October 29, 2018

Nature's Thief in the Night

Yesterday was the first day I've been outside our barn home in almost three weeks. It was a gorgeous day, in the mid 80s, with a light breeze, and overhead, the sound of geese honking back and forth to each other as they made their way south. We enjoyed a walk down the road and then spent the afternoon planting trees.

With all the rain we've had lately, the saturated roads are an inviting place for these yellow butterflies to puddle, gathering the minerals they need. They seem to prefer this road to our driveway.

Our usual evening routine for years has been to sit beside our water garden, feed the koi, and watch the sun set. When we moved here, we didn't want an inground water garden, so an eight foot stock tank took its place. I brought my favorite lilies, but left everything else behind, and we bought a few new goldfish to control mosquitoes. But with the rain and other things, we haven't been able to get back into our daily routine since our vacation.

A glance or two at the stock tank pond while pulling into the driveway was enough to see that the water level was okay and lilies were still blooming, but the filter had been knocked over. Wind, I supposed. I did think it was odd that only the lilies in the center were blooming. A closer look yesterday and this is what I saw.

Not only was the only bloom in the center, but very few lily pads except in the center. There were stems that looked like lily pads had been clipped off, but it wasn't by me. A closer inspection showed the culprits.

Deer! They've never eaten my lilies before, but apparently have recently developed a taste for them.

The night before, we had just been saying that neither of us have seen any deer on our place in a long time. We thought they probably moved further away from people. I think now that they just started coming out at night. I like watching deer, but they can't have my lilies.

Linking to:
Nature Notes at Rambling Woods

October 18, 2018

When Vacation Plans Go Awry

We just limped home from a twelve day vacation.

It started great, going to a drag race event at a local race track with high school friends who brought their trailer here, but it went downhill fast. Our friends left late Sunday afternoon and we pulled out the next morning. A few hours into our trip, it began raining, and at times, the rain was so heavy we could barely see the tail lights in front of us. White knuckle driving!

Rain plagued us on every leg of our trip. We reached our first stop just after dusk, and were thankful that the rain had stopped before we got there. But as soon as I got out of the pickup to guide Hubby into the site, I found that there is something worse than setting up in the rain - swarms of mosquitoes! They were so bad that we didn't even try to level the trailer or unhook from the pickup. Hubby hooked up water and electric and got into the trailer fast. That's when we discovered our next problem. Driving through the rain, water had gotten under the slides and gotten the carpet wet. We thought it might have been because of the extra heavy rain, but it happened every day we drove with even with a light rain too, which was every leg of our trip. Water and trailers are a bad combination. So we had a new item to add to our set up checklist: dry the carpet.

The next three days were clear and we spent them doing some repairs on my mother's house. One of the things Hubby did was to replace her sump pump which had quit working in the last rain. She was thrilled and we were happy to be able to do some things for her too since we do so much for Hubby's mom who lives here. That's a story I will tell one day too, but since it will involve considerable griping, I'll save it until I can tell it without grinding my teeth.

We were hoping for clear skies when we drove the five hours to visit my oldest daughter, but it wasn't meant to be. It was clear when we got there though, and we had a really nice visit with her and the two boys she adopted. We were going to spend most of the day with her the next day, but radar showed a huge storm moving in, so we left when a light rain started. The edge of that storm kept up with us the entire drive to Roaring River State Park in Missouri.

We had borrowed some towels from my mother so we could keep the water from getting to the carpet, and it kept the carpet from getting sopping wet, but it still damp every trip. The towels though, were soaked. We arrived at the campground before our youngest daughter and son-in-law who were meeting us there. So we made a Walmart run, picked up dinner, and found a Laundromat to wash and dry our soaked laundry and ate dinner while we waited.

Skies were clear the next morning and we decided to try trout fishing. I know you are expecting a picture here. Any normal blogger would have a picture here. But my phone had no service and I didn't think to bring it for a picture. But I will tell you that the water was crystal clear and we could see the trout swimming between each section of the river. The river was more the size of a large creek, with rock dams every forty feet or so, which trapped the fish into pools. People were everywhere, calmly bringing in one fish after another. Now you would think it would be easy to catch a fish when you could see your fly land inches from the fish. And it was easy for those other people. But it wasn't easy for us. After hours of throwing every fly and worm in our box at just about every fish in the river, and donating a few hooks to the bottom of the river, Daughter and I gave up.

Finally, my son-in-law caught a mid-sized trout and as we congratulated him on getting one, he took it off the hook and threw it back. "What are you doing?!!!" we wanted to know. "It had something white on its head and I didn't want it," he says. He didn't even take a picture of it. Hubby, however, took a picture of his prize catch. Don't be jealous.

And it's not even a trout. Apparently we drove four hundred miles so he could catch the same fish, in miniature, that he can catch here.

The next day was cold and rainy so Hubby, Daughter and I played board games while Son-in-law played video games. We like board games and it is a nice way to visit too, so we didn't mind. Daughter and Son-in-law were disappointed though. It was their third camping trip in their new camper and every trip has been cold and rainy for them. They are discouraged and want to sell their camper. Mini Winnie anyone?

We broke camp the next day and hoped to drive home under clear skies. We got as far as Bentonville, Arkansas when the check engine light came on and the pickup powered down. We felt lucky that it ran long enough to get to the Chevy dealership and that they were able to start working on it right away. Unfortunately, they had to order a part and we had to camp in their parking lot overnight. They let us plug into a 20 amp outlet and it wasn't too bad except that cars came through the lot all night, driving around our trailer to check us out before going over to look at cars. That was a little unnerving. Dealerships here put a gate across the entrances at night so cars can't drive through but they encourage night visitors there.

Twenty four hours and $1100 later, we were on the road again, which made that Chevy dealership the most expensive campground ever! And then we drove home in a steady rain and got home around midnight. I have never been so happy to be home!

If you are an RVer, either new to it, or an experienced camper, you know that things break or quit working from time to time.  It happens on cars and pickups too, and we get them fixed and carry on.  So don't let my experience here discourage you from the experience.  We've had far more good trips than bad.  In fact, if this is the worst trip we'll ever have, we'll be happy.