Thursday, November 24, 2016

Time for another post already! Time sure flies when your having fun. (And even when you don't) There's just no stopping it, is there?
Point in case, this week I got a few 'friend' requests from people I hadn't seen since High School! 
Talking about time passing by ... but I must say, they all haven't changed a bit. And yet, we're almost 40 years older ... how is that even possible?
It sure is great to hear from them though and I had a great time reading through their 'timelines'.

Meanwhile, 'here at the ranch', it really is a quiet time at the moment. We're about the only ones left, besides the 'perms'.
There's mornings I won't see anybody at all during my walks. But that's OK, I like it that way.
I always come across something that peaks my interest though. Like these beautiful early Camellias. I don't know their names but aren't they lovely?


And these last flowers of this Bindweed. Very pretty, especially after the rain with those raindrops, but rather poisonous! Well, .. only if you'd eat them ...

A little further down the path I reach the river, where there's always something going on. 
This time, I found a wild Cleome, or spider flower, still blooming, and a Blackheaded Phoebe, resting very decoratively, just for my sake, on a couple of logs sticking up out of the water.


But the best had yet to come ... when I started to follow the riverbank as I usually do, I heard the unmistakable sound of a Kingfisher! 
On my Audubon bird-clock, whom I've mentioned before, he is the voice of 9 o'clock, and although I've heard him around here many times, I've never actually seen him.

Well, there he was! Doing what he does best ... fishing...
Such a treat!

He's such a busy guy. Just dive-bombing away. Geronimo!

Arriving back home, I glanced towards the lake through the back window, while sipping the first of my morning coffees, when something caught my eye ...

.... eh ... that's not a tree-branch, there towards the bottom right of the picture ... !

It was an honest-to-God real alligator!

Apparently he swam into the lake somewhere during the last flood. The office is going to try to shoot him, and there's already several people who want some of the meat!
Although I don't necessarily like him that close, I hope he'll decide to move on before they get him. I mean, why does everything always immediately need to be killed?

On to some better news. The truck is repaired and running! Yahoo!
I can just kiss the darn thing! Such a relieve to have it available again. 
We'll be forever in James boss' dept for helping us out, by loaning us his truck and flatbed, we'd been toast without him, but it's sure good to have our own wheels again!

Talking about repairs, James had his own repairs taken care off last week!
He had developed a small Hernia, and needed it surgically repaired.
Since we are not insured (gasp!), and had to pay this out of pocket, we did a lot of googling around, until we found a clinic in Rockville, Maryland, just out of Washington DC, that does the surgery for a flat, very cheap, fee of $1900, all in.

Even with the airfare and hotel cost, this turned out to be a lot cheaper than anywhere else!
The clinic gets a lot of patients from all over the country who are in the same 'boat' as we are and they have the whole procedure pretty much 'down-packed'.
All appointments are lined up seamlessly, they have a deal with some hotels close by, and even have a 'visiting-angels' service who will bring you back to your hotel in case you're all by yourself.

Dr Kravitz
We actually found a great package deal on Hotwire for the flight, hotel and rental car. The flight was out of New Orleans, only about 45 minutes from us, and we arranged for close-by parking and a shuttle to the airport.
Everything went very smoothly, just as advertised. The surgery took only about 30 minutes and within a couple of hours he was back in his hotel (after having lunch at IHOP, since he was starving!)
That day, he had almost no pain, but the next day it caught up with him! He had no problem driving to and from the airport and back home, but having to walk was another story!

How some small surgery can bring you to your knees!
It's now 6 days later and he's finally doing a lot better. Still taking small steps and some pain pills but it looks like the worst is behind him.

The timing was actually perfect since this Thursday is Thanksgiving so taking the week off (only 3 work-days) turned out to be no problem.
Time for some R&R.
Like sitting at the edge of the lake around Happy Hour with a nice glass of wine  ....

Saturday, November 5, 2016

OK, I promised to do a Halloween-post and, as usual, that was already a week ago, so here it goes ...

This last of the three Halloween weekends, everybody went all-out! Wow, people really know how to party down here!
Like the two weekends before, there was apple-bobbing again, but this time with a much larger crowd:

The pumpkin-carving contest had a lot more participants also:



And of-course there was some good old-fashioned Bingo!

And a 'Campsite-decorating' contest:



The witch on the left was a projection, telling a spooky story with lots of cackling laughter!

But these next people were the undisputed winners, they come each year, occupy a few sites, and set up a complete horror-village:

A lot of the creatures are lit up and will move and make scary sounds:


Talking about 'going overboard' ...


Very funny ...
The main attraction, for the kids (for the adults there was a band later that evening), was of -course the 'trick-or-treating:               

The place was just packed!


And, although I screamed my head off, I braved going through this 'Party-tent-of-horrors', where you got pinched, prodded and screamed at, while you made your way to the end through the dark and foggy interior.
At least I got some candy out of it ...

This shot above was during the daytime, the next in the evening, that's James in front of me ...

All in all, we had a ball, ... and so did everybody else ...

The end ....

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

It's starting to get a little old, but we moved once again! 
We already knew upon arrival that we had to move to another spot for a couple of weeks in October, since they had some very busy weekends coming up, so last week we picked up once again and moved the whole shebang over to site H 8.
Well, that is, we had ourselves moved buy a nice guy here at the campground, since the truck ... yes, you got that right ... is still down! %$#@&! (and than some)
Anywho, not a bad spot again, as you can see, and I might actually like it even better than the previous one, since we have a clear view of the lake this time!

There we are, nice and roomy, and under the shelter of a few humongous pines this time.

Looking through the back window it almost looks like we're on a houseboat ...

Love it!

Now we can (almost) see the sun set in the Bayou:

Merlin likes to sit on a little rise at the shore, watching the turtles pop their little heads up to the surface ...

This site of the campground is very quiet and a little pathway brings you right to the river. I love to walk here in the mornings and look for birds.

Some of the birds that migrated north for the summer, have come back, like this little House Wren. On my bird-clock, he's the 6 o'clock one, so it's kind of funny to hear him at all hours 'in the wild'.

And finally I got some better shots of the cardinals:

I love red birds, they're so flashy ... and he knows it too!

The lake is getting a little cooler, and the turtles are out sunning all through the afternoon:

I like this one, as he's having both back legs stretched out and elevated ...

And I had a first encounter with a snake here on the grounds:

Not only was he (she?) my first snake here, but it was also my first Copperhead! And I like to keep it that way!

They're pretty lethargic, but highly poisonous, and may strike 
vigorously when feeling threatened!
(I guess there's no paradise without one ....)

Now last weekend was our 'big' Halloween weekend here, and I have a whole bunch of pictures, but I think I'll start a new post for those, this post is long enough as it is.
OK, one more pic than (to forget the snake) ... Merlin likes to help me spin sometimes, although he doesn't like the bobbing up and down for too long, before he'll find a quieter spot to sit ...

You can see the yarn fits right between his ears (although it's a little difficult to see since he's white) ...