Sunday, July 29, 2012

Oak Grove Recreation Area

After finishing our picnic at Shelter house #1,we left the Cherry Glen Recreation Area and headed up NW Polk City Dr./HWY 415 to our next stop at Oak Grove Recreation Area.

The Ranger station was closed so we headed down the hill towards our objective - the water's edge.
As we left the Ranger Station the Picnic Area was immediately off to our left. Going down the hill further we approached the camping area off to our right, approximately a 1/4 of a mile from the beach at this access point.

We had started seeing sailboats gliding swiftly across the water's surface at the first lake access...the breeze was keeping the sails furled and captains on their toes. Reaching our second access at Oak Grove we were being met by several craft that had come north as we did, following the shoreline.

This picture has two boats far enough away from one another to be comfortable, but a third boat came within feet of the closest to us, headed in the opposite direction. I would say from our vantage point that those two boats  had a "close enough" encounter as they passed, one slightly tilted with underside exposed to the camera.

One of the outstanding features of Saylorville Lake happens to be the Mile Long Bridge west of Polk City.

Most of the time the bridge is a pleasant trip, but like all situations that could crop up in a twinkling of an eye; warnings are posted on the bridge to make drivers aware of potential hazards, such as wind gusts, and of course during the winter, icy conditions.

I have lived in the area long enough to have witnessed water up to the road decking on many occasions. When  I must pass over it with high winds, and water, I keep my eyes focused on the end, and my hands on the steering wheel. Once in a while I try to get a picture without focusing.Oh,and the results usually end up in the recycle bin to be tossed away in the next delete phase.

Come on along with Hubby and me.Time to be off to the next destination,the Cottonwood Recreation Area.

Check back and see what we found as we head in to another part of the Saylorville Reservoir territory to watch and listen for mother nature's treasures...

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Recreation Area Visits Around Saylorville Reservoir

I got the opportunity to do a little bit of leisure driving with Hubby on Friday.We ended up grabbing a couple of sandwiches from Quiznos and headed out to one of the recreation areas located around Saylorville Reservoir here in central Iowa, just north of Des Moines.

We pulled up to a shelter house to take our picnic plans to the next level... as we pulled up, getting ready to park, we saw a Whitetail doe with triplets tagging along behind. 

Hubby and I were in awe! 

Living in a timber we hadn't seen triplets traipsing around, or at least we didn't correlate they were womb mates. Today's event was evident, no mistaking they shared the same family tie.
The little family is straight back almost to the rear treeline.

The third fawn lagged further behind as the family moved from left to right disappearing once again into thick cover

The other side of the treeline takes you into someone's backyard. Housing developments have sprung up on the perimeters of the recreation areas - tucked among the trees. A great place to  find quiet solitude, even with a busy world humming all around.

On our day out we found shade and a slight breeze around noon , just before the day heated into the upper 80's.

Stop back soon! I will be sharing a couple of other parks we stopped to explore close to the lake and a few accesses to slip into the water...

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Vardaman Sweet Potato Vines

Last November, I put in an order with my truck driving brother.

He had some good luck getting loads out of Mississippi bringing back  Sweet Potatoes to the Midwest for our holiday celebrations back in 2010.

I thought maybe he might be able to do the same again for the 2011 Season ...I was extremely pleased when I found out he would get that chance.
 The fare was very tasty!

We tried a recipe by Paula Deen called
"Sweet Potato Bake".

Our daughter, Tamara, was the Chef and she used her top of the line culinary hobby skills to  please all of our palates on Thanksgiving.

The day before Thanksgiving last year my kitchen was transformed into an assembly line. One dish after another found their ingredients mixed and ready to bake Thursday morning, or baked ready to enjoy after the main course.

I have to add another recipe that was was new to us, but definitely one that I made over and over for Hubby and happens to belong to a blogging friend of mine, out of Mississippi. I thought,"Well goodness! How blessed am I to get sweet potatoes out of Mississippi and then to get the recipe from a Southern Lady Deer Huntress out of Vicksburg, Mississippi?!?" Did you click the link?? Did you find out who I'm talking about??? Please click all three and you will see who shared their recipe with me!

  Southern Lady's Sweet Potato Pie Recipe

3 large sweet potatoes cooked, drained, and mashed up. Will make approximately 2-1/2 to 3 cups.
 Add the following ingredients to potatoes while they are still hot.

1 stick margarine or butter 
2 cups sugar
1 cup milk 3 eggs (beaten)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon lemon extract
Place in uncooked pie shells. Will make 3 thin pies or 2 large ones. Bake at 350 degrees for about 50 minutes.

For a crisp pie shell, bake for the first 10 minutes at 425 degrees and then turn back to 350 degrees for remaining 40 minutes

The Start of Something Big

This year I am growing a few of my own Vardaman sweet potatoes  - vines started from the sprouts of one of the potatoes you see up at the top. Planting a couple of the potatoes to get shoots, eventually taking the shoots off,I placed them in water to root.  Choosing a couple of them, they were stuck in a BIG pot of soil-less mix.

The experiment now is to see how many pounds I might get 110 days from planting. 

                                                                           The only problem so far is an animal keeps digging the plants out looking for grubs and some little chewing insects riddling a few of the leaves. 

Since the weather has been extremely hot, I  have needed to check on keeping the mix hydrated.

I am pleased with vine development, but I always get impatient and find myself scratching at the ground line to see if anything is growing, other than foliage. 

Talking to myself ,I work at reminding me of the benefits of Patience!

Should my venture produce at least three large sweet potatoes, I will have the ingredients from Mississippi again for a delight from the south-enough to use the recipe of my blogging friend the Southern Lady Deer Huntress...

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Decorah, IA Eaglet D12 Electrocuted

 Sad news, of the loss of Eaglet D12 from the Decorah, IA, Eaglecam hatched on March 27th, he was found dead on July 3rd, not far from the home nest. The evidence at the area indicates he was electrocuted by wires close to the nest. The power company is working to  modify pole tops to keep the other raptors safer.

Officials say that siblings D13 and D14 are showing signs of knowing their brother is no longer with them.

The Eaglecam was turned off for the summer on Saturday, June 30th, to give the project time to put up new equipment for 2013 and get it tested. More excitement to come when the parents return to start a new family.

Other cams are being monitored now. Why not give a vulture cam a try? The fledglings should be ready to take flight by August....

4th of July Tribute

I would like to extend a Happy 4th of July to my American readers. Let us remember the reason why we celebrate...

Monday, July 2, 2012

A Mystery to Solve...

As of late my homestead has been having another elusive visitor in the late night, and early morning hours.

I have associated some of the activities with a raccoon constantly rummaging through the yard, but things have become a little more destructive. My potted plants are getting tipped over,the soil-less mix has been  totally dug-out from around the roots of a large pot of  Elephant Ear bulbs, newly planted strawberry leaves chewed, freshly set flowers in the garden uprooted.

Mental Exasperation has begun!

My cat, Miss Kitty, has a snack shack on the deck, a recycled dog kennel, where she goes to eat her food to protect her from the elements. If I don't remove the food at night I can be assured to have a raccoon(s), possibly an opossum, and others come to feast. My thoughts run to Coyote...even Bobcat.

This past Monday in the wee hours of the morning, around 2:00, Sadie started barking at the front door. I got up to check to see what had gotten her attention. Looking out the window of the door, the deck was absent the snack shack, from the closed door I wasn't able to see where the kennel had gone.

I opened the door to get a better idea what was happening,Sadie didn't hesitate to dash out to check her territory. The snack shack had somehow made it's way to the bottom of the 4th step of the deck, turned askew on it's side. I can only assume whatever came to visit got stuck inside the kennel, because it would have taken force to move it across the deck, down the steps, and turned, from where it was originally sitting.

Following  a scent, Sadie started on the run in an attempt to locate the interloper. It wasn't more than 30 seconds when I heard a clang - the propane tank had become a momentary barrier to the escaping animal. I had a mental chuckle as my mind was imagining a dazed creature trying to make sense of the surroundings to find an escape route.

The animal that made the early morning wake up call remains a mystery, but I do know now for sure one mischievous creature that reincarnates it's behavior from one generation to another.

Thursday, another clue was provided on our temporary ramp to our new house construction.

Scat that could belong to either a raccoon, or groundhog, was left as evidence of an early morning visit. Both animals share common characteristics at this time of year here at the Timber since they both harvest the berries.

Working in the house on Friday morning before lunch, I passed the sliding glass door, and out of the corner of my eye I saw this creature standing on it's back legs not far from our Miss Kitty by the tree trunk.

I'm wondering if this groundhog  is related to the one that kept us entertained back in September of 2007 ?

When it became aware of my would drop to all four feet and jump sideways. Then it became inquisitive again, checking to see if by chance I had been scared away by the aggressive maneuvers ,standing up it kept repeating it's actions until I moved on.

Last night we heard some bumps and bangs going on just outside our front door. We, Hubby, Sadie and I, headed to see what the ruckus was all about. A  family of masked bandits stopped  to take advantage of Miss Kitty's snack shack .

These three babies got separated from the others and waited  until a little less attention was being showered on them before making the great escape.

Another sample of what keeps us smiling in our daily lives here at Timber Life....