Curious Whitetail Bucks


Posted by Shawn & Annette in Outdoors, Twain Harte News on July 20, 2011

Whitetail Buck

Whitetail Buck Image by funpics47

When we returned from our trip to Modesto on Tuesday, we used the upper driveway for the first time since it was paved, the ‘Beca was loaded down with people and camping gear.

We had been shopping for a mess kit and tent, since 0ur son and his friend will be doing a three day camping trip with other young men from the Twain Harte Chapel in the Pines — and they are very excited.

Just moments after the ‘Beca came to a stop, I pushed my door open, arms loaded, headed for the house and just about ran smack dab into a huge buck, standing stately near the edge of the driveway, I am sure he was wondering if I was going to stop. All I could think was, “darn, darn, darn, here is this magnificient buck standing just feet in front of me and me without a camera!” He stood tall and proud, his rack was large, at least 10, maybe 12 or even 14 points.  I was too numb to think, move, speak and especially…count.

Much to my surprise standing not two feet behind him was yet another buck. This one was much younger than the first. Both bucks stood motionless for the longest time. Have you ever sat and watched deer? They can stay still for an amazingly long period of time.  I headed for the house and when I turned around to get one last look before opening the door, they had vanished.

For the past several weeks all I’ve seen in the yard are does. We have two that visit regularly — since we haven’t mowed the weeds in our yard. (Don’t judge, it’s a BIG yard!) The deer love the vegetation and I’m happy to let them have it — I just wish they would eat more of it. Faster.

Put it this way, we could have a mountain lion living in the front yard and no one would ever know.  We have some pretty dense vegetation out there. I keep hoping some industrious young man will show up and offer to mow the grass and clean up the yard for me, but so far that hasn’t happened. I asked for a quote from some men who were working nearby but they wanted $800 to clean it up. Wow! It’s not that bad and for that price the mountain lions can stay.

I’m keeping my eyes open for those bucks to return but it could be at least a month before they make their way back here again. They seem to operate on a cycle and I believe they only came down the mountain because our temperatures have been cooler than usual. I expect them to wander back up to the high country once the summer heat hits us again.

Lily Mae update

Lily Mae gave me quite a scare yesterday. Try as I may, I could not get her to eat or drink anything (not that she is eating yet), nor was she using the litter box. This morning was another story. She had three small meals this morning and afternoon. She actually stayed awake for several hours this morning.

She is resting now and appears to be healthy and happy. I will be happy when she starts eating regular food. It’s been 14 years since I had to warm bottles and mix formula. I forgot just how much work it can be.

Take it slow folks and watch for the wildlife. If we don’t protect them, then who will?

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July 4th Road Trip


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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