Friday, June 28, 2024

Mostly just flowers, some food and some fun

 It's been a very nice couple of weeks, the weather pleasant with just a bit of rain here and there. We had a hot'ish spell requiring the A/C during the mid-afternoons. Those afternoons I used my oven to accomplish some baking tasks. One day I made baked chicken thighs with cornbread dressing - yum, and 2 more repeat dinners. Another day I tried a recipe for blonde brownies with coconut, pecans, and a scattering of both butterscotch and semi-sweet chips. Those turned out great and have filled the "no cookies left" gap nicely. 

Forgot to get any pics of all that, however, I tried a 2nd recipe for the southern biscuits with cornmeal & buttermilk I'm attempting to perfect (or at least master), and they turned out quite good; tender, moist and flavorful. Ratio of flour to cornmeal 3 to 1, I'll post the recipe on the food page at some point for reference. I used a 3" glass to cut them out so I got 6 large biscuits! We had 1 each last night with our pork & veggie stew, the Boss was effusive with his praise for both, lol. 😍

Next time I'll use a smaller glass!

Also, on the food topics, I finally decided to take a chance and test the idea of putting unwashed strawberries into a glass jar for longevity in the fridge - it works!! So cool. These strawberries have been in the fridge for at least 10 days and look at them! (I can't believe it, but I'm so glad).

These beauties looked perfect. I usually cut up half a pint at a time,
then try to use the rest before they get moldy - no more worries.

On the flower front I put together a few picture collages of some around our park.

I love seeing everything thrive around here. I have to do quite a bit of watering with the intense sun and wind drying things out, but all the plants just get bigger and prettier as the summer goes on, makes me happy!

Every year these folks go all out with a packed flower box.

In between helping rehab my neighbor's yard/garden and doing the baking etc., I'm also getting time to practice my wire weaving jewelry making. I brought all my supplies with me and usually piddle around with it in the evenings.

Necklace pendants in copper wire.

My fun neighbor Liz and I are planning on making framed, chicken wire and beads suncatchers. I'm sure you've seen them on the internet. Can't wait!

Finally, when it's real hot out we can go over to a teeny-tiny beach on the island (on the property) and stand in the freezing cold river. Usually a nice cool breeze coming off the water as well.

There are several spots to hit the river, 
can't see the miniscule beach here though.

Well, that's it for now. All's well out here and we hope you are having a great summer where ever you may be; home, abroad or just out and about. See you next time, and thanks for dropping in for a visit. 😊

Saturday, June 15, 2024

Back in our "Happy Place" in Colorado

 It's so fantastic to get up in the morning and have our canyon views out the windows. That, and the cooler temps, lol. 😊 Things here @Glen Echo RV Resort are very normal. We're catching up with our neighbors and working on our yard and little gardens.

A shot of Glen Echo, with the store, restaurant and pub fronts.
The cabins, duplexes and RV/tent sites are all back behind it by
the river. It's a very nice property with a lot of handy amenities.

Spring "pop-out" lags behind up here at 7200' which is great because I get to enjoy the blooming of the apple trees, and my personal favorite, the lilacs! It doesn't last too long, but I'm so glad to catch it.

After the fruit set and matured last year
the bears raided it and cleaned it out.

Gorgeous, huge lilac bushes & they smell so good!

When we're not out walking or working outside, we're getting back into the auto-touring picnic lunch mode. So simple to make up a couple of sandwiches and grab the chips & drinks and hit the road. Right out of the gates of the park is the turn north for N CO Rd 69 which heads up towards Red Feather Lakes. There is a small corral at the corner with horses housed there occasionally. I love seeing them.

3 horses and 3 donkeys in there all together.

So, on this day we decided to head west out Hwy 14 to check out the Continental Divide and see how much snow was left up there. We stopped at the Tunnel Picnic Site first to get up close and personal with the river. It is in full spate right now, at least that's how it seems. A shot and a short video taken there.

River's really rushing.

Wow, that will almost give you a touch of vertigo watching the river gush by so fast! So further up the road we could see that there was still ice along the edges of the Joe Wright Reservoir (elev. 10150ft) which is a big fishing hotspot for grayling primarily. It's really pretty up there, but a bit of a steep path down to the water. (My knees objected to the attempt.)

Joe Wright Reservoir

The snowy peaks were starting to show as we headed up to Cameron Pass @ the Continental Divide.

Shortly after that, we headed back east, found a picnic spot and ate our lunch. It was all down hill from there, lol. Back at Rocky, we did a re-heat on a wonderful chicken, grape tomatoes, black olives & asparagus "rosa" alfredo with garlic toast. So good and so easy.

Sorry I don't have a shot of it "plated". Used some of
my Priano Rosso Pesto to enhance the homemade alfredo sauce.

So, once again, thanks for dropping by and check back in a couple of weeks for the next installment, and be sure to leave a comment. How's your summer so far? 😎

Tuesday, June 11, 2024

Natchez Trace State Park and Echo Bluff State Park

These activities took place around May 20th onwards and mostly catch us up. 

As we left Chattanooga and began our westward journey our first stop was the Lodge at Natchez Trace. We have found that many state parks have very nice accommodations in their Lodges, so we tend to take full advantage of them when possible.

While this Lodge is quite elderly, and is actually slated for a complete  demolition/rebuild this upcoming winter season, the property and Pin Oak Lake is just stunningly pretty. We took a 1-hour guided pontoon boat cruise with a Park Ranger and saw just how expansive the park acreage is - 48,000 acres.

Cruising on Pin Oak Lake - it was a beautiful day for it.

They have several cabins and campsites throughout the park.

Also, while the rooms might not have been up to our usual standards, the restaurant certainly made the grade. I had the best Turkey Club sandwich ever at the restaurant and the Sunday brunch was well worth the entry fee, lol. Fried catfish & chicken (of course), and all the sides, plus I had my first cornmeal biscuit with sausage gravy and it was incredible. My newest culinary quest for sure, the biscuit not the gravy.

We took our camp chairs down to the lakeside with our books and beverage and just relaxed.

Wonderful place to sit and relax in the shade.

Soon it was time to move on and so we headed to Missouri and the Ozark's. Our destination was the Echo Bluff State Park Lodge, which sits next to the Sinking Creek and is very near the Current River, popular for water activities such as kayaking etc. Very nice Lodge with wonderful rooms, ours, on the bluff side, had a nice private balcony.

(Not my picture, but thanks).

On a side note, the cicadas were in full swing all throughout the southern tier states and Missouri was no exception. We saw several trees littered with dried-up husks left behind. We took a nice auto-tour loop around and about the area which took us down to the Current River, where we saw several kayakers enjoying the day.

The surroundings with the river down below, pretty country.

A great day for it.

When we made it around to Salem we decided to stop for a late lunch at Aranda's Mexican restaurant. Wow, the food was really quite good and we ate the whole thing! No supper needed, and as there were severe storms with possible tornados and large hail due to pound the mid-west overnight, we opted to stay an extra night to let the front move on through. There was no big rush to get out to Rocky as they usually don't get the water down at our sites going until Memorial Day weekend. At 7200' they have to wait out the overnight freezes.

Our last overnight stop was in Grand Island, NE at a Comfort Inn. It was a decent hotel, and I really liked how there was a service road off to the side of the main drag which allowed easy access to fast food, gas and stores. For tired people hoping for a fast food fix and gas-up, it fit the bill nicely. No photos were taken, we were just on a mission. The prospects for the next day? 430 miles from Grand Island to Rustic, CO, and we have a time zone change in our favor. We got an early start and made it into Glen Echo RV Resort with plenty of time to get squared away for spending the night. And look at one of the glorious trees that was in full bloom!! Wowza. 😲

Well, that's the wrap for the trip. Everything inside the rig was pristine, no evidence of any interlopers of any kind - yay!  More on the next installment, and thanks for dropping by for a visit. 

Saturday, June 8, 2024

Tennessee Cruising & Visiting then heading out west

 The last of the catch-up posts finds us saying 'Bye Honey' to each other before heading out for our various Tennessee adventures. He cruised away on the American Symphony for some TN river action.

The ship with gangplank deployed.

The planned cruise route was as follows, however, we all know about plans. The Cumberland River was too high to dock in Nashville so the passengers were bussed to Paducah, KY to board.

The ship's route

The boss was quite impressed with the ship's amenities and spaces, and he thought the food was really outstanding.  He lounged with coffee & his book, walked around the various towns/ports and generally enjoyed being back on the water. 

Aft deck

A wonderful fish dinner.

He mentioned that the Paducah riverfront had lots of murals painted on their Riverfront Wall. Here's a sampling of several - really well done!

Riverfront Wall with a few murals.

A few more murals for you.

And a few more. (I wish I'd been there to see all these!)

Anyway, he thought Paducah was a nice town, from what he saw of it, and looking at all these murals and historical placards, I can see why. The rest of the trip was equally interesting with stops along the river at Shiloh, Florence, Decatur and on into Chattanooga.


On to my adventures, my first stop was a neat little (Airbnb) Studio in Celina, TN with fantastic views of the Dale Hollow Lake region. It was incredibly peaceful, and even though my hosts were living in the house above me, I never heard a thing, and I felt all the more secure, (out in the boonies), knowing they were there.

Peaceful setting right out the front.

My objective was to really laze-about and relax after the push to wrap up the yard projects and decommission the fridge/freezers and ready the house for summer shutdown. I accomplished that with 3 nights here. I arrived in the vicinity too early to check in, so I stopped for a short bit at the Standing Stone State Park up on the Cumberland Plateau. I didn't venture very far into the park, but there was a stone dam spillway flowing into a lovely river right off the first parking area.


What a peaceful scene.

After my chill-out session I headed down to Crossville to meet up with my super-close friend Shawn, formerly of 's/v Libertas'. We haven't seen each other since the solar eclipse in '17, totality went right over their house in Crossville. I spent 4 nights at a condo on Lake Catherine. Oh, here's a final view of the Dale Hollow Lakes area, so pretty.

What an elegant view - looks almost like I picture an Italian lakeside.

In between big-time gab sessions, Shawn and I spent some time thrifting (I love it), and went to the Dirty Girls Nursery which was a cool place to visit.

Best Buddies!

We also enjoyed a stop at the Dogwood Exchange, an artisan market  featuring works by local artists. Interesting place, the owner also offers various classes, arts, crafts and even cooking. She has also taken on organizing a Farmer's Market for the south end of town. Busy busy. Here's a link to their class offerings;

I wish I could find something like this around my home area. Anyway, our visit was over all too soon and then after HARD HUGS I made my way to Chattanooga to meet up with Ed.

Next up will be the trip out west and re-opening Rocky. Thanks for stopping by! 👍😊

Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Another Yard Project and taking off for parts known and unknown.

This is another after the fact catch-up post covering the early part of May. Hopefully, one more and we'll be current. We are actually in Colorado now but sadly, the wifi is slow and spotty this season for some reason.

There was another large yard project that needed to be accomplished before heading out west for the summer - the palm tree beds on the dock level. There are 2 sections with 2 palm trees in each. These pics are of 1 of the beds.

After finishing up the rocks and the pavers out front I needed to tackle the palm tree beds down below on the dock level. The indoor/outdoor carpet (fake grass) had worn very thin, and the weed barrier underneath wasn't doing much better. The job entailed a thorough weeding, then temporarily removing the lava rocks from the beds, installing new weed barrier, and laying down new indoor/outdoor carpeting on top of the old stuff, then adding the lava rocks back to the beds. Hopefully, all this will keep the weeds down and allow our lakeside back yard to stay reasonably presentable while we are out west for the summer.

Here's a collage of the steps and a separate shot of the final outcome (from the deck level.)

Top left - weeds & tired carpet, bottom left - weeds pulled &removal
of the lava rocks, top right - new weed barrier, bottom right - new carpet.

The after shot with lava rock back in place.    

After this project wrapped up, it was time to head out for the summer with a few stops on the way. Up first was an overnight at  Lake Guntersville State Park Lodge. Wow, what a gorgeous spot, and the Lodge and restaurant were quite nice too. It's a popular venue for graduation parties and weddings and the like. Our room was very nice and even had a lake view balcony.

A beautiful lake shot as the sun sets.

Morning shot after breakfast.

We were on the fast track up to Nashville where Ed would be joining the American Cruise Lines Tennessee River cruise, and I would be heading off to visit a special girlfriend who was long overdue a visit from me.

The cruise package included an overnight the evening before departure at the GORGEOUS Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center. Wow, just wow! A huge atrium in the center with hundreds upon hundreds of tropical plants, plus waterfalls, lakes/ponds(?) and many different pathway levels for strolling. Restaurants, shops and more. Lots of people too, and noisy. Check it out sometime. Suffice it to say the room rates are steep!

We had a nice dinner at a Tex-Mex inspired restaurant where I had a bowl of delicious pozole and a chili verde chicken taco, and a carne burrito with all the trimmings was the Boss's choice. Afterwards a wonderful and lengthy stroll. I must have taken 50 pic's at least. Here are a few random ones for your enjoyment.

Lots of private nooks to enjoy.

Look at the scope of this place!

More than one fountain.

It's huge inside - you can get lost.

The Boss on one of the paths.

Eye-catcher right at the entrance.

I could go on...

Needless to say, it was a once in a lifetime experience, and thoroughly enjoyable. The next morning Ed headed off on his adventure and I headed off on mine. I'll cover that in the next blog post which will be coming up soon.

Thanks for dropping by.