Monday, December 31, 2007

A Little Bit of Christmas and Getting Ready to Leave

I know it has been a while since I posted. It is really hard to find something new to write when we don't leave the grounds. It would be pretty boring to keep telling you I cooked and visited with the residents. Although we have not been bored ourselves, folks reading the blog may well get tired of hearing of our everyday chores. So, I have waited till I have something different to tell you all.
Ed and Hazel left on the 16th, and it was terribly hard to say good-bye to them. They called us on Christmas night, and we were so pleasantly surprised. The Christmas Eve party was marvelous. Everyone had such a good time. Miss Kitty read the Christmas story, we sang carols, and played some cute games. Barbara and Jack Wade played some music for us, and Evie played her harmonica. Evie is visiting Jo and Fred Durham. She is blind, like Jo, and the 2 guide dogs would have loved some of the treats available. Everyone ate the great candies and cookies and other goodies made by all of us volunteers. The residents were all so happy we were willing to do it. Little do they know that we get more out of the doing than they get from us doing it.
Tomorrow is New Years' Day. We are having a special brunch and early supper. One of the repeat volunteers stepped up and came up with the idea. Everyone was in favor of the change in schedule. We'll have eggs, pancakes, bacon, sausage, fresh fruit, juice, coffee, and all the fixings. Then at supper we will have turkey soup. We have frozen all the leftovers from Christmas, and it will all be cooked up into a great soup by Roy. Tom and I are on call all day. It's not recommended we do anything else while we are on call. We do have a few little things we need to do before we sit by the phone. All of us work really well together, so all will get done.
Today we did laundry. Lots of laundry!!!!We had 6 loads of wash to do. Then 7 dryer loads. Next came the Wal-Mart run. Just getting stuff for the trip west. We will be leaving here on Thursday morning. It will be a sad day. Saying good-bye will be very hard. So many of these precious folks may not be here when we come back. We will be back!!!! Then again some will have no memory of us at all. Like my 2 friends Miss Ellie and Miss Helen. Thanks to Miss Elie I will always be even-steven. (a kiss on each cheek) We'll go over for breakfast and then get going. We have been packing up things for a couple of days now. The tree is down and sowed under the bed. All of the Christmas things are put away. Now we are in count-down mode. We have one more day in the kitchen(Wed.), which is our last job.
We are headed for San Antonio. We will stop at the town of Brenham, where they make Blue Bell ice cream. We want to take the tour, of course. What happens after that is anyone's guess. We are so excited to be tourists. Now that we will be on the move, I will be sure to keep up with the blog so you all can all follow us around. Happy New Year to all.
Here's some Holiday Pictures. Better late than never.
http://picasaweb.google.com/tnank101/CARESPartyForResidents
http://picasaweb.google.com/tnank101/XmasEveAtCARE
http://picasaweb.google.com/tnank101/XmasDayAtCARE

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Coming Up On Christmas

We are well on the way to having a great holiday. With Christmas around the corner and the New Year fast approaching, we have been busy trying to get things going here and in the Center. Tom is driving folks to medical appointments, and I have been VERY busy in the kitchen. We now feed between 65 and 75 people every noon. Whether we have a cook or not. Right now we have no cook for Sunday. I have been doing the big dinner on Sunday for a couple of weeks now. Of course I have helpers, but they must think I know what I'm doing. How much food is 1200 hundred calories anyway? Oh well, no one seems to complain. On Friday I made my vegetable beef soup. It went over very well. Lots of compliments. Sunday was roast beef. That day didn't go quite so easily, but everyone of the residents was happy. We ran a little short on beef, but the volunteers all were very kind, and took only a little, and made up for it with potatoes and gravy. The menu called for brusse sprouts, but I also made a green bean casserole (my favorite), which went over better than the sprouts. We had just enough salad, and the dessert was also gone. I guess they will have to order a bigger roast next time!! I had 2 guys helping me. They were great. All in all, I think it all went well. I'm on the schedule for this coming Sunday, but I have a more experienced person helping me. Maybe I won't be as tired this time. 10 hours in the kitchen on Friday was enough for anyone.
Tom and I have started to geo cache. (geocache.com). We log onto the sight and find some clues, then go out to find it. It's kinda like a treasure hunt. When you find it you sign the log, put it back the same as you found it, and be on your way. We have found 2 so far. One hear at CARE, and one in the RV park. We have tomorrow off, and after the laundry and shopping, we would like to go into town where they have a few more. With only one day off we don't get to do much fun stuff.
Monday evening, Hazel and I went into Lufkin. We wanted to go to the Hobby Lobby. (craft store) It was the first time I have seen a Mall since I arrived in Livingston on October 28. If you want to go someplace besides Wal-Mart you have to drive about an hour. I was tickled pink. I got to use a JC Penny gift card I had, and we both had a great time.
On Saturday, Ed and Hazel took us to see the Liberty Opry. We had so much fun. It was country legends night. They were all so talented! This little girl of about 14 came out and she belted out Dolly Parton songs like you wouldn't believe. What a voice. I suspect we will be hearing about Kayla Woodson in the near future. You can check her out at Kaylawoodson.com for a sample of how good she is. All of the musician were terrific. We would go again in minute. Every Saturday night for $10.00, you can't get better entertainment.
We also went to a little sea food-steak place called Ann's. We got a great meal, and music we didn't expect to hear. Some folks were there from a near-by church. Some of the youth sang Christmas songs, as did the minister and his wife, while his brother and sister-in-law played guitar and keyboard. They food was good ole Texas cookin' at a reasonable price, and the children where just so adorable. We enjoyed ourselves so much.
As you can probably tell, we have fallen in love with these folks in east Texas. Everyone is so friendly and polite. You sit down in a doctor office waiting for one of our folks from the center, and someone you never saw before just starts talking, and before you know it you know there whole life story. They know how to take their time here. Everything is slow and easy going. Just the kind of place we have been looking for. No one is in a hurry. Unless they are driving. The speed limit here is 70 on roads that would be 50-55 at home. We just move over. They go around. Makes things interesting.
Out little tree is up, and we have lights outside. We brought some little things to decorate with from home. We look a little festive. Sometimes we only get a couple of hours to ourselves here in the motor home. At night when we come back, Tom goes on the computer, and I just sit and relax. Then we are off to bed. Tom sometimes gets up pretty early to get folks into Houston for appointments at the medical center there. So needless to say, we are pretty bushed by the time we come home at about 7:00. It's a good tired, though. We know we are doing something good, It makes us feel good and the residents feel good. That's what we are here for.
I can't believe that Hazel and Ed are leaving on Sunday. We'll certainly miss them. We have become such good friends. I feel like I've know her for ever. We have such a good time together. We work so well together, probably because we think so much of the folks here. They are headed off to spend the holidays with family, and then off to Arizona. We may catch up with them there. When they go 2 other couples leave, too. We will be short handed again, so that means more hours to put in for us that are left. I know we can make it till Jan. 4th. Then we can be tourists.
I can't believe it's been 6 months since we left home. Tom said it yesterday, and I was stunned. A whole half year! Time sure does fly when you're having fun!!!!!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Getting Ready for Thanksgiving

First let us wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving. Tomorrow we should all take a moment to think about what we are thankful for. My thoughts are a little bit different since we have been here. We are both very thankful for the opportunity to be able to do what we are doing. I think we have really taken CARE to heart. Some of the folks you can't help but love. I hope to have some pictures soon to introduce some of them to all of you.
Some of us lady volunteers have been very busy getting ready to give everyone a nice day. Jan and Lorna have made a bunch of pies, and roasted turkeys and hams. Today I peeled about 35 pounds of potatoes. That's only about half of what we will need. We have about 20 pies now. Some of the residents have furnished some. I'll make candies sweet potatoes, we'll also have plain for our diabetics. Lots of folks are bringing a dish to share. On holidays it's nice to have a favorite. Makes it almost feel like home. Someone is bringing rutabaga. Tom will be happy. You should see all the stuffing that was made today! All that was going on while I peeled those potatoes. Took me a while! It looks like we will have somewhere around 90 people to feed. The biggest they have ever had here. That includes family guests and board members. I'm really happy to be part of this. I miss cooking for family.
I almost forgot. Today I also cooked 77 hamburgers. That was dinner. Our main meal is at noon. With trying to get tomorrows dinner ready, and getting the regular meals together, we all chipped in to help. The week-day cook, Miss Terry, (every lady is Miss here), was helping all over the kitchen. I kind of just got stuck in front of the grill, with a big bowl of hamburger, and started to make them. The next thing I know, Miss Terry says to me, "Count them as you go. We have to have 75." Well, the big bowl made 77. Very proud of myself I am. I cooked 77 hamburgers.
As you can see, I have had a very busy day. Tomorrow looks to be even busier. I know at home the ladies of the church were having a pumpkin roll sale. I had shown them how to make them before we left in June. They have told me they had lots of orders. I hope all went well. Ladies....I have been busy, too. Just not making pumpkin roll.
Well, I hope you all get to have a good meal tomorrow, and to all of our friends and family we will be thinking of you all.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Volunteering With Pleasure

This takes some explaining. When we first came to C.A.R.E., we were a bit overwhelmed with all of the rules, regs, and jobs we were to do. Let alone the hours we were to put in. Now I am reporting that all has changed. We couldn't be happier to be here. We have become good friends with other volunteers and many of the residents. Oops, they are participants. Everyone connected with this wonderful place is special. They all have their own stories. We have driven so many folks to appointments. Tom has been to Houston, Humble (pronounced Umble), and Cleveland, and more. We have visited Audio, orthopedic, podiatrists, hospitals, and you name it. Everyone is so grateful for anything we do for them. They are all wonderful.
Tom and I were talking today, we just don't know how we are going to leave here. Saying good-bye to these people is going to be really hard. We will be here till Jan. 3rd. It's hard to believe 1/4 of our stay is over already.
This morning when we were just finishing up our duties for the breakfast, the electricity went out. We had just turned over the phones about an hour earlier to Ed and Hazel. We had been on call for 24 hours. The phone started to ring. Some of the participants wanted us to know they had no electric. A couple of the regulars were outside, and heard a transformer go. Then we found out what really happened. A squirrel is now history. We all waited for about 45 minutes, and all was fixed. Tom and I came back to Emily, and settled in for the afternoon. We'll go back for super, and wipe the tables and chairs and vacuum the day room.
The reason we didn't eat Sunday dinner at the center, is because we had left-overs from Manny's. That would be Shrimp Boat Manny's. Tom ordered chicken and sausage gumbo. He also ordered a steak po' boy. I got fettuccine with craw fish. We also each had an order of steamed shrimp. He had hot, I had medium. All of this, after an order of mozzarella sticks with spicy dipping sauce.....as opposed to that marinara everyone else serves with them. I guess our eyes were bigger than our stomachs. Tom didn't even touch his sandwich, which came with fries. I also had food left. It wasn't as good today as it would have been then, but it was still good. I would recommend Manny's to anyone looking for food with the Cajun touch. If we have time while we are here, we will go again. Good service, good food, full tummies. Who could ask for more.
We had our first rain since we have been here. Thunder during the night wasn't to bad, and we really needed the rain. All is well now. Blue sky is coming back, and warmth has returned. How could it get any better? We have found a place that has good food, the most wonderful people, and we are learning from all the wisdom of the smart talented lovely folks we are here to help. We are truly blessed to be able to do what we are doing. I wish more could experience this. I think we have fallen in love with east Texas. Time will tell.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Escapees CARE Center

I know this has been a long time coming, but we have been very busy. We came in on Nov.1, and have been on the go ever since. We did have one day off, which we spent running errands and catching up on personal jobs. For those of you who have no idea what CARE is, here is the scoop. This facility has been a God send for RVers, who for one reason or another can no longer travel. CARE gives them the opportunity to still stay in their RV together, and receive the care they need. I guess you could say, it's like an assisted living facility. We provide all meals, a snack in the afternoon, root beer floats one day a week, and birthday cakes for those who get to celebrate another year. We have nurses, CNAs, activities directors, and lots for the folks to do. Poker games and scrabble are big hits. There is also bingo, art, sewing, crafts, and more. Everyday there is something fun to do.
Tom and I have done so many dishes, and sanitized our little hands off. It's like a joke with the sanitizing. We help the cook, do pots, serve the food, do dishes, chop onions, do dishes, make coffee, do pots, wipe tables do dishes.......you get the point.
Sometimes, we are on call. That means we watch the phones all night. All of the residents have a connection to the center. All we do is transfer the office phone out to Emily, and we are all set. Then we get up and open the center in the morning. We had no calls. No problems.
The folks here are just great. There's Pete (who is really Davida) who is an author and PhD. We have Bob and Inez who are sweet as can be, and very knowledgeable about anything. We have Miss Ellie, who loves to give hugs and kisses. She has to get both cheeks. Then she asks if she hurt you. What a sweetheart. We have Kieth and Sophie. Keith just lost his eyesight, and has been taking trips to the eye doctor. So many wonderful people. They are such a joy.
The staff here is remarkable. The nurse who has been here for 4 years, just left yesterday. She is going for her RN. She will be missed. Since we have been here, 2 couples have left. They were such a big help to us. Les and Sharon Askew, and Jim and Bonnie Wert and Scoobie. They have passed the torch to us and Hazel and Ed, who came a few days after us. A few more couples are coming in in the next week or so. Two couples just for maintenance. Every resident couple has a shed, and they need to build 3 more new ones. This will be the most residents ever in the center.
Yesterday Tom took a couple to Houston to the hospital for some tests. It was a long day for him. I guess I didn't tell you we also drive folks to appointments, or where ever they need to go. Some of the couples still have cars, which one can drive. Other than that, volunteers take them. Tom will also take them next week one day for follow-up. The hospital here in Livingston, sent them there for more extensive work.
Speaking of Jim and Bonnie and Scoobie, We just fell in love with Scoobie. He is part Lab and part Chow. I think the only chow park is his tongue. It has black spots. He was wonderful. We even asked if they could get along without him. We wanted to keep him. I always have dog treats with us, and one day we opened the door, and he was sitting there looking in at us. It was hilarious. Wait till you see the pictures. What a great dog!!!
On the days we work, we get our meals. On our day off we fend for ourselves. Today we won't eat even though it's free. It's tamale pie. We don't eat Mexican food. Tonight is ham salad and chicken salad sandwiches. We'll pass on that, too. On Friday morning, we serve a great big breakfast for the whole park. The CARE center is part of Rainbow Park. Headquarters for Escapees. Folks can come and get eggs any way, sausage, bacon, biscuits and gravy, grits, toast, all the coffee, juice and milk you can drink, all for $3.00. Everyone pays, even residents. All the money goes to the center. What a buy. Boy did I make lots of coffee today.
Tom will post pictures later. He is working at the moment. Pots for him today. More dishes for me tonight. They are all so appreciative of us all. Makes it all worth while.
http://picasaweb.google.com/tnank101/EscaspeeCARECenter
http://picasaweb.google.com/tnank101/Scooby

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Follow-up on Rockport and Houston

As we left Rockport, I took some pictures of the entrance of the park. You can see the dolphins and the fountain. Also how much like Florida it looks. I thought it was worth a few clicks of the camera. I also neglected to mention we went to see the big tree. It is this huge live oak out in the country. This tree is over 1000 years old. Can you imagine it was alive the the Civil War, The revolution, and so much more. How many hurricanes it must have seen, and lived through. Of course it was fenced, and you can not touch it. Some of the larger heavier branches have been supported over the years just to keep it from splitting. At some point the splits it suffered were repaired, and it is thriving. It sits in a little grove surrounded by it's offspring, and it's childrens' children. Something magnificent to see and just stand and look at with awe. I did touch the next biggest tree, which must be at least 500 years old. Amazing...something that was alive all that long ago is still living.
While we were on the ferry, we saw an oil rig being towed out to the gulf. It was going so slowly. The ferry had to go around it as it was going right through the path they take to the island. We wish we had gotten better pictures. On our first trip on the ferry we had seen dolphins playing in the bay. We couldn't get any pictures, the trips are to short to get out of the car to get pictures and get back in before it's time to get off. We also got some pics of the pelicans diving for lunch. It was fun to watch them dive bomb for their meal. They go in beak first, and just seem to be floating when the water settles.
The trip to Houston was something. We think we chose the wrong route, because we stopped at every stoplight they have on that road. We missed a turn, and had to find a place large enough to turn around. We finally got to the campground, and the lady in the office could have been a little nicer. Oh well, you'll have this. Guess what...more trains. St. Cloud had 40 trains a day. No kidding. They go through there up to Canada. The first two nights in Iowa..trains. It seems we can't get away from them. I hope in Livingston there are no trains.
We talked to June and Bob just before we got here, and they came to pick us up for dinner. We went to a place called Goodson's. It is said they have the best chicken fried steak in Texas. Let me tell you, they have our vote. I had asked Tom if he wanted the large or small. It's a good thing we got the small. I don't know how big the large is, but we still brought half of it home for the next day. The food was great. Especially the gravy. They even give you some extra gravy to take home with your leftovers. It's a little place on route 249 in Tomball, just northwest of Houston. If your ever in the area try it. Only $7.99 for the chicken fried steak. $8.99 for the large. Worth every penny and more.
On Sunday we go over to June and Bob's house to see them again before we move on to Livingston. It's so good to see them. Bye the way, they say HI to the rest of the family.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Rockport and Port Aransas

We have been here at Rockport, Texas for about a week. It is just beautiful here. Tom and I are in a RV park called Lagoons. The folks here are really friendly. Everyone waves or stops to talk. It is so opposite of Florida were we have stayed. We are seriously thinking of coming back next year. Of course, we have lots of places to go yet, but so far this place ranks #1.
On Sunday and Wednesday we went over to the gulf. To get there you have to drive down to Aransas. It's about 11 miles down the road, and then 5 miles to the ferry. You drive onto the ferry ride for about 5 minutes, then drive off. Next you drive through the streets for a a couple of miles, and right up on the beach. It's so cool. Everyone just parks on the beach. Lot's of people were fishing from the rocks that are lined up out into the water. Some are throwing nets out into the water to catch fishing bait. Some people are just swimming. Some folks take out inflatable boats. The water was warm. Tom and I waded in the water for awhile. We picked up a few shells for Connor, but it's not like Florida were there are lots of shells.
What was really neat, was that some folks had taken their motorhomes onto the beach to camp. You can get a permit to stay 3 days. We were thinking about it, but decided we didn't want to be cleaning sand out of Emily for the next year. You can have a fire if it is contained. Animals are allowed on the beach, but only on a leash.
We really like this place. I guess I already said that. Rockport is a nice little town. When we stopped at the Chamber of Commerce building, the ladies were very helpful. They answered any questions, and went out of their way to make sure we knew where things were and how to get there. They told us were to get fresh off the boat shrimp, and how to tell the difference between fresh and farm raised. Anything we wanted to know or see was all explained.
We have eaten a lot of shrimp. I hope they have shrimp this good in Livingston. Yummy!!!!!
This morning we went for breakfast with Leona and Joe. We met Leona's brother Larry and his wife Carole. We talked for quite awhile, and ate a really nice meal. Leona and Joe work here at Lagoons. When you RV, you get the chance to meet really nice folks like Leona and Joe. We are glad we got to know them. Maybe we'll see them next year.
When we came back, we started to get ready to leave tomorrow. Everything is just about ready. We have to wait to pay our electric bill, then we will be on our way. First we'll go up to visit June and Bob and their family. They live in northwest Houston. We made reservations today for a campground up that way. We'll stay for a few days, and then off to Livingston. It will be nice to see family for the first time since June. It's hard to believe it's almost November. We may be leaving here, but we know we will be back.
http://picasaweb.google.com/tnank101/RockportTx

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Well, let me just tell you about yester day. I had a complete blog entry written and when I hit the publish post button the whole thing just dissappeared. The connection to the internet had stopped, and I lost it. I was so tired, that I just decided to wait till today to do it. Now we have more to add. Maybe I'll just do some today and some tomorrow.Let me start with saying that St. Cloud is behind us. We left on Sunday morning early. We got as far as Terribles in Iowa. It is a casino with a RV park. It's about the only place to stop on route 35 going south. We ended up parking right behind our fellow work campers Jim and Barb. We didn't plan it that way, it just happened.We ended up staying 2 nights because of high winds. With it being Tom's birthday he got a free meal, and extra credit on his player's card. They also gave us half of the camping fee. When all was said and done, we left there ahead of the game, with and with more money in our pockets than when we arrived. Not bad considering we only pay penny machines. We aren't much for gambling.The next morning we left earlier than Jim and Barb. We took our time. As it sometimes happens, we ended up traveling the afternoon just ahead of Jim and Barb. They saw we didn't exit where we said we would, and called us, and we stayed at the same place that night also. As most of you know, there was some really bad weather going through the center of the country. Well, we happened to be in the center of it. We stayed put for 2 nights. It rained quite heavily, and we had some impressive thunder and lightning.All went well till we decided to go out when Jim came over and said he and Barb were going out when the rain let up. It seemed fine going down the road. We stopped at a little casino-convienence store-gas station.We spent a few bucks, and decided to go for dinner. We ate at a nice little Italian place.We were right on the border of Kansas and Oklahoma, and went from one to the other as we drove. On the way back home the weather took a bad turn. The sky got really scarry. It was like you could reach up and touch the clouds.They were swirling around and it started to rain really bad. We pulled off the road because Jim just couldn't see.I said we would be ok if it didn't hail. You guessed it...it started to hail. We could see the sky was clearing in the west, and when the hail and rain subsided a little we took off. We just wanted to get passed those awful clouds. By the time we got back to the campground,we were in the clear, and the sun was shining. That was a little closer than I ever want to be to something that could be a tornado.The next day we were off again, and in much nicer weather. Our destination was Waco, Texas. Jim and Barb left ahead of us, and where going to head west. They said good-bye and headed off to Yuma. We were going straight south. We'll see them again in Arizona.We got to Waco with not much excitment. It was a really nice traveling day. The folks at the place we stayed in Waco were really nice. There is a little cafe there that serves breakfast. It's only $5 for what ever you select. I had a bacon and chesse omelet with toast, hash browns, and juice. They had home made jellies for your toast. Tom had pancakes, sausage, hash browns, and all the coffee he could drink.We were full!!. Then it was off to Rockport. We really like it here. It's alot like Florida. Joe and Leona, who worked with us in St. Cloud, come here every winter. We thought we might as well check it out and see if we like it. It's a really nice RV park. The water is only a few minutes away. There are lots birds. The hummingbirds have come and gone. They fly accross the gulf without stopping. I found that amazing.Well, that's enough for now, and I will write more tomorrow. We have plans to go out to the gulf. I'll let you all know how that goes. I hope this entry comes out all right. I am trying something different. I just hope I don't loose it again. Oh yeah, it's nice to sleep with just a sheet and no blankets.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Getting Ready to Be On The Move

Just a little review. We have had a great time here in St. Cloud, Mn. I neglected to mention the great Booya feast. Booya is indigenous to Minnesota. It's this wonderful soup with any kind of meats (yes plural) and lots of vegetables and seasonings. Churches and organizations all over the area have Booya dinners. Everyone brings something to put in the pot. It is cooked in a huge pot outside on the open fire. It gets a great smoky flavor from the fire. In ours was turkey, pork, chicken, and beef. I'm not sure how they seasoned it, but it was definitely delicious. Two brothers-in-law, Tom and Bill, go shopping and cook the soup. Their wives, the sisters, Kathy and Cindy, made the bread. We had garlic-basil, and another kind of bread that I can't recall. Fresh rolls were also in abundance. Let me just tell you, it was just about the best soup we have ever eaten.
We went today to get some groceries, and a few things we will need for our trip south. Tomorrow we will fill up Emily's propane tank, and get her ready to go. We work on Friday evening, and on Saturday morning, then we'll close up Emily's slide-outs and be ready for an early departure on Sunday morning. We want to leave no later than 8. Earlier if possible. We have to go a long way to get to a casino outside of Des Moina, Iowa. There is not much between here and there. Most everyone will be leaving that morning. Most going to the same casino. Where we stop after that is just a guess. We don't have to be in Livingston, Texas till the 1st of Nov. We are hoping to go to Corpus Cristi for a few days. Then we'll back-track to Livingston. We'll be there for 2 months. It's just about an hour from Houston.
It has been so cold here the past few days. On Sunday it was so warm, we had shorts on. That evening it rained. The wind started, and it got cold. Yesterday was so cold we pulled out the heavier coats. Today isn't much better. Up north they got some snow. None here yet. The furnace is going more now than usual. Texas is in the 90's.
Sunday evening we went up to the Rally Center for little Jonahs 1st birthday party. He is Cris and Deb's youngest. Such a sweet boy. He always has a smile--except when he is hungry. Man, can that boy eat!! There was lots of family and many friends there to help share the fun. We gave him one of those rugs that looks like a town. Something he will have for a long time. He and his brother will have a good time with it for years. We picked up a bike horn for Nolan. He rides his bike all over the grounds. The family goes for a walk most every night, and he rides his bike. Everyone who comes back next year will remember us when he honks his horn as he pedals around. It was all great fun.
Monday night we went out for dinner with 3 other couples. Our neighbors David and Ruth, regulars Roberta and Gary, fellow workers Jeanne and Gary. We went to the Green Mill. It's an Italian restaurant chain. The food was pretty good. Tom had lasagna, and I had shrimp Alfredo over linguini. The brochette we had as an appetizer was really tasty. You never know when you order it what you'll get. Everyone makes it differently. We all enjoyed the evening, and agreed we should have done it sooner and more often. We all exchanged addresses and phone numbers, etc., and hope to meet up in Arizona and Texas.
We were going to go to Culvers for the ice cream tonight, but it is just to cold, and besides we had changed into jammie pants to get comfy, and just didn't want to go back out in the cold. You'd think it was 20 below outside. Does it mean we're getting old? We don't feel old, just cold.
We'll keep you all posted on how we are doing getting ready to go. We'll keep in touch better now, we have an air card for internet service. We don't use it much here unless we can't connect. We can't wait to get into warmer weather. It will be sad to leave everyone here, but we'll meet more wonderful folks where ever we go.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Ready to Get Moving

Today we did some running around to get a few things. First I went for a haircut. Same place, different girl. Nice haircut. Then we hit Wal-Mart for just a few items. Then it was Home Depot for a gift for Cris and Deb's little guy. He's 1st party is on Sunday at 5:00. We got him one of those rugs that look like a town for match box cars. The next stop was the dollar store for the card and wrapping paper. Last but not least, the grocery store. The Wal-mart is not a Super Wal-Mart, so we have to make 2 stops. What a pain in the neck.
We know we pay more for food here. Can't wait to go somewhere different.
The bugs here are horrendous. We have box elder beetles, some kind of orange lady bugs, and the tiniest little black bugs that bite like the very devil. They are so small that they get through the screens. On the side of Emily that gets the sun, it is covered with all three kinds. We have to keep the door shut, and it is up in the 70's. We have windows open, but we hesitate to turn on the fan for fear they'll come in that way. I went out to do my nails just to keep the smell outside. I was out there for about 2 minutes and I was covered with those little buggers. They were in my hair and all over my clothes. YUK!!!
We only have 5 days left of work. We have to work the last 2 days, so we can't leave sooner. Come Sunday, it will be mass exodus. We are all leaving that day. We want to be on the road pretty early. We'll fill up the propane, and off we'll go. Down through Iowa, and directly south.
Roger and Dorothy left on Monday. He was quite a story teller. They own a ranch in South Dakota, but their daughter and her family live near here. They visit the ranch in-between trips North and South. He was quite a character. Wears his six-gun when he goes home. He could really tell the stories.
We will be filled again for the next 2 week-ends. That means we won't get bored in the office. Sometimes during the week, the phone won't ring for a couple of hours. Tom is always busy with leaves and picking up around. Sometimes the wind gets pretty strong. It leaves some debris.
Well, that's all I can think of to add today. Time to start some supper. Spaghetti tonight and probably tomorrow. Good to have left-overs when we work the mid shift.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Fixing Mistakes and Other Things

I'm sure some of you have noticed I made a few mistakes in the last post. Mary Ingalls went to St. Paul to a doctor for her eyes, not Mankato. Sorry. I also neglected to mention Pa's bell. Charles Ingalls made the bell, and the church still uses it as you can see in the photo. As we drove around the village, we saw the site of the school, and the church, and the hotel. The site now have modern private homes on them. I also spelled Oleson wrong. Oh well, I'll get better.
As far as eating out goes, we don't really do it very often. But, there are some places here that we have wanted to go to because folks recommended them, and we have only seen them in St. Cloud. You know about Val's with the great milk shakes, and Maid Rite, but the other day we went to Culver's. Maid Rite is a chain, so is Culver's. Let me tell you that they are nothing alike. If you want a GOOD burger, go to Culver's. Man, did we enjoy the Cheeseburgers. They were huge. With the basket you get fries and a drink. You can substitute, but pay$1.00 for other sides. Tom got a short shake instead of soda (or Pop as they call it here). It was so thick he had to use a spoon. We didn't have room for dessert, and everyone know, I really had to be full if I left and didn't have ice cream. They have some rally good looking sundaes. We have heard that they are the best. Needless to say we will be going back some night after supper to get some of these sundaes. I'll report when we find out just how good they are.
The campground is emptying out. Some of the seasonal RVers are leaving for the south or west. Leona and Joe left yesterday morning early. We all said our good-byes the day before. They are really nice folks. They'll be missed. You know, it's really sad to have spent the whole summer with these folks, and to think we probably will never see them again. We know were some of the folks go for the winter, but some just go different places. Joe and Leona go down by Corpus Christi, Tx. We just may see them. If we don't, it was a great pleasure meeting them.
We have about 2 weeks left here. Last night we had our last pot luck dinner. Cris went and got ribs for John to cook in the smoker. They were delicious. I wanted to take kielbasa casserole. Well, you can't but fresh kiebasa in St. Cloud. You can get smoked, but that's not what we needed. So, they got just plain halushski. For those of you who don't know what that is, it's cabbage and noodles. Everyone liked it, Cris took some pictures, and will most likely put them in his video picture frame. He keeps it on the counter in the office. It's fun to see all the pictures from the whole season.
As I am writing this, we are watching the Mets. They have just scored their 4th run of the game, and we are wondering if they with hang onto the lead. Lately they have not done well at that. It's only the 2nd inning, so we'll see. LET'S GO METS. We just had a thunder storm roll through. Now the sun is shining. It will probably be cold again tomorrow. The electric blanket is on, and so it the heater. The trees have been changing this week. Not much here except yellow.
We went to the orchard today to get some apples. They are sort of small. I guess because of so little rain this year. We bought the Cortlands. They have some different names that have been developed by the University of Minnesota. We decided to get something we knew. Also some cider. We are missing Braces' in Pennsylvania. They have home made fresh apple cider doughnuts. You buy them, and they are still warm. They are usually gone before you get very far down the road. We'll adjust. We'll get them next year.
Not much longer till we get to the warmer climate. June and Bob we are ready to come south. Are you ready for us? We'll be there soon.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Walnut Grove

Yes, That's THE WALNUT GROVE. On our way home from Madison, S.D. we stopped at Walnut Grove, Mn. Our daughter is a real Little House on the Prairie fan. She asked us if we got a chance to go, would we take some pictures for her. Well, Tom sure enough took pictures. About 150 of them. The town itself was not much bigger than Waterville, N.Y. Probably smaller. I think we took a picture of the population sign.

We started at the Laura Ingalls Wilder Museum. You go into the main building where you buy the tickets, get your map, and any other instructions you need, which also houses the gift shop. Off you go on the tour of the different buildings. First you go to what is called Laura's Room. It has so much information. There is a corner for genealogy, with pictures of her grandparents and other family members. It tells where they came from and when they came to America. From there is goes to parents and siblings, with lots more pictures. Pictures are labeled Ma and Pa Ingalls, etc. We found out that Mary really was blind. There is a case where the newspaper at that time wrote about Mary being ill, and her eyesight was failing. The next couple of papers had article saying how they went to Mankato to see the doctors to get her some help, and one more that said her sight was now gone.
If you remember the show, the store owners were the Olson family. Actually their last name was Owens. There is a number of photos of the real family, as well as others from the town. Some of them were mentioned in the show. It was so interesting to see the real people and know they really existed. They also had the fireplace mantle from the show. The one with the initials of Charles and Caroline. CI-CI. That was cool to see.
The room was filled with pictures and memorabillia. You can actually see her grow up. They have pictures and info on Laura and Almonso Wilder. From the time they were young til they were quite old. There are also pictures of their daughter Rose. She was married, but there is no mention of any children. There is mention that she left some items to her lawyer. So as far as I can figure, Laura's line ended with her daughter.
After that we went to the other exhibits. They have a miniature one room school, with slates and primers. There is also a small church resembling the church of the time, with a pump organ you could try to play. Then it was on to the Heritage Building. It showed how life was at that time, with covered wagon, utensils, etc. Lots of the pioneer stuff. The was also a house there called Grandma's House. It was furnished with pieces of a time years after the Ingalls family had left the area.We ended with a trip to the gift shop where we bought a few items, and called it a day.
It had been raining for most of the day, so we left the rest till the next day. Actually, we may have saved the best for last. The next day we went to the sight of the Ingalls' family sod house. This is where they lived during the book "On the Banks of Plum Creek". All that remains is a depression in the bank. You can actually see where the house was. You can see how they dug out the bank, and how they picked a spot high enough so they would stay dry. There are markers to show where the spring still runs into the creek, and what Laura called the "Big Rock" in her book. No one knows the site of the little house they built, but can guess the approximate location, or what part of the farmers field it may have been in. The fields around the site have been planted with native prairie seed, but the rest of the area is up to date farm. To get to the site, you have to drive up to the barn, pay $4.00 per car, and drive out to the site. You can get a pretty good idea how far they had to walk to school. It was at least a mile. Of course, they could walk across the prairie.
Then it was time to go back, hook up the Tracker, and head back to St. Cloud. I forgot to mention that we stayed at Plum Creek Campground. It was county owned, with nice wide sites. Just before the turn into the campground was the area where they hold the Laura Ingalls Wilder Pageant every summer. For 2 week-ends every July they perform this program. From what we have learned, it is a very nicely done festival.
We hope you all enjoy the photos we add, and don't forget to check the ones from our trip to the Corn Palace. Tom was having some trouble with the connection. All is down loaded now. We have quite a few fellows in the campground now that work for the pipeline being installed here. I think we are all really working at the same time on our computers. What with the storms going through, we have had a rough few days with the internet. We just have to do things early in the morning. That's easy enough.
http://picasaweb.google.com/tnank101/WalnutGroveMn
http://picasaweb.google.com/tnank101/DugOutSite

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Our South Dakota Adventure

First of all, I have to split this adventure up into more than one entry. Second, I know I said I would write more often, but we did not have internet service while we were gone. When we came home, the service here at the campground was really slow. We had some really nasty weather for a couple of days. Most people were inside and on their computers. Tom had a pretty hard time downloading pictures. When he got up this morning he did them in a few minutes.
Today has been a beautiful fall day. The only thing that was bad about today was that Penn State lost. The Mets won, though, so 1 out of 2 isn't bad.So, back to the adventure....
We took off last Saturday for South Dakota. Tom and I are now citizens of the State of Great Faces and Great Places. Many RVers become citizens there. There are many good tax advantages, among other reasons. There are no state inspections, drivers' licenses cost $8.00 every 5 years, and there is no state income tax. Those are just some of the reasons. We did this all in Madison. It took only about a half hour to change the plates on the Tracker, and about the same to get our drivers' licenses the next day. Very quick and easy. Emily's plates will come later. After all that, we went over to Mitchell, S.D. The home of the Corn Palace. As you will see in the pictures, all of the murals on the outside of the Palace are made from different colors of corn, with other grains to add texture. Tom got some really good pics to show you. There are a few of those tourist trap shops that we all love to visit, and we ate in a saloon. The sandwiches were pretty good, and they gave a nice pile of fries to go with it.
While we were in the Palace, they were in the midst of a Polka Rally. The clubs were having the parade of flags , so we stopped to watch. After the U.S. flag came in, in came the Canadian flag, South Dakota, Poland, and the flag of the club. Then all of the state flags came in in alphabetical order. The folks carrying them bowed to the U.S. flag and went on. The polka band played patriotic songs in the background. When they were done, they formed a horseshoe. We sang the Star Spangled Banner, and then they retired the colors. It was nice to see. Out in the hallway they have state books. Tom found the Pennsylvania book and singed our names. We bought a couple of things for Connor in the gift shop, I bought a pair of earrings (turquiose and gold flecks) and we were on our way.
Our next stop was to an archaeological site. It was the site which was an old Indian village thousands of years ago. We went in and paid the small fee, and signed the book. I was really surprised to see the name just above mine was Joyce Roberts. That's my Mom's name. I knew for sure she was in New York State. It was weird. We went on a short walking tour of the facility, and then went into the building where the digging was done. It was really interesting to see how they go about finding what they find, and how they take such care, and what they do with it all. It was well worth the trip out to the site.
On back to the campground we went. We stayed at Lake Herman State park. It was quiet, with large sites. We were just about by ourselves. There was only one other camper there after Sunday afternoon. It was chilly, but really nice. Right next to the State Park was a little place called Prairie Village. We would have liked to go there, but it was closed after Labor Day. We did see a little old engine, but not much else. I'm sure it would have been a great place to see.
Tom will post the pictures later. The rest of the trip will be posted tomorrow.
http://picasaweb.google.com/tnank101/TheCornPalace
http://picasaweb.google.com/tnank101/PrehistoricIndianVillageDig

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Good Eats, New Schedule, and Trip

Well, let me start by saying, this week I have found out that more folks read our blog than I thought. I was really surprised to hear from e-mails and a couple of phone calls that people really look forward to seeing new posts. So, I have decided to try to post more often. In the next few weeks it won't be hard to think about what to write. We have lots planned.
First of all, let me tell you about 2 places we went to eat. Last week we went to a chain hamburger place called MAID RITE. They have loose meat that is steamed instead of fried or broiled. We really didn't know what to expect, except that one fact. We had no idea that they covered the bottom half of the bun with mustard. I am not a fan of regular yellow mustard. I like sweet hot honey mustard in moderation. Well, we were a bit disappointed, but we figured live and learn.
Today we went to a little place called Val's. It is a little place with no seating, you have to take- out. You can choose what you want on your burger, and what size fries. We ordered small fries. They give you so many that we thought they made a mistake. The burgers were good, too. But the hit of the day, as far as I'm concerned, was the milkshakes. They have a bunch of flavors. Banana, cherry, vanilla, chocolate, strawberry, pecan, creme sickle, just for starters. You can mix any flavors. Tom had vanilla, I had pecan-vanilla. It was by far the best milkshake I ever had. Needless to say, we will be back there before we leave here. If not for burgers, then for shakes.The food today was definitely better than last week.
Now for the schedule. One of the work camper couples have moved on. Mary and Gerry left after Labor Day. They are headed for California. That left 4 couples to fill the hours of 5. We had a meeting, and decided to have our hours extended. After Labor Day the office closes at 7 during the week. We stay open later on the week-end. So, we will have 5 hour shifts each on Sunday thru Thursday. 9-2 and 2-7. Still three shifts on Friday and Saturday. We all had to switch around for the appointments that were made with doctors, dentist, and trips that were set up. We are all set to go for the rest of the season. Which brings me to the next item.
On Saturday we are off to South Dakota to change our domicile. That means drivers' licenses, registrations for Emily and the Tracker, and becoming citizens of the state. For a lot of reasons it is beneficial to RVers to do this. South Dakota welcomes us folks with open arms. They make it easy and quick, and we should be done in about a day and a half. It's too bad that we won't get to vote at home. There is someone who could really use our votes for county coroner. Sorry John! The trip over there will take about 4 and a half or 5 hours. We will be staying in a state park, and will surely take pictures. We'll let you all know how it all comes out.
And for those at home...I finished the Connor's rainbow blanket today. It came out rally nice. I hope he likes it. He picked out the yarn. Maybe we'll add some pictures tomorrow. Tom is already in bed. It's going for 11 o'clock, which is past our bed time. We have lots to do tomorrow to get ready for the trip. We work the late shift (5-8), and want to be ready before we got to work. I keep thinking we will forget something every time we move or go someplace. I have to get used to the idea that we take everything we have with us. How could we forget anything.
That's just one of the things a first year full timer has to adjust to. We are really loving it.
How could I have forgotten to say PENN STATE BEAT NOTRE DAME !!!!! The Mets are in by 6 and a half games. Things are looking Good. http://picasaweb.google.com/tnank101/RainbowBlanket02

Monday, September 3, 2007

What a Great Week-end

That's exactly what it was. Great! As you would expect, we were filled up again. Tom and I were off on Friday and Saturday, but worked for most of the activities. On Saturday morning we went into town to a small farmers market for some fresh veggies. Therefore, we missed the arts and crafts hour. The kids made sun catchers with colored tissue paper and plastic wrap. We didn't see the completed project, but I am sure they were all really nice. They made enough kits for about 40 kids. They had to close the doors when they hit 39 just to make sure everyone had enough materials. I would call that a great success.
In the afternoon came the famous animal races. http://picasaweb.google.com/tnank101/LaborDayAnimalRaces My personal favorite. The kids just have such a good time. This time we had some elderly ladies come and play. Once they got the hang of it, they were just as excited as the kids. We had eight races total, and two drawings to split the door prize. Tom was out taking pictures all week-end, as you will see. It took about an hour and a half to set up and have to races. Time well spent!! Nothing beats a happy smiling bunch of kids
The lawn jarts contest that was scheduled next, had to be cancelled. Only three people signed up to play. But, I have to tell you, the sign up sheet for the massages was filled up. You could get a 10 minute massage for $5.00. They lasted about 15 minutes. Both Saturday and Sunday sheets were booked solid. We were so busy helping out, we didn't sign for one. That was our loss.
Sunday was our Pancake Breakfast. http://picasaweb.google.com/tnank101/LaborDayPancakeBreakfast For $2.50 you could have all the pancakes you wanted, 2 sausage links, juice. coffee or tea. Or......Biscuits and Gravy!!! John and Shirley can sure make good gravy. Sausage gravy is one of my favorites. Tom tried it for the first time. He really enjoyed it, too. Of course, you can only have 2 biscuits, but we give enough to fill up the whole plate. You sure don't go away hungry. It took almost no time to clean up, but that is Roger and Dorothy's job. They always do the pots and pans. The tables stay out for the bingo later in the evening.
We had to go to work at 5 o'clock. We had the night shift on Sunday night. We missed the bingo, but had all the kids who didn't go to that, came to the office to play pool, or some other kind of games. Tom was out delivering wood, and taking any roadies (people coming in off the road for the night) to their sites.
We came home at 9:15 to the great news that the Mets had won and the Phillies had lost. LET"S GO METS. We watched Big Brother, maybe I should say I watched Big Brother, and Tom checked things out on the computer, and we hit the sack.
Today, we had work at 1:00. So many folks went home early. As we walked up to the office, so many of the sites were empty. School starts here tomorrow, so they all have to be home to get ready. When we came home, we again found out the Mets had won and the Phillies had lost. What more could we ask for them this week-end? Not much. Just think where they would be if they had beat the Phillies last week.
Now for some other events of the week-end. It would be very remiss of me not to mention the win of Penn State. We watched the game before we went up to the animal races, and Tivoed the end. Tom had also heard about the game in Michigan, and switch to that, and we saw the big win against them in The Big House. The end of that game was really exciting. I think we will like that new Big Ten channel.
We also have to mention our Grandson's first day of school. He lets everyone know his teacher is beautiful. He thinks he's such a big boy now. He can ride the bus all by himself. He is so happy about going to school.
I think that is about enough for this post. Maybe I should have split this one up. Tom will post the pictures, so let us know what you think.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Sherburne National Wildlife Refuge and Haircut


Well folks, we went to the refuge. I suppose we expected something different. The drought we have had here in Minnesota has really done a number on it. In most places where there was a sign for a memorial pool, there was nothing but mud or nothing but dirt. Those of you who know about cattails, they were even drying up and brown. That is the first time I ever saw that. We did see a few ducks, a crane(we think), and some geese. The highlight of the trip was an eagle's nest, complete with eagle. We were quite far away from it, but old baldy sat right there for pictures. We had to park where they said. The refuge was about 30 miles away, and we were pretty disappointed that there wasn't more to see. We also took some pictures of the prairie that was seeded in 1993 and 94. It is growing naturally, and looks like it did in the days of the covered wagons. They haven't messed up the area with a bunch of buildings and roads. There are hiking trails and one dirt road to drive around the loop. On the way home we stopped and got some sweet corn and little red potatoes. That was a good end of the day.
We have had rain for the last 3 days. The grass is turning green again, and the trees look a little better. It is quite a bit cooler, also. Over the week-end we even had the furnace on. Today is a bit warmer, and the sun comes and goes. We even got the shorts back on today. Right now (7:00 pm) it is overcast again, and we have a few sprinkles. Now at 7:15 it seems to be clearing, and the sun is back out.
OK, I know you are saying 15 minutes between sentences. I am watching the the Mets beat the Padres. It is the 4th inning , and they are ahead 4-1.
Today I took a big step!!! I went to town and got a haircut. It was not easy. You ladies reading will understand. Diane has cut my hair for 35 years. Where do I go in Minnesota for a haircut? The other work campers where not much help. They go to relatives or friends. We saw a place the other day not to far from the campground. I went in to make an appointment, and she said they take walk-ins. Just come in any time. Today was the time. The outcome was terrific. I have a great cut from a really nice girl named Lynn. It was only 12 bucks, plus the tip I gave her. She was fast and good. I'll go back and get it done again before we leave for Texas. I was very pleased.
Tom has the pictures ready to post along with this entry. We'll attach and publish. One more day off, and we start the rotation again. Such a hard life. http://picasaweb.google.com/tnank101/SherburneNWR

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Big Storm and Clean-up

The other night while Tom and I were on duty, people kept coming into the office to check the weather on the TV. I don't usually have it on, but folks were worried about a storm coming. I guess they had reason to be. It wasn't long before the sheriff called to warn us that a strong storm was coming, and to be sure the campground was prepared. They asked if they should come out to assist. I told them "No we can handle it." I no more than hung up, and a deputy drove in. I knew it was serious. Boy did we start moving! I called some of the other work campers, and they got busy, too. We got everyone notified, and they were told to go to the bath house, as it is the only cement block building we have. Some opted not to. The awnings all were put up, and slide-outs put in. Of course, some of the folks where out of the campground. Those units where also taken care of. Everyone helped everyone else.
We were lucky that the main storm went south of us, but the second one hit us. The thunder was the weirdest that I have ever heard. The lightning was terrible. It rained really hard. What a mess it made. Everyone was fine, and went home to bed.
The next day, was clean-up day. Cris got the roads back in shape, Tom had to pick up debris, and residue from the run off. He found some of our wood 2 sites from ours. There are piles of the dead grass from the drought left all over the place. It looks like fuzz. They say they are on fuzz patrol when they are supposed to clean it up. All the acorns are falling, also. Because of the lack of rain, the leaves are also falling. The time they save not cutting the grass, they use raking up all of the junk.
Tom got some really nice pictures of the humming birds. He will post them when I am done with this entry. (http://picasaweb.google.com/tnank101/TheElusiveHummingbirds). Let us know what you think. We may go to a wildlife refuge tomorrow. We'll probably take pictures. We always do. Finally the temp will be lower that 90. We will have a couple of days of lower humidity. We can get out and do something fun. It's just been too hot to do things like walking trails. We'll enjoy the day.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Updates and Itasca State Park


I know it's been a while since I've posted anything in the blog. It has been so hot here that we mostly sit inside with the air on. We have sun most of the day and it gets like an oven inside Emily. The heat reflects off the concrete pad, and makes it even hotter. We did manage to rouse ourselves to do a couple of things.
Last week was the Benton County fair. It was your typical little 4-H fair, with goats, pigs, etc. We were looking for something different to eat, but we couldn't find anything that caught our eye that we don't have at home. Tom had a meatball sandwich and I had an Italian chicken sandwich. Then, of course, we each had a funnel cake. Rain threatened, and then blew away. Still no rain here.
We had a few days off, so we decided to go to Itasca State Park. Lake Itasca is the headwaters for the Mississippi River. We stayed at the state park campgrounds there. You could tell they have had more rain than here. The grass is green and needs to be mowed. It is a good 3 and 1/2 hours from St. Cloud. The drive was really very nice. Lots of small touristy (is that a word?) towns. There is a reason they call Minnesota the Land of 10,000 Lakes. They are everywhere. I have to tell you, the trip was well worth it. The history of the area is documented by signs and photos as you walk along the different paths, and stop at the spots of interest. The headwaters is the busiest.
Years ago at the point where the lake starts to form the river, they have made a little dam of rocks. Everyone wants to step in the water. You will see what I mean by the pictures that we will post. http://picasaweb.google.com/tnank101/MississippiRiverHeadwaters We did not take off our shoes, there were so many folks there, we just took some photos and watched for a while. It is so neat to see how The Mighty Mississippi starts out as such a small creek. We picked up a couple of little stones, one for Connor's rock collection, and one for ourselves. With a stop at the gift shop and a couple of little purchases we were on the the rest of the park.
Two of the attractions are the Big White Pine Tree, and The Big Red Pine Tree. The White was amazing. It stood so big over the area like it was guarding the place. The Red pine was another story. The top had been blown off by a high winds just last month. It was sad to see what was once a mighty Champion (it was tied for the largest in U.S.) now dying. The white was around 300 years old. I wanted to touch it, like touching a living piece of history, but they have a wooden fence around it so no one abuses it. Sad to say, some folks just do stuff like that.
We came back to more hot and dry weather, and were grateful for the short time away from all the heat. Back to work, and on we go. We can't believe we have been here almost 2 months. We must be having fun because the time is flying.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Monday, July 23, 2007

Mission Accomplished


We are now owners of a new set of Corelle dishes. They other day we went to K-Mart to look at the Corelle that they had on sale. All of the sets of dishes that we considered came with glasses. Tom says, " We don't really need glasses, let's wait and go to the outlet store. That way we can buy exactly what we want." We go home after picking up a few other things, and it is really hot out. We get inside Emily, and Tom goes to the fridge to get a beer. He goes to the cupboard, turns around, looks at me and says, "We don't have any glasses do we?" I said, "I didn't think we needed them."( He had been using large syrophoam cups.) Well......a couple of days later we are back at K-Mart buying dishes. Boy have we had a few laughs over that one. We just have to make sure that they are stowed really well when we get on the move.

Today we went to Munsinger Gardens. It's a beautiful park and flower gardens on the banks of the Mississippi River. We only have to drive a few miles to sit and watch the flowers grow. It is so peaceful there. There are swings and benches all over, for just that use.

It has been very hot here. We haven't seen any measurable rainfall since we got here on June 18th. It may sprinkle now and then, but nothing significant. The grass is all dried up and brown. With all the grass here, the fellas have only really had to do a little weed-whacking for the last couple of weeks. Some of the seasonal campers water the grass in their own sites, so that has to be taken care of, but that is all. They spend more time watering the flowers around the campground than cutting grass. I feel so bad for the birds. They spend so much time hopping around trying to find bugs, or something else to eat. We all have bird feeders, water, suet blocks, and other such things to help them. God bless them, they still sing.

We'll try to get some pictures in, if not we will send a link, so you all can see the gardens, and some of the beautiful birds we have here.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Camping World


This morning we got up and got ready to go. We usually take our time moving in the mornings, why should we hurry. Tom goes in line and reads the Wilkes-Barre news and obits, and I do my daily devotions and verse of the day.( For those of you who don't know, I send out a bible verse most every say to those on my list who want it.) They only time we sort of rush is when we work in the morning.
We stopped at the office to get a list from Cris, and we were off. The trip was well worth it. They had our chairs advertised for 2/51. We got them for under 20 bucks each. We also picked up some tire covers, and a Stay-a-while. That's for our propane. You connect it to a cylinder, and you can just take that and refill it, instead of moving the motorhome to fill that tank. We picked up some things for Cris and some items that Kim wanted, and came on home. We stopped at the office to settle up with Cris, and came home and put on the air. I think that's where we will stay for the rest of the day. The 3 H's (hazy, hot, and humid) are going full blast today. It's best to stay in out of the heat. It's still better than January.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Pot Luck and friends.


Sunday was our pot luck appreciation dinner. John smoked the turkey, which was delicious, and everyone brought a dish or two. I took bacon cheesy potatoes, and I made a batch of brownies. Everything was very good. It seems with pot luck you always get a good variety.(Except the one time at church when everyone took vegetables.) I took some pictures so you all can see some of the folks we work with. We cover up the pool table, put on a table cloth, and fill it up with food. That way whoever has that shift can be included in the fun.
Yesterday we had the morning shift. It was getting really warm by the time we came home. We finished up the potatoes left over from the party, and had sausage patties for supper. The rest of the time we just lazed around. Today it was hotter than yesterday. We turned on the air late in the morning. I made a pot roast in my electric pot, which I plugged in outside. I threw in some potatoes and carrots. I also made some biscuits, and boy was it good. I brought it inside to eat, where it was cool. Tomorrow is left-overs, which are usually just as good, if not better.
We have plans to go to Camping World tomorrow. We told Chris we will pick up what ever he needs. He said he would fax it over to them. They have some chairs on sale that we would like to purchase. The ones we have are beginning to be not so reliable. It will be nice to have some extras. Our loungers have been getting a work out the past couple of days. We have been doing a lot of reading, it's to hot for much else.
The weather forecast is just more of the same.....only hotter. Climbing up to about 97 during the rest of the week. I'll be in the office which has air, but poor Tom will have to be outside. We always have our water with us, so we'll just have to have extra. He can always stop and pick up another cold bottle while he makes his rounds. It's still better than snow and cold!!!

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Our Site



This is where we are living until October 12. The sign post has our names, and where we are from. Tom worked today to put the pictures in for me. Now I can show you all the beautiful birds we have here. Maybe some other wildlife. You can see by the color of the grass that we haven't had much rain. We did get some last night, but not enough.
We are, again, filled up for the week-end. This time you can hear some kids from the upper part of the campground. We also have more dogs than usual. Today we saw a pair of little black long-haired doxys. Of course we are partial to doxys because of George the granddog. There is also a pair of Goldens this week-end. A few days ago we had a Rodesian Ridgeback. What a really nice dog.
We are back to work tonight after 2 days off. We did the regular day-off stuff... laundry, groceries, etc. Today we got the humming bird feeders filled. We had one come by our window feeder already. Of course the finches are always here. Wait till you see the orioles. What beautiful birds. The male is, of course, the most colorful. There are no trees in our site, so we have to use shepherds hooks to hang things from. Everything looks nice in all the work campers sites. They are all fulltimers, and have all the bells and whistles with them. Some have worked here before, so they are old hands at this.
Tomorrow is the pot luck party for all the workers and volunteers. I am making bacon-cheesy potatoes to take. Maybe some brownies. One of the workers has a smoker and is doing turkey for us. The food should be really great. Good friends and good food. How good can it get!

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

More Hot Weather.

Yesterday was just more of the same. HOT AND HUMID. It is so dry here that the grass does not need to be cut. I made spaghetti outside with the help of a hot plate, and my electric pot. It was really good. The only problem was the mozzarella cheese. All the cheese seems more sharp here. The baby swiss is , and so is the mozzarella. We have been looking for white American cheese in all the grocery stores, and Tom finally had to settle for cheese from the deli section. All of the wrapped cheese is yellow American. Weird!! Another thing is we have only 1 dollar store close by. We looked in the phone book, and we found 3. All in different places. St. Cloud is a fairly big city, and at home we have them all over.
We mailed Connor a little box of stuff yesterday. Tom went into the Mississippi River to get him a Mississippi River Rock for his rock collection. That went in the box along with a few little things we picked up that we thought he might like. Should be there by the week-end.
Today it's very windy. We woke up to gusting winds rocking us around. We got the awning in as soon as we could, hoping the gusts would stay away till it was locked in place. All went well there. Now it is almost 10:00 a.m. and it is really blowing hard out there. We have to be at work by 1:00, and Tom will keep an eye on things as he does his work around the grounds. Chairs are falling down, and the outside lawn ornaments. We just had the today show on, and when he switched to satellite, there is no signal. The wind must have moved that, too. We'll fix it when we come back after work. I don't imagine there will be many RVs on the move today. Unless they have to be in a certain place, they should stay put. To dangerous for them out on the road today. If this keeps up, the contractors that are here working because of the hail storm a while back, will be here longer than they thought. That wouldn't be so bad. It's a great place. If we can find spots to keep them for awhile. They are having a pipeline put in near here, and some of the sites have been reserved for some of those workers. It has been a good summer for Chris and Deb. They have been almost full everynight since we have been here. Come tomorrow we will see if any damage has been done. I can't think we will get off scott free.

Saturday, July 7, 2007

One Hot Day

Today and tomorrow we are off, and because it is so hot, we are glad. This morning we took a run to the Farmer's Market downtown. Not much there. We ended up at the dollar store, and Target. We are on a mission to get a little microphone for our computer so we can talk to Connor (our grandson) when he stays with our daughter. So far no go. We did get a small mailing box so we can ship a few small items we have for him.
We were back by noon, and inside with the air on. It got up to about 97 here this afternoon. There is a cold front coming in for Monday, when we start our shifts again. Makes it nice for Tom, who does the bulk of his work outside. I sit in the air conditioned office, so I don't feel it like he does.
Yesterday at the grocery store I bought stuff for wrap sandwiches. Tonight Tom opted for just a chef salad. I had a weeks worth of meals all planned out, but this heat has put a screw in the works. Oh well, we'll go with the flow.
We just went up to the office to check our mail. We passed the pool on the way, and it was full. Whoever wasn't out eating, was in the pool. While we were there, Barb, one of the other work campers, had a call looking for a spot. Sorry, all filled up. I have never seen so many RVs in here.
I guess I'll just go and read for awhile. Tom is doing that right now. We usually sit outside in the evening, not tonight. Maybe tomorrow.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Great 4th of July

Monday we drove to Minneapolis to see the Mall of America. If you're into shopping and doing the mall thing, it's the place to go. We, however, are neither. Don't get me wrong, I like to shop, but not in a place where you don't go outside. I can do those outlet strip-malls all day. This place even had an amusement park inside. Also an aquarium. I suppose we should have been impressed, but weren't.
On the way home, we stopped at Denny's to have lunch. We spent more time there than the mall. It was neat. It looked like one of those old shiny metal diners.We each had a sandwich. I brought half of mine home. Our next stop was Cabelas. The outdoor/sporting goods store. It was a pretty cool place for hunters and fishermen, and campers, etc. Then it was on to Camping World. We always go into Camping World when we see one. Sometimes you can get some really good buys. Tom bought a 90 degree bend hose connecter for the side of the motorhome. It works alot better than trying to screw the hose straight in.That was about the extent of our purchases for the day. 160 miles for a hose connection.
Tuesday was an exciting day. I did laundry. It was very humid, and some things I don't put in the dryer just didn't want to dry. It was really to hot do do much else.
Wednesday, the 4th, was very busy at the campground. We are filled up right through the week-end. Folks coming and going all the time. Lots of visitors and cook-outs. Folks just want to get out of the city. Over the week-end we have a group coming in for a family reunion. We'll see how that goes.
Today was moving day for us. We came in a bit early, and our site was booked for the month of June thru the 4th. It is much more quiet here. We were very close to the bathhouse. There was always someone walking by. All of the work campers are in this section. This is where we will be for the duration. One more day of work and we get the week-end off. We are loving it.

Monday, July 2, 2007

July 1 week-end

Let me just tell you, the week-end past very quickly. Saturday we helped with the root beer floats. It was really busy there for a while. Then came the animal races. What a cute concept. 6 little stuffed animals on sticks race against each other. The sticks are cemented into numbered flower pots. A grid is drawn with chalk on the floor, 6 squares across and about 20 squares long. Anyone who wants to play gets to buy 1 or 2 numbered chips for a quarter each. The chips are pulled from a pot. The number on the chip tells you what animal to root for. A caller rolls 2 colored dice. One tells which animal to move and the other tells how many squares. Anyone with a chip that matches the number of the winning animal gets to split the pot with other winners. The kids just loved it. I thought is was great fun. I love it when kids have so much fun.
Sunday morning we had to set the alarm. (What's an alarm). We use it so much, Tom couldn't remember how to turn it off. We were going to the pancake breakfast. By the time we arrived at the Rally Center, some of the folks were already cooking. We not only had pancakes and sausages, but we also had biscuits and sausage gravy. I poured the juice, while Tom made sure the supply of cups never ran out. The workers ate before everyone else started to arrive. Tom chose the pancakes, while I had the biscuits and gravy. Everything was delicious. After the Rally Center was all cleaned up, we went off home. We enjoyed a nice quiet afternoon.
After dinner, we went back up to the Rally Center for bingo. There were many 4th of July celebrations and festivities going on in and around town, so the turn-out for bingo wasn't quite as expected. Be that as it may, we all had a good time. Tom and I had offered to do the concessions. Some chips, candy bars, soda, and water. After it was all over, we helped with the cleanup, and closed up the Rally Center. We walked back home and sat out till the bugs started to bite, then came inside.
I think anyone who camped here for the week-end had a really good time. I know we all did our best to make sure they were all happy. And they call this WORK camping???

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Getting ready for the Fouth of July

We are really getting in to the working mode. On July 1 we will start the regular schedule. Three days on--two days off. Not bad. There are 3 shifts. We do the evening shift(5 -8), then the afternoon shift(1-5) and then the morning shift(9-1), then we have two days off and start it again. So when we leave at 1 we don't have to be back till the evening shift. It's like almost 4 days off. When we have a Friday or Saturday night it is a couple of hours longer. Who could ask for more. Chris(the owner) furnishes the shirts. He is so great to work for. He says take what ever you think you might need.
Today we are on in the evening. I suspect we will be getting folks coming in for the week-end. We are booked up full. There are activities planned, and since we are not on the schedule to work, we have volunteered to help out with the special activities that are planned. The golf carts have been decorated with red, white and blue, and the flower pots have flags, and the office has been decorated as well. We will put out our own decorations this afternoon. Our flag is always out. We are having a pancake breakfast, but there will also be biscuits and gravy. They say it is to die for. A bingo, and things for the kids.
Usually on holiday week-ends, Chris and Deb have a little get-together for the workers after the campers have gone on Sunday evening. John, one of the workers, has a smoker and is going to do turkey. The rest of us bring pot luck. It sounds great to me. Maybe I'll take some of my cheesy potatoes. They usually go over well.
We are really getting used to this place. It is feeling more and more comfortable. Nice folks, good food, and a good place to stay. This is the life.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Work Camping

Today is Tuesday, and we have been here a week. We really like this campground. The fellow work campers are great friendly folks, and I'm sure we will have a great summer. If anyone gets up to Minnesota please come to check out the St Cloud Campground. It is mostly filled on week-ends. It's quiet, and peaceful. In fact, we can't believe how quiet it is. They have a nice pool, and a rally center that is mainly used for club rallies.The playground is kid friendly, and is outfitted with lots of things to play on. This coming week-end we are have a pancake and sausage breakfast, bingo, and some kind of animal races they play with dice. I'll let you know more when we find out exactly what it is.
Sunday we went to a couple of parks on the Mississippi River. They were really peaceful-a good place to take a book and veg out for a few hours. When we came home we got ready for our little welcome get-together. We had subs, and fixin's.
It has been so hot here it's a relief to go to the office to work. Poor Tom has to stay outside. There is LOTS of grass to cut here. The other day he had to bundle up wood. He has it harder than I do. I sit in the office and make reservations, and check people in. Among other things. We had a really bad hail storm here last week-the hail was as big as golf ball- and the park has quite a few insurance adjustors and contractors, and they are coming in and wanting monthly sites. We are just running out of room to put them all. The reason being, there is a pipeline being built, and some of those folks are here also. Plus we have rallies scheduled for some week-ends, and of course the holiday week-ends. Keeps us on our toes. With a little shuffling, Chris manages to fit them in somehow.
Today is supposed to be in the 90's, and we go to work again this evening. It will be somewhat cooler when we get back. Last night we needed the air conditioning for a bit. Other than that we have quite a nice breeze and a very nice shaded site.
Well, it's time to go galavanting. Tom wants to go out for a bit. We still get confused on some of the streets. By the end of the summer we will know where we are going.......SOUTH

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

St.Cloud, Minnesota

Well, we made it to St. Cloud. What a nice trip we had. The first two nights we were in Mercer, Pa. A friend of ours, Lori, and her son Justin, came to have dinner with us. He is our grandson's age. They brought the dessert. Of course, that was the best part of the meal. We tried to get to share some time with Linda and Ron, but they are work camping and were extremely busy getting ready for a special event coming up in a week or so. We stayed at a great campground. Plantation Park. We used our Coast to Coast card, and only had to pay for one night. Gee, $8.00 for 2 nights. Who can beat that. The only thing that went wrong was a incident with our dishes. Before we left, I took half of our kitchen dishes with us so that we could eat from real plates. Well, we had to turn around because the gas station we picked was not such a great in and out station. We found a huge spot. Even had a tractor trailor there. Much to our dismay, it also had very deep ruts that were camoflaged. We went bumpity bump and the dishes all came crashing out of the cupboard. And boy, do I mean crashing. We have only a few chipped pieces left. Hence, we are on a dishes quest. Connor would call it a mission.
Tuesday was really a do nothing day. We can do that. We are fulltimers!
Wednesday we were off to Pioneer, Ohio. Our destination was Love Berry's Funny Farm campground. It was a Passport America park. They had a great pool, and it was a good place for kids. The days travel went well, with not much construction.
Thursday we were off to Marseilles, Ill. We went via Michigan. The state border is right near the campground. Tom was determined to get into Michigan. So after a little detour, because of constuction, we went through Michigan, too. For about 3 miles. Then we were back on the highway. Two days of toll roads. Yuck!!We could have picked a better campground. I would not recommend Glenwood RV Resort. The place looks like it has seen better days. The roads were pretty bad. I held the cupboards shut this time. We were parked in an open field, which wasn't to bad until we shut off the motor. Then we heard them.......The Cicadas. Loud is putting it mildly. They did quiet down at night. We were on the western edge of the eastern time zone, so it stayed light out till almost 10:00. We were up and at it early the next day.
Friday we were on our way to Madison , Wisconsin. What a nice place. There are lots of beautiful parks. They have numerous biking and walking trails. Miles of them. They connected park to park. We stayed at a really nice little county park. We set up and took off to visit my Aunt Jean, who lives in an assisted living facility there. We haven't seen her in quite some time. She was so happy to see us. Traffic was terrible. Boy, do they drive fast.
Saturday morning we went to the farmers' market in Madison. They close the roads around the Capital Square, and it is lined with vendors. We picked up some fresh veggies, some fresh bread, and a really great meat pie. There was this little store that sold them just off the square. You had your choice of fillings. We picked mozzarella, ground beef, and sauce. Yummy!!! We took Aunt Jean some apple turnovers. My cousin Bonnie came and visited with us. It was so good to see her. I'm so glad we took the time to stop here to see them.
Sunday had us on the road again. We were headed to a Corp of Engineers campground near Eau Claire, Wisconsin. We only had electric hookup, but water was close by, and who needs sewer for one night? It reminded us of where we used to take the kids when we had the pop-up camper years ago. Out in the woods with birds singing, and peepers peeping. We just sat outside till we got tired. We were thinking of staying 2 nights.
Monday we decided to get up and get going. The bad weather they were predicting was suppose to come in late afternoon, so we thought we could get to St. Cloud before it hit. WRONG! We ran into the rain about a half hour before the campground. We had to pull off the exit, and find a place to wait it out. It only lasted a few minutes, and we were on our way again.
We finally got to the place we will call home for the next few months. What a nice place. Everything is clean and well kept. In the office we met Jeanne. What a nice greeting. The owner Chris, came after lunch, and showed us where to park for the next 2 weeks. Our permanent place is rented out for the month of June, because we couldn't give them an exact date of arrival. Any site here is nice. I think we will be very happy in St Cloud.
Yesterday we went to Wal-Mart to get some things for outside. A couple of flowers, bird seed, stuff like that. $100.00 later we went home. It looks more like home now that I have my chimes out, and my wind charms up. Today Tom washed Emily's face. She had bugs all over her. Even a cicada in the grill. She looks much better. I did some cleaning inside, and the laundry, because tomorrow we start work. We only have to work 4 hours a day, 3 days in a row, 2 days off. Not bad.
It has been very hot ever since we left home. Yesterday wasn't too bad, but today it was hot and muggy again. Just after supper we had a bad storm. Nickel sized hail. What a racket it made in the motorhome. We had some finches come after the storm, and a woodpecker at the suet. What could compare to this. A nice place to stay for doing what we would be doing at home. Birds singing chimpmunks scooting, and good people to call friends. Life is good.