Friday, June 27, 2008

Dead Bear Walking

Katarina and I just returned from 5 days of camping at Emerald Bay SP. Despite smoke from hundreds of fires around northern California, we had a great time. By Tuesday we couldn't even see the near side of Tahoe, never mind the far shore. But we had a good time taking short hikes, reading, or just enjoying the view from the hammock. We went to nearby Eagle Falls several times, and had a couple trips over to South Lake Tahoe for ice (gotta keep the beer cold) and other necessities.

The only downer of the trip (besides the omnipresent smoke) were bears. While it was fun to see a bear close up and not in a zoo, this young bear and its mother are rapidly becoming 'problem bears' at the campground. They always give reminders and warnings about bears at campgrounds in California, but these bears had already been around for a bit, so the warnings and reminder about the $1,000 fine for leaving food out were more emphatic than usual. Alas, as you can see in the picture, not everyone heeded those warnings carefully. These folks left their cooking gear and trash out, and the bear found it in short order after they left. I snapped the picture and then we scared the bear off by shouting and clapping; the guy a couple campsites over used an airhorn to keep the bear running up the hill. The bear's mother was around that night, and the night after that as well. That's our bear box with the scratches on it, left Wednesday night according to our neighbors. It doesn't bode well for the bears, though. If they can't be scared off, the rangers will try rubber bullets, and if that doesn't work, they'll be destroyed. I hope the folks who left the garbage got the $1,000 fine, but it may be too late for these bears.

Saturday, June 21, 2008


As previously reported, Katarina was growing tired of the unpainted addition. To be honest, I was getting a little tired of it, too, despite the, um, loveliness of primer gray and white. So after finishing off some bits and pieces of trim, we painted. And painted. And painted. Between the rustic-V siding, the ins and outs around the windows and doors, and under the eaves, the painting goes slowly. The fact the ground around the house isn't level doesn't help much, either -- setting up a ladder takes some doing. But despite the recent heat (it sure doesn't feel like June), we've managed to get 3 sides as well as the rebuilt wall where the doors onto the deck used to be painted.

I did a little demo work around the old front door, too. I recovered as much of the 1x12 siding as I could for reuse later. And I bashed at the stone step for a while with a sledge and chisel, but I'm going to have to rent the jackhammer again to take it out.

And here's your gratuitous kitty shot, with the Rosie and Star admiring the weed-whacked and raked yard. Yes, it's fire season again, only earlier this year because we had a dry spring. I had the yard in compliance ahead of schedule because of it, but I think a lot of people have gotten more urgent reminders from all the fires we've been having in California lately. A recent one here in the Oakland hills started very near the origin of the massive Oakland Firestorm of 1991. If that wasn't enough to motivate people to clean up their property, I don't know what is. The firefighter who came around to inspect said it gets a little easier with inspections every year, but that doesn't change the fact that state-wide more and more people are living in a wildland interface, in areas prone to fire.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Bend It!

Perhaps a bit young for the World Cup, but you've got to love the determination. That's my youngest nephew, Jimmy, so perhaps I'm a bit biased, but it's my blog, so I get to be :-)

You can probably tell he doesn't live here in California, from the green grass and trees in the picture. Of course, the fact we're in a semi-arid region and in the middle of a drought apparently hasn't stopped some people from not conserving.