Rockhounding… results

POST 2 OF 2 FOR TODAY

Well, here are some photos of what I was looking for:

Aren’t they beautiful?   These are actually photos from the Visitor’s Center.  They have a lot of rocks on display, and whole as well as opened Thunder Eggs.  The third photo was a HUGE geode that was found by accident when someone was out in the fields with a large piece of machinery.  It ran over the geode, cracking it up, and the piece in the VC is only a part of the whole thing.

I was looking for a totally different rock – more of an egg shaped, light colored rock, like a chicken’s egg.  This is what the Thunder Eggs look like from the outside. The first photo is a rather large one, and the second one was about the size of an orange.

This came from Rockhound State Park and is representative of the geodes here.

This Thunder Egg is from another place, and looks different from the ones found here.

So…  Jeanne suggested that I walk down to the Visitor’s Center to see what they actually look like – that way I’d know what I’m looking for.  Thank you for that suggestion, Jeanne!  It’s so obvious, I should have thought of it before we went looking for Thunder Eggs yesterday.  While we were there I took some photos and asked lots of questions about opening the rocks.  I left for camp, excited about opening the rocks to see what was inside.

I had one that might have been a Thunder Egg – it was the closest rock I had, and I was going to crack open that one first.  This is it:

My “Thunder Egg?”

Well, I took my rocks outside and first put them on a large flat rock by our door.  There were some depressions that worked perfectly to hold the rock on place.  I hit it as hard as I could with my hammer.  About broke my eardrums, but the rock didn’t split.  I went inside and got some earplugs and tried again. Nothing. I put my screwdriver firmly on the rock and hit it’s handle as hard as I could.  Nothing.  Whew, what a bust!

So I took them over to the picnic table which was higher and would give me better leverage.  Again, with and without the screwdriver, and with and without a towel covering the rock.  Yes! A small piece of the end of the rock came off.  Hummm.

 
It looked kind of interesting, but not like a geode.  I needed a larger piece – nearer the middle of the rock to see more of what was inside.  I think this poor rock is only a regular rock, though.  I tried and tried and couldn’t break it up more.  I put it on the concrete pad with and without the screwdriver and towel, and… nothing.  Well, my friend Pete told me to get a really good break, I should have a saw – I guess a special kind of saw – to get a good clean, smooth slice. My hammer just wasn’t going to do it.

So I gave up.  Sorry, folks.  😦  I could tell from the colors and shapes that the rest of my rocks wouldn’t be geodes, so I didn’t even try to break them up. 

I’m going to need to find someone that has either the right tools or more strength than I have before I try to crack open any more rocks.  In the meantime, following are a couple of really pretty rocks that are in the VC.  

And so ends the Thunder Egg saga.  Disappointing, but another adventure, and another learning experience.  And I’m going to keep looking.

The Volunteer in the VC did tell me the best place to go for Thunder Eggs, and Katie and I will be taking another walk to try to find some – now that we know where to go and what to look for.  I’m not hopeful, but the exercise is good for both of us and who knows?  We just might get lucky!

From me and Katie, have a great Saturday evening, everyone!   🙂

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A little tinkering with Me and My Dog

POST 1 OF 2 FOR TODAY

I’ve been playing with the blog this morning – I am getting a little bored with the format.  I can’t decide if I want to finally change the header, and I wanted to widen the post area and also the sidebars.  I’ve also been checking out different sizes and colors and I’ve enlarged the photos.

I’d love comments on whether the posts are loading at the same rate, or if these changes are slowing things down.  And are these large photos coming in as clear as they did before? I’m not done tinkering yet, but wanted to see how things were going so far.

Also, remember that if the text is hard to read on any of the blogs you follow, just press the Control and + key at the same time, and it will enlarge things for you.  I always keep mine a little enlarged so I have an easier time reading the blogs with smaller text.

I spied a pair of House Finches sitting on a branch. Aren’t they pretty?

Female and Male House Finch

Male House Finch in flight – one of those lucky shots.  🙂

I have my hammer and screwdriver ready to start smacking away at the rocks.  I’ll post later today about that…

Our new site, gems and birds

Yesterday morning we moved up the hill a bit into this nice campsite.  It doesn’t have a shelter over the picnic table, but  I think I like that better.  This site feels bigger and more open, and being up the hill, we have a better view.  I think it might be the best of the six dry camping sites.

Our new site.

Some little rocks I picked up for my collection.  You can take up to 15 pounds of Rocks.

This is the sign for the trail we took yesterday.  

The Palms is there in the first row of RVs.  Quite a view!

These are the rocks I picked up along the trail.  I haven’t broken them open yet, and I’m not sure how I’m going to do that, but we must have some tools that I can use.  When I have them opened, I’ll post the photos, probably the next post.  Honestly, I wasn’t sure what I was looking for, so I took a few that looked like “eggs” and the rest were just to increase my odds.  I’m keeping my fingers crossed that I have at least one good one.

There’s a lot of activity around the campsite on these quiet, sunny, breezy days.  I haven’t even put out the bird seed yet, and we’ve still had a squirrel and lots of birds.

Squirrel in our site.

I looked up the following bird, and I think it’s a Lesser Goldfinch.  Let me know if I’m wrong.  NOTE: Hazel let me know it’s a Hammond’s Flycatcher. Thanks, Hazel!

Hammond’s Flycatcher

Juvenile White-Crowned Sparrow

Remember when I was at Quartsite the first time and the Mourning Dove kept puffing up it’s throat and no one knew why?  I was afraid it was sick or had something caught in it’s throat.  I had forgotten all about that until I saw this White-Winged Dove yesterday, just sitting there across the road with his throat puffing, deflating, puffing, deflating, etc.  Well, I’m thinking it must have something to do with the mating season.

This is his normal throat.

Look how puffed up his throat is in this photo.  I wonder if he’s courting.

We had a really pretty sunset last night.

Today is a little overcast – I wouldn’t mind having some rain.  It would be good for all the desert plants, and maybe bring out some flowers.

From Me and Katie, have a great Friday, everyone!  🙂

Rockhound State Park – our new home

Katie and I are at Rockhound State Park in Deming, NM.  We were lucky to get the last dry camping site, #5, when we arrived yesterday around 3ish in the afternoon.  It was a nice site, but I couldn’t get us level enough, so this morning Katie and I took a little walk up the hill and found that two of the campers had left this morning and we moved to another site.

I was watching the birds out the window yesterday and found a new one I haven’t seen before, a Cactus Wren. 
 

Cactus Wren

It’s a very pretty bird, and the two I was watching were busy. One had feathers in it’s mouth and landed right in front of The Palms.

Can you see the feathers in the beak of the bird on the left?

It then flew to a cactus in our site’s cactus garden. It disappeared for a minute, and then was visible again, and I knew there had to be a nest right there.

You can see the Cactus Wren near the top of the cactus, and it’s nest behind it on the left.

This morning I checked the cactus and got a good look at the large nest.  I took a close-up of the entrance, but it was too dark inside the nest to see anything.   I love this time of year.  All the birds are nesting.

Large nest in the middle of the cactus.

This was our first campsite – #5 – the last dry camping site available.

This little cactus garden was part of site #5 – the Cactus Wren nest is here.

Rockhound State Park Visitor Center

Did you know you can publish your blog on Amazon.com and sell it as a Kindle subscription item?  It costs 99 cents a month to subscribe and the posts are delivered to your Kindle automatically when they are posted.  I decided to publish Me and My Dog …and My RV.  Once it was “live,” I became a subscriber to see what it looks like.  I thought it was just fine and decided to keep it available.

Of course, anyone can read my blog for FREE right here, but if you’d rather have a Kindle version and are willing to pay the subscription rate of 99 cents per month, click on this link.

If you think you might like the Kindle Version but don’t want to commit, there is a 14-day trial period, and if you decide it’s not working for you, or not worth the additional expense, just cancel it before the 14 days are up.

Very interesting, huh?  Anyone who has a blog and wants to publish it to Kindle through Amazon.com can do so.  I checked today and pulled up a report on my blog, and to my surprise I already have subscribers.  I don’t know how they found me, but I was really pleased.

We’ve only been here at Rockhound one day, and so far we are loving it.  They’ve got good, well defined trails which I like for me and Katie (they also have rattle snakes, and I figure we’ll be safe on a nice trail).  I know my friends Gayle and Jim love the trails here, and they are serious hikers, so there’s a good range of hiking trails.  This afternoon we took the 1.1 mile Thunder Egg Trail and I got some rocks – I’m going to break them open and see if I’ve found any geodes.  I’ll show you some photos tomorrow and let you know if we found anything good.

TV reception is also very good here and my Verizon and Internet service are the best so far in Southern New Mexico.  

From me and Katie, have a great Thursday, everyone!  🙂

More Pancho Villa photos

I think Katie and I might leave Pancho Villa State Park today and move on to Rockhound State Park.  The HIGH winds – WOW – are finally over.  Two nights ago I went to bed at 10:00 and was buffeted so much I finally got up at 2:00 am and turned on the computer and read blogs for a while until I was really tired and thought I could sleep.  Last night I went to bed really late so I could fall asleep easier.  We’ve been waking up at 10:00 am lately. It’s still a little breezier than I’d like, but no high winds today.

I want to drive into town to do laundry, get propane and access the free wi-fi at the library, and I’m not sure if we’ll drive on or come back. 

I have photos of birds and their nests and also some campground photos, so I want to do two posts in one today.  So – following are the photos I wanted to post that are representative of this park.

The electric/water sites are very nice, pretty well spaced, and have  covered tables, bar-b-ques and most are drive through sites.  They will accommodate any size rig.

There is a hill in the park with paths leading around it in the cactus gardens and up to the top, where there is a flag pole and three benches facing in different directions to rest and oversee the whole area, all the way down to Mexico on one side.

Cootes Hill – the large water tower is outside the park, across the street.

Visitor’s Center

There are a lot of signs explaining the old buildings (or parts of buildings, etc.) and history  throughout the park.  Here are a few:

The first Grease Rack – see sign above. (My site was at the end of this grease rack.)

And finally, some bird and nest photos to finish up Pancho Villa State Park.  I hope the nests are all still there after the high winds the other night.  It was too windy to walk over and check them or the owls.

Pyrrhuloxia – male
Pyrrhuloxia – male

Eurasian Collared Dove

White-Winged Dove

 

Female House Finch

White-Crowned Sparrow

I never did see a Roadrunner. 😦

And here are some cool nests, they were high up on the branches.  Between me and Bea e-mailing back and forth, it was determined they are Bullock’s Oriole nests.  I didn’t see any Bullock’s Orioles in the park, but I sure saw a bunch of their nests.  Here are a few:  

And this nest – obviously constructed by a different type bird.

LATER:  That’s about it for Pancho Villa State Park.  After doing my chores in town, I continued on to Rockhound State Park and was lucky to get the last non-electric site – there are only six without hook-ups.  I thought I’d better finish this post — the next one will be from Rockhound.

From Me and Katie, have a great Wednesday, everyone!  🙂

The Village of Columbus

Pancho Villa State Park is actually in the Village of Columbus.  There’s a lot of history here.

Katie and I walked into town yesterday – I wanted to use the wireless at the library to update some apps on my phone, but the library closes at 1:00 on Saturday and we got there at 2:00, so we’ll have to go back.  Maybe tomorrow.  I shot a few photos while we walked around.  It’s a very small town with a couple of restaurants, a library, post office, hardware store, grocery, lounge, police department, etc.  As their website says, the town is “largely undeveloped.”  All the necessary things for a town, but not much more.  The town was very quiet, no traffic, and I didn’t see anyone walking around.

I took a few photos as we were walking to the library.  The following were taken at the old train station which is across the street from the State Park;  we walked around it and found some interesting things:

 Next to the old station is this little caboose:

And in the back was an old fire “engine.”  It looked really old:

And here’s an old gas pump, it it was about half as tall as our current pumps:

The rail road crossing sign at the corner:

And finally, an old cart with some really old suitcases that were very cool. They reminded me of the suitcase/storage I have in The Palms:

Here’s a picture of my site, which is one of the three “slots” in this area that is part of the overflow parking.  Two or three rigs could fit into each slot, but there are only two of us here in this area so we have lots of room and privacy.  I was told I could also park my motor home anywhere along the outer fencing where there are no utilities.

There are cactus gardens all through the park.  It seems like there would be a lot of work involved keeping all the gardens looking nice.  Unfortunately a couple of years ago there was a really bad freeze and it killed many trees and cactus. Some of the cactus are coming back and growing up through the dead ones.  In a few years, it should be beautiful again.

Here’s one of our beautiful sunsets:

 From Me and Katie, have a great evening, everyone!  🙂

Great Horned Owl at Pancho Villa State Park, NM

Katie and I arrived at Pancho Villa State Park in southern New Mexico early Thursday afternoon.  Most of the sites here have electricity and water, and only six have water only. That’s what I wanted, but I didn’t like either of the two sites that were empty and available.  So I drove around a little, and found out that they have a lot of overflow parking here that can be used as boondocking sites.  I talked to a fellow camper who told me this, and so I just picked out a place I liked and settled there.  Yesterday I confirmed with one of the Rangers that I was parked in an overflow site and was okay to stay there.  I always thought overflow sites were only used when a park was full, but am happy to say that’s not the case, at least here.

Thursday after we got here I took Katie out for a walk and looked up and there was a Great Horned Owl roosting in the tree overhead.  I couldn’t believe it; I’ve never seen an owl in the wild before.  I took a bunch of photos and these were the best:

Great Horned Owl

 I walked around the tree and used my zoom lens to get the best close-up I could.

I thought this final one was funny – I think it was giving me the “stink eye.”  Like – “Let me sleep!”

 Isn’t it beautiful?

Thursday evening we walked around the park again and discovered the owl’s nest. As I was looking at it and trying to get a good shot, a few other campers came over with their cameras to see what I had found.  Below is the best shot I could get, but I wasn’t sure what it was.  One of the men said it was the tail feathers of the owl.  I wasn’t sure about that because the coloring was wrong and I don’t think owls have long tail feathers like this – but this is the photo, what do you think?

Yesterday we were walking around again in that part of the park and went to check out the owl’s nest, and we were lucky to find an owl sitting on the nest.  I think I even got a shot of an owlet. You may have to click on these photos to see what I’m talking about.

So, first of all – look at this picture.  It looks to me like there is a bird laying in front of the owl, and I think it is this bird’s tail feathers that are showing in the photo above.  I think this is food for the owl family.  

The next picture – see the broken egg shell?  Right above it appears to be a perfect owl face, a little owlet.

Owlet sitting over a broken egg shell.

See under the arrow, I’ve circled it.

Look at that little face. 🙂

Such a stern look – okay, okay, we’re leaving.

I’ve found a few other nests, one is particularly interesting – I’ll post it next time.  There are lots of birds here and I’m told the Roadrunners are very friendly, so maybe I’ll get a great shot of one.  Keeping my fingers crossed.

The weather has been warm and breezy, but a huge wind storm is expected, so I’m hunkering down. It will be coming from the west, and then the north/northwest, and I think I’m in a perfect spot.  The Palms is facing west so we won’t be broadsided by the wind, and I have a hill close by to the north which should eliminate some of the wind.

This campground is quite close to the Mexican border, and throughout the day I see Border Patrol vehicles driving through the park.  Right next to Pancho Villa State Park is the small town of Columbus, and I plan to take Katie there on a walk.  Maybe later today depending on the wind, which is pretty strong right now.  The library has free wireless and I need better wireless than I can get through my phone to download some programs that have been lining up.

I’m having a heck of a time getting Blogger to Save, Preview or Publish – is anyone else having this issue?   I keep getting an error message – over and over and over.  😦

WELCOME to our newest Follower, Cheryl Ann!   I can see your photo and name under the “Members” section of  Me and My Dog, but can’t pull up anything about you.  I don’t know if it’s my Internet connection (which appears to be good) or if it’s a Blogger issue.  I’ll check back later and see if you have a blog or other information I can add.  Thanks for following along with me and Katie, Cheryl Ann!  We are happy to have you on board!  🙂

Happy Saturday, everyone, from Me and Katie!  🙂