Puttering about the house

21 May, 2020; Vail, AZ


They're baaaccckkk . . . . 


Walked out my front door and chanced upon this fellow - he's twice the size of the one I saw last summer (and that one was the biggest toad I'd ever seen!).  Not afraid of me at all.  I was glad Phoebe was inside as they can be quite poisonous to dogs.


Sonoran Desert Toad - largest toad in America.  This fellow was probably 6 inches.


The summer heat has been interupting my morning tea on the patio.


I like to watch the sun rise in the morning, but as soon as it's up, it shines directly onto the patio and is soon unbearably hot.  So, I bought a sun shade and installed it.  It works really well - and now that I know it will work, the next one (this one should last a few years before the sun degrades the plastics) will be a custom fit and maybe even work with a remote!  This one winds manually and the stick is really too short - I have to stand on a footstool and still it's over my head.


Getting ready to install


I temporarily put a couple nails and a rope 'cradle' in the beam so that I could install the shade by myself.  It worked out pretty well.


I hope I don't disturb this nest.  It's a Gila Woodpecker nest.
Shades the patio pretty well - the next iteration may have a shade on the front too.

The Van Conversion drags on!


Discovered a defect when I tested my new Inergy Apex solar generator (lithium battery, solar charge controller, inverter, 12 v and 110 outlets all included in one lightweight 25 pound box) - everything works EXCEPT the solar input connection.  The most important thing!!!  Inergy customer service appears to be excellent though - after some troubleshooting, they sent me a box and the Apex is now on it's way back to the factory for repair - under warranty.  Unfortunately, I won't have it when I drive to Colorado next week for the interior conversion work to be done.  Not a huge deal but it would have been nice to have for the trip.

Since it's a battery, all sorts of shipping restrictions apply; I had to drain the battery to below 10.3, get special hazardous materials shipping instructions, stickers and a special FedEx pickup.


Well, the good thing is that it took days and days for this battery to discharge - I had everything I could think of plugged into it!


Ready for pickup!


We have liftoff!!

18 May, 2020; Vail, AZ


My hummingbird chicks have fledged!


I have so enjoyed watching the Costas Hummingbird build her nest, sit on the nest, hatch and feed her two chicks, and finally, to see them take their shaky first flight from the nest.  The nest was right outside my kitchen nook window and I spent a lot of time in the last 6 weeks watching hummingbirds.  The video shows them testing out their wings, and almost falling out of the nest!




In other 'lift-off' news . . .


The sourdough starter that I was making from scratch as an experiment, finally, after 22 days, decided to wake up and start to rise!










I couldn't believe how gorgeous the resulting bread was!  And, very tasty!!