Thursday, June 14, 2012

Raccoon Retaliation



I have been outsmarted by a Raccoon !!!!  OK, the contest is on.  

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Lady….Have you seen my sister????


Day two….


They do come in pairs, don’t they?   I wonder what tomorrow will bring.

Monday, June 11, 2012

One Visitor too many !

There seems always to be a price tag for peaceful Country Living.   Recently, this feller’ has been making himself quite unwelcome though.   Between finding muddy paw prints on the patio screen, getting into the trash can, unearthing my newly planted garden and perennials, not to mention skinny dipping in the pond, one of us will be leaving soon.    The other morning about 6 a.m. he was busy chasing frogs and washing himself up after the frenzy.


I enjoy life in the country but recently the wildlife (Blue Racer snakes and Raccoons) have made life a little uneasy for this hijacked city gal. 

I have been enjoying our wonderful cool early mornings  on the deck  with my  coffee  and attempting to catch an occasional  picture.    Capturing  moments of birds and butterflies is certainly not an easy thing to do, but it has been satisfying my quiet time needs. 




I am still having difficulties with focusing of shots with the 300mm lens.  I am always amazed at the wonderful photography skills of  other bloggers…so I shall continue to practice, as time allows, and be content with the moments of quiet and solitude.

Saturday, Kim and Richard, came and helped Bob and I with power washing the deck and the house siding.   What a wonderful help that is.   I had almost forgotten what can be accomplished by three people rather than one, not to mention two of the three being 20 years younger.   We are so thankful for their help, and besides, it gave Bob a chance to hone his supervisory skills. 

Yesterday, was a well deserved day of rest and much too hot for anything but hit the pool.   We drove about 75 miles to Petra’s (Bob’s second daughter) birthday gathering.   How is it that we are all celebrating our 29th Birthday’s this year?. 

Petra's Birthday
Kim and Petra (center left and center right), Granddaughters Rachel, Samantha, Kayla and Great-grandson Aiden….plus Maggie dog!   

Thanks for checking in with us….life is busy but good.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Memorial Day Reflections


As we began our southbound trip last fall, I was very moved by this tribute to the men and women that have served this country.  If so many had not given their service so willingly, Bob and I would likely not have had the freedom to travel and see the back roads of this fine Nation.  

Freedom is something I have always taken for granted, however as I get older, I realize the value of  service and most of all sacrificial payment in order for us to enjoy those freedoms.       


Growing up during the Vietnam War era, many  high school friends left right after graduation and sadly never returned.

Although  I never served in any of the Armed Forces,  I remember very well marching in the High School Band for every Memorial Day Parade.   We marched over a 1.5 mile route,  wearing very hot, elaborate wool band uniforms while standing  in formation during the entire celebration and dedication speeches from the Mayor and VFW officers.  I also remember very well the military gun salute which seemed to shake my body all the way down to my toes and small aircraft flying overhead dropping small flags and ribbons to the folks attending the memorial.

I guess my memories and contribution to the many  “hot and humid” Memorial Day  Parades are my way of showing respect and saying “thank you to all of our hero’s” past and present.

Enjoy those freedoms, but most of all, respect them! 



Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Cohabitating with my honey-do list


You know the old saying…the work will still be there waiting!  My list patiently sat waiting all winter while we played and now it is time  to pay the piper.   Little by little I am making headway and, thankfully, I am not as over whelmed this summer as I was last summer.   In my opinion that in itself is a HUGE accomplishment.


We usually have very humid weather due to our proximity to Lake Michigan but lately the days have been very comfortable.   This morning, after a few very cool days and rain, the sunny skies returned and it is a beautiful 70 degree’s.    I grabbed the camera and enjoyed my morning coffee on the deck listening to the many birds that were as happy as I was to see the sun.   Life had been pretty hectic the past year and a half and I had not taken the time to just sit and enjoy what is here right under my feet.  


Since I bought my new camera I also had not used the  300mm lens often so this morning was a learning experience.   Usually the birds enjoy the large pine tree and a little pond that are just off the corner of the deck.   They didn’t quite know what to do about me invading their territory so the usual variety of  visitors was not as interesting.   Nonetheless, I enjoyed the peace and quiet and was able to capture a couple shots even at quite a distance.  I still have lots to learn…but isn’t that what life is all about?   


I was very surprised at how well the colors showed as pictures were taken at such a distance.   I love this camera



This past week I have been busy cleaning up the remains of a demolished mobile home that was on the property.   Our thinking is to make use of the remaining cement slab along with the electricity, water and sewer possibly as a spot to either park our coach  or possibly for other RV guests.   Who knows, maybe even future income!

We have an abundance of Blue Racer snakes due to our wooded land and they are loving the remains of that old mobile home.   Being the city girl that I am (was), they were a surprise to me…actually, surprise is an understatement.    The first day I went up there I ran across a couple that scared the bejeebers out of me.   I had only been cleaning the area for about 15 minutes when a couple snakes about 4 ft. long scrambled past me.  It scared me so much that I was nauseated and had to stop for the day.   The next day I went back up on the hill, this time, equipped with a pitch fork, tire iron and chains to pull things away in order to separate scrap from junk.   Lesson learned !   I am determined to clean up the mess. 


Bob is back in physical therapy again for a few months.   His physician feels as though he has had improvement over the winter to warrant more therapy.   It was very nice to see the old gang again and we enjoyed hugs all around.   I am so pleased with the traveling we did this past seems to have really helped the brain wake up a bit more.   He has even managed to work on his classic cars a bit.  Yahooie Louie!!  


I have seriously fallen behind in my blogging and I find that I can’t devote much time on the computer, so it is my hope that everyone is doing well and finding time to enjoy their summer travels.   All is well with us, just very busy .

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Michigan Hometown Pride ~Allegan


This is a peek at our summer back yard.   I hope you will enjoy the  armchair tour.   Many of my blogging friends, whom I may never meet, have inspired me to continue with my limited chicken scratching's more commonly known as “Just BS!” 

I have enjoyed countless hours reading  their blogs, many of which were  written about local interests in their own back yards.   Although  I had not given any thought to other people possibly taking an interest in our surroundings,  I must admit for a small town of just under 5000 folks, there is a lot of beauty and history.  

Allegan dates back to the early 1800’s and was developed along the banks of the Kalamazoo River.   It served as a  source of water power, steamboat routes and timber production.    A dam and sawmill remain standing that dated back to the late 1830’s.  As the town progressed,  a one lane bridge was erected over the river for easier access to the downtown area in 1886.   It is now known as the Second Street Bridge, but more commonly called the Old Iron Bridge by the locals.

IMG_0314       IMG_0315



We enjoy a very pretty waterfront boardwalk along the river with continuous fountains which are active year round.


Often times, Bob and I will go down to the waterfront to share an ice cream and be carried away by the peaceful sounds of the water splashing from the fountains.  We not only have a waterfront boardwalk but also a great little gazebo where we can enjoy free concerts during the summer months.



When Bob and I got married 6 years ago, one of the things that I loved about this town was the impressive architecture of homes in the Historic District.   We even have a local Bed and Breakfast which  is my type of eye candy.



There are many sites to see around old Allegan, and I have only touched on a couple.   We boast a historic old theatre that still has the original atmosphere and interior with up to date movies.   Although it has been a while since we have gone to one of the movies, it still remains a bargain at 2 for the price of one,  Monday night movies.   I think the last time we went a few years ago it was a whopping $4.00 with free popcorn. 


So I guess after all is said and done, we too, have something special right in our own backyard.  

Still Alive and Kicking


Prior to leaving Hot Springs Park, we made a day trip to a small community in Arkansas that houses a classic car collection.  Bob was in heaven for a few hours drooling over a 1956 Mercury Montclair . We own one also but sadly ours is not a convertible and not quite in the same pristine condition.


It was fun to see the full potential of his car as he is once again working on it little by little. Thank God for his determination ! (This picture was taken of his car at our local car show last summer)

We have been back home again  for three weeks and if I had my way about things I have to admit that I would hit the road again in a New York minute.    In as much as this was my first experience of being a snowbird, I didn’t expect the feelings of “let down” upon coming home.   Wouldn’t one think that we would know ourselves inside out by this age?   I think it is more a case of…OK, we came home, gathered with family,  enjoy seeing everyone… they are all doing fine….now let’s go !

Much of the past six months has been quite warm here in the Northland and I assume the seasonal cold and flu germs thrived.    Bob and I have managed to find a few lurking that knocked both of  us off of our feet  for the past week.   Kim, Bob’s oldest daughter,  came to the rescue and  made a pot of chicken soup…what a gal !  Thanks toots, we are back on the mend.

My intention has been to continue blogging,  taking the suggestion of other blogging  friends with ramblings of local pictures and events.     Just prior to catching our bugs, we took the camera out to do just that and headed out to the community of South Haven on Lake Michigan.   I am afraid that Murphy was  riding shotgun because suddenly the wind and rain picked up dampening  the camera as well as the spirits. 

Sherri and Randy, the couple we met as we left Hot Springs, have kept in touch and I really believe that Sherri and I have become one another’s lifeline.   I feel such a relief and confidence knowing we will enjoy traveling in tandem next winter not only for Randy and Bob’s continued therapy but also the tremendous caregiver support we have to offer each other.    It is such a gift !

Life truly is like a box of chocolates.   Have a good day

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Whirlwind of time….the good and the bad

It has been a hectic week and a half and energy for blogging was something I greatly lacked.


We were peacefully enjoying  Hot Springs Park when suddenly our cooling unit in the coach refrigerator started to fail.   In talking with a tech and doing some testing on our own we determined that it, in fact, was the cooling unit itself.   We had a small chance that the failure was in the electrical heating tubes of the refrigerator which would have been less costly…(not to be !!!!)

In as much as the temperatures were beginning to flirt with the high seventies and low eighties, I made the decision to cut our trip short and head straight North to Shipshewana IN where an Amish factory that builds new and improved cooling units is located.   I had been in contact with JC by phone and he said he would do his best to work us into his schedule on Monday or Tuesday.   The decision was an easy one…pack up and cruise North.


The evening before we left Hot Springs, a couple  pulled into the space next to us and low and behold, we were blessed with quite a shock.    As we watched them get situated, out of the truck steps a man with the same right side deficit from a massive stroke as Bob suffered.   I believe this incident was no accident.  Whether we choose to believe or not, in my opinion,  there definitely is a higher spirit in our lives.  Later, after they were settled in and outdoors,  I went over and introduced ourselves.   We shared a bottle of wine, talked, laughed and cried together for a few hours.   For me, it was the BEST moments of our travels.    I find it strange, we shared an instantaneous friendship  as if we had been life-long friends.    After a few hours it was decided between Sherri and I that next year we will travel in tandem to Lord knows where.   Icing on the cake????…   They also live in Michigan  !


Despite the looming weather in the Midwest this past weekend,  the southern winds at 20-30 MPH pushed us home quickly and our fuel mileage to a solid 12mpg….Woohoo!  

Several of Bob’s kids came over last night and got the well hooked up, water heater going, mowed the lawn, and started up the pellet stove once again.   It was a wonderful surprise,  even though we surprised them and snuck in a day earlier than expected.   We had a  nice time and Bob is thrilled to be home to see his children, grandchildren and great grandchildren.




We have had a wonderful winter of traveling and although there were a few bumps in the road, I feel very fortunate to have made the decision we did to be “snowbirds” 


Life is Good

Thursday, April 05, 2012

Historic Fordyce Bathhouse


Since I posted a birds eye view of “bath house row” on yesterdays blog, I thought it would be fitting to post information about the inside of a bath house.    The rich and poor came many miles to experience the hot mineral springs in the 1800’s and the city of Hot Springs built up around them. 

Very early on the stagecoach would travel between Little Rock and Hot Springs bringing folks in search of healing waters.   It is a distance of 55 miles and would take one and a half days to travel.

In the early 1900’s eight very elegant bathhouses were constructed all in a row.  Only one, the Buckstaff Bath, is still in operation.

As luck would have it the Fordyce Bath House (the most elaborate) also serves as the visitor center.   The building has been renovated to it’s original splendor and a free self guided tour is available for viewing.   Today’s blog has quite a few pictures to upload, so I am posting them in small format.   For those that may not be aware, you may double click any picture and it will open for larger viewing.  The first pictures are of the main lobby which is marble with intricate tile flooring and stain glass windows.


The next  pictures  are of the women’s  bath areas, dressing rooms, cooling room, hydro-therapy and steam room.


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even a beauty parlor…(little blurred)


The center section  of the main floor was a very large area for the men with a statue under a large stain glass canopy. 



The second floor housed both the men’s and women’s dressing rooms as well as a separate roof top courtyard area for nude bathing and a sitting parlor.  Interestingly enough the women’s nude bathing area was shielded from sunlight in order for them to retain the, then popular, fair skin.



The third floor housed the gymnasium and a music room for socializing .



How different life is today.  

Hot Springs Lookout Mountain


What a view we enjoyed from the Observation Tower at Lookout Mountain.  The above photo is a shot of the Historic Bath House Row, taken from the Observation Tower.   I believe that I read it is approximately 1100 feet up (not positive).  

The drive up to the top of the mountain is a series of switch back and pintail curves for about 2 miles.    The dogwoods are in bloom and it was a very pretty drive through the hardwood thickets.   As we climbed slowly in the car we passed a young gal that was jogging up the road.  She was going along at an impressive clip and passed us like a dirty shirt when we stopped for a restroom break

IMG_0163     You can see her chugging up the road…around the bend she went,  and disappeared !

The picnic grounds around the restrooms looked like a great spot for an afternoon retreat from summer heat.


Although the drive to the top is free, there is a small entrance fee (6.00/seniors) to enter the observation tower.   Folks can either climb steps all the way to the top or take an elevator.   The tower is 216 feet high.   Needless to say, we opted for the elevator, but the young gal that was jogging up the road flew up those stairs like she had wings.   


As I was standing and  looking out over the Ouachita Mountain range,  a bird soared  past my eyes.   I don’t remember ever having looked  a bird in the eye while it is in flight.  It just goes to show we are never too old to experience the wonders of nature.   I am just too old to react fast enough for the photo !!!!


The Gulpha Gorge National Campground is located just a short 2 miles from the downtown historic district.  We are camped just above the maintenance grounds you see center left of the highway.  It is a wonderful campground with full hook-ups and bordered by  a sparkling creek.   This is our second visit to the area and we enjoy it more and more each time.


……and around and around he goes…...where he stops nobody knows.