Chasing Spring into Summer

Forgive me for a rather long catch-up post.  Lately I’ve been chasing a springtime that has apparently turned into a frightfully hot and early summer.

Winter was non-existent in Tennessee.  A couple of weeks after the Can Opener, Jim and Regina let me live in their driveway on Douglas Lake for another DOG.

What is it about cooking in cast iron that makes it so good?

General Beauregard Lee, the Southern version of Punxsutawney Phil, was right.  Spring was around the corner and was on steroids.

Not even the end of February and the daffodils under my favorite Battlefield tree were nearly bloomed out. Ms. Lulu Sugarfoot and I made our traditional visit to the wise old Gingko tree early this year.

Come March I made a quick run to my favorite spot in the Shenandoah Valley to feed my soul.  Spring is here, but very very early.

The Virginia Blue Bell’s were already in bud.  Cherry blossoms were near peak.  Way too early this year.

A quick stop at Mary Kim’s cabin on the way home rounded out the pause the refreshes better than any soft drink ever could.  It sure looks great on the Bambi.

Two weeks off in April brought me back to the Waddell’s for Easter weekend.  Spring is past sprung.

Eggs are where you find them.  And so are bunny cakes.  Doug and Terry Rowbottom blew in from Canada after the weekend.  The Tradewind got a few new things thanks to Doug.

The door hinge damage from the telephone pole incident during last year’s Rt. 11 caravan got some reinforcing TLC.

Now the Tradewind door closes like it should without oil-canning or that nasty gap at the base.  Doug also installed an Intelli-Power and an extra 12V receptacle that I badly needed.  It was great to see Doug and Terry again, they are two of my favorite people.

There is still some springtime left in Pennsylvania.  The next week I headed out to live in the Ober’s driveway in Manheim. Yes, it is as narrow as it looks, but there is just enough room if you bite lip and hold your breath.  Obie and Carol gave me an all inclusive tour of Amish country, and I don’t mean just the touristy stuff.

We drove through the old resort town of Mt. Gretna.  Where only the smallest of vehicles can maneuver if you make a wrong turn.  Ask Obie how he knows.

We visited all those questionably-named towns like Blue Ball, Intercourse, Bird in Hand, and Leacock.

We checked out an Amish horse auction and hay sale.  We foraged through Root’s, a local flea and market gathering.   We hit nearly every antique and junk shop we saw so I could scavenge for old cast iron pieces.

We found a quilt shop called “Obie’s Country Store” that looked as if it’s fabric stash had exploded.

We went to Wilbur’s chocolate factory, ate chocolate, and got hooked on Wilbur Buds.   And there where other fun things, so many I can’t list them all.  We covered over 300 miles in three days and never left Lancaster County.

Turns out the Ober’s know people, Amish people.

I was given a privileged personal glimpse into a culture where simplicity is the standard.  There is a certain amount of envy when one observes such mastery of living well with self-sufficiency.

True, it isn’t light work.  Their pristine farms and large homes are clean and in perfect order.  But don’t believe for a minute that the Amish don’t have a sense of humor.  Much to the contrary, they are full of fun, laughter, and delightful to to be with.  Mel and Brenda, who own a local Amish Mom & Pop grocer’s, were just the cutest, teasing and picking at each other playfully.  You can tell they are still in love after so very many years.

And oh, how wonderful are their gardens!  Bertha, who opened her home (above) to us for dinner one evening, gave me a tub full of Meadow Mint plants to take home.  It makes an awesome chartreuse-colored tea.  Her husband, Sam, builds the coolest chicken coops which sell faster than he can build them.  In case you don’t know, the Amish put on a spread for company.  The freshest fruits and vegetables and entree’s, served in abundance, with assorted pickles and condiments.  Six different desserts: cake, two puddings, Sho-Fly pie, rhubarb pie, and homemade ice cream.   All so good we were tempted to lick the plate.

One afternoon I spent time at a one-room Amish schoolhouse.   Shy, but full of welcoming smiles and a giggle or two, the Amish children I met were precious.  Just like kids everywhere, recess was their favorite subject.  The involvement of their parents is a testament to the success of the schools.  These children are well-loved.

Carol and Obie were the best of hosts.  For more photos of Amish country, check out Obie’s blog, AirstreamHobo Travels, or go to his album with our photos.

A quick stop at Trailer Buff and weekend wind-down at Mary Kim’s cabin.  Life is good.

Spring has turned into summer with temps in the 90s.  Today I pulled the Tradewind back from DeSoto State Park in Fort Payne, AL.  A few of us Can Opener veterans gathered for a good time, some good food, and lots of laughs.  I got in on the tail end of the fun.  There are always revelations with every rally.  Here are a few from Alumabama.

Some men have an AMAZING knowledge base for engineering a woman’s bra.
DH doesn’t always mean “dear hubby”.
You can scare away large families when someone asks, “How much for the boy?”

You never know what could happen when a man follows three chicks into the woods.

Or maybe he does know.  Maybe no one noticed that sign behind Frank.

“Lets keep potluck simple with fingerfood-type hors d’œuvres” means nothing to a bunch of Airstreamers.

Corn Hole tournaments can be completed in the dark of night, as long as flashlights and enough adult beverages are available.
Thanks, Ron and Jenn, for floating the Alumabama idea.   You two will always be Airstreamers to us whether you’re towing a silver trailer or not.

It’s nice to be Airstreaming under a “supermoon”.  Let the summer heat continue.

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