Sunday, March 22, 2009

Finches Oh My!

About a week after hanging my bird feeders I started to get birds coming around. I was so excited to see how colorful they are. I'll have to learn about birds so I can identify them when new species come into the area. There are some I have seen the last few days but do not know what type they are.

I really enjoyed taking these yesterday morning; it had snowed Friday night, about a inch or so, but Saturday morning was beautiful and the sun was out and a few hours later the snow had melted.

Taking good or even great pictures of birds is as you can image not such an easy task when they are flying all over and not really holding still. This one picture however even though it's not in focus I absolutely love. I keep thinking if only this was in focus, I'd have another great picture to print. (these thoughts keep me inspired to keep trying and I will) I also posted some of the better shots on my website which you can view here:

Spark's Great Escape....and safe return

Sparky got out last Thursday, late afternoon; I had let him out on our deck which we sort of or so I thought Sparky proofed so he couldn't leave the deck area.....Well, that apparently didn't work. For approximately an hour and a half I spent the entire time hiking through berry bush infested woods, knee deep snow (apparently a drift cuz that was only one small area) and ankle deep mudded soon to be corn fields hunting for him. Only to come back to the house and find him howling up a storm waiting for me to let him back in!

I was so mad at him; the entire time I was out there I’m balling my eyes out thinking he was going to freeze to death tonight! You should see my legs though; berry bushes have stickers and I’ve got scratches all over my legs; I ran out after him wearing sweat pants luckily I had my warm boots on.

And I had mud all over my shoes, other stickers attached to my sweatshirt and sweat pants and wet feet; Sparky was as clean as a whistle accept for one thorn which was not even inserted in his body, just stuck to his fur…..

Darn Dog!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Our first week in our new house.

Ok, so I’m writing this a week and one day later so my memory might blur some stuff together but I’ll do my best to get it all in order.

We arrived on Monday March 9th, I had been following Clayton the entire trip and when we got to our road Clayton kept driving past. But I knew to turn there and so I ended up being first at our driveway. I stopped in the road; the driveway had not been plowed and it appeared to have about a foot of snow on it. (oh and by the way I never did mention that Clayton and I had walkie talkies and we talked to each other all along the way. I recommend getting these for anyone who travels with others in separate cars that are going to stay close by while driving; they were really great to have) and so while I was stopped there looking up the driveway and all the snow on it I keyed up and asked Clayton if I should just plow through it, he’s all ‘Yes of course, over’, so I attempted to, I thought the gentle approach would be fine but didn’t get very far at all. I backed out and moved forward on the street so Clayton could get his truck up to the garage. And of course he made it without much trouble at all. He basically gunned it with tires spinning but he got the momentum needed to reach the garage. So I backed up and thought to myself well at least now it will be easier for me, as I have a set of tracks to follow. I did manage to get about half way up before my tires started spinning out and yeppers, I got stuck. (my mom’s voice inside my head I heard, you should by a bag of kitty litter, that is what they use out there when they get stuck in the snow) Well we didn’t buy any kitty litter and they didn’t have any just laying about in the garage. So we ended up putting two welcome door mats in the fronts of my tires hoping they would grab a hold and get unstuck. Clayton got in and gunned it and my tires just spun and spun and the car didn’t move. But it did move backwards just slightly enough to end up about a foot away from a tree truck. Clayton calls me over, get in he says, I’ll push from the back and when I push you gun it. We rocked it back and forth a bit, my tires spun and I started to spell rubber burning into the ice (if that is even possible, well I spelt something) Then he told me to get out and he got in and I went to the back and started to push and push and I pushed till the front of the car started to pivit to the right. I thought well we can just push the car sideways ha, that didn’t really work, but the pivoting to the right was sort of a good idea. While the back end slightly moved closer to the tree truck the front end kept moving to the right, we ended up pivoting the entire front end of the car so it was pointing down the driveway. We were free from the ice that bound us. Clayton continued to drive down the drive way to the road again, and backed up, revved up and this time he got enough momentum and speed that he made it to the garage while tires still spun mind you. Ok note to self, Listen to mom, buy some kitty litter before next winter arrives……so in the meantime we had let Sparky in the house unattended to roam and sniff and check it out on his own. Guess what we found when we finally got the cars safely parked inside the garage…yep his first poopy accident on the hard wood floor…..

Tuesday, March 10th.

Well, our second day in Wisconsin we decided we needed some food in the house so we left Sparky in the house while we went to the grocery store. Well the poor dog, Since February 24th he had been taken away from his own house (his comfy beds and couches that he was so familiar with) that is when we started staying at my mom’s while the hard wood floors were resurfaced in the San Jose house. Then after four different hotel room stays he’s stuck inside an unfamiliar house with nothing inside and we leave him alone for a couple hours. The dog has developed a strong disliking to be left alone! While we were out shopping, Sparky was freaking in the house, when we arrived home I heard his howling, barking and he really didn’t seem happy we left him. I opened the door and down on the floor I see a wood piece. We thought maybe he got bored and chewed on the dining room table, but after closer inspection he tried to gnaw his way out of the house. Then once inside the house I smelt something funny; later to find another pile of poop left up in our bedroom floor then also found a puddle of pee on the hardwood floor where he had pooped the first time. Sparky was not happy we left him and we were not happy with Sparky!!!!!

Tuesday evening comes around and I decide to take Sparky for his evening walk. We ended up going down to the end of the road where there is a farm and the farm has cows, lots of cows. Sparky for sure loves the snow, loves the woods and loves all these new smells. Well we approached the farm, and all the cows where all lined up three or four rows deep next to the barn where they are fed which just so happens to be right next to the road. Sparky and I stopped to watch, then we watched them, the cows stop to watch us. I think I said hello to them, “hello little cows” I said…..Then I see one of the cows jump up on another cow and I think wow, he’s going to mate with the other cow, cool? But as it turns out that is not what he was doing, he wanted to get away from us. We were really doing nothing, but had stopped we weren’t even walking or moving and Sparky even sat down on the road, but that cow wanted to get further away from us and jumping over the cow in front of him was his only choice. I thought to myself as half of the cows started to move away from us they seemed to move forward and around the barn, that they seemed a bit skittish of us. Then soon after they realized there was nowhere for them to go that direction, the entire heard started running back towards us…crap we created a stampede. Literally they all were running along the single lane dirt road within their farm just wide enough for three or four cows to be side by side. They ran so fast that they could not turn the corner. I felt horrible, the cows on the edge were running into to barbed wire fence, then as more rushed past, the fence actually broke. Not just one post, but two posts were knocked over. Slowly Sparky and I turned and headed back. Within the kraal that the fence broke on five cows ended up away from the rest of the heard. They ran to the end of it, but that meant that Sparky and I had to pass them again. I really can’t believe how scared they were of us just walking past. But as we reached the end of the kraal, they freaked out again and the five of them ran past us back to the others. Luckily the fence that had broken was still within the enclosed farm. At one point before the big guy ran back he stopped and looked at his, I swear he looked mean, dairy cows aren’t mean are they?

Wednesday arrives and so does our trailer with all our belongings! I watched from the window inside the house as Clayton went out to meet our driver. Clayton pulled his truck out to the road and parked it so that trailer could be dropped off in front of the garage and that his truck would not be blocked in. The truck and driver slowly backed in and at about that same point my car spun out and got suck this trucks tires spun too and could not be backed up any further. We had a great driver though; he was a persistent man with a mission to get the trailer up as far as possible so that when we brought down the ramp to unload our stuff it ended right at the edge of the garage. The man must have tried over a dozen times to back it up, each time spinning out before reaching the spot where we wanted him. And then finally he stops, got out and asks us, “do you have any kitty litter“ (ha! just kidding he actually asked for sand) but we didn’t have any of that either, we left a bucket full of sand at the San Jose house thinking we wouldn’t need it little did we know how useful it would have been to have. Finally he pulls out one last time and down to the road again and this time got enough momentum and got it right where we wanted it. And so Clayton and I were happy, our truck arrived safe and sound but wouldn’t you know it had to be on the coldest/windiest days of the week and just after I caught a cold. We managed though to unload everything to our Bed that first day, only leaving the heavy furniture to unload on Thursday. Clayton hadn’t really been sleeping too well in the little double sized bed we have in the spare bedroom, just not big enough for a man, a woman and their dog. We managed to get the king sized bed, box springs and frame up to the loft by the end of the day on Wednesday and all three of us slept the best night sleep since our journey begun.

Thursday and Friday came and went and we finished unloading pretty earlier on Thursday, then we started unpacking and we unpacked all day on Friday, Saturday and even again on Sunday. We also decided to chisel Ice! We had like 4 inches or more built up on our driveway and it was really sort of fun to chip away at it. We also managed to clear our deck as it had over a foot of snow with ice underneath as well. By the end of the weekend, the house was pretty much unpacked, however we still have a few things to do like hang pictures. While these two pictures are of the deck area, it shows about as much snow that was originally on the driveway when we arrived give or take an inch as a few days had gone by since I took them.

Over the weekend however, we decided we needed to go shopping again, needed more food and to get some other items. So instead of keeping Sparky in the house to destroy again, we put him in the kennel out in the garage. I put his dog house inside with a nice blanket inside of that so he'd stay warm and cozy and I put his two favorite pillows on the other side, in case he didn’t want to be in the dark. We hadn’t bought a dog door yet so he didn’t have access to the outside portion, but I took him for a walk before we left to make sure he didn’t have to pee and or poop while we were gone. Well when we got back, this is what he had done to his pillows!!!! Can you say green pillow batting……Sparky is such a little trouble maker!!!!!

A funny Story

Ok, so before I begin to update I have to go back to the night we stayed at Motel 6 due to the snowfall. This is too good to not mention. But when I wrote about the snow that had fallen since we’d been there and saw the picture I took of my blue car with the snow on it. Well guess what? In the morning there was just a bit more snow on it and Clayton had gone out with a hand full of items to load into the cars, and so I went out soon after he went out with a handful of stuff for my own car. Clayton was not around, I wasn’t sure exactly where he went, but I went to my car and started to remove snow from the passenger side back seat window and brushed off my door handle to get Sparky’s stuff inside. The windows had already formed a nice layer of ice and so just by brushing with my hand it was not coming off. So I put the stuff I brought out down on the sidewalk and went back in to get a towel to brush the snow off with, as my hand had already gotten cold. Got back down there and started again and still didn’t get the ice off; that ice is hard to remove when hardened to glass. Anyhow I noticed that my door handle was on the right side, and I questioned in my mind that I could have sworn my handle was on the left side. Then as I looked a little more closely I saw that the rear view mirror on the passenger side had been cracked. I thought to myself had the cold air done that, or did the car that parked next to me hit it? I was a bit puzzled, and still I was not able to get the freaken snow and ice off my car. Well just after that I walked back up to the sidewalk and checked out Clayton’s car next to mine, he was still not there and I wondered where he went. Then I saw him coming; he had walked to the little market and bought an ice scrapper. So I walked a few steps past his car to meet him and I noticed that the car on the other side of his was actually MY car. The car I had been attempting to scrap snow and ice from and that had the broken window and had door handles in the wrong locations and the car that I actually took a picture of the night before, was NOT MY car after all. I busted up! I remembered that video Clayton’s Brother sent us about a man cleaning off snow and ice on his car with his briefcase, slipping and sliding along the way only to find out when he hit his remote to unlock his doors the car in front of the one he just cleaned off chirped and flashed its lights. Anyhow thought maybe someone would get a chuckle out of reading this :-)

Monday, March 16, 2009

We have our new Home!

Sorry it's been an entire week since I last wrote, but I didn't get interenet access till last Friday and since then been too busy putting the house it order. But I have lots to tell, so stay tuned....

I will update either later today or tomorrow for sure and tell all about what's been going on and there is lots to tell :-)

Sunday, March 8, 2009

We Made it to Wisconsin but not home yet

Today we drove over 12 hours...lost two hours due to time change and Central Time Zone, not sure how that works out; but seems like we drove forever. The sun had just rose when we left Nebraska and had set 1 hour or so after we arrived in La Crosse, Wisconsin. Which is a place we will want to come back to. We came down a hill, Clayton called them bluffs and we are staying in a hotel right next to the Mississippi River. Sparky has done so well traveling we will travel more and stay over night for weekend trips often I think.

This picture below is a basic image of what Nebraska looks like everywhere. Not much, not many trees, but I should say there were plenty of little lakes and ponds along the way filled with all sort of birds. Birds flew over head consistently and i got a few nice images which follow:

Nebraska wasn't too exciting ACCEPT for the birds!!!! I swear I got so excited seeing so many birds. Cranes were everywhere, snow geese and ducks too.

This little lake was right off I-80, I wanted to stop sooooooo bad but Clayton said no and we had to keep going. I understood, but still can't help think of the awesome images I could have got if I was able to spend some time here.

When we left the hotel this morning it was 7 degrees out, the road was icy but we did ok on it. then we drove through some pretty thick fog for about an hour; then it got nice. We did drive through a bit of rain, just real light rain though and a few area's of snow but not much.

Here is one picture I took while in Iowa: Windmills are everywhere.

I'm tired tonight so i will have to update with more details later, but wanted to get at least this much posted. We will probably not have access to the Internet now until Friday, but I might try to see if we can get an earlier install day.

Weather tomorrow looks good we only have three hours (150 miles) to go till we are home. We might get snow on Tuesday which will be awesome; when I'm home I'll love the snow hahaha

Oh did I happen to mention Sparky LOVES the snow!!!!!!! Wait till I take some pictures of him frolicking through the snow. He really is so cute.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

It's going to be a four day trip.....

Before I begin today's entry I have to say....Since day one; I've been thinking this same message on the billboard: This is in Wyoming and I was actually taking a picture of the dark mountains behind the sign until I saw the message on the sign...I couldn't resist altering it slightly.

Well this morning was super nice, it was 27 degrees out and Sunny and Sparky was so excited when walking around the hotel we stayed at in Salt Lake City. He sure loves new scents! After Sparky's morning walk and poop; we headed out on the road again and the day looked as it it would be great the whole day through.

Salt Lake City is actually quite beautiful with the city butted up again that giant mountain range.

We headed East on 80, over the mountain we went, and then the terrain turned into the same thing almost as Nevada only a few more reddish colored mountains and cool rock formations. Wyoming sort of similar, it all blends together; seems to me Eastern Utah and Wyoming look pretty much the same for the most part.

Wyoming is train county; I can't believe how many trains we saw.

We hit snow in Cheyenne Wyoming over the last mountain range before the Nebraska border then again an hour or so into Nebraska. We ended up stopping in North Platte, Nebraska due to thicker snow fall and it was starting to get dark.

Sparky is doing great in the car. I can't believe how well he stays still and doesn't get fussy, even hours later. He loves to look out the window though and fights his sleepy eyes. When he does finally try to lay down he half ways does it with this front paws perched on jackets I've placed next to the window so his head could stay up high enough to see out the window. He loves each stop we make; he always eager to get out of the car and start smelling he even sometimes pees.

Unfortunately I did not take any pictures in Nebraska yet; accept for the car in the parking lot below, but I will tomorrow morning. It's pretty flat though and nothing to interesting but I'll see if I can find something nice to photograph along the way.

So we have been at the hotel now for over 2 hours and it's still snowing; here is a picture of my car; the dark blue one covered in an inch or so of snow....

Friday, March 6, 2009

12 Hours to Salt Lake City

Well we made it; we got to Salt Lake City after 12 long hours of driving. The drive was actually a nice one, the weather, while mostly good, had some nice variations to it. I love clouds and there were plenty of them. Driving through the Sierra Nevada was beautiful. No falling snow to speak of, it spit at us, but it had just recently snowed and there was nice fresh snow on trees and the views were spectacular.

Note: these pictures were taken from my front seat of the car while driving...they are not great pictures, but show well enough what we went through...

We ended up eating lunch in Sparks Nevada got gas for the second time (we filled up before we left right after leaving mom's) and then stopped at two rest stops for Sparky and got Gas one last time in Elko Nevada.

Driving through Nevada was interesting; the terrain is desert and tumbleweed and there were clouds as well, but they had cells dumping snow in various spots through out the drive. You could see the streaks of the falling snow and the darkness of the cloud made it feel so ominous. With the way the light was hitting them it was quite exciting.
Then there was this; a cloud that dumped on us so hard I could hardly see. It got very dark and snowed so hard (but did not stick to the ground) that I had a hard time seeing Clayton in front of me. Luckily it only lasted less than 5 minutes or so.

Then when we entered the Utah border it was starting to get dark so I was not able to take more pictures of the Salt Lake area.

Sparky was a great traveler for so many hours, but I think his legs got exhasted from the sitting position; he started to shake (and not from the cold) he actually panted from the heat as I had my heater on he is sleeping like a baby now and so is Clayton...well Clayton is sawing some ZZZzzzz's which is what I'm about to do right now....oh I hear a train tooting it's horn I love that sound.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

The Day Before the long Three Day Drive...or will it be Four?

I'm exhausted! It took us two entire days to load the truck. We used about 15 feet of space and the truck and our belongings are on their way. My body has never felt so tired and sore. Then today we spent the entire day cleaning and scrubbing ugghhh.

And even though it rained the majority of the time; we really didn't get that wet.

Tomorrow morning by 7am we hope to head off in an easterly direction. Our plan is to follow 80 all the way across the Country. Our first stop if all goes well with be Salt Lake City.

Since I'm so tired; tonight's entry is short. Stay tuned for daily progress :-)But below are two pictures; the first is our garage with the majority of our household items. (we had moved everything to the garage in order to have our hardwood floors refinished...which look marvelous by the way) and the other picture is of the truck that we packed everything into.

But before I sign off for tonight; I just want to say a BIG Thank You to my Mom for having us stay over during the days our floors were refinished and the remaining days after while we packed and got ready for the move. The dinners were awesome, thanks mom for all you do for us!