Usually at the end of September camping is ideal. You plan for chilly evenings and cool mornings, sweatshirts and jeans and camp fires. Instead we had record breaking hot temperatures and mosquitos. This might have been the most uncomfortable trip we’ve had this season. But we still had a fun weekend. It’s impossible not to have fun when you’re camping!
We camped with Dad and Mom in Pella this time. We were able to leave early afternoon Friday as school was let out early due to the heat. Friday was spent setting up camp, eating supper and going for a walk. We went on a hike on Saturday and came across our neighbors who were camping in a neighboring campground. We stopped and had a nice long visit with them and Drew got to play with their granddaughter. We were walking a nice paved trail under the trees and it was beautiful. Our campsites were also in the trees – my favorite way to camp. I could open up all the shades and not worry that people could see in. We decided we liked this spot the best of the ones we’ve been in – it was so secluded. Of course the majority of the trees surrounding us were hickory trees so we had hickory nuts falling on us. They make quite a racket when they hit the roof of your camper!
I loved the way the light bounced off the leaves of the trees and into the camper. With the air on in the camper – it kind of felt like fall with the leaves falling, the hickory nuts bouncing and the light filtering through the windows!
My husband lovingly says I’m weird, or crazy, or odd. Which word he uses depends on the day! And I’m okay with that. I know I’m not normal and I really don’t want to be! He just shakes his head when I tell him how happy I am to see Fancey Blackett again. I know he’s thinking I might be a little loopy but that’s why he loves me! Fall is my favorite time of the year. I love the crisp fall air, the smell of burning candles, the leaves turning colors and crunching under foot. I love pulling out my sweatpants and sweatshirts and blankets to cuddle and making chili and veggie soup and casseroles. I love to decorate with pumpkins and mums and buckeyes and natural things. I could go on and on. But one thing about fall that I really love is bringing out Fancey Blackett. Who on earth is Fancey Blackett is what Joe asked me when I brought her up the other day. Well, Fancey Blackett is a sweet prim character created by one of my all time favorite artists, Wendy Stys-Van Eimeren of Pineberry Lane. Fancey Blackett is someone I get the joy of stitching into my home. She reminds me of all the things I love – sunflowers and pumpkins, gardens and black cats. I haven’t stitched up all the Fancey Blackett designs yet but I plan to. I’m taking my time and enjoying the process. I’m enjoying stitching Witch’s Brew right now and Fancey and I are enjoying our evening chats as I stitch along. It’s like visiting with an old friend I haven’t seen for awhile! She comes out for a visit every fall. One of these days she just might not leave for the winter. She just might have to stay, pumpkins, broom sticks and all!
I’m not sure why but I love wandering out to the coop everyday to gather eggs. Of course with only four chickens – the gathering consists of four little eggs so it’s not exactly work or anything. But it’s always such a nice “surprise”. Usually about midmorning I get three and then after lunch sometime there will be one more. But once in awhile someone will surprise me and all four will be there together midmorning. I haven’t figure out which one is the late layer yet but I will! It’s kind of like picking tomatoes. There’s a satisfaction with knowing you’ve planted these little plants, you’ve nurtured them and cared for them. And yes, even talked to them once in awhile! And there’s a sense of satisfaction when you can then step out your backdoor, pick a tomato and eat it. All ripe and juicy and warm from the sun. It’s heaven!
It’s the same with chickens. You tend to them, feed and water them everyday. Clean out their coop. Pet them and love on them and your husband calls you the crazy chicken lady and in return they provide for you. For me, it’s just the way things are supposed to be. There’s just so much satisfaction in raising chickens and gathering fresh eggs. It’s what my grandmothers did and theirs mothers and grandmothers before them.
When we brought the chickens home this spring I had no idea what to do with them. I’ve never raised chickens. Growing up we raised rabbits, sheep, hogs, horses, dog and cats. So, I knew the basics of tending for animals. Joe’s mom raised chickens so he knew a little about what to expect. And we’ve figured things out as we’ve gone. I’ll go online once in awhile to see if what I’m doing is okay and for the most part it’s pretty much common sense. It certainly hasn’t been too hard. But fall is here and winter is on its way and I have some questions. I was doing some internet searching and came across this book, Fresh Eggs Daily by Lisa Steele and it called to me. I know I can find all the information I need online but sometimes you just need to have a book in your hand. Something you can sit down with, peruse, flip back and forth through. It came in the mail today. Happy mail day for me! Now to find the time to sit down and read. I’m hoping to find some natural ways to tend to the girls to keep them healthy and happy. And I can see already that four chickens just isn’t quite enough. I think I have room in the coop for at least two more come spring!
Week two of my new walking routine is going strong. Every morning now after dropping Drew off at school a friend and I have been walking – four miles every day to be exact. Last week was rough. I couldn’t believe how stiff and sore I was. This week things are going much better. I’m not near as sore and I don’t get near as winded. It’s nice to spend an hour and a half walking and talking. We talk a lot about God, our families, our grandkids, the ways of the world. It’s good to take this time to exercise and bond with a cherished friend.
What perfect timing. I got my new Trim Healthy Mama cookbook last week. I was searching for a tasty, healthy breakfast item I could have made up ahead of time. Something I could grab and eat on the way into town if need be before dropping Drew off at school and then walking. And this is what I found – oatmeal on the go cups – delicious! And a bonus – it can sometimes be a battle to get Drew to eat breakfast but he loves these and asked if he can have them in the morning! How perfect is that??!!
Saturday we had the privilege of celebrating my Uncle Jerry and Aunt Konnie’s 50th wedding anniversary with them at their home. It was a small celebration – just family – and our family is small! It was such a fun day. The weather was beautiful so we spent the day outside under a shade tree. We wander around the farm and did a lot of chatting. It was wonderful to see my cousin Terri Jo and her kids as they live in Indiana and we rarely see them anymore. Fifty years is definitely something to celebrate and I hope we get to celebrate many more with these two wonderful people.
I had to turn my air on. I am NOT happy about that. We’ve been having some 90 degree weather and no rain. Not fun fall weather for sure. So I’m burning my Snicker and Snare candle and dug out by buckeyes and am working on some fall stitching and dreaming of cooler weather!
I was soooo sore after walking yesterday. I think we might have overdone it a tad – four miles right out of the gate! But, after walking this morning I’m loosened up and feel much better. Still sore but it will only get better from here right??!! Yesterday afternoon, instead of working on Drew’s room like I had planned, I got some fall decorations out. Every year I do less and less and this year is no exception. I’m mostly using my stitched stuff. The less I get out, the less I have to put away later and the less cluttered the house looks right!
Is it possible to do too much camping? I’m beginning to wonder! After our nice long Labor Day trip and trying to get laundry caught up and the house put back together Abby asked us to go camping last weekend. So, we got home on Monday, ran errands out of town on Tuesday, spent Wednesday evening out at Belva Deer with dad and mom as they were camping and asked us out for supper and then loading the camper up Thursday and back out to Belva Deer we went. After all, when your daughter asks you to spend the weekend with them camping – you just can’t say no!
It turned out Jeremy’s family (Jeremy is our son-in-law) was having their annual family reunion at Belva Deer and the kids were debating whether to camp or not. So Abby asked us if we wanted to camp too and of course we said yes. Jeremy works until 6:30 most evenings and works every Saturday and they can’t have their camper at their house because of the rules there so they keep their camper at Jeremy’s folk’s house, so that makes it hard for them to get it ready. I told Abby not to worry about food – we took care of that for them and we tagged their spot so they didn’t have to worry about what time they pulled in and not being able to find a spot. We had a great time. Dad and Mom stayed for the weekend too and we just enjoyed spending time with everyone.
Then, once we got the camper home Sunday, Dad and Mom, Joe, Drew and I took a road trip to Pella. The only place Mom and Dad have ever camped is Belva Deer and they have wanted to try full hook up and have wanted to camp at Lake Red Rock in Pella. So, off we went to check out campgrounds and see which one they wanted to try. We have this weekend free but off we’ll be going the following weekend to Pella. I love camping in Pella. Joe and I were just there in August for our anniversary weekend. I’m looking forward to camping there with Dad and Mom. And fall camping is my absolute favorite. But, we have camped so much – it’s time for a break! Just to get caught up at home and to get the camper reorganized and just to simply be home! I’m hoping we can then have a couple weekends off and then maybe get in a weekend or two in in October. There’s nothing better than chilly mornings, crisp, comfortable days, then nice chilly evenings around the campground with the leaves turning and the smell of autumn. My all time favorite time of the year and my favorite time to spend outdoors. There’s nothing better!
And here it is, Wednesday already this week. The days are just flying by. Monday was spent getting caught up from the weekend. Yesterday I got caught up on watching Outlander. I’m addicted to the books and to the show and since the new season started Sunday I couldn’t watch the new episode until I had re-watched the first two seasons to get caught up. Joe doesn’t care for the show so I’ve been watching episodes during the day when I can but we’ve been so busy I wasn’t able to get them in until yesterday. Then I watched the first episode of the new season last night while Joe and Drew were out changing the oil in my van. I never thought I could get caught up in a series that’s based on time travel but oh my. The books have been a favorite of mine for years. I’ve read the series twice now and it takes me almost a year to get through them. Then when they decided to make the series I was skeptical. Usually if I love a book, I don’t care for it on the screen but not this time. I love the actors and the accents and the scenery and just everything about the show. I look forward to Sunday nights now for the next few weeks!
And today I started walking with a friend. I dropped Drew off at school and drove over to Mary’s and off we went. We walked four miles and boy was I hurting by the time we were done! I so need this. I need the exercise and I need the socialization. It’s just so easy for me to not be around people. I’m perfectly happy spending my days here at home. I’ve always been a homebody but when I was working I had to socialize. Now, I have to make myself go out and do things. Unless it’s family related I tend to isolate and just be home. And walking in town, it’s like being in a whole new world! I’m used to going outside and it just being me and my chickens! We walked and talked and I saw parts of town I haven’t seen for awhile and we stopped and chatted with a couple of Mary’s neighbors and petted their dogs and waved at all the cars that drove by. It was fun! I’m glad I don’t live in town. I wouldn’t want to have neighbors around me all the time. The noise and the cars and all that goes with living in town, it’s just not for me. But, I’m looking forward to walking in the mornings with Mary and maybe even socializing a little with the people we meet. It will be an adventure!
Another Labor Day camping weekend has come and gone. And it went way too quickly! Things weren’t quite the same as one couple had to cancel at the last minute and another couple decided to come but that’s okay. We missed our friends and made new friends and hopefully we will all be together next year. That’s what we’re planning anyway!
We got to the campground early evening Friday and were the first ones there. We got set up and decided to eat supper at the restaurant. They had all you can eat seafood buffet. Who can pass that up! First we loaded up the truck with firewood as there was no bringing in your own here. Drew loved climbing the woodpile while we loaded up the truck! As we were getting ready to eat another couple showed up and they were wanting to eat at the restaurant too. Not what we usually do when camping but when it’s late and you’re tired and it’s there – why not!
Saturday saw us eating a brunch of bacon and eggs and hash browns then exploring the campground. None of us had ever been to Skip-a-Way before. It was definitely full for this weekend and we could see why. There was miniature golf, a game room, a splash pad, peddle boats, canoes, and kayaks for the lake and tubing down the Turkey River. They guys played around in the game room then we played a round of miniature golf. We walked around the campground and enjoyed seeing all the campers that were set up permanently. They all had sites decorated and landscaped and you could tell everyone knew everyone else. How fun that would be.
The days were nice and the nights were chilly and it was perfect for campfires in the evening. We spent a lot of time sitting and chatting around the fire, getting to know one another and to just relax. the best part of camping as far as I’m concerned!
Sunday we had planned on Tubing the Turkey but it was just chilly enough that we decided to make a change in plans and we’re all glad we did. We took a road trip to Spook Cave and it was so much fun. We’ve toured many a cave but not like this. This tour was all by boat. There were times you couldn’t sit up at all as the roof was so low. Not good for those who are claustrophobic. We had a great tour guide who was able to deal with the guys and their antics. She never batted an eye! I decided I want to go back as there is a campground right on the grounds with the cave. You camp right beside a creek and a waterfall. It would be a fun getaway for the family. Maybe next year!
After the cave we drove onto Pike’s Peak for a fun hike and beautiful views. We got to see the spot where Matthew proposed to Whitney the year before which was fun for all of us and especially Whitney’s mom and dad! Again, I would like to spend more time here and do some more hiking and visit the Effigy Mounds. It was a beautiful place.
By the time we got back the campgrounds we were all tired so a quick supper and more campfire time! Rod got out some lanterns and set them off. Something so simple and yet it’s fun to watch them soar away into the night.
Sunday we were up and headed to the restaurant for breakfast and we were all headed for home by noon. Before we left we were planning our trip for next year. Sounds like we’ll be going south instead of north this time. We like to change it up. As this was our year to plan it I’m glad to hand off the task to somebody else for a couple three years. We’ll let Steve and Wendy make the choice and we’ll have fun no matter where we end up! Skip-a-Way wasn’t necessarily our favorite campground we’ve ever been at but it had lots of fun things to do and places close to visit and it really doesn’t matter where we are. We just all enjoy spending the time camping together!