Time at Home

We have enjoyed our few weeks here at home.  We have had a chance to catch up with our friends and family.  The guys have worked on the Scout, we have taken care of business and had a nice visit with my brother and his girls.

Abby and Sara had fun dressing up in Megan’s old clothes; it is hard to remember her being that little.


Sara wanted to learn to dive, but she needed a little help from Dad.

Swimming is very hard work!  She was ready for a nap.

Rick and I are getting our things together and starting to load up the truck.  We have not enjoyed the air here the past few days.  With the wildfires burning in northern California, the smoke in the air here in the valley is terrible.  We hope to leave tomorrow and be back in cool, green, clear Washington on Tuesday.

And the Color is . . .

Relax Megan, I didn’t paint it pink – though if I ever get a ’57 T bird. . .  but that’s another story.  The Scout is a nice blue.   

It turned out better than we thought it would with all the dings, dents, two types of primer, etc.  The color is fairly close to the original blue. 


We don’t have the snow plow that was an original option – though if we get as much snow as last year we might need to find one. 


It was a toasty 112 degrees when we picked it up this afternoon, so the paint should be thoroughly baked on. 

Now the guys need to stay busy and finish it up so it is ready for us to drive. 



More Scout News

Our friend Whitney and Rick have been working very hard to get the Scout ready for us to take back up to the ranch.  Now it is ready for paint.  With the amount of rain we get there – 90 inches per year average – we need to have it painted and sealed to minimize rust.  It is not made of plastic like the vehicles of today, it is all metal.   


So they loaded it on the trailer to take it to be painted.   


It looks pretty tiny compared to Rick’s truck.

We have been researching the original colors on the Scouts from 1961 and plan to use something as close to that as possible.   


The Scout Saga

We have realized we need a second vehicle at the ranch.  Rick’s truck is great for towing, but for general driving around it is very big and awkward.  I hate driving it.  Also, with the shell on – which we need when we go downriver to pick up supplies – it is hard to haul things in the bed.  And just in case we ever had a problem with the truck, it would be nice to have a backup mode of transportation besides my bicycle.  We didn’t want to spend a lot of money or get anything fancy, just a “utility” type truck.  So Rick came home with this. 

Definitely nothing fancy!

He found a 1963 International Scout.  It obviously had not been used in a while, but with a lot of work it would do? No doors or windows and it sort of runs.  Rick has some vivid memories of Scout adventures on his uncle’s ranch with his cousin Mark when they were boys.  So it seemed appropriate that we would have a Scout on our ranch too.  Hopefully they won’t get this one stuck!   

There was no extra charge for the bird’s nest in the cab.

We went to the Tulare Antique Farm Show (where they were also having a Scout Show) to see if we could find any doors, windows or other parts we needed, and found this.

A 1961 Scout.  This one in much better shape.  Amazing when you consider it is 47 years old.  Doors and windows are intact, still running, and able to meet our needs with a lot less work.  It even has a heater!  So, this one is Brenda’s Scout.  Doesn’t every family need two?   

In case any of you are not familiar with Scouts, here is what they looked like in the original advertisements.

This one has been completely restored.  Ours will never look like this but some people go all out in their restorations. 

So our friend Whitney who has an auto shop is working with Rick (or actually Rick is working with Whitney) to get Brenda’s Scout ready to drive.  We plan to tow it back up to the ranch when we return in a couple of weeks.   


They have replaced a lot of old, rusty parts so it will be a reliable vehicle for us. 




The Babies Have Flown

We could tell from how much they were moving around in the nest that the baby hummers were about ready to fly away.  

The first was brave and got outside the nest.  He stayed outside for most of the day and was still there when we looked at them before we went to bed.  The next morning, only one baby was left. 

He acted pretty sorry for himself being all alone.  Made lots of little chirpy noises for a few hours.  Mama buzzed around and checked on him a few times, but she didn’t feed him.  After a while, he gathered his courage (or got hungry) and flew off. 

His first flight was only about twelve feet to the other side of the patio, but he made it successfully.  

Which is a good thing because Lucky was down below waiting for any mistakes. The nest is the little brown blob just above the center post of the window. 

We didn’t find any evidence otherwise, so we assume the first one made it OK too. 

So, Mama hummingbird has done her job and her nest is empty.  That seems very familiar to us – I wonder if she has to pay college tuition? Do they bring home their dirty laundry?




Hummer Babies

When we got home we found a nice surprise on the patio.  A nest with baby hummingbirds. 

This is about the fifth year we have had hummer nests built in the creeping fig under the eaves of the patio; they seem to like that location.  They have come back to that exact same spot for at least three years.  If you look closely you can see that this nest is built on top of the one from last year.  

It doesn’t seem like a really secure location to us – you can see how small the leaves and branches are, but the birds keep coming back.  


Since the birds build the nest right outside our dining area windows, over the years we have been able to watch the whole process of the mother building the nest, sitting on the eggs (which are about the size of jelly belly’s) to the tiny little beaks sticking up, then being able to see the growing birds in the nest.  After about five weeks or so, the mama bird just stops coming back to the nest to feed the babies so they have no choice but to fly away.  She sits on a bush about fifteen feet away and watches them, but doesn’t feed them anymore.  Kind of reminds me of kids – they need to spread their wings and fly.

Unfortunately for the hummers, Megan’s cat Lucky is showing a lot of interest in the birds again this year. 

Last year we were horrified to see her make a flying leap off the top of the back of the patio bench and snatch a hovering hummingbird bird right out of mid air.  We would never have believed it if we hadn’t seen it.  Hopefully these little ones will get the hang of flying (and gain some altitude) right away or they will be hors d’oeuvres.  I guess that is the cycle of life.    

Here is another nest, this one is empty, just outside our bedroom window. 

I wish I could say they build nests here because of the wonderful habitat but the truth is the hummingbird feeder has been empty for over a month.  For some reason they keep coming back anyway.   

Sights Along I-5

We had to leave our beautiful ranch and return to the valley for a few weeks.  Our neighbors are watching the place and taking care of the garden for us.  We drove down this trip so we could tow back our new vehicle (more about that later).  The way we travel it is a two day trip; through Washington and Oregon in one day.  Spend the night in Medford and drive the rest of the way back to hot, dusty Bakersfield the next day. 


In Oregon we saw a lot of these three trailer semis.  They are really long!  We don’t see those in Washington or California – maybe that is only allowed in Oregon?

We drove past Lake Shasta and were surprised at how low the water level is. 


Rick remembers this being about the water level at the end of August – not the first of June!

The most resourceful thing we saw on the trip was in Northern California. 

Someone planted and harvested a crop in the median of I-5

Bales of straw neatly stacked in the middle of the interstate.  I wouldn’t want to be the one trying to get across the road and all that traffic to move it. 

We had a safe trip back and are taking care of business here for a while before we return to Washington.