Along the Natchez Trace

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Boys and Their Toys....

Well, a lot of girls like these big toys too, but it rhymed and made a catchy title...  so that's what I'm calling Bill's latest endeavor...

No, he didn't buy this Man Lift (although I'm sure he'd like to own one)...
He rented it from Bedrock Tool Rental, a company in town that rents out all kinds of heavy equipment as well as hand tools.  They delivered it an hour or so ago...  Bill didn't even get it back to the end of the driveway before he got his pruners and started lopping overhanging branches overhead.

It's raining today, but that didn't stop him... he has it for only 1 week and wants to make the most of his time.

You can see what job he wants to finish...
And the backside of this barn/house is 3 floors high (it's a bank barn) and his extension ladders wouldn't reach that far.  This is far safer than scaffolding or the like....  
There is also a section of wood on the roof that needs replaced.  Yes...  he'll be busy doing all kinds of work with this lift this week.

In my last blog I wrote about a "Power Wagon"...  
It's basically a motorized wheel barrow...
(photo from the internet)
Bill is always hauling loads of dirt - usually from the hillside above the driveway out to where our motorhome is parked...  he's creating a flat area where it's currently a hillside.  His wheelbarrow has served him well for 30 or so years, but it's time to make life a little easier.

One of my readers, Emjay, commented that she'd purchased one and it just didn't have the power to do what she wanted it to do.  Bill had read the on-line reviews before ordering his (it will be here in a week or so) and they were all favorable.  I looked for Emjay's "return address" with no luck, but would be interested in more details.  Of course, in a couple of weeks, I guess I can write my own review.  I hope we have better luck than Emjay did, as it's such a letdown when your expectations aren't even close to the end result.  

The 90+ degree weather has finally let up...  it's in the high 70's today and raining.  We had a good thunderstorm this morning, but now it's barely a sprinkle.

No wildlife photos today, but we did see 2 different turkey families along the road as we were coming from town.  And 3 bucks with lovely racks crossed the road just as I was about to turn into our driveway.  I didn't take the birdfeeders down last night...  until about 3:30 am.  Yep...  the  mom raccoon and her three young'uns were scrambling around outside our window trying to get to them.   There's nothing like trudging around barefoot and in your jammies at that hour...  at least it wasn't raining then.

Just another day up here on the Ridge....
That's All For Today!

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

A Funny Thing Happened at Walmart and Other Current Events....

Bill and I were at the local Walmart yesterday...  doing the usual...  getting prescriptions filled and trying to figure out where this store keeps the chips.  I wish I could remember exactly what was initially said, but this big guy, walking towards us began talking about RVing and then blogging.  I was so surprised when he told me he read my blog that it took me a few minutes to sort it all out.
Jack and Bill
Jack follows a lot of blogs and we "know" a lot of the same folks.  We both commented on how blogging seems to have declined lately.  We lamented the passing and poor health of some of the people we know through their blogs and how a few quit blogging when they stopped traveling.
I asked Jack how he found my blog...  I think through someone else's blog... he came across a photo that I'd posted as we were crossing the Ohio River.  He recognized the bridge and sign... kept reading and realized we were heading for Athens.  He lives about 10 miles from us and travels in his 5th wheel.  I hope we get to talk more later.  But...  it just blew me away to meet someone who reads my blog...  I felt like a celebrity!  

Speaking of the Ohio River, Bill & I drove down to Pomeroy, Ohio a few days ago.  Bill is interested in buying a power wagon (more on that in a future post) and since the place that sells them is close to Pomeroy, I wanted to have lunch at the Wild Horse Restaurant, which overlooks the river.
 Watching a barge being pushed down river....  
There wasn't much river traffic that day, but we enjoyed seeing what went by.

We were the only folks sitting out on the dining patio.  When temperatures are in the 90's most folks sit inside in air conditioned rooms.  It is quite hot here now, but still, the view was worth it.

I took this photo over a week ago, but I'm including it anyway...
Bill's sister, Alberta, flew in from New Mexico for the big party.  We took one afternoon to show her around the Ohio University campus.  The campus green is really lovely.  Memorial Auditorium is where events are put on...  and have been for years.  On the wall of one of the entrances are plaques telling about some of the speakers...  when they spoke and a bit about their lives.  (Teddy Roosevelt spoke here in 1905...  JFK in 1959)....  Two speakers I remember listening to were Eleanor Roosevelt in 1954 and Dag Hammarskjold in 1958.  I loved attending events at Mem Aud...  saw my first ballet, heard the US Marine Band and much, much more!

And...  another event...
My son, Dan's 54th birthday!
That's his girlfriend, Yvonne, snapping a picture on the right.  My daughter, Donna and husband Glenn were still here from the party, so it was really a good celebration!

Now...  for the wildlife photos...

While we've heard turkeys a lot, Bill spotted this hen and several poults in our back field.  I wasn't quick enough to get a shot of the young'uns, Mom is herding them off into the woods.

And from our motorhome window...
 The buck's antlers are growing into a very nice rack.  We have at least 3 bucks and a couple of does who hang out closeby.  

The "Daddy" bluebird....  
He's a parent to the two fledglings on my header.  I think so far he and the missus have raised two families this summer.  

We have another month here in Ohio.  It is really hot and humid, but Bill has one more eye appointment in Columbus and while the work on the 2 rentals is almost finished, Bill's still painting the outside of one barn house.  
He's planning to rent a lift so he can get the really high places.

So, Jack, thanks for stopping to talk in Walmart....  kind of gave me the incentive to stick with it despite the "ho-hum" life we live this summer.

That's All For Today!

Sunday, July 24, 2016

A Celebration of Life...

and of family, of friends, and most of all, with love and laughter.  Often funeral announcements will give the time and place that family and friends will gather to celebrate the life of their departed loved one.  Bill and I got lucky...  we didn't have to die and we got to attend and enjoy the celebration that our kids put on for us.

As it happened, Bill's older daughter and my daughter graduated in the same high school class.  Their 35th class reunion was last weekend and both planned to attend...  Donna from New York and Michelle from Pennsylvania.  Bill and I are here (Athens, Ohio) for the summer, so Donna got the idea to have a party while they were here.

When we had the farm, Bill & I raised goats and for several summers we hosted a "goat roast", inviting friends and family over for a day of food, (BBQ goat etc), music, and fun.  Our farm was named "Bish Farm", and it was the Bish Farm Goat Roast.  

Donna called this the "15th Year of RVing Bish Farm Reunion"

This is the cake she had made...  (Bill had several bee hives and we're both birders...  very appropriate!)

Eclipse, where the party was held, was really nice.  While the table settings and some of the decorations were partly provided, Donna made colorful flags to decorate the room.

Alberta, Bill's sister, and I helped Donna and Glenn gather wildflowers for table bouquets.

Alberta flew in from New Mexico...  a real surprise for Bill....  and quite a prank in the process.  

But Donna really outdid herself!

She made displays of photos from past years...  everything from both Bill & my childhoods, to teens... and into adulthood...  our parents, our kids at all ages, our grandkids, and great-grandkids.  She also made up a "memory book", so that folks attending the party could write something about their relationship to us.  That will be a treasure I'll always keep!

The people started arriving...  
I've been friends with the couple on the left (sorry I cut Judy off) since I was 15 years old.  Those are Bill's two daughters... Michelle from PA and Celeste from TX heading in.  My brother and one of our sons-in-law in the background.

 Me, greeting my brother and his son and daughters and their families...

 Celeste and Michelle...  Bill's daughters.

 Family Photo...  Alberta, Victor and Celeste, Richard and Michelle, Bill and me, Glenn and Donna.
My son hadn't arrived yet, and we never did get a photo of all of us together.

 Glenn...  and John Clark and Pat Paterson.  John and Pat were (and still are) good friends of my son, Dan...  I've known them since they were teen-agers.

 We just met Deb for the first time.  She's Fish's friend and she's with Rhonda, who I used to work with.  I've known Rhonda almost 40 years!  (and, yes, she was just out of high school when we met)

Fish, Celeste, Wendy and Jackie

 My brother, Larry and his daughter Cindy

Here's Larry with Cindy's twin sister, Kim

 Donna, Dave and Theresa Smith and me.
While Dave is now our rental manager here in Athens, he used to be our neighbor and has always been our friend.  I babysat for him when he was about 5 years old...  we go way back ;-)

 Donna, me, and my son, Dan

Celeste and Michelle, with their Dad

 The annual "Rose between Two Thorns" photo...
Me, my brother, Larry and my sister, Cynthia

 There was an open bar...  it was Brew Week in town and they had all kinds of different beers available as well as wine and other drinks.

 My great-niece and her boyfriend....  groups of folks chatting...

Mary and Chris Hanning ...  John Clark

My son's girlfriend, Yvonne, Bill, our good friends (and geocaching buddies) Roger and Patty, and Glenn with his back to us.
In the background to the right is our friend, Joan Kraynanski and her grandson Ryan.

Dan and Yvonne

I worked at O'Bleness hospital for 20 years, beginning in 1977...  every one of these folks started there before me...  Rhonda, Mimi, Sandie and Skip.
Even though all of us have retired or moved on from there, we still remain friends today.
Mimi and Rhonda's husbands were here also.

Did I mention that the party was catered?
Donna had Kisor's BBQ set up their signature buffet.
Pulled pork, BBQ chicken, slaw, baked beans, pasta salad...  probably other stuff...
But all delicious and oh, so tasty!

And... for the grand finale..
A Group Photo!
I think a few folks had already slipped away, a a few slipped in late, but this is pretty much the whole group.  Some folks sent their regrets, and some of our good friends just live too far away.

Thank you Donna and the others who planned all this, and all who came to celebrate our friendship.
I was truly a wonderful day.

That's All For Today!

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Summertime, and the living is.... easy?

It's been a while since I've blogged.  Maybe I didn't think our life would be interesting to anyone.  But then, I say it's my journal...  maybe I think I'll remember later (or possibly don't want to remember) all that's going on this summer.  Maybe we've been busy...  well, Bill sure has.  So much going on...

We're closing on two houses...  one we're selling in New Mexico and one we're buying in Mexico and the e-mails (and sometimes phone calls) that have been flying back and forth keep my pea brain reeling.  

We knew we'd be doing a total re-hab on the house we used to live in...  thought we'd have all summer.  But then our long-term renter (ELEVEN YEARS!) in one half of the duplex told us that he'd be leaving (he did... less than a week later) and you can imagine what all that place needed before it could be rented again.  So we had serious work to do on 2 rentals.

Our rental agent has a lawn service keep all the rental property mowed, but Bill & I like to keep the field below the "barn-house" mowed.  The last couple of years Johnson Grass has invaded the field.  It's like grass might grow a quarter of an inch over night...  but that Johnson Grass grows at least 6".  I have no idea where it came from...  And poison ivy has re-appeared in the past few years.  While we try to stay as "organic" or non-chemical as we can, some thing just can't be controlled.

So...  to catch up I'm just going to show you some photos I've taken...  and believe it or not, days go by that I don't take any.  But my game cameras are still working...  sometimes I think at overtime speed...  I'll have upward of 3,000 photos in one 24-hour period.  Of course I blame that on those damned raccoons.  We do have at least 4 nice bucks and some does as well as those raccoons, oppossums, crows and occasional house cat.

Let's get on with the pictures...
Some views of the barn-house....
I needed to shampoo the carpet and the couch and chairs in our motorhome, so we sort of moved into the barn-house temporarily.  Bill is almost done with getting it ready for a renter.  Which, by the way, it's already rented.  Not sure if Steven is going to move in July 15 or August 15...  but since today is July 9th I have to finish getting our stuff moved back to the rig.  It's rented "unfurnished", but Steve might want that table and chairs.  That Lazy-Boy is my old recliner.  I've hung on to it... kept it in storage...  for over 15 years now.   I can only say that I have really, really, really loved having it up here this summer.  And you can see that I've practically moved our whole kitchen into this place.  I love to cook even more than I love to eat, so having all that counter space has been lovely!

Bill has spent many, many hours up at the duplex.  I'm sure I didn't work my share, but ..... whatever...  One thing I really like to do is mow grass....
The lawn service does the bulk of the mowing... around the rentals.  But below the barn-house is the field where the goats used to hang out.  I've kept it beautifully manicured...  until the last couple of weeks.  All those white flowers are clover.  Yes...  plain old clover.  But the honey bees are working it meticulously all day...  I cannot bear to mow these flowers/weeds down.  These little guys are our pollinators...  they are struggling now just keeping their existence.  We used to have 6 hives back when we farmed...  so... you know what?  this field will just look shaggy for a while longer.  Go for it, you hard-working honeybees!

Yellow-billed Cuckoo
We've been hearing cuckoos every day for weeks now.  But we were sitting in those chair in the first photo and darned if this guy didn't land in the tree right beside the deck.  I'd been thinking that Bill needed to cut that tree down as it's starting to encroach a bit on the deck (2nd floor of the barn house).  But the Summer Tanager (both male and female) visit that tree every morning and serenade the world a good morning call.  The tree is maybe 20' or so from the woods edge and seems to be a pit stop of all kinds of birds heading somewhere else.  Guess it gets a reprieve...

Last week was Garrison Keillor's last time with Prairie Home Companion.  We watched the 3.5 hours live...  on our laptop.  Having been avid listeners for nearly all of the 42 years it's been on the radio, it was really an emotional show for me to watch.  PHC will be back in the fall... but without Mr. Keillor.

I still have 2 game cameras out.  However, this particular one often nets over 2,000 photos in a 24 hour period.  I have a hard time culling out the "less than perfect" ones, but really folks, how many times do I need to see a minute by minute scenario of the deer, the raccoons, the possums...  and now the crows.  I've gotten downright brutal about deleting hundreds of photos with one tiny push of the button.  Lord, I'd hate to be the person who has to control the gas chamber... what if I became so blase about that, too?

I don't have to fill the bird feeders twice a day now.  Even every other day seems to be okay.  This is the first House Finch I've seen this year.   I suppose they've been around, but since we've been staying upstairs in the barn-house we just aren't as close to nature.

A week or so ago, my sister, Cynthia, and I went over to Marietta, Ohio.  I had to replenish my supply of Rossi Pasta (they started here in Athens, but moved to Marietta many years ago...  the best pasta I've EVER had... you can check them out on-line).  And we found a couple of geo-caches.  But the highlight of the day was having lunch together on the outside patio of the Levee House Restaurant.   We both had the soft-shell crab sandwich plate ...  fantastic!  But while sitting out on the patio, which is right at the confluence of the Muskingham and the Ohio Rivers, we watched the barges being pushed up river...  and the paddlewheeler, the Valley Gem, taking a boat load of sightseers on a wonderful river trip.

 Wild turkeys were re-introduced to SE Ohio in the late 1960's and into the 1970's.  They have done well.  I was taking the back road to Lowe's (a daily trip these days) and came across this hen and her 9 poults crossing the road.  Mom was having a bit of a time keeping the kids together, but I didn't mind as it gave me time to haul out my little camera and snap a few shots through the windshield.  

Well, we're about to move back into our motorhome.  One rental is for sure going to be occupied soon.  We're hoping to have a yard-sale at the duplex rental before it gets rented.  We're nearly done with all that house business....  

Oh yes...  I picked enough raspberries to bake 3 pies...  now we're almost through with the blackberry season...  tomorrow is a blackberry pie.  

I still haven't thought of a title for this blog...  Yes, I know I will by the time you read this, but sometimes, honest... I really do run out of words.

On that note...  

The End
Hey..  look close...  not just a butt...  but...  look...
Do folks still stick their tongue out to express their ... ummm... feelings?
Kind of like flipping you the bird but not as offensive?  I think this buck is telling me that maybe I've worn out my welcome with my game cameras...  what do you think?

That's All For Today!