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.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

St. Patty's Day hunt for treasure

Find #43
As always, WARNING, this post may contain spoilers.  I do my best to conceal the actual location and name of caches to keep from giving too much away, but beware as you read on: :-)

Shane was presented with the opportunity to golf with a coworker from his department St. Patty's Day morning.  OF course, he jumped at the chance.  He rarely spends time "out with the guys" like that, so I was all for it.  I had some errands to run, including a manicure appointment, so I just took the little monkey with me and started the day.  When we were done with our nails, we ran a couple more errands and Lexi thought it would be a good idea to do some "treasure hunting" until Daddy was done "playing with his friends." :-)  Sure do love that little girl!  I agreed, so we headed out.
I spotted one that I thought would be an easy park and grab for Lexi, so we drove up to this light post. I was wrong.  It was not at the base like I expected.  We couldn't find it quickly, so we took a few minutes for a bathroom break and returned to take a second look. With more careful inspection, we found it in that metal box that was hanging on the side of the pole, in a magnetic key holder.  Sneaky! We logged our find and moved to a less populated area to avoid the prying eyes of "muggles."

No camo, what-so-ever
Not every cache is hidden smartly or even camouflaged in any way. Most are, but our find #44 was one of the exceptions.  We walked up on it strewn about the ground, wet and disheveled. We signed the log, put it back together and hid it back in the tree we assumed it was supposed to be in.  I can't fathom how this one has been there as long as it has, given how obvious the shiny gold tin container was.  I most definitely marked this one in need of owner maintenance and we were on our way.

Just as we found #45
I read about one other cache that was hidden in this little ballpark area, so we set out to make the find on it as well.  The logs indicated that it would be a much easier find in the spring or winter, when things are not as overgrown, so we knew we should make an attempt before the season progressed any further.  It was placed in an area with a high population of frogs, as the cache title implied.  This time of year was perfect for hearing their sounds, and it provided me with an opportunity to teach Lexi a little about life cycle and seasonal reproduction in amphibians.  Great stop!  This too was somewhat out in the open, so Lexi added some pine needles and twigs before we left.

She thoroughly enjoyed the walk through this park and was eating up the chance to get a bit of sunshine in March. (I must say, I really did too!)  Having found the only two in this particular park, we logged our finds and headed back to the car. We learned of another in a small plot of preserved prairie in the industrial section of town, so we headed there next.  We hunted with no luck, but Shane joined us there to continue an afternoon of caching.

#46 was in here
He had been out in the sun all morning and part of the afternoon and his red cheeks and arms showed it.  Late lunch fit the bill for all of us, then we headed back out for a a few more finds.  Another local park housed a creative hide in the woods, where we happened upon two trackables. The cache was tucked inside a birdhouse, blocking the opening so no birds would accidentally nest in it and be disturbed by cachers.

2 to choose from, which could we help?
In this cache was our first geocoin, and a travel bug with a hot goal.  Since most trackable items are sent out into the world with goals (i.e. to visit every state, to go to ground zero, to visit 1000 caches, etc.), we try to look at the goals before taking them to be sure we can help them on their way.  If we can't, we leave them behind for someone else to move along toward the goal.

The travel bug in this cache was called Del Sol, and it's goal was to get somewhere tropical.  Since we wouldn't really even be heading south anytime soon, we decided to leave it behind.  (If you want to see where it has been and where it is headed, you can track it at http://www.geocaching.com/track/travelbug.aspx by entering its code: ZVFHZA.)
The geocoin, however, called Cursed Pirate's Booty Geocoin, was released 1/9/09 with the goal of visiting as many caches as possible.  We could help with that!  We were very close to our 50th find, so we decided we would take it with us to a few caches and leave it in the 50th for someone else to find, commemorating our achievement.  Something to note: this coin was surprisingly heavy and ornate.  It now makes sense why these coins are so much more expensive than the TBs.  TBs run about 5-6 dollars, whereas the coins range more like 10-13 dollars.  I didn't write down the code from the coin, but you can track it here: http://www.geocaching.com/track/details.aspx?tracker=TB2CRBT.

Next, we headed back to more populated areas to look for a couple more.  Our find #47 was cleverly tucked inside a fence post with no cap, hanging from another piece of the fence.  I have learned to explore items that look out of place or loose, and this time it paid off. Shane had thoroughly combed the area for other likely spots before I made this find.

There appeared to be one more at another edge of the same parking lot we were searching in, so we wandered that way.  This area was terribly full of garbage and would be a great place to spend some time CITO.   The little cache we spotted here was nestled into a tree and hanging from a handcrafted wire cradle.

Its log was smartly attached to a bent paper clip, allowing for easier re-rolling and also easier extraction from the tube.  We continue to gather great ideas for cache containers, placement and logs as we add smileys to our map.

As litter-ridden and rural as this area was, there was still some striking beauty in the area.  These thistle remains from last year were just beautiful with the brilliant blue sky as their backdrop.  Me being the camera fool I am, I couldn't resist a shot or two before we left.

As we were walking back to the car, Lexi informed me that every man hole cover she encountered "required" a dramatic bow.  We shall see if she remembers this as she continues to encounter them on our hunts. :-)

This had been a wonderful afternoon of caching, but we decided to stop at find #48 for the day and head home to accomplish a few things before bed time crept up on us.  We would need to go out soon to hit the magical round number 50!

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