Monthly Archives: April 2015

Home Home Home!

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We are home. It’s a very strange feeling. It is akin to the feeling you get when you arrive at a campsite you know you will be staying at for the next six months. But now there is this little house and a driveway and garage and sprawling yard we own. We are still living in our trailer because we have no bed for the house and lack most other things needed and our trailer is comfy. We have hooked up to power and water and if you look at the lower right behind the house you can see the access to sewer system where we can dump at need with our macerator. So why rush?

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So much cleaning to do! Mayhem of moving! Actually the place was clean when we moved in but I am scrubbing every inch of every wall, ceiling and nook and cranny claiming it my own as I do. Imagine our delight to discover the layout is perfect as is. No knocking out walks. Two bedrooms. A long open living room kitchen combo. There is only one major repair we must do very quickly. The rest is all cosmetic. We discovered our washer is huge, a mega super heavy duty one that can take our biggest quilt and we promptly began a frenzy of washing the linen in the trailer. We don’t have the clothesline up yet but the deck rail works.

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And we have snakes. It’s migration season and they have just come up from below ground and are migrating out so there are plains garter snake everywhere. I like these snakes. They aren’t poisonous, they don’t bite. They do eat field mice. When ever I have had garter snakes about I have not had pesky rodents. Home.

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Now official invitation. Our home can accommodate others and our driveway can accommodate a second trailer in a few weeks once we put some gravel into some ruts. So free boon docking for friends and if you don’t have a trailer, being an air mattress until I announce we have guest beds.

Back in Manitoba and all is well, except the weather.

We returned to Manitoba April 17th and we have had a hectic few days. There are only two campground that are open and offer service this time of year. One is south of the city and one is west. The western one is marginally closer to our family so we went there first. However we arrived to find that because of all the contraction they had after last years flooding they are open but do not have water or WIFI. So we are at Arrowhead Campground which is open and has full services. This is actually quite a nice campground, very clean and well run. My only complaints are the lots are small and they are a lot fussier about dogs. We prefer to dean up the dog droppings by keeping them on a very short leash outside the door at night and when we go out in the morning we clean up. Everything is right near the trailer so only our own lot is affected and this works in most places. However at this place, you are expected to somehow get your dog to hold it until you can race with it off the property and then have it go. If the dog doesn’t hold it or needs to go out at 2:00am you must catch it basically before it hits the ground or risk complaints. Oh well, every campground has its peculiarities and you adjust and this one is a minor. They get around the low temperatures by having a network of hoses all over the campground and they come back and fill your tank at every time you ask so the service is great. Plus it’s hard to find a campground open for us snowbirds in April.

After getting settled we began the seemingly endless run of stuff to catch up on. Visit the son who receives our mail for and go through a huge pile. Even though we have converted to every possible coming by electronic mail, we still found ourselves with a HUGE stack. Most of it junk or stuff we could really do without. And then there are a large number of things to be dealt with. Income tax by April 30th (just sent that off). Off to the doctor to renew regular prescriptions since most of them only allow you 6 months at a time maximum. We both had dental checkups. Dick came through clean which is great considering all the trouble he had the last two years including a $3800 bridge. I have one small cavity and will be going back in a couple of weeks but otherwise everything is fine. Last two years I have had cracked molars to fix and I was dreading that again.

Also because of the house purchase, we had to run to the Credit Union, sign papers, run to the lawyer, sign papers, run to the insurance company, sign papers, and so it goes. We have visited with all the kids now, hugged all the grandkids, distributed books, gifts, duty free booze and stuff. All our assorted families look great and the kids are all grown handsomer and bigger. We keep in touch all year of course but there’s nothing like a hug, smelling their scent, and seeing them all looking so good. We are blessed. Even the youngest, who is 18 months, remembered me after a few minutes.

Naturally Manitoba needed to make sure we continue to plan to go south each winter. We were greeted with bitterly cold weather and snow, several centimetres of it blowing like it can only blow on the prairie. Last night the temperature was down to -10C and we have had to do all the cold weather stuff with the trailer, UGH! Monday night the highway was even closed due to blowing snow. The dogs have been giving us dirty looks before going out. I can almost hear them thinking “Why did we have to leave the south too soon?”

Today is the first day we have had no running catchup to do. We can breath and relax. Tomorrow we go shopping to stock up for our extended stay in the country with a decent store hours away and hubby dearest gets a blood test just to check things. We meet the real estate agent Monday 10:00am to get our keys and finally get into our house. Then the real fun starts as we do a full inspection to decide what renovations we want/must do now, what can wait, measure all the rooms to decide what furniture, curtains and stuff we need and a bunch of other things that go with a new house.

This morning the cold is finally breaking and more temperate weather is back. The sun is warm through the window and the sky is finally blue blue Manitoba blue under the wide open sky. I can hear a meadow lark. I joke about how I as born in Winnipeg due to sins of a past like but Manitoba is my home. It’s good to be home.

Pomme De Terre Missouri

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We had to do some wild weather dodging after our stop in northern Mississippi. Missouri, next destination on our trip home, was under a high risk for severe storms. The weather looked to be one of those heavy duty southern US spring storms systems you simply need to avoid. Mapping the weather charts over the campground maps and checking front movement and all that we decided to simply get past Memphis into north eastern Arkansas and then stop. NOAA was not wrong and Missouri had horrific storms while we sat it out in the West Memphis KOA.

After weeks of being in state parks it was a bit of a shock to be back in a teeny tiny campground plot with some trees and sparse mowed lawn but it was nice to have full hook up again. We got caught up on email and laundry. In order to get past the part of southern Missouri under severe storm threat before the storms started we got up at 5:30am and were on the road before 7:00am. We then drove as fast as we could across country to Pomme De Terre State Park. We had planned on taking in the Rollo area national forest in the Ozarks but it was under a severe storm high risk mark on the NOAA map. We’ll try the Ozarks this fall if we get back this way again. After eight hours of driving with only one very brief stop to see the Mammoth Spring at Mammoth Springs state park (which has nothing on the Wakulla Spring by the way), we continued on our way with sky darkening ominously as we went. A stretch of Highway 63 had everything blown over due to a microburst about 2 hours after we drove it. The campground near Rolla (our original destination) got hit by not one but three separate severe storms that went off evening and overnight. Meanwhile, we were comfortable in Pomme De Terre though shortly after our arrival the next county east went under a watch and then a warning and those severe storms rumbled north eastward eventually producing an F4 tornado that knocked out the town of Fairdale Illinois. We picked Pomme De Terre because it was over the risk line and I have to say just barely. Still we made it safe and well. My condolences to the folks at Fairdale.

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Pomme De terre was all in bloom on the ground with five kinds of wildflowers.

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Even the moss was in bloom with tiny white blossoms.

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The fishermen were out in force. I watched them. I saw a loon steal a fish right off a hook but the fisherman just laughed about it. That was treat because I have read that loons will do that but never saw it. The fish was too small to be a keeper. The lake was warm and we had a path to the water so Fred got to go swimming. Fred loves to swim and there aren’t a lot of places where you can let your dog swim. Bonus: no alligators.

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The trees were bare, just starting to bud. From here we spent two nights at Big Lake Missouri with one evening of wild but non severe lightning storms that were a treat to watch. We are currently parked at a South Dakota Souix Casino which has free hookups for players. Last night I won $3 on the slot machines. I hope to do even better today. ($3 is not bad when you only play penny slots like I do.) It’s all dreary and spring dirty here. The trees are bare. There are still patches of snow. The wind is awful and the dust is blowing.

After today we will got to North Dakota then Winnipeg. We will have a week of business in Winnipeg including bank appointments, dental appointments, a visit to the lawyer, hug all the kids and grandkids, and then we hope to leave Winnipeg to take possession of our little house in Alonsa Manitoba April 29th.

Update: Dick picked up a small tick somewhere in the park. We did our usual tick bite thing. Carefully remove the tick and then use a permanent felt to draw a circle around the bite area. If nothing happens by the time the felt mark is gone, we consider it clear. This time however Dick developed an exact replica of the CDC nonspecific tick borne illness rash. We took comfort in the fact that the rash indicated a nonspecific tick bite rash not associated with any kind of long term arthritic or heart disease but he had a round of antibiotics in any case, just to be sure.

Arkabutla Lake Army Corp of Engineer Campsite

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These pink flowers were in bloom everywhere. They were also full of happy bees. It was the spring migration eruption and the campground was full of chickadees, blue birds, red headed woodpeckers, cardinals, Carolina chickadees, warblers and so many other birds I couldn’t keep track.

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The Lake is nice and big, bigger than Forklund but it was too far to haul the canoe without unhitching so we just took a long walk to the boat ramp and looked out.SAM_5360 SAM_5361 SAM_5362

We saw a lot of wildlife (including a black widow spider and a rattlesnake) but only this poor deceased shell of an armadillo was still long enough to photograph.

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