I Love My Blog Visitors

birddanceI use my blog as a journal so I can go back and remember places I’ve been and events that I would otherwise forget.

Tonight, I couldn’t sleep, and I was feeling a bit nostalgic.  So I went back and read some of the old posts.

The best part was reading all the comments from so many of you.

You encouraged me to keep Sheba, and suggested things to make raising a puppy easier when I was ready to give up.  You comforted me when my sister died, and when Julia died.  You helped me cope when I jacknifed the truck into the camper.  You taught me how to wire my fan and made so many helpful suggestions with my mods.

You encouraged me through the endless winter when it seemed we’d never get out camping again.  You empathized with my gray skies/rainy weather blahs.

You shared my joy in taking photos — like the adorable beach rat in Fort Pickens and countless other nature shots from camping trips — and from our woods and on our property.  It actually increases my enjoyment in what I’m seeing and doing when I know I have you to share it with.

I just want you all to know that you aren’t just clicks on my posts or comments on the bottom of a page.

You are treasures.

flowersflutterby

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

 

 

 

 

 

Camping, Camp Cooking, Campfires, Dog Training, Friends & Joy

Camp kitchen and my embarrassingly smoky campfire!

Some days are just perfect.  Like today.  Sunny, brisk, energizing… and filled with the sheer joy of living!

I don’t take days like this for granted.  They are too special — too precious!

I thought that these little fleabane flowers looked like a bridal veil against the brush.

When we first started camping, we had a campfire every night.  It was just a part of the camping experience.  But since we get out so often, it is no longer necessary most of the time.  Some nights there are other things we want to do besides tend a fire.

Today was different.  My first hint was wondering what the neat little cache of paper towel rolls, empty cracker boxes and other cardboard was doing on the counter.

“To help start the fire,” Ron explained.

So I put fire building on my to-do list for the evening.  🙂

Hanging deadwood for fire starting

I had planned to grill dinner this evening.  But the thought of having to clean the grill was more than I wanted to deal with.  One of my blog readers from Florida told me that soaking the grill overnight in water with a dryer sheet added to it would loosen the most stubborn baked on grease.  She tried it on some of her oven ware and it worked.  So that’s definitely something I will do later.  I can’t do it here, though, because I don’t have a container that the grill rack will fit into flat.  But when I get home, I will try it.

Chicken breast strips cooked in olive oil with garlic and spices.

Anyway… instead of grilling this evening, I decided to cook chicken breast strips on the stove.  It was quick, easy, tasty, and the cleanup was a breeze.  All that was needed to complete the dinner was heat a can of green beans and open a deli carton of potato salad.  Sweat-free camp cooking!

Ron injured himself today.  He went to look for hanging deadwood down by the lake to help start the fire.  He found some he wanted up on the bank and thought he would be able to reach it with his hiking pole to steady him.  Instead he fell — onto rocks.  He bruised his hip and got some nasty scrapes on his arm.  He had fallen into red clay mud and was a mess.  So I got him in the shower, cleaned his scrapes and bandaged them, then gave him Aleve.  We think he’s going to be fine… just is stiff and sore this evening.

Tree roots down by the lake

All that to say is that I got to take Sheba on all of her walks this afternoon and evening… which I really enjoyed… because Sheba is starting to learn a few manners… finally!!!

My first hint that something was changing was, after jumping all over a woman who made the mistake of wanting to pet her, I told Sheba to SIT.  Instantly she looked at me and her little butt hit the ground.  I was shocked!  Progress!  Of course it didn’t last long, but I praised her to the sky.

Tree roots stretching over rocks

On the next walk, we passed by a Dad and his two little boys.  Sheba tugged on the leash and wagged her tail furiously, but made no effort to lunge toward them!

Then, on the way home, three deer ran across the path.  Sheba got very excited, but not the out-of-control excitement that she usually displays.

So I think my little dog-girl is showing some very encouraging signs of eventually being trainable!  😀

Today is the last day of this camping trip.  I’ve been reminiscing about the wonderful people we met this trip.  The high point of the Cherokee rally was meeting Lynne in person.  I had previously only known her through her blog, Casita in the Desert; Casita in the Mtns.  Once in a while you meet a person that you just click with and feel instant friendship with.  That’s how I felt about Lynne.

I am always intrigued by rocks that are aligned differently from the ground and wonder what long ago forces pushed them up at that angle.

And what was amazing is that she was going to surprise us and camp here at Lake Allatoona with us this weekend… only there were no sites available.  But she’s going to be at the Ft. Pickens rally in December so we’ll see her again then (if not before)… and probably at the Green Eggs & Ham rally in Alabama in March.

Another special person I met at the rally was Lois from West Virginia.  I sat at her dinette in her Casita and felt so comfortable chatting with her.

And then there was Jean, here at McKinney Campground, who gave me such helpful tips on how to train Sheba, and was so non-judgmental at my puppy mother ineptitude!

Our campfire this evening

My life has not always been happy.  There were some really tough times in the past.  But in recent years I’ve felt peaceful and content much of the time.  And there are increasingly frequent times of sheer joy.  Camping in our Casita with Ron has contributed greatly to that, and I am so grateful for all the opportunities it has opened to us.

Life is so very, very good!

Thanks, God!  🙂

What Does Camping Mean to You?

For all you fans of extreme traveling, Waldseilgarten mountain resort in Bavaria, Germany might be the destination for you. How does camping in a tent hanging 6,562 feet in the air sound? Waldseilgarten resort offers a variety of camping options from the top of a Bavarian mountain summit. From enjoying a good night’s sleep while dangling off a tree top or cliff to sleeping in a hand built igloo, this resort should provide the right fix for any of you adventurous thrill seekers.
http://enpundit.com/extreme-camping-in-germany/

As I wait for our next camping trip, sometime after Labor Day, I’ve been pondering over all the different types of people who are attracted to the outdoors.  Some of us seek the thrill of adventure, yearning to push our boundaries and conquer the unknown.

I get a severe case of vertigo just looking at this picture. But it’s apparently a thrilling adventure to this guy! http://myfavouritestuffs.com/extreme-camping/13067

Others seek to escape the frenetic pressures of modern living and escape into the peace and serenity of natural surroundings.  Still others hope to meet new friends among the very special people who share their love of the outdoors.

Some of us like to boondock in the wilderness alone.  Some of us need the feeling of security that camping near other people provides.

Just for fun, I did an image search on camping this evening and found the following photos that cover many different camping styles.

The kind of camping our grandparents might have enjoyed. http://www.scenicreflections.com/download/385130/Camping_Wallpaper/

Snoopy and Woodstock sum it up for me. 🙂

What style camper are you?  🙂

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

Sunny

Sunny

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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