Road Trip


On the road again! Cool and damp day, low grey clouds misting their contents onto the mountain tops. Good day for driving south, not too hot and no blinding sun streaming through the windshield. Heading to a friend’s house in mountains of western Maryland to stay the night. It feels exhilarating to be driving into the wild misty blue yonder. It is a familiar route, well traveled in my mind. Tomorrow night I will be in Florida at my parent’s house. Time and space fan out before me, a web of memories and anticipations. Other cars on the road headed to their own destinations. Big rig truck spray grime and shower water off the road when the pass. I am settled back in my seat, hands on the wheel, listening to a book, checking my speed. The open road is calling and I am following it’s siren song.




I am heading to Florida for my 30 year high school reunion. It will be the first reunion I have attended. It seemed that 30 is a significant number, so I decided to go. I’ll stay at my parent’s house and my best friend from high school and her wife will stay a couple of nights too. It will be just like the sleep overs we used to have when we were kids!

So today I am packing the car… This is more complicated than it sounds and is kind of an adventure in its own right. I love taking road trips and am rather excited about this one. The adventure part of packing is making everything I want to take with me actually fit in the small car I own. There needs to an unobstructed view out all windows and the driver’s seat needs to have enough space behind it to recline for nap time. Some items need to be easily accessible form the driver’s seat like snacks and beverages, gum, phone, kindle, and purse. Other items needs to be accessible at rest stops such as pillows, sleeping bag, cook stove, food, extra water, maps, reading material, travel clothes, toiletries, and towel. Some items like the lap top need to be in a safe place out of the sun. Some objects need to go in the back because they don’t fit in the trunk like the boogie boards, the hammock stand, and the 4 foot tall citrus tree that really would rather live in Florida than in up-state New York. So with all those constraints, I managed to pack all the paraphernalia, toys, clothes, shoes, and other stuff for going to the beach (beach umbrella, bikinis, sun hat, sun screen, cooler, sand mat, camp chairs), hanging out at the pool (bikinis, sun hat, sun screen, giant inflatable unicorn, and air pump), lounging around the house (shorts, tank tops, flip-flops), dressing up for the reunion (several nice dresses, jewelry, makeup, and hair stuff), and box of stuff for my sister and her kids, as well as stuff for my friends. It always gives me a smug sense of accomplishment when I pull off the impossible. The Space Goddess works her magic again, bending the time space continuum to fit more stuff into a space than is physically possible!

Squirrel Visit


Back up North to guide the Hudson Gorge again! Rafting with boy scouts is always fun. Near the end of the run there is a hydraulic everybody surfs; kind of like the last hurrah before the end of the trip. We were floating in the eddy near shore waiting our turn to paddle up into the rapid to surf when the kids in the boat behind us started yelling- loud noisy indistinct syllables. It got my attention so I looked around to see what they were yelling about. Suddenly one of the boys in the front of my boat started wailing and flailing his arms as all the kids in the boat next to us started screaming! All eyes in my boat focused on our shouting passenger and we all realized there was a sopping wet red squirrel running in a panicked frenzy around the boy’s head and shoulders. It jumped on to another boy who started screaming and flailing. I started shouting vaguely worried the squirrel would try to bite somebody. In a matter of seconds, the terrified squirrel had sprinted up and down each passenger in my boat, frantically leaping from one to another as the screaming continued. It then leapt from the troop lead onto my knee, ran up my body, over my head and took one last desperate flying leap through the air, landing in the water. It frantically swam to shore and disappeared into the undergrowth. The boats in the front of the eddy obviously could hear and see the commotion but could not figure out the cause. Necks were craning, but only our boats and the two boats next to us actually saw the squirrel Once the squirrel made its exit we were all laughing too hard to explain to the curious crowd. What a random crazy event that was!

Hammock Stand


My parents have had most of the damaged trees cut down in there yard, to avoid having the fall and damage the house or worse. The yard gets a lot more sunlight, but I can no longer have a place to hang my camping hammock. I am also planning a camping trip to Big Bend over Thanksgiving week and have been wondering how the whole hammock camping thing would work out there, in the desert. Solution: portable hammock stand! I found one I could afford, but it needs a additional custom attachment for hanging the bug net and possibly the rain tarp. My husband and I came up with a fabulous idea using PVC pipe and eye hook bolts. So after some measuring, cutting, gluing, and drilling, the hammock stand can support a camping hammock. It sits a little low to the ground for my taste, but it works, and I can now use it in places where there are no usable trees. I’m looking forward to trying it out at my parents house, as that will be a good test run for actual camping later. It gives me a gratifying sense of accomplishment to have an idea in my head, design it, and then make a finished product that works the way it was intended to. Marvelous!

Yard Work


Overcast sky, not too humid and not too hot, a perfect day to work in the yard. The bugs haven’t been too bad either, although I have been using bug repellent since getting that stupid tick bite a few weeks back. All afternoon, once and a while, the sun would peek out from behind the clouds just long enough for me to think about getting sun glasses, hat, and sun screen and then disappear again behind the puffy white and billowy grey clouds. I mowed, did some weeding and then raked all last years dead leaves from around the house, woodshed, and utility sheds. It is an anti-tick measure since they apparently like tall grass, overgrown yards, and dead leaves on the ground. I even raked up in the woods around our patio rock, the two trails up to there and a whole area around where I would like to hang a hammock. At some point I did see the futility and irony of raking leaves up in a forest, but only laughed at the absurdity of it. I did not rake the whole wooded area, just the parts we want to travel through and hang out in. At the end of the day, I was covered in dirt and sweat, my muscles ached, and I felt exhilarated at everything I had accomplished today. There is something innately good and right about being outside and intimately interacting with the dirt and plants. It makes me feel alive.



Early summer/ late spring flowers are blooming and I am in reverent awe of their enchanting colorful beauty. The delicate elegant yellow iris always bring a smile. The intricate artistry of the columbine is a wonder. The rhododendron is bold and showy with its bright clusters of periwinkle, pink and magenta, and happily buzzes with the vibrating wings of many pollen laden bees. The clematis vines are completely encumbered with giant lively jubilant blooms radiating euphoria from royal purple amethyst to palest blush champagne. Walking through the yard among these flowers is the definition of peace and contentment.



Last week, I turned the soil in my garden and spread compost through it. A few days ago I raked it all smooth and today I planted the seeds. I decided no tot use a weed blocking ground cloth this year, mostly because I use the last of it last year and the stuff is excessively expensive. So I lovingly dug small furrows and hills to plant the seeds. This year I had sprouted potato eyes to put in the ground, as well as seeds for peas and cucumber to place along the fence line so they can climb. There are three kinds of lettuce and a whole row of carrots. I even planted tomato seeds, although I never have much luck with them because they don’t have enough time to mature. This year I decided to try planting the Three Sisters like the Native Americans used to do. For each hole. I put in some compost and a corn seed, a bean seed and a squash seed. I guess we’ll see what happens. Supposedly the bean plant can climb the corn as it grows and the squash leaves shade the ground to keep weeds at bay. Mostly it is just satisfying to dig in the dirt and enjoy being outside on a fine spring day.