Stay Away from Active Volcanoes?

This is a picture of the New Zeland volcano before it erupted, killing at least six people and severely injuring at least 20.

I’m especially interested, of course, because Catherine lives in New Zealand.

Hike on an Active Volcano

If you’re an outdoorsy type, getting up close to a mighty volcano is one of the most exciting adventures you can have. Join a guide and go hiking up through the snowy forests to get up close to roaring steam vents and pits of bubbling mud. One of the best places is White Island which lies in the Pacific Ocean some 100 kilometers or so from the North Island. Once you’ve hiked across the island, you’ll come to the crater which spans several kilometres and is surrounded by 300-metre-high cliffs.
Winter Activities in New Zealand for Adrenaline Junkies

OK, so “adrenaline junkies” might very well take the risk, the volcano doesn’t erupt very often.

But one tour company was also offering the tour to families with children over six years old:

Pricing and Conditions

Adult $229.00 – $389.00
Child (15 years and under) $130.00 – $290.00

Age restriction: 6

White Island Tours

I assume they were talking about NZ dollars, not US, if so the cost in US dollars would be about 2/3rds of the prices listed.

The company got very good reviews from TripAdvisor, which describes the tour this way,

Cruise across the pristine waters of the Bay of Plenty to Whakaari/White Island – New Zealand’s most active volcano. After being fitted with hard hats and gas masks, guides will lead you on an exploration of the crater floor. Experience roaring steam vents, bubbling pits of mud, hot volcanic streams, and the amazing lake of steaming acid. The vivid hues of yellow and orange, resulting from the abundant sulphur on the island, make it a photographer’s dream. After the time on the island, a light-packed snack box will be served back on the boat, whilst the area is also home to dolphins, whales, and other marine life, and viewing these majestic creatures in their natural habitat is a great way to end the day.

So the question is, should these tours be allowed? Apparently the last eruption was in 2016, three years after the previous one. More and more tourists are coming now — should they be more clearly warned of the unpredictable danger? What do you think? Would you take a chance exploring an active volcano? Would you take children there?

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Warning Signs

That reminds me of a sign I saw in a National Monument once:

Please don’t disturb the rattlesnakes. Stay on the trail.

I’m guessing it had the desired effect.

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Cozy Here, Busy up There

It was foggy and moist yesterday morning, so I stayed cozy. I played some games on my iPad and also exercised while watching a Great Courses Plus history series. I did go to the Y to use some weight machines after the fog lifted in the afternoon. It had left some moisture, but no snow.

Andy, on the other hand, pulled a family out of a ditch on the way up to the land. They had been getting a Christmas tree and slid on some ice. He said there was about an inch of new snow at the bottom of del Norte Canyon and about six inches up on the land. He plowed.

It was overcast all day and the temperature in the greenhouse was about 59 when he left. There’s a chance of some sun today, so it will be fun to see.

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Poor Radish!

Andy watering his first row of radishes on November 9th:

Picture of the radish from that row that Andy brought home yesterday, a month later:

He thinks we have to be patient. I’m guessing they will never do well because the greenhouse is too warm for them right now. I hope he’s right.

Either way it’s fun to watch.

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Oh Oh!

I was going to send Andy my daily text to his cellphone when I saw these on the dining room table.

So he has no Garmin (1) for him to ask for help if he can’t get to the internet or (2) for me to know where he is. It’s a nice day so I’m not worried that something will go wrong. Still, it’s a warning sign.

Clearly too much is going on right now. He needed to buy some screws to solve a problem installing some shelves, so he was probably thinking about that as he left. I completely understand! That’s why we’re writing more and more things down nowadays.

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Old Pictures

These pictures were taken November 30, the day after the crazy weather on November 29.

In Crazy Weather II I included Andy’s email:

…. Two problems–Cold water won’t work in kitchen but bathroom stuff OK, heater in living room quit and I can’t get it started again-probably due to wind since it was working OK this morning. Suspect cold water pipe is too close to outside and froze. I don’t see how to turn it off in case it leaks when warm without turning off the whole house. Sigh!

It turns out the water was fine the next day, no leaks and nothing needed to be done. Andy expected there would be no problem lighting the propane heater once the wind died down, but that wasn’t the case. For some reason he could never get it started, so Peter the plumber came up Wednesday. It was an easy fix — it lit right away for him. And he was very gracious. He said it’s like taking your car to the shop because of a strange noise — when you get there the noise has stopped. Anyway, things are working fine again so his trip wasn’t a waste, and it was good for a laugh.

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No Land for Andy Today

Not because of the weather or car trouble or a doctor’s appointment, but because we went to a seminar and lunch for prepaid medical transportation insurance. Mostly we don’t do seminars like this, but we were already in the market because if Andy has an accident up on the land he was already told that if the EMTs came from La Cueva and decided he need to go to a hospital it would have to be by helicopter. That could be enormously expensive and apparently a lot of it might not be covered by our regular insurance.

We received an invitation in the mail and looked the company up ahead of time. It has an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau, so presumably it is legitimate. We signed up for it and hope we never need it. Fingers crossed.

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Being Proactive

I had a shoulder impingement about three or four weeks ago. When I tried to put on a shirt or coat something got caught under my shoulder bone (acromion) and my arm got stuck until felt a sharp pain and the crack of it releasing. Not a good sign.

When I looked it up the consensus seemed to be it wasn’t something to mess around with, getting it looked at sooner rather than later could prevent serious damage. It’s often caused by overuse of the arm and shoiulder, but in my case nothing in my life has changed except I stopped doing flexibility exercises for my shoulders a few months ago. So this made sense to me:

Physical therapy

Shoulder impingement usually responds well to physical therapy, which uses gentle exercises to rebuild strength and range of motion. Your doctor can refer you to a physical therapist who specializes in shoulder injuries.

Your physical therapy sessions will likely focus on the muscles in your shoulder, arm, and chest, which can help to improve the function of your rotator cuff. If you’re an athlete or work in a field that requires frequent use of your shoulder, your physical therapist can teach you proper techniques to reduce your chance of recurrence.

They may also give you some exercises that you can do at home, which may help you recover faster. Just make sure you don’t overdo it.

So I phoned my doctor and asked for a referral to a physical therapist so I could find out what exercises were safe to do. Instead of a referral they made an appointment for me to see the doctor, but said if it was urgent to go to their walk-in clinic. I decided to wait the week or so for the doctor and in the meantime looked up exercises for keeping shoulders healthy. They seemed to make things better rather than worse, so I figured I was on the right track. I also made an appointment to see a trainer at the Y who gave me some more suggestions.

By the time I saw the doctor a couple of weeks ago it was already getting better, but I took the referral for the therapist figuring it wouldn’t hurt to get even more information.

By the time I saw him Monday the problem had disappeared — it had completely gone away over the weekend — but he checked my shoulder and said it was in good shape. He said my range of motion lifting my arm overhead wasn’t as good as it could be so gave me some things to try. Needless to say, that was reassuring and made me happy, so it was worth the wait and the trip.

Again, I’m so grateful for all the information available to us now. We don’t have to sit around feeling helpless.

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What a Relief

This weekend Andy suddenly noticed that we hadn’t paid our property tax bill for the land — we usually pay it in early November. He searched to see if we had mislaid it, or if we had paid it and forgot, or…? I wasn’t worried about that. I thought it had probably been lost in the mail, but it was still something to be concerned about. We both figured we would have to wait until yesterday to do something about it, but my instincts are always to get as much information I can. So I went to their website and our problem was solved.

Important Notice

The 2019 property tax bill will be delayed due to legislation enacted by the New Mexico State Legislature (HB407).
First-half tax season – December 10 – January 10
Second-half tax season – April 10 – May 10

The Sandoval County Treasurer’s Office will offer extended hours for the tax season from 7:30 a.m. to 5:15 p.m. Monday through Friday.

They will send our bill on December 10 and we will have until January 10 to pay. Apparently some school districts had mill levy questions on their November ballets so they didn’t know the tax rate until after the elections were over.

I also found out that if they had sent out the tax notices in early November we would have until December 10th to pay. We would have had time to get it all straightened out before the deadline. That’s a relief! Anyway, when we put up our 2020 calendars we will put up a reminder to phone them if we don’t get our tax bills on time. That’s a lot easier than cluttering up our brains trying to remember.

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The Sun Came Out!

Andy likes these pictures because they show why we raised the greenhouse off the ground.

The lowest temperature in the greenhouse last month was 40°F, after a couple of sunless days. Then it went back up to the 50’s. Not too bad for late November/early December.

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