Thursday, November 28, 2013

Cold Enough for Snow

The turkey was cooking, the Turkey Trot was run, but football wasn't on yet so we decided to make our own snow scene.  There was no snow but it was surely cold enough for it!

We had a nice little hike through the woods.  Had trouble finding the snowman. (We never did.) But found another that was cleverly hidden!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Monday, November 25, 2013

A Tribute to Pappa Bear

My very first letterbox find was Pappa Bear's Woody on January 1, 2007. I was hooked. I loved everything about the hike, the box, and the carving. I soon found most all of Pappa Bear's other hidden gems and became a big fan of his. Through finding his boxes,  he inspired me and taught me a lot about letterboxing. 

Back in 2011, Pappa Bear posted to his blog that he was moving and pulling all of his letterboxes in the area. I didn't want to see this happen since his boxes meant so much to me. So I asked if I could adopt his letterboxes along the rail trail and in Codorus State Park. He agreed!

Since then these boxes have needed some attention. I was able to band-aid things here and there in Codorus State Park but lately a complete overhaul seemed to be in order.  I hated to just retire all of his boxes. They were along a great stretch of trail, in a beautiful park, and I wanted to salvage what I could. So I came up with a plan and enlisted some help. 

An original Pappa Bear box in need of repair

My local hiking pal, Blue Delft, makes beautiful logbooks. She eagerly agreed to help out. Several boxers, even a few not from our area, stepped up to help too by carving some wonderful images.  Thanks Chunna, turkeyfeathers, Bungalow Boxer, and Janila!

Finally,  the plan was in place and Blue Delft set out with me to salvage what we could while weaving a tribute to Pappa Bear around his trail and clues, trying to stay true to his theme, original clues, trail, and carvings. 

Looking stunning in our blaze orange
Blue Delft did an amazing job with the logbooks.  Just wait until you see what she did with the logbook at the Thanks box.  Such a nice tribute.

I ended up retiring the I'm Hungry When Camping series and salvaging the Camp Coffee stamp.  With a new logbook, box, and location, I listed it along with the new series.  I know that this isn't technically correct since the carving already existed under a different listing but it seemed like the simplest and most logical way to do it.  

A final word to Pappa Bear: Thanks for the inspiration and entertainment you have provided to all of us central PA boxers over the years.  We hope that someday you can come back to visit, camp, and experience the tribute. We give thanks to you!  A surprise that's appropriate for this Thanksgiving 2013!  Enjoy!

Saturday, October 26, 2013

The Ofrenda

As I was researching ideas for Halloween costumes online, I came across some inspiration from Martha Stewart from her last minute Halloween ideas department.  If there's one thing I am all about, it is last minute. 

Anyway, I got to thinking about potatoes and how they so nicely lend themselves to the shape of skulls.  And skulls are cool. Which led me to noticing how nicely yams lend themselves to making ghosts and celery kinda could look like a marigold and I had beets in my fridge anyway so I figured I'd throw them in as well.  So veggie carving I did.  Primitive but unique. 

So then I needed a box or container to put all of them in. I began looking into the Day of the Dead celebration and learned that according to Wikipedia, "Tradition that is connected with the holiday include building private altars called ofrendas honoring the deceased using sugar skullsmarigolds, and the favorite foods and beverages of the departed." One thought led to another and before I knew it I had fashioned a makeshift ofrenda with carved root vegetables - patata, batata, apio, and remolacha.

I made the series available at the Dia de los Muertos event with very limited availability - after all the carving medium was perishable!  I did have a logbook but it was possibly overlooked.

Thanks to everyone for the nice and supportive feedback.  I'm glad you enjoyed something a little different.  I had fun putting it together!

P. S. Yes, I do realize that celery is not exactly a root vegetable, but who really cares? Que sera sera.

Celebrating Day of the Dead...Ralph Style!

Ralph Spoilsport hosted the best Dia de los Muertos celebration!  It was a great day full of outstanding event boxes and inky fingers. I was really pleased to meet Ralph himself.  It's always great to put a face with a name.

So, I got there a little early to set up the ofrenda. As I was getting settled, I ran into Janila and Crayola Posse. Boy was it great to see them!  It had been years since I had seen them last. As we took our places, I got reacquainted with Dogs with Wings and a little later another pal, Blue Delft, rolled in with her partner in crime, idlemoon.

Once we all got going, it was a frenzy of fantastically creepy and day of the dead themed event boxes and otherwise.  Ralph had done a truly amazing job of crafting some real gems.  His Carnival of Lost Souls was clever, unique, and darkly humorous and his Welcome Foolish Mortals had a very special twist.  And who doesn't love Tim Burton? And if all of Ralph's creations weren't enough, there were plenty more goodies to be had.  Kaypendragon's Sugar Skull (I'm sorry I didn't get to meet you!), Snowbaby's How many licks (love the adorable themed tin), Treasurehona's beautiful La Calavera Feliz 2013, and Popeye's impressive Banzai!!! were just a few of my favorites.

Blue Delft must've heard my stomach growl because just as I was starting to feel hungry, she offered me some windmill cookies.  After stamping in some more I had a quick bowl of mac and cheese to recharge my batteries.  As I was taking a breather, True Indigo surprised me with an invitation to be here now.
I am often compass challenged but I came up with it pretty easily. It was magical.  That Crayola Posse is always ready with a new and exciting - and extremely creative - adventure.  They even had a convenient stamping stump stationed right nearby!   How do that do that?!

Other highlights of the day included meeting and exchanging with Popeye, Treasurehonas, RiverSol (hope to take you up on that game next time), Anne of Green Gables, SuperDognFamily, alphagraywolf, Razbunny, Cozy Reader (loved the "bow tie"), Pink, Silly Moosehead (great get-up), Fluttering Dragonfly, and of course, Ralph himself! I was even pleased to meet Yankee fan in PA, even though I'm a BoxSox kind of gal.

Ralph had hidden some great new boxes in the vicinity.  It was a beautiful day and I enjoyed getting outside to stretch and soak in the fall beauty.  The carvings are a wonderful addition to my day of the dead collection.  I have been pouring over all of my new images since my return from the great event.

Unfortunately, I had to head out early.  As I was packing up the ofrenda, the Booshmen came by to ask to stamp in.  I was happy to oblige. I hope to have more time to connect with them again soon.  But for now, I had to run so that I could primp. I had a million dollars to win. Tough job but someone's got to do it.

Happy dia de la muertos and Happy Halloween everyone.

And again, many thanks to you, Ralph!

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Where were You March 28, 1979?

 Wednesday, March 28, 1979 is a day I'll never forget.

A Visit to the Lunatic Hospital

We spent the last part of our afternoon at the City on the Hill.  The Harrisburg State Hospital formerly known as the Pennsylvania State Lunatic Hospital. From 1851 to 1937, this city on the hill was Pennsylvania’s first public facility to house the mentally ill and disabled.

Did you know that Girl, Interrupted was filmed here?
We also visited the on-site morgue.  Building #35.  Boy did that give us the creeps. Three men went into the place while we were "taking pictures" and "eating lunch."  We asked them what it was like inside. Their answer will not surprise you.  "Creepy!"

You're a Good Man

 You're a Good Man...Charlie Brown.

Thanks for bringing us to these beautiful, interesting, and scenic places.

The Greenbelt

The Greenbelt could not have been any more beautiful or scenic (or fun).  The trees were just starting to change color.  Even the poison ivy (which abounds in many areas here) was beautiful as it changes to bright yellow.  
Location of the snoozing Grandpa Miller
We stopped by to meet Grandpa Miller but really struggled to find him.  I was thankful to have Blue Delft with me and not my usual noxers.  Our persistence paid off and taking time and rot into consideration, we finally located him.
My souvenir. Doesn't it look great in my garden?!

Thanks to all of our bushwhacking I found a little souvenir for my garden - a rusty piece of a fence that must've been pitched over the embankment from the cemetery next door.

I know Blue Delft got a kick out of me dragging that thing through the woods and across the street to the car. Getting it jammed into the car got a good laugh as well. But I think it will look great next year with gourds or peas or some kind of vine growing over it.  And I will remember Grandpa Miller and today's fun adventure when I look at it!

I Love the Sea Too

Over at the Paxtang Cemetery we remembered why we love the sea.  Of course, the royal fish would be a fan.  

Although, the "bowl" was quite deep. I have to admit that I didn't love reaching in. But it was worth it!

Using our Senses

 Our next stop found us at the Five Senses Garden.  What a fun little place tucked into the city of Harrisburg.  We noted how fun it might be to come back in season to experience the garden when the plants are in full bloom.

Not only did we find a firefly but also we found these clever critters as well.

A Purple Start to the Day

Since the kids are older and into other things, it is harder for me to get out on adventures because I don't like to go alone.  So when Blue Delft asked if I wanted to hit the trail I jumped at the chance.

Our first stop took us to a winter's blossom in a neat little old cemetery.  What a super way to start off the day.

From there we headed over to the castle.  We noticed that hopping across the stream was easier than anticipated. And with a little help from my guide, I crawled to freedom through the window.  Wow, what a great experience and what a wonderful gift.  Truly a labor of love.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Stony Brook

Over at the herring run in Brewster we had a beautiful walk. There's a fantastic little picnic area with a delightful vantage point.  Although I've been to this spot several times before, I hadn't taken in the view from this spot before.  I greatly enjoyed the local color.

Unfortunately, the herring wasn't spawning today. But the spot was gorgeous and we were glad to walk around and check things out.

The grist mill is also quite scenic and not to be missed!

Dizzy? Maybe. Itchy? No!

It was great to avoid the poison ivy at Kent's Point!  I enjoyed the spinney too!

Adventures in Eastham

Of course we were familiar with the Evergreen Cemetery. Not only had we been here before but it is just across the street from Arnold's and that's hard to miss.  A lot of people love Arnold's but I don't believe they serve pasta.  More like lobster rolls and fried clam strips.

As we were exploring the cemetery, we encountered a coyote.  That was pretty exciting for us.  Fortunately, it didn't take much interest in us but we were a bit spooked to see it out in broad daylight.

Of all the time I've spent on the Cape exploring and I've never met the three sisters. I have never even heard of them.  Until now.

They were very cool to visit. We will have to return in the off season so we can get to the images that eluded us today.

On our way out we spotted this guy making a trek across the road.  We stopped and provided crossing guard services to make sure he was safe. We don't see box turtles around like we used to!

Monday, July 29, 2013


After dropping the kids off at the yacht club, I walked across the street and met Snowy.  An adorable little guy in a beautiful spot.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

No Luck in Lancaster

One of my kids had day camp at Millersville University so I decided to seek out the highly recommended (and anticipated) Safari Man attractions while I had a few hours to kill.  I found the cemetery with no problem and located the Viet Nam Memorial immediately.

But then things weren't so easy....

I followed the clues but it was obvious that some major pruning and landscaping work had been done very recently.  There was a finder just 10 days ago.  Unfortunately for me, looks like I just missed it.
The box must've gone missing with all of the recent landscaping.

I quickly texted Blue Delft who confirmed along with her partner in crime, idlemoon, that they remembered the box being hidden under some large arborvitae type of bushes.  Now only two small bushes remain at the back of the circle around the memorial.

Bummer.  I heard it was superb.

And between that, the fresh grave a worker had just begun to dig, the creepiness of being (kind of) alone in a very large graveyard, and the promise of stinging nettles and poison ivy guarding the other boxes, I decided to move on.

I'll be back in the off season to catch up to the ones I passed on today.

Thanks for planting, Safari Man.
Here's a 2008 photo I found of the memorial from online.
 I can see many other bushes that are no longer there.
The adventure was an interesting one none-the-less!  

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Long Overdue

There was a time in my letterboxing "career" when I would have set out within a day or at most, a weekend of a new box being planted in my area.  Boy have times changed.  Now my letterboxing habit takes a very back seat to many other things.  But since I was having a sad day realizing that my kids are growing up way too fast, my (no longer a) baby decided to take pity on me and he agreed to hike with me in my favorite local park.

More than a year ago, I was along on the plant for hop along home but it seemed that I was not an official finder until I found it on my own. Which I did today.

Then Hot Lava and I scaled some rocks including a case of rock stairs.

Yikes!...Oh Fudge!  A fawn must've been resting nearby because it jumped right out in front of me and made me scream.  A few moments later I screamed again when I lifted the SPOR to find the box and a snake slithered over the box.   I was jumpy all the rest of the hike.

We had a little trouble finding the protruding "goggly eyes." It is funny to me how many trees I can construe into "protruding googly eyes" and how many of such trees have corresponding V trees with kick stands!  HA! We did persevere and were rewarded with a beautiful delft tile!

It was a super day after all!

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Brachycephalic Boys at the Beach

I am not much of a dog lover.  I like dogs from a distance just fine.  You might even be surprised to know that we have two dogs, although I always say they are my husband's dogs and I just let them all (husband included) stay at my house.  ha ha.

So I was away for the weekend with the extended in-laws and it rained.  I was able to drag four noxer extended family members with me over to Ocean View to meet some brachycephalic boys.  It was fun to visit them and reminded us of our boy we had to leave at home.

The stroll was super.  Just the right amount of break from all of the in-law commotion.  We even made a new friend who was guarding the first box.  Although, he (she?) was pretty anti-social.  We tucked him away until we found the second box then circled back to find him again but he had taken off.  We weren't gone that long and couldn't believe he made such headway.

Really glad I got to come here.  Made a rainy day with the in-laws a happy, fun one!

Monday, April 29, 2013

Spring Rain

 For a while now I've been dreaming of a Spring series in a local park.  So back in the Fall, Blue Delft and I met to scout the area.

We liked it and saw potential so over the winter we set about the task.  She carved and sewed and crafted.  On the other hand, I procrastinated.  

As Spring approached, we set a date to meet again and install our series.  Family, work, and other commitments got in the way; I think we had to move the date at least 2 or 3 times. Finally the day arrived that neither of us had a conflict.  However, mother nature had her own plan.  Rain!
We didn't care.  We trudged through with our boots, rain jackets, and soaked pants.  It was a super day for us.

Have fun celebrating Spring with us.  If you would like to add your own "installment" to the Spring themed series please do so. The more the merrier!  Show us what Spring means to you.  Just hide it along the same route and email me the details so I can list it with the series.  Thanks and Happy Spring!


The Stash

Dumb, I know.  But it makes me snicker every time.

Sunday, March 31, 2013

A Different Kind of Hunting Season

Alas, hunting season is over and a different kind of "hunting" season begins for us.  We headed back to Raymond J. Syrjala Conservation Area and hunted some unusual Cape Characters.  

We had a delightful stroll and didn't hear a single gunshot this time.    

Hydeez Mom was with us this time and we cut through the bog because it was so beautiful the first time we wanted to share it again with her.