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Cape Lookout

One of my favorite places to be is on Cape Lookout island. It is part of the barrier islands that line the coast of North Carolina called the Outer Banks. Cape Lookout can only be accessed by ferry and no one has lived here since the early 1900s when the island was taken by the government and turned into a national park.

The Cape Lookout lighthouse stands tall above the seas and once provided a helpful warning to sailors along the treacherous jagged shores which were referred to as the graveyard of the Atlantic. Hundreds of ships crashed into the crazy shore line of North Carolina until all the lighthouses were constructed.

The clear blue crystal water can be seen by climbing to the top of the lighthouse. Out of all of the lighthouses I have climbed, no view has compared to this one.

Seeing all the little islands and sandbars standing out against the blue water makes me think I’m someplace tropical.

Cape Lookout is known as one of the best places to find shells. My first time here I came home with over ten giant conch shells.  I still don’t really know what to do with them all, but there they sit, out in the yard, a reminder of my favorite place.

I also like how uninhabited it is. It’s always possible to find a spot on the beach where not another person is in sight.

As soon as I leave, I start dreaming of when I can come back.

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Chloride Ghost Town

In north western Arizona, about an hour and a half outside of Las Vegas, is the little almost forgotten town of Chloride.

Chloride was once a busy mining town with over 5000 residents, but over the years that number steadily declined to around just a few hundred and Chloride was on it’s way to becoming a ghost town. For whatever reason though, this town was never completely abandoned and still has a couple stores, a restaurant and a motel.

It’s a picturesque dusty little town, full of eclectic desert character. We stopped at the general store for some snacks to fuel us on our way to the Grand Canyon.

Chloride was a fun place to stop.  I’d love to spend more time there exploring one day.

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Unexpected Mushrooms

It had been too long since we last took a walk. Wanting something different we decided on a nature trail in a park north of town. It was a park I had spent many unwanted hours at  years ago for home school events I wanted no part of.  I hadn’t returned since.  But I decided I might as well replace my bad, semi repressed memories with some good ones.

Rain had been falling every day for weeks but this was the first day the sun had been out for more then a few hours, but it was still very humid and muggy.  I saw this tree at the beginning of the trail, a sign of the mushroom sightings to come.

Moss was everywhere, covering fallen trees and branches with a fuzzy green coating. And around nearly every turn, a different type of mushroom, some I had never seen before.

Also present, were millions of bugs.  I unfortunately had forgotten to bring bug spray so there were times where we raced down the trail at full speed, trying to outrun clouds of mosquitoes and ominous buzzing sounds.

As we neared the end of the trail, we spotted an incredible sight.

GIANT MUSHROOM.

We almost got caught in the rain after this, but luckily is passed over pretty quickly.

 

This trail was a lot of fun and I can’t wait to go back. And maybe I’ll even remember the bug spray!

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A Night in a Wigwam

When I was planning a trip to the desert and clicking around on google maps to get an idea of places to go, I saw the Wigwam village in Arizona and knew it had to be part of the trip.  I had heard of this place before, and seen pictures, but was never exactly sure where it was.
This Wigwam Motel was part of a chain of motels built in the 30s and 40s. There were seven total; two in Kentucky, and one in Alabama, Florida, Arizona, Louisiana, and California. Unfortunately all but three of them survived, but they are now on the national register of historic places. The surviving ones are in Cave City Kentucky, San Bernardino California, and Holbrook Arizona.
This one, in Holbrook, is just a straight shot from my house down the interstate in my backyard!
The wigwam village was the final stop at the end of a long day which started at Monument Valley included a long drive through the Petrified Forest and then a trip to Two Guns Ghost Town.
This was the first day that I really experienced the crazy desert wind, and wished I had brought something to keep the hair out of my face.
Each Wigwam was paired with it’s own vintage car. It felt like stepping back in time.
We stayed in Wigwam #8.
The interior was cozy.  Nothing too fancy, but it was a blast to stay in this funny little Motel.

It was a frigid night, but luckily there was a nice heater inside our wigwam.  We awoke in the morning to find the lightest dusting on snow on the ground!  Snow in Arizona!  I couldn’t believe it.  But soon I was about to see even more…

I am dreaming up trips that involve staying at the other two wigwam motels.  Kentucky is close by, and I still can’t get California out of my mind.

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Cat Photos Friday: Boxing

The cats are always happy when a new box appears in the house.  Jeeves thought this one was a pretty good size to hang out in, and work on cleaning his foot.

But then Chester decided he wanted to also hang out in the box. Jeeves didn’t think there was enough room to share.

Jeeves weird upside down ninja moves didn’t work, and he soon fled the scene.

But luckily there was a cozier box nearby for him to squeeze into.

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A Desert Painted

Parts of northern Arizona had reminded me of what Mars might look like.  But upon entering the Petrified Forest and seeing the Painted Desert, this area really looked like we had just been transported over to the red planet.

The bright sun gave a false impression of a warm day. The air was cold, and the zero humidity made it even colder.  The wind was unreal. Pulling the breath out of your lungs and not giving it back. It certainly felt like another planet.

I wanted to hike down the trails, and be immersed in the strange landscape, but the elements seemed too rough. So we just drove along the road, rarely passing another car.  Stopping at the overlooks, mostly alone on this strange red part of our planet.

I’ll never forget how weird the desert looked.

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Weekly Journal: Ouch

My Venus Fly Trap, hanging out in the window at work, watching the rain that’s been here for so many days. It was a strange work week, with lots of unnecessary drama that I have been trying to avoid, and other strange news which had me feeling irate.

Some difficult study at work caused me to injure my wrist, so I used a rubber band to secure this cold pack, while I attempt to use my left hand to do things.

The rain finally stopped in time for the weekend so we have been spending plenty of time outdoors.

In one week I’ll be at the beach! I can hardly wait!

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I made a mini bog garden, and you can too!

I really like plants, and really don’t like bugs, so I’ve always been interested in plants that eat bugs! One day I decided to make a little mini bog garden and I recorded what I did in case anyone else is also interested in making a little garden that eats bugs.

Supplies

Carnivorous plants such as: Venus Fly Trap, Pitcher Plant, Sundew Plant

Peat Moss

Sphagnum Moss

Sand

Pebbles

Shallow pot that holds water

Extra plastic pots

Distilled water

The first step is to find some carnivorous plants. I choose a mature Sundew plant from a local nursery, and Pitcher Plant / Venus Fly Trap bulb kit from Lowes. I also bought a mature Venus Fly Trap from Lowes to bring to work.

Carnivorous plants thrive in poor soil and fertilizer and minerals will actually harm them! It is important for them to be in low mineral soil and only use distilled water. To keep these plants happy, a mixture of 3:1 Peat Moss to Sand works best. Also it is not 100% necessary for them to eat bugs.  They will grow just fine in a bug free environment. But I’m hoping mine will rid my home of any rouge gnats or flies that might make their way inside..

Because these plants live in marshes and bogs, a shallow pot that could hold water was chosen so the planter pots could sit inside and always stay nice and humid.

The plants were placed inside the shallow outer pot, and then three empty plastic pots were put inside to avoid the whole thing getting filled with rocks and being really heavy. The planter pots were just a little bit shorter than the outside pot, so they wouldn’t be too visible when the rocks were added.

The pots were covered with pebbles and some sphagnum moss to give it a natural look. Then distilled water was poured into the planter pots and into the bottom of the outer pot.

I wanted to try making distilled water myself. It was fun, but easier just to buy it!

This is the Venus Fly Trap that will be coming to work with me!

Both bog gardens are doing well so far. I can’t wait for the little pitcher plant and fly trap to grow big and start catching bugs!