Monday, December 25, 2017

It's Christmas Day -- Merry Christmas!

Last night was Christmas Eve and a variety of decorations were visible in the park. Lights, wreaths, garland, poinsettias, etc. can be seen when we are out and about walking Angel.

A couple of RVs have a lighted pattern projector with lights projecting on the sides. Another has a 5' pole with a string of lights in the center and other lights strung at angles from the top of the center pole diagonally to the ground creating an illusion of a tree of lights, especially pretty after the sun goes down. One RV side of us has colorful lights strung around their awning. One on the other side of us has wreaths, garland and candy canes.

Jesus is the reason for the season; we wish you and yours a very Merry Christmas with Blessings to All!

My candy cane garden flag is hung on one of our bare walls. I slid the pocket opening through the rung of a slacks hanger. In the triangle portion below the hook of the hanger and above the flag, I hung an angel made of beads. It fits perfectly in that space. 

Candy Cane Garden Flag

Angel made of beads
I kept many of the santa ornaments I had.  When I had enough, one day I was going to create a Christmas Tree and decorate it using all Santa ornaments. For this year, I sorted through the the box of decorations and selected a few more to hang inside the RV.

My special snowman globe Sister ornament

Olde World Santa ornament with glitter accents hangs flat against the wall.

Hanging Mr. & Mrs. Santa Claus ornaments
The clubhouse is festively decorated. The other morning when I went to do laundry, Santa's elves had clothes on the line. 


Clothes of Santa's helpers on the line in the laundry room
After we took the RV out to fill the onboard propane tank, which had last been filled April 1, I hung a santa windsock at the entrance to our screen room so we could see it blowing in the wind from inside the RV. 
Santa windsock is blowing in the wind through our screen room.
We added this lighted camper ornament this year. Because I was not sure if we would have enough power for our lighted decorations, we initially put the ones we decided to keep in storage.   

Lighted camper ornament
Christmas Eve...

There was a get together in the clubhouse. Everyone who attended took a wee snack, their own beverage, and a small gift to exchange.


Christmas tree in the clubhouse

Wee snacks

Close-up of Christmas Kabobs -- Mini brownies, marshmallow and
strawberry with swirls of chocolate syrup 

Beautiful bracelet, earrings and a polka-dot cooler
received in the gift exchange

Floor mat received in gift exchange
Christmas Dinner

Dinner was at 4PM. The jellied cranberry sauce went over so well for Thanksgiving, I decided to do that again. The other item I chose is a chocolate cake. So far, it looks like there will be a nice turn out with a good variety of food choices, i.e. turkey, ham, scalloped potatoes, desserts, and much more.

A glimpse of the food table...
Other Things...

Besides enjoying many Christmas shows on television, including the Disney Christmas earlier today, December has held a variety of activities.

Much Needed Bath

December 6th our baby, the RV, that is, got a bath! What a difference it made! We had cleaned the front of it when we were at Blue Mesa Ranch near Gunnison, Colorado. During that cleaning, we had to remove a lot of bugs we had picked up in our travels. This time it was the humidity here in Florida creating a lot of mildew spots. The maintenance man here at the park did a real fine job.

After baby's bath...
The Bear

You heard right. We learned one morning that a bear had visited the park. Bears like to feed on the berries found on some of the palm trees.  He left a pile of evidence along the south drive, including  all of the berries he had eaten from the palm trees. The south drive is the one I refer to as the "shady lane" because one side has a lot of trees and brush along a fence row making it somewhat shady.

We are told that bears do wander into parts of the city of Ocala. They are removed to other parts of the National Forest where the bears and people are safe. Apparently, some are dropped not far from here where they eventually make their way back into the National Forest.


Trimming the Tree...

One morning while walking Angel, we heard the sound of a chain saw. A tree trimmer was high in the pines trimming out a couple of dead limbs. One of the larger dead limbs had already been hoisted to the ground.  

Tree trimmer in the Pine Tree

Dead branch already lowered to the ground
Things Change

While reading and catching up on some other blogs, we have learned that the area outside of Ehrenberg that we left in January of this year (2017) had a visit from a group of Rangers, four or five. Their message to the boondockers was that they are now enforcing the two-week rule. They came in to the area to check license plates and to let the people know if they are still there at the end of two weeks, they will issue tickets to people violating the two-week stay rule.

In case you are wondering whether they have options, yes, they do. It is still free, but technically, they will have to move 25 miles away every two weeks or to a different national forest, or other BLM land.

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Sunday, December 10, 2017

Thanksgiving Potluck Dinner and What to Fix...Or Not!

Thanksgiving Day was celebrated with others in the park where we are staying. The park owners cooked a turkey and a ham. People attending signed up to take a side dish or a dessert. There was a good variety of food. A minimum of thirty people  attended. With another table set up on the other side of the food table and still others coming in and out who filled plates to take back to their units, the number attending was probably closer to forty.

Thanksgiving Dinner

Jellied Cranberry Sauce and Broccoli Salad

Dressing and Gravy

Only part of the desserts
What to Make for a Potluck Dinner? 

That is always a big decision! Many of the dishes I thought about taking, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, pumpkin pie, you name it..., were already on the list, so I decided to take Jellied Cranberry Sauce. I bought four cans, chilled them in the refrigerator, then slid them out of the can into a square pyrex dish and sliced each of them into seven slices. We brought only five slices home with us. I love having leftovers to serve with other meals.

Earlier in the month while sorting through a box of recipes equivalent to the size of two plastic shoe boxes, I found a favorite old family recipe for marinated carrots. There were not many vegetables on the dinner list. Since I knew it had a tasty sweet and sour combination and should go well with other fixin's for a big dinner, I decided to take a chance and fix it, knowing full well I might end up bringing the entire dish back home.

Marinated Carrots (with slices of Onion and Green Pepper)
Marinated carrots

A few people tried it, but... I did end up bringing most of the dish back home. These carrots, because they were marinated, kept well in the refrigerator, and tasted wonderful as a side for nearly every entree I cooked. Voila! All of the people who did not like carrots actually did me a favor because it left more for me and John to eat!

Below is the original recipe (not doubled) if you would like to try it. I actually doubled it when I made it in order to have a large dish. Thanksgiving Dinner was at 4PM on Thursday. I made it on Wednesday forenoon, and left it to set in the refrigerator to marinate the rest of the day and all day on Thanksgiving until the 4PM dinner. I stirred it a minimum of three times: Wednesday evening before going to bed, Thursday forenoon, and again before serving it. (Note: I tasted a carrot Wednesday evening before going to bed; and it tasted terrible because it had not set long enough. By Thursday forenoon, it was so much better, and by the time we were ready to leave for the dinner, the taste was to die for, the best marinated carrots I had ever made.

MARINATED CARROTS
(An old family favorite)

2 pounds carrots, cleaned and sliced
Boil with 1 teaspoon salt until tender.
Drain.

Bring the following to a good boil:
1 10 1/2 ounce can of tomato soup
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup vinegar
1 teaspoon celery seed
1 teaspoon pepper
Salt to taste
1/2 cup oil (I used olive oil)

Combine with the cooked/drained carrots:
1 large onion - I slice it somewhat thin horizontally and quarter it.
1 green pepper - I cut it in half and slice it somewhat thin vertically from each side, cutting slices in half again.

Pour hot dressing mixture over carrot mixture.
Stir to coat all carrots, onions, and peppers.
Let set 26-30 hours to marinate. When cool, put in refrigerator.

What should I take to the next potluck?

I would appreciate your suggestions on what to take to the Christmas potluck dinner. Leave your comments in the comments section below. Thanks.

Thanks for visiting.

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Friday, November 17, 2017

Indiana Visit and Time to Smell the Roses

In case you were wondering why there was a lapse in my posts this summer, I flew back to Indiana. My sister and I spent quality time together, for which I am very thankful.

In doing so, rather than take our daily driver out into this traffic here, I located a shuttle that would drop me off at the airport right in front of the airlines on which I flew. They also picked me up at their pick-up point when I returned. Read on to learn the rest of the story.

Sister Time

We were busy every minute and accomplished many, many tasks. In between tasks, we did as many fun things as we could squeeze in, including sharing an hour of our day joining her church group twice a month to sing hymns with the residents at the nursing home.

Early in my visit, the Active Adults from church had their annual picnic with Viv hosting. It was a beautiful day. There were about twenty-five of us. Everyone took a dish and all had a very good time. We took a crockpot of Hebrew National hot dogs, cut up, with G.Hughes sugar-free hickory-flavored BBQ sauce because both were low in carbs and we are into watching carbohydrates. Both were purchased at Walmart. While at the picnic, Phyllis approached us to ask when she and Bob could take us to the Whistle Stop for lunch.

Whistle Stop

The Whistle Stop, as it turned out, had a one-stop visit to their salad bar on the menu. It was fresh, and with a helping of lettuce and spinach, had just enough items to fill the plate, and provide a very tasty lunch.

Among other things, the Whistle Stop had a museum with interesting pieces inside and out. It took eleven years to collect all of this and it came from collectors who had spent years putting it together. This was a fun place to visit.

You can click on any of the photos to see an enlargement and "x" out of it to return to my blog.

Whistle Stop is open every day except Monday.
Outside Displays included, but were not limited to the following:

Gift Shop

Caboose

Rail car, etc.
Click on the above Youtube video filmed at the Whistle Stop

Inside were G-scale model trains running overhead. The grid system that supports the track is over 3/4 of a mile of 1/4 inch steel rod. Each piece was cut and welded by their staff in the Restoration Shop located one mile north of the museum. Over 1200 feet of stainless steel rail make up the four tracks that carry the trains in and around the rooms. One of the tracks carried a circus train.

G-scale model trains inside running overhead
Click on the above Youtube video to see G-scale model trains riding the rails at the Whistle Stop near Monon, Indiana.

An exquisite collection of dining car china that was the pride of the railroad lines is also displayed.

Dining car china from various railroad lines.

Close-up of china pattern from one of the railroad lines



Focusing on Family, History...

Another highlight was having lunch at the Bravo Cafe in Osceola, Indiana. My sis got a text one day from a cousin telling us that another cousin (whom I had not seen in years) was in town from the east coast; and we were invited to join cousins on our dad's side of the family who could make it. And it had been twenty-five years for yet another. We had a good visit!

When we discovered how close we were to a location where John and I used to live, Sis and I drove by, and I snapped this photo. The swimming pool is still in the back yard. We enclosed the one-car garage and extended the front living room and added a dining room, added the front porch plus a new driveway and the new two-car garage at right, not shown in this photo.

House where John and I lived in Indiana from 1984 to 1991
Another highlight of our spending time together was taking a side trip to Elkhart County and our old stomping ground. The photo below is where my sister and I grew up. The Sycamore tree next to the road and other trees surrounding the house are still there. There used to be a shed and corn crib attached to this end of the barn, but they were destroyed in a tornado after we moved away. As for fruit trees, the peach, cherry, apricot, mulberry, and all but two of the apple trees are no longer there.

Home where my sis and I grew up
The old building in the photo below used to be located where the greenish garage building is in the photo above. It was relocated over fifty years ago to a neighbor's yard near the corner of the mile. It was painted white when it was moved, but the age of time is showing its age.

This old building was moved years ago from between our house and
barn to this location at a neighbor's home on the corner of the mile.
The old school building on this corner, prior to be remodeled into a home, was the old Good School, where I started first grade. It was one of many one-room schools in Union Township that closed when grades 1 through 8 were bussed to Union Center, the new township school. I never thought too much about the name until now, but with the Township being Union and the new school being located near the center, Union Center School was a very appropriate name.

Historical Bull Cemetery

Also in this mile is the historical Bull Cemetery, which is now listed in Indiana's Cemetery and Burial Grounds Registry of the Indiana Department of Natural Resources. It was established circa 1848.

It is less than a half mile from where we grew up, and every time we went anywhere, we drove past it. I remember when the head stone markers in the photo used to mark the graves in this cemetery until the farmer who lived here at that time removed the fence and took them off of the graves so he could farm the land. At some point, he was required to put the markers back. In my memory, there were more graves with markers. Markers were not piled on top of each other as shown in the photo.

The Bull Cemetery was established in 1848.
Artley Homestead and Centennial Farm

We also drove past the farm, also in Elkhart County, where our Grandfather and Grandmother Artley lived when we were kids. We knew that the farm where our Great, Great Grandfather George Washington Artley lived is a Centennial Farm, but did not have specific directions on how to find it.

Our dad and mother used to take Sunday afternoon drives to the area when we were kids, but we were too young to be familiar with all of those county roads. So with a little recollection, we decided to drive around a little to see if we could remember enough to find it. We were ecstatic when we found it!

It is, in fact, not only a Hoosier Homestead Farm, but also an Elkhart County Centennial Farm. Now we know where it is located and how to find it!

Owned by our Great, Great Grandfather George Washington Artley, this farm is
not only a Hoosier Homestead Farm, but also an Elkhart County Centennial Farm
For the record, our Great Grandfather's Sister, Julia, married a Mauck, whose family owned Bonneyville Mill in Bristol, Indiana.

The barn still standing in the photo below is where the first Artley Reunion was held in 1902, started by our Great, Great Grandfather George Washington Artley and our Great, Great Grandmother Susan Dimm Beeber Artley. This reunion I understand holds the record in Elkhart County for being the longest consecutively held annual reunion in Elkhart County, in Indiana. The location, obviously, has changed. However, next year, 2018, when it is held in August in Elkhart County, it will be the 116th consecutive annual Artley reunion.

Barn at Artley Homestead where the first Artley Reunion was held in 1902
Lake Michigan

Driving up to the National Lakeshore and enjoying views of Lake Michigan was a great way to relax  and kick back after a hard day's work.

Lake Michigan
My visit was two days short of six weeks. I had missed the hottest and most humid days of summer that Florida had to offer.

Thanks Be to God

As I write this post, Thanksgiving Day, 2017 will soon be upon us. This is a special time to remember everything, all of the people and things in our lives, for which we have to be thankful, as we take time out to Give Thanks!

Happy Thanksgiving!

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Friday, November 10, 2017

RV Park and Time to Reflect

We are now taking some time to reflect on our past two years of full-time living and traveling. As we read blogs of other travelers, we are finding that taking time to sit still for a while is not uncommon. Everyone seems to do it somewhere and their reasons are quite varied.

 April 1st

Good time for an April Fool's joke, but it isn't. As of April 1st, 2017 we rented a site at an RV park, which will remain anonymous. This is in keeping with our policy of not divulging our location on this blog until after we move on. Many bloggers when writing about a particular location do so after they have moved on to a new location. 

The RV Park

This park, in addition to the office and nice maintenance building has everything that we need. Everyone is friendly. Activities are available from November through March, for those who wish to participate. Please read captions under the photos to learn more.

The Office

Maintenance building
The clubhouse has two rooms, with room for bingo, other games, movies, TV, potlucks, puzzles, etc.

First room of clubhouse

Second room of clubhouse

Shaded front porch of clubhouse with picnic tables

Horseshoes to left at back of clubhouse

Shuffleboard directly behind clubhouse

Two separate laundry areas with dryers and clothesline

Two swings near washer/dryer areas, or rest during your walk around the park.

One of two shower/restroom buildings with laundry facilities at right front.

Fire ring for Saturday night campfires. Wood in background.

Sandhill Cranes can be seen and heard about the park.

Friendly ducks mostly hang around the pond area.

Road between campsites is great for walking Angel. 

Angel is ready to walk the "shady lane" drive

RV and trailer backed in at our site.

Our screen room large enough for picnic table and 4 chairs
Daily Driver

Yes, as of June, we have a daily driver vehicle.  It is wonderful and makes our life much easier. Now we do not have to drive this RV to the store to grocery shop. We have not actually checked the mileage yet, but it has got to be better than we ever got going down hill with the RV.



Reflecting...

For now, we are reflecting and tossing pros and cons back and forth, as we reflect on the past and plan for the future.

Where do we go from here? East, West, North or South? Should we have a home base? If so, how will it fit into our love of traveling? There are so many places we have not seen. Will we get back into square dancing? I love to square dance.

For the time being, we are taking a break. For a change of pace, we might take a day now and then to do some local sightseeing. For all practical purposes, RV full time living and traveling has not changed. We are still doing it and will continue to post when we have things to write about.

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