Cave Dwellings

Grenada Lake, MS North Abutment Campground

Grenada Lake, MS North Abutment Campground
Nov. 27th, 2014

Cave Dwellings

Sunday, April 19, 2015

A Busy Weekend

Busy times here at our house..All the kids and families were on deck to attend my brother’s daughter’s wedding…The Wolffs arrived Friday evening and just kept going until this morning..

20150417_192042 20150418_074839

Saturday morning, Chris and John went for a 9 mile run (both training for a half marathon and Chris for a marathon)..While they were gone, I took the boys up to our Sandwich Park District to see a Civil War encampment.  I’m not sure they really liked it as much as I did…After all, they are only ages 4 and 6…and I am at least 14…

20150418_101348 20150418_101214

20150418_101033 20150418_101430

This lady was cutting up lamb for stew…Those Wolff Cubs tolerated my love of history…because I took them to the play park afterward…

Saturday afternoon, the entire Cave Clan, kids and grandkids, went to my niece’s wedding about 35 miles from Sandwich, in Ottawa, IL. We all managed to clean up pretty well…


The Heisers, back row…Sophia, my step great grandaughter, and the two Wolff Cubs, Aiden and Maddox..I think Maddox will follow my lead as a fashionista…He wore that “Gangsta” hat all evening long!

Here are a few photos from the wedding…

101_6997 101_7009 101_6999

101_7022 101_7016 101_7026

101_7013 101_7027 101_7034

What a great time we all had…Dancing our socks off, and trying to keep up with those kids!!!


Yep…Me and my baby brother, Michael…The older we get, the more I look just like our Mom and he looks like our Dad…

Everyone left this morning and MacGyver and I are now trying to recover..temporarily..Tomorrow we drive to Zionsville, IN so I can see my IU Doc, and then we babysit those Wolff Cubs Wed –Friday so Chris can go with John to a business trip to Las Vegas…What kind of business trip would take them to Las Vegas?? John is the IT man for Monarch Beverage in Indianapolis and has to give a presentation at a meeting in Vegas…Monarch Beverage happens to be the biggest beer and wine distributor in Indiana. (How fortunate for US!) .And what better place to have a meeting than one of the biggest cities that consumes these items??

Oh, and one more thing..I need to give a big “shout out” to John Hatch (FD5)..I used John’s recipe for homemade ice cream to impress the family…and it worked FAMOUSLY!!


Just look at these two kids chowing down on sundaes made with my homemade ice cream!! Maddox, in particular, licking his lips!! Our daughter, Christie, added some to her morning coffee Saturday…and last night we adults just got spoons and finished it off standing around our kitchen island..


John Hatch’s Homemade Ice Cream

3 C. heavy whipping cream

1 can sweetened condensed milk

1 T. pure vanilla

Using hand mixer, beat whipping cream until it has stiff peaks...5-6 minutes.  Add 1/2 of the SCM and the vanilla, folding them in thoroughly..Then add the rest of the SCM and completely fold that in..I used a Pyrex large measuring bowl that had a lid and put it in the freezer overnight..YUMMO!! (You can also add candy bars, or cookies , or make a different flavor, but this Vanilla was in a league all its own!)


Friday, April 17, 2015

MacGyver’s new “ride”..and EF-4 Tornado footage


Here it is!! 2001 GMC Sonora…I’m likin’ those fancy pants wheels and tires myself..

Actually, Ol’ Blue  is running again, but Den is pretty sure something else will “go South” on it soon, and it will continue to be a “money pit”…Hey, it’s 27 years old…I wonder how old that is in truck years??? At any rate, Ol’ Blue will likely go out on Center Street “FOR SALE”…or to our local junk yard…

Lots going on here….All our kids will be here this weekend to attend my brother’s step-daughter’s wedding in Ottawa, IL…So I plan on a Cave-A-Palooza here at the Cave Dwellings Saturday night after the wedding and reception. Sounds like it might be perfect campfire weather…The Wolff family will leave here Sunday AM ( after a Casey’s Breakfast Pizza) for home. ..Then Dennis and I will be heading down to their house in Zionsville Monday. I have my much anticipated appointment scheduled at Indiana University with Dr. Michael Moore.  I first have to have a CT scan of my neck, then I see the Doc..We shall see what  he says…

We are staying with the Wolff Cubs from Wednesday until Friday afternoon so Chris can go with John on a “business trip” to  Las Vegas..He has a meeting out there and she may as well go along while we are there to watch the boys…I love that area they live in anyway…Going to their home is like a vacation trip for me…I have been working in our yard for about 4 days and frankly feel that we don’t NEED all of this land!! I would live in our camper in a heartbeat…

Next weekend our one and only granddaughter, Taylor, has a role in a musical at Kaneland High School. Den and I are attending the Sunday matinee of “Shrek, the Musical” at the high school. Taylor has 3 different parts, and one is a dancing pig…I don’t remember much about Shrek, but I am sure it will be lots of fun! 

Our daughter, Terrie, is at it again, working on projects in her home…

20150413_152920  20150413_152954

Here are a few of her latest accomplishments as Terrie Heiser Designs…An old wooden spool now holds books as an end table…and on the right…both of those thing she made..sheesh!

20150413_153148 20150413_153234

Above is her clock she made out of a wooden spool top, and the kitchen light was made with those lights they use to keep baby chicks warm in the barn…She just put regular bulbs in them…I cannot even hold a screwdriver the right way..She is a MacGyverette, for sure. She had MY MacGyver over to her house to get advice on her next big project…

20150413_153443 20150413_155113

See those French Doors? Well, Terrie wants to make them into sliding French Doors..Sounds like a huge deal to me, but she has researched it and Dennis says she has it under control…MacGyver, of course, will be available for “consultations” on this one…

Some of you may have heard about the EF-4 Tornado that ripped through Illinois last Thursday, the 9th of April…It began in the town of Rochelle, IL, about 40 miles North of Sandwich and did some damage, but the worst hit was the little town of Fairdale, IL.  Make sure you click on those links…you will see some very frightening video of this monster storm on both links!!

wedge-tornado  wedgetornado2

The photo on left is the tornado in it’s first stages, out in a cornfield..The right photo is the damage it reeked in Fairdale, a town of 200 residents..Miraculously, only 2 people died. They attribute that to the great news coverage of the approaching storm . I know our weather radio here at our house went off a few times, and I did hear that Tornado WARNING for Northern DeKalb County…Man, that was waaaay too close!

OK, this is a quickly thrown together blog…(no, really Donna?)..I have to make my chicken salad for our lunch tomorrow…The Wolff family will roll through here about 7PM this evening…and I am quite sure there will be a cocktail hour by our campfire with roasted marshmallows for the boys!! I will let ya know how my Doc appt. turns out and post some photos of our trip to Zionsville!!

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

I sure am missing that relaxing Winter Trip right about now…

As I said, we have had a bit of a busy homecoming here in Sandwich, IL…leaking water pipes, leaking upstairs sink, toilet flushing issues…and Den’s faithful Ol’ Blue truck basically died…Not exactly what we had planned, but we are tackling it one two three four leaks at a time…Oh, and by the way, our blue truck is in two pieces right now…

11138598_991617314182080_4970606518450106468_n From what I understand, the truck needs a new fuel pump..and the fuel pump is located on top of the fuel tank, under the truck bed..So what does McGyver do? He invites a few strong backs over, and after taking all of the bolts out of the truck bed, they lift it off…And now Den isn’t sure that is the problem, but  he ordered a new one online…What a royal pain in the arse!! (NOT McGyver, …that blue truck!) I am pushing for a new old truck..Hey, Ol’ Blue is a 1989 model…get over it, McGyver!!

Now to the more important problem…the broken water pipes from our upstairs bathroom, causing it to rain in the kitchen..When we left in November, Den shut off the water upstairs but not downstairs…In February he was concerned so he had Kelly turn off the water there too.  Those thermostat batteries must have died after that, causing our furnace to shut off and leave some water in those pipes. McGyver wasn’t sure just how many leaks we had, but he knew where the “rain” had come down, so he started cutting our drywall at that point..

11068155_993369244006887_1430846345731355125_n 11102693_993345007342644_8694938044079268031_n

On the left, you can see our old lathe and plaster ceiling at the bottom..Dennis found the first leak (exploded copper pipe)…then he noticed another one…Then he found a third on the outside wall over our sink…Let me just say that watching poor Dennis working in that little space with a blow torch and solder was very scary!..I made sure we had Sandwich Fire Dept. on speed dial…He got those 3 leaks fixed (up and down the ladder a gazillion times). We have an air compressor in our garage, and to test the newly soldered pipes he dragged the compressor hose from the garage, up on the kitchen roof and into the upstairs bathroom window. Apparently, the pressure of that air finds any other leaks and you can hear the air coming out where there is a crack…I know this because once he hooked up the compressor, my job was to stick my head up there and see if I heard any air rushing…Sure enough, there was yet another leak, but this one was farther down the ceiling. The only thing McGyver could do was cut another hole in our kitchen ceiling…oh joy.

11129922_993358557341289_629684851799484189_n ….one more hole to get to the 4th bad boy leak…sheesh!!



….hmmmm , maybe we could make a couple trap doors to make it faster to “drop” down into the kitchen for a midnight snack…??

Finally, after a long day for poor McGyver, we HE had fixed all four blown pipes. One more listen after hooking up the air compressor told us they were sealed…The biggest test was turning on the water, and that went just fine…Well, kind of..We also discovered a pipe leaking under our sink in the upstairs bathroom sink…and our toilet needed a new piece for flushing. This required a new PVC pipe under the sink and a trip to the local  hardware store..Luckily, McGyver fixed those items quickly…This whole “coming home” episode has been a real test of endurance for our little love nest here at the Caves…But after some swearing, bitching, raised voices, red faces,  and a few non-descript hand signals, ..we are still together…

Maxine pizza

On a lighter note, I have decided to do something to show our support for the police officers in our town and everywhere. I have seen on Facebook that a lot of people are involved in showing their support by placing blue lights outside…This is called Project Blue Light, and is a tribute to all police officers, especially those fallen heroes…I put a blue lighted lantern on our front porch and am in the process of getting some blue rope lights for our back deck…





This is a waterproof lantern I got at a store…It has 3 LED lights inside and runs on batteries…Also, it has a timer that automatically turns it on for when you set it, and then turns it off 6 hours later…Lord knows I need something automatic, or I would never remember to turn it off!!



OK, that’s enough of our traumatic homecoming…We are in recovery mode, and I am a little giddy.. I know that FINALLY our 1970’s kitchen will get a much needed facelift!!!!

Friday, April 3, 2015

Came home to a bit of a problem…

The final leg of our Winter Trip 2014/15 went just fine. We spent our last night “on the road” at Rend Lake, IL, Gun Creek Campground..We found the same site we had on our way down was vacant so we pulled in..We liked this site because it was very level and we didn’t have to unhook. This place is also only about  5 1/2 hours from our house, not a bad drive and Interstates most of the way. 

11014810_988529694490842_304046724320772020_n 10984256_988529781157500_544873942230701072_n

Rend Lake had lots of rain the couple days before we got there…and Dennis “put a little mud on the tires” getting her in the hole…Last year we spent our first night on the road here too, and woke up to 3 1/2” of snow on the ground…I think Rend Lake doesn’t like the Cave Dwellers…


Our last day to drive was 60 degrees and sunny..glorious day for a trip home…

We pulled into our driveway about 12:15PM..MacGyver decided to pull in instead of back in so our Hiker door was on the right side for unloading.  We both went inside the house to check everything..It looked good, but seemed waaaay to cold in the house…Dennis looked at our thermostat on the wall and gave me a worried “Oh Oh..” Turns out our thermostat is run by batteries, and those batteries were dead as a doornail.. This does not bode well.  While I ran upstairs to check on things there, Dennis put new batteries in the thermostat and went to the basement to turn on the water…This was when I heard @#&@!##!! being yelled from our basement. I ran downstairs to find it raining through our soffet lights down onto our kitchen and on into the basement..MacGyver rushed to turn the water back off, but it had really done a number on our kitchen…Well, shucks!

Long story longer, we ran like rabbits, scurrying to find rags and mop up our kitchen..I counted 10 towels when all was said and done..And, it continued to drip for about another hour. We even pulled out the stove to mop behind it, and the basement floor had water in spots too..So much for an easy homecoming.  Oh, and I forgot to mention our kitchen faucet was still frozen (MacGyver got that straightened out) and his old blue truck wouldn’t start.  We have turned the water off to the upstairs for now, and are not using that bathroom. (This makes for a very long and cold run to our downstairs bathroom in the middle of the night..just sayin’..) Looks like we are going to have to tear out the kitchen ceiling to fix that the water pipe…I guess it’s a good thing we never started remodeling our kitchen…yet.. “What about the truck?” you ask?? Well, it needs a fuel filter or some such thing….Whatever it needs, the truck bed has to be taken out to fix it! Yep, good times ahead at the Cave Casa…

And while I’m on a rant about bad things happening, I just found out that our Sandwich Fair Association has decided to tear down our Grandstand at the Sandwich Fairgrounds… This grandstand was used for all the tractor and truck pulls and any entertainment inside the racetrack at the fairgrounds..To give you an idea of just how historic this is , here is a photo of it dated 1914.


..and that is Den’s Grama, Jenny Bark, 2nd woman from the left, with the dark hair the front row…Yep, pretty historic, I’d say.

Apparently they are going to build a sticks and bricks kind of grandstand…Wouldn’t you think a town the size of this could get behind some fund raising to try to save this structure, shoring it up and making it  safe without tearing it down??? I’m just sick about this..Our fairgrounds is one of the oldest and nicest in the state..

Left, is the old structure with covered seating…Right is the grandstand from the fair side of the midway…There were also booths housed under the seats on this midway side..

And this is what it now looks like…

20150403_081207 20150403_081248

Nothing left..That photo on the right was taken from the midway looking toward the inside of the track. All you see is the back of the outside seating.


All that remains is the seating that was in front of the grandstand…What a loss…

“They paved Paradise to put in a parking lot”…..

So…..on a cheery note, MacGyver celebrated  his 73rd birthday yesterday..Yes, he is an April Fool…and without him I would be lost….


My own personal MacGyver..I wish he would grow his mustache back…very sexy. (wink wink)



Friday, March 27, 2015

One last “touristy” thing to do..

Right down the road from our campground here is the North Mississippi Fish Hatchery and Visitor Education Center (yep, get ready for yet another “educational” blog )…And, of course, you know we just had to go see it..I Googled it and it was only $2 for us elders and you did a self guided tour ..Why not, right?

101_6977 101_6976

This place was amazing..It features a 10,000 gallon aquarium, displays, interactive exhibits and artifacts.  The North Mississippi Fish Hatchery is a technologically advanced center for fish culture..Here, hatchery staff mimic the conditions of wild spawning by controlling water temperature and light levels.  Under these carefully controlled conditions, the fish can be induced to spawn at the hatchery.  March through June is the busiest time here, handling large volumes of fish. As many as 500,00 Large Mouth Bass “fry” might be present at one time.


This aquarium had Catfish, Black and White Crappie, Bass, Gar Fish, Buffalo (no, NOT the animal, the fish), Blue Gill, and a Eel who refused to peek out from his log…

101_6945 101_6946

Soooo, the 2 legged refection is not a Banty Legged, White Topped, Flannel Clad, Blue Jeans Fish…it’s MacGyver’s reflection. I was going for the Alligator Gar Fish.” The fossil record traces the existence of alligator gars back to the Early Cretaceous over a hundred million years ago. They are the largest in the gar family, and among the largest freshwater fishes in North America. Gars are often referred to as "primitive fishes", or "living fossils" because they have retained some morphological characters of their earliest ancestors, such as a spiral valve intestine which is also common to the digestive system of sharks, and they can breathe both air and water. Their common name was derived from their resemblance to American alligators, particularly their broad snout and long sharp teeth. Anecdotal scientific reports suggest that alligator gars can grow up to 10 ft (3.0 m) in length and weigh as much as 300 lb (140 kg).”  In my humble opinion a simple explanation of this fish is …BUTT UGLY!..


Can you imagine landing a fish that ugly AND that big???

101_6953 101_6954 101_6955

The Museum was really great! They had old fishing poles, motors, lure, even an old FISHERMAN…Oh, woops, that was Dennis. There was a lot of info on the Enid Lake area. The Enid Dam was begun in 1947 and finished in 1952.  The Mississippi freshwaters are known for World Class Crappie, Bass and Catfish fishing. Enid Lake and nearby Sardis,Grenada and Arkabutla lakes are considered some of the best places for Crappie fishing.

101_6958 101_6960

They have 16 1 acre “rearing” ponds outside, and some big tanks too….

101_6963 101_6962

One of the tanks outside held baby Koi fish..They raise these here at the hatchery strictly as food for the bigger fish…They told us it was less costly to raise their own “fish food” than buying it elsewhere…

The process of culturing fish may be as simple as allowing them to spawn naturally in one of the ponds (the do this with the Blue Gills). Sometimes it requires hatchery staff to hand stripbrood” fish. Once the staff has determined that the female fish has ovulated (don’t ask..), the staff hand strips the eggs by gently putting pressure on the abdomen, releasing the eggs into a bowl…(Bear with me..).  Simultaneously, the male fish is squeezed to release “milt” (whoever Milt is…JUST KIDDING!) over the eggs. Fertilized eggs are then incubated at specific water temperatures in a carefully controlled environment.. OK, you want to see this “environment”?? I knew you would…

101_6970 Tra Da!! Sort of like test tube babies, in my opinion..These fertilized eggs are Southern Walleye.  YUMMY!

When they hatch, they are called "fry". When the fry are 2"-3 " they are released into the rearing ponds (they have 16 1 acre ponds), growing larger living on a steady diet of zoo plankton. Some fish are allowed to grow to 6" to 8" on a diet of minnows or dry pellets. Once fish grow to desired length, the hatchery staff harvests the fish and loads them into distribution trucks to desired predetermined locations”...This was like a Biology lesson. The Non Sex life of a fish..One of the employees said they have a "resident" Bald Eagle who visits the rearing ponds regularly for his buffet lunch..hahahaha! Of course they allow him that luxury..He’s an AMERICAN BALD EAGLE!!!

101_6972 101_6971

Above are 2 of their 16 “rearing” ponds..This North Mississippi Hatchery is HUGE!

Ok, so I just have just got to say that this might be one of my most informative  ridiculous blogs to date. In truth, I did find this place a wonderful lesson and a great idea to keep the fish plentifully supplied in our natural lakes, rivers and streams..




Yep, they are very aware who won the Civil War, but still determined to acknowledge the “Stars and Bars”…A very proud group of people these native Southerners…and I do admire them…






2015-03-25 12.36.46

From one of the last great “swingers”…See y’all back in Sandwich IL!!