4/20/14

Birthdays and Rabbit Holes

 

Foster Falls

Foster Falls: Marion County, Tennessee

Last weekend was beautiful, full of warm sunny days, birthday celebrations and time in the woods.  My family has 4 birthdays in April, my step-father, my niece, my sister and me.  Mom, who’s 86 and likes to cook, entertained the family at the 64 year old home place.

Great fun to visit with all the relatives and spend the next day hiking in the Cherokee Forest.  A Happy Birthday!

What a difference a week makes!  Sometime between last Sunday and this one, a rabbit hole swallowed me up.  Can’t seem to get the happiness thing back.  Spending my time eating poorly and lying in bed reading, finishing a 500 page suspense novel in 24 hours.  Not wanting to call anyone or even send emails or texts.

The difference?  Starting to work in our basement and feeling so overwhelmed at the monstrous task that lies before us.  I tell myself that it is the thoughts I choose to think that makes me happy or sad.  I tell myself that all of the other “full timers”, those that permanently live in their campers, had to go through this purge of possessions.  I tell myself to pick up one thing at a time and dispose of it.  And nothing seems to help!

So what do we do?  Run away!

Today is about blogging away these negative feelings and starting to pack for the Townsend rally.  Called and reserved an extra day so we will be leaving in about 48 hours.  The weather looks good and we can’t wait to get back with our Casita (and  Escape) family.

Plan to put all the stressful thoughts of property disposing behind me for the next  10 days.

Changing the subject, slightly……this was a big birthday…65!  And I know I am only as old as I think, but the oldness is creeping in.   Navigating the Medicare obstacle course started as soon as we returned from Arizona.  (And I learned later that it would have been so easy to have applied online while in the southwest.)

Turning 65 also make me eligible for my permanent Tennessee fishing license.  Since we rarely fish, it’s nice not to spend the big money for the yearly license.  For $10 I have this nice little card that makes me legal to throw in a line.

The new license and a new pole are being packed as we have reserved a river site for the rally.  This is the 7th annual Eggscursion, our fifth year to attend.  Love the Smoky Mountains in the spring!

The following are random pictures from the past month.  (Can’t have a blog without photos.) 

The leading picture of Foster Falls was taken during a hike this month.

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Late March snow!

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Sylvester and Princess enjoying a (rare) moment of tranquility.

Foster Falls hike

Hiking on the Cumberland Plateau.

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Backyard, Kwanzan cherry tree.

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Dogwood

Crested Dwarf Iris

Crested wild iris found in the Cherokee National Forest.

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Benton Falls: Cherokee NF

4/4/14

One Month Home…

Back yard
Backyard in June 2011

(Home from winter in the Southwest)
I’m in bed with the laptop resting against my knees, looking out the open window at a dogwood and Bradford pear.  The pear has an abundance of green leaves, the dogwood’s buds are just opening and I am contemplating the upcoming changes in our life.
We met with a realtor yesterday…did not make any decisions or sign any contracts… just wanted to see what needs to be done.  Little was mentioned that we did not already know.  The kitchen wall paper with it’s brown and blue theme must be covered with paint, the paneling, (that I always wanted to paint) must be painted.  The dishwasher that has not worked in years must be replaced.  And there is more…but not a lot!
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Kitchen

It always feels strange to return home after months of being gone.  The first week is wonderful…marveling at hot water coming from the faucet, long showers, constant internet and a stream of news from the TV.  We even binge watch our missed shows on Hulu Plus. 
Then boredom sets in….not real boredom as we stay physically active with walking, the gym and bike riding but kind of a mental boredom.  Kind of a “I’m not living life to the fullest” type of boredom.
So the journey begins.  We are not trying to downsize into full timing, part timing works well for us.  Love the southeast spring and autumn.  Just need to rid ourselves of what’s not working in our lives; the yard is part of what is not working.
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Our home after returning from our almost 4 month Alaska trip.

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February 2010

The realtor says one must let go of emotion surrounding one’s home.  It would be so much easier if someone else came in and took everything away….maybe while we bask on a beautiful beach!
So we have been working on the house, sowing grass in the front, raking leaves, pruning, mowing.
What else?
Our annual visit to Townsend is less than three weeks away! This is our fifth year to attend this Annual Eggscursion (sorry, it is full!) and we can’t wait to see our old friends!  (Townsend, TN is called the sleepy side of the Smoky Mountains as it very quiet compared to Gatlinburg.)
Not much else going on….doing some planning for the other Smoky Mountain rally which is in Cherokee, NC in October.
And the only other new thing is RVillage.com.

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A dear friend sent me a link several weeks ago and, after joining, I’ve been having fun playing with this….just for rver’s….. new social media group.  It is fun to see where my friends are staying and helping travelers as they visit my home area.   Also very exciting to be on the ground floor of something that going to be very BIG!  There are 4278 members as of 4/4/14….only a few weeks old!
Look for me in the Bloggers group, led by Eric and Brittany of RVWanderlust.  Hope to get enough confidence to change/improve the blog.
Closing with flower pictures from last May……getting nostalgic before we even move!

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Peony

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Wild Geraniums

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Iris

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Azalea

3/21/14

Spring Is Here…..really!

 

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                                   Flowering Quince or Japonica

The sky is blue, it’s in the mid 60’s and the windows are open.  It’s the first day of Spring! 

I explore the yard knowing that proof of rebirth is there.

  (Warning: this post is about plants… know of two readers that will enjoy it!)

Many of our plants have been around for decades as our house was built in 1968.  Each year after we became the owners, the yard would surprise us with another new plant emerging from the weeds.

The gardens are now neglected but nature is about survival and the flowers continue to survive.

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Instead of grass, we have weeds and violets.  Our back yard is full of creeping charlie.

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The flowering quince is a tree….too large to trim before we arrived 13 years ago!

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Neighbor’s tree puts on a show!

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New growth on our little weeping willow.

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These are called several names with jonquil and daffodil being the most common.  They are in the Narcissus family.

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Resurrection Fern living on a piece of old wood.  It was found, years ago, after a storm in Florida.  Now lives in a basket, a constant reminder of past good times.

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Buds from our pussy willow.

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One of many daylilies, all trying to break through to the sun.  A empty wire plant marker reminds me of days when I cherished each plant.  Occasionally I dig and uncover the lost names.

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One of the many hyacinth left by previous owners.

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Lone flower on winter jasmine.

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More hyacinth, these are called grape hyacinth.

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Blooms from a crab apple, a volunteer in the neighbor’s side yard.  It’s first year to bloom.

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This is columbine, the type that has orange blooms and grows wild in the southeast.  Warning!  This native plant can take over a garden if the habitat is hospitable. 

DSC_6949   The thrift is just starting to bloom.  After googling the plant, learned the more correct name would be creeping phlox.

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Young peonies are struggling for light.  The yard has an abundance of peonies….all left from whomever planted them so many years ago.  The old dried leave should have been removed last fall.

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Baby Lenten roses are scattered all around the mature plants.

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Mature Lenten roses that have been in full bloom for weeks.  They like a moist shady site.

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Hostas just emerging….another easy care plant!

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New growth on the “Lady in Red” hydrangea.  Blooming, a truly gorgeous plant!

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One of David’s many birdhouses…..no occupants just yet!

Now the yard is documented, the first day of spring in 2014.  As I write I wonder how am I going to leave all these plants? 

But life is full of change, nothing can stay the same forever.  Just need to find a new owner that will love and care for them.

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Sylvester, enjoying the first day of Spring.

3/15/14

Fun, Food and Friends! The 2014 GE&H

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WHERE:  We are just west of Montgomery, Alabama on the Alabama River at a COE park, Gunter Hill.

WHO:   Between 70 and 80 fiberglass trailers, mostly 17 foot Casitas.

WHAT:  The fourth annual rally of the Green Eggs and Ham, a St Patty’s Day event.

It’s Saturday morning and the campground is still asleep; everyone resting after a very busy week of activities.

This rally has more scheduled activities than any of the others we attend.  For example, this week we can pick from a craft class, an Alaskan trip talk, a Dutch oven cooking class and a Casita maintenance class.  And that is just during the day!   Each night at the pavilion there is food and music.

Yesterday we squeeze a paddle in just before the cooking class and it is way too much for this gal.  Right after dinner I head back to the trailer, too tired to have any more fun!

We arrive on a balmy, 73 degree Tuesday afternoon finding the park full of little white trailers.  Pleased to see our good friends, Jerry and Wanda, are right across the road in a beautiful waterfront site.  Our site, while not on the water, is private and nestled in the woods…no need to pull the blinds on the back window. 

It’s exciting to walk around and find old friends scattered around the park.  Friends from Georgia, Maureen and Todd, offer us sandwiches, leftovers from feeding others at lunch, and we are grateful not to cook.   That night the warm weather ends with rain and we watch TV in the camper.  Our first night of camper TV viewing since 1/5/14!  The joys of a full hook-up!

The next day there is more visiting and greeting old friends as eggs are arriving regularly all day.  The rally starts today, Wednesday, but campers have been arriving since last Thursday.

While Larry performs some minor repairs we visit with Texas friends at our campsite.  Later, the chili coalescing affair, (the chili dump), takes place at the pavilion.  This involves two large pots and lots of contributions from homemade chili to store bought.

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It’s cold, the wind cuts like a knife, and while hubby stays for the music, I opt for the warmth of the trailer.

Thursday, the sun is out and even though it’s too cold to kayak, I find other ways to have fun.  This trike belongs to a friendly couple from Pensacola who we had previously met at this same park last year.

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Lots of fun and a good workout…one makes it go forward by leaning side to side!

I try to find something pretty to photograph but the drab water and winter landscape is uninspiring.  On my bike I spot these trees, a promise that spring is coming!

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That night we are back visiting with friends.  This is Wanda and Melanie laughing in spite of the smoke.

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Donna’s strawberry cobbler did not last long!

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Everybody is full of cobbler and brownies!

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View from our dinner site!

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Alabama sunset….made me miss Arizona!

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Picking’ at the Pavilion.

Our boats look forlorn while we wait for the temperature to rise.

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A friend joins us and we head down the creek to the Alabama River.  We do nothing strenuous, just poke along.  First time in our boats since returning from Florida one year ago.

Our buddy, Donna from Florida, asks us to be a part of the Dutch oven cooking class.  Could not say “no”, especially after learning it would be fun.  David prepares his specialty, “dump cake”.

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We have a blast doing this!  And everyone gets a small taste of all the different dishes!

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Everyone waits patiently for the food to be done.

As the cooking class ends, the gumbo begins!  Another lovely couple, Bob and Pat host the gumbo night.

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Our neighbor, Lora from Virginia, takes a turn stirring the gumbo!

Even with the erratic weather, really having a good time.  Lots of fun, making lots of memories! 

We enjoy having Mike and Gerri of Happytrails  camp next to us and meeting Bob and Sharon from Illinois.  Always special to run into other bloggers, and more special when they know who you are!

This our last day and it’s overcast. Hope the rain holds off until tonight so we can paddle and cook another meal in the Dutch oven.  Another day to visit and eat……

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