May 30

Art Fairs and Dutch Ovens

It’s been a wild week. Last weekend was filled with rain and some of the Iron Horse Bicycle Race was altered. Later in the week we shot up to the 80’s.

Just before the rains I went looking for branches for carving, on the way back from town. I was even caught looking at a Maple tree in town at the library. I was looking for good curves for “spoon wood.”

I looked through a volunteer apple tree. I found one branch but it was too close to the trunk and almost impossible to get to. Just up the road from the apple tree, I asked a guy with his young son, working on the fence line, if he owned the land. He just rented, he told me. I asked about cutting a branch off two apple trees in the field. He said he could grant permission as it wasn’t his land. So the search continues.

Here is the spoon I carved a few weeks back out of Gamble Oak. It’s been rubbed with flax oil for the second time. It’s sort of clunky looking, I think. I wanted to carve a stirring spoon. Pot spoons on the open market have pencil thin handles and, for me, trying to hang onto a thin handle cramps my hand, so here is my crude pot spoon. I’m not a fan of the darker wood, but it’s a start.

#11 Carving-Pot Spoon
#11 Carving-Pot Spoon

I talked with my sister and cousins, a couple of weeks back, about my carvings. The idea of selling at art fairs came up. I had thought about is myself, but this past week the more I mulled it over, the less I liked the idea. I looked at the items I’d need to set up for the fairs. I’d need to haul a tent and tables, or spoon racks. I would have to haul all the stuff everywhere I went all year long, or part of the year, if I got back to my storage unit. I’d do cash sales only, so I wouldn’t have to get involved with credit card machines. When I’d looked at all the scenarios, internet sales seem like a better fit for me.  I might try fairs at some point, but not just yet. Also, it feels like I’d cramp my freestyle roaming.

I’ve been thinking about cooking, as well. I’m a bit of a “foodie”, but not the restaurant “foodie” version. I love to cook. I cook Spanish, Italian, British Country food; I’ve dipped into Greek, Korean, and Mexican. I love the challenge.

In the Casita, I have a 2 burner stove,  no oven, a small refrigerator with no freezer. I knew I’d be basic in the food department. Those first 3 years were very basic. I made lots of sandwiches, salads from bags, and soups. I did decide one way to get a good rice was by making Paella. I adapted a shrimp Ėtoufée with instant rice. The Ėtoufée was good but I’ve always hated instant rice. It’s too cardboard in taste. With brown rice taking so long to cook, I didn’t want to use my propane for 50 minutes. I preferred brown rice but I can do better than instant, with white rice. I hauled a pressure cooker for a while, but it takes up a lot of space.

A thought came to me, that I could use a camp Dutch Oven!  I hit the library and took out the only cookbook they had in Dutch oven cooking and bought a couple of cheap Kindle books for the road. Most suggest a 12 inch, six quart oven. I didn’t need anything that big! I did find a Kindle book based on an eight inch, two quart oven. All the recipes were geared to that size. Off to the hardware store, and I found no eight inch ovens. They didn’t get much call for that size, so I ordered one. Now, I have my “oven”! I can bake bread, cake, cobblers, and make long cooking stews, all with charcoal rather than use up the little propane I carry.

When it arrived, I gave it a coating of oil and baked it in. The next day I went to the store, then cooked up the first meal out on the porch. It turned out really well, despite my forgetting to add the sour cream and using Rice-a-Roni. I think next time I make this I’ll hold the broccoli out until the last 10 minutes.

Coming along nicely
Coming along nicely

 

 

Dinner-Chicken, Broccoli, Mushrooms, and Rice
Dinner-Chicken, Broccoli, Mushrooms, and Rice

 

Thanks for reading my blog.

May 23

’93 Nova Scotia Continued

The past week I received some good news. I found a place that had some storage units available. Living in a college town, it becomes hard to find storage as summer starts and the students lock up their goods and fill the local storage facilities.

Guess what? I found the photos from my trip. Sorry for the quality, a picture of a picture.

We were in Halifax, Nova Scotia last week. I picked up the rental car and started south. I swung into Peggy’s Cove. The little hamlet is a popular tour bus stop for the beautiful lighthouse. Thankfully in October it was quiet. I found the huge parking lot and walked to the lighthouse for the obligatory photo and then wandered to the little harbor with all the boat houses. Five years after my trip, Peggy’s Cove was in the news. The local fishermen launched their boats to help with rescue operations of the SwissAir 111 plane crash.

Lighthouse at Peggy's Cove
Lighthouse at Peggy’s Cove
Peggy's Cove
Peggy’s Cove

 

To the south, I found Lunenburg a classic east coast town and harbor. The the houses were very quaint, all bright and cheerful, painted in many different colors.  I drove through, because I had a destination on my agenda. Shelburne was my goal.

I think this is Lunenburg in a bad photo
I think this is Lunenburg
in a bad photo

Why the little town of Shelburne? In the family history, Shelburne is the burial site of the family patriarch, Captain William K. The captain and his family were the first to come to the Americas but he died on the voyage. The year was 1620 and the history book on the family said a gravestone was found in Shelburne County with the year and name. It was late in the day when I arrived, so I went to the provincial park to camp for the night. As I drove up, I found the gate closed. What to do? I looked in a guide book and ended up just parking the car at the gate and flipped out my sleeping bag.

The next morning I ate a big breakfast at a little diner in town. I remember it being very frilly in it’s décor, but the food was great. I walked around the little town with little alleys and no curbs on the roads. Big yards and Victorian houses. What would it be like in winter? I thought.

After my walk, I hoped little historical society would be opened, and wandered back into town. The museum was an old main street house. I asked my question to the woman on duty, and she said she’s been asked that question many times. She told me she didn’t know where the gravestone for Captain William K. was located. She told me the county boundaries had moved a lot since 1620. She offered me the names and phone numbers of other people that have come to Shelburne for the same reason, to find the headstone. I took a few numbers and names to see if any of them had found the grave. The curator also suggested I check the provincial museum in Halifax for information. That ended my Shelburne quest.

Off I drove to the northwestern arm of Nova Scotia. This time I was looking for a winery. Yes, they do grow wine grapes, but of the hybrid variety. Decent enough wine, for that far north. Many wines were in ice wine category, which is understandable!

Next, was the town of Pictou (Pick-toe). I had read in a guide book that a restaurant there served a great chowder. The fish chowder was less cream thickened and more soup like. Oh, it was good! I also visited the Hector Museum where replica ship was being constructed. The Hector was one of the ships that brought over many Scottish families.

I think from there I got a motel room over in Antigonish, then it was off to Cape Breton.

See the lighthouse?
See the lighthouse?

The causeway crossing felt like I’d crossed borders. It was another land with mountains and bays. I don’t remember, but I’m guessing I got a room in Baddeck. It was a fantastic stop, because I found one of my all-time favorite museums.

Cove on Cape Breton I could live here!
Cove on Cape Breton
I could live here!

The Alexander Graham Bell Museum was very comprehensive. I never knew about the many accomplishments of this man. The iron lung, tetrahedral kites, hydrofoil boats he tested off the island he owned in the bay. When he worked at a school for the deaf, he invented a system of pronunciation for the deaf by the shape of the mouth and tongue. I think Bell also created a typewriter based on that pronunciation system. Oh yeah, the telephone and much more. Great museum!

From there I went into the Cape Breton National Park via the eastern costal route. What scenery! I took a little hike in the park then I sacked out in the car for the night, above the town of Cheticamp. It was a cold night that far north!

What did I miss of Nova Scotia? I now know of the Digby scallops in the food department. Said to be the best and sweetest scallops. I also missed the only single malt distillery in Nova Scotia, up on Cape Breton.  And had I known, I would have visited hockey’s soon-to-be golden boy, Pittsburg’s Sidney Crosby. He would have been 6 years old at that time!

Unfortunately, I never made it back to the Nova Scotia Provincial Museum to find out about the captain’s headstone. That’s why I want to go back with a few other stops around the province. It could take a whole summer! I don’t mind if it takes two summers! Do you think I should stop in at the Crosby’s?

I’ll skip the retelling of the PEI (Prince Edward Island) portion of that trip. If you get up that way I would suggest PEI as well.

Thanks for dropping by.

May 16

An Old Story About Train Travel and Roughing it

I’m sure everybody heard about the snow this week. Denver was even on the news with airport delays and cancellations.

This week I’ve been following a woman as she finalizes her plans to take off to Nova Scotia with a RV trailer in tow. I’ll be anxiously watching, via her blog, and taking notes for my return trip, sometime in the future. It prompted my reminiscing about a trip I took to Nova Scotia back in 1993.

I was missing traveling by train, like I used to do as a kid. My father used to take the family by rails on many vacations. I even took a train trip with him from Winnipeg, Manitoba to Churchill, Manitoba way up on Hudson Bay.

In ’93 I began plotting a trip via rail to Halifax, Nova Scotia when the Forest Service season ended in mid-September. I packed the truck in early October and departed, driving from southwestern Colorado to Winnipeg, Manitoba. I roughed it a lot back in those days. I remember one stop-over where I slept in the back of my truck in a mall parking lot. I’m thinking it may have been in Fargo, ND. and it was cold for October.

When I arrived in Winnipeg, I parked and checked the train schedule then purchased my rail pass. I had arrived within about a couple of  hours of departure. I walked around but not too far from the station, not wanting to get lost in the big city!

I hopped on the train and found a seat. Soon I was talking to the guy next to me. It turned out he was also going to Halifax to catch a flight to Newfoundland to see his father, after three years of working in the oil fields north of Edmonton, Alberta. He called himself a “Newfee.” I can’t remember his name, so I’ll call him Mike.

Mike and I talked and then went to the bar car and bought rounds of Labatts Blue. It’s a bit different than what we get in the states. Just a bit higher in alcohol! We talked to some other folks for awhile and then headed back to our seats. I remember waking up and finding that cliché sight you see in the movies of travelers. He had his head on my shoulder sleeping. I pushed and lifted my shoulder to extricate myself so I could get up. I think I just pushed his head back the other way and got up.

In Toronto we had to change trains and it wouldn’t leave until the next morning. I had planned to sleep in the station but was rousted out by a cop about 9:30PM. I wasn’t going to go try to find a hotel for the night so I walked around and then wandered through the grand hotel across the street from the station. I had read of a tobacco shop down stairs and looked through the window for those illusive Cuban cigars. The shop was closed and the cigars had been put away. I started getting tired and found a wingback chair in the corner of a stairwell. I dropped my pack and slept off and on. I got worried at some point in the night and hid myself behind the chair and slept some more against the wall corners. About five or so in the morning I wandered back up towards the lobby and found the place filled with staff cleaning and vacuuming. I walked out and found a coffee shop then went to the station.

I think now, with the security systems in place everywhere, I would have been given the boot about 15 minutes after sitting down. It makes a good story about the old days when I used to roughed it, don’t you think?

The commuter train to Montreal was uneventful. I walked around outside the downtown station and thought it was just another city. On the next train to Halifax I met up again with Mike in the bar car talking with a few ladies he’d met. I had just a couple of Labatts this round. Mike was sitting in another car and I was fine with that, despite him suggesting I move to his car.

The next morning I exited the station in Halifax, Nova Scotia. I got my maps out and began walking to the bed and breakfast I’d booked(I’m such a “roughing it” light weight!!). It was on the edge of a great big park that wasn’t too far from town.

I wandered around Halifax for a couple of days and took in the sights and saw the maritime museum. I learned that Halifax was the place where a number of the rescue ships sailed out of, to help the Titanic victims. Many are buried on an island in the harbor. I also learned there was also an explosion in the harbor, I forget when. It was the largest ever manmade blast until the atomic bomb. It came from a ship colliding with a munitions ship in the harbor. An anchor was found two miles away and the city was demolished with numerous casualties. After I’d done all the sights in Halifax I rented a car to tour Nova Scotia.

Sorry no photos to post of the trip. They’re all on negatives and photos buried in a box…somewhere!

Next week more on roughing it around Nova Scotia.

May 9

More donations and dreams

We were back to spring this week for a few days. 70’s and breezy and then it changes, once again.

I’ve been reading a lot of other RVer blogs lately. Everyone is heading north as the weather warms. I know I write a blog, but I get inspired reading about their travels. It motivates me to get things in order. One blogger wrote about the many changes she’s had in her life and that includes countries she’s been to and the new roads and areas she’s seeing now. Another blogger is over in Utah and just found another new, free, campground. I always get my maps out, as I read, and put highlighter dots on their newly found boondocking sites and campgrounds. You never know when you’ll be in that area!

 

Blair Valley, Ca. sunrise

 

All of this reading begins my daydreaming of places I might be this time of year. I don’t think I’d be heading east just yet with the tornado season in full swing. I think I’d be working my way north via Nevada, Utah, California, towards Idaho, Oregon, or Wyoming, and beyond.

Something else comes to mind, and that is where I’d want to spend the summer and what sights I’d like to see. I guess those plans would be created each winter with alterations as I proceeded. I dream of summers in Canada or maybe in the Cascades? Another idea for summers are to take some classes at a couple of folk schools I read about, in things like wood turning, carving canoe paddles, or maybe a canoe!

Well, all that reading sparked my motivations again and I’ve been donating and working on the clean-up.

I donated my old Ford truck to PBS through their Vehicle Donation Program. All I did was make a call and in three days the company PBS uses was picking up the truck! I donate and in return receive a donation letter and tax break. Easy as can be!

I also donated more books to the public library. I have a lot of books and they’re the toughest things to let go of. Most of my books would be in the “How-to” category. They contain books from seed saving to step-by-step cabin building. To me they’re reference books.

I’ve given a few outdoors books to family as semi-permanent loans for the nieces and nephew. Maybe someday they will read them and be even more drawn to the outdoors.

With the warm weather I’ve also been cleaning up the yard and cutting the grass.

The last two days we’ve had variable weather with colder temperatures and rain. All of which has brought on a cold for me. It’s always the see-saw weather that sets me up for a cold. I get that same stuffy head, cold-like feeling from air conditioners. I can’t handle that instant blast of cold air after being in hot weather. Oh to be in Death Valley now, warming my bones!!

 

Geordie, on what I call “Lunch with a View” hikes.

 

Another symptom this week was a withdrawal like feeling from not doing any carving. So, I went up the hill and cut another Gamble Oak trunk and proceeded to carve two spoons in two evenings. I’m not yet accomplished in spoon carving and proceeded in slicing a hole in the bowl of the first. The second, I was more careful in checking the thickness. It did develop a small split as it dried. Oh well, I’ll chalk these up to the learning curve. Gamble Oak is not my desired wood for spoons. I’d prefer Birch or Cherry. That will happen soon enough.

Thanks for stopping by once again. Have a great week ahead.

May 2

Spring at 7100 Feet

A week and a half ago I had spring fever, but in Colorado that can change in a day. Saturday it began snowing and by Sunday morning we had a half inch of snow. In this state I’ve heard a phrase that I think is factual. “Every day of the year it snows somewhere in Colorado.” Well, it snowed 26 April 2014 at 7100 feet!!

26 April 2014
26 April 2014

With the snow and low temperatures in the 20’s, I checked on the cherry tree that had begun leafing out. I think it held up. The peach tree hasn’t started leafing. I did check the progress of my neighbor’s peach tree, prior to the snow, and they had blossoms and bees buzzing about. I think that the snow may have nipped those flowers.

Looking at the trees, it lead me to think about the one thing I will miss when I leave, gardening! Living in an arid place, I always thought that the best use of our limited water supply was a garden full of food. If I’m going to water two of three times a week from my own well, it would be better to grow food than a lawn.

27 April 2014
27 April 2014

Although I haven’t been planting in the last three years, I will still miss growing food. It is a challenge trying to grow food at 7100 feet. We have a short season here and some changeable weather. One year, with my tomatoes still surrounded by “Walls ‘o Water”, we had a frost that nipped the tops that had grown above those “Walls ‘o Water.” The date was 15 July!

The reason for the break in growing was a critter. It wasn’t the big critter Mule Deer, there is a six foot fence around the garden for that, it was a Vole. Not a Mole but a Vole. That little burrowing menace ate 75 percent of my fall planted garlic and shallots. Later, as I tried damn near everything to rid my garden of the thieves, including buckets of blood meal and cayenne, I actually watched a pepper plant being drawn underground.

The County Extension office gave me a few pages on Voles with no solution for a vegetable garden. The suggestion was to use chemical /poison smoke bombs. I wasn’t going to go that route in my organic food garden. So, I quit. A rodent about the size of a small guinea pig had stumped me. We have all kinds of weather. A short growing season from late May to Early September, but it was a something underground making tunnels that beat me to my food.

Sorry, I have no photos of the full garden on this computer.

I will miss growing food when I hit the road. Maybe I’ll try a potted tomato plant and some herbs. Only problem is visiting family in California and the fruit and veg bans!

I think one choice is to visit local Farmer’s Markets. Fresh greens are best right from the ground. Real, non genetically altered, tomatoes taste like tomatoes.

I think I have found another idea that can stem my gardening withdrawals. There is a network of farms and vineyards that host overnight RVers. It’s called “Harvest Hosts.” An RVer pays a small yearly fee and can look up online a list of places to stop overnight, for free. The RVer is encouraged to purchase produce or wine from the host. I think it’s built on the same premise of the Agriturismos in Italy and Europe, to help the small farms. I think it’s a brilliant idea and one I will sign-up for, willingly.

http://www.harvesthosts.com/

Thank you again for stopping by.

Feel free to comment. Interacting with readers helps inspire me to write.

 

April 25

I Want to Leave Right Now!!

It’s so nice this spring that I almost want to take off. But alas, I’m still far from launching into fulltime RVing. Oh, I wish I could chuck it all right now and be on the road. I have to remind myself slow and steady wins the race.

I’ve taken Geordie over to the reservoir close to the house a few times in the last week. Just the smell drives him crazy. He knows what’s coming. Then the whining begins as we park and he sees the lake. Once out, he goes straight into the water. I toss the bright orange float out and he runs and swims to retrieve the float. When he hits land, it’s straight over to me, drops the float, and proceeds to shake and soaks me in lake water. Happiness in simple games.

I’ve been thinking back to when I picked up my Casita in 2011. I’d never pulled anything other than a U-Haul. I remember being nervous. As I drove away, after the walk through, I went to get the tires balanced. The guy wanted me to back up into the open bay, and after about 5 tries, he said to just park as close as I could. I was just a bit embarrassed!

After that, all I wanted to do was get on the interstate and take off. About a half day and I was pulling into an Oklahoma Corps of Engineers campground. I remember the lady asked what kind of site I wanted. I told her it was my first day with the trailer and she asked if I wanted a pull-thru. I told her “yes please”, with relief. I didn’t want a reprised performance of trying to back into a site.

After I pulled in, I realized I had no blocks to put under the rear supports. I also tried the key that I thought was the hitch lock and found it didn’t work. Later, I realized I was using the wrong key. A palm knock to the head moment!

My first campsite Waurika Lake, Ok
My first campsite
Waurika Lake, Ok

I went back to the entry kiosk and asked about wood blocks for the stabilizers and she scrounged up a few cinder block pieces that just barely worked.

I don’t recall what I made for dinner. I think I rolled out my sleeping bag afterwards and slept warm and snug that first night.

I was off the next morning and did an overnight in another pull-thru site in an overly crowded, pack-in, “campground” in Liberal Kansas. It was there that I learned I hated RV parks with four feet between rigs!

When I came to McCook, Nebraska, I found their state parks manicured and open. It was that night I was glad to have purchased a weather radio. As the sky flashed and rumbled, and the wind built to Casita swaying level, I turned the weather radio on and heard a wind warning with possible tornados in the county where I was residing. I remember asking myself if I should heed the warning and wait it out, until 2AM, in the cinder block bathroom or stay in the Casita?  I stayed where I was and thought I’d be found sometime in the morning inside the cracked “egg” trailer.

McCook, Ne The first back-in site
McCook, Ne
The first back-in site

I bought that weather radio after hearing about the tornado that ripped through Joplin, Missouri earlier that spring. I’ve used it two more times in the 3 years I’ve owned my Casita. Good insurance I think.

That first summer I went all the way to Wisconsin and Minnesota. I learned in that first trip, I needed to put a solar outfit with battery monitor together, so I could stay in non-electric campsites and save cash.

That was the start of my trailer excursions and Casita love. They really are a perfect way to travel, for me. No tents or kitchens to set up. My own bathroom just steps away, and without a flashlight in the middle of the night. Best of all, a refrigerator and no more ice for a cooler or powdered milk!

I want be on the road again!!

Thanks for dropping by.

April 18

Inside Introversion

IMG_0663

In a complete change of topic, I’d like to tell you about my introversion, and the fear I have putting myself out into the world. Here I am telling you about it in a blog, of all things!

Introverts are very, very reluctant to speak up in a crowd. We’re even more reluctant talking about ourselves, except to a few close friends. When I was thinking about creating this blog, I thought about the fear of stepping into the spotlight and being criticized for being me. Some part of me said it was just for family, but that was only a way to fool myself.

I’ve gone most of my life not realizing how much introversion plays into my actions. When I did realize it, I saw that it’s as much a part of me as moving my foot. I’ve found this characteristic of myself, and many others, a fascinating subject. All those idiosyncrasies I’ve had since childhood can now be, somewhat, explained.

I’ve read a few books on introversion, and some go into deep science. There are actual physiological differences between  introverts and extroverts. Our brains really do run differently.

One aspect is the dislike of crowds. I’ve never been a party goer and hate the idea of chit-chat and small talk. I panic just thinking about it. I’d rather sit down with a friend and talk. One on one, or in threes, can get into a deeper conversation than a crowd. Crowds drain the energy from an introvert.

Debate and conflict are also out of my league. I don’t think fast on my feet or my bum. I need to digest ideas and thoughts. If you want to debate, write it down and I’ll get back to you when I’ve got my thoughts sorted out.

017

A book that isn’t about introversion, but has a model of an introverts process is “The Artist’s Way.” Most artists generally need time to explore life and observe, that’s when their artwork is able to evolve. This is the reason I write my blog every Friday. I need that time in between, to think about what to write, and observe and experience life each week. I admire those that can write off the cuff everyday, but that doesn’t mean I want to try and be like them. I can’t, I don’t work that way.

In another case of revealing myself, a few years back I wrote a novel. It became an obsession and I wrote for about three and a half months, everyday. I was so absorbed, I kept forgetting to eat. When the time came to allow someone to read it,  I panicked like you wouldn’t believe. I’ll admit I’m not a Steinbeck or Salinger, heck I’m not even Dr. Seuss, but it was my work and my sweat inside.

When I sent the book off to some family members, it felt like I just put my life in the mailbox. I was shaking as I dropped each CD in the mail. I wanted to dive into the post box and retrieve those envelopes. Later, one review came in and the phrase, “I almost cried”, came as a relief. Will I ever publish? I think it needs a lot of work. I’m not great at punctuation, as you probably have figured out! I enjoy writing but I’m horrible, technically.

That’s just a part of my introversion. So, as the Brits say, “that’s me, really.”

If you find this subject interesting and want to learn more about introversion, here is a Ted Talk by Susan Cain, the author of “Quiet: the Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking.”

http://www.ted.com/talks/susan_cain_the_power_of_introverts

 Young Geordie- The water dog in training
Young Geordie- The water dog in training

 

Thanks again for stopping by.

 

April 11

Thoughts on Changes

After a fun week with my brother, I found myself lacking in momentum for doing the chores I know needed to be done. By Wednesday I got back at it and began the sorting again.

Rifle Falls State Park, Co
Rifle Falls State Park, Co

I was thinking about what to write this week and what came to me was confidence. It was the realization that I have no worry or trepidation for this change in my life. I’ve gone through other life changes where I had that same feeling. I was on the correct course in this move, come what may, and it would turn out alright. I realize maybe others just don’t understand someone’s confidence in what looks like, to the outsider, a reckless move.  I’ve had 2 other moves and had that same confidence within me. The move from Chicago to No. Calif. was something I’d wanted to do for years. I had one a bit of a shake up when I got there, though. I was asked how much money I had in the bank, and after divulging the amount was told I’d never make it. That fear really shook me inside but I carried on. Within about 2 weeks I had the job I’d gone to Calif. for, working for a winery. The other change was to Colorado and I’ve been here for 24 years.

Red Rock Canyon State Park, Ca
Red Rock Canyon State Park, Ca

So, here is an odd third move. Well maybe not odd, just out of the societal norm, a nomadic life. I’m glad I have the other 1.6 million or so folks to point to and say, “I’m not so crazy.” Americans have always been a bit nomadic. We pushed into “The Wilderness” of Kentucky then into the Midwest, and out on the Oregon Trail. In my ancestry, I have Danes, English,  Scots-Irish, and Germans who all move from the old country to the Americas. It’s in my blood.

My father loved to travel and research the places he and Mom would visit next. The researching rubbed off on me and I think I took it one step further with the love of maps. I don’t care where I look, I can find something that looks interesting and the feeling I need to go explore.

After I first picked up my Casita trailer, I found in the road atlas the Museum of the Fur Trade outside of  Chadron, Nebraska. I had been studying canoeing and the fur trade and it was a stop I had to make. It was just 5 days into my maiden voyage. Great museum if you’re up that way.

I also purchased a canoe on that maiden voyage.  I’ve always been a hiker and never traveled in the wilderness any other way.  The canoe was a different mode of outdoor travel for me.

 

Sand Hills, Nebraska
Sand Hills, Nebraska

I’ve loved to fish ever since I received my first fishing rod at age 6.  I used a boat, with Dad at the helm, in those early days, but in the last 24 years I’ve fly-fished and waded in rivers. With a canoe I can once again float on the lakes. I found a bonus in canoeing, I found that birds and animals seem less frightened, and can be approached a bit closer for a photograph.

Chippewa Flowage, Wi
Chippewa Flowage, Wi

 

Finally, yesterday I heard and saw a seasonal change. I heard my first Meadowlark this spring and saw my first American Kestrel of the year. Spring is here.

Thanks for dropping by.

April 4

A Break This Week

A break from sorting and painting this week. Good timing since it  allowed my back to recover from the strain of moving trash, boxes, and recycling.

My brother and his family came out to visit, on their spring break, for the last time. Fortunately, we had some snow flurries for the kids from southern California.

They enjoyed playing with the Geordie-dog again, and it’s always was good practice for him to have 3 kids giving him commands.

Unfortunately there was sickness among the girls, and there were a few missed outings, by one, the other, or both. Still a trip to Mesa Verde, a movie, a swim, and walks down the river path for those well enough that day. In the evenings, we sat by the fire and played lots of word games and cards.

"Razors" down the river path
“Razors” down the river path

035   037 The soon-to-be Mesa Verde Junior Rangers work on their booklets finding objects in the ruins. They are well traveled and have obtained Junior Rangers status in many National Parks.

From left to right my nicknames for them are, Kiwi, Huckleberry, and Peaches.
From left to right, my nicknames for them are, Kiwi, Huckleberry, and Peaches.

Being that it’s shoulder season, a lot of the main snow activities have come to an end.

My brother and I still had indoor activities and tipped a few pints of local brews. No seasonal shut downs there and always a good time!

Uncle Rob held the fort and played more games with the munchkins, so mom and dad could take walks around the neighborhood.

I thought of putting the visitors to work, but I figured I’d find more paint on the dog and children than on the walls. Lets see?…..if I hang the kids outside from the roof with a paint bucket,…could get the outside painted faster with it dripping down?….but maybe I’d spend more for paint?… I guess I’ll allow them to stay clean and bright and get the pros to paint after all.

A few folks have asked if I’ll miss this area. I can say that I will miss some things, but it’s not like I can’t come back and camp around the old stomping grounds. It’s a great place to spend a summer. I know I’ll have to put a few things into storage. I’ll do that locally until I have the time to move it some place else. That will mean at some point I’ll be back for a visit.

On their last full day, the Californians wanted snow and Colorado delivered with an inch and a half over night. So, what was next? Sledding!

Despite a rough start with complaints of cold feet and snow in boots and gloves, they settled into snow life.

 

Kiwi
Kiwi

 

Kiwi and Peaches
Kiwi and Peaches

 

 

Huckleberry
Huckleberry

 

Mom and Dad
Mom and Dad

 

 

Kids
Kids

 

Family
Family

 

 

A Swinging Good Time Was Had By All
A Swinging Good Time Was Had By All

 

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March 28

Destinations and making photographs

Iowa
Iowa

I knew it was only a matter of time, but moving things on Wed. I strained my back. I went out flat on the bed the rest of the day.

With the time, I thought of the travel plans I devised in the past. I’ve always thought it would be nice to spend a month or two in each state and Canadian province. I think sometimes just “hanging” is the best way to get to know a place, get the “vibe.”

The other plans are the sites I’d like to see. I read on another blog that she was planning on going to Nova Scotia this summer. Having been there, I put NS on my favorite places list.  It is certainly on my return list.

In Washington state I’d like to see Mt. St. Helens. There is also a Naval Air museum on Whidbey Island I’d like to see. I’ve heard they have a PBY Catalina, the aircraft my father flew in WW2. My greatest desire is to take a ride in a PBY.

PBY Catalina at the San Diego Air and Space Museum
PBY Catalina at the San Diego Air and Space Museum

I’ve read that there is an operational PBY in Miami, Fl. Fingers crossed I meet up with the pilot.

It’s just so hard to see all the great sights, but I’m going to try. But it isn’t just about seeing the highlights, it’s about living a life on the road. I’ve always been a slow and methodical type and I figure that’s how I’ll see the sights. I’ll be the one seeing Gettysburg in late April, so I can experience the grounds without the crowds. I’ve come to discover that in the early spring, park rangers are fresh and ready to talk with ease to an interested audience.

I also spent Wed. eve engrossed in a film on Amazon.com, that brought back a load of memories. The film was a Swedish production called “Everlasting Moments.” Set in 1907, a mother takes up photography. It brought me back to those years I spent in darkrooms and behind a viewfinder in photography classes. The film reminded me of the preciousness of a photograph. Those days I was making photos on film, seemed precious. It also could have been the costs involved in developing and printing. I shot a lot less film than my other classmates, much to my instructors bitter reprimands. They wanted at least 3 rolls of 36 shots a week, for each class. I think I was a bit more deliberate in my shots, much like a view camera photographer would be. When I took up the view camera I felt in my rightful place. Ansel Adams held out for the right sun angle or the cloud passing over, then click that shutter. Edward Weston posed his models with the light he wanted, then framed the image.

Here we are today with digital photography and the phone camera. Think, 25 years from now, what the comments will be on the “selfie”? Everyone and they’re brother will have an arms length, weird looking portrait.

Here I am in the digital age and I still am making deliberate photographs. I’ll never change.

My tips for better photographs, are to have a fore, middle, and background. It’s always the foreground that most people miss. A tree branch or rock in a landscape shot.

 

IMG_0733

Also on family shots with a background that’s important, bring the people up close. Nothing is worse than the kids far off in the background.

Action portraits tell a story. Don’t get me wrong, formal portraits can be fantastic.

Don’t forget that Black and White photos can be dramatic.

Deadheading  Flowers
Helping Mom Deadheading Flowers
Helping Mom
Helping Mom

DSC_0006-crop

Thanks for stopping by.