Sometimes we look at sights in nature but don't really see. While hiking in the woods the other day, it became a realization that we need to open our heart and eyes to see the beauty of the simple things in nature with each season. There is so much order and purpose in His creation. God has given us awesome beauty in this world to see and enjoy... if we would but stop to see and feel it. Join us as this blog is about stopping to see the real beauty around touch and feel it... "Through the Lens".

Our Friends

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Kreher Preserve & Nature Center

I'm a little late with my blogging!!  Life has been a whirlwind for me lately!!  I never appreciated all Mike did around the Ollie until he wasn't able to do hardly anything!!  Thank you,'re truly appreciated!!

I spent Sunday week ago washing the patio side of the Oliver!!  I might have mentioned this before but we have a gutter guard right behind the awning to stop any water from dripping on the patio during a rain.  This gutter guard gets all kinds of debris such as pine needles, leaves, acorns and such in it and then the water, whether its rain water or the run off from the AC gets trapped in this area, gets very dirty and drips down the sides of the Oliver making a stain on each end.  It takes quite a bit of elbow grease to get it cleaned out and white again.  Couple that with being short I have a hard time reaching behind the awning and cleaning this area out.  I think I was up and down the ladder at least 9 times going across the awning/gutter chasing this debris and dirt.  It was hot and I was wringing wet.  When I finished it looked good!!
Gerri just after she finished washing the Oliver
I was resting and cooling off when our son called and said he wanted to show us something pretty cool.  He knows how much we love birding and nature and he had been told about Kreher Preserve and Nature Center located right in the middle of Auburn...very near the campus because Auburn University maintains and runs this preserve.  To put it in their words, "to promote a sense of stewardship towards nature through quality environmental education, recreation, and outreach programs with Auburn University and its community partners." 
This is at the center of the parking lot

Main entrance into the walking trails
We discovered this area provides over six miles of trails winding through 120 acres where you can encounter area wildlife and seven different regional ecotypes.  The preserve provides nature based education to area schools through awesome field trips.  

There are events scheduled throughout the year including "Bird Walks" led by birding specialist.  
We were standing behind a bird blind

Workshops, programs and camps.  There is even a nature preschool which is the only Nature Preschool in East Alabama.  Last but certainly not least is the research that is conducted here on environmental engineering, wildlife sciences, forestry, biology and landscaping.        
Entrance into the fairy houses

Kids made the fairy houses

We spent about 3 hours here Sunday afternoon exploring one of the many trails.  We walked approximately two miles just enjoying the beauty and peacefulness the forest brings to your soul.  
Stephen at the herb garden
One of the walking trails

The fire pit near the amphitheater

The amphitheater
Kreher Preserve is definitely a place we will return to many many times when in this area!!  We didn't have our cameras with us so the pictures are the ones we captured on my IPhone.  
A pond along the trail, we saw a snake swim into this right in front of us
Our Guide...Stephen
Today marks 5 weeks for Mike since surgery!!!!  That means one more week and he's made it to his six weeks.  He has his x-rays on Tuesday that will show the progress he's made in fusing and growing bone.  He sees the neurosurgeon on Thursday and we sure hope that brace comes off and all those many restrictions with it.
We are getting a really bad case of HITCH ITCH!!!!!!!
Small waterfall along the trail
Thanks for stopping by and hopefully we'll see "down the road" very soon!!

Monday, July 8, 2019

A Hike A Cookout and Happy Independence Day and Canada Day

We are now officially halfway through our 6 weeks!!  Mike has 3 more weeks in which to wear the neck brace!  As with most things like this you get tired of the confinement both with neck movement and overall confinement in activities.   After 3 weeks of holding your head in one position your neck muscles just want to go in a different direction.  When we saw the doctor last week he was pleased with Mike's progress and said all things looked good.  So 3 more weeks!!
We took an easy walk/hike this week on one of the trails in Chewacla State Park. 
Trail in Chewacla
Interesting mushrooms on this tree

More of the trail in Chewacla
 It was an easy trail...don't need to maneuver around roots, slopes and rocks on harder trails.  We enjoyed just being in nature and the trees that surrounded us.  We did meet a family along the way that were also out for a morning stroll.  I'm hoping we were a little better looking than they were.  Ugly aren't they?
Bless their hearts, they just look so ugly...
Our son has been coming by to visit and lend a hand as needed!!  So glad he's nearby and such a good help.  He's helped us a few times with Oliver maintenance such as cleaning out the gutter by the awning that gets lots of tree "stuff" in it and then when the air conditioner is on the water rolls down the sides bringing with it that lovely stain.  He also has to clean the roof...I'm too short even on the ladder!!

We had a cookout on July 3rd anticipating a rainy 4th!!!  I had bought some shrimp from  Gulf Shores when we were there this past winter and I wanted to cook them before freezer burn might get them. 
Some of the Gulf Coast shrimp for the kabobs
 Also, it clears up some  space in an already small freezer.  So Mike deveined them and made up a marinade for them and Stephen brought broccoli and rice.  I had some yellow and red pepper and white and purple onion so we made a nice skewer with the vegetables and shrimp 
Let the preparations begin

Lightly grilled peppers and onions for the kabobs

Stephen is putting the kabobs together
and steamed the broccoli and he had already cooked the rice at his house.   I also got two bags of fresh blueberries from a friend so I made some fresh blueberry cobbler.  We had a really nice dinner and Stephen cooked it all on our Blackstone Grill!!!  YUM!!      

Tasty Shrimp Kabobs
Today is July 4th and as expected we have had a rainy day.  That is good and bad!!  We needed the rain but it kinda puts a damper on all the cookouts people might have planned.  The campground is not full which is pretty surprising but I'm not complaining!!  I guess I'm getting older and sometimes the weekend or holiday crowds kinda grind on my nerves.  Plus I'm the one walking Asher, the 85 pound English Cream Golden puppy that wants to meet and greet every person he sees.  He's still learning how to walk correctly, which means not pulling me over on the leash or running up to hug every person he sees.  We have done pretty good but have a long way to go.  I've learned to put him in a sit whenever we see someone and I'm using treats when he listens.  He's getting better!!        
Asher waiting for a reward treat
Asher is leashed in two separate places
Asher is a happy camper
I bought him a new harness that is suppose to help with the pulling when walking.  I was skeptical when I first heard about it from my blog friend, Micky Werk but he has been wearing it now for about 4 days and I see a world of difference in his walking.  This harness clips underneath and it also has a clip on top of his neck.  I bought a leash that has two leads and I clip him underneath and on top.  The leash is called a "training leash" and it is rather short.  Our goal is to get him to walk on a loose leash!!  I think we'll make it but it will take some time and training.  Growing out of the puppy stage will also help.  Thanks, Micky for the recommendation!!  

We could not leave our little Nick out of the pics
So we are taking things one day at a time!!  Not as many left and we'll be able to see what physical therapy has in store in 3 weeks.  The doctor talked like most of the PT will be teaching Mike what exercises he needs to do and then doing those at home.  If that is the case, we might be able to get the wheels rolling!!  Hitch itch is a serious ailment!!
A nice sunset at Chewacla State Park
I hope all of our American readers had a Happy Independence Day!!  I hope you enjoyed it doing whatever makes you happy as we celebrate our freedoms.  To our Canadian readers I hope you had a wonderful Canada Day!!  
Thanks for stopping by and visiting with us!!

Friday, June 21, 2019

Surgery Day Arrived

Well, the day finally arrived for my surgery.  We had to be at the hospital at 6:30 Wednesday morning.  So we got up quite early and arrived a few minutes before 6:30 thinking the surgery would be around 8 am.  We waited and waited and waited....       
 waiting before the surgery
Four hours later they finally took me back…talk about getting tired of the wait. The actual surgery started around 11:30 and a couple hours later... the surgery was over. The wait was much longer than the surgery.
I just got to my room after recovery
Well, now I wear my hard collar for 6 weeks
The next afternoon they released me to go home...much to my satisfaction.  Recoup and heal at home is always best. Now nurse Gerri takes over and tends to me.
When we got home to the campground, I wanted to sit outside for a bit and get fresh air and hear the nature around us.            

The neurosurgeon told us that walking was really good and would help the healing process.  The next day Stephen came over and we all walked around the campground and to the lake...What better healing than in God's creation and the beauty of the sun glistening through the trees and haze.

And of course a trip to the donut store is always a good thought for least according to me.

On a different note, Gerri has been the real hero in all of this.  She has taken on the responsibility of all of her tasks and added the things that I usually did.  She has done and is doing a remarkable job and I cannot begin to say thank you for all you have done. 
 Gerri herself is only 4 years out from her battle with cancer, I know she is tired and sometimes exhausted, but she still keeps at it.

Monday, June 17, 2019

Settling In

The big day is coming!!!   Mike’s surgery is scheduled for Wednesday morning at 8:30!!
We have been busy getting things in order for an extended stay here at Chewacla State Park!!  We were in a beautiful site all tucked away in the woods but we quickly discovered that those trees liked to deposit little reminders of their beauty all over the roof of the Oliver!!   The tiny area behind the awning and the gutter was a debris collector!!!  Since Mike is going to be out of commission for several months the cleaning of the roof and awning and gutter would become my job!!   I don’t mind washing and cleaning the Oliver while Mike heals but this job was constant!!!    When the debris collects the water from rain or the A/C runs a brown looking stain down the front and back sides of the Oliver.  This stain looks awful against a white fiberglass rig!!!

So off we went in search of a nice site but a bit more open from trees.  We found a rather large site very near the campground host and closer to the front of loop 2.  We have the Oliver parked and the patio set up as well as our Clam!!!  We will place the zero gravity chairs in there along with our TV.  This gives us a great outdoor area to rest and relax in while Mike is busy growing bone at his fusion!!
We can watch a little TV, read or take a nap!!   I’m also closer to the laundry area as well!!!  Did I ever tell you I hate doing laundry🙁!!!  I sure miss our washer/dryer combo we had in our motorhome!!

This site puts us much closer to the lake!!  We walked down there a few nights ago with Stephen and Asher!!  Asher has never been exposed to much water in his first year!!  He probably saw the lake as a huge water bowl!!  We hope to take many many walks to the lake with him this summer!!  We will put him on his 16 ft leash so he can actually walk, splash or just stare at the water.  Our hope is that he’ll learn to love the water....after all he’s a water dog!!!

So that is what we’ve been up to lately!!  The big surgery day is Wednesday and we are both looking forward to getting this surgery done so Mike can once again feel better (no pain) and begin to regain the strength in his arms and the ability to look up, reach up and all those things we all take for granite!!  We are beyond ready to get this Oliver moving!!!

On Monday Mike and I went to Little Italy in Auburn to get some really good pizza before his surgery, was it good!

Thank you for dropping by and remember to enjoy each day to its fullest!!!