Sunday, August 28, 2016

I think the wasps are gone

I don't want to promise that they are, but it looks like the wasps are dead and/or gone from the back of my trailer. About three nights ago, I went outside and hosed down all of the stuff remaining in the trailer  with lighter fluid and struck a match. As the fire would die down, I would spray on more juice, keeping it going until it was apparent that all the sticks, cardboard, grass, and anything else burnable was pretty much gone. I also used a rake and spade to move the chunks of sod around to try and expose as much to the blaze as possible. When it was all said and done, I hosed everything down with water to put out the fire and went to bed.
So far, over the past few days, I have seen no wasps flying in and out of the trailer. The sod was turned into mud when I hosed it down and so all the holes would have at least been covered, if not filled with dirt. I will not go so far as to say the war is over, but I think I can conclude that this particular battle has been won. Now, anyone need a trailer?

Lab tests look good

I have been minimally concerned ever since I stopped going to the naturopath I was going to. Not that I believe now that naturopaths have nothing worthwhile to offer. I think there are all kinds of non-traditional medicines that make sense and are perhaps less invasive on the body. So, none of that was why I stopped going to the guy. The reason I stopped going was really his lack of thoroughness and professionalism. He would do things like fail to tell me to fast for lab tests, and not even warn me ahead of time about certain procedures he would do--seemingly on the spur of the moment. To me he also seemed to be throwing supplements in a hope that something would work.
As a health nut, this kind of stuff bothered me enough that I decided to stop going to the guy. But prior to that, he taken some blood to send to the lab and there had been some disconcerting indicators, like high blood sugar, and also indicators of kidney malfunction.
I went back to my regular doctor to have these things checked. I had to wait for a while to get this done, because the insurance will only pay for so many labs in a certain time frame. Finally I got the results of my new lab test and everything came out normal. I had been thinking all along that my kidney indicators were off most likely because of dehydration, so I made sure to drink a lot of water both the day before, and the morning of my blood draw. For that reason, normal kidney function didn't surprise me.
I haven't actually seen the results myself yet. I would like to know how close to too high or too low some of these things are. But right now, I feel great about the results. The only thing I need to figure out now, is my blood pressure.
My blood pressure is usually in the good range when I take it at home, and nearly always high at the doctor's office. I told the nurse the other day that my blood pressure goes up at the doctor's office because I'm so stressed about it going up at the doctor's office. I actually think this is the case. I'll need to rule out my blood pressure device as faulty. I think I will just have to buy another monitor and see if they both read the same. If they do, then either I'm correct about my bp rising at the doc's office, or their machine is faulty.
At any rate, I'm feeling good about my general health right now, trying to drink more water to keep the kidneys strong, and trying to eat better. Incidentally, I don't think the fries and the churro at the concert last night helped at all with any of that...

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Baby Come Back...what a classic song by Player!

Here's a great song smack dab out of the seventies. It's a song of anguish for a lost love and I can feel that those performing really know that kind of loss. That's the key to a great song---convincing people that you have felt that kind of thing before as you're performing. Enjoy!

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Wasp battle update

Okay, so my attempt at killing the wasps with wasp spray didn't work. Onto my next attempt. I have decided that the next thing I will try is to squirt charcoal lighter fluid into the hole from which the wasps are coming out of the sod. Last night I removed the rest of the cabinet, except for the thing backing piece that fell off as I was taking out the rest. I figured that I had likely already disturbed the yellow jacket nest, so I waited until early this morning to pull out that last piece.
That leaves the lighter fluid for tonight. If that doesn't work, I have thought of another, even more dangerous option (danger from the wasps). I will try to fill the hole with canned foam. Sticking that nozzle in there is what's going to be dangerous, so I'm hoping the lighter fluid works.
And if you hear about a guy getting stung dozens of times, you'll know who it is.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

How removing wasps from a trailer is harder than you might think

I actually think there may be more than one lesson here. Sometime last week, my son-in-law, Justin, was throwing a dilapidated old cabinet into the bed of my truck-bed trailer. There was already some stuff in the trailer. I usually wait until I accumulate enough stuff in it that a trip to the landfill is warranted before I empty the thing. So, prior to the cabinet, inside the trailer were some pieces of sod, some bush and vine trimmings, a huge, flat cardboard box that the fireworks prize I had won last year came in, and various odds and ends. In all there was a layer less than a foot deep in the bed of the trailer. Anyway as Justin threw the cabinet in, he was swarmed with yellow jackets and got stung on the neck before getting away.
As soon as I heard the story, I knew I had to get rid of the nest. I didn't want anyone else getting stung, and when I finally made my trip to the dump, I didn't want to be shoveling out angry wasps. I'm sure you can understand.
One thing I've learned over the years is that the best time to attack a wasp or hornet nest is at night. First of all, they are all gathered at the nest at night and so you can kill all of them. Secondly, they aren't active and you have less chance of being stung. Larry Sagers, the late guru from the Utah State Extension Service always said to wear protective clothing and to use a flashlight with the light covered in red cellophane or something red that the light will shine through. The reason being is that these insects cannot see red light. That being said, with today's long reaching wasp sprays, some that spray as far as twenty feet, I have sprayed wasps in the past with and without protective clothing and in the middle of the day. It's not something I recommend, but it's easier than finding red cellophane on the spur of the moment.
Unfortunately for me, I had to know where the nest was before I could spray it. I thought it might be under the trailer and so I looked around, but could find nothing. Then I saw some of them flying out of the bed, out from under the fireworks box. I sprayed where I saw them entering and exiting, but the nest had to have been somewhere up inside and unreachable. I decided that I would light the box on fire. I put a wasp trap out and waited until the next day to put my arson skills to work. That morning, I checked the trap and there was at least a dozen wasps inside of it. So far, so good. Reduce their numbers and you have less of a chance of getting severely stung. That evening, I watched the Olympics, waiting for it to get dark. I was also waiting for events that I'm not particularly thrilled with to come on the Olympic programming. I wouldn't want to miss important track and field opening heats, for example. It would be much better to miss gymnastics or diving gold medal competition.
Finally it got dark and I went outside with my charcoal lighter fluid and a box of matches. I had placed the hose strategically nearby, just in case the fire began getting out of control. I was surprised at how long that cardboard took to burn, and it didn't spread very fast. I thought I was going to be there a long time waiting for all the stuff to burn. Then, the fire caught on the particle board cabinet and began raging. I let it burn for a moment or two, then decided I had better put it out before the neighbors called the fire department. I circled the trailer and realized that not all of the cardboard was burned in the area where I had seen the wasps exiting and entering. I needed to burn more, but I had just soaked the cardboard when I put out the fire. Nevertheless, I squirted some lighter fluid on it and lit it. It sputtered out. I then doused it really good and after a little sputtering, the cardboard must've begun drying and it began to burn. I waited as long as I could--as long as there was still stiff cardboard in the entry area of the nest--and then I put it out thoroughly.
The next morning I got up to see if I had been successful. There were more live wasps in the trap, so I knew that the flames hadn't reached the nest. I would need to pull that cabinet out of the bed in order to get to it. Once again, I waited until it was dark, only this time, the Olympics were too exciting, so I waited until early the following day.
No one was awake when I went outside. I just thought I could grab and end, and with a mighty pull, get that cabinet out of the trailer. I pulled and it didn't hardly move. It was heavier than I thought. I grabbed hard on the bottom and pulled with all my strength. Suddenly, the bottom ripped off and I was flying backwards, unable to keep my balance. I landed hard on my left side, hurting my hip, hurting my hand, and getting some road rash in the process. If I would have fallen just a little further backward, I may have knocked myself unconscious on the bumper of my daughter's van. Good thing I didn't because no one knew where I was.
/The trailer with the broken cabinet. You can see the bottom still on the ground from when I fell with it.
I waited a day or two to check again. My hand hurt really bad and I wanted to give it some time to heal before looking into the trailer again. When I did, I found that I had caused the cabinet to collapse enough that I could now see the entry into the nest again, and unfortunately, it was underneath the sod. Last night, I went out and coated the entire area with wasp spray (during the diving), and went to bed hoping that had done the job.
The opening to the nest is just to the right of the burn mark on the cabinet.
Unfortunately, this morning it looks like it didn't work. There are two new wasps inside the trap, and one hovering around.
There are quite a few dead wasps in this trap, and one live one at the top.
I have another trap in the back yard with hundreds of dead yellow jackets in it.
There are wasps flying in and out of the opening in the trailer. My next step will be to try and empty a bottle of lighter fluid as far into the opening as I can get it and then light it on fire.
I will need to remove the rest of this broken cabinet before proceeding. I'll do that at night too.
In the end, I will win, but it may be by getting rid of the trailer (when full, it's really too heavy for my 4runner to pull without damaging the clutch), or by waiting until it freezes, after which I'll be able to just shovel out the sod, the nest along with it. One thing I won't do is take a chance on falling again and risk bashing my head on the van without telling Ann that I'm outside removing the cabinet from the trailer. And I'm just glad that some of you weren't around when I fell, or I may have ended up on America's Funniest Home Videos or as part of a viral youtube video. At any rate, it's just another adventure and I'm excited to see how it turns out.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Writing, the Olympics, and me

My watching of the Olympics has definitely taken its toll on my writing in this blog. And that's how life is. We decide which is most important to us and that's how we spend our available time. This morning, looking at Facebook posts was more important to me than writing, and now here it is, nearly time for me to get ready for work and I've only written a few words.
I guess there's a lesson to be learned here and it doesn't have to be a bad one. We all make priorities and these past two weeks, mine has mostly been the Olympics. It hasn't hurt me to take a break from life and watch the best of athletic competition. And I doubt it has hurt very many of my readers to not see very many blog posts. Now, as the Olympics wind down, I need to start thinking about what I'm actually going to be writing about. That's pressure, but only self-imposed pressure. And the thing is, if I get something written, it's gravy. I'm not getting paid for this. And you're probably thinking I can see why.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Music appreciation night- Alison Krauss "I Will"

I love Alison Krauss's voice. I like the Beatles version of this song, but I prefer Krauss's voice. Here you go. I hope you enjoy great music, because this is it.

Always check your gym bag

Yesterday morning, I did my typical "sneak into the bedroom in the dark and grab the shirt and shorts out of the drawer and try not to wake Ann up" routine. I went into the other room and stuffed those two items, along with my shoes, into my gym bag.
After work, I arrived at the gym, stripped down and went to put on the clothes. The "shorts" that I had grabbed out of my drawer in the dark, ended up being Ann's capris! At that point, I had three choices. Either I could get dressed again in my work clothes and bag working out, I could wear Ann's capris to work out in, or I could put my mailman shorts back on and work out in those. I chose the last one. I actually had a pretty good workout too, doing my treadmill 5k in 31:10, which is my fastest time this year. Maybe I'll wear my mailman shorts all the time to work out in.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

God teaches me something every day

Not everything God teaches me is fun. Yesterday morning I was doing my mail delivery while listening to Christian talk radio for part of the time. One of the messages was on hell and what it is. What stuck with me was that the man speaking said that hell is being permanently removed from the presence of God--knowing that He's there, but being prevented from coming near to Him.
As I contemplated this, I was reminded of some friends of mine who have lost loved ones in the past week. Lives of good people who were far too young. These people are missed tremendously by their family members and friends who are left behind. That kind of anguish, of losing someone like that, is truly heart-rending. Nearly all of us have experienced it, and it truly can be a form of hell. Eventually, the initial anguish goes away, but never the hurt of the loss.
And that's what God taught me yesterday. I can now imagine what it's like to be out of God's presence forever, because I know what it's like to be out of my loved one's presence--even for the short span of a mortal existence.
Loss doesn't always come in the form of death either. It can also be the kind of emotional loss from a divorce or tough decisions that have to be made. I don't know how to comfort those who are  experiencing this kind of loss. All I know is that God is teaching me every day. Maybe one day, He will teach me how to comfort others in a better way. Or even how to get that comfort myself. He has already taught me what it would be like to be without Him for eternity.

Saturday, August 06, 2016

Summer Nights

                        One of my favorite songs of all time is this classic from Grease. Enjoy!

Rain, beautiful rain

It has been a long time coming this summer for me. Whenever there has been a significant downpour, I have been in another location. Today, I was home and it began to rain. It never turned into a cloudburst, but I went out in my back yard and laid down in it, until I was too cold to stay there. Then I stood up and walked around, still cold, and getting wetter by the second. I got pretty cold and soaked and it felt so nice after the hot days (weeks!) we've had. The only drawback is that no one wanted to help me warm back up. Oh well, the good thing about getting wet is that if you walk around working in the wet clothes long enough, they'll dry on their own.
I'm just thankful for the rain!

Great hiking and fun fishing in the Uintas

On Friday I got up at 4:00 to try and get to the Ruth Lake trailhead in the Uinta Mountains early. I actually ended up leaving the Salt Lake Valley at about 5:15 after forgetting my worms and having to drive back a few blocks to retrieve them. Almost like when someone gets distracted when talking on the phone (hands free), and misses their exit ramp on the freeway.
The drive up was uneventful. I say that, but really as I approached Bald Mountain Pass, off to the side of the road was an entire herd of mountain goats. I stopped and took a few pics of them, then continued on my way.
Right off the road, a herd of mountain goats.
The trailhead parking was already quite full when  I got there. I found out later that there were quite a few Scout troops and families camped by all the lakes that fed off the Ruth Lake trail. Most of the cars there were from folks who had spent at least one night camping. I was envious!
Up to Ruth Lake, the trail is pretty well distinct. Along the way, I saw a bull moose sneaking his way along the edge of a large meadow. At that moment I wished that I had decided to pack the extra weight of my zoom lens, but I was still able to at least document that he was there.
If you look closely, that dark brown spot in the center of the pic is a bull moose sneaking through the trees.
I found the first of several Scout troops at Ruth Lake. They had camped right on the trail and I skirted around them. My goal was to make it to Teal Lake and get some quality fishing time. After skirting the Scout camp I was unable to locate any trail heading toward Teal. I decided to pull out my trusty GPS and just head for it cross country.
Ruth Lake
It was a bit rugged in parts, and I found out that if you're climbing down rocks, you should avoid stepping on Englemann Spruce needles. They roll like tiny logs beneath your feet and I nearly slid down the cliff face I was trying to climb down.
Wild flowers are still flourishing up high. Not for much longer though.
One of the other lakes I had been interested in fishing was Jewel Lake. I got withing spitting distance of Jewel and decided to move on to Teal, thinking that I could always stop at Jewel on the way back if  I was so inclined.
I think Jewel Lake was the prettiest one.
Teal Lake
I made it to Teal after passing one more large group of tents. And then found still another group camped on the edge of Teal. I went around to the other side of the lake to try my had at fishing it. I had noticed the day before that my reel was feeling a bit sluggish--hard and jerky to turn the handle--and I had tried spraying some WD-40 inside part of the mechanism. It had seemed to loosen things a bit, so  I thought I'd be okay to take that particular set up on this trip. Unfortunately, it still had problems, This reduced my options to basically putting a hook on and a bubble and tossing it out there hoping a fish would go for the worm on the hook. I was sure glad at that point that I had remembered to go back and get them! Using spinners was out, and bubble with fly  was too, since reeling in slowly and steadily wasn't an option. I tossed the worm out  there and waited. The wind kept changing directions and my line and bubble would sometimes cooperate, and sometimes not. I ended up catching one fish from that lake in about an hour. That's not really what I call good fishing, so I decided to hike out and find another lake along the way in which to fish. I ended up at Cutthroat Lake.
Cutthroat Lake
At Cutthroat Lake the wind was doing the same thing, although I caught two fish in about an hour there, and both of them would have been keepers if I was keeping fish, which I wasn't.
Brook Trout, pan-sized, and I had not brought my backpack stove.

Tiger trout
After I caught those two though, it slowed way down and I decided that I had probably missed the window of opportunity for good fishing on these particular lakes. I often find that early morning fishing and just before dark are the best times to fish, and my hike into the first lake had taken me until about 9:15. Still, I hadn't been skunked. I left Cutthroat, and headed toward Ruth Lake. As I was leaving Cutthroat, I stopped and talked to some Scouts, probably 15-16 year olds and asked them if they had followed a trail up to that lake or had come cross country, telling  them I had been just traveling cross country. One of them spoke up and said that apparently there was a trail, but it added two to three miles to the hike so they did the cross country thing too. He also said that they had had a lot of fishing success at Ruth.
I never found the trail, but just followed my GPS, negotiating the easiest way around boulder strewn ravines and dead trees. When I got back to Ruth Lake, there were tons of people on the western side, so I made my way around to the eastern side to try fishing for a while longer. I probably stayed for another half hour and had no bites. It was clouding up and I decided that since the fishing wasn't all that good, it wasn't worth getting caught in a rainstorm--especially with no dry clothes in the 4runner--I would head out.
Some observations: even at over 10,000 feet, sitting in the direct sunlight was hot. I expected it to be cooler up there. It was cooler than in the valley, but hotter than I expected. Another thing was, I expected a lot more mosquitoes and was pleasantly surprised in that regard. I had sprayed myself with Off before heading up the trail and never had to reapply it. Thirdly, my new Columbia hiking pants are winners. Much cooler than my camo pants, and better than my REI hiking pants. My most important observation though was that even though the fishing wasn't as hot as I would've liked it to be, I still had a great time. It's just nice to be outside doing things in the Uinta Mountains. And the cross country thing always is an adventure, adding unexpected challenges. I'm ready to go again any time.
Ah, the Uintas! I'll see you there!