Saturday, June 30, 2012


        Well we have been trampling through the woods where ever we go it seems.  There is no telling what you will find you go hiking here.  You can really get lost very quickly in the dense woods of Mark Twain National Forest.   We have it all around us.  Honestly, though I don’t know how much we’ve been on that land or not.  Our first attempt to hike took us to River of Life.  River of Life is a resort like place that is owned by a guy Super D knew as a kid.  We went there one day to say Hi and catch up with him.  He has built these really cool tree top cabins.  They all are up on stilts and have grand views.  He was nice enough to let us go in one someone had just checked out of.  They offer canoeing trips and teach fly fishing on the river with guided tours.  Plus he has several hiking trails on his land.  He encouraged us to go on one to Inspiration Point.  The day was cloudy and not to hot which to me is perfect hiking weather.  So we set off.  We barely made it to the start of the trail about a city block away from where we parked when the rain came pouring down!  We would have kept going too but I had the camera and no way to keep it dry.  By the time we got back to the office where the car was we were soaked through.  I did manage to save the camera by keeping it under my shirt and then Super D’s hat when my shirt was soaked.   We had a good laugh at all of us trying to run in the rain.  Running in jeans that are a wet as if we’d jumped in the river is not an easy task.  We thanked Mr. M for letting us explore his place and promised to come back another time to try again.  It was time to go home and get dry. 

 Super Cool cabins! Awesome views of the river.

Attempting to beat the rain!

Well, Sugarbug that's your shower for today :)

Most of our hiking has taken us to fishing holes.  Athea Spring is a cold spring not far from us that has good fishing.  This day we wanted to get to a different spot on the river for Super D and Sugarbug to fish.  So we crossed a tree that had fallen over the river and hiked through the woods.  It’s amazing what you will find in the middle of the woods.  We saw two very old rusted cars.   I can’t even imagine how on earth they got there.  Maybe a tornado dropped them there years ago.  This little hike we took actually lead us nowhere. We didn’t find a good spot we could fish from but we had fun trying.  The spring is beautiful and many people love to stop and jump in it.  It is VERY cold.  It would have to be a super hot day to get me in there, which may happen as the summer heats up.  So far sugarbug is the only brave one of us that has jumped in, twice.  You don’t stay in the water long.

We had to cross the log below to get to this! hmmm...


See MA! Are we done yet??
When Aunt S took us on our trip we went on a great hike to a water fall. This day was also cloudy and drizzly but no major rain. It made for great hiking weather. I think Aunt S is trying to toughen me up a bit. This hike included a water crossing. There was a creek we had to cross and there was no way to get across without getting wet. So my choices were to A. Just walk across in tennis shoes and get shoes and pants wet. B. Attempt to roll up my pants and just get shoes and sock wet. C. Take off shoes and socks go bare foot and roll up pants. Well, I opted for C. I hate wet shoes and as the water would be cold I figured if I had dry stuff to put on I’d stay warmer. So I took off shoes as did Aunt S. Sugarbug the goof waded through shoes and all not even attempting to roll up her pants and then took her shoes off. I’m not sure what she was thinking. So I went hiking in the Missouri forest barefoot. After getting across the creek it was sandy. And after our little hike we would have to go back across the creek. Aunt S assured me that it was mostly sandy trail and going bare foot would be fine as she was. Well, she was mostly right. I carried my shoes with me (Aunt S had left hers at the crossing) and we went down the trail. It wasn’t as bad as I thought it might be and the waterfall was beautiful and well worth it. We had one more water crossing to get to a small pond area where everyone else fished. ( I still didn’t have my license) I ended up putting my shoes back on loosely to get back as I was just too slow walking barefoot. But it was a fun experience and beautiful hike. I saw all sorts of flowers I haven’t seen before and enjoyed the coolness of the day and drizzle of the rain on tree tops that acted as umbrellas for us. I love going to the remote places that you hardly see anyone at and being lost in nature. I can’t wait to explore more.

Can't go over it, can't go around it, have to go through it.

Just Beautiful!
My proof I went barefoot.

The Path we walked.

Well worth the hike!  Sugarbug and SweetMa!

Super D and Sugarbug.  Everything was too pretty!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

1 Month Anniversary!

                As of April 30, 2012 we have been here 1 month.  We had a great day.  It amazes me how much you can accomplish in a day when not distracted by the TV or computer.  In one day we went fishing at two locations, had ice cream at Dawt Mill to celebrate catching fish and 1 month, cooked a egg and hash brown breakfast,  read a book, got water from the neighbor, cooked dinner, made campfire oat granola, and got all the dishes cleaned and put away.  We still had time to watch a movie.  Super D cut wood and Sugarbug had a blast playing with 2 box turtles we picked up while fishing.

The bass we couldn't keep!

Super D's biggest catch so far.

                We are settling in to life here.  Super D applied for a job and goes in this week to take tests.   We have learned to get by going to town once every two weeks.  If we don’t get what we need then you learn to live without until the next trip.  D’s store carries a lot of things but is expensive.  So we really try not to have to buy food stuff there.  Every day we do something different.  We always try to get something done around the house.  Weekends are usually for visiting friends and family.  Every Day we learn something new. 
campfire granola

                In one month we have accomplished mowing an acres worth of land to live on, setting up a fire pit, cutting and stacking wood, unpacking the house and getting most things in place, moving the trailer into the spot we want, expanding the fire pit, building an outhouse, getting a culvert put in, and laying out plans for building and garden.

.  Yes, I said outhouse.  We now have our very own outhouse to use.  It is an improvement from finding a tree.  Levi ran out of wood but it will have a roof and wood door soon.  Right now the sheet works well.   Sugarbug even called dibs to use it first.          

Our next goals are to build some steps or deck for the trailer. Right now it is a very big step to get into the trailer and needs more steps but we would like to add a deck area. We need to dig post holes to start building a garage like building over the trailer and out the back for space to park cars, storage, and room for Super D to work.  Finish up the outhouse and get the garden going.  Here we are already behind on planting season.  Most people have their tomato plants in the ground already.  Also I am continually trying new things to cook on a campfire to expand what we eat.  We are learning what grows natively that we can use. We have a sassafras tree growing behind our trailer.  We’ve learned sassafras is used to make root beer.  I can’t wait to try it.  We are looking forward to many more adventures!
Our place at 1 month

Fishing Fools

                Super D and Sugarbug have been fishing almost daily.  We rarely go to the river without the poles in the car.  Super D got his fishing license and has been at it almost daily.  We spent several days just hanging out at the river but so far all his efforts haven’t paid off.  Since we haven’t lived here long enough for a resident fishing license Super D got his nonresident one.  Funny thing is the nonresident license here cost just as much as a resident license in Colorado.  Since it is more expensive we just got Super D’s and not mine yet.  Sugarbug is young enough to not need one. 

                I have to say I haven’t minded not being able to fish.  Sitting on the bank of the river watching them, reading, and relaxing is suiting me just fine.  Sugarbug has yet to catch anything but it’s not for lack of trying.  She is pretty good casting her rod and being patient and slowly reeling it in.  Often you can see some of the fish and watch the little ones tail the bait.  Up to this point Super D has only caught 1 fish large enough to bring home. 

                At our swimming hole just down the street from our home is a nice area where the fish are taunting Super D.  One evening while out fishing we watched huge fish jumping out of the water on the other side of the river but not a single one was taking our bait.  So to get to the other side we needed a canoe.  Super D knew just where to get one Mr. B down the road had offered to sell us his.  Now his offer was too good to pass up.  Super D went to get the canoe and back to the river.  Sadly, this canoe ended up having a good size hole in it so you couldn’t sit long it in before your feet were wet.    Super D caught only a too small to eat catfish.  It was time to get serious.  We went to the bait shop and picked up more supplies and Super D got a trot line. This is a long line with several hooks hanging off that you bait and leave in the river for fish and check later.   This time Super D meant business and set the line one night.   The next morning we were to get up early to go check it. It was a long night though as for some reason the dogs started barking in the middle of the night and then it started to thunder and rain. No one got enough sleep and we were not ready to get up early in the rain so we stayed in bed a little longer.  It was still drizzling when we got up so we sent Super D out in the rain to check the line and Sugarbug and I stayed home.  Super D was gone a good while and I thought he would be getting home any minute when he showed up.  I asked if he got any fish and he said I don’t know.  Poor guy had to walk almost 2 miles in the rain because the tire in the truck blew out on his way to the river.  We loaded up tools and drove him back to the truck.  We were all out now so after the tire change in the mud we went to the river to check the line.  Fully expecting to catch something after all that trouble we had no fish.   He had also put in a crawdad trap he borrowed from Mr. R and so we checked it.  One crawdad;  Disappointed we took the one crawdad home anyways and cooked it up for Sugarbug to have her first taste. 
Checking trot lines.

                 Aunt S, Super D’s sister took us on a guided hike/ fish trip.  We went to several places and while they enjoyed the fishing I enjoyed the hiking. (I’ll tell you more about hiking later)  It was a perfect day for fishing as it was overcast and sprinkling rain every once in a while.  They did have several catches but in the end only 2 fish were big enough to bring home and them just barely.    My favorite part of the day was watching Super D attempt to free his lure that had got caught in a tree branch.  Pictures below J  Granted our hikes to the fishing holes took us through several stream crossing so Super D’s feet were already wet but I don’t think he had planned to go swimming.  After getting his lure free he saw another one that someone else must have lost and tried to get it.  In his attempt he flung the lure into the water.  He was glad he at least saved his.   I think it was much too cold this day to be in the river!  I was wearing a long sleeved shirt, but my crazy family was in the water jeans and all this day. 

He was attempting to balance on this tree fallen in the river.

Almost there!

And he's in.  :)  The things this man goes through for a lure!  (They are like $4.00 each)
                Finally, success!  After 3 weeks of fishing we finally had a good fishing day.  Sugarbug caught her first fish, a blue gill. She was so excited she was jumping up and down.  I also got a great picture of what I called her caught a fish smile.  I’ll have to record her whole caught a fish dance next time. She is a good fisher girl and even took her fish of f the hook to show her dad.  She got it over to her dad and was going to put it on our stinger to keep but dropped it and it flopped into the water and was off.  Poor girl chased it in a couple feet.  But her spirit wasn’t dampened at all and she was back at her pole after another one.  In another half an hour she caught a bass.  A good size one but they aren’t in season so we couldn’t keep it.  Super D also had success and caught five fish.  Only one was not a bass and big enough to keep.  Bass comes in season at the end of May and we are looking forward to fishing them.  Hopefully I will have my license by then too.  I was wanting in on the action this day!  I’m sure I’ll have more fishing adventures to share later.
I caught a fish jump
Sugarbug's first catch!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Cute, Creepy, and Beautiful Creatures

                Remember God made all things great and small.  I think the majority of them live in Missouri!  We find new creatures on a daily basis here.  Most of them I don’t know the name for but that’s where Super D comes in not only is he is a walking field guide he fears nothing. This is homeschooling at its best in my opinion. Sugarbug has started a nature journal and can hardly keep up with it. 

There are turtles everywhere.  We have box turtles which are the classic turtle that really can close all the way up in his shell.  Sugarbug kept one she called Earnest and colored his shell until he escaped.  There are red-eared sliders which have red where their ears would go and are a water turtle.  Water turtles that are super cute especially the small ones.  There are also snapping turtles and alligator snappers but we have yet to see either of them up close.   We also haven’t seen any soft shelled turtles that live in the waters around here. 


Now, we also have snakes.  So far we have caught, well Super D has caught, 2 black rat snakes, 2 ring neck snakes, 2 water snakes.  None of these are venomous snakes.  Do you know the difference between venomous and poisonous?  It is poisonous if you have to eat it or touch it to get hurt and venomous if it has to bite you to get hurt.  The black rat snakes are some of the largest snakes in Missouri and can grow very big.  The biggest one Super D caught was 6 feet long and the smaller one was about 4 feet long.  They are not usually very aggressive snakes.   The ring neck snakes are small.  Honestly I’ve seen night crawlers that were bigger.  They are very soft and neat to hold.  At the largest they grow only 12 inches.   We still haven’t looked up what exactly what kind of water snakes Super D caught.  They were both pretty small and non-venomous.  Sugarbug and I are learning to have an eye out for nature around here.  Snakes are pretty common but they usually run from people.  There are several venomous snakes that live in Missouri but we haven’t seen any in nature yet.  We did go to a fair that one of the booths had snakes so we got to see a cotton mouth and rattlers up close so we know what to look for. 

Ring Neck snake

Black Rat Snake

Water Snake

                So far we’ve caught 2 different kinds of lizards.  One is a fence lizard that I named Frank.  The other is either a 5 lined skink or blue tailed skink.  We aren’t sure as they both look really similar.  My family can’t seem to go without its share of creeping pets so the lizards are in a tub that Super D set up for them.  Most of the reptiles we get go in the tub to watch for a while until we let them go or they escape.  (Don’t worry the tub is outside)  
Frank the Fence Lizard


                Sugarbug is a little disappointed that the tub we have won’t contain the frogs she catches.  They are just too good at jumping right out.  Plus those tree frogs can really hang on to just about anything with their little feet.   Sugarbug has gotten pretty good at catching the frogs, but she was a good toad catcher in Colorado too.  There are several species of frogs and we haven’t taken the time to look them up much yet either.  We’ve caught both tree frogs and ones at the river.  We also found a little pool of tadpoles that was drying up and we caught several and put them in the river to save them.

                Sugarbug loves that our neighbor has a horse and pony and there is no fence keeping them from our land.  She often wakes up to see one of them right outside her window.  Super D is less than thrilled at the gifts they sometimes leave close to the house or that the curious horse was knocking his tools around one night.   They have gotten used to us in their pasture and pay us very little mind.  Also in the field behind us is a pack of mules.  They are huge!  I cannot believe how tall they are.   They have learned there is a little girl that will feed them grass and pet them at the fence.  Now if they see anyone at the fence they all come over to get attention.  Sugarbug even cuts grass and puts it in her basket to feed them.   She’s also been known to share an apple with them.  It’s a little girls dream.  Too bad she can’t ride them.  She’s hoping her Aunt J will take her riding on her horses soon. 

                Never in all my life have I seen so many different bugs.  I have seen so many beautiful butterflies, moths, dragonflies, and interesting caterpillars. Yes I said moths, there are moths that are white, some stripped orange, and some green.  There are colorful beetles and ones that are huge.  Some flying bugs I’ve never seen and look like something out of a sci-fi movie.  Spiders of all kinds, those really are quite fascinating at a distance!  Have fun looking up what these are if you want most of them I have no idea. (I don’t have any pictures of some of these.  Some bugs are hard to get on camera) 

This Beetle was large enough to hold.

                This is just a sample of Missouri wildlife.  I’m sure I’ll have many more pictures to share as time goes and we come across even more.  Some creatures we’ve seen we just didn’t have the camera ready take pictures.  I also haven’t been good at remembering the camera on all our outings but I’m getting better!