Sunday, January 27, 2013

#87 He Lets Me Have My Own Adventures

Like a million other things that I do that make absolutely no sense (such as, but not limited to: secret desires to become an astronaut, baking plastic plates in my oven, etc) for a long time I had a driving desire to go camping.  My friend, Amy, who I always knew I shared a special bond with yet I'm learning more and more how truly special it is, also had the same desire.  

She also shares the same longing I have to one day live on a farm, crazy right?  

In October, we decided to gather together our courage and go camping on our own.  We found our way to French Creek State Park in PA after travelling many winding country roads that at times seemed unending.    

Luckily, Amy has a pretty decent tent usually reserved for folk fest weekends.  As we assembled it, I learned that tents have a footprint, and also that you need to search out an area free of rocks to place said footprint.

If you don't, you may end up tossing and turning throughout the night with a knot under your side.

After we planted our footprint and set up our beds, we decided to explore Hopewell Lake.

These canoes and other boat type objects were great accessories to the already picture perfect setting.

68-acres of water is a pretty tempting requirement for a backdrop of my future home.

So are these adorable old gentlemen.

By the way, I would be absolutely terrified to be sitting on top of that contraption in the middle of a 68-acre lake.

This little area made me daydream about owning my own private island away from civilization.

Sadly, I think I may have a better chance at owning a farm or even becoming an astronaut.

Speaking of owning a farm, the only true sightseeing type thing to do in the area was to visit Hopewell Furnace National Historic Site.  You wouldn't be able to tell by its name (at least, I couldn't) but it is an iron plantation.

Plantation (in my mind) = Farm.

We chose the path less traveled and inched our way down a grassy slope to get to the entrance of the main house on the plantation.

For the next hour or so we barely spoke.  We snapped away our cameras and exchanged a variety of melodic hums expressing how in love with the place we both were.

It doesn't even matter that my dream farm is not in any way connected to an iron plantation.  Every aspect of this place was riveting, and I never wanted to leave.

I'm not sure what this was used for, but I'm wondering if I can convince hubby to build one in my backyard.  Not because I need one, but because who wouldn't want such a huge oven outside of their house?

I can't imagine how anyone could see it not as a necessity.

Hopewell Furnace was so massive that every time I thought I'd seen as much that could be seen I turned around to fine another structure, another entrance not visited.

The room of this tiny building, and the herbs hanging out to dry, made me hope that this summer I get my act together and actually start gardening.

This water mill was one of the most fascinating parts of the plantation to me.  Even more so than the furnace which the plantation is named for.

Perhaps because we could watch it running and moving as it would have been back when the facilities were up and running.

Many of the buildings had things laid out as if the family had merely stepped out and would be back within a few moments.  This was my favorite shot taken indoors.

And this was my favorite shot outdoors.  If I could replace this chair with a Cracker Barrel rocking chair, my life would be complete.  I would sit in that spot for every single second of every single day and never want for anything again.

Correction, never want for a better view again.  Let's face it, after a few minutes of sitting there, I'm going to want some coffee.  And a cookie.

Here it is, the Hopewell Furnace.  I'd love to be able to tell you dozens of facts about this, and furthermore about the rest of the iron plantation, but I'm not very eloquent when it comes to history facts I really haven't gathered enough information on.

If you'd like to know more, go here.

After our visit to Hopewell Furnace we headed back to the campsite.  In the end, I think we both learned that camping is a lot more boring than we expected.  We did prepare for such an occurrence and spent most of the daylight playing Yahtzee and admiring the nature around us.

But let's face it, one does eventually tire of rolling dice and staring at the same tree over and over.

When night came, we had to be typical campers and roast hot dogs and make s'mores.  The night was my least favorite part of the trip, yet probably the most exhilarating.  When eventually the only light we could see was that of our campfire, I began to imagine that every creepy crawler possible was slithering beside me. This led to me constantly shining my flashlight in every direction to the point that we eventually discovered a frog sitting motionless nearby and a daddy long leg who was strangely fascinated with our fire.  

Sleeping was surprisingly relaxing, despite the wind rudely knocking into our tent and branches crackling in the wind.  Yet, the wind also offered a peacefulness.  Trees blowing into each other played a lulling melody which brought me in tune with the massiveness of their surrounding our tiny little tent.

When morning came, we boiled water for tea in a pot Amy brought.  I'm pretty sure it has never in my life taken so long for water to boil.  

But after all, it's all about the experience.

We were a little jealous of the clearly professional campers in the site just below ours who were cooking bacon on their Foreman grill. 

We went to visit another lake, Scotts Run Lake, which was just a tiny 22-acres long.

Alright, I would still take it in my backyard any day.

We found a little shelled friend among the cattails.  Some boy scouts claimed they saw a water snake, but I refused to believe it. 

I like the idea of a turtle in my backyard much more than the idea of a snake.

While we didn't eagerly made plans to go camping the following weekend, I don't think that either of us left completely sure that it would be our last time camping.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

#86 He Does the Dishes

Those of you who live in the land of no dishwashers, you can feel my pain.  Those of you who have dishwashers, please realize how blessed you are.  I am pretty sure that today the dish pile in my home reached its zenith point.

I don't know if I should cry or celebrate.

But instead of me being the one standing at the kitchen sink, arms deep in suds, I'm typing away and hubby is  in said place without my even asking.

However, this post is not about wonderful husbands, dishwashers, or hand washing dishes.

It is about cesspools.

Specifically, our cesspool.

To put it into only a few sentences, it was discovered last week that my washing machine was full of debris and water which turned out to be everything that should flow from my upstairs toilet and into a hidden pool underneath my backyard.  So, the washing machine was filled with, well, you know...

This led to a need for a septic cleanse which turned out to not be the primary problem.  The kind septic guy told us we needed a plumber.

Fortunately, I have one in the family.

As I've said before, I always wanted to work with my dad.  To this day, I can't tell you what on earth would make a girl want to go a'plumbin' with her father, but this recent experience has:

1. Given me much more respect for my father and what he has done and continues to do to put food on the table
2. Made me never ever want to go a'plumbin' again.

Meet Mr. Pipe.  Mr. Pipe hasn't been feeling so good.  Apparently, he has something backed up inside of him.

And that's the extent of my knowledge of the subject.

Except I can tell you that that isn't chocolate syrup on my dad's rag.

It's, you know, the other thing....

As I snuck behind my dad to get a better shot, my nose was instantly filled with a smell that made me want to drop my camera, run upstairs, and hide under my bed sheets clinging tightly to a Yankee candle.

Then I peered into this bucket at the questionable liquid my father was pumping and in that moment I was sure there could never ever be anything my dad could do to get me to go on a service call with him.  Even money would not be worth what I was experiencing as I stood there taking tiny breaths of air and marveling at what was going on in front of me.

I wonder if he knew when I was growing up that all he had to do was clean a clogged pipe in front of me to keep me from constantly pestering him to take me to work.

And as Mr. Pipe was tirelessly cleaned out,

by this strange contraption and my father,

my brother and hubby stood as his cheerleaders on the sidelines.

The moral of this story?  Respect what your daddy does to keep you sheltered and fed, and don't ever ask him if you can go to work with him, especially if he is a plumber.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

#85 He Lets Me Keep the Decorations Up

My Christmas was wonderful.  So was my New Year's.  And I know it's already the 5th, but today is just as good as any to write about the holidays.

So there.

My Christmas always begins when my parents' neighbor brings over our Christmas countdown candle.  This year I actually burnt it every day.  Okay, I'll be honest.  I started slacking at the very end.

But that's a big improvement for me.

I put up my two fake trees back in November.  Then hubby took me to buy a real tree.

We couldn't resist this one.  It's so different.  So, Charlie Brown tree-ish.  But not.  The best part is we are going to plant it in the backyard when Christmas is all over...and in our house that might not be until Easter.

But, we needed a traditional Christmas tree too.  That's two, two real trees, ah, ah, ah.

Sorry, the Count from Sesame Street just possessed me.  I can't promise that won't happen again.

I've heard many theories that you don't truly love Christmas if you don't have a real tree.  I won't say my stance on the topic, but I'd like to just comment that those who don't have more than one tree might be in the same boat.

That's all I'm saying.

This is my fun tree.  The one where anything goes with the ornaments.

Like this one.  Hubby bought it for me this year.  My secret career aspiration, from when I was probably 10 or saw Apollo 13, whichever came first, was to be an astronaut.  Unfortunately, there are a lot of reasons why that would never work for me.  Number one being that I was never very good in science class.

Now this seems a little more appropriate for me.  I broke this ornament when I was unpacking it.  You can hardly tell, but those keys are being held on by hot glue.

Somehow, I'm lucky enough to be able to spread my Christmas out for three days.  This is all because I have a husband who thinks celebrating Christmas Eve Eve with me is fun, and not crazy.  So every Christmas Eve Eve, we wait until about 8 and open our presents to each other.

Isn't it beautiful?  I wish I had taken a picture of them all wrapped up too, because hubby tends to make them look like a piece of artwork.  But this looks just as good.  I let the living room sit like this well into the afternoon the next day.

Then I piled a similar looking situation into my car as we headed out to celebrate Christmas Eve with my side of the family.

Okay, hubby piled it all in the car.  I watched from the front door and cheered him on.

My mom recently started buying Christmas crackers for Christmas Eve.  If you've never done these before, be warned, they are strange.

And depending on the type of cracker, can be very addicting.  These crackers had whistles in them.  My SILs and I became absorbed in creating music with them once everyone else had grown tired.

My third day of Christmas, was spent with my in-laws, then my grandmother, then my in-laws again.  I don't think I could have asked for a better day.

Hubby and I decided to try a little bubbly for New Year's.  We rarely do this simply because we don't really know much about the varied world of alcohol.

This one seemed good enough as any.

Perhaps you've noticed the lone champagne flute next to the bottle.  As hubby was washing the champagne flutes from our wedding (A task that I thought to myself, "Perhaps I should do this.  Hubby is so strong like the Hulk, he sometimes doesn't know his own strength.  Something as delicate as a champagne flute may just crumble in his hands," yet I ignored my instincts and let him--translation: I was too lazy to stop him and do it myself) I heard a clang and then a, "I knew that was going to happen," come from the kitchen.

This kind of thing usually doesn't really bother me.  I'm sentimental, but I'm also realistic.  I have about a zillion other memories from my wedding that our champagne flutes being broken shouldn't really upset me.  But I guess I was feeling a little punchy, so I went into the kitchen and said sadly, "That was from our wedding!".

To which hubby topped my nonsense by saying, "You're from our wedding too.  At least you're still here,"

Boy oh boy, how I love this man.