Wednesday, September 23, 2015

It's been another beautiful September week here in the Black Hills! 
The weather is just about perfect with temps in the low 70s; nice cool mornings, blue skies and abundant sunshine throughout the day!

The Fall colors are reaching their peak, about 80% right now, according to the Spearfish Canyon fall colors website, so we took Brent, the owner of Rec. Springs, up on his offer to take out one of their ATVs, and venture out on the trails.

I'm not a fan of these things, they're loud and bouncy and dusty (or muddy), but it takes you places that you normally won't go by foot (too far) or with the truck (too rugged) so we gave it a go ....


It was fun, something different, and as I said, it was a gorgeous day and you really can't beat the scenery ...

Overlooking the Black Hills ...

And some nice fall colors, most of the yellows are from Aspen and Birches:

I made a little video of us bouncing along on this trail, but for the life of me, I can't get it to post!
I think our Internet is just too slow?

James had a good time, .... I think ..

We didn't encounter much in the form of wildlife unless you want to count these half wild (and very big from up close) cows:

See? Huge!
All in all, we enjoyed the ride, but are not sold on the whole ATV hype. 
It's very bouncy, depending on the trail to be honest, and after a few hours we started to feel our backs and bottoms (and and our kidneys had traded places with our stomachs ...
The noise scares all animals away and at higher speeds you catch a LOT of (cold) wind (and insects).
I think we stay with the occasional hike and call it good.

Talking about hikes; on one of my morning walks I first found this:

                                       Can you say 'gobble gobble'?             

.... and finally came across this flock of wild Turkeys ...

Their wattles seemed to glow while back-lit by the morning sun!

After some googling I've found out that a group of wild turkeys is called a flock but a group of domesticated turkeys is commonly referred to as a rafter but also a “crop”, “dole”, “gang”, “posse”, and “raffle.”
A male turkey is called a tom or a gobbler, a female turkey a hen, and a baby turkey a poult or chick. A young male turkey is called a jake and a young female is called a jenny. 
Are you still with me?

OK, here's some more then:  

They are fast on their feet with a top running speed of about 25 miles per hour or about the same as a human track star and can fly for short distances at speeds up to 55 miles per hour.
They have a field of vision of about 270 degrees and are able to see in color. They can see movement almost a hundred yards away.

No wonder they keep eluding me!  

Last but not least, in case you missed it, it's officially Fall today!
Yes!!! Time to decorate:


No pumpkin yet, but this weekend is our grocery-run so I hope to pick one up at Walmart. 
I feel like carving one this year!

Thursday, September 17, 2015

I've officially retired from my cleaning job, Yahoo! They've hired a full-time cleaner a while ago and it's going to be so quiet from here on out that she will be fine by herself.
I've also made enough over-hours, that our rent for September, and than some, is already covered, so I'm done! Finito!

Time to relax and get out on my daily morning walks again and enjoy these beautiful end-of-summer days:

Fall is starting to show, but not too much yet. 
We'll need a couple of frosty nights before the leaves will turn in earnest and I've read that the drier the end of summer will be the 'redder' the colors will turn out. 
Well, it's definitely been dry so far, so I hope it's gonna be great!

All in all we've had a very nice summer and it looks like the temperatures for this week are still going to be  in the high 70s, even the nights don't cool off much (except for a couple last week when it was 38F when I got up!)

In the meantime we've been busy adding two more awnings to the RV.
James has wanted awnings over the slides for a long time, but they're crazy expensive, so he set out to make them himself. Of course!
For over a year, after storms, we've scavenged the campgrounds we stayed at, for parts of other people's blown or ripped -off awnings. 
We'd ordered a few small bits and pieces through E-bay, and finally started to put it all together:

These rolls we found here at Rec. Springs. James cut them to the right size and re-attached the end parts.

He had aluminum brackets welded, according to his own design, at a local welding shop, and afterwards filled up the holes of the tubes and sanded them:

After a couple of layers of white spray-paint they looked absolutely perfect ....

Next step; attaching them to the slides, one at the entertainment slide of the RV and one at the bedroom one.


The rolls were installed simultaneously:


Than it was my turn. I'd ordered (cheap) awning cloth on E-bay and when that finally arrived (after some misunderstanding about payment) I cut and sewed ...

 ... and only made two mistakes (measure twice, cut once ... yeah, ... uh-huh .....) !

The top and bottom had a 'tunnel' sewn in, to accommodate a poly-cord, so it would slide in the rails that James had attached to the RV, one above each slide:

                      Yes, it worked!
 And .... voila! It's a thing of beauty! Teamwork!

It'll keep rain and debris of the slide roofs and also the sun, which will keep it cooler inside. We're happy campers!

Since most people have left it's nice and spacious again around our 'house'. 
I love this place. It will be hard to beat when we move down south again in a couple of weeks.
I can't believe how fast this summer has gone!

Well, that's about it for this week. Not much else going on. Which is nice. For a little while, at least.
I think Merl' agrees .....

Time to relax ...

Monday, September 14, 2015

Labor day has come and gone and with that, thankfully, also all the people that came here to celebrate the summer's last hurrah!
The hotel was completely booked and the campground full of people, and great fun was had by all.
Rec. Springs had organized a band (a local rock-and-roll one), there was a 'walking Taco'-bar and s'Mores for desert. 

Due to a fire-ban (it has been so dry) a camp fire wasn't allowed, so we had to make do with a BBQ for the s'Mores, but it worked!

The band was pretty good and played only until 11 pm, which was nice (because it was LOUD) but afterwards a large group of people thought it was fun to keep talking and yelling and singing until 2.30!
Not so nice .....

After Sturgis Rally with it's motorcycles, and Kool Deadwood Nites and it's classic cars, Labor Day weekend is the time for the whole family to bring out their 'toys', i.e. their ATVs and Quads!

Since Rec. Springs is centrally located to a lot of trails, and also rents out ATVs, it's no wonder they attract ATV-ers (and Snow Mobile-ers, depending on the season).
And they do take their ATVs serious here! Complete families, including the very young, are spending whole days on the trails!

When they come back in the afternoon they are either very muddy or very dusty:

Time to bring out the pressure washer!

Any-who ... I'm glad that's behind us and that the place is 'ours' again!
The weather is still very nice, days are sunny and in the 70's (20+) and nights don't cool off too much.
We still live mostly outside and since the sun is getting a little lower in the sky right now and start to peek underneath the awning , we acquired a shade cloth that attaches to the awning 'roll'.

It keeps the direct sunlight off and keeps it a lot cooler. Nice!
Because I love to do my spinning outside:

Still working on wool I got from a neighbor of aunt Esther on Cameno Island ...

I've discovered that I can spin and listen to audio-books at the same time. How cool is that? Two of my favorite things to do at the same time!

And in the evenings we still do a lot of grilling and eating ouside.
Salmon this time, yum yum ....

Yup, life is good!


Saturday, September 5, 2015

I talked about the nice summer weather we've had so far in my last post, which is true, but forgot to mention it can get a little windy every now and than! 
It wasn't until I started to look at pictures for this week's post when I remembered waking up to this one morning!

Fortunately we had no damage whatsoever, thanks to the rack on the back of the truck (and due to the fact that it was a very small tree of course)!

Other than that, we're steadily working on our 'to-do' list. This time we tackled the toilet which had been giving us some troubles for a while now. 
The plastic valve to close off the bowl to the sewer pipe has deteriorated over time, and didn't close that well anymore, and when that happened it resulted in very bad (sewer) smells !!

We tried to order just a valve but of course that wasn't possible, you had to order a whole 'upper mechanism'!
Oh well, in the end that turned out to be 'easier' to install, so ..  all's well that ends well!
James did most of the contorting part, there's not much room in an RV toilet, and my job was to clean (ehw!), hold the flaslight and serve as a dead weight ...

Glad to be of service ...

Talking about jobs, I realize that I've not really mentioned my 'other' job yet. Time to set to things straight, although I'm almost done.
Since half May I've worked in housekeeping for the motel, (their own cleaner quit just at the beginning of the season) about 12.5 hours/week, in exchange for free rent and hookups. 
This comes to $10/hr., which is a very good deal, since most housekeepers are paid minimum wages and in South Dakota that's only $8.50.

This is my (t)rusty laundry cart for when I have to 'do' one of the six cabins:

And here's a view of my domain, the laundry room:

.... where I spent many hours washing, drying and folding the endless piles of laundry ...

And than there's the 18 rooms of the Motel. I can make beds with my eyes closed now ... in my sleep even!

Anyhow, it netted me $500/month + free water/electric/sewer, so it was worth it, and since I worked many more hours during Rally, 4th of July and will be doing this coming Labour day, I only have 5 more hours to go and September is all paid for! Yahoo!

Because of the working, and the warm weather, and the many tourists, I haven't been walking much lately so I'm almost out of 'nature shots'.
But here's a few from earlier in the season:


A northern Flicker (left) and, my first (!), Cedar Waxwing (on the right)

This couple of Red Crossbills, raised this year's 'crop' of youngsters in their nest high up in one of the Pines, behind our RV.

And this is our resident Red Squirrel. Almost impossible to get a good picture off since he doesn't sit still for a minute! 

I've been picking wildflowers in the meadow behind us all summer, but the pickings are getting slim these days, and the seeds of the Wavyleaf Thistle are flying everywhere ....

The end of the summer is here and Fall is coming!