Saturday, April 26, 2014

Trip, Transportation, Tools and Weather


That’s the greater San Jose as viewed from half way down Mt. Hamilton on my to way to pick up a polo shirt that has the Santa Clara County logo on it and a pair of shorts.  They have ordered another shirt and a name tag that I will have to pick up in a few weeks.


That was on Wednesday, then on Thursday, Ranger Theresa brought my cart to me.  That’s my co-pilot, Angel.  She has her own harness and loves to go with me, even when it’s cold, rainy and windy, which it has been lately.


Now that I have the cart, I can get more done.  In the back I carry a tool to de-web the food lockers, a toot with extra trash bags, rubber gloves face masks,etc., trash bucket, pick-r-upper, a shovel and 3 ash cans.  I started with one, but since the fire pits hadn’t been cleaned lately, I needed more and I could make fewer trips to dump them.  Below in the picture on the left was an average full pit, however, some had a lot more.  You would be surprised at what people try to burn.

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Later, I finally hung up my humming bird feeder and within a day the ants had found it.  I had to move it.  It didn’t take the hummers very long to find it again.  Does anyone have any idea how to stop the ants and/or other bugs from invading the feeder?


Below are some of my neighbors, lots of blue birds, crows and squirrels.  There are also a lot of quail, robins and other smaller birds that I haven’t got pictures of yet.  Yesterday I saw some deer by the Rangers’ Office. ( I didn’t have my camera with me.)

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While I was sitting on the deck taking pictures, Jeremy drove by in one of the Maintenance trucks.


Thursday night the rain kept me awake for quite a while, but I finally fell asleep with a movie on and the volume up high to hear anything beside the rain.  In the morning it was COLD, but I still had to get up.  It didn’t take me long to get dressed, although Angel thought differently.  She was going to stay in bed as long as she could.  Here she is trying to hide behind my pillows.  I’m surprised that she didn’t burrow under the covers.  She could stay in bed until 10 am.


When we finally got out, I headed over to the other CG that will be opening the 1st weekend in May.  I wanted to get all  the food lockers de-webbed and clean the fire pits so that it will be ready.  The picture below is taken from the 1st campsite looking south.  Fortunately the weather cleared a bit and warmed up a bit too.  That’s the restroom that we cleaned from top to bottom last week.  There are 18 more camp sites in addition to the 22 in the CG that I am in.  It’s a lot of work, but I should be able get it done in the 20 hours that I work.  That’s only 4 hours a day. 

When I finished, I went down to the Rangers’ Office, where Theresa gave me a radio and a bit of training.  Right now I’m just to listen and get used to the “chatter”.  I’m still trying to differentiate identities and what they’re saying.  I can hear everyone from all the other parks County wide too.

By the afternoon it started raining again and continued all night.  When I woke this morning, my 10 x 10 canopy had so much water caught in it that it bent some of the crossbars.  I hope that it can be fixed.

  IMG_0697 Just more tools of the trade.


I guess that I’ve bored you enough with the day in and day out of what I do here at JD. Grant County Park.  If you’re ever in the area, stop by and say Hi.

Thanks for visiting                          

IMG_2780 I’m ready to ride “shotgun”.

Susan and Angel

Monday, April 21, 2014

Easter In The County Park

Every Easter, here at J.D Grant County Park, they have an Egg Hunt.  My part started on Saturday, helping with the set- up.  Below is Ranger Lisa and Volunteer Ron preparing the craft tables.


I had Angel with me and she just sat on a chair watching and waiting for me.  (forgot to get a picture)  She was so patient and didn’t move at all.


These are the two rooms in the Cookhouse after we finished. It also can be reserved for parties.  When we finished I joined Ron for a History Hike and Tour.  He is the historian and has a lot of information on this area dating back 60,000 years about the indigenous Indians, how they lived, what happened to them, as well as the Ranch from the beginning until now.                              

The last part of the Tour was in the Ranch House.   There were all kinds for stories about and pictures of the J. D. Grant family.  There are even a few ghost stories thrown in.  (many of the park staff can attest to them)

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Below is a picture of an original sign found on the property, it was rough country back then.  Check out the spelling by clicking on the picture to make it larger.


After the Tour, I headed home had some dinner, sold some firewood, visited with some of the campers, checked the restrooms, watched a movie and went to bed.

After showering and breakfast I headed down to the Ranch House to finish setting up for the onslaught of families taking part in the festivities.  I set up my Face Painting Station and took the before pictures.  I took Angel home as well as some uniform shirts and vests that Ranger Theresa gave me.  I was back within an hour.  I began by painting Sarah’s (I mean the Easter Bunny’s) face, as well as a couple of the volunteers’ faces.


                                   Here they are flanking Ranger Lisa.


And then it was time for the Easter Bunny to lead them all to the Ranch House yard where the Hunt would be.  Below the people kept on coming.  Lisa had to give them instructions, mainly about snakes.  Since it has been getting warm they are coming out of hibernation.

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Everyone had a great time finding eggs.  Earlier , just before the hunt, the volunteers were out in the yard with water guns to chase away the birds that were after the hard-boiled eggs.  After taking these pictures, I had to get over to where the line was beginning to form for Face Painting.  It was a big hit.  The line got so long that some of the other volunteers offered to help.  We ended up with four of us sharing the paints and we still painted for two hours when two of them had to leave.  I ended up staying an extra hour to accommodate those that had been waiting long.


This little girl wanted something to match her dress.  Her dad recorded the whole process.

I was finally able to pack up my things, when Danny in  Maintenance asked if I could restock two of the women’s restrooms, because with all the Day Use People there, he couldn’t get in to clean or restock.  These are the restrooms that I am not usually responsible for, but we are a team and help each other when we need help.  That took another hour and I finally got back home to Angel and dinner.  Then later in the evening I sold more firewood.

It was a good day, doing something that I love doing and just doing my job.  I was tired  and I slept with a heating pad on my neck which helped muscles that I haven’t used in quite a while.

Then there was the cleanup today.  Normally it takes me 2 hours to police the 22 campsites in this CG, but today it took 3 hours.  It was mainly 2 sites that were horrible.  sometimes I wonder what their homes look like.  No, maybe I don’t want to know.  I don’t think that I want to get up on that soapbox.  But needless to say, people come up here on the mountain to enjoy a park in pristine condition, (most of them do)  and then those  few don’t respect it by trashing it.

Enough said!

Tomorrow I may just learn how to clean the fire pits.  Oh Joy!   Ranger Theresa brought my GEM (little electric car) to me and more firewood.  More on that in another post.

I hope that you all had a wonderful holiday.

Thanks for visiting

IMG_0645 Just waiting for Mom

Susan and Angel

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Up And Running, but Not Official Yet

I can now publish my posts to my blog.  Yea!!!!


Yesterday I had to go down the mountain to attend a driving class in order to be able to drive any County vehicle and on the way down I was able to pull over in a couple of spots to take the above pictures with my cell phone camera.  If you look closely at the first one, you can see the top of the cloud bank settled over San Jose.  The dark line in the middle is the Santa Cruz Mountain Line.  Grant County Park is above the clouds, bright and sunny when I left and the lower I got, the cloudier it got.  The 2nd picture is about 2/3 of the way down.  On the valley floor it was just cloudy and burned off in a couple of hours.

Not knowing where I was going and still unfamiliar with all the freeways and streets, I left early.  I had directions and got to my destination, Vasona County Park Annex building, where the class and test would be, 1 and 1/2 hours early.  Now that I knew where I was I left and found a Starbuck’s for coffee, then headed back to wait in the parking lot.  It was a good time to check on my 50 plus emails and read a book.  While there I met Anika, another Ranger then went in for the class.  It was on VCR and was still a good refresher.  There were four others in the class.   We just followed the video took the test and left.  I guess all that’s left is processing the paperwork.  That’s when it will be official.

As long as I was bottom of the hill/mountain, I decided to check on another County Park.  I had a voicemail from Ranger Glines at Sanborn County Park requesting a call about a Camp Host position there for the summer,so I thought that I would checkout the park and inquire about the winter.  He wasn’t there yet, so I drove through the park and visited with the current Hosts.  They will be leaving in May, heading to a job in Ketchikan AK.  When I finally met Ranger Glines, he already knew that I was at Grant, but discussed next summer, since the current Hosts will be back next October.

Before I headed back up the hill, I filled up the gas tank and made a phone call while I still had cell signal.  On the way home, I wished I could get some pictures of the magnificent views of the valley, but there is nowhere to pull over.


I was able to pull over to take this.  This is a 15 mph hairpin curve, some are tighter at 10 mph.  Nan’s Miata would handle it well, however I don’t want to wear out the brakes on my 15 year old Subaru.

Back at the Park I met Ranger Theresa Reyna (she’s the Host liaison) and let her know that I had taken the test.  She also brought over firewood and gave me the keys that I need.  All that’s left is processing.

I usually go to bed around 9 or 10 and get up some where near 7.  Today, Wednesday was the day scheduled for hooking up my phone.  I am required to have a landline that the park will reimburse for basic service.. Anything else, I will have to pay, so I chose to not get long distance, but did get internet service.  AT&T  scheduled the installation before 8 pm, however the tech, Eddie was here before noon and finished within an hour.  He made sure that I plugged everything in correctly and left me to complete the installation on the computer.  It took about 15 minutes and here I am.  Just published the waiting post and ready to do another.  

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Meet a couple of my regular visitors.

IMG_2728 Of course Angel has to check them out.  She lets me know that they are there with a low growl but doesn’t bark.

Before I forget, in answer to Sandie’s question, no, I’m the only Camp Host at Grant, however, there is a Ranger that lives in the park and other Rangers and maintenance guys during the day.   I schedule my hours  between 9 am and 9 pm Friday through Tuesday with Wednesday and Thursday off.  I expect that I will begin this Friday.  I suppose that I will figure out some kind of routine as to when I do whatever I have to do. 

That’s it for today.  Take care.

Thanks for visiting


Susan and Angel

Settling In And Getting The Lay Of The Land

  This was taken on my way back from yet another trip down the hill.  This time it was to arrange for a land line.  It is a requirement for Camp Hosts.  They will reimburse me for basic service and fees and taxes.  I will pay to have the internet, because I have no cell or internet service where I’m at.   If any one wants to talk to me they will have to call, as long distance is too expensive. Local is within 13 miles.  Hopefully I will be able to post my blog next Wednesday after the installation.       


This is only the beginning of the road that goes to the park (bottom of the hill).  The road twists and turns and is quite steep in places.  The views are magnificent if you only had the time to look at them.  It’s much too dangerous to more than take a glance and there is no place to pull over to take a picture. 


                        I have no idea what this is, but it is on a tall bush.

So without those gorgeous views,of which a picture just wouldn’t do them justice anyway, I’ll just post these of the campground flora and fauna.  Thursday, Angel and I took a walk/hike to check on all the campground sites nearby.  Even though I’m not officially a Camp Host until Monday, I decided to inspect each site and pick up trash.  Now I have a use for all those grocery bags.  I filled four of them yesterday.  At one site were tea drinkers, used tea bags and torn sugar packets. At another site there were several kids that had a water balloon fight.  I was surprised to find maybe only a dozen or so small pieces of the balloons.  They had picked up most of them.  There’s a lot of bottle caps, paper and cigarette butts.  Later I will also have to clean fire pits.  The section of the CG that I am in has 22 sites. 


                            Other CG picture taken from the CG that I’m in.

               On May 1st the other CG will open and  I will take care of that too.


Light cleaning and restocking of the Restrooms, and picking up trash is part of the maintenance.  Answering questions, selling firewood and being a presence as well as the eyes and ears of the Rangers is the other part of the job.  I will probably go through training next week.  Part of my job will be 10 hours of maintenance and the other 10 hours will be helping the Rangers.  With Easter coming up on the 20th, there will be an event at the Grant Ranch House.  I will be doing face painting for the kids and put out a donation jar that will go to support the Ranch Programs.

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           Taken from the deck.  (regular lens and then with the zoom lens)

These guys are all over the park and make huge entrance holes to their burrows.


              There are turkeys all over.  You hear them mostly at dawn and dusk.

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When I started my hike on Thursday morning the sole of boot just came unglued,  I walked right out of it.  I guess I will have to get another pair.  The next picture I’m using the sole as size reference for that pinecone.  The Rangers call them widow-makers.

               I finally got my paints out and did a watercolor of the pinecones.


                                        The watercolor paper is 9 x 12.

Today is Friday and people are starting to arrive in the park.  The weather is beautiful and we’re having a great week.  Angel has to greet them all and let them know that she sees them.  After all, that is her job.

Hope that you are having a great week too.

Thanks for visiting

IMG_2715 Just doing my job.

Susan and Angel

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Finished Setting Up and Getting My Bearings

                         IMG_2707 Looks like this is the final set up,fenced deck off the door and under the awning.  I put up the 10 x 10 canopy up behind “My Spot II” and had a couple of the maintenance fellows move it to be under it and on the pavement. (now they won’t have to move it each time they mow the grass.  I also put up lights under the canopy and around the deck.

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Looking out from the back of my rig is Mt. Hamilton with Licks Observatory on the top.  Yesterday I drove out up the Mountain, but only got as far as near the end of the park property and turned around to head back to the park office for an appointment.

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On my way up the mountain, I pulled over to see if I could see my rig.  That’s it, the little white speck in the middle of the left picture above.  The picture on the right is the equestrian campground that I pass going to the campground that I’m in.

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Before I went back, I checked out the lake.  Grant lake is right over that little rise past the path.  Because of the drought the lake’s level is way down.  It should take up nearly the whole picture on the far right, no water craft of any kind is allowed at this time.

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There may not be much water, but when it did rain last week, it did bring out the wild flowers.  California Poppies and I think, the Broadleaf Fillaree.

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Lots of birds and little lizards.  This one lives under my deck.

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Many Mountain Lions, Bobcats, Coyote, Fox, Raccoon and all others, including tons of ground squirrels.  They have hole to their burrows all over.  Here on my site I have been 

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putting these GIANT pinecone in them so that I won’t fall in one and break or twist an ankle.


This sign is posted at my site,  I will find out what my duties are and when I work my 20 hours between 9 and 9.  I will actually write my hours into a log to turn in.

Today, Wednesday, I drove down to San Martin Sheriff’s office to get fingerprinted and then got a few of groceries that are running low.  I certainly won’t be going down the hill very often.  The road is almost all steep, tight and hairpin curves, maximum speed is 10 mph with cyclists going up and down.  Extremely dangerous!!!!!!  They tell me I’ll get used to it, maybe so, but I don’t want to ruin my breaks, even when I use all the lower gears.

I hope that you all are having a wonderful day.  I am!!!!

Thanks for visiting

IMG_2655I’ve got my eyes on you.

Susan and Angel

p.s.  It may take a while for Tuesday’s and today’s post get published.