Camping at Coleman Lake

Our campsite at Coleman Lake.

Our campsite at Coleman Lake

Coleman Lake is a small campground in Alabama’s Talladega National Forest.  It’s down a long, winding two-lane road off Hwy. 78, and it feels like you are driving to the end of the world to get there.  There’s no cell reception, so being without phone and internet makes it feel even more remote.

This is one of the birds that was throwing giant beakfuls of leaves into the air. Here he is taking a break.

Sites are very large and private in both loops  — a little more private in Loop B, but we chose Loop A to be closer to the little lake.  It’s a lovely place to soak up nature, listen to the birds chatter, chip and sing while you enjoy a leisurely cup of coffee in the morning, explore plant life along the trails, and absorb the pervading peacefulness of escape from civilization.  A stress-free zone.

The low-key entertainment included watching black birds with iridescent teal heads vigorously pecking through leaf litter and throwing huge beakfuls of leaves high in the air.  Over and over and over.  I tried to get a photo of the action, but none of them turned out.

The most excitement was when Sheba was attacked by a goose.  Well, warned of an attack, anyway!  While Ron was walking her by the lake,  she kept lunging on the leash and excitedly trying to get to a lone goose near the water’s edge.  All of the sudden the goose marched out of the water, got right in Sheba’s face and hissed at her.  We were so stunned, we weren’t sure what to do, so simply walked off, dragging Sheba behind us.  That must have been the right answer because the goose headed back to the water.

Another bird

Another bird

The campground was almost full when we arrived Sunday afternoon, and never did empty out after the weekend.  Thursday was the only day there were more empty sites than full, and new campers began arriving early Friday morning for the weekend.  Most of the campers were fairly local.

The nice thing about such a small, remote campground is that it attracts mostly hardcore nature lovers, who are generally quiet, considerate campers.  We loved it there!

There were almost no bugs out yet, although we did see a few mosquitos Thursday.  But I did pick up a tick on the back of my knee while out on the trail.

Looking toward the swimming beach.  The grass is starting to green up nicely.

Looking toward the swimming beach. The grass is starting to green up nicely.

I very rarely get to explore by myself when we are out.  But Wednesday and Thursday Ron offered to keep the dogs so I could roam to my heart’s content.  I felt euphoric as I wandered along the sun-warmed trail and cut through the woods to get a better look at emerging shoots and fiddleheads and whatever other wonders spring had in store for me.

I didn’t find any mushrooms this trip except for several old polypores.  I kept hoping that I might stumble onto my first morel ever.  But either the mushrooms were waiting a little longer to fruit — or they were really good at hiding.

Down by the little dam

Down by the little dam

I do so enjoy reading other camping and RVing blogs where people get out and explore all the restaurants and attractions in an area.  I envy their travels and all the sights and experiences they cram into their trips.

My kind of camping is different.  It’s total immersion into the natural features of the campground and surrounding area.  Seeing the world from a worm’s-eye view instead of a bird’s eye view, I guess.

Hmmmmm..... I think I spot dinner!

Hmmmmm….. I think I spot dinner!

In any case, I do so appreciate the readers who enjoy my low-key pursuits.  Thanks so much for visiting and re-visiting!

Tomorrow I’ll post more of the spring wonders that I found in the woods.  At least wonders, as I perceive them.  🙂

Got it!

Got it!

This was a long zoom shot.

This was a long zoom shot.

Luna moth

Huge luna moth

This beautiful moth looked like she was dressed up in her bridal finery to me.

This beautiful moth looked like she was dressed up in her bridal finery to me.

Ron and Sheba on the trail headed toward the bridge.

Ron and Sheba on the trail headed toward the bridge.



Simple Nature Appreciation

Luna moth on deck

Today’s a slow, easy day.  Not much going on.  Ron gave me a beautiful bouquet of lavender roses and white daisies for Mother’s Day.

I thought the luna moth in the photo was dead.  He stayed on the deck in the same position for a day and two nights.  Then, to my shock, he started moving around and flew away the second day.  Since they are nocturnal, I was puzzled as to why he chose daylight to fly away.

Rabbit in our back yard

The second photo is of our wild almost-pet rabbit.  He comes into the yard and munches tender greenery almost every evening.

He has no fear of us as long as we don’t try to approach him too closely.  Once in a while Sunny will see him and chase him.  But usually Sunny doesn’t notice him.

I’ve been having fun with the ukulele.  Am working on scales and simple songs, chords, and doing barre chord exercises to strengthen my hand.  I had forgotten how soothing and enjoyable playing music can be.  It’s adding a lot to my life already.  I dream of the day when I can play it well.

I’m also working on my tatted doily.  I pick it up for a while every night.  It’s also relaxing and I am enjoying not rushing to get it finished.

I got the bed covers in the camper washed yesterday.  Tomorrow I’ll scrub it and start getting it ready for the trip to Florida.

Lunch with the Girls, Bracken Fiddleheads & Luna Moth

Lunch with the girls. Left to right are Evelyn, Teressa and Julie.

Yesterday I met with friends at the Square in Carrollton.  We had such a wonderful time together.   We did decide that we are going to have to do it a lot more often.

After I got home, Ron and I went out to dinner, then shopping.  I found three beautiful blouses at Goody’s.  Very unusual as I have an almost impossible to fit shape that is a mixture of petite and normal.

Then we went to Walmart for Easter Basket supplies.

Bracken fiddlehead beginning to unfurl

I’m planning to make baskets for a neighbor who is single and doesn’t have family to celebrate with, and for Ron… just because everyone needs an Easter Basket on Easter!

I still have to decorate eggs this afternoon — something I haven’t done in many years!

In between trips, I wandered around the property to spot new wild edibles.  The bracken fiddleheads are up now.  Ron and I used to love them.  They turn a beautiful burgundy color when cooked and taste just like asparagus.

However, I’ve read a lot of material on how carcinogenic they are–enough that it has scared me away from enjoying them anymore.  But Samuel Thayer, who is the modern day wild edible plant expert, who has studied and thoroughly debunked many wild food myths, states that the carcinogens are no worse than those in grilled meat, potato chips or coffee.  The plant does become poisonous after the green fronds begin unfurling, though, so if you experiment, make sure the fiddleheads are still all gray colored.

Bracken fiddlehead

Nevertheless, I think I would only eat them if I were truly hungry.  But I still get excited when I see them emerging from last years dead bracken fern. (For more information, see the quote at the end of this post.)

The little wild strawberries are plentiful, but the ones along the edge of our property grow among young poison ivy plants.  Very fortunately neither Ron nor I are affected by poison ivy.  But I have read that can change, so I still am very cautious around them.

Wild strawberries and poison ivy growing together

Last night we got home pretty late.  I was in the kitchen and heard something hitting the kitchen window.  It was a huge luna moth trying to get closer to the light.  So I went outside and turned the deck light on to attract him to the wall so I could get a photo of him.   It worked!  Here is a photo of it next to a smaller, “normal” sized moth.

Luna moth

And finally, I just want to post a picture of a beautiful hosta that has lived in this same pot for 9 or 10 years.   It has survived drought and all the difficulties of container growing and still emerges beautiful and unscathed every year.

It also has beautiful blooms when I remember to pamper it with liquid organic bloom booster fertilizer.

Note:  Further information that puts the carcinogenic properties of bracken fern in perspective:

“Bracken fern contains a chemical, ptaquiloside, that is known to be carcinogenic to mammals in high doses. The International Agency for Research on Cancer places it in the same risk category as coffee and sassafras. This doesn’t mean that if you eat bracken you’ll die of cancer; many things that we commonly eat contain carcinogenic chemicals, such as char-broiled meat, potato chips, and all smoked foods. I still occasionally eat bracken fiddleheads.” — Samuel Thayer

Hosta - a long term container resident

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