26 April 2009

Camping out

This photo is scanned from one of my parent's old slides. This is my Dad with one of his old pickups. He loved being out in the woods too.

One of the many wonderful things about living here, is the ability to go camping with very little hassle. We have had plenty of practice so it takes almost no time to pack up and there are several great spots within easy driving distance. We all enjoy being outside (does that surprise anyone)?

My earliest camping memory comes from when I was about 3 or 4 years old. Mom, Dad, Margaret,Pete, Paula and I all went camping.
At that time we had a camper that sat in the
bed of Dad's pickup. I think it was one of the type that extends above the cab. Mom and Dad slept in the bed. Margaret and Paula slept on the floor, Pete slept outside, (I am pretty sure he
volunteered, If I was 4 then he was 11). I slept in a strange cot arrangement, suspended above my parents bed. There were, I believe supposed to be three beds up there, green canvas cots separated by the poles that supported them. If I turned sideways, the supports would scoot together and I would be stuck. (I wonder if that was something my Dad came up with, he could fix anything, but not all of his ideas were perfect)I thought it was neat, but I know why I was the only one who "got" to sleep up there.

The other thing I remember about that trip is the flowers. I was over by the river, (not much more than a brook at that point and I was well supervised) there were some kind of flowers that were taller than me. I don't know what kind they were, I think they were white. They seemed magical, I pretended that I had somehow shrunk to fairy size. (This turtle visited us at home the other day)

I wandered in till I was completely hidden by the blossoms. I turned around in a slow circle, all I could see were the flowers and the sky. There were light fluffy clouds, that seemed close enough to touch and that deep blue that you only find high in the mountains.
I was really enjoying my fairy fantasy. When I was deep into the flower patch. I leaned closer to smell one of the flowers and WOW, the biggest fattest bee I had ever seen in my short little life climbed out of the flower! That guy was BIG. I ran.

The bee in this photo hitchhiked back home with us from our latest camping trip. He rode home on the inside of the van. When we found him, my sweet hubby convinced him to climb onto this paper plate so I could take a close up. Not bad. So fuzzy!
I remember a lot of camping trips with the Girl Scouts. Paula and I were in the same Junior troop for a while. The local Girl Scout Council had army surplus tents that we used. They were designed like Tee Pees with one central pole and lots of stakes. Not at all hard to put up. That is a good thing, they are also not at all hard to "accidentally" knock down. After one trip the leaders made I and Paula sleep in the same tent. I don't know why they would suspect us? I guess this is where I admit my part of all that. It was fun. Wonder if the other girls remember it.

Our troop was made up of girls from several different religions. Since some girls were not allowed Hot Chocolate, amongst other things, our leaders served Hot TANG in the morning. (Remember TANG, it is what the Astronaut's drank!) When ever I mention this to another adult, who is not from there, they are horrified. It was actually quite good. Kids like the idea. When I was a leader and I told our troop about the Hot Tang, they voted to try it on our next camping trip. They liked it and it went on all our trips after that.
I don't have a photo of the tang, but one of the old slides from my parents, shows someone making coffee over the campfire.
These yellow flowers look a lot like berry
Camping when I was a kid was always in the Rocky mountains. The Rocky's don't feel at all like the Smoky Mountains. The Smoky mountains and the part of South Carolina where we live and camp are very green. The Rocky's are a lot dryer. The trees, plants and small animals are all just a little different. Some day I am going to camp in even more places. (I will take pictures and write about it here)
This wonderful old tree is out behind the house.

This daisy was at our campsite this weekend. When I first saw it I did not realize why it was so lacy. It has been munched, but it is still pretty.
These tiny flowers grow next to the well house my hubby built. They are less than an inch tall and yet so cheerful.

remarkable specimen. Summer is just around the corner.
Wonder if I can talk someone into making some berry pancakes before long?

Hope your weekend was a good one. I finished my last test of the semester today so my week is off to a great start.
Any camping memories you would like to share?

21 April 2009

View through someone else's eyes

We have a visitor. Our friend Dianne from Singapore is staying with us for a few days. It is wonderful to have her here. She is a sweet lady and has so many stories to tell. She is originally from the states and lives overseas now. She has traveled all over the world, yet she really seems to like our little corner. I love to read her letters and emails. Her writing is so evocative. She can describe something in just a few sentences and I feel like I know it. (I am trying to encourage her to blog!)

There were several of these dragonflies keeping us company as we walked.

This bashful guy is the first spotting of the season.

One of the great things about visitors is that you gain a new appreciation for things by looking at them through someone else’s eyes. Things I have become accustomed to and things that seem ordinary to me, take on a new life when they are shared. We went for a walk the other day (is anyone surprised?) and I found myself paying close attention so that I could show Dianne some of the treasures around us. It was a beautiful day and we took our time. Dianne spotted some flowers growing way up high in one of the trees. Glen and I had both passed them numerous times without seeing them.

Our Narcissus are at their peak. We put some in a vase for Dianne before she arrived. (They smell nice too).

Gotta love the wildflowers

Shelf fungus formed on a fallen log. Fascinating stuff. It looks a bit like sea shells. Have you ever noticed how often nature repeats patterns?

More visitors. These vultures made their appearance after the storm. I think they are under appreciated, these at least, look quite dignified.

That is all for this week. Hope you are enjoying spring!

11 April 2009

Wild weather,

We had quite the storm on Friday night. I was at work when they notified us that our area was under "Tornado Watch". For those of you who don't live in tornado areas, watch means that conditions are right for tornadoes to form, warning means a tornado has been spotted.
The lightning started when I was on my way home. When I pulled up in front of the house, the lightning was continuous and right on top of me! When I turned off the engine on my little Tacoma, the hair on my arms and back of my neck stood up. (Yikes!)
I sat there till it calmed a little, there was no way I was getting out of the truck in that. I wasn't really frightened, it was kind of a rush. The light show was amazing. I have seen plenty of storms before, but I had the front row seat for this one.
After a few minutes, the hair on my arms and neck relaxed and I made a run for it to the house. No sooner did I get inside the door than it cut loose. Hail started coming down like mad. (We have a metal roof so it can be noisy) poor spontaneous hid under the table. Our power flickered but came right back and stayed on. The first three photos show how torn up my big magnolia and some of my Iris got.

The next two show some of the debrie that was blown onto the steps and the porch. What a mess.

After the storm, my bees are busy.

This morning when we got up, I went out to check the damages. I took photos, (of course) my poor little pickup has several fresh dimples on the hood and my sweet heart's car has some quarter sized dings on top, none appear to have damaged paint. (I can live with dimples, paint damage causes rust). The kids car was sitting right next to them and does not appear to have any damage. The porches are a mess, but we don't have any broken glass or other major damage. This morning, all is calm, the birds are singing and the cat is once again content.
Hope your weather is good and that you are also content.

06 April 2009

More signs of spring

It is too pretty to be a weed, I prefer volunteer.
I don't know what they are, but I like them.

These are just outside my back door.
We received a lot of rain this week. Now everything is turning green.
First spotting of the season. These little guys are adorable and they keep the bug population low.
We call this the ghost bush because most of it is covered with lichens. This spring it surprised us by blooming again.
Not bad for a bush we thought was gone.
Dandelions are under appreciated.
The azaleas just started opening up.
Spring is one of my favorite seasons. Everywhere I look right now, there is something wonderful. Hope you are enjoying it too.


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