From Full House to Empty Nest

We enjoyed picture-perfect weather during our recent visit to family in Indiana, just what was needed after the winter they endured.  They were the kind of days where you just wanted to sit on the porch with a cold drink in hand, enjoy quiet family time while listening to the birds warbling their greetings.  Adding to the enjoyment was my discovery of the family of barn swallows who had taken up residence near the porch roofline. I took delight in watching their antics, as a burgeoning full house soon looked to become an empty nest.  Unfortunately when dad selected the nest site, which he is prone to do, he forgot someone might be interested in capturing images of feedings and first flight so his choice lacked proper lighting, most likely his intent.  This did not deter me from snapping a few shots anyway. Four little babes, an average number for this brood, watch warily as they wait for mom or dad to return with a tasty snack.  Momma takes the greater responsibility for incubating the eggs, which averages 14-19 days, with another 18-23 days needed for the babes to fledge.   Both parents provide equal support for feeding and keeping the nest clean. As I watched four little wide-open mouths, momma swooped in.  Time for dinner! Hanging onto the nest mom fed her young, all the while keeping an eye on me.  I tried to stay as far away as my camera would allow.

And then there were two!  And these two were in no hurry to leave their little abode, now that they could spread their wings a bit.  Time and again as mom and dad swept past, no amount of prodding convinced them to leave this comfy little cup.  After several hours of standing on the ledge testing their new wings, they took to the air.

Empty little cup nest, most likely built by momma – mud pellets lined with grass and feathers.

We thought we had seen the last of them but near dusk all four babes reappeared in the nest.  After doing my homework I learned that the parents lead the fledglings back to the nest at night and continue feedings for a week after the maiden flight.

Whether you are part of a full house or an empty-nester, hope you are having a relaxing summer. 🙂

Our New Home

A cold spring morning in Elkhart, IN
A cold spring morning in Elkhart, IN

Our travels have taken a shift in another direction as we head towards our next adventure, spending extended time in Ohio helping Terry’s elderly parents.  We know this next phase in our lives will come with some challenges but we believe the rewards will outweigh those ‘bumps in the road’ we may encounter.  The biggest trial for two nomads will be sitting still for so long after traveling for the past ~2 years.  We see organic gardening in our near future and hitting the road again later in the year to avoid the cold midwest winters.

Our new home will be on the parents’ property, where an RV pad is awaiting us. The emphasis here is on “new home” as that is what we now have and the reason we have spent so much time in Elkhart, IN, most likely the RV capital of the country.  Yep, I have given up my dream for a larger motorhome for a slightly smaller, new RV, with the promise of more international travel, right honey? 😉

Terry has always liked the idea of a smaller RV (cause he’s the dude who has been drivin’ it) but I have shuddered at the thought of the two of us co-existing in such small quarters. Given that we are outside so often, it has not been a problem. Surprisingly, our new RV seems more spacious, is much more efficient, and has so many upgrades from our three-year old model.  For someone who loves to cook like I do, more kitchen counter space is heavenly and a walk-in closet in an RV can truly be just that.

Although we already owned a DRV Mobile Suites we decided to tour their manufacturing plant, which I must admit was fascinating.  We felt more secure in our decision to trade in our 3-year old model for another MS after watching the construction from the ground up, everything done by hand.  Another bonus was meeting two lovely couples who are planning to hit the road full-time soon. 🙂

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Visit with Family

Hola from balmy Mexico!

I guess you could say that I took a hiatus from blogging.  I am not one to do a posting just to fill space – not going to bore you with how I rearranged my kitchen cabinets (which is a posting I actually came across recently).

We, like many others, have been patiently awaiting the rainy season as it has been a long dry spell.  Many of those who have migrated south of the border (and locals perhaps) take a little break from this area during the month of May, which is our hottest month. Having said that, it still is rather pleasant here even at 90º, as we do not have the accompanying humidity during the dry season.  We did decide, however, to follow the crowds and take a trip north of the border to see family.

Our first stop was Indianapolis to visit Terry’s sister and husband and to pick up a vehicle we have stowed there.  Once the rains subsided (which had been plentiful this year in the midwest), we assisted in planting a garden, which I thoroughly enjoyed.  Terry got the task of roto-tilling the ground before we planted so I am not sure that he has as fond memories as I do!

I was reminded by my sister-in-law that when I posted some pictures of family back over the Christmas holidays, I neglected to include everyone in the family, that being the four-legged variety of relative.  My apologies to Frank and Pearl!

Frank Posing for the Camera
Pearl Napping after a Tough Day!

Pearl is very camera-shy (actually barks when you point a camera at her, as does Terry’s sister when a camera is pointed in her direction!) so taking a picture of her had to be a sneak attack.

From there we headed to Illinois to see my brother and family and to attend my godson’s graduation.  We also had the honor of seeing said godson (Seth) decked out for his 8th grade dance, which was quite an event.  It looked more like the prom to me.  My, how times have changed!

Seth and Friend Dressed for the Dance
Paige, Seth, and Blake

A rare shot of niece and nephews in the same photo:  Paige, always the photogenic one; Seth, still no smile to speak of; and Blake, hamming it up for the camera!

Next on the agenda was getting ready for a very important graduation.  I saw friends that I had not seen in 20+ years!  It was a very good time.

Proud Parents and Siblings Awaiting the Graduate
Grandma and Happy Graduate

And that is about as close as we could get to capturing a smile on Seth’s face!

A grade school talent show was on the list of activities that we took time to see, where our niece Paige did a song and dance routine with several of her friends.

Paige - the "Justice" Girl

After a few days of enjoying family in Illinois, we ventured to Ohio to spend time with Terry’s parents, assisting with as many projects as they would allow.  The weather was very nice, as was our visit.  We were both grateful to be able to offer a helping hand where needed.

From Ohio, back to the Indianapolis area to spend a night with niece Sara and her significant other, Nick.  I am including photos of two more of our four-legged relatives, one who was overlooked in my last family posting (Bailie) and the newest addition to the family, Marge.

Bailie, a Very Calm, Lovable Girl
Marge, with Mom Sara

Out of control, boisterous Marge thought she was a cat in this next shot, attempting to climb as far into Terry’s lap as she could

We had a wonderful visit and the time flew by, as it seems to when you are on vacation.  Is it proper to call it a vacation when you are retired?

We are now back in Mexico, returning to the rainy season and some amazing storms.  It is a bit more humid than before the rains came and the temps are hovering around 80º. Not a bad gig if you can get it!