Friday, November 30, 2012

I may not be Wonder Woman...

But I can do things that sure make you wonder. 

Here we have the original Class C motorhome. I think the back porch is a nice touch. (Or is that the attached outhouse?)


We had a wild crowd at Thanksgiving week, the campground was overflowing with campers, kids, dogs, bicycles, boats, fishermen and general chaos. 

A fun time was had by all, but the staff and volunteer (me!) were overworked.  I am creeping around this week like I was the loser in a brawl. Everything aches like I skydived down to earth and lost the parachute half way.

But it's another weekend, and the place is full again. Yippe doodle doo!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012


Thanks for all the wonderful and funny comments.  I read them every day. Thank you!

florida armodillo at faver-dykes state park by

I was trying to focus the camera to take a picture of the armadillo but Harley was leashed to my wrist jiggling it and alternately giving the armadillo a severe barking despite my efforts to calm him down.  Out of 22 shots this is the least blurry one. *Sigh*

bobcat faver-dykes state park florida by

The bobcat looked  resplendent in her Christmas collar.  Harley is used to her since he sees her all the time. He sat down to clean his crotch while I took her picture without interference. 

tioga montara class c rv galley by

I made Thanksgiving in my mini-motorhome galley. I took this picture about halfway through just for fun. The black thing in the corner is a 3 burner propane stove with a small oven and large broiler.  It has a bi-fold black metal door that is shown open in back.  In the forefront is a baby blue double sink but I have half of it covered with an extra section of counter that I can move around. I have no idea why this motorhome came with a baby blue sink. There is not a single blue thing in any of the original decor and this is the sink the factory included. 

All that stuff hanging off the wall is 3 years of owner modifications (me!)  The under cabinet coffee maker is Black and Decker circa 1993.  It works beautifully. 

Oh and besides cooking in the galley Thankgiving day, I also had two crockpots outside on a table cooking. My oven is only 6 inches high because they made such a huge broiler beneath it. I bought a 3 pound turkey breast to slow cook in the crockpot. It came out moist and tender. 

We were planning to dine al fresco because the inside of my motorhome is only set up for two-some dining since I shortened the dining table to make it slightly roomier inside.  The bonus is I can now reach 3 overhead cabinets. Before I had to crab walk barefoot across the dining booth cushions to reach the ceiling hung cabinets. 

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Please, No Yelling

harley rancher dog coat by

I woke up at 3am to 37F (3C) temperatures at Faver-Dykes State Park near St Augustine, Florida.  Thank goodness for the mattress warmer  or I would have chattering teeth. The 1500 watt ceramic heater is running as are two 200 watt heaters plus the propane furnace kicks in more warmth as the temperatures plummet. 

My 1994 mini-motorhome struggles to stay warm whenever temperatures go below 45F (7C).  I have shades or curtains pulled tight on all the windows plus I've covered the vinyl tiled floors with various sized bargain throw rugs. Well, 2 windows need shade repair. After 18 years, some of the window shades are just falling apart. 

I am bundled up in long underwear, a flannel sleep shirt  and thick fuzzy house shoes. Just for grins, I am drooling over flannel sheets on Amazon. It's fun to dream!

My dog Harley is wearing a sweater, tucked in bed on the mattress warmer underneath two big pillows that serve as his comforters. I grabbed a pillow to tuck around me, when a sleepy doggy head appeared, giving me dirty looks. I gave him back his pillow comforter. 

I feel so lucky because I remembered to top up my small built-in propane tank last week.  I can't remove my tank, but since I don't own a car, it's a mute point.  I have no idea how long I can run the propane furnace on one (built-in) tank. Mysteries!  I suspect not more than a week as the furnace is a hungry beast.

Good news!  I met a wonderful RV repairman, who fixed my furnace, generator and refrigerator recently. The dash AC still needs work plus a list of other things he is coming back to do at some point after he chases down parts.  It seems everything that heats or cools,  sucks or blows just stopped working in my little old wheel estate. 

Luckily he replaced one of my two broken exhaust fans.  They shorted out on my trip south when the 12 volt system died. I ended up meeting a repairman in South Carolina who fixed some of those problems, plus I bought a used battery when he determined my battery was DOA with no chance of revival.  He seemed a tad surprised when I inquired if he had a used deep cycle battery with life left in it, he was willing to sell. I ended up with his golf cart battery  much to the disappointment of his son who was using it to drive around the yard.  

Living on an efficient budget includes buying used, second-hand, rebuilt, re-manufactured, discontinued models, retail orphans, end of stock, non-seasonal, post-seasonal, old technology and so on. Paying less to get the same end result. 

This is the perils of living in an aging motorhome; things break, fall off, fall apart or simply stop working for no apparent reason other than age and gremlins.  If it's any consolation,  the repair costs are far cheaper than making monthly payments on something pricey, so *whew* I am lucky I could scrape up funding to get most things repaired and going again. I tried to fix it all myself, but it was a hit and miss, some things I could repair while others are just over my head. The list had grown exponentially. Argh!  Now it is slowly shrinking down again.  

Incredibly, despite the frigid temps, I have to use the stove exhaust fan now and then to freshen up the air. I seem to breathe up all the oxygen inside. I meant to put water in an uncovered crockpot overnight to serve as a humidifier,  I forgot, so I am doing that now. I left the other crockpot outside cooking garbanzo beans overnight. I meant to bring it inside so the heat would be here not there. I hope the raccoons didn't get into it.  

Between blowing my nose and coughing, I might have snatched up a bug from the campers. Since it was Thanksgiving, we had a full campground all week with lots of happy people building fires that often stayed lit day and night. It seems every child and adult that camped here brought a bicycle with them. Harley had to walk on a short leash because he has a tendency to tangle traffic on his flexi-leash. He is finally getting used to bicycles.  He seemed to think in the past they deserved a round of rowdy chihuahua rapid-fire barking. 

We worked long cold days at my volunteer duties, trying to stay on top of the campground maintenance madness.  We had over 150 campers with just little old me to clean up after them. Most days it was four or five trips to the overflowing dumpster.  The campers this week were fairly kind to the restrooms I clean. I surely needed that kind of bonus too.  I was having a very hard time completing my long list of chores. Plus due to the crowds, I was having to clean the restrooms several times a day. One morning, I entered the ladies room to try to restore order from the morning rush.  People sometimes have trouble with the paper towels, they pull one out and all they get is a tiny wad. Rather than throw this in the garbage, they often toss it on the floor then reach for a full towel. The floor was littered with tiny bits of torn off towels. A brief rain the night before meant people tracked sand and dirt all over the bathroom floor which has a grout problem. There are valleys where there should be grout, so the dirt and sand gets stuck in all the grooves making it look hideous. 

As I unlocked the cleaning closet, this lady came up to me fussing and complaining that the bathroom and campground was less than perfect. She was pointing at the dirt and little wads of paper towels everywhere.  I guess she had no idea I had just spent two hours shoveling up garbage since sun rise. Several campers had left their trash outside on the ground instead of in a receptacle. A  raccoon or something had spread it far and wide.  I was trying to gather it all up and it was time consuming.  Anyhow I stood there smiling like an idiot while she yelled at me with her list of complaints. I tried to explain I was working hard to tackle it all but she kept interrupting me. 

The restroom was crowded and fell silent as she continued berating me and other women began staring at us. She was blocking me from reaching into the supply closet to continue my duties. I am sure I turned beet red. When she announced she was going to file a complaint with the park manager, I finally  pointed to my nametag which reads VOLUNTEER above my name.  

I told her I was just a volunteer here trying to help out here and doing the best I could to catch up on the cleaning. (There is sometimes that unhappy camper that appears when you least expect it.) I saw her eyes gaze at my tag. Suddenly she went silent and left the restroom in a huff. 

If I could just get well and enjoy some solid stamina, I would be thrilled and grateful. I tire out easily which means I have to jump start again with a rest and a strong cup of coffee.  Maybe this is just too much work and too many hours for me in my condition, but I keep smiling and plunking away. I agreed to three months here and I intend to do my best but maybe my best just isn't good enough. How depressing. 

Speaking of coffee, I forget sometimes to warn guests about my strong coffee. Recently the troutman visited in his RV. I treated him to coffee which sent him sputtering in convulsions. Then I remembered to warn him it might be a wee bit strong. I offered him hot water to soften the blow, but he refused. It was funny to watch the grimace on his face. I really wish he would have let me tone it down to reasonable.

I wasn't much of a coffee drinker until I worked aboard a beautiful large yacht in Venezuela. The owners insisted on stout coffee that could dissolve a spoon if left too long in the cup. Then they laced it with a generous serving of cream. The crew adopted the same habits. That yacht had custom china including miniature old fashioned milk pitchers that not only had a line drawing of the yacht, but the name inscribed as well. Each place setting at breakfast for the owners included the tiny milk pitcher on a tiny saucer by their coffee cup. Refilling their coffee meant bringing them a fresh little pitcher of cream. By the time breakfast was over I might have a dozen tiny milk pitchers to wash. 

When Harley dog and I go out, I put his coat on over his sweater, but still he shakes and shivers. If someone stops us with questions, he often begs me to pick him up so he can cuddle in the warmth of my arms until we start walking again. When we come back inside, he refuses to let me take his coat off.  I may have to layer him in more garments, he just doesn't have enough meat on his bones to stay warm on his own. 

As I type this, it's still dark outside. Harley is wearing his camo sweater, all curled up next to me on a soft pillow with his fluffy blanket thrown over his body and head. I am still cold and it's 4am. I think we might go back to bed, just to warm up again. I  hope nobody yells at us today. 

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Uncle Funkle

travels with Harley by Dear Miss Mermaid
Harley eagerly awaits arrival of his long lost Uncle Funkle.

travels with Harley by Dear Miss Mermaid
Eventually Uncle Funkle shows up after a long hard trip. 

travels with Harley by Dear Miss Mermaid
Uncle Funkle sets up camp in his little Amish built teardrop trailer. 

travels with Harley by Dear Miss Mermaid
Harley and Uncle Funkle yack it up all night. 

travels with Harley by Dear Miss Mermaid
"...And dude this is where I like to hang, see it's padded, has a great view and of course my soft blanket too."

travels with Harley by Dear Miss Mermaid
After a whirlwind visit, Harley was exhausted.
Bye Bye Uncle Funkle!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

The Greatest Gift On Earth

Thanksgiving was wonderful!  I cooked and shared. Be it ever so humble. I wanted to celebrate and give thanks, so to me, Thanksgiving is ultra important. giving thanks on thanksgiving
What came out of my tiny motorhome galley: Turkey, Gravy, Sweet Potatoes, Green Bean Casserole, Stuffing, and (not shown because it's on the table) Fruit Salad and Cranberry Sauce.  As you can see, we had already started diving in to help ourselves before I thought to take a picture. 

I have so much to be thankful for this year. First of all I am so grateful to wake up alive to such a beautiful day.

I have the four basics in life and I feel extremely fortunate and thankful. So many right here in America are struggling to have the bare basics in life. Others have so much yet seem enslaved by massive debt and/or misery.

I remember the four basic needs  as the four C's to keep me grounded. When my life turned upside down, inside out, I scrambled for the basics, trying to come up with an instant plan. What I managed to come up with,  resembled nothing of my former life.  Sometimes when things are chaotic, thinking outside the box could save your soul.

The four C's.  It's all you really need in life.

Cover (shelter)
Cuisine (food for the body and soul)
Clothing (protection from wild weather and wildlife such as other people)
Companionship (for me it's one crazy dog)

I am alive. I am happy!  I am super uber LUCKY!

I believe in life, the higher power, spirits, ghosts, jumbys, gremlins, a six sense, miracles, dreams and Big Foot.

Then I started believing in angels.

Someone mailed me an angel.  It was cute as can be.  It was an omen. Angels started popping up everywhere lending me a hand, helping me along, pulling me up out of the depths of despair with a nudge, a  shove and sometimes a thump in the rear.

Other people look at my life and see all the negatives, but I see the positives. I pretend that I am living the greatest life on earth with all the riches one could ever want or desire. I have a great imagination and it keeps me rolling along with a smile plastered on my face.

Am I delusional or overly optimistic?

I sure hope so!

Happiness is the greatest gift on earth.  If you are not happy in your current life, then you have nothing. 

And that's coming from little old me.

Thanksgiving day is for  GIVING THANKS!  I owe a whole slew of thank you notes and hugs and kisses to so many Many MANY people both living among us and those in the other world.

I owe a huge debt to  my angels and plenty of thanks too. My readers, fans, framily, angels, subscribers, patrons,  have nursed me into better health. The body may be failing but the spirit is willing and able thanks to one and all.

How did this happen?  Am I worthy of such good fortune?

Many people missed out on their holiday Thanksgiving dinner with loved ones. I feel so sorry for them. You probably know a few of them. They are the retail clerks forced into this early Black Friday madness so the big chain store corporations can make their profits a day early in hot competition with each other.

Last year it was a riot over waffle irons. Oh yeah. Life ain't worth living if you can't have a cheap waffle iron. 

Back in the dark ages, we celebrated Thanksgiving by closing down all the businesses. Family and loved ones were more important than corporate profits  in that magical  space and time. I miss the good old days!

Are we simply eroding away our most important American tradition through sheer greed?  Are chain store corporations hell bent on destroying any semblance of family values in the name of nailing down profits for their owners and stockholders?

I vote to KEEP Thanksgiving Day and make it a national holiday. Am I tooting my horn and waving my flag all alone?

Oh wait, it IS a national holiday.

Why are we allowing the mega  corporations to dictate that their profits are more important than one day a year spent giving thanks with family and loved ones?  What's wrong with Black Friday sales starting at a sane hour of 10am Friday, why does  it have to start on Thanksgiving?

I have never set foot in a store  on Black Friday and I never will. It's my one woman boycott. Count me out!

Thanksgiving is important. One day a year to sit down with loved ones, have a feast and seriously give thanks for all our good fortunes.

OK, let me climb down off my soap box.  Forgive me. Sometimes I just can't help myself. 



The first Thanksgiving held in America was a feast that lasted three days.

I guess they had leftovers too. 

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Giving Thanks

May your stuffing be tasty
May your turkey be plump,
May your potatoes and gravy
Have never a lump.
May your yams be delicious
And your pies take the prize,
And may your Thanksgiving dinner
Stay off your thighs!

Happy Thanksgiving
Dear Miss Mermaid

Monday, November 19, 2012

About Last Night


I volunteer at a small state park campground in Florida for three months and  live there in my wheel estate.   One of my numerous assignments  is to keep one restroom building tidy.  I'm not on a set schedule, as long as it gets done once or twice every 24 hours or so, we have happy campers.

Last night around 3am, I woke up very cold, so I drank two cups of caffeinated coffee to warm the body and soul. I decided to go clean. 

At that unholy hour, I reasoned it would be easy to mop up the mud tracks on the floor leftover from the drizzly day.


I restocked the paper goods in the ladies room, then I swabbed the floors with this mega mop that is so heavy the dirt doesn't dare stick to the floor. I don't officially close down  the ladies room when I clean because the next restroom is a half mile away in the picnic area. I work around the women, but at 3am, all campers were quiet and presumably sleeping.  It made my work go very fast. Maybe the wet floor would actually dry before someone walked across it. YAY!

Next I popped over to  the men's room, after knocking on the door and calling inside to see if any patrons were around. Nobody answered. I went inside, checking the stalls for their current paper inventory, then headed towards the locked supply cabinet.


I slammed on brakes in my silent Crocs  (if you've ever worn Crocs then you know they are super quiet ultra comfy shoes).

Crocs, best shoe I've ever owned

I had not put the "Closed for Cleaning" sign outside.  While I don't officially close the women's room, I do close  the men's room while I work because I don't want the men in there with me. I leave the door propped open with the movable sign-on-a-pedestal, so I can hear and see if any males are waiting outside. I generally tell them I will be done in 30 seconds, stop my work, lock the supply closet then hand the restroom back over. I can always catch up later.

But in the eerie hours of 3am in the dark silent campground, I had forgotten to pull the closed sign-on-a-pedestal out of the bushes where I hide it.


I walked over to  the entrance door to go back outside, swinging it open when I came face to face, nose to nose with a very sleepy elderly gentleman who was reaching out to open the door  but was now yelling  something that sounded like "Aaaaaackkkkk!"  while jumping about three feet backwards.

I muffled a girly scream of frightened surprise.  He took even more steps backwards.

I stumbled and mumbled through an apology that I was just here to mop the floor, but the shock on his face, those big round eyes the size of saucers, his jaw wide open, he just stared at me in total shock.

Maybe he wasn't awake when he set out to hike to the restroom at 3 or 4am but he surely was now from the look of those wide open startled eyes.  (If he was the least bit constipated, this sudden scare had probably just cured that too!)

Back at my wheel estate, I plowed my leftover energy into housekeeping around  the mini motorhome.  Growing tired, I went back to bed for a little snooze.


Mid afternoon the bark ranger and I were out walking with our bucket and litter picker policing the vacated campground sites for errant debris, cigarette butts, raccoon picnics and the leftover man made detritus humans  scatter while soaking up nature.  It can be amusing at times. I've found clean socks in the grass, under pants in the middle of the road and a blanket thrown up in the trees.

Litter picker and reaching tool. A must have for anyone who desires a longer arm or further reach.
I walked passed one campsite when I noticed there was the man, his wife and another couple chatting. He looked over at me, smiled and waved, apparently remembering me from the 3am encounter of the weird kind.


He turned to his friends saying loud enough for me to hear "She's the one I met in the men's room in the middle of the night!"

I am so glad his wife wasn't holding  an iron frypan, but after a pregnant pause, everyone burst out laughing. 

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Ready To Roll

Harley does his woofcamping chores at the campground by riding around in his little dump truck patrolling as a bark ranger. His short legs can't reach the pedals, so he has a 

One day he tumbled out of the doorless truck, giving us both a terrible fright!

So I tied a milk crate to the seat. Stuck him in that. He was worried about chipping his nails on the bottom of the crate's open pattern. I stuffed his baby blanket in there. He rode around on that for awhile, but wasn't overly happy about his personal comfort though the increased safety was reassuring. 

On a cold day, dressed in his petite red sweater he looked at the thin blanket padding the bottom of his ride, giving me woeful eyes.  
I resurrected his faux fur puppy bed, removing the thin blanket, I stuffed the puppy bed down into the milk crate. He looked skeptical, but climbed in, then poked and prodded the bed. He scraped it with his paws, pulled at it with his teeth, then punched and pressed it around with his feet and paws while slowly rotating three times. 

When all was said and done, he sat down, propped up his elbow on his new arm rest and announced he was ready to roll. 

Me? Spoiled?
Heavens no!  I'm not spoiled.
I'm just cold and like an arm rest for my paw. 

Friday, November 16, 2012

I Shot A Snake

I am a Camp Host in a Florida State Park for 90 days.  For some of my chores I drive the park's little golf cart type dump truck. It has two gears. Forward and reverse.

Far from the campground we saw a snake.  We being doggy and I.

Yes, a SNAKE!


I hate snakes! 

Usually when I see a snake, I scream  ack! cough!  sputter!  S-S-SNAAAAAAAAKE!!! while running in the opposite direction.

Ten miles later someone invariably asks the snake ID and length.

Oh sure, I am going to whip out my tape measure and climb down level with the snake, straighten him out, measure him from chin to tail, then ask him for his ID.

Ha Ha Ha!  You gotta be joking me. 

But this one was moving ridiculously slow.

My evil child popped up in my head. Should I just run him over with my little golf cart type dump truck?  Bye-Bye snake!  

My not-so-evil child chimed in reminding me the park policy is generally not to murder the inhabitants. Not even the snakey inhabitants. 


I'm not a hunter, but frankly I think the only good snake is a dead snake. They make nice cowboy boots and I like cowboy boots. (Matter of fact there's a leather pair in my cupboard traveling with me through several countries on land and sea since 1995).  I wear them when the mood strikes or the weather dictates or when I might be in snakey lands.  I call them my snake stomping boots. Today I wasn't wearing them and I felt terribly vulnerable. 

Truth be told,  I have never once stomped a snake in my cowboys boots. I just hope the boot leather is thick enough to withstand a close encounter with a snake. But today I wasn't wearing them. 


So what's it gonna be?  Scream and run?  Mow it down dead with my vehicle?  Shoot him?

I pulled out my camera and shot him multiple times.

The pictures were taken far far away, but I managed to crop out the acre of forest between us and him/her to show you THE SNAKE I SHOT!

His back has a severe ridge. He appears almost black but subsequent pictures show his true colors. 
Now his head is raised. Will he strike?

Is this a good time to measure him?  

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Recipe for a Bikini Tanned Turkey

 Recipe for a Bikini Tanned Turkey, turkey bra, dear miss mermaid, thanksgiving turkey bra

How to Recipe for a Bikini Tanned Turkey
by Dear Miss Mermaid author of Hurricanes and Hangovers


Learn how to make this sexy bikini turkey and give your family or guests a great laugh. Turkey isn't just for holidays, it's a great budget food. Leftovers go a long way making sandwiches and soup. For leftovers, pull off all the extra meat and refrigerate, then gently simmer the carcass on the stove or in a crockpot with herbs, for several hours. Strain and save leftover broth to cook dried beans or rice. You can also cool the broth and freeze it for later use.

Difficulty: Moderately Easy

Things You'll Need

a whole turkey



tin foil




1 Step One
How big a turkey do you need?

You should allow 350g/12oz per person (with bone) but bear in mind that's just for one meal. Below are some example bird sizes, with extra allowed for hearty diners or leftovers.

2 Step Two
Preheat oven to 325F degrees.

Make sure turkey is completely thawed. Reach inside cavities and remove neck and giblets. Save for another recipe. Wash turkey and pat dry. Next, size up your turkey and use scissors to design a bikini bottom out of tin foil. Place on turkey.

For the bikini top, lay out a piece of tin foil. Use a small juice glass to draw 2 circles for the bra top, then draw out the straps, cut and place over turkey breasts.

Optionally, you can undo the wings, lift over the turkey neck and tie together with cooking twine (see resources below).

Spray a roasting pan liberally with non-stick spray, then place turkey in pan.

3 Step Three
Make sure the tin foil is smoothed flat on the skin. Next sprinkle the turkey with SAGE, this will give the turkey great flavor. Then sprinkle generously with PAPRIKA. This is going to give it that wonderful golden tan, so don't be skimpy on it. Gently pat the herbs against the skin, so they stick well.

Use a moist paper towel and gently wipe off excess herbs that have stuck to the tin foil bikini. (You don't want any herbs under the foil.)

Bake turkey in oven. When turkey is past half it's cooking time, gently, remove the bikini. Continue cooking until done.

6 to 8 pounds 2-1/2 to 3 hours
8 to 12 pounds 3 to 4 hours
12 to 16 pounds 4 to 5 hours
16 to 20 pounds 5 to 5-1/2 hours
20 to 24 pounds 5-1/2 to 6 hours

If using a meat thermometer, place the meat thermometer in the thickest part of the thigh, taking care that it does not touch any bone. Roast the turkey until the meat thermometer reaches 170-180 degrees F.

4 Step Four

When turkey is done pull out of oven and let sit 20-30 minutes while you assemble the rest of the meal, set the table etc. You may wish to cover turkey with a light foil tent to "hide the surprise bikini".

Use the poultry lifters to transfer the turkey to a serving platter. Your dinner is sure to be a comical hit!

Bon appetit from Dear Miss Mermaid!

Tips and Warnings

Try to make this turkey "top secret" and surprise the guests!

Everytime you check it, tell them it's a top secret recipe and everyone must leave the kitchen. Forbid anyone to look in the oven.

Don't forget to take a photo and send it to Dear Miss Mermaid!

WARNING: Making this recipe can cause serious comedy!


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Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Red Foot or Big Foot

I currently volunteer in a Florida State Park.  There is no pay but I am provided a spot to camp in the park. This is the view of my backyard as seen  from my bed when I roll up the window shade in the morning. 

Keeping Warm...

We had a delightful French Canadian couple in the campground with a small Class B camper van.  In the cool dark evenings they built a camp fire. Apparently an opossum found them congenial too.  She spent her evenings sitting  by their camp fire with them.

Teenagers and Giggling Bears...

When they first showed me their contraption, I laughed but had no idea what they were up to.

They made a science project of a big empty 33 ounce coffee can and a wet shoe lace. From what I understand you use a nail to knock a hole in the bottom of the empty coffee can, then thread the shoe lace through the hole, tying a knot so the lace won't fall out. You hold the lace with your thumb and forefinger, scraping your thumbnail on the lace. The can amplifies a wild animal noise such as a bear grumbling. Different things makes alternative noises, you can use a rubber band or a rawhide shoelace.

After dark the teens took a hike around the campground road, with their bear growling coffee can. Apparently a few tent campers were a bit alarmed.  The next day it was the talk of the campground. "Did you hear that growling?" But someone else pointed out that  besides the bear growling, they could hear muffled snickers and giggles.

Puppy Love...

Harley has a new girlfriend this week. She is a 6 pound short haired chihuahua named Gizmo.

Santa Paws Came Early...

Two different campers gave Harley a new  toy. How does he do it?  Talk about wrapping people around his wittle paw!

Red Foot or Big Foot...

I saw something huge and red run past in the woods. Harley was barking like crazy.  It was much too tall to be a deer. But later on I had second thoughts. Maybe it was a mega buck running.   Maybe it was a reindeer flying by. I have seen deer run for their life with a coyote on their heels when I was in northeast Georgia. I was super impressed because the deer take big flying leaps that make you think they are trying to take flight. Still, whatever we saw, was BIG.

Raccoon Mischief...

In the campground where I am a volunteer workamper, there is a raccoon who tries to open the large hinged heavy lid to the garbage can. I hear "Bang! Bang!  Bang!"  The raccoon is no longer afraid of me merely shining a flashlight on him. Now he just sits there waiting for me to turn the light off.

So the other night, rather annoyed by his banging and Harley's barking, I went outside to shine my flashlight on him. He didn't run off. So I growled at the top of my lungs.

He scampered away.

Perhaps i will make my own coffee can contraption.

Monkeys on the Loose...

Something big swings through the trees at night. Could it be a bobcat or a monkey on the loose?  Bobcats may climb trees but I doubt they swing from tree to tree.  A little research has turned up that indeed Florida does have wild monkeys on the loose. Some are decedents from those imported by Colonel Tooey in the 20's or 30's. He put them on an island near  Silver Springs, so folks could see them during their jungle cruises he was running up until the mid 80's or so.  The  monkeys escaped from the island, taking up residence along the Silver River.

Another troop of monkeys  are reported to have escaped from a roadside circus or zoo a few years back.

Monkey Nickname...

Harley dog is affectionately called Monkey by some of his friends.

Monday, November 12, 2012

What Next

Now this is living efficient and eco friendly.
Bicycle powered.
Small footprint.
Protection from the elements. 

Sunday, November 11, 2012

A Supa Saturday

As A Woofcamping Bark Ranger, Harley helps clean the fire pits and pick up garbage. 
We've been having so much fun in the park.  It's been busy with all the campsites booked. Harley dog and I do loads of workamping and meet interesting people, dogs and wildlife.

The heavy labor wears me out pretty quickly, so I work some, rest some, drink coffee, work some, rest some, drink coffee, work some more...  With the cold snap I sold a lot of firewood.  This sounds easy, but I have to go load up my mini-truck with the wood nearly 2 miles away, bring it back to my site, unload it, then when people want to buy it, I load it back up and deliver it to them unless they can carry it all and most can't.  It's not bundled, it's sold loose in groups of 8 chunks or more. When that runs out I have a secret stash at the other end of the campground, but still that's work to go raid it. All the firewood money goes to the Friends of the Park which in turn is spent back in the park.  It's all just  part of my volunteer workamping duties.

The truck is so small, it's really like a gas powered golf cart I can't always just leave the firewood in it, because then I don't have room to haul off the mountain of weekend garbage. Sometimes I end up making 3-4 trips daily to the dump.  The little cart I drive is SO FREAKING LOUD that I now wear ear muffs to hold my head together and tune out some of the noise. This is a huge relief as I think the loud noise (without the ear muffs) was making me really cranky.

I am super happy not to be cranky anymore. Yabbadabbadoo!

Our favorite chore may surprise you.   Harley and I walk around the entire campground several times a day with a bucket and a litter picker, snatching up debris like gum wrappers, beer cans, cigarette butts, just daggum garbage that appears out of nowhere.

We try to do our part to make America beautiful!

Mid-morning the ranger asked how I was doing.

I said "I've been busy with a shovel and a dump truck, restoring order in the restrooms!"

She had a good laugh over my analogy.

I sure wish Harley could help me with the restroom cleaning. But I find that if I smile while I am working and act thrilled, then the time goes quickly.  Harley usually waits outside, alternating between guarding the door and flirting with the campers.

It's been so cold lately, that he is bundled up in sweaters with  sometimes a little doggy coat over that. When it was 40ish F degrees  recently, I piled on so many layers of clothes it emptied out half my closet and drawers. I get cold super easy. I guess decades in the Caribbean did that to me.

A friend  came to visit us and by sheer luck due to a cancellation he was able to camp next to us. He brought Harley a new toy and a box of treats. Lucky pooch!

He also brought us steak and shrimp. Whee!

I marinated the steaks for future reference. Later I made steamed corn with butter, potatoes tossed with sour cream, garlic and chives, homemade beans from my crockpot plus a salad of little artichokes hearts, olives, mushrooms and grape tomatoes tossed with Italian dressing served over greens. My friend brought over his gas grill to cook the steaks on. He asked me how I wanted mine done and I said "Just cook mine like yours."

He said "Well, I don't know how you like it. Rare? Medium?  Well done?"

I said "However you're cooking yours, will be fine with me!  It's been so long since I had any beef, I am happy to have it any which way you cook it!"

He ate his entire steak, but I could only get half mine down, so I have leftovers.  Yummy!

After we ate, Harley was treated to a tiny bowl of steak sliced up into bite size pieces. Poor thing, he is just all paws and can't seem to handle the steak knife on his own.

When he was through with that, he sat there with his eyes wide open, smacking his lips and wiping his tongue all around his face, checking optimistically to see if any errant pieces were stuck to his fur.  

In spite of the chill, we  dined al fresco, building my first fire of the season. After dinner we sat around the firepit swapping gossip and celebrating life. It was super fun to have company and  a sumptuous fireside dinner.

Earlier in the day my friend volunteered to help me with some of my workamper chores, so it was a super duper day all around.

Life is good.

This morning my friend came over for coffee at sunrise,  announcing he was leaving soon because a faraway trout stream was calling his name, hundreds of miles away.

Friday, November 09, 2012

Clueless Canine

I'm confused.

And tired. 

I can't find  my toys.  

I really need some help here. 

I had a soccer ball bouncing around somewhere. 

And there was an alligator I planned to fight with some more but he limped away.  

My blue bunny wabbit hopped off. 

Where is my red chair?

Didn't I have a blankie around here?

I need my pet parent to help me out, but she is pooped. 

If I could find my little rope tether, I could retrace my tracks. 

But I am so tired.

You're confused?

I am paws-itively  lost.  

Where did everybody go?

Thursday, November 08, 2012

A Little Behind

I am a little behind in my work and it shows... :)

How would you caption this photo?


I am so glad the campaigns are over.  Now that I've voted for a turkey, I can focus on a candidate to roast at Thanksgiving.


Seriously, I am juggling a little too much but working to even it all out and get back to writing and living.

It's so c-c-c-cold here!  I can't believe I am in Florida. We have some real hearty campers out here tonight too.

My heart goes out to those slammed by another storm in the northeast. I just don't know how they can survive the frigid temperatures without electricity.

I felt such tremendous guilt when I called a repairman last night  to discuss  my furnace woes.

It worked fine last winter and I tested it this summer too. Now, nothing happens. Maybe it's humbling me to pray for the storm victims.

Tuesday, November 06, 2012


I Am Disgusted. A Bird Pooped On My Bark Ranger Chair! by dear miss mermaid

Burning Mystery

A twenty foot chunk of  burnt tree was lying on the ground across the campground road one morning recently.

Campers gone wild?

Harley dog sniffed the downed tree, then peed on it.  I often pick up and move small tree branches that land in the road but Harley has this curious habit of wanting to water them for me first. I just let him have his way because I am secretly thrilled that I have successfully trained him not to pee on car, truck and RV tires. If you're a dog owner, then you know that for some strange reason only a dog knows... they are often attracted to peeing on tires.   But I digress...

Anyhow, this hunk of a chunk of a  tree wasn't there in the middle of the road,  the night before.

Mysteries...  the hospitality industry is full of them. The inexplicable things one finds when dealing with the public.

Luckily this wasn't campers gone wild. Not this time.

Turns out a dead tree up above was on fire from the power lines it was chafing.  Sometime during the night, the tree burned all the way through, dropping the twenty foot hunk of a chunk down below to the road.

We are darn lucky the entire campground didn't burn down while we slept.

Many campsites were empty because it was mid-week. The closest campers were in a van type RV, known as a Class B. They reported they  saw the bright light, then saw it go dark. They thought it was a street light in the park that burned out. They went back to sleep, ignoring the loud thud of the falling tree.

The problem is,  we have no street  lights in the park at all.  I surmise they saw the light of the flaming tree just before it fell to the ground.

Where I was parked in my wheel estate,  I couldn't see the tree, but I had smelled the burning wood during the night. Since every campsite has a fire pit, I just assumed it was campers enjoying themselves.

This picture below is not overly clear because I was about 25 feet below, standing on the ground, taking the picture of the smoldering tree above.  You can see the electric power line.

Winds were breezy, unusual for this area.

Apparently a gutsy gust wiggled the tree, which chafed on the electric line, which started the  fire.  It might have smoldered all night long while everyone slept.

Eventually the power company came to survey the situation.  Later that afternoon a crew put the fire out and removed the tree.

All's well, ends well. I am just oh so grateful it wasn't any worse than this.

Sunday, November 04, 2012

Cultural Tornado

Pellicer Creek, Florida A Designated State Canoe Trail by http://DearMissMermaid.Com
Pellicer Creek, Florida
A Designated State Canoe Trail
I look at this park bench and I just want to stretch out on it to rest awhile.

It's the weekend so my little bark ranger and I have been ultra busy doing our workamping duties. We work, rest, work, rest, work, rest...  my stamina is erratic, but I am fueled by caffeine on all the rest breaks.

Every weekend we are booked solid in the campground.  Soon the weeks will be full too. This weekend brought a cultural group that rented 18 spots, plus the other 12 were full of families and couples.  The group cooked up a mountain of foods that left me hauling four truck loads of garbage on Sunday alone. Saturday I hauled only three.

I poked and prodded the dumpster with a shovel, trying to get it all inside. I thought about jumping up and down on the dumpster lid to try to cram it all in. I surely hope the garbage company comes for it soon, I don't think I can fit one more paper plate inside of it.

The women's restroom survived the ordeal with very little mess but overnight  the men's restroom looked worse than a tornado strike. The place looked great last evening when I checked it, then  8 hours later, it was a disaster zone.   I started with a shovel and the  dump truck, then finished with a power wash.  Order was more or less restored.

Left behind was spare change, two skewers (eating in the shower?) a bath towel, a cloth shopping bag and an explosion of wet paper towels. It appears that a lot of men forgot their bath towels and used a plethora of paper towels to dry themselves with, then littered the floor from one end to the other, bypassing the garbage can entirely. (It was there just for decor?)  Most weekends have been pretty tame, but this was incredible.

Harley is peeved that I am so pooped.  He wants to play, finding the multiple trips to the dumpster to be a tad boring. Waiting for me while I work, is also making him lonesome, even though he is tethered nearby. Usually he loves the ride to the dumpster, but today he looks so sad. Every hour I have stopped for a coffee break to keep the energy going.

To say I am pooped is a gross understatement.

A tiny 4 month old poodle was camping here, but her over-protective parents wouldn't let her paws touch the ground for more than 3 seconds.  Harley become totally smitten in that brief encounter. When they snatched their precious baby back up, Harley was crestfallen.  He was gentle as a lamb, wagging his tail furiously, so excited to see the little baby poodle. He was begging with a funny little whine "hmmm hum hum hmmm" for them to put the baby back down for him to play with, but they refused. Even the baby poodle seemed confused.

Poor Harley. Poor baby. She wanted to snuggle right up to him, but her parents acted terrified. Later they "walked" the baby by carrying her around the campground. But I know the feeling. I had to carry Harley around for days, when I first adopted him,  before he would walk on a leash and harness.  He was five months old, but had never been on a leash. I would put him down, he would water a bush, then fall over and cry until I picked him back up again. One day after he watered a bush, he saw a squirrel and ran after it while I ran with the other end of the leash in my hand.

Harley realized at that point exactly what a leash was for.

A leash is used to drag your pet parent around, showing them where you want to go.

That was then, this is now.

Earlier on a walk through the campground, Harley made buddies with two huge dogs that were camping with a nice family.  The black Lab was ready to play with him while the German Shepherd slowly wagged his tail while giving him skeptical looks as if to say "What is THAT?"  He sniffed Harley's sweater over seemingly bewildered. The Lab knew Harley was a dog, but the German Shepherd wasn't so sure.

On our last walk, Harley noticed that all the dogs, big and small,  had left for parts unknown and he seemed even sadder.

Tomorrow we will have time for multiple walks and puppy play but for today I have to shed this body condom then scrub and sterilize myself and puppy.

I keep on  smiling but I'd rather pass right out.

If they fired me today I would thank them profusely, drive out of here and never look back.

But wait... you can't fire a slave.


How easily I forget!  I am not a slave, I am a volunteer.  (Same work. Fancy name.)

But hey, it pays the rent and sometimes you just gotta do whatever it takes to make ends meet.  It works something like this... I volunteer to help out in the campground and there is no pay for volunteers. But there are volunteer perks.  The main one being, I get to park my wheel estate and plug into power, water and sewer. I love my campsite and the remote setting amongst nature is right up my alley.

My little bark ranger goes to work  oops I mean volunteer with me, a huge comfort for me, and most days, a thrill for him.

Well, I've decided I need to rest up, I can't lift a finger to even make dinner. So I am sitting here staring off into space...

At lunch, I chopped up a huge papaya someone gave me a few days back, but it wasn't ripe yet. They didn't know what it was, their neighbor had given  them two  and they asked me if I knew what they were. I was explaining to them the wonderful benefits of papaya, how to tell when it would be perfect for eating,  when they asked me if I wanted them both, but I took only one. Now I wish I had been greedy and  taken them both, because this one ripened beautifully.  It was so super sweet and delicious. I devoured half of it and called it lunch. Yummy!

Life is good.

Food in the tummy and a place to lay my head. I feel positively spoiled!

Thursday, November 01, 2012

Don't Worry Be Happy

Shop At Amazon for Anything Imaginable

Life is good.

I haven't been able to post as often lately due to sheer exhaustion and cantankerous equipment. Maybe I am just becoming lousy at multi-tasking. My old technology is failing more... like me.

Mind over matter. For some fool reason I thought if my mind convinced my body that we are well and ready to go...  the body would blindly follow suit.

It gets lost.

Like me.

The labor I do workamping just zaps all my energy. I thought I could balance everything out. For some ridiculous reason I thought the hard labor would give me more energy, not less. What was I thinking?

Workamping...  One month down, two to go!  If I am only a third of the way trough this assignment...  I've still got a long ways to go.

This past month feels like a whole year went by.

Smiling, keep smiling. I tell myself over and over to keep smiling.

Don't Worry Be Happy

'Cause when you worry your face will frown and that will bring everybody down...  

(Excerpt from the lyrics to Don't Worry Be Happy by Bobby McFerrin

I just love that song!  It was wildly popular in the Caribbean, it seemed I heard it several times a day when I sailed from island to island.