Tough Times Ahead


Posted by Shawn & Annette in Opinion, Political on July 28, 2011

Trash Recycling with Disposal Containers

Image by via Flickr

Did you happen to catch the news today? I know times are hard right now but these young men could have caused some serious problems. A community doesn’t spend $2,000 for a 200 foot section of guard rail, unless it’s needed.

Suspects Arrested In Guard Rail Theft

Sonora, CA– Tuolumne County Sheriff’s authorities arrested two men early
this morning suspected of stealing a portion of a guard rail.

According to Sheriff’s Office spokesperson Jeff Wilson, a report was made
Monday regarding a 200 foot section of guard rail valued at approximately $2000
missing from Shawmut Road.

After the Sheriff’s Department conducted an investigation this week, Deputy
Paul Speers discovered two men this morning at around 2 am, near the section of
the missing rail. He also noticed another section of rail had been unbolted from
its posts and was laying on the ground. Speers says he had checked the area
earlier and knew the rail was still on its posts at that time. [continue reading…]

I had heard that people were stripping copper wiring and copper plumbing, out of their houses before the bank foreclosure. Would you be surprised to learn that this case is not all that unusual? For instance in Augusta, GA.

Metal thefts bring renewed scrutiny

Sheriff’s Investigator Kendall Brown can legally question anyone waiting in line to recycle their metal. But on a recent morning Brown was biding his time, patiently scanning the scrapyard crowd through the tinted windows of his silver Impala.

“You have to read the person, watch what people are loading,” said Brown, who coordinates the newly resurrected CSRA Metal Theft Task Force. The task force is a holdover from 2008, when a spike in theft followed a jump in the prices of precious metals.

More than 20 law enforcement agencies and civilian businesses have joined forces to share their information on what’s been stolen and who’s responsible. Richmond County is the hub of the task force because of its six scrapyards; by default, almost all the stolen goods eventually trickle through here. [continue reading…]

In San Diego investigators got a call from a local recycler who got suspicious after five  people brought in a bunch of caps to recycle.

Fire Hydrant Theft Ring Busted

Escondido police officers arrested five people for stealing brass caps  off hundreds of fire hydrants around the city. On Friday, police got a call from a North County recycler that a group of people were trying to sell more than 80 hydrant caps. [Source:  Thieves Tamper with Hydrants | NBC San Diego]

The San Ramon Express News reports:

 Thousands worth of copper stolen from PG&E facility

Approximately $2,000 worth of copper wire was stolen from the PG&E Testing Facility on Crow Canyon Road last week, according to police reports. [continue reading…]

Other unusual items being stolen for recycling include:

All this was found doing a quick search for the terms, “theft recycle.” I can only imagine just how huge this problem has become. I guess what this all means is business and homeowners will need to make a bee-line to the recycling center, if they hope to retrieve their stolen items before they are crushed beyond recognition.

On the other side of the coin, many others are using these tough times to their own advantage by going dumpster diving, an activity we used partake of when I was a child. Did you know that people throw away tons of perfectly usable items, simply because they are unwanted? Over the years I have liberated many supposedly unwanted items doomed to end up in the garbage heap.

Of course, it wasn’t as acceptable of a practice back in the early 70’s as it is today. We were always afraid one of our friends would see us and make fun, but that didn’t stop us from going out again the following weekend. Apparently, some communities have laws against dumpster diving.

Dumpster diving yields hidden treasures

Yoder’s best finds include roller skates, records, clothing and furniture. However, according to the City of Lawrence, Yoder obtained these “treasures” illegally.

A city code prohibits unauthorized individuals from going through or removing other people’s trash. Since January 2010, city officials prosecuted six people for unlawfully removing trash.

“Some people feel very strongly against others going through their trash because they consider it an invasion of privacy,” Lawrence communications manager Megan Gilliland said. “It is their understanding that the city will dispose of their trash without others going through it.” [continue reading…]

You should check with your local officials before dumpster diving, unless you want to risk being arrested.

Communities talk a good story about being “GREEN” but how many really are? The state of California is discouraging people from shopping online (a green thing to do), so back in the car they go, shopping for bargains. Children here are rounded up for truancy, why not encourage them to school online?

Our landfills are getting full but hey, let’s pass laws preventing people from saving items destined for the landfill. What kind of sense does it all make? Are we going to be good stewards or not? We really need to stop and think about what kind of world we are leaving to our children and begin making better use of our resources.

Well, that’s my opinion anyway. Any thoughts on the topic?

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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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Lily Mae Finds a Home


Posted by Shawn & Annette in Family Fun, Opinion on July 19, 2011

A trip to Modesto yesterday brought us the newest member of our family. She is a tiny little Russian Blue mix that hasn’t been weened yet, so we are going to have an interesting week.

We had decided to just look around and see what was available at the pet shops and animal shelters. I had no idea that any animal that leaves the shelter must be spayed or neutered, and while I understand the reasoning behind this, it doesn’t mean I have to like it. I believe that fixing an animal forever changes it’s personality and lifestyle. I probably have stronger feelings than most on this topic since I was “fixed” at the tender age of 18.

The animal shelter in Modesto is a new facility but it sure smelled terrible in there, with no readily apparent reason for the horrific aroma. I was informed that the kittens must be 2 pounds before they can be spayed or neutered and for most kittens, that means they must be at least 4 months old before they can be adopted. Well, is it any wonder they put so many animals down each year? At 4-months of age, they aren’t normally quite as cute as they are when most people take home a kitten at around 8 weeks of age.

We had made our decision to wait and explore other avenues, when fate stepped up and threw us a curve ball into our plans. Just as we were piling back into the ‘Beca to head back to Twain Harte, I spotted a small group of people standing just off to the side of where we were parked. One young lady was holding a tiny little gray kitten, with big round eyes, who was hissing and obviously not happy.

Someone in the group explained that the shelter had closed and they wouldn’t accept the kitten (nevermind that I had just walked out the door and they were in the process of adopting out a puppy). The doors weren’t even locked. Since the shelter wouldn’t accept the tiny creature, the small group had gathered, trying to figure out what to do with the poor kitten, when I walked up to the group. I picked up the kitten. They were concerned that the kitten would get away from me, and thought that it was a feral kitten. I was concerned that it had been injured the way that it was laying there immobilized. (Not once the first hour we had her did she move her neck.)

I spoke with my husband about the kitten. It was obvious that she was terrified and would require a great deal of love and care but we decided to give it a try. She barely moved at first, but she seemed to gain comfort from cuddling inside my fuzzy jacket I had bunched up on my lap. We made several stops for supplies on the way home and made several attempts to feed her. We managed to get her to drink some water and a little milk replacement formula, though she wouldn’t touch any of the solid food – wet or dry.

She keep attempting to suckle on my coat and the fuzzy blanket we gave her. I’m just so thankful that she will drink from a dish. We bought a couple bottles – just in case. If anyone in Twain Harte has a momma cat that might be willing to let her nurse, please let me know. She appears to be doing well, but as we all know — momma’s milk is best.

She has finally warmed up to us and has spent a little time playing, exploring, eating and what she does best at this point — sleep. She is a darling little kitten that needs a lot of love and kindness – I know she’s finally found her home.

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