Our Home Away from Home!

Our Home Away from Home!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

My Last Blog....Time to Say Good-bye.

I just didn't want to drop off of Blogger without saying Good bye.  This is going, for personal reasons, be my last blog.  I want to thank all of you who supported me through out this wonderful journey.  I hope to stay in touch with you via your blogs when I can.  Continued happiness and success to all of you.  For the last time take care everyone from Hardin Ridge.

I leave you with two of my favorite pictures................

Baby fawn near our campsite.

Effie is riding rumble seat.  They are intent on looking at something.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Went Down to Photograph a Sunset and GOT THIS...OH MY GOSH!!!!

Today was one of our days off. We get two here, ours is Monday and Tuesday. However, another host couple agreed to switch days with us so we can have Wednesday off and go to a local amusement park with our kids and granddaughter.  So we ran around all day getting supplies and groceries. Art just had to have new jeans, as his was getting holes in them and looking pretty scraggly. Wearing them to work here in the park is OK but when we go out he needed a good pair.  We finished our sites up and got them all cleaned and ready for next weekend's crowds after we came home from town.  It was so humid today, there were storms all around us but we didn't get any rain. 

I have had a "wish list" I guess you could say of animals here in the park that I never was able to get pictures of last year.  One was a buck deer and I did get that and have posted his picture.  Another was a rabbit. I was beginning to think there were none in here until the other day behind the office this one was eating away, and I got to scratch off another success.....

He/she looks pretty healthy.  It was hanging around where the Forest Service keeps the mules so I'm sure it can sneak in and grab some grain every now and again.  Look at those big eyes!  

I was thinking to myself on Friday that I had not taken a sunset picture for a long time so I drove on down to the beach about 8:30 to get a good seat. :) Just me and the lake and all of this action was going on......

This Great Blue Heron was resting on the rocks.  I didn't see him for the longest time as the sun was so bright. I just happened to catch a glimpse of his figure and then when he saw me getting his picture he did this.....

"Oh my, I must correct my posture. Whatever would Mother say if she saw me slouching like that!"

This was my first picture of the sun as it was just beginning to go down.  How gorgeous are these sunsets over the water?

I just love the boats in the pictures that are headed my way.

Then as I was watching them this boat came into my view and so I thought it would be neat to get him between the trees that are planted on the jetty. 

But then why stop there?  I just kept following him and positioned the camera right on the sunset, and when he passed right into it I snapped this picture.

I wish he hadn't of had all of those floatation devices in the front. But then he probably wasn't expecting someone to be taking his picture.  :)

Aren't these Finches just gorgeous? Nancy and Harold (beach mangers) have this feeder up in front of their camper. The birds were eating their dinner by sunset. :)   They blend right into those leaves catching the sunset rays.

Now the sun is going down and the clouds were beginning to pick up a dark glow. So pretty.

As I was sitting there watching this all happen before my eyes a flock of Canada Geese flew right in front of me and since I had the camera ready for the sun I was able to capture them flying into the cove for the night.

I jut love the pink color in the clouds.  And then when I downloaded this to the computer I got a surprise. See the bottom right of the photo. There stands the Great Blue Heron, getting in the picture again.  Love it!!!!!

And then here they are resting in the cove for the night. Looks like most of them are getting a bedtime snack.  But a couple are keeping an eye on me for sure.

And the biggest and best surprise is "someone" else was watching me but I didn't have a clue.  Then I saw the water ripple and I almost came unglued. I had been trying to get the beaver for so long with no luck.  I just started snapping pictures and I had no idea until I down loaded them that I had this picture....

Not good quality but hey I was thrilled to see him at all

                            And then he did the most amazing thing........

He came out of the water onto the shore! OH my gosh, I was so excited I was shaking. My beaver.... I finally got my beaver picture!

 This one is not as clear but you can see his tail better. It was so dark out I still cannot believe how well they turned out.  I was making all kinds of noise too and walking towards the geese I still just cannot believe he came out for me to see.  You can see his little dam behind him. 

I guess I have to stop there because nothing else will top this for me tonight.  Well OK maybe Effie would. I bought this new pillow for me to sit on the swing with. My back hurts so bad in the evenings that I need the cushioning.  "Someone", not to mention any names, thought I bought this soft, fluffy, bed for her.  Come on, how in the world could I not let her remain on it when she looks so cute? !

It has been an exciting time here at Hardin Ridge this summer.  So many new things I have seen, and Fall is just around the corner with all the beauty it will hold.  I have many more things to share but will have to wait for another day and another blog.  So until next time.  From Hardin Ridge in Hoosier National Forest, take care everyone!

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Home Made Bubble Soution Recipe....

This post is only going to be a recipe for home made bubble solution. I had a couple of people that commented that they would like the recipe so I asked Vicki and Karl, who made it and this is what she shared.

6 cups water (distilled) Unless you have very very soft water.
1 cup Dawn Ultra dish washing detergent.  She said Dawn is the best. Not to use Ajax, or an off store brand as they are not concentrated enough to make the bubbles stay together.
2 Tablespoons of Glycerin

Vickie said to make it at least 24 hours ahead of when you want to use it. And to be very gentle when mixing the ingredients together.  You can scrap off any foam that appears on the top. 

She said the temperature outside and the humidity will effect how well the bubbles hold together. Since the day of Smokey's party was so humid they had to add a little of store bought bubble solution to get it to hold together.

For those of you who liked the bubble in the bubble picture Vickie said to make sure everything stays wet with the bubble solution or they will pop and not work.

Good luck to any who try it I hope it works and you have loads of fun.  Let me know if you do would love to hear from you.

Take care.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Smokey Bear Turns 69.....and We Have a Party!!!

On Saturday we celebrated Smokey  Bear's 69th birthday.  For those of you who have been reading this blog from the beginning know that we were here last year at this time to celebrate his birthday also.  It was a great time and we had games for the kids, face painting, prizes, and cake. I am sure most, if not all of you know the story and history of Smokey. However, if not here is a little information to refresh your memories.

One spring day in 1950 in the Capitan Mountains of New Mexico, an operator in one of the fire towers to the north of the Capitans spotted smoke and called the location into the nearest ranger station. The first crew discovered a major fire being swept along the ground between the trees, driven by a strong wind. Word spread rapidly and more crews reported to help. Forest Rangers, army soldiers, Native American crews, men from the New Mexico State Game Department, and civilian volunteers worked together to gain control of the raging fire. As soon as they contained the fire to one spot, the wind would push it across the lines. During one of the lulls in firefighting, a report of a lonely bear cub who had been seen wandering near the fireline was reported. The men left him alone because they thought the mother bear might come for him.
Nearby, the little cub had been caught in the path of the same fire and had not fared as well. He had taken refuge in a tree that was now completely charred. His climb had saved his life but left him badly burned on the paws and hind legs. The soldiers removed the little bear cub from the burned tree, but they did not know what to do with him. A rancher, who had been helping the firefighters, agreed to take the cub home. A New Mexico Department of Game and Fish Ranger heard about the cub when he returned to the fire camp and drove to the rancher's home to get the bear. The cub needed veterinary aid and was flown in a small plane to Santa Fe where the burns were treated and bandaged.
The news about the little bear spread swiftly throughout New Mexico. Soon the United Press and Associated Press picked up the story and broadcast it nationwide. Many people wrote or called to inquire about the little bear's progress. The State Game Warden wrote an official letter to the Chief of the Forest Service, presenting the cub to the agency with the understanding that the small bear would be dedicated to a publicity program of fire prevention and conservation. The go-ahead was given to send the bear to Washington, DC, where he found a home at the National Zoo, becoming the living symbol of Smokey Bear.

                         I think that is such a neat story and hope you all enjoyed it.

Now on to the festivities.....

This year we had a new activity, bubbles. Karl and Vickie put the event together and came up with some great ideas.  Here is one way to play with bubbles...

 Isn't this neat you take a coat hanger and dip it into the (homemade bubble solution) and these huge bubbles appear. They were so pretty floating around so softly in the breeze.

                                         These two look like balls chasing each other.

                           This one is huge and so pretty with all the colors of the rainbow.      

This was neat you took the lid off a can and dip it into the bubble solution, then you put a straw on it and blow the first bubble. Then dip a straw into the bubble solution and poke it into the first bubble and blow a bubble inside a bubble.  I guess you can keep going to create several bubbles. I had not seen this before. I know the kids loved it.  Then you take the can with the lids removed and you get this....

                                            This gives you a super duper size bubble

This year I did the face painting again. But I had a great helper and two is faster than one. My partner in crime was Mickey, Asst manager here at the park. She did a great job and darn it she paints a lot better bear claw than I do. And I even had practice from last year.  :(

             See the hummingbird on her cheek I did that. She put a blue Penguin on me.

     Here are 4 of the designs we did. We let the kids pick out the designs and colors they wanted.

                  The kids loved it and were lined up most of the day waiting for their turn.

Even the adults got into the fun.  Here is Al, Manager of the park. He had this passion for being an Indian. Either that or he wanted to scare the campers when he made his evening drive through of the park. :)

                     Kind of looks like a "mug" shot to me.  Sorry Al, just kidding hee hee.

This is Bill, he was playing with a little boy who had gotten a balloon sword. Bill got his jabbed into his head.

          Art, is in the background smiling because he got in on the fun this year too. He got to.....

Make the balloons. He made teddy bears,(of course)  turtle bracelets, bunnies, swords and dogs. The kids loved it.  He learned this fascinating talent while we were at Turkey Run, so if camp hosting doesn't work out for us he can always work as a clown. :)

            We decorated our golf cart in the balloons to draw attention to the party. Cute huh?

Now onto the star of the afternoon......

                                                Doesn't look bad at all for 69 does he?

                              Then he got a whiff of the cake and we had to hold him back.....

                    This is Karl and Danny (another host) protecting the cake from Smokey.

Smokey even got his face painted by Mickey. I didn't see the finished picture but I think it was a bear claw.  :)

                  Boy her hand is awful close to his mouth. But he was full of cake at this point.

The kids really enjoyed having their picture taken with him.  One little girl was scared of him but she did give him a high five.


And to end the celebration there was a movie shown at the Amphitheater.  This is such a neat experience as it is down in the forest, surrounded by trees. We showed the movie the Wilderness Family. It is about a family from the city, that move to the mountains and build their own cabin. And then they of course run into all kinds of problems with the wildlife in the area.  And you guessed it, a big Grizzly bear is in the story. Right along with our theme.  And here is Karl getting the popcorn ready.  It is free and all you can eat.  Sure beats the $10 bag at the movie theater!!

                           Donnie (another camp host) is patiently waiting for the first bag. 

This is the screen.  The movie is in progress not a great picture but I didn't want to take another one with the flash and interrupt the show.
And the audience.....

Sorry I can't share the cake with you or the popcorn but I hoped you enjoyed the party just the same.
So from Hardin Ridge we send out a Grrrrreat big good night and take care everyone.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

From Tomato Plant to Portable Washing Machine........

Wow! Was the weather gorgeous today.  Lows this morning were in the 50's that is just unbelievable for July. Art said he hopes we don't get snow in Sept the way it is cooling off so fast. I don't imagine we are done with the heat though, Aug and Sept can be very hot months.

When I looked at the calender last night I couldn't believe it. First of all, that we are almost to the end of July already, and second, that one year ago today we were waiting to hear if the Post Office was going to offer an early out to Postmasters, so Art could retire early.  I think I pestered Art to death everyday with the same question over and over, "did you hear yet?'  I was so excited about the prospects of getting to come to Hardin Ridge and begin our dream of camp hosting.  And we were ever so blessed that the Post Office did offer the early out and that Art had 28 yrs of service in so he could take it.  We only hosted from August 1st to October 17th last year and then spent the winter at home because of my accident with the drunk driver. Since it totally wrecked our pick up we didn't have a way to get to Florida. However, that was just fine with us as we were able to spend it with Hannah. At the time we didn't know she would be getting married this past June so it all worked out great.  I went back and looked at some of my first posts last year.....yikes, the pictures sure weren't very good.  I bought a new camera and that really improved the quality plus, doing some editing didn't hurt them either.  :)
I had so much fun learning this new hobby I didn't know I loved, photography. I sure am no professional and don't have any desires to be.  I just love getting out and seeing what I can find to take a picture of to share with all of you.  So speaking of pictures lets get to some.......

"One" of the things I knew I was going to miss being on the road was my garden.  So I convinced Art to let me have a five gallon bucket tomato plant.  Isn't it cute?! We have been eating little cherry tomatoes off of it for a few weeks now. I can't believe the birds are leaving them alone but they are. Maybe because I am feeding them seeds........

Isn't this little Chipping Sparrow darling.  He comes to our site everyday and I feed him and his/her friends. They are so friendly they just hope around right in front of us and eat.

   Caught him with his mouth full of corn. It amazes me that they are not scared of the dogs either.

I am excited to share with you my new "appliance".  Doing laundry once a week is sometimes not enough in the hot weather.  Since I only have one good work shirt I needed to wash it more often and doing it in the sink was not working so well.  Our SIL Tom was telling us that he had seen a little portable hand crank washer on TV and wondered if we could use something like that. So we did some investigating and found this one.  We love it. Here is how it works.......

It has 4 suction cups that hold it to the counter. You add 3-4 tablespoons of laundry soap. And then add your clothes. You can wash up to 5 lbs of clothes. We have done our sheets from the bed one time,  and 3 shirts and a pair of my Capri pants another.  I usually add 1-2 gallons of hot water then the rest luke warm.  It usually takes around 4 gallons of water; there is a water fill line on the inside.  Then you put the lid back on (and make sure it is locked). Then you turn the crank round and round. 

As you turn it, it builds up pressure inside and that is what helps to clean your clothes.  It says to crank anywhere from 2-4 minutes, I just go by how dirty the clothes are.  It reminds you of a propane cylinder doesn't it?  Then after you think they are washed enough you apply the drainage tube on the bottom. You can see the drain on above photo.

After the water stops draining I usually reach in and press down on the clothes to express more water. Then I add white vinegar (about 2 T) to the rinse water (cold) and rotate another 3-4 minutes and then attach drain tube again.  Is there a spin cycle? No, not really.  This is where good old elbow grease comes in. I squeeze out as much water as I can then I lay out a towel and roll up the clothes in the towel and push down or twist the towel.  It removes all the excess water and your clothes are amazingly dry. The towels are not dirty as they are only wet so we just hang them on the line to dry with the clothes.  When I washed the bed sheets we just hung them on the line and they drip dried for awhile then they dried pretty fast.  And boy did they smell good.  I would not want to do all of our laundry this way but it is very handy for under garments, shirts, and a few towels just whatever you might need to do to get by with until laundry day.  In the park we are each assigned a day to do our laundry as they provide 2 washers and 2 dryers. Our day is on Thursday, but sometimes I need a few things before then and this little "Wonder Washer" does a fabulous job.  And I didn't have to give up valuable storage space either. It fits nicely under our sink when we are done with it.  And the price was reasonable too....$37
They say they are handy for people who live apartments to use also. We ordered ours off of Amazon.

Our camp hosts here are very creative. In case you ever are in need of flower pots I thought I would share with you what Glen and Casey did at their site. These are logs that Glen found that were hollow and he cut them different lengths and then Casey planted flowers in them.  Isn't this a cute idea?  And there are no shortage of hollowed out logs here to use.  

Camp hosting here is lots of fun.  The gang goofs off all the time and just when you think you have seen it all one of them will do the unthinkable.  Jonathon had dared Harold to sit on his lap and yep Harold did it.  I just love the look on Jonathon's face.  This was at our Friday morning safety meeting.

                      As we were on our way to the safety meeting we came upon this glorious site.

Which got me to thinking we hardly ever look up to take pictures, or at least I don't.  Seems like I am always looking down on the ground or just straight ahead trying to spot an animal.  You know where this is going don't you......

And let's look higher.......

And higher and higher......

Effie is tired and says we need to go to bed.  So I will say so long from Hardin Ridge and take care everyone!