Thursday, July 24, 2014

Meeting Pam from Nomadic Newfies

Yesterday Chablis and I had a real treat - we finally got to meet fellow blogger Pam from over at Nomadic Newfies

We've been following each other's blogs and chatting for awhile.  For the past several months we've been trying, and having the hardest time, scheduling a day to meet.  Tinkerbell must have waved her magic wand because yesterday our schedules miraculously cleared and we met for lunch and a hike.  Finally!!

Since we live a little over an hour away from each other, we picked a spot about half way for both of us and had lunch first.  Over pizza and pasta the three of us chatted non-stop about hiking, photography and camping.  Chablis and Pam discovered they have a mutual love of Gatlinburg and had plenty to talk about.  Since I've never been there I had to sit and take notes of all the places I'd now like to see there.  Note to self - add Gatlinburg to my bucket list.

After lunch we decided to drive to the Ryerson Conservation Area and do a little hiking.  Ryerson Woods is noted in Lake County history because the first European of the area settled there.  In the 1920's several families bought the property and built weekend retreats, and then eventually donated 257 acres to the Lake Country Forest Preserves.  Today it's a spectacular preserve that supports a wide variety of state endangered species.

We strapped on our hiking boots and took off down a gorgeous woodland trail.  Well manicured and lush, it was also teeming with killer mosquitoes.  We doused ourselves liberally with bug spray, twice, and those little suckers were not deterred.   It must have been all the Italian spices that attracted them to us.  At any rate, we only lasted a couple of blocks before we turned tail and made a beeline for the open meadow.

We walked past some of the old buildings on the property and found another trail that led more around the perimeter of the forest.  It was much less buggy and we were able to walk and snap some photos while we talked. 

Pam is well versed in a wide variety of native flowers and she pointed out all the different varieties and impressed us with her knowledge.  You really need to go check out her blog because she takes fantastic close up photos of flowers on her many hikes.  Here's a link to one of my favorite recent posts.

Unfortunately we picked the hottest day of the year to meet up - it was about 95 degrees in the shade and dripping with humidity.  After an hour of hiking and dodging the relentless  mosquitoes we decided to call it quits and retreat to our air conditioned cars.  We really had a great visit though and promised to meet up again this autumn and give it another try when the colors start changing.  I'm looking forward to joining Pam again and I'm really happy we finally got the chance to spend the afternoon together.

Stop by and check out her blog, Nomadic Newfies.  I think you'll enjoy meeting her.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Estate Sale Finds July 19, 2014

We've been pretty busy in general, combined with hanging out at the lake with family, so our estate sale shopping has been pretty sparse lately.  Chablis and I have been itching to go look at some junk, so this past weekend we hit up a couple of estate sales.  We didn't find a whole lot, but here's what we did get...

  • The green bottle with the pasta crammed in it is a vintage WB Hays soda water bottle.  It took us about half an hour to pry all the dried pasta out of it, but it cleaned up very nicely.
  • Brand new rolling pin.  I don't know what it is with me and rolling pins.  I keep buying them and I don't really bake.  What's up with that??
  • A Roseville crock in mint condition.  I found it but Chablis somehow ended up with it in her bedroom.  Hmmmm.......
  • A double thick 9" x 9" aluminum baking pan.  I didn't really need it but I rarely see the double thick ones and with my reputation for burning baked goods, it's a win-win.
  • A metal shoe horn.  Do they even make metal shoe horns anymore?  This one has the name of a shoe store on Halstead in Chicago engraved on it.
  • A glass sugar/creamer.  I've already filled it with creamer and have it sitting at our coffee bar.
  • A 9 cup Pyrex tea pot.  My grandma had a teapot just like this and my mom now has it.  I have always wanted it, but mom wasn't giving it up.  Any time I've ever see one at an estate sale it's priced too high.  The woman wanted $ 25.00 and I talked her down to $ 15.00.  I rarely spend that much on one item, but I splurged because I've wanted this for so long.
  • A blue Marshall Fields tea tin.  I'm a big tea drinker, my grandma always took me to Marshall Fields in downtown Chicago, and this tin said it was made specifically for the Chicago store.  Score!
  • Loved the huge glass Lance jar.  They had another matching one at the same sale and it had the glass lid and they wanted $ 45.00 for it.  There was no way I was paying that.  I was digging around on some shelves in the basement and found this one, without the lid, shoved back in a cabinet.  I offered $ 2.00 for it since it didn't have the matching lid and they took it.  I almost fell over.  I'm using it to hold my Keurig coffee pods, so not having the lid isn't an issue for me and so worth 2 bucks. 
  •  I was out in the garage and the man pointed at a small attached room and told me there was more stuff in there.  On the back wall, under a ton of cobwebs and behind a rake, was this bird picture.   I immediately recognized it as an Audubon print because I had done a review on Audubon's Aviary.  It was in pretty rough shape and the frame was horrid, but I love Audubon.  They were asking $ 8.00 and I got it for $ 5.00.

As soon as I got it home I carefully removed the paper backing, released the print, and cleaned it off.  Then I painted and distressed the frame, inserted the print and re-backed it.  It's now hanging in my office.  Love it!!

I have my nephew, Kyle, to thank for my Snoopy garbage can.  He happened upon it last week and grabbed it for me.  It's a little banged up and rusty, but hey, it's Snoopy and Charlie Brown.  Thanks Kyle!

The inside is pretty bad, even though I scrubbed it.  But like I said, it's still a vintage Snoopy garbage can!!

One thing I saw that I didn't buy was a nice chenille blanket.  Does anyone know how to tell if they are vintage or not?  This one was in really good condition, but since it was the first day of the sale, the owners wouldn't come down in price at all.  They wanted $ 15.00 and I wasn't about to pay that.  They told me to come back on Sunday and if it was still there, they said they would maybe lower the price.  I never went back.  What would you have done?

Linking up with...

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

I've Been Featured - Julie's Little House

Yesterday I got up and had a nice surprise - I found out that I was being featured on Julie's Little House as one of her favorite blogs.  I was just as flattered as could be.

Julie is doing a series where she's been introducing blogger's to some of her favorite blogs.  Isn't that a great idea?  I was surprised to see that I already follow some of the blogs she's recommending.  That means we've both got good taste, right?

Julie and I have become good blogging friends and I always enjoy reading about the things she's doing.  She's recently retired, and when she's not cooking up something mouth watering in the kitchen she enjoys knitting, takes beautiful pictures, likes to garden, and always has something interesting to say.  We share a mutual love of Pyrex and comfy porches.  Oh, she lives in Canada too.

My Photo

So please stop over there and say hi.  I think you'll start following her if you do because you'll quickly see why I like her so much.

Thanks for featuring me Julie.  That was so sweet and made my day!

Monday, July 21, 2014

Rocking U Riding Stables

One of our favorite things to do when we're at the lake is to go horseback riding and we like to drive to the Rocking U Riding Stable at LBL Wranglers Campground.  They offer either 30 minute or 90 minute guided rides and we've done both.  Personally I prefer the 90 minute rides only because I like to be on the horse as long as possible.  The trails are beautiful and wind in and out of dappled shade in the woods with glimpses of the lake here and there.

They have a large string of horses that are beautiful and healthy looking.  You can tell that they take good care of their horses.  The stable area is clean and the staff is friendly.  We had to cancel our trip at the last minute because of rain, and when I called, they were accommodating and quickly fit us into their schedule for the next day.  Everyone I spoke with either on the phone or in person was pleasant and out going.

Our guide was Miss Audrey, and she was as sweet as can be.  She and I spent the entire time talking and she went out of her way to be sure that all of us were comfortable with our horses.  Along the trail we came upon a large turtle in our path, and Audrey carefully picked him up and relocated him before we continued on.

I could honestly spend half the day riding the trails here.  We had a fantastic time out in the open air, with horses that were well behaved and easy to manage.

I'd like to thank Miss Audrey for being such a pleasant young lady.  She was cheerful and entertaining and I could tell how much she loves her job and the horses.  She is a real asset to Rocking U.  Thanks again Audrey!

Visit their FB page here.

If you're in the Kentucky Lake area and want to go horseback riding, I highly recommend Rocking U Stables.  From their website:

•  Trail Rides leave on the hour with the exception of 12-1pm
•  Rides are available for up to 15 riders at a time for ages 6 and up
•  Pony rides available for ages 6 and under
•  Riders under 12 must wear helmets, which are provided
•  Long pants and closed toe shoes are recommended
•  Cost is $18 for a 45 minute ride and $30 for a 90 minute ride
•  Rocking U accepts cash or traveler's checks
For more information or to make a reservation call 270 924-2211 .

Friday, July 18, 2014

My GPS Units for Geocaching

I was recently asked what GPS unit I use for geocaching and what I would recommend.  There are a lot of different units you can use and I think a lot of it depends on personal preference, what you want to do with your unit, and your budget.  I only have experience with the 2 units we own, so I'm only going to talk about those.

The first unit I bought was a Garmin Nuvi 1350.  I really like this little unit and it has proven to be very accurate for geocaching.  It's slim and easily fits into my pocket or back pack.
garmin nuvi 1350 garmin nuvi 1350
To use this unit for geocaching, all you have to do is plug it into your computer with a USB cable and go to any cache page.  Click on SEND TO MY GPS and it will send the location to the unit.  Disconnect the GPS from the computer,  turn the GPS on, go to MY FAVORITES and choose the GC number for that cache.  Highlight it and you're ready to navigate to the cache.  Very easy to use.  My husband likes to use it on the turn by turn feature, which is a good feature to use when driving to the geocache location.  But I prefer to use it in the Map feature.  When we get close to the cache location, my car icon turns into a small circle that moves closer to the cache.  I've found that this unit is accurate to within 15' - 20' of the cache on a clear day when the satellites are locking in.  That's close enough for me and we find more geocaches than not.
Here's a link to the Nuvi Spec page.  This unit generally retails for about   $ 100.00.  I've had this GPS for about 4 years now and it's been well worth the money.  It has an accessory that lets you attach it to the dashboard or the windshield and can be charged with a wall charger, a car charger or a USB port.  The only downside to this unit is that it doesn't run on external batteries - meaning that when the charge runs out, you have to physically plug it in to re-charge it.  I find that a full charge lasts about 2 hours.  This is a downfall when we're out in the woods and the charge runs out.  I wish they would make this unit so that it would also run off of AA batteries.  That would be sweet.  It would also be nice it they'd add a way to attach a lanyard so I could hook it onto my backpack or hang it around my neck.
The other GPS we use is an Oregon 450.  You're probably wondering why we need 2 GPS units.  Well, the Oregon makes it possible to do paperless caching.  That means we can down load most of the cache page information directly onto the GPS, as well as get directions and the map features.
The Oregon comes preloaded with a worldwide base map, it's very sturdy and it's waterproof.  I know, I dropped it in a stream.  It also has the ability to wirelessly share information with other Oregon devices.  This is a super feature if you're out caching and meet up with other cachers who have different caches loaded into their unit.  They can quickly transfer their information to you and vise-versa.  It's a handy feature that I've used many times.  You load your caches the same way, just by sending the file to your unit from the cache page.
The Oregon also lets you record if you found the cache or not.  The thing I really like about it is that it runs off of 2 AA batteries.  I use rechargeable batteries and when we go caching I always toss a spare pair in my back pack, just in case.  More often than not though, the batteries last all day.  They advertise 16 hour battery life, although in my experience it hasn't been that long.  But with my spare pair, I've always been fine.
Another great feature about this GPS is the tracking feature.  It keeps track of where you walked.  Case in point - I was out caching with some friends and one of them dropped their camera someplace in the woods.  We turned on the back track feature and easily retraced where we walked, eventually finding the camera several blocks back. 
The Oregon 450 is a bit more pricy - it generally retails for around $ 250.00.  It's also pretty accurate, usually within 10'.  Here's the spec page if you'd like to take a look.   It also comes with a carabiner clip so I always have it within easy reach - it hangs off my belt, backpack or on a lanyard around my neck.   I really like this unit and I'm happy I invested in it. 
So, which one do I recommend?  Well, I think it's a personal choice depending on what features you'd like.  When we began geocaching we started with the Nuvi because it was a low cost investment.   We found it accurate but didn't like the low charge life.  We also had to print out the geocache pages and take them with us when we went.  Once we became more experienced and realized that we'd be geocaching for awhile, we decided to invest in the Oregon, mainly because of the paperless caching feature.  It's nice to plan a trip, download about 100 geocaches and have all the information at my fingertips.
There are other versions of both the Nuvi and the Oregon out there to choose from.  Most of them work basically the same with varying features, so take the time to read up on them a little before you invest.
I do want to point out however that having a GPS isn't necessary for finding a geocache.  My sister found her first 100 geocaches without one, just by studying the cache pages and maps, reading past logs and looking at the hints.  But if you're going to be out in the woods or the wilderness, I highly advise getting a GPS.  Most GPS units will help you to locate the caches a little quicker, mainly because they generally help to narrow your search field.
(This post was an informational post based on my GPS units and experience. I wasn't asked to review these products nor was I compensated by either company to talk about the products.)


Thursday, July 17, 2014

Lonely by the Shore

Two years ago I did a post on a cache we did on Kentucky Lake called Goosepoopin'.  It was a nice size cache in a great location on an island in the middle of Kentucky Lake.  But the best thing about the cache turned out to be the people who placed it.  Crockett, Michelle and Michelle's Uncle Jack put out the cache together and when I emailed Crockett to say how much I enjoyed it, he ended up doing a guest post for me.

Imagine my surprise when last week I got an email from Michelle telling me that they were going to be visiting her uncle at the lake, and asking if I'd be available to meet?  Hell yeah!  Their timing couldn't have been better since we were still at the lake after the 4th of July holiday. 
We decided to take our pontoon boats and meet on the lake to grab the cache Lonely by the Shore.  At the appointed time we both pulled up within minutes of each other and scrambled to shore, making introductions.  Then we headed up the beach towards the cache location and Crockett made short work of finding it.  Here I am with Uncle Jack, Crockett and Chris.... 

And here we are again with Michelle joining us....

We sat under the tree and chatted like old friends for almost an hour, laughing and telling stories.  I've never had time fly by so quickly.  I've found in general that most geocachers are friendly and outgoing but these people here went above and beyond.  I told Michelle that I just felt an instant friendship with them.  Do you ever meet people and just know that you're going to get along?  That's how I felt.  I will be hard pressed to find a nicer bunch of people.

All too quickly our time grew to a close, but I have a feeling we'll try to do something together the next time we're all at the lake.  In the meantime, Michelle has promised that she's going to do a guest post for me sharing their recent trip to Hawaii and the geocaches they did there, as well as some of the fun things they did - like swim with sea turtles!  Michelle, I'm going to hold you to that post.
Geocaching is wonderful for the places it takes you and for the things you will see.  But for me, it's the people I meet and the friendships I've made that mean so much more.  Until we meet again - Happy caching!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Country Music Hall of Fame

I've been talking about our recent day trip to Nashville and if you missed the posts you can catch up here and here.   Today I want to share our visit to The Country Music Hall of Fame.  If you're a fan of country music, and I am, then no trip to Nashville would be complete without a stop here.  The Hall of Fame is extensive and you will easily spend several hours there. 


Here we are walking up the staircase to the Circle Room.  Plaques line the walls honoring Country Music legends.

Some of my favorites are....

The Carter Family is regarded as the first stars of country music and their influence in the genre reaches far and wide. 

Large glass cases hold displays on country artists old and new.  Each display typically has a signature outfit, photos, awards and musical instruments pertaining to that particular artist.

They have several walls covered with gold records.....

One of my favorite displays is the artist guitar section....

Have you ever seen Elvis Presley's gold Cadillac?  Very cool!

The selection of signs and posters was awesome.  I saw several that I'd love to have myself.

They have a nice exhibit on Reba ....

Chablis and I are big fans of Miranda Lambert and her display was the main reason that Chablis constantly bugged me requested we make the trip to Nashville.  She had to see the Miranda exhibit.

Chablis was in 7th heaven.....

For a close up and personal view of all things country, the Country Music Hall of Fame is worth the trip.  It's open daily except for three major holidays.  You are welcome to roam the museum at your leisure or for an additional charge you can do the audio tour.  Pricing for the museum depends upon which package you choose.  They also have a huge gift shop where I purchased an excellent book on the history of country music, as well as 2 CD's of country classics.

My all time favorite country music star is Johnny Cash.  Who is your favorite?

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