Friday, October 31, 2014

A Little Decorating

We’ve been RV’ing for 15 years.  We’re on our 3rd RV.  It’s hard to believe our HitchHiker is going to be 3 years old in December!

We’ve never done much in the way of decorating the inside of our RV’s.  As a result, our first two looked pretty much brand new when we traded them in.

Now that we live in our HitchHiker almost full time, I’ve wanted to do a little decorating. 

I’ve mentioned before that I collect magnets from places we’ve been.  I have A LOT of magnets!  Most of them are on the refrigerator in our house in Medina (see March 28, 2013 blog).  A few have found their way into the RV.  My problem is that there is not enough metal to attach them to.

I got this idea from another volunteer:
It’s a cookie sheet! 
Mark attached very strong magnets on the wall behind the kitchen sink.  I’ll be able to take the cookie sheet off the wall when it comes time to move.

While in Kerrville one Saturday, we came upon a craft fair and decided to look around.  One of the booths had some awesome laser cut-outs.  
We bought this super cute frog and found the perfect spot for him.  He’ll go great with the gecko we bought in Creede, Colorado (see May 27, 2012 blog).

The decorating was fun and the HitchHiker looks great! We'll be heading out again soon.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Cibolo Nature Center

We've been back in Central Texas for a couple of weeks now, and have stayed busy visiting family, catching up with things like doctor's appointments and flu shots, and re-visiting some favorite spots in the Texas Hill Country.

This morning we headed over to Boerne (pronounced Bur-nee) and visited the Cibolo Nature Center. This very active nature center offers a lot of classes and seminars, programs for school kids, and several miles of trails for hiking.

We hiked over to the Marsh Loop trail and boardwalk, only to discover that the marsh was pretty much dried up. We didn't find the birds or dragonflies that we expected, so turned our attention to blooming wildflowers. We find when looking at flowers that there are often insects in the blooms, and today was no exception.

Honey Bees were busy gathering pollen, and we saw a small, metallic weevil digging into the same type of flower. Can you see it in there? It was tiny.

More menacing looking was this large wasp, but it paid us no mind. 

We noticed several bluebird boxes in the open areas, and after our summer of monitoring Mountain and Western Bluebirds in Idaho we wondered if these boxes were being used. Just as we mentioned it a male Eastern Bluebird flew into the closest box, followed by a female. We don't know if they are nesting this late in the year or not, but it looks like the boxes are being utilized for sure!

Monday, October 13, 2014

More fun with crafts

I got out all the afghans I’ve crocheted over the last 7 months.  All of them will be donated to Linus.

The final count - 18!

18 afghans and 3 preemie hats to be donated

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Still Crafting

We had a lot of fun this past summer with the Jr. Ranger programs at Farragut.  In fact, we’re still looking for fun programs for next year!

I love to do crafts and came across instructions to make friendship bracelets and survival bracelets.  They look like a lot of fun so I headed to the big box store for supplies.
These survival bracelets will go well with a “stay found” program that Mark will be putting together.

We’ve found some instructions that I think will be easy and fast enough for kids.  Just to make sure, we had some fun making our own survival bracelets.
First you have to measure the paracord:
Next, burn the ends so they don’t come unraveled (this is where the parents will help out):
Tie the cord to the plastic clip and tape it down to keep it from moving around:
Then start tying square knots (also known as the cobra knot):
Before long, you have a really cute bracelet!

I think this will be a fun Jr. Ranger program.


Sunday, October 5, 2014

Remember ... Only You

We’re spending a week or so in Capitan, NM.  Capitan is just down the road from Ruidoso. 

There’s not a lot to do in Capitan but there is one historical point of interest.
When a human-caused fire in 1950 burned 17,000 acres of forest in the Capitan Mountains, a little bear cub was found in a tree, with badly burned paws.  The Santa Fe newspaper called him Hotfoot Teddy.  The little bear grew up to become a celebrity, Smoky Bear.
A few months after Pearl Harbor was bombed, forest protection became important when an enemy shelling occurred near Los Padres National Forest off the cost of southern California.  The War Department considered lumber nearly as crucial as ammunition.  In response to the danger, the U.S. Forest Service organized the CFFP (Cooperative Forest Fire Prevention) program in 1942. 

We spent some time going though the Smokey Bear Museum.  It’s a nice, small museum.

Some early posters:

Smokey Bear retired from the forest service on May 2, 1975.  He was 25 years old, which, in people years is 70. In those days 70 was the mandatory retirement age for all Federal employees.  Smokey was honored as the first bear to become a full-fledged member of the National Association of Retired Federal Employees.

Smoky lived at the Washington Zoo where on November 9, 1976, at age 26, he died peacefully in his sleep of old age.  His remains were moved to Capitan. The boulder that marks his grave was brought down from the forest where he was found.

If you find yourself in Capitan, New Mexico, stop by this interesting little museum.


Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Valley of Fires

We are staying in Capitan, NM (near Ruidoso) for about a week. This is an area that we frequented while we were still working, as it hosts the nearest mountains to central Texas and was always good for some cool summer weather. In fact, we awoke to 41 degrees this morning, so why not hang around for a bit?

We visited the nearby Valley of Fires for the first time. This is one of the youngest lava flows in the continental U.S., having occurred 1500 to 5000 years ago, This flow is 2 to 5 miles wide and 44 miles long. In places it is up to 165 feet thick.
Valley of Fires
We hiked a well-marked nature trail through the flow, The ground is highly irregular as the flow is pushed up into a series of pressure ridges separated by low spots.
Pressure Ridge
 It is amazing that there are any plants growing on this exposed rock, but there is actually quite a bit of variety out there.
Walking Stick Cholla
The most fertile areas were the low spots caused by collapsing lava bubbles.  These areas trap soil and moisture, and provided some shade from the intense sun. 
Collapsed Lava Bubble
We did find a few non-spiny plants on the moister areas, including this pretty little Mallow.
Salmon-Pink Globe Mallow
We were there mid-day so didn't see many animals out. But Teri did spot this lizard catching a few rays. 
Desert Spiny Lizard