in the cool morning air, it was just unusual.

That's when I got an email that the RV rally was back on.  The speeder guys apparently decided they didn't want to do this because it wasn't safe ... so they cancelled on us.  We have been planning this for two years.  Wish they would have said something a year ago!!   Now what? 

The rally organizer wants to go way up there anyway, then drive over an hour to the steam train ride in Jamestown.  This is going to be a huge waste of fuel for me since I could just drive to Jamestown in about 40 minutes.  I felt bad though, since I'm bringing a good portion of the food for the weekend.  

So after much deliberation (really me trying to come up with a good excuse not to go) I gave in.  Folded like a deck of cards.  I'll drive to Jackson tomorrow, but I'm not doing the drive down to Jamestown.  I've ridden that train several times.  I'll hit the antique stores instead.

And so that brings me to BINGO!!  I went in very early to meet with the bookkeeper over some Elks stuff.    With that done, I met with the crew for an extra large coke to wake me up and provide a little sugar rush.  Thirty minutes before opening, my helper said she couldn't make it.  RATS!!

Like any good Castle Accountant, I conscripted a peasant (actually said you come with me) and put her to work.  It was a major frenzy as we ran through 151 bingo players in record time.  I'm pretty sure that's also a record for participation.  They were packed in like sardines.

Again there were dozens of "I've never been here before" new players, so I was extra careful to explain about not losing their red ticket.  I also cautioned them to never leave anything sitting on their table if they choose to go buy food or use the facilities.  It's like magic in the dungeon .. things just disappear into thin air, or someone's pocket as the case may be.

One lady was extremely happy that I found a 100 dollar bill in her pile of bingo money.  She said she lost it a couple days ago and was distressed.  I would be too.  At least now she can buy food for her family.  

That was it ... no fights, no hair pulling, no police ... just a lovely LATE night at Bingo because the infernal machine felt sorry for me and balanced to the penny.  It was also a good distraction from the thought of towing my RV into the Sierra Nevada mountains.  Yes, the stress and nervousness has arrived!!

You are probably tired of these foxy videos, but here's just one more of the love birds together.  The smaller female showed up a little late to dinner, but her hubby let her have a few snacks.  I thought maybe he would chase her off.  What a sweet couple!!

So today, instead of relaxing, I have a dentist appointment, followed by frantic packing.  It would definitely be easier if I didn't have a menagerie of critters to take with me.  My blood pressure is probably through the roof as I take deep breath after deep breath saying "you'll be fine"!!!  Hopefully one of these days I'll get over it.  I don't know why pulling a horse trailer full of horses all over the west coast never bothered me before.  Relax Nancy ..... you'll be fine!!

Tuesday, April 26, 2022

Walmart - Need I Say More?

Most mornings around here are pretty benign.  Then there's that moment when I'm sitting on the patio in the dark sipping my lovely fake coffee when I think something like ... I wonder where my toaster is?  I know I have one because I've used it at rallies in the past.  

I remember searching around the Arizona house to no avail.  I also remember not finding it in the RV.  I better start looking since I need one for the rally this weekend.  Nothing ... I found nothing.  I do have a toaster oven, but it will probably dim the lights in the little town of Jackson if I turn it on.  A trip to Walmart was in order since I also needed milk.

Every time I go to Walmart, I am reminded why I don't go to Walmart.  Two big welcome signs outside do not give you any inkling of the fact that the right door is OUT and the left door is IN, the complete opposite of most stores.  Once inside the door, you are corralled into that section with a rope, not allowing you to switch sides.  I was met head-on with three shopping carts trying to exit.

I found what I needed, no thanks to the many employees who were up on ladders, completely blocking aisles while they chatted away about their girlfriends.  Yup ... they were all men. 

I found the toasters, but there were only three choices.  Too cheap ... Pioneer Woman colorful (not my cup of tea) and very expensive.  I ended up with this PW one which matches nothing in my house or my RV.  At least there will be toast!

With ten cash registers available, I thought checkout would be quick.  No sirreee, there was not one single employee working there ... not one.  They were all standing on ladders in the back of the store.  It was all check-out-yourself or nothing.  We have become employees of Walmart who don't get paid.  

I admit, I cheated.  I called the girl over and told her I didn't know how to do it.  I asked her to show me over and over until all my things were in the bag.  I paid with a smile and walked out the door.  Hope springs eternal that I don't have to go there again!!

I did completely forget to mention my company the other day, the ones who arrived earlier than expected and left right after breakfast.  It worked out perfectly because I had put together one more breakfast casserole, just for practice.  They loved it, packed up and were gone almost before I could say goodbye.  

With not much else going on, I'm going to regale you with one ... okay two more fox videos.  That thing on the ground is one of the beef bones Cooper didn't want.  I still don't get the rubbing all over it thing.

He finally took it and ran.  I spent some time in the corral looking to see if he dropped it, but found nothing.  Not even any egg shells were found.  One weird thing however ... someone had thrown a big dog chew toy over the fence.  Now who would do that?

Maybe the foxes brought it from someone else's yard ... who knows.  It was chewed to pieces with the inside white stuffing spread across the entire corral.  Seems they were playing with it before chewing it to bits???

At least they keep me occupied for part of the day .......

This morning however is panic time.  I can't believe this ... after cancelling on us twice already, the Speeder Group has yet again cancelled our reservation to ride them ... just four days away.  How nice of them.  You can bet they are going to get some bad publicity from this!!  

Now what??  We have a rally in the Sierras with nothing to do.  There is the possibility of a train ride, but no idea if it will happen at this late date.  We can't cancel the entire thing because we all prepaid the RV park.  I guess we can all gather in the casino and gamble!!!

I'll let you know what happens ..... and once again, it's BINGO NIGHT!!!

Monday, April 25, 2022


 For some reason, the days seem to be passing by faster than ever before.  It's been almost a month and I feel like it was yesterday that it took me four tries to get my fifth wheel in it's parking spot.  Luckily, the days and nights haven't been either too cold or too warm, so my electricity bill is affordable.  Yay for small favors!!

On the other hand, I haven't driven anywhere exciting.  It's too excruciating to watch the fuel gauge go down.  Mornings have still been interesting however, since I have the critter cam to browse through after the sun comes up.

This time I laid out some pieces of chicken skin, along with some parts Cooper and I don't eat.  Kitty Kitty didn't show up but Foxy came along early and got a nice snack.

After getting a couple of tail views, this is definitely a grey fox.  What a beauty!!  I love watching their behaviors.  They are ever vigilant and most likely responsible for all the midnight dog barking in our area.  

I rather imagine all that early morning cackling of chickens also comes from them.  They aren't after the big ones unless the opportunity presents itself with a less than healthy one.  They are more after the eggs.  Not big fighters, these guys would rather go for smaller prey, like gophers.

I'm not sure this is the same fox.  It's now 5:30 in the morning when I'm actually up and around in the house.  It's funny how he rolls the snack over before eating it ... almost playing with it.  I wonder if maybe it had some ants on it that he didn't want biting him.  I could watch these guys all day long.

Which I pretty much did since there were 20 videos on this morning.  The same one that stopped by earlier marked his/her territory again.  Weird that they do it where the food was placed.  

And then there was THIS!!  Yes I cut the video off.  Again?  Again you take a dump right in front of my camera?  Yup and here's why.  Foxes mark their territory with urine and scat in highly visible places, especially where they found food.  It means this territory has been claimed and encroachers will be dealt with severely!!  Skunks do the same thing, in case you were wondering!

Last night I put out one of those three big beef chew bones Cooper refused to eat.  It will be interesting to see if the Foxes like them.  

I spent the afternoon scratching off items on my rally to-do list.  The fridge is now turned on ... it takes a couple days to get really cold.  I'm happy to announce I put 40 gallons of water in the fresh water tank.  I know that because I got a little water meter that works like a charm.

Today will be clean out all the dirt day, along with packing clothes.  I'm not taking much since it's just a 4 day trip.  Truly I think I pack more for the two "kids" than I do me!!!

Time to check the critter cam!!

Sunday, April 24, 2022

Midnight Snacks

As much as I wanted to be up and at 'em this morning, I'm slow to get going.  That means I appreciate my coffee more than normal as I sit at my computer.  

It seems retribution began to take place around 8:00 last night.  Not by me.  Even though I can think up all kinds of crazy things, I've never put any of them into practice.  It has to do with loud partying all night long, of which you've heard me speak many times.

THIS time however, the joke was on the usual perpetrators next door.  THIS time it was one door down, meaning right next to the beer party band house and not next to me.  I smiled a big Cheshire Cat grin.  The noise makers are a very nice East Indian family.  I only know them from Trick or Treating.  There must have been some very special occasion in their household.

The lights bright enough to land a 747 and the crazy loud music went on for hours and hours.  I was smiling because that's right next to the bedroom of the house next door.  It was so loud I finally had to retreat to the far room in my house and pull the covers over my head, so you can imagine how the house in-between us felt.  I smiled again since they are the ones always making a racket, but got no sleep whatsoever, probably payment for wishing all those bad things upon the neighbors who usually have the concert 30 feet from my bedroom wall.

On to the critter cam as I try to shake off the exhausted feeling.  Kitty kitty got a nice meal of chicken skin.  No one owns the cats around here ... they are all wild, so a meal here and there is appreciated.   She or he keeps looking over their shoulder, so I expect Foxy to show up.  

I determined Foxy to be a female since every time she comes by, she marks her territory.

At last Foxy showed up to smell the concrete from the chicken, then left.  A few minutes later, she was back.  You have to look very closely.  She has an egg in her mouth as she heads to the back of my corrals.  I've come across several egg shells back there and was wondering where they came from.  I've got no idea where she found the egg, but I hear chickens around here all the time.  She's a smart cookie.

In the afternoon, I went back to working on this.  As my best buddy Patty says, if I had known there was so much math involved in quilting, I might have chosen something else as a hobby.  It's so much easier if you have a pattern, which I did not.  I just winged this whole thing.

The first try on the side borders, I was half an inch off, even after three 8x11 sheets of paper doing calculations.  That was an easy fix.  The top and bottom came out perfectly.  That probably won't happen again in a hundred years.  It's a nice size and I love the panel in the middle.  In fact I liked it so much, I ordered another one.  

Next time I go to Bingo, I'll take it and make sure it's approved before quilting it for her this summer.

Which brings me to the Elks meeting.  I thought up all kinds of excuses not to go before telling her it was just too expensive for me, having just given all my cash to Uncle Sam and the grocery store.  I just didn't realize how much this Elks thing would cost me, let alone how much time I spend down there.  She said no problem, although she will have to make an excuse for me.  

I did think about it long and hard, but sometimes you just have to say no!  Especially in light of just learning I'm cooking the Mother's Day Brunch.  Apparently I'm an easy mark.

Update:  company not expected until late today showed up at 8:00.  Another good reason to pass on the meeting.  I'll go next time.

The RV rally is coming up quickly this week, so I'll be making list after list, checking them three times and packing for a four day adventure riding speeders ... those little cars that follow steam trains and put out the fires they set from embers flying out the stack and off the wheels.  It should be a fun ride.

Saturday, April 23, 2022

Blisters and Smoke!!

 Do you smell that?  Is it lovely morning coffee wafting in from the kitchen?  Nope ... it's the ever wonderful acrid horrible smell of chicken manure being spread on all the orchards around this area.  Boy does that stuff STINK!!!  

It made it very hard to enjoy my coffee and even harder to run when sucking in all that air.  Garlic from the local processor ... I can take that any time.  This .... this is a whole different kind of odiferous oddity.  I didn't run very far at all.  I barely made it to the mailbox.

My morning was spent loving on this guy.  He's such good company.  Instead of running, I spent an hour crawling around the floor as we played Moose Takeaway.  I take it away and throw it, he retrieves it so we can do it again.

Eventually I did have to get something done.  The more I thought about the cost of fuel, the less I was motivated to go looking for new clothes.  I hate always buying on-line, but it's my only alternative since there are only Dollar Stores in this area.  Oh, and Walmart, the Eves Saint Laurent of California.  

Has anyone looked at the labels on clothing lately?  Everything comes from China because U.S. manufacturers cannot make affordable clothing while paying $15.00 an hour wages.  China and Thailand put out clothing like rock stars while paying something like ten cents an hour.  I'm lucky if those shirts last through the first three washings.  

Instead, I clamored back up on the ladder for more gutter repairs.  The problem is this long section to the left does not have a downspout.   The water has to go around two corners before finding an outlet.  It's such a long run that there's no slope in the first fifteen feet.  

All that weight of water and mud had pulled it away from the eave.  Just what I love doing ... balancing on a ladder on the sixth step while drilling holes and tightening screws.  I found that the gutter was over half an inch away from the wood with the roof shingles BEHIND it.  No wonder it was leaking so badly!!

I dug the shingles out and tightened the clips that were holding it up, but it wasn't enough.  It needed a few more screws.  Pushing hard with a drill wasn't working, so I grabbed my smallest Phillips screwdriver to use as a punch and hammered a hole into the metal.  It worked perfectly ... a big surprise!!  Then I put in a deck screw to tighten it up.  

In fact, I put in FOUR deck screws, which is why I now have the biggest blister you've ever seen in the palm of my hand.  Every time I move my fingers it's like an electric shock!!  Gloves ... I should have used gloves!!  I'll check it again with the next rain and see if it's any better.

Next up, instead of shopping for clothes, I went for groceries again.  It's depressing to say the least.  I'm out of eggs for the two kids.  You're not going to believe this ... 1-1/2 dozens eggs cost me $5.29.  A dozen was $3.49.  Even the checker said he couldn't believe it when he saw the price.  This is just the tip of the iceberg he said ... everything is going through the roof.  

So here's my question of the day ... I'm supposed to go to a shindig for the Elks that's over an hours drive away.  I figured it out ... it will cost me $57 for fuel.  I'm sure the powers that be will be upset if I don't go, but honestly, I'm just filling a space to make someone look good.  So do I go or not???  

In the meantime, I'm working on this smaller quilt for one of the Lodge Officers.  She's a sweetheart teacher whose son loves everything American Flag.  I have a few more borders to sew on in order to get it wide enough, but I think he will love it.

Of course it had to be Cooper approved first!!

I'm still working on this one, though it's not my favorite.  It's funny how sometimes the fabric just does not work with the pattern.  Every time I make one, I swear I won't buy another jelly roll of fabric.  OH LOOK ... what a pretty jelly roll!!!!

In between all that, I actually bought a chicken for $8.00 ... a big 7 pounder ... and stuck it on the barbecue.  I almost forgot it, but lucked out that Cooper needed to go outside.  OH LOOK!!!  Smoke come out of the barbecue!!

It turned out just fine, but I completely forgot to take a picture.  I was concentrating on sewing.  I have to admit though, the skin never got crispy and brown.  It was rather pale looking.  What did I do wrong?

The good news it tasted just fine and was Cooper approved for his dinner.  I on the other hand, had these yummy pork cutlets, browned to perfection with a nice crunchy crust.  They were the cheapest meat at the market.

All that rather yellow chicken skin went out to the Foxy dinner table.  I'll check the camera this morning and see if he enjoyed his meal.  In the meantime, it's back to sewing while my hand heals up.

Friday, April 22, 2022

Foxy Who?

 It was running day.  UGH was my first thought.  It's always so hard to get out there, but once you are actually out the door, you get just a twinge of exhilaration.  Sometimes my coffee does the same thing.  I have to admit the coffee twinge was winning on this morning.

As soon as I looked out the window, coffee won.  It was raining pretty hard and kept up for quite some time.  I'm definitely not complaining as we need the water and my body thanked me, though my brain kept saying GET OUT THERE!!!  It's hard to quiet that little gremlin.

This is the last video of Foxy I took from the camera.  I'm afraid since I last saw him/her, just my presence has maybe scared them away.  I haven't put the camera out every night like I should, but when I have, there's nothing but kitty kitties.  That makes me sad.  Maybe it's just the time of year.

Knowing that Sierra Red Foxes are very rare, I decided to do some research on them.  This is a Red one with black ears and a white-tipped tail.  It's hard to identify that in nighttime videos.  Years ago we had one little girl on the ranch that built a nest in one of our barbed wire rolls.  I caught her several times during the day going into the pile of old posts and wire.  She was definitely RED.

The Grey Fox has no black on the ears and a black-tipped tail.  When I watch the video of my visitor, I see no black on the ears, so it's probably a gray fox.  It's really hard to tell since black doesn't show up on the video well.  Either way, I'm blessed to have these sightings.  Most people don't even know they exist around here, and who would think they would be in your back yard?

It is springtime when babies arrive, so that may be why no one has graced my yard recently.  I'll have to work on getting that critter cam out more often.

I did finally get up off my you-know-what and cleaned yet another gutter.  I'm happy to say that the bedroom window did not get drenched as in the past.  My screwdriver skills worked like a charm.  Too bad I can't say that for two other sections.  Since I'm out of screws, there will be a run to the store today for longer ones.  

After lounging for way too long, it was time to head out to the Elks Lodge for dinner and the initiation of 28 more people.  On the way, wasn't I surprised to hear that familiar weird beeping over the radio ... THIS IS A TEST ... only this time it wasn't.  

Seems there was a tornado warning ... right here in California ... in four counties from the top down to the middle, directly North of my location.  It was the GET TO COVER notification too.  I don't think I've ever heard that in all my years here!!  When we do have tornados, they look like this.  Small in comparison to those back East.

The night moved along slowly.  I didn't eat since I'm pretty "steaked" out!!  If you've eaten as much steak as I have living on a cattle ranch, you would rather have chicken!!  By 9:00 I was yawning like crazy.  At long last it was over and I was headed home to my welcome reception from Mr. Cooper, who is now feeling better.  Yup I'm happy about that!!  Even happier to get that tuxedo off!!!

If it quits raining, I'll be out slapping my soles on the pavement for a bit, happy that I can still do it!!!

Thursday, April 21, 2022

Good Timing!!

It was another beautiful sunny day in California.  I can't believe I've said that several days in a row.  Spring is hanging in there nicely, as we will only be up to the 80's by mid week.   You can't beat that with a stick, mostly because it means my PGE bill will be under $300!!  It is however, raining as I type.  That's even better since now my well pump isn't sucking up electricity trying to keep my lawn some shade of green instead of brown!!

Morning was spent on the couch.  How could I possibly move when this sweet baby with tummy troubles snuggles up to me.  Especially when it's probably my fault that I gave him a new chew stick.  The beef bones the Vet recommended didn't get more than a sniff.  It was the fake rawhide chewy that did him in.  Those will now be donated to Foxy.  It will be interesting to see if he eats it or rolls on it!!

I did finally have to go get fuel.  Driving on fumes in the Jeep isn't pleasurable for me since I'm a half full kind of gal.  I knew it was going to be bad.  Frustrating and Infuriating!!  I looked online for the cheapest I could find.  It was the Arco station a few miles away.  California's gas tax is currently $.511, making the fuel $4.58 a gallon.  That's still higher than most places back East, right?

So here it is ... the most expensive gas I've ever put in any vehicle I've ever owned.  Diesel is a dollar per gallon MORE expensive, which is why I'm driving the Jeep, or rather why I'm staying home every day.

I returned a pair of pants to Amazon, which lives clear across town, causing me to drive by THAT smell.  I swear they put fans in the buildings to exhaust that wonderful smell that causes you to slam on the brakes. The KFC Chicken House wins the chicken sandwich blue ribbon award.  Habit Burger is better, but they cost more.  I've saving up for the next tank of fuel.  

It's interesting to note that while everyone else is going out of business ... some fast food places still have not opened inside dining, mostly because they can't find employees ..... Habit Burger is building yet another joint not six miles away.  Now I can stop for a burger both going and coming!!

It was one of those days when I knew there was stuff to do, I just wasn't motivated.  I finally got off the couch long enough to back the truck up to the fifth wheel and check the brakes.  Yup they work, or at least they recognized I was hooked up.  So many buttons to push and so much programming.  I set it to Boost 2, meaning the trailer weighs at least as much as the truck, which at this point I have no clue.

Yes I should have completely hooked up the trailer and driven around the block, but the gutters were yelling so loudly, they completely drowned out that thought by saying "you will have to back all the way into the driveway"!!  So I unhooked the brake connection.

Next I found myself out front with my big ladder, inspecting the gutters that are overflowing.  It's not the leaves that plug things up, it's all the sand that gets blown around in these big wind storms we've had.  Add to that the sand (or whatever it is) coming off the shingles, and the gutters are half full of what looks like the Gobi desert.

From there, I followed it around the side which wasn't near as bad, but I noticed more screws had come loose.  That will be another day on the ladder since I don't have any screws long enough.  I did find one drain that was full of dirt.  I dug it out the best I could, but like this one, it has two bends.  Then I stuck the garden hose in it and turned the water on high.  

It didn't work and I got soaked!!  I let it run wide open for about 5 minutes, but it still wouldn't clear the drain.  Hardly any water came out the bottom.  Lucky for me, there are two downspouts on this section and the other one is working well.  I think I need some kind of rotor rooter thingy gizzy!!

The last gutter that really needs cleaning ... it's probably full to the brim with sand ... is well over 15 feet high.  That's going to need a lift of some kind.  Tall roof houses are nice, but they sure can be difficult to maintain!!  Who knew??

My timing turned out to be pretty good since it's supposed to rain for two days.  It's nice to know my gutters will now work ... most of them anyway!!  

It's monkey suit initiation night at the Elks, so I'll be trying to catch some winks in between watching rodeos on the Cowboy Channel.  Boy is that addicting!!!  The good news is it keeps me out of the fridge!!

Wednesday, April 20, 2022

Screw It!!!

BINGO!!!!  Always a night of fun and games with some days being more of a challenge than others.  I was up early again, taking the kid out into the dark back yard hoping for no meetings of the black and white kind.  In spite of there being many places where they can dig under the fence, they have chosen not to do so this year.  Instead, they are wreaking havoc over in the orchard where I relocated three last year.

I really didn't do very much in the morning, though my list was long.  When you have to spend half the night placating the peasants with perfect performance, you would really rather rest up.  I finally drug out the ladder to see why the section of gutter over my bedroom window was leaking so bad and ruining the window sills on the outside.

It's a little dicey fixing this one since the ladder has to be in the flower beds.  I discovered one screw holding the gutter tight to the wall was missing and one was loose, leaving quite a gap.  The overhang of the roofing tiles isn't long enough, so it falls BEHIND the gutter.  Perfect, right?  

Trying to hang on with one hand, push the gutter up, lift the tiles over the edge, then put a screw in really needed four hands.  I had one available to try and put the funny headed screw in the wall while I hung on for dear life with the other.  The screw was longer and I wasn't strong enough to turn the driver.  I did my best impression of being handy and came up with this idea.  Vice grips on the handle.  It worked like a charm.  

Too bad I'll have to go back up because I could only find one screw and I needed two!!  I can't say screw it on this one, it needs to be done.  This project will now involve scraping off the paint and repainting the window frame once it all dries out from the rain.  Oh boy!!!!

Finally, it was time to head on down to the Castle for some peasant interaction.  Sadly our fun group of Knights don't meet upstairs any more.  After all these years, it's a miracle that even four of us still show up.  

SO many new peasants on this day, much time was spent explaining the seven different types of cards, no you cannot gamble using a credit card, yes you can get cash back and DO NOT LOSE THAT RED TICKET!!!   We had 128 peasants, which I think is a record for mid month.  We only see that many on welfare and retirement paydays.  I had to be careful, as money was spilling out the sides of the cash register onto the floor.  

We ran them through in record time, like we did when I was younger running cattle through the chutes for shots and worm medicine.  Head em up, move em out!!!

The pitchforks only came out twice on this night.  Our new caller decided to tell some jokes again, which would have been fine except he did it DURING the game while calling.  That's a NO-NO!  There were lots of sticks and stones thrown in a flash!!  The masses were not impressed and no one laughed.  This is serious business here!!

There were a couple of she-stole-my-seat arguments, but the King quickly resolved them by bringing out extra chairs so they could sit across from each other.  Evil eyes and curses went around the room like the WAVE at a baseball game!!

In the end, I balanced perfectly with the infernal machine, which was a good thing.  That hot dog was doing a number on my stomach.  You would think I would get used to them, but they just keep getting worse and worse.  Eating dinner at 2 pm isn't an option, so I guess I better come up with something else to eat.

What I did get to make me feel better was a box of books to bring home.  One of our guys is an avid reader and always has dozens to give away.  I've never read any of these, so they should keep me busy.  I'll pass them along if any turn out to be real page-turners.

And so I survived another night of Bingo.  With less than perfect sleep last night, I'll be looking for excuses not to do things today.  I guess that's a sign of getting old.  Years ago I would drive two hours just to buy a shirt or two.  Today I don't even want to drive two miles to get gas!!

Tuesday, April 19, 2022

Evil I Tell You ..... EVIL!!

Lack of sleep finally caught up with me yesterday.  I had plans and a list of things to get done that did not include falling asleep on the couch.  I thought I had it made after that first cup of coffee.  I was raring to go to Boot Barn and use up that $30 credit (you can't let credits go to waste), fuel up the Jeep (our prices are running about $4.97 for regular GASP!!), return a pair of pants and find a new blue blazer.  Oh ... and mail my taxes off.

Abolish the IRS has become my mantra.  I know, if I didn't make money, I wouldn't have to pay anything. That fabulous retirement I was blessed with for working so hard all those years is a blessing and a curse.  Save your money they said ... so when you get older you won't pay as much, lower tax rates and all that nonsense.  It's all a big fat LIE!!!

Last November my investment company sold a bunch of stock for a BIG profit.  Nice you say??  Until you find out that cost you a huge chunk in Capital Gains that you now have to pay taxes on while never seeing the gain.  They keep it and invest in something else.  It's EVIL I tell you ... the IRS is EVIL!!!

I mailed off a big chunk of my bank account to satisfy the Devil when I remembered I had two rugs coming to the house.  No use letting them get stolen off the porch, so I drove back home and became glued to the couch waiting for them.

That's when I remembered the critter cam was still outside.  There were several drive by kitty visits, followed by a Foxy tail flashing in the distance.  Boy can he run!!  It was just a blur.

By the time the rugs were delivered, I wasn't in any mood to hit the stores.  That's an early morning chore for me.  Besides, I had yet another Elks budget meeting to attend last night ... the final one.  Unfortunately I got roped into attending a meeting in Stockton on Sunday.  Who meets at 10:00 on a SUNDAY???  This should be fun since I'm so anti-social!!

I wasted away the afternoon watching the Fort Worth Stockyards Rodeo in their brand new facility.  This is becoming a bad habit.  Luckily by the time I got home, they were showing the 2014 National Finals Rodeo.   The big news, after oh so many years, the National Finals for THIS year have been moved to their new home ... Fort Worth.  What?  No more Las Vegas??

Dinner found me cutting up some prime rib for tacos at 8:30 pm.  It's never good to eat that late, especially for me.  I'm not all that hot on meat that's too rare.  By the time I nuked it, it was perfectly cooked.  

I did get at least one more thing accomplished.  I heard there was a recall of Grand Design Reflection refrigerators.  Something about a wire that was not secured correctly, which might cause a spark.  After waiting on hold for 43 minutes, I was told my Vin # was not on the list.  That's a big relief ... not having to go back to a dealer who keeps your rig sitting there for two months waiting for that special screw to be delivered.

I'm going to get in as many winks as I can today .... it's BINGO TIME!!

Monday, April 18, 2022


There's nothing like the smell of smoke and the sound of fire alarms to wake you up on an Easter Day.  I was up at 2:30, wandering around the house wishing I was asleep while trying to figure out what Cooper's problem was.  I had things to do, but couldn't get very motivated.  It was just too early.

The full moon was fabulous, followed by gorgeous sunshine and warm temperatures.  It doesn't get any better than this!

I sat outside in dead silence admiring my roses and sipping my cup-o-joe, contemplating how I was going to cook that prime rib. I've done this maybe three times in my life, all complete failures.

But first ... let's whip up some dessert, the most important part of dinner.  Be aware yet again that now even chocolate chips have shrinkage.  The once 12 ounce packages are now only 10 ounces and they cost more!!!  Everything sure is going to the dogs!!

Super easy recipe here ... place chips in a food processor and pour in (while it's running) one cup of hot cream.  It melts the chocolate perfectly.  Cool to room temperature.  Beat two cups of whipped cream with 1/4 cup of sugar to stiff peaks and fold in to the chocolate.  DONE!!  This makes the best mousse I've ever had.  You can dump it in a graham cracker crust to make pie, or as I do, put it in one serving containers.  

I know I used to use champagne flutes or wine glasses.  How I got this stuff in them without making a big mess, I've no idea.

It's okay though ... no company coming and I don't care if it's all down the side of the glasses.  YUM YUM!!  I could eat six of these at once!

At long last noon arrived ... time to mutilate ... I mean cook ... the prime rib.  Noon found me fast asleep on the couch, covered completely by a quilt to shut out the light and Cooper, who by then was feeling just fine.  YAY!  Now I'm behind because I know it will take at least 30 minutes to heat my oven to 500 degrees, if it will even go that high.  

By that time, the roast had been sitting on the counter for four hours to get to room temperature.  That's very important they said!  I calculated the cooking time Chef told me ... # of pounds times 5 for a perfect prime rib medium rare.

I plugged in my handy dandy temperature gauge ... one of the best kitchen tools I've ever purchased.  Oven on ... meat in oven ... temperature probe in place and timer set for 27 minutes.  The convection fan roared as smoke began to come off the meat.  I turned the fan off, which apparently turned the oven off too.

Instantly there were fire alarms going off everywhere in the house.  I think I have eight of them, all screaming at me, scaring poor Cooper to death!!  I frantically opened the back door and a couple of windows, turned on both house fans and the exhaust fan over the stove.  Oh my gosh ... at last they quit.  Only for a few seconds however before they began screaming again!!  FIRE FIRE FIRE!!!

Okay okay .... so it was a little smoky in the house.  I checked the oven, only to find that the temperature was now down to 425!  Yikes ... it's supposed to be 500!!!  I turned it back up, producing even more smoke which set the alarms off again.  I sat on the couch covering Cooper's ears.  Ever fan I own was turned on.  At long last, the smoke cleared and the oven got back up to temp.  

But now ... how long to cook it since the temperature dropped?  Total should have been 27 minutes, turn the oven off and leave it for two whole hours.  Don't peek.  Another ten minutes?  Maybe only five?  I really had no clue, so I just turned the oven off and prayed the temperature probe would rise to at least 125, the magic number.  

The beeper went off  (I still had one hour left on the timer)  and the temperature probe said it was done.  Okay then!  At 130 degrees, I took it out of the oven.  LOOKIE HERE!!!  It's beautiful!!!!!  Maybe a tad bit overdone. 

Time to see what the INSIDE looks like.  Nancy's a proud cook, even if I did set the fire alarms off!!!  It looks pretty darn good and tasted even better.  I'm really not a prime rib person ... too much fat for me, but this one was tender and SO tasty!  Maybe I won't have to make stroganoff out of it after all!!

This morning as I walked through the house, all I can smell is smoky beef.  That's okay, it's better than the closed-up-house stale smell previously prevalent!  

If prime rib ever goes on sale again, I may just have to cook another one since it was also Cooper approved!!

Lots of running round today ... in case you didn't know, your taxes are due TODAY!!!!