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WHEE...... Home in Alabama!









Friday, September 22, 2017

They're gone.... well almost

Cullman, AL


One thing we liked about this property was it had trees on it.  One thing we didn't like about this property was it had trees on it.   Nice trees such as magnolia and cypress, cedar.  Not so nice trees such as too many cedar, dead trees and one huge cottonwood.

Today many of the offending trees were removed.

A dead peach tree before and after.





Some dead trees.  Anyones guess what they were.  Before and after.




We had two tree services come to give an estimate.  One had no license or insurance.  Thank you but no thank you.   We are extremely pleased with the service we choose.  Both said this was the biggest cottonwood they ever saw.  Before and after.


We wanted the cottonwood removed because it was so close to the house.  It also interfered with the growth and production of the pecan tree next to it.  We love how its removal opened up the whole front yard.   Yea the lawn got torn up a bit but we know it won't take long for the grass to regrow.  In the meantime, a little less lawn to mow!



The peach tree was removed by chain saw.  The other dead trees were easily tumbled over by their Bob Cat.

And this is how the cottonwood was removed.





Note the pecan tree on the left.



We've contacted a service that grinds stumps.  He is now in Florida doing some cleanup.  He will come here when he returns.

On Wednesday and Thursday Leonard and I spent the morning burning old paneling we had removed from the basement along with lots limbs and brush we have cleaned out.   Good thing.... look what we have now.



Any body want some firewood?    If not, we'll let you know when to bring the marshmallows and hot dogs. 

In a few months we will have this crew back to remove about 20 old cedar trees we want gone.

On a side note.... this is fall crop planting time in Alabama.  We put in broccoli, onions and cauliflower.   This is before hoeing.


Loving the life.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Waiting out Irma

Cullman,  AL


When Harvey hit Texas and Louisiana many of our friends and family in those areas were affected.  Most were fortunate and either no or minor damage was sustained.  But for some it has been more traumatic.   Friends Kim and Joel (Joel is our son-in-law Joe's brother) had major damage to their beautiful home in Spring, TX and are now in the clean up process.  Len's cousin Jake whose house is just feet from the shore of a lake was extensively flooded up to near to roof.   As we worried about so many in Texas and Louisiana there was not much we could do from here but pray and let them know of our concern.

Then came Irma to Florida.  We have many friends and family who live in the Sunshine State.  As I made contact I learned one couple were at visiting with family in the northeast and out of the area.  Some choose to stay in their home, one cousin temporarily moved from her manufactured house to a friends.   We worried about them all.  All came through fine.

I offered our home to those who chose to evacuate the state.  One couple thought about it but decided to stay put.  However, two couples came for a visit until the situation improved.

First came Harry and Jessica and their two cats.   They left Florida in the early morning hours of Thursday, September  7 and drove straight through (about 700 miles) and arrived here in the afternoon.  This is Jessica checking the weather conditions:


The next day we put Harry to work.  He and Len installed a storm screen door at the back entrance.  How cool, I  got out of that task.  Loving it.  Now that we have a screen door, on cooler days we keep the back door open.   And on warmer days we can keep the heavy back door open for light to shine into the laundry room.

Before  Irma approached Florida I had made contact with our friends Diane and Russ who we knew from NJ.  They moved to Florida about 5 years ago.  I asked if they were evacuating.  They did not know at the time.   On Saturday I contacted them again and asked where they were.  They were at a motel in Georgia about 3 hours away.  I invited them to come here.  They responded by asking if I could find them a motel room that was pet friendly, having 3 cats.  I told them we have an RV sitting here that is pet friendly.  They arrived on Sunday.

Diane doing her crocheting and Harry looking on.


Len and Russ tackling the worlds problems.  And they say woman talk a lot.  These two never stopped.  It was nice!


Lunch one day:


Jessica and Harry left on Thursday and drove to Jacksonville, FL where Harry's sister lives.  They hope to be back in their home early this coming week.   They heard from friends their house only has minor damage.... an awning down and missing skirting around the bottom.   I know how worried they were about their RV that is in storage.  Apparently it suffered no damage.

Yesterday the 4 of us took a drive to the nearby Clarkson Covered Bridge.  We've been there many times and thought Diane and Russ would enjoy seeing it.


There is a picnic area in the lower areas near the water wheel house.  Note the tables are made of river rock.  Sturdy!


So, today we have just the two of us here.  Diane and Russ left this morning.  They were informed their electric came on late Thursday.  They, too, had minor damage to their property in Sebring.  A fence wall came loose and was moved a few feet.  Other than that, they are hoping all is well.

It was a nice visit from both couples despite their stress worrying about how things were at home.  We are grateful that all appears to be manageable.   To the four of you.....anytime you want to visit under less stressful conditions ..... welcome to our home.

Until next time..

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Starting, ending and somewhere in-between

Cullman, AL


When we started living and traveling full-time in an RV it was a new, exciting way of life.  We loved it.  We didn't much discuss how long we would live that lifestyle.   Part of the fun was planning our next destination.  Sometimes it was dictated by family emergencies (Illness, death) , sometimes by commitments (NOMADS) and sometimes just because we wanted to experience a new, different area.

We met so many people along our journey.  Some had been full-timing for years, others just starting and others RVing on a part-time basis.

THOSE IN-BETWEEN

In December after seven plus years on the road, we both decided it was the time to settle, buy a house and RV part time.   As a blogger, I follow many other blogs of people living the same lifestyle as we were.   Some are coming off the road completely, some settling down and will RV part time and some friends are just getting started.


One couple Jessica and Harry ( www.rikerrvdays.blogspot.com ) recently bought a house in Florida.  They started full timing not long after we  did.  They will now part time.  They are happy with their decision.





We spent time with Jessica and Harry a few years back when we were in the Albany, NY area.  RVing has been great for both of them.  You should see Jessica now.  She looks 20 years younger.  They run marathons.  Nice people!

When I started reading RV blogs, I came across one written by a woman known as Froggi.  Since that time, she has married Stu, lived in Ecuador for a few years, written and published novels and traveled the country in their RV.   Of note.... about the same time we bought a house in Alabama, Donna and Stu bought a house in Tennessee.  They will still travel part time in their RV.  They also love to cruise.   ( www.ourprimeyears.blogspot.com )

Then there is Nick and Terry Russell.  ( www.gypsyjournalrv.com )  Most full time RVers know this couple or have heard of them.   After 17 years they just got off the road late last year, also buying a home in Florida.  They are selling their motorhome with the intention of getting something small for part time travel.  Nick and Terry publish the Gypsy Journal and Nick is a prolific writer.... read his books....you will enjoy them.  Years ago we attended one of their rallies in Yuma, AZ.  What a hoot.



That's Nick on the left, Em-ceeing the "Miss Yuma" competition.

Paul and Marsha  (  www.wheresweaver.blogspot.com )


We caught up with this couple in South Dakota.  They were fulltimers at that time.  Since then they bought a house in Ohio and RV part time.  Always spending summer months traveling and back home where Marsha keeps Paul busy with house projects.

ENDING

While we were in South Dakota a reader of my blog notified me that another blog writer was at the same park.  But when I got the notice we had left that campground to stay at another one about 20 miles away.  What's a 20 mile drive to meet a fellow blogger.  Back we drove.  What do  ya know, we had been parked right next to Jim and Dee of ( www.tumbleweed-jimdee.blogspot.com )    I was sure I took a picture of Dee and Jim, at least I thought I did.  If so, can't locate it in my pic files.  Regardless, Jim and Dee bought a house in Florida a couple of years ago and sold their fifthwheel.  We hope they stop to see us when traveling between Florida and Illinois where family live.

Then there is Angela and Kenny.  They are from the Kansas City area.  They recently bought a house in Arizona and came off the road.  That is Kenny and Angela in the very middle to this picture.  It was taken at a Escapees Rally in Missouri a few years back.




I had been, and still, follow the blog of Betty.   ( www.lifeisguid2013.blogspot.com)  She and her Scottish hubby Dave started full timing about the same time we did.




We spent some time with them when they were working security at a closed mill in New Jersey.  They recently decided to go off the road.  They sold their 2010 Montana fiver and moved to Minnesota.  Betty says she so much loves the cooler weather more then that of Texas where she was raised.

A bit different:

And one blogger is Gerri and her hubby.  ( freedom2roll.blogspot.com )  They were fulltimers.  Bought a house in Georgia.  Missed the full time life, sold the house and again are full timers.

So...........   here are a few previous fulltimers who have decided to pack in it.  Also some fulltimers who now have a home and will RV part time.  

STARTING

Around the time we started full timing we went to an RV show in Atlantic City,  Friends Helena and Adam attended with us.  Now about 7 years later they have bought a motorhome with the plan to start the fulltime life.  Meet Helena and Adam



Two years ago we were in a campground in Jonestown, PA.  One never knows who reads the blog.  I got a message from Darlene who read the blog and lived near the campground.  We have since stayed in contact with Darlene and Jim.



In fact, we were just at their house in PA a little over two weeks ago.  They had just that afternoon listed their house for sale.  It sold 5 days later.  They are preparing for their full time lifestyle.

Life ebb and flows.  We wish all who have settled into a more stationary life many happy memories of their time on the road.  We wish all who have moved into a stix and brix  but plan to continue some travel time, peace in their homes and safe and happy travels when on the road.  And we wish those just starting this most rewarding lifestyle happy trails, good times and great memories.

Until next time.






Sunday, August 20, 2017

My Favorite Place

Cullman,  AL

After seven weeks of traveling with and hosting our 8 and 11 year old granddaughters, it sure is quiet around here.  (And the house stays a lot neater).  But I sure do miss them.  

We left Cullman on Friday the 11th and drove a little over 400 miles to our nephew and niece-in-laws house (Jason and Kelly)  who live in Rural Retreat, VA.   They are gracious to host us when we travel I-81.   After another 400 miles, we got the girls home to MD mid day on Saturday.  Daughter Amy and SIL Scott were awaiting their arrival with open arms and hugs and kisses.

Then we visited daughter Terri and SIL Steve who live in Cleona PA.  Grandson Justin and girlfriend Karlie came to the weekend.  We stayed there until Tuesday morning and did our trip in reverse, staying at Jason and Kelly's Tuesday night and arriving home Wednesday.

What a welcome sight!  Home!  And grass to be cut!  But that's okay.  It's home!

On Thursday as I set our table for dinner, it hit me.  Only Two Plates.  Only Two Place Settings.  Only Two People to Feed.  Tears fell.  So quiet around here now.    Time to relax, to think, to dream.

My spot favorite is our porch.  The front porch.  My views.





I love this house and every part of it.  But no place compares to this porch.  The back porch has a porch swing.  It's okay.  As we were looking  outside a bit ago, we saw a fawn and its mama walk into the woods in the back. That's nice.  But even with that, I prefer the front porch.

It's my spot for morning coffee.  It's my serene place for a cold glass of unsweet tea.  It's my spot to read or even play a game on the Smart Phone or catch up on Facebook.   It's a relaxing oasis in the evening to watch the lightening bugs until the mosquitoes find me.  It's a spot to just sit still, be calm and listen to the birds sing and watch the hummingbirds drink from the feeder.   It's my place of contentment.

Do you have such a place?


Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Winding down

Cullman,  AL

Our summer with the girls is coming to a close.  Next Friday we take them back to their parents in Maryland after 2 months of travel, play, sight seeing and exhaustion.  Since we came back to Alabama in mid July we've visited:



 in Birmingham where Abby layed on a bed of nails


and Charlotte led a group of kids in "catching jewels"


If you are ever in the Birmingham area and have a child with you, this is a must see.

We've also spent time at


We love the NWR system and so do the granddaughters.


We did not see a great variety of wildlife outside, but the inside displays were  informational.  Perhaps we just hit a time when most of the birds, duck, geese, etc were on vacation too.

Our fifth wheel is going back to the manufacturer in Indiana in November.  It must be emptied of all personal items.  In this Alabama heat and humidity it took us several days.  After emptying everything  I came up with the idea to take the girls to one of our favorite Thousand Trails parks ... Hidden Cove for 5 days.  This campground is about 22 miles from the house.  SOOOO....... let's see. What do we need to put back in the trailer.  Lots.  We are now at Hidden Cove until Friday.  Oh yea, we are doing without some things that I forgot.  But that's okay.

The girls are enjoying the pool here and improving their swimming skills.



And even tried some fishing.  No luck.



Some will remember that not long after we moved here, our good neighbor bush hogged the area that was once a pond and we plan to return it to that state.  He also used his bob cat to remove trees in the back and both sides of the property.   Thick growth had returned in the future pond and the areas behind and on the sides had also grown too thick to mow even with our John Deere Zero Turn.  This is due to us being gone 6 weeks and heavy rains most days.

Today we drove over to check on the house.   We will Celebrate.  Our neighbor had bush hogged the pond area along with the new growth behind and on each side of the house.   Gotta love someone who would take his time to surprise us like this.

Until next time....

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Sweet home......

Cullman, Alabama

We left Branson on Saturday, July 8.   Our intent was to stay there until July 10 but we did all we wanted to do and all us of were anxious to get to Alabama.   We left around 8 am with the intention of taking two days to get to Cullman.   However, we were past Memphis between 2 and 3 pm.  As there was less than 200 miles to home, why not?   So on we drove.

We arrived in Cullman about 7:30..... still light out.   Oh my, the lawn.   It had been raining almost continuously since we left for this trip two months ago.  Son Lennie and DIL Lois came a couple of times to cut the grass between rain showers.  There are sections of the property that were bush-hogged earlier in the year.  With all the rain, no lawn mower can get through it now.   The weeds and grass in the future pond area is as high as when we moved in.

On Sunday, Lennie and Lois came to the house, with Lennie helping Len by weed whacking.  And we've mowed twice in the week we've been home.  It is getting a third mowing as I write this.

Now we see more of what is growing on the property.












The grand-daughters have had a few day trips with Aunt Lois .... one day to a water park and another day to the library.   It gave these exhausted grandparents a short rest.  Thank you Lois.

Did we rest?   Well not really..  We worked each day removing EVERY THING from our Open Range Fifth wheel.   This rig is 15 months old.  So far two spring hangers have broken, causing damage to tires, a crack formed in the fiberglass under the bedroom slide.  It's been fixed twice.  It's split again.  The batteries to the residential fridge/freezer will not hold a charge.  It's been worked on 3 times, at three different dealers.  The overhead track on the shower door lost the screws, causing the doors to be inoperable, the heater has been worked on twice (we think that issue is solved,,,but do we really know as it's in the 90s out) and now the flooring in the kitchen and into the living area is soft and sinks when walked upon.  The area is getting larger almost daily.  Obviously flooring is rotted.  We've talked to both the local Open Range dealer and the manufacturer Highland Ridge in Indiana.  Arrangements are being made for Highland Ridge to pick it up and take to Indiana for repairs.  Fine.... make the repairs.  We don't want this rig anymore.  Fix it and we will sell it.

The yard is now looking good.   Still there are things that need to get done.  But so peaceful having morning coffee on the front porch and watching the darkness gather at night while listening to the tree frogs and crickets.

Until next time......

Friday, July 7, 2017

Branson days

Turkey Creek RV Park
Hollister,  MO

We left Nebraska Tailwaters COE park on July 2 and drove to White Cloud Casino in White Cloud, KS.   This is a small Iowa Tribe casino with 6 RV sites.   Here we had full hook up 50 amp service at $5.00 a night.   This is our 2nd stay at this casino.  We were here back in 2012 for 5 nights.  However, this was a one night stay.   We went into the casino and ate at their small buffet.  We came out smelling putrid.  Those of us not used to the smell of cigarettes do notice!  All clothes went immediately into the washer.  All 4 of us took showers.  All heads washed.  Ah,  we smell better.

On July 3 we arrived at Turkey Creek, an Escapees Park.  Normal charge is $101.00 a week for members plus tax.  However, we wanted 50 amp so add on $2.00 a night.  Also the fee is for 3 people. So another $1.00 a night.  Still, Escapees membership is well worth the $39.95 a year.  Rained most this day.

July 4.... Fireworks.  After another day of rain.  Earlier in the day there was a Pot Luck dinner in the club house.  The girls enjoyed the variety.  Especially the Little Smokies wrapped in bacon.  Could not get enough.   At dusk, campers here pull their chairs up to one area of the campground for great viewing.  Lucky us, right outside our door.





Those sitting there for the view are our Granddaughters and a friend they met at the park.

On July 5 we went to the afternoon show of a group of 5 young men called Forever Young.  All sorts of music and dance as they told their stories of being friends in HS, going their separate ways and re-connecting years later to now do what they love .... perform.

July 6......The highlight of the day was Charlotte and Abby meeting Debbie and Gordy.  Last year when Len and I were here in Branson to attend the NOMADS annual meeting we went to a Tribute to George Strait show starring Debbie and Gordy.  We purchased two sets of CDs.  The girls fell in love with one disc and kept it and played it over and over and over and over.  So.... as a treat.... they met Gordy and Debbie.


This is a dinner show.  How cool!   Our assigned seating was right in front on the stage.


Abby meeting  Gordy


They know several of the songs this couple sing.   Two were in the act...... I Want a Cowboy and You're Looking at Country.   I think Debbie was impressed that these two sang right along with her.  I know all the people surrounding our table sure were.

BTW, now the girls have their own set of CDs.

That brings us to today, July 7.   We did the Duck Ride.


First around Branson  on land, then into Lake Taneycomo.

Each had a turn "captaining" the boat



An older Duck Tour Boat, no longer in service.


From there we went to a fish hatchery.  Feeding the fish.


By this time it was lunch...  So BAR B Q it was.  Then back to the campground and remaining inside with the temps outside 96.   Tomorrow we head back to Alabama, with an overnight stop to be determined, somewhere mid way.

Until next time