Thursday, May 31, 2012

The Writing On The Wall

 She is growing, my Little Martha. She follows me around outside. She seems to like to walk around me as I garden. She climbs over rocks and stumps to get to me, curious about every weed I pull. If she loses sight of me she will cry out plaintively until I call her and she can follow the sound of my voice.

And yet, she refuses to lap up the formula out of a saucer. She has eaten a little wet food mixed with the formula and definitely knows how to lap it up. But she wants the bottle.

She won't suck, though. I have to squeeze the bottle and when she gets a good stream going, she will wrap her tongue around the nipple and drink, her ears wiggle when she hits that rhythm. The rest of the time she expects me to keep a steady drip going in the side her mouth while she chews on the nipple. She is very demanding when she is hungry. Amazing how much noise such a tiny little thing can make.

She has learned to do without a middle of the night feeding. Good thing, since I had decided that she could live without me getting up!! She purred for the first time today. I purr for her while I am feeding her.

Back to the holiday weekend. I never filled the park. I usually have to turn folks away, but I had empty sites. In spite of that, we went through over half a case of toilet tissue. Never, ever has this much tissue been used, even when we have the church group all in tents on Labor Day.

Saturday night found me cleaning the nastiest bathrooms ever. The walls of the ladies room were decorated with feces. Some one managed to loosen the drain under the sink and instead of reporting the water issue, the sink was still in use. I grabbed a mop after I removed the art work and sanitized the wall. Trashcans were overflowing and I repeated my actions of the morning and left the bathroom spotless. The men's room was equally disgusting. The toilet paper dispenser was ripped from the wall and used tissue littered the floor. More puddles of muddy water graced the floor and I repeated my morning routine in this one, too.

I was exhausted and disenchanted when I finally made my way to the kitchen at 9:30. I was so tired and mad I forgot to take my meds. Went to bed and woke at 5:30. I made the caramel sauce and got the cinnamon rolls ready to rise. They have to rise at least 45 minutes and no longer than 75 minutes. You can tell by the way the dough looks. I was tired, but afraid to try a nap.

I went out the side door. The grounds were littered with white stuff. Turned out to be paper towels, probably a roll and a half. I picked all that up and approached the doors to the restrooms cautiously. After the night before, I was not going to rush in.
I prayed that it was mud on the floor, but ...... my prayers were not answered. Despite the fact that I had stocked the bathrooms with paper product the night before, there was no tissue in either and a partial roll of paper towels were on the floor next to the toilet in the men's room. I suppose I should have been thankful that the paper towels had not been flushed. That fact provided very little consolation as I again did a major cleaning in both rooms.

Throughout the day I would check paper goods in the bathrooms and restock. Little did I know that, like an elf in the night, good kamper Patrick was checking them for me, too. The only thing we can figure is that the rolls of tissue were being stolen.

Ever stay in a hotel and assume that they wanted you to take all the complimentary products left for your convenience? Really, they didn't. They were left there in case you forgot something from home. All these things have to be paid for by some means. It all factors into the overall cost of your stay. I admit that I had never considered the cost of these things until I was the one who had to purchase them and then watch them go out the door.

Did you know that kittens burp?

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Snow Cones, Possums, Birds and Cats

I over slept this morning and didn't drag myself up out of the bed until 9. I was up at 6:30 to take the dogs out and since all was quiet in the kitten kennel I crept back to my bed ........... intending to just lay there a bit longer.

Little Martha was frantic for her bottle by then and the dogs were jealous of the kitten in my arms and had to have treats and I am just now having my first cup of coffee. I am now 2 hours behind schedule. No leisurely cup of coffee today.

So, as the kampground was filling up on Friday, the first requests for snow cones came in. I dutifully grabbed the ice and trudged to my trusty machine. I filled the hopper and turned her on. Made all the noise it usually does, but refused to shave down the ice into the bin. Had to turn them away. He who is wont to fix all things and leave behind parts after reassembly came in to refill his ever present Bubba mug with nectar of diet Coke.

"Honey, the snow cone machine isn't working." He marched over and flipped the switch. The motor came on and he said, "It's working." as he rushed out the door. Thank goodness the master of all things mechanical happened in. Rich is a genius at tinkering and came to my rescue. The thingy that turns the blades had come loose. Rich used different words than "thingy".

While we had it apart and he showed me what was wrong and how to fix it (okay, really, if it happens again and he is in the park, does he really think that I will fix it?), I discovered a sticker atop the machine that had a local distributor of syrups and supplies. I ordered mine and had to pay shipping! In my defence, I am short and have to have a platform to stand on to even reach the hopper to put the ice in and that is why I never saw the sticker before.

Thanks to Rich, I sold about 100 snow cones.

First day of the holiday yielded a big catch. This skinny legged man is he who will try to take credit for a catch. Says he is only holding the fat grass carp to "weigh" it. He proclaims "might be 25 lbs".

Is it me or does this fish look curvy? Maybe it is a female fish laying on what used to be MY golf cart. It has so many tools and crap on it now, that everyone knows who uses it most.

I got a shot of her face. She does looked surprised, doesn't she? After all the attempts on her capture and the near misses and great escapes ........ I bet she has a story to tell.

The killdeer is still alive and her eggs had not hatched as of late last night. That mean old possum is still in residence here at the kampground. He has lost most of his hair and is hunch-backed. I spied him headed to the eggs night before last. I gave chase in my tool laden golf cart. Mama Killdeer was on the job and had screeched her way to the embankment of the pond. As I approached, she went back to her eggs safe in the knowledge that I was there to rescue her. I chased the ugly old possum into the cattails by the pond. I almost ran over him at one point.

This possum has been here forever. He has the audacity to stand his ground and hiss at me! He likes cat food and I once saw him leaving the lair of the old kampkat Spooky. She shared her food and her makeshift shelter with him. How long do possums live? I guess they live long if they live in a kampground where food is readily available, as well as shelter; eliminating the need to cross the road. He is currently residing in the barn where the fish food is stored ....... and apparently shared.

Monday, May 28, 2012

What's In A Name

The pool is open. Here I am. Stuck. In the office. Until 7. Forecast for rain must have been a deep secret to the clouds over my head. I was so looking forward to a good down pour. Not only do we need it for the grounds and the gardens, but it would prevent swimmers from flocking to my pool and I could really use a respite after the holiday weekend.

Holidays are hard work for me. This one has been trying. Even though I failed to rent all my sites even with travelers off the road, it was hectic. I won't enchant you with my bathroom tales today. Really deserves more than just a mention.

You may be wondering about the picture above. It is a rescue story with a happy ending ........ I think.

We have had a trio of cats that we put food out for. We try to feed them sparingly to encourage them to eliminate the never ending mouse population. I had assumed that the solid black female was spayed since I never saw any evidence that would lead me to think otherwise.

A yellow striped tabby was the constant companion of the black cat. I call him Tigger and I call her Pooh. They will approach me and ask for food, but will not allow me to pet them. I was making a little progress with Pooh, but she has been absent for a couple of weeks. He who drives through the park with his eagle eye to detect trouble informed me that he had witnessed Pooh going into the woods with a large kill in her mouth. He thought it was a rabbit. Eagle eye, indeed.

I encountered a gray and black tabby awhile back on the sidewalk leading to the restrooms. I had been cleaning and still had a broom in my hand when he approached me and looked up and meowed loudly before rubbing his body against my legs, as cats will do. I reached down and gave him a good head rub before leading him to the cat food bowl on the front porch. He had quite the appetite.  

During this same time, we noticed that Tigger seemed to favor one leg. Looked like he had not been victorious in some sort of altercation. I wanted to look at his wound, but he was having none of my help. Pooh would come and beg for food and he would stay several steps behind and only eat when she did.

During a site clearing adventure, the front end loader was about the task of scooping up some underbrush and when the bucket raised, this tiny kitten fell to the ground. She was rushed to my office wrapped in a shirt. Her tiny eyes were glassy and she was scared. I took her out of the shirt and went into my house with her. My three canine children noticed her straight-away. Toni Louise leaped up to see what her mommy might be holding so tenderly. She investigated the kitten ALL over and she promptly pooped in my hand .... as kittens will do when stimulated by their mothers.

I headed to the bathroom and gathered my supplies for a cat bath. She was not too happy with her introduction to water and soap, but wisely succumbed. She is a wise kitten. I removed three ticks from her tiny body and by the time we reached the rinse cycle she was grunting with pleasure under a stream of warm water.

Wrapped in a towel (a dog towel), she snuggled down and went to sleep. I thought of my Sweet Emmy Lou as my fingers stroked her soft, sweet smelling head. Emmy was equally soft and it was her shampoo I used, so she now smelled like my Emmy, too.

All day long I tried to find this kitten a home. She was inspected by many little kamper hands. Oohs and aahs filled the air and everyone agreed that she was the cutest kitten ever. No takers, though.

Her tiny blue eyes gazed at me as she meowed pitifully. I trudged off to find the powdered formula that was left from the rabbit fiasco. I mixed it, then drew it into a syringe (wishing I had a bottle with a tiny nipple). I swaddled her tiny paws (claws) and slipped the tip into the side her mouth. I squeezed out a drop and she licked at it and swallowed. Took about 10 minutes to get a teaspoonful of formula into her and she spit and sputtered at times.

I held her close and made a purring sound as I wiped her tiny bottom with my finger and some terry cloth. She rewarded me with her pee and then tucked her little head down and went to sleep.

Her name is Little Martha. Named after one of my favorite kampers. Martha is currently tending to her youngest daughter and her first baby. A beautiful little girl. Both Martha and I were bemoaning the fact that none of our children had named a child after us. Good solid names, Martha and Kathryn!

Not to worry, Martha. I have solved that problem. Your name-sake is a feisty little kitten that survived a great fall. She is worthy of your name!
The man holding her and kissing her sweet little head is Martha's husband, Tom. Or Crazy Tom as we like to call him. He is very entertaining, our Tom. If the kampground were a bar called Cheers, you would hear a chorus of  "Tom" every time he showed up!

I must go and mix more formula. Little Martha is quite adept at slurping down an ounce at a time.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Can Dogs Tell Time?

I checked on my bird today. I was hoping that the eggs had hatched. She was not happy to see me. I seem to have ruffled her feathers.

She screeched at me and I mimicked her until the feathers went down. She allowed me to get fairly close and the eggs are still there. Maybe tomorrow. If she is still there in the morning I am going to move a big rock close to her so that a tire won't roll over her eggs. I am afraid to bring too much attention to her plight. I will be full of holiday hooligans and would go to jail if I saw an egg fight. He who would try to protect me says I have a tendency to over-react.

This what the pool looked like as I was raking up some stuff last night. It is a lot fuller now. I slipped off my flip-flops and waded in awhile ago. It is quite bracing! Took my breath away. We have a fire hose to fill with, but it sucks the water pressure out of the entire park. Should be full by morning.

My lilies are blooming. Hope they don't get picked this weekend.

Iris about to bloom, too.

Recycle ....... this is for cans. It should say cans, not aluminum. Have to speak plainly here in these parts!

Mr. Frog graces the wishing well. I planted some sweet pea in there, hoping it will climb, since the petunias don't seem to want to wave.

Despite the wind and storms, my peach tree is still heavy with peaches. So much so that I had to put a support under one limb. It was on the ground. I was lucky to find this limb in the wood pile. It was all notched and ready to be of service.

Just a few things to finish and I will be ready for the weekend. Remember Herman's Hermits? They sang that repetitive song about Henry VIII. That is how I feel every morning when I drag myself up and out of the sweet confines of my bed. Second verse, same as the first.

No alarm clocks needed here. Wall-E gets up up every morning at 7. He was off a little this morning and got me up at 6 instead. All day long I have been longing for that last hour of sleep. If this happens again I will be getting the dog a watch!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Bird Of Paradise?

I was about the business of killing weeds this morning when I came upon this little Mama bird. You have to look hard to see her as she blends well with her surroundings. She eyed me as I approached, but didn't back down. She watched my every move and I kept my distance so I wouldn't spook her. He who thinks he knows all says she is what they call a "deer kill". What? Or maybe a "kill deer". He is not sure and can't tell me why they are called that. I asked. I wondered if they eat dead deer, because I doubt they actually kill deer (or deers, as some folks around here are apt to say).

Anybody know what kind of bird this is. Yes, I know I could consult the Internet. I confess that I am lazy.

I hunted for her eggs after she walked away. They are good sized and gray, speckled black. Looks like she gathered some wood chips, but that is the only cushioning for them. They are in the gravel on the dump station. I hope they hatch this week.

I would hate to seem them squashed by a big rig, or worse, deliberately destroyed by some evil
doers. Such seem to come out on holiday weekends.

The text seems to have a mind of its own here.
Never mind, I have work to do! 

Monday, May 21, 2012

The Painting of the Pool

Twelve gallons of pool paint. The square footage of our pool indicates that ten gallons will cover it. Past experience has taught us to get a little extra ....

You cannot paint when the pool is in direct sunlight. Another lesson learned through experience. This what was accomplished by four people in one evening. We got the sidewalls done and most of the deep end. We only had two handle extenders and the men snatched them up right away. Marty and Michelle help us get the pool ready to open every year. This was the first year they helped paint. We all started with great enthusiasm, sure we could knock it out in just one evening.

With four people, we all started n the walls and then when we reached a certian spot, the men started on the floor. Michelle and I were left to fish the walls and cut into the edges that the rollers couldn't reach. After two hours it was apparent to all of us that we would not finish before it was too dark to see. We were also giddy from the paint fumes. I think we may have gotten a little loud with our laughter.

We had to quit as night fell. Seven gallons of paint had been slathered on. I decided to try my old trick with the plastic bag and freezer to preserve the rollers. The men were doubtful about my technique. But it worked and the next evening found the same foursome with the same rollers .... and two more extenders. When we got down to gallon number twelve we were all tripping over each other, so Michelle and I graciously departed and let the men finish.

Smurf blue. It is curing and there are a few more minor things to pick up and the water.

I woke this morning with a blinding headache. I suppose my fatique has caught up with me. I have so much that I need to do, but have decided to lay low until it is completely gone. I ventured out into the sun twice and only made things worse.

So here I sit, pondering the oddities of life and wondering what the holiday weekend will bring my way. So, I will share with you a joke I heard this weekend ....

A man enters a bar and takes a seat next to another on a barstool. He bemoans his lot in life, wishing he had more money and had not fallen on hard times. The man next to him suggests that he consult the genie in the men's room and ask that a wish be granted. He figures he has nothing to lose and seeks out the genie.

He returns to his stool and his companion is startled to see that the man's shirt is covered with ducks. He asks his new friend if he found the genie. "Yes, I did. I think he may be hard of hearing, though, because I asked for a million bucks, not ducks!"

"Well, that explains my 15" Bic!"

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Old and Weary

 The baby birds are growing. Soon that nest will be way too small.

This is site 1. I have spent the last 2 days here. The water line broke and had to be dug up. Sounds simple, huh? I was down here weeding the garden and heard a hissing noise from the hydrant. When I say "dug up", I am talking about a huge hole 10 feet deep. The problem was fixed and it should have been a simple matter of filling the hole.

He who digs hit the retaining wall ...... well, both retaining walls. The wood was pretty much rotten and had to be replaced and the walls rebuilt. He who builds realized he lacked the skill and brute force to do the job alone and enlisted one of his cronies to help. They did a great job.

I was left will all the debris to clean up and make the site inhabitable. I raked, I dug, I seeded grass and burned tons of leaves and rotting wood. Two snakes gave their lives.

This is the garden on the back side of the site. Lots of hostas and day lilies lounging in the shade. I plan to cram so many lilies in that it will choke out all the weeds. Low maintenance and all ......

Dead tree needs to be removed. Could fall on the electrical line, so we called Ameren UE. A guy came out the same day. That, in itself was shocking. He said they would be out to take care of it "soon".

So, when a man entered the office late this afternoon wearing a hard hat and a shirt with Ameren's logo, what do you think I thought? Right you are, if you are thinking that I was excited at the quick response. I mean, the man had a hard hat on! He was about 6'5" and the hat added another three inches. So, I eagerly lead him to the tree, a little concerned that he is in an SUV, no equipment or bucket truck. But maybe he was going to haul out a chainsaw and snatch that big tree down.

I was wrong. He was here to check out the tree and tell me that Ameren would not be taking care of it after all. He said that if they had a crew close by, they would help me out, but that he could not justify the expense unless they had another job in the area. He suggested that I hire a qualified tree surgeon.

I weighed my options and decided not to applaud his frugal use of resources and suggest that he talk to the department in charge of billing and see if he could convince them to mail all seven of my bills in one envelope. Instead, I played the age card and told him that my husband was elderly and just shy of crazy and would no doubt attempt to take the tree down himself. I then reminded him that when his crews were working in our area we allowed them to park their equipment in our park overnight to save on fuel. I decided he didn't need to know it was a contractor  working for Ameren and that they gave me tons of mulch ........ I just told him that I allowed them to offload it here.

He finally came around and told me he would put the work order in, but that it wouldn't be a priority and might be as long as a month before they got to my tree. I am still patting myself on the back.

The new retaining wall looks good. The lighting was bad on this shot and I saw a kamper pulling in as I was taking the picture, so I had to go back to work.

I rented the site out and the new tenants will be in tomorrow. They looked at site last weekend and it was pretty rough. I cleaned it up, painted the picnic table and seeded grass. After that I mowed my back yard and did the dishes from two days. Then we painted the pool until night fell.

When my head hits the pillow, I will sleep. I hope.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

People Are Strange

I harvested all my cherries today ...... all 7 of them. No pies this year.

My new smaller table in the downsized living quarters.

Love seat and chair. A make-do ottoman until I can make one with a hinged lid for storage and a nicely cushioned top for he who claimed the chair. The love seat is for me and the four legged creatures that long to be close to me.

That's it. Wall-E scampered about during the photo shoot.

I picked fresh flowers to adorn the table where Mom's could eat on Sunday. Just day lilies in bloom right now, so I stuck in a little greenery, weeds, and onions in bloom. Not very fragrant, unless you like the smell of onions.

Harvey presented me with this bouquet, all held together with electrical tape. Wonder whose garden he stole them from?

Coffee brewing and ready for drinkers.

Kamper Julie made the most delicious fish dinner for me. The least I could do was bake a cake!

It rained on Saturday, but the rainbow promised a wonderful Mother's Day. I woke as the sun was on the rise. My body protested, but I pushed myself to the kitchen to get the caramel sauce going. I had it all laid out the night before, but there is just so much you can do in advance.

The sauce cooked to perfection and the dough rose on schedule. I was tempted to catch a little nap during the rising time, but knew in my heart that I would not wake up after only 45 minutes. So, I did laundry and policed the restrooms and cut flowers. Finally the Mothers came in for the promised treats.

I woke he who made me into a Mother at 10 am and demanded my gift. All I asked for was a nap. I had a nice nap on the love seat while he watched the store. I woke refreshed, and somewhat disoriented. I had one dog clutched to my chest and another behind my knees. I was in that state of sleep that allows you to be aware of the goings on around you. I could hear the phone and the voices in the store.

During this gift of a nap, he who took charge of the registration desk checked in a couple requesting a tent site. No tent, just a car. I noted their presence yesterday morning as I was about the business of doing my chores. They had some sort of big rug draped across the car windows. Later I saw them sitting at the picnic table watching me mow.

It was late in the afternoon and I was inside trying not to scratch at my poison ivy rash when the woman came in the store. I had assumed they had left. Check-out is noon and it was now 4 o'clock.
She had a zip lock bag full of pennies, nickles and dimes. "This is $6.71 and I will give it to you for $4 worth of quarters. My husband is sick of all this change and I need to wash our clothes." I told her I would be happy to change her coins in quarters for her, all of it ( me being unaware that my quarters were worthy of being bid upon). "No, he doesn't want any of this change back, he is sick of it."

I started counting the change, I am not sick of change, but wanted to see for myself just how much change her husband was sick of. She meandered through the store. She complimented me on my sewing skills and I thanked her, but still insisted she take the balance of the change her husband was so sick of. She opted to rent three DVDs.

When I inquired about the length of their stay, she told me she had talked to "that man who checked us in" and they were going to pay for more days. Then she told me they wanted to live here. Before I could stop myself I said "In your car?" I did manage to stop myself from saying, "not here in my park".

She said she had fallen in love with my park and wanted to stay here indefinitely. The hair at the nape of my neck was rising, warning me about these kampers living in a car. She went on to tell me that they would get a tent, because the husband worked in Ohio and she would need shelter while he was working .........

She finally took the quarters and the DVDs, but refused the remaining 21 cents, asking if I had a penny jar she could put it in. The husband was adamant about that change, I suppose. I didn't bother to ask when she planned to pay for this night's stay. She did ask about monthly rates and I told her it was $400. She found this amount to be reasonable, being the amount she had paid for an apartment. I did not point out that it was not a good deal, since it did not include shelter and that they were on a site with no utilities.

When my own husband returned from towing and changing tires, I told him about the encounter and he said he would go check on the car dwellers after we ate our dinner. We got caught up in an episode of "Harry's Law" (did you know they are cancelling this show?) and, as usual, the door chimed as we watched. I put Harry on pause and my hero went out to talk to the infamous change hating husband. I could hear him, but couldn't make out all the words.

I did hear him say they were "checking out". The reason he gave was that I had been so mean to his wife and she was so upset that they could not stay here. Other than insisting that she take all of her money, I have no idea what he was referring to. We think that they didn't have enough money to pay and wanted to stay as long as they could. I still don't know why she insisted on renting those DVDs, since they were on a primitive site without power. And ........... why was he not at work in Ohio? They left with their now clean clothes, without paying for the extended stay. He tried to burn rubber as he left via the entrance drive.

I think we dodged a bullet of crazy.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Happy Mother's Day

The baby birds have hatched. Hard to tell how many. The little wings look like heads and the heads look like wings, but I see three little beaks. He who loves critters never listens to me and always touches the baby birds. He fondled the eggs, too. So, I guess it is a myth that the mother will reject her babies if a human comes into contact. I will be happy to see them take flight so I can dismantle their home and clean the shade up.

I painted a bunch of gourds this past week. I am trying to encourage the nesting to take place elsewhere in the future. This would make some fancy digs for the next bird considering a place to raise their babies.

I like this one, too. It makes me want a watermelon .....

Some of my ideas are better than others. This was supposed to spiral down in two shades of blue. The darker shade peeled off with tape. Oh, well.

The day lilies popped this morning. This is a little early for them, but everything has bloomed early this year.

The front porch has had a little face lift. I painted the front wall and the windows have been washed. I will paint the ceiling as soon as those birds take flight.

Since the front door is no longer being used, I had room for more checkers. I am going to remove the storm door and put up a bulletin board in it's place. You will note that one stump is cushioned. Kids will sit on anything, but the adults among us need a little cushion to sit long enough for a game.

Freddy the Frog will even alert you to the temperature.

More gourds await scrubbing .......

and more gourds on the old swing. The ferns hung in the store over winter and looked pathetic, but I put them out anyway and they are coming back with lush foliage.

If the other checker table is occupied, just go to the other side of the porch.

The patriotic side. Today has been long and slow. I have painted gourds and listened to an audio book. When I start to doze, I go out and pull a weed or two, then meander back in. I hate to be confined. The day is agonizingly long and I find myself counting down the hours until I can close. Twelve hours. T w e l v e. Half a day. I could go in and wash dishes, but that holds no appeal for me right now.

I could go sew, but I am in the last hour and a half and my brain is not functioning well. I lack inspiration. Tomorrow is Mothers Day. I will arise before the break of day and make the cinnamon rolls and sticky buns. All the moms in my park eat free tomorrow. Happy Mother's Day to all the moms in the land of blog!