Thursday, March 31, 2016

What a beautiful Easter it was! Gorgeous weather, a little golf, some good food ... perfect!


By the way, you know you're somewhere in the south when you see wild Wisteria climbing through the Pine trees. Gorgeous!

Or how about this beautiful White Swamp Azalia blossom, I think ...

I couldn't find any of my Easter decorations, not that I had many to begin with, but remembered I'd saved some Mardi-Gras beads that might work.

'Memba' these?
As it turned out, they were perfect! (at least, that's what I thought) Just the right colors, and some sort of 'eggs' (beads), threaded on pretty ribbons ....

I'd made an overnight salad and found a small (butterflied) leg-of-lamb at Walmart, which turned out utterly delicious! 

For desert I tried my hand at making my first Beignets. Guess what, they're very easy to make and although next time I'll brown them a little less, they were very, very good. Not bad for a first try!

Well, I guess I don't have much more to say this time, other than that if everything goes according to plan (knock on wood,) it looks like James will be done with the job on Thursday and we're going to leave this place on Friday!
I've picked campgrounds and a few things to do in Natchitoches, Opelousas and St Francisville, so hopefully we're going to have a nice little vacation-time on the way back.

OK, I'll throw in one more picture. It's from one of the resident turtles here in 'our' pond. This is a big one!

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Although Spring has sprung officially by now, our last week here in Simsboro has been on the frisky side so far. I should have known that when I exchanged our (winter) flannel sheets for 'normal' (summer) ones last week, 'Murphy' would roar it's annoying head and proof me wrong!
Morning temps have been around 33F! Brrr .. Fortunately, it warms up during the (sunny) days but the hard wind is a cold one!


Any-hoo, nature apparently doesn't seem to care to much about all that, because more and more flowers appear ...

The bees are flying again and really love the Dewberry ....

Bottoms up!

The forest around the park is taking on a green hue ....

And after some careful searching, I found a few more wildflowers that have popped up:


Even a few more butterflies, like this Juvenal's Duskywing. Maybe not the most colorful of the lot but if you take a close-up look you'll see it's actually rather cute and fuzzy!

And than there's this little guy that's hanging out around our patio, isn't he pretty?
And yes, that's one and the same lizard there! It's a Green Anole and they change color (brown or green) in response to light, temperature or emotion.
That's why they're sometimes, mistakenly, called Chameleons.


Talking about cute guys, Merlin worries me a little lately, with sugar levels that are a bit unstable and a persistent skin rash that causes little crusty patches all over his body.
Otherwise he's just his usual happy self, hanging out around the camper, sleeping in 'his' patio chair, and keeping a close eye on me when cooking up his favorite meal of all ... chicken!

And oh yeah ... cracking me up, as usual! Leave it to him to find a new and unlikely sleeping spot:

This cat ...

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

After the storm ...

Once again we've dodged a major storm that has flooded many areas of Louisiana! And we're really talking about the mother of all storms here, it broke several records all around!
We were so lucky to be where we are right now, and to have chosen this specific campground to stay at!
Shreveport to the west and Monroe to the east have major flooding going on, even the I-20 was closed for a while in both directions, but the couple of miles we're using to get to Ruston stayed open, and
both James job side and our campground stayed dry!

Unfortunately, our previous campground, Hidden Oaks, in Hammond, fared less well . They flooded completely, and we just learned that apparently they suffered enough damage to not be able to open again until around the first of May!

Which means that we have to find another place to stay for when we return to Hammond in a week or two!
Since we didn't have the opportunity to do much sight-seeing on the way up, we're going to do some on the way back down, and I've started to do some research on the places that sound interesting enough to pay a visit. 
I guess I'll have to add 'looking for a new campground' to the list ...

Fortunately, the rain has stopped (for now) and places are starting to dry up. The temperatures are high (in the high seventies!), and although the golf course was a little soggy, we played last Monday and were fine. We actually had the whole course to ourselves. Cool!

The warm weather has coached some trees and bushes into flowering, like this Southern Dewberry, that's growing wild along many country  roads.

At the campground I found some clumps of tiny Common Blue Violets:

And I really get a kick out of this Carolina Wren, who's singing his heart out every morning in the crepe myrtle in front of my window ...

It looks like he has his mind set on making a nest behind this little door on our neighbor's camper, that hides the connection for the electric cord.
I hope the guy isn't moving anytime soon!


Meanwhile, James' pet store is starting to look like a store! 
He's been working 2 weeks without a break now, but it's almost finished ...


The shelves are up and the first suppliers have dropped off their merchandise.

We'll probably be here for another week or so, and than it's back to the south.
Hopefully by that time they've dried out a little over there!

Thursday, March 3, 2016

We're only about 35 miles from beautiful Lake D'Arbonne State Park in Farmersville at the moment, so last Sunday we went for a nice ride through the countryside to end up at the lake.
The weather was absolutely gorgeous ...

The large lake, 15,250-acres, is the centerpiece of the park and has lots of fishing piers and boat docks.

Recreation on Lake D'Arbonne is tremendously popular among locals and visitors, and record catches of bass, crappie, catfish and bream make Lake D'Arbonne a fishing haven.
We just missed the State Crappie-fishing championship that went on the day before but there were still a lot of fishermen out there.

The rolling, foresty hills of this area make for a pretty rural landscape, but unfortunately it's very hard to make a picture off and so I didn't make any ... sjeez ...


All along the roads the cheerful yellow of daffodils is popping up and I even came upon some late clumps of snow drops on my walk around our own park:

Did you know snowdrop collectors and enthusiasts are called ‘Galanthophiles’ and there are 75 different species and varieties of snowdrops? 
I didn't.
Also, apparently snowdrops contain their own anti-freeze. They were harvested during the First World War to make anti-freeze for tanks!

Moving on, or actually not 'moving', as you can see, but relaxing and reading in the sun, on our little deck ...

Although the area farther south in Louisiana suffered through some very bad weather with numerous tornadoes on the ground (one actually going through a campground we'd considered staying at), we got very lucky, and escaped without any wind at all, just some heavy downpours.
Afterwards the weather was beautiful for almost the whole week and it got really warm during the day, which for some reason made the fish in the pond behind me all swim to the surface?

I've been thinking of fishing but the thought of having to kill and clean them afterwards in order to eat them, has held me back so far.
I'm just so not a killer, I have problems killing flies in the house ... I know, it's a little weird ...
Any-hoo, I think these are perch and bass?


There's a tree-trunk floating in the pond, and on sunny days I'll find our resident turtle(s) on top to warm themselves after a cool night ..

Talking about turtles, last week while on the golf course, we came upon this whole row of them on the boards edging the pond.
So cute!


In that same pond swims this weird looking Mallard. 
He's being bullied be the 2 other (male) ducks that are in the same pond and I think it's because his strange 'hairdo'. Poor guy!

Fortunately he does not seem to be suffering, nutrition-wise but
I did some google-ing (of course), and found out that he is actually suffering from a genetic defect.
The 'crest' is essentially a mutation associated with skull deformities and known for hundreds of years.
Selective breeding has increased the numbers of birds with the same characteristic, they come in all colors and are quite popular.

James is still working hard to bring home the bacon:

The sign is up!
There's been a lot of dry-walling and patching and painting ...

Before ...
    ... and after

It's starting to look like it's coming together quite nicely and they're also pretty much on schedule ...

Which means, that probably in about 2 or 3 more weeks we'll be on our way back to Hammond.
I sure hope this time we'll have a few days to do some sightseeing on the way. I've already made a list of things to see!

I can't wait!