Thursday, April 29, 2010

Happy Birthday, Gage

Today you turn 15. Seems like only yesterday you were a mere baby. So sweet to hold. Then, before I could turn around, there you were in Kindergarten, holding my hand....... until we reached the line in which you stood to enter that big boy place of learning. That is when hugs and kisses were banned to non public places. You would lapse from time to time, but not very often.

You are a great kid, grandson of mine. Almost in spite of yourself.

On my last visit I wanted a family picture. This is as close as you would get to the rest of your family. I guess it didn't help much that everyone found this attitude somewhat amusing. Well, everyone but Georgie.

I told you were my heart the day you were born and many times after that. I asked you if your sister could be my soul on the day she was born. You looked up at me with those wonderful blue eyes and said, "No, I am all that to you." You were very serious and solemn. Brought tears to my eyes. You grabbed my heart then and are still there along with your sister and your cousins............I seem to have a very big heart.

I am proud to be your Gramma.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Neither Rain, nor Sleet, nor Snow...........

.......nor high winds, tornadoes or dropping temperatures can wipe the silly smile off the face of the crazed campground lady. We schedule an event, and we have it! I know I look like I hit the liquor cabinet, but I didn't........
Here is the tent the high winds blew down. We won't be eating under this shelter.

He who mows is also he who grills. Under the shelter of the front porch as the aroma of charcoal lighter wafts through the air. He looks so happy, huh?

This is right after the lightning and ferocious clap of thunder. After the tree fell and crushed the picnic table, it actually started to clear up and I optimistically called for the great tent to be erected. (I was going to say great tent erection, but there are some out there who take that opportunity to think bad thoughts).

Cody arrived in his quickly assembled rain gear to supervise the event.

Hooray!! We have a dry space to put the tables up!! He who grills was duly impressed and wanted to leave it up forever as a parking shelter. I vetoed that rather quickly. Didn't matter anyway since the wind blew it all down in the end!

Here comes Tom to lend advice from the dry safety of his golf cart. You will note that he stays on board, lest anyone ask him to actually help. John is conferring there on the side.

All for not, anyway. The tent collapsed and we all crammed into the store.

Mostly wet, but in good spirits, they all came inside.

Familiar faces happy to kick off a new season of camping.

How many people does it take to spread a table cloth?
Keep moving to the back...... you won't need those jackets long. It is going to warm up soon with all these bodies in such close proximity.

Watch out, Cody looks hungry!!

New faces to look forward to knowing.

Sweet faces I hold dear! Sorry, Nan, I didn't take it. An unidentified one had my camera!!

Very happy faces!! I think there may have been alcohol involved.

Marshall is a take charge kind of guy and was happy to serve the desserts. He stayed and swept my store, too! Yes, Marshall kissing up is a wonderful trait to have!

As you can see we had quite a spread and I doubt anyone left hungry. We all enjoyed the food and the company of each other. We will be gathering the recipes of all the wonderful dishes of this season and publishing a cookbook this fall. One of our events is going to involve only recipes that can be cooked over an open fire.......
The weather remains cold and dreary today. The tent is still lying where it fell. I did manage to pull the stakes up out of the ground, but the tent is full of water and is more than even two people can move. Maybe the sun will come out tomorrow and I will be able to dry it out. In the meantime I will rest in the afterglow of my weekend that should have been a disaster, but wasn't.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Earth Day

In honor of Earth Day, I created a new garden area. Truth be told, Earth Day is just coincidental. I love to play in the dirt and plant things. This is the side of our building. I am not happy about the black cable running along side the house, but it at least goes with our color scheme. Soon the plants will rise up and conceal it.......
Hosta and day Lilies....... and pepper plants.........

Oh, and onions, too. Basil and rosemary. Further down I have a small bed of chives, then some parsley. There will be marigold throughout to discourage various critters.

Wood pile is ready......
Used to look like this........

And now it looks like this.......... (Actually, this is what happens when one is downloading pictures and cooking at the same time....... you add it twice.....)

I took a stroll through the the garden. This is the last tulip to bloom.

The day lilies will soon fill the garden with sunny yellow.

I think everyone will agree with me that my over wintering project was a failure on this particular hanging plant. Off to the compost bin with this!

The sticky buns and cappuccino muffins will be all set in the morning along with a pot of steaming coffee.

Kan-Do Frog is announcing it on the front door, in case you miss the chalk board.

The popcorn will add fragrance to the store and the counter is all ready to cook up a corn dog...

Quality junk food for those hungry campers.

All set for a weekend and I walk outside for a breath of air. Look at the sky! Shortly after I snapped this the sky fell and it rained....... and rained..... A few brave souls made their way in anyway and it stopped raining as night fell.
The sky looks pretty much the same this morning as I am thawing the 20 lbs of chicken and getting it ready for the grill. Soon I will have the guys put up the big meeting tent in case it decides to rain again. We are a determined group and we will have our cook out!
Still covered with my rash, but the itching has subsided. I can wear make-up again and am no longer scaring the public with my naked face! I have prepped all my garden beds and plan to sneak out to plant some beans and corn while the soil is nice and wet........... it is , after all, Earth Day!

Monday, April 19, 2010


For every good there is a bad. For every positive, a negative. I am trying to put things into some kind of perspective. We were busier this weekend than the same weekend last year. The weather was perfection this past weekend. I accomplished more on the pool area than I thought I would and we are a bit ahead of schedule.

I am literally covered in a rash. I itch from head to toe and everywhere in between. I can't imagine being more miserable. I can't wear anything that fits close. It hurts. I started steroids today and have a dental appointment tomorrow. I hope I can sit still long enough to have my overlay applied to my tooth. I have only slept in short little intervals before the insane itching awakens me, Then I have to apply Caladryl or Ivy Dry or whatever new remedy is suggested to me. It burns and then I can't go back to sleep. I cannot bear to be in the sun. I am greeting campers sans undergarments or anti-perspirant. I am wearing the loosest clothes I can find. More than that, I can't wear make-up. My right eye is swollen so that I can see my eyelid if I look to the right. The left side of my face looked like I was having a major rosacea attack yesterday. Today I look like I am recovering from a burn. My left ear and nostril are under attack, too. The tiny little red bumps that are the beginning of the rash are barely visible and you scratch them unconsciously, causing them to swell and spread until they raise into an ugly blob that is hot and painful to the touch. I am having alternate chills and hot spells.

But, on the good side, he who mows is being very attentive and sympathetic. When he isn't mowing or plumbing. His new favorite pass time involves a shotgun. I wish I had a picture to post. A muskrat has taken up residence in our pond again, causing leakage wherever he (she?) chooses to burrow. Our pond is banked up high on one side and as I looked out to see where he might be as dusk approached last night I could see his silhouette as he stood looking into the water, rifle at his side. I couldn't decide if he was Elmer Fudd or a religious fanatic on sentry duty protecting the compound. I suppose it is good that I haven't lost my sense of humor.

I have been watching the news for the weather forecast. Rain has been predicted for Friday, Saturday and Sunday. We have a work weekend scheduled for all of our seasonal sites to be followed by a pot luck dinner and a birthday surprise for he who hunts, plumbs and mows. His birthday was a month ago, so this will truly be a surprise. He doesn't read my blog this time of year, so I feel safe putting this in here. Rain, poison ivy and a muskrat. Guess I need to go cook a good meal for Elmer Fudd and try to balance the negatives..........

Friday, April 16, 2010

And So It Begins.........

Camping season has begun. The weather is perfect. Warm breezy days and cool evenings begging for a campfire............ Monday through Thursday is filled with an insane race to keep up with all that needs to be done. The weather has cooperated this past week and I have been digging and mowing and painting from the early morning hours until I can no longer see what I am doing in the evening. It is supposed to rain today and I am looking forward to this event so that I can clean my house. I have decided that I really need a wife!

I mowed and edged yesterday, did a little planting in the vegetable rows and waited until the tree line put the pool area in a bit of shade so that I could continue to paint the fence. You would think that I would fall asleep pretty easily after 10 to 12 hours of toil. I do, but my canine friends have been restless this week. They have awakened me every night at 1:15 to go out and drink water. I can usually go back to sleep, but it is still an interruption that I don't need. Yesterday I slept in until after 8:00!! As the week wears on I find myself more tired and looking forward to the weekend. I pretty much stay in the store or simply visit with campers, so the weekend provides a slower pace as far as physical labor goes.

Even though I slathered myself in sunscreen yesterday I got a bit of a sunburn and I was feeling itchy. I didn't pay much attention to the itch. It wasn't too bad and I was busy with my project. A dark cloud formed and it rained for about two seconds and I thought I might not be able to continue with my paint job. It blew out as quickly as it blew in, so I retrieved my paintbrush from the freezer and headed to the pool, paint bucket in hand. (Yes, the freezer. If you wrap the brush with foil or plastic and put it in the freezer it can be used again without cleaning it. It will thaw quickly and become pliable).

My phone reception is iffy in some parts of the pool area and I am working on the far side now, so I have to leave the phone on the other side of the pool; meaning that I have to speed walk to the other side and then head towards the office as I answer. Suffice it to say that the only interruptions I want to have are actual reservations. As dusk is rapidly approaching last night and I am disheartened to see that I won't accomplish what I had set out to do, the phone rings. I put the brush on the edge of the can and race to the phone and towards the building and answer on the last ring before the answering machine captures the call.

"Hello, Kan-do Kampground, how can I help you?" is my automatic response to a ringing phone. Is this Kan-Do Kampground? Yes, it is, can I help you? We were wonderin', do ya'll allow camping? I squelch the urge to tell her that I wish I had thought of that and simply tell her that yes, we do. Well, we been thinking about camping. How much would it cost if we came there?
I rattle off the rates and end with "that includes two adults and up to two children". She whines about having to pay extra for her children and their four children, cause "we got a big old 5th wheel and it can sleep a lot of people". I am listening to this as I see my light dwindle and I want to either make the reservation or end the call so I can get on with my project. She finally tells me that her husband made a reservation with me already and promises to call me tomorrow!

I go back to my paint can to discover that my brush has fallen in the can and the handle now has paint on it. Annoyed, I fish it out and get paint on my hands. This is oil based paint and it gets sticky as it dries. I unconsciously scratch my leg and now I have paint on my leg, both hands, the side of my face and a big splash on my foot. I get as much paint on the fence as I can and wrap up the brush and put the lid on the can and head to house. No paint thinner to be found, but acetone removes most of it. After a shower, I eat a bowl of oatmeal while I catch up on my bloggy friends. I am itching in earnest now and wonder if the pityriasis has returned. My eyes are itching and I apply drops for allergy eyes and it sets the skin around my eyes on fire. Odd. It has never done that before.

At 7:28 this morning I heard the phone ring. It woke me after a very restless night. I looked at the caller ID and it is the same caller from last night!! In no mood for an early morning encounter with this person, I let it go to voice mail and head to the coffee machine. I am itching like crazy and take a close look at my leg. I have either poison oak or ivy. Great. I have a patch of it around my right eye.

Not really looking forward to this weekend.........

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Vanilla Tootsie Rolls

Did you know that tootsie rolls came in vanilla?? I knew that the little ones did; you know like for Halloween. I am not a chocolate fan, but I do like these. Love of my life knows this. I was asleep when he came home last night and didn't find my "present" until awhile ago. We have both been working non-stop and only see each other when we eat our one meal together. We sit down for at least 30 minutes together and eat and usually watch TV. Today we watched American Idol. Then he went to work and I went back outside..........

I have been edging all my garden beds and moving some big rocks to build new garden beds. He who mows told me to wait until he could help me move the really big rocks ..............

As soon as his truck was out of site I grabbed the hand truck and moved my rocks. He who mows is also he who plumbs and he who readies the pool. This makes him he who has enough on his plate. And I have discovered that I can move just about anything on wheels!

This garden is all edged neatly and will now be easier to mow. Problem now is that I can see the weeds growing in the gravel parking lot in this picture. Short pause to add Round-Up to my growing list of items needed........ add ant killer, too.

Gavin's garden is looking good. I still have new tulips every day! Oh, no, I see a dandelion!!

The ground is dry and thirsty. It is supposed to rain tomorrow. Look, triplets!

This one is about spent. I planted an assortment of colors and wasn't sure what I was going to get. I like the orange.

And the yellow. Must be why I love marigolds. I have planted a gallon zip-lock bag full of seed throughout the park along with sunflowers and of course, gourds.

Apple tree blossoms. I have three trees and the aroma is heavenly. If you walk close to the trees you can hear the humming of the bees as they are doing some crazy pollination!

This one is a golden delicious and my favorite. The wind picked up awhile ago and it rained very briefly. Not enough to really get anything wet. Just enough to send me in and make me reconsider painting fence tonight after the treeline shades the pool area.
Yesterday as I painted frantically racing the end of the day I noticed that the wind had blown some of those apple blossoms towards the fence and they were stuck to the wet paint. Last thing I did last night was pull them off. I am happy to report that I have reached a halfway point. I am painting all the parts of the fence that are hard to paint, such as the posts and will then give the roller another try on the chain link. I has measured the fence by counting what I thought were 8' sections. That means I have to paint 240' inside and out. Well, today I discovered that those sections are 10' and I am painting 300'. I do not know why, but I find that depressing!!
Today is the deadline for taxes and the second anniversary of my sweet collie, Sarge's death. I always miss him when I am working outside. I almost expect to find him at my side as I dig and drag rocks. He was the most wonderful companion. He loved sweets and would appreciate sharing with me..........

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Bulbs Arising And A Hog

I know that spring is here....... those hateful beetles that have given ladybugs a bad name are back! They come back to life after winter's freeze. They bite and annoy and if you squish them they smell bad.

So with this sure sign of the season the blackboard has changed appropriately to welcome visitors as they arrive to check in.

The pastry this weekend was cinnamon buns. Folks were more interested in the hot coffee, though.
Tulips and daffodils are trying to come to life, even in the shady areas of the park.

This garden above is Gavin's Garden. I planted bulbs last fall and I wish he was here to see them.

They are coming along nicely in this bed, too. Not many daffodils , mostly tulips.
It has been a wonderful weekend. Perfect weather. Sunny and warm with a gentle breeze. Crisp cool mornings and evenings just right for a campfire. All my campers seemed to have a good weekend.
Oh, and he who mows bought a hog. "Oh, before I forget, I bought a hog." he says to me casually. I pictured an animal upright and walking. Did he buy him to eat grass? I was afraid that was the case. He who mows is a real deep thinker. I have been asking for a mower with no power to use in the parts I mow and I am afraid that he may think an animal is a better solution......... I could just see a hog rooting in my flower beds eating my bulbs.
The hog was to butcher and fill the freezer with meat. As happy as I am to hear the news that I won't have a hog wondering around my yard; I am faced with a new dilemma. Freezer space. On a weekend, while I am busy in the store. I run back and forth as I empty the big chest freezer and realize that it needs to be defrosted. No time to do that, so I grab the tool used to tape drywall and scrape as much of the ice that I can and then scoop it out into a bucket. Sounds simple enough. But in order to reach the bottom of the freezer to get the ice out I have to lean as far in as I can standing on my tip toes. Almost fell in. Now that would have been funny ........... a long time afterwards.
When I replaced all the food that we had (and finding stuff I had forgotten I had) I saw that I had plenty of room for 200 lbs of hog. There was enough room for me, so I knew it would fit! I loaded it all myself, having a need to organize it just right. I am now paying the price with aching muscles. Just so you know, if I invite you for a meal.........expect to eat pork.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Absurd Things To Say

It rained yet again and the ground is wet...... so I decided to work on the weeds in the vegetable beds. I am thinking that they will come right up since the ground is so wet. Most did, but clover had taken over a huge area and proved to be downright wicked. So, I grab the handy dandy cultivator thingie and get to work. This tool is a glorified hoe with teeth.

About the hoe........... he who mows wanted to use my newly purchased hoe last year and now finds that he cannot locate it. This was the hoe that replaced the previously misplaced hoe from the year before. Or maybe he ran over it. What I am saying is that I get new tools on an annual basis. This annoys me a lot, but I am used to it. So I made the pilgrimage to WalMart to find that their hoes were not the kind I wanted. I considered driving an additional 25 miles to Lowes, but didn't want to spend a beautiful sunny day in the car........

This wicked clover took two hours of swinging this tool in the air and going deep to grab the roots and then yank it up out of the ground. Then I had to shake all the soil out. Bending up and down over and over again. While doing this my mind was meandering down memory lane. I was thinking of my childhood and my grandmother who always had a garden. I remember some of the things she used to say and the one stuck in my mind today is "hard work ain't never hurt nobody".

What? I am sure that I am not the only child to ever hear those words (well, maybe not those exact words). That is the most absurd thing to say. Of course it hurts you! My back hurts my hands are objecting to movement right now. I imagine these words were supposed to be an incentive to not be lazy. Seems every generation thinks the next one is lazy. They say things like "back in my day I actually had to shuffle and deal a deck of cards to play solitaire".

If hard work was so great, then why did man hook that plow up to a mule and eventually to a tractor? Even the mule got lazy! You are all no doubt wondering why I don't get a tiller. I suppose I could and should. I have made all sorts of excuses why I don't need one. My beds are raised and narrow and the tiller would be hard to navigate and it would make noise. My garden time is my peaceful time and I enjoy the solitude. Oh and he who mows might want to borrow it and be unable to locate it next time I need it........

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

You Might Be Redneck.....If You Picnic At The Airport

My kids were traveling home on Easter Sunday and had a layover in St. Louis. Love of my life happened to be off work ........... this rarely happens on a holiday.

Our son gave his Dad this T-shirt for Christmas (alluding to our glamorous lifestyle) and I laid it out for him to wear. He acted like I told him to wear a suit and tie. He said he would look like a redneck if he wore this shirt............
Fried chicken in the airport lobby didn't say redneck? Then the man had shorts and a polo shirt on and was going to wear ankle socks with loafers instead of his sneakers. Yes, I do have to dress him. No easy task, dressing this man. Most all of his shorts have chlorine stains......... on the right side above the hem and below the pocket opening. This is where he wipes his hand after he puts the chlorine in the pool. He always forgets to change before he does this task. The shirts have tractor grease or paint or grass stains.........

Fresh from a week at Disney World. It was hard to get a picture. Zara would not come to me at all, so her Daddy had to hold her. Gavin was wondering why I didn't bring his dog, Jada was posing and Maya was ready to get back on a plane that would take her home. I really wanted a picture of all of us, but Diane was holding their place in line and Adrienne was taking the picture.

Fortunately the airport wasn't too busy. They flew into the smaller terminal and this end didn't have any flights. The kids were able to burn off some energy.

Gavin checked the scales that weigh luggage while the girls tried some cartwheels and somersaults.

No, we didn't look redneck at all. We took over a couple of tables from the Starbucks cafe and had our little picnic in spite of any stares directed our way.
Baby Zara was enchanted with Papa and cried when she told him goodbye. She refused to even kiss me goodbye. Look at that face! I just want to squeeze those cheeks.

Gavin and Maya were happy to see Papa ............. he had food! We only got to spend about an hour with them and the traffic was awful to get there ....... but I wouldn't trade that time for anything. I confess that I did get a little teary as we drove away. They all kissed me goodbye and dutifully got in line to go back through security; but my Jada kept running out to give me one last hug and it was her face that I went to sleep seeing.