Wednesday, December 26, 2012

I'm Back!

If anybody does read this, you may have noticed I temporarily abandoned this little posting place. I have no reason actually. It wasn't a priority. I considered making it go away.

During the day on Christmas Eve, we pulled Betsy up onto the driveway from her winter resting place so we could pack her up for our trip south. I looked out the kitchen window that night and the Christmas lights reflected off her aluminum side, creating a cool effect. She was calling to us.

We had a great Christmas. Our kids stayed with us out here at the ranch. It has been very fun. I miss them already.

Today I decided to get back to the blog. It helps us document our travels.

We've been crazy busy putting away Christmas and packing up the house. We are leaving two days earlier than planned because of the weather forecast between here and Florida. We'll leave tomorrow morning long before the sun comes up. Wish us luck on those winter roads! Paul, Betsy and I hope to be in Venice by Saturday.

I'll keep you posted!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

A Slice of Americana: Minnesota Airstream Park

Paul, Bauxite Betsy and I just returned from a trip to Clear Lake, Minnesota.

Our home for the past week was the Minnesota Airstream Park,

where we had a lovely spot with soft landscaping, a cement patio and a screened casita.

We chose this location because I attended and worked at the ACDA Summer Dialogue,

a conference of state choral directors held on the campus of Saint John's University.

The campus was about a thirty minute drive from where we were located.

People own their lots at this park and can rent out their spots when they are not in residence with their own travel trailer. The stipulation is, one has to own an Airstream to become a member.  One can stay there with a camper other than an Airstream, but only in a location stipulated for "others."

So, Betsy was surrounded by Airstreams of all sizes and vintages. We found it all a bit odd.

But, it was a wonderful place to stay. People were very friendly.

You may wonder what Paul occupied his time with in my absence each day. Well, there is an executive golf course in the park, with no greens fee for residents. Need I say more?

He wanted a chance to get more comfortable with the new set of irons he acquired this summer, so he made good use of the course. He played16 rounds of golf! After his daily rounds,  he would go for a swim and sit by the pool with his ereader. This guy should give seminars in how to be retired!!!

He even got me out on the links on Saturday. Notice the little lake in this picture. So pretty.

He's convinced me I need to take up the game.

There was a nice vegetable stand and a great meat market on my way home from St. John's, so we would enjoy a nice dinner each evening.

Dialogue will be at St. John's again next summer, so the decision has been made to return. Here's a picture of Paul pondering our future plans.

Life is good. We are next headed into three consecutive weekends of BBQ judging. I'll keep you posted.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Life Stage Ceremony Ahead!!!!!

Big news in our world!!!!!

Josh proposed to Suzanne and she said yes!!!!

I borrowed their engagement announcement to use here. The picture on the left was taken last summer when they were in Paris. Paul took the picture on the right when they came for dinner last Sunday.

It is wonderful to see one's child so happy. We love Josh dearly and look forward to calling him our son-in-law. They are hoping for a wedding date in Fall 2013.

I'll keep you posted!!!!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

I have started a project I am calling a

I am reposting all of my Mom's recipes to a new site. I shared in my last post that the old one no longer exists.

Just going through the recipes is a great experience. I can hear her laugh and smell the great aromas that came out of her kitchen as I work.

Here is where I have placed her collection: Grandma McDougall's Recipes  Click and enjoy!

I have so many more to go!

Monday, July 9, 2012

And the summer drifts by...

I have been absent from this page since our travels ended in May.
We've been occupied. Work, knitting, watering plants, the usual exciting stuff.
We haven't travelled because Bauxite Betsy has been at the dealership since the end of May, having warranty work done. The anticipation of her return has been an exercise in patience.
We hosted our dinner group last Saturday and had a great evening. We served a southern menu. We love those evenings with these dear friends.

I am faced with the job of converting the files I had published online of Grandma McDougall's recipes and my own personal collection. Access one of those sites and you will find this greeting;

In Apple's shift to iCloud, the capability to publish those collections on personal websites through MacGourmet disappeared. I had hoped there would have been an alternative provided, but it does not appear that will happen anytime soon. My first concern is Mom's recipes. I'll get them back online for the family, it will just take some time. I am presently in the beginning stages of a new site.

I'll keep you posted.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

The Last Leg

I have had good intentions of completing the last posting of our trip home.

As Willie says:


Doing this helps us remember our

It was a long one!

We moved from Johnson's Shut-Ins State Park to Meramec State Park for our last stay in Missouri.

This destination was determined by our obligation to judge BBQ in Washington, about 30 minutes north from where we stayed.

We had a nice spot in the river bottom campground.

We hiked in the park

enjoyed the spring flowers,

and checked out a few of the local caves.

We poked around the nearby wine country

and tasted a few to decide what we "needed" to bring home.

We toured Daniel Boone's Missouri home, 

where he lived during the last years of his life.

They told us after this picture we weren't supposed to take pictures of the interior. Oops.

Washington, Missouri, where we judged BBQ, is the "Corn Cob Pipe Capital of the World. So, of course, we had to visit the Meerschaum Corn Cob Pipe Factory. The factory has operated in the same building since the 1880's. How many chances does one get to view pipe art? 

We spent a fantastic day at Washington's Main Street BBQ & Bluesfest. We heard some good music

and although we couldn't visit with the cooking teams,

we met some great people and tasted some fantastic BBQ.

We made one last overnight stop in Iowa and enjoyed one last sunset view from Bauxite Betsy.

It's good to be home. I can't tell you how good it was to see our kids.

We'll talk to you sooner or later....

Sunday, April 22, 2012


We left Florida Thursday, April 12 and stopped just for the night near Jasper, Alabama

to stay at Sleepy Holler RV "Resort".  We spent a quiet evening indoors. You can see by the picture we were anxious to leave. 

Our next stop was Poplar Bluff, Missouri, where we spent the weekend.

The threat of bad weather hampered our exploration, but we did manage to spend a great afternoon at Mingo National Wildlife Refuge, which contains over 21,000 acres of wetlands and habitat for migrating and wintering water fowl.

It was spring in the Ozark Mountains. Although we missed the blossoms on the dogwoods, we still enjoyed other spring flowers. I am still trying to identify this beauty. They were plentiful.

Mingo has a series of canals to control the water levels within the refuge.

There was an awesome boardwalk through a cypress swamp.

We saw quite a few of these guys from the boardwalk. He was over two feet long.

There is an 18 mile drive through the refuge. It was a great way to spend an afternoon.

It was difficult to comprehend the vastness of the acreage.

If we're ever in the area, we'll return for another visit.

From Poplar Bluff, located on the very southern edge of the Missouri Ozark range, we moved north to Johnson's Shut-Ins State Park.

The park receives its odd name because the east fork of the Black River, which runs through the park, is confined in areas to narrow channels or "shut-ins"

forming a natural water park visited by thousands of people in the summer months.

In December, 2005, there was a breach in the dam above the park, causing a catastrophic flood which wiped out the park's campground and many if its facilities. You can see the rebuilt dam here as well as some of the scoured area below.

Huge boulders and tons of debris were carried down the valley in seconds. Amazingly, no one was lost in the disaster. 

It took several years, but with a good settlement from the electrical company, a state of the art park and campground now replaces the one that was ruined. This is the nicest state park campground we have ever seen. See the big cement patio? Even the "primitive" campsites have them!

There are beautiful details throughout the park's facilities.

We spent some time on the Ozark Trail, which runs through the area.

It's hard to beat a spring day spent hiking in the woods seeing hundreds of butterflies,

Ozark Swallowtail

spring wildflowers


Wild Geranium 

and beautiful overviews.

We went to nearby Taum Sauk Mountain

and set our feet on the highest elevation in the state of Missouri.

Each evening we returned to Bauxite Betsy

enjoyed our evening meal

and sat outside by our own private "babbling" brook.

Just a little window into my world!

We'll talk to you soon.