Monday, June 25, 2012

Just Watchin’ the Flowers Grow

We haven’t posted since June 5 because we really haven’t been doing much except growing flowers and vegetables. The pictures below are evidence of our work. Check out the before and after photos of the herbs and veggie garden, The first picture was taken June 3 and the second June 24.

Herbs 6-3    Herbs 6-24

Veggies 6-3    Veggies 6-24

Next, check out the tomatoes and flowers.

Tomatoes    Planter 1

Barrel 1    Barrel 2

Deck ferns 1 Hanging ferns on coach house.

The swallows that built the nest in the corner of the deck roof on a beam, have fledged. But the funny thing is three out of the four come back at night to where the nest “used” to be. I moved it to a tree after noticing that they didn’t come back one night. I figured they were done with the nest and I wanted to move it and clean the area-they do make a mess. Well, they are still coming back. We guess they are so young and don’t know where else to go to sleep. When I moved the nest I was so amazed at how intricate it was built. My surprise was there was an egg in it. It was probably one that didn’t make it to hatch. After they fledged I cleaned off the deck so that almost all of the bird droppings were gone. We don’t want any more nests in the coach house area because they make big messes. Plus, we are afraid they might get into the ceiling fan and kill themselves. Now the only thing we have to be a little concerned about are the rabbits that are going under the deck. We know they are there because Kozmo smells them and is on point before and after our walks. She just loves going on “rabbit hunts” even though she just looks at them.

You know we have to eat to survive, so we have still been going out about three to four times a week to our favorite places. Since Annette’s’ Café was closed for vacation for 11 days, we got our fix twice this past week on Wednesday and Friday. Last night I grilled some chicken and had crispy, fried okra with a salad. It was so delicious! Today, Sunday, we went to La Cabana in Dillard. It is a Mexican place that we haven’t been to this season. We shared chicken fajitas for two and they were very good.

I got very motivated this past week and made homemade bread. On Monday, I made a white bread. It came out small but it was good. On Wednesday I made two loaves of Amish White Bread and reduced the amount of sugar to 1/3 of a cup instead of the 2/3 cup it called for and it was absolutely delicious!

Bread Amish White Bread

When we toasted it, it was out of this world. But, of course, I must try my hand at honey wheat bread which is healthier for us in the next day or two. As you can see by the picture, the bread looked great! I used to make bread in my bread maker when we lived at the Valrico house. No room for a bread maker in the rv. I made beer cheese bread, rye bread and of course white bread with it. It always seemed to not last due to getting spoiled. But with this bread that I knead by hand, it has lasted four days and has not gone bad at all. Any frustrations that I have can be taken out on the kneading, which is hard on the hands for ten minutes. But, the outcome is worth it.

I finally went to the tie-dye activity on Saturday here in the park. It costs $2 to use their dyes and I bought my own white t-shirt from Fred’s Discount Store that cost $7, so I got a good deal. As you can see from the picture, I didn’t do too badly.

Tie dye front    Tie dye back

I read on the internet some other methods that I might try next time. The only stupid thing I did this time was to put my bare hand in the dye and not use a latex glove. After one of the work campers told me she had gloves, I put them on and wore them. But my right hand was all purple. She said it would eventually go away within two days. Well, after using soap and baking soda, and also bathing Kozmo yesterday, the dye is gone. About 10 people showed up to make the shirts and it got very hot from 10am to noon. I actually had to stop and towel dry my face because the sweat was just running down onto my glasses. We are amazed that it is that hot up here, like 93 degrees in the mountains. But, we wouldn’t trade it for Florida because even though it is hot it is not humid. We enjoy sitting on the deck in the evenings and with the ceiling fan on, it is quite comfortable.

Jeff will be DJ’ing on July 3 and July 7. He is going to do a Name That Tune game on July 3 by playing about 10 songs or so and people have to guess the songs. A prize will be awarded for the winner(s). On July 7, he is playing for three hours from 7 to 10. We hope there will be lots of people around for the activities.

We hope the weather is fine for your travels or wherever you are parked for the summer. Right now we are concerned about our friends in Florida watching Tropical Storm Debby create havoc.

‘Til next time……

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Just Another Birthday

I woke up at 7:30am, yesterday June 4, 2012, to Kozmo licking my face, a daily ritual in our bed. After Jeff and I played with Kozmo I took her out for her morning walk. When I came back, Jeff was playing a birthday song on his computer for me. The song was a jazzy version of “Happy Birthday” sung by Justin Timberlake, of all people. It was really great! We don’t give each other cards anymore for our birthdays. We sometimes go to the store and stand in the card aisle and pick out cards that we would have given each other for anniversaries or birthdays and then show them to each other and give each other a kiss in the store. That is more priceless than buying the card. LOL

Today was an ordinary day. So what if I turned 57 years old? It is just a number. I felt terrible when I turned 40 and was totally depressed for a couple of days. But I got over it. When I turned 50, I felt proud to be a half-century old and happy. Every day I wake up and can stand up is a happy day. I still can’t believe I am coming up on being retired for two years. Now that is more amazing than birthdays. I love being retired!

My parents called me up about noon time and talked to me for an hour. They live in New Jersey. My father is into nutrition now and I heard everything there is to hear about what you should eat and what vitamins you should take. He bought a book about two months ago called Eat for Life and is now acting like their unofficial spokesman. Since he used to be a scientist he knows what is good and not good for you, according to him. If I ate all that he says he eats and take all the vitamins and supplements that he takes, I wouldn’t have any money left over in my pension. LOL

After talking to my parents my sister, Linda, from Selma, North Carolina called. We spoke for 45 minutes. It was nice hearing her voice. She still gets my birthdate confused with our grandmother’s birthdate which was on June 9. But she took a chance and sang to me after confirming it was my birthday. I am five years older than her. So all the talk about being “old” was not a downer to me. She will get to 57 years old and then I will tell her how “old” she really is. LOL

We went out to Franklin, North Carolina to eat our lupper at 3:40. It had been a day where there was rain off and on but when we left it was sunny. I wore my sunglasses so I looked younger than 57. :-) We headed for Fatz Café, which is a great place to eat. We started with an appetizer called Cajun Firecracker Sticks, which had fresh, hand-selected spicy shrimp, Andouille sausage, seared onions and peppers, spinach and melted jalapeno jack cheese, hand rolled in tomato-basil tortillas. They are fried crisp and served with a spicy ranch and Fatz onyum sauce. They gave us six of them and we ate four and took the other two home. I had a parmesan encrusted basa fish meal, which was lightly sautéed with broccoli and a baked potato. Absolutely delicious! I couldn’t eat it all so we brought that home too. Jeff had a very good house salad followed by the Hard Cider Sirloin Sampler which contained a six ounce sirloin marinated in their house made cider blend complemented with their world famous Calabash fried chicken and golden shrimp with a baked potato. He also had blue cheese and peppercorn topping for his steak. He enjoyed it all. I was surprised how tender the steak was after I had tasted it. I would definitely get the steak whenever we go back. No dessert even after the waiter mentioned all the delicious stuff they had. It was a very nice birthday dinner.

After getting back home Kozmo greeted us like we had been gone all night. We were only gone an hour and a half. We took her for a quick golf cart ride because it was about to rain again. My closest friend Linda, from Auburndale, Florida called about 7:50 and we spoke for about 40 minutes or so. It was great hearing her voice. I will be calling her next Monday as she will be finishing her career as a teacher that day. I also got a text message from my other sister, Cindy, who lives in Unionville, NY. She will be calling me tonight.

After watching some television, I decided to read for an hour before finally turning off the lights at 11:45. It was a great day even though it seemed like another common day in the life of Barbie Boldt. How do you celebrate your birthdays? I have always been the type to stay out of the limelight when birthdays came around. I don’t like being the center of attention. I knew one time that someone was going to give me a surprise party at work. After finding out about it I took off work that day and told my friend that I wouldn’t be there. She didn’t like that, but she knew I didn’t like surprises. That is one reason why I didn’t attend my own retirement reception. I didn’t want people being forced to attend and say meaningless things. They always say “we will keep in touch”, and two years later only one person who is my best friend regularly “keeps in touch” with me. To me, it is a façade that people put on to make you feel good. Today the people we meet while travelling keep in touch with us and bring a new meaning to the word “friend”. No “put-ons” just genuine friends in which we all have a common bond which is rving.

Til next time…

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Life is Grand !

Well, the Memorial Day weekend passed and it was a success for us at Falls View and River Vista RV Resort. The campground was full-well actually only 3 of the about 150 sites were open. We had a delicious grilled hamburger, beans, chips, and drinks on Saturday, May 26, in the Mountain Center of River Vista. This was part of the campgrounds activities. The workkampers and managers prepared it all and it was delicious! We went to the music event in the Mountain Center at 7pm and listened to the Ram Cats perform.

Ram Cats 2 Medium Web view

They were very good! They are a local Rabun County band and play mostly blues music. A slide guitar and the harmonica played  integral parts in all tunes. And, the musicians that played both were quite good. We only stayed an hour since we were tired from the day’s events. There was a large turnout for the meal portion of the day but there was a small crowd of many 40 or so folks present for the music. It could have been that the campers didn’t want to pay the additional $4 to attend the Ram Cats performance.

On Memorial Day the Falls View owners had a pot luck and barbeque at the Mud Creek Pavilion, which is down by the stream. It is a covered pavilion with picnic tables, a grill, and electrical hookups.

Mud Creek Pavillion

We brought pea salad and it was OK. I made it with Laura Lynn brand sweet peas and they were mushy compared to Libby’s peas. The flavor was good but I didn’t like the mushiness. Jason Rambo, a resident of Falls View, made the pork and it was great! He also asked Jeff if he would bring some music down for us to enjoy. So instead of taking out the big speakers and all the equipment, we took our Bose speaker box and Jeff prepared an IPOD full of great hits. The music that most everyone enjoyed was a tribute to Memorial Day veterans. People were singing and just enjoying themselves. Some people did dance to the rock and country music, too. We sure do have some great cooks here. It was a nice turnout of about 46 people. We left at about 7:40pm just before the sprinkling of rain began.

We got some work done by our handyman, Kevin, on Tuesday and Wednesday of this week. Kevin has built our deck on our site 4 years ago and last year built the coach house cover over the deck. He does great work and is very reasonable with his fees. We have had some trouble with the long sewer hose not having a great slope to it when we have to empty the tanks. From where our dump valves on the fifth wheel to the sewer outlet that enters the ground was about 25 feet. We had to pick up the hose and “walk it” towards the sewer outlet to make sure it empties into the sewer properly.  So, Kevin raked the mulch away and dug up the dirt and put a sewer extension into the ground with the new sewer outlet being 3 feet from our rig. He then covered the extension with the dirt and replaced the mulch. It now has a great slope and it looks so much nicer.

right side before Medium Web view   New Sewer Outlet Medium Web view

After he finished that job on Tuesday, he came back on Wednesday and installed an outdoor ceiling fan with a light attached to it in the coach house above our table. We bought a remote to go along with it and now we can control the three fan speeds on warm days and  we can sit outside in the dark and read if we wanted to under the fan’s light. Below are pictures of before and after the ceiling fan addition.

IMG_1549 Medium Web view   Ceiling Fan Medium Web view

He also hardwired an outlet onto the outside of the shed. We had been using an extension cord which was very inconvenient. After he finished that job, he extended the deck over a planter area we had adjacent to the shed area. You see now that we have the roof over the deck that planter area was really of no use. We now have more room to put our storage unit that houses our stereo system and other stuff at the rear of the deck against the shed. 

DSC_0003 Medium Web view   New Deckover Medium Web view

As they were working on it they had to contend with our barn swallows as they were coming in regularly to take care of their nest. (Thanks Judy for identifying the birds). We are very pleased with the results of all of the work Kevin and his son did. Now I will get the stain and apply it to the deck extension to match the rest of the deck so it will be beautiful!

Thursday we bit the bullet and spent a chunk of cash! You see our golf cart batteries have not been holding a charge well since we arrived in April. They are the original batteries and since our cart is a 2005 model, the batteries are 7 years old. We’ve been fortunate, I guess, as we were told about 5 years is what you can expect on their service life. Our cart is a fully electric 48 volt Club Car. It has 4, 12 volt deep cycle golf cart batteries. Until Jeff started researching them online we didn’t realize their cost. Most of them go for between $210 and $300 A PIECE! One of our neighbors heard we were looking into getting new ones, he needed some new ones, as did one other owner. The fortunate part for us is that another one of the Falls View owners is in the golf cart business in South Carolina. He was contacted and gave the four of us (another owner needed them) great prices on the batteries. Plus, he would send a man with our batteries from SC to Falls View, install our new ones, and take the old ones away. We hit the jackpot and saved roughly between $50 and $140 PER battery. We feel really good about that deal even though it cost a chunk as it was. No more battery concerns for 5 years or so….we hope.

We ate out four times this week. We went to Mountain Man on Tuesday. I had a delicious blue cheese hamburger with their homemade fries and Jeff had their gyro with fries. Very good indeed! On Wednesday, we ordered a pizza from Main Street Pizzeria along with some teriyaki wings. They were also great! On Thursday for lunch we ate at Annette’s Café in Dillard, which is out favorite place to eat at now since it is so good and inexpensive. Plus, it takes us all of 5 minutes to get there. We both had the country fried steak with a salad and another vegetable along with a piece of cake. Jeff had the German Chocolate cake and I had the lemon cake. Very Good!!! To think it costs only $6.49 a piece, that includes dessert AND beverage, it is a steal. I don’t know how they do it. Can you tell….we LOVE to eat!

We got some needed showers on Friday throughout the day. Nothing really to brag about but it meant I didn’t have to water my tomato plant or the flowers. It actually lowered the temperature to a low of 48 degrees on Saturday morning.

We left on a beautiful Saturday morning for the “bigger” mountains of North Carolina. The day was a beautiful one with some light breezes and a high of 77 degrees. Kozmo, of course, came along for the ride and enjoyed herself. She sometimes acts like a baby because she gets irritable when she is tired. She wants Jeff to rub her and talk to her. She loves his attention but doesn’t mess with me since I am driving. We travelled to Franklin, Waynesville, Maggie Valley, and Cherokee. There seemed to be many people in Cherokee in the water  fishing or just tubing. It was a nice site to see. I love driving the truck in the mountains, especially down the mountains that have an 8% slope. I just put the truck in third gear and let the beautiful engine and jake brakes take control. Plus, we yawn so much to clear our ears going up and down the mountains due to the elevation changes that our jaws get tired. I don’t know how Kozmo adjusts to the elevation changes.

We headed out to the Valley Cafe  in Dillard for some dinner after resting a couple of hours from our drive through the mountains. Both of us ordered fried chicken salads. I had ranch dressing, Jeff had his with bleu cheese dressing. But, then we both succumbed to a piece of the “Cake of the Month”….would you believe Key Lime Cake. Now that’s cake NOT key lime pie. It was truly awesome. I brought back some of mine…Jeff polished his off at the restaurant.

Key Lime Cake Medium Web viewToday is a stay at home day. I did finally get my 2 foot by 4 foot above ground garden put together and planted. I planted squash, cucumbers, lettuce, green onions and carrots. Now to nurture them and hope they grow. We do have some tomatoes beginning to grow.

Vegetable garden Medium Web view   Tomato plant

WHEW, That’s it for now….’Til next time……