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

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

We Have Lift Off

Yesterday we journeyed to Columbus, Georgia to see Mike’s neurosurgeon and get his 6 week review!!   Several days before this appointment he went for x-rays to see what progress had been made in fusing the bone the surgeon chipped off Mike’s old disc to create the new and improved disc!!  So on Tuesday we went to Ridgeway Diagnostics in Auburn and had those done!!

So with disc in hand we set out for Columbus a tad early so we could eat and shop a little.  We ate a good lunch at Cheddars.  
Cheddars, but not our car...
The food was good but the noise level reminded me of a school cafeteria...not good!!  When we eat out we enjoy a nice dining experience and this didn’t happen there yesterday!!  Oh well...the food was good!!

We left there and enjoyed browsing among the many books at Barnes and Nobles!!  We found a very nice book on sale showing all our National Parks published by National Geographic.  Beautiful pictures and very informative!  We couldn’t pass this up for $9.98!!  We know we can find all this information on line but every now and then it’s nice to hold the book and flip the pages!
Barnes & Nobles special sale
We made our way over to the office complex where Southeastern Brain and Spine Surgery is located.  Our 4 o’clock appointment proved to be a winner...nobody was in the waiting room!!  That was a first!!

The doctor examined Mike’s neck and took a look at the x-rays.  He even showed them to us and we could distinctly see the titanium plate (cage) surrounding the two disc he created and the 6 screws holding everything in place!  We could see the new disc and he pointed out the area in the middle where the bone had been placed and fused!!  According to the doctor it looked exactly as it should!!  Everything was fine for taking that neck brace off!!  Yay...we have lift off!!  Mike was told he could do most everything he wants except no more contact sports....oh darn!!!  There goes his football and wrestling careers!!  So after 6 long weeks the brace is off!!
Brace off after six weeks, got it in my left hand
We are now heading for more healing with physical therapy!!  That starts on Tuesday and should help Mike tone up muscles he hasn’t been able to use for nearly 2 years!!  They will also work with range of motion in turning his head.  The tingling in the arm and fingers is gone.  There is a little soreness on the shoulders from time to time but no pain as he had before.  He’s able to look up and that range should increase with PT.  He can raise both arms and they are nearly the same height.  So things are looking good.
I handed Mike the keys to the truck...after 6 weeks of him not driving
We have another appointment with the neurosurgeon in 6 weeks and once again we will have x-rays a few days before.  So we have 6 more weeks being stationery and then our wheels can roll again!!
I hope they haven’t forgotten how!!!!
I don't think he forgot how to drive
Auburn football starts the beginning of September along with the increase in prices so we are hoping to be out of here!!  Gotta work hard in PT!!!
I also gave him to leash to walking Asher
As you can imagine we haven’t done much that warrants a blog post with Mike not able to do much!  I’ve been carrying most of the daily duties which included walking Asher, our 85 pound English Cream Golden.  He’s a puppy so his leash etiquette wasn’t established and he loves people...all kinds, big ones, little ones it doesn’t matter.  He thinks they all need a hug from him.  So for 6 weeks I’ve worked hard on getting him to walk (without pulling) and the goal is a loose leash!  We also worked on sitting every time we see someone.  I’m proud to say when I turned the leash over to Mike yesterday he was much better than before!!!  Hey, you gotta learn!!!
Now Mike can walk Asher, while I will walk Nick
So life around here is slowly returning to normal!!  We have a little longer to go and all Mike has been through should be worth it and give him back his life...pain free and able to lift, look up and reach up with both arms!!   God is good!!!’
This guy landed just below our patio for almost 10 minutes

Notice the talons on this hawk
Thanks for stopping by!!

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!!