Saturday, December 30, 2017

It Was Memorable!

I wanted to do a year end post but honestly my year WAS SO BIG I couldn't pin it down!! It was an insane year for me! I had so many new experiences, and visited so many fantastic places where to begin?  
I camped 35 days in 8 different states! Traveled about 11,000 miles, roughly. 
Spent the spring in TX seeing all those fantastic birds, and camping on the beach, and at San Padre National Seashore, driving along the gulf coast, and the Rio Grand River peering over into Mexico then to Big Bend, and Guadalupe Mountain NP, visiting Carlsbad Caverns NP and watching the bats fly out of the cave,  the Alien Museum of Roswell NM, the Billy the Kid Museum, the Route 66 Museum...and then spending the Summer in Colorado...the absolutely gorgeous landscapes, animals, birds, wild rivers, and scenic vistas...the perfect day trips, the family picnics, the great hikes we could it not be memorable?  Colorado just explodes with beauty...then all too soon my 2 months there were over and it was time to return home.   I took the scenic route...camping in Rocky Mtn National Park, listening to the bugling of the elk as the Rut was under way...then Kansas's National Tall Grass Preserve, finding the Chalk Pyramids...I explored or camped in so many State Parks I lost count,  along with visits to dozens of National Wildlife Refuges, Birding Centers, all the while witnessing some EYE Popping beautiful landscapes from the Mountains to the Sea.The cherry on top was I worked hard and added 77 birds to my life list when I decided to buckle down and move it forward! The first life bird in 2017 was the Nashville Warbler in Lee County, AL, and the last one Eurasian Wigeon in Green Pond, SC (yesterday).  Not like a Big Year in the true sense but for me it was huge!   I also completed some DIY projects too! 

So it's My Most Memorable list of 2017:

1.   Most memorable day in 2017...

...was wallowing in the mud with my sisters at Rifle Gap State Park, Colorado, when we decided to go tube floating.  We are all in our 60's and yes we put on swimsuits and slogged through knee deep mud to float on tubes in murky water! What a hoot! Later found the path we should have taken to avoid the

                           Labor Day  picnic and  our towels drying on the fence afterwards 

2.  Most memorable photo of the year...

my Mom and I enjoyed so many awesome mornings on the deck of sis's CO house overlooking the mountains and the valley below drinking coffee and watching the sun rise, I treasure each of those morning memories...



                                                                     July 10th

3.  Most memorable encounter in 2017

...while hiking a trail on the Grand Mesa Lakes in Colorado and coming face to face with this guy:


                                                    July 20, a Pine Marten

4. Most memorable Camp Spot of the year:

...has to be Sea Rim State Park, Sabine TX.  I really hope they are able to recover from the horrid hurricane season of 2017. 

                                               sea rim state park beach Texas, camp April 19

5.  Most Memorable Bird Find: the Red Crossbill I hunted all summer and thought I had not seen until I got home and saw the photos on my computer screen...

                         Sept 14th Routt National Forest, Meadows Campground, Grand Co, CO

6.  Most Memorable Surprise of 2017

Was when the Bull Moose camp trotting through the tourists at the Maroon Bells Wilderness,  and right past us...awesome moment...


                                                                 Sept 6

7:  Most Memorable Project:

Hands down the shed building done with the help of my sis Em! 


                                                                  ta-da! April 15th

8:  Most Memorable Hike:

Is the most recent where my sis M and I found the last falls on Slickum!  

                                 Dec 2nd, hike to the last falls on Slickum Creek

 9:  Most Memorable Sunrise


                                                         Hogback Sunrise.  Garfield Co. CO Sept 7 

10:  Most Memorable Neighbor:

 This sweet California Spotted Ground Squirrel who was out there enjoying the same sunrises that I did at Deer Run.

                                                                        hello friend

11:  Most Memorable Wildflower 

...wild Columbine on a south facing slope in CO... Land's End Road, Grand Mesa.


12.  Most Memorable Scenic Drive:

The Switchback gravel road coming down off the Colorado Grand Mesa via Land's End.

                                                  July 20

13:  Most Memorable Moon:

This full moon with the smoky haze from fires to the north left me spell bound!


                                                                                  Sept 5 

 14.  Most Memorable Character:

The photo says it all..

                                                     in my homemade bird feeder

 15:  Most Memorable Artwork:

There is a dreamer in each of us, I hope that no one forgets that each person's dreams fulfilled become the memorable moments of their lifetime and anyone who would begrudge someone of that...well... is despicable.
2017 was definitely a memorable year for me... now I dive headlong into 2018...I have to wonder what awaits, and I can only hope it's memorable!

                                             SO get out there and start making those memories!

Every day is a new Adventure.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

No Scrooging!

I am not into a lot of decorating for holidays in my older age...if I weren't hosting this year's meal I'd probably just have a flower or 2 to brighten up the season...but honestly MY attic is full of accumulated decorations... so I really had to do a little something!! Remember I fell and broke my wrists saving old Christmas decorations!  No I didn't get those they may never see the light of day again...who knows.   I had a 7 ft fake tree way too BIG Im learning to scale things down make life simpler for myself.  That big tree was donated to Goodwill...I now have this, a found item, it's just the top portion of what was a bigger tree! I usually put it outside but this year it's inside. Perfect size.  I dragged out one bag of decorations and it had the miniature balls, a string of lights, the small angel, and Khris Kringle who landed on the table. 


Fits very well on top of my record album stand!  When my son was a youngster we always went out into the forest and cut a live tree...but TG I don't have to do that now!  If I cut any wood these days it's going into the fireplace!

The Christmas Cactus actually is more of a Thanksgiving one it will probably be done by the 25th a few blooms may hang on.  I have started another one a branch broke off, so easy to root a new one just stick it in dirt! Maybe next year there will be 2 of them! 

And I purchased this poinsettia at my favorite "Dime Store" for $3.99; the grocery store next door to the Dime Store had the same size ones for $16.99, believe it or not! Cost is a big deal to me!

.... hung up the dog's socks hope Santa will bring them something!

                                Casey                                Annie                                  Flossie

I'm trying to keep it really simple so I won't become a Scrooge, BaHumBug... like I have done many times in the past.   If it's easy I can do it!!  Rain is predicted for us, I had hopes of an outdoor firepit with smores on Christmas Eve but rain would def not mix well with that plan SO I may switch the Christmas Eve plan and just do Christmas dinner then and a light lunch on Christmas day since everyone has to get back early Monday due to work on Tuesday.  Not fair that working people are only getting one day off this we'll see how it goes.  

                                                          Hope your Holiday is easy! 

Every day is a new Adventure.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Blue Sky Smiling at ME!

 Are you in the mood for another of my DIY projects??

I mentioned I was freshening up Mom's Screen porch while she is away.
so I kinda worked on it when I wanted to and weather permitting.   I'm doing  this because it really needed to be done. It's not normally in this much of a jumble...I took this photo after I began sliding things around...


It's a simple lean to style porch, screened, and on a cement slab.  She had it added in the late 80's early 1990's? If I recall.  The uprights needed to be repainted so I did that I tightened up the screen in some spots...the screening needs to be completely replaced it has a lot of rusty crusty spots on it, but I think it can go a little longer...split up the cost since all the lattice and screen would need to be removed, new screen, and new lattice put up.   This time I'm concentrating on the ceiling and floor. 

You can see how it was exposed rafters in the humidity of summer it mildews.  I have to spray a harsh mildew killer up there to kill it otherwise the entire ceiling gets coated.

That photo ^above^ shows what I mean, the cleaned and uncleaned difference...and you can see how yukky it gets!  AND not to mention the nails used for this were too long and they rust and look pretty bad!! Even tho I didn't think I could enclose this ceiling by myself I decided to give it a try!  You know me I am game for trying.  I started with the roof overhang's a 2 ft overhang which is great it keeps rain from splashing onto the floor and it's perfect spot to hang plants in the summer.
That part was  pretty easy.   I cleaned the gutter and the trim around the roof edge too since that also needed to be done...Then I started on the inside, putting up the full sized sheets was a real challenge!! It took me to the 3rd sheet to figure out an easier way...the size of the porch is approx. 16.6 by 9.6 ft.  In addition to the full sheets an additional 18 inches had to be added at the low end.   

long board on left and swivel board right

I figured out if I screwed up a long board on the high end and a swivel board on the low end it was way easier.  With the long board in place I could lift then slide one end of the sheet up to the wall then drag the ladder over with my foot, climb one step up while holding the bottom edge of the sheet,  and reach up to swivel the other piece of wood over the end, and that held it in place like an extra pair of hands!  Instead of trying to cut out a piece for the ceiling fan I cut a long piece off the side of a sheet then cut it in half and filled in the spaces on each end of the fan...that worked out easier in the long run...

This is where I got a little slack with the picture taking...But to make a long story short back in the days people used to paint the porch ceilings blue to emulate the sky outside! So that's what I did. I know it's kinda bright! (think Montana Sky) If Mom is not in sinc with the idea it can be repainted in a jiffy...but it needed to be bright and boy--- it is!!

I taped off all the edges with painters tape and made a sky where there was none before! It's growing on me, but at first it was  It's so hard to pick colors under the florescent lighting in stores! But honestly it makes the porch seem so much brighter overall. 

Once the trim was up it really looked nice...and the bead board adds a character.  My hope is no more mildew to deal with every summer. The paint is a high quality and mildew resistant. I won't be able to get up on ladders and do that cleaning many more years!  Another thing I plan to add is leaf guards to the gutter I found some at Lowe's that I think will work just right. They snap in place NO nailing.

I painted the floor!  Again, I went with color!! The siding on mom's house is a very pale orange sherbert, and the porch wall was painted to match so that wall color was staying. I gave it a wash down.  I found a color in that first I thought safe grey but went in a completely different direction...I think BRIGHT is better.  So even on a cloudy gloomy day, it's cheerful.  Mom likes pastel colors, most of her wardrobe is pastels.  

I chose the wrong time of day to take these photos the southern sun comes in strong mid day...but you get the idea.  

I used the scrap to build a box to hold the recycle bins that are normally sitting here and seem to attract clutter...I had everything I needed to build it including the hinges that is great when you open the box the lid stays in the UP position, no head banging!   I placed it by the steps so we need only step out to put the plastic, cardboard, and such into the bins.  And it can be used like a handrail. This will help Mom make it up the steps that go into the house. 

The fan blades also succumbed to the humidity, and came unglued, certainly made it impossible to use the fan. I found 5 new blades at the Habitat Store for $1.50. for the lot. I did cut them down to the shorter length...I  brought one set home realized there was only 4 blades so back for a second bundle of 5. I think I have enough blades now to build a windmill!!  

And I didn't take any before  shots of the chairs, found objects that we have had and used for many seasons...we found them on the side of the road!! These got restained and glossy marine varnish will protect them and the oak round table.  Mom and I made the cushions years ago when we had the upholstery shop going...and they are still in good shape.  I cleaned them and dried them in the sun. We made the table base too, it's cedar, I painted that....and added rollers to make it easier to move around.   

                                                Hi Casey! 

We need one more chair around the table, the other one had a crack so I tossed it awhile back better safe than I'm on the look out. It does not have to match, it just needs to be strong and usable. Making it fit in even when it doesn't is part of the fun!  I also think some artwork is needed on the big blank who knows maybe an art project is in my future? That would drag the eye away from the ugly AC unit that has to be here, unfortunately.  
The new rug is an eco-friendly indoor/outdoor 8 x 6 ft made completely from post consumer plastics! Cost $19 at Lowe's.  I don't know yet if dog hair sticks to it, I HOPE NOT. 

The porch is ready for Spring!! Mom can relax, watch the birds at the feeders,  the trees fill in with spring leaves,  and always have a blue sky over her head!  

Every day is a new Adventure.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

A Slick Saturday!

Saturday was a busy day!  My sis was up when I got up...she was dressed I hadn't even had coffee...LoL.  I was on a mini vacation...
I wanted to stop by Oak Creek Pond one of my favorite ponds nearby...unfortunately it has not recovered from the dam breaking a few years back.  The water is back but I think it will take longer for the plant life in the pond to recover and bring back the ducks, geese, and grebes that used to be all over the place.  We did see one busy Ruddy Duck and a hunting Great Blue Heron. 

Our next stop was to the Campbell Covered Bridge c-1909 to hike the new 1/2 mile loop nature trail one of the scout troops put in.  

The trail was a nice walk in the's been a while since I have visited this site it is now part of the Parks System of Greenville.  Glad it is being preserved.  The next stop on our whirlwind Saturday was to the mountains above Traveler's Rest.  

                                                               view of Glassy Mountain

We stopped at this newly opened spot, Marci Jo's Old Mountain Store.   They have a simple menu and some very creative hand made gifts...It's a family owned and operated made all the fixtures, mom makes the crafts, grandma helps out, and daughter works the kitchen and cash register.  

A lovely spot for lunch! 

Since 2010 I've been trying to hike to as many waterfalls in the Upstate region of SC as I has been a long time since I made the effort...I have not given up on this challenge tho.  still a very real goal in my life.  I've been stuck at 55 for a couple of I was thrilled to added more this day! And especially 2 I've been trying to see for a while...I couldn't find the spot where the trail begins...BUT finally we did! 

It's really hard to find; someone painted this Blaze to mark it and that is new, would have helped me find this on the many times I've looked for this trail before.  It is not a long hike but it was challenging due to the slippery rocks, the roots, and the fallen leaves. 

This is Slickum Creek.  Maybe it gets that name due to the slippery terrain around the creek...The first falls is small but very attractive, named the Last Falls on Slickum. If you start at the top and come down the name makes sense. There is 3 more falls up the mountain, but that trail is located in a different place.

The trail  follows the edge of the creek, and goes up.   And eventually after 0.2 mile you come to
Sweet Thing on Slickum.  It has the right name, it is very sweet!


You have to do some butt sliding to get down to it, but it's worth it! Love the way it splits after the pool and falls again...really a small jewel. 


and the look downstream...a moss covered log leads the way 

Sweet Thing is about an 18 ft drop...would be a great one to stand under in summer! 

The woods here are a thick Rhododendron/Oak/Hickory type.  Difficult to hike around you have to weave over and under the fallen logs and the tangled vegetation...but it sure was a reward to see the little falls. 

There was enough of a canopy for me to try for a longer exposure...and I like the effect...

We got pretty hot since it warmed considerable this rose to about 70! Back in the car we drove with the moon roof open to cool off on the way to our next planned hike on the Oconee Bells Nature Trail a 1 mile loop.  This hike is inside the Devil's Fork State Park on the shores of Lake Jocassee.  A really beautiful man made lake.

The hike is also another woods trail...and the star of the trail is the Oconee Bells a small ground cover plant that produces small white flowers in the's rare and this is one of the few areas where it can still be found.   We want to come do this trail again in Spring to see the flowers...

A creek runs along the trail for a while before we ascend back to the parking lot...and I didn't realize till later this little water fall is listed in the Waterfall Hikes of Upstate SC the book I use as my field guide for waterfall hiking, this is the Oconee Bells Falls! CaChing #58.  The book contains 125 hikes, but many are on private those I probably won't get to see...but there's also some roadside ones I haven't driven to yet, and the rest are the ones listed as Difficult gotta get in better shape for mountain hiking. 

It was getting late when we got back to the car I snapped a few shots of the lake with the evening sun making it all aglow...

Then off we headed to home, the Moon was just awesome that night...

What a Great Weekend!! 

Every day is a new Adventure.