Serenity

Ron baiting a hook

Ron baiting a hook

This morning clouded up and looked like it might rain.  But, as it has every day since we’ve been here, the clouds moved on, and it turned into a beautiful day.

I spent part of this morning deep cleaning the Casita.  It starts to close in on me when it gets cluttered.  So I vacuumed the carpet around our beds and under the bathroom door (where Sheba hair collects), and got everything spiffed up again.  It’s surprising how much larger the Casita looks when it’s clean.

We are loving our clear window!

We are loving our clear window!

Our refrigerator vent cover arrived from Casita today!  To say I was delighted would be a huge understatement.   I laughed at my jerry-rigged fix, but I’m so relieved to have the little Casita looking pretty again!

The last two days have been warmer and muggy, but not uncomfortable.  We have had to run the air conditioner at night to sleep comfortably though.

Around 4:00 this afternoon, we went fishing again.  We leashed the dogs to trees.  They weren’t thrilled with the situation, but were pretty good about it.

Little Casita in the woods with her brand new refrigerator vent

Little Casita in the woods with her brand new refrigerator vent

At first, we had a blast fishing for bait fish with crickets.  Those little 4 – 6″ fish hit almost as fast as we could throw our lines in.  But then, when we started fishing with our bait fish, that was the end of the action.

However, I don’t think there is anything as serene as sitting on a shady bank…. just knowing that a huge fish will strike at any time.    🙂

We were out there for three hours before we started getting hungry and decided we’d better head back to camp and cook dinner.

Nightfall over the lake

Nightfall over the lake

I’m exhausted this evening, but it is that wonderful tired that you get from being outdoors all day.

Another perfect day at Doll Mountain.

Red Green Strikes Again

Red Green would be so proud!  :D

Red Green would be so proud! 😀

It looked like it might rain this morning, so I decided I’d better get my emergency refrigerator vent cover up.  I had planned to tape two bags together, and tape in a couple of pleats so I would have plenty of air volume going in.

But I only had one bag left, so the above is the result.  I figured the hot air escaping through the top vent would draw enough cool air in the bottom.  It seems to be working, as the refrigerator is maintaining its temperature setting.

BTW, my Red Green book storage is working out great, too.  😀

One of the areas that is level enough to fish from the bank.

One of the areas that is level enough to fish from the bank.

Ron didn’t feel like fishing today, so I climbed down to the bottom of our hill, perched precariously on a tree root, and fished by myself.  It was kind of nice having the time to myself without hubby or dogs.

My mouth was all primed for fried fish, cheese grits and homemade cole slaw tonight.  I was really anticipating dinner!  But as time passed, without the first nibble, I started thinking of a Plan B.

Looking toward our site from the boat launch area

Looking toward our site from the boat launch area

We had grilled chicken, mashed potatoes and green beans instead.

Our campfire  :)

Our campfire 🙂

Grandpa and Camping and Baby Birds

The essence of summer

The essence of summer

I have had a ball watching the kids next door enjoy their summer camping trip.

Cannonball!

Cannonball!

I spoke with their Grandma.  She and her husband are raising three grandsons, ages 7, 8 and 9.  She said they took them to Disney World, but they like this a lot better than Disney.   Another adult or two and some more kids are camping in a tent next door to them.   The grandma apologized profusely for the noise.  But all I have heard is happy kid sounds and it delights me.   I asked if I could take pictures of the kids and she said yes.

Grandpa taking the kids fishing after dinner

Grandpa taking the kids fishing after dinner

Ron and I have especially loved watching the grandpa with the kids.  He is so gentle and loving toward them.  It is so wonderful to see good kids and family who obviously adore them.

I was awakened this morning by bluebirds.  I didn’t realize what a piercing call they have.  A pleasant alarm clock!

Feed me NOW

Feed me NOW

While I was sitting outside, I looked under our trailer and saw five little birds.  Obviously some (or all) of them were babies.  I couldn’t tell if there were 3 babies and two adults, or if they were all babies who had fallen out of their nest.  It’s unusual to see the wide open mouths of baby birds demanding Feed Me other than in a nest.  At least, it was odd to me.

Of course, Sheba had an opportunity today for her mandatory “Sheba in the water” camping shot.

Over here, Ma!

Over here, Ma!

She is maturing so fast.  I am very impressed by how good she has been while we have to keep her tied up in camp.  She contented herself all day, between walks, by watching the kids, watching the boats, people swimming, rafts and canoes on the water. She appeared endlessly fascinated by the kids next door.

Ron bought bait and we planned to go fishing today.  In fact, I already had my hook baited and had attempted my first cast when we realized that my new reel was defective.  I thought we’d have to exchange it.  But Ron took his apart to see how it worked, then he took mine apart and fixed it.

Ah!  I found the water!

Ah! I found the water!

By then it was time to cook dinner, though.  Then, as soon as we were finished eating and I had just gotten the awning down, a terrific thunderstorm hit us.  What a deluge!  After it was passed, the air was so clean and fresh smelling.  People came back outside.  All was beautiful again, except that the sky had an odd yellow cast.

So our worms are on hold for tomorrow.  I hope my reel works like it’s supposed to!

Cooling it

Cooling it

Japanese honeysuckle

Japanese honeysuckle

Ron and Sunny checking out a pull-thru site

Ron and Sunny checking out a pull-thru site

Trumpet vines

Trumpet vine flowers in trees. They are a visual delight.

Closeup of trumpet flowers

Closeup of orange flowers. On edit – reader Karen identified these flowers as trumpet vines and said that hummingbirds love them. Thanks, Karen!

Under the camper

Under the camper

Our storm this evening

Our storm this evening

Clark Creek

Our Casita at Clark Creek

Our Casita at Clark Creek

We did something a little differently this time.  We chose a small campground (only 24 sites – all waterfront) very near to a small town.

Across the creek

Across the creek

We are at a bend in the creek.  The more impressive water views are on the other side of the campground.  But they also get full afternoon sun, and our site is in lovely deep shade all afternoon.

I’m surprised at all the different types of water activity here.  Pleasure boats, fishing boats, jet skis, rubber rafts.  And several people were swimming in the creek today, and one guy was snorkeling.  I swore swimming in creeks and lakes off after a fish bit me when we were camping in Mississippi a couple of years ago.  The only way I will swim in a natural body of water is if it is as clear as Salt Springs in Florida.

Bluebird scolding his shadow in the glass

Bluebird scolding his shadow in the glass

You can stand in neck deep water there and look down and see the individual grains of sand on the bottom.  Not here!

It was sweltering today!  We want to go fishing while we’re here, but will plan on going early in the day before it gets too hot.  After we got a shower this evening it was pleasant sitting outside…. except for the humidity.  So we are chilling inside tonight enjoying icy air conditioning.  I would love to open the windows and hear the night sounds, but don’t want the heavy, damp air that comes with it.

There's the enemy!

There’s the enemy!

How the other half lives :)

How the other half lives 🙂

Jetski towing rubber raft

Jetski towing rubber raft

Mimosas blooming on the bank

Mimosas blooming on the bank

I have never seen Sunny's tongue hanging out so far.  He was hot!

I have never seen Sunny’s tongue hanging out so far. He was hot!

Always beautiful Sheba

Always beautiful Sheba

This isn’t the ideal time to go camping, but we were so desperate to get out that we are glad we are here.  We’ll manage the heat by cocooning inside during the hottest part of the day.  And going for ice cream cones.  🙂

Last Day at Lake Seminole

Late afternoon sun shining through Spanish moss

Late afternoon sun shining through Spanish moss

Yesterday, as predicted, was rainy, chilly and gusty. So, as planned, we hibernated indoors and read and worked crosswords… and took nice naps without guilt!

It was almost too late in the day to photograph this family of geese.

It was almost too late in the day to photograph this family of geese.

This afternoon reached the low 70’s with a steady breeze that made wearing long sleeves feel good.  But the sky was a clear, deep blue and I marveled at our freedom to tow our little Casita to such gorgeous places and claim them as our own for days at a time.

I loved seeing families and friends enjoying picnics, fishing, and and groups of people having a good time together.  There were a lot of people here this weekend, but the campground stayed quiet.  Even the music the large group was playing was so soft that we could only hear it when we walked directly in front of  the campsite they had all gathered at.

More geese

More geese

I hope we can return here again some day.  🙂

We plan to head to Ft. Pickens tomorrow.   I am excited about the prospect of camping near salt water again.

This dad and his family were catching catfish.

This dad and his family were catching catfish.

A family affair

A family affair

The sun setting over the water

The sun setting over the water

Sunset through the trees

Sunset through the trees

 

 

 

 

 

Day of the Heron (oops – Anhinga) & Sheba’s Future

On edit: Reader Gene Masse has identified this bird for me. Here's his comment: "That is a Anhinga. It is in the Cormorant family type of swamp bird. They eat fish. He was fishing. Also known as a snakebird because they sometimes swim with only their head and neck above water."       I will confirm that I saw some birds swimming with just their heads above water. They looked really strange, but I had no idea that they were the same kind of bird!

On edit: Reader Gene Masse has identified this bird for me. Here’s his comment: “That is a Anhinga. It is in the Cormorant family type of swamp bird. They eat fish. He was fishing. Also known as a snakebird because they sometimes swim with only their head and neck above water.” I will confirm that I saw some birds swimming with just their heads above water. They looked really strange, but I had no idea that they were the same kind of bird!

Today was another grey, chilly day.  Not pleasant to be out in.  But since we must walk the dogs no matter what the weather, we walked down to the canal today in hopes that I would find a decent photo or two.

1I’m no good at bird identification.  I’m think this is a heron, but don’t know what kind of heron.  Anyway, this guy was a perfect model.  I suppose he was craning his neck all around looking for something to eat, but it sure looked like he was posing for me.  I took over 40 shots of him, and each one was different.  I finally picked the ones I liked best to share with you.2

The situation with Sheba is coming to a crisis.  We must keep her tied up while in campgrounds, and it is seriously depressing her.  She cries and whimpers when she sees squirrels and birds that she can’t chase.  I think the squirrels know she can’t get to them, so they scamper around just out of leash range and it drives her crazy.3

Finally this afternoon she gave up.  She just curled up in a ball, ignored everything that went on around her, and looked like the picture of depression.

Then, of course, when we do walk her, she goes ballistic.  She needs to run so badly, so she jerks and yanks us around so wildly that it is dangerous to us.  Ron has a sore shoulder, probably from being yanked so hard so often.5

So we have decided that we either must give up camping or find another home for Sheba.  Since camping is the only thing that we enjoy doing together, and since we don’t have that many more active years left, we’ve decided to try to find her a new home.7

This is not the way I wanted things to turn out.  It feels like a no-win situation.

The only positive thing that might come of it is that Sheba might find younger, more energetic owners who will run and hike with her and shower her with all the love that she deserves.

No Fish Today

View from the Casita door

Today was warm and windy.  Very windy!

We spent a couple of hours on the dock fishing today — with no luck.  But none of the other campers fishing from boats or the shore caught anything either, so we were in good company.  It did feel good to sit out on the dock in the sun, with the breeze to cool us, watching the water and soaking in the relaxation that is fishing.

I wouldn’t have minded the excitement of hooking a few fish, though!  🙂

I am a bit frustrated with our refrigerator.  It’s been running at 55 degrees, even though the freezer is keeping foods frozen solid as a rock.  So I’ll have to throw out all the lunch meat, mayonnaise, etc.  And when I get home, I’ll get the Dometic manual out, do maintenance (which I’m sure none of the previous owners did) and build the baffle to direct all the air inflow over the cooling fins.

I read on a board that helps in some instances.  You would think as frightfully expensive as these refrigerators are that they would be more dependable.  But I had the same problem with my refrigerator in the Aliner, and see it mentioned frequently on the boards

It’s supposed to thunderstorm tonight and tomorrow here and at home.  We will see how bad it actually is tomorrow morning.  If it looks like driving would be dangerous, we might stay here one more night.

.

 

Just Camping

View of our campground from the fishing pier

Another laid-back day soaking in the tranquility of Lake Blackshear.

We had wanted to go fishing today, but it was extremely breezy all day until late afternoon.  And by then, we were out of the mood, so I settled for just taking photos.

When I got to the fishing pier, a huge blue heron (I think) was sitting on the railing.  He let me get closer and closer without moving.  But finally he had enough, and with a loud, raucous RAAAACCCCKKKKKKK!!!!! he flapped his wings heavily and took off.

I think this is a blue heron. I am terrible with bird identification.

I took several photos of him, and one after he took to the air, but I was facing into the sun and he was almost the same color as the gray wood of the pier, so the photos didn’t turn out.

But later, as I was walking back to the campground, I saw him perched near the edge of the lake.  This time he didn’t wait nearly as long to take off, but I did manage to get a shot of him.

Geese

We have also seen ducks, egrets and geese here.  And many squirrels.  But no other wildlife — except for the fish that jump and tease us with their presence in the lake.

I am really enjoying our second autumn here.  At home most of the leaves have fallen, and the ones that remain are all brown.  Here there are still patches of brilliant color.

More autumn in December. 🙂

I thought I’d share a couple of small mods I’ve done to the Casita.  One is a fold-out towel rack in the kitchen that holds 5 dish cloths and towels.  It keeps them out of my way in the tiny kitchen, and also allows them to dry.  I had it in the Aliner, and it’s one thing I made sure I kept, since I’m not sure I could find another one.

The other mod was copied from Andy Baird’s Travels with Gertie website.  I put clear epoxy around the outside holes of the

Fold out towel rack

Modified shower head

shower head, leaving only the center holes open.  Now instead of a broad, soft wash of water, we get a nice, high pressure stream with no additional water usage.

Heading Home Tomorrow

1923 Ford owned by one of the campers here

Our lovely vacation is drawing to a close.  Tonight’s our last night camping here at Indian Springs State Park.  We left winter weather behind and enjoyed seeing spring arrive during our month-long escape.

We feel as though the camp host, Dick, has become a dear friend.  And we met some wonderful campers.  Kathryn and Albert helped me search for a lost wallet —

Rear view of the 1923 Ford

which Ron later found in my jacket pocket after I had called the bank and canceled my debit cards and was on hold to cancel my credit cards.  So glad I had a long wait on hold.  🙂

And we really enjoyed meeting Virginia and Danny who were on their first outing in their new-to-them Shadow Cruiser.  They weren’t aware of the America the Beautiful Senior Pass that gives a 50% discount on camping fees at federal campgrounds, so it was our joy to share that

Beautiful proof that spring has really arrived!

information with them.

So now we will head home.  I’ll do some maintenance on the Aliner and probably put in my square foot vegetable garden and some flowers, and settle back into everyday home life.

But we will still plan on getting out for a week long camping trip each month.  Maybe we can make it to the Blue Ridge Mountains to cool off  in July or August when the weather is  really hot this year.

Sparkly rocks found down by the lake.

Hopefully I’ll get the Aliner paid off in July and start saving for a nice down payment on a Scamp 5th wheel, which is the larger camper Ron and I have decided would work best for us and our 6 cylinder truck.

We did go fishing this afternoon.  We didn’t even get a bite, but did enjoy the beautiful weather and scenery from the fishing dock.

And tonight there is a bright moon and beautiful stars in a clear sky.  So it’s the perfect ending to a very good trip.

Redbud trees are bursting into bloom all through the woods.

Talladega National Forest

our Aliner campsite

Our campsite

We just got back from a week at Coleman Lake Campground in the Talladega National Forest in the Alabama hills.

The sites are spaced pretty far apart in a heavily wooded setting, so we felt like we had our own little hideaway in the woods.  A short trail led to the lake’s fishing, swimming, and trail areas.

The plant diversity is astounding.  I took

primeval looking forest

Primeval looking forest carpeted with bracken fern

hundreds of photos of plants suited to many different environments… from low,  almost primeval looking fern swamps to steep, hilly hardwood and pine forests.

A small swimming beach was usually host to children and young people early in the day.  Later, when the people left, Canada geese brought their families out for leisurely paddling around the lake.

A few people rowed out on the lake to fish while we were there.   And one couple went

hilly trail

Trail through the hills

frog gigging and came back with seventeen bullfrogs.  Ron chatted with them as they were skinning and cleaning the frog legs.

Can’t say that’s my cup of tea, but it is nice that there is an area where those who enjoy such things can pursue their interests.

Past the swimming beach on the lakeside trail, we took a side trail and stumbled upon a beautiful little hidden grotto complete with small waterfall.  Screened by rock walls and a profusion of tall flowering shrubs and trees, we felt as though we had stumbled upon a secret hideaway.

hidden grotto with small waterfall

Hidden grotto with small waterfall

Coleman Lake swimming beach

Coleman Lake swimming beach

For the first time ever, we had camping equipment stolen this trip.  Saturday night (with the campground full of weekend campers) our Weber Baby Q gas grill disappeared.  We went into town Sunday to replace it, but couldn’t afford another Baby Q, and I didn’t like the cheap, flimsy model that Walmart had available.  So we returned to the campground without one.

Then Sunday evening the camp host stopped by our site carrying our grill!

“Bet you’re glad to see this!” they announced.

They had found it abandoned against a tree in the overflow parking area.  Another camper told them ours had been stolen, so they knew who it belonged to.

I had been pretty sick the first few days we were out, and the frequent rain was starting to wear on my nerves.  But I bounced back and felt a lot better so I could enjoy hiking.

And…. we found a huge amount of chanterelles!  And they wouldn’t have sprouted without all that rain.

I’ll save the chanterelle pictures for the next post.

pipsissewa

Sweet little pipsissewa (medicinal) was blooming all over the forest.

tiny islands

Little micro islands are forming on a submerged log in the lake

unknown showy white flowers

These strikingly beautiful shrubs with large, showy flowerheads were all over in the lower areas. I later identified them as Alabama's state wildflower, the oak leaf hydrangea. They are gorgeous!

common milkweed

Common milkweed were in full bloom. We only found one unopened flowerhead with the mild, broccoli flavored buds.

water arum

Water arum - wild calla

white bell flowers

Another small tree that I was not familiar with. The flowers are like small white bells. I later identified it as a sourwood tree.

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