Friday, August 22, 2008

Objects in Mirror are Closer than they Appear

As I mentioned in my prior post about fishing, we recently spend some time visiting my MIL in Alabama.  The trip wasn't intended to be anything other than a chance for the girls to see their grandma.  (And having an on-site baby sitter so we could go to dinner and a movie for our anniversary was a bonus.)

We spent a lot of time swimming (that post is still in the queue) and most of the time just relaxing, but the one very noteworthy thing we did was to visit a safari zoo.

You know how phonebooks have those "community" pages up front with maps and golf courses and points of interest?  Do you ever look at it?  Me either.  Before this trip, anyhow.

MIL's neighbor stopped by one day to deliver a pie.  Incidentally, it was one of three desserts she delivered during our short visit and I personally blame her for the 5 pounds I gained while on vacation.  Not the buffet and other dinners out, not the movie popcorn, not even the gummies that BIL brought over.  Nope.  One awesome blueberry cheesecake/coffeecake and two pies.
Anyway, after setting down the pie, Pie Making Neighbor immediately pulled out the phone book and pointed to a listing in that community section of the Huntsville, Alabama phone book.  It said "Harmony Park Safari" with an address phone number and short description.  It didn't really say much and Pie Making Neighbor had never been there.  She just said that she had driven by it and thought it might be something the girls might enjoy. 
After she left, I headed to the computer to Google "Harmony Park Safari" and was surprised to find that they don't have a website.  I had a few hits through travel sites but no real meat that told what exactly the place was.  By total coincidence, just the day before, Hillary at The Dunham Diaries had been to Harmony Park Safari just the day before.  Being overly concerned about the welfare of my car, I emailed Hillary and was delighted when she emailed back with nothing but positive things to say.

So we headed off to the safari zoo and were amazed at what was in store for us.  When we pulled up to pay our fee, we could see the animals congregating on the other side of the fence.  There was a fee for all of us, but with five paid admissions, we got a free bucket of corn.  Since we were in a mini-van, there were only two of us with windows that opened enough to launch food.  I can image how much more fun it would have been if we had more windows that could distribute food.

Although the animals are not tame, they certainly are used to being fed by random vehicles driving through their home.  All the animals mull around your vehicle waiting for you to toss out some corn.  Before entering the park, staff provided a warning and list of rules. They explain that you need to roll up your window quickly because the animals are known to put their heads in the vehicle.  In the case of the camel, that is very dangerous.  For that reason alone, the task of throwing corn should be restricted to adults and older children.
There was a great variety of animals at Harmony Safari Park.  We were able to get some really exciting pictures - like of a buffalo crossing in front of vehicle. Or a shot of the ram following us around, right after butting the back of the vehicle.  The alligator peeking out of the water.  And of course, the turtle crossing the road.  Kidding, the turtles were all inside a pen that we were allowed to walk into.  Just wondering if you were still paying attention.  There was one monkey in a cage but aside from the alligators, the rest were roaming freely.  (Wouldn't have much of a zoo if the alligators were uncaged, right?)  From the time we drove through the gate, we had plenty of attention.  The camel never came near our vehicle; he was busy grazing in a field nearby.  But as you can see from the pictures I HAVE included, several other animals did.

From what we were told, there are only 19 of this type of safari zoo in the United States.  It was a lot of fun and if you are ever in the vicinity of one, it's worth a stop.  Everyone in our car thoroughly enjoyed this adventure.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Be Careful What You Brag About

You know what happens when you brag about your garden boxes over and over and over again on your blog?  Your MIL puts in an order for one of her own when you visit on vacation. 

I thought it was funny because I did all the boasting about how great a job DH did creating the planter boxes then he ended up with all the work.  Isn't that they way it should be?  He didn't have to work solo though.  Assistant woodworker, Miss K, was on-hand to help out with the assembly.  The rest of us pitched in to help paint it when he was done.  Mine are not painted, but since she lives in an association neighborhood, she didn't want anyone to find any problems with it. 

It was a nice family project while we were visiting her in Alabama... despite the ridiculously hot weather.  Thank goodness we had access to a pool!  In all fairness, MIL was here visiting when we originally built mine and she was a big help.  So I can't complain too much.

Now, with her own raised bed, she will enjoy being able to plant tomatoes - the one thing that she will drive out of her way to a farmer's market to buy.  Maybe I need to tell her to start a blog so she can share pictures of all the progress! 

Oh, and I'm ashamed to say that I didn't get a picture of the final product!  When we were done, Miss M took some artificial flowers and 'planted' them in the bed.

8/22/08 Edit: MIL graciously sent along a picture for me to post on the blog.  Notice that she added trim to the outside of her bed after we left. Guess it wasn't classy enough.  Maybe the fact that I kept referring to it as a coffin made her want to jazz it up a bit.  hehe   Thanks MIL!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Is it Fishing or Catching?

There's been a bit of a break in blog posts lately. I know, you missed me. Thanks. I missed all of you too. Really. I've been miserable and grumpy because my schedule has been all out of whack.

Well, I have a perfectly good excuse. We were on vacation. We were away visiting my MIL and celebrating our 15th anniversary. DH had wanted to take us on a family cruise but I didn't realize that children's passports only last 5 years. It's okay, I had a great time and so did the girls.

Anyway, my laptop went kuh-flooey and I wasn't online as much as I had hoped to me. I have a whole slew of blog posts to do and I only got one done - my anniversary one! That was the important one, anyhow.

So here's an example of one of the blog posts sitting in queue... better late than never, right?
My MIL lives in a neighborhood where all the houses are built around a lake. While we were there, she took the kids to WalMart and let them pick cute little kid fishing rods. We got up one morning and headed to the stocked lake to let the girls go fishing. Our first family fishing outing!

Of course, only some of the houses have yards against the lake so we headed off to a house owned by one of MIL's friends.

Unfortunately, we stood there and watched the fish congregate several houses down. Private property though, so we cast our lines and waited. After a few minutes, the owner of the house came outside and tossed something into the water. Apparently he does it a few times a day and now have the fish trained outside his house! He invited us to use his yard so we moved all our gear down to his place.

DH did all the yucky stuff like bait the hooks with the really smelly stuff, remove the fish when we caught it and toss it back in. Grammy was official photographer and I got to do all the fun stuff. You know, giggle as the girls caught the fish then help them reel it in.

While DH was trying to get us situated, Miss K caught a fish! Literally, that fast. Before we had hers off the hook, Miss M caught one.

They both thought it was cool and wanted to fish some more! DH baited up the line and we went to work again. And each caught another fish that fast. Again. Those of us that know what fishing is really like were absolutely amazed at how quickly the fish were biting. But hey, they were used to getting their morning chow while the owner was having his morning coffee. Who were we to complain?

We didn't want to overstay our welcome and at the same time, didn't want to sour what had turned out to be a wonderful experience. We called it a day and now know that catfish and carp can be trained with dog food.

We brought the fishing rods home with us after vacation and hope to find a lake nearby that can match the excitement. My only concern is that the next time it will be more like genuine fishing and less like catching!

Friday, August 1, 2008

Heads-Up: Precious Moments giveaway

Just a quick note to let everyone know that I'm hosting a giveaway (on SAHM Reviews) for this adorable Precious Moments figurine. There are only a handful of entries, so be sure to pop over and comment for a chance to win!

Here's the direct link: Precious Moments Giveaway

I'm drawing a winner tomorrow, so hurry!