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.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Mild March weather in Michigan makes for great times outdoors

The title sounds a bit like a headline, but nevertheless, it's true. We have had a remarkably mild March.  The whole winter was much more mild than any I have ever lived to see so far, for that matter.  What this has meant for us is that we have gotten to feed the need to Geocache even more.  I suspect we will likely stop going quite so often when the weather gets really warm, as we will then be busy in the garden, and the bugs will likely give us cause to stop visiting so many remote locations.  Mosquitoes here breed and multiply with great fervor, so they tend to discourage much time spent in overgrown and moist areas like many we have been visiting as of late.  After about 3 weeks off the geocaching trail, we made our first night time find (cache #21 for us) on 3/9/12.  It was an easy park and grab, part of a series we are familiar with, so we knew right where to look to pick it up.  Even so, it was fun to log our first night time find.  It made us all want to try caching similar hunts at night again soon!

#22 hidden
The next day, we headed back out, without the little one in tow this time, to log some more finds.  Shane decided it would be fun to try to log 10 finds in one day, so we set out to make that happen.  While looking for a location to focus on, I spotted one very close to home that appeared to have a freshly placed travel bug in it. We had never found one in a cache, so we decided to head directly there before grabbing a bite to eat for breakfast.

2 trackables! :-)
Under some rotten bark, Shane found the cache (#22) with not one, but two trackables.  We looked them both up using the app on our iphones and learned about the goals for each one.  We chose the one that most fit our ability to move it along.  It started in Wisconsin, and had moved through a few states, so I thought I would take with me next month to Ohio and drop it in a cool cache there to move it on its quest.

Having chosen an area to cache in for the day, we began our journey. On the way, we stopped for #23. It was another straight forward park and grab, but still a find for our log. When you mark that you have found a cache on the website, it places a smiley like this  on the map you see each time to denote those you have already found.  We have no qualms about adding some easy smileys in among the tougher ones!

#24 was little!
They can be anywhere!
When we arrived at our decided upon area (there were numerous caches fairly closely placed), we began our quest to complete ten in one day.  Find #24 was very small, located beneath some rocks.  Many times, the best way to hunt is to look for things that belong, but just seem a little out of place.  These rocks made sense, in relation to their surroundings, but they just struck us as a little odd in their placement.  A closer look revealed why!

We got back in the car and headed to an area that had about 5 caches clustered in a short distance.  We figured we would hit as many as we could, depending on terrain and muggle presence.  #25 was placed out of sight, but its camouflage made it very obvious.  I did not get a hiding spot pic of it since we were spotted by some other newbie cachers while signing the log.  I tucked it in my pocket and asked if they would like to see me place it or wander off to return and find it themselves.  They chose the latter option, so I replaced it and we boogied on to the next spot, where we found our #26.

#26 hidden
The cachers we had run into had just signed the log at this find, which was cleverly making use of a peanut butter jar.  This one was smartly labeled with a sticker identifying it as a geocache in the event that a muggle should pick it up and wonder what it was.

#26 was labeled as a geocache
The area was closely located to a factory, so the traffic is much heavier than areas we prefer to hunt.  The descriptions of the caches indicated this was the case and that the owners and security were well aware of the presence of the caches and that hunters would not likely be hassled, so we found and logged them anyway!

#27 was a thermos covered in
electrical tape
We moved our car to a new parking area and began on foot for another set closely located to one another.  The first one we happened upon was, again, being stalked by the same folks we had bumped into earlier.  We teamed up with them for quite some time without luck. We exchanged Geocaching team names, so we would know one another when we see the names on logs, and offered to team up to cache on occasion as well. Metallic Pig was their team name.  The team consisted of a mother and her teenage son.  Separately, we hunted the next nearest cache, our find #27.

Proud discovery of #28
It was beginning to cool off as evening was approaching, so we started to head in the direction of home, with stops along the way, of course.  We had not yet found our ten!  #28 was cleverly hidden  under the base of a light post on the back side of a pharmacy.  I had recently read about this being a popular place to hide caches, so I gave Shane the tip as he got out of the car to investigate.

Our next find was similarly placed at a local grocery chain store.

Geocaches come in all shapes, sizes and creative containers.  The smallest we have found to date was our next, #30 (9 for the day).

It was magnetic, stuck to a sign post at the end of a road, behind the sign.  The log was super small and a challenge to sign, but OH SO worth it.  What a fun find this one was.  While we were there, we noticed a QR code stuck to the back of the sign.  Shane scanned it and learned that it had been placed there by the cache owner.  It linked to an application that had to be downloaded, so we passed on it.  It did, however give us an idea. (More on that in a future post)

As I said, it was getting cool, so we made one more stop for the evening in an attempt to pick up our #10 for the day and #31 for the record.  Scio Township (our area for the day) has loads of caches.  They also have LOTS of parks for public enjoyment.  This find was fairly quick (using our "geosense" to find it).  The problem we encountered here was the litter.  There were items on the ground here that lead us to believe that this park is more often used for less family friendly, "seedy" or "racey" activities.  It was distressing to see.  We were immediately thankful the little one had not accompanied us on the trip as she has a habit of picking up things to ask what they are... regardless of what they are.  That would have been a not so fun end to a great day of caching.   

All in all, it was a marvelous day out in nature and time very well spent together.  It was history making for us;  our first 10 cache day and we found our first travel bug to boot!

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