Kevin Standlee (kevin_standlee) wrote,
Kevin Standlee
kevin_standlee

More For the Birds

In the end, we might have gotten about 1 mm of snow, which is slight, of course, but did make everything look snowy at sunrise. I spread out a lot of birdseed and the birds were very happy for me to do so.

Swarming Birds

You'd think they knew there wouldn't be anyone to spread out more food for a while after today.

On Sunday, I did a little experimentation to show how much seed the birds are eating.

Birds' Breakfast

Before going to breakfast, I filled the feeder to this level.

Fat Birds

About six hours later, there was still this much left, which surprised me. They must have found something more interesting that morning.

When I ran over to Raley's on Sunday afternoon, the heater fan on the Astro stopped working. If I whacked the dashboard next to the controls, it would start working again, but only on high. The two intermediate speeds wouldn't work at all. This seemed obviously an issue with the switch, so Lisa got out all of the service manuals and wiring diagrams she long ago purchased for the minivan.

Getting at the switch requires removing the instrument panel cover, with lots of screws and one side trip when an instrument lamp popped out of place and Lisa had to figure out how to return it to where it belongs. However, eventually (and I don't want to minimize how long it took) she was able to get at the heater switch, unplug it, clean the contacts, and plug it back in again, after which it started working normally. This is a big relief. On a winter trip like the one we're about to start, having a working defrost heater fan isn't a luxury, but a necessity.

The minivan was parked near the bird feeder. The birds were not happy about us being out there disturbing the serious business of eating.

Grumpy Birds

Every time we came out and disturbed the birds, they would fly into the vacant lot next to our house and roost it this big white bush and wait for us to leave, after which they would come back and chow down some more.

We had more work to do on the minvan this evening. As we were leaving the Peppermill last night, a passerby pointed out that one of the marker lights on the Astro was out. It's a standard bulb, and Lisa had several, so this evening she took the right front headlight cover off to get at the marker light fixture. Unfortunately, the old bulb had been in there so long that it wouldn't come loose. Lisa eventually ended up breaking the bulb and having to use a pair of pliers to remove the base. After that, she cleaned the fixture, inserted the new bulb, and all was well.

When I had the oil changed last week, Jiffy Lube claimed that I was low on power steering fluid, so after dealing with the bulb, Lisa and I went to AutoZone (where I had a $7 gift card to use) and bought a bottle of power steering fluid (and another replacement bulb), then went and refueled so we start with maximum fuel tomorrow. But when Lisa checked the power steering fluid, it showed completely full. Jiffy Lube didn't refill it (they told me they didn't carry power steering fluid), so I don't know what they were talking about. Oh, well, it's harmless carrying around a bottle of power steering fluid along with all of the other bits and jibbles, in this case including tire chains.

The tire chains will be packed in an accessible location should we need to chain up on this trip. This evening, instead of the fluffy pill-like snow we had overnight, gloppy wet snow began falling. Chain controls over Donner Summit stretch from the Nevada State Line clear down to Colfax, but fortunately, we're not going that direction, but south on US-95 to NV-360 to US-6 (Montgomery Pass). As it happens, there was snow and chain requirements over Montgomery Pass this morning, but not tonight. Fingers crossed that we will be able to avoid the worst of the winter weather.
Tags: astro, birds, lisa, minivan, snow, weather
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