Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Time to Stop for Awhile

We did it: returned to the land of frozen lakes and snow-covered ground (many places); taking 4 days to cover about 1100 miles.  For some hard-core over-the-road types that rate sounds easy, but we’ve been trying (unsuccessfully) to limit ourselves to about 200 miles per day.  We have also been lucky with the weather: the rain in Iowa last night held off until after we were parked, and did not turn into snow.  The snow that came to MN yesterday stayed west of our route so the roads were fine every day.  We expect to have another 2 or 3 nights with temps below freezing, but spring should show up here later this week.

We plan to stay near the Minneapolis area for a couple of weeks, while the snow up north melts.  David’s trailer is snowed in at the cabin.  A neighbor with 4wd and a plow couldn’t get it out today, in fact he got stuck in the 2 ft. of snow in our driveway and needed to be towed out!  So, we will wait until things melt and dry out before we go up there for the summer.

Meanwhile, there are lots of things we need to do, and people to see while we are here.  The trick is to scheduling everything.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Another SpringTime?

As mentioned in the prior posting, the leaves on the trees in Louisiana have really come out during the past 3 weeks.  We left the OWL Center on Saturday and noticed, on Sunday, that the leaves in Arkansas are just now opening up.  Does this mean another session of pollen?

We spent Saturday night at a Corps of Engineers facility on the Arkansas River by the name of "Toad Suck".  Bob had heard about this place from a co-worker a long time ago, but never had the chance to stop until now. 
What about this name?
        per Wikipedia:
“What does "Toad Suck" mean anyway? Well, the answer is quite simple... Long ago, steamboats traveled the Arkansas River when the water was at the right depth. When it wasn't, the captains and their crew tied up to wait where the Toad Suck Lock and Dam now spans the river. While they waited, they refreshed themselves at the local tavern there, to the dismay of the folks living nearby, who said: "They suck on the bottle 'til they swell up like toads." Hence, the name Toad Suck. The tavern is long gone, but the legend and fun live on …

Sunday afternoon we kept driving north, into Missouri.  We remembered an RV dealer near Joplin MO where we shopped for supplies about 17 months ago.  It has a small campground out in back, and that is where we are spending Sunday night.  It is sunny and in the 60’s – very nice weather!

We still have about 600 miles left begore we get to the Twin Cities.  We might do that in either 2 or 3 days, depending on the weather and temperatures to melt the snow. Spring is coming late to the northland this year.

Friday, April 19, 2013

A quiet Cleaning-Day

For where we have been, see http://www.owlcenter.com/
Our 3-week project here at the Outdoor Wilderness Learning Center wound down on Thursday, when we finished a number of “loose ends” and started only small projects that could be finished quickly.  While some of our group trimmed low-hanging tree branches, and some painting was finished up, we joined half of the group in the kitchen to make some 45 to 50 gallons of “Holy Cow” salsa.  Today’s batch was their “medium” level of heat, just one of their 4 recipes.  After mixing, cooking, bottling, labeling, and packing we counted 37 cases of 12 bottles.  See also http://www.owlcenter.com/owl-salsa-and-jellies/
We held a potluck dinner at the end of the day and invited the staff to join us.  With hugs and handshakes all around the project officially ended.  We don’t say “goodbye” to each other, but instead say “we will be seeing you again, down the road.”  Janet pulled out before dawn on Friday morning (without incident, which is always a possibility for Janet!).  Two other motorhomes hooked up their tow’d cars and left during the mid-morning. There are now just 2 of us couples left.  We thought about leaving today, but decided to stay here one more night.  We are the only ones planning to travel north, and spring has yet to appear in MN.  Duluth has received 23 inches of snow over the past 3 days, and the granddaughters have had 2 snow days from school this month.

Instead of leaving, we had a lazy breakfast and went into major cleaning mode.  While we’ve been here the trees went from just budding to fully opened leaves.  In the process, they have been dropping LOTS of pollen every day.  When the temperatures were pleasant we had the windows open and wiped some pollen every day. Today we did major vacuuming and dusting.  We feel clean once again.
We will be hitting the road tomorrow morning, after all, heading into Arkansas.


Sunday, April 14, 2013

We Planted How Many Tomatoes????

Our work team has really come together.  Here we are:

Nine individuals, from 5 states, who were mostly unknown to each other until 2 weeks ago.  We have accomplished a lot of work in the past 2 weeks, but there is still so much more to be done.  There will be lots more work remaining for the next group.  This agency hosts NOMADS 3 times per year: fall, winter, and spring-time.

On a rainy morning, many of our group participated in the kitchen to help make one of the jams and jellies which the center sells.  This one is very spicy and is good on cream cheese to spread on crackers.
When the weather was better this past Tuesday and Wednesday, we worked outdoors planting over 500 tomato plants plus over 100 peppers.  We were all very dirty and exhausted after the planting.  The agency provided lunch for us which was wonderful!  When the vegetables are harvested next fall they will be used to make a variety of salsas also for the center’s benefit.

A number of fences for the horses have been replaced where needed

We have also taken time for a variety of social activities, usually involving different cafes nearby, but also taking in a family concert at a nearby winery on a beautiful Sunday afternoon.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Settled in Louisiana, Part 2

We have a complete group: 9 Nomads in 5 rigs.  We all got parked and settled in during the weekend, and started working today with a tour of the OWL’s facilities which are very nice. 


While many of their users come from the Children’s Home in nearby Ruston, Louisiana, they have much to offer for school events, weddings, family reunions, businesses and scouts.

They have both High and Low Ropes Courses, complete with Zip lines, meeting facilities, greenhouses, orchards, and livestock. While the weather is staying nice, we are working outdoors – some of us are replacing fencing for the horses, while others are removing old landscaping cloth at the orchard.
The first day of a project uses different muscles than playing tourist does, so we are tired and aching already.  We work only 4 days per week for a reason.