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|THE TROUBLE WITH BUCKET SEATS IS THAT NOT EVERYONE HAS
THE SAME SIZE BUCKET!!
Click on Icon below, it will
take you to your ad on
LIFE IS GOOD IN BERMUDA DUNES
ABOUT BDSA AND
3rd Thursday of
Bermuda Dunes Security
Association (BDSA) is
responsible for streets
(potholes, cracks, street
drainage and dry wells),
Security entry/exit, patrol
vehicles, cable TV
agreement, fee collection
& payment, gates & gate
lights, medians, walls,
guardhouses and all
BDSA is managed by
Desert Resort Mgmt.
The Admin Office is open
Monday thru Friday for
questions and concerns.
Admin staff can also assist
with access to the
Resident Login System
Admin hours are as follows:
If this is urgent, please
contact Security at:
Main Gate: 760-360-1322
Glass Gate: 760-772-3137
Here is what
(BDCA) is responsible for
most problems relating to
property owner's home
and lot, dogs,
draining, trash cans,
fountains and landscaping
at the main gate.
Committee reports to the
Dues are $120 per year
and are payable in
January in lump sum.
Troy Reis | Association
The Management Trust
39755 Berkey Drive, Suite A
• Palm Desert, CA 92211
P: (760) 776-5100 x6343 |
F: (760) 776-5111
|Today is Wednesday, July 22, 2015
|The Living Desert/Wet ‘N’ Wild Palm Springs summer partnership.
Spend the morning at The Living Desert and take a dip in the Wet ‘N’ Wild water park in Palm Springs in the
afternoon with the new Combo Ticket!
Children (Ages 3 – 12) $32.00
Available at the entrance to either park.
Members of both parks will be required to show their membership cards in order to receive half-priced entry to
the other destination. Wet ’n’ Wild will honor the promotion for both summer and regular season members of The
You can hit both attractions in one day with just a 20-minute drive between the two parks. If you live here, well, the
good news is, you don’t have to hit both attractions on the same day. You can use half of the combination ticket
one day and the other half another day.
Discount admission fees to each park for visitors with membership cards to either park.
The Living Desert, 47900 Portola Avenue, Palm Desert;
Wet ‘N’ Wild, 1500 S. Gene Autry Trail, Palm Springs. (760) 346-5694 or (760) 327-0499
**Combo tickets can be purchased at the admissions window of either attraction.
When the Bermuda Dunes
Blog began about ten years
ago, a friend suggested that I
place an ad for pet sitting
since I love animals so
much. Little did I know what
an impact it would have! I
started out with a couple of
BDCC pet owners and over
the years, simply through
word-of-mouth, I have quite a
list of "regulars," as well as
recent new clients --
extending from Indio to Palm
Springs. In addition I have
several homes I check on for
snowbirds. And it all started
with the BDCC Blog. My
regulars now book me
months in advance.
Thanks to the Blog, I have a
very successful business!
THE BLOGFOLKS CONTACT INFORMATION
Email us: Theblogfolks@bdcommun.com
|ORDER YOUR SALTON SEA SPECIALTY LICENSE PLATE
The Greater Palm Springs Convention & Visitors Bureau is leading a campaign to encourage motorists to purchase a
Salton Sea specialty license plate. The new plate is an opportunity for all California drivers to help the Salton Sea. Not only
will the sales of the plate generate continuous funding for the Salton Sea Authority, but it can provide free advertising on the
roads of California and throughout the country about this important cause.
The license plate will cost $50 initially and then $40 each year to renew. In order for the plates to go into production, 7,500
pre-paid reservations must be received by January 2016.
This initiative is strongly supported by the Coachella Valley Association of Governments, the Salton Sea Authority and the
Board of Supervisors..
|THESE ARE THE FOLKS TO CALL FOR BLOWING SAND:
The County has a fugitive dust ordinance in place. If you identify problem lots, you can make a complaint to Code
Enforcement or the South Coast Air Quality Management District. Here is the ordinance:
Click on following link:
It applies to vacant lots exceeding 5,000 sqft (that would be most residential lots).
Joe Pradetto, Supervisor Benoit's Assistant
|Dust storm or haboob?
What’s the difference between a dust storm and a haboob
— or are they the same thing?
A dust storm is formed when strong turbulent winds pick up
loose particles of dirt and sand, creating a wall of wind that
pushes across dry terrain. When there’s a wall of dust — like
those seen above and below — a dust storm can be
considered a haboob. (The word haboob is Arabic for
“strong wind” — habb meaning “wind.”)
When a haboob-style dust storm is blowing in, from a
distance, it looks like a solid wall of clouds close to the
ground — very different to usual storm cloud formations.
Once you’re inside the wall of clouds, daylight instantly turns
into a dusky evening light. All the dust that’s kicked up turns
the air an orange-brown color, and the wind howls as it
blows not just the sandy dust, but also leaves and litter and
everything else that’s loose.
Where do dust storms come from?
What causes these huge dust storms? In the US —
particularly the dry, desert areas of the southwest (including
California, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada, Utah and Texas
— dust storms are most common in the summer time, often
in the afternoon during monsoon season, when there is
thunderstorm activity in the area.
Outside the United States, haboobs have been seen in the
Sahara desert region, the Arabian Peninsula, Kuwait, Iraq,
North Africa, Australia and Alberta, Canada.
USGS and partner research shows that two major
contributing factors to the creation of these storms are low
vegetation cover and disturbance to soil surfaces.
The National Weather Service noted that there were several
contributing factors to the storm’s intensity (all of which are
common to dust storm activity — just not to the same degree
as seen during this event).
1.Monsoon: In Arizona, dust storms most often occur during
Monsoon season — which usually begins around the middle
of June and lasts until about the second half of September.
|How to Beat the Heat | 7 Ways to Keep Your Cool This Summer
As the summer temperatures continue to climb, people are looking for any ways they can to save energy and beat the heat
this summer. Here are some cooling tips you can do yourself to keep your energy bills down and your comfort up.
Beat the heat
Did you know that you can save 20-50% on your energy bills by switching to a high-efficiency air conditioner and taking other
actions to lower your home cooling costs?
7 DIY Tips to Beat the Heat
1. Use Shade to Cut Cooling Costs
About 40% of your home’s unwanted heat absorption comes through your windows (nrel.gov). When the sun is out, close all
of your shades, drapes, and blinds. For added solar heat protection, consider purchasing solar screens for your windows,
which claims to block up to 90% of the sun’s heat and glare.
Other shading devices and techniques include awnings, shutters, shrubbery, trees, and climbing vines. Check out this
landscaping for shade guide by energy.gov for some low-tech, natural ways to save on your cooling costs. Remember, you
have control over how much sun you allow into your home.
2. Use Thermostat Settings for Maximum A/C Savings
We recommend setting your thermostat to 78 degrees or higher while at home and about 85 degrees while away. We do not
recommend turning off your air conditioner entirely since you will use more energy getting the temperature back down when
you come back home. Also, lowering the thermostat to its lowest setting will not cool your home any faster. It will only cause
your system to run for a longer period of time. If you forget to raise the temperature back up, you could be wasting a lot of
money and energy, so just don’t do it at all!
A programmable thermostat will allow you to lower the temperature back to 78 degrees before you arrive so you don’t have
to wait in the heat while your home cools down. Don’t forget to use ceiling fans and cold food and drink to help supplement
the efforts of your air conditioner. By following these thermostat tips, you could lower your energy costs by about 15-25%.
3. Maintain Your Air Conditioner
◾Check and clean your outside heat pump’s evaporator coil.
◾If you notice bent coils, you can use a “fin comb” to straighten them out.
◾If you have a window unit, inspect the seal around it to keep the cool air in and hot air out.
◾Replace your air conditioner filter every 30 days or so. Set calendar and phone reminders so you don’t forget. This is
probably the most important homeowner maintenance task you can do to keep you HVAC system running efficiently.
◾Having your outdoor heat pump in the shade can reduce your cooling costs by about 5-10%.
◾At least once a year, schedule professional HVAC maintenance. This can double the lifespan of your system and ensure
that all your warranties remain in effect.
4. Seal Up Any Air Leaks
Go around your home with an incense stick or thing piece of toilet paper and inspect your home for air leaks.
Use weatherproof caulk and weatherstripping around your doors and windows where cracks and gaps are less than 1/4
inch. Use expandable foam spray for any gaps larger than this.
5. Take Cold Showers
Rather than showering in the morning, wait until the afternoon or night to take a cold shower when your body needs to cool
down the most. This will also help reinvigorate you in the middle of a hot, energy-sucking day.
6. Use Energy-Saving Cooking Methods
Instead of using your oven, try using the microwave or toaster oven, or better yet, grill outdoors.
Try to cook hot meals at night or the early morning. You can cook things like pasta and potato salad and then stick them in
the fridge for a nice, cool meal.
7. Schedule Professional Air Conditioning Maintenance Once a Year (at least)
You probably think it is completely normal to take your car or truck in for maintenance at least once a year, and the same
goes for your HVAC system.
Scheduling professional air conditioning maintenance will ensure that your manufacturer’s warranty remains in effect.
Professional maintenance can also double the lifespan of your system and reduce cooling costs by up to 40%. Potential
problems will be found and corrected before they become actual problems. Small repairs are made on the spot and free
home cooling and efficiency advice is given during every visit.
|2.Dry land: There was an ongoing drought in the area
between Tucson and Phoenix, where rainfall since the end
of the last summer has been less than 50% of normal.
3.Thunderstorms: In the afternoon, strong to severe
thunderstorms developed east of Tucson. Thunderstorms
in eastern and southern Arizona collided.
4.Gaining strength: The storms intensified as they
progressed west, producing downburst winds in excess of
70 MPH, raising and collecting dust.
5.Force of gravity: Aided by gravity (as Tucson’s altitude
is approximately 1500 feet higher than Phoenix) and
additional downbursts from the parent storms, these
strong outflow winds proceeded to race off to the
northwest, with the leading edge moving at 30 to 40 MPH.
The presence of plants reduces soil erosion and dust
storms because it keeps the soil intact, reduces wind
momentum, and traps moving soil particles. Intact soil
surfaces, which may include soil crusts, can also reduce
the risk of dust storms. (Courtesy USGS)
Dust in the wind
As freaky as the storms can look, haboobs and regular
dust storms aren’t destructive like tornadoes and
hurricanes. But as you’d imagine, driving is dangerous
during a dust storm, because they can massively reduce
visibility, and often occur with little warning.
If you’re driving when a dust storm hits, the Arizona
Department of Transportation says to pull of the road and
turn your lights off. Put on your emergency brake, and be
sure you don’t have your foot on the brake pedal.
Apparently, in reduced visibility, other people may see
your car’s lights and attempt to follow — which is not a
good move when you’re stopped.
An issue that arises from dust storms and sand storms is
the huge decrease in air quality due to the very small
particles of dust, which are of concern because they can
cause damage when they’re inhaled into the lungs. (Larger
particles, on the other hand, get filtered out by your nose
Finally, there’s the annoyance factor: dust storms of all
sizes deposit a fine layer of dirt on everything in its path.
|SHOO FLY DON'T BOTHER ME...
They're a common pest around most homes, but how much do you know about the average house fly? Get the buzz on this
The House Fly - Life Cycle
These are the four distinct stages in an average house fly's life:
• Egg: Depending on the size of a female house fly, she can lay up to 500 eggs in a three to four day period. Eggs are white
in color and are usually less than half and inch in size.
• Larvae: Larvae are commonly referred to as maggots. Maggots emerge from the eggs within eight to 20 hours of being
laid. Larvae begin eating whatever they can find in the area they were laid. They prefer warm, moist environments to grow in.
• Pupa: After about four to 10 days, a maggot will move to higher, drier ground to move into the pupa stage of its life. This
process take about three to six days and is where the maggot encases inself in a reddish-brown skin where the final stages
of development take place.
• Adult: Once the adult house fly hatches from the pupal stage, it has an approximate life span of 15 to 30 days. Females
are able to start producing eggs after two days of life and will continue to lay eggs for about a month. Female house flys are
usually larger than the males.
The House Fly - A Day in the Life
You will find house flies pretty much everywhere there are humans or animals. Flies love things like garbage, manure and
anything else that left out in a warm environment (like the chicken you left thawing on your counter all day). House flies don't
feed off of human flesh - they get their nutrients from spitting saliva on their food, which liquifies it so they can suck it up with
their sponge-like mouths.
The House Fly - Did U Know?
•House flies can travel up to six miles in 24 hours, but they usually prefer to stay close by their breeding ground.
•The easiest way to keep flies out of your home is to keep things clean. Don't leave food lying around, make sure you take
out the garbage on a regular basis and wipe up messes right away.
•Fly investations are often found on farms because it is hard to keep them from breeding in the readily available manure.
•House flies like to perch on things like wire or string.
|Victor M380 Fly Magnet 1-Quart Reusable Trap With
This is great. Remember to place it away from the area you are
using..AND be careful not to offend your neighbors.
|BDSA Emergency Disaster Preparedness Committee Meeting Minutes
Meeting held July 15, 2015, 2:30 p.m., at the Bermuda Dunes Country Club Boardroom
Present: Duke Frey Board Director
Bill McMurtrey Board Director
Bob Nelson Board Director
Donna Nelson Council Woman
Mark Goldman BDCC Manager
James Thernes Homeowner
Judy Morris Homeowner
The meeting began at 2:30 p.m. with Duke Frey presiding as Chairman temporarily until a new Chairman can be appointed.
Mark Goldman presented a portion of the disaster preparedness plan prepared by the Trilogy Home Owners Association
Emergency Preparedness Committee. He led discussion about their plan, the trial runs they engaged in, the equipment they
gathered, and the red vests that were provided for the volunteers during a disaster. As to some of the equipment we will
need, Mark indicated he would contact several local fire departments to request equipment donations they might be able to
make for our use. Mark had to leave for another meeting after his presentation.
The next topic discussed was where we could store any supplies we gather in preparation for a disaster. It was suggested
that the BDCC maintenance yard had several buildings that may have enough room for us to partition off a space for our
use. Bob suggested shipping containers may be a possibility and will follow up.
We discussed contacting John Benoit, our Riverside County Supervisor, to let him know what we are doing on the disaster
preparedness plan and ask for any assistance he might be able to lend us. Donna Nelson indicated she could contact him
and also a local representative of the Riverside County Sheriff's Office to have representation at the meetings. Jim Thernes
was tasked with preparing a letter to Mr. Benoit which will be sent as a Committee effort.
Use of a copy machine was discussed and Bill McMurtrey will look into using the copy machine at the Security Office or the
BDCC copy machine. He will also check with his daughter regarding a used one we might be able to get. He will also
check on the two computers that were donated for our use.
Jim suggested we need a large map to use for indicating the actual neighborhood breakdown for which we will use block
captains in the event of a disaster. Bill indicated that the large one in the Security Office was done by an architect and he
will take the responsibility for getting one.
Jim brought up the possible need for extra security in the event of a large disaster. Universal Protective Services provide
our security at present. A program such as Citizens on Patrol may be suitable for our gated community. Donna will contact
the Riverside Sheriff's Department for information on that possibility.
The next topic of discussion was generating a database to keep track of BDCC residents and including the results of the
survey sent out in June. Jim brought up SharePoint; he earlier had a long discussion with Gwen Kastor who recommended
it to him. Duke related that DRM would charge $40/hour to prepare a database. Bill suggested that we use the Associa
database, which would save a lot of time and may accommodate our needs.
Duke indicated that the first mailing of the survey cost approximately $2,000; the reminder postcard will be sent out this
Next was discussion on where to set up our Emergency Operations Center. Suggestions before this meeting had been the
Security Office or a room in the BDCC. We discussed the possibility of using a large tent in a suitable location behind the
BDCC building. It would provide easy access and would be close to an area where helicopters could land. We would need
an agreement with the BDCC for the use of the land due to possible damage to the golf course area. Donna said she
knows someone that could possibly donate a suitable tent for our use and will make contact in the near future. Wherever that
is, we need a generator in that vicinity. We will also need an emergency power source (generator) at the main gate to
operate the gate in the event of a power failure.
Shipping containers were also discussed as a possibility for the EOC facility.
The use of satellite phones was mentioned and Bill will look into that possibility. They may have come down in price by now.
It was decided when new people move into our community and need to register their vehicles with Security and obtain their
transponders would be the time to give them the survey and have them fill it out to add them to our database. Maybe we
could have something like a "Welcome Wagon" handout.
The discussion turned to our need to get residents interested in joining our Committee or even completing the survey.
Without cooperation among the residents our Committee faces an uphill battle. Donna will check with Mark Goldman to
secure the large dining room at BDCC in early November, when most of our residents will be here, for a
cocktail/informational party. More discussion on that at the next meeting.
The next meeting of the Committee is tentatively set for Tuesday, August 25, 2015, at 2:30 p.m., in the
BDCC Board Room.
The meeting adjourned at 4:03 p.m.
|Cascadia Fault Line: Earthquake Prediction
For California/Oregon Claims A Megaquake
The Cascadia fault line just became as popular as the San
Andreas fault line thanks to a New Yorker earthquake article,
which discussed 2015 earthquake predictions in addition to
the possibility of a devastating tsunami wiping out the coastline
of California, Oregon, and Washington state. But is the
Cascadia subduction zone really capable of producing a
In a related report by the Inquisitr, some scientists actually
believe an oarfish sighting can be used for earthquake
predictions since they may give a hint about the geological
processes occurring deep under the ocean.
The New Yorker article does not begin by describing the “really
big one” in detail. At first, they detail why exactly the San
Andreas fault line is over-hyped in comparison to the
Cascadia fault line.
“Every fault line has an upper limit to its potency, determined
by its length and width, and by how far it can slip. For the San
Andreas, one of the most extensively studied and best
understood fault lines in the world, that upper limit is roughly an
8.2—a powerful earthquake, but, because the Richter scale is
logarithmic, only six per cent as strong as the 2011 event in
The Cascadia subduction zone, on the other hand, has a
greater potential for devastation. It runs from Cape Mendocino,
California, all the way up to Vancouver Island, Canada. It is
noted that the Cascadia fault line is slowly being compressed
over time at a rate of 30 to 40 millimeters a year. While the
earth is relatively elastic, their earthquake prediction claims a
megaquake may be possible once this elasticity reaches its
“Sooner or later, North America will rebound like a spring. If, on
that occasion, only the southern part of the Cascadia
subduction zone gives way—your first two fingers, say—the
magnitude of the resulting quake will be somewhere between
8.0 and 8.6. That‘s the big one. If the entire zone gives way at
once, an event that seismologists call a full-margin rupture, the
magnitude will be somewhere between 8.7 and 9.2. That’s the
very big one.”
|The worst part about the earthquake prediction is the tsunami.
If the Cascadia fault line ruptures as described, the shifting of
the tectonic plate would displace a monstrous amount of
seawater, which would in turn send a giant wave hurtling at the
coasts of California, Oregon, and Washington State.
While this description by the New Yorker sounds scary, some
may wonder if scientists are really making earthquake
predictions which make out the Cascadia subduction zone to be
a killer. Ian Madin, a geologist and chief scientist at Oregon
Department of Geology and Mineral Industries, believes the
Cascadia fault line could in fact cause a megaquake.
“As the two plates collide,” Madin says, “the fault gets stuck,
eventually slipping when enough stress builds up to produce a
great earthquake…. On top of that, we have a lot of
mountainous terrain that is highly susceptible to landslides,
large areas that are susceptible to liquefaction, and 300 miles
of coast that will be inundated by tsunamis that will arrive within
15 to 20 minutes of the earthquake and may locally reach
elevations of 100 feet above sea level.”
According to FOX4KC, a megaquake prediction by Dr.
Chris Goldfinger, a marine geologist and professor at
Oregon State University, claims the Cascadia fault line
suffers an earthquake once every 250 years. This is
dangerous because he says, “We’re 300 years into a 240
year cycle.” Goldfinger claims the southern region around
California and Oregon has a 35 to 40 percent probability
of having a megaquake in the next 50 years, while the
northern region around Washington state and Canada only
has a 10 to 15 percent probability of occurring.
Just how devastating would this megaquake be? The
Oregon Resilience Plan claims a megaquake along the
west coast could cause $30 billion in damage within
Oregon alone. Kenneth Murphy, who directs FEMA in the
areas which would be affected by the quake, says that this
megaquake could kill around 13,000 people. Another
27,000 would be injured, and millions would be displaced
from their damaged and destroyed homes.
“Our operating assumption is that everything west of
Interstate 5 will be toast,” Murphy said. “This is one time
that I’m hoping all the science is wrong, and it won’t
happen for another thousand years.”
Kevin Cupples, the city planner for the town of Seaside,
Oregon, notes that if the earthquake predictions about the
Cascadia fault line are correct then tourists and the elderly
will be in deep trouble.
“We can’t save them,” Cupples says. “I’m not going to
sugarcoat it and say, ‘Oh, yeah, we’ll go around and check
on the elderly.’ No. We won’t.”
These dire earthquake predictions may be alarming, but it
should be noted that earthquake predictions are
notoriously unreliable. Robert J. Geller, professor of earth
and planetary science at the University of Tokyo’s
Graduate School of Science, once wrote that making an
earthquake prediction “seems to be the alchemy of our
At the same time, scientists are warning the public about
the Cascadia fault line since it truly is possible for a
megaquake to occur. The goal is for the public to have an
awareness of when there is a heightened risk, but without
spreading unnecessary fear or panic over potentially
|Coconut Oil Uses
1. Chef’s Secret: You can up the health ante of many dishes
by replacing vegetable oil with coconut oil. Use it in stir-fries,
brownie recipes, pie crusts or even fry with it.
2. Hair Helper: For a rich hair treatment, combine 2
tablespoons each melted coconut oil and raw honey with 1
large egg yolk. Whisk together and apply to dry hair,
covering completely. Let sit as long as you can. (To kill time,
queue up a movie or tackle a closet cleanout project.) Rinse
with warm water when ready.
3. Coconut Kiss: To make a soothing lip balm, melt 4
tablespoons grated beeswax and 2 tablespoons coconut oil
in a glass bowl over simmering water, stirring frequently.
Once melted, remove container from heat and add 5 to 10
drops of an essential oil of your choice. Pour into a tin and
apply to lips once cool and solidified.
4. Well Seasoned: To season a cast-iron pan, coat liberally
with coconut oil. Put the pan in a cool oven and turn it to 300
degrees. Leave in oven for 30 minutes after it reaches set
temperature. Let pan cool in oven after turning it off.
5. Face Freshener: Wash your face with oil—yes, really!
Coconut oil works wonders on the skin and can help draw
out dirt, oil and other toxins. To use, mix 2 teaspoons
coconut oil with 1 teaspoon castor oil (use more coconut oil
for dry skin; less for oily skin). Massage into skin and apply
in a warm, wet washcloth to your face until it cools. Wipe
away and repeat if necessary.
|6. Odor Eliminator: For an easy-to-make homemade deodorant,
mix 1⁄4 cup baking soda with 1⁄4 cup cornstarch. Add 6 tablespoons
coconut oil and mix in with a fork. Store deodorant in a small glass
7. Stain Remover: Mix one part coconut oil with one part baking
soda for a natural stain remover for upholstery and carpets. Apply to
stain and let sit for a few minutes before wiping away.
8. Coconut Cream: For a simple, nourishing whipped body
lotion, put 1 cup of solid coconut oil and a few drops of an
essential oil of your choice into a mixing bowl. Mix on high until
soft and feathery. Store in a container with a tight-fitting lid.
9. Furniture Polish: To make wood furniture really shine,
combine 1⁄4 cup melted coconut oil, 4 tablespoons distilled
white vinegar and 2 teaspoons lemon juice in a reusable spray
bottle and shake well. To use, spray on wood furniture and
wipe away with a clean cloth.
10. Insect Repellent: Naturally repel insects with a mixture of
8 ounces coconut oil and 40 to 50 drops peppermint essential
oil. Apply to skin and enjoy pest-free outdoor living.
11. Smile Brightener: For cleaner, whiter teeth, try oil pulling.
Swish coconut oil around in your mouth for 15 to 20 minutes,
four or five times a week. Spit out the oil into a trash can (do
not swallow or flush oil down the drain) and rinse with water.
12. Smooth Shave: For silky smooth legs, simply rub coconut
oil on skin before shaving. You can also use it after shaving for
13. DIY Dentifrice: Making your own toothpaste is incredibly
easy and better for you than store-bought
versions. Mix 6 tablespoons coconut oil, 6 tablespoons baking
soda and 25 drops peppermint essential oil (look for 100
percent pure peppermint oil). Store in a glass container with a
14. Gum Grabber: Coconut oil works just as effectively as
peanut butter in removing chewing gum from hair. Apply oil to
gum and let sit for a couple of minutes before removing it.
|Here is an article I recently read and thought I would share it with you. Different kind of pests!
Camping and Bees
Millions of years ago, according to one theory (mine), the mammoth child of some now extinct race of giants spilled globs of
wet sandstone clay, red as rusted iron, on the Nevada desert in what is now known as the Valley of Fire. Perhaps she was
modeling some kind of prehistoric jack-o-lanterns, for she poked holes in them with her fingers so the mounds were riddled
with grotesque eyes and noses and mouths. Whatever her intention, she left them to dry and forgot to come back.
Some of the globs are 100 feet high, some only 10 or 15. As I arrive, looking for a place to camp, the late afternoon sun is
turning them red as fire and the holes – enlarged and sculpted now by eons of wind-blown sand – hold shadows so black
that I know without going too close that some blood-thirsty, bone-crunching horror lurks in the holes, just waiting to pull me in.
I decide that this is just the right place, for even though I am now a jaded old iconoclast who, in my sixties, has taken to
wandering around in the desert alone, I have never lost my childhood delight in using my imagination to terrify myself.
It’s not long until sunset, so I lay my sleeping bag out on a flat, clean, sandy place. Then, with my notebook and canteen, I
climb to the top of one of the sandstone mounds (carefully avoiding the black holes) to watch the sun go down and write in
my journal. The bee comes at first in wide circles. Initially I give him no more than an uneasy suspicious glance, but the
circles get smaller and smaller until he is very close and I get nervous. "Buzz off," I tell him, and when he doesn’t obey, I
abandon the mound, grumbling. I walk up a natural pathway through the mounds, looking for another space to claim. But the
bee comes with me. He dashes ahead, swoops and turns, buzzes me, dashes off to the rear, banks and turns, buzzes me
again. I see a stick lying on the ground, a slender switch. I pick it up and whip it in his direction. It only makes him mad. He
buzzes me like a fighter plane strafing a battleship.
"If you get too close I’m gonna shoot you down." I’m bluffing of course. I know I can’t hit him. He answers by swooping so
close to one ear I can feel the draft from his wings. We go along this way for a while and I’m getting more and more irritable,
thinking that if he doesn’t quit I will have to get in my car and find another place to camp. Not a pleasant prospect this late in
the day, as it will soon be dark. But then I come to a large hole in a mound – a gaping mouth, actually -- and after peeking in
to make sure there are no loathsome beasts lurking there, I duck in. Inside, I can almost stand up. It has the fresh, clean smell
of cool sandstone, nothing but fine red dust on the floor, and it’s 10 or 15 degrees cooler than the desert outside. The bee
has not followed me inside, though I can hear him buzzing around outside. Ah ha—the horror turns out to be a haven.
I sit down and drink from my canteen and decide I will wait here for the bee to leave. More of a cubbyhole than a cave, my
little refuge arouses pleasant memories of hiding places I treasured as a child: a nook behind the hay in the barn on my
grandfather’s farm; a tunnel through the roots of the giant pampas grass that grows in Florida, where I grew up; a tiny closet
under the stairwell, where I hid when my feelings were hurt. I remember the smell of the hay, which made my sinuses run, and
the pungent smell of the pampas grass when it rained. But here, there’s only the light fresh smell of sandstone, barely
noticeable. I drag my fingers through the clean sand on the floor of my alcove, making little troughs. What a place to sleep if it
rains, I think.
About that time I hear the bee again. He is reconnoitering the entrance to my cave. "Get away from here. This town ain’t big
enough for the two of us," I yell. You have to understand that I have been alone on the desert for a week and I am talking
freely to anything and everything. It doesn’t matter how silly you get if there is no one to hear you but a bee. The bee starts in
the door and I lash at him with the stick. Although I’m in a totally defensive position, I have the advantage. He can only come
one way and I’m ready for him. He tries it over and over again but I fence him off every time, even doing some fancy Zorro-
like sword work, enjoying the battle now that I am in a somewhat secure position. I wonder what the attraction is, why he is
dogging me as relentlessly as Captain Hook’s crocodile, but at any rate I know he will have to go home when it starts getting
dark, and the sun is already gone. Sure enough, when the light starts to fade he leaves.
I crawl out and return to my sleeping bag. I go to sleep marveling at the stars, a hundred times brighter in the dark night of the
desert than they are in the city, a thrill that never gets old. That night there is a windstorm and I tunnel all the way down in my
sleeping bag even though it is hot. Once in a while I put my face out with my eyes squinted shut just to feel the sting of the
wind-whipped sand on my face. It’s my first desert sand storm. I imagine myself in the Sahara desert, separated from my unit
of the French Foreign Legion, which has made an exception to the all-male rule in my case and allowed me to join due to my
demonstrated courage in the battle of Quong Zai. I only have to survive until morning, when search planes may yet find me if I
am not suffocated during the night by the blowing sand, or maybe they won’t find me and I will die of dehydration before the
day is over. I am thoroughly terrified and the bee is completely forgotten.
Valley of fire
In the morning my hair is thick with sand. It feels like crumpled plaster and I can’t comb it. My mouth feels like someone
emptied ashtrays into it. I remember I saw a campground not far from where I slept and I go there to look for water. There are
no people and it looks abandoned, a ghost campground. Probably just too hot this time of year. I walk around until I see what
appears to be a solid post of bees planted in the ground, standing perhaps two feet high. It’s an astonishing sight and I get
as close as I dare, thinking I am witnessing a strange swarming phenomenon. Rather late, it occurs to me to wonder if they
might be killer bees, but then I think, No, if they were, I’d already be dead meat.
The bees move constantly, an undulating stamen of yellow and black, and then under their pulsating bodies I see little
spaces of something gray and metallic. I approach a little closer, and realize that what I am looking at is a pipe sticking up
out of the ground, with a faucet at the top. My water, turned into a fountain of bees. I sit on the ground to reason the situation
out but I can’t think of any way to turn the faucet on without disturbing the bees, and they are sure to be mad at me. I can deal
with anybody being mad at me but a bee. A hundred bees in bad temper I can’t even bear to think about, even if they aren’t
Bee on water pipe
I begin to reason with them. "Look, I know you consider me a natural enemy, but you need water and I need water. It’s that
classic dramatic situation where enemies must cooperate if they are to survive. You’ll recognize that immediately if you read
much fiction. You can’t turn the faucet on and I can. Now here is what I’m gonna do. I’m gonna reach in there and turn that
faucet and we’ll all have water and you’ll go your way and I’ll go mine, okay?" I reach for one of the bare spots on the faucet
and push with the tip of my finger. A trickle comes from the pipe and the bees jump, every living one of them, two feet in the
air with a sudden mighty ZZZZZ, then they dive for the water on the ground. It all happens in a second and then it is quiet, the
bees all over the ground, drinking.
As I put my canteen out to fill, I remember the bee of yesterday and realize what the attraction was: he’d wanted water; he
was after my canteen. Well, why didn’t he just say so? I ask irritably. Maybe he did, I answer, maybe you just weren’t
listening. I fix the faucet so the water keeps coming a drop at a time, and will keep on coming until another human comes
along and turns it off. While I’m doing this I do a rerun of yesterday’s incident, and in the rerun I have it come out that I paid
attention to the bee. I analyze his behavior calmly and intelligently and figure out that he is not playing Zorro with me—he
must want something I have and that something can only be water. Then I have me sit down and take the cap off the canteen
and pour a little water in it, more than he can ever drink, and the bee sits on the edge of the cap and drinks up as much as he
can and then flies away home, with me sitting there making friendly chit-chat until he leaves. The rerun doesn't make me feel
any better because of course that isn’t how it was—it never is between humans and wild creatures. I was over-Disneyed in
my youth and the corruption has spilled over into my adult life. I make up my mind: no more fantasy, no more cutesy dialog
with the wild things. It keeps me from knowing what’s really happening. Meantime, the best I can hope for is that the bee of
yesterday was among the bees at the faucet this morning.
|AFTER HEARING ABOUT LYME DISEASE INCREASING IN THE VALLEY, I DECIDED TO DO
SOME RESEARCH AND SEE WHAT CAUSES THIS DISEASE.
Cause of Lyme Disease:
As described, Lyme disease is caused by the transmission of Borrelia burgdorferi which live inside of infected ticks. The
bacteria, which lives in the tick gut, travels to the mouthpart of the tick and is injected into the skin. People who are most at
risk of developing Lyme disease usually spend a lot of leisure time outdoors in tick-infested wooded areas (e.g.
campgrounds) or live in densely wooded areas. In the United States, in the Northeast and Upper Midwest areas, there is a
peak of infection in late spring and early summer. A smaller peak follows in the fall season.
Symptoms Associated With Lyme Disease:
•Early localized stage of Lyme disease is characterized by erythema migrans, a skin rash which appears from three days to
several weeks after the bite. The small rash grows in diameter, becoming anywhere from two to 10 inches.
•With early disseminated stage, the infection spreads to the rest of the body in the weeks following the tick bite and may
cause multiple skin rashes, fever, joint pain, muscle pain, headaches, possible heart and nervous system issues. Others
may appear symptom-free.
Diagnosis of Lyme Disease:
Laboratory tests are used to confirm Lyme disease when patients present symptoms which are consistent with Lyme
disease. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends an ELISA blood test to detect certain antibodies
produced as a response to the infection. Another test, known as the Western blot, is used to confirm borderline or positive
results from the first test. False negative test results are possible for patients in the early weeks after infection.
Treatment of Lyme Disease:
Early stage Lyme disease is usually treated with a two to three week course of oral antibiotics. Intravenous (I.V.) antibiotics
may be indicated if early infection shows signs of heart or nervous system involvement. Antibiotic treatment is still
considered successful for most patients even if infection is unrecognized at first or detected in its later stage. There are
some patients who have problems which linger on, even following treatment, such as persistent joint pain and arthritis.
Prevalence of Lyme Disease:
According to the CDC, "preliminary results from three different evaluation methods suggest that the number of people
diagnosed with Lyme disease each year in the United States is around 300,000." Here is a map of the geographic
distribution of Lyme Disease in the U.S. (2011).
Points of Interest About Lyme Disease:
•If Lyme disease is diagnosed and treated early, it is usually the case that symptoms quickly disappear.
•Fatigue and poor sleep can be problematic for patients who remain untreated or undiagnosed.
•Prevention is the best course for avoiding Lyme infection: avoid brush and tall grass, use tick repellant, wear light-colored
clothing, tuck long pants into socks, and check for ticks regularly.
•If a tick is discovered within 24-36 hours of attachment, removing it with tweezers will usually prevent disease transmission.
•There is currently no vaccination to prevent Lyme disease.
|5 new animals welcomed to The Living Desert
Three ringtails were born at The Living Desert on June 16 to parents Penelope and Abel. Named after its flashy
black-and-white tail, the ringtail is part of the raccoon family and is nocturnal.
TLD is announcing the acquisition of two black-footed cats that were recently brought to the facility from the Philadelphia Zoo.
The black-footed cat is the smallest wild cat in Africa weighing 2.5 to 6 pounds. At first glance, these adorable animals
resemble a domestic house cat. The cat has large eyes and its fur varies in color from cinnamon-buff to tawny with black or
brown patterned spots that merge to form rings on the neck, legs and tail providing the animal camouflage.
According to the zoo's release, the ringtails were born on June 16 to parents Penelope and Abel, who are caring for the kits
in their cooled den. The new family is currently on exhibit at the zoo, however, ringtails are nocturnal animals so the best time
to see them is in the morning or during a special nighttime activity like Starry Safari.
Zookeepers said the kits usually open their eyes after 30 days.
The two new black-footed cats are both 16 months old and are on exhibit in the African section of the zoo, along with other
small animals such as the fennec fox and meerkat, officials said in the release.
"These new additions are going to be popular with our guests at the zoo," said President & CEO Alan Monroe. "It's very
exciting when we get to introduce new animals that many of our visitors have never seen before."
Named after its flashy black-and-white tail, the ringtail is part of the raccoon family and is native to the arid regions of North
America, ranging from Oregon to Oaxaca, Mexico. Also known as a cacomistle, these small carnivores typically weigh about
three pounds, and possess superior hearing and vision, zookeepers said in the release. Their semi-retractable claws and
long tail are ideal tools for climbing.
Officials said the black-footed cat is the smallest wild cat in Africa weighing 2.5 to 6 pounds. At first glance, these adorable
animals resemble a domestic house cat. The cat has large eyes and its fur varies in color from cinnamon-buff to tawny with
black or brown patterned spots that merge to form rings on the neck, legs and tail providing the animal camouflage.
You can visit The Living Desert daily from 8 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., with the last admission at 1 p.m.
For more information, visit livingdesert.org.
|Palm Springs Art Museum and the A+D Center
Will Be Closed For The Month Of August, Reopening Tuesday, September 1.
Palm Desert Summer Hours
Through Monday, September 7, Labor Day.
The Galen is closed.
The Galen is open from 12 noon-8 p.m.
Saturday and Sunday
The Galen is open from 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
The Faye Sarkowsky Sculpture Garden remains open daily.
|The A+D Center Announces
Free Admission Beginning October 1, 2015
Beginning October 1 visitors will have free admission to the A+D Center every day. A donor who wishes to remain
anonymous agreed to underwrite admission fees for the next two seasons, providing all visitors complimentary access
through July of 2017.
"This generous donation, for which we could not be more appreciative, will allow even more people to enjoy the center and
its great architecture and design exhibitions," said Michael Hinkle, Manager, Donor Relations and Operations for the A+D
Center. "We look forward to sharing the A+D Center with more residents of the Coachella Valley and beyond, especially
students of architecture and design that may not have visited because they could not afford the cost of admission."
|Our thanks to Karen Whitaker for sharing these wonderful old photos. We hope you enjoy them
as much as we did.
These photos of life in the US at the beginning of the 20th century are truly a walk back in time. The first photo below
looks the same today and many of you have entered it on the way to NY. The third photo shows how trolley cars were air
conditioned in the summer. The clarity of these photos is truly phenomenal.
|1905 | Buffalo , New York . "Jack-Knife Bridge, City Ship Canal , foot of Michigan Street "
|1900| New Jersey circa. " Bergen Tunnel, east end"
|1900| Chicago . "A walk in Lincoln Park "
|1900| "U.S.S. Chicago. One of the crew"