It’s Gorgeous Here!

What a blessing to have such a beautiful, private spot!

What a blessing to have such a beautiful, private spot!

The campground is filled to capacity tonight, but we hardly know we have neighbors.  The way the sites are terraced in our loop, we really don’t even see the people on either side unless we make an effort to look.

The water down from our campsite.

The water down from our campsite.

I very gingerly ventured down to the water behind our campsite today.  It took some careful planning to keep from losing my balance and skidding downhill on my rear end.  Climbing back, I would aim for a tree and rest against it for a few minutes, then lunge uphill to another.  I managed to zig-zag my way back up to the campsite that way.

While I was down there I saw a nice fish that I could almost see “Tinycamper’s frying plan” written on.  But he swam away before I could get my camera out.  And no way am I climbing back down there to try to catch him!

Another view from the water below our site.

Another view from the water below our site.

I am zonked today!  I didn’t realize how badly all the pre-camping scrubbing, building, and preparing had worn me out.  But today I took a glorious, long nap with the windows open and the fan humming me to sleep.  And I’ll probably be in bed by 10:00 tonight.  Such sweet sleep!

There are only two places in the campground where it’s not too steep to fish from the bank, so we’ll check them out tomorrow.

Our site looking up from the water

Our site looking up from the water

Sheba the camp dog

Sheba the camp dog

Sunny after a walk

Sunny after a walk

Fern on sun dappled hill

Fern on sun dappled hill

Another tent site

Another tent site

Moss and lichen

Moss and lichen

Closeup of lichen

Closeup of lichen

Some critter had egg for dinner.  I don't know what kind of egg it is.  The shell looks too thick for a bird egg.

Some critter had egg for dinner. I don’t know what kind of egg it is. The shell looks too thick for a bird egg.

Evidence of root-grubbing critter

Evidence of root-grubbing critter

Odd juxtaposition -- dead stump and plastic bullets in the primitive camping area.

Odd juxtaposition — dead stump and plastic bullets in the primitive camping area.

I found lots of mushrooms today, but thought that ganoderma (Reishi) would probably be the only one of general interest.

I found lots of mushrooms today, but thought that ganoderma (Reishi) would probably be the only one of general interest.

A Gift — Paige Bridges’ Art

Print by Paige Bridges

When I went to the mailbox today, I got a HUGE surprise!  My sister Gail had ordered this print from Paige Bridges for me.

This particular picture is beyond special to me.  All of last summer when I didn’t have a camper and was dreaming of a Casita, I used a copy of it for my desktop wallpaper.  It reminds me so much of the road to Indian Springs State Park.  It captures the joy of driving through hills on small back roads, anticipating the wonders around the next bend, as I head toward new camping adventures.

WOW.  I am in tears as I realize that this little picture will hang in my Casita to commemorate all the camping trips ahead… just around the bend.

Thank you so much, Gail!

Enjoying Autumn

Saturday we drove to the Alabama hills. We decided that even though we can’t camp right now, we had to be outdoors. We couldn’t have wished for a more perfect day… sunny, blue skies, with temperatures in the mid 60’s.

The scenery along the winding country roads was gorgeous. We would top hill after hill and gaze at the ribbon of pavement dropping steeply into a valley, banked by green grass and pine trees with drifts of muted autumn splendor — all against the backdrop of the blue foothills of the Appalachians.

Unfortunately, I left my camera at home, so the pictures are recorded only in my mind. 🙂

In our front yard

Back home again, our woods also are glowing with soft autumn colors. They aren’t brilliant colors this year due to the extreme heat this past summer. But they still delight me.

The little neglected

Scraggly harvest

garden is, for all purposes, done. I must get motivated to pull up the irrigation system, clean the scraggly plants out, and put the garden to bed for the winter.

I’ve felt an increasing need to spend time on my ukulele with the longer, cooler nights. Also feel drawn to my neglected tatting.

Amazingly the peppers are still putting on blooms and tiny peppers that have no chance to ripen.

We have found a Casita. It’s an older one, but has been well taken care of and is in good condition. We won’t be able to get it for a while as the guy has to move his stuff into his new camper and have a couple of maintenance issues taken care of.

I am so hoping we will have it in time to go home for Thanksgiving. I am planning to rearrange it a bit and do some upholstering. But that won’t take long.

So, another lesson in patient endurance… I really didn’t think I needed any more of them! 🙂

Straggly bok choy in a bed of weeds 🙂

A wee bit of lettuce left

A few beans remain

A ripening tomato here and there on the dying vines.

Spring Garden and Woods

Ron digging chickweed out of our square foot gardens

I really can’t say I am ready to get back into gardening again.  Camping and travel remain my dearest loves.  But the season beckons.

We will probably not go anywhere this month, but do plan to meet up with my sister from Texas at Mom’s place in May.  Taxes hit us hard enough this month to wipe out this month’s travel budget.

Spring in the woods is irresistible, though.  I am posting way too many photos today, but wanted to share the glory of spring in the northwest Georgia hills.

On edit…. I did get an identification on the strange red growths on the leaves pictured below.  Click here for the explanation.

Blooming dogwood branch

Dogwood flowers

The back side of dogwood blooms

Wild Indian Strawberry flower opening

This is really odd. It looks like some kind of plant that is a leaf parasite. I have not noticed this before.

A closeup of the leaf parasite (?)

Some leaves have a lot of them.

These litter the forest floor. I think they are maple seeds, but am not sure.

Tiny flowers on a shrub in our yard.

Onion flowers are blooming in an Earth Box

A violet bloom emerging in the woods

Soft moss makes me wish that I was barefoot. 🙂

Unknown flowering tree. I just noticed that if you expand this photo and look at the leaves near the bottom left corner, you can see some of those strange red growths (fungi?) that are pictured above. (On edit -- it's a black cherry tree.)

Unusual green and white wildflower. On edit, a blog reader identified this flower as a Star of Bethlehem. Thanks, Evan!

Wild crabapple blossom

Baby plums on our Japanese plum trees

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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