Saturday, November 24, 2012

Friday and Saturday, November 23 & 24, 2012-Inks Lake State Park

This post is not as much about us as it is about the doggies. I'll get back to this later...

These last two days have been pretty routine for us, with boat rentals and firewood taking up our working time. The store called us yesterday, saying they were very busy and asked us to come in early. We agreed to come in at 10, but when we got there, the weather was cloudy and a cold wind had come up, making boat rentals very slow. I dropped Stella off to take care of the boats while I went to check on firewood. Being the holiday week, there were lots of people in the park and firewood sales had been "brisk" and I discovered that lots of firewood needed to be put out. It took me over 2 1/2 hours to get the firewood put out, and I put out more than normal because of the number of people in the park and the weather. When we checked it today, sales had slowed but we still needed some. A normal weekend in the state parks.

The thing I wanted to tell you about the dogs is the change in the behavior. With the cooler weather, they have both become closer to both of us but especially with me. Tramp has always been more of Stella's buddy than mine, but he has been coming to bed with me lately and snuggling up against me. Cassie has always been a "touch-me-not" when she's asleep and always moves away when I did happen to touch her. She has also been snuggling up hard against me too, and last night both of them were on either side of me and laying on top of the covers. Have you ever tried to move to sleepy dogs when they want to snuggle? These two seem to weigh 200 pounds apiece when I tried to move and getting out of bed was a LOT of fun. Cassie growled at me and Tramp just tried to snuggle harder against me. I suspect that this is a sign that winter will be cold and I can't wait until January and February when it really gets cold. Remind me to update you then. I know this was kind of silly, but I thought it was interesting.

So long.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Wednesday & Thursday, November 21 & 22nd, 2012-Inks Lake State Park

Wednesday was a nice day. The weather was very nice, we worked pretty hard for a couple of hours, but best of all, we saw some of our good friends that we haven't seen in awhile. 

The day began with me walking my route to check on firewood and to chat with other park hosts as I walked. There are seldom any Gators for us to use in the morning, so we decided to go to the grocery store to pick up a few things for tomorrow. While there, I called Carl and Faye, a couple that we had met at Rayford Crossing, where we all had stayed at for several years. I had spoken to them a couple of days ago and had learned that they were coming to this area, so we made arrangements to meet at the Highlander restaurant for a late lunch. We had a fine meal and stayed in the restaurant for a couple of hours, chatting and catching up. It was good to see them again and we invited them to come eat Thanksgiving dinner with us tomorrow at this restaurant.

We came on back to the park and got a Gator and loaded it up with firewood. We overloaded each of the five firewood stations so we could take off all day tomorrow and enjoy our holiday. We put out three full truck loads of wood and could have put out more due to people buying it as soon as we put it out. We even delivered a load to a young couple that wanted more wood than they could carry. It started to get too dark to bring any more out, so we stopped for the night. 

We woke to another beautiful day here in the hill country and let me begin today's post with:


I got the big coffee pot out of storage so we would have plenty of coffee when Carl and Faye arrived. They arrive right on time and we had another very nice visit with them. When it became time to go into town for lunch with the other park hosts and let me tell you, today's meal was as good as any I've ever had. Although not exactly home made, it was delicious and perfectly seasoned. After finishing our meal, we all stopped at the front desk of the restaurant to watch the Houston Texans and Detroit Lions as they played in overtime. The game had not ended until after we got back home, but of course, Houston pulled out the win. It was an ugly win, but it is a win and thats what counts.

We then watched the Cowboys lose to the Redskins. Stella is the big Cowboy fan, so she was sad that they lost but they did at least try! Still a loss though...

It was a great Thanksgiving and I am truly thankful for good friends and great food. The football games are just the icing on the cake. 

So long.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Saturday November 17 thru Tuesday November 20, 2012-Inks Lake State Park

Saturday was a pretty easy day but we managed to stay busy all day, delivering and selling firewood. We worked on it in the morning, since it had been cold last night and many people were still burning campfires, and again later in the afternoon. The only bad thing about it was fighting the setting sun when we were going up into the tent area. That sun is brutal!

Austin headquarters has asked for gate monitoring at different times and we got the 11-12M shift on Saturday night again. It was boring because no one came in, so we read on the Kindle (Stella) while I played games on my phone.

Sunday we intended to go to church in Burnet but since we had been up late the night before, we slept until after 8, so we didn't make it. Some of the other hosts had told us about this church with their services at 9 on Sunday morning and we will make it one day.

There was lots of wood sold the night before, so we got a Gator after the football games were over and started putting wood out. Many of the visitors had left but several new ones came in, so it was worth stocking up the firewood stacks. While we were out, we ran into Lin, one of the other hosts, and whose husband oversees the firewood sales for the Friends group. She complimented us for the job we are doing with the firewood and said they had the best week ever for firewood income. It made us feel good for all the work we had done.

When we returned home, our neighbors were sitting outside and enjoying a campfire of their own so we went over and joined them. I sat out until about 9 when I got sleepy and went home. This was the first campfire that we had, and we enjoyed it.

Monday morning our Heartland friends Tony and Erika and Dan and Ann came over for a visit. We sat outside in our yard until lunch time and drove over to Llano to Coopers Barbecue where we had another delicious lunch. From Llano we went to the Big Chief RV Resort where Tony and Erika were staying for a tour of their Elk Ridge trailer and to check out the park. We had a nice visit there and came back over here. Dan and Ann went back home to Austin but the four of us came back here to our park where we had a nice campfire and sat outside until about 9. We had a very nice visit but I stepped on a sharp piece of metal on the back of the firepit at our site and jabbed my foot. I didn't say anything about it at the time but found a big cut in my foot after. I didn't think it had cut me and that I was only bruised, but after taking my shoe off, I found the injury. Stella doctored me up, so I'll be fine. She even put a band aid on it for me this morning so it would be cushioned.

It was cool again this morning but there is a shortage of Gators, so we couldn't replenish the firewood until this afternoon. Tuesday is our scheduled laundry day so I took Stella down to do the wash before we got a Gator and loaded up three truck loads to put out. We will stock it up tomorrow afternoon because we are planning a big Thanksgiving celebration on Thursday and hopefully won't have to work. We'll see how that works out....

So long.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Friday November 15, 2012-Inks Lake State Park

Going back to Tuesday, I got a Grasshopper and finished up mowing the large camping area near the back of the park. Most of the mowing was detail work around trees and the large rocks, so it was very time consuming and very dusty. I think this was the dirtiest that I have gotten when mowing. I came home and sat outside for awhile to cool down and dust myself off and then took a much-needed shower. The park host group had decided to go to the Highlander restaurant in Burnet. The Highlander is a buffet style restaurant with a different selection every day. We had a very good time visiting with our co-workers and sat inside chatting for a couple of hours.

Wednesday we worked on filling up the firewood "stands" around the park, then began picking up the recycling bins and emptying them of the aluminum cans. We worked on that for about 3 1/2 hours before running very low on fuel for the Gator that we were using. We returned to the shop but the pickup truck with the diesel refueling tank on it was gone, so we were unable to finish our job. There is no diesel tank at the shop except for the truck, and I'm not sure why this is being done. I guess its a way to allow volunteer workers refuel the equipment without supervision or someone having to unlock the tank.

Thursday was a down day for us. I took my morning walk, which includes picking up litter and checking the firewood stacks along the way, but today we were looking forward to seeing our friends, Michael and Kelly who were coming by this afternoon. They arrived right on time, about 1 o'clock, and we sat outside in our yard for a couple of hours until the chilly temperatures sent us inside, where we continued our visit with them. They are fellow Heartland Landmark owners, although they have a different model (floor-plan) than we do. We had a very nice time chatting with them and decided to go eat at the Highlander restaurant. This was a good choice and was right on their way back to Fort Hood, where Michael had been stationed many years ago. He just retired a few months ago from the U.S. Army and we thank him for his service to the country. We are looking forward to seeing them again soon when we go to Mission.

Bringing us up to today, Friday. I did my morning walk and found that there was not as much firewood gone as I had expected but there were no Gators available, so we had to wait to reload the firewood. We were supposed to work at the store on boat rental duty at noon, so I decided to let Stella go to the store while I did firewood. Surely she could handle an hour or so by herself!

I loaded up the Gator and headed out to deliver the wood, and found that the tent end of the park was completely out! I started laying out the stacks and a group of guys walked up and gave me $20 for some wood so I let them take it right out of the truck. I didn't have to handle it and made a sale, so it's all good! I got the wood delivered and walked back to the store to help with the boats, but rentals were very slow today. Stella had rented one kayak and only one canoe and they both came back in soon after I got there. I put their oars and life jackets away and that was about all we did for the rest of the afternoon.... Booooring!

Everything that was out was in by 3, which is the last rental time for the afternoon, so I locked everything up and we left. We drove through the park and found that not as much firewood as I expected had been sold, but we'll have to get out pretty early tomorrow morning to check it again. I just hope there will be a Gator for us to use.

So long.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Monday November 12, 2012-Inks Lake State Park

Another update from the state park. Work is going well, with boat rentals and mowing being two of our main jobs. The work is not that hard, but the mowing is dusty and very dirty. Because of the drought, there is lots of dust, so when I come in from mowing it takes a LOT of dusting me off before I can come inside. The time change has messed up our boat rental schedule. Marty, the other park host that does rentals, comes in on Saturday from 11 AM until 3 PM so now since the store closes at 5, the last rental is at 3, so since there isn't that much need of someone being there to receive the boats that are out, we were told that we weren't needed on Saturday afternoon. Bummer! Oh well, we have firewood to get put out on Saturday, so that is what we worked on.

While working on the fire wood, we had a visitor come by. Remember AD and Dee from Stephen F. Austin State Park? AD and his new friend Donna dropped by for a visit. Dee, his wife, passed away some time ago, and he has stopped working as a host in the state parks and met Donna, whose husband passed a couple of weeks after Dee did, and they are traveling together now. They have done some gate guarding in south Texas and gone to Nebraska for the sugar beet harvest but have returned to Texas to decide what they want to do next. It was good to see our old friend and to see him happy again. We are planning to see them again when we go to the valley if we can schedule it.

Sunday we had a big potluck dinner for the hosts in the empty site next to us. Well, the site isn't really empty; it has a FEMA trailer on it for visitors that don't have a trailer, usually some big wheel from Austin who wants to come down for a stay. Patty, the lady host that is also staying near our site, had planned this get-together, and bought the chickens to roast. She and John, another of the hosts, began cooking about 11 this morning. I went over and sat outside with them while the cooking was going on and we had a nice visit.

The group came over about 3, and we sat around talking and visiting and having something to drink. The chickens were ready to eat about 4, and we all had another fine meal. Potluck dinners are THE BEST! After dinner, the group broke up and went home, but we had a very nice time with them. I hope that we can do this again soon.

I've got to say-again- that I don't like this new time. I wish we could stay on either daylight savings or standard time. I did some research a long time ago about the laws concerning the time change but can't find it right now. Without boring you with a lot of data that I'm sure you remember, Daylight Savings Time (DST) actually began during the 1st World War but wasn't adopted formally in the United States until 1966. It is observed in all states except Arizona (except the Navajo territory, which does observe DST), and Hawaii and the offshore territories of Puerto Rico, American Samoa, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Why can't we have a local election of whether to observe it? Hmmmm. Something else to work on.

So long.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Wednesday November 7, 2012-Inks Lake State Park

Well the elections are over and my guy didn't win. I have tried to stay away from talking politics here and I won't dwell on what happened or why. This is probably the worst and most divisive presidential campaign that I have seen, and I'm glad it's over. I've apparently lost a couple of friends who no longer read my emails or respond and I unfriended one man on Facebook, not because of his political views but because he is a racist. He is an elected official in Galveston county and I was really surprised and very disappointed in his attitude. So much for politics...

Work around here has been pretty steady. On Monday we worked on the recycling bins, emptying the aluminum cans out of the collection cages and put them into sacks to be picked up later. We were amazed at the amount of trash that is put into the cages. I'm not sure whether people are lazy or just stupid when they put trash into chicken wire cages that are marked for aluminum cans only. Crazy...

Tuesday, as I walked down to get a mower to begin mowing one of the large camping areas, Chris stopped me and asked if we could man the restrooms again because the water was being cut off again. This happened twice last week and we helped and cleaned up after people at the only restroom being used, so we did it again today. It wasn't too hard but it took most of the day, and we are glad to help where needed.

Today, I thought we were going to have to work the bathroom again because they cut the water off again because of a leaky valve, but they were able to isolate the area and didn't need to turn all the water off, so I got one of the Grasshopper mowers and mowed about five or six acres of grass with campsites on them. Luckily for me, there was only one camper in the sites, and they were a couple that are also park hosts, so I was really careful when mowing around them. My only mishap was when I was mowing a site and backed off the raised dining area, hanging the rear wheels off and getting stuck. I found one of the park rangers and he and I hooked up a tow strap and soon had me pulled out and back to mowing. No damage, and an embarrassed Jay. I hope that's the worst thing that happens to me while we are here. Wish me luck.

So long.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Sunday November 4, 2012-Inks Lake State Park

Our days are pretty routine around here. We inherited another job when Gary and Mary left. Gary worked on many of the machines in the shop, which I'm not qualified to do and Mary took care of replenishing the firewood stacks and twice a week, picking up the recycling aluminum cans. We'll see how this works out. Right now, I'm not so sure but I'll talk more about it later.

I don't know whether you can see it or not, but in the middle of the picture near the top is a black board or limb in the water that looked a lot like an alligator in the water. I'm sorry that it didn't show up better but its the best I can do with my camera phone. I'm sure that if a woman or child had seen it, they would have been frightened. I was concerned until I got closer and saw what it was, but it was our excitement for the day. At least it happened near the end of the day when there weren't too many people around.

Another beautiful sunset across the lake from the store and boat rental site. There are a lot of ducks in the lake along with several geese and I'm told, a couple of blue herons.

Friday and Saturday were both busy days because of our new duties, but we got 'er done. We used a Gator to haul the firewood and sometimes, that's a problem in itself because there aren't enough of them to go around. Between filling firewood and renting boats, we worked about twenty hours between us on Friday and Saturday. Stella went down to the store for a couple of hours today to help with rentals and I went down about four o'clock and counted and locked up the boats for the ladies. They appreciated it because that is a part of the job they hate.

I don't know about this Daylight Savings Time. The last several days, I've been getting sleepy early and begin yawning about 7:30 or so. Now that the time has changed, I'll be asleep by dark which is about 6 o'clock! Maybe not, because it's about 7 right now and I'm wide awake and waiting for the Cowboys to get beaten by the Atlanta Falcons. go Texans!!!

So long.