Beautiful sights

Beautiful sights
Horses at blue water Lake state park

Monday, April 29, 2013

Learning about watermarks

learning about watermarks
Alligator Juniper bark
If you look at the bottom right of the photo above you see a copywrite mark.
I had been noticing many blogs inserting this in the photos, but didn't have any idea how to do it.  My friend Barbara(Me and my Dog) taught me how to do it using a free program for crafters called Serif Craft Artist.  It worked well, but later I heard her say that some people used Picasa to do it.  So I opened Picasa and read the helps on watermarks and it was actually easier to do with Picasa than with Serif Craft artist. Later I checked another photo program and it was Irfanview, and it also has an easy way to add the copywrite to a photo.
It was there all the time but I had not explored the programs so didn't know what it would do.

The picture above is of the bark on an Alligator Juniper.  I've always liked their bark so I used it in this illustration.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Gila Cliff Dwellings

On my off day, I drove 72 miles to visit Gila Cliff Dwellings.  I had been there years ago, but wanted to go again.
Gila Cliff Dwellings

The National Park Service operates the site, and as is normal, they regulate activity to prevent destruction.  There were two guides at the entrance of the trail, welcoming people, and making sure no one carries trash, drinks( except water), and pets up the canyon trail.  I had expected all the rules except the water /soft drink rule.

I had just filled my drink bottle with diet cola 5 minutes earlier, and didn't want to discard it, so I went up the trail with no drink.

I did carry my camera, and a walking stick, wore a hat, and had on appropriate clothing and shoes.

The trail is one mile long, and goes uphill mostly.  I was having some trouble with walking, and stopped for brief breaks about 7 times.  At first I was embarrassed to have to stop, but after a few comments from me to my hiking companion, (apologizing) she and I began to realize that those stops gave us the opportunity to see tiny flowers at our feet, birds in the bushes, etc.  We found multiple opportunities for joyful discoveries!
Black Phoebe

Tiny purple flower, as yet unidentified
Thanks to Mother Nature for all the handiwork!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Wind----or is it WIND?

Yesterday was a wind storm.  Today was a bigger windstorm!  Blowing dust, cooler temperatures, hats flying, no American or New Mexico flags flying.  At work, the wind didn't cause me much difficulty.  I was nicely safe in the  concrete and steel visitor's center, and my pets were safe and warm in the motorhome, but my dog fence was blown over!  It's happened before but I was surprised to see it.  I worked on getting it back up and was relieved that I could let the hounds out to frolic in the yard.  When I first get home they are so very excited and rambunctious!

dusty sky during windstorm

I tried to prop the fence with my yard chairs, but the wind was blowing the chairs out of place and then then the fence would fall over, too.  I finally got out some tie down straps and fastened one end through the fence and hooked it to a chair, and then fastened the other end of the strap to the post on the picnic table shelter.  That seemed to be sufficient to keep that side of the fence stable.

Chair is outside fence and strapped to picnic table pole

I still need to figure out a "fix" for the other side of the fencing.
I tried propping a chair against the fence to support it, but the chair got blown over. So I added a second chair, but they both blew over.  I have to come up with something better. I finally got everything I owned which could be weighted down. I had the idea to pile up rocks in the yard chairs to give them weight for resisting the wind.  So far it has worked well! Sort of... the black chair gets blown over every day even though I have added more and more rocks to both the seat and the legs.

Bike, black chair, purple chair, and walker all weighted with stones

Tomorrow is supposed to be another windstorm, with 60 mph gusts, dust, school closings, etc.  I have been planning to put more rocks in the chairs that are holding my dog fence.  I have realized that the high winds are uncomfortable for the dogs to be in when they want to use the "loo", and if I have no fence then I am needing to be outside to hold their leashes, and they think the leashes mean "going for a walk".  If I can open the door and let them outside, at least the routine is the same as usual, just the wind is different.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Help with critters!

I often see critters, but sometimes don't know what they are.  Recently I posted about a mammal which crossed the road and hid in the grasses.

I wasn't at all sure what it was, so I asked around, and the consensus among the staff at the park are that this is an American Badger!  I sure wish I had got a great picture, instead of this.

I also had been seeing some really beautiful grey, black and white birds, but couldn't get a good enough long look at them.  I was running my dogs with the car last evening, and one of these beautiful birds was perched in a bush, so I stopped the car and got the camera out and got a couple of good shots of this bird, before I had to move on (traffic).
Black throated sparrow
The beauty in nature is so healing to the soul!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Tribute to Boston Marathon People

I was so shocked to hear the news of the bombs in Boston.
The pain  that the injured are feeling, and also  families and friends.
I admire the first responders and the hospital workers who care for the injured.   I send prayers and best wishes to the law enforcement men and women who have to figure it all out.
To the people of Boston: you are in our prayers too.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Finally the OWLS!

Today I was exercising the dogs about 6:45 pm, and noticed a lump of light color in a large tree.  I stopped the car, got my camera, and zoomed in on these two Great Horned Owls, sitting in a large oak tree.  The sun was shinning on them and I thought they must be getting a sun bath just before dark and the cold night.

Look at those huge feet!

Finally the open eyes!

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Desert in Bloom?

I always enjoy the blooms of the various plants that are in my locations.  Earlier this week I got to see this year's first blossoms. I was elated to see the Claret cup hedgehog cacti starting to open their lovely buds!
Claret cup hedgehog cactus

The green center of the bloom, and the purple around the green center, and the yellow-green color at the inside base of the blossom, are mesmerizing to me.  So much beauty is overwhelming.

Friday, April 5, 2013

City of Rocks, or City of Critters?

While searching for an owl, I happened to see this squirrel.  He was so camouflaged that it would have been easy to miss him. He didn't even move, because I think he was hoping to not be seen.  He's about the same color and shape as the rock he's sitting on.

Still no sighting of the owl!

There are lots of Gambel's Quail at this park.  I really love their little top feathers!

Quite a few roadrunners are being spotted throughout the park!  They are not afraid to come up into the campsites.  One or two of them have even come into my fenced dog yard.  I found it difficult to believe that they thought it was smart to come into large dog's territory.  This morning, I opened the motorhome door to let the dogs out to pee, and there was a roadrunner, leisurely inspecting the dogs yard!  My female, Fleur, was out the door before I had even seen the roadrunner and she grabbed his/her tail feathers, pulling one tail feather out as the bird took off flying out to safety!  I am so relieved that the bird got away!

Desert Cottontail Rabbits


Ravens seem to know it's breeding season, as I see them building nests.

I saw three pronghorns as I was driving a few days ago.

I also saw a low slung creature which was waddling it's way across the road, and by the time I got my camera aimed, it was walking in tall grass, so my picture is not very definitive. Can you identify it?

 There are also skunks, which I smell but have not seen, cactus wrens, many other birds, javalina, porcupines, lizards, golden eagles, etc.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Fellow Volunteers at City of Rocks

I am privileged to have experienced and kind volunteers to learn from and to  enjoy their company. 

Don(he wouldn't allow pictures!) is a jack of all trades.  He sometimes mans the visitor center, and sometimes works as a host in the csampground picking up trash bags and fees from the self-pay stations.  After picking up the fees, then he assists in accounting for the fees and the registrations.

Lois is a very able lady.

Lois mans the visitor center on my days off, and also does park maintenance by painting the building trim, signs, etc.  She is living with her sister, Bobbie,
Bobbie, painting entry sign
who is the third volunteer.  She has been on site since Nov 2012 and has painted (with her sister Lois) all the signs, building trims, etc.  She is a hard worker and very good at everything she does.  Bobbie and Lois are living in Bobbie's Motorhome, which is a Siena brand RV.  I didn't know about the Siena, but looked it up on the internet.  The RV's are all manufactured exactly the same, and have regular household appliances throughout. 

Monday, April 1, 2013

Easter at City of Rocks State Park

Our manager, Gabe, informed us days ahead of time, so we expected crowds at the park to be large.  He said that we would all need to work whether it was our normal workday or not.  He also said that he would have pizza for us to eat on the run(no lunch breaks).
The regional supervisor came to add one more person at the entrance station, making 4 people getting the visitors admitted.  I was the only person in the visitor center, and it was manageable(just).

On Friday evening, one camper family was having such a good time that they were keeping the entire camp awake, and Gabe had to come in and restore order.  Saturday night it was the same story again.  They had way too many people in their site, too many cars, too much loud music, too much drinking, and throwing glass beer bottles to break them, too much smoking!  Did they never learn manners?

Sunday evening, I saw Gabe and Gloria picking up trash bags throughout the park, and at least two pickup truck beds were completely stuffed.  Much trash is still to be picked up, and it will be a job!