Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Smokey Sun Photos

The photos were taken the other night when the Albuquerque, and Rio Rancho areas were filled with smoke from the Whitewater/Baldy fire in the Gila national forest which is a little over 300 miles from us. I would rather it hadn't come over us. but since it did I took some photos.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Leaky Sink

So a few days ago it was the washing machine and yesterday the leak in the kitchen sink got a lot worse. It had been leaking for some time. Anything from a slow drip to a steady stream, unless you were careful to hold your mouth and teeth just right and find the magic off spot by putting the spout in just the perfect place somewhere near the middle of the sink. The dishwasher hadn't been acting right either, and neither had the garbage disposal.
       So Lee started checking things out and found a leak under the cabinet right over the electric outlet for the dishwasher. Yukkkkkssss. Danger. That had to be fixed now.
        So he started taking things apart. Being a man he started with the least likely place - the dishwasher. He took it completely out to find there was nothing wrong with it. He decided - as I had told him - that the problem might be with the garbage disposal. So it came out - which would be necessary to put in a new faucet anyway. The disposal was full of undigested gunk. Disgusting and stinky. Well that was part of the problem. The crocked pipe under the sink was full of the same gunk. They went to the garage to be cleaned.
        Then it was off to the store to get a new facet for the kitchen. And one for each of the two bathroom sinks as both of them had very slow leaks. The hard water we have does a number on sinks and faucets. There is corrosion all around the faucets of all sinks that I can't get off by any amount of scrubbing with any of the products meant for getting corrosion or lime deposit off.
     Lee took a piece of emery cloth to the deposits around the kitchen faucet. Didn't leave as many scratchs on the stainless steel sink as I thought it might. We considered a new sink - until we looked at the price. Faucet we got was $50 bucks. Not the cheepest but certainly not the most expensive. New sinks started at about $100 bucks. We decided we could live with the old one for now as there was actually nothing wrong with it except the hard water deposits.
      Then we found that the water lines that we had from old faucet were a lot smaller than the new faucet needed. So it was back to the store for new water lines.
       Finally the new faucet was in. And the garbage disposal was back in place and nothing was leaking. New faucet is almost beautiful compared to the old one.
             With all the trouble we had putting in the kitchen faucet I wonder how long it will be before the bathroom faucets are replaced.
            I wonder what will need fixing next?

Friday, May 25, 2012

Washing Machine

My washing machine had been refusing to let more than a trickle of water come into the tub at a time for a while. Which meant that it would take many long minutes each time it went through the fill cycle. So we pulled it and the dryer out of their cubby hole in the garage to find out why. We had an idea and were right, there was a bunch of corrosion built up in the little filters that cover the hoses that let the water in.
        We have extremely hard water here. Lots of minerals in the water that cause corrosion. We cleaned the filters and I decided to clean behind the washing machine and the dryer since they were pulled out. The tube to vent the dryer had come off and there were piles of lint behind in the back of the 'closet' that the washer and dryer live in. It was a lot of work but I cleaned all the lint out and when we got them back in the washer let lots of water come pouring out into the tub as it had been meant to do.
       I tell you this because we were lucky we hadn't had a fire due to all the lint that had accumulated in behind the dryer. I would recommend that everyone check out the area behind the washer and dryer every year or so to make sure the vent hose hasn't come off the dryer. And if you notice your washer not working as well as it should you might find the problem easy to fix by cleaning the little filters on the hoses.
       This information might save someone from having a fire in their house, and at least save you from a large plumbing bill to find out why you can't use the washer.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Dead Critters

Desert Horses was posting about the dead snake a raven dropped in front of her car. But I have a dead bird story. This is what hubby told me the other day after I came home from running errands. He was cleaning and refilling the horse water buckets. I say bucket loosely as they are a 55 gallon barrel cut in half. So about 25 gallons will fit in each one. Every once in a while we find we find a dead critter in the water barrel. We now have 2 barrels in each pen so we don't have to water as often and in case of the dead critters. Most of said dead critters are insects like flies, moths, butterflies, ladybugs, (which I try to rescue), centipedes, scorpions, bees, wasps, and caterpillars. These aren't to bad but the occasional rat, mouse, and bird and not much fun.
      Hubby said he was waiting for one bucket to fill when he saw our pinto pony, Traveler walk up to another barrel in the adjoining pen and reach in and pull out a dead bird. As if that wasn't bad enough the pony began to either try to play with the bird or was mad at it and was trying to make sure it was dead. Lee said he tossed it in the air and then picked it up off the ground and tossed it again about 3 times. By then hubby decided enough of that and yelled at Trave and then sprayed him with the water hose to make him drop the bird since he was now running around the pen with the tip of dead birds wing in his mouth. He dropped it and Lee was about to get to dead bird and get it out of the pen.
     It was a cured bill thrush which is about the size of a mockingbird. Fairly good size. First one we had found dead in water barrel. We have lots of them and they eat lots of bugs and fly larvae so we don't mind them. Usually the dead birds we find in water barrel are very young birds still with the yellow bills. But not late enough in the season for young birds yet and this one looked ground according to Lee.
 And back to dead critters I went to feed Star, one of my mares the other evening and there was something weird in her feeder. On picking it up I discovered it was half of a dead snake. Very dead as I think it had been cut in half by the hay mower and then flattened in the hay bale withe the hay. Yuck. I dropped it on the ground but had to pick up again and dispose of it as I didn't want Star eating near it.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Solar Eclipse

We had a perfect view of the solar eclipse that was on last Sunday evening. We took some photos even though we didn't have good equipment for it. We used my small digital camera with a welding helmet held in front of the camera. The first photo is of the sun before the eclipse started and we got some solar flares in it, too. Second photo taken with a welding helmet with a yellow lens in it. The others were taken with a helmet that had a green lens. We got some not so good shots and some that weren't that bad considering our makeshift equipment. Hubby was upset they didn't look better but I though getting anything was good.

Highway Sights

These are sights seen going down the highway on the way home after being on Mt. Tayler for the day. Some are blurry as they were taken from the pickup truck window as we were going about 70 mph. Some of the lava rock beds that are near the highway. Good for another days outing. Again there were lots of big trucks on the road. There was a cute little church on a hill of a village that I would really like to check out some day. The Sandia mountains hiding Albuquerque as we came in from the west. And last a truck that said England on it. Was it lost? If so it was a long ways from the country. An ocean away.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Bluewater Creek Canyon

We took a road that we had seen deer, elk, and turkey on many years before. It was rough and got rougher until we found we had come to the end of the road. We decided to step over the barbed wire fence where others had done the same before us. We walked out to the edge of a canyon and looked down, or tried to. We couldn't see the bottom. We could see many miles to the northwest beyond the canyon. The rock ledge was intriguing. There were black streaks down the almost smooth rock at one place. I wondered what could have caused the streaks like that. Had it been water falling over the ledge some time in the past when there wasn't the drought we are having now?
     Suddenly we heard an eagle scream. The big bird did it over and over. And then we saw the birds flying against the side of the ledge. Knowing that they are such big birds they looked small up against the side of the huge rock wall. They disappeared but then were back to fly right over our heads. We were so interested in looking at the eagles we almost forgot to try to get some photos and the only one I got was blurred.
       It was a wonderful experience to see the eagles. I think they were golden eagles. They just didn't look right to be juvenile bald eagles that have the dark heads. We agreed that rock wall would make the perfect place for an eagle nest but as much as we looked we couldn't see any sign of one. But we could only see the wall across from us and not the one right under our feet.

      When we got back I goggled around until I found out that the canyon was the head of Bluewater Creek Canyon that runs into Bluewater Lake that is just west of Grants according to the Cibola National Forest website. There is a hiking trail along the creek that is about 2 miles long. I would  love to be able to take the hike but old age doesn't make for good hikes. 

Rough Roads

the roads going up Mt. Taylor are rough. From just past the outskirts of Grants the pavement stops and it is dirt roads all the rest of the way. Here are a few photos I took leaning out the window as we drove. As you can guess we were glad to have 4-wheel drive in our little Chevy pickup. Sorry if the photos are a bit blurry but we were moving as you don't stop on this kind of road unless it is a real have too. Of course some of the road is graveled which really doesn't make it any better as it seems to make the road slick even without being wet. In the winter with snow on the gravel it can really be bad if I remember right. We used to bring snowmobiles up here to play in the snow. Of course the fact that the mountain is a lava bed since it was a volcano doesn't help. When you get close to the top (the last 4 miles or so) it is nothing but bump, bump, bump over the lava rocks embedded in the road. We didn't do the last four miles to the top where the firetower is. What a great job it must have been to be the fire lookout on top of a volcano mountain. That is except during a lightning storm.

Mountain Dandies

A lot of the mountain meadows were covered with dandelion flowers. Carpets of bright yellow. I don't think these dandies are native to the mountain but sure are pretty when blooming. The wild goose berries were blooming, too. Tiny little orange blossoms that will make a berry favored by birds, and other wildlife. We saw a bird nest in one blue spruce near a small creek. The open seed cones of pinon pine trees, New Mexico's pine tree, and aspen trees that had their back rubbed by the deer and elk last fall when they were rubbing the velvet off of their antlers. The deer and elk damage the aspens when they do this leaving unique designs in the white bark that are black. Some people carve on the aspens but shouldn't do it and I hate to see it.

On Mt. Taylor

We saw lots of pretty sights while we were driving up Mt. Taylor. The mountain is the remains of a very old volcano about 2 million years old. It has been considered a very sacred place by the Native Americans that are in this area. Pueblo Indians from Acoma Pueblo, Laguna Pueblo, Zuni and the Navajo Indians. Some call the mountain The Sacred Mountain or The Turquoise Mountain, but it was named Taylor after General Zachery Taylor, famous in the Mexican War, and then became one of our presidents. It can be seen for over 100 miles around it as it seems to sit out in the middle of a large section of flat New Mexico landscape. It is just over 11,000 feet high at the highest peak. We did not get there this time, as the roads were so rough and washed out and because we needed to be back in time to feed the critters their evening meals. 
This day we saw two deer, lots of Indian Paintbrush flowers, and aspens just leafing out.