Crab Cakes, Hummingbirds, Dogs, and Chickens

It was a pleasant day for me.  I am improving a good bit this week. I’m not kidding; I judge my progress on how many trips to the toilet I take, before lunch, and for the whole day.  Today I was trying to remember yesterday’s and the day before tally.  Then I had to laugh at myself for wishing I had kept a poop diary.  I do need to get out more.

Daughter Kathy brought Andy’s brother Paul to visit.  Paul’s health is poor, so we kept our distance from each other. As soon as we arrived, we drove two cars to Stoney’s Seafood House in Broome’s Island for crab cakes. I was celebrating having the confidence to drive that far from home.  It was a beautiful day to be at the water’s edge.

The last time we went to Stoney’s, all were disappointed in the crab cakes.  We were all pleased today.  This is my Baby Cake, more than enough to eat.

b Stoney's Baby Cake
Stoney’s Baby Cake

Here is Paul.

b Paul at Stoney's
Paul at Stoney’s

Kathy sat with her back to the view.

b Kathy at Stoney's
Kathy at Stoney’s

After eating, we went back to sister Barbara’s house and sat on the back deck. The dogs were most anxious for attention.  Oscar has a habit of jumping on a lap with no warning. Sometimes you get dog snout in your face if you are not prepared for his leap.

b Paul and Andy with Oscar
Andy with a Lap Full of Oscar

Not to be left out, Bella tried to climb onto brother-in-law Tom’s lap.

b Tom Getting a Kiss from Bella
Tom Getting a Kiss from Bella

This is Tom without a dog in his face.

b Tom
Tom

I have never tried to take pictures of hummingbirds before, thinking my camera is not fast enough. I got a few that were mostly in focus. Although that last one is rather strange.

b Hummingbird 1

b Hummingbird 2

b Hummingbird 3

b Hummingbird at Feeder

The deck has several pots of petunias and the hummingbirds visit them as much as the feeder.

b Petunias

Here is most of Barbara’s flock of chickens.  One small one has been sitting on the nest for days.

b Flock of Chickens

This new brown one has the most interesting feather patterns on her neck.

b New Chicken in Flock

This is not the best picture; she wouldn’t hold still for me.  I’ll try again later.

b Chicken Neck

June 21, 2016 – Hummingbird Cake

June 21, 2016

There has not been much to write about.  I’ve lost track of time.  Don’t go out much.  Sister Barbara complains that I don’t talk about anything but poop.  It’s my life now.

Ah, Clostridium Difficile. A nasty bug, indeed.  I did not get any better with the second round of Metronidazole and made an appointment with a gastroenterologist.  His office is only a mile away so I did not need to take Imodium to make it there. He said the Metronidazole was not working and prescribed the second line of defense, Vancomycin. I’m taking 500 mg every six hours for fourteen days and am finally beginning to see progress. Not cured.  Still contagious.

Andy is going stir crazy and wants to go out to lunch, or the grocery and drug stores. They are all only a little over a mile away, but I still end up spending half the time in the ladies room.  It makes going out way too stressful.

Daughter Kathy has come to visit us on the weekends, risking exposure to the dreaded C-diff.

Here is Sao parked next to Sister Barbara’s house.

b Sao on Foxtail Lane
Sao on Foxtail Lane

Barbara told me about a recipe she had seen for a Hummingbird Cake from Southern Living magazine. It is their most-requested recipe ever. So we decided to make it.  With three layers, the cake is extra-large and there was enough icing to frost two cakes more than adequately.  Here is the result.

b Butterfly Cake
Hummingbird Cake

The neighbor was getting part of her driveway repaved. One of the men came to Barbara’s house and asked if she wanted them to use some of their extra asphalt to pave part of her driveway.  She called her husband Tom and they decided on the stretch of driveway from the road to the parking area. I’ve seen paving operations along the highways, but never stopped to watch up close.  It looks like hot and heavy work.

b Paving Driveway
Paving Driveway

Our niece Jessica and her husband Christian came for a visit and we served the Hummingbird Cake.  It was incredibly sweet.  I could not finish my slice.  The cake was nice though I think we should have only used half the frosting we did. Jessica volunteered to serve.

b Jessica Serving Cake
Jessica Serving Cake

Here is a better look at the young couple.

b Jessica and Christian Carpenter
Jessica and Christian Carpenter

On the bright side, I have spent a lot of time working on Big Creek.  I think it is improving with every read-through.  I am getting sick of it.  Half the time, when I wake up in the night, I think I am still in Big Creek. I’m not sure if I see a light at the end of the editing tunnel or not.  Maybe a flicker.

One day, in the afternoon, when I thought the “episodes” were over, we went to visit Nephew Jesse. He is working as a physicist at the Patuxent Naval Air Station. First, we had pizza at our old haunt, Niccoletti’s.  This picture is for my kids, who played in the children’s play area years ago.

b Children's Play Area at Niccolletti's
Children’s Play Area at Niccolletti’s

Here Jesse and Andy are munching salads and waiting for lunch.

b Jesse and Andy at Niccolletti's
Jesse and Andy at Niccolletti’s

Afterwards, Jesse took us to show us where he works.  Incredible coincidence, he is working in the same building where I worked.  He works in a lab on the first floor near my office that was on the second floor.  Another coincidence, we also works in a lab in the building next door, where daughter Jennifer worked during her college years.

p.s.  I made the trip, several hours long, with no incidents or accidents.

June 09, 2016 – From Big Creek to Prince Frederick, Maryland

I have been neglecting my photography and log writing for weeks now. You know I’m sick when I don’t take many pictures. I did take my camera with me on a run into town for groceries.  Andy took me to Carver’s Apple House for lunch to cheer me up.  I love eating lunch overlooking the orchard.

b View from Carver's Apple House
View from Carver’s Apple House

Last Thursday, we drove to Gatlinburg and ate Mellow Mushroom pizza with Ranger Heath, his wife Dana, and their youngest son Garret.  Garret made a cherry pie for dessert with cherries from the tree in their yard.  Heath’s mother helped him with her pie crust recipe.  It was fabulous. The rest of the family is just as delightful as Heath and we enjoyed our visit with them.

b Dana, Heath, and Garret Soehn
Dana, Heath, and Garret Soehn

On Monday, we left Big Creek and headed east on I-40.  I took Imodium before we got on the road so I wouldn’t have to pull over on the shoulder of the interstate for an emergency bathroom break. We stopped for the night behind a Cracker Barrel restaurant along the interstate near Raleigh, North Carolina. It was a quiet a peaceful night.

We left the Cracker Barrel Tuesday morning and headed to Wilson, North Carolina for my annual pilgrimage to Bill Ellis Barbecue.  I ate way too much.  Then we continued on to Suffolk, Virginia to the Davis Lakes RV park where we stay when we visit son Mike.  We didn’t plan the visit very well.  We usually try to stop there on a weekend so we can spend more time with Mike, but this time we only got to see him in the evenings.

Here is Sao in our campsite.

b Sao at Davis Lakes
Sao at Davis Lakes

We sat outside on our little wooden deck and enjoyed the beautiful weather. We noted that we have not seen a robin in a year.  This one was not too shy and sat still enough for me to take a few portraits.

b Robin at Davis Lakes
Robin at Davis Lakes

This squirrel is also accustomed to campers and watched us watching it.

b Squirrel at Davis Lakes
Squirrel at Davis Lakes

Andy got me out for two walks around the lake.  I could really feel that I have done nothing but lie around for several weeks now.  I was tired after one lap. This is the swimming area on the lake closest to us.

b Swimming Area at Davis Lakes
Swimming Area at Davis Lakes

We had been planning to stop in for a visit with Fred and Cas, as is our custom every year.

However,

I finished my prescription for the C-diff a couple days ago and thought I was over it.  The last two days, without Imodium, have reminded me that I’m not over it but, am getting worse again. Dr. O’Connor, in Marathon, suggested another round of Metronidazole.  If I am not cured after that, he said I should go see a gastroenterologist.

Tonight, we are parked in my Sister Barbara’s driveway in Prince Frederick, Maryland. We’ll hunker down here until I am cured.  Some Google searching revealed that I can consider myself non-contagious when I have not had diarrhea for 48 hours.  I’ll use the time to work on Big Creek. I do not want to visit the grand kids or Andy’s brother Paul until I’m sure I won’t pass this nasty bug on.

 

May 30, 2016 – Promethea Moth

Andy and Spence spent time up on the road directing people to park in horse-camp day-use lot today.  I was still not confident to leave the motorhome (but I am slowly getting better). I did get dressed today, though. Day visitors were arriving in droves to have a picnic or to hike up to the Midnight Hole. Many of them walk up the trail by our host site.  Today, two families stopped to look at the butterfly on the huge log that serves as our fence.  I decided to go have a look.

b Moth on Rock Under Log
Promethea Moth on Rock Under Log

She is a Promethea Moth on a mossy rock under the edge of the log. The National Park Service web site says the females are active at night and the males are active in the afternoon. I am thrilled to add her to my photo collection.

We have talked it over with each other and Boss Larry, and have decided to leave Big Creek early this year. Larry said Clyde and Debbie, the hosts at Cosby, are happy to move here for June. That was fast. I hope to be cured of this nasty bug in a few more days and be able to drive without making emergency roadside stops.  We plan to leave on June 6. We are returning next year. I am disappointed, but think it is for the best. We need to spend a little more time with family. Of course, I had planned for THE BOOK to be published in March and to promote it to regional bookstores while we were in the mountains.  That hasn’t happened and isn’t going to happen. I’ll just have to set my sights on next year.

Stay tuned.  We do have some more national park visits planned for later in the summer.

May 28, 2016 – Enterocolitis due to Clostridium Difficile

The lab results came back.  I have “enterocolitis due to clostridium difficile”. Of course, that is the layman’s term.  The proper medical terminology is “Shi**ing my brains out”. Apparently clostridium difficile is a nasty bacteria and very contagious.  It can survive on surfaces for months.  The nurse said I could have picked it up anywhere, “even at Walmart”. The doctor prescribed Metronidazole, which I have been taking for about 24 hours now, and I am starting to feel much better.  The terrible pain has subsided and I have gone several hours now without an emergency trip to the toilet. Truly, this was just like pre-colonoscopy prep, just lasting for a couple weeks.  On the bright side, Andy and Spence seem to have escaped contamination. And, I’ve lost about five pounds.  However, I’d recommend another weight-loss plan. Any other weight-loss plan.

The Memorial Day holiday is in full swing.  It seems that all the ten park campgrounds are full.  Big Creek was overrun with day visitors and hikers.  Andy and Spence were directing people to park in the horse camp day lot, which was also full in the early afternoon. Then they parked illegally on the roadsides, in front of the no-parking signs, and even blocked the gate to us and the group site. Of course, I did not wander more than a few feet from the motorhome door.  That gave me a minute to make it to the bathroom. Every day, mid-to-late afternoon, I get cold.  I mean shivering cold.  I don’t warm up until I get under the covers in the bed with my park fleece on.  It take about an hour to warm up.  I guess that has something to do with the fever.

The park radio is buzzing with traffic stops, injuries, and accidents. The worst that I recall today was that a motorcycle ran into the back of a car and the female passenger went through the back window of the car. She left in an ambulance. It is non-stop, one call after the other. I think there are three dispatchers on duty on holiday weekends.

All during May, park people have been reporting bear sightings.  There must have been a bumper crop born last winter. There may be a dozen or two reports a day of bears along the road, in campgrounds and picnic areas, and historic sites. We have seen many more turkeys wandering through Big Creek this year too.  We have not seen them, but campers have reported two elk sightings.

 

May 26, 2016 – Under the Weather – That’s a Euphemism!

I have been somewhat under the weather this week and have hardly left the motorhome, except to sit out in the sun once in a while. All the camphost duties have fallen on Andy. He brought me a poplar one blossom day.

b Poplar Blossom
Poplar Blossom

I did make the campground rounds at least once.  Here are is the campsite of the Michigan couple that was here last year.  They have different friends with them, but the party is still four adults and eight small children. We so enjoyed all the little kids running around the campground last year and here I am stuck in the RV and not in the campground to enjoy them this year. I’m also missing the group of men who come every year for the week before Memorial Day.  They are also some of my favorites.

b Michigan Families Eight Kids
Two Michigan Families – Eight Kids

I was helping Andy set up the screen room over the picnic table when Spence came along and took my place.  I sat back down in a sunny spot.

b Andy and Spence Setting Up Screen Room
Andy and Spence Setting Up Screen Room

I saw a huge bus, think Greyhound size, up in the parking lot.  Andy went to investigate. It was a high school senior class from Ohio on their senior trip. Andy directed the driver to the horse camp day-use parking lot and brought her back home to sit with us while the kids hiked up the Big Creek Trail. Cruz and I discussed driving in here.  Sao is only 37 feet long; her bus is 45 feet. I think I would have told the kids to hike from the entrance rather than try to cross the one-lane bridge. When it was time to leave, Andy rode on the bus and I drove ahead with the car to stop incoming traffic and then call them when the road was clear.

b Cruz the Bus Driver
Cruz the Bus Driver

While we were sitting and chatting, Ranger Ethan drove up with Shannon, seen several times in last year’s logs.  She was a grad student at the University of Tennessee and would chaperone white water rafting trips from school.  She also worked in the park.  She is now finished school and will be moving to Charleston in a few weeks to start her job at Fort Sumter. It will be different kayaking there. She said she walked twenty miles with Ethan yesterday.

b Ethan and Shannon
Ethan and Shannon

 

May 18, 2016 – More Rain in Big Creek

We have spent the past several days trying to buy a hotspot.  The local AT&T store did not have one in stock last Saturday.  They said they would have one sent from Knoxville, TN and it would be in on Monday. It wasn’t.  It was not in on Tuesday either so we drove to Asheville, NC and bought a hot spot and five Gb of prepaid data ($50) at an AT&T store there. The day before we had driven to Knoxville, TN to buy a surge protector for the motorhome. Apparently, power surges can fry the inverter. I think we have driven to Newport, TN everyday for an endless stream of errands. I am so sick of driving and running errands.

We got the new hot spot set up last night and got on line for the first time in two weeks. Daughter Jennifer posted a real estate video of our house in Lusby, MD on FaceBook. That looked fun.  Our old house has changed a lot since we moved onto the boat in 2001.

The morning was beautiful, but it began to cloud up by noon.  Spence joined us for left-over chili and we ate lunch outside. Spence went back to work. We had a good rain and he stopped by, wet, before he left for the day.

We were at our computers in the early evening when both of us were bumped off line. I called AT&T technical support and discovered that we had used ALL FIVE GIGABYTES of our pre-paid data in less that twenty-four hours!!  That was $50!  How could that be? So, our on-line lives are going to be limited to the bare essentials. No videos for sure. I’ll have to see how much data this email uses and delete some photos, if necessary.

Here is a man fishing upstream of the bridge in Big Creek.

b Fisherman in Big Creek
Fisherman in Big Creek

Spence swept his way out of the ladies room as we walked by the toilet building in the picnic area.

b Spence Sweeping Sidewalk
Spence Sweeping Sidewalk

This is the horse trail from the host site to the horse camp.

b Trail to Horse Camp
Trail to Horse Camp

I took this misty photo as we were walking up to the picnic area parking lot, on our way to the tent campground.

b Walking to Parking Lot
Walking to Parking Lot from Host Site

I have not been very successful getting a picture of raindrops on leaves.  They show up but they don’t sparkle.

b Water Droplets on Top of Leaves
Water Droplets on Top of Leaves

This leaf was on the path next to the ones on the bush above.  The droplets are on the underside of the leaf. I thought is was interesting how the droplets are different on top and bottom. I guess the leaf ribs catch the water.

b Water Droplets on Back of Leaf
Water Droplets on Back of Leaf

Another Sweet Shrub or Sweet Betsy

b Sweet Shrub
Sweet Shrub