Thursday, November 29, 2012


Yep! It sure comin' 'n fisherman comin' ina few daz!

Goosies gone...duckies gone...

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Camera Critters #3

Hundreds and hundreds of these were eating the leaves, no, I should say gobbling the leaves, on a passion flower vine. I took this photo in a campground and I noticed them when I went back a second time after taking a photograph of the flower a few days earlier.  

I kept it in a jar, feeding it more leaves I plucked from the vine almost daily for over a week. Finally, I had to release it because we were leaving to return home. 

I have now learned that it is a larvae of the fritillary butterfly.  The passion flower vine is one of several possible host plants for the fritillary butterflies. 

Here is a picture (not taken by me) of this beautiful butterfly.

Here is a photograph I took, not knowing what kind of butterfly it was. There were thousands flying over the ocean beaches!  Eureka!

Camera Critters #2

I trapped this critter in a little jar under the flap covering the skirting at our campground trailer in South Carolina in October. The lid was tightly shut for over three weeks, and when I set the jar on the dinette table in the sunlight to take a picture of it, it started moving around very vigorously and I was surprised it was still alive. After another couple of weeks of entrapment it died. I'm sure all of you know what it is and how dangerous they are. We have found several others before and are careful, as are the propane gas vendors and repairmen.

Click on photo for enlargement

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Camera Critters

I just joined a site and don't really know if I'm doing this correctly, but here is my first "Camera Critter" photo.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Wille Nelson - Rare Video Recording (1962)

Playing my old music. I actually thought that "I had discovered him" when I first heard him sing. I love Willie....Still

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Back Door Visitor

6:30PM and the trap went off again!

This time I was cooking supper but took a breather to get his picture. They will try ANY WAY to get in here. There will be NO mouses in my house this season!

Rewarding Day

Another mouse! It was a light brown one and the largest we have ever seen. In fact, we have never seen such a brown color on a mouse. Our mice are grey!  My husband wanted to know if I would photograph it, but I was in the middle of baking a carrot cake this morning and my energy was just about spent. Into the trash can Brownie went and the trap was reset. This little bugger was caught in the carport and we never know which trap will go off each morning when we check them.

With the cake in the oven, I then had a moment to look for some information about brown mice.

Brown mice are nocturnal in nature and feed primarily on plants. However, they will consume whatever food sources are available to them. Brown mice are good climbers and may be found atop trees or manmade structures. They are also capable of running very quickly and jumping up to 18 inches in height. If food supplies are sufficient and predators are kept at bay, brown mice produce offspring throughout the year. Females produce up to 10 mice in a single birth and offspring are ready to reproduce within 60 days. (source: Orkin Pest Control)

The recipe I use for carrot cake is one that a neighbor gave me when I was first married in 1955. It is always a success and doesn't even need any icing. For many years, especially at Thanksgiving time I have turned it into "Gere's Fruitcake" by adding candied fruit, raisins, chipped pecans and baking it in a silicon 10 cup bundt pan. Could you smell it baking? It usually takes about 1 1/2 hours to be baked just right and then we begin to dig in. Cake for lunch? Why not!

Can you see the carrots? I love carrots.
Click on photo to drool!

After lunch and nap, I really must go outdoors and dress James. He's gone naked since August when he was treated with some boiled linseed oil mixed with turpentine. At first I was going to let him age naturally but then I gave in and decided to try to prolong his lifespan with a spa treatment even if for just a little bit. Wiley is already sporting his holiday bib.
By the way, my sweet potato vine has sprouted and seems to be doing well even though the countertop where it sits by the window is a very cold area. 

Friday, November 16, 2012

Remembering Lakewood Campground

To me, verbal reminisces are not enough. After hearing about their past ventures I have been trying for a couple of years to have my beach friends document the experiences of their past 50+ years of camping, especially at Lakewood Campground in Myrtle Beach, SC where we have enjoyed ourselves for 24 years. This lovely couple have not been able to travel there for the past two years and we all miss them very much. 

I cannot tell you how excited I was to receive a three page letter from "Betty Jo" recently and she even enclosed an old  camper's receipt from 1962! I dug in my photos and came up with two to go with this blog. If I had thought ahead, I most likely could have asked her to send some of hers for me to scan and return, and she would have, but the letter she sent covered just what I requested and I'm happy to share it. 

I have typed her letter here, as it was handwritten. GMR

Remembering Lakewood Campground
Written by Betty W. Magee

When my husband Morris and I were married in 1950 in Roanoke, Virginia, we went camping with my parents, Lelia and Norwood Wharton. They had a station wagon that they slept in and we slept on cots beside the station wagon with a canopy over us. 

In Virginia we would camp on Shenandoah River and Craigs Creek where we fished. We camped at the Peaks of Otter on the Blue Ridge Parkway.

We would camp at the Outer Banks of North Carolina. We would go to Hollywood, Florida where my uncle lived and fish in the canals there. We drove to Canada in 1957. My dad died that year and my mom in 1959.

Morris and I would take two of my nephews, age 10 and 12, camping at the Peaks of Otter in Virginia and the Smokey Mountains in North Carolina. They enjoyed seeing the bears and hiking the mountains.

Morris and I went to Lakewood Campground in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina when they first opened. After entering, there was a small trailer and a young woman taking the money for camping, which was $1.00 for the night. 

The roads were just sand. People were always getting their vehicles stuck at their campsite and other campers would help them get out.

Our first camping trip there we were on a site, now No. 1209, and had a pup tent. We left to drive and get something that was not in campground. We left the flap up on the door of tent as the weather looked good when we left. Some campers that we didn't know came over and put the flap down when a rain storm came. We really appreciated that.

We've found that campers are the nicest people and we've made a lot of friends camping at Lakewood for over fifty years.

One time when we went down, we thought it would be warm the whole time but turned cold. We went into town to find a jacket but the stores only had T-shirts and swimwear. We knew next time to take warm clothes too.

There was a path from Lakewood into the woods that led to a lake. A dog was tied near the lake and would bark when someone went down the path. On the north side was all wooded area and had several horses that ran loose in the woods. One day a man camper went to get water out of a spigot and a Copperhead snake was on the spigot.

Going down to Myrtle Beach it was a 2 lane road, Rt. 501 from Conway, South Carolina to the campground. We would always go to Murrells Inlet for a seafood supper.

After camping near entrance at first, we gradually moved closer to ocean. We liked it better on sites close to inlet so we didn't have to walk very far and we could fish in the surf. We had camping trailers after a few times in tents.

When we first started surf fishing, a nice man told us to get little mullet and fillet them and use half on one hook. We did that and caught a lot of fish. Morris bought a throw net and caught our bait instead of having to buy it.

Several times we would be on the beach and army troops would come to shore on boats and run up into woods. It would take place South and North of the campground. Other times a soldier would get out of boat into the water and a helicopter would pull him up into helicopter as a practice of rescue. A boat would pull a target behind it and another boat would shoot at the target, They left shell casings out in the water and when they came back in the afternoon to pick them up, someone from campground had swam out and got one and brought it back to campground. The army men went to every campsite looking for the shell casing.

One evening the sharks were almost beaching themselves at the inlet trying to catch fish.

We enjoyed seeing the Sandpipers, Terns, Sea Gulls, Great Blue Herons and Egrets. The white Ibises would walk down the road beside the campsite eating something out of the ground, They were so pretty. Swans would fly from campground out over ocean then fly back. A Bald Eagle would sit on top of a tree at the laundry. You would see Dolphins swimming out in ocean very often. We saw Pelicans flying over ocean and Osprey diving in ocean for fish.

Several years ago there were a lot of stray cats in campground, If you left anything edible outside they would get it. One evening we had some fish bait out on a table that was screened in and a cat tore the net screening to get to the bait. Many years later you didn't see the stray cats.

Lakewood would have an ice cream social and you could have ice cream for $1.00. You had to bring your own bowl.

In September Mr. Perry would have a fish fry for all the employees. When gasoline was scarce the campground put in a big tank and a gas pump and sold gasoline to campers. We could fill up there before going back to Roanoke.

A flock of Viceroy Butterflies would fly south over the sand next to the ocean. They look a lot like Monarch butterflies. 

One year after a bad storm had washed things on the beach we got some nice driftwood and a piece of coral. We have it in our backyard. The birds enjoy standing on it. One looks like a shark nose and is about 3 feet tall. We've found over a quart of sharks' teeth through the years.

For health reasons we haven't been able to go to Lakewood in 2011 and 2012 but we have good memories of camping there for so many years and the wonderful friends we looked forward to seeing every year.

1962 Receipt-Front and Back

 September 21, 2009

2008 Red Drum Fish

Victory Again...Different

click on photo to view larger

A vole is a small rodent resembling a mouse but with a stouter body, a shorter, hairy tail, a slightly rounder head, smaller ears and eyes, and differently formed molars. There are approximately 155 species of voles. Wikipedia

If you would like to know more about them please go to this link that is a very good site for information.

Thursday, November 15, 2012


Click on photos to view larger.

We do it the old-fashioned way. They are vermin! As I write this, I know that several more are surrounding my home looking for an entrance.  They carry disease.  They dirty everything they travel over. They scurry along baseboards, sticking to the walls, hunting for something to chew. They even can chew through plastic water pipes. Yes, they can. That happened to a neighbor. Mice can chew electric cords and cause fires. They can bury their seeds in vehicle's innards and clog up the heater, air conditioner, and other parts. They will hoard the little green poison pellets, if you use this method of control. They can hoard a considerable heap in your printer and kill it. Ask me. I know. They aren't just pesky, they are dangerous.

Of course, there are many ways to kill them. We don't believe in the "humane" trapping systems. A quick snap of the neck does the job and they never know what hit. Peanut butter is our bait of choice.

Each year our dog alerts to their attempts to enter this old cabin. He sniffs, sniffs, sniffs at the door or wall and won't stop. After all, he's a Rat Terrier and they are very good at what they do. They are very capable of hunting rodents above and below ground. He once sniffed one out that had been hiding behind our couch and, when it ran across the room, he caught it! How proud he was.

I will rest well after the traps come up empty for several days in a row.  

Monday, November 12, 2012

Mystery Seeds

When at the campground in SC this past September and October I noticed that another permanent resident had a vine in her side yard that intrigued me. It was a bit scrawny and grew from a hanging pot and twisted around the shepherd's hook.  The lady seemed to never be at home whenever I passed by, but once I caught her coming in.  I asked her what kind of vine she was growing and she didn't know. She received the seed in a gift can which called it a Jack in the Beanstalk, with directions of how to grow it. She threw the can away! She then told me that in the summer it produced a lovely large purple flower. I never saw the flower. 

Actually, the reason it attracted my attention was that there were only two hanging long seed pods on the bare stems and I wanted one. They looked like giant pea pods.  So.....I asked her if I could have one when they had dried. 

One morning I discovered MY pod on my porch deck. Whoopee!!!! I did see her later on that week to thank her. She told me that several others were stopping by when they saw those pods and she was afraid that someone would pick them and take them away so she beat them to it!  She kept one and asked me what I was going to do with mine. I told her I would dry it, open it, save the seeds, and next year plant them to see what vine it really is. I also told her I would try to accomplish, by internet research, its identification.

I was afraid that, because they hadn't dried on the vine they weren't ripe enough to pick, but just decided to dry the pod and reap the seeds anyway. So I did. When the pod finished drying in my PA home it really rattled and was tough to open. BEANS! I have purple/pinkish beans! 

I have spent hours trying to know what my precious seeds are. I have just about given up and hope that I can plant them and have them sprout and grow and produce flowers and more wonderful ten inch pods. 

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Output Thoughts

My  niece, who is a veterinarian, lives in Harrington Delaware is currently settling into her recently acquired ten acre farm. Since she was a very young girl, she has had dreams of having her own horse farm. It is a dream that has come true. She is taking root and establishing her life at the early age of forty. This very busy woman is a partner in an equine clinic in Dover Delaware and has been with the practice since June, 1999.

It might interest you to know that the "farmette" consists of ten acres, three pastures, two run-in sheds, a two horse barn, and a horse trailer. To date the other residents are two horses, two cats, a dog and a significant other. At the end of a long driveway there is privacy and a lovely home. They all are "living the dream." 

I understand that the farm is being called Pipedream Farm. She probably never thought that it would come true. Well it did! Somehow this name seems "off" to me because I always thought that a pipe dream was an unrealistic hope... a fantasy...wishful thinking. When it does come true it is no longer a pipedream. Well, that is only my critical thinking, BUT my mind has conjured up so many other names for her farm that I'm compelled to at least make my list. (I'm always making lists!) This will not be shared with her, however. 

Forelegs Farm
Forefoot Farm
Fourlegs Farm
Four Feet Retreat
Footbeat Retreat
Sweet Retreat
Neat Retreat
Reality Farm
Peppertree Farm
Gumption Junction

I'm impatiently waiting for photos of her dream farm to arrive.

Buffet Experience

We sometimes go with a group of our beach friends to a pizza place called "CiCi's when we are in SC. I, personally, don't care for the pizza, even though there is a great variety of toppings available. It's a buffet and is usually very busy. It's fun to watch people pick and choose their favorites, but more interesting to me to just watch the people. I look at their shoes, their hairdos, their jewelry, and attire. Sometimes their eating habits leave a lot to be desired, and I notice there is a lot of waste.  I always choose the Italian salad because I can top it with my favorites and I enjoy the curly cavatappi noodles with Alfredo sauce and the chicken noodle soup, but best of all are the gooey brownies. My beverage of choice is the root beer.

Their menu reads:

"With over 28 varieties of fresh pizza, delicious pastas, crisp salads and delectable desserts, CiCi’s has something  for everyone. Our made-from-scratch crust, homemade marinara and garden fresh ingredients combine to make delicious meals."
The last time we all were there, I noticed this tired old broom standing in the corner. You can see how much use it has had! My friend had her cell phone handy and I coaxed her to shoot it. Then, when noticing the collection of uneaten crusts, I saw shapes and forms and asked her to take another shot. One of the friends collects and saves all these crusts to feed the ducks at the campground. 

Sure wish we had a CiCi's in Pennsylvania or nearby New York. The cost is right and the enjoyment with good friends is priceless.

Sandy in North New Jersey

Pork 'n Beans

 Venison Chili

Creamed Chicken with Rice

Propane Stove Stew

"Why is there a blender in the middle of your kitchen floor plugged into an extension cord? Were you making soup in a blackout again?" ~The Blackout Chef, Wade.

Wade's Words of Wisdom. Blackout Edition
by Wade M. Nulton on Saturday, November 10, 2012 at 6:33pm 

“It is better to light a candle than curse the darkness”  Truer words have never been spoken.

My ordeal with Hurricane Sandy started at exactly nine pm on Monday when the storm hit. It ended ten days later.  I knew it was going to be bad because I was watching the weather all evening. I knew that we wouldn’t have a significant “water event” but I was prepared for it all.  In case of flooding, I have three sump pumps, and a gasoline powered water pump, a generator to keep it all working, and I had a fifteen gallon reserve of gasoline.  I was set.  I had a chainsaw ready and fueled in case a wind event brought trees down. The usual format of WWOW was always nine funny points, and one serious.  That ain’t gonna happen here.  Too much info to relay to people so for the first time in history, that format will be broken. There also won’t be as much humor as usual. I took notes during the storm and resulting aftermath and there are points I want to cover.

1.  Know your equipment. Know your generator, how to use it and how much run time there is to a tank of gas. With that in mind you can prepare to have the right amount of gas on hand. In my case, having fifteen gallons on hand was not enough for the whole event, but it was enough to keep me from sitting in gas lines for hours on end.

2. This one might be slightly controversial, but bear with me here as I reason it out.  Do not brag about what you have stored and ready to go. I don’t care if it’s food, water, gasoline or anything else.  Keep it low key. The reason being, is that if YOU are prepared, but someone you know is NOT they will remember what you have stored and EXPECT you to share it with them. If you choose to help someone out with your supplies, that is your choice, but under no circumstances should you share supplies if it will affect you and your family. On the flip side, if you DO have ample supplies, and CAN spare some, by all means do so. That is the compassion that makes us human. But if someone asks how much gas you have for your generator, there is nothing wrong with telling them “I have enough to keep my house running and warm. If you find some extra gas cans, I’d be happy to take them with me when I go to fill mine.”

3. Have easily preparable food on hand for the initial onset of the incident. For example, the first day of having no power, making a quick pot of spaghetti will free you up to do more important things.  If you want to eat like a king that’s great, but keep simple things on hand.

4. I’m probably going to harp on this one for a while, but KEEP A POSITIVE ATTITUDE. Yes, it IS POSSIBLE to say to yourself I WILL keep a good attitude and I will NOT let this get me down.  Once your needs are taken care of, start checking with other people to see if their needs are satisfied. Go help them. It helps keep your attitude positive and gives you a good feeling when you can help out, and quite often, your calm, positive attitude will be contagious.  You have to say to yourself “Yeah, I got this covered” and smile and take care of business.  During this event, I came across two people who were in various stages of panic.  One person had no generator or anything in place for preparation and the other had a generator capable of running his entire house, but was woefully unprepared in the gasoline department. Both were in a panic and it was evidenced by their voices. People can over react drastically, and your calmness can help keeping stupid things from happening. (Like the one person transporting almost 200 gallons of gasoline in one giant tank in the back of a pickup and almost getting arrested for improperly transporting gasoline.)

5. Back to attitude: A negative attitude is TOXIC, contagious and dangerous. The only one who will help you in a severe situation is YOU, so get off your ASS and DO something about it! Sitting around saying “Oh woe is me”…. does nothing to help you.  If you were caught in a flash flood, would you just float down the river and complain about how miserable your life has become or would you try to swim to dry land?  DO SOMETHING. ANYTHING. But don’t sit there and pity yourself.

6. There are three things that are key:  Attitude, Mindset and Morale.  With the proper Attitude towards the situation, you can keep the proper Mindset towards the situation to keep moving forward and make your situation which in turn will keep Morale up, in you and the people surrounding you. When you approach it this way it will help you keep a sense of normalcy. Me personally, I would get up every morning, Make my coffee, check the weather and go about my day.  A loss of power wasn’t going to make me sit on the couch and do nothing.  I personally think that in an adverse situation it is the loss of “normalcy” that screws people up the most. Adapt, make the most out of it. Heck, make it a FUN event by picking something and doing it even better than usual.  In my case it was cooking that kept me sane. Bake a loaf of bread on the asphalt in your driveway:?  SURE.  I got it covered!  (I didn’t however KEEP it covered when it was cooling off on the rack on the counter, and the dog wanted a snack,  but that’s a different situation entirely.)

7.  In a blackout condition, if you have a generator, gasoline is like gold.  Think “Mad Max” and you start to get the picture.  I heard all sorts of stories about people stealing gas cans from other people, even stealing generators. I saw gas lines almost two miles long. I developed a rhythm.  Get up, start generator, make coffee, let house warm up and fridge cool down. Shut generator off to conserve fuel. A house will hold heat surprisingly well for many hours and you don’t need it 68 degrees 24 hours a day. You do NOT need to run your generator 24 hours a day unless it is keeping your sump pumps working.

8. Electricity is a modern convenience, and it is NOT necessary for survival. I repeat it is a Convenience. Humans have existed on this planet for thousands of years and it is only in the last hundred or so that we have had electricity. Did all those humans live in a state of panic until electricity was invented?  I don’t think so.

9. Prioritize your actions. If you have one gallon of gasoline left for your generator and you have been hearing reports of gas stations with long lines, the sticks that are lying in your yard can wait.  Really…. They CAN wait.

10.  If you are using a (homemade) double male adapter to backfeed circuits in your house (which is not exactly UL approved…) be aware that the male end (with the two prongs sticking OUT) that is plugged into the cord… DOES have power in it and you WILL get a nifty little shock from it.

11. Certain people, very well intentioned, will call you once a day to check on you.  It will be nice at first that they are concerned about your well being, but when you have things to get done before it gets dark…. It gets to be annoying.  You don’t need to call EVERY day.  Really you don’t.

12. On the flip side…. When you are stuck in an adverse situation, there are certain special people, who when they DO reach out to you, will make your day, put a smile on your face, and give you the mental power to take on any and every situation. (And even give you something to look forward to.)

Miscellaneous notes..................

"Sandy update. Power out for 24 hr. now. No big deal. Have generator to keep fridge cool and furnace warm. Sincere thank you to all who checked in via text from as far away as Mass. This is short message typed on an old fashioned flip phone." October 29, 2012 

"Four days into the blackout and beef burgundy for dinner. From scratch thank you. Yeah. It's all good."  November 1, 2012

"The blackout gourmet proudly presents for tonight's dinner: (dutch oven baked) herbed lemon chicken with a side of yellow rice and bacon balsamic green beans. There ain't no suffering going on at this house." November 2, 2012

"Hopefully by the grace of god this is the last installment of the blackout chef. On tonight's menu is a new twist on an ancient recipe and I call it Jersey Jumbalbya. It is made with ingredients commonly available in freezers during blackout situations. Ingredients include hot Italian sausage, pork, and chicken, with rice and assorted seasonings. Anyone desiring any of the blackout chef's recipes can arrange a barter method of payment." November 4, 2012

"The blackout chef has decided since it is a chilly night, to prepare an old favorite - Wisconsin cheddar, potato and bacon soup. Perfect for a chilly evening. The chef has also decided that upon restoration of power, he will write a cook book, containing as many recipes as nights he cooked without power. The book will contain helpful hints about things to make blackout cooking easier and things to prepare in advance. Cookbooks will be available at a minimal ten dollars each to help offset the cost of researching the book. (running the generator for over a week) and yes. I really will write a cook book." November 7, 2012

"Now that I have power back, does this mean I can't use the blender in the middle of the kitchen floor?"  November 9, 2012

Wade is my very special nephew. Oh, so young (38) and so wise. He has given me permission to share his writings. GMR