Saturday, February 28, 2015

abandoned camp houses

Not too far from where we live there is an area along the river where a little community of camp houses were built many years ago. Simple little structures that looked like weekend get-away places or vacation houses.

Over the years, their owners have abandoned them and they are slowly and surely falling apart.

My younger son recently took a walk back there and took these photos

This was weird...mushrooms growing in the carpet of this house.

Camp Limberlost. The sign is out lasting the cabin!

This one has additions built on the additions.

When you walk among these ruins you get sort of a creepy feeling. Like you are being watched or like there could be something really scary inside.

This one is built right up next to a rocky cliff face. It couldn't have been easy getting all the building materials down there.   See the river back there?

It seems well someone could have lived there full time.

Oh dear!

Glad no one was sitting in this chair...

A lot of junk is piled up back there too.

It sure looks like they intended to come back again.

There is still a lot of stuff inside most of them. But they have been ransacked and stripped of wiring.

Who needs a fancy commode?

Another one that was kept up until more recently.

They left a lot of stuff.

Imagine how pleased someone must have been when this room was freshly painted and wallpapered.

And she liked to sew!

It's all so strange and a bit spooky. A little sad, too, when you think of the fun and relaxation the cabin owners must have had they worked to make their places homey and comfortable. Then something changed and they didn't come back.
Or maybe they just didn't really want the belongings they left behind.

The area has a lot of interesting rock formations that the Sasquatch took pictures of also.But I had so many photos here already... I'll show some of those pictures next week.

Friday, February 27, 2015

no water -no coffee

Earlier this week we woke up to find our water wasn't working,

After making sure our basement wasn't full of all the water that wasn't coming out of the faucet, I tried to call the water company.

They don't open until 8:00 a.m., so I started dialing right at that time.  Busy, busy ,busy.  After about a half hour of getting a busy signal I figured the problem was being reported, so I went on about my business.

The first order of business in my morning is making coffee...but there was no water.

Since I had an errand to run...a return item to Kohls...I decided to just get ready and go, and make a run through the White Castle drive through for coffee.

I bought my coffee...then about a mile and a half down the road I took a small sip. It was dead cold.

caution contents hot....hmmm, I don't think so

So I turned around and drove back to White Castle.  They were very sorry and said the coffee had been "out front" all morning and must have cooled off.  They offered me a free breakfast sandwich while I waited for them to make another pot of coffee.

No thanks, just the coffee please.

Then, they must have poured my cup before the brew cycle was complete. It was very strong and bitter but by this time I just wanted it all to be over.  Sheesh!

The day did get better after that. By the time I got home our water was working again.  My husband took me out for a hamburger anyway (not White Castle!).

The turkeys came up in the yard for the first time since it snowed.  They make a better photo with a snow background.

I wonder how they find enough to eat when the ground is covered.  I scattered some cracked corn after they left, in case they come back.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

back to sewing

I have hardly sewn at all in February. I'm glad to have a chance to sit down at my machine again!

My friend, Joan, who is the president of my quilt group that meets at the extension office, is leading us in a "block of the month" project.

If you aren't a quilter here's how that works. The leader of the "block of the month" shows us what the finished quilt will look like and tells how much fabric we will need for it.  Then, each month, she hands out instructions for one of the blocks, and the participants sew that block before the next month's meeting, using their own colors and fabrics to make their own quilt.
At the end of a year, we will have each made the same quilt but they will look very different because of the fabric choices.

Here is Joan's quilt. She made hers ahead so we could see what it would look like. Very striking in red, black and white!
Joan's quilt
I wanted to use fabric I have on hand here...and also have more of a mix of colors.  I gathered these fabrics together but I might not use them all, I was just picking things to go with that black floral fabric in the middle.
That black floral is something I bought years ago to make curtains for the bathroom. I had a bright pink shower curtain at the time.  That was when I was still working and I never got around to making the curtains. The pink shower curtain is long gone. Time to use that fabric!

Actually, we are making two blocks each month. they are like a positive/negative to each other.

The black will surround them. I'm not sure if we are supposed to do that step yet or not.

Probably so, and it will be less to do at the end. Back to the sewing machine!

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

maple walnut pumpkin pie

 I am working my way through that pumpkin that I bought on sale a while back.

This pie recipe is good...but it is really sweet and rich. A small slice will do you!
It's from the allrecipes website but I increased the spices and walnuts to the measurements below.
 I didn't have maple flavoring so I substituted 2 tablespoons of real maple syrup..but I couldn't really detect any maple flavor in the finished pie.

Maple Walnut Pumpkin Pie

1  15 oz. can pumpkin
1 can sweetened condensed milk
2 eggs
1 tsp. maple flavoring
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ginger
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1 9" graham cracker pie crust
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup flour
1 tsp. cinnamon
3 Tbsp. butter
3/4 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Mix together until well blended: pumpkin, sweetened condensed milk, eggs, maple flavoring, cinnamon, salt, ginger, and nutmeg.  Pour into graham cracker crust. 

Bake 15 minutes then reduce heat to 350 degrees and continue baking 30 more minutes.

Meanwhile, in a medium mixing bowl, combine, brown sugar, flour,and cinnamon. Cut in butter until crumbly.

Stir in walnuts and spoon over pie when the 30 minute cooking time is up.

yes - I did burn my crust a little !

Return pie to oven and bake 10 minutes longer.

Allow to cool before slicing and serving.

It really wasn't quite this orange in real life.  Pumpkin and sweet potato dishes can be hard to photograph!

I am not sure if I will make this recipe again. It may be a bit too heavy and "over the top".  I think I prefer the simple pumpkin pie recipe from the Libby's pumpkin can label.

Monday, February 23, 2015

woodpecker rescue

It seems like the birds start feeling panicked when it snows, and they all rush to the feeders, chasing and jockeying for position.

After the snow stopped,  I put a tray of seeds and cracked corn out on the ground so some could eat there.

See the  Mourning Dove sitting on the windowsill?  He must feel a bit of heat leaking from the window glass.
It can't be that much because snow isn't melting there.

One afternoon we heard a "thunk" on the glass of the patio doors. My older son looked up in time to see a bird falling to the ground. When I looked out I saw a Red Bellied Woodpecker that had been fooled by the reflection on the glass and had flown right in to it.

There he was, face down in the snow, with only his little feathered behind sticking out.  I picked him up and brought him inside and kept him warm in my hands.  At first it looked like he wasn't going to pull through, but the little by little, he became more alert.

After he started struggling a little I opened the door and held him outside on my open hand. It took a couple of times doing this before he felt like he was ready to fly away. 

The next day we saw him back at the feeder so he seems to have made a full recovery.  He is lucky my son saw him fall...he probably would have frozen before he recovered from being stunned.

Such a beautiful little bird!

Saturday, February 21, 2015

part three about our cruise

Since our ship had to stay in port during a storm at our first stop, it put the voyage behind schedule and we were unable to stop at San Juan, PR, as planned.
The final port stop was at St. Maarten.  As we were approaching, the harbor pilot boat came up along side of our ship.

The harbor pilot boards the ship and guides it until the berthing is completed.

They actually turned the ship around and backed in next to that closest ship on the right. It is so amazing and interesting to watch this whole process.

Lonnie went back to the medical office, for his follow up.  He was still having symptoms so they told him another 24 hours confined to the room. No getting off the ship for him, and he wouldn't have wanted to be far from a bathroom anyway.  
I went out for a little while, just to a shopping area at the end of the pier. Bought a tote bag that says "St Maarten". 

That night, I came down with the same thing Lonnie had...but not so severe. The next day we just took it easy.

By the last day we were both feeling pretty good again and wishing the cruise was a couple of days longer. We played some games going on in the lobby, ate dinner and watched a couple of comedy acts.

Then we packed and went to bed early.

That's how our cruise went!

Friday, February 20, 2015

crusin' part two

The good, the bad, and the ugly....that's how it went, beginning the third day out on our cruise.

First, the good.
We sailed into port at Grand Turk Island. It's a small island with a lovely beach that we could see as we approached.

The pier was actually right there so it was a short walk to the beach area. We were swimming practically right beside the ship!  
 I had brought my snorkel along. The water was pretty clear and I spotted a couple of flounder, a big parrot fish, lots of saucer sized silvery transparent fish and assorted other small fishes. Not a lot but it's fun to look for them.

We spent nearly the whole day there, slathered with plenty of sunscreen to protect our winter white skin!

Just as we were walking back to the ship it clouded up and started raining. A short while later it was so stormy, that the captain decided not to leave port as scheduled.

We didn't mind. After a burger and a warm shower we settled down for a nap in our room.

When we woke up, the bad part of the cruise started.  My husband came down with a severe case of stomach flu.  He was in the bathroom nearly all night with vomiting and diarrhea. Even if he took just a small sip of water...back out it came.

We went to the medical office as soon as it opened the next day. Lonnie was so dehydrated the doctor wanted to give him a liter of fluid intravenously. They added something to stop the vomiting as well.

The fluids made him feel much better, but he was still in a weakened condition.

They told him, because of possibly being contagious, he would be confined to his stateroom for 24 hours...and to come back the next morning.

So, that's where we spent that day.  Sleeping and reading and occasionally sitting out on the balcony. We could have ordered from room service but  I wanted to stretch my legs a little so I went out and brought food and drinks back to the room for us.

And now, here is the ugly part.

Bites! These started appearing that same morning, itching a little. For the next couple of days more and more appeared all over my arms and chest and a few on my back.  Could it be from fleas or mites lurking in those beach chairs?  Or could it be bed bugs? We stopped at a hotel overnight on our way to Florida.

This is the inside of my arm. It looks extra weird because I was trying to tuck in and hide the fat, flappy part - but it only made it look freakish.

I had to wear elbow length or long sleeves for the rest of the cruise..I wouldn't have put my swimsuit on again looking like this.

And one more thing, the day we were at the beach, I kicked my little toe real hard on a beach chair.  Owie!  It really hurt! And it was bruised and swollen. I don't want to show the picture I took of my foot or no one would ever read my blog again...but I am pretty sure that toe was broken.

That's all the worst stuff, but I have a few more pictures for tomorrow.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

cruisin' - part one

We got back from our Caribbean cruise just in time for seven inches of snow and then sub zero temperatures.  That's just the kind of weather we were hoping to miss out on when we scheduled our trip.

We sailed on the Carnival Liberty.
 For once, I remembered to take a photo of our cabin before we spread our belongings out everywhere.

Looking in from the door...

And now looking back toward the door...

Just right for the two of us. The bathroom is in the area near the door but it is such small tight quarters that you cant really get a photo of the whole space. 

The public spaces were all beautifully decorated. This is looking down in to the central main atrium area.

This is one of the dining rooms...

The day after we sailed was a "day at sea" port stops that day.

We started out with breakfast on the Lido deck.  This is a burger grilling area later in the day...that's the reason for the little picnic tables.

We spent the day looking around the ship, people watching by the pool, reading and soaking up some sun on our balcony...and enjoying a "mango swirl".

Later, at dinner, we ordered two lobster tails each!

It was a perfect start of a relaxing vacation.  But, unfortunately, it turned out to be "the calm before the storm"!

I will tell you all about that tomorrow in part two.