Saturday, July 30, 2011

More of John's Visit

A place for everything and everything in it's place.
Been there, done that, got the t-shirt.
That hits the spot.
Yes, yes, yes, of course, why not. But don't tell your mother. (Thanks to John McCutcheon)

These are the sayings John will probably remember from his stay with us this week. Especially about everything having it's place. Our RV is set up for two people and we find it is imperative to put everything where it belongs so we have room to move around. That is even more important when you add a 6-year-old boy and his bed.

Papa and John went for a second hike on Wednesday. They walked up to Horseshoe Reservoir and looked at the ducks and other water fowl.

Getting to the lake requires crossing a cattle guard--a little bit of a challenge for someone with small feet. Maybe this is why cattle don't cross a cattle guard.

Our Thursday activity was definitely the high point of the week for John. He has seen it as they drove through Walsenburg several times and, finally, he was able to go there. Obviously, such places are familiar territory for John. He walked right in.

Papa and John got a two-person inner tube to go on the water slide.

I didn't go down the water slides, but John and I had fun in the lazy river. He is on a swim team and is a good swimmer.

He loved coming down the slide that didn't use tubes, all by himself.

That afternoon, after we bought ice cream at the park's Visitor Center, John wanted to go to the playground here. Again, we said, "yes, of course". He walked the balance beam.

Showed us his skills on the monkey bars.

And showed us three different ways to use the slide.

He tried out the swings, but didn't find the seats comfortable. (I tried them too, and agree.)

And one last special event--Papa let him drive the truck. (But don't tell your mother.)

We had an absolutely wonderful week, getting to know our grandson better. He is sweet, really laid-back, interested in wildlife and fun to be with. We hope he comes again. But not next week. We are ready to get our routine back for a while!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Fishing, Hiking and Other fun

Tuesday, Papa and John went fishing at Horseshoe Reservoir here in the park, while I drove to town to do the laundry.

After nearly three hours, John had one nibble but they caught nothing. When I got there, John was studying an egret across the lake. He really likes using the binoculars.

The day before, he spotted this deer in our front yard while using the binoculars. He then climbed in the truck to watch it browse.

This morning we went for hike. We were headed for a kiosk showing the vantage point where William Henry Jackson photographed the Spanish Peaks in 1885. Jackson was the official photographer for Hayden's U.S. Geological Survey of the western territories. His photos finally showed the public that the wonders of Yellowstone were real and led to the area's designation as a national park.

The trail to the kiosk has not been cleared, so it is not an easy climb. John is such a great hiker that he was the first in our party to reach the top.

The view from there of Horseshoe Reservoir and the Spanish Peaks is spectacular.

As we hiked back down to our truck, I was asking myself if this was a smart trail for my first hike since my knee surgery. However, I did just fine.

John and Papa had to glove up for a nasty task this morning.

For the third morning this week, we caught a mouse in our front basement compartment.

At my 50th high school reunion, one of our gifts was an old person's shoe horn. John thinks it is the best thing since sliced bread.

It doesn't get much better than this for a nana or papa.

Not only do I read to John, he is reading his Phonics Ready Readers to me.

His mom and dad gave him some spending money for his time with Nana and Papa. Yesterday I took him to the Lathrop Visitor Center. He decided to buy two finger puppets.

We then had to look at our Field Guide to Mammals to see if he had a Colorado Chipmunk or a Golden Mantled Ground Squirrel.

Monday, July 25, 2011

A Dear and Deer

Sunday morning, for the first time in several weeks, we had a buck feeding right behind our trailer. I took this photo through the back window, looking out between the sides of the ladder.

Later in the day, after our grandson John arrived, he spotted this buck nearby.

He didn't want the buck to see him, so he hid behind our grill to watch.

John also stalked some lizards in our yard.

And used the binoculars to hunt for other wildlife.

John and Papa built with cards.

And tested to see how strong the building was. Wow.

Today we put John to work.Papa was cleaning out fire pits in the campground.

John did the work, too.

John even pushed the button to dump the ashes out of the dump truck.

Before we went home for lunch, John checked out all the equipment in the maintenance garage. First the tractor.

A mower.

Another mower.

The mule.

He even considered being a park ranger.

After lunch and getting cleaned up, we drove to La Veta for ice cream at Charlie's.

We've had two great days and have three more before John leaves on Friday morning.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Wildlife, Big and Small

Last Sunday we were walking near one of the wildlife ponds when we saw something small, moving away from every step we took. Spiders? Beetles? No, it was these tiny frogs. I don't know if they were tree frogs or ones that spend a lot of time in water. I wish I had put something in the photo to give a perspective on their size. I think they were less than one inch long.

There were lots of moths flying around. When I was a child, we called these bugs darning needles or dragon flies. I don't know their real name. But these were pretty.

Later, we came on this large foot print. We are pretty sure it was left by a bear. Glad we didn't see it up close!

On Monday morning, when we went to work, we found trash spread all over around one of the dumpsters. We picked it up and bagged it. A little later, Lou from maintenance called other workers from his department to the campground to pick up more trash. He said a bear had gotten into a bear-proof dumpster and pulled out trash to eat. The bear had taken it behind some rocks for sorting. We went to help with the clean-up and found more tracks like those above. John had gone running on the road right next to that dumpster earlier that morning. We wonder what time the bear had his or her snack?

Yesterday, I heard something whistling outside our RV and went to investigate. Was it a bird or some mammal? When I figured it out, I quickly went back in to get my camera. This is the bird I saw, a Swainson's Hawk. They are 18 to 22 inches tall with a wing span of 4 to 4 3/4 ft. How special!

Later in the morning, we were in a different part of the park and I again heard the whistle. This time I saw some black birds chasing one of these hawks. Each time one of the small birds attacked the hawk's tail, it would whistle. They chased it back to its nest in a large cottonwood tree in the group campground. Unfortunately, I didn't have my camera with me at that time.

It is so wonderful to spend our life surrounded by nature and so many of God's creatures. That is one of the real blessings of living in our RV.