Our Schedule

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Busy Times

 Cullman, Al

These last few weeks have been busy ones.   Mostly due to hosting Boondockers.   Our 31st rig pulled out yesterday.   Quite possibly we are through with a rush for the next two weeks.   We have folks arriving on May 1 and another on May 3.    Nothing in between now and then.   But we know that could all change.

Lately our sites have looked something like this:

Biscuit is loving it.   Especially when other dogs are involved.  Well most of the time.  The nice folks who pulled out yesterday had two small dogs.   One really did not like Biscuit so they were separated.  Quite a different story with one that was here a few days ago.   A four month HUGE Golden Retriever.  

Murphy is a very active pup.   Biscuit would play only until he had enough of the pouncing and running.  Then he would take to the porch to get away.

Last Sunday son Lennie and DIL Lois stopped over for lunch.  Joining us was Murphy's parents.

We had invited Lennie and Lois to come over after they got out of church.   They were already here before we got back from church.   What a surprise when we pulled in and found our guest Mark was out at the pond raking in some string algae that was starting to spread.  So much appreciated.  Our simple lunch was small payment for all Mark did.

Speaking of help.   Our guests that left yesterday also helped.   I had bags of mulch to spread.  They saw the bags laying there so came up to ask if they could help me spread it.   Sure enough.  

Last week our friends Darlene and Jim who we met a few years ago while in Pennsylvania dropped by while on their trip from Florida back to Pennsylvania.    We put Jim to work.   He changed two overhead light bulbs in the master bathroom that had blown out.   Len can't lift his arms and I get dizzy doing overhead work.   Then he carried a chair to the basement that we had replaced with a new one.  He also replaced a strip of door trim that Biscuit had damaged when left alone in the house the first time.  Then he and Len placed some trim around the microwave cubby.

 When they are here we like to go to Jim n Nicks barbecue.   So once again we made time for that.  Both couples ordered a rib platter and a fried catfish platter.  Both couples had enough left for their next days dinner.   Jim and Darlene, pre getting served the meal.

We have noticed that our Muscovy Elsie is only around about an hour a day.   That leads to us believe that she is brooding.     We have seen her fly across the road to the neighbors pond.   Yesterday I texted Ashley.  Sure enough she is sitting on her eggs over there.    Then yesterday I saw this.   This is Frances that Elise hatched last July.    She is sitting on eggs at a corner of the house and the front porch.  Oh my, ducklings on their way.

Until next time

Monday, April 5, 2021

As Spring moves on.

 Cullman,  AL

Our small garden continues to grow.  We had to cover it one night when temps got down to freezing.  Luckily all is well.

Our RVing guests continue to grow also.   It is seldom that not at least one site is taken.   We currently have one guest who will leave tomorrow.   Then two come in later in the day for only for one night.  On Wednesday our friends Jim and Darlene arrive for a couple of days on their way back to Pennsylvania from their winter in Florida.   

 Being Easter yesterday and our current guest is a retired pastry chef, he presented us with this.

Speaking of Easter, we were invited to  lunch yesterday by son Lennie and his family.   Ham, cheesy potatoes, rolls, green beans and bacon sautéed Brussel sprouts.   I contributed deviled eggs.   Lois always boxes up leftovers.   So no cooking for me today.  This makes 4 days in a row I got out of cooking.  On Friday Leonard made chicken gumbo.   Leftovers on Saturday.  

Our NOMADS friend Jill stopped by in her little Mercedes RV for a few days and left yesterday.  Always a pleasure.

Biscuit gets excited when we have guests pull in.  Especially when he senses they have a dog with them.   Here he is getting acquainted with a 19 year old blind and deaf Chihuahua.   

Finally have our natural gas fireplace in place and working.   The plumber came last Monday and ran the lines.   In addition we have the tankless water heater and a gas heater in the basement.  

I gave up going from furniture store to furniture store looking for a chair I liked.   So, online is was.  I had purchased a bench two years ago from Wayfair.   The bench sits out by the pond.  I was well pleased with it.   Looking online I found a chair in seafoam color also from Wayfair.  I was a bit nervous buying a chair online but they have a good return policy.  It was delivered last week.   Here is the fireplace and the chair.  I like them both.   

Leonard is always cold.    He cranks up that fireplace. He roasts me out of here.   I hate to do it to him but I just might have to hide the remote for the fireplace.   

About Leonard, I need to go get him moving.  I need gas for the lawn mower for the ever growing lawn.   Seems a good day to do it.

Until next time.

Saturday, March 20, 2021

Visitors, working and warning

Cullman,  AL

Continuing on from the last blog, we now have the raised bed set in place

 And tomatoes, peppers and cabbage planted

Wanting more to do, Leonard worked on removing brush from our side of the small creek that separates our property from the neighbors.

Then he tilled some ground that he had cleared last year and would bush hog to keep the growth down. By tilling he hopes only the grass will grow and give me more yard to mow.

Following all this work his shoulder and knee has been giving him some pain.  And he has had to mostly rest for the last week.

We knew it would take a few weeks before the gas company would come to run gas lines to the house for our ventless fireplace, heater for basement and tankless hot water heater.   We were sitting in the house complaining that it had been 3 weeks and wondering when they would arrive.  I looked out the window and saw this.

Alrighty now.   The lines were run to the house and we are now waiting for the plumber to get us on schedule to run the lines inside and then the gas company will return to connect us.   Working on the line:

And this project means one less holly bush I need to keep trimmed.

The highlight of this month was a visit from daughter Terri who lives near Hershey, PA.  She flew in last Sunday and left yesterday.    I knew she was flying out of Harrisburg, PA and had a layover in Chicago and then to Birmingham where we would pick her up.   What I didn't know was Grandson Justin and his girlfriend Karlie would be joining her in Chicago where they live.  What a surprise.

Here they are:

Justin and Karlie were to fly back on Wednesday.   On Monday the news was filled with threats of heavy storms, winds and possible tornadoes to hit our area on Wednesday.   Knowing that, they changed their tickets and left on Tuesday.

Leaving early was a good idea as there were the rains and tornadoes in the area on Wednesday.  At one point we were under a tornado watch and headed to our basement.   Leonard made himself comfortable.  Biscuit doesn't like going down the steps but once down he is fine.  We were only down there about 30 minutes.   No tornado near us but some did touch down in Cullman County.

Terri and I had planned on doing lots of work in the yard, mostly spreading mulch.   The entire time she was here it rained and stormed.   Nothing got done in the yard.  

We did do some furniture shopping.   I wanted to buy an occasional chair for the living room in a sage color.   We went to at least 12 furniture stores here in Cullman and up in Decatur, AL.  Everything is beige, gray or white.   Nothing in sage and few in any color.   We were told they could custom order a chair and to expect it around the Holidays.  And they didn't mean Easter.

We are busy with our Boondocker guests.   We have a rig parked here now until Monday.  They arrived yesterday as did another who left a bit ago.  Between now and May 1 we have 7 reservations.  I'm sure there will be others as often contacts are made just a day or two ahead.   So glad the Boondockers Welcome site keeps a calendar as sometimes it gets confusing.  

We are now fully vaccinated with the Moderna shot.  I had no reaction.  Len was weak and slept for a day after his 2nd shot.  Got up next day and was fine.

Well that's it for now, I think.

Until next time.

Wednesday, March 3, 2021

Boondockers and getting ready for Spring

 Cullman,   AL

When we first started hosting Boondockers Welcome we had a run of guests in October and early November.   Then it got slow.   Probably due to folks being where they wanted to be over Thanksgiving and Christmas.   Now we are again getting requests on a regular basis.

As of this date we have hosted 15 times.  We had two other reservations that cancelled due to the bad weather.  We have 7 upcoming reservations on our schedule.

Aside from hosting we are looking forward to Spring.   Leonard decided to build a raised bed for planting vegetables.    We enjoyed having a garden but neither of us are able to get down on the ground unless there will be a crane nearby to stand us up.   As usual, nothing he makes is small.

It's going to take a truck load of dirt to fill it once it is complete.

In the last blog I wrote about putting up duck crossing signs.   I guess someone else had a need for one as it disappeared one night.  

I have ordered a replacement.   However, the new one will be hung on a solid post across the road.  Our neighbor up the street has some of his property fenced in.   Speaking of which, this afternoon we noticed firetrucks and police at his barn and saw smoke rasing.   He stores hay in that barn and it caught fire.   He did not lose the barn but some insulation was destroyed.    

A portion of our driveway was getting muddy when it rained.   

We had stone delivered last week.  Oh it's so much nicer.  Especially since the Boondockers have to back into this area of the driveway and then back into a site.

On a side note:    That long building in the background is where the fire was this morning.

We've had a lot of rain recently.   One nice day last week I was sitting on the porch and I could hear water running in the creek that separates our properrty from the neighbors.   The creek runs along the wood line. 

One day when Len was working in his shop on the raised bed I was walking around the yard.  Our duck named Baby Duck is the big white duck.  He is a Pekin.   He can be a bit mean.  Will put his head down and run behind me like he is charging.  I stop and turn around and he turns around like he never did a thing.   Our young duck Frances (the entire brown one) is the daughter of our Muscovey, Elsie.  The Muscovey has the white head.  

We thought that Baby Duck was Frances' father.   But I checked it out and when a Muscovey and Pekin breed their babies are White with some black feathering.  Then I thought..... we have Mallards visit.  I checked it out and Frances looks like a female mallard.   

To get back to the story I started.   Baby Duck has been mean to Frances.  Will chase her away from food and chases her around the yard with his head down.  Nasty.   Well, I looked out at the pond.  Baby Duck was on top of Frances.  Seeing how he has been mean to her, I thought he was trying to drown her.  I called to Len who was in his shop.    OK..... I'm dumb.    That wasn't it at all.

Elsie started laying eggs again a few weeks ago.  But wasn't brooding.  So we removed the eggs and replaced them with two ceramic eggs so she would continue to lay in the same place.Then last week I realized she was sitting on them for a length of time.  A few days later I checked, the eggs she had been sitting on were destoyed and eaten.  Possum?   Raccoon?  Whatever.   She still must be laying but no idea where.

Biscuit says Hello.   Len and I can't believe how much in love we are with this boy.

Until next time.

Oh..... we just got our 2nd Moderna shot on Monday.  Len was weak and tired yesterday.  Could not do much moving around and slept most of the day.  I've had no reaction.

Saturday, February 20, 2021

Cold weather and ways to keep warm

 Cullman,   AL

Like most of the country these last few weeks, here in north Alabama we have been hit by some cold, cold weather.   Fortunately we are not suffering as are folks in Texas and many other states.   

Having lived in NJ most of my life I am used to cold winters along with the snow.     For example, this is our old house in southern NJ.   We sold it to our daughter Terri back in 2009.  (She had since moved to Pa)  She took this picture only a few days after we left NJ in 2010 start our 7 years of full time RVing.

Yes we had snow here last week.   When it snows in the south everything shuts down.  These are pictures of our Alabama blizzard.

We woke to morning temps in the teens the last several days.   Today we expect to get up into the 40s.  Biscuit gets up every morning begging to be let outside.   A few of the colder, wet days he was happy to remain on his futon in my office.  But he is back now begging for the outside during the day.  Still loves what he consider his own room in the house at night.

Before it turned really cold in Texas and Louisiana etc. Len had talked to his brother Royce who lives in the Lake Charles area of Louisiana.   Royce was complaining about how cold it was there.  It was 62!  It was 27 here.   I do believe Royce now knows what cold really feels like.

The pond has been partially frozen over.   Still the ducks swim.   As the pond is in the front of the house and only about 20 feet from the road, the ducks are curious to what is on the other side.   The road is not a main thoroughfare as about a mile beyond us it turns into a one lane gravel road.   Therefore, the road is lightly traveled.  People who live on this road are used to seeing the ducks cross the road.  Our friend Judy tells us she has stopped and blown her horn to make them get out of the road.   Two weeks ago we put of these signs as a reminder.

The same day we installed the signs Len took down an apple tree that was in the front yard.   Each year it has produced apples however now it was mostly hollow and limbs were falling off.   Time to come down.   It took hardly a push of the tractor for it to topple.

We expected Boondockers to arrive today for a one night stay and another couple on Monday for one night.    The couple due Monday has changed their stay til Wednesday.  The couple expected today has cancelled.   Both say it is due the restrictions on their traveling due to the weather.  Todays couple said they can't get out of their driveway.

When we lived in NJ we installed a propane fireplace in the great room.  Leonard especially loved it.  How he could stand up next to that heat for a long period of time is beyond me.  Here it is.

We have been wanting to install one here.  This winter pushed us to do it.  We were going to install a propane fireplace but the propane dealer would not deliver to us as just the fireplace would not use enough propane to be worth it.   We thought about getting a 100 lb tank but that would mean we would have to get it into the truck and off to take it to be filled.

Len was talking to our neighbor up the street and Gary said he was connected to natural gas.  He lives on the corner of our road and main road so we did not expect there to be gas lines on our road.  Len called the local gas  company and a rep came to the house.   He told us the gas lines run pass our house and on to the large chicken farm down the road.   HOORAY.   

The gas company put us on schedule to run lines to our house.  In addition  they are giving us a gas tankless heater.  Wonderful as in this cold weather we are having  difficulties getting enough hot water to fill our walk-in tub.   And he suggested putting an infrared heater in our basement room.  This room is 26x26 with high ceiling.  The open steps leading down to it are between our living room and bedroom.  Sometimes we can feel cold air blowing up.  The thermostat is near those steps so would kick on due to the cold air.   This will also help  to warm our floors.

Once the gas company runs lines then we have a plumber to run house lines and connect us.

We purchased the fireplace from Lowes.  Of course we had to assemble it.  Easy to do.

All done except the logs.  That will be done once the gas company installs line and the plumber runs lines in the house.

That brings us pretty much up to date.

Until next time.  And stay warm.

Tuesday, February 9, 2021

January into February

 Cullman,   AL

I am so looking forward to Spring.   Due to the weather, Len's not feeling his best and Covid most of our days are spent in front of the TV.   Len watching, me reading.

Len turned 72 in January.    We were invited to our son Lennie and wife Lois' for a lunch after church on the 24th.   They always ask Len what he wants for a birthday gift.  Always the same answer ..... coconut cream pie.   So that week we gained a few pounds.   The coconut cream pie plus cookies and cake sent from daughter Terri and hubby Steve.     His greatest joy was hearing from all our children and families plus grandson Justin who lives in Chicago and granddaughters Charlotte and Abby in Maryland.

We still host Boondockers but at a much less frequent rate than in October and November as RVers were leaving the north headed to Florida.   We expect to have lots of requests again starting next month when the opposite trips start.  We had one family from Chicago stay one night while on their way to Florida on January 31 and left the next morning.    They gave me these flowers on the 31st and they are still beautiful today February 9.

I had signed us up for the Covid vaccine about three weeks ago at the local hospital.   We waited and waited for them to call for an appointment.    At church on January 31 some people told us to check in at the local Health Department.   We went there the next morning at 8:30.   They gave us appointments for 8:50.   Whew!   That's done.    We go back on March 1 for the 2nd shot.  Then the next morning we get a call from the hospital regarding coming in there!  Too late.

My sister from NJ had planned on visiting for a few days in January.   But since she had been traveling and visiting  and we had not had shots, we all decided not to take the chance.  I was so disappointed.

There are several improvements we want to make here at home.   We need stone in one part of the driveway where puddles collect.   We talked to the person who had delivered stone a while back.  We were put on his list.   We didn't hear from him.   Come to find out, a tree fell on him and damaged an ankle.   He just got out of the hospital a last week.  

We also want to install either a propane or natural gas fireplace.  We had ordered one from Lowes that only ran on propane.   We ended up cancelling the order as we found out natural gas lines run at the end of our road, about 1,000 feet.  So Len called the gas company and we had an appointment last Monday for them to check out what it would take to get gas here.   They called that morning and canceled as there was a death in the mans family.   He is rescheduled for this afternoon.    

Yesterday we walked out to feed the fish.  Len looked in the duck house out by the pond and found this.

Elsie is not brooding (sitting on the eggs) at this time.  So we brought 6 eggs into the house to use, leaving 3.   We know to leave some because if all are removed she will nest elsewhere.   We are going to get some wooden eggs to leave.  Ducks aren't real smart.   This morning I checked and there were 4.  

I hope all is well with each reader and I do appreciate you still have an interest in reading this blog.

Until next time.

Saturday, January 23, 2021

On to another year

 Culllman,  AL

Here we go again.... does not look like 2021 is off to a great start.    IT WILL GET BETTER , won't it?

One thing good..... my old printer would not connect to my computer.   I had an IT tech who was boondocking here try to resolve the issue.   He could not.   It seems that there are problems with the latest Windows 10 update and HP printers.   I researched online.   Over my head how to resolve it.  So after dealing with my frustration, I bought a new Epson printer.   It sat in my office for a couple of weeks because I did not want to "deal with it".    I should not have worried, it was an easy set up.

But of course with each problem resolved it has to be replaced by a new one.   Now I am having problems loading pictures from my camera on to my computer.   It was always so easy in the past.   Now everything imaginable comes up.  Almost 800 pictures and other stuff.  I have been trying to delete them but it is an endless task.   So, no recent pictures. The ones you will see on this blog are ones I had chosen to delete as each time I get 6 or 7 of each picture plus other stuff.    This issue to beyond me.   Hopefully the computer man I have used in the past can help.

So..... some pictures taken of family over the holidays'.  This is our newest grandson Jeremiah, son of daughter Cassie.   Grandpop had just given him a jelly donut.

This is daughter D'Juana cooking.   Her babies are trusting she will be dropping something.

Christmas Dinner

The area that Leonard's family live in Louisiana is where Hurricane Laura hit.  I took many pictures but can't get to them.     Here is one example I did get.   Fencing in front of a new housing development.

The above is no where near the sever damage we saw in the Lake Charles / Sulphur areas.   Blue tarps everywhere.  Debris piled high everywhere.  

 Tornadoes earlier in the year in Mississippi.   This is taken near Laurel, MS.   Miles of destruction following along Interstate 59.    Miles of trees taken down from the 2nd tornado to hit that area last year.  Those who follow this blog might remember that we were there during the first one that hit Laurel.  We were safe in the motel but heard it coming and pass overhead.  Massive damage done in the area during that one also.

Some have asked about Leonard's health.   He has good days and others not so good.  Still tires very easily.   Both arms are about useless as he can't reach out in front or lift them.   He had been approved for surgery by the cardiologist but due to the pandemic hospitals are not doing elective surgery.  Not         even UAB.   This is not like he wants a nose job or liposuction.  He is in pain.

We've had two recent Boondockers Welcome guests.  Both stayed the night in January 9 and left on the 10th.    Our guests have lessened  a great deal since October when we had 10 rigs in only 3 weeks.  At that time RVers where headed south for the winter.   We expect in a couple of months to be busy again.  

There are no street lights on our road.   The area where the sites are is really dark.  We tell our guests to expect this but I think most are surprised at how dark it really is.   One of the guests back on the 9th didn't arrive til 6:30 pm.   Pitch black.   We went out and helped them set up.

To make it a bit better for future guests we have installed two solar motion lights in the area.  

Hope we all have a good 2021.

Until next time.