Thursday, September 5, 2013

The Early Bird… Blogs Too Soon!


Remember (in our last blog post) when we said that we would be returning to our wandering ways after leaving Pennsylvania?  Well… shortly after that post went up we received a call from a National Recreation Area.

And just like that, our wandering days are over before they’ve begun!

We’re excited about it.  This was a place we had applied to a while back.  It’s in a location we were very interested in exploring and volunteering at.  The gig is short.  A month (maybe two if they need us) and in direct line of our previously estimated direction of wandering.  We had plans to go by and check the place out whether we got the gig or not.  Also, it’s with the National Park Service (an organization we’ve been wanting to check out).  It hosts natural springs, cool animals like bison and beavers, 300 million year old rocks and a beautiful lake.  Oh, and they give us a golf cart to use.

Sheesh!  Can it get any more perfect?  Fun times ahead!

Well, more on that in a future post or two.

Moving backwards now

Our time at Tub Run Campground has come to a close.  The leaves have begun to fall, the campers are gone, the gates are locked and we are off visiting with branches of Nicole’s Family Tree for a few days before leaving the state.  As usual, we continued to take random photos around the campground before we left.  Here’s the final collection from this location for your viewing pleasure.

                                The Creek … Usually

                      The Creek … Flash Flood Status!

This is not an exaggeration.  The first photo is what the creek looked like in the a.m.  Above is what it looked like later in the afternoon after a short rain.

                          Falling Water at The Creek

              Same spot at The Creek during “Flash Flood”

The water was moving so fast on this day that it started a whirlpool where it entered the lake and in that whirlpool (besides a whole lot of trash and debris) were large lengths of trees circling about as if they were small branches.

After a full season of rain after rain after rain, the lake has finally started to push back.  The dam can only release so much water or it will flood Pittsburgh.  So, as it began to rise, the lake started taking over some of our tent camping sites.

Site 8A currently under two feet of water.  Sure makes a pretty picture.

Shifting back to the usually peaceful and contained waters of The Creek…

                          Water Strider at The Creek

       Banded Water Snake who likes to play peek-a-boo at…
                                     The Creek

                         In keeping with the theme…

                      here’s some shots of flowers…


                               down near The Creek.

This cutie actually prefers the bathroom area and not the creek.

      Darlene caught this one hanging out on one of our chairs.

These two were hanging out upside down.  One of them was eating and we think the piggy-back rider was taking advantage of the first one being pre-occupied.

Speaking of ‘hanging out’, we participated in a bat study the other night. 

(This photo is from our Nebraska Zoo collection… it was dark for our study and we assumed we’d be otherwise occupied and unable to multi-task so we didn’t bring the camera.) 

At sundown, we were to assist in counting the bats that departed an abandoned building here at our campground.  Given previous numbers (1200 or so a few years back) we were actually a bit concerned about our ability to be accurate with our counting.  Unfortunately, we didn’t have to worry too much.  The drop in numbers was significant this year (only 53 bats) and indicates that White Nose Syndrome is having a large impact on the population.  We were told that Laurel Caverns count went from 2300 last year to 13 (no, that’s not a typo, just THIRTEEN) this year.  On a positive note, reportedly any surviving babies born during this time are thought to be immune to the disease.  So, hopefully the numbers will start to climb again soon. 

Back to a few more random shots…

Darlene was sitting on a bench the other day and this frog hopped up, dug a hole and backed into it.

                              Wild and Crazy Flowers!

                                         Bee Butt!
      Suppose this is where we get crafty and say, ‘The End’.

We had a really nice time this summer, made some great friends, learned some new things and even managed to release the last of our (Florida obtained) Asian Beetle infestation. 

After the beetles left, the flying black ants moved in to keep us and our ‘Bug Cup’ on our toes.  They seem to be under control now though we anticipate a few of them will travel onward with us.

Oh, the rain let up for a while.  Ha Ha.  Ha Ha Ha Ha HA!  Just long enough to upload our last post where we reported that it was slacking off.  When it returned, we smartened up and improved our water conservation and overall work effort by putting anything that needed washing (dishes, clothes, etc.) outside for their ‘first rinse’.  Seriously, it worked brilliantly!

We also smartened up and hunted down that the very imposing new smell in the van.  It was yet another gift from Pennsylvania that we shall take with us on down the road.  Aided by a combination of constant rain and little to no sunshine in our new camp-spot we are now the proud recipients of a healthy dose of Mildew & Mold.  Given that our van design is relatively open, we’ve been able to locate and eradicate the majority.  The remainder shall begin to dry out on its own (so long as we don’t feed it by hovering in a moist area for too long again).

   Suppose that brings our Summer in Pennsylvania to a close.

                                A Pre-Fall Collection.

                                       Its coming…

                               in a Really Big way.

   ‘So long’ to the beautiful rolling hills of the Laurel Highlands.