Thursday, April 28, 2011

Two More Days!!

Two more days until our grandsons come for the day and to stay overnight. I can't wait!!

Get ready Aaron, I'm taking you on in a checkers tournament. And Andrew and Austin, bring the Connect Four because I don't plan to lose again.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Strut Your Stuff

This morning about 7 am, Ken spotted something in the roadway. We didn't know what it was at first. It came out of the grass near the outdoor theater and strutted across the street in front of our car. I thought it was a chicken by its size and the walk, but then Ken realized it was a ring-neck pheasant. I had never seen nor heard of one before so this was a new discovery and observation for me. It was a beautiful bird with a white ring around its neck, red and green on its head and a beautiful golden body with a long tail. He was a good size (about the size of a chicken) and didn't appear flustered at all by our car. He just strutted his stuff across the street until he walked into the grassy area on the other side of the street. Of course, we didn't have the camera with us, but I will definitely now be on the look out for this bird and hopefully will be ready to capture him with the camera.

Tonight I did a little research online on this beautiful bird. The one we saw was definitely a male as the females are not colorful but rather shades of brown.  They are much smaller also. The males will strut to attract the attention of the female for breeding so perhaps there was a female waiting on the other side of the road for that beautiful strutting specimen. The males often mate with more than one hen.

They build their nests on the ground in a shallow depression and line it with grass and weeds. The female constructs the nest and incubates the eggs and the male protects the nest and hen. It takes about 23-25 days for the brown or green eggs to hatch.

The life span of these birds is very short. Some males do not live past October 1 and most live no more than 10 months and a female may live up to 20 months.

I got a lot of my information from these websites:

I enjoyed learning about the ring-neck pheasant after seeing how majestically he strutted in front of us. There are some nice pics of him on the sites above if you are like me and have never seen one.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Blonde Moments

The other day when we arrived at the campground, I noticed several yellow blooms on the bush near our site. I was ready to exclaim that the buds on that particular bush had opened into flowers when I noticed one of the blooms hop right off the branch. To my surprise the bush was full of goldfinches or otherwise known as wild canaries. They were so pretty sitting there on the bush that I thought they flowers.

Another day I was looking into the beaver pond to see if there were any beavers active at the moment. I was also hoping to discover one of those noisy tree frogs in the area. I could see circles in the water that kept getting bigger so I stood still for a few minutes watching, trying to see what was making the circle get bigger. I then noticed more circles in the water, then more. I thought perhaps I had scared several tree frogs into jumping in the water or moving in the water. But as I stood there watching the number of circles in the water multiply quickly, I realized my head was getting wet and it was raining!! No tree frogs, no beavers, just raindrops!

Monday, April 25, 2011

The Dog Walkers

There is a group of people who come to the campgrounds every weekend to walk. They arrive at the same time and they all have their dog or dogs with them. The dogs are all very well behaved and get along so well together. Our little dog, Clayton, does not always greet other dogs with respect, so we usually keep him by himself when we are out walking. But these dogs all walk nicely on their leashes. It amazes me to see some of the dog walkers with two or three leashes to handle.  But these dog walkers have their dogs under control. We see them most weekends when we are sitting on the deck observing the birds while drinking our coffee. The Dog Walkers are a friendly group of people. I asked them if they belonged to a dog group or something but they told me they are just friends who get together to walk their dogs. They said they have picked up "stragglers" along the way, other people they have met while out walking their dogs that they invited to join them. This helps other dogs learn to be more sociable and not so skitterish.

There are a lot of labs, some retrievers, and a beautiful black and white long-haired dog but I don't know what kind he is. Yesterday one woman was walking the cutest little dog who is 13 years old. He is grey and white with a little tan, a mixed breed. His tail has hardly any hair left on it but it curls up majestically anyway. He has the cutest little face with black eyes looking out and cute little ears that stand up. He resembles a poodle and a husky mix to my observation. He is the last dog in the picture above.

While we were talking to the Dog Walkers yesterday, one of the dogs must have been bored and wanted to let us know. He rested his head on the back of his buddy and just stayed there until the Dog Walkers moved on. What a great picture Ken captured!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Happy Easter Everyone!

Things I remember of Easters past:

Getting a new dress (and it usually matched my older sister's) and new patent leather shoes. We usually also got a little purse to go with the outfit. I vaguely remember having white gloves to wear on that day also. (Whew, i think I am really dating myself with that statement). Sometimes we got a little corsage to wear on our dress. My brothers would be dressed in suits and ties (I am sure they loved that!) We would go outside and have our picture taken in the front yard, all of us together, and then usually one of the girls together and one of the boys together. My hair would of course have been curled by mom with great effort since my hair is poker straight and always has been. I usually had a Toni perm put in the night before or a few days before in her effort to create some curls for the Easter picture. How I hated those perms. Sitting still while each little lock of hair was saturated with that smelly perm and then wrapped in the rubber curler with the split in the middle. My mom would leave the perm on my hair longer than the instructions called for in hopes that my hair would cooperate. Oh wow, how some of those perms turned out...with lots of tears on my part during and after.

We used to go to the Methodist church at the corner of our street, usually walking together with my sister in charge of the rest of us. Our parents didn't go with us although this used to be the church my father attended when he was younger.

We would wake up to a basket of candy, each of us having our own basket. There would be chocolate bunnies, chicks, jelly beans, marshmallow chicks (which I always gave to my brother Jeff), and of course the eggs we had dyed the night before. By the end of Easter week, the green, pink and yellow straw grass from the Easter baskets would be all over the house. We would each compare what we got in our baskets and then make swaps.

For many years we got a live baby chick at Easter time. Back then, you could buy them in the five and ten cent store (what in the world is that? my kids may ask). Okay, you could get them at GC Murphy store. We would go and pick out which chick we wanted. We would be so excited and full of love for that special little chick. We'd take them home and put them in a cardboard box with some water and the food that was purchased with them. Of course, five little kids all having chicks at the same time, and five sets of hands picking them up so they knew how much they were loved, probably wasn't so good for those little chicks. Probably was inhumane actually. I doubt they loved being handled as much as they were. Many times their lives were cut short and they didn't make it. Some years they got bigger and we had no way of caring for them in the city and my grandfather would take them to a relative's farm to be cared for.

I remember making Easter baskets in grade school out of strips of construction paper weaved into a basket.

I remember egg hunts at the local city parks. I remember running around having no clue what I was supposed to do or where I was supposed to look at my first egg hunt at Wick Park. I quickly caught on and enjoyed the day.

Speaking of egg hunts, I remember taking Karin and Kenny to Tod Park in Girard for an egg hunt. Kenny was about three years old, still a little shy. After the egg hunt, we walked over to see the Easter Bunny who had shown up for the affair. Kenny walked right up to the bunny and instead of saying "Hi!" or shaking hands with the bunny like most of the kids, he walked up and punched the bunny in the stomach! Oh my!

I remember the first Easter Ken and I were married. He was so good about buying me gifts. I came home to a bounty of gifts from him that year for Easter. He had bought me a new dress (black) and a white Lily! Black dress and a lily???? Did you have something planned for me Ken?

I remember singing with the choir at Youngstown Baptist Church during my teen years and seeing the large crowd of people who attended services for Easter. In later years, Ken and  I took Karin and Kenny to Northside Baptist Church which had a smaller, younger congregration.

The main thing about Easter that I will always remember is the gift of life given to me by Jesus Christ when He died on the cross and rose again on Easter morning. Thank you Jesus.


Saturday, April 23, 2011

Easter Message

"For God so loved the world that He gave his only begotten Son that whosever believeth in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life."

John 3:16

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Rain, rain go away, come back another day.

How I wish that rhyme would really work and make the rain come back another day when we want or need it. I have had enough rain for a while. I have become a complainer. A weather complainer. Wonder what I will be like when I am really old??? Oh boy…maybe I don’t want to go there. I am sure my kids don’t want to know! So….
Okay, God, Thank You for this rainy week. Although I don’t understand Your reasoning in giving us this much rain, I accept it, although grudgingly.
My youngest grandson, Austin, who I call “Grandma’s sweetheart,” has been practicing for tee-ball. But I doubt they had any practices this week. He is a good athlete for only being six years old. He has always tried (and done a good job) to keep up with his older twin brothers who are nine. They played ball since kindergarten but decided this year they didn’t want to play baseball. But Austin couldn’t wait. I am looking forward to his first game this year to see him in action again.
All three grandsons played basketball during the winter at their church. What a great experience that is for all the kids participating. They learn the rules without the pressure of having to win. No scores were kept but the concept of the game was reinforced over and over. Andrew (who I call “Braveheart”) didn’t really want to play at first but ended up loving the game. And quiet Aaron was like a tiger on the court, guarding his man to distraction. I was amazed at how well they knew the game by the time the season ended. All three want to play again in the fall.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Bending Over Backward

They moved in synchronization, swaying sideways to the left, sideways to the right, frontward and backward, bowing as far as they could. Their limbs creaked and groaned. Some broke. Their trunks twisted and turned to deal with the wind. Several trees had fallen, blown down, or their roots uplifted by the mighty wind and the very wet soil beneath them. Many were broken into pieces, scattered along the ground. Some lost branches that never made it to the ground, now hovering precariously above my head.
Suddenly I hear them moan in unison.
 “Enough! We have given, bent, taken and fallen. Our bodies have been twisted and blown, broken and handicapped. Stop this wind now before we snap!”

Saturday, April 16, 2011

A bright spot on a dreary day...

Red Bellied Woodpecker
 We woke to very high winds this morning. It was all I could do to stay upright (a little exaggeration there) while walking our dog, Clayton. But really, this was a big windy day. I have never seen the waves on Mosquito Lake so big or so rough. Even in the bay behind us the water was sloshing all over the place.

We got lots of rain today too. Yippee...we really needed more rain. We had a creek running down the back of our campsite and there is really no creek on our site!

Ken drove around the campgrounds after I returned from my walk with the dog. He told me that the canvas tarps (similar to EZ ups) over the picnic tables at the Yurt sites were blowing all over, the pipes holding the canvas were laying all over and he thought the whole thing would be ruined unless someone did something. So we went back and struggled to just hold onto the canvas without the wind ripping it out of our hands. It felt like a kite when the wind would get a gust inside the canvas that I was holding while Ken was trying to unloosen it from the pipes. He said it was like a parachute when he was holding the entire canvas after I handed my portion to him. Hopefully, they are salvageable and can be put back up once the maintenance crew returns next week.

We did have a short time with some sun before the rains returned. The winds have stopped and the lake is calm. We are supposed to have a wind advisory starting tomorrow morning at 6 am. There was no wind advisory today so I am curious as to how bad it is going to be tomorrow. Maybe we will end up in the Land of Oz!

Clayton on deck
We are looking forward to our grandsons coming to visit us at the campgrounds. We have so much fun riding bikes, hiking, throwing rocks in the water, swimming, playing ladderball, and of course eating! Ken bought a checkers game today because Aaron (we call him Professor) has learned how to play and we are looking forward to challenging him to a game or two. We will have all three grandsons (Aaron and Andrew-9 yr old twins, and their 6 year old brother, Austin) here on April 30, and I am so ready for that. I hope it isn't raining. But if it is and it is warm, we will walk in the rain and enjoy it. Right boys?

My question for today- Where do the birds go when the wind is so strong that I can hardly stand up? How can they hang onto the branches with winds that strong?

Friday, April 15, 2011

Friday Night Friends and Sounds

Well it is Friday night. We are still hearing the sounds. I did some research and I am guessing that it is not crickets. I think it might be tree frogs. After listening to sounds online, and choosing the sound closest to this high pitched noise, I am  pretty sure it is a tree frog. There are several different kinds of tree frogs but I think the one we are hearing is the spring peeper.  I haven't actually seen one and I guess that is because they hide out during the day in twigs and branches and behind bark on trees so that their predators cannot get them. but at night, they sing their hearts out, starting in March. One thing I have figured out is that when you walk past an area where there is all this noise at night, and you shine your flashlight toward that area, it immediately becomes quiet. I mean silence in that area! So I guess that proves tree frogs don't like to make noise during daylight and don't like being seen.  If you click on the link above you will see the tree frog. Click on this link and you can hear the sounds it makes. You have to click on the little arrow in the top left of the screen.

Well, one mystery solved. Now if I could just find an owl's nest! I'll keep looking for one of those because we have a lot of barred owls around our campsite. I have only seen one so far this spring, but I know there are probably more. I just wonder where their nest is.

We went out to dinner earlier tonight with another host couple from the campground and one other person from the campground. It was nice to sit around the table and exchange conversation about what we expect out of this summer, or pass around a rumor or two we had heard. We have a great group of hosts here and people at this campground are so friendly. It seems that people feel almost like this is their second family. I know that as each person or family comes back to the campground, they are greeted with hugs and welcome backs, pats on the back or big handshakes. It seems that everyone felt this past winter lasted way too long. We are still waiting to see three other hosts when they return to camp.

Well, enjoy your discovery on the link I enclosed.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Ear piercing sounds

There seems to be a loud piercing sound all around us this week at the camp. When I first got out of the truck on Friday evening, I thought my hearing aids weren't working right. Then I realized the high pitched piercing sounds were all around us. Just to be sure, I asked Ken if he could hear it also. We both describe it as piercing sounds. When I walk down the road to the boat launch, I pass by an inlet from the bay. It seems that the noise is louder still in this area. My guess is that it is crickets. At first I wondered if it was frogs but I think the sound is too high-pitched and continuous. Today I looked at a website called which has recorded sounds many animals and insects make. There are more types of crickets than I ever imagined but the sounds I heard at that site mimick pretty closely to the sounds I have been hearing at the campsite. I am now wondering if it is mating season or if there are certain times of the year when crickets are louder. I don't remember hearing this much noise last summer from the crickets (if I am right in blaming the cricket for the racket). I'll have to look into that and let you know what I discover.

Have a great discovery day!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Setting up camp again

We arrived last week to clean up our site. It was great to be back even though we didn't have the trailer with us. We got to see lots of people we met while hosting last year. We returned again on Thursday evening with the trailer in tow. Setting it up is not so easy for us "getting older" folks. The stabilizers were stiff as were our knees and bodies. Getting down on the ground to lower the stabilizers and put blocks under the tires was not as easy as it used to be when we were younger. Yet we are still looking forward to the day when we can do this full time.

We worked the weekend setting up camp. Our campsite is "All downhill from here" because it slopes downward from the road, all the way out to the bay behind us. We need a deck of some kind just to be able to get in our back door leading into the kitchen because the ground slopes so low at that point. Ken built  portable deck pieces each about 4' x 6' which we place in line next to the camper. It is really a nice addition and gives us more living space. We love sitting out there in the early morning watching the birds arrive for breakfast. During the day it is a good place for friends and visitors to sit and chat.

By 3 pm on Sunday, we declared it "Relaxation time" and quit for the day. We then had dinner, let it digest a while, before collecting our "grabbers" to go out and look for any papers or debris laying along the road. My efforts paid off because I "grabbed" a dollar bill which was just floating by. When I saw it, I looked around to see where it could have come from. A man who had passed us earlier on the road while we were collecting litter, had just passed by that point. My guess is, this was his way of tipping us for our good deed.