Thursday, April 25, 2013

Spring is Here!

Spring is our busy time - it gives "spring cleaning" a new meaning when you stay away for six months and have six months of deferred maintenance to deal with.
While we are working toward maintenance free - hence metal roofs and trex decks, nothing can quite match up with a Washington winter.  I spent most of one day power washing decks and walkways.
These I do every year, but the one in front of the cabin has been neglected.  While I have washed it, it has been with the hose, not the pressure washer, and I didn't move all the plants and furniture. So it was another half day job.
There was actual moss growing on the cement.  The good news is it looks pretty good now!
While I concentrated on decks and gardens, Ron has been mowing.
He has been through all 10 acres once now, and even got the burn pile burned.
That was a major job, and it was really wet and soggy, but he persevered and it got done.
I cleaned out weeds and planted both of my raised beds, weeded the strawberries, 
and got all the winter rye tilled in and ready to plant the main garden.  If everything grows well and we have a good season, I should be able to open a truck garden.  
Next job - flower gardens - this is the dahlia bed and it really needs attention.
 But Ron has the bike out and clean, the sun is still shining, and we need a break, so this afternoon is ride time!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Our Theme Park Trip Across the USA

This was a quick trip between our winter homes in Florida and Georgia and our home base in Washington State.  Usually, I have my husband, Ron, who is also my chauffeur driving me and I can take in the sites and take pictures.  This year, we were driving two cars, so I became fully aware of how great it is to have someone to drive me.  The total trip is 3400 miles, but we got a break for a couple of days when we stopped in Georgia to put things to bed there.  

It was much like being at Disneyworld and being whisked through various scenes with brief glimpses of life therein.  We started out with summer-like conditions and flowers in bloom along the roadways.  The trees still glowed with spring green, but the temperatures were 80+ so it was definitely shorts and air conditioning time.

As we moved north through Alabama and Tennessee, the temperatures were still very warm, but some of the trees were just starting to leaf out.  By Missouri, while still warm, the red bud trees were just in bud, but the grass in the fields was getting green and some fields had been turned over by farmers ready to plant.

Oh, boy, back to late winter in northern Iowa.  We saw flocks and flocks of big white birds.  We weren't close enough to see if they were white pelicans or white swans or white geese and I couldn't get Ron's attention to stop to look.  

In South Dakota, the roads were still bare, but piles of snow lined the roadways and most of the fields were still covered in snow.  We did see huge flocks of Sandhill Cranes - presumably already migrated back to their summer homes.

I saw a great sign that gave me comic relief from the grueling drive in S. Dakota.  I actually saw it TWICE, so it wasn't just a mistake:
Just what kind of a body shop is Dick running, I wondered.  My nails could use a trim, maybe we should stop?

Then as we entered Wyoming, we returned to full winter when we hit real snow!  Blowing and drifting snow, and temperatures in the teens.  They must put something on the roads, because at the beginning of the snow zone, the roads had piles of wet slush.  A big truck boiled by us, throwing this slush onto our windshields at one point and it immediately froze solid.  We had to pull onto the shoulder to clean them before we could even continue.

In white out conditions, we passed through Wyoming and part of Montana.  After hundreds of miles of white knuckle driving, we landed in Missoula, just 500 miles from home and stopped for the night.  It was such a pleasure to get all the way home by about 2 p.m. and find sunshine and warm temperatures for our unloading. Back in spring, my favorite season!

"Be it ever so humble, there is really no place like home!"

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Boating on Lemon Bay to Stump Pass

Monday we took the boat out for one last boat ride of the season.  It was a perfect boating day: warm without being hot, and sunny with occasional relief from a passing cloud.
Lemon Bay is about a 20 minute idle speed ride from the dock.  It's a nice ride, where we can look at houses and yards and all the boats and docks along the way.
Many mangrove islands dot the channel and cover more than half of the edges of Lemon Bay.
Captain Ron
That tiny fin is from one of the dolphins we saw on the bay.
One man's idea of "idle speed" - required for the vicinity of the bridges.
One of the resident pelicans watching for a fish.
Oh oh - sailboat being towed
This one took advantage of the light breeze.
So did this one
Lots of kayakers in the channel behind Stump Pass
Paddleboarders braving the wake from passing boats
Parasailing above the gulf
One of many osprey nests on an uninhabited island
The spit at Stump Pass had a lot of boats even on a Monday after the season is over.
On a calm day, we ventured out into the Gulf for a ways.
We pulled up on the beach on the bay side and then walked across to the Gulf side
Waves gently rolling in - Water Temp is up to 70 degrees already.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Last Florida Motorcycle Ride of the Season

On yet another perfect day, the people who are still hanging out in Florida got together for one last motorcycle ride.
 Our great ride leaders, Patti and Fran, took us on a nice ride through the middle of Florida, through the miles of orange groves smelling heavenly with their new blossoms.
First stop, the campground where many people have winter homes.
We met France and Michael for the first time on this ride.  They both ride Harleys.
When we stopped at the 7-11 on King's Highway our party of 9 bikes (16 people) was complete.
Al and Jackie joined us at the 7-11.
Fran gave us a break on a country road about halfway to our lunch destination.
The guys had a chance to look over all the bikes.
Everyone had a chance to visit for a few minutes.
Cynthia and Bill on their new CanAm
Last stop, the Limestone Bar, conveniently located at the junction of two great motorcycle roads.
Roy and Elaine will hold down the Florida fort when the rest of us return to our home bases in a few days.
Greg and Donna
Mars and Elaine
We felt really fortunate to have so many of our biker friends still in Florida for a ride today!

Saturday, April 6, 2013

The Many Faces of Facebook

            My sister calls it “Fakebook”.   I can see why as I page through my “friends” and try to categorize them.  Oh my, I don’t even know some of these people.  What happened here?  Oh, that must be that person I played a game of Scrabble with one day.  Or, maybe it’s someone from an author forum?  So just for fun, here is my synopsis of friends on facebook.  Although I am listing main categories, some people cross from one to another frequently and I’m not even sure where I fall on the spectrum.

  1. Family.  We all have family members and some we have learned a lot about since the advent of Facebook.  Sometimes way too much.  Distant and shirttail relatives start to become more familiar as we follow their posts.  It really is a great way to keep up with family with photos and notes.  If not for family, I surely would have given up Facebook many moons ago.
  2. Exhibitionists.  You can expect to see at least one new sexy picture every week from these people.  Some of the pictures look like they might have been taken many years ago, but who’s judging?
  3. Braggarts.  “My child is an honor student at….”  “I just won {something} of the year”  “Damn, I’m good.”
  4. Zealots.  These people hold rigid beliefs in something.  It might be religion, it might be guns, it might be anti-guns, it might be a political party, it might be atheism, or Buddism, purity in food, etc.  If it is possible to convert the masses with posts from their favorite cause, they are on it.
  5. Dead people.  Oh, I know, I should delete people that have the audacity to die, but it seems so final and like such an act of abandonment.  Besides, no one is ever dead to Facebook.  That record will remain until we are all buried and turned to dust, so why should I remove them from my list?
  6. Animals.  Oh my, how did this happen?  I have a mule, two dogs, and a hamster that somehow wormed their way onto my friend list.  Oh, and one of the dogs is also a Number 5, above.
  7. Imaginary people.  Yes, I do have one of those as a friend.  It is kind of an inside joke, but Olga just doesn’t fit into any other category.
  8. Whiners.  Letting us all know how they are suffering through a bad job, a bad marriage, a bad relationship, etc. 
  9. News Alerters.  Urgent requests to help cancer victims, find children who have run away, notify people of sexual predators moving into an area, etc.
  10. Entrepreneurs.  People trying to sell you something.  No explanation needed here.
  11. Ghosts.  These are people who had a Facebook account set up by a well-meaning friend, relative or colleague.  I am responsible for at least one ghost.  My husband had an annoying habit of looking over my shoulder as I played Scrabble, offering suggestions, etc.  So I set him up with his own Facebook account to play his own Scrabble games, which completely cured him of Facebook and Scrabble both.
  12. Jokesters.  Passing on the very latest in jokes and pithy sayings.  I personally enjoy a good laugh, so appreciate having a minute of mirth as I scan the latest on the Facebook timeline.
  13. Game Players.  Oh, so interesting to know that {someone} had a rush on Candy Crush, or won a $50,000 hand in Texas Hold ‘Em.  I play Scrabble and Words with Friends, but I try to always remove the “Post” (default) option after every move.  It’s easy to miss, so for anyone who was notified of a “Bingo” I got in Scrabble, I apologize. 
  14. Eavesdroppers. They’re there, but it’s easy to forget that.  They never post anything.  They just watch what everyone else posts and form opinions that can’t be reciprocated.
  15. Spies.  These are the worst.  They report on every post or “like” to the paranoids that don’t have their own account.  Often out of context, they create angst outside of Facebook.
 I’m sure there are other prototypes.  But one thing is certain.  If you have a “friend” on Facebook, even if you never knew them before, over time, a portrait of them emerges for you and one of you emerges for them.  Random posts really do start forming into a picture over time, so be careful of those posts!