Friday, November 30, 2018

back in the parks, cargo trailers,
and stimulating the brain

Why does this photo almost look scary?

Back in the NM state parks. I’ve met a couple of new interesting person and have been catching up with my winter acquaintances. Feels good. Sure wouldn’t want a lifestyle of this, though.

Down on the flats east of the Sacramento Mtns., I’ve been accessing NPR from a different station. The first Saturday, I tuned in early to see what time Wait, Wait would broadcast. I got a chuckle when I heard Car Talk. I haven’t heard these re-runs for quite some time. What a treat.

Has a psychic ever won the lottery?

Had new larger drums and brakes put on the Nash. Sure feels good to have working brakes again on the trailer.

The last couple of winters in the parks, I’ve noticed more cargo trailer campers. There are a number of companies now that convert the trailers into campers. A good number of people still choose to do the work themselves, as in this trailer. The owner purchased a top-of-the-line cargo trailer, constructed for heavy use. The forward section, in the ‘V’ is walled in for storage with a lift-off top. Stellar job.

As I wrote last month, walking and stimulating the brain help ward of dementia to some extent, as shown through studies and common sense. Two Moab friends provided me with something to supplement my daily Nikoli sudoku puzzles—word games. Many of you probably do them, but I’ve never been into them. The apps combine the best of word searching and crosswords. The free Wordscapes, from PeopleFun, app is rated 4.9 out of 5. Don’t be put off by how easy it starts because it gets challenging fast. You might want to first off, go to Settings, and turn off Music, Sound, and Notifications. I guess it would be okay to leave them on if you’re pretty much deaf. So now I’m doing daily walks, one or two Nikoli puzzles, and some Wordscape puzzles.

Mind how you go.

Not making time is wasting time.

RVwest article ‘Following a Free Spirit’

RVwest article ‘The Spaces Between the Places’


Tuesday, October 23, 2018

poppycock, park from above, and hope

I’ve been to Central Park and seen many photos of it. But not one from this angle. Pretty cool.

I came across most of these in a newspaper (remember those?) and they brought to mind others that I remember. How long has it been since you heard any of these lines? I remember them all and I’m kinda glad they are no longer in use. A couple of these words did not even show up in a spell check.

Everything Hunky Dory?
You drive that jalopy? AND Don’t touch that dial.
You sound like a broken record. AND Let me have a carbon copy.
That’s poppycock. AND That’s gobbledygook.
You young, Whippersnapper!
It could be a boondoggle.
Heavens to Betsy! AND Holy Moley!
Gee whillikers! AND Jumping Jehoshaphat!
Living the life of Riley. AND We’re in like Flint.
Not for all the tea in China. AND What a nincompoop.
Gee, that’s just swell. AND Knee high to a grasshopper.
Well I’ll be a monkey’s uncle. (How could one come up with this?)
Kilroy was here. (I had read somewhere that a riveter, or maybe it was a pipefitter, on Navy ships during one of the world wars wrote this along side his work. Sounds feasible.)
This is a fine kettle of fish. (What?)
Hey, it’s your nickel. AND Don’t take any wooden nickels.
Oh, golly. AND Phui or Phooey

It’s strange how our expressions have changed so much in only a few decades.

I got back into sudoku this past summer. It feels good to work out puzzles. Research shows that participating in such activities, as well as daily walks help hold back the onset of dementia. Simply taking responsibility for one’s health. Doesn’t look as if most people do that.

I’m somewhat apprehensive of getting back to hard-wall camping off-the-grid, next year. What if I was up in Oregon or Montana, as I could have easily been, when I picked up the bacteria? If my Moab friends didn’t help me out with my setback on the Kaibab Plateau, M&M would have died, and I don’t know what would have happened to my home and truck. And my friends in Salt Lake, with their visits and taking me out, lifted me up more than they can imagine. Then Lynn was there holding my hand in Tucson, with my next unexpected surgery. I was feeling so dull when I got to Lynn’s, that I apologized to her. After two months, she got me back up to snuff. I owe her.

I guess I’m starting to realize how vulnerable I can be. I’ll have to find some friends here in southern NM, who I can offer help to, and feel comfortable to ask for help from them. Don’t quite know how I’m going to go about doing this, however. I have not come across any of my kind of people yet. Still have hope.

Mind how you go.

Change the way you think.
Change your life.

RVwest article ‘Following a Free Spirit’

RVwest article ‘The Spaces Between the Places’


Friday, September 28, 2018

wilson, belly butting, neuter, and a checklist

This is the view from another lot I was thinking about purchasing. It was an acre and the asking price was $5,000. I liked the view better than from my lot, but I did not think I could have towed the Nash to it with my truck’s power problem. There are four routes to it, but each has steep, rocky hills. Bummer. It quickly sold.

This doe would lower the level of the seed an inch, whenever she came by. This was after she ate all the corn. I moved the feeder.
A few weeks ago, I saw a fawn taking milk from her mum. Good grief. The little one was not merely sucking on the nipple, but forcibly butting against the doe. No way could it have been comfortable for the doe. Maybe that’s why it did not last too long. I love this lifestyle.

‘Blood is thicker than water.’ This commonly means one should always put family ahead of friends. Originally, it might have meant the opposite. The full maxim was, ‘The blood of the covenant is thicker than the water of the womb,’ with covenant referring to friendship. It was one’s friends who were with you through thick and thin. Maybe something like, brothers in arms.

As I wrote before, the medicine cabinet never stayed closed on rough roads. Tweaking the latch helped a bit but it still occasionally opened. I picked up a length of clear, plastic corner protector from the paint department in a home improvement store. I cut three pieces, glued them on, and all is well.

One day as I was pushing the wheelbarrow, I thought about some of my mishaps during the first two weeks of using it. I don’t know how many times it tipped over. I balanced the load, but the ground isn’t level and I was still quite weak, so if it started going, it went. Sometimes, with me along with it. If someone was around filming these occurrences and edited them, it might have looked like a Charlie Chaplin skit. Thankfully, I’ve made progress.

I stopped in a store down in the valley to have something faxed. On the wall behind the counter, was ‘Wilson.’ The soccer ball was decked out exactly as it was in the movie. I love unexpected smiles.

1. Rise
2. Coffee
3. Shine

I took M&M to the vet in Cloudcroft. It was overdue. They’re fine. There was a sign in the office.
‘Please neuter your pets and weird friends and relatives.’

Mind how you go.

Today is the youngest you will ever be.
Live like it.
Mark Cuban

RVwest article ‘Following a Free Spirit’

RVwest article ‘The Spaces Between the Places’


Friday, August 31, 2018

lizard, goat herder, and missed

Last year I wrote 14 pages about Timberon. I don’t understand why one would choose to build a house here. At least five or six Arched Cabins and some houses have gone up in the last year of so. Unreal. If one wanted a house here, there are a number of houses that I’ve never seen a person, vehicle, or tire tracks around, and a couple, just a time or two. There is even a new pre-fab that has been on the market for a couple years and I was told the people only lived in it for six months. One could look into seeing if the owner of these unused houses would be up for selling. One would save tens of thousands of dollars over the high cost of building here.

This lot has a nice secluded house on a little used road (my kind of spot). Their tower provides an awesome view. Never saw anyone here, and no tracks on the access road.

I have not seen my neighbor from last summer, the horny toad. But now I’m thinking I might have been seeing two of them. Recently, I saw a young horny toad but could not get a photo. Glad to know they are still on the property. I wonder how a lizard copes with being referred to as a toad.

Ever notice that if you ask someone how they are, you get the standard reply, ‘fine?’ Instead, for the last year or so, I ask, ‘How’s your day going?’ A real simple change, but it seems to catch the person off guard. A good deal of the time, I get a response that warrants one back from me and we start a dialog. Not bad. Sometimes, like with a cashier, they open to a talk, to break the monotony. If I’m lucky, I can get her to smile. It’s the simple things.

I live in a 22’ trailer and I have a chainsaw and a wheelbarrow. Seems kinda strange. I could not have done the work I’m doing this summer without a wheelbarrow. I’ll hide it in the scrub oak for the winter and hope it will still be here in the spring; I’ll need it.
Never thought I’d be purchasing 40, and sometimes 50 lb. bags of scratch grain and cracked corn with this lifestyle.

I was given two bird books, which I’ve found helpful and informative. But other than ‘my’ birds and whenever I see them, ravens, I have no interest in bird watching. But I certainly enjoy watching the birds that come in to feed outside my back window.
I get a kick out of watching the white-breasted nuthatches. They are so hyper, I have not yet been able to get a photo. This painting was given to me by a winter acquaintance from the NMSPs. Nuthatches have a spur on the back of their feet that enables them to move down a tree headfirst. It looks so cool.

More turkeys have been coming around. Makes me think of the term, “eating me out of house and home.”

I thought my birds could use some water so I purchase a bowl and tied a hanger from 1/8” line. It was quick and rough. I didn’t even use square knots as I did for the dozens of macramé projects I’ve done in the past. The birds never used it, as I should have known; it wasn’t practical. Now I use an enameled plate on the ground.
When it rains, I place two buckets under the rain spots to gather water for the deer.

It’s not known for sure, how or when coffee was discovered. However, I have my favorite legend. It goes, that a goat herder first discovered the potential of these beans. Kaldi noticed that after eating the berries from a certain tree, his goats became so energetic that they did not want to sleep at night. So he milked a goat, drank the milk, got a buzz, and discovered coffee.

Oh wait, maybe I got that wrong. Kaldi might have told a monk at a nearby monastery about his observation and the monk made a drink from the berries. It’s the monk who got the buzz, and knowledge of the energizing berries began to spread.

Doesn’t it seem that those who came up with the word ‘missiles,’ were not overly optimistic?

Mind how you go.

Be grateful for what you have,
or the universe will give you less.

RVwest article ‘Following a Free Spirit’

RVwest article ‘The Spaces Between the Places’


Thursday, July 26, 2018

montezuma, two months, and me

This Montezuma quail is awesome. There is a pair that has visited a few times. As you can probably guess, the female is kinda drab in comparison. Why is that so often the case with birds?

There are nowhere near the amount of turkeys around the area this year as opposed to last. When I got here in March one could hear what sounded like quite a few, off in different directions. Since then no families, and just a group of five gobblers that come by every few days, no hens. One day a single hen with this single chick stopped by to feed, well, at least the hen fed. In the past I’ve always seen Mom, Pop and a dozen or so little ones, never a single hen and chick. I wonder what the story is with these two.

I had my furnace fixed. I found out there is someone up here who used to work as a RV technician. He stopped by one day, took the furnace back to his shop, ordered parts (circuit board and sail switch), and re-installed it the following weekend. Not bad.
I also finally got around to cleaning and applying a sealant coat on the roof. I used two applications of Protect All Rubber Roof Treatment. I’m pleased with the results and will be applying more coats twice a year.

Wish the Ram 1500 worked out as easily. The shop where the truck was towed, provided me with a courtesy car. The pickup was in the shop for five weeks and I got a bill for over $5,500. Bummer. And during that time I had to get to 7 medical appointments and one surgery, so I definitely needed their car.
It felt so good to be back in my truck. I stopped at the PO when I got up to Timberon, before going home. I put the truck in what I thought was Park. When I came back out and went to start it, the truck would not shift into Park or Neutral. Yep, no way to start it. The shop sent up a tow truck, a courtesy car, and the truck went back into the shop. First they tried a new transmission solenoid pack. Same problem. Seems the re-built trans was no good. My Dodge is still there, and has been since May 22—nine weeks and counting. Guano.
At least I had the courtesy car for my last drive down to the retinal specialist in El Paso. Unfortunately (this word is almost becoming a given), the doctor wanted to touch up one area with the laser. I already told you how much I dislike the procedure. At least he said this should do it unless something develops. I’ve had better summers.

And, while in the PO parking lot, I learned about a wildfire that was over the ridge to the east. It had started with a lightning strike a couple days before, and the smoke was easily seen. I’m thinkin’, I’m up here with my home and no way to tow it out if it came down to it. At least M&M and I could get out with what little would fit in the Renegade.

Really wanted to be finished with the digging before the rains so I could have planted grass seed. I don’t so much want the grass, as the roots. I certainly do not want a lawn; I’m not going to be watering grass. Good grief. There are about 345 square yards of dirt that has been shoveled, moved and raked, on a slope. It needs to be held in place. Maybe next year.

This small patch is from the scratch grain I throw out for the birds. It started sprouting shortly after the first rains. Actually, the only rains, so far, a week at the beginning of the month. Hopefully, we’ll get a lot more in August. The grass only lasted three weeks, due to the lack of further rain and turkeys scratching the ground for grain.

Antlers are getting longer.
I observed another wildlife occurrence out the back window one evening. A small buck was eating some cracked corn and a slightly larger doe came up behind him and nudged him in the hindquarter (Hey, move, I want that). It’s more a stomp than a kick. The foreleg is raised up high, and contact is made as the hoof is coming down. Anyway, the feisty little guy turned around, reared up, and kicked out his forelegs a few times, pawing the air, right in front of the does face. As if to say, Enough already, back off. The doe did not even flinch. This surprised me as much as the little boxer. There is so much entertainment in simple things.

I recently met the owner of the property next to mine. She lives in Texas and has no intention of building on the lot. Yes! They will just occasionally be tent camping. They were putting up two no trespassing signs. There is nothing there, not even an access road, so I wondered why. A friend of hers has a lot in Timberon and the last time he visited it, there were squatters on it. It took a while to get them to move off his property. Have not heard of this up here, but there are hundreds of secluded lots. Sure wouldn’t want to deal with squatters. I learned at a Neighborhood Watch meeting that this is not unheard of. Bummer.

On the Timberon II page, last year, I made a mistake stating my taxes. They are only $35.

Human health might be the ultimate crapshoot. We have 20,000 genes in every chromosome in each cell in our bodies. Some of us get high-cholesterol and nearsightedness, while others get clear arteries and 20/20 vision, etc. But it’s always a good thing to take what responsibility we can with the dice we’re rolled.

Rob, I don’t have an email for you but I want to see photos of your Nash cabinets after you paint them.

Are there a lot of first-person singular objective pronouns, or is it just me?

Mind how you go.

To paraphrase something Winston Churchill said,
If you are going through a rough time, keep going.

RVwest article ‘Following a Free Spirit’

RVwest article ‘The Spaces Between the Places’


Monday, June 11, 2018

bird quiz, stoned, rehab,
deer, and patience/wisdom

Okay, another identify-the-bird question. Anyone? Thanks.

Thanks, Rob, yes, the bird on last month’s page looks like a Spotted Towhee. Really nice looing bird. Now I think there are just two more birds I want to identify. I have not yet been able to take any useable photos to upload.
And thanks for the info on and National Geographic Field Guide to the Birds of North America. I’ll be checking them out.

I’m really enjoying hearing birds in the morning, unlike last year. You think there might be a few who are just squabbling with their spouses?

I don’t know for sure, but I think some mountain bikers might be insane. I came across this photo on the Trek bicycle site as I was researching one of their bikes.

I REALLY hope this is the last piece of medical info. The doctor who performed my surgery last May might not have closed things up all that well. I had to have a loporoscopic incisional hernia repair with mesh, in my abdomen. It went well but I have to take it easy for six weeks. Bummer. I’ll at least be hiking and doing exercises that won’t aggravate the wound. I still have three or four months of heavy work to do on the property, probably working 2-3 hours a day. I’m looking forward to it and will still have plenty of hours left in each day for other activities. But I want to start NOW! I was hoping that I would be done before the summer rains start. Might have to wait until next year to plant grass seed.

The week before the surgery, I had another procedure that required anesthesia (venture a guess, Pinball?). Afterwards, a nurse took me out to the pickup room (even though I did not have someone to pick me up). While sitting there, a woman around my age was brought in by a nurse. She was woozier than I was. You have probably observed some seniors and thought, I bet that person really enjoyed the ‘60s. The lady’s husband arrived to take her home and she started singing the line, “Everybody must get stoned,” from Dylan’s, Rainy Day Women. Her husband chimed along. They repeated it three or four times before they slowly made it to the door. As you can imagine, I was grinnin’, big time. I love seeing stuff like this.

The trans in my pickup died, as well as the driveshaft while up in the Timberon. I called Good Sam Roadside Assistance, just like I’ve done four or five times over the years. They were going to charge me a couple hundred dollars for mileage. In the past, all the mileage was covered. So I called my GEICO roadside assistance (.26 cents a month), which I have never used. GEICO covered all the mileage. When the agent told me the name of the tow company that was coming up from Alamogordo, I laughed—Sundown Recovery. I said, Are you sure you dialed the right number? It sounds more like a drug rehab facility.

Okay, having wild turkeys eating the birdseed is enough of an unexpected, ongoing expense. But deer? I now have a hanging bird feeder for most of the seed. I still put some on the ground for the ground feeders. But no longer in a pan; the deer were lapping up every last seed. Then there is always the hummingbird feeder. Thankfully, I enjoy watching all this.

I’m aware of the argument for not feeding wildlife. There might come a time when I make a change.
I was surprised from some behavior. When a deer is feeding and a little one comes up to share the pile of corn, the deer often knees the little one away or straightens a foreleg and kicks out a hoof. Seems as if they might have some hummingbird genes.

A couple weeks ago, I noticed some head nubs. I started paying more attention to which deer were doing the kicking. Yep, it’s primarily a male thing. I’m so surprised.

I’d like to come up with a name for the acre. With all the animals coming here to feed, I’m thinking of going with, The Soup Kitchen.

The drill instructor said, “That’s correct, private, there are no stupid questions. However, some questions come with pushups.”

I don’t know where I got this from and I do not know if it is a real photo or a Photoshop fabrication. Who cares? The title was, patience/wisdom. Could have simply been called, Smart Dog.

I’ve been using, ‘Mind how you go,‘ at the end of my pages (and emails). Being mindful, as one goes, enables one to experience so much more than those on cruise control. Lately I’m trying to be more aware, be in the moment, be mindful. Take it all in. I find it easier now that I’m back in the mountains.

The real bars
are the ones that lie behind the eyes.

RVwest article ‘Following a Free Spirit’

RVwest article ‘The Spaces Between the Places’


Saturday, May 19, 2018

brewing, a curtain, laser and eye drops,
and willie and lobo

The Stellar Jays (thanks, Rob) are back, along with a variety of smaller birds, and even a couple doves. Anyone know what this bird is? I did not notice any last year. And, what’s really cool, this year there are birds singing in the area. Don’t know why there were none last year. Maybe putting out birdseed out as soon as I got here, had something to do with it. It wasn’t until the fall last year when I thought of putting out birdseed. But still, I would have thought birds would be around.

This is a photo of a problem, however. One or two come by every day. I wonder what birdseed is going to cost me this year. The first time turkeys came through, it was a whole family. The evening before, I had put the pan on the steps, since it needed to be refilled. After a couple minutes, two stragglers came through and their path took them to where some scattered seed was still on the ground. I wonder if those two are the ones that keep coming back. It seems they did not share this feeding spot with the rest of the family. But really, come on, who has wild turkeys feeding out of their birdfeeder?
Granted, my birdfeeders are two enameled pans set on the ground. M&M are not into birds. They watch them, but they don’t stalk them. But I’m pretty sure there are no rodents around.
I had to purchase a hanging birdfeeder to make the seed last longer. I also picked up 50 pounds of cracked corn for the turkeys.

In the early 1900s, a German housewife invented a new coffee brewing process, the pour-over. It’s what I use. I had a French press when I first started with this lifestyle, but it took too much water to clean when I’m off-the-grid. So, Melitta Bentz, I’m most grateful.
Yet another example of SIG—Simple Is Good.

After my pint of yerba mate each morning, I have a mug of coffee. Then I’m good for the day. Lately I’ve been adding eggshells to the coffee grounds. The shells are alkaline and are suppose to cut coffee’s bitterness and mellow out the flavor. I don’t know if it is just in my head, but my morning coffee seems to be less acidic and more flavorful. I’m stickin’ with eggshells.

This past winter, I was the most physically inactive than I’ve been in over 15 years. Maybe all the medical issues from the last year and a half finally caught up in my mind. Pretty much lost my gains from all the outside work last summer. When I got back to Timberon and started working on the land again, swinging the mattock and pick, shoveling dirt and gravel into the back of the Dodge, and raking it all out where I wanted it, started off real slow, not much strength or endurance. Payback time for sloughing off last winter. I thank the gods I have a strong enough mind to not adopt the standard senior mindset.
I’m looking forward to getting back in shape, giving thanks for this body that enables me to do so much.

I came out of the library on one of my town runs, and had a little surprise. It was as if a dark, mesh curtain had fallen over my left eye. I’ve been having flashes and pretty much constant floaters for a couple weeks. I know flashes mean get in touch with an eye doctor. I didn’t. It’s a guy thing. In a situation such as this, the word ‘guy’ is a synonym for ‘idiot.’ But the curtain seemed to have taken things up a notch. My eye clinic was only two blocks away so I walked over to see if a doctor could take a look. The next day I was driving three hours south to Southwest Retina Consultants in El Paso.

Okay, I’m thinkin’ laser pulses are going to be sent into the back of my eye to seal a tear around the retina. To prepare me, they put eye drops onto the front surface of my eye. Eye drops! Laser pulses and eye drops. How is this not gonna hurt?

I had both cataract surgeries done last summer, and the only prep given was eye drops. And there was no pain while the doctor pulverized my lens with ultrasound, flushed it out, and replaced it with an artificial lens. But that was pretty much on the surface.

Have you had this laser procedure done? Most of the pulses weren’t bad, no big thing, just exceedingly bright, but really, it’s a laser flashing into your eye, and most of the pulses caused no discomfort. But (sometimes this is not a good word), a good number of them were, Ahhhhh!! I’ve been through a number of unpleasant experiences, but I was SO relieved when this was procedure was over.

Pretty much another experience that I would have preferred—not to have experienced. Why do I find this humorous?
Anyway, then I just had to sit in my truck until I could see well enough to start the drive home.

As you know, a laser is a concentrated beam of light. Retinal lasers are designed to be able to pass through non-retinal tissue, the lens and cornea, without damaging them. How do they come up with stuff like this? The light energy of a thermal laser is absorbed by specific tissue at the back of the eye and is converted to heat. With the heat, wait for it, comes a burn. A burn—in the eye! Why am I chuckling? The ophthalmologist makes a series of burns all around where the retina attaches to the back wall of the eye. Sort of like spot-welding, the retina is tacked down. The scarring that results seals the retina to the underlying tissue. If left untreated, fluid can leak through the tears and cause the retina to detach. No retina attachment—no sight.

My surgeon first used the microscope and lens system, somewhat like the one used to examine your eye. A special contact lens, a big sucker, is placed on your eye to hold your lids apart and focus the laser. For this you are sitting up in a chair with your chin on the support and your forehead against the pad. Familiar? But this time, you have a hand from a doctor’s assistant holding your head in place.
To reach the areas not quite accessible, the surgeon had to use an indirect delivery system consisting of a laser system mounted on his head. For this I was lying down.
Well, yet another informative entry.

I drove back down to El Paso three weeks later for a follow up. It looked good and will not have to go back until the end of July.

The last year and a half is all sounding like some kind of medical saga.

I wonder if this is the same doe who came up to the back window last summer. She has been coming around more often since I put out the cracked corn for the turkeys.

I was sitting in the Nash one evening reading, sipping a glass of red wine, and listening to Willie & Lobo’s album, Caliente, set on low. Typical evening, pretty mellow. At one point I put the Kindle down and looked over to watch M&M sitting out in the window cage. These two are so invaluable to this lifestyle. Then I just sat there for a bit looking out the back window and listening to the music. Through the trees in the gathering darkness, I could see the mountain I hike on, from time to time. I’m thinking, I like this. Having a small piece of land in the woods. I can do with it what I want, and it is always there to come back to. I like having a quiet base, along options for physical activity to help maintain my health. Life is good.

Mind how you go.

When something matters, you work for it.

RVwest article ‘Following a Free Spirit’

RVwest article ‘The Spaces Between the Places’