Wildlife, weather and chatter

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Posted by Shawn & Annette in Opinion, Outdoors, Twain Harte News on July 18, 2011

It’s been a rough couple of weeks for our family. With the loss of our beloved feline companion and the death of a beautiful buck in our yard, along with a few other setbacks, our entire family seems to be walking around in a stupor. It can be difficult to pick up the pieces and move on after a loss.

I’ve been enjoying our birds — what a terrific distraction from lifes troubles and cares. I’ve added a couple more hummingbird feeders, bringing the total to 5. I noticed yesterday we have quite a few young ones visiting the feeders. I’ve spaced them apart so that the hummers have better access — as you probably know, they simply love to fight and competition at the feeder can be fierce.

During the winter months, the larger hummingbird feeders are preferred since they don’t have to be refilled so often but during the summer months, I use the smaller feeders (and only fill the larger ones partially), between the ants and the heat, it works out better to clean and refill them more often.

Bird Snack Recipe

I made a nice peanut butter mixture for the birds. I used 1 cup of peanut butter added to 1 cup of millet, mixed in a couple tablespoons of molasses and 1/4 cup of rolled oats. I managed to scoop it into the suet feeder. The birds gobbled it up. We now have a wide variety of birds visiting the feeders daily.

The new green metal bird house has turned out to be a wise purchase. Not only has it held up well, but the squirrels can’t get to the black oil sunflower seeds. The hood closes up if anything heavy attempts to get at the seed.

I stopped tossing peanuts out for the Stellar Jays in a location near the bird feeders since they bully the smaller birds and won’t allow them to eat. Also, the jays are forced to stand on the side of the feeder in order to get at the seeds because they are too big for them.  By tossing the peanuts in another direction it keeps them away from the feeders, so the smaller grosbeak, nuthatches and other little birds can still eat.

The new bird house holds a lot of black oil sunflower seeds, so I don’t have to refill it quite so often — even so, they can empty it entirely in about 4-days. I hope they slow down soon, at the rate they are eating it up, I’m not certain how much longer we can afford to keep this up but it is such a joy to step out onto the deck in the predawn hours and hear the birds melodious sounds breaking the early morning silence.

Weather Report

This entire past week the weather has been unseasonably cool for this time of year. The high for the past two days has been in the low 70’s. Vacationers will want to remember to bring along a spare jacket or two, as the evening and overnight temperatures can dip down quite low. It’s currently 62.

Deer Update

I am pleased to report that along with a couple of does, who regularly stop by to eat a few weeds from our yard and grab a drink of water, I finally had a young buck come by for a short visit during the early pre-dawn hours on Sunday morning. I was afraid this buck might have come to harm as well. He is such a beautiful creature. It’s a joy to watch him wander through the woods so graceful and alert. We appear to have had a bumper crop of does this year but bucks don’t seem to be nearly as numerous.

When you are driving here in the mountains, please remember to slow down and watch for wildlife. You might be amazed at what you will see, if you are looking. Have you seen a red fox lately? A bobcat? How about a chocolate brown bear? They are beautiful creatures too.

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July 4th Road Trip

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Posted by Annie in Family Fun on June 29, 2011

Independence Day!

Happy July 4th!

Are you planning a long road trip over the Fourth of July weekend? Many families will take off for cooler parts this weekend. The motherlode provides a great place to get alone with nature and experience the squirrels chatter and the birds song for a refreshing change of pace.

Let’s face it camping in the great outdoors is a terrific experience for the children and it can be easy on the wallet or as expensive as you wish. Regardless of whether or not you camp, drive an RV, or you are ordering up room service from your 5 start hotel room; planning can make all the difference between having a terrific time and being miserable for the entire weekend.

Have you considered the costs of your trip? If you drive at all, you realize that gas prices aren’t what they used to be and can vary wildly from region to region. Do your homework before you leave home, always calculate lower gas mileage than you expect and be sure to add incidental miles (like trips to the grocery store, the beach or any other planned outtings).

Use caution when using online widgets when checking for gas prices, they are often inaccurate, so don’t let your fluid levels get too low before you start hunting for a station. In some areas they can be few and far between — especially when traveling in the mountains. Last year, for example, Wayne’s Shell here in Twain Harte was closed for months – during the Summer, Fall and Winter months people expecting to find gas when they arrived in Twain Harte were disappointed.

Is your vehicle road worthy?

  1. Check and fill all fluid levels; oil, transmission, brake fluid, window washer solvent (not water, the solvent will clean the bugs off due to night driving). Check your hoses, in the heat of the summer, hoses often crack and break during a long trip.
  2. Check the brake pads, most communities have service stations which offer free brake inspection. Get them looked at by a professional.
  3. Check the tire tread and air pressure. (If you plan to head up into the mountains, pack the snow chains, you could need them this year.)

Be sure to have at least a small financial cushion, even if it’s nothing more than room on a credit card in case your vehicle leaves you stranded unexpectedly.

What to pack?

  1. Sleeping bags or blankets (if camping)
  2. A warm jacket
  3. Two changes of clothing per day (one for cooler morning and evening weather, another set for the warm afternoons).
  4. Two pairs of shoes (sandles, tennis shoes, hiking boots, flip flops, water socks) pick 2 or 3 but always have a spare pair.
  5. Swimming trunks
  6. Sunscreen/Mosquito Repellent
  7. Camera
  8. Cell Phone
  9. Laptop
  10. iPod
  11. Map (be sure to print off a copy just in case the GPS goes out)
  12. Walkie Talkie’s if you have them. They make a great backup in the absence of cell phone service, which is typical of many mountain communities and rural areas.
  13. Prescription Medicine (in their original containers).

 

Your specific needs will vary depending on personal preferences, medical needs, the age of travelers and more. Create your own list of items to add to this list as you think of them. Be sure to call and stop the newspaper delivery or arrange for someone to pick them up while you are away.

Be sure the house is locked up properly, check the doors and windows. Look around your yard, does it look like the house is abandoned? Set a timer for your lights, have a family friend or neighbor check on things in your absence. Be sure your animals have someone looking after them while you are gone.

If you have a large family, be sure to count the kids at each stop to ensure that no one is left behind. Go ahead and laugh, many parents are reading this sentence nodding in agreement. It’s not that hard to forget one on occasion and it’s one quick way to spoil a vacation.

Travel Safe!

 

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Pizza Factory Delivers!

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Posted by Shawn & Annette in Opinion, Restaurants, Twain Harte News on January 28, 2011

I can’t tell you just how many times I’ve said, “Oh, how I wish the Twain Harte Pizza Factory delivered.” My wish has been granted — Super Bowl Sunday (Hey, one day is better than nothing.) the Twain Harte Pizza Factory will deliver fresh, hot pizza to your door, so you won’t miss a play.

We don’t have network or cable television at our house, so I can tell you this — we won’t be watching the Super Bowl but I won’t miss this opportunity to have pizza delivered straight to my door.

You could always do Bob a favor and call your order in ahead of time. Why wait until the last minute?  Just remember to tip your driver — maybe Bob will realize we need delivery service in Twain Harte.

Today, has been such an exciting day!

I didn’t tell you what I witnessed last night. Well, since our move, I’ve been smoking my cigarettes outside — thank goodness for the unseasonally warm weather. Last night, I went out to the back deck for my break. It’s so peaceful and serene out there, (if you don’t count Friday and Saturday nights when the Courtside Bar & Grill is in full-swing).

Apparently, I am not the only one that thinks so either. I kept hearing some weird noises in the yard but was having a little trouble figuring out where it was coming from. I grabbed a flashlight and startled the heck out of several deer who had decided that my backyard would make a wonderful place to nap. I’m just thankful I am generally quiet, so they weren’t disturb. We both managed to enjoy my back yard — me on the deck, them in the yard.

Twain Harte is the most wonderful place on earth. If I didn’t know better, I’d think I died and went to heaven.

P.S. One last bit of news for the day. Workers have been working on the road around the Twain Harte Shopping Center. Those Suburban swallowing potholes are now a thing of the past.

Stay safe!

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