Yosemite: Operation Airbrake


Posted by Annie in Opinion, Political on September 22, 2011

This past weekend Yosemite was offering free park admittance for the public, which I’m certain sounded like a great deal, until visitors realized they were driving into a trap.

Bus Inspections At Yosemite

Yosemite valley, California, USA

Yosemite valley, California, USA

Yosemite Valley, CA– The California Highway Patrol in partnership with the National Park Service, recently conducted a surprise bus inspection at Yosemite National Park.

The inspection last Friday and Saturday, was planned in support of the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance’s Brake Safety Week.

Operation Airbrake” ran from September 11-17th and its goal was to ensure braking systems of commercial vehicles, including buses, are maintained properly and in good working order. As part of the week long campaign, the CHP’s Commercial Unit organized a bus inspection in Yosemite Valley.

The location was selected because nearly every tour bus that enters Yosemite Valley is required to drive on state highways or county roadways within the Central Valley.

Yes, I am glad to hear that CHP is working to make the roads safer for everyone. But I seem to recall that the last time they offered free entrance to the park, they were screening passengers for terrorism threats in unison with the Transportation Security Administration (TSA).

The CHP says it plans to conduct more unannounced tour bus inspections in the future.

Yosemite offers free park admission from time to time, so if you plan to take advantage of the offer, just be aware, you could be driving into even longer delays and congestion on the valley floor.

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Wildlife, weather and chatter


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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Perfect Weather!


Posted by Annie in Twain Harte News on June 21, 2011

Pinecrest Dam

Image by dougsmi via Flickr

I have to tell you, it is the most beautiful day outside today. The sun is shining, it’s 90°, the birds are singing and we have a slight breeze. I couldn’t have ordered up a more perfect day. Yes, it’s just a tad warm for my taste but everyone else will love, love, love it.

This would be a perfect day to spend out fishing at Beardsley or up at Pinecrest. Speaking of Pinecrest, when is the last time you watched a movie out in the open air? Believe it or not, Pinecrest is celebrating it’s 76th Season of Movies Under the Stars. Though the summer days are warm, the evening temperatures can turn chilly. Be sure to pack a sweater or light jacket just in case the kids start feeling a little cold in the evening air. Please keep this in mind when making your plans to attend  “Movies Under the Stars”.

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