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, April 5, 2012

Just a fun Friday

Another beautiful day greeted us on March 16.  Lexi had a half day of school, so Shane picked her up and spent the day with her until I could get out of work.  They washed the car, ran an errand or two and set out to log a couple smileys.  They discovered a sweet little natural area nestled between office complexes and searched for the cache that was supposed to be hidden there.

Lexi really enjoyed the opportunity to sit and admire the view.  It was a marshy area with lots of "locals" (ducks, geese and other critters).

#35 - It was all her!
They searched for quite some time with no luck, so they decided to move on to another hunt and to come back with me in tow to help out.  Lexi's special skills came in handy at the next stop.  It was in a place that required a small person to maneuver over some rocks UNDER a sign.  She was extremely excited to make the find herself.  Find #35 goes to her!

By the time they logged this one, it was time to pick me up at work, so they returned to the office and we headed out to try the missed cache from earlier in the day as a team of three.  I was so surprised to see what a pretty place this was and that so many birds had made a home of the area.

The geese surely seemed that they were not only used to the human activity, but were also quite accustomed to being fed.  They followed us up and down the boardwalk honking and "muttering" in frustration when we did not drop treats into the water for them.

It was a really neat experience to see them so close and really be able to appreciate the delicate beauty of their coloring that seems so drab from a distance.

Even with the additional set of eyes, we were unable to locate this particular cache and decided to move on for the day.  There are so many in this area, it just seemed smarter to start fresh another time.  It is always possible when we are unable to find a cache that something has recently happened with it such as removal for maintenance by the owner, animal damage or someone found it that didn't know what it was and took it.

Our next finds took us to a lovely trail along the Rouge River.  The first was located beneath the stairs as we entered the trail area.  It's amazing how many of these caches are located in places you might walk past every day and never know they are there until you are searching for them.

"Hello down there!"
The second took us down river a bit.  We came across these large metal tubes that had been dumped in the area at some point and knew we must be close, given the name of the cache we were searching for.  Lexi thought they were super neat and had to play a little came of "telephone" with her Daddy before we made the find inside another tube nearby.


She was over the moon that it was an ammo case, as she had just found one days before and she knew how to open it all by herself.

The area was simply beautiful on this warm spring day.  We took our time strolling down the trail, taking in the scene and even resting a while on the bench that sat alongside the river.

I, personally, was thrilled to find this place as I believe it will be a lovely after work stop this summer to get away from the grind, relax and take a few pictures.  I am confident that there is not likely an unattractive time of year there.

Family fun
Geocaching has really become a phenomenal way for us to spend time as a family and really get to know one another.  We play and laugh and have a marvelous time just being ourselves.  As bonuses, we get outdoors, get exercise and don't have to worry about what it is costing us because it it totally free!

Beautiful girl
I am careful to bring my camera along whenever possible so we can photograph our finds, clever hides and beautiful places we see.  But, I also get to capture fun family moments and record our activities so we can come back to them later and remember all the memories we have made together.

Race you to the top...
Sometimes we pose for shots in pretty places, but mostly, I love to capture those spontaneous moments of pure fun and excitement, like a friendly race up the stairs to get back to the car!

By this time in the day, we were all getting a little hungry, so we decided to stop hunting for a bit and grab a bite to eat. We found a great Coney and refueled our systems.  We took that time to regroup and decide if/where we would cache or if we would just head home for the night.
It was decided that our best course of action would be to head home, change our clothes, tend the animals and head out to grab what we could before dark.

We headed first to one we thought would be an easy park and grab, not far from home.  We hunted all over creation but did not locate it.  DNFs (Did Not Find) are a fact and part of caching, so we didn't let it get us down.  We headed out to another that appeared to be a park and grab and logged #38 in the area of Judd and Crane Roads.

Clever hide on #39
Next we found ourselves in yet another local cemetery we never knew existed.  The cache owner led us to the grave of her grandparents and gave a clue about where the cache was hidden.  We looked, and looked and looked, and were about to give up for the day on this one when I read the clue aloud one last time and suggested that Shane look under the stepping stone that seemed overly large for the small planter sitting atop it.  Lo and behold, there it was, buried under the stone waiting to be found!  This is one hiding technique we may have to use ourselves when we decide to hide one of our own.

#40 almost stumped us
Evening was falling, but we weren't ready to quit just yet, so we put on our jackets (it was also getting cooler) and kept at it.  We struggled a bit again with one hidden near a guard rail, but ultimately found our target to log #40.

Hiding spot for #41
Our #41 was located in yet another cemetery and was almost visible from the car.  Some of these are getting easier for us as we know where they are likely to be now in certain settings.

CITO bottle crammed full of plastic
bags to use to pick up garbage
This one contained something I found to be especially cool.  It was a CITO bottle.  CITO stands for Cache In, Trash Out and is often referenced in the description of a cache to indicate areas that are particularly strewn with litter and need the helping hand of cachers while they are in the area to pick up a bit of it and remove it to beautify the area.  This pill bottle has inspired us to develop a series of caches we will place.  More on that in a post to come...

#42 right as night fell
As darkness began to fall, we made the decision to head home. With pressure from a very excited little "treasure hunter," we agreed to one more.  The one we found was located in a small county park that also houses a field for flying remote control airplanes.  The cache description told of an adorable children's book and, as it turns out, the book is actually in the cache to be read by those that find it.  We were unable to do so on this day because, as you can see, it was almost totally dark when we found it.  We hurried in, located the cache, logged it and got out of the park before we were caught violating any park rules about being out at dusk.

We were not only tired, but deeply satisfied at how many smileys we were able to add to our list on a pleasant March afternoon.  It was time to go home, put on our pajamas and get some rest.  What a FUN way to spend a Friday.  After all, who doesn't look forward to the end of the work week? :-)

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