When Life Gives You Storms…

First it rained. And rained. We were camped at Beaver Dam River site during Spring Break week in order to burn some huge brush piles on our lake property.

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And we had hoped to do a little fishing in the down time. With the cold and the rain, the thunder and the lightning, plans changed. We did have one short period of time to throw our hooks in the water and managed to catch a couple of small mouth bass.

A mid-week commitment to an After School Good News Club prompted us to leave the trailer set up and return home for a day. After the club meeting, we drove back to the trailer and got it ready to move the next morning. We had arranged to join a group of Campers on Mission at The Great Passion Play grounds in Eureka Springs. This was our first experience working with the volunteer group, and we thoroughly enjoyed it, despite the fact that the storms continued.

We had a good work day on Wednesday, with Saint helping tear off a roof and prepare it for re-roofing.

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And I helped this fun crew with painting around the entry statue and pool.

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It was a windy, warm day, allowing us to accomplish a lot. Good thing, because just about dinner time when we were all back at our campers, the sky turned ugly.

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The minute I got dinner on the table, our phones alerted us to impending danger. A knock at our door announced that other campers were heading to an unknown building to take shelter from a possible tornado close by. Rain drenched us all as we scrambled to first one building and then to the other across the street and down below. Hail pelted our vehicles and echoed through the concrete structure that now housed 26 humans and 8 dogs.

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Remember that dinner we left on the table? Other than one couple who brought their potato soup in mugs and might have been taking their lives in their own hands, we were all in the same boat, um, so to speak. That day week maybe year old popcorn was looking pretty tempting. Most campers had grabbed cell phones and two had weather radios, so we had a continual symphony of beeps, buzzes, and robotic voices accompanied by a few thunder booms and relentless hail.

I’m not certain how long Saint and I were there before we finally consulted with all the radar pictures from every station and decided we would be safe to go back to the trailer. All warnings were not off and the rain had not stopped, but we determined that we would monitor carefully and return to the shelter room if needed.

A tornado was reported on the ground in nearby Barryville and other storms were boiling up in Oklahoma, but by ten o’clock, flooding was the greatest threat for Eureka Springs. Before the night was over, a car had been swept away into Leatherwood Creek and three streets were closed. We were high and dry wet, but safe. Thank you, Lord!

The rains put a damper on our work the next day. The men found a few projects to work on inside, and the faithful sewing ladies continued making costumes for the Passion Play.

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And if you follow thymelesssageandrandomrants.wordpress.com, you know I don’t sew much. Since it was too wet to paint and do the outside projects, I volunteered to turn the sashes after they were sewn, so I did help a little, but mostly I visited and got some great camping tips from the ladies who have been roaming with Campers on Mission for a long time. I asked them to name ONE little thing they couldn’t live without while camping and got some really good suggestions to share with you:

  • Small hangers-buy them for your RV closet. Another camper added that she bought the good ones at the RV store. They are guaranteed to stay put. Another says the cheaper small ones from WalMart work fine for her.
  • Tableware-Buy a light weight set (like Nordic or Corelle) that can be used in the microwave.
  • Tervis cups/glasses are guaranteed for life. They are sold at Bed, Bath, and Beyond, and I just saw there’s a new Tervis store at The Landing in Branson. 🙂
  • Minimize-Find one cleaner that cleans everything! The same goes for shampoo and body wash if you can find one you like that can be used for everything; less to store and less to carry if you use a campsite shower.
  • Collapsible mesh laundry totes. (That’s my hint.)They lie flat when not in use, and open up to hold dirty clothes. Even opened and filled, two or three will fit across the end of the top bunk, out of sight. The mesh allows you to put damp clothes in and they won’t sour and smell like they do in plastic or canvas bags. And did I tell you you can buy them for a buck apiece at Dollar Tree?

Well, that was an afternoon well spent, wouldn’t you say?

The next day was chilly but sunnier. The men were able to work on several projects and the ladies finished their costumes. I got a tour of the Holy Lands grounds and took some pictures.

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Our first experience with Campers on Mission was a good one, despite the storms. The volunteer campers were friendly, hard working examples of faith. The people associated with the play were accommodating and appreciative. The Passion Play is set to open later this spring. If you are in the Branson/Eureka Springs area, stop and visit. There are lots of things to do and see in one place. And if you’re a camper, there are lots of places to camp on the grounds and surrounding area.

Beauty in the Ozarks

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Brilliant blue skies enhance the rusty tin roof of this old house that catches my eye every time we near our favorite campgrounds on Beaver Lake. I wonder what memories these weathered walls hold, and I’m saddened to see such a wonderful structure wasting away. But then I think of the beauty it still brings to all who pass this way.

The Ozarks certainly do not lack for beauty this time of the year. Our camping neighbors from Maine were traveling to Jackson Hole WY, planning to make this an overnight stay along the way. After experiencing our little corner of the lake and surrounding area, they extended their stay to four nights. With these sunrises…

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And these views…

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Who wouldn’t want to stay longer?

I, too, love the changing, colorful foliage, but the rocks cry out no matter the season.

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And when you happen to capture a scene like this, how can you not worship the Creator?

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DSC00320And finally, a heavenly recipe that I should have shared with our Maine neighbors, but they had driven to Eureka Springs…for pizza.

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Do you notice that our Coleman Camp Stove is almost as old as the house at the beginning of this post? Well, not really, but we’ve had it since we first got married, and we recently celebrated our 43rd wedding anniversary! They don’t make them like they used to, so we keep this one.

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Pair this with a little smoke from your campfire, and you have a quick, easy meal with a gourmet flair lakeside! We loved it, and it tasted…mmmmaybe even better reheated for lunch the next day. I’m sharing this recipe with campers everywhere because it is worthy! And I must give credit to The Midnight Baker blog where I found this recipe and modified only slightly.

Mushroom Asiago Chicken

1 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts (I actually used breast tenders to save cutting them into thirds)

2 cups mushrooms, sliced

3 cloves garlic, minced

3 springs fresh thyme (bruised and torn)

1 cup dry white wine

1/2 cup flour seasoned with salt and pepper

2 Tbs butter

2 Tbs olive oil

1/2 cup heavy cream

1/4 cup Asiago cheese (use more if you love the flavor)

Directions: Pound chicken breasts in heavy duty zip lock bag until flat and uniform. Dredge…I just pour the seasoned flour right into the gallon sized bag with the flattened chicken and toss it around to coat.

In your iron skillet, heat butter with 1 of the tablespoons of olive oil, reserving the other. Add chicken and saute until brown on each side. (About 5 mins on the first side and 3 or 4 on the other.) Remove from pan and cover with foil. To the hot skillet, add the other tablespoon of olive oil and mushrooms and garlic until they begin to brown. Add wine to the skillet to deglaze, scraping all the brown bits from the bottom of the skillet…that’s where your flavor is hidden.) Add thyme and put the chicken back in. Allow the chicken to simmer until almost done. This didn’t take long when using the tenders. Add cream, cooking and stirring to thicken. I sprinkled the cheese on before I removed the chicken from the skillet because I like mine melted and blended in. You may add it as you plate it if you prefer. With a simple fresh salad, this makes a wonderful campsite dinner.

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So sorry about the quality of this picture, but we were starving! Saint said I should make this even when we are not camping, but you know it just won’t be the same. Enjoy!

And speaking of the Saint, here he is cutting and splitting wood off our lake property. I loved all the textures and crunchy leaves, but that was the stinkiest fire he’s ever built.

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Soon, we hope to be camping here, and I can’t wait to show you our new view of the lake.