Big Bend National Park

4/30/21

Path Reopens

 

Adventure Location: Decatur, Al.

Adventure Date: 4-30-2021

Click the pic to enlarge.





Somebody had an exciting event recently.





On the way back to the Castle this morning we passed this new marker in the curve of the campground road. Apparently someone was not paying attention and cut the curve way to close. From the very fresh scrape marks on the concrete culvert we guess the trailer may have had some serious suspension damage. There is plenty of room on this curve for even a commercial tractor trailer to navigate the road. So there is no good excuse for an RV leaving those marks. At least it was not an OFM error this time.



Speaking of the Castle here is a better picture of our end of the row site.





We have no Rvs on three sides and on the left in the picture is a large toy hauler trailer with a seldom there owner. We seldom have a lot of folks near us but a good bit of vehicle traffic does come by during the day since the intersection to our right leads to about half of the campground sites. At night nothing seems to come or go. For a large full campground it is a good location.



A nice surprise greeted us on the morning walk this morning. A path that has been closed since we got here six weeks ago is open again and we took it this morning. It is a nice natural path to begin or end a longer walk. The other end from the campground intersects with four other walking paths that loop all over the place.



It is nice to have this path available again.



We got in a few hours of painting and messing around with art stuff today. Someday we will have something new to display. In the mean time the OFM is really enjoying the art efforts as a way of trying to have tooooo much fun.





4/29/21

Saguaro Blossoms

 

Adventure Location: Decatur, Al.

Adventure Date: 4-29-2021

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Things were going well today until an odd step let the OFM know it was to be a hip joint resting day. At least from anything more than walking. We got in two walks of a bit over a mile each and the hip still got better during the day.

Yesterday at the driving range at the golf course, the OFM was about halfway through his practice session when another old fellow came up onto the tee area and politely started hitting golf balls. After a few he went back to the steps to rest a bit.

The OFM was ready for a break so he eased over there to visit. It turns out the old fellow was coming up on to his 92nd birthday. He still plays 18 holes now and then when the weather is right for him.



On the first walk this morning, we noticed some new buds growing on a tree or tall shrub. We do not know the vegetation around us. These buds seem to have shown up on the branch since yesterday morning. We bet they will bloom soon.





A bit farther along several shrubs have been setting huge numbers of little pods in great quantity on their limbs. This morning they had started their KABLOOM with great vigor. There were hundreds of these small white blooms with thousands of pods yet left to flower. These have very fragrant flowers.





We have a painting to display tonight. A little touch up work was done and we are ready to show the world this one.





We hope you enjoy it.

We got in a couple of hours on the painting started yesterday. It is coming along very well and is also proving to be a great effort at trying to have tooooo much fun.

4/28/21

Started Painting the Latest Sketch

 

Adventure Location: Decatur, Al.

Adventure Date: 4-28-2021




Another really nice day in north Alabama was carefully enjoyed by the OFM Teams. Put in a little walking time in the early morning. The fragrances are waning in the area but still enough of them to run around in the morning sniffing them up ( and sneezing). It will soon be over for a while.



Research on coloring the new sketch took way longer than expected. There were dozens of pictures of Desert Poppies. AND the poppies come in a myriad of great colors for us to choose from.

Soon it was lunch time and we had a huge chicken stuffed baked potato. Well actually we had half of it for lunch and half for supper.



One the way home we noticed the golf course was not crowded so the OFM Golf Team insisted we put in another practice session. It started disasterly with golf balls scattering all over the place. We think the OFM even hit one over into Florida.



But the careful practice finally started to pay off and by the end of the session the golf balls were at least staying on the driving range. Being away from golf for a year and a half and a shoulder relearning how to swing a club means it is re-training time. But we are enjoying it.



Then it was on back to the Castle and what to do? A touch of research on the Internet on Desert Poppies and a color scheme was chosen. The pencils came out and the sketch started getting colored. Four hours later we had the first layer of colored pencil on the sketch. The OFM was ready for supper, so out came the baked potato remains to be microwaved. Then the eating began and it was great.



Somehow we failed to take any pictures today. However between the art, golf practice and a nice walk enjoying the flower fragrances we managed to make a good run at trying to have tooooo much fun.





4/27/21

A Sketch

 

Adventure Location: Decatur, Al.

Adventure Date: 4-27-2021

Click the pic to enlarge.



Another beautiful day greeted the OFM Teams today and we took some advantage of it. The OFM legs were not acting really just right but we headed out to get in what walking we could. It went well for the most part. A few nice photos were taken. All it all it was about 3.3 miles and one tree climb over.





At one spot late in the walk we came to a place where several smaller trees and the one in the picture had recently fallen. From the looks of things the trail crew had already chopped up a couple of trees and moved them out of the way. There was this big one and another smaller one still blocking the trail. The OFM climbed over the bigger tree and headed on with the walking.

While cleaning up files on the computer we found an interesting picture we took a couple of days ago.



We have no idea what this is called but it was growing on a large shrub type of growth. The long white things were growing from a nub on the branch. Are they flowers? We have no idea but they were interesting anyway.



Just for JudithK here is the sketch that is the beginning of the next painting.





We hope to get busy and have it finished in the next month or so. Of course that is not a promise, just a hope.

A lot of art learning needs to be done via the Internet on some new techniques we want the OFM to try out. It will definitely be a great way of trying to have tooooo much fun.

4/26/21

Sudden Changes

 

Adventure Location: Decatur, Al.

Adventure Date: 4-26-2021

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Apparently all was well with the OFM body this morning. We hit the Walmart Neighborhood Market with vigor this morning early. Several nice food staples followed us home. On the way home we passed the golf course and it was not busy. Hmmm



Now to backtrack a bit. In early March of 2020 the OFM fell while fueling Sierra on the way to Del Rio. We lost all meaningful use of his left arm for a few weeks. However healing and physical training has been bringing that arm back to usefulness. No full power golf swings and only a few low power swings have been allowed since then. The OFM decided it was time to check out the arm situation at the golf driving range. So here is what greeted us.





We hit at full power for about 60 balls of practice. As you might guess he hit a good many really bad shots, but as the session went on along things definitely improved.



It looks like it is time to start golf practice as part of the rehab effort on the left arm. A good practice session is what he needs a few more times. Tomorrow's shoulder feelings will tell the real story but we are really hoping to be able to play golf again. We are too old and decrepit to worry about score any more, just having great fun is the goal.



Now it was lunch time and that was a pulled pork sandwich with a side of Cole slaw and a freshly drawn sweet tea. And it was really good.



Then on the way home the OFM decided to stop at Hobby Lobby and check some things he was curious about. Yep he checked them out BUT at the same time he hit on some great ideas for his art efforts. An adult coloring book named Desert Blooms caught his attention.





There are some nice sketches in it. The sketches are on one side of the page and the back side is blank. The page is perforated along the spine area so it can be removed for framing. The paper feels like good quality art paper.




But our idea goes another way also, using a camera, hand sketching and computer printer. The considerations include Neocolor II water soluble crayons, watercolor tubes of paint, colored pencils of two types and oil pastels. The OFM Art world suddenly exploded with new possibilities.



Then we spotted some half price on sale watercolor paper in pad form and the OFM mind went into a tizzy of considering opportunities.





Now we suddenly today have several months of things to take care of our desire of trying to have tooooo much fun.

4/25/21

Short Walk

 

Adventure Location: Decatur, Al.

Adventure Date: 4-25-2021


Something he ate took over the OFM's body for most of the day today. A short walk to take a picture or two was very short and soon over. So we stuck close to the needed equipment and worked on a new painting. It was a pretty good thing to do on a day like today for trying to have tooooo much fun.

4/24/21

Frogs

 

Adventure Location: Decatur, Al.

Adventure Date: 4-24-2021

Click the pic to enlarge.



The day was very nice in spite of occasional light rain splatters. The only little bit of exercise we got was a walk past the golf course and back to the Castle. It was only 1.4 miles and a pleasant stroll. The impending occasional rains made the Teams not want to stray far from the Castle.



A couple of neat things happened on the walk. We have been walking this path for at least eight years on a regular basis and not noticed the impending incident.




This old tree is leaning out toward the walking path and four lane road. From the looks of it today, a good wind storm will sent it to the ground. With the OFM luck he will be walking past when the tree falls and not be able to get the camera in action fast enough.



Speaking of pictures not happening, we have been trying for a few years to get a picture of the frogs in the drainage we cross when walking this path. Today we actually got a picture of each of the elusive frogs. They usually wait until the OFM lifts the camera to his eye and them leap into the water the instant before the shutter clicks.



Today they posed with great pleasure for us to get a few shots of each of them. Finally, here are the Golf Course Frogs.






Since we were inside the Castle a lot today, we spent a lot of time coloring a painting AND finished it.





This one was inspired by a photo we took a few years ago. We hope you enjoy it.


It has been a nice day of trying to have tooooo much fun.

4/23/21

New Toys

 

Adventure Location: Decatur, Al.

Adventure Date: 4-23-2021

Click the pic to enlarge.



It has been a very easy day. The morning walk was lots of flower pictures and this one was the best one.



Most of the day was spent working on a painting being done in colored pencil. While working on the painting we were also waiting for the FedEx delivery of a small package of art toys. They arrived in good shape. Upon a bit of a try out they proved to be excellent colored pencils. They are the Faber-Castle Polychromos Colored Pencils.



Some days are not exciting but when they include a great nap, it is a great day of trying to have too much fun.











4/22/21

Long Walk

 

Adventure Location: Decatur, Al.

Adventure Date: 4-22-2021

Click the pic to enlarge.



It was in general a wonderful day. The OFM managed to get upright and breathing so the day started on a good path. On the walking path this morning the OFM was doing very well so we cut over to the longer trail that we had not been on for a good while. We found a few flowers and other pictures begging to be taken. Three of them are coming up.



As usual the OFM over estimated his walking distance ability and we finished the walk at a slow pace caused my some joint soreness. But we did get in five good miles and one slow mile for a total on the walk of just over six miles. Of course the rest of the day he was claiming he was recuperating from over doing it instead of just plain lazy.



Here is a red flower we found hiding in the bushes. We have forgotten the name of it but they are pretty little flowers. This one was about four inches tall.





And on along the trail we went. The morning was nice and cool and dry. The trail runs right next to Wheeler Lake and its creeks and swamps.

Speaking of swamps we got this next picture at a swamp inside Point Mallard Park. Everything you see in the next picture is reflected image from the water. It was a calm day for sure. We were really surprised the picture came out as well as it did considering the huffing and puffing the OFM was doing.





In one area of the walk there was a really big Kabloom of flowers. It is another flower we have no idea the name it goes by. We just called it pretty white flower.





A very nice long nap happened mid-afternoon by accident. The OFM laid down to stretch his back that was cramping a bit and poof it was an hour later when his eyes opened. We certainly like those unannounced naps. They are extra relaxing.

Ok that is enough blabber fingering as Al calls it on his blog about the Bayfield Bunch. If you want some good reading go check it out at The Bayfield Bunch.com . Some times they do a great job of trying to have tooooo much fun.



4/21/21

Big Black Bird

 

Adventure Location: Decatur, Al.

Adventure Date: 4-21-2021

Click the pic to enlarge.



When we got to the stores today, they were out of every item we went to purchase. Therefore we came home still wanting a few items we will have to check on later Thursday. Monday and Thursday are the main restocking days around Decatur.



Next on the agenda was to follow up on a couple of comments by blog commentators about blood clots. On careful reading a couple of government articles on blood clots and properly diagnosing them, we found that the OFM did have one maybe symptom and none of the other ten or so symptoms talked about. We do appreciate the comments since we had never read up on blood clots before and they are very lethal if ignored. Thank you goes out to the commentators for helping us.



A lot of the cold day was spent inside coloring on some previously completed paintings. The OFM has been learning a lot so we went back to three paintings and did some serious improvements on them.



On a short cold walk this afternoon, we saw a large black bird WAY up in a tree flapping it wings like it was caught in some fishing line. We stared at it for a while and finally used the camera to take a long distance zoom of the black bird up in the top of that tree.




We were glad to find that it was actually a black plastic bag caught in the limbs of the tree.



On the same walk we passed by the planter at the entrance to the golf course. In the planter is a great example of the KABLOOM word we used in the blog a bit ago.




KABLOOM FLOWERS



Tonight there is a frost warning for the area. Some folks have some vegetable gardens just coming out of the ground. They may have a set back. With a little luck this will be the last cold morning until late October.



Trying to decide if the OFM toes need a dose of Padre Island beach sand between them in May is going to be a good way of trying to have tooooo much fun.





4/20/21

Big Morning Surprise

 

Adventure Location: Decatur, Al.

Adventure Date: 4-20-2021

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A big surprise awaited the OFM when he exited the bed this morning. But some background is in order. About a week ago he had a severe pain in his left leg inner thigh that pretty well shut him down for a few days. He could not recall doing anything to hurt himself. He just woke up one morning barely able to get the left leg to work. Ibuprofen did very little to help. But by massage and careful moving around it slowly got better.



Yesterday it seemed everything was ok again. Then when he got out of bed this morning and nothing hurt he figured he was healed. So while getting ready for a morning shower, he was astounded to find a massive bruise on the inside and back of his left thigh.



There was not a bit of pain or even a little soreness but we can easily tell where the trouble from the week before had been. Apparently something had happened deep in the leg and the Teams still cannot recall any injury to cause this bruise. At least it is not painful anymore and is likely still healing. But it was definitely a big surprise for first thing in the morning.



OK now for some good news on the art scene. The OFM has been using his computer screen for a tracing pad and it is not a good tracing pad. We accidentally noticed a good pad was on sale through Amazon. We verified the item was the right item. We re-verified the price was about half off. So the credit card was squeezed harder and the item was ordered. It was about $32 including shipping. It arrived today and got a check out done on it. It works great.





This will give the OFM Art Team a major help in prepping art efforts for new paintings.



We have a little cool spell hitting here starting tomorrow. We hope it will cause more flower activity in the area. We are only five days behind on editing all the current flower pictures now so we need some more fresh pictures, right?

As the blog tag line says, DON'T WAIT, DO IT NOW, so get out and try to have tooooo much fun.

4/19/21

Interior Remodeling Begins

 

Adventure Location: Decatur, Al.

Adventure Date: 4-19-2021

Click the pic to enlarge.

Today became the day we reworked parts of the Castle. The object was to put some of the OFM art work out for display. So a trip to the store for some cheap picture frames and a few other items like green onions for the scrambled eggs we get to eat once in a while.



Back at the Castle we got out all the paintings and decided which ones would go on display in the first iteration of the art efforts. Then we spent a lot of time trying arrangements on the two walls we have chosen for the first effort. That actually took a couple of hours while the OFM mixed up how and where the paintings would be displayed to his best liking. Late in the afternoon we finally got to an agreement on the display.

Hanging started with careful measurements to get all the spacings to the correct style for the displays. It was surprisingly a longer time that we thought it would be at first.



The wall between the bedroom and the living room was the first completed. We even changed the inside thermometer to a small less conspicuous model. Our hope is to find a more decorative model in the future to occupy that space.





There were lots more options on display arrangements on the dinette wall, plus the thermostat was in the way. Nope we did not consider even for a fraction of a second to relocate the thermostat. So we spent over an hour trying different arrangements and size of frames to use for the wall arrangement. Then it took a long time to layout the drill holes in the wall for the mounting screws.



Why mounting with screws? Because the Castle is a trailer that boondocks in sometimes rough areas. Anything less that screwed solidly to the wall would result in damage to the picture and Castle as we navigate the sub-marginal “roads” we sometimes have to take. Parts of I-20 are definitely sub-marginal in some cities.

Here is the final arrangement for now. The paintings are mounted on the wall between the dining room and the bathroom.





Over all we are quite content with the arrangements that were accomplished in our little Castle. Please remember we only have 148 SF to work with for this and all the future changes. As far as the OFM is concerned, making the home nicer is a great way of trying to have tooooo much fun.

4/18/21

A Small Swamp

 

Adventure Location: Decatur, Al.

Adventure Date: 4-18-2021

Click the pic to enlarge.

A few days ago the OFM Walking Team took a short side trip to a small swamp a short ways from the main trail. We had not been there before so it was a new adventure for us.



It was only a couple of hundred yards down the trail to get to the swamp. It is only a little over an acre it seems like, but it was very picturesque. The day was cool and the bugs were not flying around and no major swamp critters tried to eat us.



As we entered the area this was the view into the swamp area.




Then several yards later we took another really nice view of the water and vegetation. We feel it is a very pretty swamp.





Then several yards on along we got to the end of the path. A large piece of electrical equipment was there and was the reason for the nice driveway we used to access the swamp. Here is the end of the path view.



After enjoying the path end for a few minutes we eased our way out of the area to continue the morning walk. It was a great way of starting a day of trying to have tooooo much fun.










4/17/21

Displaying Paintings

 

Adventure Location: Decatur, Al.

Adventure Date: 4-16-2021

Click the pic to enlarge.

A sore ankle kept us from a long walk today, but we did several short walks around the park and in stores as we worked on a new important project. Since we extended our time here, we now have four weeks to work on projects.



Over the last few months we have disposed of several dozen paintings that were bad or just not finished because they were not working out. Our current guess is that the number of them are in the range of 75. Then this morning something, and we do not recall what, caused us to sort through the fifty or so paintings that we still have. They were spread out on the kitchen table to sort into something manageable.





After a little culling and lots of thinking, the OFM finally realized he would no longer be embarrassed if some of his work was displayed in the Castle. So that little project got started. Safely storing paintings in the Castle has always be a bit of a problem.



A good bit of time was spent trying out the paintings in one place or another. One place that seems to be pretty good is above the rear dinette seat. Here is what a preliminary arrangement looks like.





We have the wall behind the sofa that will handle about 3-4 more paintings for display. And suddenly it was 1800 and supper time. Supper tonight is a BBQ-ed chicken breast sandwich and a serving of baked beans. Lawler's serves good chicken in our opinion.



Tomorrow we hope to finish the dinette wall paintings installation. Then we can swap out paintings now and then to show the OFM Art Team efforts to visitors.



Hopefully tomorrow we can find something for trying to have tooooo much fun.













4/16/21

Kabloom

 

Adventure Location: Decatur, Al.

Adventure Date: 4-16-2021

Click the pic to enlarge.

The OFM Teams had a nice and interesting walk late this morning after it had warmed up a bit from the cool night. The flower explosion is in full kabloom. Lots of flowers posed for pictures. We are still editing the last four days of flower pictures.

At some point in the walk we found some interesting boards with all sorts of images in them. We chose this set of EVIL EYES to show the world.





They were pretty large and almost glowed. We would hate to have them glowing at us in the dark.



We still have mail tied up in the “corona virus” excuse with the USPS so the OFM decided to pay for another month. The flower bloom should be good for at least another two weeks, so be ready for lots of flower pics.



For some silly reason the idea of a large pot of stoup hit the OFM between the eyes. A couple of seconds later the ingredients were clear in his mind. So we grabbed the last of the brown rice and put it to cooking. The leafy ends of the celery bunch were trimmed off and chopped to go into the stoup. A can of no salt added navy beans fell into the pot. Then a double handful of chopped pre-cooked chicken jumped into the mix. Some Wylers chicken flavoring wiggled its way in. And to top it all off about eight long green onions tops and all were mutilated into pieces and added.



This was all cooked for a few minutes then the minced garlic and fresh ground black pepper was added.







Now we did the simmer thing for about ten minutes and decided that it wanted to be thicker. So out came the package of powdered potato with seasoning to sprinkle some into the food to thicken the delicious food.

OOPS



The OFM slipped up and dumped tooooo much of the potato into the pot and it turned into flavored and adulterated mashed potatoes. So more water was added until we had Stoup and the pot was about to overflow.



A quick taste resulted in a big WOW that is good. So the accident turned into a wonderful FIVE meals worth of stoup.





Four meals worth is freezing in the freezer and the fifth is sitting in the refrigerator aging to be a great lunch tomorrow after a morning of trying to have tooooo much fun..