A bit about us...

We are a modern family of three, living on less than two acres with a 3,000 square foot garden that meets our produce needs and allows us to share with friends and neighbors. Our laying flock of chickens seems to expand each year as we raise chicks each Spring to replace older hens. This blog is more of a journal, if you will, for us to chronicle and share our experiences in the yard, garden and kitchen. It is our hope that along the way a few folks might learn something, be entertained, or simply enjoy sharing in our stories and the lessons we learn on a daily basis. I named the blog after the times when I am the happiest, when I am elbow deep in earth.

Monday, April 30, 2012

A little pick me up

As always, be aware, this post may contain spoilers.  In most cases, we try to keep things vague and non-specific, but occasionally there may be pictures or descriptors that give some secrets away.  That said, enjoy the read about what was intended to be a quick trip out to lift my mood!

#82 was found near this area
Friday, April 6, we were off work for Good Friday, and I found my self in a bit of a funk. I couldn't seem to get my mood to match the gorgeous day outdoors, so Shane suggested we go out and grab a few caches as that always seems to fix it!
Geocaching offers me an escape from whatever is worrying me at the time.  If work is tough, or money is tight, it all melts away when we are out in nature on the hunt. We see beautiful places, we clear our heads and life finds some perspective. This day was precisely what I needed!  We started out near home with a guardrail find and discovered a serene piece of road that was therapy for the soul. There were remnants of some sort of structure, and a beautiful bit of the Saline River to admire from the road.

Wonder what it was?!
Looking into the water, we could see what looked like a piece of heavy machinery that we hypothesize may have fallen into the water when they built the road over the river and was just never retrieved. We stood for such a long time and just took in the scene before getting back on our way. As we departed, we noted that we had been there for nearly half an hour, standing along side a stretch of dirt road, not far from home, or far from town, and not one car had passed by. It was divine!

As we moved up the road toward the next find, we spooked some of the locals into a sprint. If they hadn't moved, we likely would not have ever seen them. It's just amazing how well they blend into the surroundings, considering their size.

Our next find took us to a neat cemetery with iron gates that I actually had to get out of the car to open in order to enter the premises.
They were heavy and because, I suspect, they are old, they were no longer level either.  The iron looked so pretty against the blue of the afternoon sky.

Our #83 was not so well hidden in the crotch of a tree.  It was not visible from the path, but from behind the tree it was pretty obvious where it was hidden.

The tree itself was neat, in that it had a deep cavity that something was clearly living in... We pondered what it might be.

The surrounding area was beautiful, with wild phlox in bloom around many of the trees.

Someone had placed a handmade marker on a grave.  I took time to read some of the story that had been written about a well-loved man. I can only presume that the family could not afford an actual marker and that this was the solution in lieu of a headstone.

The trees in this cemetery were old and very unique, with few being those you might commonly see in landscaping. The bark was so interesting to look at.

The entire cemetery captivated me (as you may well be able to tell).  Not only was it naturally beautiful and emotionally touching, but it appeared that someone was working hard to preserve the history there as well.  Many of the stones were broken and had been braced with steel and/or painted with some sort of tough, heavy material that seemed to seal them.  This was awesome to see, as we often see older cemeteries with stones falling apart and out of their places, as was the case at our next find.

We entered the cemetery, reading the description for what would be our find #84.  It told of the tragedy of a family buried there that had lost 6 children (ages 5-14) within 7 days of one another in 1854.  As we walked toward the GZ, we found a whole host of stones without places, just leaning against a tree. This was in sharp contrast to the last one we had been at, just minutes before.

The tree holding our #84
It was heartbreaking to think of all the loved ones who seemed forgotten by their descendants, so much that when their stones began to fall, no one was around to make them right again.  It made me think of my grandparents and how much they drilled into me the need to take care of their plots when they passed on, and the respect owed to those who came before us.

Caching therapy was working as we looked on the map for more to seek.  We passed this great corn crib, in use, and I had to snap a picture.  Two large dogs came out quickly to remind us to move along.  But it was worth the look to appreciate that agriculture is still a way of life here.

Our journey took us to another cemetery for our find #85.  This is likely the best kept one we have ever been in.  Everything was well manicured and even the roads were paved with freshly sealed blacktop.  The find was a joint effort, as I spotted it through this arborvitae and Shane made the grab.

The container was cute, but wet and broken.  We logged its need for maintenance while appreciating that this was set out in memory of the cache owner's father, in the same place he is buried.

We decided to cache our way toward Clinton, the nearest town to our hunt path.  We stopped for one that hung quietly in an oak tree along side the road to log our 86th smiley.  The log contained a clue for another cache, so we noted it for later and headed out for another find. Since we had already cached most of the day away, we figured we may as well keep at it, although hunger was beginning to remind us how long we had been away from home.

Redeemed at our #87
A quick park and grab at a traffic sign counted as our #87.  This was one my mom and I had attempted last year on our second or third day out caching and we simply did not know about magnetic nanos or to look inside a sign like this.  Experience has taught us more and so it was a quick find this time.

Farm Lane hide was our find #88
As we made our way into town, we noticed another hide tucked in on a farm lane.  It was such a pretty setting.  As we walked about the GZ, I noticed some bark that seemed out of place and made the find.

Front of "Hitch'n Across the World"
We stopped alongside the road for a quick grab (#89) that turned out to be a rather large container with a trackable inside.  We dropped off "Didido", the trackable we had with the large plush frog hitchhiker (follow his adventures here) and picked up "Hitch'n Across the World," a new kind of geocoin (new to us, as we had never seen one other than the round one we had). We checked the goal, logged the find and got back on our way.  If you want to see where this one has been, follow it here.

We were ready to sit down and fill our bellies, so we decided to stop looking at the map and headed straight for the grub! After a satisfying meal, we made a failed attempt on a cache hidden outside the Coney we dined at, but are sure we will catch it next time around.  While eating, we scanned the map for more in the area, as there was still daylight left, and the day would not be productive if we went home at this point anyway! :-)

Stage 1 of #90
We found ourselves in a nearby cemetery for a nice multistage and a history lesson.  The stages were surprisingly close together, but we enjoyed it nonetheless!

The find at Stage 2
It was a clever hide and taught us to really think through the hides, they may really be as easy as they seem!

This cemetery, as many are, was just beautiful.  This family crypt got us thinking about how things used to be done and how families celebrated one another long ago, revering those who passed.

Unique container, surprisingly dry,
our lesson learned and find #91
Our history lesson came from a cache owner that we often learn tidbits from.  His name is Corixid.  This time, he reminded us that there used to be post offices in places that no longer exist. They were small and never made it into the Zip Code system before fading out of use and often out of memory.  I never thought about those places until this day.  He has hidden several of these "Unzipped" treasures and we look forward to finding more of them and learning along the way.

We stopped to buy a drink and to use the facilities at a nearby restaurant sporting golden arches, and slipped out of town to pick off a few more finds before heading home for the night.  Find #92 was beginning to stump us a bit when I found it using my head. Seriously, I nearly beaned myself in the head with it.

On the map, I could see that we could go around one country block and pick up several while making a loop that would point us toward home.  Since we were getting very close to our milestone 100, we counted off a few to hunt and then quit for the night.  Shane and I made the decision to stop at 98 finds so we could reach our benchmark as a family while we had Lexi for Easter on Sunday.

An unusual container for a
guardrail hide, our #93
As we turned off the main road to make our loop, we stopped for a guardrail hide, only to be surprised that it was not the typical magnetic hide, nor was it the clever bolt we saw before, but a micro instead.

Further down our dirt road path, we found this collection of signs advertising some land for sale by owner. There were no hides here, only unique, entertaining, and artistic real estate marketing.

This drive around the country block included a small series of three hides in trees.  We came to #2 first, which was our find #94.  I logged the smiley and scooted to the car, always in fear of being caught by muggles, even on a dirt road. *Since our find, this cache has been archived (removed) because the land has been sold.*

Shane, not dancing, with #95
I giggled at the name of our next quest, as it was called "Mighty Pole Dancer."  Shane declined to do a sexy dance so I could take pictures.  Such a spoil-sport! ;-)  He opted instead to pose with a silly expression.

Our find #96
#1 of the tree hides was next on our route. It was hung conveniently on a loop that I suppose has been in this tree for years and years.  At least I hope so.  I can't imagine they would have driven it into the tree for the cache to hang from.

#97, 3 more to 100!
The last of the tree series was suspended by a carabiner (D ring) from a little tiny branch that was jutting out of the back side of the tree.  It was a quick find, log and go.

The last hunt of the day (if you are still with me, WHEW! You are a real sport... thanks for reading!), took us to yet another cemetery.  It was poorly camouflaged (common theme) and somewhat exposed.  We logged our find and hid it better than we found it before heading home.

#98, another Spirit Quest
What was intended to be a quick trip out to lift my spirits turned into an all day adventure together and it really did the trick.  It was essentially a free day for us, given that we were off on a weekday, so we felt fantastic about the way we spent our time off.

Words can't describe how cool it is that Shane and I can live together, carpool to work, work together and even spend our days off together and just never get sick of being in the company of one another. This mild and relaxing April day reminded me just how lucky I really am.

Happy Caching!  If you really read this far and want to read other posts about our geocaching adventures, click here.

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