Friday, 4 May 2018


What the camper looks like in "black out mode" for Alaska trip
….Two wood stoves indeed….and a truck full of other things accompanied us back to Texas.  Everything from a 25 cent library book, a five dollar cutting board (a replica of the kind my parents and probably everyone else’s had when I was growing up), some ceramic turtle magnets (five for $5, a real bargain) found at an office supply store in Yellow Springs on the drag, a copy of ‘The Lynne Truss Treasury: Columns and three Comic Novels’, a $6.50 investment toward my education, from a bookstore on the same Y.S. drag….hmmmm, what else….oh, some firewood offered to us poor helpless girls at our very first camp spot along with lighter fluid (real girls don’t use lighter fluid to start their fires, but I took it anyway, because I am miserly and don’t say “no” to free lighter fluid).  We came home with $7.95 worth of spices from Maplewood and I got a necessary new backpack from the import store in Yellow Springs for $25. Also came in with a dozen beautiful eggs from the Lucy and Shawn farm in St. Louis...those were free.  As were some meaningful bracelets from a good friend of Abby’s and new friend of mine.  In all, we may have blown a hundred dollars on “stuff” during this trip, including several trips to Walmart for items of clothing not brought, thanks to the unpredictable weather.  I know this, because the receipts are leaving my hands next, to the fire pit in today's fire as I clean out my desk drawer.  Not bad for being gone three plus weeks.  Included are beers we brought home.  A smattering of beers from grocery or liquor stores that were from a different land than our own and therefore have prized possession status on the ranch.  Those brews have a very special place at home and are dolled out like treats at Christmas time...or sometimes well deserved paychecks after a super hard day of work.
Stoli and Macy helping us survey and pick dewberries

Speaking of….that is all we have really known since being home, hard days of work.  The ranch never stops.  The grass grows tall, the wildflowers, gorgeous when we got here have slowly withered in just a week; both grass and wildflowers needed to be mowed into control and the ranch resume it’s park-like ambiance.  As promised to ourselves, this past trip was in anticipation of the next, bringing home a laundry list of tweaks and improvements to the Eggcellence.  Abby has not stopped modifying the Eggcellence from front to back from the inventory of items we felt needed an upgrade for our big trip to Alaska.  Secondly, she has been working on my outdoor kitchen.  That is not a huge priority right now, but something she finds fun and I am certainly excited about.  Will I actually get to use it before we leave again????  Everytime we are home, we make things better for the next time we leave and come back.  Next year, travelling may be minimal and we sure had better like our home!  Stoli is home from his faithful and trusty sitter, getting into everything and antagonizing the dog who is all to easy.  They pick up right where they left off, prodding each other like little kids in the back seat on the way to grandma’s house.  It never ends.  It’s love, I am sure.  And everything resumes….
Macy in her new camper cave ready for Alaska

I laughed the other day while in my “tall boots”, mowing grass that easily held a varmint or two and all of wildlife I have seen since arriving home.  Once again, it seems home is more interesting in that way, than most of our camping has been.  When I was recently chided (understandably) about our comfortable desire for electricity, running water and occasional internet while camping, I returned fire with a little chagrin as if we indeed are not truly camping the wild outdoors on these ventures.  Well, in retrospect as the trips come and go and upon returning home each time I learn….home is where the REAL camping takes place.  The trips are the easy part.  Home is where we see snakes daily ( *Abby’s mom, please disregard), scorpions, interesting migrating birds, have an outdoor shower, a walk to the bathroom, the coyotes howl and the cows moo outrageous calls all night to harmonize in the morning with the roosters.  The hogs compete with the armadillos for hole digging rights and the racoons won’t stay away from my bird feeders.  The silent possum wanders by with babies on her back, seemingly the most harmless of the bunch, lumbering over the mole trails. The hummingbirds are almost bee-like in their aggressiveness and the threat of lovebugs looms in the air, making wasps and mud daubers seem non-existent.  The deer are out, not just in the morning and at dusk, but now all times of the day. There are large and dangerous projects a plenty and no lying around in the hammock looking out at the lake.  Occasionally we take time out at the pond to sit and watch the turtles or as last week spy an unusual bird on his way to somewhere else, stopping for a fish dinner.  Fortunately there is plenty of running water and electricity, but there is no Netflix...and limited internet.  We eat mostly from the single local grocery store seventeen miles away and as of late collect dewberries for our fruit cup with breakfast. There are no breweries or eclectic restaurants to try something new.  Just whatever the butcher saw fit to provide and the produce manager ordered.  Whatever overstocked items got handed down for the humble little grocery store, to fill the end of the isle as a special weekly treat.  Read the marquis at the roadside to see what’s on sale in the meat department.
Stoli helping with electrical plans for outdoor kitchen

Gratitude is created at home, and manifested on the road.  After this year, travelling will be done with a great deal of intention and slightly less mediocrity.  So far, I have learned that I want to visit with my family and friends more in the future.  But for this year, we still have mountains to conquer so….now, on to ALASKA!!

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