A Journal to impart knowledge and facts
July 22, 2015|
I'm going to start today to record on a daily basis whatever happens to strike my fancy. So, it is a very cool breezy day. I just posted 5 short book reviews to The Monthly Reading Challenge. I'm suppose to put away some winter wood today from the woodpile outside but I'm playing hookey from work to write so starting this blog will get done.
I'm having a daily fight with a flock of English Sparrows that are trying to take over my barn. They are making a terrible mess so they have to go. I have destroyed several nests so far they don't leave but they get out of the barn when I am around. I'm just starting the fight so I guess I don't know how far I have to go to discourage them.
I'm trying not to spread myself to thin on WDC because I find so many things that are interesting here and I am trying to work on a new story. I really enjoy sitting at my desk with a cup of tea and reading blogs on WDC.
August is almost gone.
I can sit at night contemplating life and think of lots of things I should blog about. Then, when I get here, I sit and stare at the blank page wondering what to write.
We reconnected the upstairs bathroom and put a new floor down this month. Now, some siding is going up on the front part of the house. It used to be redwood siding. Now changing to cream colored vinyl.
This month went from Day one-blink-day 23. I have a mastiff visiting me this week. So large, so gentle and sweet.
It is still summer. Unseasonably cool weather for August. I wonder if we will have an early, deep snow winter.
What will September bring?
| First, we had drought. Then, a thunderstorm hit us really hard. It rained so thick you could not see thru the roaring white curtain of water. I've been exceptionally lazy lately, just reading one story after another. Tried to watch TV but, too many reruns so it isn't very worthwhile venture.
|Last night camping before heading home tomorrow morning.
How will you and Andre spend the day?
I was not able to meet the deadline but, I finished the story so you can read it if you wish:
Early morning the campers went boating and swimming with Ned and Darla as counselors and life guards. A water logging experience for all involved.
I had kitchen duty and parents arrived to pick up children. Parents were invited to help us destroy a lunch grilled chicken, potatoes, and green beans cooked with mushrooms. A dessert chaser of strawberry shortcake finished off the meal. Then the Chimps alive group loaded into cars with parents and headed to their various destinations.
Darla and Ned gathered most of our camping gear into the bus and headed home to deliver the bus to the community recreation center.
It was still early afternoon when Andre’ and I waved a hearty bye, bye to all involved. We had kept our back packs full of essentials, which still rested on the porch of the main hall.
After I spent some time in kitchen cleanup, I stated, “Everything looks spiffy Andre’. Let’s you and I take a last trek around the Herb Trail before we climb in my Jeep and head back to the bar?”
This made Andre’ happy. He started to knuckle run toward the trail opening. “Hey, wait for me.”
He disappeared up into the trees of the forest, as I straggled along. I was just going to enjoy this last hike. Andre’ was probably somewhere in a tree in the woods sitting quietly watching some wildlife, while he waited for me to come trekking along on the trail.
The herb trail was only a couple miles long and a semicircle dumping hikers back out into the campground some hundreds of feet away from the trail entrance. There were also a couple of cement benches along the way to sit on, rest, or just contemplate life.
Before I reached the first bench Andre’ dropped out of a tree next to me and toddled along beside me holding my hand. I thought his quiet demeanor was because of the last hike of the camping outing.
It wasn’t. He had been scouting ahead/ As we approached the first trail bench I stopped and stared. A very large Hairy humanoid sat on the bench. As we approach it stood up and faced us. It was approximately 8 feet tall, with long silvery, grey fur covering its whole body. The fur had a sheen to it. I thought if you shined a light at it, it would probably glow in the dark. I was startled at its large lavender irises. Its legs and arms were long. It had surprisingly small feet. Although, they were certainly a proportion that would support its whole body.
It signed to us. Signing seems to be the universal language. Andre’ immediately returned signing as if they had a quick conversation. Then Andre’ told me its name was Bolder. It was looking for the way to it’s home. Andre’ reached for my cell phone. After talking to the creature, he punched it a number.
At this point I thought it interesting My phone actually had a signal. He handed the phone to Bolder. Who talked on it, in quiet mumbles and squeals of a language I could not understand? He handed the phone back to Andre”. Then signed some more. Andre’ told me his ride is on its way.
Andre said the ride would be there quickly, so we ought to wait. He handed one of his flasks of Banana Daiquiri to Bolder. Down the trail came a large 2-seater buggy being pulled by two beautiful grey draft ponies. The driver was an elf.
Bolder thanked Andre’ for the help and daiquiri, waved at me and got into the passenger seat. I moved off the trail and stood behind the bench not wanting to get stepped on or run over. The elf flicked the reins and shouted up, up. The ponies rose into the air and trotted off higher and higher into the clouds until we could not see them anymore.
Andre’ took to the trees and I finished my hike. Pretty much the rest of the day was uneventful. After the hike we loaded into the jeep and drove home. I dropped Andre’ at the bar and continued back to the farm.
One thing for sure you never know what new experience a hike will bring. Especially if Andre’ is along. He has an assortment of friends some who I have yet to meet.
WORD COUNT WITH WDC = 749
| We are haying. The lawn mowing is behind which isn’t a good scene, so instead of writing I helped with mowing until the mower broke a belt. Besides that, I also took a day off to do our once-a-month shopping. It seems there are all kinds of things that need done to keep me busy every day. Then, I didn’t need to read two books besides the daily busy work. I have been copying prompts so I can get back and catch up. I realize I can’t keep up with writing deadlines but, will write the stories anyway. Just to see if I can do it?
Braley Pond, Virginia
This popular fishing spot in George Washington National Forest,
60 miles from Charlottesville, is the site of Virginia’s most haunted campground.
One night, you are Andre are exchanging stories around the campfire.
On a camp out with the Chimps Alive group we gathered around a campfire rather late one night. Andre and I were telling stories to entertain the group. This was Andre's story.
When we were traveling down the Amazon, I became quite bored with just sitting in the boat watching the forest, animals, and birds flow by as the boat motored along. I’m familiar with tropical places. since I came from the tropical forests and savannas of equatorial Africa. After all. Chimpanzees are 3 to 5.5 feet tall and weigh 70 to 130 pounds. I figured at my height and weight I could hold my own in an Amazon rainforest. Of course, I knew the boat captain and Apondia were not going to agree to let me explore on my own. I waited until a very heavy long branch was hanging out over the river. Then I leaped up grabbed it with my arms and swung up into the tree. It was easy to run along the length of the tree and travel into the forest swinging with my feet and arms. I’m made for that kind of travel. Plus, it was so wonderful to finally be in the trees again. I don’t like to swim if I don’t have to preferring to wade in water or just stay dry.
In the tree I could hear Apondia arguing with the captain about stopping the boat to wait for me to come back. I have to say I was only slightly distressed to hear him positively refuse. I was now on my own in the Amazon rain forest. I decided to get down onto the ground and travel by Knuckle walking. It felt good but, I soon realized I was slower than the moving boat and would not be able to keep up with it unless I returned to the upper parts of the forest canopy. So, I swung up into the trees and began to swing swiftly along the bank. I soon lost track of the boat even then, so I stopped and rested in one of the trees. Unfamiliar birds flew around me. Some seemed startled when they saw my form others just ignored me as a part of their jungle day.
I picked a fruit off a tree and ate some leaves. Then, I realized I was not alone. I was being stealthily surrounded by a troop of Monkeys. The troop had quietly surrounded me. They were watching my every move and I was certain the leaders were now discussing me. Eventually, I was approached by an alpha male and alpha female. Their names were Ohno and mourning. They were present leaders of the Capuchin troop. Because of my size, as compared to their size they had decided to negotiate.
We discussed why and how I had come into the forest. They were willing to show me where the boat would dock if I would give them a reward. As I always wore a couple flasks of Banana daiquiri, I decided to hand my flasks over to the troop as a reward for helping me find my way. I also told Ohno if he agreed to the exchange, I would give him my recipe for the golden liquid in the flasks.
After sampling the flasks, they agreed. We headed out. The Capuchin running along and leaping from branch to branch. While I swung from branch to vine to branch. Once in a while the troop stopped to sample some tasty bugs or leaves. Ohno thought I should know about what everyone else was eating. He would hand me some of the tastier treats.
It was only a few minutes when we came into the mission complex. The monkey troop set up a riotous howling in the trees. The sound brought a missionary out of one of the buildings. The Capuchin stayed in the trees. I dropped down to the ground to converse with the man. I was fortunate, he not only knew sign language he could converse in mental words. The result was we understood each other.
He let me use his satellite phone. I called the bar at home to have Lilly send some some of our special banana daiquiri mix. The missionary said he didn’t want a bunch of drunk Capuchin flying around the jungle near the mission but, he could supply the bananas and some coconuts for his own mix. He was animal friendly I guess cause he said he would like to have the troop as friends to the Mission, so he would see to it they had some of this new mix made up for them regular, so they were happy. I had the bar send the mission some bulk bags of sugar which seemed to make everyone happy.
Then the boat docked and Apondia appeared on the scene. My adventure was over, because they made me promise to stay on the boat for the rest of the journey.
This was the story I related to the group:
“While I was canoeing on the Amazon River with Andre one time. We had separate adventures. Even though we traveled together and really were together the whole time.
Some parts of the river we used the canoe. Following the bigger boat which traveled at a slower pace so we would not get lost. Once, a river porpoise playfully dumped our canoe. We pulled it onto the river boat for safety then.
The Amazon River flows through Peru, Columbia, and Brazil. It does not have any bridges on it. The river flows through Amazon tropical forests. The name Amazon is from a Greek Myth about female warriors, who rode horses and were amazingly accurate with Bows and Arrows. The head stream of the Amazon starts from melting ice off the Nevado Migmi Mountain range. Scientist have ascertained that at one time the river flowed from East to West into the Pacific Ocean. When the Andes Mountains formed, they forced the river into a West to East direction, so it now flows into the Atlantic Ocean. Depending on the dry season or wet season the river can be as wide as one mile to six miles or even 30 miles wide in some spots.
A very biodiverse system of plants and animals live on the provisions the river supplies.
Even though the Amazon soil is not particularly fertile, as many as 100 different species of trees can be found in one acre of land lining the river. The soaring tree canopy can be 2 or 3 levels high. Made up of trees that are shade tolerant.
Within the river are crabs, turtles, algae microbes, dolphins-which are called Bolo, monster giant otters, and green anaconda.
The forests along the banks house numerous species of monkeys, parrots: like macaws, other species of birds, as well as; many species of monkeys, sloths, Equana, armadillos, jaguars, ocelots, pumas, and many species of snakes some which are poisonous.
We had to have special vaccinations before attempting to vacation on the waters of the Amazon. There are at least 8000 species of insects there. Mosquitos are extreme and hazardous because they carry diseases, which can be transmitted to humans.
Since the river is so wide, we kept our canoe on one side or the other during the whole trip down river toward the Atlantic. Have you ever seen an Equana in a pet shop? On the Amazon they are extremely large. They can grow 5 to 7 feet long depending on whether they are males or females and weigh 20 pounds. They like to sleep on the low hanging branches of a tree. It the tree is hanging out over the water it can be scary to motor under a branch, with an Equana on it, because they can jump off at any time. Many times, we saw them jump off into the water, swim up onto a bare place where the jungle meets the water.
One day Andre’ stretched up and grabbed a tree branch and swung up out of the boat. We were traveling on a boat managed by a man who guides people down the Amazon. He is used to scientists and explorers who are taking lots of pictures and writing in notebooks as they travel down the river. As Andre’ was not exactly what he was used to as a passenger, He would not even consider stopping to see if Andre’, who had disappeared into the jungle would be reappearing soon. Needless to say, I was quite worried. After traveling another 45 minutes, we approached a dock. Our guide told me we would tie up here and visit the mission.
As we disembarked a man came from the clearing near the dock. He was a missionary and he had Andre’ by the hand, who now toddled in Chimp walk along beside the man. They seemed to be talking. I’m sometimes amazed about some people, who can just meet Andre’ and then immediately understand his language.
The missionary was Paul Forester. He said Andre’ dropped out of tree near the mission school. He offered to help Andre’ since there was a Capuchin monkey troop with him who needed to have a reward for showing the way to the mission. We struck up a conversation about the different Monkeys Andre’ talked to that live near the mission.
Paul warned us about the Basilisk that lived on the river. They are a combination of Iguana and dinosaur. They can walk on water without sinking because of the formation of their feet.
I was thankful that Paul told Andre ’To stay in the boat. The black Caiman was also living near and were always in the water. It is a reptile from the alligator family. It is extremely feared as it spends most of its time in the water and eats deer and capybara which can be, as large as a small human.
We spent some time eating lunch and learning about the mission. Then we traveled on to our destination, which was near the delta of the Amazon River.
Word count on WDC = 1820 enough to meet two prompts?
Today I am tedding hay for the hay crew. It's a tractor job so not difficult just time consuming. Yesterday, I spent more time mowing lawn. I combined two prompts into one story. It is the only way I could figure out to answer both prompts. If I keep writing stories about Andre'. I will have to build it into a book called the Adventures of Andre'. What do you think? It's kind of interesting to travel the world with a Chimp. While researching for this story I learned how to make sugar syrup and rum daiquiris. I also discovered that Capuchin monkeys are extremely intelligent and because of this are unfortunately, often used in scientific experiments (just a small sight into my everyday life)
|*Trees* Fort Worden State Historical Park, Washington *Trees*
There are miles of buried tunnels, dead ends, and old rooms beneath Fort Worden Historical State Park, a former military base that’s now a campground 60 miles north of Seattle. They say this site is haunted.
Tell us what you and Andre encounter while exploring.
Dear Darla and Ned:
If you view and aerial map of Fort Worden State Park; you will see landscape with a lot of bare sandy leveled ground. Clumps of growing trees and bush are centered near buildings.
Andre’ and I stayed in dormitory rooms. The attendants were interested to see me set up the artificial tree with the Chimp sleeping nest in Andre’s room. There are 433 acres here to explore. The park is named for Rear Admiral John Worden commander of the famous Monitor of the Civil War.
There was a lot to see in the park. We walked on some of the walking trails; meeting up with native wildlife.
We rented a kayak at the marina and paddled along the shore for several miles and then back. It was a two-person kayak. I paddled Andre", waggled around trying to look under water and then trying to catch a fish. Needless to say, I did not go far from shore, since I did not want to have to swim far if Andre’ dumped us. In spite of a lot of waggling of the kayak we stayed upright. We also visited Point Wilson Lighthouse.
Worden Park is located on the leeward side of the Olympic mountain range, so it gets very little rain every year. It is also located on the Olympic peninsula.
Reverend John Alexander an Episcopalian minister, built a castle on the property, which still stands.
At one time the Army built bunkers of cement there. The military base was meant as a protection of Puget sound, when it was first built. Later the guns were removed, but the army still used it as a training center for the military endeavor.
In 1957 The state of Washington bought it and used it as a juvenile detention center for troubled youth. The Army guns and equipment were removed years before this happened.
The site was turned into a state park in 1973. Because of the acreage it takes a couple days to actually investigate all the scenic areas. Army bunkhouses and officer quarters are rentals for tourists now.
We saved the bunkers to view last. A huge amount of concrete went into the building of this area as a housing for military guns and equipment.
It’s a cool place. At the main entrance there is a concrete amphitheater, which is overgrown with local plant life now. Andre’ has been cavorting all morning. When we entered the bunkers, he became solemn. He took my hand and walked quietly, peering around corners into different rooms and areas, as we walked he hummed quietly in his chimp language.
There is are concrete hallways, that a bicycle can be ridden through. I actually saw someone ride down a narrow hall on a bike and disappear from view. Most of the tunnels seem to end at a window or at an opening large enough to walk through.
One particular large room facing the ocean side had an opening running the length of the room. Without much imagination you can think of the large guns, that pointed through the bunker opening, aimed and loaded ready for the military men who were manning them to fire, at the first movement of enemies coming ashore from alien ships.
Some of the hallways were dark. I brought a flashlight. Even so, every junction caused us to melt cautiously across branching hallways. Even though, we were assured before entering, no shots were ever fired from these bunkers, and the bunkers are closed at night.
Our imagined ideas caused shadows ahead of us to move. Dead end hallways often had bars on the openings, so we would retrace our steps and stand still at times to wonder if what we heard were spirits lost in the cool concrete tunnels, or other tourists, who like us were trying to find a way to the next sunny doorway.
Emerging from the tunnels, into sunshine was a relief. As we walked away, Andre’ looked back and quietly whined his impressions. He prefers open skies, high tree canopies filled with squawking parrots, to underground bunkers and concrete tunnels.
If you are looking for a vacation place to spend a few days. Consider Fort Warden State Park, it is filled with history. It’s a very comfortable, interesting place to visit.
Apondia and Andre'
Word Count by WDC = 760// I did the word count before I edited then added literal words when I changed sentences. So, it may appear off slightly.
|Just so you know. I'm one day late with everything since last Wednesday
While camping, you or Andre spot Bigfoot!
What happens? Tell us all about it!
Andre’ and Bigfoot
The birds were calling. I crawled out of my tent yawning, stretching and listening to the musical sounds of hundreds of song birds greeting the dawning white sun.
Andre’ dropped out of a tree nearby and ran over to grab my arm and dragged me to a place at the edge of the camp. With lots of squeals and hand pointing he showed me some large foot prints in a damp spot on the ground.
I swung my hand at a mosquito that was zinging around my ears. I looked down. Sure enough, there were some large deep imprints of a foot in the leaf rotted, damp soil. “Wow! That must be a really big bear Andre'.”
When Andre’ gets excited beyond control he whirls and twirls, chatters and screeches. That is exactly what he was doing all over the camp. Pointing at me and shaking his head.
“No? Hey, I’m going to get some tea and breakfast. Big bears won’t stick around here. Too many people and we keep all our food scent and sight secure.” I yawned, stretched again and shuffled over to the camp stove where some water was boiling for my morning tea. I poured a cup and sat down in a chair to enjoy a cup of morning Lemon-mint tea. “Hope this wakes me up?”
Andre’ runs over to the tightly sealed carry-all that holds the food. Now he is jumping up and down on it screeching and waving arms. “ O.K. what do you want to eat?” I opened the deep green carry-all.
Andre’ dived for the bags of pre- mixed pancake mix. The excited chimp grabbed 6 bags. “”you don’t need so many.” I tried to wrestle several of the bags he was holding. After a short tussle I gave up.
I went to the camp stove pulled out a black iron skillet, mixed up some mix and started making pancakes. Andre’ wasn’t satisfied until I had cooked 35 of the buckwheat cakes complete with blueberries. As fast as I was flipping them off the pan he was storing them in a plastic bag. As I was shutting down the stove he toddled off into the forest waving the bag of pancakes over his head with one hand.
“Hey wait for me!” I ran after him. He jumped off the trail into the woods. I followed the best I could dodging trees and bushes. Suddenly, the brush disappeared revealing a clearing of dusty dried grasses. On a stump in the clearing sat a little man. His feet were bare. He had blackish hair that fell from his face and head to his knees. His feet were almost as long as the bones of his legs. In spite of the mass of hair I could tell he was wearing a green suit. I thought about the tracks Andre’ had showed me in our camp. I’ve never seen feet that big on anyone before.
Andre ran over to the man. As he offered him the bag of pancakes the man saw me and waved at me. As I approached him he stood up and offered me his hand to shake.
“I’m Grandes Mongotoes. I’m an elf.” Without another word he sat back down opened the bag and started munching pancakes. He was chomping down the 35th cake when a sleigh dropped from the sky and landed in the clearing.
It was a two seater pulled by 4 reindeer. A fat man wearing a red suit held the reins.
Grandes Mongotoes jumped into the sleigh. “My ride is here, thanks for breakfast. Andre,’ thanks for the invitation. I’ll be sure to stop at your bar next Christmas.”
The driver yelled: "on Rudolph, on Dasher, Prancer, and Dancer." The sleigh rose high into the air and vanished.
“Andre’ What just happened here?” Andre just shrugged and we walked back to camp. Where I settled down for a long summer’s nap.
Word count from WDC=682
You're one of the campers.
Write a letter home telling your family about your favorite camp counselor, Andre.
Dear Mom and Dad,
I am fine. I'm having a good time. One of the camp counselors, Andre, stays with us in the bunk house. He is really good at climbing trees. I spend a lot of time with him. I watch him climb up and down the trees and practice doing it as much the way he does it as I can. So, I'm getting better at climbing trees. When we have time off, we go sit in a tree and eat bananas. together.
Yesterday, the whole camp split up and played baseball. Andre' was the pitcher for our team. He can throw a fast ball really good. When the other team is up to bat Andre' waits to just before the batter swings and lets out a really awful jungle screech which sometimes makes the batter miss. It's cool. I am trying to learn how to screech like Andre" does. When I get home, I'll show you how. I like the way he runs around the bases. His arms are really long so he uses his arms and legs both to run. I don't do that as well because my arms are not as long as my body like his are.
One day we spent time painting pictures. Andre' became excited and started a paint throwing party. That was a real blast. One of the other counselors said it was water soluble paint so I think that means it will come out of our clothes O,K. when you wash them.
One day we went for a long hike in the forest. The counselors made us take trail bars for snacks. Andre;' kept sneaking up on us one at a time and stealing our trail bars. He was feeding them in pieces to the rabbits, birds and other wildlife. I fed mine to a raccoon, a squirrel, and a possum. One of the kids fed his to a skunk. Andre' scared the skunk so it sprayed it's scent which seems to affect every bit of clothing we were all wearing even though some of us did not get hit with the spray. I noticed as the days go on the scent is getting easier to live with. I'll bet it will be almost gone by the time I come home.
Since the trail hike we have been getting to spend a lot of time swimming. That's good because it is really warm here and we all like to swim. I've ben learning to use a kayak. Andre' likes to dump us out of the kayaks as we paddle by him. Its' all right because upside down kayaks float so even the kids that can't swim well have something to hang on to
if they get dumped.
I couldn't have a safer counselor than Andre'. One day a bear roamed into camp. Andre' started jumping up and down screaming and waving his hands. It scared the bear so much it ran back into the woods. I'm thinking if its' all right with you I will invite Andre to visit us when I come home?
Your Loving Daughter,
What ten items do you send the kids to search for in the nearby woods?
Andre is with them - I mean, what could go wrong! Right?
One weekend in June we managed to round up the CHIMPS ALIVE CAMPERS for a Saturday trip to Opalescent Camp for a Scavenger Hunt. We left town early about 5 a.m. with one new member. Chad’s 11-year-old brother Ken had joined our group.
Two hours later we ate blueberry waffles and bananas in the Main Hall kitchen. After breakfast I passed out maps. This time everyone received a map.
"Quiet down so I can tell you the rules.
1. Stay on the marked walking trails. We are on the buddy system today. So, keep track of each other. You are all responsible for your buddy.
2. There is a horse and tractor rode. It is marked on your map. Stay on the Opalescent Camp side of the rode. It is very narrow. Wider than the walking trails, so you will know it if you get over that far.
3. Andre” is going out with you. He may or may not stay with you. If you need help yell for him. Maybe, he can help you or guide you or just send him in to get one of us. (lots of giggles and talking at this point)
You already picked your buddy before breakfast so this is the list I have.
Shirley is with Ken Chad is with Toby Bryan is with Jim
Dana is with Sue Leslie is with Anna
Are there any changes? Loud No’s.
This is a group effort. Prizes will be awarded according to how many of 10 objects you find and identify. Everyone gets the same amount and kind of prizes.
Darla is passing out a small fanny pack to each of you. It contains a bottle of water, one banana, and one trail bar. The packs were donated by Andre’s bar. It will be hot a summer bugs are around. Use sunscreen and bug repellent. Watch where you aim the bug repellent. (more giggles and a lot of Ha Ha)
The next thing. Ned is giving out the clues. One to each of you. Each of you has to bring back the answer to your own clue. But, you can help each other find the objects that answer the clues."
1. My leaves are called needles, they grow long in bundles of two to five. Task: Bring back one bundle of needles.
2. I’m forever green, One part of me has a crown. Task: Bring back one part that has a crown.
3. My seeds love a windstorm to disperse. Task: Bring a blossom or a seed ball
4. Many leaves along one stem. Task: Bring a stem of leaves from the plant or tree. Extra points if you identify the plant they came from.
5. I’m a smaller tree, my fruit is full of vitamin C. Task: Bring proof with some toothed leaves or fruit.
6. I grow cones. When they open seeds fall out. Task: Bring a cone. Identify the tree
7. People make syrup from me in the spring. Task: Bring some leaves from this plant
8. I’m not a tree. I have needles on my canes and in summer I grow black fruit. Task: Bring a piece of the cane or some leaves. Identify the plant.
9. Forests have many living creatures. Task: Bring back a butterfly, or bug. Take the small jar on the table for this task.
10. Task: Find 5 leaves from 5 different trees and identify the tree the leaf came from. Take your phones. Take pictures for identification and notes of what you found.
"Final instructions: organize, go, identify, and stay safe."
They took off whooping and hollering. All except Shirley and Jim, who walked out of the hall and off toward the forest.
Ned and Darla Stepped out onto the Main Hall Porch. I stayed to clean up breakfast and make a couple hundred sandwiches for when the hunters came straggling in. I peeked out the door when I heard male voices. There were two forest rangers talking to Ned.
Darla walked in and handed me one of two satellite phones. She picked up her florescent red backpack, which was hanging on a chair. While she was putting a first-aide kit, trail bars, and water into the pack she said, “The rangers loaned us the phones forthe day. I have one and Ned has one. They want us out wandering the trails, keeping and eye on the kids, because the cougar moved and they don’t know where it went.”
“Where is Andre”?”
“Ned saw him sitting on a tree limb eating a banana after the group went into the forest. He isn’t there now so, who knows?"
An hour, later I just finished storing 50 sandwiches in the frig, when I heard Andre’ screeching and howling on the Sat phone. I pushed the talk, Darla, Ned, are you out there, Andre???
I heard, “Andre give me that phone. This is Darla. I’m on the horse trail. We have a rider down. Ned is chasing the horse. Wait a minute.?|
On the trail the horse took one look at Andre standing on the trail, reared up and dumped the rider.
“This is Darla. The rider was momentarily stunned but seems fine. Ned is coming back with the horse. Andre took trail bars from Ned’s pack and ran back into the woods. I’ll call you later”.
I took a tall glass of lemon mint tea out to the Main Hall porch, sat in the shady swing and waited for more news from the forest.
“Hello. Apondia have you seen or heard from Darla? I have Shirley and Ken here. Ken has pricker scratches. He needs first aide. Chad and Toby had a fight. Toby is with Shirley and Ken. We can’t find Chad. Darla is not answering her phone. Andre’ has been visiting everyone and running off with their trail bars and bananas. “
“Hi Ned. I haven’t heard from Darla since she was on the trail helping the rider who fell off the horse.”
20 minutes later." Hello, Hello? Apondia. This is Dana, Darla tripped over a rock and bumped her head on a tree. She wants you to call Ned and have him meet us on the Herb Trail. "
"Can Darla Walk?"
"Not yet. She’s still crying."
"She says no. She says she will be alright. Maybe she isn’t crying maybe she is laughing. "
I can hear shouting from the phone. "Andre’, Andre’, that’s mine." Then the phone shut off.
I refilled my ice tea glass and enjoyed the swing. There was a nice breeze blowing up from the river.
Three hours later Leslie and Anna came walking out of the forest. They had completed tasks for two of the clues. I wrote them down on the chart.
"You want some sandwiches and drink boxes? I have tuna, peanut butter and jelly, and ham sandwiches."
"Can we take them to the pier and eat by the river, asked Leslie? You have to go with us Apondia, because Ned said stay off the pier unless an adult is down there with us.”
We took our food and walked down to the river.
When we returned to the kitchen I noticed the door was wide open. I thought I shut the door? Leslie and Anna followed me through the door.
I stopped so suddenly they ran right into me. I put both my hands behind me and shoved the girls backwards onto the porch. Carefully, I reached out and pulled the screen door closed . Not that a screen door would be any help!
"Shh! Go to one of the cabins. Lock the door and don’t let anyone in until I tell you."
"Why!?" Leslie was practically shouting.
"Shh! Because there is a cougar and a cougar kitten sitting on one of the kitchen tables and Andre’ is feeding our sandwiches to it."
"Ohh!" Whispered Leslie. " Come on Anna." They ran down the steps and toward the cabins.
I looked out toward the racket coming from the trails. The rest of the kids were running toward the main hall. Darla and Ned were trailing behind. I ran down the stairs waving my hands. "Stop right here. Stop right here."
Chad was chattering fast. "We saw the cougar Apondia. It was walking down a trail with the kitten. Andre’ was throwing trail bars to it. When it saw us it off the trail into the forest. It was really big."
"Yeah really big," said a couple of the others.
Ned and Darla came up at that moment. “Net call the rangers on your phone. The cougar is in the kitchen with Andre’ eating our lunch."
The rangers came. They darted the momma, caught the kit with some kind of loop gizmo.
They had a cage; loaded them both in for transport. It took the two rangers and Ned to pick up the sleeping Cougar.
"We’ll take her back up the mountain," Ranger Jeb pointed over toward the higher part of the forest range. "There is a cave up there and lots of rabbits and things for the cougar to eat."
"Hope she stays there," I said.
Andre’ whined and his shoulders drooped. " I know she is one of your friends Andre” but, you do want your friends to be happy?"
Since the cougar ate the food. We loaded into the bus and stopped at McDonald’s on the way home.
Another misadventure finished. Just another way to spend a day.
. 1.PINE 2.ACORN 3.DANDELION 4.ASH, OAK, SUMACH, 5.APPLE 6. PINECONES 7.MAPLE 8.WILD BLACKBERRY 9. YOUR CHOICE 10. YOUR CHOICE
Everyone won medals and candy bars--and a trip to McDonalds
Word Count WDC:1633
|This week you and Andre are in charge of the kid's Summer Camp.
Give us the name of the camp, the age group you're working with, and a bit of background.
SUMMER CAMP WITH COUNSELORS
Andre’ on all 4’s is leaping straight into the open door of Opalescent River Camp.
“Well, the door is open,” I stated, as I pulled boxes of supplies from the back door of the Camp Bus.
Darla and Ned, Darla's tall, lean husband, were ushering children off the bus. The children, there were nine of them; 5 girls and 4 boys, were all carrying stuffed backpacks. I wondered if the backpacks held necessities off the lists I gave their parents, or how much other types of, deemed by the age level necessities, might be in the packs.
One of the boys, Brad, wearing a blue t-shirt, with a soaring eagle on the front stopped by Ned. “That way to those cabins, boys in one, girls in another, take your pick.” Ned pointed to the 4 cabins about 100 feet away.
Four cabins each with a porch, stood ready and waiting. One was forest green, one sky blue, one red, and one a dark brown. Two each, side by side, facing each other with a wide lane down the center.
The camp was situated on a hill with mildly sloping ground toward the river. Then a couple hundred yards of green flat frontage, before you came to the bank of Opalescent. Rows of canoes and kayaks set on racks lined a section of the spacious area.
The children were signed up for 3 days of camping by the local “Y” in Darla's neighborhood. Darla and Ned worked at the Y as counselors and teachers. Ned taught programming for teens. Darla was the crafts instructor on her days off from part-time nursing at a local first aide station.
The three of us had stuffed 3 days with activities for the kids. Plant walks to identify local flora and fauns, safety with kayaks, music with cymbals & thumb pianos, hiking, building bird houses for the summer camp, and stuffing some habitat, ecology knowledge about chimpanzees into the kids, since Andre’ was along to bring exotic interest to the whole trip.
I walked into the main building where Andre’ had disappeared. “ah, ha, the kitchen,” I plopped the grocery box of snacks I was carrying on a counter. Andre’ had his head stuffed in a big refrigerator.
“What’s in there?” I swung the door open wider. There were baskets of lush, red strawberries heaped high on a refrigerator rack. Andre’ was munching on them one at a time.
“Leave some for us,” I grabbed one of his hands and led him away from the frig. “That’s a good idea. Let’s do shortcake for lunch with burgers and hotdogs. A quick meal for today a good start for the week.
Darla walked in with another big box containing paper goods and plastic ware. “Andre’ I’ll start the shortcake. You stack all the paper plates on that island counter over there. That will be our go to place to fill our plates.” The kitchen was on one end of the room the other end was filled with tables and chairs cafeteria style.
“Ken is helping the kids get settled in the cabins. It’s good their age ranges are close, ten and eleven. He is going to escort them around the camp and point out some of the special spots, like where the different trails start. I gave him a map of the camp and adjoining trails. Everyone wants to visit the dock and look at the boats. Did you know there was a small garage behind the main hall. It has some 4-wheelers in it, a gas tank and even a gator with a riding deck for more than one person. Ken called the camp awesome.” Darla laughed.
“Andre’ this box is full of paper cups. Stack them with the plates. You should be good at that since you bar keep.”
Andre’ started jumping up and down screeching chimp talk. Then, he lit out the door.
Darla laughed, then calmly stated. “ He’s going to take the tour of the camp.”
The meal was a late afternoon meal. . After kitchen cleanup, We maneuvered the kids into helping us set up three tents in the center space of the cabins. I claimed one as my personal camping spot. We set up a ring for a fire and found some logs stacked by the main hall that we set up as seats around the fire. The tents were for ambience more than necessity. Darla and Ned were in the biggest tent.
Andre’ had his own tent for sleeping. I actually found a portable tree type setup, with a large round nest attached to it. A really, fine chimp camping spot.
As night fell around us, we discussed the stars we were able to identify. We roasted hotdogs, ate chips, drank water, and Andre’ passed around bananas. I pulled out a laptop went to
https://www.releasechimps.org and read the facts called Chimpanzee society to the group.
After everyone made suggestions we voted. Troy won the vote with his suggestions, Chimps alive. So, now we are the Chimps Alive Campers.
Ned told stories about other camp outs he was a part of, as a child. Getting lost and falling out of a boat brought lots of laughs and kidding.
At about 10p.m. I shooed everyone into their cabins. I reminded them to plug in phones to the furnished WIFI. I could still hear giggles and calls going on with a few “shut up will ya, I’m trying to sleep” I decided not to interfere because they would soon learn how busy we would be the next day and every day.
The camp was surrounded by tall forests and brush. When the sun peaked on the wild horizon the sound of early morning bird song was orchestrated harmony. Darla came out of her tent just as I noticed Andre’ climbing down a big sugar maple on the edge of the clearing. “Hey Andre” wake up the campers for me.” He ran from one cabin window to another screeching Monkey sounds. Ned burst out of the tent, “What the ??”
“Ned no cussing, Ned. Kids, shouted Darla.”
Breakfast in the main house was rowdy. Up turned cereal bowls, pancakes sailing through the air. We decided a two hour hike was the right thing to do. I passed out paper with plant facts, plant names, and descriptive drawings. They were looking for trout lily, cotton grass, buckhorn, wild ginger, and anything they decided wasn’t poisonous. I handed out three plant field guides and pencils. “Andre is going along. Stay on the marked trails. Be sure you are back in two hours.
Darla astonished said, “Are you sure that’s wise?”
Andre’s with them. You can’t lose Andre’ in a forest. Besides the trails are circular they all lead back to the camp.
Two hours later Dana emerged from the Herb Forest trail. Ned spied her first. “Are you alone?”
Dana started waving both hands in the air. “We need your help. Andre’ climbed a tree. He climbed up really high. Troy tried to climb up like Andre’ did. Now he’s stuck. Andre’ and troy are sitting on a limb together.”
Ned pulled a small rope ladder out of his tent. It was light weight in spite of its’ long length.
“Show me where.” The two of them went back into the forest.
“Hi guys what are you doing up there? “
“It was easy to get up here but the limbs seem smaller now, shouted Troy.
“Andre come down now.”
“Don’t leave me?”,
“Andre has to come down first because he knows the way down.”
“Andre, one limb at a time. No swinging down Monkey style.”
“Andre, smiled like only a Chimp can smile. He even chuckled and laughed.
“See him, Troy, he’s funning you. He got you stuck cause he thinks its funny. You can get down easy. Show him how Andre” or I’ll eat your supper for you.”
“After that it was pretty easy,” said Ned as he related the story to us. And, Andre gave Troy a kiss and a hug, when they reached the ground.
That’s good. I think you ought to clue the kids into Andre’s love for Banana Daiquiri tonight at camp fire time. We don’t want him sharing his drinks with juveniles.
“Your right. I’ll do that and keep an eye out too, the rest of the trip.
Kids, grab your suits, There is an inlet where people swim down the second trail to the left. Darla and I will go too. While Apondia gets lunch.
I’m going to help get lunch,” stated Shirley,
“Are You sure? Can you swim? Ned can help if you need tips.”
“Naw I took lessons. I’ll go next time.”\
“O.K., Can you peel potatoes?
Shirley and I made potato salad. I got out a canned ham. Once the ham was sliced we put out carrot sticks and yes, more bananas, and cold water bottles from the frig. We were just finishing up when the Chimps Alive Campers came back wet. After changing in cabins and hanging out wet wear on lines they all tumbled into the kitchen ready for lunch.
One announcement: There is a computer room down there. I pointed at a door at the end of the room. Ned has some directions for making a jack-in-the-box work with programming. Also, after the learning session you can email your parents. After that there is a free time until snacks and campfire. If you found any plants, I want a report at campfire. Work on yours camping journals during free time or after campfire if you want.
Ned knows how to work a room of kids, so lots of laughter accompanied the programming of the Jack-in-the-Box.
Toby showed up later with a scrape on his arm from his tree climb which Darla fixed with antibiotic cream and band aide. Shirley won the Jack-in-the-box metal for programming skills. Also, earned the Knick-name nerd.
At campfire that night, Ned handed Sue a metal on a chain for pulling Jason out of the water, when he seemed to be under too long. Jason insisting he was fine.
Brad came to campfire with a whole list of Herbs and plants they had identified on the trail. He had done an exceptional job of listing them in his journal. One more metal on display.
Day two. A serious hike in the morning. Ned and I went along. Darla worked kitchen duty. We explored the forest noting trees and plants. We took the longest trail. Ned found a short cut into the forest and off the trail cutting across from one trail to another. Andre’ was there swinging above us from one tree to another. The kids were thrilled to see how easily he traversed the high way of canopy. We stopped along the trail for water and snacks.
Lunch was amazing. Darla made strawberry dumplings. Mashed potato with cheese and herbs and a meatloaf. We were stuffed. We had rest time after lunch. Then, kayak and canoe lessons all after noon.
By evening a storm came up so we pulled chairs into a circle in the main hall. I read more rescue stories of Chimps, while we snacked on chips, energy bars, bananas, and fruit juices.
It was a really quiet night. No one heard Bryan, Chad, and Troy sneak out. When they did not show up for breakfast, Ned began to worry. He sent Andre’ out to look then Andre” did not come back. It was time for lunch.
Ned called in the forest patrol. Ned explained about Andre.” The forest patrol looked perplexed but, promised not to freak if they came upon him suddenly. The kids broke into two groups one went with me, one went with Darla. Ned struck out on a trail by himself. We all went into the woods.
After about 45 minutes Shirley, Jenny, Tim and I decided we were on a trail no one had traveled in the last two days. We were climbing a hill when I thought I heard a Chimp squeal. “Quiet, listen.”
Everyone listened intently, then I heard another shriek this one louder. “ I shouted, Andre’?” There was a rustling coming fast toward us in the upper part of trees. Andre dropped down from above,
He grabbed me around the waist and shrieked. I said, "Calm down, calm down." Instead he jumped up and down pointing and shrieking. I wished I had Darla to interpret.
Did you find the boys?" He did stop screaming. And nodded solemnly. Now we were getting somewhere.
"Are they very far from here?" He nodded no. I said, "Take us to them." He, nodded no and pointed at the kids. "You won’t take the kids?" No.
“ I tried my phone. No signal. “Shirley, can you get back to camp from here?"
"I think so."
"Go Back. Keep trying to call Ned on your phone. Maybe you will get a signal part way back. See if you can explain where we are. I’m going with Andre.”
The three children started back. Andre’ swung into the trees. " Hey! I have to go on foot,"
I yelled to him, "Don’t go to far ahead."
We started climbing up a hill. It got really steep in places but there was a lot of small trees to hang onto so I managed to keep climbing. Andre’ dropped down. He was real quiet. He motioned with his finger to his lips. " Shhh!"
The trees had thinned. There were boulders and big rocks. I looked around. I noticed Andre’ hiding behind a tree. Then, above me I could see a path which looked like it led to a cave. “Andre’ are they in there?”
He shook his head. " Yes.”
Then he pointed to one big rock above the cave opening. The cat was large, tawny, and beautiful.
I yelled, "Quick Andre’ up a tree." He swung up really high and clung to the tree.
“I yelled again. Toby, Bryan, Chad are you in the cave?"
With the sound of my shout the cougar sat up and yowled, a high whiney sound.
Toby answered, "yeah, we can’t get out. There’s a cougar kitten in here, in the doorway.”
Oh bother, I thought. You know how you have odd thoughts in a crisis. I thought what would Winnie the Pooh do? Wish I had some honey.
Of course, the children made contact. Ned came with the rangers. LOUD CHIMP SCHREECHES, banging on trees and yelling unsettled the mom cougar. She moved off a way.
A ranger went up with a rope and lassoed the rowdy kitten pulled him out. The kids ran down the path. The rangers turned the cub loose and ran our way. The mom was reunited with kit. We all trudged back to camp. Where everyone ate food and discussed the wayward children and other parts of the adventure.
Everyone went home the next day.
We all lived happily ever after??? AS Far As I Know.????
WDC word count = 2526
|Hiking a trail in Joshua Tree National Park with Andre"
LOST PALMS OASIS
We aren’t to ambitious today. We picked a trail that was well marked and not VERY long. It is suppose to have lots of wildlife on it.
Reference from Wikipedia: Joshua Tree National Park is an American national park in southeastern California, east of San Bernardino and Los Angeles and north of Palm Springs. It is named after the Joshua trees native to the Mojave Desert. Originally declared a national monument in 1936, Joshua Tree was redesignated as a national park in 1994 when the U.S. Congress passed the California Desert Protection Act. Encompassing a total of 795,156 acres – slightly larger than the state of Rhode Island – the park includes 429,690 acres of designated wilderness. Straddling San Bernardino and Riverside Counties, the park includes parts of two deserts, each an ecosystem whose characteristics are determined primarily by elevation: the higher Mojave Desert and the lower Colorado Desert. The Little San Bernardino Mountains traverse the southwest edge of the park.
Andre’, Darla, and I chose the LOST PALMS OASIS trail. Temperatures here are possible to climb as high during the day as 107 degrees. Andre’ is outfitted with some open air sandals with lots of cushioning and support for the trail walk. It did not take long for him to decide the Spiky Joshua trees were not to his liking for climbing.
Joshua trees come in lots of sizes, from short and bushy to tall and spindly. The amount of limbs they have depends on whether they have ever blossomed. In the spring they get a white-green blossom. Since this trail is in Joshua Tree National Park. We are seeing a lot of these trees all over the park. The Mormons gave the tree it’s name. There are different stories about why it was named after Joshua in the Old Testament of Scripture.
The tree has a symbiosis with the Yucca Moth. The Yucca Moth pollinates the trees. When the larva hatch inside the blossoms they eat some of the seeds as there primary sustenance.
Joshua trees, Yucca brevifolia, were used by the Native Americans to make baskets and sandals. They also added the flowers and baked seeds to their food supplies. Later settlers used the wood to fuel steam engines and built fences or corrals. You can buy the seeds on Amazon and Etsy among other places.
Our walking trail today takes us a little more than 2 miles to the Oasis and back 2 miles. We brought umbrellas to protect us from the sun. I hope it works. Although the trail is fairly well marked, we have been warned to be careful to follow the markers and not move off onto any branching trails or we could get lost. I’m curious as we see quite a few branches off out trail. They are actually closed with rows of rocks to help keep us on the trail to LOST OASIS.
Walking along the scenery is really special. You can see different wildlife forms as we go along. Our guide book says there are 57 species of mammals. With lots of Joshua trees along the trail we see nests in the trees built by the yellow and black Scott's Oriole. I’ve been busy noting the different bird species I see. The hummingbird is so different from ones I see at home. This one is larger and brown striped with some reddish feathers on the head. We stop for some rest along the way. There is a desert tortoise watching us along the trail. Also, seeing rabbits, squirrels, and chipmunks running from us toward the nearest Joshua tree for cover. Several different kinds of lizards are along the trail. I’m surprised to learn there is a kind of equana that lives in the park.
At one point Andre’ saw a rattle snake several feet off the trail. It curled and rattled its tail. Then it slithered away. The incident, made Andre’ jump onto Darla's shoulders and ride for a couple hundred feet. She said it wasn’t to bad, because Andre’ held the umbrella which left her hands free to take pictures.
As we approached the Oasis, it turned out that the trees growing near the water were very large Joshua trees. We crept in quietly so not to frighten wildlife at the watering hole. There were a couple coyote there. You think of the word Oasis, when you see one for real it shows you how special an oasis is, a cool spring with shady trees in the midst of sandy heat and dryness.
The oasis was partly surrounded by a ridge of high rocky soil. Our guidebook says there is a branch trail that goes up to an overlook spot, where you can look down on the oasis. It is cooler here slightly, a peaceful stopping place within the surrounding scorching, desert scenery.
The trip back was more down hill, as we had to climb some rising areas, when we walked in. The scenery along the way took us through some dry washes. We also, had to walk along within a wash to get to the oasis. That was one place on the way back, we had to be careful to enter the wash and leave it at the proper place to pick up the trail.
Andre’ has a knack for following trails. He kept us going the right way both out and then back. A little over 4 miles out and back. We had lunch at a picnic table in the shade when we returned.
The scenery here is amazing. Very alien when compared with the North Eastern states, where we are from. I’m going to remember the environment forever. The Joshua Trees are really special when you see them up close.
WORD COUNT: 968 ON WDC