Monthly Archives: March 2008

Diamondback!

Diamondback

Finally, I saw one.  Not that I was looking really, but I was starting to wonder.  I’ve been hiking around here for a couple of years now and have only seen two snakes.  Both of them high tailing it away from me, and all I saw was their tails.  No rattles on either.  No diamondbacks.  Until today.

I was doing my usual Pusch Peak hike.  I was nearly to the first saddle and I was climbing up the trail minding my own business when I heard him.  The rule is, freeze.  Locate the snake.  Back away slowly.  I know that.  Everyone knows that!  What did I do?  I jumped back.  Located the snake.  Backed away quickly!

He was probably 6 feet in front of me and to the left.  Maybe at 10 o’clock.  I don’t think I was ever in any danger since he was that far away.  He was definitely curled up though! I’m not sure who scared whom the most.

After I calmed down a little.  (I did get a shot of adrenaline!)  I was a good 12 to 15 feet from him now and I just watched for a minute.  His rattling had stopped.  More confirmation I was far enough away.  I could see him tasting the air and starting to move slowly down the rock he was on.  He wasn’t on the trail, so that was good.  At first I thought, well, I’ll play it safe and just go back.  Then I looked up and saw how close I was to my destination, and I was thinking of going up to the second saddle. So, I noticed I could go further right of the trail and give the snake a wide berth.  And that’s what I did.  I was kicking myself for not bringing my camera.  Still, the picture I found and posted above is pretty close to what he looked like!

As I climbed away, he slithered slowly the other way.  I watched him go.  This time I was above him so I had a good look.  He was a good 3-4 feet long.  I saw either four or five nubs on his rattle. (nubs?)  Anyway, if I remember my snake aging method, that would put him at about two years old.  He was thick and looked healthy!

I’m just glad that God put early warning systems on them diamondbacks!  Otherwise, it might have been a bit different of a story.  As it was, it turned out it was awesome!

Tea para Me

Cup of Tea

The English are on to something.  It’s the second day in a row that I’ve been enjoying a spot of tea!  I like the Earl Grey (cause I like to taste my tea!) but it’s also Green Tea (anti-oxidants baby!).  Earl Grey Green Tea. I found it at Safeway.  For all of their high prices they have a couple of things I like.  Good produce and good tea assortment.

Which reminds me.  My Dad worked at Safeway in California.  The story I remember is that he was the youngest assistant manager in the state at 19!  Way to go Dad!  I also remember hearing that he would bring home the slightly expired milk.  Good savings!  Of course, it stunted my growth :-)

So, back to the tea.  It’s nice to sip some tea and ramble about whatever for a few minutes with friends or on your blog.  I like mine with a spoonful of honey.  I’m heading out to a dentist appointment and then to the store.  I’m out of the 100% pure unfiltered unheated honey that I get from Sprouts.  I just recently learned that most store honey is heated so that it is in that semi-liquid state.  That apparently kills a lot of the good micro-organisms in the honey that are good for you!  The good stuff has bits of pollen (and bits of bees) and is much better for you.

There. I got off subject again.  Tea.  Yes, the English have it figured out.  Take a break in the afternoon.  Relax for a bit.  Get a shot of some caffeine and you’re ready for the rest of the day!  For me that’s go to the Dentist and get my new bridge installed.  Hit a couple of grocery stores for some supplies.  Then either hike up Pusch Peak like yesterday, or do the bike ride up to the Pima Canyon Trailhead.  I have a long ways to go to lose this weight, but if I keep eating right and exercising, it’s just a matter of time.

Man, this tea is good :-)

Liking the Hiking

Three of the four last days I’ve been hiking 1,000 feet up Pusch Peak.  Great exercise!  My legs are getting stronger and I think my pants are fitting better.  I gotta stay consistent.  There are no short cuts to losing weight and getting in shape.

One great advantage I have is that this hike, while challenging, is very fun!  The views are great.  The terrain is cool.  The wildlife is abundant.  For example.  Today I was walking along and a rabbit hiding in a a bush ten feet in front of me scampered off.  Later while climbing the mountain, a small bush just four feet to my left rustled and I turned in time to see the tail of a snake slithering away.  It wasn’t a rattler, which is always good!

Also today (and yesterday) were the wildflowers.  They are busting out everywhere! Check it out on my site for larger versions of the shots below.

Pusch Ridge Wildflowers

Busy Bee on Pusch Peak

I had the most disconcerting thought hiking yesterday.  I was a little more than half way up my climb and was resting.  I could here this buzzing sound.  Hundreds? of bees swarming hundreds of flowers on the mountainside.  VERY cool!  Unfortunately, I’ve watched too many specials on Africanized Bees.  I know that if I cause one to accidentally sting me that I could be toast.  “Killer Bees” can chase their victims up to a quarter of a mile while on the attack!  They fly up to 13 mph or something.  At a sprint I could probably out run them even while my hamstrings would be tearing apart.  After all, it would be life or death!  But, on a steep hiking trail?  There would be no escape.

I hike alone and generally like it that way.  I have my cell phone with and I have even received calls on the trail, so in most urgencies, I would be fine.  Even hiking with a friend, could either one of us escape a vicious attack of “Killer Bees” intent on saving their honey from hikers marauders, much less save each other?

I’m gonna push these paranoid thoughts out of my mind and continue to enjoy my hikes.  I always pray for God’s protection before I hit the trail!  Besides.  I LOVE BEES!  I even wanted to be a bee keeper when I was younger.  Who knows.  Maybe someday!

Cooling Off Period

Genesis 8:22 (New American Standard Bible)
22“While the earth remains,
Seedtime and harvest,
And cold and heat,
And summer and winter,
And day and night
Shall not cease.”

It’s linked from Drudge this morning.  Another scientists saying, hey.  wait a minute.  this Global Warming stuff is getting outta hand.  Here’s a small taste from the article:

Last Monday – on ABC Radio National, of all places – there was a tipping point of a different kind in the debate on climate change. I t was a remarkable interview involving the co-host of Counterpoint, Michael Duffy and Jennifer Marohasy, a biologist and senior fellow of Melbourne-based think tank the Institute of Public Affairs.  Anyone in public life who takes a position on the greenhouse gas hypothesis will ignore it at their peril.

Duffy asked Marohasy: “Is the Earth still warming?”

She replied:  “No, actually, there has been cooling, if you take 1998 as your point of reference.  If you take 2002 as your point of reference, then temperatures have plateaued.  This is certainly not what you’d expect if carbon dioxide is driving temperature because carbon dioxide levels have been increasing but temperatures have actually been coming down over the last 10 years.”

The article goes on to explain how difficult it is for scientists a journalists to own up to their mistake and misstatements of Global Warming.  She says that as the Earth continues to cool:

The delusion that by recycling and catching public transport we can help save the planet will quickly come to be seen for the childish nonsense it was all along.

Read the whole thing.  It’s very interesting.

I do see a real value in developing solar, wind, and other alternative sources for energy.  It makes sense to decrease our dependence on foreign oil and less pollution is a good thing.  However, the notion that CO2 is a pollutant!  There should NOT be taxes to reduce carbon emissions?  That would only serve to hurt our economy, burden the middle class even more, and transfer power to the UN and bigger government in general.  I’m afraid that that has been the point to begin with.  We need more cold Winters and more truth tellers to counter Al Gore and the socialist world government types who want your money and more power.

Calvary Chapel Lubbock

Pastor Ben Pulpit

I’m excited to be working on the web site for Calvary Chapel Lubbock.  Pastor Ben Martinez is a good friend of mine who has a passion for God and for seeing people come into a real relationship with God through His Son Jesus!  I had offered to help with his site last year sometime and he liked the design.  Finally yesterday, it happened! I am now the web site guy for Calvary Chapel Lubbock!

In a few weeks I’m going to start editing his sermons into radio shows for a station in San Angelo.  I’m looking forward to listening to his sermons while I make a little extra money.  It’s a win win situation.  God is soooo good!

Who knows where all of this might lead.  I pray it leads to more people having a deeper relationship with God, who loves all of us more than we can know!

The Extra Mile

When does 340 feet feel like a mile?  When it’s almost straight up!

I did my usual part way up Pusch Peak hike yesterday.  Since I had the day off, I decided that I had time, and just enough extra water, to climb to the next “saddle.”  My normal hike starts at 2,682 feet at the parking lot on Linda Vista.  I then hike about a mile and a half up to the “first saddle” on Pusch Peak.  That’s about 3,670 feet, so just short of 1,000 feet vertical.  It’s a really fun and challenging hike, although you have to be careful coming down.  It is steep and the loose rock can help you to fall!

Once I made it to the “first saddle,” I rested and looked up to the next one.  It’s very vertical, and according to Google Earth, it’s 4,010 feet above sea level.  That’s another 340 feet.  So up I went.  I’ve just started hiking and biking again, so I’m not nearly in my best shape.  I had to rest several times on my way up.  However, Once I got up there, the view is AWESOME!  Here’s a look at my apartment complex taken from the “second saddle” in July of last year:

Apartments Below - July, 2007

Now the entire hike all the way to the top of Pusch Peak from Linda Vista is 2,679 feet (vertical), which means the “second saddle” is over half way up!

Second Saddle on Pusch Peak

This is really good to know, because I may have found a more direct, although much steeper, way to the top of Pusch Peak!  The last time Michael and I climbed to the top, it took over 6 hours round trip!  Of course, now that I think about it, I was out hiking 3 hours yesterday.

My legs are sore.  That’s a good thing!

Crazy Busy

It’s back to graveyard shift in a few hours.  My alarm is set for 11:15 tonight.  That’s just three hours from now.  I already tried to sleep, but it ain’t happening.  The tough part, besides working at Midnight until 7 or 8, is then I have a meeting at 10:30 and an interview at 11:30.  After that, I have a batch of weather forecasts to record!  Crazy.

The best part in all of that is I get to interview Joel Rosenberg!  I am very excited about that.  Ever since I read his book, “Epicenter,” I have been interested in his ministry.  When I saw him talk here in Tucson, first at my church, and then at Calvary Tucson, both in December, I was even more convinced that the Joshua Fund was very much something that I wanted to be involved in somehow.  All of that alone is worth missing some sleep!

The early early shift continues until April 4th.  Then it’s Share-a-thon April 7th – 12th and then the next day I leave for Vegas for RTNDA!  On top of that, my quarterly reports are due on April 10th!  One thing for sure is, the time is going to go by VERY fast.  That tends  to happen when you’re that busy.

Pray for me!  And please don’t call after 5pm Tucson time!  Thanx :-)

Back on the Bike

It’s been too long.  I FINALLY took my favorite bike ride for exercise.  I have a used mountain bike that I bought from a friend.  It’s nice.  The gears aren’t as smooth as they should be, but otherwise really nice for a used mountain bike.   I like to ride it “up the hill.”

From the apartment it’s just a few blocks to West McGee and heading east that climbs right up to the trailhead for Pima Canyon.  It’s a bit over a mile and a half and a pretty decent climb.  The first part is gentle, but quickly gets steep up to the just past half way point.  There is a stop sign and a little place to park.  That’s where I rest and drink some water until I get in better shape.  Then I can just keep right on going.  Right now, not so much.

The rest of the way is actually more difficult.  It’s not as steep, but it’s a loooong steady climb.  Since I’m already tired from the first part, this is where the fight is, and therefor, most of the benefit!  After huffing and puffing it’s Pima Canyon Trailhead!  Here I drink some more water and actually walk back and forth balancing on the curb as I recover.  I’m hoping that will help my balance!

Then it’s the big payoff.  Downhill!  I don’t have a speedometer, but I imagine I get up to about 35 or 40 mph.  It’s why I bought a helmet.  I resisted getting one at first, but after wondering what would happen if I hit a rock wrong or something…

Then it’s the final show off part.  Near the bottom of the hill I almost always hit the red light at Oracle.  It’s still slightly downhill here.  So, I shift into a low gear and wait for the green.  I then race the cars behind me down the block.  I usually win :-)  It’s just a bit of speed work at the end of a good work out.  It’s good to be back on the road!

Good Tomato

Tomato

There is no tomato like a tomato that has ripened on the vine! The stores sell tomatoes that have been picked nearly green and allowed to “ripen” on the way to the store. They are tasteless compared to tomatoes ripened on the vine in the sunshine. Vine ripe tomatoes are almost pungent, exploding with taste and vitamins!

Solution? Head to the store this weekend. Buy some tomato plants and Miracle Grow and some pots, and grow some tomatoes on the deck! Next challenge is finding the $$ in the budget!

Way to Snow

Penguin

It done did it!  There I was at friends after church.  It had been raining some and snowing low on the mountains.  Then, about an hour before dark, it happened.  It started snowing little snowballs.  Snow pellets they are called.  It came down hard enough long enough to almost cover the desert floor and even drifted a few inches deep against the fence!  Not bad for Tucson, Arizona (actually, about 20 miles north of downtown) where we will be back to near 80 in a couple of days and over 100 in a month or so.