Monday, October 31, 2011

Coal Miner’s Daughter

“Loretta presented a new character on the country scene: a woman unafraid to stand up for herself, just like real women did. Drawing upon her own experiences as a harried young wife and mother, and upon a homespun sense of humor at once both pointed and hilarious, Loretta issued warnings to soused and philandering hubbies everywhere—and to the female competition—that she was not to be trifled with.”

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Blue Moon of Kentucky

Wonderful rich colors of fall – the bountiful harvests!
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We took advantage of the beautiful weather while we were in rural Kentucky and spent a little time at some of the local activities. This Farmers Market offered up a variety of items.

Caves or Caverns? Stalactites or Stalagmites?

A cave is a natural underground void large enough for a human to enter, while a cavern is a large cave that was formed chemically (through things like acid rain).

Our first introduction to these underground miracles was Kartchner Caverns in Southeastern Arizona in ‘06.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Another Year in the Rio Grande Valley–by The Cowboy

Well here we go again, off to Texas for the winter season.

We have been wintering in the Rio Grande Valley for the past 5 years. It is a very interesting place. Not as tropical as Florida. Not as diverse as Arizona but still a nice warm place to spend the winter. In Texas you are

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Lambert’s Throwed Rolls

This is a post from our journal exactly one year ago today. (Some of the photos are from a previous visit.)

Out & about today – our first stop was a huge Bass Pro Shop (Surprise?)

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Comfort Food for those crisp fall days

Because it’s typical fall weather and the nesting instinct is setting in . . .

Because we love the aromas wafting from the motorhome when we return home after a day of exploring . . .

Because I want to share a couple of home made soup recipes that were a big hit . . .

Monday, October 17, 2011

Time to head further south

First of all here is a photo of the Phaeton as we are getting ready to leave Lazy Lakes. The Cowboy was on the other side doing what he does – unhooking and hooking up, etc.

Friday, October 14, 2011

The Big Wheels are a Turnin’

Unhooked, hooked up, ready to go and on the road by 10:30 this morning. Just enough fuel to get us to across the line where fuel prices are cheaper and we’ll fill up the motorhome, the pantry and the liquor cabinet to start our journey.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Bittersweet Time of Year

It’s that time of year when we are so looking forward to our journey south.

We are also reminiscing about all the fun times we had with our family and friends this past summer. We are going to miss them terribly but we are looking forward to next spring when we get to do it all over again.

Monday, October 10, 2011

We’re 3 for 3!

Before I go any further, I just really feel the need to explain that 3 free meals delicious Thanksgiving feasts spread over 3 days does not just happen! It takes a lot of manipulation precise planning on our part to crash be invited to these family dysfunctions.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

2 down 1 to Go

More Thanksgiving In Canada! That means more turkey!

Today there were 12 hungry mouths anxiously waiting to share another delicious meal at the home of The Cowboy’s brother.

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Too much turkey? Not Yet!

About 13 of our family members gathered at my sister Brenda’s place for our first round of Thanksgiving dinners.

We were blessed with wonderful weather that allowed us to relax outside before dinner. My sister Brenda on the left, then my brother Ken & Mary Ann.

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Then, for some it was time to get busy in the kitchen. It’s always Ken’s job to carve the bird and he does a great job.

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Brenda putting the finishing touches on her very popular lemon cake. This was only one of the choices of desserts. There was also cherry cheesecake and Mary Ann’s homemade pumpkin pies. These desserts followed the turkey & dressing, mashed potatoes & gravy, cranberries, hot buttered buns, rice/broccoli/cheese casserole, corn, devilled eggs, taco salad and cole slaw. Everyone’s favourites!

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While some of us were busy doing manicures – myself and our Great Niece Peytyn:

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Then there were a couple of us that were entertained with online video games. Our nephew Aaron & Jesse.

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Even our Great Nephew Nathan wanted in on that action.

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The boys did take time out to eat. Here’s our niece Caitie (Ken’s daughter) and her boyfriend Jesse.

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Caitie scoffed my Nikon D80 and took most of these photos. Thanks Caitie!

About those desserts. Some of us doubled up on their favourites:

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Brother In Law Dan with 2 pieces of pumpkin pie and The Cowboy with his favourites cherry cheesecake plus 2 pieces of lemon cake! Nothing bashful about these guys!

I put together the following collage of Peytyn. Simply because it was too difficult to just pick one plus she is the most photogenic in our family.

Great job on the photos Caitie! You captured the many faces of Peytyn.

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And one last photo of Peytyn with her Mom, Lindsey. Sweet!

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I owe an apology to our nephew Justin (Peytyn’s Dad) who was there but must have went into hiding when the camera came out.  I promise you your own special blog!

Hopefully we will get to see the other family members, who were not able to make it today, sometime over the weekend. We missed you.

Today I am so Thankful for All of our Family and the special times we share.

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Saturday, October 8, 2011

Family Reunions

A couple of weeks ago I was reunited with a cousin that I hadn’t seen in about (OMG!) 20 years. Pat & I discovered that we were living only about 2 miles from each other so we quickly exchanged phone #’s and email addresses with a promise to hook up.

Pat & her husband Al  just recently moved into their new home in The Villages near Port Rowan – a very new retirement community with tons of amenities.

After a few emails we set up a date to go golfing and that is what we did yesterday. We decided on Turkey Point Golf & Country Club. That turned out to be a good choice as the course was in great shape and the day turned out to be an awesome fall day.
We sure enjoyed our time getting caught up on all the family news – which is why I don’t have a lot of pictures – too busy chatting!


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Here’s Pat looking pretty serious as she contemplates her next shot.




 

 

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Al looking pretty pleased with his shot.






Not real sure about these two but they sure are having fun playing in the sand . . .  making sand castles?

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Not to be outdone – Al wants to get in on some of that beach action.


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Is this the lie he was smiling about earlier ?
 
It was a great day and a great game but it didn’t end there. We ended up back at Al & Pat’s beautiful new home – on their new deck with lots of delicious (Great home made salsa Pat!) snacks and refreshments.
 
Guess I need to check the proper etiquette regarding Happy Hour? Is it really suppose to last 5 hours? Rolling on the floor laughing
 
Thanks Pat & Al for the special day – looking forward to many more!
 
Today I’m grateful for family.
Especially cousins, who turn out to be our Best Friends!

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Friday, October 7, 2011

Developing a Photographer’s Eye

During our first year of travel I snapped about 3500 pictures. Everything was new & exciting and I had never seen or experienced the parts of the country we were now a part of. I wanted to cherish those moments and remember them forever plus I wanted to be able to share this with our families and friends.

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Now when I look back at those pictures I can still remember the excitement but it’s really not portrayed in the shots that I took. The view from my ‘throne’ in the motorhome is (still to this day) incredible! However, the pictures of the highways or landscapes, to anyone else, could be anywhere in the world.

My first digital camera was a Fuji FinePix Point & Shoot pocket digital with a 3x optical zoom which we used for our first 2-3 years of travel. Great little camera but eventually died somewhere in Arizona. We replaced it with a Panasonic Lumix with a 12x zoom, lots more features and much larger than a pocket-size yet continues to be my favourite carry-around.

Last Christmas the Cowboy surprised me with my first DSLR (Digital Single Reflex Lens) camera – a Nikon D80. I was ecstatic! Did I say ecstatic? I meant overwhelmed! The manual is 162 pages! Aperture? Depth of Field? ISO Sensitivity? I was about to embark on learning a whole new language.

My Nikon

 

I managed to take a few sample shots, but it was all just too intimidating.  I’m using the camera quite a bit more now these days but I have to admit, the settings are still sitting on ‘Auto’.

 

During this past couple of years I’ve taken a keener interest in photography and have learned a lot from these blogs. Al from The Bayfiled Bunch has been a major influence as he shares his photos and knowledge. I follow several web sites too. My heroine, Pioneer Woman has contests and will receive thousands of outstanding entries. Many readers will leave comments, some with a link to their blog or web site which are all just a wealth of information.

Next to people, flowers and nature are my favourite subjects so I’ll use these shots as an example. Keep in mind that it was a dreary day.

A field of blue bells in Texas.

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Now with a little different angle . . .

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Better but now I’m not crazy about the fence in the background . . .

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Well, maybe but still not exactly telling a story . . .

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Okay! Now that’s more of what I was looking for!

Now a little post processing. I love Picasa! It’s a free software download from Google and extremely user friendly. It’s great for managing as well as enhancing your pics.

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My introduction to Picasa was from Chris at Geeks on Tour in 2006 when we wintered in Florida. Chris & Jim Guld are full time RV’ers who travel the country presenting classes & seminars at RV parks & rallies. Click on the link above to check out their website. You’ll find everything you need to know regarding computers and travelling – GPS, Streets & Trips, Blogging, WiFi, Smart Phones, etc.

Some of the things that I’ve read or learned from experience.

Photos should always tell a story

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I’ve always preferred candid shots of people.To capture their unique personality catch them doing something they love.

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Or being with someone they love.

 

 

 

Unless I know I can blur or crop it out I’ve become more aware of what’s in the background.

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Landscapes - Always try to have someone in the photo even if it’s only a silhouette. It makes for a much more interesting picture.

 

 

 

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Portraits - You can never get too close. If you don’t have a zoom lens you can crop any photo on almost any program.

 

During that time I was exposed to and totally impressed with Photoshop so I bought & installed Elements 8 – as if I didn’t have enough to learn. This program is not for the feint of heart.  Now we can add more new words to my vocabulary like opacity, fill layers, background, adjustment layers . . . along with a few new ‘off colour’ words (Pun intended).

As I mentioned I already love and use Picassa for editing and managing but with this Photoshop program there were so many other possibilities and I wanted to learn how. Now!

I didn’t want to start with the basic steps, I wanted to jump right in with blending, reflecting, texturing and adapting all those wonderful features to my photos. Did I mention? . . . Now!

Well, I still have so much to learn but here is my first attempt at blending - one of my beautiful granddaughters – Abigail.

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Come to think of it – Abby is the very first granddaughter we were blessed with. Obviously, my success with that first try was better than my stab at blending but you can at least see what I’m trying to accomplish.

Bonus – Abby shares my passion for photography, saved up some $’s and recently bought herself a new camera.

The most important thing that I’ve learned is that you can have all the latest and greatest camera equipment and post processing software that’s available – it’s not going to do you any good until you become aware of the beautiful world around you and see it with a photographer’s eye.

Today The Cowboy is grateful for the new age of digital cameras.

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Thursday, October 6, 2011

What a beautiful Fall day!

Again “Welcome to our blog!”

While there are a few random posts to read, this is our first actual live post. There is still quite a bit of tweaking to do but hopefully over the next little while everything will fall into place.

In any upcoming posts here you can expect a whole mish mash of items including web sites that we enjoy or my new interest in photography. You’ll hear all about our friends & families along with our travels. If the mood strikes I might even share with you, not only what we had for lunch, but the recipe too!

In the meantime please take some time to read some of the other blogs that I follow – listed at the bottom of the page. They have been a real inspiration to me and the real reason for starting this blog.

Would love to hear from you so please join our followers, leave a comment or two and come back for another visit soon.