Thursday, August 07, 2014
I've been kind of stealth for 2014 because I've been growing out my hair from short layers to "something else" - but not really sure where the something else has been going. Considering how short my hair was to start, it has been extremely PAINFUL going through this process and most days I look in the mirror and just roll my eyes and hate it.
Growing out my bangs is the hardest part. They aren't quite long enough to tuck behind my ears and stay there yet, but I'm getting closer. I actually like the look of bangs, but I have so much hair that my bangs are not wispy and light - they are big hanks of hair! And my hairline in the back in really low, so my short hair just kind of pastes to my head when I hike or backpack. By growing out my hair, I can get it off my neck and forehead when I'm doing my favorite outdoor stuff.
I decided that I would wait until summer and get new glasses, and finally went last week. I noticed that all the young 'uns are going back to glasses that are a bit bigger. That helps me out since I wear progressives as it gives me a bigger viewing area. It's also good since I have transitional lenses, i.e. they turn dark in the sun. My old glasses could do that, but they were so small that it didn't really keep the sun out.
Anyway - the new glasses were ordered last week and ready today. Here goes...
Saturday, August 02, 2014
Friday, August 01, 2014
I couldn't resist - just got this from my DDIL.
Monday, July 28, 2014
I spent quite a few days this month without much data access, and I didn't even try to Spark. Suddenly the end of July is here, so I decided to do a synopsis.
- In mid-July I made two separate trips to Colorado and New Mexico. That's because I was taking two groups of 80+ scouts and leaders for a big backpacking adventure at Philmont Scout Ranch. Unlike the last time I was there in 2012, I was not also taking an individual crew and backpacking myself. I decided that it was too confusing to be the person in charge, plus take my own scouts. Therefore I'm signed up to do that in 2015 when my pal Richard is in charge of the bigger group. In July 2015 I'll be taking my nephew Devin plus a group of boys from his scout troop in MA.
- My first trip, I flew into CO and handed the 83 people over to our tour group. They took them to the Air Force Academy, the Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs, and the Pikes Peak Cog Railway. Finally they checked into their hotel and then went to dinner at the Golden Corral. I actually left them at the airport and spent the afternoon with my best friend from high school. Here we are, back in the day. I'm the one on the right.
- I stayed in Colorado Springs at the hotel with the scouts and then drove my rental car to Philmont, meeting the first group there as their buses arrived. We were in for a big surprise - we had arrived on "Millionth Scout Day" - the day the millionth camper arrived at Philmont (from the beginning of time). No one knew exactly when that day would occur, as numbers fluctuate. We all got a one-of-a-kind patch (only 1500 in existence).
- The scouts met their rangers who would train them and hike with them the first two days. At that point I was pretty much all set until the second group of 82 arrived two days later. I visited some of the women who run businesses in the small town of Cimarron, plus the women who "run" the scout camp administration - all long-time friends. I stayed in a beautiful B&B that is on private property but surrounded by the scout camp.
- As you can see, there are great views! They have their own hiking trails on the property, so I got in a lot of hiking at the beginning or end of each day. One day I ran into some cows (and one grumpy bull) who were meandering across the hiking trail. I stayed clear of the bull!
- Once the second group arrived, got processed, and went on the trail, I went home for a week so I wouldn't need to take any extra vacation time. The day after I got home, I had birthday brunch to celebrate my older son's 33rd. Jackson my grandson came too!
- Before I knew it, it was time to head back to NM. This time I flew into Albuquerque to visit my friend Sandy, who just moved there the prior month. She has a beautiful home in the foothills near Sandia Peak, and it made me want to pack my bags and move there. I was her first house guest, spending the night. I only met Sandy a year ago, but we bonded after meeting at the turtle club picnic. She's a professional herpetologist (expert on reptiles), having worked at the Baltimore National Aquarium for many years. She is the one who got me interested in box turtles, as she knows just about anything there is to know about Eastern Box turtles. She has an entire bedroom in the house devoted to her reptiles - turtles and skinks (arboreal lizards). Here are some of her amazing skink cages that she and her husband built for the new house:
- The next morning I went back to Philmont and my crews had started coming back from the trail. That night we went to the closing campfire production, and the next morning they all left on their buses. More R&R that day and the next, until the second group started hiking in. I left with them, out of Denver, the next day (last Wed.). All the travel was smooth until we arrived back in Baltimore at midnight on Wednesday, only to find that there were no gates available for 45 minutes. Once we deplaned, it was more than an hour awaiting our baggage because so many planes had landed around the same time - many of them were delayed due to earlier storms.
- Once I got back home, I got to see DH's continued efforts building my box turtle pen. I had used many ideas from my friend Sandy, such as having an actual mini-pond inside the pen. It holds 70 gallons and is fifteen inches deep, but since box turtles don't swim, it has a false floor that is perforated and makes it only 1-2" deep for them. The substrate (dirt, compost, sand mix) had been delivered in my absence and DH had also installed the doors. The designed was based off an idea I saw online, but modified by me and planned by DH.
- The next three day I spent finalizing the pen after work on Thursday and Friday, and all day Saturday. I planted all the plants - bushes and low plants like ferns and grasses. I finished setting up the pond. I painted the whole outside of the pen for aesthetics, and put rubber mulch around the perimeter. DH even ran an underground electric conduit - you can see the electric box hanging near the filter. That way I have power for the pump. Here it is!
- Yesterday DH and I did a bunch of chore. He was getting ready to leave early this morning on a backpacking trip with his pal, out in Wyoming. Meanwhile I did a bunch of weeding and did a filter cleaning and water exchange for my aquatic turtle Sandy, who is currently on the deck on her deck pond.
- DH and I are going backpacking in a few weeks with three other friends, in the Flat Top Wilderness of Colorado. While he is on this trip, I need to get my pack ready, plan my meals, etc. Here's a preview...
BACK AT WORK TODAY!!!
Friday, July 04, 2014
One of my Spark friends STRONGLY hinted that I follow up on my previous SP status with a blog. Her wish is my command - especially since I am long overdue with a blog.
I work full time, but I am passionate about several volunteer endeavors - scout backpacking, opera company board of directors, and turtle rescue and conservation. My three volunteer "things" keep me busy in my free time.
On the turtle side of things, I have adopted one adult Red Eared Slider "Sandy" (last summer) who lives in a 300 gallon pond on my deck during the summer, and three adult female box turtles who have been rescued for various reasons. "Helen" was hit by a car and has a cracked shell, but it healed nicely. Since she was hit on a street in a very busy area where there was no apparent box turtle habitat, she can't be returned to that area. (Box turtle adults are like homing pigeons and want to return to their "home turf" if you move them. If they are found injured in a non-viable habitat, they need to become pets.) My second boxie, "Muriel," was left in the basement of a home where an eviction occurred. As a pet she can't be released because she would potentially bring unknown disease to the native population. The final and newest turtle is "Daisy," who was rescued from poor treatment with four other turtles, from somebody's fenced back yard. Same deal as Muriel - she was a pet and therefore can't be released. My husband and I are building them an outdoor habitat, and I'll blog with pictures when we finish, later this month. I'm off on a Boy Scout adventure for the next couple weeks, so that delays things a bit.
Meanwhile, those turtles have nothing to do with my story! Over the Fall and winter, I also ended up fostering a total of twelve juvenile box turtles for my turtle rescue group. These were all wild baby turtles, most of whom were picked up outdoors by uninformed individuals in various places around the state last Fall or winter because they thought they were "orphans." In reality, turtles are born orphans and fend for themselves from birth. A few of the turtles had different stories - one was found upside down in a parking lot; another had its hibernation disrupted when somebody moved their woodpile, etc. They needed to be kept for the rest of the winter, fed and cared for, and then released back into the wild. There is a lot more flexibility with baby turtles who have no homing instincts, so you can improve where they live by putting them a little further away in the woods, etc. (That said, you shouldn't randomly be moving turtles around!)
The researcher who released my foster turtles allowed me to come along and help, which was fun. We did quite a bit of hiking to make sure they were put in safe, appropriate places. We geared up in long pants, long sleeves, hats, and boots, even though it was sweltering that day (in the 90's), since we would be bushwhacking a bit. SWEATY!!! (And I had let my Fitbit battery die the day before, unbeknownst to me, so I didn't even get credit for all the walking, LOL! I seem to do that a lot...)
Here's a photo of box turtle nirvana:
Here is the researcher holding up the first turtle to be released:
So that's my turtle story! Happy Independence Day to you and the emancipated turtles!
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