Borrego Springs, CA

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Fiddling with Picasa3

Back about a year and a half ago, I decided to post a “Blast from the Past” every Sunday on the blog.  Each Sunday, I made a post of my travels and volunteering experiences from the time I hit the road fulltime until the time I started the blog.  I enjoyed revisiting those experiences, and including them in the blog.  I only had a couple of readers at that time.

As I was fiddling with learning about Picasa3 this afternoon, I decided to look at my photos from last summer.  I picked several of the photos out to see if I could upload them in a folder all concerning Swan Lake National Wildlife Refuge.  I wanted to be able to use Picasa to upload pics to the blog rather than “my pictures.”  I think I’ve figured it out, so I’ll do  a little blast from the past about Swan Lake NWR tonight.

Swan Lake National Wildlife Refuge is located just outside the small community of Sumner, MO.
IMG_3508IMG_3510Maxie, the World’s Largest Goose, is located in a park in the town of Sumner.  She also happens to be a weather vane that rotates around as the wind blows.  The funny thing about this being the goose capitol of the world, is that there are no longer any Canada geese here.  Some were imported from the golf courses of Kansas City last summer, to the refuge, to try to establish a resident population on the refuge.
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I had plenty of interesting wildlife to view while I was there.  The raccoons really did a number on my bird feeders!
IMG_3545People also had an interesting way of displaying their catfish catches!  This guy was about four and a half feet long!  I don’t know why they nail them to the telephone post that way.  ?
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Wildflowers bloomed, bugs bit, and the humidity was high!  I’m not sure I’d ever do another volunteer assignment in Missouri again for the summer.  :)
IMG_3561One of the local residents that came to give a talk on being a mountain man.  Not too many mountains in Missouri.  :)
IMG_4060Interesting billboard outside of Hannibal.  Missouri is an interesting place.  :)

I accidentally hit the publish button before I finished this post.  :(  I wanted to say that I think I've figured out  how to use Picasa3 to upload the photos I want to post for a blog post. 

Also, I was just thrilled today, when I took Emma on her first outs this morning, to hear an elk bugling in the woods across from the campground.  Both she and I stopped dead in our tracks in the early morning light!  How cool is that?

Thanks for stopping by....talk to you later,  Judy

Friday, July 30, 2010

Mini rant about Lowe’s

So, yesterday while I was in Bozeman, I went to the Lowe’s store to purchase a 150 PSI air compressor.  The air compressor that I had for my old rig wasn’t strong enough to inflate these bigger tires.
_MG_3315I found what I was looking for.  Before I bought it, I wanted to make sure I could pick it up, so I tried lifting the display model (which was at shoulder height) up.  I couldn’t budge it.  Then a salesman came along and asked if I needed any help.  I told him I wanted to be sure I could lift the compressor.  That’s when he told me it was bolted down!  :(  That was a little embarrassing.  He picked one of the boxed ones up off of the floor and handed it to me.  I could lift it.

Okay, then I told him I wanted one of those gun like things that attach to the hose for putting air into the rig’s tires.  He got one for me.  I asked him if I needed anything else to use it, and he said no, I was all set to go.  Ha!
_MG_3316In the evening, I got everything out of the packaging and tried to put it together for a test run.  As usual, I read the entire owner’s manual first.  When you’re not especially mechanically inclined, this is a must.  Do you see the end of the blue gun thing?  It is supposed to pop right in to the easy connect end of the air hose.  It does not!  It has threads on it instead of the nipple type thing it should have had.  I was ticked, to say the least.  He should have known that it wouldn’t work, in my estimation.  Ugh!

Luckily, my neighbor, Jim, came wandering over and took a look at it.  Since he and his crew were going to Rexburg today, he said he’d get me the needed piece so it will work.  He knew right away what was needed!  The salesman should have also.

While I’m at it, I might as well put in a gripe about the accessories kit that came with the compressor.  Remember, this is a 150 PSI rated compressor.  Guess how high the included tire gage goes to….only 50 PSI.  And there is a little gun like thing included, but it’s labeled to be only good to 90 PSI.  All made in China, of course.  :(

Well, I hope it doesn’t all blow up on me when I use it!  The owner’s manual is so full of worst case scenarios, that I’m almost afraid to turn it on.  Doing the tires and checking the batteries are the two most dreaded things that I have to do in this full time lifestyle.  I wish I had one of those blow up male dolls that could be inflated for these chores!  Of course, then I’d have to get the air compressor out to blow him up!  :(  I can’t win…  :)

Thanks for stopping by….talk to you tomorrow,  Judy

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Bozeman and butterflies

I had a long list as I headed out to Bozeman, MT, yesterday.  Besides groceries, I needed to purchase an air compressor, and I also ended up buying a printer at Wal-Mart.  It was a 230 mile round trip, without a whole lot of excitement along the way.
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The raft companies where doing a good business along the Gallatin River.
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I did see a nice adult bald eagle during my brief 20 mile pass through the edge of Yellowstone on US 191.

Once I  got home, a pretty strong storm blew through the valley.
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It left an eerie light over the campground, and a nice rainbow lighting the mountain ridge.

Mid morning today, I took Emma for a long walk on some of the dirt roads surrounding the campground.  I brought my camera along hoping to get some more wildflower pictures.
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I did get a couple, but the astounding thing was the thousands of butterflies that surrounded us.  It was like being in one of those butterfly enclosures in a zoo.
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I wondered if it was because of last night’s heavy rain that there were so many on the ground.
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This variety really seemed to like the Astor-like blooms. 

Maybe you can guess that I have another question about Blogger.  I changed the header picture today and I can’t figure out how to get the picture to fit the space.  If I shrink it to fit, this is what happens.  If I don’t shrink it, it is way too big and only a portion of the picture shows.  I’ve gotten such great help with my other questions, I thought I’d throw this one out for suggestions.
IMG_3258 I’ll leave you tonight with last night’s sunset after the storm.  :)

Thanks for stopping by….talk to you later,  Judy

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Why were you sorting salmon eggs?

A couple of commenters wanted to know why I was sorting through salmon eggs one at a time.  What was I looking for?  I appreciate those questions.  It gave me the topic for tonight’s blog post.  :)  Bandon State Fish Hatchery, in Oregon, is a very precise operation when it comes to salmon eggs!  They provide viable eggs for hatcheries throughout the state.
IMG_0222And this is the building where all the action happens.  It is located along a river that empties directly into the Pacific Ocean, and the salmon make their way up stream to spawn.  The hatchery catches them on a fish ladder, harvests the eggs and milt, and mixes them together in this building.
IMG_0223These are the incubators.  There is a constant flow of river water through these incubators.  I think the temperature of the water is a constant 45*, but sometimes I forget those little details.  Suffice it to say, that the inside of the building isn’t what you would call warm.  :)
IMG_0224Each of these trays in the incubator contain hundreds of eggs.  Notice that they are not all a healthy pink color.
IMG_0216After being in the incubator for a certain amount of days, each tray is taken out and poured into this machine.  Take note of the screen on the right, that’s where we do the sorting.
 IMG_0218As the eggs go through this machine, a laser light kicks out the obviously cream colored rotten eggs, and shoots out the rest into this holding tank.  My job was to scoop out a bunch of eggs with a strainer, and then go through each one individually looking for the beginnings of that opaque cloudiness.  The other thing that we had to do was check how many eyes each egg had.  Yes, that’s right!  A good egg has two eyes (black dots), but some eggs would have three or more, and that means they weren’t viable.  The less than perfect eggs were put into a separate strainer for disposal.  Since I was the only volunteer that December, I was often the only one sorting eggs.

Lest you think this was a totally boring procedure, picture this:  Occasionally, I would dip out too large a scoop of eggs, and as I poured them onto the screen they would overflow and some would drop to the floor.  I’m sure you’ve seen those super bouncy balls?  Well, salmon eggs do the same thing!  I’d be running around trying to catch those bouncing eggs, and giggling all the way.  Can’t waste those eggs, you know, and then someone would shout down from the offices above and ask “Is everything all right?”  And I’d respond, “ Oh, yes, everything’s under control!”  :)
IMG_0226Here’s a tray of sorted eggs.  See that measuring cup on the left?  After all the eggs were sorted, then we had to count them!  One of the staff would come down, and we’d both count a cup of eggs at a time.  We did this three times in a row to determine the average count.  That guy could sure count fast!  Then the good eggs were measured out back into the trays and put back in the incubators.  I believe I sorted and counted over a half million eggs while I was there.  What an unusual thing to have on one’s resume.  :)

It was a real hoot to be there for a month, and I really learned a lot about salmon fish culture.  I think I’d do it again, but only for a month.  :)

Thanks for stopping by….talk to you later,  Judy      

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Remembering Oregon

The last time I was in Oregon was in December of 2006, just a few months after I began fulltiming. 
IMG_0228 AI was volunteering  at the Bandon Fish Hatchery, right on the coast.
IMG_0234This was my site at the hatchery.  You might notice the moped.  That was back in the days before I had a toad.  It was mighty chilly driving that moped to town for groceries, I might add.
IMG_0226One of my main jobs was sorting though salmon eggs…one at a time with a tweezers.
IMG_0224Hundreds of thousands of salmon eggs.  What a learning experience that was!
IMG_0214When I wasn’t doing eggs, I was repairing fishing nets.
IMG_0244Salmon was what this hatchery was all about!  I really  enjoyed my time there, and I learned a  lot about fish culture.

Shortly, I’ll be headed to Oregon again, but I don’t think I’ll be seeing any salmon eggs this time.  Malheur National Wildlife Refuge is located no where near the coast, and is in the high desert region of southeastern Oregon.  I always get excited about a new location for volunteering, and this assignment is no exception.  Even though it’s a month away, I can’t wait to get there.  :)  What new things will I learn at this “jewel” of refuges?  I’m hoping there won’t be so many flies and mosquitoes as I’m dealing with right now, but who knows?  I’ll just be happy to get back into the volunteering mode again.

Thanks for stopping by….talk to you later,  Judy

Monday, July 26, 2010

The Call of the Wild

I awoke with the enthusiasm of Marlin Perkins this morning, and was ready to tackle Yellowstone’s Wild Kingdom!  :)  Of course, there was no film crew from Mutual of Omaha, but I pressed on without them.
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First up was the female elk herd along the Madison River.  I don’t know why all these females don’t have young.  I guess it’s hard to find a good man.  :)  You can see that the elk on the right has a radio collar on her neck.  They are fairly easy to see along the river in the early morning.

After getting through the construction on the way to Norris Junction, I headed for Canyon.  Along the way, there was another bear jam.  Usually that means a bear is way up in the woods somewhere, and you probably need a spotting scope to see it.
_MG_3137But today was different.  A grizzly bear was feeding not very far from the roadway.  Of course, people were foolishly scurrying about getting closer and closer to the bear to snap a picture.  I was able to get this shot without ever leaving my car.  I just don’t understand why people will endanger themselves and their children by dragging them within feet of a wild animal.  How could you be so stupid?  And why do they have to harass the wildlife?  Ugh!
_MG_3131On a different, and less aggravating, note I’d like to ask you more experienced users of Picasa3 out there if you think it’s possible to eliminate this blue post in the photo.  I tried, but didn’t have any luck.  I’d appreciate your input.

After I turned right at the Canyon Junction, I decided to turn off on the South Rim loop, which I hadn’t done when my sister was here.  It lead to the overlook for the Lower Falls of the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone.
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I took this same shot of the Lower Falls in 1970 when I was a sweet young thing and tenting across the West.  :)  I remember putting my polarized sunglasses over the lens of my point and shoot camera at that time.  It really had a dramatic effect on that long ago photo.  The myriad of colors in the rocks of this canyon is astounding.

I continued on through the Hayden valley to once again enjoy the massive bison herds.
IMG_3163I’m thinking this guy could use a little time at the hairdresser’s.  :)  He’s sure packing a bunch of debris.
IMG_3179Notice those horns already growing on these little ones.  I’ve read that bison don’t see very well, but with those big noses, they must have exceptional olfactory skills.

I’d have to say that today was a great trip into the ‘Wild Kingdom’.  This place just takes my breath away.  :)

Thanks for stopping by….talk to you later,  Judy

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Mapping the course of the next two weeks

As I sat outside with Emma this evening, I realized that I had two weeks left at Red Rock before I pull out for new horizons.  Being a planful person, I took a few moments to reflect on what I wanted to accomplish before I leave.  I thought about Yellowstone NP, and the fact that I may never be back to this park again.  It seemed to me that regardless of the crowds, I needed to make a few more trips into this magnificent park.  Where else will I see these massive bison herds and beautiful vistas?  The magnitude of this place just moves me.  So, tomorrow, I’ll be back on the road.  :)


Then, I thought about the physical preparations for departure.

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Just take a look at the dusty condition of this car!  What a mess.  The road dust is everywhere.  I’ll need to really spend a day cleaning this up, but that won’t happen until I’m sure I won’t be going on any more gravel roads while I’m here.  That last weekend before I leave will be spent doing all the other chores making the rig ship shape for travel.


In order to do that, I’ll be needing to take a trip to a relatively large city so I can buy a new air compressor that will handle the 100 lb. PSI that I need in the rig’s tires.  I’ll probably head for Bozeman, Montana, later this week.  It’s about 100 miles from here, but there’s no sales tax up there.  The rig is also pretty dusty from all the high winds and blowing dust here, so I may try to give it a good washing too.  We’ll see about that one.  :)


I was out of milk, so I packed up Emma in the car and headed out early this evening to see what I could see.

_MG_3101As I headed out of the campground, there was a nice red-tailed hawk perched at the top of a tree.  Very typical for a red tail.  I’ve read that they can see a mouse moving around a mile away.  Imagine having eye sight like that!


Before gassing up the car and getting the milk, I headed for the Island Park Dam to see what might be floating around.

_MG_3106There weren’t any pelicans or Western grebes about, but across the bay was a great blue heron and four sandhill cranes.  They were really pretty far away.  I hear cranes every morning when I take Emma out for her walk, but they are hard to see in the meadows surrounding the campground.  This family of cranes will be heading south before too long.


I wanted to give an update on my quest to have comments visible to readers of the blog.  Apparently, they are visible to readers already.  It just amazes me that they are not visible to blog authors.  What in the world is up with that?  So, after eliminating blog owner approval of comments, I have reinstated that feature so I know when there is a comment.  I don’t want to have to keep clicking on ‘view blog’ in order to read any comments.  With the comment moderation in force, I can read the comments and publish them from my Google email account.  It was obvious to me that many other blog authors didn’t know this either.


Thanks for stopping by….talk to you later,  Judy