Sunday, April 29, 2012

April 28, 2012

A perfect day for gardening!  Just had a few things to take care of before attending to the garden: a 5K race, mowed my father’s lawn and running a few errands.  Seems simple enough but I did not get to work in the garden till 6:30 at night.  I had an hour and a half to do some more ground prep.

I need to interject a side note here.  The total area of land is 10 feet by 20 feet.  After a lot of soul searching I have decided the whole area need to be utilized.  This area is blocked off on two sides: the west side has lined by ten feet of fence and the north is lined by 30 feet of  a garage wall. 

The fence plans are coming along nicely.  I only need thirty feet of fence to protect the garden.  I did some window shopping at Home Depot and there is a wire fence that is three feet tall by 50 feet long—perfect!  Need this and a couple of poles and I’m set.

Tomatoes and peppers
So I spent the hour and a half clearing out some more weeds and as I did so my imagination ran wild with the many possibilities for this garden.  Growing up I hated pulling weeds and I still do; however, after I get over this obstacle I will have get to have the rewarding work of fencing the garden and planting the garden…still just need to decide on what else to grow.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

April 19 2012,

Carla and I wanted plant a garden last year when we moved into our duplex but it was too late in the season and too hot to start growing.  We have a plot of land in our backyard (about 6’ by 12’) that is covered with weeds and with our two dog and our neighbors two dogs it an area of land that needs a little TLC (Tilling, Leveling and Clearing).

We want a small garden since we are first time gardeners and want something that we can easily maintain.  So we got to work Thursday night turning up soil in a 3’ by 4’ area of the garden and clearing out the weeds.  The ground was soft and seems to be good quality.  It took 45 minutes to clear the area. 

Since that night we have discussed many different options and challenges for growing our first garden.  We have three objectives: decide what plants to grow, prepare the ground for planting and finally protect the garden from the dogs.

Tomatoes and green peppers are the plants that we plan to grow right now.  In fact we already bought three sprouts of each.  Honestly we are thinking that we might plant more.  The plot of land is a pretty good size.

We do have a portion of the gardening area cleared and ready.  However, after doing a little bit of research, the area is not big enough.  These plants need to be three feet apart so we need at least five by eight feet area of land.

Finally how to protecting the garden from the dogs?  Now the dogs have no malice intent to tear up a garden.  But they cannot use reason to not sniff-out something that is new to “their” area.  The most feasible solution is to place a fence around the garden area.

The garden is off to a pretty good start.  We have a few things already going and the plan is in place.  I look forward to growing this garden.  I think it will bring some great produce.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Those long days at work

What do you do during work to keep your sanity? I honestly feel that if at work you do not venture out of your work tasks and expand your creative thinking you can go insane. I do have some unique time passing projects that I do to make work time more enjoyable. Sure I will send out text messages or doodle or make stick figure movies with note pads. One activity is I do enjoy reading or writing lyrics to my favorite songs (like the Killers, Counting Crow, and Ben Fold just to name a few).

Today I did something different, I composed my bucket list.

Things to do before I die:

1) Run a marathon

2) Be an extra in a movie

3) Throw a grenade

4) Visit Ireland

5) Scuba Dive in the Red Sea

6) Write a book

7) Own my own cabin

8) Ride in a police car (hopefully just as a ride-along)

9) Half-time challenge (one of those guys that do an activity during the half-time of a sporting event to win a prize)

10) Do a backpacking trip that last more than 4 days (Havasupai does not count)

11) Coach a little league Soccer team

12) Have a backyard BBQ patio

13) Learn to play guitar and write a new song

14) Go Hunting

15) Get a black belt in Karate

Was there anything that I left out?

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Rusty Roger Lifferth

On Saturday September 18 I was at home enjoying a quite morning watching Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery, as the credits started to roll I got a call from my wife who was involved with an animal adoption charity event. She told me that I needed to come see all of the cute puppies that were there. So I put our 4 pound dog, Tony, in my backpack and rode my bike to the charity event. I arrived to a fashion show runway with the models showing off modest and casual fashion walking down the runway with a canine counterpart.

After the show my wife Carla ran up to me and presented a young beagle with a soft fur, and was featured on the runway as well, and asked if we could keep him. Now I have developed a heart of stone when it comes to my wife asking for different purchases, however, this was not some arbitrary piece of clothing that I had programmed myself to decline her request. When Carla asked with her puppy dog eyes and I saw this beagles puppy dog eyes longingly look at me I could not utter the word “No”.

I did not answer yes initially and I tried to avoid the confirmation of agreement by trying to find reasons why we could not have another dog. But nothing I said could convince Carla or myself not to keep this dog. I still was not completely willing to take another dog home, so I tried one more thing—I knelt down padded my knee a couple of times and said “Come here Rusty” and he did! That was all that I needed.

Let me tell you about the name Rusty. I must have been in high school when I decided that I wanted to someday name my dog “Rusty” and I decided that when I get my own dog that I would give him that name. So it meant a lot when he responded to that name.

On Rusty’s paper work his name was “Barney” but that name has too much of a big purple dinosaur connotation.

Left to right: Rusty, Cooper & Tony

Here is Rusty’s story: he is a four-year-old stray found in Springville. After an extensive search he was taken to the Utah Animal Adoption Center and put up for adoption. We did not know this but he was actually on death-row—scheduled to be put down on September 23 (Carla’s birthday).

So he is a Lifferth now. I was pondering the name “Rusty Fireball Lifferth” from the Herriman Fire, and in reference to my childhood dog “Nicholas Snowball Lifferth.” However, the name Rusty Roger Lifferth has a pleasant sound to it. Rusty Roger Lifferth is here and part of our family.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Blah Blah Book

I am completely done with Facebook!
I deleted my account just a few days ago and I have this sense of freedom back. I had several reasons for wanting to delete my account: Too many unknown “Friends,” the guilty feeling that I got when I declined an event invite, the self absorbed status updates and the list goes on.

The biggest reason I had for deactivating my Facebook account were the studies that show that the average FB user spends an hour every day browsing the status updates.
I was terrified when I first heard this statistic—how could I have become a statistic? It did not keep me up at night but the fact that I was part of a social network that was influencing my subconscious through my voluntary submitted “Likes” terrified me.

Here is a fine example: my relationship status was once set as “Single” and I noticed that I was getting ad to “meet local hotties” and “She is searching for you!” Then my status changed to “in a relationship” and I still got the dating services ads my page also displayed flower delivery ads and jeweler ads. The biggie was when I got engaged and my page was flooded with wedding ads from photography to reception halls to a few items that would make me blush.

Okay let’s face it, advertisement is not a bad thing, in fact it has many economical benefits. However, from my experience most of the FB ads are scams or companies using me to advertise their product like I’m a billboard.

There was another problem—my phone had a Facebook application. I could check Facebook anywhere at the store, on the road, when I first wake up, camping and…well…my bathroom breaks lasted a lot longer as well (something about sitting on the toilet would always draw me to that darn app). Side note: I put my scripture app in place of the Facebook app and now it is second nature to click right on my scriptures and start reading almost without me knowing.

So I’ll miss out of the hilarious status updates and I will have to go back to making small talk (my cousin Mark made a great statement that the best thing about Facebook is that it eliminates small talk). I will no longer get to make my voice heard through Facebook however…

Bloggers I’M BACK!!!

P.S. Sorry for the Random Photos but I did have any relevant photos and I thought it would be best to just put in a little visual enjoyment.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Coyote Gulch

I have made the trip to Coyote gulch four times now. There are several reason why this is one of my favorite backpacking trips. When I was a senior in high school my friends and I chose to go to Coyote Gulch for spring break; it was our first of many trips. It’s was a very memorable trip, first of all I had to quit my job at Maddox restaurant just to go; on top of that several things did not go as planned, despite our extensive planning:
1) On our way down we missed our exit and had to do a U-turn on the free way to avoid what would have been a major detour and delay.
2) The cooler we packet with our sandwich items and drinks was void of the lunch meats; they were packet continently in the refrigerator at my parents.
3) On the first day of the hike we took a wrong turn and hiked three miles up the wrong canyon.
4) I carried the first aid kit. We ended up not needing it, but my packing job was not very methodical and the first aid kit rubbed against my back the whole time creating a big bruise. I should have been smart enough to rearrange it, but I was more focused on moving forward.
5) There is 100-ft rock slab that slopes at 45 degree angle that is an exit out of the gulch. As we took this climb out my friend Jordan started sliding right down towards me. I panicked and said a really quick prayer sound something like “Shoot, Heavenly Father help.” Just as I braced for impact and could feel my heart pounding in my chest Jordan came to a slow stop just two feet in front of me.
6) The last two miles of the hike was hard on everyone since we were all out of water and hiking through the desert in the hot sun.
7) We had two vehicles: one parked at the beginning and end of the hike. At the end of the hike Darrin drove Steve to get his van. As we waited we all got in a furious rage as we saw only one car returning. Luckily it was only to get the keys.
8) The final insult came as we were driving out on the washboard road. About half-way through this road the back windshield on Darrin’s’ trailblazer rattled off. This took all our combine ingenuity to rig a tension rope configuration to secure it back on.

That trip was nine years ago. Since then I have learned that it is impossible to be prepared for the all the snags that can hinder the trip. However, planning for these trips have become more proficient—before it took a lot of meetings, this time it just took a few phone calls and an email. Also, I have learned you must keep going despite any snags along the way.

This time was a great trip. It was just Nate Clark and me. We drove down on Friday, May 15, in the morning and we drove straight there. We stopped a couple of time to take pictures of Escalante National Park and we also stopped in the town of Escalante to eat at one of the best burger joints.

There is a 40 mile wash-board road that leads to the beginning of the hike. We were stopped momentarily when we came to a part in the road where it the sand looked like the consistency of a sand trap and there was one vehicle that was actually stuck. We waited a few minutes and witnessed the car getting towed out by an old hippy wearing only cut-offs and driving an old Toyota truck with a bumper sticker that said “Kill your TV”.

Photo courtesy of Nate Clark.

We made it to the beginning of the hike and started hiking around 5 PM.

Can you see Stevens Arch? This is where we dropped down into the gulch.

It is tradition now to take the same “wrong turn,” as in the first time I took the trail with my friends, towards Steven’s arch. The camping spots that way are secluded from others backpackers. Less than a mile from my favorite camping spot the water got too deep and too challenging to hike to. At one point my shoes got stuck in the mud and I had to dive in to dig them out. We did find a great camping spot though—well after bush-whacking through thick ferns that lined the canyon walls.

That night, after I took a refreshing bath in the river to wash off all the black mud, we set up camp and fixed our backpacking meals; once again a gourmet meal miles away from any civilization. My pasta primavera, even by backpacking standards, was bland and brittle but it was nourishing. On the other hand, the freeze dried Neapolitan ice cream was as satisfying and delicious! I have also discovered another great snack to take backpacking—Starburst, they are delicious, provide energy and they do not melt too easily.

The night was hot; it didn’t cool down until about 4 AM, That’s about the time that Nate took this spectacular photo just outside our tent door.

Photo courtesy of Nate Clark.

The morning wasn’t any better than the night. The bright-hot sun had forced me to get out of the tent after a mildly miserable night’s sleep. Neither Nate nor I had much of a desire to make breakfast in the morning so we just packet up out stuff and headed out.

For those who aren’t acquainted with Nate let me fill you in. Nate is the outdoors guru; I use to think that I was a lover and protector of the outdoors till I would go on these excursions with Nate. On one camping trip, before we left, he dragged all of us to another camping spot, pulled out a trash bag and got us all to clean up the area. This trip was no different; he would make several stops to either take a photo of nature of pick up trash. At one point I saw him veer off into some vegetation and pull out a white rapper and with a spark of humor stat: “I declare this tampon wrapper property of Nate Clark.” He even provided for me something called a “wag bag,” a wag bag is used for the use and carrying of human waste. He taught me that the sandy-desert areas are not proper places to leave your waste because it doesn’t decompose as easily.

Nate’s fidelity to outdoors saved the trip. Less than 20 minutes into the hike Saturday morning, as we were scrambling over some rocks, a boulder rolled off one rock and over Nate’s right pinky toe—dislocating it. The trip was over; well that’s what Nate said. Honestly I was in disbelief, Coyote Gulch is not a destination it is a journey, and we haven’t even begun. We decided to hike to the closest exit point and then decide whether to leave Coyote Gulch or to keep on moving. We weren’t very far from this point (the “wrong turn”) and when we got there Nate said, profoundly, that his toe is going to hurt one way or the other—so we started the journey.

Photo courtesy of Nate Clark.

Coyote Gulch

Photo courtesy of Nate Clark.

Hiking through Coyote Gulch is a sensation for the body and mind. The body gets a great workout with fresh air and the mind is enticed by the ascetics that the canyon has to offer. The bottom of the gulch is lined with a stream that is shallow and gets baked by the sun all day; this makes the water very warm.

Photo courtesy of Nate Clark.

The first feature we saw was what I like to call the shower. The water is very refreshing with the chill that is much different from the warm water we were use to hiking through.

The first arch that we saw, besides Steven’s Arch, was Cliff Arch. Cliff Arch is different from the other arches in that it can be walked by and not even noticed without a keen awareness. It also unique in that it hangs on the side of a cliff as if it is a waterfall that has been petrified.

Cliff Arch

This year was the first year that I finally was mesmerized by Indian ruins and pictographs. This is more difficult to find than Cliff Arch. One year we thought that we had found the ruins, but I now know that was basically just a pile of rocks. To get to the Indian ruins, it is best to drop your backpack and climb up a dirt hill to a flat area that is sheltered by a rock wall that slants over it creating a natural 300-ft type awning. The authenticity of the artifacts and pictographs are astounding and humbling.

Photo courtesy of Nate Clark.

Coyote Natural Bridge is placed as if the apex of the hike. The placement of it suggests that an architect had designed it to be the only chance of making it through the gulch, like the walls closing in and before all hope is lost a passage way is offered. The bridge is a sound edifice and it is an inspiring monument to behold.

Photo courtesy of Nate Clark.

Pass the bridge there is natural spring offering sweet and refreshing water—to an almost certainly dry Camelbak.

Just above the spring is most certainly one of the most spectacular arches that must be seen in person—Jacob Hamblin’s Arch. The structure of it suggests that it is firm, immovable and willing to withstand the test of time. It is not a big arch, as far as Utah arches go, but the massive rock above it is probably the thickest around.

Photo courtesy of Nate Clark.

The last part of the hike is 100-ft climb out of on the 45 degree sandstone. It had been awhile since I attempted the climb, and I had underestimated the intensity of it. This part requires some knowledge of rock climbing and strong nerves. This time was tricky, there were several times were I really thought I was not going to make it. Fortunately Nate had thirty feet of rope and a vast knowledge of canyoneering and he was able to hoist my pack up with ease.

I took this photo when I though I was going to die.

Once we got out it was about a 2.3 mile hike back to our vehicle. Since we only brought one car we could not do the shuttle system. This part of the hike was not bad; the sun was lowering in the sky creating an orange glow in atmosphere. Nate and I had a competition here to see if his compass system was more accurate to my GPS; results: compass was more accurate. We did have to step lightly around holes that could be current snake holes, we had to jump a chain-link fence and Nate made sure that I did not step on any cryptobiotic soil.

Right after we climbed out.

Hiking through the desert.

Cryptobiotic soil.

The car greeted us with some ice cold drinks and a few snacks. We drove home through the night. I finally got home at 5 AM and I was disappointed to find out that I was locked out and I had to sleep in my car.

Coyote Gulch was once again a great trip. The same spot and route but as always I have new stories and that internal feeling of satisfaction and rebirth.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

First Run of the Season

If you know me you know I love Christmas. Today, I realized that Christmas is approaching fast. After all the giving, all the receiving, kisses under the mistletoe (cross my fingers), singing Christmas songs, watching Christmas movie and reading Christmas stories there comes a great sadness of cold dark days and empty wallets. This year, however, I am looking forward to the long winter bliss. Because after Christmas season is over we fall right into the heart of the ski season—blessed, wonderful, full of hope and joy, ski season!

Fortunately, the ski season does not have to start after Christmas. I went up today, and it was beautiful.