CROWN OF THORNS

6/30/21

Danger On The Trail

 

Adventure Location: Decatur, Al.

Adventure Date: 6-30-2021



First thing to mention tonight is the stoup that was made yesterday was supper tonight. It fit the OFM taste buds perfectly. It is light flavored with a mingling of gentle flavors. We really enjoyed it.



The morning got an early start and we were out the door for the daily walk before 0730. It was not hot (or cool) and the wind did not exist but the humidity was high as usual. For a change the OFM did not have a lot of joint pains so we stepped up the pace a bit to get the walk a bit more aerobic than usual. We don't get a chance to do that very often.



On across the parking lots at the water park and down onto the trail along the creek we moved. It was feeling good to have some speed up for a change from nursing one thing or another. The foliage has gotten thick so the humidity is thick. On top of that the gentle breeze quit about ten minutes into the walk. As we closed in on the one mile marker, the OFM suddenly felt dizzy and nauseated.



EEEERRRRRk and lean on a tree. A quick examination revealed the OFM was enjoying the BRISK walk so much he forgot to pay attention he was no longer a kid of only 65 anymore. He wasn't sweating. Since he has had several heat exhaustion events and three heat strokes, he knows what to watch for and failed.



After a couple of minutes of collecting evidence he realized his symptoms were perfect for heat troubles to hit. No breeze, moderately high heat, vigorous exercise and not paying attention to his body (not sweating) told him all he needed to know. Back off and head slowly back to the Castle.


So the Meanderthall fellow took over getting us back home. The soccer field rest room was open so we stopped in there to get more water inside the OFM and rest in the shade a few minutes.

The great news is the trouble was caught soon enough that by the time we got back to the Castle the OFM was doing much better. HOWEVER, the OFM wisely called it a recuperation day and stuck to it. We were amazed he had enough sense to take care of himself.

For the rest of the day the only time we were out of the A/C was going from Sierra to Lawlers BBQ for lunch and Walmart for some repair stuff.

It is surprising but the OFM is feeling just fine tonight, BUT tomorrow's walk will be taken VERY carefully. The OFM recalls the day of his third heat stroke about 20 years ago, that the Doctor got right in his face and told the OFM “You should not have lived through this third stroke. The next one will most likely kill you.”

We have no interest on testing the validity of that statement. It could ruin a good day of trying to have tooooo much fun.

6/29/21

Bee Butt

 

Adventure Location: Decatur, Al.

Adventure Date: 6-29-2021

Click the pic to enlarge.

The authorities that be have started to setting out the traffic control cones etc. for the big July 4 events at the water park. By Friday they will have all the traffic under control for the event. They are good at it. Personally the Teams will be really glad when the mess is over.

The photos are not many these days. It is the summer doldrums pictures wise but we still keep on trying. We caught a bumble bee actively working on a flower blossom and got this great picture of a bee butt.





It came to the OFM that we had the ingredients for some great stoup if he got off it and got busy. Sure enough it was excellent. The ingredients list has brown rice, chopped chicken, okra, onions, broccoli, cracked black pepper, minced garlic and a couple of left over crackers crumbled into it.



Heat to boiling, simmer seven minutes and allow to cool before moving it to one meal size containers. We got five meals out of it. Yep it is good. If the OFM did baking he would serve it with fresh baked cornbread and smile all the way to a nap afterward. Now that sounds like a great way of trying to have tooooo much fun.

6/28/21

Running Late Tonight

 

Adventure Location: Decatur, Al.

Adventure Date: 6-28-2021



It has been an interesting day and we are really late starting the blog tonight, so it will be short.

Walking was still limited but much better and we still have no idea what caused the difficulty. But it is healing fast so that is good.



While resting in the Castle we realized we got here March 3 of this year. That makes us here for about four months already. It has been a good four months but the tires are getting very itchy to roll somewhere. However it will be after August 15 before we roll anywhere. So lots can happen before then.



For some reason while working on a travel itinerary for the next rolling time, the thought of a big pot of stoup decided to sound good. Right now we are sure it will have okra in it. By the time we finish at the store in the morning it will have more than okra you can be sure. We have some cooked chicken breasts that need a home that might jump into the pot too.



The good news is that the OFM got in a short but brisk walk this evening so the healing is continuing. Being healed will be a good step toward having tooooo much fun soon.





6/27/21

STOP! They Hollered

 

Adventure Location: Decatur, Al.

Adventure Date: 6-27-2021

Click on the pic to enlarge.



The morning started well and soon the Teams were out for the walk of the day. But it quickly showed that it was not to be. A few hundred feet from the Castle the right hip said STOP. We did not stop but slowed a bit to let the hip warm up. Very soon both knees and the left hip said in no uncertain terms STOP $#&*#@$%^. So we did. The OFM examined the situation and decided that it was a bit too hot already anyway, so he took us back to the Castle and Ibuprofen.



After a bit more rest, we headed to the local Walmart Neighborhood Market to replenish some of the vegetables for meals.



Returning home it was definitely resting time the rest of the day. We read, studied and piddled with all sorts of stuff while the OFM body rested gently until supper time. We hit up the local Jack's and headed back home. The appendages had quit having trouble after supper so we tried again for a walk.



We started gently and slowly increased the pace until we were moving at normal speed. When we dipped down to the creek front trail this sunset picture required taking.





We continued on the rest of the short 2.5 mile path at the normal pace. There was not trouble from the hips etc. at all. We are hoping that is a very good sign for tomorrow.





On the way back we did get a nice picture of a spot on the creek as the light was fast fading away. We made it back to the Castle with a few minutes of twilight to spare.

A surprising thing was that today we did a lot of catch-up things around the Castle and on the computer. When we got to writing the blog tonight, the OFM realized that it had actually been a decent day of trying to have tooooo much fun.





6/26/21

More Fun

 

Adventure Location: Decatur, Al.

Adventure Date: 6-26-2021

Click on the pic to enlarge.



We got in a nice few miles of walking today. Per the Internet sources we have the OFM doing about 3 times as much walking as he needs. But he is still 50 pounds overweight so we will keep on pushing him.



Most of the day was mild but frustrating since an order tracking has not made any sense at all. BUT the order suddenly showed up at the office while it was still in Atlanta Georgia and some little town in Indiana. But it was in good shape and we were happy to get it. Here is what it was.





We wasted no time integrating them with the other pencils we have already in service. The OFM even skipped the swatch charting and started right in on a small painting with the new pencils to see how they performed. They perform very well. About six hours later we had this little jewel finished up and ready for photography.





We are very satisfied with the product and especially the cheaper price. You can order them directly from Arteza on line. When they arrive you will be able to expand the ways you will have of trying to have tooooo much fun.

6/25/21

Creek Trail Opened!

 

Adventure Location: Decatur, Al.

Adventure Date: 6-25-2021

Click on the pic to enlarge.



The gravel walking trail was opened today. So we meandered along and took a few pictures of the “mother nature modifications” and the clean-up. Apparently the entrance we thought was vandalized was actually the one used to get the gravel trucks into the trail for the resurfacing. All the damaged trail areas had new leveled gravel on them. The entrance that was a mess yesterday was nicely fixed up and ready for use.





We accidentally happened to enter the complex trail system at the junction with the golf course loop road that had also been closed. All of the trail system is open again just in time for July 4 hordes. Here is that entry point with all the blockading gone.





Each damaged area of the trail along the creek had the damaged vegetation moved to the side of the trail. The trail surface was smoothed and prepped. Then a new layer of gravel was put on top and leveled very well. All of the damaged sections the OFM Teams covered today were in great shape now. Here is a few pictures from our walk on this short section of trail.











When we finished the trail, a fellow coming from the far end about 3 miles away told us that it was completed being repaired all the way to the far end parking lot. It will be nice to have the shaded trail along Flint Creek open for exercise again. We find it a good place for trying to have tooooo much fun.

6/24/21

Brute Force

 

Adventure Location: Decatur, Al.

Adventure Date: 6-24-2021

Click on the pic to enlarge.



It seems somebody is getting tired of the walking trail along the water being shut down and no work happening. When we came past the blocked opening to the trail, the guard posts had been busted off and were laying around with their chains still attached.





Whatever was used was strong and powerful to just snap eight inch posts off like that. We did not look farther down the trail to see if more damage had been done.



We had continued only a little ways down the trail when a biker came by and mentioned the large snake ahead that she had nearly run over. By the time we made it on down the trail to the right spot, the snake was heading for the slough water. It was about four feet long and a familiar to the OFM water snake that is good for the area. They do get bigger sometimes but this one was friendly and we said our hellos and howdys and it went on looking for breakfast and the Teams went on the nest twenty feet and turned around at the blocked entrance to another trail branch.



The next mile or so was a lot less exciting but when we came out of the north end of the camp ground we noticed the berries along the bar ditch were starting to ripen and look good. Maybe we might have to gather a few of them soon.



Somewhere in the area we passed a Passion Flower in bloom and grabbed a picture of it because they are pretty. However we got a surprise when we dumped the card into the computer. There was a CRITTER on the flower that we missed when taking the picture. Now we have a picture with EXTRA interest in it.



By now we were a bit over two miles and headed back to the Castle for clean up and cool down.

For most of the afternoon we did a lot of thinking about our future travels and adventures STAYING WITHIN the limitations of the OFM's safe physical limits. He is about to turn 75 and it shows. We concluded that with proper safety procedures he only has about 37 years of good adventures left in him before we have to back off any more. So once again the goal has been set at trying to have TOOOOO MUCH FUN.







6/23/21

A Choice Was Made!

 

Adventure Location: Decatur, Al.

Adventure Date: 6-23-2021



About a week ago the OFM finally made a command decision. After a few years of trying out all sorts of art mediums for his paintings, it was time to choose one style and concentrate on learning how to use it as well as he can.

So with that in mind we did a VERY deliberate effort that unpacked every cabinet and box in the Castle and sorted out ALL the art supplies that did not fit into the planned studies. And it was a significant package.



The items that would no longer be worked with for the foreseeable future were carefully packed and delivered to the grand kids for their future uses as great artists. They now have enough artist grade supplies to last a few years we think. If either one of them or both enjoys the stuff it will be called a fantastic success.



So what was the choice made. The OFM went back to his manual drafting roots of the ancient times. Our medium for the foreseeable future will circle around colored pencils and watercolor paints. For the moment watercolor pencils will not be involved.



We think that not having the distraction of all the options of the other mediums will let him better improve with the chosen medium and learn more quickly. Storage will be a lot easier too. Hopefully that will mean that the art effort will be even better for trying to have tooooo much fun.



6/22/21

Baked Potato Day

 

Adventure Location: Decatur, Al.

Adventure Date: 6-22-2021




The day was gorgeous when we hit the outdoors. First the OFM did his 20 arm lifts with the 15 pound weights. Then we had a very nice brisk two plus miles of walking. The cool weather this morning sure felt great.



During that walk we took three pictures of scenes that might get integrated into a colored pencil painting. The OFM is ready to get rolling on some nice picture work again.



Lunch (and supper) was a Lawlers BBQ baked potato and it was great. The OFM uses the red sauce for his potato dressing. And then it was back to the Castle to address the bi- yearly check up on expenses.



Due to a Topsy-turvy previous six months it took a good bit of time to make sure our expenses and income was getting along with each other properly. A few years ago while we did that chore yearly we had a scare about our money situation. It was an immediate change in policy to check twice as often to keep us in good shape with not a hint of a major surprise. Since then it seems that every six months keeps things in good control and allows for variances as “surprises” happen.



It is finishing up this evening as a nice day of trying to have tooooo much gentle fun.







6/21/21

Forest Devastation

 

Adventure Location: Decatur, Al.

Adventure Date: 6-21-2021

Click the pic to enlarge.



Thunder storms started in mid-afternoon and are still here getting everything wet. But before they came in we got the OFM out for a good long walk that he really needed to get loosened up from grandkid day yesterday.

After the walk is was a very ordinary day of nothing special until the OFM decided to take a stroll just to work some more soreness out of his joints and muscles. As we strolled over by the opening to the main river trail that has been closed since the little storm a few days ago, we noticed the yellow barrier tape was gone. Ok let us go see what there is to see.



It wasn't far. Just around the first bend when the destruction of forest had happened. Or at least one of the places if there are others. There had been heavy equipment in here working from the looks of the tracks all over the place. Our immediate decision was that someone unauthorized had removed the barrier tape and we really were not supposed to be in there and be safe yet. So we grabbed three pictures of the carnage and got on out.

Here is the first bit of damage we found.





Then just around a bend was this larger bunch of forest damage.




Then down the trail about fifty feet was this third pile of damage.





We decided we had messed around in there long enough and headed on back out. We made it without getting in trouble. We have no idea how much more damage the wind storm caused but the OFM Teams would really like to have the main walking trail back in safe use again.



After supper tonight the OFM worked on getting his golf clubs all set up for playing golf again. When he played a couple of weeks ago it turned out to be a nice time as long as he treated it as a recreation and not therapeutic exercise. And we verified the he is definitely not walking the courses again even with a pull cart. We need to pound his head that at three quarters of a century old he is not suddenly going to the tour players so he can beat them regularly. So relax and enjoy the game with what your can do now days. Golf for pleasure is still a great way of trying to have tooooo much fun.



6/20/21

Fun Maximized

 

Adventure Location: Huntsville, Al.

Adventure Date: 6-20-2021

Click the pic to enlarge.



My goodness this was a great day for the OFM. We hit the grands house to a wonderful greeting and the fun started and lasted until we left to head to the Castle and pass out from worn out.



Everyone was ready for a bit of holiday fun. The grands were keyed up and their parents were ready to visit also. The OFM's son and The OFM went out to pickup lunch and got a bit of nice private time to visit before we got back home with the food. And it was great food from Terranova's in Huntsville Alabama.



Lots of things went on but a highlight of the afternoon was the blackberry picking on their three blackberry vines in the back yard. The OFM helped plant them a few years ago and the yield is incredible.



This is four quarts of black berries and there is at least that many more on the vines waiting for more action.

When we left the oven was being warmed in preparation for a blackberry concoction of berry something. We have to tell you that bunch today did a wonderful job of trying to have tooooooooooooooooooo much fun.



6/19/21

Pork Chop Stoup

 

Adventure Location: Decatur, Al.

Adventure Date: 6-19-2021

Click the pic to enlarge.



Today was get ready for a grand kids visit tomorrow day. So we hit the grocery store for a bag of snacks and some bananas for the Castle. $37 later we left the grocery store happy and carefree-------- and a heavier credit card.

Back home we got out for a nice 2 miler of a walk with extreme light rain misting as the tropical storm heads our way. Tonight it is a moderate drizzle and is supposed to be moved on by tomorrow. Contrary to a lot of the west we have been having plenty of rain in this area.

Along about 1100 the OFM decided it was time to use up some of the refrigerator supplies so here we come stoup.

3 cubed boneless pork chops already cooked

1 coarse chopped carrot

1 can rinsed whole kernal corn

1 can of baked beans

A large chunk of chopped onion

1 blob of powdered flavored potato mix

Garlic powder to please

Fresh ground black pepper to please

Big dose of parsley flakes

Enough water to barely cover the mixture

The meat is already cooked so the mix was brought to a boil and simmered for fifteen minutes and allowed to cool for ten minutes. Good grief it is good.





After lunch the OFM was able to store three more individual meals in the refrigerator for next week.

About this time is when the drizzling rain started and is continuing now at 2000 hours.

We got in about two hours of coloring when a migraine hit and the art effort was shut down and ibuprofen taken. Horizontal the OFM went and slept for a couple of hours. He awoke just in time to go down and get a chicken fingers meal at Jacks for supper and head back to write tonight's blog.

It was a decent day but tomorrow will be a GREAT grandkids day of trying to have tooooo much fun.



6/18/21

Grapes and Berries

 

Adventure Location: Decatur, Al.

Adventure Date: 6-18-2021

Click the pic to enlarge.



We had three nice walks this great day. On the first one we went near a bunch of wild growth between the campground and the golf course. Our goal was to check on the fruit growing there.

The blackberries seemed to be doing well and making good progress toward delicious.





The grapes are still to small to tell how they are doing but the color and size seems to be right for a good crop this year.





The brush along the walkway was trimmed a couple of days ago so we have a good chance to get some decent crop yields. Last year the trim job was done right as the fruits were ready to pick, so we got very few. We hope that we get some better timing this year.



For our major excitement today we went to Walmart with a small short list of things to buy. One item was another lamp to help light the painting surface more evenly. We are hoping that that will help the OFM to do better with the paintings.



The other was some non-slip material to fit under the easel base so it would not slide as easily while the OFM is coloring/painting on the paintings. We hope that helps. When we get it assembled we will feature it in this blog for your amusement.



After cleaning out some no longer needed items from the cabinets it is obvious that a new organization is needed. It should result with a cabinet or two with nothing in them. When you get decrepit enough to get rid of toys, then you start having extra space. The big difference we do not plan to fill them again. We are wondering what changes that might make to our lifestyle. Only time will tell. One thing for sure, it will all lead to trying to have tooooo much fun.








6/17/21

Another Fallen Tree

 

Adventure Location: Decatur, Al.

Adventure Date: 6-17-2021

Click the pic to enlarge.



Another good walk this morning with a couple of items to report. At one spot we pass the slough going into the campground.
Sometimes it is a nice area. Sometimes not so nice. This morning it was a serene reflection swamp. It was also the site of frogs croaking and birds cheerfully chirping. Just a nice moment s pause during the walk.



On another little walk around, a damaged tree from the storm of a couple of days ago was noticed. The OFM does not normally walk this loop so it was new to him.



Apparently it did not hit an RV when it came down. That was good.



Other than a couple of nice walks the Teams spent the day on art efforts since it was pretty hot outside. We worked with the watercolor pencils for a couple of hours with very little success. Our main plan for the watercolors is as an under painting for colored pencil art.



Then suddenly the OFM remembered the new colored pencil set that came in a couple of days ago. OK, now it is time to try them out. So we got them out and made up swatch cards for them. Then we set to work on the watercolor pencil painting to convert it to colored pencil and things started coming together well. Here is a pic of the workstation we use with the new colored pencils so you will know what we are working with.



So far it is going very well and we hope to have the picture finished within a month. In the meantime everyone try to have tooooo much fun.



6/16/21

Nice Doggie

 

Adventure Location: Decatur, Al.

Adventure Date: 6-16-2021

Click the pic to enlarge.



A mild day was our wake up experience. It was cool enough for a nice long walk along the creek. We ran into some nice folks to visit during the walk. It was a very nice experience.



Not a lot is happening these days. Most of the folks are waiting on the Fourth of July crazy weekend and all their visitors they expect to show up for the festivities ( drunk fest).



While on a short just limbering up stroll by the soccer field we noticed that the Crape Myrtle plants were in to heavy baby production. They have not yet bloomed this year but they are sure having babies.





In the later afternoon the OFM took his golf clubs down to the public area that serves as a general golf ball whacking area.





It is a great spot to practice to practice hitting golf balls from taller grass from where the OFM plays a lot of shots. In golf it is called “the rough”. We started with two practice balls and end with seven. People lose balls in the two inch high grass very often.

And finally here is a neighbors dog. When you pet it, the dog howls in a horrible tone.





And that is it for a nice day of trying to have tooooo much fun.



6/15/21

Helping A Neighbor

 

Adventure Location: Decatur, Al.

Adventure Date: 6-15-2021

Click the pic to enlarge.



An early morning walk was nice when in the shade of the trees and hot otherwise. We got in a nice mile and a half and had to get back to the Castle for an errand to help a neighbor single guy. He needed transport to and from the medical facility to have a colonoscopy done.

The only picture we have for tonight is a nice picture of a piece of the golf course.



The trail barriers were still in place when we came to them this morning. That is the main reason for the shorter walk. Hopefully the barriers will be gone tomorrow.



The neighbor's procedures went off well and we got him home around lunch time. The OFM headed back out to Lawler's for a chicken stuffed baked potato to be lunch and supper. Yep it was very tasty.

This afternoon was “wasted” doing work on a painting planned for watercolor pencils only to see how that works out. So far it seems like the OFM needs some serious teaching on how to do watercolor pencils correctly.



This evening we checked on the neighbor and he seems to be doing rather well. Helping someone in need can be very fulfilling. Then finishing out the day painting a picture is a good way of trying to have tooooo much fun.

6/14/21

Still Blocked

 

Adventure Location: Decatur, Al.

Adventure Date: 6-14-2021

Click the pic to enlarge.



The OFM body was not putting up with any walking this morning so the morning was spent piddling around in the A/C of the Castle. Part of the piddling was sketching or better stated working up a sketch for a new painting. It is planned to be under painted with watercolor and topped off with colored pencil. Hopefully it will be ready within a few months.






Unexpectedly, about 1600 the OFM body suddenly was feeling like a good walk in spite of the warm temperatures. So the OFM figured out a route that would get shaded for the most part and away they went. Yep, in the shade it was pleasant walking and out of the shade it was not so pleasant walking. Here is what the shade did for the trail.



We made our way on around to the golf course entry area to head off into the gravel trail along the creek. OOOPS no go until tomorrow. The safety blocking for the electrical wire repair had all entry blocked in that direction.



So we turned back and took a devious way back through some shaded path and returned to the campground from a different direction than we started out.

All in all it was a nice walk of about two miles and we got some more nice flower pictures also. It made a good finish for a day of trying to have tooooo much fun.