Sunday, May 31, 2015

Weaving a Band and a Visit With Catherine

A few days ago I started weaving this band on a backstrap loom and did not get very far before I decided I would prefer to weave it on my Ashford Knitters Loom, as I was unable to find a good spot in the motorhome with which to attach the far end of the warp. For me, it is just easier to use a frame. I chose the AKL over the smaller Ashford Sample-It Loom (ASIL) because the AKL is deeper. Here is the band, woven with a supplemental warp.


I used Susan J. Foulkes' materials and draft from The Braid Society tutorials, adapting it to my heddle by dropping the outer two threads. In the top photo you can see the string heddles used to pull the supplemental warp pattern threads (the doubled turquoise ones in the center) to the underside of the band as needed.

Later, Bob and I went over to daughter Catherine's house and had a nice visit and an excellent meal. A nice ending to our day.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Time With Tim and Bernie

We had lots of company last night, with daughters Catherine and Emily joining us for dinner with their husbands and children. It's such fun to spend time with everyone after being away for so long!

Today we met at our son Tim and daughter in law Bernie's house to see what they have accomplished in the last seven months with their house. They have completed a vaulted ceiling, retiled the bathroom, added a fireplace and mantel, added transom windows, torn down and rebuilt two retaining walls, replaced a tired walkway, installed plantings, removed a number of trees in their yard, and have collected a number of cabinets that they will use when rebuilding the kitchen. There is still much to do but they have accomplished so much! We are very proud of them.

After we finished admiring Tim and Bernie's hard work we drove over to Mullica Hill, NJ to eat a late breakfast at Blue Plate.
We were able to eat outside and enjoy the early summer sun with our delicious meal. After a visit to  Red Barn Antiques our visit was complete. While we have no room in our motorhome for chotchkies I still get a lot of pleasure out of window shopping. And doing it with family is the best!

In my last post I showed a photo of my fiber closet. It is a little dark for a photo, but allow me to describe the storage area under the bed, because this is a very important space for my "studio." The bed lifts up and underneath is space for two clear plastic bins of yarn, a large Longaberger basket with yet more yarn, and my sewing machine. I also keep my marudai under there because it breaks down into a top (mirror) and a base with four legs. Before we went on the road I asked Bob to make my weaving bench from Harrisville Designs collapsable. This is what it looks like in parts (note the little zip lock bag full of hardware.)

And in this second photo you can see how bolts now go all the way through so that it can easily be assembled and disassembled. I don't bother with the base of the under-seat shelf, because it is too fiddly to put in. And I don't miss it. I love my weaving bench and am very glad that there is room for it.

I also had Bob change out the hardware on my Saori Warping board so that it has knobs and can come apart easily and quickly for storage. Love it!




Thursday, May 28, 2015

Vets, Elks, and Family

Bob and I took Auggie in to the veterinarian for his annual physical, check foe worms, and vaccinations. Three hundred and nine dollars later we left with a year's supply of heart worm and flea preventative and a clean bill of health. He also needs to get his teeth cleaned which will be several hundreds of dollars more. Yikes! We decided to search for a new vet on our travels for the dental work at a later date. Bob and I trust our dental care to a dentist in Mexico but we have not heard of similar savings for dogs. On the other hand, I have heard that the Phoenix Humane Society provides lower cost health and dental care. We will check them out next time we are in Arizona.

After we had lunch back at the motorhome we drove to Deptford where we met with people at an Elks lodge. The Elks often have hookups for RVs that may be used by members, and I have decided to join. We have met many fulltime RVers who utilize this benefit of their membership. The members we met today were very nice and I think this will work out well.

Later in the day, daughter Catherine and her little girl, Jillian, came over and we all had a nice meal together. We look forward to getting together again tomorrow, with daughter Emily, her husband and two daughters who have just returned today from a trip to California.

People have asked me what my fiber closet looks like, so I took a photo.

On the top bunk you can see my red bin with long items--the stand for my Ashford Knitters Loom (AKL) and the variou crosspieces, raddle, long shuttles, umbrella swift, etc. Behind the red bin are my 3 AKLs in their bags, Saori warping board in a bag, my Piccolo loom on it's side, and to the right my Gilmore Inkle Lap Loom in a bag. Yarn fills the clear plastic bins, sorted and labeled according to type. The bucket holds boat shuttles and bobbins. The box is full of fiber for spinning.

On the bottom bunk to the left is my 8 harness Baby Macomber loom with the Columbine spinning wheel on top with more spinning fiber. There are weaving tools in the gray bin on the right.

The way I have it organized should be easier to keep it neat and to reach what I need.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Ramblin'

This will be a rambling post today.

I read an article a while back that stated there is no evidence that ibuprofen (Motrin) relieves back or knee pain. I beg to differ. Because I have a colonoscopy scheduled next Thursday, I stopped taking ibuprofen two nights ago (as ordered by my physician,) and will be going without it for the next week. I can really feel the difference in both my back and my knees, and it's making me cranky. I don't like being this way.

Today I pulled everything out of my fiber closet, reorganized bins, set aside some items to sell and to give away, and put it all back in again so things can be reached more easily. In addition, Bob and I are going through closets to see what we haven't used in the past seven months. It feels good to clear out some things to make room. We have been packed pretty tightly. This is something that will have to be done at least once a year, and we've only started the job. But it feel so good to see things neat!

My daughter, Kristen, is a fabulous cook and we have been eating well. It's really nice to eat new dishes. I guess we've gotten ourselves in a rut, meal-wise.

I'm sorry, but I'm a bit tired tonight and this will be shorter than usual. Until tomorrow, dear blog reader!



Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Sunfishes?

We arose early this morning just prior to a 7:00 am visit from our eldest grandson, Rob (who was on his way to the bus stop and wanted to visit with Grandma and Pop.)  By 8:00 I was over in my daughter's kitchen having a nice visit while Adam and Ben finished their breakfasts. What a pleasant way to start my day!

Later, I went to Wegman's, my favorite grocery store in any state we've visited, to pick up some necessities for meals. Kristen and I had decided that we would each contribute to the meals and eat dinners together as a family. Kristen's husband is away on a work-related trip until next week.

The day passed pleasantly, between the errands to run and phone calls to be made, before the boys returned from school. As I was helping Ben with his homework Kristen pointed out that one of his second grade vocabulary words was "sunfishes." Of all the possible words to teach a second grader, why would they use a word that would almost never be used in most people's lives? The plural of sunfish is...sunfish. UNLESS one is discussing the different varieties of sunfish and then one might say, "I discovered four kinds of sunfishes in the pond."

I probably wouldn't, but, there you go.

Hopefully next week's vocabulary list will not include the word "sheeps."

Monday, May 25, 2015

Back in NJ

Well, we are tired but happily back in the bosom of our family. Bob and I left Starr Hill Vineyard and Winery in western PA this morning at 7:15 am. The weather was lovely and the roads were mostly quite good, but it seemed like a long trip nonetheless. We stopped for fuel 50 miles down the road, then stopped again for lunch, at which point we discovered the battery on the car had died. Bob jumped it and let it run for 15 minutes while we ate our lunch. We will have to check out why this has happened on occasion.

Our brakes did well, so that was a good thing to be sure!

Finally we saw the City of Brotherly Love ahead of us. I was happy to see Philadelphia's skyline at last (ignore the bug splatters on the windshield that show up as dirt spots on the photo.)
Just a few minutes later we were crossing the Walt Whitman Bridge into NJ and before we knew it we were pulling in to our daughter's driveway.
Our afternoon was filled with family as we told stories and caught up with everyone's lives. Even with the communication advancements of this modern age, there's nothing like being face to face.

We delighted in the new electrical hookups that allow us to run the air conditioners in the coach. It makes a huge difference. And since we have been directing mail here in anticipation of the visit we have a huge stack to go through. All in good time. Now to rest up a bit because I like to see my eldest grandson before he leaves for the bus stop at 7:15 tomorrow. It's good to be back, if only for a few weeks.


Sunday, May 24, 2015

Leaving Ohio

It was rather funny yesterday when I told someone we have been at the Wayne County Fairgrounds since Thursday they looked at me with a puzzled face and said,  "But you're not a vendor--what have you been doing here all this time?" I replied that we did the same thing here as we do everywhere we go--talk to people and make new friends, read, knit (well, I do, anyway!), live our lives. The days pass quite pleasantly and we are never bored. As Bob says, it's like the first day of summer vacation every day, with it all stretched out ahead of you.

We left Ohio today before day two of the Great Lakes Fiber Festival and after saying goodbye to all our new friends.  We took the time to visit the fairground dump station (TMI?) so we are all cleaned out and ready to stay for an extended time at my daughter's house. Only one more travel day until we get there! The drive to our Harvest Host location in Pennsylvania was uneventful, except for the sign we passed in the final half mile warning us that the road was for vehicles under 10 tons. Um, we are about 20 tons so that did give us pause, as they say. Fortunately there were no bridges to cross and we made it to the winery where we will spend the night (for free.) Bob and I tasted some wines and chose a couple of bottles as a thank you to our hosts for letting us stay here. We even have a 50 amp hookup and a to-die-for view out our front window. Sweet!
The rest of the afternoon and evening we will read, relax, walk the dog, and maybe watch a video. Then we are off to an early start tomorrow for the last leg of the journey. Our plans are to spend time with family and friends, take care of annual doctors' visits, and (for me) do some weaving, spinning, and knitting. I'm sure there will be lots to blog about. :)

Happy Memorial Day to all of you, dear blog readers!


Saturday, May 23, 2015

Great Lakes Fiber Festival

What a great show! I hit the vendors area at about 9:00 am, and although the market was not officially open until 10:00, most of the booths were open and ready for business. My first stop was to the TurtleMade booth where I finally got to meet my Ravelry friend, Jen, husband Scott, and their two adorable children. I picked out these two beauties, both micro-Turks that are made on a 3D printer. Seen next to my iPhone for size comparison.

Amazing! And they are fabulous spindles with a nice long spin. I had fun playing with all the color combinations to make my own personalized spindle. The pink one is three different shades of pink--I think I'll name it "Floyd."

Others apparently had had fun playing, too--this was her table later in the day.
There were five buildings full of vendors and lots of fiberliscious things to buy.
 After the crowds thinned out I shot this photo.
The animals were fun, too. This guy was standing in his pen, humming away. I never knew alpacas could hum!
I spent a bit of time also in Mary Scott's booth. Mary and her husband Gary run Serendipity Farms in Virginia, and had a fully stocked weaving shop in their booth. I bought some Tencel there--it's time to try weaving some finer scarves.

Comparing it to Maryland and Rheinbeck I would say that this one had nearly as much "stuff" to buy but far fewer crowds. People were super-friendly and it was easy to strike up conversations with strangers. I loved the relaxed atmosphere and we made lots of new friends. I wouldn't mind coming back here each year!

Friday, May 22, 2015

A Great Day

There are a multitude of reasons why today was a great day. The weather was nice and sunny, I got to meet a lot of the vendors who have arrived to set up their booths, I finished some sewing projects and even knitted a bit, the brakes are fixed (sort of), and I made ice cream. Honestly, can you ask any more of a day than that?

Months ago I wove some dish towels for my daughter in law, Bernie. I washed and dried the cloth, then the fabric sat waiting patiently for hemming. I was waiting at first because I had no way to iron them, but then I found a tabletop ironing board that works great and hangs flat in my closet so that excuse no longer held water. Still I waited, and because I finish tasks best under pressure I finally hemmed them today. On the last free day before we return to NJ. I am quite pleased with the way they came out. I will also be giving Bernie two dishcloths

I will put a project page up on Ravelry with details.

The ice cream I made was from this recipe. I also added a tablespoon of vanilla, and it was so good! It takes quite a bit of time to freeze, so make it early in the day if you want to eat it for evening dessert. (Not to be confused with lunch dessert.)

I am knitting some qiviut (gasp!) into a delicate lace cowl. Pictures to follow when it looks like something. I bought the yarn a couple of years ago at Maryland Sheep and Wool, and only now have worked up the courage to knit with it. Qiviut is from a musk ox and is one of the world's softest and warmest wool. It is also quite pricey and is sold by the ounce. I have just one ounce of yarn, it is very fine, and I am knitting it up very carefully.

The repair fellow came to the campground this morning and was able to make the brakes useable. We will have to drain moisture from the air lines occasionally until a permanent fix is made. At least we can drive it to NJ, so all is good. We can get the part we need when we are in Cherry Hill.

It doesn't get much better!

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Brake Problems

We made it to the Wayne County Fairgrounds and just as we pulled in off the road our air pressure alarm sounded and stayed on. That means that our air brakes are not holding air pressure, so we are very fortunate that it happened here and not while we were going through mountains! I am also grateful that we have a day to get it looked at before a holiday weekend. We have already contacted CoachNet, our roadside assistance company and someone will be out early tomorrow morning. Hopefully they can fix what is wrong quickly and inexpensively so we can continue our journey to NJ. We may be able to make it to Cherry Hill by Monday if we can still leave Sunday as planned.

We are one of only six RVs here at the moment but I know this campground will be filling up with vendors by tomorrow, ready for the Great Lakes Fiber Festival. I am very excited for Saturday! This is supposedly one of the best of the smaller fiber fests, and I have only been to three others--Maryland Sheep and Wool, New York Sheep and Wool (Rheinbeck,) and New Jersey Sheep and Wool in Ringoes, NJ. I get to meet up with TurtleJen from Ravelry, who has a booth here. I have admired her Turkish spindles that she and her husband make with a 3D printer and sell in her Etsy shop called TurtleMade. I hope to bring home one of her little beauties on Saturday, and I will post a photo then.

It is cloudy and cool (55 degrees) as I write this, but tomorrow the temps get into the low 60's and Saturday's weather is expected to be in the 70's. Perfect fiber fest weather!

I finished my grandson's Pokemon juggling balls and I think he'll like them.


Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Airstream Factory Tour

We had a nice stay at Natural Springs Resort in New Paris, OH last night, enjoying the sounds of birds chirping in the quiet campground. Very few campers were around, but the woman in the office told me that they would be completely filled up this weekend. Memorial Day Weekend is the first official camping weekend of the season in the Northeast. We are a little nervous that we have no reservations, but we think we can get through the weekend by a little creative thinking! Stay tuned :)

This morning we packed up and headed 83 miles North and a little East to the Airstream Factory in Jackson Center, OH. On the way we picked up the Ohio Starbucks mug. One more to go before we get the ones that daughter Kristen doesn't have, from the areas on our route to NJ.

The campground here at the factory only charges $10 a night for full hookups--you can't beat that! We arrived in time for the 2:00 tour, along with about 20 other people. While waiting we met a woman and her husband who have been living fulltime in a 25' long Airstream trailer for the past eight years. It goes to show that you don't need a huge motorhome to live on the road. The view looks the same from their windows as it does from ours.

We were only allowed to take two photos of the inside of the factory. Here is what you can see when entering the facility...
...and here is an Airstream trailer that is bound for England.
The company makes a special, narrow bodied version for England. Shipping across the pond adds about $10,000 to the price of each Airstream, which range in price in the US from $50,000 to over $100,000 new.

Airstream is currently turning out 52 units a week, although at the completion of a new addition to the factory will allow another 25 a week to be finished. Each Airstream is already sold, and there are currently 1300 on order. They are not hurting for business!

Outside the plant are some new trailers ready for delivery.
And you can also peek in the windows of some vintage Airstreams parked in front of the plant. These are from the 1930's.

We really enjoyed our tour today. Seeing these trailers makes me wish we could own more than one RV. 

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Loss of a Friend

We had such a nice dinner last night at Bletz Wildlife Lodge and Winery, our overnight spot through Harvest Hosts, that we decided to eat breakfast there as well before we left. There were no difficulties with the camping this time and it was a completely positive experience. I never got to meet the owner, Sandy, so I emailed her a note thanking her for the hospitality, and received a lovely response back. She was sorry to have missed us and said we were her first RVers since she joined. I'm really surprised more people don't use Harvest Hosts--it's a wonderful program.

Along the way we managed to snag an Indianapolis mug for Kristen from Starbucks. I can probably get two more for her before we arrive in NJ. It always makes me a little nervous when we have to stop at a Starbucks with the motorhome because it can be hard to maneuver in and out of a small parking lot, but we have been lucky so far. I do call the store ahead of time and make sure they have a mug and also that there is room for us to get in and out.

We had actually planned to use another Harvest Host location for tonight but the one closest to our route was not yet open for the season, so we are in a campground tonight in Ohio. Along the way I received an email from my friend Vaughn who told me that a mutual friend, Camille Buchanan, had passed away on Saturday, following a long struggle with cancer. Camille was such an enthusiastic spinner and weaver, always ready to learn something new and eager to share what she had learned. The members of the South Jersey Guild of Spinners and Handweavers have lost a good friend and supporter. My prayers go out to her family and friends. I will miss her dearly.


Monday, May 18, 2015

Illinois

It was another rainy weekend in Branson, MO. I spent my time crafting with my friend Denise, weaving and making Pokemon Balls for my grandson.
We had a nice ice cream social at the park on Sunday afternoon where we met some nice Escapees. Perhaps we will see them down the road again!

Denise got us hooked up with an antenna to help bring in internet signals. I'll report back on how it is doing when we have a few minutes to give it a try. At the moment I am still using our MiFi hotspot from Verizon because it is familiar!

We left Missouri this morning, getting out while the weather was good.  And immediately hit blue skies! It turned out to be a lovely day on the road. We stopped at Starbucks to pick up a "You Are Here" mug for daughter Kristen. She is collecting them and we are happy to help her add to her collection. So far we have gotten her Arizona, Albuquerque, and St Louis.
The St Louis Arch greeted us as we were about to cross over to Illinois.
Southern Illinois is very pretty, with lots of farmland. Much flatter than the rolling hills of Missouri.
We have checked into a Harvest Host spot, and I will report on that tomorrow.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Blue Ribband

It was another gloomy day, so my neighbor Denise and I had another crafting session at the campground clubhouse. While Denise made progress on her stitching cards I started (and later finished) a knitted and beaded bracelet called a Ribband. It is quite comfortable to wear, and I like the way it looks. It makes me wonder what I could do with beads and weaving to make a bracelet.
Worth playing around with! Denise and I are planning another crafting session tomorrow.

I made a nice beef barley soup, more like a stew actually, for dinner. I made a lot so I won't have to cook again for a couple of nights. Score!

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Doll Blanket

I slept in a bit later today, with the rain on the roof convincing me to stay abed. And as the day progressed my feelings of dizziness started to resolve. Thankfully!

After a lazy morning I finished weaving the project on my Ashford Knitters Loom, cut it off, zigzagged the edges of the panels, and joined the panels to make a doll blanket. I then crocheted to cover the sewn edges and washed and dried it. I think it came out pretty well.  Here is a photo of a panel on the loom, with loops on one side. The loops are joined using a crochet hook.
And here is the finished doll blanket after washing and drying.
I was able to line up the plaid pretty well. 

I am sure I will use this technique again!

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Oil Change

Our coach requires an oil change every 20,000 miles, our generator every 150 hours (a meter keeps track) and we were just about due.  So at the ungodly hour of 7:30 am we were pulling out of the campground to head for Branson Motorcoach, about 15 minutes away. It took us an extra 15 minutes to find the place, after driving up and down the road a couple of times (WHY would a place like that, set back away from the road,  not have a SIGN, for heaven's sake???)

But we got there, say down in the freezing cold waiting room, and waited for five hours until the work was finally finished. Thankfully I had my iPad with me and I could numb my brain with countless episodes of "Flip or Flop" and "Rehab Addict." I don't know why I still enjoy the home decorating shows like I do, since we don't have a house. It's just one more quirky thing that makes me special.

At last we were able to head back to our campground where I ate a quick lunch before having a nice nap. I haven't been sleeping well the last several nights, which tends to make me dizzy and queasy in addition to groggy. I have Meniere's Disease which is exacerbated by lack of sleep. I'm sure I'll feel better tomorrow if I can get a solid night's rest.

Weather today was cloudy most of the day, but rain is moving our way. Time to batten down the hatches.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Dixie Stampede

The sun played peekaboo today but the rain stayed away, to our immense relief. We are enjoying the sunshine but it's not supposed to stick around, with lots of rain headed our way again for the next few days. Ah well...

I warped up my 12" Ashford Knitters Loom today so that I could play with a new technique of weaving in loops along some of the edges of a piece. Later the fabric will be cut into panels and the loops crocheted to join the panels into a wider piece. If it comes out well, Quinn will have a new blanket for her dolls.

We went to a show today and saw Dolly Parton's Dixie Stampede. They did two shows for us and gave us a meal, and we had a great time.
The first show featured a juggler/magician who was quite entertaining. At one point his 16 year old stepson joined the act who had been juggling since he was 8 years old. This young man has won numerous juggling competitions all over the world--who even knew that there was such a thing as a juggling competition? 

After that act we were moved into the main arena where we saw quite a show, with a North vs South theme and lots of horses, trick riders, buffalo, longhorn cattle, chickens, piglets, singing, and comedy.
It a lot of fun, and during the show we were fed soup, biscuits, chicken, fried potatoes, pork tenderloin, apple turnovers, and beverages. We went home pretty full!

Monday, May 11, 2015

Dinner With Friends

We ran some errands this morning, and while we were at WalMart's meat case we saw pork ribs on sale for $1.97 a pound. "Why don't we smoke some ribs today and see if we can invite some people over for potluck?" I suggested to Bob. He thought it was a good idea, so we invited our neighbors Tony and Denise and our camp managers Theresa and Rich. Rich asked if they could bring the work campers who were in the office with them, Elise and Phil. Of course!

What a great time we had! Besides the ribs, we had sliders and rolls, macaroni and cheese, and two kinds of salads. It was all so good, and the company was even better. We had met the managers at the North Ranch Escapees park in Congress, AZ, and Elise and Phil were from New Hampshire (having grown up in Boston) so they were like old friends right from the start. Tony and Denise were from South Jersey so we have much in common. We all agreed that we should do this again sometime in the next week!

Before we became fulltime RVers we didn't really understand how we could have a social life, moving around so much. We do find it easy at Escapees parks because there are so many like-minded people there. But we are starting to see how it works. You really do run into people you have met before. And the wonderful people we have met here will cross paths with us another day down the road.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Fish Hatchery

Saturday morning the rain held off for a few hours so Bob and I took a drive out to the Shepherd of the Hills Fish Hatchery and Conservation Center in Branson. I had never been to a fish hatchery before, so it was an eye opener. This hatchery raises rainbow trout, which do not reproduce well in the area but are a big draw for fisherman all over the country.
This facility is run by the Department of Fish and Wildlife, and it provides community education in the form of a film, hands-on displays, and of course, the fish hatchery. A volunteer also talked about local snakes and had some live snakes for people to see, including some of the poisonous ones that populate the area.  A short film explained how trout are caught, their eggs and sperm harvested, and the young fish are raised to about 11" at which time they are released into local waters. There are many pools, or "raceways" at the hatchery, and are all filled with young fish of varying sizes.

There are adult fish as well, large rainbow and brown trout, easily seen in the large viewing tanks.

It was all very interesting!  We stopped for calzone at Hook and Ladder Pizza, not far from the RV park--yum!

Mother's Day was quiet. The rain was intermittent and we just hung out and relaxed. It's nice to just take a day and read sometimes!

Hopefully you all had a lovely Mother's Day, doing exactly what you wanted to do. :)

Friday, May 8, 2015

Little Doll

Another rainy day, but that's OK! I made a little elf doll to sleep in the cradle purse, and I think he's pretty cute.

I saw a cartoon that I thought was funny and so I'll share it here.

Guess the police don't take too kindly to "weaving down the road!" Hah!

Thursday, May 7, 2015

A Creative Day

Today the weather was a little threatening with brief spurts of showers, so we stayed in except for visiting with neighbors. I baked some dog cookies for Auggie and shared some with Auggie's new friend, Wiley. They are full of peanut butter and were a hit. Here is the link to the recipe I used from Paula Deen. Here it is, in case the link doesn't work right someday.

Paula Deen’s “Bodeen’s Peanut Butter Dog Biscuits, from PaulaDeen.com:
Servings: varies
Prep Time: 15 min
Cook Time: 40 min
Difficulty: Easy

INGREDIENTS

3/4 cup nonfat Milk
1 Egg
1 cup Peanut Butter, smooth
2 1/4 to 2 1/2 cups Whole Wheat Flour
1 tablespoon Baking Powder

DIRECTIONS

PreHeat – 325°
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the milk, egg and peanut butter. Add in the flour and baking powder to make a very stiff dough, using your hands to work in the last of the flour if necessary. (Paula’s note: as a general rule, most  

homemade dog biscuits do well with 1 part liquid to 3 parts dry. You can customize the recipe by adding and subtracting ingredients your dog likes.)
Flour a work surface and roll out dough to a 1/4” thickness.  Cut into desired sizes depending on the size of your dog. Bake on a parchment lined baking tray for approximately 20 minutes. Turn biscuits over and bake for an additional 15 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely before storing in an airtight container.  Bodeen’s Dog Biscuits can also be stored in the freezer for up to 3 months.


 I swapped out the whole wheat flour for oat flour (which we had on hand) and rolled them into finger-shapes so they could be easily broken. Also, I dislike rolling out dough and using cookie cutters, so rolling was much easier.
Perhaps they aren't the prettiest dog biscuits, but Wiley and Auggie sure didn't care!

Then I picked up my crochet hooks. My granddaughter, Jillian, has a birthday next week, and I wanted to make her a little something. I used a pattern I've used before that makes a cupcake-shaped purse that turns into a doll cradle for a small doll. Here it is, with my 4" Steiff bear posing as a doll.


It was a fun day.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Rod Grant

When I was a child my father had a friend named Rod Grant, and we called him Uncle Rod. My mother didn't care for the way he showed up for dinner unexpectedly after years of absence, but I loved Uncle Rod. He was a pilot of small planes and took me up for a ride when I was only five years old. I still remember him doing a loop-de-loop and scaring me out of my wits!

He showed up one day in an RV with a girlfriend and her three little dogs, on his way to see more of the country. I thought that was the coolest thing, going where you wanted to go and seeing what you wanted to see. Little did I know then that I would do the same thing one day.

It was perhaps a year or two later that I found my father in a state of agitation. Rod was missing at sea, having gone for a sail off the coast of California before a squall struck. For hours my dad pored over his charts, trying to figure where Rod may have taken shelter to ride out the storm. Unfortunately his boat was recovered but Rod's body was never found.  "He tried to swim to shore," Dad told me. "That's the rule a sailor must never break. Always stay with the boat."

I've never forgotten that bit of wisdom, though sailing is not my favorite pastime. I am not sure what made me think of Rod recently; perhaps his spirit was hovering nearby.  I like to think he's with us on our journey. Rod would have enjoyed this trip.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

We Arrive in Missouri

We have settled in for the next week or two in the Branson, MO area, after a long and winding road to get here. The scenery was beautiful, more wooded and mountainous than the area of Oklahoma that we were in this morning. Besides hills we also saw a lot of beef cattle and picturesque farms.
Bob and I have never been to Missouri so we are looking forward to A) some rest from the traveling we've been doing, and B) seeing some of the fun that Branson has to offer.  We may have to say goodbye temporarily to all the sun we've been enjoying, though, because according to the weather reports we are in for a few days of rain. :(

But that's ok, because I have projects to do! Maybe a little sewing, a little weaving, it's all good.

Whenever we cross into a new state I like to look up the state's nickname ("The Show Me State") and to see what songs have been written about it. This is probably a mistake because I tend to get songs stuck in my head. I've been humming music from "Oklahoma" for days. When I looked up Missouri songs I found nothing we were familiar with, but I did find guidelines someone had noted for writing new songs about this state. They suggested that themes ..."can be built upon to capture the spirit of the state include limestone, sinkholes, caves, rolling hills, wheat, corn, and extreme winter weather." Really??? A song about your state's sinkholes? What even rhymes with sinkholes, anyway?

We are parked across from two Tiffins: a Phaeton and an Allegro Bus. I expect we'll be introducing ourselves to our neighbors soon!

Monday, May 4, 2015

Will Rogers and Rope Twirling

Our campsite in Oologah (pronounced "OO-luh-guh ") Oklahoma is a lovely one and we are enjoying our stay. We were lucky to arrive on a Sunday and not on a Friday or Saturday, because I am told that weekends are typically all booked this time of year. The temperatures are in the low 80's and we have a nice shady spot to sit under the trees. And the lake is within sight. Life is good!
  
Bob and I visited the Will Rogers Memorial Museum in Claremore, OK today.
Now, Will Rogers was before my time. He was even before my parents' time, as they were only 4 and 5 years old when he died in a plane crash in Alaska.  But there never was a more interesting man. One quarter Cherokee, he was born in Oklahoma (to that state's everlasting pride), and was an indifferent student in school but a master student in life. He was no politician but was friends with five presidents. As a young man he joined a Wild West Show, moved on to Vaudeville, had his own radio show, and starred in many movies. He could ride and he could rope.

Our guide today, Andy Hogan, was wonderful. He looked and sounded just like Will Rogers, and when I told him that my childhood dream was to learn how to twirl a rope he showed me how to do it. I was so excited! I could really do it!
Bob and I watched a fascinating film of Will Roger's life, and saw a room that was a replica of the man's study.

I felt like I would have enjoyed knowing this man. If you ever find yourself in Oologah, OK, check out his museum.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Slowly the Night Turns

We had some problems at Native Spirits Winery last night where we were spending the night. The woman working at the tasting room left after the winery closed, and we were left alone in the cool of the evening. Or so we thought.
Auggie, our small dog, had not made a good impression on the owner's two large dogs. Now, one of Auggie's great joys in life is meeting other dogs on our travels. He gets along very well with big dogs (I think he remembers his "big brother, Sim," our Golden Retriever with whom he he'd such a close relationship.)  In fact, I would have to say that he has never met a dog he didn't like. 

Unfortunately, the two large dogs here decided that they didn't like Auggie. And with the owner away from the winery (we had only seen Debby, the part time employee because Rick was at a wine festival for the day) the dogs decided that they'd better keep an eye on our dog. Once the humans left the tasting room (the dogs were VERY friendly with people,) we heard them circling the rig, growling at the door and then sitting about twenty feet away barking in our direction every few minutes. We had to watch carefully before taking Auggie out for a piddle break before we retired; even then I had to pick our dog up quickly when one of the aggressive dogs appeared suddenly, head down and forward, tail flagged and stiff, hair raised across the back and shoulders, and steadily staring at Auggie. Classic signs of aggression.

After we went to bed the aggression continued, with growling and barking right under our windowed every couple of minutes. It was impossible to sleep. I tried yelling at them to go home and they slunk about fifteen feet farther, only to return.  At eleven o'clock I called the winery number in the hopes that someone in the house would pick up, but could only leave a message. Finally I called the police. They were unable to get ahold of the owners and suggested we find another place to camp for the night. "Find a campground at this time of night?" I said. He shrugged.  There really wasn't anything he could do since the owners were not at home.

Finally after midnight we heard a car approach, then retreat.  The dogs were gone. We heard them barking off in the distance all night (locked in a garage, perhaps?) but at least they were not under our windows. 

We will have to use a broom to raise branches so that they do not scrape the roof of the motorhome as we leave. The branches did a number on our roof when we arrived, hanging so low. Fortunately our AC units were not damaged that we could see.

The owners need to trim those branches and restrain those dogs after hours. Or else not allow guests with pets and restrict RVs taller than ten feet high. The tasting room experience was a delight, and Debby was wonderful although she had never heard of Harvest Hosts and had been given no heads-up on us or where we should park.  We saw the torn up lawn where another motorhome had gotten stuck trying to turn around. At first we smirked about the driver of that RV who drove across a lawn but now we wonder if it was because of the lack of instruction from staff or owner on where to be.

While I would return to this winery for a tasting and to purchase wine (and it was good wine!) I would not stay here overnight again.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Ooooooook-lahoma!

We moved from Amarillo, TX to Norman, OK today, a trip of about 300 miles. Bob and I got up early and were on the move at about 8:15, which is early for us. We headed east on Rte 40 and soon came to two iconic, and very different, scenes.
The first was Cadillac Ranch, a cluster of Caddys with the front ends buried in the Amarillow ground. Each car is covered with graffiti from visitors who left their mark on the vehicles.

The second was a giant cross, visible from a long ways off. We didn't stop this time, but our friend Kathy told us  you can actually go up inside it. All around the base are the Stations of the Cross. An amazing structure.
We got to our destination about 2:00, having stopped for fuel and sandwiches along the way. I was amazed by the beauty of an Oklahoma springtime. I guess I pictured flat, flat land and nothing but dust. Instead, it was green, lush, rolling hills with trees and ponds.
We again made use of our Harvest Hosts membership and had decided to stay at a winery for the night, having called ahead to make sure there was space. To our delight, the winery offered free tastings of 1 oz each of any of their twenty different wines. We were encouraged to try as many as we liked. Now, I'm not a big drinker but I managed to sip a few different ones. We purchased a bottle as a thank you to our hosts. Auggie was welcomed as well and he sat on our laps the whole time.
There were quite a few people there, including some post-college young women who oohed and ahhed over Auggie. One girl came to our table to pet him and told us a sad tale about her little dog who had gotten eaten by a mountain lion. Apparently, in her town of Tuttle, OK, they had a deer overpopulation problem. So the town decided to release three mountain lions to help control the deer.  And one of them took her dog.

 I told her that in NJ we'd just shoot the deer. 

So we are all settled in and look forward to a quiet evening. Time to plan our next stop :)