Saturday, December 31, 2011

Rover Run Dog Park

Wilma and I have not been here in a long time, so it seemed like a good time to come here, being the last day of the year and all. We stopped here after we walked the Harlem Township Bike Path. When we first got here, there were no other dogs present, but shortly after we got there three dogs came by and brought their human Barb with them. Barb said she lives next to the park and has been coming to the dog park since it opened.

Rover Run is located in Schoonmaker Park, on Ventura Blvd in NW Machesney Park.

For some reason there is a double fence along part of the north side of the dog park.

Wilma made 4 poops while walking (I picked them all up), so we did not need these handy bags the park provides.

I seem to recall this shelter was built as an Eagle Scout project a year or two ago. There is no water in the dog park, and the water is shut off in the park for the winter so people bring water in for the dogs.

Which is good because when Dolly (a short haired St. Bernard) came in, she was thirsty and promptly drank the half a bowl of water that was in the community water dish. Then she barked at me until I filled it up again for her. She drank the bowl half empty. Must have been really thirsty. Then she came over and nuzzled up against me for some affection. A very nice and friendly dog.

This is Cracker Jacks, a Pomeranian mix.

Here Cracker Jacks and Lacey (a 15 YO Rottweiler mix) and Wilma sniff each other out.

Barb said all three dogs are rescue dogs. Wilma is a rescue dog too. She came from the pound. It will be five years we have had her come February 10.

As we were leaving, we saw another dog come to the dog park with his human.

Schoonmaker Park and Harlem Township Bike Path

Google Earth view.

Wilma and I went to Schoonmaker Park (Harlem Township) today for a nice walk on the Harlem Township Bike Path. It consists of a lower (SW) and an upper (NE) loop inside Schoonmaker Park on Ventura Blvd in NW Machesney Park and some connecting segments, and a few short segments for access to neighborhood streets. I traced it out in Google Earth and the total length of the paths is about 1.6 miles. We walked some of the segments twice going back and forth and the path we took traced out to about 2.25 miles.

The park also contains Rover Run Off Leash Dog Park, which we visited after our walk on the bike path. I have no idea why I took so many pictures or spent so much time on this review of a nice, but run-of-the-mill type park. Bored, I guess.

We only saw a few other people on the path - one jogger, and a dog walking his two humans.

I snapped some cell phone pictures along the way. It is not an unusual park. A couple of fields, two baseball diamonds, basketball court, tennis courts, picnic areas, grills, and benches. It also has bathroom facilities that are padlocked. They have been this way as long as I have been coming here with Wilma to the dog park. There used to be a port-a-potty. Maybe it has been removed for the winter. The water fountain has been shut off as well. So no toilet or water, at least right now.

This is the view of the parking lot after you come in off of Ventura Blvd. The path is to the right, the tennis courts in back to the left, and the picnic shelter in back to the right. You can see the playground between them in the far background.

The path is asphalt and has been recently sealed.

The field to the south of the parking area. It does not seem to be dedicated to any particular activity. I have seen people flying kites and flying RC aircraft here, among other things.

There are some concrete mile markers along the path. I don't know where they index from.

There are a number of memorial benches scattered along the lower path loop.

View of the south field from the SW corner of the park.

The entrance off Ventura Blvd. You can see both ball diamonds and a tornado siren. Both diamonds have benches for the teams playing and small bleachers for fans.

Besides the concrete markers along side the path, there are painted markers on the path. Again, no idea what they reference from.

View of the playground. The picnic shelter is in the back to the left, and the tennis courts in the back to the right.

This is the Lansdowne Drive trail head.

For some reason at this entrance they have made this maze. There is barely enough room to squeeze by to get in. Someone has made clear what they think of the rule about motor vehicles.

Continuing on the path we see a view of the small dog part on the left and the main dog park on the right.

The smaller, upper loop circles this empty field, I don't recall ever seeing it used for anything except once they were burning debris there.

The path to the Miller Lane trail head.

The view looking in from the trail head. For whatever reason when they made the path they put an asphalt path on the right side of the chain across the path. But, the right side is very close to a fence, so predictably people have gone to the left instead to avoid the fence.

Going north from the Miller Lane access segment, there are wooded areas to the west. They appear to be private and most are signed as such. There are several prairie type fields, some hardwood, and a couple of areas with pines. To the east of this segment is the backyards of homes.

This gate looks to have been blocked by the tree for some time. There are a number of paths that lead into the various wooded areas from the bike path.

This might have been a garden at one time.

Rivercove Court trail head.

There is a brushy patch at Riverhill Court. Someone has put a lantern of some sort inside the brushy area.

It is not on the map, but there is access to the bike path from the street here as well.

There is a parking lot at the end of this segment at Ventura Blvd (Ventura curves around the park and heads east from here.

For some reason they installed a sign behind a post here.

One of the backyards on the east side of this segment. There is a woodpile to the right out of the picture.

The main dog park as seen from the upper loop.

The picnic shelter as we went back to the car. There are grills at the shelter and on the other side of the path from the shelter.

Bathrooms have been padlocked since we have been coming here for 3 or 4 years.

The basketball court is to your right here, and the padlocked toilets in the back to the left in this view from the parking area.

The sign out at Ralston Road and Ventura Blvd.

It really is a nice park. It is well maintained. I have seen the former Harlem Township Supervisor Doug Aurand locking up the place at night a couple of times when Wilma and I visited the dog park on previous occasions.

ETA 6-9-12 I submitted and reviewed the bike path at TrailLink in Feb 2012.

Armour potted meat

I ate this for supper.

Mechanically separated chicken, beef tripe, water, salt. Contains less then 2% of: mustard, natural flavors, garlic powder,vinegar, dextrose, sodium erythorbate, sodium nitrate.

A 3 ounce serving has 0 grams of carbs per the label, but as it has dextrose in it, I will be claiming it as 1/2 gram per serving.

It has a seal on the front of the package that says it is inspected by the USDA for wholesomeness so it must be good for you.

It is low carb for sure. It sort of looks like cat food and has an odd texture to it. I doubt I will buy it very often.

It does come in a can with a lid that pulls off so it is pretty handy. I think the can was 99 cents. Not that inexpensive for 3 ounces of mechanically seperated chicken and beef tripe.

Wright Bacon Ends and Pieces

Another find at WalMart that I first looked at because of the price. It has gone up since I first bought it but I think now it is $7.99 for 3 pounds. I especially appreciate the low sugar content compared with other bacons. The label says 2 ounce servings are 0 carbs. Because there is some sugar in bacon I automatically assume a 0 carb serving is really 0.5 grams of carbs (the FDA allows food manufacturers to round down the amount of carbs per serving so if it is less then 0.5 grams they label it as 0).

It ends up being 0.25 grams of carbs per ounce which is pretty low for bacon.

The pieces are irregular. I find that they cook up very well in the microwave. Sometimes I nuke them first, followed by a short stint in the frying pan.

Often there are large chunks of meat to be found in a package that are quite good.

I like the flavor of this bacon, and the irregularity does not bother me any, although it does present somewhat of a challenge if you want to fry it. It fries up fine but the irregular sizes mean you have to watch it and turn the pieces at different intervals, and some pieces get done a lot sooner than others.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Pampa Instant Coffee

Another product I was enticed into buying by the low price. WalMart $0.99 for 2.82 ounces.

I don't use a whole lot of instant coffee. Once in a while I want a cup of coffee and don't want to wait for it to brew. And sometimes I use it as a flavoring in recipes.

I didn't know what to expect from it, being as I had not heard of it or tasted it before. It turned out to be pretty good as instant coffees go. No bitterness. It dissolves well without any clumping.

I have to give it good marks as an instant coffee. And the price can't be beat.

Farmland Original Pork Sausage

I have been eating this almost daily for several years for breakfast. I ran across it at WalMart one day and was intrigued by the low price ($1.69 for the one pound package) so I bought a package. I really liked it and it has now become my normal breakfast meat. It usually gets a couple dashes of Valentina hot sauce.

The label says there are 4.5 servings per package at 1 carb per serving. I usually cut it into 8 chunks for frying so each chunk is about 0.6 grams of net carbs. Pretty good for sausage.

Not too long ago the price went up but I still get it because I like it. It is the only flavor of Farmland sausage I have seen at WalMart.

Jimmy Dean Maple Premium Pork Sausage

We normally reserve this for weekends for some reason. All of us like it. It has a mild maple flavor, not too sweet. Just about right.

Like virtually all sausage, it has some sugar in it. It is part of the curing process and is all but unavoidable.

The label says 2 ounces cooked is a serving with 1 gram of carbs and there are 6 servings in this one pound package. I usually cut the one pound package into 8 pieces for frying. Each piece is about 2 ounces pre-cooked. I figure each of the 8 chunks is about 3/4 of a gram of carbs, mostly sugar. Not too bad for a low carb diet. But would limit it to a few times a week anyway.

We get it at WalMart. I think lately it has been about $2.69 a package. We have it just about every weekend, and have for a couple of years.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Crucial laptop memory upgrade

I bought a 1 GByte memory upgrade for my wife's Dell Inspiron 1150 that has been pretty slow of late. The Crucial web site says the computer supports 2 GB of RAM, 1 GB in each slot. Dell says it supports a total of 1 GB. Someone asked in their tech support forum about this and Crucial replied that the PC actually does support upto 2 GB, and that they tried it. Maybe it works with two 1 GB modules, and not a 1 GB module in one slot and a 256MB module in the other.

I bought a single 1 Gb module, thinking to leave one of the existing 256MB modules in place for a total of 1.25 GB.

Well, no such luck. Just will not boot that way. Boots fine with a single 1 GB module.

I have to rate the tech support as moderately sucky, but the RAM seems to work OK.

ETA 12-30-11
I put the two 256 MByte modules that I pulled out of the computer up for sale on eBay. We shall see if they sell or not.


If WalMart is selling it, QuikClot has gone mainstream.

A few weeks ago my wife told me something about WalMart. She has been hobbled by ankle and foot injuries since last April. Once she was able to get around it was tough for her. She has a handicap parking tag, so she can park close, but she still cannot get around well without an electric cart inside a store.

So, basically she only goes to stores that have electric carts available.

A few weeks ago I took her there. I usually park in the handicap spot and go get an electric cart for her. I suggested dropping her off at the door. She said go park in a handicap spot and bring her a cart. I asked what she did when she was by herself. She said WalMart gave her a phone number to call when she gets to the store. They send an employee out to the parking lot with an electric cart for her.

When she leaves, an employee goes out to her car with her, helps her load, and then takes the cart back in for her.

She said if she has too much stuff to shop for and it won't fit in the basket on the electric cart, WalMart sends an employee around with her to push a regular cart for her.

Somehow I do not think WalMart makes all that much money on us with all the extra attention she gets.