Another Week in the State Park

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The boy and I got to spend another week in June this year at the state park, and just like last year, we had lots of fun.  Since my boy was just over the age limit to participate in the summer ranger program this time, he signed up as more of a volunteer, and just like years past, so did I.  Only this time, I was really a helper and not just one of the moms standing by.

I think there were more things to see this year than the last couple of times we attended.  Several emergency vehicles from all around the area showed up, and a helicopter even dropped on by for one morning.  It was really neat how all of the visitors were very accepting of making this a hands on experience.  The helicopter pilot even let all of the children have a seat in the cockpit.  If it were me, I would be very concerned about all of those little hands wanting to touch the buttons, but these guys were very patient and let whoever wanted to, have a look around.  The same went with all of the other operators in attendance.  Getting to climb in and around all of the vehicles I’m sure made it very memorable for all the children.

There was also canoeing, hiking, and some animal encounters.  Plus one day was spent helping out around the park – paintbrushes in hand.  This part may have turned out to have been a bad idea afterwards because several of the kids thought painting each other was more fun than painting a retaining wall.  I sure hope their parents were not too upset with what they ended up taking home – oops!

All in all it was a great week and my only regret was not getting enough pictures to post up on the blog.  Since I was more of a helper this year, I didn’t have as much free time to sit by and take a lot of photos.  I did get several to remember it all by, but not a lot for my post.  The boy did approve of this one of him (he’s a picky teenager now, you know), so here he is with one of the emergency vehicles we got to see.

EJ fire truck

That’s it from me for this week.  It was a busy one indeed, and we truly had a very fun filled first week of summer.  Hope everyone has a great weekend!

It’s Time for a Makeover

Black Eyed Susan

I have been back and forth with making the switch to a self-hosted site for about a year now, if not more.  I would like to spread my blogging wings, so to say, and with some things this is not completely possible without being self-hosted.  There are plenty of pros and cons either way, but I think my biggest deterrent is the loss of a following.  Also, I have really enjoyed the WordPress.com community and all the great blogs I have found, or have found me, by being a part of it.  I have had this dilemma before, and even contemplated it here on the blog last year, but nothing ever came of it then, and probably nothing will come of it right now.  I know, eventually, I will make the switch, but it isn’t happening today.  So instead of taking the leap to a self-hosted site, I am looking at something new as far as themes go, and I will be trying several out over the next few weeks.

Every so often I want to do something a little different with my site, but never spend enough time getting to really use other themes, so I always end up going back to what I originally had.  Well this time, I am gonna try a few out for more than just a few hours.  Maybe write a post or two with the new layouts and see what I think before completely dismissing them.  Surely there are more than just two WordPress themes that I like…

I am really liking my first choice so far, and the biggest improvement with this one is that it lets me have more room for my photos.  As I continue on my search for a new look (even as minimal of a change that this may be – I’m still keeping my header the same), things will probably be looking a little differently around here.  I am really gonna try this time and end up with something different than I had to begin with.

The pictures have really nothing to do with today’s post, but I wanted a chance to see how much of an improvement the size change made.  And if you wanna know more about these lovely flowers, or even if you could care less, I am gonna tell you about them also.  An added bonus so it doesn’t seem like I’m just blogging about blogging.  So read on, there is a little bit more.

Black Eyed Susan alone

These are Black Eyed Susans and I found them growing in my back yard.  Look how pretty they are!  I planted so many seeds last spring in this particular area of the yard and not a single one came up.  Imagine my surprise when I was surveying my planter of weeds the other day, and saw what looked like a tall bunch of flowers.  I noticed them pre-bloom and hesitated before leaving them alone.  I was starting to sweat just by looking at what yard work needed to be done, so I decided pulling weeds would have to wait.  I kind of had an idea that this unidentified ‘weed’ might surprise me, and it did.  I am really glad it was too hot and that I just left them alone that day.  I planted several sunflower seeds in this same area yesterday after finally pulling all of the other ‘real’ weeds.  I am gonna forget all about the sunflowers for a couple of weeks and see if that will help make them grow… When I go back to check on them I am hoping for another surprise.  :-)

Hello There, Spring!

Lake trees and pollen(edit)

Apple Blosoms

Blueberry blossoms

Dogwood flower

It may have taken a little longer than I wanted, after such a cold winter, but spring is finally here and it is beautiful!  The flowers are blooming, the trees are greening, and the onions need a’ mowing.

We spent this last weekend soaking in every bit of it.  In fact, as I write this, I am still a bit flushed from being outdoors the whole day, but I am hoping it is only the heat that has me red and not my first sunburn of the season.  I do hate getting burnt the first day that I spend outside.

It wasn’t all yard work that we did either, there was a little bit of fishing as well.  In fact, we even got a few days head start with a short fishing trip last Thursday evening.  Even though there were no fish to be caught that night, the beautiful sunset more than made up for it, in my opinion of course.  The boy could care less about sunsets and really all he wanted was to catch a fish.  He didn’t have to wait too long after though, because bright and early Sunday morning, he had a few that managed their way onto his hook and into the boat.  Only briefly because they were all too small to keep,  but it was a start to hopefully a really long fishing season.  It has been two years since we last fished, and I think we all missed it.

Sunset at Brown's Lake

Now it’s time to put the fun aside and get back into the books.  I may have let the boy have some slack with school work last Friday, so today there is plenty that needs to be done.  Oh, and I must not let grading all those papers get away from me.  I want to end school with nothing school related left to do.  High hopes, everyone, high hopes!

Fifteen school days left to go… Wow, is that all?  Hope everyone is enjoying their spring.

Dogwood Lake

A Nature Walk

Nature reflection

When it finally decided to start warming up, it was towards the end of last week, a day outside was in order.  It had been cold up until last Thursday.  There was wind, rain, and even snow – nothing that stuck, but still it was snowing last Tuesday!  So after this crazy winter weather rolled on out, the temperature started to rise and the sun, well the sun just stayed behind the clouds, but at least the temperatures started to warm up, so the boy and I made a short drive to Mousetail State Park here in West Tennessee.

I really like this park.  It is so pretty!  It isn’t nearly as big as Natchez Trace, my backyard park, but still it is a nice looking place.  I really haven’t seen that much of it either.  There are plenty of hiking and bike riding trails that we have yet to explore.  But on this particular day, we were there for a nature walk.  There was talk of canoeing, but I think all of the rain from the night before may have messed up those plans.  That was alright though, I was happy to be outside and in the nice fresh air.

We saw quite a few things on our short little walk.  There was plenty of pretty spring flowers and even a petrified coral reef.  Yeah, I thought it was just a plain ole rock wall.  Nope, a petrified coral reef was there on the side of the road all this time.  It’s great going on a nature walk with a park ranger!

Nature rock wall

Nature coralthat white thing in the middle is a piece of a coral and there is another one off to the left of it

Nature Daffodil

I saw what an eagle’s nest looked like compared to a squirrel’s nest, now if only there was an eagle to see!  It almost looked like something poked its head out, but it was too wooded to really tell for sure.  There were a few little creatures to check out though.  Someone found a salamander, and the ranger had picked up a millipede to show everyone.  He had been carrying it around in his pocket for a while, which I don’t think I would ever want to do.  I am really not a fan of creepy crawlies, especially ones with lots of legs, and I especially would not want them as close to me as they would be in a pocket.  I am glad my boy doesn’t bring those things home with him.  He at least leaves them outside if he ever does.

Nature nest

Nature Salamander

Nature millipede

It was a wonderful way to spend a few hours of the afternoon, and it was also nice to not be shivering outside for once this season.  Hooray for spring!

Spring Fever

Instagram lake sunset

We all probably have it right now, spring fever.  I know I do.  I was given a small taste of it last weekend when it was a wonderful 70 degrees on Sunday.  I wore shorts and washed my car, it was weird.  You won’t usually find me in shorts until at least the end of June, if that.  I almost expected a sunburn since it took me an hour and a half to wash my car, twice.  But I came in not much pinker than I went out, and I also got my car looking good again.  Of course it rained some the next evening but I made sure to stay home so that I didn’t have to leave the garage and ruin all of that hard work.  It was very hard work, I was even sore the next day.

What else did spring weather have me do?  Pruning.  I just grabbed the shears and went to hacking off tree limbs from my apple tree and crepe myrtles.  Also, my few grapes needed some work.  I had no idea what to do with the apple tree, and that is part of the reason why it had never been done before.  It grew a lot last year, and I couldn’t put it off any longer.  I am sure I did a fine job, and I guess I could have asked google if I really wanted to know.  Next on the tree list, dig up the dead one, or cut it down rather.  The boys in my life are very much looking forward to that chore – my boy is anyway.  A twelve year old given the okay to cut down a tree, fun times!

I have a spring break to look forward to next week, and I really hope the weather cooperates so that I am able to get to some more spring like stuff.  If it doesn’t, I guess I could always do some spring cleaning inside.  There is never a time that doesn’t need to be done, but oh how I dread tackling the boy’s closet and that garage of ours…

Have a lovely weekend, readers!