Saturday, April 01, 2006

Pelicans are here

Dan and I were working outside on my new bell (picture tomorrow) when we saw a white sheet across the valley. The pelicans are migrating and what a beautiful sight. Chip caught them on the marsh this morning and shared his picture with me.

Picking up a pickup

We have been thinking about a pickup.

As previously mentioned, we are mobile backpackers. For the past three years, we have taken off on road trips using our van as our bed. The whole concept appeals to me. We are mobile, lightweight and can park about anywhere to sleep—and we have. (We learned early on how to keep the interior light off and disable the thief alarm).

On our last trip to Phoenix, however, we struggled with maneuvering around the back of the van. We like the van’s 22 plus gas mileage as well as the efficient use of space. The big self-contained motor homes are too big—investment and size. Towing is out, as we tend to do road trips rather than stay one place.

The combination we are thinking about is an extended cab pickup with a popup camper on the back. A pickup camper is not entirely new to us as we did a California road trip with one in 1973---in January, through Colorado, Wyoming and Utah. The popup is different, though. The center of gravity is low as is the wind resistance. Still, we will be traveling with more weight so the gas mileage will go down. With the price of gas, we could quickly pay for a motel room with savings in a high MPG vehicle—although I do prefer being out with nature rather than in with other people.

The camper I like isn’t available here in eastern Kansas. There are two manufacturers in the Denver area and we hope to check those out soon. We have narrowed the pickup down to a Toyota Tacoma, Ford 150 and Chevrolet Silverado, all extended cabs. We would prefer two-wheel drive, but everything is 4-wheel drive so the resale would be better. We are buying used but prefer low mileage. I have poked around the internet for information and printed nearly 20 pages.

All of this because we are thinking of buying a pickup!

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Life's Small Pleasures

Peg over at Kansas Prairie Blog is offering an award to anyone knowing the anonymous author of this quote:

Most of us won't come home with one of life's big prizes - a Pulitzer or Nobel, and Oscar or an Emmy.But we are all eligible for life's small pleasures:
A pat on the back.
A kiss behind the ear.
A four pound bass.
A full moon.
A crackling fire.
A great meal.
A glorious sunset.
Hot soup.
Cold beer.
A basket full of puppies.
Life is full of grand awards as well as small delights.They await our discovery.

Hand dug well cover

This is a cover over a hand dug well at the same site as the picture of the caves. The rock is one piece. The hole were we are looking down into the well has been cut in the middle of the rock. The water in the well was clear, however a bit spooky.
Picture by Linda

Monday, March 27, 2006

Early Duplex apartments

We were invited to friends for a delicious dinner Sunday. After we ate, we hiked back into the woods surrounding their home. We found a long abandoned farm site with a very interesting cave. The rocks on the ground in front appeared to be the front wall of the twin caves. We speculated the doors were on the outer sides. There was no link between the two caves inside but there was evidence of a hole for a stove pipe. We found a date on a patch of poured cement by the hang dug well that said 1917 and the handwritten name "Joe." There was also evidence of a stone foundation nearby. We speculated the settlers might have lived in the caves while they built their home. We could not figure out why there were two similar caves instead of one large one.

The insides of the caves were exactly alike. The rock work was very well done. Perhaps there were two smaller caves because of the the curved ceilings worked better in a small space.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Wildflowers Phase One

The proposed wildflower bed is behind our house and in an area so full of granite rocks that there is no way Dan could bale the hay. We have an area the width of our mower staked around the large rocks that we mow to provide a walking trail. There are naturally wildflowers already as well as an interesting display of grasses. However, I would like to start more flowers to encourage butterflies, honeybees and even hummingbirds. I am hoping for a rain to wash off the ash. Then I will on rough up the ground and throwing out my seeds. They really need a freeze, so I think I will put them in the freezer to make sure that happens. According to the package, we might not see too many this year. I did plant quite a few seeds last year and it will be interesting to see if any of those come up.

There is beauty in fire. (Click on the picture for a closeup)