Saturday, April 25, 2015

Now Under 24 Hours Surveillance

I am able to see Dusty from work in the dark garage

A few weeks ago one of my co-workers showed me how she could watch her puppy through the WiFi camera on her iPhone. I was so intrigued. It appeared to be much easier to set up than I thought. I asked her a lot of questions. I figured if her father was able to set it up, I should be able to do it as well.  She has Motorola WiFi HD Home Monitor Cameras. They were just over $100 for 2. She showed me that they were available at Costco and Walmart. When I finally got around to make the purchase, they were no longer available. I started doing product research and found Foscam WiFi Cameras. They come in many different models. After much comparison, I settled on NVision FI8910W. I got 2 pack for $106 from Amazon. I had a $10 gift certificate.  These cameras are not in HD so they are a little cheaper than the HD model. However, they can be remotely pan and tilt, which the Motorola cameras can't do. I also didn't need to pay for any third party software. After all, I think these are a better deal than the Motorola cameras.

Chico is very curious of Dusty

As I was setting up the cameras, I ran into a complication. I was able to get everything working properly at home on the first night.  I found a very helpful Youtube tutorial from Awkward Hamster at https://youtu.be/2xKu4uZtt3M. I watched it carefully several times. Everything worked until I got to work. I was not able to access my camera login page. Okay, so perhaps I missed something. On the second day I set up IP forwarding. Everything looked great. The IP address pulled up my cameras at home. I got to work, and it was still unable to connect. I ended up emailing Awkward Hamster for advise. He was stumped as well. Third night I got home, I started digging for information on my router. It was obvious to me the problem was that my ports were not open and couldn't be viewed outside of my network. I have a Motorola SURFboard SBG6580.  I found the answer I was searching for at http://forums.comcast.com/t5/Home-Networking-Router-WiFi/Port-Forwarding-for-an-IP-Camera/td-p/1529477. It turned out that I had to enter 0.0.0.0 for the field that asks for external IP. How would anybody know this?  I filled in my external IP of course, and it just wouldn't work. As soon as I typed in 0.0.0.0. into my router configuration. I checked my ports again at http://www.canyouseeme.org/, and finally they were now open. My friends were able to pull up my Foscom login page from their homes.  On the third day, I was able to see my Cracus and Kelsey from my work computer, my Android tablet, and my very old Android phone. I thought I had to upgrade my cell phone, but it works just fine.

I caught Kelsey on the couch though the camera

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Bruce King Memorial Dog Park


I have been meaning to write something about this little dog park in El Cerrito just a couple blocks from our new house. It was one of the pluses when I was considering purchasing our new home. This is the park that's always open and within a very short walking distance. However, we don't usually see people there.  A dog park is pretty lonely when there is only one or two dogs.


We are hosting a young hound for a few days who needs a bit more exercise than our normal routine. We walked over to Bruce King Memorial Dog Park in the morning,  and to my surprise, there was a group of dogs their with their people chatting like a group of old friends. They had all sorts of toys and were all large breeds. Cracus fit right in then. He thinks he's a big dog. It turned out, they are the morning regulars who stop by every week morning before they go to work. Wow, that's dedication.


Monday, April 6, 2015

Building a Bamboo Trellis


We have a  little bamboo patch in the backyard. It's a good and possibly bad thing. If they start taking over the entire yard, then it's a bad thing. If they stay in their own area, I can use them for various purposes. I knew that I wanted to use them to make trellis for growing anything that climbs.  A couple months ago I planted my kiwi vines out in the garden. They have really flourished. This week is spring break, and I knew that I had to take this opportunity to cut down some bamboo and make a trellis for the kiwi vines.


I have the perfect tool for sawing off the bamboo. About four years ago, I bought a Pocket Boy. It's a cute little saw that can easily hurt someone seriously.  It only took seconds to saw off a bamboo stick. I saw off about 20 of them.  One thing to watch out for is getting splinters from the bamboo. They are so fibrous and sharp. I put on some gloves after getting many tiny splinters.  I saw off the top part with the leaves before pounding the bigger ones into the soil. I used some ribbon from old gift wraps to tie the horizontal sticks. They aren't all straight and even, but that's okay. I think they will be functional. Once the kiwi vines wrap around the trellis, you won't be able to see much of the trellis itself anyway.  I will show you how it all looks in a few months.


Sunday, April 5, 2015

Getting Ready for Warm Days


We had a pretty mild winter this year.  There was hardly any rain although it rained a little today.  It seems summer is arriving early. Our new home gets hot in the back, so I have started getting some patio items out. The cooling orange bed for the dogs. Crucus likes to jump onto it like it's a trampoline. I also put on a clothesline to dry towels and sheets.

A few weeks ago on my way to work, I saw someone put out a green patio chair to give away. I turned around and put it in my car.  After hosing it down, it's my patio chair now.


A few months ago, one of the neighbors on my block was getting rid off a couple patio umbrellas. Other than they are old and used, they are in perfect shape.  I took both of them since there isn't much shade in the yard until all the leaves grow back on the trees. I have been hoping to find a couple umbrella stands on cragislist.com with no avail. I finally had to buy a cheap one from Home Depot.

A few days ago, I found the umbrella with the stand lying on its side when I got home from work. I guess it was too windy. Now I put 2 of my spare kitchen counter tiles on top of the umbrella stand, and it's perfect. Those tiles are very heavy.






Saturday, March 28, 2015

Finally a Good Look at the Baby Mourning Doves


I have been checking on the doves every day. Yesterday I caught them without the mom, but they were very hidden between the leaves. I never want to disturb them but brushing aside the leaves, so the photo above was the best I could get.  There are just two chicks. I thought there were more.  I went back to the photos on March 9th, and only 2 eggs are in the picture.


This morning, I looked at them again. Mom was sitting with the chicks, and I could only see one chick. After returning from Pt. Isabel a few hours later, I checked on them again. Yahoo!!!!  Only the 2 chicks were home, and I was finally able to get a clear photo of them! I can't believe how much they have grown in eight days! (see photo from March 20th). They are now completely covered in feathers. Pretty soon they will be learning to fly!