Samuel and His Brave Spoon

Front Cover of Diane's wonderful children's book: Samuel & His Brave Spoon
Front Cover of Diane’s wonderful children’s book: Samuel & His Brave Spoon

While I am probably best known for my stunning photography, insightful intellect, razor-like wit, charm, and good looks–OK, I made that up, it’s really for being a grumpy old man–today I become known for something else.

I am most pleased to announce that my beautiful, funny, sweet and loving partner Diane has published her first book, Samuel and His Brave Spoon, which this first day of 2019 has become available on Amazon.

So, what has this to do with me? (I did say that “today I become known for something else.”) Well, I had the distinct pleasure and privilege of doing the photography for Samuel and His Brave Spoon, and while photography certainly isn’t new to me–I’ve been at it for over 50 years–the photography in this book is quite a departure from the flower and landscape photos with which I am most associated. Diane, a talented artist and maker of things, created a wonderful series of collage-illustrations for the book from things one finds around the house.┬áThis called upon photographic skills I learned as a commercial product photographer in days long past and inventing digital post-processing techniques in PhotoShop.

Part of a scene from the classroom in Samuel and His Brave Spoon. Diane created this collage from things commonly found around the house: the tree from a brown paper bag and green construction paper, the animals from felt, paper and a marker, etc.
Part of a scene from the classroom in Samuel and His Brave Spoon. Diane created this collage from things commonly found around the house: the tree from a brown paper bag and green construction paper, the animals from felt, paper and a marker, etc.

Samuel and His Brave Spoon is a children’s book, but it’s not just a typical book for children. It’s a book about a special child who is quiet, and the book teaches us all about recognizing the gifts of a quiet child mistakenly labeled as shy. It teaches children and adults alike about showing empathy towards others. The collage-illustrations in the book were made from items found in most households, not just to illustrate the book but as examples of art kids can create themselves while providing them an outlet for self-expression and at the same time recycling things that might otherwise become landfill.

I mentioned above that Diane is a talented artist, but I sold her short in so doing as she also brings to the book her skills as a former Head Start preschool teacher, poet, writer and mother who has raised three wonderful kids to adulthood. Having been a sensitive and quiet child herself Diane understands well the nature and situation of such children as she offers suggestions and guidance to us adults in order to help them as children find meaning and self-confidence through artistic expression.

Diane shows us all how wonderful creativity can be expressed with things found around the house.
Diane shows us all how wonderful creativity can be expressed with things found around the house. Samuel’s teacher is made with macaroni eyebrows, crinkle-shred packing material hair; a paper plate face with rubber band mouth that says “oh!” as it emphasizes the look of surprise found in her hard-boiled egg and green celery eyes; bead and paper clip earrings.

Samuel and His Brave Spoon is geared but not limited to children in the three to six year-old range, their parents and teachers. If you are fortunate enough to parent or teach such a child or if you know somebody who does, Samuel and His Brave Spoon incorporates humor while offering guidance and teaching empathy in order to help the quiet child find confidence through self-expression.

Available now on Amazon.com.

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Campground Review: Cajun Haven RV Park

Cajun Haven: One Ray of Sunshine
I didn’t look closely at this campsite, but it was colorful and seemed the owner of the RV was exercising some inventiveness in decorating. To me this site was something of a ray of sunshine in an otherwise dreary environment.

We stayed at Cajun Haven RV Park as a one night stopover between New Orleans and our next one night stopover in Texas on our way toward Potters Creek Campground in Canyon Lake, TX. Reviews I found of Cajun Haven prior to camping there were a little bit mixed as they often are. In my own experience, management was very friendly, access to I-10 very convenient, and our campsite was pretty level as were the others because the campground is on a flat open field. There is a small lake or large pond at the campground. Apart from that written above and the rate of $20 for full hookups with 50 amp service, oh, and the free entertainment provided by ducks waddling around the campground there is little I can find to say about Cajun Haven on the positive side. [READ MORE…]

Campground Report: Claystone Park, Lake Tobesofkee, Macon, GA

View of Lake Tobesofkee from the campground at Claystone Park.
View of Lake Tobesofkee from the campground at Claystone Park.

CAMPGROUND NAME: Claystone Park, Lake Tobesofkee Recreation Area
LOCATION: 6600 Mosley Dixon Rd., Macon, GA 31220
KIND: County
SEASONAL: No
RATES: We paid $25 for full hookups with 50 amps in November; rates may vary
STAY LIMIT: 7 days
CLUBS: None
RESERVATIONS ACCEPTED: Yes
FIRST-COME-FIRST-SERVED: Check with office
CAMPGROUND WEB SITE
CAMPGROUND MAP: see below
HOSTED: I don’t think so.
PHONE: 478-474-8770, 478-474-8771
EMAIL: None of which I am aware.
GPS: 32.83132, -83.77728
GOOGLE MAPS

Campsite map of Claystone Park Campground at Lake Tobesofkee, Macon GA
Campsite map of Claystone Park Campground at Lake Tobesofkee, Macon GA. We stayed in #42. Campsites in the 40s have concrete slabs covering part of the sites (see map). Our site was easily long enough for our truck and fifth wheel. There would have been room for another vehicle as well.

ACCESS: Via paved surface streets
SITES: 43 or so
SURFACING: Asphalt for some, concrete and gravel combination for others
PULL THRU: Yes
BACK-IN: Yes
MAXIMUM RIG SIZE: Some sites such as the one we were in (42) could accommodate the largest of rigs. Many others were of good size.
TENTS: Yes
LEVELNESS: The sites in the 40s seemed more level to me. These are the pull-thru sites with concrete pads and full hookups.
SHADE: Not in the sites in the 40s, but elsewhere yes, quite a bit
SPACING: There is a grass median of maybe 20′ – 25′ between sites in the 40’s. In general, sites here are not stacked one on top of the other… there is some breathing room.
TENT PADS: While there are tent sites–with electrical hookups at that–I did not see tent pads.
FIRE GRILLS: Yes, for campfires and separate waist high BBQ grills, at least at some sites.
PICNIC TABLES: Yes
PETS: On leash

Click HERE for the full campground report.

Too Much of a Good Thing – Electricity

EMS Remote IMG_5169_1200
This remote display panel supplied with the Progressive Industries EMS-HW50C alerts you to any errors, voltage for each leg as well as current draw for each leg. A bypass switch on the left allows you to easily use generators that don’t work with the EMS or to bypass the EMS for other reasons.

When we bought our new RV it was for us a sizable expenditure. Such being the case we considered things we could do in order to protect it. A good polymer treatment for the paint was one thing. Another was a Progressive Industries 50 amp hard-wired electrical management system (EMS) in order to protect the electronics from, among other things, power surges, high and low voltages sometimes encountered at campgrounds. Progressive makes a number of EMS systems, some intended to hang on the power pedestal and some to be hard-wired into the RV.

Another measure of protection we purchased was a 50 amp voltage regulator, a Hughes Autoformer. This device can boost campground voltage when it falls dangerously low allowing you to safely use equipment that might otherwise be damaged by the low voltage. They also make a 30 amp model. [READ MORE…]

Campground Report: Hat Creek Hereford Ranch RV Park & Campground, Hat Creek CA near Lassen Volcanic National Park

 

Camped in the field at Hat Creek Hereford RV Park & Campground
Because there were no camp sites available for the time slot we wished to stay we camped in “The Field” at Hat Creek Hereford RV Park & Campground which serves as overflow camping for a rig or two. We were told the field would flood when the neighboring farmer flooded his field. Oh, great… Nevertheless we took our chances based on reassurances from the campground host that wasn’t likely to happen during our stay.

Hat Creek Hereford Ranch RV Park & Campground is what I would call a rural, family oriented park. This park is situated north of Lassen Volcanic National Park which is why we came to the area. Although there are other camping options nearby including another independent park and some Forest Service campgrounds, this is the only place we could find a spot in which we could fit, and as you will see it wasn’t really a spot.

Often, it seems to me rural parks are a little less formally run, and a little less spic and span. They seem to lag a little bit in terms of maintenance and upkeep, the showers may need refurbishing, the trash need may lag in being emptied… As a child of the 60’s/70’s the word “funky” comes to mind, although that could also describe a genre of rock music. READ MORE...

Photo Post: McArthur-Burney Falls, Burney, CA

McArthur-Burney Falls
Situated just outside Burney CA is the lovely McArthur-Burney Falls. It is a worthwhile but often over-busy sight to see if you’re in the area. We visited when camped at Hat Creek Hereford Ranch & RV Park north of Lassen Volcanic National Park which is about 20 miles from the falls.

Diane & I set out on a cross-country RV trip on June 29, 2018. The first destination of note was Lassen Volcanic Park in CA. We camped to the north of the park at Hat Creek Hereford Ranch & RV Park which is situated about midway between the park and the waterfall. The latter is lovely to see, of course, but it also offers a cooling respite on hot summer days as the canyon below the falls remains naturally chilled. Despite some trail closures in McArthur-Burney State Park we were able to enjoy a short hike that encircled the falls. Note that parking at the falls is limited and it can be difficult or impossible to get in to see them. Choosing your arrival time can make all the difference. Admission was $10 per car when we were there, $9 for seniors. See their web page formore information.

DIY 1000 Watt Inverter Installation

110 volt outlet and remote on/off switch installed.
The red 110 volt outlet dedicated to the inverter and inverter remote on/off switch installed.

In my previous RV I only had 110 volt household current when I was plugged into shore power at a campground, when I ran my disturbingly noisy generator, or when I turned on my inverter to power the single, dedicated outlet I had installed along with it. This last method involved running extension cords from that outlet to other points inside (or outside) the RV where I wanted or needed household current–inconvenient and a tripping hazard.

Upon getting a new RV my plan had always been to have an inverter installed that would supply power to all of the RV’s existing 110 volt outlets so that power would be available throughout it without needing to run extension cords–a more convenient and aesthetically pleasing arrangement that would also eliminate the hazard of tripping over extension cords.

When I started looking at all that was involved in wiring an inverter into the RV’s electrical system it soon became apparent to me that it was outside my wheelhouse of skills. So, I decided to have that done professionally later on, but until I could hire it done I was comfortable doing a more simple trip-over-the-extension-cord style hookup that would at least provide us with some AC until the professional installation could be performed. [READ MORE…]

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