Friday, June 15, 2018

Spring 2018

It's that time of year when we enjoy all the outdoor time we can before we have to lock ourselves inside. We had a cool spring this year. Even now in June we have only had a few 100 degree days, yesterday being the hottest at 108, and it's cloudy today in the 90's with rain coming tonight. They say if we do get some rain tonight it will be the earliest start of monsoon in Phoenix on record. Tomorrow the high isn't supposed to top the mid 80s.

On May 11th, my mom's birthday, I had the Joe Factory shut down. I wasn't one of those guys that only has 3 days of pain and then it's like it never happened. Nope, I had complications and was down for a good two weeks. I almost passed out when waiting for my prescription afterwards and they had to bring me back in and put my feet up because I was turning pale, cold and sweaty, dizzy, and it was even obvious to them that I wasn't OK. 

After two weeks of very little activity we had our 2nd annual Memorial Day trip at Lake Pleasant. This time we wouldn't just spend the day there, we all brought our trailers/rvs. It was a on the cool side this year. Last year was 100 degrees and this year it was only 90 the day we were on the water and it was breezy. It was just warm enough to enjoy the water without being miserable. Dean actually did really good on this trip. I was worried because he is a really fussy child but he was quiet all day. I don't know if it was the wind in his face, the noise of the boat engine, or the mist in his face but he was a happy guy all day. It's almost like someone swapped out my baby.

This year I didn't want to rent a tube from the marina because the only ones you can rent are the ones you have to lay on and hold onto handles. There is no way Zach would be able to ride that so I bought a three seater and a knee board. The lake was choppy that day so knee boarding was pretty tough. I couldn't get outside the wake for very long without wiping out from all the chop. After not even 45 minutes we all gave up on the knee board and stuck to the tube. Adri was one of the first on the tube and my dad was not taking it easy on her. She was scared and at one point crying. I thought this was hilarious because the tube last year was a lot scarier and she enjoyed it. After Adri got off the tube I took Zach. Zach didn't want to get on the tube because he was afraid he would sink but once he got on he loved it. There was no crying from Zach. Of course my dad did start out a lot slower with Zach. Zach kept yelling thank you for buying him the tube while we were riding. I told him I bought it just for him.

By the time Adri's second turn came around she was loving it. By the end of the day she was getting tossed in the air and wanted us to go faster. I was the only adult that did not wipe out that day. Probably a good reason for that was the fact that I rode with Zach. The last run I had I got some good air though and told my dad to cut the engine. Zach was having fun but I couldn't take any more. 

The following day we decided to just hang out at the lake. We thought we could just drive up to the water like we did a couple days ago but it was way too crowded. After over an hour driving around we decided to park off the highway and walk down to a little cove. I didn't like it all that much but the kids had fun.

After our holiday weekend we spent a week at home before going to California for my sister's gala fundraiser. We left on a Tuesday night, got there just before midnight, and everyone woke up with a nasty cough the next morning. By the end of the week Dean had to go to urgent care and get antibiotics. I managed to make it through the week but I wasn't sleeping because of the ear ache. By Sunday I had lost my voice completely for the first time in my life and I was hacking out stuff like never before. I decided we had to stay another day and called out sick at work. Monday we drove home and Natalie and I had to go to urgent care. We both had infections and had to get antibiotics. I'm still coughing and trying to recover. This is the worst throat infection I have ever had. Somehow Zach and Adri only got mild coughs.

Back to California. I was planning on going to a concert on June 9th in Mesa. I saw my favorite band Insomnium, from Joensuu, Finland, last year and they were coming back doing their Winter's Gate tour. Winter's Gate is a 40 minute long song that covers a few genres of metal, rock, and jazz and they only did bits and pieces of it on the last tour. This time they were headlining and did the whole song. Well my sister had her gala on the June 9th this year so instead of seeing Insomnium in Arizona I saw them on June 8th in Santa Ana with my long time friend Paul. The show was 7 hours long with 9 bands and most of them were horrible. A lot of noise and screaming. Insomnium however was amazing. We got right up to the stage and got to see an hour and a half of Insomnium. My only complaint is that after 40 minutes of Winter's Gate they only had time for another 7 or 8 songs.

The following day was my sister's gala. She managed to book the roof at city hall in Riverside this year. This year she had twice as many people show up as last year and it was a good time. The girl doing the photography was someone I have known since high school yet I didn't recognize her. She has a lot of freckles and had them all covered up with makeup. When they announced her name I had to go back in and say hi to her and that's when she realized who I am. Towards the end of the night my dad's neighbors found me and we were trying to have a conversation and that is when my voice decided it was done. 

The next day we recovered, had a birthday party for my niece, had movie night with my sister, then attempted to sleep before driving home early the next morning. I say attempted because I only slept about 2.5 hours. I had this nasty dirt smell in my nose, my ears were burning, I was coughing, etc. Finally I made myself a medicinal cocktail then took a hot shower to clean out my sinuses and fell asleep after 3am. 

Now we are back in Arizona waiting for our next adventure. Adri had her 8th birthday this week and we are having her party tomorrow. After that it's all business until vacation. 

May 10th was our second triple digit day this year. It was 101 degrees but I decided I had to hike up Daisy Mountain after work since I was going to be down for the rest of the weekend. The first 3 miles sucked until it started to cool down. I did another hike a couple weeks ago starting the trail at 4:30 am. Again even though it was early morning it was hot, not as bad as the previous hike but still hot. I got back to the car that morning before it broke 90.
A tarantula I found on the trail.
On May 11th, yes the same day I had my operation, Zach just started throwing up every 15 minutes. After a few hours of this we got worried and had to take him to the ER. Natalie wanted to take him but I didn't want Dean in the hospital so I took him. The good thing there was no one in the waiting room so we got a room right away and I got to lay down. They thought it might be food poisoning and gave me some medication. After that they got him some fluids and he was all better. The weird thing is Adri got the same thing the next morning. We didn't take her to the doctor since we already went that route with Zach. Whatever it was it passed in 6 hours.

It's swim season. The kids are crazy and have been getting in the pool since it was 70 degrees. I won't go in until it's 78. Here is Zach showing off his jumping skills.
Zach got a new bed last month. Before we went bed shopping I convinced him to let me gel up his hair.

Zach's bed has a hiding place so this is his new clubhouse.
A  couple weeks ago I took Adri out for ice cream.
Adri wanted to watch Epica videos before bed. It kept Dean quiet and Zach passed out.
At Lake Pleasant. That's our trailer.
We had a Goonies movie night with smoores. For some reason the kids decided they were all tired and didn't finish the movie.

My new toy.
No gel in that hair. Just wild from the wind.
Zach taking a drive with Grandpa.

Yes those are donkeys on the shore.

Right before our trip to California I got my Jungle Jack's shipment of plumeria. I got them plunged in a shady spot while they get acclimated to our climate.
Today my Xanadu plumeria got it's first bloom. It has a sweet peachy scent.

Deanie checking out my pinwheel hibiscus.

Movie night with the boys.

The weekend before our trip to SoCal we went took the kids for frozen yogurt and to Sportsman's for some hiking boots. They were really excited about their boots and wanted to hold them in the car. I decided to try on some hats. I think I like this one.
Fro-yo time.
Dean has finally started eating.
Early morning hike up Daisy Mountain.
Look who finally got in the pool.

We had to let the bearded dragon go.  I really didn't want to release him but couldn't find a home for  him. So far he's been staying in our yard. We just saw him again this morning.
During my lunch break a couple weeks ago. One of the best things about working from home is I can spend my lunch time with my kids.
Insomnium at Malone's in Santa Ana. I was confused when the guitarist on the far right looked nothing like the one I saw last year. One of their founding members/guitarist/vocalist, Ville Friman, has a PhD in evolutionary ecology and is busy doing research for the University of York. They had Jami Liimatainen fill in for him last tour. I thought Jami did well on the vocals, kinda reminding me of Alice and Chains. This tour they used ex guitarist from Arch Enemy, Nick Cordle. Great on the guitar but I didn't like him as much on the vocals as Jami. A little too high pitched and sounded a little like Judas Priest. 

Dean and I at the gala. I'm in a tank top because we were still setting up.
My hot date for the gala.

At urgent care. Zach wanted to play doctor.
After all our fun Monday and an afternoon in urgent care we passed up on cooking and ate the only good Mexican food around. That was a really good chile verde burrito.

Dean having some play time.

I had to work on Adri's birthday while Natalie took her to all her favorite places. After dinner she had a cupcake and I crashed out. I was barely able to stay awake for the cupcake.
I went to bed as the sun went down that night. It was a nice sunset with the sun being a very dark orange.

Look who we found again this morning. He startled me pretty good when I saw him.

Monday, April 16, 2018

Spring Hunting

In a couple weeks my friend and I have our turkey hunt. I decided I needed to get out this weekend and put some miles in to get ready for the hunt so I went to a secret spot of mine a little over an hour away. My morning didn't have the best start. I had packed everything the night before but when I made my trips to the car I forgot my long sleeve shirt on the table. Yeah it was only slightly chilly in the morning, being April, but I need the sun protection too and sunblock doesn't go well while hunting predators that can smell you a mile away. I didn't realize I forgot my long sleeve shirt until I got out of the car.

Due to some back problems that I've had since I was 19 I have to haul a chair around with me or my feet go numb while I hunt. I got to my first spot where I shot a coyote in October 2016. Back then I was sitting in this chair and my call and decoy were down the hill. A coyote had come up behind me and I saw it out of the corner of my eye. I slowly turned my head and couldn't believe a coyote was sitting there 10 feet away from me looking at my decoy trying to decide if it wanted to commit to it. I had my .223 in my lap and my shotgun on my side. I was going to try to reach for my shotgun but the call stopped. So I slowly reached for the remote and started my call back up. After another minute or so the coyote finally decided to commit and started down the hill. I reached for my shotgun and the coyote must have seen me out of the corner of my eye and turned and bolted. 

I put the shotgun down, grabbed my .223 and ran up a hill. By this time the coyote had gone up this hill, down the backside, crossed a wash, up another hill and was behind a big cluster of cactus. I had my .223 ready and as soon as the coyote came out the other side of the cactus I pulled the trigger and watched him go down. Following the shot I heard a few loud yelps. Without paying attention to a landmark I headed towards the coyote. I realized when I got up the hill I should have paid more attention to where I was going. I spent 20 minutes looking for the coyote and it was pushing the mid 90's so I had to leave. Had I gone another 50 yards I would have found it. Back to that in a minute. 

After an hour at this spot yesterday I called nothing. So I did some more hiking but got tired of carrying both my rifle and a chair. As I headed back I found a nice 4 point deer spike. Shortly after that I was next to my first spot when a jack rabbit came out. I had the chair in my left arm still but decided to take a shot at 90 yards. Due to the chair in my arm and the fact I had my 30 06 I got a lot of recoil and the scope went black but I saw a cloud of fur. I did the same thing as with the coyote last year. I forgot to get a good landmark and the terrain is really tough there. After a few minutes of pacing back and forth on the ridge I found my jack. Apparently I hit the heart and must have blown up a rib because a piece of frag pierce the ear and the bullet blew out the mouth. 

A couple minutes later I headed down the hill and saw another jack rabbit at 60 yards. Again chair in hand I took the shot and didn't see anything move so I figured I had to have hit it. On the way down the hill I got distracted so it took me ten minutes to find the rabbit. Yes at just 60 yards the terrain is so tough it took me ten minutes to find it. This area is full scrub land full of hills, rocks, washes, and it's just really rugged. When I found my jack I was surprised that I had split it in half. 

So back to the distraction. On my way to find this jack I found the coyote I shot in 2016, just 50 yards down the hill from where I shot it. Friends and family were mocking me that this coyote got away but I told them there is no way that thing could survive a solid shot from a .223. Then people say well how do you know it's your coyote? I do a lot of hiking, a lot. I have never come across a coyote skull yet. I have found spikes, deer skulls, a full javelina, donkey, but never a coyote. What are the odds of finding a coyote skull under a small tree 50 yards from where I shot it? You can tell by looking at the skull it is about a year and a half old. I have no doubts that is the coyote I shot. Had I just walked down the hill that day I would have found the coyote bleeding out under a tree. I was looking for a blood trail to follow that day however sometimes it takes a while until they start bleeding so there was no blood trail to follow.

So I didn't call any coyotes in yesterday. Sometimes they come right in sometimes they don't. I still had some fun and confirmed that my 30 06 is dialed in tight even after a back packing trip with it. If I can hit a jack at 90 yards I can hit anything so I'm ready for my next hunt.

My first jack.This one got the heart shot, a pierced ear, and blown out mouth. The second jack is too nasty to post on here.
 My coyote skull. You can see there is still just a tiny bit of flesh on it. Everyone one of it's teeth has vertical cracks for some reason.
 My second jack at the bottom of the pic. I have a picture of the whole thing but again, it's really nasty.
 The spike I found.