Time for an invitation:

Time is the trick, the trick question, the magic trick;

Come, choose your topic, or comment on mine;

A minute will do to post a line;

Find time for a question, a trick or a link

Say what you think and make magic appear.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

The Search for Toquerville Falls

The closing of the roads past the gravel pit threw a few big boulders into my plans to find the back road to Toquerville Falls. Yesterday, Terry brought us out to his little overlook off Highway 9, and Reinee and I hiked across country toward the road I had seen from the gravel pit area. It was interesting to see Grotto Cove from above.

Several wildflowers attracted our attention - the reds of blooming paintbrush and mammilaria, and the gentle pinks of Mojave paintbrush. I slipped on some loose rock and my hand came down on a mammilaria. Pulling out the spines was no fun. It drew blood!

In the distance, I could see the gravel road which I thought might take us to Toquerville Falls. Unfortunately, there's no way to get to it without going down into the area near the gravel pit. Using any other route, the final descents are dangerously steep, almost vertical. We'd have to go back out Highway 9 and up past the guard rail section to find a way across. But I could see another way in, from Highway 17, and Terry was willing to explore it, so we went back out and gave it a try. After navigating a half-completed housing development (Those fireplugs looked so lonely!) we wound our way along a steep and narrow gravel road that our little 2-wheel drive pickup could just barely navigate. We were finally able to turn around near the Toquerville water tank. The ride down was scary. Loose gravel created poor traction and there were steep drop-offs on both sides. But we did see a side road that led off to the north, toward Toquerville Falls.

Today Terry took us out and dropped us off at the beginning of that road. It was quite windy, with rain threatening. When it was almost time to turn around, we took a steep road to the right, which led us around by the water tank and back to the car. Reinee insisted on sniffing around near the almost vertical drop-offs. I had to call her back several times. The wind was very strong. Luckily it was blowing away from the steep drops. When we rounded one curve, I could lean into the wind and feel it supporting me. It reminded me of walking over the Nuuanu Pali in Hawaii. Reinee wasn't crazy about the wind, but we pushed forward. The wind was getting into my ears, and I can imagine, with her huge ears, that it was much worse for her.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Tea Party Express III

We went into St. George this afternoon to see what the Tea Party people were up to. Quite a crowd -- we had to park several blocks away.

I was disappointed. It's supposed to be a movement to limit government interference in our lives, but all I heard was more of this religious stuff and a singer on stage going on about marriage being between a man and a woman, and more of the same. Not my cup of tea at all. Quite the opposite, in fact.

I have no problem with people who are religious being involved, or people who dislike the idea of gay marriage, as long as they don't co-opt the movement. It's supposed to be about limiting government power, about keeping the government under control, not about giving the government additional grounds to interfere in the purview of the states and the lives of the citizens.

Looks like another good idea going off the rails.


Wow! It took a lot of doing -- mostly because I'm not used to this sort of thing -- but my computer is now running smoothly again. Wow!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

cure multiplies woes

Yesterday I bought and installed "Exterminate It" and "Registry Reviver" plus a driver fixer. I ran the first two -- found a hijacker and repaired a hotkey, and fixed over 600 registry errors. My computer ran better for half an hour and then the troubles returned. Ran Exterminate It and found nothing. Ran Registry Reviver and found 63 errors, all file path problems and empty hot keys. Computer ran better for a little while, but then crashed. I was having difficulty shutting down so I did the "Switch User" test and when I used the little red button was told another user might lose data if I shut down. There still should be no other user. This was repeated several tmes till I finally gave up. File path errors had disappeared and empty hot keys dropped to 46.
I sent a report of the computer's state to the folks who own Exterminate It. We'll see what happens next.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

no more gravel pit :(

Reinee was straining at the leash and I was straining to see field marks on some cute little blue-backed birds (glasses left at home), so I didn't notice the barrier until we were right on top of it. Several old culverts and some dirt and large rocks were piled across the road, blocking our way at the end of Main Street, keeping us from the dirt road that leads down past the gravel works. This was accompanied by a huge sign that says "NO TRESPASSING".

I was in shock for a while. Then, hoping that the barrier was meant for trucks and such, I released Reinee and we walked along the edge of the high ground to a place where I knew people enter the area on foot. There I met another pile of dirt blocking the road and supporting an old plank which bore two smaller signs: "Keep Out" and "No Trespassing". I leashed Reinee up and we trudged home along the narrow verge, dodging the traffic on Highway 17.

No more place for young people to climb and run, no more place for people to ride their horses and run their dogs, no more place for trucks and ORV's to scramble up a variety of steep hills and humps. And no more time for me to take photographs. I had thought I would have forever to take shots of the interesting scenes that met my eyes at the gravel pit. I had a dozen or more vantage points picked out from which to take these shots. I was waiting for warmer weather, when we'd be taking our walks in the early morning, long shadows adding to the view. One lovely hollow would have made an interesting time-lapse study, with a series of stitched panoramics journaling its spring greening. I had just taken the first of those groups of pictures.

I saw in the police notices in The Spectrum a few days ago that there was a theft at the gravel pit. I wondered if someone had gotten into the office trailer and stolen the petty cash. I'm beginning to think it was a lot more serious than that.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Aaarargh again!

Windows updates continue, with some failures -- still haven't managed to install Vista Service Pack 2.

Aaaaah ...

M y laptop is working beautifully this morning. Aaaaah ...

Tuesday, March 23, 2010


Still doing Windows updates.Some lockups and crashes -- had to unplug and take the battery out once. Will this go on forever???

Monday, March 22, 2010

The Black Hole

I was in a black hole for a week. After returning the new little Acer netbook to Costco, I went back to my buggy (I thought) laptop. But the bugs were mechanical ones, not worms and viruses. Lappy's hard drive ground to a halt on Saturday, March 13, (triskadecaphobia anyone?) and the next day we hauled it down to the Geek Squad. Here I am, a week and a day later, loading up the new hard drive with programs. Some were easier to install than I expected, some were harder. I still haven't managed to reconnect this blog with my iGoogle home page, but I'll get there.

Tom Kimmel, a peripatetic collector of and writer about small steam engines stopped by our house today on his way between Flagstaff and Los Angeles. He keeps in touch with Terry and all the other steam engine enthusiasts he meets along his way, and helps to keep the steam hobby information flowing. Terry's little steam outboard Sprite is out on the patio looking pretty sad. It was somewhat damaged by the woodshed roof on Huckleberry Mountain that came down after burglars pulled out the roof supports. Sprite has been lying on our patio here for three years unattended, and needs a little TLC.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

black screen blues

Crushed - that's the word for it. Feeling like a well trampled grape. Windows did not shut down normally on my new little Aspire One last night; it could not close all the programs that were running. There were only two or three. This morning the black screen met my eye and It had to make several attempts before finding a happy way to start with a "previous" configuration. I only used Aspy for 5 hours total, most of which was spent trying to get Eudora to pick up my e-mail, giving up, and finally picking up the messages myself,dealing with it using the clumsy Skyviewmail interface. I did listen to some Internet radio. Love that.

I ran a full scan with Spyware Doctor this morning and it found no threats. It took 56 minutes and checked almost 300,000 items, spending a huge amount of time on the Windows folder.

If this happens again soon, I'll return the Aspire to Costco. I've been battling so many problems with my laptop the past few months that I don't have the psychic energy left to deal with another buggy computer. I'll just back off the amount of computer work I do. That would be healthier anyway. I don't like to think of myself as a quitter, but my brain is too boggled to be effective.

Monday, March 15, 2010

laptop crisis = netbook news

Yesterday, my laptop locked up while updating Windows, and nothing I tried would get it started again. It's been slowing down and having problems refreshing windows. Shutdown problems inclluded a file named SysFade.exe. A search using Terry's computer found an explanation at GeeksToGo. The video driver needed to be reinstalled, but I couldn't do that with the machine locked up. We made a trip to Best Buy, where a very helpful geek-squadder ran a diagnostic on the hard drive, which didn't pass the test. I left the computer behind to have the hard drive replaced. That was done, and Lappy is now waiting for the proper recover disk so he can get up and running again. Meanwhile, I was without a computer.

But ... about a week ago I had seen a little Acer Aspire netbook and fallen in love. There must have been some leftover fairy dust blowing around since Valentine's Day. We ran down to Costco today and picked one up. I have it up and running (and anti-virused), ready to go, though I still have to get my local e-mail set up. It's going to be great. The video is so sharp that the text, though small, is easier to read than the laptop's, and the touchpad is better, too. Aspy weighs less than 3 pounds and would fit in a large purse.

I plan to use the Aspire for most Internet uses and do project work on the HP laptop. ♥♥♥♥

Friday, March 12, 2010

evading the big rigs

Rain cheated Reinee of running opportunities for over a week, but we made up for it today. I'm determined to find a way past the entrance to the area where they're mining gravel that doesn't bring us dangerously close to the road where the big side dumpers are roaring back and forth.
This time we went north by walking near the left side of the road just below the top of embankment. The bank was steep and the dirt was soft and loose. We encountered prickly bushes, stickers and sharp rocks. We had to descend quite a ways to get over the culvert and then had to climb up again. There was a spectacular viewpoint just north of the culvert.

On the way back, we walked much further to the east. This was a much better route, though it did take us down through the wash. The off-roaders have found a crossing place that's fairly wide and shallow, and we followed their example. We stayed west of the telephone poles as we headed back to Main Street, and had only mild rises and falls to contend with.

This walk has been our most strenuous so far, though the time we climbed up to the ridge was more demanding in a different way.

Yard Saling

We went yard saling this morning. It's been a while. I wanted to be sure to get to the BAM (Because Animals Matter) rummage sale. It was a good one. I bought six tops and some odds and ends, including an old wooden yardstick from Pay & Pak. I paid twice what they were asking and still felt like it was a bargain. Two other yard sales yielded a long dress, a green pillow, three screwdrivers, a framed tropical fish print and a nice tin. This was much better than the last dozen or so yard sales I went to. I may start going again.

Thursday, March 11, 2010


Spooky appears to have recovered, except that his amnesia returned -- he forgot where his catboxes are again. Luckily Terry caught him in time to adjust his location. We're hoping that was a temporary aberration.
We figure he ate something that disagreed with him. I did give him leftover Hawaiian BBQ ribs on Monday, and was surprised when he ate the pineapple bits. Perhaps that caused the problem. Or perhaps it was something in the BBQ sauce, which was store-bought. Pork is Spooky's favorite meat, and everything tasted of pork, so he ate it all.


By definition, wind includes the element of time. Wind is the motion of particles, and motion is based on time and distance. If particles could be one-dimensional, wind would only require three dimensions, but one of those dimensions would have to be time. On a more complex level, wind is a feature of weather systems which move from place to place, again requiring time.

But this morning, as I hauled the trash bin out to the sidewalk, I realized that wind had affected my schedule, the routine arrangement of my time. Terry usually hauls the bin out on Wednesday night to await pick-up on Thursday morning. But the wind was doing its Hurricane thing (There's a reason the town next to us is named Hurricane.) and we didn't want to see the bin blown over, lid fallen open, and our trash flying around the neighborhood.

When we first moved here, The wind flared up almost every Wednesday. I began to wonder if there could be a 7-day cycle involved. That idea seemed unlikely, and it didn't hold up in the long run. A probabilistic anomaly. I've been fooled by those before.

The first couple of months we were here I was surprised to see lawn chairs and decorative pillows blowing around the neighborhood. The funniest sight was an empty mattress box chasing a woman down the street. Luckily, it doesn't blow like that all the time. Most days are quite calm. This morning was just a bit breezy, nothing like last night.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010


Our water has been on and off today. Sometimes the pressure has been low even when there was water available. Our timing was fairly lucky. We filled a bathtub with toilet flushing water when I first noticed the pressure drop, but didn't need to use it, though the toilet tanks ran dry a couple of times.

When the water came back on tonight, the trapped air caused it to spurt wildly. It was an ugly color and very cloudy.

weed time

Timing is a big factor in manual weed control. Rain that comes on schedule keeps the weeds going even in this desert climate. If the rains come far apart, only a few weeds survive, no matter how much it rains. If it rains once a week or more, even if the rain is fairly light, the weed seedlings have a chance to progress until their roots go deep enough to survive dry spells.

Time plays another part. If it's wet and rainy when I have time to weed, I don't brave the weather for this chore. If I'm busy until the ground bakes hard, The weeds are hard to remove entirely, leaving sections of root behind to give their clones a start. If I water the soil (What a waste!) and return to pull weeds the next day, the ground has softened, but if I am distracted from this chore, it doesn't take long for the earth to bake hard again.

Going to seed is another time-related problem. In desert climates, many weeds go to seed quickly. They have evolved to survive in a place where rains may be brief, and they must produce seed before a lack of moisture kills or stunts them. It creates a lot more work if they have a chance to spread their seed.

Kay and Harry

Kay and Harry left on Monday and we miss them. I wish they'd come and stay a while. I hope they had a chance to visit the Coral Pink Sand Dunes on the next leg of their journey, but the weather wasn't very promising.
We had snow (!) on Monday. Big, powder puff flakes. It was gone by
noon, but it was memorable. The big flake in this photo looks
like a bird. I wonder what the apricot buds are thinking. They're about 4 days later than last year.

sick cat

Crazy day today-everything extra complicated, and Spooky is sick. If he's not better tomorrow we'll take him to see Dr. Hooks.
We're listening to MLB.com. Great to hear the Red Sox doing well in Spring Training. I wish we could go watch the Rockies in Arizona, but it doesn't look very promising.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Red Coyote Cafe

Too wet to make searching for fossils in the uncertain washes east of Mesquite seem enticing, today turned out to be a food day. Terry made his legendary Bridge Creek oatmeal pancakes for breakfast, and Harry took us to the Red Coyote Cafe in Virgin for lunch. The Red Coyote features local performers on Sunday afternoons, and we were treated to some songs by blues singer Jerone Wedig. We were also entertained by a boy who attempted to use a bottle cap to start peeling an orange. A waitress finally had to be brought out to cut up the orange for him.


Kay and Harry are here. They arrived fairly late in the afternoon, but we still found time to rock hunt at Grotto Cove. No fossils, but Kay was able to replenish her supply of sandstone. Reinee enjoyed running up there with us.

Saturday, March 6, 2010


Harry & Kay Hibler are due here today. It's been too long since we've had company. I'm out of practice.

Kay will be wanting to collect mucho rocks for the classes she teaches. I hope rain doesn't keep us indoors.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

virus scare

A baaaad e-mail link sent me to "The End!!!!" which caused me to lose all my passwords, and I had a tough time reconnecting with this blog. I thought it had disappeared -- not that there's very much to it yet, but I've lost some serious work in the past, and this felt like the last straw. What a relief to find it again.

Doggy Dude Ranch

Reinee had her first PlayDay at Doggy Dude Ranch near Zion yesterday afternoon. It was a freebie -- she stayed just a couple of hours and she loved it. She had fun playing with the other dogs, and was singing a duet with a malamute when we returned to pick her up. She's really mellow this morning.We'll be taking her back up there next time we have a long day of activities planned away from home..
Yesterdaymorning's hike to Grotto Cove with Reinee was productive. I carried back a heavy bag of trash, mostly broken glass. I think one more trip will take care of the rest of it.
Rain showers have already begun this morning, and clouds are thickening. Rain is predicted for this afternoon, so I'm not planning much in the way of outdoor activities.