A Funeral & Bygone Crafts

We just got word that my husband’s older sister passed away yesterday.  She went the way I would like to go.  She was sitting in her favorite chair when her son checked on her that morning, dozing, he thought.  Three hours later he came home and she was still sitting there.  He spoke to her and she didn’t answer… and that’s when he realized she wasn’t breathing.

Julia was our favorite.  She semi-raised most of her grandkids because they always wanted to go stay with “Aunt Julia.”  She will be sorely missed.

We don’t know yet when the funeral will be… should hear today.  But today I will be madly getting the trailer de-winterized and organized for the trip to south Georgia.

We had wanted to keep going south after we spent some time with Ron’s family.  But I have two packages on the way that I need for our next trip, and they won’t be here for several days.  So we’ll have to come back and wait for them to arrive.

I was writing another blogger yesterday about our love of crafting.  I did silver jewelry, beading, Indian beading, soap making, tatting, crocheting, knitting, crosstitch, embroidery, wood crafts, gardening, canning, dehydrating, raising chickens…. any craft you can think of, I have probably dabbled in it.  I dug up some photos of things I had done before camping took precedence over everything else in my life.

Silver jewelry

Silver jewelry

Tatted rose for greeting card.  I still tat because it's a portable, camping-friendly craft.

Tatted rose for greeting card. I still tat because it’s a portable, camping-friendly craft.

Birds nest in worm-eaten wild cherry log

Birds nest in worm-eaten wild cherry log

Panda on a swing

Panda on a swing

I’m in a strange space this morning.  I think it’s just denial of what has happened and trying to distract myself.

Got to go pack a trailer and bathe a couple of dogs and get haircuts…

Christmas on the Square

Wall to wall people

We arrived at Christmas on the Square a little before noon today.  It was much larger than it has been in past years with several streets of booths. The crowds were also much larger.

The puppies who melted my heart.

I enjoyed wandering around, but didn’t find a single thing that I wanted to buy — except for some gorgeous little puppies.  I think they said they were a mixture of American and English bulldog.  I have been looking for another dog as a companion for Sunny, but I doubt Sunny would be thrilled with a bulldog. And another dog, particularly a 50 pound bulldog — wouldn’t be a great choice for the 17′ Casita.  So I reluctantly passed the little guys by.

Alligator, anyone?

There were a few booths with quality goods, but most of it was kitsch that astonished me that anyone would actually consider buying!  I had hoped to feel a stirring of Christmas spirit and excitement there, but it didn’t happen.

Bug eating pitcher plants. They were sold out of the large ones that can eat field mice.

Had to get a photo of this vet.

1950 Ford. There was a full block lined with vintage cars on both sides of the street.

Beads and jewelry


Rocks & minerals

Handmade furniture

We had dinner at Mom’s this evening.  She fixed fried fish, french fries and hush puppies.  Not exactly healthy, but oh, was it delicious!  No one does fish better than Mom!

We plan to leave tomorrow and head south for a few days.

Chickens, Abandoned Crafts & Nostalgia

Abandoned chicken enclosure

I’ve been in a strange space lately.  Remembering when I had chickens and how much I enjoyed them.  At one time I raised araucana bantams, and later I had Rhode Island Red bantams.

The araucanas were beautiful.  One hen was a special pet.  I loved to take treats to her and hand feed her.  She so looked forward to my visiting the chicken house.  And we loved their blue, turquoise and green eggs.

Three of the roosters were really mean and would attack us.  They ended up in the stew pot.  😀  The rest behaved themselves pretty well.

And incubating and raising chicks was such a delight.

Some of my Rhode Island Red bantams. I lost my araucana photos in a computer crash.

I wasn’t quite as attached to the Rhode Island Reds.  They were sweet chickens, but they were more ordinary looking than the araucanas.  They did lay nice home-style looking brown eggs.   There was one rooster we called Little Red.  He followed us around the yard like a puppy and we got a big kick out of him.

I also had showpiece square foot gardens and canned and dehydrated most of the vegetables we ate.  Also had pretty flower gardens.

But then I got the camping and traveling bug.  At first we used automatic feeders and waterers for the chickens.  But we couldn’t stay gone longer than a week.  So I gave the chickens to friends so we could stay gone for weeks if we wanted to.

My gardens didn’t do well when we took off for two or three weeks in the gardening season.  So I gradually lost interest in them.

But lately I have felt nostalgic about my chickens and my gardens.

A couple of pieces of sterling silver jewelry that I did a LONG time ago.

I don’t want to tie myself down so that we can’t take off whenever we get the urge now.  And I can’t get enthused about serious gardening again.  But I kind of miss my life that felt content and fulfilled with such mundane, close-to-the-earth pursuits.

While I was looking for photos of araucanas (that I never found) I ran across some other photos of crafts that I used to do.  Also found some photos that reminded me of how much I used to love primitive camping, primitive skills, wild edible foods study, and a host of things that I used to do but don’t do anymore.

An arrangement I made using a weathered piece of wild cherry wood that Dad cut for me.

A raised rose coverlet that I crocheted

Maybe I need to re-evaluate my priorities.  🙂

Baby chicks that I incubated

I got so tickled when this chicken jumped inside the feeder where the motherlode of feed was!

My tatting is improving

Second try at this bookmark pattern

This is my second try working this pattern. It's a big improvement over the first.

Haven’t heard from the RV shop yet.  I hope they get the camper done soon.  I left some of my jeans packed in it and I need them!

In the meantime, I’ve been tatting, and my work is getting better.  I do tat too tightly, but will continue to work on that.

Here’s my latest… and I am so proud of it!  Again, it’s one of Jon’s beautiful free patterns.

I decided to use my first flawed version as a motif on a little girl’s tote bag.  It looks great as a motif, and the mistakes aren’t so glaring when used this way.

Little girl's tote decorated with tatting

A tiny tote


Salt Springs Recreation Area, Ocala National Forest, FL

Salt Springs

Salt Springs. You can see the deeper source of the springs in the foreground.

We left Mom’s house and headed for Salt Springs.  There were no reservations available online, but they hold several sites for first-come, first-served.  Since we were arriving on Wednesday before the Labor Day weekend, we thought we stood a good chance of getting one.

There was a whole section available, so we were fortunate.  The campground has been redone, and all the sites are grassy with shade trees, with a huge common area in the center between

Walkway to the swimming area

Walkway to the swimming area

the streets.  And all sites have full hookups.

With our senior discount, we got 5 nights for $80.00.  I am so grateful for that discount.  It is the only reason we can enjoy camping so often.

Even after the campground filled up, it still seemed spacious due to the open common areas.  However, after all the weekend arrivals put up screen houses, tents for the kids, and filled their sites with bicycles, toys, firewood, etc., it started to feel pretty crowded.

Banana Island

Banana Island in the corner of the swimming area

We were fortunate to have wonderful neighbors.  A family — grandpa (Robert), his daughter (Vianna), her husband (Don), and their son (Joey) who will be going into the Air Force in November camped next to us.  They were so friendly and we had so much in common that we felt as though we were camping with family.

Vianna is a crafter and was working on an afghan for Joey’s girlfriend.

Another view of the springs

Another view of the springs

That inspired me to unpack my neglected afghan and work on it with her.  Among her crafts, she also tats.  I mentioned that I had my grandmother’s tatting shuttle, so she proceeded to try to teach me to tat.  I simply could not get “flipping the knot” even after trying late into the evening and the next morning.

Not to be discouraged, Vianna came over to our trailer right before we were leaving on Monday and showed me how to do needle tatting.  That’s a version that I can do!  I promised to send her a picture of the tatting supplies that I buy, and also a picture of my first tatting project.

Wild turkeys

Wild turkeys in spring area

Unfortunately, we did not pass a craft store that carried tatting supplies on our way back, so I will have to order them online when I get home!

Also while we were down there, my sister Ann’s friends, Linda and Marty came by and went swimming in the springs with us.  The water was COLD.  The daytime temperatures were running in the mid-nineties, so the 72 degree water felt icy at first.  But once we were in the water, it was heavenly!

interesting old tree

The inside and half of the exterior of this amazing old tree have rotted away, but it is still alive with healthy branches.

The water is so clear that you can stand in neck deep water and look down at the bottom and see the individual grains of sand.  Gorgeous!  And little bream swim around the edges, and schools of large mullet (vegetarian fish) frequent the seaweed patches.  Past the roped off swimming area, boats anchor and fish.  And we saw a man fishing for mullet with a bow and arrow.  Apparently they don’t bite on hooks well, so that’s a more efficient way to fish for them.

After we swam in the springs, Linda and Marty invited us over to their home for a wonderful vegetarian dinner.  They took us on a walk around their neighborhood pointing out the various mushrooms that grow in their area, and introduced us to a couple of their neighbors.

Marty built a houseboat that doubles as a camper when it’s on the boat trailer.  So they can camp in the national forest campgrounds, then pull their “camper” into the water and it is a houseboat.  He also showed us photos of the sailboat he built several years ago.  What an amazing couple!

Ron and Robert

Ron and Robert

Viana, Joey and Don

Vianna, Joey and Don

Viana and her dad

Vianna and her dad



Unfortunately, I did not think to bring my camera with me when we visited with Linda and Marty, so I don’t have any photos of them and their lovely home.   Maybe after enough such disappointments, I will get better at remembering to keep the camera with me at all times when we are out.

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