August 3, 2013 Turtle River State Park, North Dakota

A Birthday Present

I had earlier decided I would stop and rest for 2 days, so had investigated Turtle River State Park in North Dakota online, and figured I would stop and see if I could stay a couple days. I really knew there was almost no chance of getting one of their non-reservable sites on a Saturday morning, but I pulled in to check anyway.

Site #27, Turtle River S.P. N. Dakota
Site #27, Turtle River S.P. N. Dakota

I was given the very last site available, and since it was in the non-reservable section, I could have it for my 2 days. But wait, it gets even better. It turns out to be a little roadside pull through, nestled in the woods, and though the sites are a bit close, they aren’t crammed in side by side, and you do have a bit of privacy, and lo and behold, later that evening, just on a whim, I decided to check to see if my rooftop dish would just happen to align with the tiny bit of sky I had above me through the trees, and after doing it’s whirring and grinding thing, it settled in on a strong signal. Amazing!

Weather is once again, drop dead gorgeous. I know this can’t be normal, I was sort of dreading traveling through this area in the heat of summer, but this is incredible. Today is bright blue skies with white cumulus clouds, temps in the low 70’s with a heavenly breeze, it simply could not be any nicer!

Grabbed a few brochures at checkin and decided to go out on one of the prairie grasslands birding routes, since this may be just flat, boring terrain to most, but to me it is something new to explore. Directions in the brochure were very good and I did get to see what there was to see. This is the worst possible time of the year to go looking for birds in most places, including here. All the interesting spring action is done and the fall movement is yet to come.

White Pelicans on Kelley Slough, N. Dakota
White Pelicans on Kelley Slough, N. Dakota

Nevertheless, it was kind of neat to see several hundred white pelicans on a small slough, where the brochure said they would. And it always seems so odd to me to see these huge white birds you would think would be linked to the sea here in the nations midlands, in farm country. How that many large birds make a living in the summer months on a body of water as small as this is beyond me. There also were several family groups of ducks, coots, avocets, and other small waders along the edges of the slough.

Meadowlark on a wire, Galveston, Texas
Meadowlark on a wire, Galveston, Texas

Thought I might get some nice meadowlark images, you know, sitting on the fencepost singing up a storm. Saw the meadowlarks, just there weren’t any fenceposts, or fences for that matter, all open cropland. I guess you only need to fence your land in for grazing animals, since corn, soy and wheat apparently don’t tend to roam that often. So no meadowlark photos ( how about one from Texas last winter? ).

Killdear in a N.Dakota cornfield
Killdear in a N.Dakota cornfield

 

Did see lots of flycatchers, sparrows, swallows, Killdeer, kestrels and one pair of Northern Harriers doing their thing floating over the edges of the field crops and the cattails along the drainage ditches by the side of the gravel roads.

 

 

If you are ever in this area, this is a place worth checking out. This State Park was a pleasant surprise to me. A little tight for big rigs, almost all the sites are in the trees, probably quite welcome with the hot summer weather, and there is quite a lot to see and do in Grand Forks, just 10 miles back route 2 east of the park. The park itself offers some nice trails and roads for bike riding mostly under the trees. A pleasant 2 day stop for me.

 

July 26 – 30, 2013 A Week in Amish Country

Haystacks and Barns at sunrise Holmes County, Ohio
Haystacks and Barns at sunrise Holmes County, Ohio

Holmes County Amish, Ohio

Took this sunrise haystacks in the field photo from behind the parking lot of the “famous” Heini’s Cheese Factory.

Barn advertising Heini cheese factory
Heini Cheese, really?

Sorry, please forgive me, but before I go on, I have to wonder what would give cause to an individual with a last name of Heini, to think it a good idea to use that name for his cheese factory. Smith, ok, Johnson Cheese Factory, yes, but Heini Cheese? Really.

The name bothered me so much, I went to Howard Butt’s cheese shop across the road for my pound of cheddar. 😉

I got myself reassigned to a new site up on the office level of the campground and now have good Verizon signal for the internet. Although the atmosphere might be better down below       ( you are located near a farmer’s enclosed deer pen and can watch his horses in their pasture ), I need the internet to work on getting this blog going.

Went down to Der Dutchman in Walnut Grove for their dinner buffet and found it a little less than it was billed. Fare was limited in choice and very ordinary, certainly, not bad, just nothing I would bother with again ( I am on a budget, so dining out has to be a rare pleasure ).

After driving around the area for a few days, I found going north and east from Berlin on 77 and 241 to be the most productive area for photo opportunities of the Amish countryside.

Image of family loading horse buggy with groceries
Grocery Shopping
Family in Horse drawn buggy
Heading to Sunday services

 

Haystacks and barns, Amish country
Haystacks and barns, Amish country
Amish Country Farmscape Panorama
Amish Country Farmscape Panorama

While out taking these photos, I stopped at an Amish farm stand and bought half a dozen ears of corn and a couple huge garden fresh tomatoes ( $1.25/lb what a steal ). Both were delicious!

The last two days here were rainy, so stayed in and worked on trying to get this blog going. Installed MAMP and WordPress on my iMac co I could work on this when I do not have an internet signal. Also reenrolled with Lynda.com ( a great resource I highly recommend to anyone wanting to learn just about anything ) to take a few WordPress courses. This is starting to eat up more of my data usage with Verizon than I like and I am sure I am going to be paying some overage charges this month spending all this time online.

July 25, 2013 A week in Amish Country

Berlin, Holmes County, Ohio

Arrived at Scenic Hills Rv Park around none and was assigned site #122 in the lower section. Weather was nice, so I got myself set up and then did a run around the immediate area to get my bearings, and, hopefully find a grocery store to stock up, saw some nice landscapes and a few closed farm stands ( it was now after 5 PM ) but did not find a grocery store.  Went back to my site and turned on the Jet Pac to search for the nearest grocery and, uh oh, no signal. Sitting down in the hollow here in the lower section, the surrounding hills block both my Verizon signal and the campgrounds WIFI. Will have to see if I can get moved up top tomorrow.

Amish Country Farmscape Panorama
Amish Country Farmscape

I thought it was very considerate of these cows to pose so perfectly for this farm country landscape.

Amish Barn Raising
Amish Barn Raising

Saw this crew starting the framing of a small barn late this afternoon as I was running around looking for a grocery store. By the next afternoon, the roof was on.

July 21, 2013 Lift Off! Liberation Day

Today I officially became homeless and unemployed.

After 5 years of attempting to sell my home and business, today I am freed of all encumbrances, no more physical ties to the Upper Valley region of New Hampshire, my home for the past 34 years.

Today, as I head west on I-89, out of my adopted home state, my long anticipated next (final?) adventure begins. After 20 years of owning and running a business and 30 plus years of rehabbing and maintaining a 5700 square foot, 200 year old house, it seems almost hard to believe that my only responsibilities now are my two canine companions and the only daily chores will be to keep my 2004 Allegro motorhome and my “toad”, a 2012 Prius, running smoothly. Oh, and I guess I will also have to make an attempt to figure out how to keep a blog going and perhaps even make it interesting.

Image of the Red Roof Gallery in Enfield, NH
Welcome to the Red Roof Gallery in Enfield, NH

Since 1993 I have owned and operated the Red Roof Frame Shop and Gallery in Enfield, NH, with another shop in West Lebanon, NH. With the sale of the Enfield property, the Red Roof Gallery in Enfield is no more ( the West Lebanon Red Roof Frame Shop will continue on under the new owner, Lisa Tibbits, who, incidentally, has been running the shop on her own for the past seven years ) and, while I suppose I should feel some kind of remorse, I must admit that it is more like relief, not regret.

Front yard perennial beds at the Enfield Red Roof Gallery
Front yard perennial beds at the Enfield Red Roof Gallery

 

 

Beautiful, yes, but, to me, all I can think is, no more weeding, transplanting, watering, mulching, autumn cut down and cleanup, never again! Free at last!

 

 

View of the carriage barn that houses the workshop end of the Red Roof Frame Shop in Enfield
View of the carriage barn that houses the workshop end of the Red Roof Frame Shop in Enfield

 

Also, no more scrapping and painting, no more lawns to mow, and never again will I have to shovel and snowblow that awful white stuff.

Opening reception for "The Flower Show" at the Red Roof Gallery
Opening reception for “The Flower Show” at the Red Roof Gallery
Opening reception for "All in the Family" at the Red Roof Gallery
Opening reception for “All in the Family” at the Red Roof Gallery

 

No more art shows to hang and take down, no more Opening Night Receptions (I will miss the excitement, the people, the conversations), no more 4 AM til 10 PM work days, no more vendor delivery mess-ups.

 

 

Also, most importantly, no more (censored) government paperwork and interference. I never realized, until starting a business and hiring employees, just how much productive time our wonderful government agencies, federal, state, and local, can manage to steal from a small businessperson.

So, with that little rant off my shoulders, off I go. My intent here is to provide viewers with some interesting photos of places I visit, people I meet, and wildlife I run into. I am a semi accomplished photographer and I do tend to concentrate on wildlife, especially birds, but I also appreciate the many wonderful landscapes I constantly observe in my travels.

Below is a small sampling of the sort or work I do. Just click on each thumbnail for a larger version of the image.

Geese lifting off at sunset, Lubec, Maine
Geese lifting off at sunset, Lubec, Maine
Yellowstone grizzly heading to his winter den
Yellowstone grizzly heading to his winter den
Great egrets start an aerial battle (or a dance?)
Great egrets start an aerial battle (or a dance?)
Yellowstone elk welcomes a 21 degree morning
Yellowstone elk welcomes a 21 degree morning
The fishing boat graveyard on Campobello Island, Canada
The graveyard on Campobello Island, Canada
Hot air balloons over the Valley of the Gods, Utah
Hot air balloons over the Valley of the Gods, Utah
Amish daycare, father and girls working a team of horses
Amish daycare
Altima oriole courting display
Altima oriole courting display
Foliage reflection on the bog
Fire on the water
Image of 3 Whooping Cranes and a Sandhill crane
3 Whooping Cranes and a Sandy
Killdeer in a N.Dakota cornfield
Killdeer in a N.Dakota cornfield
Cedar waxwing looking for lunch
Cedar waxwing looking for lunch