Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Sock Knitting and other projects

I have this problem when I knit socks…..I have what is called “Second Sock Syndrome”. This means I happily knit the first sock but when it’s finished I dread having to do it all over again for the second sock.  This is a common problem with many knitters.

I never did master using double-pointed needles customarily used in knitting socks. Working with four different sticks were just too hard for me to get the hang of.


So I found the method that was easier for me and that was using two circular knitting needles…dividing the sock in two parts thus knitting the top of the sock first, and then the bottom part knitted in the round.
(This is from yarnymari.wordpress.com)

One solution is to plan on making two pairs of socks.  You finish sock 1 of pattern one, then go to sock 1 of pattern 2.  It will be a different color and pattern and you excited about the change.  Then you knit sock 2 of pattern one (another change) and then finish up sock 2 of pattern 2.  It’s the changing of pattern and colors that keeps you going and you eventually finish two pairs of socks.


The way I choose to solve my problem was to knit both socks at the same time on two circular needles, using two balls of yarn.  Here is the start of my current project.  I’m using this book as my guide…in case any of you are inclined to join me.

It’s going pretty good.  I’ve finished the cuff and am on the tedious part of the leg; but it is mindless continuous knit stitch so I can do it while watching TV at night and it occupies my hands.  Once I get the hang of doing two socks at a time I’ll try patterns with more design work in them.

I haven’t had a knit project on needles since February/March when I knitted Linda Mossman, Terri Deacon, Nancy Doyle and me red and purple hats to wear in Mississippi and Louisiana.  I also knitted Linda and Terri fun fur scarves.  Sorry I didn’t get a photo of Nancy’s hat.

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So, what projects are you working on?

Remember, you are loved!!!!

Sunday, May 29, 2011

The Jin Family

A knock on the door with a request to plug in their rice cooker was the start of a wonderful serendipitous event! 

After explaining we didn’t have any sites with electricity, the couple moved a little distance to discuss their options. I told Jim we could plug it into our RV since we had the generator going…how many watts and how long could it take?  “So please come in and we’ll use our electricity to cook your rice.” CIMG7498 The gentleman thanked us and brought in this monster sized machine that reminded me of R2D2.  This is an electric turbo pressure cooker that cooks enough rice for 10, but will also do all other pressure cooker duties. It would take 20 minutes only, we were told.  OK, we were watching the Rockies - Cardinals baseball game, so they set up the machine with the correct settings and left to be back, as I understood it, in 20 minutes. 

First up as soon as the machine started it knocked off the TV…found out later it was 1250 watts - same as a hair dryer. So OK the Rockies were ahead 12-0, we can wait it out.  In 20 minutes the pressure valve started to jingle and the cooking began.  Another 35 minutes the rice was done and the pressure cooker reduced it’s pressure for safe transportation.

While we waited we talked to Andrew, his wife, Nancy, and friend, Karen.  They had never been inside an RV before and they marveled at the size and said it looked like a large apartment. We explained our fulltime RV lifestyle, which interested Andrew a lot.

“Please come and share our dinner”, they said, “we are having Korean barbecue and you will like it”.  We normally do not accept dinner invitations from our campers, but the chance to eat authentic Korean food intrigued us so we accepted.  I was going to just send Jim down as I told them I didn’t eat meat, but they mentioned they were serving kimchee, and that changed my mind.  I spent 3 years in Japan and I love kimchee and don’t have many opportunities to eat it, so now I’m all in.

So Jim reminds me to bring him a fork to use, as I gathered bowls to use. When we arrived at their campsite there were 11 people assembled with dinner all ready to go.  The side dishes were pre-made and chilled and the beef and pork were being skillet fried to perfection.

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There in the front left is the kimchee, behind it is home sprouted mung beans that were seasoned, to the right is sautéed spinach with sesame seeds and behind that is pickled white radishes.  Jim fell in love with the tender marinated meats and spent time watching the cooking and asking questions.  I had a taste of the meat and they were so good, but I really enjoyed the assortment of vegetables.

We found out that the couple was not staying the night, but only paying for a day use of a campsite to eat dinner and then they were driving on to Pagosa Springs for the weekend.  During the conversation we found out that the gentleman was named Andrew and his wife was Nancy.  Andrew was born in Korea and came to America at age seven.  He is a teacher in an academy in the Denver area and teaches English and prepares students to take college entrance exams.  His students are Korean and Russian. Four of the children with them were his students.  They came to America just for the summer to study then will return to Korea. 


Karen (Haija) made all the food before hand.  She and her radiologist husband came to America for a two year period to exchange information with American radiologists.  Karen said she was a professor in Korea teaching Chinese medicine including acupuncture. She was pleased to be a housewife while in America. Karen is a very accomplished cook and I so enjoyed her food!

Here we are for a final photograph with Karen and Nancy on my left with Andrew on Jim’s right.


As we said our “goodbyes” Andrew said we had really gotten him to think about RVing when he retires.  He said he would like to do what we are doing and work in a campground.  I told him if I was still alive when he retired he was to give me a call and I would hire him to work with us!  We all laughed, but I gave him a business card anyway.

We parted with my commenting “any time you are in the area and can’t find electricity for your rice cooker, just stop on by and you can use our electricity to cook your rice”.  We all laughed.

Andrew and Nancy thanked us for our hospitality and said they would return this summer to stay with us.  It takes so little to make lasting friends.

What a wonderful, spontaneous time we had together. Two different cultures, two different lifestyles, two different food tastes, but brought together by the common desire to spend some time in nature, in the forest……together… priceless!

Remember, you are loved.

Saturday, May 28, 2011


I wanted to acknowledge the passing of our friend, Patti. Patti and Hank are classmates of ours, having “graduated to fulltime RVing” in 2007 as we did.  We first met them in Quartzsite in January 2008 at an Escapees RV Club Classmates Meeting out in the desert. 

They drove with us to the unique Desert Bar in Parker, AZ, and laughed all the way there and all the way back.  Patti had a keen sense of humor and she was always laughing, always with a smile on her face.

We saw Patti and Hank again in Boerne, TX, in the spring of 2009 at our First Class Reunion.  Patti was the official photographer and delighted in climbing on top of a motorhome to get a group shot.

We met once again just by chance walking around the Balloon Fiesta in Albuquerque in October 2009.  Here’s a photo of Hank, Patti, Jim and I and Bill and Lesle.


You will be miss, dear Patti, but never forgotten!!!

Remember everyone, you are loved.

Friday, May 27, 2011


This term is defined as being “almost vegetarian” and that is what I guess I have become.  I do take bites of Jim’s steak or hamburger and the other day I just could not resist the pork loin ribs Jim barbecued and had more than just a bite.  I’m thinking of having meat one day a week.

But last night I was good and made eggplant parmesan with pasta while Jim grilled himself a rib eye steak and baked potato. 

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I used Panko for the breading on the eggplant and it really made it crisp and crunchy….loved it!

I need to find recipes where I can just add meat to Jim’s version instead of making two separate meals every night.  Any suggestions out there that would accomplish that? 

I’ve thought of spaghetti with bunch of veggies and then add Italian sausage to Jim’s and then, of course, there is always stir-fry.  What else?

I took inspiration from NanC Tidball and usually make a salad for lunch every day.  This was yesterday’s fare….


It contained lettuce, cucumber, carrots, cottage cheese, beets and leftover trout.  I’ve been using less and less dressing and have really enjoyed actually tasting the flavor of the vegetables.

Several people asked me for the recipe for the apple dessert from the other day so here it is.


1 pie crust (refrigerated or homemade)
1 egg white, lightly beaten
1/2 - 3/4 c sugar
2 T cornstarch
1 t cinnamon
3-4 c thinly sliced apples
1 t sugar
   Prepare crust and place on foil-lined pizza pan.  Brush crust with some of the egg white to seal.
   Mix 1/2 to 3/4 cup sugar, cornstarch and cinnamon.  Add apples; toss to coat well.  Spoon into center of crust, spreading to within 2 inches of edges.  Bring crust up over apples to form a border of about 2 inches, pleating crust as needed.  Brush edge of crust with remaining egg white; sprinkle with 1 teaspoon sugar.
   Bake in preheated 425* oven 20 minutes or until apples are tender and crust is golden brown.

Remember, you are loved.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Pit Toilets and Other Fun Things

I got a comment on the last blog posting about cleaning pit toilets.  Most people don’t like doing it, but it really isn’t that bad.  We have two campgrounds with the old, barn red wooden restrooms, but the rest have new, modern fiberglass jobs.  We even have a newly restored log cabin style “four holer” that is pretty rare.

TuckerPonds(5)  ParkCreekRestroom


John and Carol: Pit toilets aren't that bad to clean. If you clean them everyday there's no odor at all. If there is we put a urinal cake in the window sill and the incoming breeze makes for a pleasant scent. Sometimes we use a few moth balls in a square of netting for the same purpose. We clean our restrooms with Pinesol and it does a good job.  Jim prides himself on all the compliments he gets on having the cleanest pit toilets people have ever used. 

Now have you learned more than you ever wanted to know about pit toilets?
Jim has been busy “having to go fishing” to provide for my new vegetarian diet.  He has been catching his limit of four fish each time he goes out too.

Nice rainbow trout straight from Big Meadows Reservoir
That’s an 11” pan so they were pretty good size.

To top off our meal I made an opened-faced apple pie that’s quick and easy.


Remember, you are loved.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

2011 Season Start

Our camphosting began in earnest on Monday with our cleaning restrooms (pit toilets), removing winter debris and cleaning a few fire pits. Our camphost arrived and joined in.

Billy & Frieda Catchings
Campsite right on the river

We moved again to our campground at Park Creek.  The forest service came in after we left last year and cut down some of the diseased trees (pine beetle) and the leaners, so there is more sunlight coming through, which is nice. Here’s our spot.


Now all we need is some customers!!! It is still cold and yesterday it spitted snow off and on all day, so we may not get any locals up here this weekend and maybe not even next weekend for Memorial Day if it stays this cool.

Oh, I remember when I went to the Phillips house with my friend, Lory, to work on their computers?  And Rita was making all those gorgeous totes and purses?  Well, I got mine last week and it is a stunner!!!  Lory said Rita “picks up” on the personality of the purpose and somehow puts it into the item.  What do you think?  Does it match my personality?

CIMG7479 CIMG7480I love the color combination she came up with.

That’s about it for today.  Hope you are safe, warm and comfortable.

Remember, you are loved.

Monday, May 16, 2011

More friends visit

We first met Roy and Carolyn Trout in 2008 in Coffeyville, KS, when we were all working for amazon.com.  We thought they were a fun couple and enjoyed talking with them some during lunch.  We worked with them again in 2009 again in Coffeyville.

We keep in touch through Facebook. I noticed they were traveling through New Mexico and Colorado for their summer camphosting job in Frisco, Colorado.  So I suggested they call us when they passed through Alamosa/Monte Vista and we’d meet for lunch and touch base.

So Sunday they called and we met at Baldo’s Mexican Restaurant for lunch and conversation.  They agreed, Baldo’s is the best!!!

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The conversation kept going and none of us wanted it to stop, so we invited them to come back to our campground and spend the night…which they did.  Once they got settled in a space, we drove through a few of our campgrounds so they can see where we spend our summer.  They agreed that we live in some beautiful, beautiful territory!!!

After our little tour we settled down to more sharing.  Our new camphosts, Billy and Frieda, also arrived from Texas during this time, so we all got together and I made a vegetarian spaghetti dinner.

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It had been a long day for us all, so we retired at sundown.  This morning Roy and Carolyn came over to say goodbye.

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In just the day and a half we had together, we learned so much about each other. We shared our fulltime RVing lifestyle stories, SOPs and plans. That’s the great thing about RVers…we know we don’t have a lot of time to get to know each other, so we kind of “unzip” ourselves and let the other person really “see” us and give them permission nose around and find out who we are. 

This is what we did with Roy and Carolyn. What a wonderful couple they are and what a wonderful time we had together.  I hope we have occasion to be with them again.  Thank you Roy and Carolyn for a great visit.

Remember, you are loved.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Starting the summer season

We dug out our “uniforms” from campground storage unit, grabbed the trash bags, pinchers and gloves and off we went to start our clean-up of the composting toilet rest stop.

Jim had to go down to the composter vaults/vats to change the screen in the filters….nasty, nasty job. Jim said “that’s all people need to know about it”.

Meantime, I cleaned back behind the rest stop. Oh, UGH!!!  With the rest stop locked up for the winter, folks used the back of the restroom instead.  You get the picture, right?  Besides the streams of toilet paper and “stuff” there was empty tuna cans, scattered pages of Sudoku, Styrofoam plates, chip bags, KFC containers, beer cans, and assorted pop bottles filled with *&#@%^!…..yea, that stuff. I walked along the highway in front of the rest stop and continued to pick up the winter’s trash.

We swept out the restrooms and cleaned away the cobwebs in the corners, disinfected the pit toilet and cleaned the floors.  It took us about an hour to finish up.  Have another rest stop to do today.

Our camphosts arrived from Texas today, so Jim and I want to clean the winter debris from their campsite so they arrive to a neat and orderly site to call home for the summer.

We have a hard time getting camphosts in our area as we are in a rural and remote area. You have to like to boondock/dry camping. None of our seven campgrounds have electricity, so camphosts need a generator.  Although most of the campgrounds have wells with hand pumps, there isn’t water available at their campsite. There’s a nearby area we  go to get water in “jerry” cans we provide or folks have their own water bladders. Most have sewer vaults at their campsite, but two of the seven don’t. 

So why do folks want to camphost here?  The beauty of the area for one. Being at 8,300 feet and above, it’s cool all summer with temps in the 70s, nights in the 40-50s for great sleeping. And the humidity is very, very low.  It’s a great place to spend the summer.  Each of our campgrounds are in gorgeous areas of southern Colorado! Most are on or by reservoirs or creeks in a national forest.  You get paid for every hour you work and of course, your campsite is free. Plus Jim and I are great to work with Smile.  We have weekly potlucks where Jim usually barbeques for our part, after Fourth of July we have a big steak dinner for our camphosts and at the end of the season Jim makes a big prime rib to share.

Am I interesting anyone out there????  I still have two campgrounds that need camphosts!!!

Here’s further enticement…

CrossCreekArea (1)
View from Cross Creek CG
View from Tucker Ponds CG
ParkCreek 2010 (3)
Park Creek CG
Hwy Spgs 2010 (16)
Highway Springs CG
Lower Beaver host site
Upper Beaver CG

We have this week to get all the campgrounds cleaned from downed trees, rake the pine cones from the site pads, and disinfect the pit toilets. We open all the campgrounds next Friday, May -20th!  If you are traveling through south-central Colorado, stop on by South Fork and stay with us!!!

Anyone want to come and camphost with us? Cross Creek and Tucker Ponds are available.

Remember, you are loved.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Thanks, Nick

Nick Russell is one of the best authorities on RVing, with his bi-monthly “Gypsy Journal” newspaper published on the road and the author of many books pertaining to RVing.  Nick and his lovely wife, Terry, also put on two great RV rallies each year. His blog is the first one I read every morning.

Yesterday’s subject on Nick Russell’s blog was “15 RV blogs you should be reading” and our blog was among them. What a pleasant surprise, to say the least!  We are honored.

Thank you, Nick.

Remember, you are loved.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Meyers-More Friends Visit

Yesterday we were surprised to see friends, Kelly and Diana Meyer drive into the campground.  The Meyer’s were camphosts with us last year and also came and worked at amazon.com in Kentucky last winter.

Being Cinco de Mayo we had a big Mexican fiesta.  I threw together a pico de gallo in my Ninja blender, that came out real good.  Then we had bean burritos smothered in green chili along with Rice-A-Roni’s Mexican Rice (sooo good and better than their Spanish Rice IMHO). 


The piece de resistance was a dessert I got from a vegan cookbook called The Tassajara Recipe Book (by Edward Espe Brown), for Lime Cream with Strawberries.  You make a custard with lime zest infused cream, let it set and then fold in homemade whipped cream and lay it over sweetened sliced strawberries.  Oh, my, what a taste combination.  Jim said “it’s a keeper”.

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Earlier in the day we picked up our company truck from storage and Jim and Rich installed the AGM batteries for the composting toilets at two sites.  This morning Jim and I will treat the wells at three campgrounds in preparation of taking samples for water quality testing.  We have to do this every month to ensure the water is good for the public to drink. 

Remember you are loved.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Meet the Meadows

Yesterday a big, beautiful Tiffin Zephyr pulled into the campground and out popped Mary Lou and Fred Meadows.  Jim was barbecuing some chicken so when Fred walked over and asked what he was cooking, Jim said “dead yard bird”.  LOL  Fred said “well, it sure smells mighty good”.  That’s all the encouragement Jim needed to invite the couple to join us for dinner.  There was only the three rigs in the campground after all, so you can’t just go eat in front of people.  And it was funny to see that all three rigs had South Dakota license plates on them.  Yes, the Meadows are fulltime RVers, but not members of Escapee RV Club….yet!!!

We had a little happy hour while we were waiting for dinner which gave us time to get to know each other.  Come to find out the Meadows are originally from Kentucky and so we shared the parts of Kentucky we had visited while we worked at amazon.com last year. Of course hearing about Kentucky Jim had to go get some “Apple Pie” to share.  It got a thumbs up.

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Jim provided us a wonderful dinner with corn on the cob grilled on the barbeque.  We’d never had that before and it was soooo good. Terri made up some fresh broccoli and we topped it off with the remaining carrot cake, but it was eating with friends that made it all so special.

Fred Mary Lou Meadows

Remember, you are loved.