Friday, May 29, 2009
This mentally-ill Rufous-sided Towhee lives near our trailer. He keeps looking at his reflection in our truck grill and bumper or in the mirror mounted above the RV hitch. Bang, bang, bang--he is either fighting the bird he sees or frustrated because that image won't play with him. I wake up in the morning to hear him hitting the RV at 5:30 am. We feel sorry for him, but don't know how to help.
Yesterday was laundry and grocery shopping day. We drove into Walsenburg to do the wash. While the clothes were in the dryer, we walked over to the Safeway parking lot and bought Mexican food out of a Class C motor home that is permanently parked there and often has large numbers of customers. We decided to check it out. The food was good! We sat in the truck to eat it, periodically going in to the laundromat to fold clothes. All of a sudden, the lights went out and the last dryer stopped working. Oh oh.
We finished lunch and folded all the dry clothes, then decided to take the damp load back to the RV and hang those items outside. It was a warm, calm day. We stopped by Safeway on the way and found their power was out, too, and so the store wasn't in business--no lights and no cash registers.
After taking out clothes home and doing haircuts, we drove back into town and Safeway was still closed, so we drove to Trinidad to the Safeway there. They have a gas station and we discovered he had four 10 cent a gallon discounts coming--we bought a tank of diesel for $1.79.9 per gallon! I wish it was always that cheap.
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
We watched a muskrat swim across the pond.
Red winged blackbirds bounced around in the cat tails. Many other birds were heard, but not seen.
As we biked back along the trail next to Martin Lake, we flushed out two great blue herons, but neither of us had a camera out to get a picture.
When we arrived here a month ago, the Canada Geese goslings were very small.
They must be almost teen-agers now.
After packing a picnic lunch, we drove to La Veta and Cucharas. The
Many (more than 500) dikes run out from the sides of the
We have had a lot of rain over the past week. At the higher elevations, it fell as snow.
As we drove, we saw wildflowers, especially Golden Banner and Wild Flax.
We were back in La Veta by noon to watch for the (summer) daily arrival of the San Luis & Rio Grande train. We have ridden the train twice in previous years. Today we just took pictures of this iron horse.
John talked with the woman who operates the snack car. Here she is waiting to take a short ride in the engine as the tender was filled with water during the lunch break in La Veta. She said she really likes working on the train.
Monday, May 25, 2009
For my birthday, which is next Sunday, John bought me a new telephoto lens for my camera. For years I have wanted to take good photos of birds and other wildlife. There is so much to see here, it seemed the right time to get a 300 mm lens. It arrived this week.
Before it came, I took pictures of Canada Geese on our lake.
And of this Bullock’s Oriole (I think) on the bushes outside our trailer.
With the new lens, I captured these deer grazing while we ate dinner Saturday evening.
Today I got this photo of a Rufous Sided Towhee. I have seen them in several places around the campground. Today I watched this bird or another of the same kind trying to fight with its reflection in the chrome on our truck and a mirror on the front of our trailer.
This Say’s Phoebe has a nest on top of a light fixture on the side of the Camp Store building.
Martin Lake in Lathrop State Park has some beautiful sections. I photographed this cove one evening last week.
Sunday, May 24, 2009
Last weekend the store was not too busy. But it sure has been this weekend. The Memorial Day Weekend campers were eager to come in and buy ice cream, ice and various items they had forgotten. That is really the purpose of the store. First thing Friday morning the "Campground Full" sign was set up at the park entrance. Thursday evening we received a lot of rain, but so far the weekend has been cool, but dry. Many of the campers are families, with lots of children. That means we sell lots of ice cream.
Tuesday we spent time in the Huerfano County Courthouse in Walsenburg, searching records to see if my ancestors who lived in Las Animas County south of here had also spent time here. Apparently, they didn't. We also toured the
Wednesday we drove to La Veta, a small town 14 miles northwest, to do our laundry. The laundromat is much nicer than the one in Walsenburg—clean, with a change machine and rest room. Unfortunately, the machines are more expensive and the dryers weren't very hot. We will probably return to Walsenburg in the future.
Last Sunday I dropped our small camera and broke it. I was afraid I had lost the photos on it because it wouldn't download them in its broken state. On Thursday we drove to Wal-Mart in
While we were in
Sunday, May 17, 2009
In a little while, I looked out the window and saw an old friend from
We finally had three days off this week. We also finished installing and painting some signs on the Hogback Trail and added lots of new stock to the store's inventory. For three days we keep the
By the way, we have caught two more mice this week. YUK!
Monday, May 11, 2009
Saturday, May 09, 2009
I really enjoyed the desert this winter and early spring—it was warm. The many varieties of cactus are so interesting. And the sunsets are spectacular. But it is good to get back to
This is the view out of our window. It is so nice to see grass and plants and birds, with nary a metal box (aka trailer) in sight. For two and a half months we will have the area to ourselves most of the time. And we are enjoying it.
Our major responsibility here is operation of the
We aren't doing great business, but the store has become a gathering place for staff, volunteers, children looking for something interesting and adults who want to see what is available.
First thing this morning a man walked in and said, "I know you from someplace." It took us a minute or two to connect the dots—we first met his wife four years ago when we were newbies at volunteer part hosting. Three years ago we volunteered with Ken and his wife, Virginia, at
Later, John sat outside working on his carving. A woman came in to check out the store, and then commented that her husband was also a carver. Soon he came up and talked about carving,
Tuesday, May 05, 2009
And we thought a mouse was a problem. This morning we went out for our three-mile run (really a fairly slow jog). About 1 ¼ mile into it, I looked down the road and said, "What is that on the road?" At first I thought it might be a cow—inside the state park? We both looked, and then I said, "It's a black bear."
We both looked, took a deep breath, turned around and started running away from the bear. I thought there was a restroom just a little ways back, but it seemed like we would never reach it. I knew there was a trash dumpster near the road and I found myself wondering if we could stand behind it and circle around it fast enough to be safe.
John kept looking over his shoulder to see if the bear was following us. John kept thing, "When we run way, are we bating the bear like we would be if it were a dog?" Then I thought I had read that bears didn't have good eyesight, so maybe it didn't even know we were on the road.
Every restroom in the park has signs pointing out that black bears live here. We didn't have any doubt about what we had seen.
For about a half mile, we kept running away from the bear and not talking. We needed to save our air to run faster if the bear came after us. Finally, we realized there was no threat. We could talk about what happened and finish our shortened run.
In the end, the bear sighting was probably the highlight of the past six months. We haven't seen a black bear since
By the way, something set off the mouse trap overnight into Monday, but we haven't seen any evidence of a mouse since then. Yea?
Sunday, May 03, 2009
When I did search, I found nothing under the sink, nothing in drawers. Droppings were only on the counter and in the stove. A couple of hours later, we started work on removing the stove. Not an easy task. How do they put those screws in so tight? But eventually we prevailed and found three large holes around wiring and the gas line.
We were off the the lumber yard in town for expanding foam. John filled the holes and we crossed our fingers.
At bedtime, I baited two mouse traps with cheese, covered the stove and counter with newspaper and placed the traps there. We were relieved to find neither trap had been set off this morning. We will keep trying. If we find any more, you'll hear about it in the days to come.
Friday, May 01, 2009
We arrived Monday. We had planned to spend three nights at
Part of our responsibility at Lathrop will be operation of a park store. But beyond that, we won't know much until Sunday when we begin our orientation. The park has two lakes for fishing, one that also allows swimming and water skiing, the other that allows wind surfing. There are several duck ponds with bird watching opportunities. Since our arrival, we have picked up our running, doing three runs at 6459 feet above sea level, an altitude we haven't seen since February 3. In the process we have discovered areas of the park we hadn't seen before and will spend more time exploring soon.
While getting settled here, there were other issues on my mind. We have a lease on our house in Centennial. When I contacted our current insurer, I learned, to my dismay, that they will only insure rental property if they also ensure our primary home—which we no long have. I made an internet search for insurers, and then visited an insurance agency in Walsenburg. Thank God for internet and cell phones. It has been stressful, with lots of phone calls and emails. Today we settled on a policy through the local agency here.
I am also looking for new insurance for our truck. When we sold our second car, our auto insurance didn't go down, it went up. The two-car discount was greater than the cost of insuring the old Buick. So we will try to find a more cost-effective policy.
I really don't mind taking care of these details, but it is something I would rather not have to worry about. Life goes on, even when you are retired and on the road, I guess.