Frugal RVing In South States - Ebooks

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Chores With Company

We stayed home today and pottered around. Among the things I got done was the perpetual build of laundry. It wasn't bad, but at the same time, a 5 - 8 pound load doesn't go far. (8 pounds because I line dry out here).

So the drying is very effective due to temperatures in the low to mid 70's F with slight breezes.

Taking the laundry down is always a minor by time consuming task that was made much more pleasant today because a companion joined me. We chatted back and forth, and he sat and observed and supervised the folding process.

He got a bit fluffed for a brief spell, but then resumed his advise in a great mood. I think he was one of my more frequent visiting hummingbirds. He landed on a tree about 2 feet away from the laundry umbrella. He fluffed, scratched, chirped, caulked his head, glanced around, took a quick trip to the feeder, and returned to tell me how his meal went. (I know it wasn't a complaint because the feeder was full.) :-)

When I finished, he followed me back for one more quick sip before going off on his own.

It sure made the task much more enjoyable.

Well, the next task has presented itself, and I must prepare the evening meal, so I bid you,


Monday, January 25, 2010

Lessons of a Desert Landscape

Yesterday was a fairly warm day, and we tended some chores, then took some time for a bit of a run on the mopeds.

When stationary, it was very warm, but when moving at a moped clip, you could definitely feel a chilling bite in the air. We puttered up the mesa, then back the other way to Squaw Lake. The sun hit the water with stunning glitter. There was a flock of local ducks swimming on it, and a few palm trees along its shores.

Some of the palms were still short enough to stand right in the frond umbrella, and I noticed for the first time that these trees too, had rather a dangerous side to them. On the length of the branch leading to the leaves was a bilateral ridge of curated "teeth".

One thing about the desert flora is that nearly all of it has some means of protection, and Midnight is being forced into an acceptance that a dog's natural instinct to "water the plants" is being denied, least he should spike a region more sensitive than most to the barbs of an unfriendly trunk or branch.

On our way back, I noticed a few trunks of former palm trees, and was fascinated by the cross-section. With most trees one is used to seeing the usual rings of growth, but these trees were different. There was a degree of rings to it, but more noticeable was a much more predominant presence of tubes.

It almost reminded me of a sea anemone. It occurred to me that as water is a scarce commodity to the plants of the area, any tree had best find a way to quickly capitalize on any contributions to its intake. With these tubule structures, the capillary action of the trunk would definitely be put into the express lane. It was quite enlightening.

The discoveries and learnings of the day were marred by one further find by the roadside. Apparently fairly recently a battle was fought and lost by one of the resident burros. All that was left to mark its failure was a hind leg below the knee, with only bone and sinew remaining until just below the lower leg joint where the fur and flesh remained in tact down to the atrophied hoof. I believe it was an adult.

It was a very sad reminder that among the beauty and uniqueness of the area we currently make our home, the life struggles continue for the non-civilized side of existence out here.

To blur the image slightly, the mother and small babe that we saw on the day of the large herd visiting was visible on the nearby peaks near the water tower, going about daily routines and processes in the late afternoon. Life marched on without the fallen member.

As I ponder the day past, I bid you


Editor's note: I have been able to put pictures in again, but now I must go back and be sure that all previous pictures still are linked.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Birds Versus Wasps

Well, the weather, though cool (mid to high 60's F)is restored to relative norms. The sun is shining, and we actually have a lull in the breezes/winds.

The hummingbirds continue to enjoy the feeder, but are now dealing with intense competition in the form of wasps. They engulf the base of the feeder, and often, the hummers are hesitant to land. I'm sure with their slight size, a sting could likely be fatal.

I have put up a wasp trap, but am still struggling with a means of keeping the wasps off while allowing full access to the birds.

I know that insects breath through pores in their abdomens, (the rear portion of their 3 part bodies)so I tried putting a layer of dish soap on the base of the feeder so that they can't land without clogging their air intake, but once it dries (very quickly here) they are right back at it.

My wasp trap, only having been up 2 days, has nonetheless, trapped at least a couple dozen wasps, though, and yesterday in frustration, I simply attacked them with a fly swatter anytime I saw them landing on the bird feeder.

Apparently, another local bird appreciated my efforts, as at dusk I witnessed a few of them happily grazing on the 20 or 30 odd fatalities at the base of the feeder. I think that they are a Cedar Waxwing. Oh bother. I am finding it very limiting to be out of space for pictures.

Anyway, the day is beginning and I must join it so I bid you,


Friday, January 22, 2010


Well, the storms seemed to blow itself out around 9:30 last night. We sure were rocking during some of the bigger gusts. As one of the fellows I met at the dumping station this morning put it, "It was raining sideways".

Since I have been 3 days overdue to do laundry, I decided that it would be easier to take it to my parent's place and that way I could make a visit of it, and I wouldn't have to haul away the water afterwards.

We dashed in and started the first load, then "quickly" ran a couple of errands - top up on all 3 fuels (diesel, unleaded (bikes) and propane) then grabbed a bite, and a couple things from Walmart. We got back to the laundry around 2:30 and started the second load.

The second load included our sheets, so I put those in the dryer, but left the other items on the clothesline where they got mostly dry in spite of the spitting rain that attempted to foil their efforts. Tomorrow will be drier, so I should be able to hang and finish the process tomorrow.

All that aside, getting into Yuma revealed the results of the previous day's efforts by the forces of nature. We passed several washouts, and noted that the next section over from us on the Wash, Skunk Hollow, was nearly half drowned, and 3 trailers are stranded, 1 of which was actually about ankle deep at the door.

Fortunately, most of the areas we had to go were affected minimally by the storm, so other than a couple lane dodges, our path was clear.

Another matter that recently crossed our path was one that was bridged in an earlier post. Medical coverage.

As stated in said post, a friend had a fluke accident, and was wise enough to have coverage. She is healing well, and the injury was covered by medical.

However, we now have heard from a friend (our Oliver neighbour last year) who was going to be connecting with us shortly, and spending the duration of the snowbird season with us here at the Wash.

Their plans have substantially changed due to an accident on Sunday. He was out quadding in the dunes and hit a soft spot that caved in on him. He rolled the quad and as it crossed over him, broke his scapula (shoulder blade) and a rib or two. They splurged, and got him x-rayed ($1000 later) and confirmed the breaks and that fortunately, there were no punctures or internal bleeding. The pain is severe though.

They are now bee-lining it back to Abbotsford where his daughter lives. There, they will re-diagnose, and treat - likely with surgery - and start recovery. In the meantime, the bones are attempting to mend themselves, hopefully not poorly. Said bee-line has been delayed by the storms in California, and they can't take the mountain passes. I think they were finally able to make some headway today, but I won't know until they get to Vancouver.

This to me is further confirmation that if you plan to travel internationally, medical coverage should not be neglected or considered optional.

So those are my thoughts today, and I bid you


Thursday, January 21, 2010


I am curious why for the last 3 years, everywhere we go we are told, "We never get weather like this."

We have a tornado warning, and terrible winds and rain. Before the storm is over, it is predicted that there may be as much as 4 - 5 inches of rain. I know that it doesn't sound like it is that much, especially for coastal areas of Canada, but as the news cast stated, this area's total annual rainfall is usually 4 inches.

Our Senator's Wash region is currently in a lull, the rain and wind has let up, but is waiting to kick up again shortly. I even witnessed a waterfall form on the Southwest ridge of the Mesa over the reservoir.

Another sight which was a bit sad was seeing humming birds looking like drowned rats making a bid for some calories in the wind and rain. Some were blown quite a bit off course. I actually added some sirup for a boost. I checked the label for contents to be sure it was not a chemical nightmare first, but I wanted the sips to have a punch. They have to consume their body weight in a day to keep themselves charged.

Another challenge to the day was that poor Midnight, whom I took out for his morning constitutional, was so bothered by the intensity of the weather, that he wouldn't tend to business. I finally got him to relent at 3:15, after holding since about 9:30 last night!! He is definitely feeling a whole lot better now.

I have taken some pictures of the day, but as blogger has informed me that I have exceeded my picture capacity right now, I will have to consider how to upload them at another time.

It has also been intriguing to watch the colour shifts on the water in the reservoir. The main colours were mud brown and sea green, but the division line was very distinct between the two, and shifted around all day.

The majority of the news coverage tonight was about all the flash flooding, sandbagging efforts, and tornado, lightening and wind warnings. In general, it has been an intense day.

On that note, I bid you


Sunday, January 17, 2010


Note to self, make sure you have all ingredients and components before you start the process. Failing that you might consider high scale modification. I finally put off procrastinating on outside chores, and got on with my delayed pie brewing.

I confess, I was putting it off on account of I had never done one from scratch before and was dreading the "try not to curdle it" recipes. I braved it today and here is the end result.

Just for the sake of amusement, you can note that I honestly thought I had a pie a plate, I really did. Apparently, I have always used pre-made shells in their own foil plate. I confess to using a pre-made shell for this one too, but it came rolled up, and without pie plate.

The frying pan was a stainless steel, not teflon, so I thought, what the hay. It turned out quite well, too. (... and I will be picking up a couple pie plates the next time I go to town)

Anyway, I will now bid you


Editor's Note: I was asked to include a shot of the cut pie, and I took the shot, but apparently, blogger says I have exceeded my picture posting limit.
Posted by Picasa

Friday, January 15, 2010

More Burros

Today was another putter about town day. We ran into both our neighbours while milling about. You know you are localized to a town when you recognize people while shopping.

We then visited with family in town, and had a nice leisurely afternoon.

When we got home, we brought in the day's purchases, and looked down the ridge to see the biggest herd of burros yet. There were a total of 15 just casually sauntering down the way, including 2 very young ones. One we see often, but the other is new to me, and only about a couple months old.

Isn't he cute, still baby fluffy.

A lot of the burros are relatively gentle, but it is recommended by the park staff that you admire them from a distance. They are still wild animals, even though they are familiar with people. They can kick, bite, and in general go from gentle to wild bronco in a blink.

One should always treat wild and feral animals with due respect. They are always capable of unpredictable behavior. It is a matter of safety.

In other matters, we have been dealing with some setbacks that are worth noting, and are relatively easy to avoid in future.

We have dealt with wind in many places, but here in the desert, it is unique in that the wind is often accompanied by very fine dust. It has succeeded in temporarily stopping our generator and a compressor, and we will be very frequently blowing out our truck's air filter. We will cure the problem with very detailed cleaning of the mechanisms. In the meantime, the advise has been given by my father that any mechanical devices should be draped in plastic when not in use as the dust gets deeply into machines, even when they aren't running. One minute they are working, and the next, stopped dead.

There are other progressions afoot right now, but I will get to those in a future post. In the meantime, I bid you


Saturday, January 9, 2010

Wandering Thoughts

We have had a really good start to January. There have been some cooler days, and some cloudy days, but cool has not been below the mid to low 50's F and the clouds have contributed to some awesome evening views.

We have done a bit of rearranging of the living room as it has always needed a personalization that we didn't feel comfortable taking on yet.

We finally bit the bullet and evicted the couch. It sat in the passenger side slide. It was very uncomfortable because it reclined too much for its low back, and just wasn't working for us.

By removing it, it has allowed us to move the recliners into the alcove of the slide (we are still looking to trade out my swivel rocking recliner for a more space economic non-rocking recliner, but until then we are making due.

The problem with the old recliners (Ken replaced his with one we had in storage) is that although they are comfortable, as mentioned, they swivel, rock and recline. Because of how the rig was designed, every time you want to draw in the slides, both have to be manipulated into the very back section, swung sideways, and butted up to the valance to keep them clear of the two slides. Although they aren't too heavy, if you go to lift them, the rocker prevents easy lift, and in general, bull strength and will finally succeed completing the relocation.

They you reverse the process to set up again. UG!

With the chairs in the couch's alcove, we now have an awesome view out the rear window where we have attached the humming bird feeder. Since the window is privacy glass, they don't see us as easily as they would with normal glass, and this affords us the opportunity for nice pictures, and views. (I even get to see the sassy little blighters sticking their tongues out) :-)

Life is good! Well, for now I bid you,


Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Another Hummingbird

On a nothing doin' kind of day, this lovely lady showed up to have a bit of lunch. She is much braver than her beautiful ruby throated, emerald backed male counter-part.

Anyway, I must get back to the chores she is distracting me from, so I bid you

Posted by Picasa

Monday, January 4, 2010

Sights To Behold

I don't have much to say, but I sure have seen some sights these last few days!!

We have only had the feeder up for 3 days and 1 evening. they started coming from the second evening, and even adjusted to a relocation on day 2. Amazing little wonders, these hummingbirds!

Well, the night is closing in, so I bid you,

Posted by Picasa

Saturday, January 2, 2010


There are many things that are commonplace for the local people, but a wonder to behold for the transient folk that wander various parts of the world. Yuma and similar areas are no different.

One of the things with which the locals like to impress the visitors are the sizes of some of the local produce that doesn't make it to market by the assorted importing companies. An example of said produce that is easily found here, are the ever so common lemon.

Everyone with even the slightest awareness of said fruit will picture a yellow item with skin similar in texture to an orange, and nearly round, except for the stem and opposite end, which jut out slightly from the otherwise circular fruit. Rather common and unnoteworthy, except in noting that it make a great summer drink, topper to assorted fish, awesome tangy pie, a finger degreaser for such delights as barbecued spare ribs, and perhaps a mild flavour supplement to any plainer drink, leaded, or unleaded.

Therefore, it is my great pleasure to introduce you to the ones that miss the market, but are equally capable of attaining the same culinary and supplementary affect, but with far less quantity, shall we say:


(No, really, it is not a squash)

With a bit of processing, I converted a single lemon into nearly 2 cups of pulpy lemon juice. Further, after cutting out the 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick white portion - rind, I think EDITOR'S NOTE: White is the Pith - Thanks Rae :-)
(which resides between the zest and the juice sacks) The pile in cling wrap on the left represents the skin ripe for the zesting.

With the additional process of finely grating the skin, a substantial amount of zest for such creations as lemon meringue pie is attained - the juice is still 2 cups with pulp.

And after a large amount of manual mashing through a strainer, voila. 1-1/2 cups of juice, and about a half cup of zest, all from one lemon.

Now what do you think of your common, store friendly little fruit? If I am really brave, and otherwise unoccupied, I might just brave the creation of said lemon Meringue pie.

If I should dare, I will be sure to share the end result with you, in visage, if not by taste.

But for now, I bid you,


Posted by Picasa

Friday, January 1, 2010

Scenery shots

I thought I'd put a shot or two of some evening shots:

Moon rising on New Year's Eve

Sunset down by Yuma Lakes (These 2 shots)

It was even more beautiful than the shots show.

Happy New Year, and for now I bid you,