Wednesday, August 31, 2016

How I Got Rid of This Black Widow

It's Easy for Black Widows to Creep into a Garage


I believe this is the same black widow that was hanging out on my overhead garage door last week. I had to be very careful when I opened it because I wanted to make sure this lady wasn't going to drop on me. This is where I found her today, very close to the garage door.


I'm still storing a lot of boxes, and I know some of these spiders are going to creep into them. That's why I plan to wear heavy gloves when I start going through those boxes. I will also have a can of Terro Spider Spray next to me when I start sorting through those boxes.

I hadn't planned to deal with black widows today, but I saw this lady when I was bringing the groceries in. I had to take her photo first, since these spiders often scurry away before I can photograph them. It was windy, and the door was open, so I'm surprised she didn't run away.

After I Took the Picture, I Killed the Black Widow

Last time I was at Walmart to pick up a prescription, I knew I needed a weapon to use against the spiders. I decided to get Terro Spider and Ant Killer -- the only product Walmart had to kill spiders. I hate using sprays, and I don't use them for ants. I just don't want to get too close to a black widow and a spray is just the right treatment for a spider that's out in the open, as you can see this one is. 

When I tried to use it last week, the spider was above my head. I couldn't get the spray to come out. I guess it's because I was aiming up. I'm supposed to keep the can upright or aim slightly down. I'm  very glad the spray decided to work  today. I'm pretty sure it killed the spider. She tried to get away, but I think it finally killed her. I saw a small black heap on the garage floor after I no longer saw the spider in her web. It does take a few seconds for the spray to actually kill the spider. 

Had I shopped on Amazon first, I would have found Terro Spider Killer, which gets rave reviews. I'm guessing it's pretty much the same product since what I used also kills both spiders and insects. I expect I'll order the double pack of spider killer because it's supposed to help to spray it around the outside of your house to discourage spiders and other annoying insects from coming in. 

Protect Yourself. Be Prepared.

Don't wait until the spider is in your territory to buy the spray. You may not be able to find it locally when you need it. I had to settle for what I could find, even though it wasn't exactly what I was looking for. Fortunately it worked, but it was the only choice I had.

 If you don't have heavy work gloves, it's good to have those on hand, too. They will do double duty in the garden when you have to get rid of thorns or prune roses. 

Stock up now and be prepared for the invasion that's coming. 

*



Friday, August 19, 2016

Photos of Smoky Sunset during Chimney Fire

Where There's Fire, There's Smoke


Where there is smoke, it affects the view of the sky. In East Paso Robles this is  especially evident at sundown. I took this first photo from my porch tonight, thus the intrusion of the overhang. You can see how the smoke affects the color of the sky.


Photos of Smoky Sunset during Chimney Fire, Paso Robles, August 2016
Smoky Sunset from My Paso Robles Porch, © B. Radisavljevic 


The Chimney Fire started Saturday afternoon, and had burned almost 12,000 acres as of 7 AM this morning, when it was pronounced 33% contained.  Last night the air was so smoky we  had to shut the windows and use the air conditioning instead of outside air to cool the house. Even though we can see the smoke tonight, at least we can't smell it from where we are, so the windows are open again.

Photos of Smoky Sunset during Chimney Fire, Paso Robles, August 2016
Smoky Sunset in  Paso Robles during Chimney Fire, © B. Radisavljevic 


The Chimney Fire Spread Quickly


Forest fires get out of control quickly and can cover a lot of territory fast. This is especially true if it's hot and windy and there is much dry brush to feed the fire. Many get enough warning to prepare to evacuate and save their lives. They may not be able to save their homes.

My heart goes out to those who have lost their homes or had property damaged by this fire. Many of the California fires now burning were deliberately set. It makes me wonder why someone would want to hurt people this much and blacken our beautiful landscapes.

 KIKAR Emergency Escape Hood Oxygen Mask Respirator 60 Minutes Fire Smoke Toxic Filter
If you live in hot dry area that is often subject to fire, it's good to be prepared to evacuate. Have your most precious possessions in one place easy to grab and flee. Most people caught in fires are overcome with smoke inhalation that prevents them from escaping. Whether it's a house fire or forest fire that threatens your family, you can prevent some inhalation tragedies by having some of these masks on hand for family members. The book will help you be ready for any emergency or disaster.



Photos of Smoky Sunset during Chimney Fire, Paso Roble, August 2016
Smoky Sunset in  Paso Robles during Chimney Fire, © B. Radisavljevic 

For those of you outside of the Paso Robles area, this fire did not start in a chimney. It got its name because it is near Chimney Rock near Lake Nacimiento. The entire North San Luis Obispo County and Monterey County area are very dry and fire danger is high everywhere. I pray for the safety of the firefighters and all those in the path of the many fires burning in the West right now.

Photos of Smoky Sunset during Chimney Fire, Paso Robles, August 2016
Feel free to pin this image. It's just the right size. 

Are any fires burning near you  tonight? Can you smell the smoke?


Friday, August 12, 2016

Search for Big Sandy Wildlife Area through San Miguel's Back Roads

Wild Goose Chase In Search of Big Sandy Wildlife Area


I spent a lot of time on San Miguel's back roads yesterday afternoon looking for Big Sandy Wildlife Area. It's not all that easy to find the entrance on a map. It was hard enough to find Indian Valley Road, from which the parking lot is supposed to be entered, if you can believe the web page for Big Sandy Wildlife Area.  I tried calling the phone number on that site, but it didn't work. I wasn't even sure  if  when I found it the area would be open for access, since nowhere online could I find any hours. (As you will see below, I did  finally find a working number, and also learned there are no set hours for access.)

This intersection is where I should have started looking very carefully. Sometimes it was hard to tell a ranch driveway from a road.   I did see one closed gate that could have been the entrance, but it didn't look quite right. Too bad they don't have a photo of the entrance on the web site. (See link to Google Map a few paragraphs under this)

Search for Big Sandy Wildlife Area through San Miguel's Back Roads
Intersection of Indian Valley and  Vineyard Canyon Roads, © B. Radisavljevic 

It's a shame I didn't have this map with me.



I had an interesting drive all the way to Bradley on Indian Valley Road, Hare Canyon, and Bradley Road, but I didn't find Big Sandy. I must have driven right by it without seeing it. I think I did see it, just not the entrance. There were signs for everything else, but not Big Sandy Wildlife Area -- unless the government hid them well. By the time I reached these signs at Hare Canyon, I knew I'd been on a wild goose chase and the goose got away -- this time.



Search for Big Sandy Wildlife Area through San Miguel's Back Roads
Signs Near Intersection of Indian Valley and Hare Canyon Roads,  © B. Radisavljevic. If you have reached this, you are far past the parking lot for Big Sandy Wildlife Area.

I finally reached someone in Fresno today at  (831) 649-2870 who walked me through a map on Google earth over the phone. We kept enlarging the map until we found the parking lot -- at least on the map. This is a link to where the parking lot is and what it looks like. Wish I'd had it yesterday. I also learned there are some yellow signs all along the fence of the parking lot. 

I learned that this is hunting season there and that it would help to wear orange if I do back before it's over. They allow only shotguns and archery as weapons. Evidently the main game are quail and hogs. I only want to use my camera. Maybe I'll try again on the next moderately cool day.

What I  Saw While on My Wild Goose Chase


I found cattle and horses grazing on the many ranches I passed, but no geese. You can see how dry the hillsides are.

Here are some of the cattle.

Search for Big Sandy Wildlife Area through San Miguel's Back Roads
Cattle at Ranch on Indian Valley Road, © B. Radisavljevic


Search for Big Sandy Wildlife Area through San Miguel's Back Roads
Steer at Ranch on Hare Canyon Road or Bradley Road, © B. Radisavljevic


These horses were gorgeous.

Search for Big Sandy Wildlife Area through San Miguel's Back Roads
Horses on Indian Valley Road, © B. Radisavljevic


With all the animals to feed, there had to be hay, and I passed lots of it. 

Search for Big Sandy Wildlife Area through San Miguel's Back Roads
Hay Seen Along Indian Valley Rd., © B. Radisavljevic. Photo size ideal for Pinterest

Hare Canyon Road

As I wrote earlier, when I got to the signs at Hare Canyon Road, I knew I had gone too far north. I decided to head back to the 101 Freeway, so I turned  west on Hare Canyon. Right after I turned I saw this contrast between irrigated and land with no irrigation. I passed very few irrigated acres. 

Search for Big Sandy Wildlife Area through San Miguel's Back Roads
Irrigation on Hare Canyon Road, © B. Radisavljevic

As it turns out, I circled all around the Big Sandy Wildlife area without realizing it. Hare Canyon curves around it before connecting to Bradley Road in Bradley, which is where I eventually got back on the freeway.  It was not a smooth ride. At one point the road was so narrow  I almost went over the edge, and I was only at a moderate speed, probably about 40 mph. Fortunately there was no embankment to drop off, but it was still scary. 

Somewhere along Hare Canyon I passed some deer. I would have liked to have photographed them, but there was no good place to park.  Both Hare Canyon and Bradley roads were almost deserted. I didn't see any other car on them while I was there. I finally could see the bridges crossing the Salinas River in Bradley up ahead. 

Search for Big Sandy Wildlife Area through San Miguel's Back Roads
Railroad Bridge in Bradley Over Salinas River by Gate to National Guard Base,  © B. Radisavljevic 

The Salinas River was dry, so I decided to photograph the graffiti on the pillars under the bridge on Bradley Road. It was more interesting than the bridge view from the road.


Search for Big Sandy Wildlife Area through San Miguel's Back Roads
Graffiti under Bridge on Bradley Road,  © B. Radisavljevic 

I took one last photo near the bridge before I got back in my car and headed home. It had been a long afternoon. It was about ten degrees hotter in this area than it was back in Paso Robles. Every time I got out of the car to take a picture I almost could feel the moisture leaving my body. I was looking forward to sitting in my chair with a large glass of ice water.

Search for Big Sandy Wildlife Area through San Miguel's Back Roads
A Tree Near the Bridge in Bradley, © B. Radisavljevic 


Have you ever driven the back roads of San Miguel and Bradley? Have you ever been to the Big Sandy Wildlife Area? If so, did you find it easily?

***

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Photos from a Paso Robles Parking Lot at Dusk

Sundown from a Parking Lot

Last night I drove to Food4Less in the early evening as the sun was about to set. It was a blinding sun. The idea was to go east, shop, and come out after it was down so I would not be blinded driving home. When I came out, the sky was pinkish-orange. Here's a photo. 

Photos from a Paso Robles Parking Lot at Dusk
Sunset from Food4Less Parking Lot, © B. Radisavljevic 

Another Sight in the Sky

As I stood by the edge of the parking lot near the road trying to decide if I should take another picture, a plane appeared in front of me, coming from the west. It was already past me before I  could get a shot. 

Photos from a Paso Robles Parking Lot at Dusk
Plane Over East Paso Robles at Dusk, © B. Radisavljevic 

I used a zoom to try to zero in on it, but it was moving so fast I'm not sure it helped very much. It was probably heading for the airport. 

Photos from a Paso Robles Parking Lot at Dusk
Plane Over East Paso Robles at Dusk, © B. Radisavljevic 

Finally it disappeared into the horizon. I got this shot just before it was completely out of sight. 

Photos from a Paso Robles Parking Lot at Dusk
Plane Over East Paso Robles Disappearing Over Horizon at Dusk, © B. Radisavljevic 


After the plane was gone, I  headed back toward my car in the lot.

The Trees

As I walked  toward my car, I gave thanks again  that I live here where I can see many large trees dressing up the parking lot. 

Photos from a Paso Robles Parking Lot at Dusk
Trees in Food4Less Parking Lot, Paso Robles, © B. Radisavljevic 


The trees closest to the  store were in bloom. It first I thought they were crape myrtles, but the leaves don't look quite right. I can't locate this tree in my field guide books. Perhaps it's a  hybrid that isn't shown.  Can you identify it? If so, please leave a comment below. Here is the overview.

Photos from a Paso Robles Parking Lot at Dusk
Flowering Tree in Food4Less Parking Lot, Paso Robles, © B. Radisavljevic 

Here is a closer look at the flowers. 

Photos from a Paso Robles Parking Lot at Dusk
Close-up of Flowers in Tree in Food4Less Parking Lot, Paso Robles, © B. Radisavljevic 


I leave you with one last photo of the plane that is correctly sized for Pinterest if you'd like to pin it. Please use the buttons below to share to other social media. 

Photos from a Paso Robles Parking Lot at Dusk

Have you seen anything beautiful or interesting in a parking lot lately?