The Little Things – Good and Bad

Beach weather  :)

Beach weather 🙂

It’s raining now and we are under a tornado watch until 6:00 pm.  Before the rain it was muggy and in the high 70’s.  But a beautiful stiff breeze made it comfortable — and fun — to be out in.

In spite of the windy weather, this morning a yellow butterfly’s random, seemingly chaotic flutter wowed me.  I tried to get a photo, but he was too fast and moving too erratically.

Dandy Lion :)

Dandy Lion 🙂

I was almost as thrilled to see a sweet little dandelion blooming, along with some other little yellow flower.  The wind bounced the flowers around so much that their photo is blurry.  But I’m posting it because yellow flowers and butterflies in January are a miraculous sight to me.

Our water heater died today.  I checked the Casita Forum’s fix for the problem.  I found the exact same situation we have, and very confidently attempted the repair that worked on the board.

What a beautiful assortment of plant life -- in January!

What a beautiful assortment of plant life — in January!

It did not work on my water heater.  So we’ll have it looked at sometime soon.  In the meantime, it’s campground showers for me instead of using my sweet little trailer’s bathroom.

We were caught unprepared for all of the fully booked campgrounds.  We’ve been down here for almost this long before and could always find someplace.  This time there simply are no vacancies in  any of the state parks we are interested in until late March and early April.  So now I’m trying to find PA campgrounds for after we leave O’Leno State Park on January 12.  Some of them do offer the discount all year, but I’m not sure it will be a lot of fun to stay there.

We could stay in the Forest Service campgrounds, but since we can’t count on solar power when it rains, we hate the idea of not having hookups to power our electronic toys to help pass the long winter evenings.

A primitive site in the now-empty primitive section.

A primitive site in the now-empty primitive section.

So we’ll have to be better organized next trip.

I have totally broken my cardinal rule of not cooking in the Casita.  If the weather is bad, I usually just fix sandwiches or a salad.  But that gets old, so I just bite the bullet and cook inside when I have to, and figure I’ll worry about cleaning the carpet of any lingering smells later.

I REALLY wish I had washable walls and ceiling!

We are really looking forward to staying at a park we haven’t visited before.  And tomorrow’s the day we leave here and head there!

 

Record Cold Here in Georgia

Atlanta's temperature at noon was 64.  Ours was 63.

Atlanta’s temperature at noon was 64. Ours was 63.

Our weather is amazing.  It’s mid-August in Georgia and I am wearing long sleeves and fuzzy socks!  I don’t know what this means in the grand scheme of things, but it feels like a wonderful gift today!

Of course, it’s also raining.  But it’s a light sprinkle.

I’m feeling better, so am going to give myself the rest of the weekend to recuperate.  Monday I’ll go down to Home Depot and get some drywall tools so I can start on the bathroom.  I want to scrape the popcorn ceiling down to the drywall before I start on the floor.

I’ve been watching lots of YouTube videos on how to do the things I’ll need to do.  What an amazing resource.  You really can learn anything you want to know on the net.

I plan to take it VERY slow on this project.  Maybe weeks.  That way I can physically handle it.  I’ll buy supplies as I can afford them.  And it will take the pressure off me if I know I can piddle on it at my own pace.  So I probably won’t do blow-by-blow updates on my blog.  I may just wait till it’s finished and put up before and after photos.  🙂

Hope you are all having a great weekend!

Uncle, Already!

weather1

weather2

 

weather3

The weather is wearing on all of us, including the dogs.  We are coping with extra naps, snacks and comfort food.  😀

I’m beginning to wonder if we’ll be able to make it to the North Carolina mountains this month.  It will depend on the weather.  I don’t think camping on top of a mountain without hookups in daily thunderstorms would be a lot of fun.

Maybe I’ll concentrate on more Casita projects and just look forward to camping weather, whenever it comes.  Maybe August?  The cooler mountains would be a real treat then.

But, soggy as it is here, I would much rather have our weather than the hot, dry fire weather out West.

 

 

Almost Back in Civilization

Enjoying the water at Flint Creek

The lack of internet at Flint Creek turned out to be a great thing.  We didn’t have to hear bad news, and it felt like we were given the gift of a week out of time… almost like another dimension.

Our Casita and Gail’s van at Flint Creek

We had made our reservations two months ago.  But right before we left I checked the weather and it was grim.  Days in the mid nineties with heat indexes ranging from 101 to 109 with thunderstorms every day.

But we prayed for good weather and headed out to meet Gail and Mike anyway.  And the weather amazed us.

We had two picnic tables at Flint Creek

Our site was in dappled or deep shade all day.  Almost always there was enough breeze to keep us from stifling.  The thunderstorms never materialized.  We’d hear distant thunder and see the storm clouds approaching, but they would go around us.  The only rain we had was the first day we arrived, and it was light and didn’t last long.  The only exception was a freak wind that threatened to destroy our awning one evening.  We managed to get the awning in and get Gail’s canopy bungied to a fence, and in a few minutes it had passed.

At Jennings Ferry COE

And the water!  It was the first time we had frolicked in a sand bottom lake in many years.  We felt like kids again.

Most importantly, Gail and I had time to spend together.  It was precious to both of us.

The people from the surrounding areas were another gift out of time.  I hadn’t seen that level of courtesy and good manners in decades.  The kids were remarkably well behaved.  All week the only sounds from them were the delightful sounds of happy children playing.  No

We’re still absolutely crazy about our little Casita!

screaming.  No rudeness.  No tantrums. Please.  Thank you.  Smiles.   Ron was out walking one day and said hello to a young teenage boy.  The boy actually tipped his cap to Ron… a sign of respect for elders that I didn’t think existed anywhere anymore.   And in town, friendly waves and smiles instead of rude gestures when, due to being unfamiliar with the area, we made a couple of traffic mistakes.

We fell in love with southern Mississippi.  Seriously in love!  🙂

Oh, there was the one requisite group of belligerent drunks that showed up at the swimming beach Friday.  We felt threatened and left.  But within a few minutes a ranger showed up and escorted them out of the park.

Guess Who 🙂

We left this morning with memories that will warm us for a long time.

We drove for about 4 hours and were getting tired.  When we saw a sign for the Jennings Ferry COE campground near Eutaw, AL, we decided to stop for a couple of days.  The park is super clean with spacious, private, level sites and great views on the waterfront side.  We were surprised to see (and hear) a tug pushing a huge barge past our sites earlier this evening.  It will be fun to watch them from the shore tomorrow.

And our senior rate for this campground…. a whopping $18 for two days!

 

 

Getting Ready to Go

Here’s an updated look at the weather forecast for the Augusta area.  We’ll be camping the whole week, from Sunday until Sunday.  It looks like we will have some rain, so we’ll take books and tatting along with our laptops to keep us entertained.  It also looks like the evenings will be good camp fire weather.

We got the camper dewinterized and the water system sanitized yesterday.  I’m still working on the liners for my storage baskets.

I also repainted the stove cover in the Casita yesterday.  It had some scuffs and some rust starting to develop.

I’d like to get all the packing finished today except for the food.  Then we can go grocery shopping tomorrow.  That way we should have a leisurely departure Sunday morning.

Bees, Blossoms and 80 degrees in February

Wasp pollinating fruit tree blossoms

Although honey bees have virtually disappeared from this area, I was very happy to see that the apple, pear and plum tree blossoms were being pollinated by swarms of small wasps, mason bees and a few small bumblebees.    I tried to get photos of them, but they are so small and move so quickly that this fuzzy little guy was the only one I could capture on camera.  So we might not have honey, but at least we will have fruit!

The weather here in north Florida is unbelievable.  It was 80 degrees on my mother’s back porch in the shade today.  It was really hot in the sun!  But ice and snow and cold are still too fresh in my memory for me to complain.

Mom's house

But if it’s this hot now, I wonder what kind of summer we are in for.

Today we visited Daddy’s grave and Mom put new flowers on it.  I forgot to take my camera.  I hope that Dad is aware of how much we love and miss him.

This little tatted star flower needs blocking to straighten out its points.

Our usual camping spot under the big live oak at Mom's place

I’ve done a bit of tatting in the evenings, but not as much as I expected.  I completed Monica Hahn’s star flower pattern from her Christmas Angels book.   I’ve also started over several times on a flowery snowflake pattern that I don’t quite understand.  Maybe I’ll get it on my next attempt.  🙂

Yesterday Ron discovered that the floor under the water heater is even softer than the floor under the shower.  So apparently my original floor fix with the PC Petrifier was worthless, as I obviously didn’t get the leaks fixed.  So when I get back home, I’ll start the job of replacing the floor.

I thought of using marine plywood, but it is so frightfully expensive.  I think I’ll just use regular plywood, but soak it with clear penetrating epoxy sealer.  That should last for years, I hope.

 

Tall Pines RV Park, Shreveport, LA

We got to Tall Pines RV Park in Shreveport around 4:00.  What a great place to overnight!  Clean, quiet, extremely friendly office staff, and a small, well-behaved office dog.   Well behaved dogs are welcome.  They even have a fenced area where dogs can run free off leash.  Badly behaved children are not welcome.  Ahhhh!!!  Overnight heaven!  🙂

Ron said the bathrooms are spotless and smell good.  I prefer to use the little bathroom in the Aliner.

The weather here is gorgeous.  I had all the camper’s windows open catching a balmy breeze earlier.  I plan to leave one open all night for the fresh air.

The park is packed, but it is blissfully quiet.

We paid $10 less than the going rate because our rig is so small.  What a nice surprise!

It feels good to settle in for the night.  Instead of going out to eat, I just opened cans of Chunky Clam Chowder and melted cheese on Rosemary Olive Triscuit crackers.  A nutritionist’s nightmare, probably, but easy, and it leaves us a little more money to spend on fun things with Mike and Gail!

I plan to tat this evening.  Have one more Christmas gift I’m trying to finish.  Then I’ll surf a little while, get a shower, and crawl between the sheets.

It was a strange discovery to realize that a nice RV park with parallel rows of rigs a few feet apart can be much quieter and more restful overnighting than a beautiful state park–with rude campers.

F. D. Roosevelt State Park in Georgia, II

Registration building at FDR State Park built by CCC

Registration Bldg. & Gift Shop built by CCC

We had originally planned to stay here three nights.  But it is so beautiful that we have extended our stay an extra two days.  So we will be here until Monday.

I am especially enjoying the old stone buildings that were built by the CCC back in the 1930’s.  Dad had a lot of stories about his time working for them before he went into the Marine Corps during WWII.  I think he said that he got $25.00 a month, and sent $20.00 of it home to his parents.

Franklin D. Roosevelt State Park Office Building

FDR State Park Office Building

What is amazing is that the stone work was built with no tools other than shovels and pickaxes.

It stormed yesterday and last night, but today ended up sunny and beautiful.  It’s cooler this evening, though.  It is expected to get down  into the 30’s tonight.

Because it was so chilly, we decided that we needed a camp fire.  I had almost forgotten how wonderful they are on cold nights.  So relaxing.  Odd how a fire mesmerizes and induces such a peaceful, reflective state of mind.

Window view

View behind our site

our camp fire

Our camp fire

Ron pouring coffee among tiki torches, kerosene lantern, and camp fire

Ron pouring coffee surrounded by tiki torches, a kerosene lantern, and the camp fire

The park is filling up tonight.  But our site is on a curve in the road, and spaced so that we don’t have anyone close to us on either side.

We decided not to put up our screen room this trip.  The cooler weather means there aren’t many bugs around.  And if it rains, we can take advantage of the picnic pavilion behind our site.

The Aliner is Home Again

The Aliner is back home

Back from the shop -- where she belongs!

We got the Aliner back from the shop today!  She is home where she belongs!

I can’t believe how much I miss her when she is not here.  I told Ron that I feel like everything is right with my world now that we have her back.  He replied, “It is a sweet little home.”

That’s how I feel about my camper.  It’s an adorable little home that we can take anywhere whenever the mood strikes us.  It feels

DSI water heater switch

The new water heater switch

like freedom and opportunity to me!

I love where they put the switch for the DSI water heater.  No more standing out in freezing, rainy weather holding the gas button down and waiting for gas to get through the lines so the pilot will light.

That’s a biggie with cold weather coming on.

solar controller

Batteries are in great shape

If I sound deliriously happy, I am!

Unfortunately we will have to wait until after Ron’s doctor appointment Wednesday to head out camping.  But as soon as he is through with his appointment, we will leave.

I suppose it’s also apparent that I am a Gypsy at heart and would love to fulltime.  Maybe some day!

Hen of the Woods (Maitake) “Bacon”

Hen of the woods mushroom "bacon"

Hen of the Woods "bacon"

I’ve been working dried maitake mushrooms into our menu lately for their awesome medicinal properties.

I reconstitute them for 20 minutes in warm water, then use the tough stalks to make broth, and the more tender tips in other recipes.

The broth is great for cooking brown rice in and for making gravy.  The mushroom itself can be a little chewy, so I cut it in thin strips before cooking.

hen of the woods mushroom broth

Maitake mushroom broth

The other day I wanted something different, so I cut the caps into small strips, then fried them until crisp, sprinkled them with salt, and drained them well on paper towels.  They were very savory — intensely flavored — and would work wherever you would normally use bacon crumbles — over scrambled eggs, in salads, and my favorite–sprinkled over mashed potatoes and maitake gravy!  They are superb, and addictive!

I did one batch in virgin olive oil with a little butter, and other batch in peanut oil with a little butter.  The peanut oil batch was definitely the best!

bolete

Here's the bolete in my earlier post in its mature stage. Inset is when it was younger.

Here’s an update on the bolete I wrote about in my last post.  I found a fully mature version near where the others grew.  The cap has changed to brown.  The only way you can tell it is the same mushroom is by the stalk and the yellow pores.

The interior of the mature mushroom — stalks and cap — were riddled with bugs, though.  I will spare you a photo of the gory details.

I normally stick to chanterelles and boletes, and avoid gilled mushrooms except for a handful of distinctive ones that I know are safe.  There are so many dangerous ones that it’s not worth taking the chance on misidentifying one.  But I thought I really ought to branch out and start trying to learn more about them.

So I photographed these mushrooms in several stages of growth.  They had white spore prints.  I believe they are in the Amanita family — a family that has many fatally poisonous members.

amanitas

Amanita family mushrooms

Our weather is predicted to be in the 90’s for the next two weeks, at least.  So I won’t be out doing  much mushroom hunting until it cools down a little.

P.S. David Fischer has identified these mushrooms for me as Amanita “close to A. rubescens,” as far as he could determine from my small photos.

%d bloggers like this: