Saturday, May 25, 2019
Monday, October 31, 2011
Fall in Virginia is a good time. The leaves can't touch those in northern New England, but they look nice all the same, the nights are cool and the days are warm...or mostly...but we'll get to that in a minute. It seems we've spent the better part of our October weekends exploring the western half of the Commonwealth--I'm beginning to think it is actually the better half. Needless to say, our outdoor monkeys have been happy to go along for the ride, even if saltiness was at a minimum.
And that brings us to the end of the month and our most recent exploits. Several months ago in a fit of needing to "get out," I booked the only available campsite for the only available dates at Douthat State Park in the very western part of the state. A friend of ours is from Bath County and we have heard how beautiful it is and I was eager to check it out for myself. Plus, the end of October promised nice weather and beautiful leaves. Well, we got one part of that right.
We stalled a bit, decided that we were not above, yet-again, skipping the Coleman stove breakfast in favor of the hot one the park restaurant could provide, and headed out. The food was simple, cheap, and the staff very willing to throw us a warm-beverage bone by filling up two thermoses and a travel mug--we liked that and left probably the largest breakfast tip ever, but full thermoses were worth it! By the time we finished up, the clouds were breaking and we had decided not to abandon our 7-mile hike up Beards Mountain, so went back to the campsite to pack our bag, don our boots, and have ourselves a little pre-hike pep rally of sorts.
It was a bit of a snowy walk, but nothing we weren't prepared to handle. In fact, it was beautiful, and as the sky continued to clear, we got some beautiful territorial views, made all the more scenic by the layer of snow blanketing them--and then it melted and the golden hues of fall took over. And in 7.1 miles, we saw one other group of people. Nice! This meant plenty of running for the furry friends, who are learning to be good trail citizens and have been practicing their "check-in" and "stay-close" commands, despite the lack of fellow travelers. They were in heaven, and didn't even mind being pelted by the occasional snowball. The fog rolled in and out, but all in all, it was turning out to be a nice day, albeit about 20 degrees cooler than we figured for this time of year! And the hills got the blood flowing and cold was no longer really a problem--funny how that works! The trails are very well maintained, so props to the park staff for that!
We enjoyed an afternoon relaxing by the fire, an early dinner (a KS camping favorite of pierogies--only more deluxe as they were accompanied by brats and rotkraut!) and a few hot toddies to cap off the night before snuggling back into our downy cocoon. Another successful adventure in a newly discovered area. Yea, adventures!
Tuesday, September 20, 2011
Where were we...oh, right, who cares?
While the title of this post sounds like a 50s Doo-wop band, it is not. It is merely a description of the most recent atmospheric phenomenon in my life: the wreckage left by a 9 month old puppy, namely, Marlowe (The Marlinator) Acer Nelcinski, DOB: 12/24/2010, date acquired: mid-February 2011.
So, how did this cute, adorable, fuzz-bucket of a beast, become the cause for so much trouble?
Hmmmm...a full set of chompers, puppy-like energy, and apparently a lot of office-supplies and household goods that needed modification. But let's back up.
So, it all began with a puppy cam. Conceptually, we had been discussing a friend for The Salty One for quite some time, especially now that she's subjected to heat more often than not (we are a family of humidity-haters, longing for temperate zones the world over) and she doesn't get to get as salty as she once did. While we all loved long walks on North Beach, they are no more, and we haven't found a suitable replacement--one where dogs can run and people can walk until they pretty much get tired or run out of daylight. So sad. So, there was the puppy cam with an adorable litter of piggy-like fluff-balls and 2 months later our "Dog Conceptual Model" became reality, thanks to a great rescue organization called New Spirit 4 Aussie Rescue. Now the dogs outnumber people (at least in terms of legs).
This role, understandably, takes a lot of energy.
So, while we made it through 8.5 months with nary an issue, even in the last two months when he was at-large for whole work-days, and we passed two obedience classes with flying colors, our sweet, little guy has decided to bring out his inner devil. Really? Really?
And as a result, we have had one Marlownado after another this week.
First, there was the attack of the orange Post-It notes. While artfully displayed around the living room, it wasn't really clear what he was trying to remind himself of.
So, there you have it. After recovering from Hurricane Irene and the resulting dismantling of the refrigerator and freezer due to almost 6 days without power, so thankful to escape the fate of fallen trees and household damage, we are now struck by episodic Marlownados. Methinks the young lad hath earned himself solitary confinement in a dog crate for a few weeks (minimum sentence due to lack of value of the objects destroyed)!
That aside, the fact of the matter is, he is an entertaining, lovable, little guy, with an endearing wonky ear and some limbs and a body he hasn't quite fully grown into yet (will he ever?). He loves all people and seemingly loves other dogs, and most of all, has the same exuberance we so admire in his older sister. He enjoys eating bugs, playing fetch, cuddling up for a nice nap and I'm sure eventually, he too, will like long walks on the beach. Also, like his sister, squirrels just drive him crazy!
Written by request for my #1 Fan.
Saturday, January 30, 2010
Well, the weather weasels got it right this time: about 8" of white stuff seems to be coming down. All the stars aligned and we awoke to the beginnings of a nice snow dump this morning and by noon we judged there to be enough white fluff on the ground that we forced our little buddy into a harness, hauled out the cross-country skis, and hitched her up for a little out-the-door schussing...okay, maybe not in the high-speed, downhill, traditional sense, but in the flat mid-Atlantic sense! Still the emphasis should be on "out-the-door." Amazing!
It took us a mile or so to get our skijoring mojo on, but soon enough we were blazing trail and eating up path-miles...until said companion got snow balls in her toe-furs, and then we needed to do some maintenance. But only for a minute. The passing snow plows were cause for some level of curiosity too-not something our Salty Dog has experienced all that much!
By the time we rounded the corner for home, we were all relatively snow encrusted, but still had enough left in the tank for a few high speed passes down the 65' long driveway--sadly, the largest hill we encountered in our ski-propelled travels. But with cold weather forecast for the remainder of the weekend, I predict we may venture a but further afield for more adventures, provided the neophyte southern snow drivers don't scare us off! At any rate, smiles all around, in spite of the toe-fur snowballs!
Tuesday, December 1, 2009
The Panamanian adventure left off with Astarte having a restocked pantry and the intrepid travelers heading onto their next journey--a trip to the jungle. We had arranged for a guy to take us by lancha (skiff) to Rio Carti (pretty much south of where we were but on the mainland), where we had arranged for transportation to the jungle lodge. The lancha ride was smooth---and NO RAIN! We got taken to one of the Carti islands and dropped off--I expressed some concern about not being on the mainland and needing to meet a driver (my Spanish was improving!). I was told we had to wait for another boat to take us up the river. So we did and got a good look at life in a Kuna village while we waited. Eventually, this other boat came--it was quite similar to the lancha, but driven by others, presumably willing to take more of our money. So, off we went, up the river.
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
Well, on our final day, we awoke to the sun shining, the call of the conch telling us bread was ready at the local island tienda, and the long-awaited vegetable boat visiting the anchorage only one boat away! When it rains, it pours. We had heard of the mythical sun and the vegetable boat over the last week or so, and apparently both are not just figments of the cruisers' imaginations! To top it all off, Michael managed to catch a pineapple floating in the anchorage on his way from retrieving the bread-free food (albeit not of the piscine protein sort!).
We enjoyed our first "dinghy raft up" cocktail hour the other night. This seems to be purely an American thing since none of the foreigners (well, aren't we all???) in the anchorage joined in. The Brit anchored next to us seemed profoundly confused by the concept of the whole thing when we explained it to him and declined, but overall it was nice to hear people's stories and exchange all the dips and snacks that were offered-we also enjoyed watching Nigel, the boat dog, negotiate the dinghies and try for some passed snacks.
Yesterday we tried snorkeling the reef off of Tiadup again and instead of eagle rays, squid, and colorful fish, we ended up feeling like we were swimming in the sewer system-plastic bags, river and ocean schmutz, and some flip flops (which our hosts have decided are ruining the planet, along with plastic bottles, and I don't disagree). Some sort of weird current is creating mats of flotsam (aka The Sargasso Sea) in the anchorage, but even when we got outside the reef there was just a lot of crap in the water and it seemed fresh as well-bummer. But, the poor conditions were not all bad because it sent us off exploring and we found a few other spots that definitely deserved a look and provided us with our colorful fish fix for the day!
So while the weather hasn't exactly been anything to write home about, we've managed plenty of relaxing: reading, playing games (I was officially the big dominoes loser!), and just sitting and chatting over rum drinks and drizzling rain. We got a few good snorkeling group adventures in and saw lots of beautiful sites around Kuna Yala. I'm sure this is one of those areas where "you should have been here 10 years ago…" but the culture (and molas) seems vibrant and there aren't so many other boats that you can't find a parking spot with an unspoiled view (Michael did score us the penthouse suite in our present anchorage-until the current changed direction, and now we're in the basement).
A big thanks to Barbara and Michael for graciously letting us invade their space, maintaining Astarte in excellent form, keeping us well fed and hydrated, and for showing us how this whole cruising thing works. And in spite of our contributions of nuts, pasta, peanut butter, and fishing tackle, we still left them with less beer and rum in their hold than they had when we came aboard, so I'm hoping the supply boats manage more regular appearances! All in all, I'm thinking cruising is a pretty nice gig!
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Tuesday, November 24, 2009
So when an ulu came by the other day selling crabs and lobsters among other things, we took the bait and purchased 2 crabs and 6 lobsters, most of which were quite small. It was then decided that the two smallest lobsters would accompany us on our afternoon group outing to the reef and be freed. Ridiculous? Perhaps. But it made for a good adventure, trying to find the perfect rock hole for the repatriated langostas. They seemed content (if not a bit dazed) upon arrival on their new reef and we're hoping they will live long(er) and prosper. Their relatives tasted quite good.
As for other wildlife sightings, we saw some reef squid and a few spotted eagle rays, one wearing the bonus of a remora. The reef fish seem to be plentiful here and the corals are quite bright. We're hoping for a bit more sun so that we can get in some last bubble blowing tomorrow.
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