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I am posting one (or two) photos each week that describe common and often overlooked aspects of daily life. 
In a culture that puts so much value on the sensational, I want to learn to appreciate the beauty and precticality of the ordinary.

Week 1:

The New Year began with an intense winter blast. From late Sunday night to Wednesday afternoon, the temps stayed below 32*. We stayed quite toasty with an additional small heater. Although we had plenty of propane for the furnace (TSC ran out as they filled the tanks of  the guy behind us) we didn't use much with our two space heaters working so hard.

It took us a couple of hours to decide whether or not we needed to buy an extra heater (no desire for "extra" things when you live in a small sapce). So glad we decided to part with 25 dollars for this gem! It was worth every penny!

   1801 Heater

Week 2: 

Each winter we return to Austin to see family and work temporary jobs we have with the Regional Science Festival. Trey has been working the fair since the early 90's and this is Susan's eighth Science Fest year. The long hours are tiring, but it is always rewarding.

This is part of the team working out contractual issues in the event center.  Right now it is just a big open space, but in a few weeks, this hall will have over of 2,500 science projects coming and going. 

  1802 SFHall

Week 3a: 

The second winter blast hit. Fresh water in the tank was running low. Normally we would just fill our tank from the campground spigot, but our winter campground has very poor water. With no clean water source nearby (and an aversion to moving our rig to fill up), we needed to find another way to supply ourselves with fresh water once the temperatures dropped below freezing. Trey bought a simple $2 part and altered the cap on a 5 gallon jug. With an assist from our trusty ladder and multiple trips to the store, we were able to put enough water in the tanks for showers and such until the weather grew warmer. 

  1803 Water

Week 3b: 

When you find yourself Goggling "Do I need stitches?" you know your day has taken a downward turn. Trey's head had a close encounter with the hatchback of the Durango. It was a loud enough BANG that Susan dropped the groceries and ran back to the car.

It has been five days and the wound is almost healed without stitches. Trey makes a nice redhead, don't you think?

  1803 Injuryr

Week 4:

We began making freezer jam about six months ago. We keep experimenting (less sugar, different fruits, less pectin) so we haven't made the same batch twice. It really more like a compote rather than a jam. We use this to flavor  homemade yogurt, but we have been known to put it on chocolate cake, ice cream and cheesecake. Very versatile stuff! 

This is our first attempt at blueberry freezer jam thickened with apples rather than pectin.

When photographing this today, I had trouble getting color on the jam without blowing out the rest of the shot. I need to better learn my camera settings. Some things don't work well on auto.

  1804 Jam

Week 5:

For two weeks every February, it seems like life consists of removing paperclips from pages, rearranging those pages, and putting the paperclips back on -
1,800 times!

Science Fest Life!

  1805 Paperclips

Week 6:

Overcooked black beans ready to be transformed into delicious hummus. Trey has been making this for a few years and tried it with Chipotle peppers this time. It was the best ever!

   1806 Hummus

Week 07:

Within days of Science Fair, I move from paperclips to printing. When behaving itself, this printer is pretty awesome! Over a very short period I will have printed a stack of documents over ten feet tall: research documents, labels, registration cards, signs, judge forms, certificates, and the like.
Each page has a place and a purpose.

We serve almost 300 schools across dozens of school districts.
Next week is the big week. Seven days from now we will be unable to think or move.

  1806 Printer

Week 08a:

The elementary science boards are up and 2,000 3rd - 6th graders are entering the project hall. I took about 30 seconds to stand on a chair in the corner of the hall to snap a fuzzy picture of the room with my phone. I should have taken a full minute to get a better shot, but as soon as I got down I was reminded by a fellow worker that it was against the rules to stand on chairs to take pictures. Yikes! I took my life into my own hands!
Better picture here, but not mine.

 

  1808 ElemSF

Week 08b:

The JR/SR event concludes with an elaborate awards ceremony where many young scientists are awarded tropies for thier efforts. This is one half fo the trophy table.
Out of 750+ projects, dozens will advance to the State Fair and six will proceed to Internationals in Pittsburg.
It was another quick snap and the lighting was terrible. I wish this photo did a better job of showing how great this table looked!

 

 

1808 Trophies

Week 9:

I am in Science Fair recovery mode. I forgot to take pictures at work (those would have been much better) but this represents part of my weekend.

Dryer Lint: decisively uncreative, but definately ordinary. I'll do better next time.

  1809 Lint

Week 10:

Packing up and pulling out after four months in one place is always a bit nerve-wercking. The scooter is usually the last thing to be loaded before we hitch up and take off. This usually works well unless the wench decides to quit and you have a three hour delay dealing with that. (Unexpected repairs are the main reason we load the scooter last - much easier to make a quick run to the store in the scooter rather than the truck.)

  1810 Leaving3

Week 11:

Well, I failed. It has been another very busy week and I only took two pictures. Neither were interesting and both were dark and grainy. Then I discovered a few test shots I took last Sunday. Of the seven times my finger snapped the shutter this week, this is the best shot I could find. I was testing the focus mechanism repair from various distances. My subject was the kitchen sink - the clean side, not the dirty side. (Not sure why we used so many knives that day.)
From the first of the year until yesterday (March 19) I have not had much free time because of long hours of work. I hope to get better shots now that I have more flexibilty.

  1811 Sink

Week 12:

It feels good to be on the road again. This shot was taken out the truck window driving south through Georgia on the way to Florida this week.

I often visually check the trailer using the truck rearview mirror as we drive. There is convex mirror mounted on the hood that gives a different view - but that photo will be for another week. 

  1812 RearviewMirror

Week 13:

This photo of the week thing is hard! I searched all three cameras, including the phone and the only photos I took this week were of a receipt we needed for work and this rag rug I just finished last week. I began working this rug (about 2' x 2') right before Science Fair week and picked it up again while we were in Florida.

I tore up two old  sheets (burgundy and gold) and there are still tiny threads everywhere! Not sure where I will put this run. Maybe outside the shower, or maybe in the truck.

  1813 RagRug

Week 14:

It has been cold and wet here in North Carolina, but even the cleansing rain can't eliminate the pollen. This is the road by our campsite - covered in the yellow stuff. The temps might not be signaling spring but the trees are! 

  1814 Pollen

Week 15:

A view of our current driveway.

   1815 Driveway

Week 16:

While atteneding the East Coast Rally in Crossville, TN my friend Alicia and I took a drive out in the woods. The springtime snow piled up on in a spiderweb hammock creating unusual cloud shapes on top of saplings. She saw them from the road and we stopped to investigate. It is always interesting exploring with Alicia!

  06 SnowHammock

Week 17:

While filling up the car in Marion, NC, we noticed this message on the fuel pump. A great thing to always remember - even before we run out of gas.

  1816 GPS

Week 18:

While grocery shopping at a Food Lion in Marion, NC we found Astros Peanuts! While we regularly mock marketing techniques used to lure non-critical consumers into buying what they don't need based on how something looks or how it claims to make them feel, we totally bought into the hype of our favorite baseball team's logo on a regular bag of peanuts.

We needed those nuts!

(Yes, we are weak.)

  1817 Peanuts

Week 19:

We will be staying at a fairground in Indiana for most of the summer. While we will miss traveling, living at the fairgrounds allows us to participate in various community events. This week we walked through the consignment auctions - a nice way to pass a rainy day. At any given time, there were at least seven auctions going on in four different buildings. Country commerce at its best!

  1819 Auction

Week 20:

Spring brings rain and quickly growing grass. And because of the rain there is little opportunity to mow the grass. After negotiating seven days of very high grass on our campsite, we finally got our lawn mowed. We enjoyed our freshly mowed lawn exactly one day before being able to move back to a gravel site. 

Susan wanted to mention that moving before the white tufts appear prevents their growing as much the following year. Trey suggested to her that maybe they like the little yellow flowers that precede the tufts and desire to assist the reseeding process.

To each his own!

  1820 Mowing

Week 21:

We leave tomorrow for our first live Astros game in almost eight years (in Cleveland). It will be an early morning and a long drive, so we prepare ourselves early!

Go Astros!

Play Ball!

  1821 GamedayPrep

Week 22:

Training for the harness races in Elkhart County.

Just an ordinary day at the Fairgrounds

  1822 BuggyRacing

Week 23:

We went to Dairy Queen for a couple of 5 Buck lunches last Sunday. This particular DQ (the best we've found in the entire country) got new numbers for customer orders. When it came time for the lady behind the counter to give us our card, she used a black marker to carefully draw a line underneath our number so that we would not mistakenly put it on the holder upside down and receive the wrong order.

Because of her thoughtful foresight, the proper order was brought to our table a little later. Great customer service!

(To her credit, it was very busy that day with the after church crowd and I think she was new to the job. Still, finding humor in the ordinary keeps life entertaining!)

   1823 88NoLine

Week 24:

I didn't take many pictures this week. Most of what I have are from an RV surplus shop we visited in Michigan.

While talking on the phone Thursday,  however, I was able to quickly grab my camera and snap this photo. It is taken out my desk widow and through two truck windows. His job doesn't look too difficult here, but he had to go though some pretty high grass and a gate before his scooter hit the pavement. It was not easy. He made at least two trips!

Sometimes full hookups are  worth the extra money.

  1824 WEOnly

Week 25a:

Parking lots at company picnics in Northern Indiana have a different feel than most other company picnics across Americas.

This week Jayco RV Manufacturing had a huge company picnic at the County Fairgrounds and this is how part of the parking lot looked. These were parked about 100 feet from our trailer. What is pictured is less then half of the total buggies here.  

  1825 Buggies02

Week 25b:

I wanted you to see the horsepower moving these buggies too.

There is much fuel waste deposited around here now. I'm betting we will be swatting flies the rest of the week.

  1825 Horses

Week 26:

My current herb garden. It currently holds basil, thyme, and green onion.  I have more green onion growing in a glass of water in the kitchen. I hope to add cilantro when the weather cools.

This is the only picture I took this week and I only took it for this page. I failed.

  1826 Herbs

Week 27:

We went to a trick riding and acrobatic show this week. This isn't the best picture because this woman rode fast. She showed great strength and balance. Quite impressive!

Just another ordinary day in the heartland!

  1827 RomanTrick

Week 28:

Some things that may seem quite ordinary to local residents, will be very strange to visitors. The Michigan Left is one example.

Last year I had a project for one of my jobs researching left hand turn laws for each state. I came across the Michigan left during that time. It was cool to see a  town with those intersections in play.

For the record, we haven't encountered these intersections enough to have a strong opinion on them one way or the other.

EDIT: We have more experience now and do not like them! (Week 31)

  1828 MILeft

Week 29:

We took the truck camping for four days this week. Even though we were in northern Michigan, it is July and we needed a way to stay cool. Trey fashioned a window unit for the truck and it kept us pretty cool when temps warmed up. It worked well and was quiet. In fact, we could hear the AC on top of the RV across the road over the sound of ours.

We still have a few kinks to work out, but we will try more short trips like this in the future.

  1829 TruckAC

Week 30a:

It is blueberry season in Michicgan! Normally the price of blueberries makes them somewhat dear and the need for conservaton is high. But in July in Michigan they are everywhere and we are eating them like cheap candy.

Rumor has it the season will be over next week. We aren't sure how we will be able to adjust our eating habits accordingly. Time to make some jam!

  1830 Blueberries2

Week 30b:

For the past few weeks, this has been our drive home from the closest town - especially after they retarred the alternate road to town. 

The corn is quickly maturing and I wanted to post this green stage before the tassels and brown color took over the stalks and leaves.

Our campground is on the ridge ahead, about 2 miles to the left.

  1830 DriveHome

Week 31:

We took some time to visit the Air Zoo  in Kalamazoo this week. We stayed much longer than planned and learned a great deal.

During WWII, a Air Craft Carrier Pilot Certification was conducted on Lake Michigan. Dozens of WWII aircraft ended up on the bottom of the lake and the Air Zoo works to restore some of them. The public is able to watch the progress. Lots of corrosion has happened in the last 80 years but these experts painstakingly reconstruct various parts in their workshop.

So much to learn, so little time!

  1831 WWII Plane

Week 32:

We drove in and out of our campground on a daily basis, watching this wasp nest. It wasn't until our last day there I actually got the camera out and took a picture. I wish the quality was better, but for obvious reasons, I had to take it quickly.

When I looked it up on the internet, it looked exactly like a paper wasp nest, but the actual critters looked more like bees.

  1832 PaperWaspNest3

Week 33:

We moved back to Indiana and have been working at an RV Rally. Here we are set up to weigh tow vehicles the day before the main weigh day. The weather looks threatening. It had rained most of the morning  and much more was predicted  that afternoon. We watched dark clouds skirt the fairground and it only misted for a few minutes during our weigh time.

Yes, we were very thankful!

  1833 Weighsite

Week 34:

The Elkhart County 4H Fairground in Goshen, Indiana is a great place to stay. They do an excellent job of making unique decorations for the county fair each July and we were able to enjoy them when we returned in August.

I think I might do a blog post showing pictures of all of them soon.

  1834 JeanEtticallyModified

Week 35:

Trey decided we needed to try something new, so we got a sous vide stick. We got it a week ago, but haven't been able to test  it until today. We test-cooked  chicken this afternoon. One piece went for 90 minutes, the other for 3 hours. We could not tell a difference between the two. Both were moist and tender.

With that test a success, we decided to try bacon next. You cook it in the package for 8-48 hours, then give it a quick sear before serving. The largest pot we had was the Instant Pot insert, so we decided to cook in the outer pot too for extra insulation. Still, the package was too large for the pot I was using so I cut the slab in half and rebagged it. 

I think a couple of BLTs are in our future!

  1835 SousVide

Week 36:

After weeks upon endless weeks of hot, humid weather, a front finally came through and cooled things off.

Of course when we went outside to take pictures, half the RV park was also outside watching the sky (lots of thunder and lightening!) We visited with folks until we saw the rain hit the far side of the parking lot, then we all ran inside to escape the deluge!

So refreshing!

  1836 CoolFront

Week 37:

This photo was taken September 12, 2018.

We are guessing an optimist set the completion deadline.

  1837 OpenSoon

End

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