Follow the Leader

Pigs are pretty smart. Any time the tractor starts up the drive they run to the feed troughs. I saw pigs frolicking in the pig pen. I kid you not. I also saw them wallowing in mud holes, but while no one was looking a smart pig was going along the electric fence wire and removing the plastic pins that hold the wire up, thus shorting the current.

There are three pig pens. One of my first jobs was to go around pens two and three repairing the loose wire.

Let me pause here to tell you about the fence. There is regular farm fencing that I would say is about 4 feet high. This is to keep most animals in the area. Then about 6 inches from the ground is an electric line that is to discourage the pigs from tunneling under the fence. Then about six inches above the regular fence is a line of barbed wire to discourage calves or goats from jumping the fence. Who knew there was such a science to keeping animals where they belong.

Pens two and three had no residents. There was a lot of bending involved, but the task was completed. Then it rained. Ahhh, maybe I wouldn’t have to fix pen one.

The next day Chip suggested I ease on (a very local phrase) in to pen one and fix the connections. I asked if there was anything I should know and he said, “No, it’s the same wiring as the other pens.”

Was he kidding or was I too much of a city girl? There were piglets, but plenty of BIG pigs. (No sows. They have their own field.) I clarified that I was interested in knowing how to deal with pigs, a large number of pigs, with whom I would be sharing a fenced in pig pen.

He assured me that they would be very intimidated by me. Sure…..

I open the gate and ease on in. The pigs move away and I think, “Okay, they won’t bother me if I don’t bother them.”

Now, I am bending over to fix a connector (yes, my hind in is up in the air offering itself as a nice sized target) when I hear a deep voiced pig snort. I look between my arm and leg and about 5 feet away stands a pig staring at me. I stand up and it is a staring contest. I start to move and the pig runs away. Ah, relief.

As I proceed around the pen other pigs join my fan club. There started to be a procession following me. When I stopped they stopped. If I turned around they all looked in different directions as if they didn’t even notice me. It got to be quite fun having them follow me and then sneak closer and closer each time I bent down. Then when I stood and walked they all skittered away.

Several days later it was apparent that we had fixed the fence when we heard several LOUD squeals as some curious snouts got too close.

I snapped this picture while bent over. Good thing I wasn’t afraid……

Follow the leader.

Busy Bees

Chip and Laura take care of the farm next door. The owners do not live there full time. Laura was cleaning in the house and heard something funny. She put her ear against the wall and heard bees. After some discussion it was decided that the bees were living between the ceiling of a first floor room and the floor of a second floor. Laura and Chip have bees on their farm

The other WWOOFers and I were told that the bees would be sucked out of the house the next day if we wanted to come watch. Of course we wanted to watch.

We were met at the neighbor’s farm by a sweet couple that do bee relocation. Yep, you read that correctly. They collect the bees from places where they are unwanted and relocate them to someplace they are wanted and where the bees will hopefully survive and decide to call home.

There is a science behind this that is amazing. The re-locators had a shop vac and they could suck the bees in, except that it was decided that the hive was too big for that.

This gentleman was removing the cedar siding from the house trying to discover exactly where the bees were hanging out. He was barefoot and was wearing no bee protective gear.

This is Chad, one of the WWOOFers, getting a close up picture of the hive.

Left to right you see Chris, another WWOOFer, the bee guy, the bee guy’s wife and Chip. In the back of the truck is the bee box (I am sure it has an official name) where the hive layers will be relocated. On the right side of the picture you can see the shop vac hose.

The bees were very calm as the outside wall panels were removed. I braved a trip up the ladder for a closer look. The hive filled the space between the ceiling and floor.

This is the bee guy using a knife around the edge of the hive preparing to remove a layer. The bees were becoming a tad bit excited. At this point I am thinking, “Can you say CRAZY?”

The first layer removed he heads down the ladder. His wife wants to help get the layer down. Okay, did I say….Crazy? The bees are beginning to get riled up, but you can see that many of them are clinging to home.

Now the layer is being trimmed to fit in a frame that will be placed in the bee box. Once the piece is laid in the frame two large rubber bands were put around the frame to hold the layer in place. (If you happen to know all the correct lingo, please let me know.)

There were 16 layers, but after three layers and a bee sting on my cheek I headed back to the bunkhouse. Poor Chad had a bee sting him right under his eye. We heard later that the bee man and Chip had several stinger encounters.

All in a day on the farm!!!

It appears that the queen settled in the bee box and the bees may have a chance of lasting through the winter. They are now hanging out with the Spencer bees. Chip said that the bees have a hard go of it as there is not much in the area that flowers in the summer because of the heat.

This was one bzzzzzy day.

Spencer Farm

Marion Junction, Alabama         October 24th to November 17th

The driveway to the farmhouse is long and windy. You pass over several cattle grids. The picture is from the internet as I forgot to take a picture. I am glad I have large feet. I think their size helped me to navigate the grid in between the bunkhouse and the main house area of the farm

Image result for cow grate for driveway

Chip and Laura Spencer are GOOD people. Don’t tell them I have posted this picture of them!! My last night I went up to the house to chat and say goodbye. It was late and everyone had experienced a long day. I was not yet in my jammies.

The family is very musical.

My time at the farm was wonderful. I did work I have never done before and learned a ton. I was sad to leave!

North Carolina to Alabama

I was so bored driving with no one to talk to!

I love Walmart! I loving shopping there and have for a long time. I also now get my monthly prescriptions filled at Walmarts. I also now sleep in their parking lots. Maybe I need to start a Walmart page and list every one where I sleep or medicate myself!

This store is on the east side of Augusta, Georgia. There were no other overnighters.

Here I am tucked in between the big boy trucks at the Alabama Visitor Center and rest area. The VC had lots of information. I sat at a picnic table and enjoyed the sunshine.

This is the Selma Walmart. The store is to the left. This truck was the only other overnight vehicle when I went to bed. When I woke up there were at least 20 more trucks in the parking lot. I have seen a lot of trucks a number of evenings when I am in Selma.

The funny part. I thought I was on the east side of Selma and that Selma was a bis town. Not like Montgomery, but big.

The joke was on me. Selma is small and I was about 30 minutes east of Spencer Farm.

North Carolina

We left College Park at 5A in the hopes of missing some of the DC traffic. It was an uneventful drive to Hampstead, NC. I stopped there to drop off Sharon and then I headed to Jacksonville, NC to Cabin Creek Campground. They had sustained minimal damaged from Florence. There were numerous hurricane refugees, insurance adjusters and workers at the campground. LOTS of Texas license plates.

The campground had pull through sites!!! It was very clean and quiet.

I am not sure what all we did, but the time flew by. I did go with Sharon and Mark to trivia night. Nancy and Pete made up the rest of the team. In my honor our team name was “Trailer Trash.” We came in third place. There are always three categories and that night they were: movie sequels, music and television shows. I did know one answer!!!

Because of Florence all of the beaches were closed. That was a bummer.

The second or third day there the remnants of Michael came through. It was windy and rainy. The trailer shook more than I would have liked. I did pull in the awning. Bear was pretty antsy. In hindsight I should have lifted the 4 stabilizer jacks to prevent bending, but all was well.

Mark and Sharon helped design and build shelves for my pantry and linen closet. I am very grateful for all of their hard work and trips back and forth to get everything in place.

Bear is exploring the empty pantry.

Mark gave the shelving lots of thought. He came up with the wire shelving because of its light weight and the ability to use them upside down. The lip helps keep things from sliding off. The shelves work perfectly and I had no incidents opening the closet after traveling to Alabama.

I am not sure what it is called, but the shelves are made of a long piece of white fiberboard or something like that. They are very lightweight and double the shelving area. The shelves are rhombus shaped with lots of corner closet supports to cut around.

Mark and Sharon are creative and handy around electric tools. Here they are relaxing in the recliners after admiring their work.

There is a little rack between the recliners serving as a table. Sharon found those at Lowe’s and we put one at the end of the kitchen counter as well. This one Mark cut down so it would be a comfortable height between the chairs.

Through the door and window you can see the car and trailer in the next spot. The sites were very close with no picnic table or fire ring. Our section of the campground was considered short term.

Sharon and I found this set at a flea market just down the street from the campground. The trailer on the left is a cup and 1/2 cup measuring cup and the one on the right is a 1/3 and 1/4 measuring cup. I think it was $3.00 for the set.

The day before I left Sharon and I went to Autumn on Topsail. It was cold and VERY windy. There were not as many vendors as we had hoped, but I bought two small air plants and put one in each of the measuring trailers.

We did have a fabulous lunch at a neat place on the beach, Beach Shop & Grill.

This is my crab cake, bacon and fried green tomato sandwich. The skinny fries have a cute name that I can’t remember. The crab cake was really crab, not a lot of bread crumbs with a smidge of crab meat.
This is Sharon’s fish and chips with coleslaw.
This cute Christmas travel trailer cookie jar was in a beach shop. So many travel trailer products are popping up everywhere.

One day Sharon and I drove down to Myrtle Beach to visit Robin and Mike. While there we went to a great restaurant and in the same shopping area was a shop called Purplologist. EVERTHING in the store was purple. They had so many products! This picture is for Barb and Sharon. I must say that I quickly went in to purple overload in the store.

I had a wonderful time in NC and it was hard to leave. I really missed Sharon’s conversation while driving to Alabama.

National American History Museum

This was our second choice of museum. We spent so much time in the two museums that we had no energy or time for others.

As you enter the museum you pass through a metal detector and all bags are looked through.

After all that you see …….

Batman and Robin were no where to be seen. I wonder why the Batmobile has purple lighting?
Sharon and I were contestants on The Price Is Right! The bidding was on items from various time periods. It was interesting to see the price of items.

We checked several times to make sure there were no children waiting to play the game. We might have shared.

DC Night Pics Part 2

The Franklin Roosevelt Monument is huge!!
Dedicated on May 2, 1997 by President Bill Clinton, the monument, spread over 7.5 acres (3.0 ha), traces 12 years of the history of the United States through a sequence of four outdoor rooms, one for each of FDR’s terms of office.

At night the monument was especially powerful. There is a waterfall of a different design and significance in each of the “rooms”.

Waiting in the food line.
This quote is between the couple and the food line.

There were many interesting parts of the monument. Statues of FDR show how haggard and tired he become as his presidency drew on.

The monument was impressive in the dark. We were beat and did not walk up the steps. I was amazed at how many people were out at 10:30P sightseeing! 

We did go visit the monument another day.

The tour was awesome and exhausting. There were tons of tour groups.

DC at Night Pics Part 1

The Capital Building as the sun was setting.
Turned around from the Capital Building and took this picture down the mall of the Washington Monument.
This is the White House at night. It was a beautiful sight, but a bit creepy as there were policemen everywhere due to the protestors.
These are the protestors outside of the White House. The letters spelled out appalling. The speaker was using a bullhorn and shouting and it was difficult to understand what he was saying.
The is the view of the Washington Monument from in front of the White House. (I do not want to pay the DC electric bill. Wait, I bet I do pay part of it.)
This is a picture of our tour guide talking to our fellow bus riders. He carried this light saber so that we would not get lost and then left behind. I have to thank Sharon for grabbing me several times as I gawked around and wasn’t paying attention to the guide’s whereabouts.
This is the Jefferson Memorial. It looks out over the Tidal Basin. The Tidal Basin was a swam and the swamp was removed and the basin created. Swamp removed … how??
This is Thomas Jefferson as he stand regaling looking out the front of the memorial.

Many believe that Jefferson is meant to be watching over the White House, but in reality, he’s looking just east of it, to the U.S. Treasury Building. In front of it stands a statue of Alexander Hamilton, the first Secretary of the Treasury and one of Jefferson’s biggest rivals. Hamilton is looking in Jefferson’s direction as well, but that’s just luck.

The tour guide had many fun stories about the history of each of the monuments.

Jefferson mentions God in the four quotes on the walls of his memorial, b ut he didn’t regard the entire Bible as a real document. He created his own version of the Bible which he titled “The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth”.

He was quoted as saying,
“There will be found remaining the most sublime and benevolent code of morals which has ever been offered to man. I have performed this operation for my own use, by cutting verse by verse out of the printed book, and arranging the matter which is evidently his, and which is as easily distinguishable as diamonds in a dunghill.”

Engraved on the freize encircling the memorial’s interior is the quote “I have sworn upon the altar of God eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man.”

I find his perspective of God and the Bible to be perplexing.

This is in the floor at the entrance to the WWII memorial.
This is the ceiling above the plaque in the floor. I can’t recall what it represents.
Fountain in the center of the WWII Memorial
One of the 56 pillars. I took a pic of Texas if you want it Rachel.

Fifty-six granite pillars celebrate the unprecedented unity of the nation during WWII. The pillars are connected by a bronze sculpted rope that symbolizes the bonding of the nation. Each state and territory from that period and the District of Columbia is represented by a pillar adorned with oak and wheat bronze wreaths and inscribed with its name; the pillars are arranged in the order of entry into the Union, alternating south to north across the plaza beginning adjacent to the Field of Gold Stars.

Night Tour of DC

The tour picked us up at the campground. There were mostly our age of people on the tour. We saw LOTS of traffic, the Capital Building, the White House, the Washington Monument, the Lincoln Memorial, Vietnam Veterans’ Memorial Wall, Korean War Memorial, the Jefferson Memorial, the Roosevelt Memorial, and the WWII Memorial. There were other sights that were pointed out as we drove by, but we spent a little time at the other sights. Seeing the sights as the sun went down and in the dark was an experience! By the time we got home at 11:30P we were exhausted.

Sharon’s favorite part of the night tour was “all of it”. She did like being driven around and having everything pointed out. After I asked her that question I realized that I would be hard pressed to pick a favorite part.

The creepiest part for me was the Korean War Memorial. It is soldiers walking through rice patties with full gear vigilantly on watch in the dark for the enemy. These boys look so anxious and worn out.

I must say that I am extremely grateful for the men and women that serve in our military. My dad was in the Navy during the Korean War. Neither of my brothers were drafted for Vietnam, but later Steve enlisted in the Navy. Sharon’s dad was in the Navy. Sharon’s husband was in Vietnam and my good friend Barb’s husband served there as well. These brave men and women serve so that we may live in a wonderful country that allows us so many freedoms.

Oh my, my thoughts are off of a tangent. Pictures from the night tour in the next post!

Freedom makes a huge requirement of every human being. With freedom comes responsibility. For the person who is unwilling to grow up, the person who does not want to carry his own weight, this is a frightening prospect.     Eleanor Roosevelt (First Lady)

Freedom and responsibility aren’t interconnected things. They are the same thing.  Harry Browne (Libertarian Party’s Presidential nominee in the U.S. elections of 1996 and 2000)

I think of a hero as someone who understands the degree of responsibility that comes with freedom. Bob Dylan (songwriter, musician)

Most people do not really want freedom, because freedom involves responsibility, and most people are frightened of responsibility. Sigmund Freud  (father of psychology)

Okay, you get it. People fight daily in many ways on many fronts for our freedom. Are we acting responsibly with our freedom?