Monday, March 27, 2017

Spring Birds

It's springtime, which means a whole mix of weather, but overall we're getting outside more--hurray! Desert Girl sure loves our chickens. They've been good layers all winter. And I have to admit I'm surprised that they've survived with all the predators around here. 

Some birds are coming back, like the killdeer. They can make quite a racket.

The bluebirds have been around all winter, but their colors seem brighter now.

Desert Girl worked hard to catch one, but didn't succeed. Then she tried to talk me into getting her a parakeet. No, thanks, I know who will end up taking care of it! I told her it's best to enjoy the birds in the wild.

The heifers (first time moms) are already done calving, and now we're in prime season for the cows out on the range to give birth. The bluebirds are checking out what's going on.

One morning I decided to get up early and go down where there's some water to capture the sunrise reflections. There were a few birds around, especially Canada Geese.

It was a gorgeous morning, and the usual wind had calmed down.

The ravens are numerous year round.

I liked the symmetry of these flying ducks and their reflections.

There were a big group of sea gulls out on the lake.

And no year would be complete without at least one photo of a daffodil!
 Happy spring!

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

February Roundup

So, similar to January, I have a mish mash of photos, many from my phone. I have trouble downloading my phone photos to my computer, so it can take awhile.

One of the highlights of February was the winter carnival, where we made up a booth called Cinderella's closet. The idea was the kids started with all the clothes, shoes, hats, and jewelry in the laundry basket and then had to hang them up as fast as they could. The winning time was 41 seconds.

The top of Bald Mountain looked especially snowy one day, when the moon happened to be setting.

We spent time working on trails for our community. We're crossing our fingers that the proposal will get funded and soon we'll have safer places to go recreate. Most of our bike rides are on the highway now, as there just aren't many places to go.

One morning I went for a snowshoe hike on the Upper Lehman trail. I had it all to myself and it was so peaceful!

The lighting was great one day as I came back from Ely, so I pulled over to the side of the road and took some photos of the windmills.

I had never seen that some of them are painted grey. They really do fade into the background a lot better!

One afternoon I went to the elementary school and we experimented with invisible ink--aka orange juice, lemon juice, vinegar, and milk. Vinegar wasn't so good, but the other three did well when the paper was heated.

The kids thought it was kind of fun.

The sandhills crane came back! I love seeing them.

Desert Boy had a piano recital. He is doing quite well on piano.

The kids had science fair, and there were all sorts of interesting experiments and demonstrations.

Here's Desert Boy explaining his project to a community member.

I got to do some caving. This is a harvestman, Sclerobunus ungulatus, only found in caves in the Snake Range.

Although January was cold and snowy, February was warm and dry. We spent a lot of time at the post office parking lot riding bikes, scooters, and more.

And we spend time there because the concrete slab that serves as the tennis court/basketball court in town is 40 years old and not in good shape. When the school board came out for a meeting, we asked to have it replaced. We've been in contact with them since then and are crossing our fingers that this ten-year priority might actually happen this summer.

Then it was time for the annual snow survey. Snow conditions ranged from 100% to 150% of average.

My husband has been taking an Emergency Medical Responder class and I've gone to a few of the classes to get continuing education hours for my EMT certification. We take the kids along, and one evening they got to be patients and enjoyed that very much (since no pain was involved!).

Well, that's it for February!

Saturday, March 18, 2017

January Roundup

 Oh my, the year is going by fast! Here are some random photos of events in January. First off, ice skating in Salt Lake City. The kids really wanted to do this and had a fun time. Desert Boy thought it was harder than he was expecting, but Desert Girl easier.

It was cool watching the Zamboni

The kindergarteners and first graders waiting at the bus stop, trying to catch snowflakes with their mouths. This was the start of a big storm.

In fact, the storm was so big that we had enough snow that the kids could ski to school! I bet they'll remember that for a long time.

We played in the snow a lot. Desert Boy wanted to be buried.

I like the frosted eyebrow look.

We had tree trimmers work on the trees in our yard. We're hoping that will prevent them from falling over in big windstorms and crushing vehicles and buildings (which others have done in the past). It might also be easier to spot birds! (We're up to 17 species for our backyard bird list for 2017--we'll update the list in a couple weeks.)

I went to Texas and at an absolutely amazing Cajun meal that my friend Cassi suggested--jalapeno stuffed shrimp wrapped with bacon and paired with purple cauliflower. There are not words to describe how scrumptious this was.

It was so good to see Cassi! We usually get to see each other about once a year, and this year it's twice, so especially nice.

We had Desert Girl's birthday party a little early, and she performed magic tricks.

Some of the spellbound audience (at least some of them!)
Some day I'll catch up on getting my blog books printed out. And then some day, when the kids have grown up and left the house, I look forward to reading them and remembering all these wonderful times!

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Nevada Northern Railway--A Ride in the Engine

This is the last of a five-part series about the Nevada Northern Railway Winter Steam Photo Shoot Spectacular. Check out posts about Day 1 (Friday afternoon and evening), Day 2 (Saturday), around the Enginehouse, and Day 3 (Sunday morning).
 After taking photos all Sunday morning, it was time to head back to the East Ely Depot for lunch. NNRY Executive Director Mark Bassett asked if I would like to ride back with the crew. Wow, really?! I didn't have to think twice about that! I immediately said yes and climbed into the cab. The Fireman was at his post (above), and the Engineer was at his. He was all smiles all weekend, such a nice gentleman.

This is Gordon, the Brakeman, a volunteer from California who also has done a lot of photography and has a nice webpage. Behind him is the coal car. We had gone through a lot of coal by this point!

And here's the belly of the beast, the big steam boiler. This is what makes the train go.

We were headed back to the station in reverse, as there's no turn-around at the end of the line (at least where we were).

There are four different kinds of oil in these cans. I asked what they were, and they told me, but I'm afraid my memory doesn't recall.

This is a magic door. Press the pedal on the floor, and... opens, revealing the fiery furnace inside.

The Fireman was in a good mood.

Actually, everyone was. It was a beautiful day and we were on a terrific engine.

This gauge shows the amount of pressure in the furnace. If the number gets a little too low, add some water. (I think--I'd need a little more training before they let me operate it!)

Here's the view behind us as we chugged along backwards.

And the view forwards (while I got to steal the Fireman's seat for a little while!).

The Fireman is checking gauges, and it looks like it's time to make an adjustment.

More coal into the boiler! Look at how the shovel glows. This thing is hot.

I leaned out the side to watch the wheels move around. They were mesmerizing. I couldn't take a photo without falling out, but I could get one of the Engineer on his perch.

Crossing Highway 93.

Now we're entering the main yard and it's time to make lots of adjustments.

And check out the shadow of the engine!

It was so very cool to have the opportunity to ride in the Engine. You can see firsthand how much these people running the engine know and how they love being on a working railroad.

There was still more to the weekend, but riding in the Engine was such a highlight!

A few more photos:

A lock on one of the freight cars
Colorful caboose awaiting another ride.
Wrecking crane

Diesel engines with water tower in background

Filling the coal car's water tank
 I highly recommend a visit to the  Nevada Northern Railway. There is so much to see and do, and the more time I spend there, the more I'm impressed.
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