May 2007               

          

            We are settling into our routine here at Ruark Bluff.  Things are beginning to green up again and the wildlife is stirring.  We have been visited by a number of beautiful birds, most of which we have only seen in pictures.  After putting out our Hummingbird feeder, we began to have visits from these little birds.  One morning while eating breakfast, we found a pair of Baltimore Orioles eating from the Hummingbird feeder.  Of course our next visit into town found us in search of an Oriole feeder. 

            In the tree outside our window we now have the Oriole feeder and a feeder for the Yellow Finches.  We could sit for hours just watching the birds here.  We have also seen Scarlet Tanager, Eastern Bluebirds, Indigo Buntings, Wrens and Chickadees.  Of course, we also have the usual cast of Robins, Blue Jays and Cardinals.  We have also spotted a flock of wild turkeys in our area.

            We have developed a running argument with one little Wren who has determined that under our slide is a good place for a nest.  We wouldn’t object, except that we need to move the end of the month to go to Texas and we don’t want a nest under there that may have babies in it.  We can’t go down the highway with that slide sticking out! 

            Millie removed the nest when she first noticed it.  Well, the little rascal just picked up her nest material and re-built under the slide on the other side.  Millie took that nest out and after a few days, there she was back again under the first slide.  It took three times of Millie removing the nest before she got the hint.

            Millie decided that since we would spend the summer in one spot, she wanted some tomato plants.  We got pots and plants and along with some mint and chives, we have a little “garden”. 

            The weather has been nice so far and we have been walking from our site up to the booth, a distance of about ˝ mile.  There are wildflowers beginning to bloom and we enjoy the walk.

            One problem we have encountered here.  The Park Attendants and Volunteers are expected to mow their own grass.  Excuse Me?  Don’t they know that full timers don’t carry lawn mowers??  That is one of the reasons we choose this life, not to have to deal with yard work.  Fortunately, Tracy is going to mow ours when he mows his.  These people are going to have to rethink that policy!

            Another critter problem has popped up.  We got up one morning and our Hummingbird feeder was gone.  There has been a raccoon around here and apparently he got the feeder down and carried it off into the woods.  The ticks are so bad around here, we aren’t going into the woods to look for it, and we’ll just go get another one.

            The warm weather really has the wildlife out and about.  Dick says he has discovered a new game – Turtle Dodge-em – cause every time you go down the road you have to dodge turtles.  Don’t think we have ever seen so many.

            Lamar, MO is the birthplace of President Harry Truman.  The home is now a state park.  It was a beautiful spring day when we visited the park.  (Free admission, by the way.)

            John and Martha Truman were married in 1881 and purchased the house in 1882.  The home was 20 x 28 feet and cost $685.  Harry was born in the downstairs bedroom of the house on May 8, 1884.  In celebration of the birth, John planted an Australian pine tree at the corner of the house, where it still thrives.

            The family moved from the house when Harry was 11 months old and after moving several times in the next 6 years, settled in Independence, MO in 1890.

            The birthplace was dedicated as a State Historic Site on April 19, 1959 and President Truman was in attendance. 

            Towards the end of the month, we began having rain.  Heavy rains.  This area has been under drought conditions for the past two years, so we don’t feel we should complain, we just take it in stride.  However – it seems to be nice on the days we are working and raining on the days we are off.  (Murphy’s Law?)

            The month flew by and it was time to hitch up and make a quick trip to Texas.  Our youngest grandchild, Rikki Petee, was graduating from High School. 

            After spending a night at Colbert, OK; we arrived in Richmond at Shiloh and got a site.  It was a longer trip than we usually do in 2 days time and we were tired but glad to be off the road. 

            On Saturday we got some errands done in the morning, then in the afternoon Mary came over for a visit.  It was good just to get to sit and visit with her for a while. 

            Late Saturday we headed to Katy.  Our first stop was the Camping World store for a few items.  It didn’t take as long as anticipated, but as we were getting ready to head for the check out, the sky opened up and the rain came down.  We wandered around the store for quite a while until the storm passed over. 

            It was still early so we went to Katy Mills Mall and got some dinner at Fuddrucker’s.  While we were eating it began to rain hard again.  Oh well, we would just eat slowly and wait for the rain to pass.  After all, we were inside where it was cool and dry!  Not!  The roof began to leak right over our table.  We gathered up our food and moved to another table. 

            After dinner, we headed across the freeway to the Robert Merrill Center where the graduation ceremonies were to be held.  The Katy School District built this wonderful center to use for occasions like this.  Grandson Chad was in one of the first groups to graduate from there. 

            We met Debbie at the front entrance, then waited for Russell’s mother Beverly, son Russell, Jr. nephew Derek and Derek’s girlfriend (sorry, her name escapes me) to arrive. 

            Beverly has one of the little scooter chairs, so we hopped the elevator and found seating.  Although they limit each graduate on the number of tickets than can have, both graduations we have attended there has had extra seating available.

            The ceremony was nice and even with Rikki and 700+ of her closest friends getting diploma’s, we were finished by 9:00.  We visited with the family outside for a while before heading back to Richmond.  The Petee’s would be heading back to New Orleans the next day.

            On Sunday we slept in a little, and then Dick went out to get us a paper and came back with sausage koloches from Shipley’s.  Yummy! 

            We spent most of the rest of the day at Ann’s.  She had a problem with her TV and Dick got that straightened up.  We took her grocery shopping and she got stocked up. 

            After we got the groceries in, Ann and Millie went for a visit to Mary Margaret.  This is another one of those “gee the world gets smaller” moments. 

            Ann had been to play Bingo at the community room and afterwards they had an ice cream social.  As Ann left the social, a lady stopped her, asking where she had acquired her tote bag.  (The bag is from the Greenbrier Hotel in WV, where Ann’s graduating class has held a couple of reunions.)  Ann told her and she asked if Ann was from WV.  OK, here it comes – the lady was Mary Margaret Lynch, who lived two doors down when Millie and Mary were kids.  She was a playmate of theirs.  We did not know that she had lived in the Houston area since the 1960’s and had recently moved into the senior apartments where Ann now lives. 

            Millie, Ann and Mary Margaret spent a couple of hours visiting and catching up.  Mary Margaret got out her albums and we looked at photo’s from long ago.  Millie would like to have spent more time, but it was time to head back to Ann’s and go back to Richmond. 

            We had dinner at the Texas Roadhouse and then went to Mary and Frank’s for a short visit.  They have a new kitten that is really a trip.  Dick enjoyed playing with him. 

We said our goodbyes and went back to Shiloh.  Tomorrow we will hitch back up and head back north to Missouri.

            After two days on the road, we were back at Ruark Bluff.  It is still raining, hard!  We spent the last few days working.  We traded 3 days with Don and Jerri, so we will be working 6 days straight, but it isn’t hard so we don’t mind. 

            Next month – more workkamping in Missouri.  See ya!