Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Cutting trees and picking up trash.

John's day started very early this morning.  He was up and out by 7:30 to pick up the kids working under the Youth Conservation Corps.  This is their last week here and there are lots of projects to get done.

Judy and I checked kiosks and picked up trash along the roadsides in the refuge.  At our first stop we noticed a piece of maintenance equipment that might belong to John.  I called him and asked it he was missing some equipment.  He said, "I might." 

Here is John's brush cutter.   Judy and I waited until John came to pick it up.  We didn't want it to go missing. 

John with the YCC kids, Tawny and Wyatt. 

While Judy and I were out today we saw a Red Tailed Hawk,  a doe and a fawn, a couple of Blue Herons, eight Sandhill Cranes, a painted turtle and lots of flowers.  
Here are three of the eight Sandhill Cranes we saw today. 

Here is the painted turtle that Judy helped to cross the street.

Purple Prairie Clover
Evening Primrose (I think.  Please let me know if I am wrong)
I think this is a thistle of some kind.  Eventhough it is a weed I thought it was pretty enough to snap a picture. 

Later this afternoon I accompanied John to a couple sites with fallen trees.  The first stop was one Judy and I saw earlier in the day.   The tree needed to be removed before tomorrow's tour. 

Tomorrow is one of our off days so I am sure we will be catching up on a few household chores. 

Laugh everyday.  Happy trails.  Stay safe. 

Monday, July 21, 2014

Happy Birthday Judy Bell.

John has been busy with his usual mowing and I have been working at the VC.  Yesterday John was sent on a road trip to Moose Lake, MN to pick up  some sort of device to use to keep beavers from blocking culverts.  The weather was very humid and hot.  It reminded me of being in Mississippi.

Today is fellow RVer/volunteer Judy Bell's birthday. John baked Judy a cream sherry cake last night to celebrate her special day.  We enjoyed sharing cake and ice ceam with her tonight.

Happy Birthday Judy.

Laugh everyday.  Happy trails.  Stay safe.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Picking up trash.

Another work day for us.  John had mowing to finish and I helped Janice clean the pit restrooms.  It didn't take very long and I was back around 10:30 and ready to meet up with Judy to pick up some trash. This is one job we don't mind doing because we get to travel throughout the refuge and you never know what you will see.   Everything changes from day to day.

At one of the boat launches we saw lots of butterflies.  We tried to get just the perfect picture.  It was difficult as the butterflies don't stay still for long. 

I was able to snap a picture of this White Admiral in the tall grass. 

I also got some pictures of a Compton Tortoiseshell.  They move so fast I thought I would never get a decent photo. 

After leaving the boat launch area we continued on our way.  We hadn't seen much in the way of wildlife until late afternoon when we saw a couple turkeys walking in the tall grass along Bruce Boulevard.  Judy pulled over and killed the engine so we could watch and, of course, take pictures.  One of the turkeys was a very light color.  I had never seen one like it before. 

The turkeys seemed to linger in that same spot and within a minute or two we knew why.  

 Little turkeys emerged from the tall grass and they all began to travel on down the road.  Very cool. 

I think there were nine poults but I was not able to photograph them all. 

Another picture of the light colorled turkey. 

Also, while we were out today, Judy took me to see the cabin and old car on the refuge.  This is where the Fall Festival is usually held. 

Thanks Judy for taking me there so I could get some pictures. 

Tomorrow is one of our days off so I am sure we will be making a grocery run. 

Laugh everyday.  Happy trails.  Stay safe. 

Monday, July 14, 2014

Top End Dragway

We were off Saturday and decided to drive to Top End Dragway in Glydon, MN to watch some drag racing.    There were muscle cars, dragsters, newer model cars and snow mobiles.  The snow mobiles were fun to watch.  We had never seen them race.  I took some videos but with the internet being so slow I couldn't post them.  Bummer!

Sunday was our usual work day at the Visitor Center.  We had a total of  72 visitors.  Fifty-two of them attended the afternoon movie.  There were so many people the movie had to be shown twice to accommodate everyone.  I think that was the largest group we have had so far. 

John at the counter in the VC.  Doesn't he look busy? 

After we got off work we headed over to Judy's to meet fellow full time RVers Merikay and Craig.  They have followed Judy's blog and stopped in to meet her in person and visit.  Judy gave them a tour of the refuge.  Later on we all gathered at Judy's for a cook out.  Thank you Judy for a great meal.  

Craig and Merikay.

It was nice to meet Craig and Merikay.  We wish them safe travels. 

Laugh everyday.  Happy trails.  Stay safe. 

Friday, July 11, 2014

Cookout with fellow RVers and Fried Pickles.

Off from work and enjoying the nice weather.    Fellow RVers, Tom and Marci and their sons Nicolas and Bryce arrived in Detroit Lakes earlier in the day.   We met them a few years ago at an RV Dreams rally.  So glad they were able to stop by for a  visit.

Judy had a tour in the refuge this morning.  One of the couples in the tour follows Judy's blog and were here for a visit also.   We all gathered for a cookout and great conversation.  John even fried up some pickles as an appetizer.  He had planned to cook some last week so Judy could taste them but he didn't have all the ingredients.  Today he was prepared. 

Left to right: Bryce, Sherry, David, Tom and Marci. 

Left to right: Marci, Nicolas, Judy and John.

Shortly after dinner the skies became overcast and soon we felt a sprinkle or two.  John and I wanted to take Tom, Marci, Nicolas and Bryce on a tour of the refuge and were a little bummed that the weather didn't cooperate.  We decided to give it a try and loaded up and headed out.  Within minutes a light rain was falling.  Marci was able to get a few pictures so all was not lost.  

We enjoyed meeting David and Sherry and seeing Tom, Marci and their sons again.  Hope to see them all again down the road again real soon. 

Laugh everyday.  Happy trails.  Stay safe.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

We're still here.

It has been a few days since our last post.  The internet service hasn't been the best so downloading pictures and posting blogs have been a slow ordeal.  Just wanted everyone to know we are still here  just a little behind on blogging.

Judy and I have been busy trying to complete the Loon Survey at Tamarac.  The weather has been a major factor.  One day it rained and was too windy so we had to wait until things cleared up.   

We had a fun filled July 4th weekend.  Judy's daughter, granddaughters, son and daughter-in-law were visiting her and we all got together for a little bit of BBQ.  Thanks Judy for intiving us.  We really enjoyed the food and the visit. 

From left to right: Phoebe, Crystal, Avery, Daniel, Robin, Judy and John. 

Right after our big meal the rain moved in.  Oh no!  Lucky for us it did not last long.   After the rain stopped we were all back outside.  We had games to play. 

Avery and Phoebe discussing their Ladder Golf scores.   They were so cute playing it.

John even pulled out the old dulcimer to play for us.  When the bugs started getting bad we all went in for the night. 

On Sunday morning John worked at the Visitor Center alone while Judy and I planned to finish our Loon Surveys. We had three lakes left and time was running out to get the surveys done.  Judy's son Daniel and daughter-in-law Crystal came along with us.  

We arrived at the first lake and found Leechers on the lake in a canoe so it was a total wash.  Notations were made on the survey sheet.  This meant Judy and I would have to return at another time and try again. 

Judy hard at work.

Judy and I in the back of the truck looking for loons.  This was one of the locations where we couldn't park off of the road because of the rain saturated grounds.   There was also tall grass so we needed a higher vantage point for viewing.  Don't you just love our orange vests?  We were styling.

Moving from location to location to do the surveys gives us a great opportunity to take photographs.  You never know what you will see here.  It is so cool. 

The last two surveys were completed around lunchtime so we headed back in.  I joined John at the Visitor Center to finish up the work day. 

This geese family spent the afternoon hanging out at the Visitor Center.  The babies are getting big.

Judy's son Daniel and daughter-in-law Crystal went fishing in the afternoon.  They weren't gone very long and returned with some nice fish for dinner.  Our thanks to them and Judy for a wonderful dinner that night. 

Daniel the chef.

We enjoyed meeting and sharing the 4th with Judy and her family.  Fun times. 

 The sunset from Judy's site.

Monday rolled around and it was a work day.  John was off to cut fallen trees with the fire crew from Detroit Lakes Wetlands office and Judy and I were off  to finish one last survey.   Unfortunately, the leechers were on the lake again so we weren't able to complete that survey.  Oh well, we tried. 

Tuesday John went out with the crew to finishing cutting fallen trees and I worked at the Visitor Center.  Tomorrow will be our last work day of the week.

Laugh everyday.  Happy trails.  Stay safe. 

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Counting Loons.

Today's weather was very much improved from yesterday's.  No rain! Yea!!  That meant John could finish his mowing and Judy and I could return to counting Loons for the survey.  We were able to get three locations done today....and we actual saw some Loons.  That made my day.   I really wish I could photograph a Loon but they move too quickly.

Judy identifying some Lesser Scaups. 

While in route from one location to another Judy and I stopped to photograph some White Lady Slippers.  They won't be around very long so we are enjoying them while we can. 

After finishing up with the morning assignment I still had a few hours on my hands so I rode around  and refilled brochures at the kiosks throughout the refuge then checked the restrooms to see it any additional supplies were needed.  During the ride I saw a Ruffed Grouse on the side of the road.  Of course I had to stop and take a picture....or two. 

We are off tomorrow so I hope the weather is nice.  

Laugh everyday.  Happy trails.  Stay safe. 

Monday, June 30, 2014

Basset Hound on the loose.

Sunday afternoon, after we got off from work, we went into Detroit Lakes for a few groceries,  On the way back we saw this little basset hound with a cone on his head, walking toward us on Highway 26.

He could pass a Fred's cousin. 

John stopped and picked him up to get him off the road.  One of the Tamarac employees lives up the street from where we found the dog so John stopped and asked her if she knew who the dog belonged to.  Luckily the dog lives less than half a mile away on that same road.  We took him back to his driveway and dropped him off.  No one appeared to be home so we hope he stayed. 

Today John worked with Kurt cutting fallen trees throughout the refuge.  This gives John more training towards a Class A certification.  He will need to be observed again by one more person to be signed off.  I accompanied Judy on the Loon Survey.  We were assigned eight lakes but due to weather conditions we were only able to complete two small ones today.  While we here out we checked the other lakes to see if we would need to bring along some loppers to cut a trail to our survey sites.  It looks like we will have to cut a trail or two.  

As usual there is always something to photograph. Today we saw lots of wildflowers. 

Tonight I tried a new chicken recipe I found on facebook.  Some of the ones I have tried in the past haven't been that tasty but this one certainly was. 

 It is called Cheryl's Fancy Pants Chicken.   If you like chicken, spinach, mushrooms and mozzarella you will love this.  John said this one is a keeper. 

Cheryl's Fancy Pants Chicken

You'll need 2 packages of THIN chicken breasts
a few slices of prosciutto
a half bag of fresh spinach
an 8 oz package of fresh sliced mushrooms
1 envelope Lipton Recipe Secret's Savory Herb and Garlic
1/2C White Wine
1/4C Olive oil
8oz shredded mozzarella

Preheat oven to 375
spray a 13/9" pan with pam
put 2 layers of chicken in pan,
cover with proscuitto,
top with spinach, sprinkle with a little kosher salt and coarse black pepper
top with mushrooms
whisk together olive oil, wine and savory herb envelope
pour over everything.
Lay a piece of foil over (not tight)
bake for 30 minutes
top with cheese and bake for 5 minutes more.

After dinner we went for a ride in the refuge.  It is interesting what you see at different times of the day.  On our way out of the maintenance road we saw a buck and a doe hanging out by the gate.   This is the first buck I have seen since we have been here. 

So nice of him to pose for a picture. 

We ventured over to the East entrance of Tamarac and found the White Lady Slippers I wanted to get a picture of.  I just love these flowers.

Tomorrow will be another work day.  The weather will dictate if I will be at the Visitor Center or working with Judy on the Loon Survey.   John may or may not be mowing tomorrow.  The weather forecast is showing some rain, wind and lower temperatures so we will see. 

Laugh everyday.  Happy trails.  Stay safe. 

Friday, June 27, 2014


Yesterday John was busy mowing and I rode with Judy to check trails for fallen trees again.  The skies were overcast and the weather a little cooler.  We didn't see a bear today.  Awe, darn. 

We did see lots of wildflowers .......

Love these Indian Paintbrush.

..and a dragonfly or two. 

We were off today and just chilled out at home.  Just before supper time John looked out the window noticed we had a visitor.

This little groundhog comes by almost everyday.

Later this afternoon I noticed Judy outside with her camera so I went to see what has out there.  A painted turtle was digging a hole to lay eggs right behind our car. 

While we were outside we saw another turtle at the end of the driveway.  Judy picked it up so I could get a picture of the bottom of it. 

They are very cool to look at.   Thanks Judy.

I wonder what that turtle was thinking. 

Tomorrow we are off again.  I guess we better catch up on our laundry.  Oh what fun. haha.

Laugh everyday.  Happy trails.  Stay safe.