Sunday, June 29, 2014

Indiana, Anderson - Sunday, June 29, 2014 - Timberline Valley RV Park

On Thursday we had to leave the Caboose Lake Campground in Remington to head north to Shipshewana.  Once again we were having some issues with the refrigerator!  The freezer was working just fine but the control panel for the lower part was showing some codes that indicated there was a problem.  Greg spoke to Leon at National RV Refrigeration who walked him through some diagnosing of the problem.  We finally decided that since we were already in northern Indiana we would feel better if Leon looked at the fridge in person.  Since he was already booked up for the next couple of weeks we took a chance on going up and sitting in his parking lot to see if he could work us in.  I don’t think we will ever let anyone else look at this fridge again, Leon is so knowledgeable and his prices are extremely reasonable.

As it turns out we got lucky, he was able to get to us on Friday afternoon and found that one of the defrost fans wasn’t working properly.  This caused water to go into someplace it wasn’t supposed to go and that affected something else – reminded me of that “knee bone’s connected to the….”song.  Something very minor just snowballed into a bigger issue.  Leon was able to fix the problem and we were on our way back home on Saturday morning.
While we were in Shipshewana the weather was mild in the evening so we slept with the windows open.  There was no traffic noise except an occasional horse and carriage.  Since we didn’t have electricity there in the parking lot and we didn’t want to run the generator all night, there was absolutely nothing running in the coach, no little red, green or blue lights indicating electrical appliances are plugged in.  Outside there were no street lights or porch lights.  It was so quiet and dark, I had trouble falling asleep.  You don’t realize how much background noise is in your life until it all goes away – scary.

This was the view across the road.
We got back to Timberline Valley RV Resort Saturday afternoon.  Today we helped daughter Desira at the gun club most of the day.  The weather stayed nice until after the trap shooters got done so it was a good day.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Indiana, Remington - Wednesday, June 25, 2014 - Caboose Lake Campground

On Sunday night we had a wonderful time at the home of some new friends, Bill and Bonnie.  They live in a wonderfully renovated old farm house that is well over 100 years old.  Bonnie is an artist and an antique collector so they have lots of one of a kind things to surround them.  Bill treated us to a ride on his “margarita wagon”.  It’s a flatbed trailer with four benches attached that he pulls behind his 4-wheel drive tractor on trails he has cut through the woods of their 150+ acres.  What a great time that was!  The grandkids got to take a turn at driving the tractor so we got smacked by some branches a few times.  We ended the evening roasting hot dogs and marshmallows over a fire – couldn’t ask for better.
Monday it rained really hard and the wind blew until there were whitecaps on the lake.  It was a good day to stay inside and do some cooking and cleaning.  Greg is interested in the baseball college world series so he didn’t mind being inside either.  Tuesday afternoon we stayed with the twins while dad and mom worked.

This afternoon son AJ, Kim and the twins planned to come over to swim, but the lake was closed for swimming because all of the rain we have had lately had upset the bacteria balance.  They did get to enjoy the “Hippo” water slide though.  I think I read that this slide was at least 35 feet tall.  Just climbing up the stairs to the top looked a little daunting to me, but they did it over and over.
This is Jackson coming down.
And here is Braelynn.

Then it was girls against boys in a water balloon fight, not sure who won but they all got really wet.

Jackson and Braelynn enjoyed the smaller water slide too.  Jackson soaked me as he came down.

Rain and wind came through just as we were setting up to cook hot dogs over the fire.  We hauled everything inside and still had a very good supper.  The weather cleared after supper and we were able to get outside to roast marshmallows for some s’mores.

This little guy ended up in my chair with me.  I wasn’t so happy about that but Braelynn was thrilled.

Going to miss these guys when we leave.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Indiana, Rensselaer - Sunday, June 22, 2014

Yesterday we made a grocery run and when we came home, the yard was filled with geese – clean up time again L
They look really pretty when they are out on the water.  There are two families with little goslings.

The grocery in Rensselaer had some really good produce.  The last couple of weeks I have tried something I read that is supposed to make your produce last longer, and it does.  Add ¼ c. of white vinegar to half a sink of water.  Add produce and let it set for 10 minutes.  I set it out and let it dry before I package it for the fridge or freezer.  I’ve noticed a difference especially in the berries.  You don’t taste the vinegar.

Today just turned six grandson Jackson was scheduled to sing a solo at church.  He was a little hesitant early in the morning, but when the time came he ran to the front of the church, stood on a box in front of a microphone all by himself and sang “As the Deer”.  What made it even harder for him was that he had practiced to recorded music and that was what he was supposed to have this morning, but there were technical difficulties.  He ended up singing with piano accompaniment which he had never done.  Unfortunately, the pianist wasn’t informed that he was only supposed to sing the first two verses.  When she started the third verse, Jackson had that “deer in the headlights” look for just a second.  When he hesitated the congregation started singing very low and he picked up and took it from there.  Proud grandparents have been known to have a tear or two run down their cheeks.

Later on the whole vacation bible school group which included Jackson and Braelynn entertained us with some very energetic drumming to the bible school theme song.
When we got home Greg convinced his barber (me) to cut his hair.  We are going to spend some time later this evening with son AJ, daughter-in-law Kim and the twins at their friends Bill and Bonnie’s home.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Indiana, Rensselaer - Friday, June 20, 2014 - Staying with the Twins

I’m glad we got out on the motorcycle and did some exploring over the weekend and on Monday because the weather here on Tuesday and Wednesday certainly prohibited getting out and about.  I think the storms have passed now and we are expecting a good weekend.  I hear we missed some weather related excitement near where we had been staying in Madison County last night.  Seems a tornado touched down briefly not that far away from the campground where we were staying.  I imagine the wind got pretty strong at the campground.  We’ll be returning there after next week so we’ll see if they had any damage.
Last night we were in Rensselaer staying with our twin grandchildren while their mom and dad enjoyed a night out in Fort Wayne.  The energy of six year olds is mind boggling.  We enjoyed lots of board games and videos.  They suggested that we just had to try the “best ice cream in the world” at Busy Bee Freeze.

The watermelon ice cream with gummy worms came highly recommended, but we opted for something a little more traditional.

We got home late this afternoon – it sure is quiet hereJ  We certainly enjoyed the time spent with the twins, they grow up so quickly.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Indiana, Remington - Monday, June 16, 2014 - Touring more of NW Indiana

I started out this morning placing a phone call to the jury manager of the Minnehaha County Court.  When we received our mail on Friday it contained a summons for me to report for grand jury selection on July 8 in Sioux Falls, SD.  I placed a call on Friday, but got a voice message.  I was relieved somewhat that the voice message mentioned that if you were a full time RVr you just had to indicate such on the form you received.  However, the form I received wasn’t the one they mentioned so I still needed to talk to them.  South Dakota really does understand the lifestyle of full time RVrs.  The lady I spoke to today told me what I needed to fill out and send in so she could send me an exemption letter.  Thank goodness, because the summons mentioned that if you were selected for grand jury duty you had to be available for the next 18 months.  South Dakota was beautiful in August last year but I’m pretty sure it won’t be that way for the next 18 months.
We found a couple more places to explore today.  The first is Yesteryear’s Meats and Specialty Shoppe in Demotte.

This is an old fashioned meat market, grocery store and deli.

They have a small area where you can eat in.

I selected the sloppy joe special with 2 wings and a side.  Greg chose the barbequed pork sandwich and side.  Both of us chose County Cole Slaw for our side, it had a nice sweet and sour poppy seed dressing.

Their meat market had some fabulous looking meat.  We decided against buying any meat because our next stop was going to be a shrimp farm.  They make their own sausage and summer sausage – I was tempted by the summer sausage since we bought cheese and wine yesterday.

The next stop was JT Shrimp between Demotte and Wheatfield.  This is a family-owned saltwater shrimp farm.  We decided to take a tour of the facility which is $5 per person.  While we were waiting for the owner some ladies came in to purchase some shrimp.  The owner asked his wife if she wanted to conduct the tour or catch the shrimp.  It was at that moment that I realized if I wanted to take home shrimp I was taking them home live – oh, dear.
The temperature here is consistent between 84 and 85 degrees.  The water is filtered and recycled over and over.  Keeping the temperature and the nutrients at the right point is a full time job.  These farm raised shrimp are a lot more labor intensive than the ones in the ocean.  Each of these tanks starts out with 7,000 tiny baby shrimp brought in in tanks somewhat larger than a large picnic cooler.  I think he said it takes about 3 months for them to get to harvesting size.  And, when it comes time to harvest there are only about 2,200 of them left - some die and some are eaten by the other shrimp.

It was hard to take pictures because of all the bright lights.  They said it was necessary to leave the lights on because the shrimp jump out of the tanks if it gets dark or even if there are a lot of shadows.  Do the shrimp in the ocean live in bright lights?  The netting around the top helps keep them in.

The shrimp shed their shells from their head to tail every three days.  The ones with the darker shells are getting ready to shed.

We had brought a cooler so we decided to get a pound of shrimp to take home, it runs $18 a pound.  While they were catching our shrimp, I got a few cooking pointers from the owner’s wife.  Greg leaned down and whispered he wondered whether or not they screamed like lobsters when you put them in the boiling water – he wasn’t helping.  They packed the shrimp in ice which makes them pretty inactive.

We got the shrimp home and into the pot of boiling water, after three minutes we drained them and covered them with ice.
By the way, they don’t scream.  Thank goodness, I had enough trouble just giving them a stir in the water, all I could see was little eyes staring up at me.
After they had cooled Greg removed the heads and I peeled them.  Since there is no mud, they don’t have mud veins so they don’t have to be deveined.  They were great!  These shrimp don’t have the normal “shrimpy” smell and the taste is very mild.  We enjoyed them on top of a green salad along with some of the wine and cheese we bought yesterday.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Indiana, Rensselaer - Sunday, June 15, 2014 - Father's Day and June Birthdays


You guys are awesome fathers, our grandkids and great grandson are truly blessed to have you as dads.
We spent today with our daughter-in-law Kim’s family.  They had their entire family in for the weekend so they had a busy house.  After a wonderful lunch the grandkids with birthdays in June had to sit still long enough to get a picture and then the presents came out – pictures were pretty much a scramble after that.

Dad and grandpas staying out of the way.

Thank you to Dave and Donita and your wonderful family for sharing today with us.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Indiana, Remington - Saturday, June 14, 2014 - Tour of the Area

The weather was just too nice to not get out on the motorcycle today.
Before we left the campgrounds we walked around and took a few pictures.  It’s a nice campground, more family oriented than most we have stayed at.  Since they charge extra for the water activities, it could get a little expensive if you have a big family.  The majority of these activities are not something that we would take advantage of, but we may get the grandkids out for a day if the weather stays nice.  Since this campground is right next to I-65, if road noise bothers you this probably isn’t the place for you.  We are at the back of the campground where the sites are bigger and inside the coach we don’t notice the noise.  It might be hard to tent camp though.


Our first stop was Carpenter Creek Cellars.  This winery is just off of state road 16 and has been in business for a couple of years.  They have planted their own grapes but itwill be about 4 years before those grapes can be used in their wine production. 
The tasting room is a former draft horse barn.  I was too busy enjoying the free wine tasting to take any pictures inside.  Most of their wines are sweet or semi-sweet which we prefer over dry wines.

They had live music today.  I don’t remember the name of the group but it was three guitar players and “Bongo Larry”.  Their music was supposed to be mainly Beatles songs, but I think the bongos threw me off, I didn’t recognize some of them.  “Bongo Larry” is the guy in the blue shirt.


They drew a large crowd.  I think many of these people were attending the same class reunion.
We opted for a couple of rocking chairs in the shade on the patio instead of sitting out in the sun.

From the winery we headed north a short way to Fair Oaks Farms.  I wanted to see how much they had changed since grandson Tyler and I visited there several years ago.

We didn’t pay the admission required to go into any of the exhibits or to go on the tour of the dairy facilities.  We just walked around and looked at the well-manicured grounds and the outside activities for kids.

We stopped in the café/gift shop and did some cheese tasting.  After several samples Greg said we had to stop, they were all starting to taste the same.  We selected a sweet Swiss and an aged gouda to bring home.

They have a new restaurant opening July 1, 2014.  We won't be here then so we'll have to check it out the next time we are up here.
Our final destination was Earl’s Dining in Brooks, IN.  This place received rave reviews for son A.J. and a couple of his friends.  So we decided to celebrate our anniversary with Earl.  I think this must be a likeness of Earl since it was on the awning, the menus and this carving on the wall.

We pulled into Brooks at 4:30.  Earl’s wasn’t supposed to open until 5:30.  Brooks is a very quiet small town at 4:30 on Saturday afternoon.

About the only sound was the “Oldies” radio station that was playing from speakers attached to all of the light poles.
We found a nice bench across the street from Earl’s and watched for some activity.

About 5:00 a couple of cars pulled up and the occupants got in the front door.  Earl’s is the building with the black awnings.  Earl’s, the hardware store and bank seem to be the main businesses in Brook.  When we saw these people go in we followed.  Every table inside had a “reserved” sign on it.  We were able to use one of the tables that had a later reservation time.

I think Earl’s used to be the IGA store, the décor was rustic and just great.

Their special tonight was prime rib.  On Friday night they have all you can eat catfish and perch.  We chose the prime rib for our entrée, it was a good choice.  Even with choosing the smaller portion we both brought half of it home.

One of the choices for appetizers was Scotch Eggs.  Greg had never heard of them but thought they sounded good so he gave them a try.  They are hard boiled eggs covered with sausage and then deep fried.  They were served with a spicy dark mustard.  He declared them delicious.

Looks like things pick up in town once Earl’s opens the door.  The food was definitely good, we’ll look forward to eating here again when we are in northern Indiana.
In addition to our leftovers from Earl’s we brought home wine and cheese.

We’ll be joining daughter-in-law Kim’s family tomorrow for Father’s Day and June birthday celebrations.  I’ll have a new bracelet to wear thanks to granddaughter Braelynn – it goes with just about anything.

I forgot to mention in last night’s post that the grandkids had some toasted marshmallows in s’mores, but grandson Jackson decided that he liked them “raw” right out of the bag better.