Thursday, April 30, 2009

Ahhh! April in Michigan

Yes it is spring at last.

Back in the saddle

I finally went back to riding yesterday after a three month hiatus. This is the barn at Tin Girl Farm where my coach is located. I rode a nice Pinto Quarter Horse gelding named Socks. He is a pretty good boy, and do I have a lot of work to do to get back into some sort of shape.
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Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Winter vacation

I think that it is about time I posted at least a summary of out trip this winter.

We left home home with the Silver Dog House on the first of February and returned the middle of March. We are thinking that we should have stayed longer in the sunny, if not always hot or even warm south west.

Our second night out we found a state park in Oklahoma where the host was the only other person in the park. When we pulled in it was nearly dusk. The hostess turned on the lights in the restrooms for us and we had Hot showers. We also had water hookup and washed the road salt off the trailer that night. We did a touch up in the morning and had sheets of ice forming, but the road salt was off. Man Oklahoma was cold, we had been hoping for warm by then.

We spent about a week in and around Austin Texas, so we could visit our elder daughter, who is in graduate school at the Episcopal Theological Seminary of the South West (ETSS). We stayed in two different Texas state parks that were quite nice if expensive for our taste. Pictures are on the Picasa web album.

Then we spent most of a week at Padre Island at the National Seashore. Richard and I both loved it. It had been decades since I had seen the Gulf of Mexico. As a child we spent winter vacations on the Florida side. Richard had never spent any time on the gulf and found it very interesting and enjoyable. The beach was unfortunately extremely dirty in comparison to my past experience. We were told the worst of it had been cleaned up but that there was still a lot left over from Hurricane Ike. Richard was not however happy with the corrosion we found on the trailer, when we washed the salt spray off at a car wash, on our way off the island. So to my sorrow he says no more camping on Padre Island or the ocean at all. I have a sneaking suspicion that it may have been the road salt that caused the corrosion.

From Padre Island we went west to Big Bend National Park. Again we ran into hurricane Ike damage. There had been serious flooding of the Rio Grande which had done a lot of damage to both campgrounds on the river. The geology and geography of the park are fascinating. We will definitely go back again.

From there we made as stop at McDonald Observatory and attended both a star party in the evening and a sun party the next morning.

Our next stop was in the Coronado National forest in south east Arizona. We returned to a campground we found last year and stayed much longer this time. I brought a hummingbird feeder with me this year. We had three species of hummers, Black-chinned, Magnificent, and Broad-tailed. However the Acorn woodpeckers were the first to visit the feeder and did so regularly.

From there we spent time in both Saguaro Nation Park and Organ Pipe National Monument. The desert biology is fascinating. And ohhh the hummingbirds were beautiful We actually got three extremely hot days, low 90s, while at Organ Pipe. But fortunately it always cools of at night in the desert. The desert is beautiful and we love it, I guess because it is so different from home. But the plants can be dangerous. The dog got into a cholla and it took some effort to free him of the spines. Richard got hooked in the process. and then I got into one of my own, OUCH, the spines are barbed and hurt like crazy to pull out

While in the Tuscon area we visited the Pima Air and Space Museum. Then we discovered another beautiful campground on the west side of the Chiricahua Mts. and stayed there several days. On the way back east we went through White Sands National Park and camped on top of a mountain in the Lincoln National Forest near a small mountain town with the descriptive name of Cloudcroft east of Alamagordo. It was very much still winter there. Cold and lots of snow. the dog loved it. And the price was right. Free, in a national forest recreation area parking lot. Our departure from the sunny south west took us through Roswell.

We camped in a lot of Wal-Mart parking lots between destinations. Some were noisy and at least one we had all to ourselves and was very quiet.

Once we got home we wished we had stayed another month - but I was expected back at work. So here we are with snow still in piles and on the north side of slopes, and freezing temperatures every night and only in the 40s or maybe low 50s during the day. BRRRRR!!! But it is time to clean up the yard and get the garden season started.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

AH! April in Michigan- this is Spring?

I woke up yesterday morning to the sound of snow plow blades scraping on pavement. Surprise!! Surprise!! it is April in Michigan, and not even Easter yet, Holy Week to be precise, so a native Michigander should not be surprised.

The storm had started with rain which was attested to by the creaking of ice on the tree limbs when I poked my head out the patio door to take the first picture here. These April storms tend to be very wet snow, great for packing - snow men, snow forts, and snow ball fights. It is also BEAUTIFUL! creating snow sculptures covering every surface, from cars to the smallest twig on shrub and tree.

I am glad my daffodils are not up very far, but the Crocus are buried beneath this heavy wet blanket. Will it keep them fresh like the florist's cooler? One can hope.

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Saturday, April 4, 2009

More pictures from winter 2009 trip

Life has been busy so I am Just gradually getting pictures of our trip posted on my Picasa album. There are a few more here since the last time I mentioned them. Someday maybe I will find time to write a short history of the trip because there ARE stories to tell.

Meanwhile I am "wasting" time on Facebook keeping track of my friends and family so I have to give up computer time somewhere and it has been here that I have neglected.