Rollin’, Rollin’, Rollin’

q8~After three weeks, over 3,000 miles and singing “Rollin’, Rollin’, Rollin’ and “On The Road Again” continuously, Barb, Hubs and I made it safely home! What an adventure. Never had such a trip where “weird things” kept happening. What became apparent to Hubs and I is that we need an SUV because I love to find places to visit that take us over gravel and dirt roads. Next trip I need an SUV and a pop-up tent trailer and I’ll be set.

The first side-trip which made our car groan was to the Calico Early Man Site. I’ve passed that turn off a million times and never took the turn off to see it. Barb had visited it in the 1980’s and said it was a fun stop. Poor car, over 2 miles of pitted, rutted, dirt, rock-strewn road. And to what? An anticlimactic end! The wonderful display they had when Barb visited years ago is gone. The area they have been digging in has been chained off and it’s a 1/2 mile of hiking in the desert heat for squat! Look at what we were hiking through. Picture the thermometer in the high 90’s.

Barb and me hiking trough hot desert.

Barb and me hiking trough hot desert.

I have to admit that all of our trips to Montana to see family start with a night in Vegas (or as hubs says “Lost Wages”) or Mesquite. So, we had our requisite night staying at our favorite Southpoint hotel/casino. For the first time since 1976, we decided not to follow I-15 up to Montana. A new adventure beckoned to us. On the road again to Great Basin National Forest, where none of us had been. About an hour outside of Vegas it became apparent to us that we were going to be without cell service, imagine 3 days without service!

On the way to GBNF, we stopped at Pahranagat National Wildlife Refuge’s (NWR). Our second encounter with pot-holed, dirt roads, our poor car will never be the same. Who goes hiking around in 90+ degree weather? Call us insane. All three of us had our cameras and were madly snapping photos: Alan and Barb capturing the beauty of the surroundings and me running after butterflies and birds.  We reached GBNF in late afternoon. This is the sight that greeted us while driving to the campground:

Wild Turkey crossing the road

Wild Turkey crossing the road

There are wild turkeys EVERYWHERE! Looking at the bird list for GBNF, wild turkeys are not on the list. They causally strolled through our campsite, along with deer. The next day we had a wonderful hike and a visit to the Lehman cave. We love caves and look for a chance to visit one where ever we are. This cave had features we’d never seen before, Alan took the photo below. It was the first time I’d been cool in days!

Lehman Cave

Lehman Cave

One thing I found out about National Parks vs. State Parks is that they don’t have running water and showers at the campsites. Quite rugged. Hum! After two days camping, it was time to hit the local town for a shower and then head to Salt Lake City. Barb and I had serious research to do at the Family History Center library. I mean, as mom says, we’re trying to prove whether or not we’ve been born.

While packing up my glasses fell to the ground and broke in two! Yikes! I need my glasses to read and to take pictures. With serious astigmatisms in my eyes I see double without my glasses. For the rest of the trip, this put a damper on taking pictures. I cannot focus a camera without them. I like to use manual focus to get exactly what I want. Relying on autofocus, I see that some of the butterflies and birds are not in focus in my photographs. Sigh……

Anyway, SLC here we come! Again, most of the way spent with the No Service phone. When there were a quick few bars I tried to call daughter Em to make sure she was doing ok and hadn’t gone into labor. She developed Gestational Diabetes so I was concerned about her. After three tries, success! She and baby boy were doing ok.

Our trip through Utah and Idaho continues tomorrow.

Time For Checkers?

~Confession time! Lately, I’ve been so busy gardening and taking pictures in the garden that I haven’t been knitting, spinning, or sewing. Followers may remember that I have planted flowers to attract hummers and butterflies. It is so exciting when a new bird or butterfly pays a visit. I’ve been trying to remember to have my good camera outside with me at all times, keeping the 55 – 250 mm lens on so I can zoom into the critter. Hurray! Yesterday a new butterfly, Checkered White, visited the yard. It was so polite, remaining on the verbena while I grabbed the camera and shot some photos. I wonder what type of knitting pattern for a shawl could be designed from the pattern on its wings? Don’t you think it looks a bit Art Nouveau?


A Flutter Of Butterflies

~“Butterflies are self propelled flowers.” ~ R.H. Heinlein

Texas Hill Country has butterflies EVERYWHERE! I have never seen so many butterflies in my life; except in butterfly exhibits at the San Diego Zoo, the Wild Animal Park, and Okinawa. Really, It started when it was my turn at the wheel while driving up into Hill Country Texas. There were a lot of blackish butterflies flying all over the road and smashing into the car. At Ozoma, TX it was time to pull off of the road to check them out. It turns out that they were swarms of Red Admirals. With so many of the Red Admirals I figured they must migrate. Sure enough! Where we live  in San Diego County we really don’t see this swarming of butterflies, so this is a awesome site. Everywhere you look there are butterflies. At one rest stop, the oak tree looked as if it were made of butterflies since it was covered with Painted Ladies. Yep, another migrating species. Tiny little Dainty Sulphurs seem to flit around me everywhere I walked. I’m sure spectators were wondering, “Who is that crazy lady running around after the butterflies and taking pictures?”

Butterflies seen which I was able to key out: Queen, Red Admiral, Dainty Sulphur, Common Checkered Skipper, Clouded Sulphur, Sleepy Orange, Painted Lady, Fiery Skipper, American Snout, American Painted Lady, Phaon Crescent, Southern Dogface, Ceraunus Blue, Sachem Skipper, Clouded Skipper, Variegated Fritillary, Checkered White, Bordered Patch, Eufala Skipper, and Pipe Swallowtail. Combine the butterflies with the change-of-season trees and it’s just a little slice of heaven on Earth! Hill Country sure is beautiful! I saw 15 new-to-me species of butterflies! Awesome.

This is the American Snout, the most bizarre butterfly I have ever seen; definitely the Jimmy Durante of butterflies. There is only one native snout butterfly in America. The average windspan is  1 3/8″ – 2″. Again, another species which migrates. Different resources I read said that over an 18 day period in September 1921, an estimated 6 billion American Snout butterflies flew over a 250 mile path from San Marcos, Texas south to the Rio Grande River. Unbelievable! This picture was taken down the street from my daughter’s home in the Lakeway area of Austin.


I do love these beautiful, graceful, “self-propelled flowers”.

Plant It And They Will Come

~It seemed as if the same butterflies kept visiting our garden. Wanting a new butterfly, I planted a native California plant a Red Buckwheat. This plant is host to the Gray Hairstreak and within the week we had a new visitor. The butterfly is quite tiny, the wingspan is 7/8 inches – 1 1/4 inches. It took awhile for me to capture a picture of it. As mentioned before, we’ve planted our garden to attract hummingbirds and butterflies.


I’ve been busy redoing the guest room. Finding a pieced quilt top which I did at least 10 years ago, I decided to finish it and use as a new bed cover. Will share when done.

A Chance Photograph!

~A photo project I’ve been doing lately is to try and take picture of the butterflies that stop by to visit at my house and other places I’m visiting. You can image that it does take patience. The pictures have been taken with my point-and-shoot Canon using the zoom feature. I have taken a few with my telephoto lens on the Canon Rebel. I just hate having to keep changing lenses on the Rebel. Lucky Curls has two SLR cameras – one for the telephoto and one for the regular lens. Another camera is on our list. These pictures were all taken at Curl’s house when I was there for a visit a few weeks ago.

The Funereal Duskywing greeted me when I got out of my car at Barb’s. It’s been visiting my house too, but won’t stay in one place long enough for me to catch. This was flying around the oak tree. Barb said it has been a common visitor to the oak this summer. This was a “polite” butterfly and stayed in the shade so I didn’t get heat stroke taking the picture.

Running around in 90 degree weather for butterflies was nuts! I’m sure anyone watching would have thought we were going crazy. Skippers are appropriately named since we were skipping all over the front yard trying to get pictures. Look closely at the Woodland Skipper picture and you can see its curled “tongue”.

Capturing a picture of the Marine Blue was a total accident! I was trying to snap a Woodland Skipper. When we went inside to examine the photos, I was in for a treat. I missed the Woodland, but, just by chance, here was a blue. We’d seen the blue flying around, and had even tried to take a picture of one! This tiny, tiny butterfly is one of my favorites.

Hurray, seeing the American Lady means I have seen all of the “Ladies” in North America.  The markings are so distinct. Don’t they look as if they are eyes? That’s the purpose, to scare off predators. Two new life list butterflies: American Lady and Woodland Skipper.

Fun Times At Curls!

~Barb is supposed to be a part-time, substitute, mail carrier, but during the summer she has to cover for people on vacation so she works A LOT! This means we don’t get a chance to get together a heck of a lot. The same thing happens from Thanksgiving through Christmas.

Hurray! She was off on Wednesday so I went up and spent Tuesday and Wednesday night with her. We had a blast!

When I got up to her place Tuesday afternoon, we had a wonderful walk around looking at flowers, birds, butterflies, etc. Took pictures of butterflies and flowers. Some of the flower pictures have already been posted.

I brought up a surprise craft project for us to do and she had a surprise project too!

This is how we started Wednesday morning; tea, cherries, and birds! Beautiful, clear morning. The bevy of quail were having a grand time running all over. The mockingbirds were engorging themselves on Barb’s berries. I am so thankful that All She Wants To Do blogged about the Peterson Bird app sale. I’d been wanting it and $.99 was quite a deal. Whipped out the iPhone and turned on the app to check out several bird calls. It was so funny to hear the Gambel’s Quail call back when we played their audio. Tried to get the Kestrel to come back by for a visit and kept playing it’s call, alas, it was to no avail. Saw a new bird for my life list – a Canyon Wren. This beautiful song was floating down to us from the roof top right above, when we glanced up there was this small bird with a long beak. The Jimmy Durante of birds! It then flew to the rocks below putting on quite a show by climbing all over the rocks. Finally there was such a large ridicule of mockingbirds that all of the smaller birds were scared off.

After a few hours the sun was high, the birds were gone so we decided it was time for breakfast. Barb whipped up a special, delicious Breakfast Sandwich.

Barb’s Delicious Breakfast Sandwich

Whole Grain Bread – toasted
Cooked egg – break into hot pan, after the white is a bit solid, puncture the yolk so it spreads out and cooks.
Slice of cheese – Barb used American.
*Peach butter – Barb’s home-made

Toast the bread, top with the cheese slice, add cooked egg to the very top. Slather with Barb’s home-made Peach Butter! 😎 *You can still make the sandwich without peach butter.

I’ve been wanting to cover compositions books. That’s the project I brought up for us. This is the craft area, we pulled out Barb’s kitchen table. The table was set up so we could watch our British mysteries while working. Sent a pic to the hubs and he said it looked as if a bunch of Kindergarteners had taken up residence! We’ll have a separate blog for our altered composition books AND the crazy project Barb had us do. 😎 Staples has the graph paper composition books on sale now if you want to get one and try the instructions we’ll be posting.

Such a wonderful time! Blinked my eyes and it was Thursday time to go home. Barb had to head to work. Her husband was out of town for a few days so it was just Chick Time – no guys allowed! 😎