Friday, June 27, 2014

Sticky Situation!

We just had a good downpour--this time of year with these high temps and humidity the storms can get violent! Before the storms hit, we went out for --Drum Roll Please--

The berries are in various stages of ripe and they're small this year but plentiful! I see wild plums are doing better so far too;  I hope to get a few from the bush in our field before the birds get to them..

Fingers get tie dyed a bit...
 you gotta get past these thorns to get the berries we ended up with quite a few scratches for one quart  of berries oh and one TICK attached itself to me!! Damn- that hurt worse than the briers! The brier is sharp it goes in like a fish hook~~~> and its a rule you gotta curse like a sailor  as you attempt to extract it, 

OF course there's always something else getting my attention, a wasp enjoys a flower...

And a lovely Monarch came by 

...and passion flower was  shouting out "take my picture"

and some dandelions!


and present!

I got about a quart maybe more...enough for a cobbler, pie, or some jam...I'm leaning toward jam!

Eleanor Roosevelt: You must do the thing you think you can not.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Tips and stuff!

I enjoy getting good tips! feel free to post your tips in comments to share! Every now and then one comes across and I go ahhh haaaa! 
This is one I love! It's for any time...its called a survival bracelet.  IF you need a length of sturdy lacing, you can un-weave it,,,hopefully you wont be hanging over a cliff and need it quick cause it could take some figuring out how to undo it.  since lately I'm more directional challenged than I used to be mine has a compass on it! I also have one without a compass...and its just cool! it costs about $3. I got mine in the gift shop at the Taccoa Falls when on my trip...and I got the other one in Tractor Supply! That link is to Amazon.  

Some other products/tips I found helpful:

Ever thought of using Kitty Litter (family dollar has it for one dollar) in your tent or van (in my case) for those 2 AM's gotta-go's if you're not equipped with your own porta-potty....and don't want to walk half a mile to the Pit Toilet or maybe its raining cats and dogs? Get a suitable container, line it with a plastic bag, add Kitty Litter and voila..instant Litter box for humans! No spills, smell, and easy to scoop up the plastic bag and toss in closest trash container in the morning

Now we have rodent proof trash bags Mint-X! They actually repel animals that normally want to get into the trash! Here is a coupon you can print. 55c off Hurry it expires end of this month. NOW I don't think these repel bears so due diligence there...and we all know that steel wool stuffed in a hole where rodents are coming in stops them!

I found
Magic Mesh at Walmart, but long before Walmart had these already made up and ready to use I used to make my own.  Slide an adjustable spring/tension rod into your screen curtain at the top and insert between your doors , and you have a great bug screen without keeping the doors closed in your RV, or Van

The interior light at the back of my van comes on when the doors are opened. Its a great light when you want it but when you don't its a PITA. So I found Courtesy Light with an on/off switch! So I can turn it on and off when I want it to be on or off!

I put one of those sun shades in the windshield to give me privacy! Its the simplest thing to do also keeps the sun out if you want it cooler can cut one of these into pieces to fit on your car windows too! Just attach a tab at the top (use duct tape)...roll the window up on the tabs and the shade hangs in the window...or if you want to keep the window open make the tabs longer place over the top of the door, hang the shade on the door then shut the door, you get ventilation and privacy.Works as good as a black out curtain.

Intex Double Quick III S Hand Airbed Pump
  1. I got one of these Hand Pumps for blowing up air mattresses.  It is inexpensive, its easy to use and it requires no electric! It will work on your water float devices, your inflatable sleep pads, or your full sized air beds! And it doubles as an arm workout!

    Coleman SUV QuickBed - 70 x 41 x 6 in.
  1. I purchased and use this Coleman SUV mattress for my Van. I blow up the mattress (using my hand pump) and place on top of the van bench bed! I don't blow the bed up firm...I keep it a little squishy and then its very comfy! It has one side non skid and so I place this side UP so my sleeping bag wont slide around on it! It has the extra section that if your van or SUV is smaller just don't blow that section up! IT's easy to deflate, just roll and squeeze the air out.
  2. For food storage I use The Coleman 40 Quart Power Chill its a cooler that you can plug into your 12 volt power source or into an electric outlet when you get to the campground! You can use it in 2 positions upright or down like an ice chest.  I even keep ice in a closed container so it doesn't damage the element inside. This is the second year I've used it very well! It takes the same space as any 40 qt cooler.
    Coleman 40 qt TE Cooler with Power CD Cold
  1. On my recent trip I opted to get a real chair...I've had enough of those saggy quad chairs that don't last and give no support to your back! I went to Big Lots and got this one..its comfy, it folds up and I was a happy camper with it!
  2. And this tip on driving etiquette, I saw this in my copy of Arizona Highways Magazine this month...on a narrow road where its hard for 2 vehicles to pass by each other, the uphill vehicle has the right of way! I didn't know that!
(my blog roll is only showing me one blog at a time, so I hope I dont miss your updates, and I hope it will soon be fixed!)

Eleanor Roosevelt: You must do the thing you think you can not.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

The One That Got Away?

Ever wonder if Mr/Mrs Right came this close and you didn't seize the moment?  Is there someone out there exactly like you only of the opposite sex? OR if it floats your boat the same sex. You know what I mean tho right? 
This blog should have been posted in Writtin's but I decided it was about travel...
and this blog is about Travel, as well as Photography, Art, Nature, Hiking, Birds, DIY projects, Scraping, Wildlife, Reselling,  and Living Simple --gosh maybe I need to change the title to
Jack of All Blog-Topics?.  

Okay picture this....on my recent trip I was looking for the trailhead to Opossum Creek Falls! I had followed the signs and then the signs pointed to a very overgrown dirt n gravel road, the grass in the center was way high as if no one had been down it in a lonnng time! Wilma (my GPS) was saying "turn right now on Turkey Ridge Road".


Rain had begun to spatter on the cracked windshield and I drew my mouth up all the way to the right and announced to the girlz, who had already heard thunder, and their ears were down and they had  that look on their long faces...."DANG now its raining"...So I pulled onto the dirt road but stopped to check other possible waterfalls nearby because this one is a 4 mile round trip hike..not something I want to do in the rain, and the directions say  (I'm mumbling all this to myself outloud as I read).... drive 2.2 miles to the trailhead on the left...park and hike 2 miles .

 I'm asking myself if I even want to go to the trailhead its 2.2 miles on a slick wet gravel road the trees are leaning in and swatting the top of the DLEX and the dogs are worried about the thunder!  There was a sign back a ways that read Tugaloo Falls...and it pointed off to the left...I'm flipping through the contents trying to find it in my SC Upstate Waterfall Hikes handbook. Maybe a better bet for now, but I was not seeing it as I flipped through.

About that time an older model slightly rusty Subaru wagon was coming off Turkey Ridge Rd...There was an old canoe securely fastened to the top of the Subaru and on the back a mt bike and a NC plate....a man at the wheel.  He pulled up to the stop sign...I could tell he too was checking a map or something paper in his lap...I rolled my window down...he saw me so he did the same..My dogs immediately begin barking, they are always protecting the van, our camp site, me...and I hear from his car also.....a DOG Barking!!

I notice the man is damp his hair stuck to his he got caught in the rain...he was dressed in regular clothes from what I saw I am up high and can see down into this car... exactly what one would wear out in the wilderness...but he does not look like he shops Outfitters catalogs or LL Bean, probably does not have a swish on his shoe or a big N I get so tired of cookie cutter footwear on cookie cutter people...he looks like he gets his stuff at the thrift store,  same as me...he was younger than me maybe his mid to late 50'S. (Ha you thought I was gonna say 30's din't you???)

If you ever watch the TV show Grimm  have you seen the character Monroe? Well he reminded me of a shorter version of Monroe, he seemed shorter but he was sitting!  
Its raining harder now, the wipers are on, my engine is running, the AC and Defogger are on, cause its SC and its HUMID....and I've got 2 dogs barking a'la' stereo in my ears right behind my seat!  I turn to them and yell "shut up" then I turn to him because he has said something...but he's busy yelling at his dog who is trying to get in his lap and bark out the window..."shut up"!

Then I say..." did you drive to the trailhead?"
"YES, but it started raining and 6 cars are already there so way too crowded for me."
Then he's saying shut up to his dog again.
I say "oh, okay... well the road looks slippery now, so I think I'll come back some other time." Then I yell shut up at my dogs.
"Yeah, me too," he replies...then I say,
"What about this Tugaloo Falls, I saw a sign back ever hear of it?"
He says, "I was just checking it but can't find it in my book."
Hmmmm I have to wonder does he have the same book on his lap?

The rain was getting in I waved goodbye and rolled up the window I waited for him to pull out but he never did, he had gone back to studying whatever was on his lap, so I back up and onto the highway and went past Turkey Ridge Road  a ways to turn around...he was still sitting there when I went back past...

That's when I drove up to the General Store and got an ice cream cone from "Charles Manson"...(from a previous post) while I was in there I did ask "Charlie" if he knew anything about Tugaloo Falls...he said,
"as far as I know there is no Tugaloo Falls, it's a f-d up sign like a misleading, wrong turn sign...(he left out the for tourists part)... there is a spot up there where the rafters take out of the Tugaloo lake but no falls." 


Then a young fellow in line behind me spoke up and said, "there is a falls but you can only get to it by boat."
Charlie raises his bushy brows and twists his mouth to the left.
"OHHHH... okay well thanks"...I leave with my $5 cone I zipped out in the rain...outside my dogs are barking in the van I hear them...I have left the motor running and the AC on for them...I duck inside and just as I'm pulling out the Subaru is pulling in...I have to wonder 3 things:
  1. Did he ask Charles Manson about the Tugaloo Falls?
  2. What kind of ice cream did he buy?
  3. And did Charlie and the other local give each other that look when the male stranger came in and asked the same thing?
Sometimes life is kinda weird...he could have been the perfect companion for me, or he may have been too much like me therefore I would despise all his flaws, IOW=my flaws, or he could have been hiding out from the FBI, however I will never know!

Eleanor Roosevelt: You must do the thing you think you can not.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

All Before's no Afters

Some of you may be wondering what is going on at my project house...

its still a work in progress! Yeah the work came to an almost screeching halt with the injuries last yr, but I have not completely given up.  I do what I can for as long as I can and that will have to do for now!  I try to devote one hr per day to the projects and it varies as I jump from one thing to the next! 

I was back to stripping wall paper in this area that at one time was a hall way, it had 2 layers of paper covered with a layer of paint!! Time consuming but not to hard to get off I spray with water, and let it sit and then it slides right off...unfortunately I sometimes make a gouge mark in the sheetrock I'm trying to expose and that has to be spackled.  The attic step from whence I fell right there in this shot its closed of course and has to be replaced! 

There is paneling half way down that I'm leaving in place it will be painted...same color as the wall...the ceiling is ceiling tile.  I would like to remove these boards and replace this tile...we'll see-- that all depends on the budget and my recovery!  I got all the paper off in this area and began the spackling of the corners and bad specks...I took the bathroom door off the hinges, it has some problems Ill explain at another time...

This old hallway was a sunny yellow color! There was a wall right there where that corner is beyond the door to the right we took that down back in 1977 to give more room n the kitchen an old oil heater used to sit in that area, it was a dark creepy hallway... this house was built in the 40's or 50's and we moved it to this location in 1977 it traveled on wheels for 12 miles!  It used to sit right where there is a Wendy's restaurant now in was a "town house" that came to the country!  ONE of these days Ill try to find the photos of the house being moved!

and the tear out of the bathroom has begun! 

sink, toilet, and wall board removed
old toilet in place
old tile in place

old tile coming off

                                    There is old sheetrock under that old wall board! its in baaaaddd shape probably will have to come out...Where is the sledge hammer?

Next time you see this corner I hope it will be bare!! 
 ITS a long way from being anything like an After.... 

here is a tiny after....recall the ivy outside that was covering everything? I did get it under control...and I planted these 2 shrubs to fill in this empty spot. So far these shrubs are growing.

ivy out of control


There is plenty of other projects in the works...I don't have any AFTERS for now but one day...this place will be the envy of the neighborhood!

Eleanor Roosevelt: You must do the thing you think you can not.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Birdathon Results!

I finally got my Birdathon blog ready! Jen's group the Bloggerhead Shrikes invited any who wanted to join in on a virtual Birdathon, so I took the count I had on June 5th, at the Santee National Wildlife Refuge, which is around Lake Marion in the low Piedmont part of SC.   Its about an hour and a half south of could take I-95 but I drove local roads.

It was boiling hot that day the hottest day so far this year, 96 degrees, but the lake is huge and there is always a stiff lake breeze blowing.  There is a state park by the same name where you can camp, take lake tours to see nesting ospreys and bald eagles, so its really a nice spot to enjoy nature...did I say its HUGE?  I mean its not Lake Michigan, but i ts pretty darn big!

I got photos of some of the birds I saw on that day...I picked up a Bird Check list in the Visitors Center had a nice chat with the staff who were very helpful on directing me to some good spots!  The Bluff
Unit had a mile nature trail with some boardwalks through a swamp, then it comes to a view of the lake, and a large open field area, then back through swamp!

A Northern Parula  found me in front of a tree near the parking area, it was not a good photo but enough so I could ID the bird...

Saw a coon making off with something dead he snatched it and ran for the bushes!

Two birds in this area allowed some good photos...the Summer Tanager

and a Yellow Crowned Night Heron!

Both were very curious as to what I was!  Also saw lots of these...

An outrageous green color!!  And Egrets, I saw Cattle, and Great egrets, and the white form of the Little Blue Heron

Then the hike loop in the Bluff Unit was over so I drove to the Cuddo Unit, its about 10 miles away...

notice the clear no cracks windshield!! $209.00  One of the first birds to jump out onto the road was the Wild Turkey..

Then a little farther down the drive was the Anhinga! I think he was trying to look like a stick!

And the Carolina Wren looked over his shoulder at me...

And at the spot where I stopped for a break..I found this!


And right away this guy came to check me out... the Green Heron!

Back on the scenic drive I found a nice spot to park in the shade, saw a Wood duck jump out of a box, but didn't get her photo....but I got these 2 lovebirds! The male n female Blue Grosbeak!

And the Blue Gray Gnat-catcher

 I saw the Little Blue Heron here a couple of bad photos of it...after lunch I drove to Santee State Park to find Ospreys and I did find some..

as well as Eastern Bluebirds and of course I cut her out of the photo...because I didn't see her in time..her head is just barely visible.

the Blue Jay stopped for a moment..

And an entire family of mallards

I had one super day, I racked up 60 species all together for the day counting all the birds I saw along the way too! Below is my checklist card for the day...

                                  a bobolink was just leaving the open field as I walked out got it via my bins for the ID but dratt...NO photo.
ooops put my check by Black crowned strike that...yellow