Saturday, October 31, 2009

All Hands On Deck!

Today is the big day! Party time. Preparations are still underway and excitement is in the air. Today is the day for the chili/salsa cook off. Oh, and it is Halloween.
Good smells are wafting through the air as each camper prepares their very best potions for the judging. I am preparing my appetite!

Scarecrow Sally has been licking her lips in anticipation. She wants candy........

Scarecrow Sammy is thinking about popcorn balls and peanuts......
No detail is too small. I even made Halloween curtains! Note the gourd birdhouses with frogs appliqued on them. The colors look like a Mexican flag.....the three amigos?

Even the stools got a makeover, thanks to my BCBE (best camping buddy ever), Deb.
BFF is way over used, don't you think?

So many ways to win a prize, a fabulous prize. Deb won't tell me how many are in the jar..... she thinks I might give the answer away with hints. I suppose that the thought would have crossed my mind....

The pumpkin patch is ready for campers to grab one and carve for yet another way to win a fabulous prize........ so long as you aren't afraid to walk through the graveyard ..... ahhhhh ha ha ha ha.........

Better hurry before night falls and the tenants of the graveyard begin to stir about. You've been warned....... watch your back........

Young and old alike have pitched in to help set up the tent and get the tables in place.
The tent is up, lights have been strung, the fire has been laid. Everyone has retreated to their campers to cook their offerings of the night. Love of my life is busy making his ghostly apparitions that overtake Spooky Forest tonight on the hayride. We will begin the festivities at 5. First we eat, then we tally the votes for prizes. After the hayride through Spooky Forest we will all return to the bonfire and warm up with some hot mulled apple cider and coffee.... and no doubt a little more dessert. Then it is BINGO! The weather is cooperating, sort of. The wind is so brisk that everything has been nailed down. We had to relocate the bonfire to higher ground due to the water left behind all the rain. I can improvise, though and all is well in my world today as I prepare to spend the evening with friends.
Happy Halloween!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Rain, Rain....GO AWAY!

The rain continues today, despite the fact that the forecast predicted a sunny day. They promised, promised,I tell you, that this day would be dry and sunny, although windy. There are puddles everywhere and the ground is spongy and makes suctioning noises when you walk on the grass. In some places the water rises up to grab your ankles and creep into your shoes. This is so wrong. How am I supposed to set up my graveyard?
I got up at 7:30 expecting wet ground, but not the steady rain that was accompanying the soggy terrain. Discouraged, the dogs peed quickly and scampered back to bed. I followed and slept the extra sleep that always makes you feel crappy. Got up to a steady drizzle that continues even now. My reservation, my ONE reservation, cancelled. I have a dull throbbing headache that could possibly be from too much coffee.
The sun is toying with me as it peeks out every now and again, only to hide behind a cloud again. In addition to planning this Halloween extravaganza I have been making preparation to travel to Georgia for my son's memorial service. I have gathered all my photos and memories together. It was a bittersweet task and I am emotionally prepared.
Traveling with three dogs is not a spur of the moment event. Not like I can toss my suitcase in the car and go, grabbing a motel room along the way and stay with family when I arrive. Not everybody is okay with animals in their house and I respect this. We used to have a 40' motor home. I had a second set of clothes and toiletries on board, so that a trip meant a trip to the grocery for our food and dog food and off we went. I miss that freedom, so while I have been housebound by rain I researched and shopped the web for a used smaller version of my house on wheels. I found one at a reliable(?) dealership in Kansas City. It was listed for $8900 and the ad claimed it to be in good condition having had a total systems check. The photos showed it to be very clean, if somewhat dated. It was at a Ford dealership, so we felt confidant that the ad was portraying it correctly. We called and offered $7500, cash. After a few calls back and forth we settled at $8000. We were prepared to pick it up last Monday, but the salesman said it would need to be detailed and he would contact us and let us know when it would be ready.
We were okay with that, The memorial service is Nov 21st, so I felt like I had time. So, on this rainy drab day we get an e-mail from this salesman, Clint, who had been the one that we came to a deal with. His e-mail said that due to the extensive repairs that needed to be done in order to make this vehicle be in good enough condition to sell, the asking price had gone up to $12,900!!!!!! Whether these repairs were to the body or the engine, it was totally misrepresented and I wouldn't buy it now on principal.
I am now back at square one on the trip preparation. I am thankful that I did not drive a six hour round trip to be disappointed. That doesn't help with my initial problem, though. It was obviously not meant to be and there is a much better deal waiting for me.
Our Halloween celebration will be an intimate affair of those campers that I know and love to be with. We will have a wonderful time anyway! We will have way too much food and so many prizes that everyone will win! We are erecting a tent to set up under, so rain if you must, we are a hardy group and will have fun any way!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Halloween is coming.....

Every year we have a big Halloween celebration here at the campground. Whoever is here is welcome to join in. It began with me cooking a huge pot of Brunswick Stew and building a bonfire. We pulled all the picnic tables around and everybody ate and had fun. We had a little karaoke and some good singers as well as those who really shouldn't have tried. Kids wore costumes and there was plenty of candy.

The next year I still did all the cooking. We added a pet costume contest and had prizes. We had prizes for pumpkin carving and prizes for costumes. Of course the menu was the same. The same campers signed up in advance to participate. My stew must be good because I never have any left. Every year I cook more. In addition to that I would make chili. The second year everyone voted that I shouldn't have to cook it all. They all said I should still make my stew and I did.

Last year I made the stew and everybody brought their favorite dishes. I wasn't really into it though. My big dogs had both died and I was a little down. But, the show must go on and it did. We had a good sized crowd and everyone had a good time..... or would have appeared to. The stew was all eaten, so they all left with a full tummy. We had door prizes. Free nights, free weekends. T-shirts and that sort of thing.

This year we decided to have a chili cook-off and Bingo. With fabulous prizes. I mean fabulous, people. I won't mention them here, because I would want to spoil the surprise, but they really are nice. I am not cooking this year. Well, a dessert, but that's no biggie. We are having hot dogs, too. But, I only have ONE reservation. None of my regulars have called. Maybe they are thinking that I know they will be here........ and I hope they come. Bingo.... there will be BINGO! Fireside bingo. With prizes. Not lame prizes, either. Face painting for the kiddies and a hayride through Spooky Forest. Did I mention the fabulous prizes?

These guys are sitting on the front porch, just waiting for the fun to begin.

Even the rodents are waiting..........

This ghoul is bone thin, she has been waiting for so long. Or is it a guy, I can't tell.

This old hag is threatening to eat her poor cat!

Old Frank N Stein is really hungry for some rat stew, but won't wait for me to cook it!

Mr. Pumpkin head is looking angry.... must be the lack of reservations.

Mr. Bones is dancing nervously and climbing the walls. We will just have to wait and see what this weekend brings.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Happy Birthday, Layla

See this sweet face? It is a reflection of a sweet soul and it belongs to my granddaughter. She is 9 years old today. I wish I could feel those sweet arms hug me today.

Dogs are a great judge of character and my Emmy spent a lot of time in Layla's arms when she was here. Totally relaxed in her arms. Sweet and gentle is my sweet girl.

I am missing her today. Must be time to start thinking about taking a trip north. Yep, it sure is.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Lady Debugger ....... Me?

Since I had not bought groceries in two weeks and needed to run some errands, I showered and even put make-up on. Remembered my list and my cell phone. I was ready to knock out those errands and take on the world. Unfortunately, the car wasn't up to the challenge..........
Glad I remembered the cell phone. I would have hated to have to walk the 20 feet back into the house. I was really glad that love of my life came to my rescue..... what with me being so far from home, nearly destitute.

That sweet man is magic. My little ride was ready for an adventure in no time.

I roll to the end of my drive and view the remains of my mailbox. Nice, huh? A new adventure every day.

Nice tracks adorn the grass beside the driveway. Given the double trenches, I am assuming a big tractor trailer decided to use our driveway to turn around and cut it way too short coming out the wrong way and hit the mailbox.

Oh, look he (?) pulled through the grass on both sides. Nice.
I decide to have a nice day in spite of this. After all it is blog worthy. I even have pictures. So off I go to return my books to the library. I know that I am a couple of days late and will owe a fine. Should be less than a dollar. I am prepared to pay my fine and go on to the grocery. The nice lady scans my returns and looks up at me and starts laughing nervously. According to the computer I owe $33,000.00 in late fees. I don't think so. After further investigation, turns out 83 cents took care of everything.
I made it back home, groceries in tow without further ado. Love of my life went off to work and I went about the business of taking 4 cancellations and looking forward to a pretty slow night.
Since it was so slow, my good friend Deb took me out to dinner! Unheard of on a Friday night. We had a nice dinner at a local establishment. I have come to realize that I need my camera on me at all times. I noticed an item in the restaurant I had not seen in years........ fly tape hanging near the entrance of the establishment. I was duly impressed. We seemed to be the last patrons of the day and they sent the young man who took our order to the local grocery to purchase the makings of our salad. We heard the cook telling him there was a huge difference in a cucumber and a zucchini. Very entertaining.
We came back to the park and did a drive-thru. Since all was still quiet I went to her camper to hang out. I happened to look up and notice that we were under attack by.... ladybugs. They were swarming all over the ceiling.
I came to the rescue with a water bottle and stepladder.

Look at my wonderful harvest! I have now been dubbed........ Lady Bugger. Not to be confused with Lady Booger..........

Actually, it should be Lady Debugger. Yes I will accept that as my new title. But.... if I am a Lady, is love of my life a Lord?

Thursday, October 22, 2009


I have been asked what I do with my gourds after they have cured. I tried to capture the witch I carved in this one, but it does not photograph well. Maybe if you squint while you look? Just kidding. I carved the hole in the back instead of the bottom, so the light doesnt shine quite the way I had intended. I will do it differently next time. Oh, and no candles, these gourds are very flamable.

This gourd in the picture below may or may not cure. It has an odd shape and it doesn't have a hollow sound when I thump it. It has a "heavy" feel to it, even though it is a lot smaller than the others.

I like this tall one, I think I will try to paint an ethnic doll when it is dry. Very exotic........

I like this trio of ........ snowmen...... the three bears? Don't know yet, I just like them, they have character.

This years harvest is light, only 12. But that is pretty good considering these plants were all volunteers from seeds falling on the ground from two years ago. I tried planting last year, but the early rains wiped them out. Since this spring was also rainy I decided to skip the planting. Nice surprise.

Great Stuff...........

I went outside to clear my head and ........ mop the bathrooms. The air was crisp and I made short work of the restrooms and went for a little stroll through my fast fading gardens. They needed work, so I grabbed my clippers and got started removing all the dead heads and gathering seed for next year. I made great headway and started pulling dead vines down and lots and lots of shriveled sunflower heads.

Just look what I found hiding among all the dead branches. The sun has been absent here for so long........ in more ways than one. I cut it and put it in a vase so that it could cheer me up.

Back to my title........ We have an area in the pump room where all the electrical boxes enter the building. Love of my life added something at some point in time and I could actually see daylight coming in.... I thought it should be fixed, you know. Rain, cold air, mosquitoes, flies, rodents can enter the building. I left the repair work up to him. I can no longer see daylight in that particular area. This is good, right?

I found this can on his workbench. Clearly the man does not know how to use this product. This is not the first time he has used it, either. I have tried to explain to him that the product continues to expand long after you apply it.
Last time he used it to "seal" around the back door. He used so much that it actually popped the trim off. I am afraid to go outside and look at the building....... he applied it outside. I guess I should just be happy I no longer see daylight. Still, I hope the siding remains on the building. Less is more, less is more. Perhaps he should chant this as he applies it...........

Monday, October 19, 2009

When the going gets tough, the tough.....mow

Thank you one and all for your comments and good thoughts. It has been a difficult weekend for me. I managed to conduct business on Friday and Saturday. On Sunday I put a sign on the door and spent the day going through old photos. I didn't find that many of my son and I am still searching through photo boxes.

Today I have been on the phone all day. Details, so many details to handle. Just when you think everything is settled, someone else tosses a monkey wrench (so to speak) on all the plans. I am content to let everyone else handle it. The memorial service is not for the person gone, but those left.

I finally gave up and put my sneakers on and went out to mow. After a week of raining non-stop, it was satisfying to do something that showed immediate results. I remembered as I mowed that my son, Bobby, hated mowing. There was not a blade he could not destroy 5 minutes into the job. I doubt he ever actually mowed a whole yard. After replacing several blades we decided it would be less expensive and frustrating to just do the job ourselves. Good thing I like to mow.

Saturday, October 17, 2009


Estranged.... what does this word mean? Webster has the definition as a verb: alienate, disaffect, wean. To cause one to break a bond of affection or loyalty. Wean? I guess that would fulfill the meaning of the word, but still seems strange in that context.

I have been estranged from family members from time to time in my life. Sometimes life is easier when not dealing with what would seem to be overwhelming issues. Better to put them on the back burner, so to speak, and let it go until you feel ready to deal. My mother was one of those family members that I often needed to distance myself from. She was critical and hard to talk to. I loved her and I know that she loved me, but we seldom saw eye to eye. I could agree to disagree, but she was unable to let anything just lie. She would keep any unpleasant item alive for as long as possible. It was all or none at all with Mother. My Dad was always loyal to his wife and I can admire that trait in him; even if it meant that he was also absent in my life when she was. During our last estrangement Mother died. Grief is a funny thing, though. It knows no estrangement. No matter who was right any chance of atonement was lost.

I mourned the loss of my mother and reconnected with my Dad. I have somewhere in my belongings a letter I wrote to her after she died. I know that sounds silly, but the letter was for me as much as it was for her. I would like to think that she was looking over my shoulder as I wrote it. I suppose I will know one day.

My oldest child died last Sunday. He was 39. He was alone by all accounts. I learned of his death only yesterday. We were estranged. I can only hope that he was at peace when he passed on. I was not listed as his next of kin. His sister is/was and she is the one who notified me. I am more stunned by his death than I thought I would be. The world he chose to live in was one that would ensure death at a young age.

As I lay in bed last night I tried to conjure images of the child I had nurtured. I also wondered what role I played in his choices that led to his death. No getting around that age old guilt a mother always feels when her child does something wrong. I am not taking the blame for what his life was, just wondering about my part, no matter how big or small the role.

I will not see him in death. I will remember him alive, as he looked the last time I saw him. No, I think I will remember that teenager on his first date to a dance. He wanted to wear a white sports coat. Very Miami Vice. I went with him shopping and we ended up at the fabric store. I made it for him. I seem to work quite well under pressure as I only had that evening and the next day to complete my assignment. I did and he was quite handsome. Somewhere I have a picture of him with his date. It was shortly after this event that he went to live with his "real dad". He changed dramatically afterwards.

Perhaps that was the turning point in his life, I will never know for sure. I have learned that even before this change in his life he was displaying behaviour that I would not have approved of. Nature or nurture? Who really knows these answers?

Today I am sad. I feel a little helpless, as if I should be doing something. Don't know what, though. In my heart I know that nothing I could have said or done would have changed the outcome for him. I hope he realized that I loved him even when I didn't like him. I hope that he knows that I am shedding tears of grief for him. I hope. Hope is all we have.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Money Pants

Lest I incur the wrath of my child I will try to post something every day......

Life is less exciting this time of year, but one notable thing did happen to me recently. Twice, as a matter of fact!

I was dressing to go shopping with my friend. Since the weather has taken a turn and is considerably cooler I chose a pair of jeans I had not worn since early Spring. I pulled them on and was happy that they weren't tight. I was even happier when I stuck my hands in the pockets and found two nicely laundered ten dollar bills. Nothing like found money!

So, imagine my surprise, when the very next day (yesterday), I pulled a clean pair of pants out of the closet and slipped into them and......... found ten ones and a five in the pocket of those pants!

So far, so good. By all accounts I was thinking I should find the equivalent of ten dollars in my pants pocket today. But, the spell is broken. I am only $35 richer, but still happy about that.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Jill, Meet Claudia

I opened my e-mail a few minutes ago. First thing I did was eliminate all the spam. Then I looked to see if I had any reservations awaiting my attention. Then I saw that I had messages from two of my children, my sister and my best friend......

I went to the tea kettle and poured hot water over the herbal tea bag and dunked it up and down while enjoying the aroma of blueberry. A squirt of honey and I am ready to relish my time on the computer. I opened my friend's message first and replied, then I read my sisters three messages. I was saving the best for last.

I opened Jeff's e-mail next. There was a picture of my sweet granddaughter, Jada. I teared up a little at the sight of her sweet face. I miss all my grandchildren today. It is miserable and rainy and I just want this day to end......

Jill's message was from Facebook. Talk about brief and to the point! It said, "Blog? It's been forever!" So here I am with my brain as foggy as the weather and totally uninspired. I saved this for last, expecting some wonderful story of my grandchildren and instead I am being chastised for not blogging! I will go on Facebook after I post this and peruse all my kids and catch up on their lives.

Today is so dreary. I have spent the day cleaning out closets and tossing all those items I have kept, thinking I will find a purpose for them other than collecting dust.
In all this cleaning I did not damage any spider webs........

Meet Claudia. Isn't she lovely? She has woven an impressive web that spans from the ceiling of the porch overhang to the soda machine. It has to be at least four feet. She even has a strand of the web secured to the concrete sidewalk underneath for stability. Spiderwebs are amazing and I like to have a few spiders around to gobble up those pesky houseflies.

So....... this is for you, my sweet daughter. Best I can do today.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Here is another look at the garden my grandson, Gavin, helped me plant in June. I would have to say that it is thriving, wouldn't you?

This another shot from a different angle. I think of my little guy every time I look out and see this garden. I call it Gavin's garden. When my grandson Gage was about 4 he pulled a limb on the maple tree in my front yard and broke it off. He was just being a kid and I didn't want to make a big deal about it. I didn't want him to get in trouble. I took the broken limb and I stuck it in the ground and "planted" it. It grew! I always called it the Gage tree. I had to leave it behind when we moved, but I carry the memory with me.

This is a new garden, only a few weeks ago I asked that a mound of dirt be dumped here. It was unsightly and I pondered how to mold the lumpy hard clay into something resembling a "mound". It was raining and I took a trip to the grocery and found theses lovely mums at a wonderful price. Problem solved. I stuck them into every crevice and then climbed atop the pile and sort of stomped it into the shape you now see. Cover with mulch and... voila... a garden. Two of the children in the park came by on their bikes and wondered about the mulch. They told me it looked like chewing tobacco to them.

Frogs, I love frogs. this is my new welcome sign complete with a happy frog. He is perched among my strawberry plants.

I have been a little slow and lazy so far this week. I actually slept until 9:30 this morning! I could have slid under the covers and slept the whole day away, but got up.
Last night was simply horrible here. We have a leak on one our sites. This site has a frost free hydrant and the parts are easily available. Love of my life had already made three trips to "town" for various things and couldn't find what he needed. I suggest that he make a list of all the things he can anticipate before he leaves on the first excursion, but this is not the way he operates. You would think that after 35 years I would know this.
The sky was already losing light as he left to go to a store about 50 miles away to get the part he needed. I thought I might be coming down with a cold and had been instructed to "take it easy". Other than the laundry and dishes and the occasional phone reservation I was doing that. But as soon as he left the floodgates opened and the phone rang non-stop and I had enough traffic to make it impossible to curl up on the couch with the dogs.
I was counting the minutes left to be open when the phone rang and a late comer asked me to wait for them. I did and the man was very nice and thanked me for waiting. I went through my usual speech and used a hi-liter to mark the route he should take. He left and I locked up. Love of my life was still absent. I got all settled in for another episode of House. I had been watching it all day and was beginning to think I may have something seriously wrong with me. I had my computer at the ready to look up my symptoms....when.... the phone rang.
It was the wife of the nice gentleman I had just registered. They were lost. Lost? I gave him a map. He was paying about as much attention as any other man does when being directed by a woman..... but ...... lost? She says that she thinks they took a wrong turn and they are on a deserted road with no sites and a big mound of dirt (not my new garden!). I step outside, phone in my hand, looking for the lights of their rig. The sites start on one side of the park and are sort of in a horse shoe shape. There is a turn you can take and it will lead you to a row of sites that are out of the tree line. I should be able to see them and I don't. I tell her that I will come and find them.
I am already braless at this point and I throw a sweatshirt on and shove my socked feet into my flip flops and grab the car keys........ and I get into the car that is so out of fuel that the light is on and it is making that stupid dinging noise. Now we all know that I don't put fuel in my car unless I absolutely have to ( like when I go to Minnesota to see my kids). I had alerted the one who is responsible for keeping his wife's tank full that I had already driven over 25 miles in the light-on, dinging state. It is dark and I don't relish the thought of running out of fuel and leaving my car to walk home...even in my own park.
I drive over to the unfinished area of the park and through the tree line there, thinking that they could be there, since I can't see their lights from my building. They are not there and I turn my little car around and head back to the main road. I see that my fence has been hit pretty hard... hard enough that the post is completely out of the hole, concrete and all. I finally spy their lights in the woods. I make my way cautiously to them and find that a couple of my campers (pipe liners, no less) are already helping the man back out. Tom and Hoss to the rescue!
Long story. We ate supper at 8:30. Tonight as I checked in my last camper, he was concerned that I wouldn't have change for a twenty. Welcome to my world.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Gourds Revisited

The weather is turning colder, especially during the night. The leaves are changing color and falling from the trees. My sunflowers are drying out and will become a mainstay for the squirrels and birds. My marigolds are still hanging in there, along with the mums I recently planted.

The gourds would appear to be a little confused. Some leaves are turning brown and falling........ while the vine is still green and strong and is still blooming.

Tiny little gourds, not much bigger than my thumb are hanging here. Only time will tell if they will grow fast enough to make a hard enough shell to survive the drying process. See the curly little vines? They grab onto whatever they find to lend support for the heavy fruit they bear.

These are the same three I have in previous posts. They have changed shapes a couple of times. They are still very heavy and not ready to cut away from the vine. I have to watch them closely now. I check the vine daily for any signs of stress or turning brown. I don't want them to hit the ground and burst while they are still green.

This one is about the size of a half gallon milk jug. I just noticed it about 2 weeks ago and it was only the size of a soup can then. They really grow fast, but this one may or may not ripen enough before it freezes.

I like the shape of this one. It is hanging from my clothesline. I see a snowman. What do you see?

This is another shot of the smaller odd shaped one. It isn't speaking to me yet.

Some of the leaves are turning brown, while there are still some blooms. I guess part of the vine knows it is Autumn, while some vines must be thinking it is Spring.

This one looks like a good candidate for a future birdhouse.

Sitting on the ground, I think this could house a lot of birds. I think I may try to carve this one with something Halloweenish (is that a word?).
Transitions all around my yard as I gather seed for next spring. I have 100 tulip bulbs to put in the ground. I will get 100 daffodil bulbs to pair with them. I can hardly wait until Spring to see all those happy little blooms bobbing in the wind.