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WHEE...... Home in Alabama!









Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Completely unexpected

Cullman,  AL


Last Monday I received a phone call that I never thought I would get or ever wanted to get.  My nephew JR (brothers son) called from New Jersey to tell me my brother, Norman, had passed in his sleep.

Norman just turned 67 two weeks ago.  This was completely unexpected and a shock to us all.

Within hours of getting the call, we were packed and headed north.  I have two nephews (my sisters sons) who live in Wytheville, VA.  When we travel north without towing a rig, we stay at my nephew Jason's house.  From our home in Alabama to Jason and Kelly's it is 405 miles.  Then it is 420 miles to where we stay in NJ.    When we were much younger we would travel that distance straight through but with age and blood clots in Leonard's legs it is no longer feasible.

We arrived in Upper Deerfield NJ at our friends Shirley and Lyn around 4 pm on Tuesday.  From there we drove about 22 miles to my sisters, had dinner, and then to my brothers house where family and friends had gathered.

The viewing was Friday with burial on Saturday.   I was so pleased at the large crowd of people who came to pay their respects.   Norm was a member of a volunteer fire company, a Mason and a member to Tall Cedars.   There was a Masonic ceremony Friday.  We were told this was the largest attendance at a viewing of this group of Masons.  Norm also was a longtime member of the local United Methodist Church.   The three of us grew up across the street from this church.  They have a fund raiser breakfast once a month.  Norm was the Omelet Station Man.    He was also a member of two antique car clubs.   In several of these organizations he held various offices including president.

Norm had a full weekend prior to his death early Monday.  Saturday he was at his omelet station.  On Sunday he helped his grandson move and played with his only great-grandchild.  On Saturday night he was out with a dear friend.  Never a hint of any health issue.

Norm, his friend Donna and our sister Debbie in June 2017


All dressed up for his Grandsons wedding two years ago.


Norm, me and Debbie at my daughter Terri's between Thanksgiving and Christmas 2015


At his house.   Norm and Len with three of Norms grandchildren.


The family is still processing this.  We take comfort in that it appears his passing was without pain.  We take comfort in each other.  We take comfort in the love and respect he had from so many people.

Norm and I stayed in contact when Len and I traveled fulltime.  We would never go more than a few weeks without reaching out to the other.   We hoped there would come a time soon when he would visit us here in Alabama.

Everyone said that Norm would never turn down a chance of assist someone.   In 2014 when I had a stroke in Alaska he volunteered to come to Alaska and help Leonard drive back to the northeast.  He did just that.   He was just like that..... always doing what he could to help others.  I am proud that I was the sister of Norman Richard Fowler, Sr.


Friday, October 6, 2017

More digging and our mini rv park

Cullman, AL

As we continue to work in our yard now that the weather is cooler, we finally removed some debris that has been annoying.    In the front yard there were cinder blocks and what we thought was one rock sticking partially out of the ground.  We have no idea what the purpose is or was.

These were just a very few of the many cinder blocks dispersed around the property.   However, most of the blocks were not buried.  We gave those blocks on Lennie and Lois who built a rather large fire pit at their house.  If I remember correctly it is 8x8 and two blocks high.  They only had to purchase 3 blocks to complete it.  Glad they made use of them and they are out of our yard.

To get back to the latest cinder block saga: the ones sticking out of the ground and making mowing more of a hassle.  I noticed a few days ago that a rock was now somewhat movable.  So Leonard to the shovel.





Cinder blocks and rocks he removed.


AND a rather large piece of concrete.   What the heck????  What was that for.


Does anyone have any idea why these would be partially buried in a yard.  We don't.  The hole was been filled in and grass will grow.  No more scraping these blocks with the mower.

As our readers know, one of our first projects in the beginning of the year was putting in two RV sites where a double wide trailer once stood.   We keep our rig in the 50 amp/ water site.  We then have a full hook up 50 amp site for friends traveling through or visiting.   Earlier in the year our friends Carol and Jerry spent a night there.  We had one load of stone placed in the sites.  After their visit we realized we needed a 2nd load.  Done.

On Wednesday our friends Lauren and George Owen paid a visit.
            owensontheroad.blogspot.com 

Our little RV park:


I know.  I know.  Can't see much from the front porch.  Guess I was too lazy to walk out and take a better picture.   All that watching Len dig out rocks, you know.

We met Lori and George back in 2011 while in Pennsylvania.  They were just planning their fulltime adventure.   They had a Montana fifth wheel but recently purchased a Vilano.  What a beautiful classy RV!  The manufacturer is right over the Alabama/Mississippi line about 110 miles hours from here.  Since they were coming from Texas headed to Pennsylvania via a stop in Mississippi for some minor warranty work, we got some time to visit.

Here is Lori and George:


What a great time we had.   Yesterday we went into town to check out the Cullman Oktober Fest.





Yesterday it was mostly the Farmers Market where we got some jam, bread and lots of veggies.  Most of the activities start today and go through the weekend.  Oh, it was also Senior Day with a luncheon and bingo.  Since all 4 of us are much too young to even be considered seniors, we did not participate.  Instead George and Lori treated us to lunch at Ruby Tuesday.

All good things come to an end.  This morning our friends pulled out headed to see family in Pennsylvania.  Come again, George and Lori.

Remember friends, if you are traveling I-65 between Birmingham and Huntsville we are here with either a guest room or RV site!

Until next time......


Tuesday, October 3, 2017

I could do this job!

Cullman, AL


Okay... so we had lots of trees taken down last week.    Then we were left with lots of stumps all over the property.   Six of them were out along the road.   Those trees were taken down before we moved in.  There was a double wide trailer sitting behind them.   For the trailer to be removed, the trees were cut down, leaving stumps.  Hated mowing around them.

We had two dead trees fall and three more dead ones we had taken down.  All leaving stumps.  In addition there were more stumps the previous owner left in the yard and were a nuisance when mowing.

The tree removal folks gave us a number to call of a stump grinding service.  He came yesterday to check out what we needed and ended up doing it on the spot.

By my count he removed 13 medium size stumps and one huge one.

It took all of 45 minutes!

He works by remote control.    His stump grinder looks like a puppy following him around the yard.



Working on the biggest stump






It's gone!  Just dirt and wood chips to rake out.  Then plant grass.


Another hole minus the stump.



He loads and unloads the grinder on the trailer by remote control too.   Yea, I could do this job.  That's IF I wanted to work.

Time it took?    Less than one hour.     Cost?  $200.00.    We are pleased.

Until next time......

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 cabbage, 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....