Sunday, May 29, 2011


What is a volunteer and what does it mean to me? A volunteer is someone who sees a need and willingly gives their time, their talents, their resources, or their money to find a solution or help the cause to make something better. A volunteer may never see the end result of his efforts. A volunteer may join a group that has already been working toward a goal, may start his own group or work alone. A volunteer may apply his efforts to raise money to find a cure, to better someone else’s life, pay a medical debt for a family in need, or provide food, clothing or shelter. A volunteer may strive to save the earth or the life of an animal. A volunteer may work to ease the pain of a grieving person or one close to death. A volunteer may provide a home for a child from a dysfunctional family. A volunteer may help someone through an addiction problem, available 24/7 as needed. A volunteer may read to a child or help him with homework. A volunteer may make afghans for the aged or provide a blanket for a homeless person. A volunteer may donate time to teach.  A volunteer may risk his life to put out a fire. There are many more reasons and causes for people to volunteer.
There are many organizations that can use help from volunteers and there are many people who donate their help. People are limited by time and financial resources making them choose which cause(s) to donate to or of which to partake.  I try to volunteer to causes close to my heart. If I said “yes” to every request made of me, my causes would be neglected and my life would be in chaos. A person should decide what is important to them when choosing an organization or cause in which to volunteer.  Because a person does not choose to volunteer in a certain organization does not negate that organization’s worth. It simply means that this person does not have enough time or money to support this group along with the other organizations he or she already supports.
 Ken and I volunteer at Mosquito Lake Campgrounds in Cortland, Ohio as VIP’s (volunteer in park). Although the acronyn for volunteer in park is VIP, we don’t think we are special or very important people as some might think those letters signify.
We are a couple who love to camp and love this campground and want to see it thrive. We want many generations after us to be able to enjoy this park’s bounties; it’s beauty, the lake, the flora, the fish and nature’s creatures. For this reason, we volunteer as camp hosts. Our goal is to see this park preserved and maintained. As camp hosts, we try to keep this campground clean by picking up litter, cleaning campsites, reporting problems that we see, helping campers who have needs. Ken has certain weekends that he is scheduled to help in the check in station and we show movies several times during the summer. We maintain the sites as they are vacated, whether that is during the week or on weekends. We walk through the park picking up papers, cans, cigarette butts and anything else that takes away from the beauty of this park. After a storm, we remove limbs, sticks and debris from the roads. We report anything that we see as dangerous activity, something that will harm the park, people or nature.
We also volunteer for the American Cancer Society by partaking in Liberty’s Relay for Life.  Ken and I have each lost our fathers and a brother to cancer as well as other family members. There are many ways to raise money for causes and Relay for Life has worked for the ACS. I served as captain of WeatherTite Windows Relay for Life team for three years and have been a member of the team for six or seven years.  We have raised over $10,000.00 each year. Relay for Life is a 24 hour event that is tiring but rewarding. We work all yearlong raising money but also raise a large portion at the Relay event. Each team comes up with their own ideas about how to raise money for the cause.
I have been so blessed in this life and it is a privilege for me to give back. My hours are limited due to work and family but I do what I can. I may not do as much as some other people are capable of doing but I do try to make a difference.
If you are not volunteering or giving back, I would suggest you give it a try. Sometimes I don’t look forward to the Relay for Life event because I know how much work it is and how tiring it is. But at the end of the event, I feel so good about what was accomplished. When I stop to think about the small amount of my time that I have donated versus the amount of time the people battling cancer have to deal with it each and every day, it gives me cause to keep on. What I do is so little compared to what they are going through.  Volunteering will lift your spirits and make you feel much better about yourself. At the end of a day you can know you made a difference in someone else’s life.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Busy Weekend at Mosquito Lake Campgrounds

This is the kickoff weekend of summer. We have many families who chose to start it at Mosquito Lake Campgrounds. The campground is full of people and pets, boats, trailers, tents and even canoes.

This canoe was sitting at the camper's site. I asked if he was giving rides.

This one is across from our site. Lovely!
I love the peacock that lights up at night.
 The Friends of Mosqutio Lake Campgrounds planned many activities for this weekend, using the theme of "A Luau". Several camps are decorated and the winner of the decorating contest will be chosen at the Pot Luck dinner today.

People are dressed in costumes and also will win prizes.

Our new host, Kim

Tonight Liz will be training our two newest hosts, Kim and Mary, how to set up and show the movie. Tonight's movie is "Stitch the Movie". I plan to attend tomorrow night's movie, "Tangled," while Ken works the check in station. My grandson, Aaron, loves this movie. I saw a portion of it with Aaron but didn't get to see it all. The movie had to be cancelled last night due to rain.

I was amazed at how many people pulled in during the rainstorm last night. Today started out cloudy but has turned into a beautiful sunny and warm day. Our naturalist, Cindy, started the day off with a bike tour of the park, showing off different areas, and explaining things to her riders. This afternoon she helped the children make sand art bottles.

We captured many people fishing, walking and even snoozing during the day (including myself but I don't plan to post that picture).
They caught a large mouth bass
just before the picture was taken
These people were going to the boat launch
And these people were returning from the boat launch

Well, I'm going out to capture more of the fun going on here at Mosquito Lake Campgrounds in Cortland, Ohio. Enjoy your weekend. I'll post moreof the fun later or tomorrow.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011


I am really tired. I think the lack of sleep Monday evening due to the storm and tornado warning has hit me today. So, no real blog for today but...

Ken sent me this link and I really enjoyed it. I think children would really enjoy seeing this also so if you have any, be sure to let them see it.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

If you have sun, they will come,,,,

The campers have arrived! Finally! We were thrilled to see how many families showed up this weekend to camp at Mosquito Lake State Park Campground. I think everyone felt so cooped up and the first sign of sunshine, they got themselves outdoors and into camping. Welcome back all you campers!

 Last night Ken and I went to dinner with several of our wonderful friends from the campground. We had a nice dinner and then sat outside the restaurant on one of the picnic tables, It felt so good to be sitting outside and not getting wet. The bees have arrived though so we had to keep an eye on that situation. With all the rain we have had, we will probably have a summer full of mosquitoes. Well, that is the name of the lake isn't it?

Campers really are friendly people for the most part. We have met so many nice people while staying out here, as hosts, and before. Vi and Gary come here every year and camp on the same road as us. They are such down to earth, friendly people. Vi has been camping since she was a child. They will be leaving next week but will return again after Memorial Day. I hate when they leave for the last time of the summer each year. They have a large garden to tend and Vi helps babysit her grandson. I think if she could, she would be here more often. As an example of how nice Vi is, one day she came to our camper carrying a handmade gift. Her sister got her started with painting birdhouses. She knows how much we enjoy the birds from our deck. She made one especially for me! What a great surprise! Thank you Vi.

Since it didn't rain, the races are on and we will be going to watch Kenny give it his best again tonight. I hope he gets to hold that checkered flag again tonight.

The hummingbirds are back. We got our feeder out last weekend and they have been "hanging" around it. I'll post some pictures after Ken captures them. He was explaining to me what has to be done with the camera settings to get their pictures since they are constantly fluttering their wings. It's still all greek to me. Auto mode is for me.

Ken also caught a tree frog for me last Saturday while I was at Relay for Life in Liberty. He put it in a red plastic cup and put saran wrap over it with a tiny slit for air. The tree frog got out and he had to recapture him. I was really surprised at how small he was. For all the racket they make, they are tiny. (At least this one was). Tiny body with long legs for that tiny body. We didn't get a picture of it though because he moves too fast. I let him go next to the tree where Ken found him. Right in front of our deck.

Last night while walking Clayton down to the dock, I just happened to shine my flashflight downward in front of me. There sat a green frog still as can be. I shined that light all over him, crouched close to get a good look, and he finally blinked an eye. I probably should have moved him off the road to keep him safe, but I didn't want to get warts!! Hop froggie hop!!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011


We came back to the camper tonight with cloudy skies in some areas and the sun peeking out in other areas. I was somewhat pumped thinking we could get a "picker upper walk" in tonight. You know…where we take our litter grabbers with us and an empty Tidy Cat litter bucket and go for a walk. We get our exercise and also pick up any papers or trash along the way.

Ken sat on the deck while I made dinner. He called to me to get his camera. I'm so glad I did. He spotted two fairly newborn owls in the tree with the owl’s nest. They are so adorable. They are only about a foot tall and their feathers are still not colored completely. They look like they are covered in lint. There they sat, side by side, peeking out of the hole in the tree. Their huge black eyes appeared to be watching us as we watched them.

After dinner, I went out to watch the babies while Ken was inside downloading his pictures of the "twins". I couldn't believe my eyes! There were now three babies in the tree together, side by side. When Ken came out with his camera, the newest baby flew away. This must have been one of the babies we had seen in the past week or so. He is bigger and must be older because he can fly. The twins can't fly yet. I watched as they kind of walked up the tree limb, fluttering their wings as balancers.

We then realized there were actually at least five owls on or near our campsite. We heard one of the adults call out, then heard the returning call from another adult. Shortly after that I heard the raspy sound of the older baby who had just flown from the nest, and at the same time the twins were in the tree. So five owls in this tiny area.

But for some reason there are a lot fewer chipmunks. (Sorry Alvin, Theodore, & Simon.)

By the time the dishes were done, the skies were telling us a storm was brewing. Can you imagine that? Rain? Couldn't be. Oh yes it was. We didn't get to take our walk because of the rain but I was glad we at least got to see the twins. Gotta look on the "bright" side even if you have to manufacture your own sunshine!

We are supposed to get rain tomorrow and then some sunshine on Friday and Saturday before it starts raining again. I just wonder where all the campers are going to stay next week for the Memorial Day weekend. The campground is completely booked. Ken gets to work in the check in station that weekend. He is going to hear a lot of complaining from unhappy campers whose sites are uninhabitable. Nothing he can do about that but we are wondering how the situation will be handled.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011


His curly brown ringlets were prized by our mother until he was about four. “Who is that little girl with you?” our grandfather would ask me, knowing he could rile me. “He’s not a girl. That’s my little brother!” I defended  every single time. No one would pick on my little brother.
His soft brown eyes reflected his goodness as well as his mischievousness. Many a girl envied his long eyelashes.  His smile turned to laughter easily.
He was the fourth of six children, the second of four sons. I was the second daughter, 16 months older than him. We were close to each other, not only in age.
In the preschool years we played in the sandbox together for hours, sifting sand, building mounds that were intended to end up like castles but usually didn’t, or digging to the bottom to make roads on which to push our toy cars and trucks.
He loved playing army and I preferred playing “boy” games. “I want a Fort Apache” or “I want army men” or “I want this special toy gun” were many of his requests to Santa as a boy.  “I’m the Yankees,” Jeff would declare, making me the confederates. We would play for hours with those plastic molded soldiers, some with guns poised from their shoulders, others in the lying position as snipers.  We would line them up or hide them in strategic positions. Taking careful aim and staying behind our designated throwing line, we would use marbles or some small items to take turns tossing toward the soldiers. If they were knocked over they were dead. If you hit them but they didn’t fall, they were alive. A sniper would have to be moved out of position or rolled over to be considered dead. Having snipers was a good thing. And finding something to use as an obstacle to shield your soldier such as a chair or table leg was a bonus. “Ka-ching I got him!” Jeff would yell. He usually used some sort of sound effect as one of the soldiers was hit. It didn’t really matter whose men were all dead first because we would just reset them and start over.
Sometimes when we were outside we’d play army with the neighborhood kids, mostly boys. “You can be the nurse,” they would tell me. Jeff would defend me telling them to let me be a soldier too. Getting dirty alongside my brother was so cool. Rolling on the ground when I was “wounded” was fun. Grass stains and dirty knees didn’t bother either of us.
Sometimes we would go to “The Meadows” to play during the day. “Watch out for hobos,” he would tell me. Although I had never seen one, somehow Jeff knew they were there. “Don’t get too close to the train when it goes by or you will get sucked underneath it,” was another warning from him. How did he know all these things? We would catch crabs underneath rocks in the stream by the railroad tracks and then do our best to provide water from the stream and rocks and grass to keep them alive in the bucket we put them in at home. Somehow our efforts never paid off.
One summer Jeff and our older brother, Wes, found a dog. Figuring they wouldn’t be allowed to keep it if they took it home, they hid it in a neighboring garage. Back and forth they went several times a day to feed and play with the dog. After a couple days, I was let in on the secret and sworn not to tell. We were all sad when someone in the neighborhood noticed what we were doing and the dog was taken away.
“Someday I’ll live on a farm,” Jeff said over and over through the years. I always imagined Jeff being married to a really sweet woman, having a bunch of children and lots of animals on that farm. Although that never happened, Jeff did own a couple of horses and/or ponies when he was a teenager. He boarded them at a nearby farm. One summer day he rode his horse right to our house in the city, riding down the middle of the city streets.
Jeff liked to fish. It could be at Lake Glacier as a kid, in a boat with Dad or Grandpa, or in the Mahoning River near his duplex when he was an adult. It was at the Mahoning River while fishing that Jeff rescued his dog, Coal Bucket. Someone was drowning pups rather than find homes for them when Jeff came upon him. No way was that going to happen with Jeff around! He took the last black fur ball home with him and the two of them remained a pair.  Coal Bucket didn’t live much longer after Jeff died.
Jeff didn’t ruffle easily. He didn’t seem to hold grudges either. Jeff just did what Jeff wanted to do at the moment, a free spirit. Sometimes he didn’t think about the consequences of his actions, but when he had to pay for them he knew he had it coming. He could laugh about those consequences, rather than begrudging the person or law official who “caught him in the act.”
Jeff is one of the reasons I participate in Relay for Life. Jeff died of cancer at age 44. When his time was up, he didn’t moan and groan. He accepted it. He joked with us the night before. It was another chapter in his life. Jeff was comfortable with death as he was with many other things in life.
Jeff, you are a special person to me, always have been. I miss your jokes, your stories, and all the incidents you were involved in, good and bad. Thank you for being such a good brother. Thanks for all you taught me in life. Thank you for your help from Heaven.  Our lives on earth are far from perfect but as a brother, you were perfect.
Happy Birthday Jeff!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Pat and Butch Update

Pat and Butch had to move their RV to another site that was drier. Keep you pant legs rolled up Pat!!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Same Old Story

It's not only happening here, but it seems to be happening in so many places in the USA! That is.....rain, rain, rain. Today we have been sitting inside the camper except for a couple of dog walks and an excursion in the truck to look around the campground. The back of our site is flooded beyond anything I have ever seen. Our picnic table is sitting in water along with some of our tiki torches. Good thing we weren't planning a cookout today. We would have a hard time getting to the fire pit and also finding dry ground for anyone to sit.

I am guessing the Army Corp of Engineers is holding back the water as long as they can to help those areas downstream time that are flooded. We have sites completely underwater and some of the electric boxes are getting close to being dangerous.

That doesn't stop the fishermen though. The lake is full of them in their boats for a fishing tournament. But you really don't need a boat to fish today. At the beach area, you could fish from the parking lot because some of it is underwater. Ken captured this picture of a fisherman sitting in his chair at the edge of the parking lot. He named it, "Never Ever Give Up". I just hope he moves his chair before it is underwater also.

This building is a rental place for boats and jet skis in the summer. But if you want to get to the dock you better know how to swim or wear your water wings.

To get to the dock in the campground you would also have to wade through water. We got a kick out of this sign near the campground dock which is helpful in late summer most of the time but not appropriate with the conditions we have today. In case you can't read it, it says, "Caution: Boating hazardous due to unusually low water." The water in that area is nearly up on the road leading to the dock.

Beach, where is the beach? It is gone! Completely underwater! Oh well, no sun to sit under anyway. I'll skip the blanket on the beach and stay in the truck today.

We do have a lot of lakefront property here this weekend though. And this site is usually not one of them!

Our two yurts which are lakefront property, are close to being underwater. The water is close to the level of the deck they are built on.

Hosts, Pat and Butch, enjoy using their kayaks here at Mosquito Lake. But they will have to swim out to get them. They also have to swim to adjust their satelite dish. The back of their Class A is sitting over water also. They have a sign they usually hang on their post that says, "Beach Bums" so I guess they really are!

I'm sure a lot of people at campgrounds across the country are dealing with this same wet weather, but I sure hope it ends soon.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Lookin' in all the Wrong Places

We have enjoyed the appearances of barred owls at our campsite for the past three years. The first year we saw the baby owls they almost felt like family. They would sit on branches near our campsite for long periods of time, watching us watch them. When Ken took picture after picture of them, his camera shutter clicking away, they just sat there and posed. It didn't seem like the babies were as friendly last year. We saw them but not as often. We have been waiting for the appearance of the babies this year. We had seen the adult barred owl but not babies.

That is until this morning. Ken was having his coffee on the deck when he heard the baby owl nearby. I  spotted him on a branch behind the camper, very high up. We both thought we could hear two of them making their weak throaty sound. Sure enough there was another one in the trees beside our camper. Ken got some good pictures of them again.

Although we enjoy their presence, the crows and other birds do not. I feel sorry for the babies when the crows start making their cawing sounds and diving toward the branch where the owl sits. Then other birds join in the attack. We watched one of the owls that was being harassed fly away and land in a tree in the back of our site. This is the same tree that an owl flew from last night while we sat by the campfire. Neither of us knew he had been sitting there.

It may well be that I have been looking in all the wrong places for the owl's nest. I was told that I should look way up high in a tree for a large nest made of sticks and branches. I was also told that if an owl had a nest in the tree, there would be a streak of white below the tree from their body droppings. I have been looking for two years, walking around with my head facing upward. In the winter when we came to the campgrounds and the trees were bare, I thought I would have a good chance of finding the nest. But I never did.

Well, when this baby owl flew to safety from the attack of the other birds, he landed in a large tree that has a hole in the vee between branches. We have seen baby squirrels come in and out of this same hole the past two years. We have been watching for them this year but as yet have not seen them. After doing a little research this morning, I find that owls will take over squirrel's nest and they do indeed make nests in hollow parts of trees. I think I may have found the owl's nest. I will be keeping my eyes on that tree to see if both owls go in there or if this baby was just using this spot for safety. He did take off and come back to that same tree a couple of times and spent a long time sitting there with his lower body tucked in the hollow of the tree while watching from his viewpoint.

I was wondering why the other birds cause so much raucous when the owls are around. I read this morning that among mice, chipmunks, small squirrels and rabbits, frogs, fish, and snakes, owls will occasionally eat birds such  as woodpeckers, jays, grouse, quail, blackbirds, and pigeons. The owl usually catches the birds near nightfall when they are settling to roost because he cannot catch them in flight. Owls eat mammals only. They eat the entire body, bones and all, then regurgitate pellets of any body parts they could not digest. These pellets can often be found on the ground below their nest. I looked for any below the tree that I saw the baby go to but so far have not found any pellets.

 For the past 5-10 minutes the crows have been making a lot of noise so I am suspecting they are after the owls again. They are not in our area right now but it sounds like the crows are near the beaver pond.
Fly Owl Fly.

Owls stay together for life once they mate. The male owl feeds the female while she is on the nest. Both parents care for the babies for approximately four months, feeding them until they are completely able to do so for themselves. Owls maintain their territory and nest sites for years. Owls in the wild live for about ten years. The only natural enemy to the barred owl is the great horned owl.

We tend to notice the owls in early morning hours or just before dusk. We hear their vocalizations more at night but also hear them sometimes during the day. They sound like "Who who who cooks for you? Who?" Most times after one owl hoots we will hear another one answer. The baby owls cannot hoot yet and only make a quiet bzzzt with a throaty sound to it. We hear them talking back and forth amongst themselves with this quiet noise, mostly in the mornings.

Baby owls look like they have lint all over their bodies when they are very young before leaving the nest. Once they get their plumage they look just like the adult owls, only smaller.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Mothers are Special

Happy Mother’s Day to all the women lucky enough to earn that title. Mothers come in all sizes, shapes, colors, religions, and age. New mothers are all around us out here at the lake as all the birds, frogs, geese, ducks, and squirrels are being born.
But there are some really special mothers in our lives. The mothers of my mom’s generation were special because they had large families. Birth control was not something that was around then or accepted. Most moms then stayed home and ran the house and raised the children. Having a large family was just the way it was when the Baby Boomers were being born.
 The Baby Boomers (my generation) planned their families, having the choice of when and how many children they would have. I did the best I knew how when raising my children. I know I made a lot of mistakes but they were done in love. There are a lot of things I would have done differently now that I can look back at them in hindsight. But since I can't change them, I hope my children will forgive me.
Today’s generation, those having children now, have a more difficult time. Even though they have birth control and choices, there seem to be more burdens upon young women today. Many of those women are working, going to college, or raising children alone. My generation also had numerous mothers who worked but it seems it is a dire necessity for today’s young mothers.
There are special moms out there that go way beyond normal. Those mothers have special needs children, prematurely born children, ill children, or autistic children.  Those mothers put in many more hours and endure a lot more stress than most mothers. Among those mothers is my daughter, Karin, whose twins were born three months prematurely. Having a multiple birth in itself is a big adjustment but add to that the trials a new mother goes through when her babies’ lives are in danger day in and day out.  In my eyes, my daughter is one of the best mothers I have ever met. She became an instant nurse, teacher, advocate and overseer when her boys were born. I recently wrote about the goslings, the baby geese, and how the parent geese watch over their brood. My daughter knew what was going on in their young lives and learned the importance of fighting for what her babies needed and spoke up immediately if she saw someone doing something that could harm them or inhibit their progress. She stands up for them all of them at school, seeking extra help when needed and making sure the teachers are on the same page with her.
Karin is one of those mothers who appreciate and enjoy her children every day. She lights up when she sees her children after a day at work or when she comes home from college at night if they are awake. If they spend the night at one of the grandparents or cousins’ house, she is elated to see them when they return, having missed them dearly while they were gone. She puts her children first in all of her plans in life. She makes sure they have many happy experiences and takes them to so many places to expose them to life. All three boys feel special and know their mom is special and feel her love. She checks their homework and spends hours helping them with it until they understand. She attends the events they are in at school or sports and church. She spends special time with all three of her children and they adore her. She is one lucky and special mom.
Another special mom is my niece, Lori. Lori has four children ranging in ages from 21 to grade school. Her oldest was severely injured in a car wreck in July last year. Lori spends so much time helping Jeff with physical therapy and exercises at home. She works with him to understand what his needs are. His voice is gone for now but she knows how to communicate with him, having devised her own system to help him spell out what he is saying. She attends rehab sessions with him at Hillside Hospital, learning how she can help him at home. Lori wakes very early every morning to start her day. Her day is long and full of work. But she keeps such a good attitude and outlook on life. Lori is a special mom who is so thankful to have her son still with her. She endures the ups and downs of his recovery but does not give up hope that he will regain all his former abilities. Lori also makes sure the other three children do not feel left out. Her children help her and accept Jeff just as he is. They have adjusted to the situation and help her when they can.
It takes a special person to be a special mom. Thank you to all those special moms out there. God bless you and your children.

Morning Coffee

One of the first things I look forward to each morning is a cup of coffee.  A GOOD cup of coffee. We have had many coffee pots in our life. When we first got married I didn’t drink coffee and Ken only drank coffee at work so we didn’t have a coffee pot. In 1992 I started my own transcribing/secretarial business and I was up very late helping an immigration lawyer get her legal paperwork ready to meet a deadline. I only got about two hours sleep before I had to awake to get ready for my daytime job. When I got to work, I tried a cup of coffee, hoping it would give me the energy to get going that morning. It wasn’t so bad and since then I have enjoyed my morning coffee.
When growing up, I remember my sister and me making coffee for our parents in the aluminum percolator pot. I remember many times hearing my dad say, “This coffee is terrible!” or my mom say, “Don’t let the coffee run over.” Making coffee when you didn’t even drink it was no fun. How were we supposed to know when it was done? We didn’t even know how it tasted! We would fill the pot with water to the line marked inside the pot. Sometimes we were more accurate at filling to the line than other times. We measured out an amount of coffee grounds to put in the aluminum basket with the hole in the middle, depending on how much water was put in the pot. The basket fit over a rod that stood in the middle of the pot. Then there was a lid to put over the basket to keep the coffee grounds in and another lid to cover the entire pot. We had to wait until it started to “perk” in the pot, making several trips back and forth to the stove to watch the glass globe on the lid. Once we saw the water start popping up into the globe, we knew it would soon start turning a brownish color. We had to make sure the fire wasn’t up too high or the coffee would come out the spout all over the stove, even if it wasn’t done. What a mess! Once we decided the color in the globe was dark enough to really be coffee, we would pour a little into a cup and take a look at it and make a decision by the color. If we were in a hurry, I am sure they got some very weak coffee. “Yep, this looks done. Pour them a cup and we can go do our own thing.” Another scenario was forgetting the coffee pot was on and just walking away from the stove and the pot boils over (I am still very well versed in forgetting there is something on the stove).
Then those Corning ware coffeepots were invented. The ones you plugged into the wall. Yes, now that is much easier. I remember the white pot with the blue flowers or some sort of design on the outside. Someone finally invented a good coffee pot. We were in heaven!
Next I remember the electric pots that have a water reservoir. Fill the reservoir with water, lift a lid and put the coffee grounds in the plastic basket and put the glass pot underneath it. Turn on the switch and the water heated, poured over the coffee grounds and then came out into the glass pot when it was done. Making coffee got easier but you could still get bad coffee if you didn’t put the right amount of coffee in the basket. I have had disasters with these pots too by not placing the pot correctly under the basket and the coffee flows all over the place, not in the pot.
I bought Ken a Keurig coffee system for Christmas. It makes great coffee and is the easiest so far. I am not going to say that this is the best coffee pot because I thought we had the best a couple times before. Who knows what will be invented next? With this pot you buy K-cups, coffee enclosed in small plastic cups similar to the little creamer containers you get at restaurants. You put your water in a reservoir on the side of the machine, turn on the power and let it heat. When the lights turn blue you lift a handle and insert the k-cup into the slot. When you push the handle down, there is a little needle that pierces the K-cup to allow the water to run through it. The light starts to flash and you choose whether you want a small cup (making the coffee stronger) or a large cup (to fill a larger cup or to make the coffee weaker). The machine heats the water, lets it stream over the K-cup unseen, then the coffee comes out into my coffee cup. When it is done, you hear a little hiss from the steam and the coffee stops coming out. Coffee done. One cup at a time. Very simple and lots of flavors to choose from. But finding the right type and brew of coffee in K-cups is a trial and error thing. You may have to try many different flavors before you find the one that suits your taste.
Friends of ours, Bill and Kathie, use the aluminum percolator pot like I used when I was a kid at their cabin in PA and we had the pleasure of having the “best coffee in the world” out of their pot while visiting there. We couldn’t get over how good that coffee was and it was made in a pot that was so very old. Kathie has begged Bill to let her get another type of pot but he refuses. “Why would we get another pot when this one makes the best coffee in the world?”  I thought he was just joking when he would talk about this pot until I tasted their coffee. It was great. Kathie has a knack for making some good coffee. No the BEST coffee. I didn’t think I would ever taste such good coffee again in my life.
Last year Bill and Kathie brought us the best coffee pot we have ever had in our life. Kathie searched on the internet until she found just the right one for us. It looks like the one they have in their cabin; an aluminum percolator pot that was personalized by Bill with the words, “Jan & Ken’s Good Coffee” painted in hunter green on the front of the pot. The pot they have in their cabin is also personalized in hunter green saying something like “The best coffee in the world” or “Bill and Kathie’s Best Coffee.”
We love using this pot on the weekends. During the week we don’t take the time to use it because we are hurrying to get things done to get to work. I just took a sip of coffee from this pot. While I was writing this blog, the coffee pot behind me was heating, and then boiling the water, then I could hear it start to hiss a little, then it was brewing, sounding something like a train whistle. I could smell the aroma of the coffee filling the camper. Ken watched it (as I forgot about that part again) and when it was done he brought me a steaming hot cup. My first sip was so hot I couldn’t taste the coffee. The newer coffee pots don’t make coffee this hot. I know better than to drink it too fast but I do enjoy the heat. My coffee stays hot longer and I don’t end up drinking cold coffee. Mmmmmm...Now this is coffee, darn good coffee. No I think it is the Best coffee (besides Bill and Kathie’s coffee).
This pot is now so valuable that we will need to include it in our wills. No matter what type camper we have or where we are camping, this pot will be going with us. This pot is so valuable that Ken now says, “If there is a disaster, I’ll go back in and get the pot first!” As long as I know where I stand, I am good. Ken jokes that when we get company, he hides this pot so it is not “taken” by an envious friend or family member. They don’t make things like they used to but I am glad Kathie took the time to find this pot for us. Thank you again, Kathie and Bill, for a gift that will be used for many years and generations to come.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Water Logged

Squish Squish Squish. Everything here is so soggy that when Clayton walks on the grass I can hear it squish. I roll up my pant legs just to keep them dry. There is so much water lying around the campground that a good portion of the sites are underwater. I guess that explains why there is a lack of campers here. I still enjoy being here but I would really like to stay dry for a change. Oh well, maybe some day soon.

This is a "walk in" site, but maybe you will want to "wade in" instead.

We do have a  lot of beauty around us even though it has been very wet and rainy.

And then there is Carol, our campground manager. She is always upbeat and so sweet. Everyone loves Carol. Here she is in the campground store and check in. She is always ready to help and does it with a beautiful smile.

Monday, May 2, 2011

The Goslings are Here

Whenever we arrive back at the campgrounds in April I know we will be hearing the honks of the geese around the lake. They are especially noisy in the spring when they are choosing their mates and protecting their nests.  Sometimes their honks sound like the rubber horn I had on my bicycle as a kid. I also hear the skidding splashes of the geese as they land on the water feet first gliding in somewhat gracefully. When they are scared the signal goes out by one of the geese, then gets louder as others join in. Soon I know I will be hearing the flapping of wings as they all take off for safety together.

This week I finally saw the first baby geese (goslings) from this year's hatch. They are so cute with their yellowish downy feathers and their cute little waddles. I love to watch them as they swim close to their parents. It amazes me how closely both parents watch over their goslings. I am mesmerized as I watch them swim in the bay sometimes with other "families" of geese, all the goslings surrounded by their parents. It seems like all the adults watch over the young. If one strays from their own family, one of the other adult geese will guide it back to their parents.

Have you noticed that when two adult geese face each other beak to beak a heart shape is formed?

                                                          Must be true love!!

And the product of that love is:

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Achieving Goals

Most people have goals. Some reach them, some don't, some keep striving. Ken and I have a goal of retiring to a full-time RV life. We love living close to nature, love to travel, and we definitely love meeting interesting people. We hope to experience all of those things on a full time basis some day in the near future. We know we have work to do to get there but we keep planning, prioritizing, and moving toward that goal.

Our son, Ken Jr., has had a goal since he was a very young boy. I can remember sitting in the stands at the raceway watching cars race around the track, enjoying the excitement and thrill of it. I can remember Kenny being mesmerized by it all and I specifically remember him saying many times over the years since he was a little boy, "Someday I will have a race car."

He never gave up his dream. His "someday" came a few years ago when he purchased his first race car, a dwarf car in the sportsmen's classic division. His first year was full of trial and error but by the end of that season he had his car humming along and he was making great improvements as a rookie.

His second year was full of surprises and lots of overtime at work that prevented him from racing many times. Last year he purchased a different car and didn't have it ready until mid season. He still didn't give up. He kept working toward his goal of winning the race. He won his first feature last year at the last race of the year at Deerfield Raceway.

Last night was the first dry night this season that a race could be held at Deerfield Raceway and he started it off by winning the feature in his division. Goals aren't always attained easily but Kenny achieved his by not giving up. Congratulations for a job well done Kenny. I'm so proud of you and happy for your accomplishments in life.

My day with the boys

The day finally arrived that I got to spend with my three grandsons at the campground. Andrew called at 7:15 am to ask if they were allowed to come earlier than originally planned. "You can come anytime!" I said.

We all had a blast and I think I forgot I was not a child. We had a beautiful day with the weather cooperating, mostly sunny but a bit cool at times.

We spent the day riding bikes, playing at the playground, and roasting hot dogs over the fire that they helped Paco Ken build (dummy me didn't buy the marshmallows to roast).

We unloaded a pickup truck of wood and stacked it on our site. The boys were filthy dirty, played out, and happy when they retired inside to watch a video before falling asleep.

We awoke this morning to a rainy day but they still weren't ready to leave when their parents arrived. I'm waiting for more days together here at Mosquito Lake Campgrounds.