Wilderness

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Posted by Shawn & Annette in Family Fun, Outdoors on July 6, 2011

Sign in Stanislaus National Forest, California...

Stanislaus National Forest

It’s been a very busy week in Twain Harte, someone turned the heat on and left it on. I’m glad I’m not paying the propane bill for all this heat. The heat has brought people to the mountains in droves. Traffic hasn’t been this bad since – well since ever as far as I can recall.

While you are up here enjoying yourself with family and friends, I’d like you to please keep an eye out for Sandy, she’s been gone a week now.

We are seeing a lot more humidity than we normally see in the month of July, so be prepared to be hot and sticky. Speaking of hot and sticky, I know most of your vehicles are equipped with air conditioning because you are escaping the valley heat but you don’t have to cool yourselves driving 100 miles an hour.

Where is the fire? You come to the mountains to relax and unwind. Highway 108 is not The Indy 500. Slow down for pity sake. Because of our funky winter, we had a bumper crop of deer this season — I say had because far too many have been slaughtered this summer by motorists driving too fast. Just this week alone I’ve seen…

  • deer
  • raccoons
  • squirrels
  • birds
  • opossum
  • and other DEAD animals laying on the road.

It would be like a stranger driving through your home at 65 miles an hour. I normally have deer and turkeys visit my home daily as well as raccoons and many many squirrels. I’ve seen only one deer and a couple of squirrels all week. How can you enjoy nature if you drive it away or worse, kill it. Please slow down. Hell, stop and smell the flowers while you are here.

It’s great to get away and let your hair down but please take your trash with you. I wonder if you would be ashamed to know that we have 80 year old women who pick up the trash you leave behind? Crews of volunteers take to the streets to pick up the beer bottles, paper cups, and even entire bags of garbage that get tossed out beside the road. I love these mountains and the wildlife that call this area home. Your mother doesn’t live here. Pick up after yourself! If you bring it with you, or buy it here, take it home or dispose of it properly.

Lastly, if you enjoy the wildlife, please don’t feed it, don’t hold it and don’t treat it like a pet. Animals can be trained and tamed but then it will be doomed to death. Deer who are hand fed, petted and become too familiar with people, become tame, then are killed by hunters during hunting season or by motorists throughout the year — because they have come to trust man. I don’t have a problem with hunting but the deer should at least have a sporting chance at survival.

Want to have a good time in Twain Harte?

  • Take all the pictures you want.
  • Take some time for a nature walk.
  • Go fishing, boating, swimming, skydiving, caving, spelunking or zip-lining.
  • Partake of the local night life.
  • Buy a pizza, shop at The Market.

Always remember to:

  • Slow down
  • Pick up your trash
  • Don’t feed the wildlife
  • One last thing: Don’t dump your pet here.

Apparently, many valley people think that turning their unwanted dog or cat out into the wild is a good idea and that they can fend for themselves or will be happier in the great outdoors. Every year dozens of cat and dogs are lost and never found or left behind in the mountains only to end up road kill or lion bait. If you bring your pet with you, keep your dog or cat on a leash. Don’t let them wander off alone.

Have a terrific summer and enjoy the majestic Stanislaus National Forest, we certainly do. Be sure to stop up to Pinecrest for their Ranger programs and movies at the amphitheater.

 

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Keep it Cool

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Posted by Annie in Opinion on June 21, 2011

My handy weather station says it’s currently 88° at 12:10 p.m., it’s risen 3-degrees in the past hour. In fact, as I write this post, the temperature just dropped back down to 87°. I don’t see it getting above 100° today in Twain Harte, time will tell.

We closed up the house last night and turned on the air, which we don’t use all that often — unless we are expecting a very hot day. It stays pretty nice up this way most of the summer. The air condition is used only for about a month (not straight but on various days).

Chick-Fil-A chicken strips

Image via Wikipedia

We also take precautions to keep the house from getting too hot. I plan to make Chicken Nuggets for dinner, (the kind Chick-fil-a serves), for dinner. I’ll fry them up in the deep fryer, on a table set up outside. I also have a small convection oven, that I use outside during the summer months, it’s the perfect size for warming up things that we can’t cook on the grill. The grill also has a side-burner, which we can utilize.

Everything is set up to keep the house at a comfortable temperature, without breaking the bank. I don’t “do” the summer heat well, so anything that will help keep our home comfortable, is explored during the summer months. I try to keep sliced deli meats on hand for quick sandwiches, along with organic fresh fruits and veggies. They make a healthy, easy on the go snack for the kids too.

I was happy to find our turkey had returned yesterday and appears to have stayed the night. He’s here again today. He seems to love it here pecking around the yard, preening his feathers, soaking up the sun on our deck and partaking of the water trough.

How do you stay cool during the hot summer days and nights?

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Smart Meter’s Hidden Costs

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Posted by Annie in Twain Harte News on August 2, 2009

I spent over an hour on hold waiting for someone — anyone — to answer the phone at PG&E. After the customer service representative patiently listened to me strongly complain, he basically said, “We don’t care. Deal with it,” and passed me off on someone else.

Devvy Kidd fights the TPUC and Smart Meters

I was informed that my call was recorded but that until I sent a written complaint my words were falling on deaf ears; Nobody was going to hear my complaint, save the flunky answering the phone, who was very polite if completely ineffective.

smart_meterIn the meantime, I’ve been reading up on these so-called “Smart Meters.” They are smart alright, they are going to make PG&E untold billions of dollars off consumers, because while they taunt the savings and controls consumers will have — notice the future tense.

The immediate payoff will be for PG&E, these new Smart Meters will allow them to accurately measure our usage and charge accordingly.  Currently, our bill is measured in “tiers,” which basically means, once I reach a certain point of usage, I start paying more.

With the new Smart Meters, the “tiers” will be based on the clock and the season. Those who use more electricity during “peak hours,” will be charged more. No wonder people are complaining about their bills going up.

Since we don’t have air conditioning and I do all my laundry in the middle of the night, I’m thinking our bill won’t go up too much, but I’m certain everyone’s bill will go up with these new meters installed. Why else would PG&E invest in so many, so quickly? They haven’t even been properly tested.

The best website I found that explains the way it works in Ontario was created by Northern Ontario Wires. They offer a great deal of helpful consumer information. This is what they have to say about California’s new technology:

Other jurisdictions such as Californiaare actively pursuing the same technology. On July 20, 2006, California’s energy regulators approved a program to roll out of conventional meters retrofit with communications co-processor electronics to 9 million gas and electric household customers in the Northern California territory of PG&E.

These meters report electricity consumption on an hourly basis. This enables PG&E to set pricing that varies by season and time of the day, rewarding customers who shift energy use to off-peakperiods.

The peak pricing program will start out on a voluntary basis, and the full rollout is expected to take five years.. The smart grid also allows PG&E to give customers timing and pricing options for upload to the grid.

Learn more about Smart Meters

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