Friday, August 29, 2008

Vacation Mystery Picture Post

I'm no good at mysteries--writing them or solving them. So this is going to be easy.

To save myself a bunch of time, I'm just going to post some pictures and let you figure out where we were. (Some of my readers already know because I told them all about it.) But, for those of you who don't know all my secrets, leave your comments as to where you think we went and what my pictures are all about. I'll fill you in on any details you want to know later. Just leave your comments and enjoy my pictures! And for those of you who know the location, you can leave your comments too. :)The sign pictured below hangs over the door of the house pictured above.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Sitting at a Red Light

Thanks to those of you who took my poll. It seems trying to decide where to go it what we do most. Could it be that we are on the phone trying to get another's opinion as to where we should go? And thanks to the one TRUTHFUL soul who admitted to picking your nose! This was not a scientific poll nor was it research for my next book. (But come to think of it...) LOL It was just silly fun. I think we all need a little of that in our lives, don't you? I wish more of you would have participated, but maybe you will next time. If you are curious about something and would like to me to make it a poll topic, let me know. I'd be happy to post your question!


(I've been playing with the grand babies so you'll just have to pardon my lack of blogging time.)

The day after our whale tour we poked around Portsmouth and took a harbor tour. It was not extremely exciting, but we did learn some history of the area and saw a few cool things.This was, at one time, the home of William Whipple. He was a signer of the Declaration of Independence. We saw many homes and building that were built in the 1700s and early 1800s.This was, at one time, a Naval prison where the worst of the worst were incarcerated. It sits on an island and no man ever escaped from here. Why you ask? The prisoners were guarded by Marines. If a Marine allowed one of the imprisoned sailors to escape, his punishment would be to serve out the remainder of the escapee's sentence. Humphrey Bogart suffered an injury (see the scar on his lip) when a prisoner he was guarding, while in transport to this big jail house, hit him and got away. Bogart didn't want to serve the man's sentence, so he managed to recapture him and delivered him to the prison. There is a Coast Guard station there. They refuel, repair, refurbish, and decommission nuclear submarines. A cutter just happened to be in port that day.We saw several lighthouses. I think they are cool. The only lighthouse that is still tended manually is in Boston Harbor. All the rest, like this one, are automated and run by the Coast Guard. I bought a t-shirt at Hampton Beach that has a lighthouse on it with this verse.

Guiding friendly strangers, the keeper of the lighthouse is surely friends with God.In the background you see another lighthouse. But in the foreground you can see the remains of an old fort. My memory fails me. Because we saw several old forts on our vacation, I don't recall if this fort had been rebuilt at one time or if this is the original remains. But at this place the British king had stored most of the black powder that he had sent to New England. It was guarded by one British solder and a bunch of Colonists. As the Colonists started to be more "independent thinkers" the king grew uneasy about them guarding all his explosive stash. He sent troops from England to relieve the colonists of their duty. The colonists got wind of his plan by a messenger named Paul Revere. The independent thinking men overtook the one British soldier then took the black powder for the cause of independence. They hid it, scattered in churches and homes. It was said that under every pulpit was a keg of black powder. This was considered the first act of aggression of the Colonists toward the crown.

I wish I would have paid more attention in history class over a quarter of a century ago! It's too late for that now, but I am thankful for the opportunity I've had to visit some of the places where history was made. I appreciate more this country and what it stands for because of it. Though I sometimes feel like a member of a traitor generation when I think of the freedoms our forefathers suffered, lived, and died for that we have gladly given over in exchange for comfort and security. A comfortable existence has a high price. I have to ask myself, is this still the land of the free and the home of the brave?

Saturday, August 23, 2008

A Whale Of A Tale

But it's all true. At least most of it.

Time has gotten by me--we've been on vacation! It has been a good long while since we actually had a "vacation," so I put the computer in the case, grabbed my camera, and had the time of my life. I wish I could have taken you all with me. I enjoyed almost every minute of our vacation, and all the while in the back of my mind I wondered what my blog friends would like to see and experience through my posts. (The only minutes I didn't enjoy were the ones we spent eating at a Hard Rock Cafe last night. I never was too crazy about that kind of music, and it is hard to digest nachos covered with beans and jalapeno peppers while loud rock music tries to burst your eardrums.)

I hope you hang with me over the next few days as I try to record our adventures. Right now we are moving down I-90 in Ohio on our way home. My connection is only as dependable as a weak cell signal and typing while bumping down a concrete highway is challenging at best. I've got a lot of photos to weed through and edit--hoping to entertain you without putting you to sleep. So, sit back and live, as I re-live, our fun times. And if you are planning your next adventure to any of the places we've been, feel free to ask me questions.

Before we left New Hampshire we drove over to the rocky coast for a boat tour. We headed out to sea--about 22 miles from shore. We saw some pretty stuff along the way. I've always said, "Find joy in the journey!"FYI--When you are 22 miles out in the Atlantic, for all practical purposes, THERE IS NO SHORE! This is it--360 degrees. I call this picture Out Noah's Window.

Then, in the distance, there it was... The reason we were there...The burst of water vapor--formed as this magnificent creature of the sea exhaled--its hot breath to mix with the cool ocean breeze. Our tour guides didn't disappoint us. Fin whales are the second largest mammals on the face of the planet. Adults measure from 60 to 80 feet in length, and that is 60 to 80 feet of beauty and gracefulness!

Baby fin whales are about 200 lbs. when they are born. Their mother's milk is a good 50% fat so they can gain around 100 lbs. a day, and they grow over an inch a day. Our guide told us that they can live about 90 years.You might think that as big as these beauties are it would be easy to get a photo of them. WRONG! First, you look to and fro scanning the vast blue ocean for their blow, never knowing where it might be. After they blow they "surface" never letting more than 1/3 of their gigantic bodies out of the water at a time. Then, just as quickly as they show themselves, they are back under the surface. So then you wait, with camera ready, hoping they will surface again in or near the same spot. If you are lucky, you can snap your shutter at just the right instant to catch them before they "take a deep dive." I about broke my arm patting myself on the back because I was actually quick enough to catch some "blows" for you to see. (You're welcome.) LOL

We ended up seeing about 5 or 6 different fin whales that afternoon. Just as we were about to head back to shore, two of them surfaced at the same time right next to each other. It was mating season and I think they were "talking." Maybe not, but it was cool to see anyway!

While we were whale watching, nature was at work behind us, for when we turned back...

The weather started getting rough--(sing with me now)

The tiny ship was tossed--

If not for the courage of the fearless crew...

Okay, maybe it wasn't quite that bad, but the rain did come down, IN SHEETS! Visibility was cut to--well--not far. And we got wet!We made it back to shore safely, and I'm happy to say that the trip out and seeing the whales was worth a little bad weather, drippy hair, and squishy shoes. Wish you could have been there too. I'd do it again in a heartbeat!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Anniversary And Local Color

You know how it is with us. Every time we make plans to do something, something else happens to mess it all up. So we don't really make plans anymore. We just go happenstance-by-the-seat-of-our-pants one hour at a time.

Today just happened to be our anniversary. We naturally didn't make any plans to do any thing special, so by-the-seat-of-our-pants, when Rick had a spare hour this afternoon, we headed out to the nearest blueberry farm.

This family farm has strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries. I believe they have peaches and a variety of vegetable as well. We pulled up to the little hut where produce was for sale, and went in. As we walked through the door we saw a sign that directed shoppers to pull the rope, which was connected to a big cast iron bell, for service. Rick rang the bell and in just an instant two teenage boys pulled up in an old golf cart. The back of the cart was full of blueberries and the boys had smudges of purple on their faces, hands, and clothes.

The younger of the two boys hopped out of the cart and asked if we were there to pick blueberries. Now we could have bought some already packed in those nice little square cartons, but what fun would that be? I can do that in the supermarket back home. So I said, "Yes." (Rick might have thought about buying the already-picked berries, but I didn't give him a chance to answer. I wanted to soak up some local color.

The kid said, "Okay. We've got a special deal today. If you pick a bucket for us, you can have your bucket. Do you want to do that?" As Rick started to mumble something about how many berries it would take to fill both buckets, I said, "Sure!"

The boy shoved a bucket in each of our hands and said, "There ya go." And off we went. It didn't take long to fill our buckets and I think my sceptical groom of 27 years didn't mind it too much. He even got stung by a bee when he pinched it in a handful of berries, but didn't complain too much. By the time we got our two buckets picked, my hands had really soaked up some local color.

We did go out to dinner tonight, but it was not a celebratory anniversary dinner. Rick had a meeting with another adjuster to discuss a "problem" claim from _____. (you know where) Not much fun, but such is life.

On our way home we went by the store and bought some heavy cream. I just finished off my bowl of fresh blueberries and whipped cream. Yummmmm! Go ahead, envy me. It's okay this time. After all, it was my anniversary present!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Quick Drive Up To Maine

Yesterday Rick had one last claim up in Maine so I tagged along. Just so I could say I've been there. I saw more hills and more trees. I was excited to see a few maple trees that were starting to blush with colors of fall. Sumac along the roadside had a few blood red leaves and the ferns and low growing vegetation in the woods were starting to turn too.
There are some places I've been that I'm glad to say, "I've been there," and I don't care to ever go back. Las Vegas, Nevada is one. But, New England is one place that I would love to visit again. If you've seen the movie The Bucket List you'll understand when I say, "Seeing New England in the fall" is on my list. It won't happen this year, but some day, before I die, I hope to cross one of Vermont's covered bridges and have red and gold leaves crunch under my feet.
Now our quick trip up to Maine didn't have room for much sightseeing, but you'll be surprised what you can see if you are looking for something special to post on your blog. I saw weather vanes. All over the place I saw old colonial churches and building of all sorts that had really cool weather vanes. No two were alike. I was able to get a picture of only one. I hope you like it.
On our way home we stopped by the home of L.L. BEAN. This is Rick standing by the L.L.Bean boot.
When we were in the store, Rick suggested I take a picture of this stuffed moose because, and I quote, "It's the closest thing to a real moose you are going to see." (He looks dead on his feet don't you think?)
I love my husband, but he was a wet blanket tossed across my hopes of seeing a moose crossing the road. He's probably right, but a girl needs her dreams. Right?
In just a couple of days I'll be packing up my dreams and the camper and we will be heading for home. Rick hopes to work in a vacation along the way, so I may have some other sights to show you later. You never know where we'll end up!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Silent Visitor

A visitor came to my door but didn't knock.
With gentle wave of wing beckoned,
Follow me into the sun.
There, dressed in royal velvet
Silent beauty humbly rested,
Simply for my pleasure.

Promises of God

"Then the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And the LORD was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart. And the Lord said 'I will blot out man whom I have created from the face of the land, from man to animals to creeping things and to birds of the sky; for I am sorry that I have made them.'"

"But Noah found favor in the eyes of the LORD."

"Then the flood came upon the earth for forty days; and the water increased and lifted up the ark so that it rose above the earth."

"And the water prevailed upon the earth one hundred and fifty days."

"But God remembered Noah and all the beasts and all the cattle that were with him in the ark; and God caused a wind to pass over the earth, and the water subsided."

"...the LORD said to Himself, I will never again curse the ground on account of man, for the intent of man's heart is evil from his youth; and I will never again destroy every living thing, as I have done. While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease.'"

"And God said, 'This is the sign of the covenant which I am making between Me and you and every living creature that is with you, for all successive generations; I set My bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a sign of a covenant between Me and the earth.'"
"...and I will remember My covenant, which is between Me and you and every living creature of all flesh; and never again shall the water become a flood to destroy all flesh."
(All scripture taken from the New American Standard Bible, Genesis 6-9.)
This last week New England, particularly Maine and New Hampshire was hit with a lot of rain. Inches and inches, day after day. Friday the entire state of New Hampshire was under a flood warning, and we watched as the river, only a few yards from our door, grew deeper and deeper. It began to overflow its banks at the camping space next to ours and in other spots throughout the campground.

By late afternoon the campground manager came around and asked us to unhook our sewer hose because 1.) rain water was standing around the drain and 2.) she wanted us to be able to make a quick evacuation if need be.

As the sun began to set, the rain began to stop. And God placed His bow in the cloud--a reminder of His promise.

The River crested during the night or early morning and ran high most of the day yesterday. This morning the river level has dropped considerably. Through it all, God's promise remains!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Around The Campground

I have to say that everyone has their own idea of adventure. I've not gone anywhere exciting or done anything news-worthy the last few days, but life can always be an adventure when you choose to make it one. Sometimes you have to overlook some things and look more closely at others. Here are a few pictures of my adventure around the Epsom Valley Campground. Try clicking on each one to enjoy some of the tiny details of nature.

On Wednesday the temperatures remained in the lower 60s all day and it rained, and rained, and rained. (Family and friends that have been suffering in the +100 degree temperatures in Texas, I'm sorry you have to read this part, but not too much. LOL) Rick wanted to turn on the heater but I wouldn't let him. So, he worked in his jacket. I always think it is funny that 60 degrees in August feels cold while 60 degrees in January feels warm. We are camped in the woods. That's not saying much because I've decided that if you are camped anywhere in New England, you are in the woods. This is the view out my window. We are camped on the bank of the Suncook River. It's not very wide, but it is pretty deep. There has been rain either here or up river almost every day that we have been here so the river has gotten deeper every day. If you look hard you can see a corn field just on the other side of the river. That's not been good for my allergies, but since the wind doesn't blow, I've not had too much trouble.
Here is a spot where part of the river slows to make a little pond. When we got here all the lily pads were floating and blooming. Now they are all under water. You can see them just beyond the tall grass. I can't get over how the trees are reflected in the glassy water.

Here are some of our "neighbors." A moose or two and some crazy old trees.
Because of all the rain, there is no shortage of fungus among us.
Rick said that all these beautiful mushrooms lack is a ladybug on top.
One of my favorite things growing in the woods is wild blueberry bushes.
I've had a few handfuls to round out my lunch or just for a snack. They are tiny little berries, but they are full of blueberry flavor! There are some pretty flowers up by the office. They are not natural to the woods, but they were so pretty I thought you might want to see them anyway.
I love how each flower is so unique.
If you pay close attention to the world around you, you may be entertained by some of the cutest little critters. That's part if making the hum-drum an adventure.
This dragonfly is resting in the blueberry bush.
This little guy to too pretty to be called a slug. I've never seen anything exactly like this before. What an adventure! This little frog would not pose for me, so I held him in my hand to get his picture. Instantly my hand was VERY SLIMY! EEWWWW! Some adventures are a little gross!
It doesn't look like we will be here to witness New England in the fall and that makes me a little sad. But I found a few leaves along the side of the road that seem to be rushing things just a bit. Together they gave me a glimpse of what I will be missing.

I rarely title my photos, but if I gave this one a name it would be... As Time Goes By.

I took a few more pictures around the campground. Watch for them to show up as puzzles on my side bar.