First (Soggy) Day of Work

Monday, April 3, 2017

Ducks swimming in the yardWe had WHOLE LOT OF RAIN last night and today. There was some thunder and lightning but mostly rain. It was really pouring this morning at devotional time so we met in the Retreat Center and as we were leaving the camp ground we spotted some of the ducks swimming in the giant puddles instead of the lake. Too funny! We we drove over to pool camp after devotion, there was more water coming over the falls into the old pool than we have ever seen. Last fall when we were here there was almost no water flowing and it was a stagnant pool of water. Gorgeous today!!

Torrent of water flowing into the old pool at Pool Camp

When we are leaders, we always like to be responsible for devotion the first and last day so today was our day. Interesting, we had put a devotion together a week or two ago about first responders and how we can all be responders for God and our “first response” should be to pray and then to act. It was based on the story of the good Samaritan in Luke 10:29-37. We decided to go ahead with our devotion as planned even though the team heard this scripture preached on yesterday. Sometimes we need to hear things more than once to really get God’s message.

After devotion, we went to work. We will be doing a little upgrade to the pool camp kitchen. There was a lot of moving of appliances etc. in preparation for redoing the floor. Today it was pressure washed and scrubbed with a floor buffer and now we are awaiting the final decision on if they want it painted or tiled or some other surface applied. There are also a couple of walls to be built in the kitchen. The team also worked at Little Brown. Little Brown is the first building you see when you come into camp and is now the summer camp office. There was a new door to cut in, some additional removal of tile flooring, and sorting and organization of the worship supplies – candles, linens, and other items used in making nice worship settings.

Tonight the camp provided us with a lovely “Welcome to Sumatanga Dinner.” Lee Padgett, camp director and his wife Debbie, Bishop of our North Alabama Conference, joined us as well as Dennis and Amanda. What a wonderful group of people. They are a joy to work with.

As usual the team has really come together even though this was our first day of work. Great group to work with! We all just pray that God blesses our efforts so that we may accomplish what he wants done in this place.

Getting Ready For Work

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Bluegrass service at Springville FUMC
Bluegrass service at Springville FUMC

Wow! Another wonderful spring day. It was a little foggy early today and a little cool. Had to run the heat pump this morning. The team left for church at 7:20. We headed to Springville First United Methodist Church for the 8:00 am bluegrass service. The service is a regular worship service, but with the music being of the bluegrass genre. The musicians are quite talented. They have written some of the songs, some of which you would probably recognize. You could tell the congregation really enjoyed the service. They were very welcoming to us. Since everyone needed to go to Walmart we had breakfast at the Waffle House that is located on the same property as Walmart. They were very crowded and it was quite noisy making it difficult to have conversation.

Resident ducks enjoying the shade of our car
Resident ducks enjoying the shade of our car

After shopping it was back to the campground for Sunday afternoon naps for some and hiking and biking for others. Just a few minutes after parking the car we went back outside and were surprised by ducks resting under the rear of the car. They really weren’t bothered by us but we were sure glad we didn’t jump in the car and back up. We have not seen them come up into the campground and get under the vehicles before.

We cooked a peach cobbler to have for the 6:00 pm team meeting, the first official activity of this project. There is always a time of sharing to start to get to know the team and then some paperwork and safety items to cover. Dennis, the facilities manager, met with us and went over the top five items he hopes we complete. Don’t think we will have any problems completing those items but we will see what else comes up. Hope everyone has a good week.

The Chicks Are In The Barn!

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Today was another glorious spring day in Alabama. We started the morning with a 2 mile hike/walk on the Lake Trail.

Protected campsites
Cordoned campsites

What a great way to start the day. After breakfast we worked to cordon off the camp sites because we learned there would be a wedding here at the McBee pavilion which is right at the campground. We were concerned that we would not be able to get the incoming rigs parked if wedding guests parked blocking the sites. Mid-morning the wedding planner arrived and we learned it would be a 4:00 wedding.

Not alone in the campround anymore
Not alone in the campround anymore

Fortunately all our team members were able to arrive by 3:00 so we were able to get everyone parked before the wedding began. It was so great to see Bill and Marty again and to meet Patrick, James and Harriet. Most importantly we are so thankful for safe travels for them all. They all had uneventful travel days. Thank you Lord!! All our chicks are in the barn and we are very happy. We can relax now. We were all making jokes about crashing the reception which of course we did not, but after the reception was over the caterer gave the team a large tray of barbeque pork, chicken salad and rolls. Wow. It is very good and we have plenty to eat for next week.

The team decided that they would like to attend the early (8:00 am) bluegrass service at Springville UMC in the morning. After that there will probably be a brunch stop and a Walmart stop for most. We will see what people want to do tomorrow afternoon. Don’t forget, we all need to be in prayer for our church services and pastors. Go to services tomorrow looking forward to the opportunity to worship. It’s about our Lord, not about us.



Friday, March 31, 2017

It’s the weekend!! Hope you all take time to get outside and walk, ride a bike, take a hike or jog and just enjoy the beautiful world. It was a wonderful spring day today. Fortunately, all the bad weather we were expecting last night fell apart and we just had a little light rain so we had a restful night. Today Anne left at 6:00 to make the drive to Tuscaloosa. It was an uneventful and easy drive. It was a long day and hopefully Anne’s mom will be feeling better soon. Max stayed at Sumatanga to prepare for our project and be here to great our first team member on his arrival today. Richard was at Cedartown with us, but since we left after two days we didn’t get to know him very well. Looking forward to spending more time with him this time around. He arrived shortly after lunch so he missed the messy nachos served at lunch. Richard likes what he has seen of Sumatanga and we are sure the rest of the team will enjoy their time here. None of our team has been here before so it will be fun seeing things thru their eyes. Sumatanga is always pretty in the spring. Compared to last fall when we were in extreme drought – the lake is really pretty.

While walking the Lake Trail this evening we saw where the new zipline will cross the lake. We hope to get to try it sometime.

Zip line at Lake Trail
Zip line at the Lake Trail. This section will end where the red oval is across the lake.

Tomorrow everyone else should be arriving so we will be here to help them get parked and settled in. Looking forward to getting started.

Back to Sumatanga

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Sorry we didn’t post yesterday. Yesterday was a very busy day, with hair cut, grocery shopping for some of the ladies, and handling a lot of business items for Aunt Jean. We didn’t get back home until about 5:15 and then it was nonstop loading out FRED until we went to bed. We decided we needed to move FRED to Sumatanga early this morning because bad weather was predicted for later in the day and Anne has to unexpectedly go to Tuscaloosa early in the morning.  Max still shouldn’t be trying to set up by himself.

Sumatanga EntranceWe departed the mountain a little after 9:00 this morning and had an uneventful drive to Camp Sumatanga. For those that are not familiar with the camp, Sumatanga is the North Alabama Conference of the United Methodist Church camp and retreat center. Sumatanga has a special place in our hearts because we both came here many years ago when we were kids. We rode Max’s motorcycle to the cross on top of the mountain here, on our second date. Our church has at least one picnic here each year and we have now returned here to work on several NOMADS projects and done drop in work at other times over the past several years. It’s such a peaceful place and they do such good work here. We checked in with Lee Padgett, camp director, and got hugs from him and others on the staff. It’s like coming home. Everyone is almost like family. We also met the Dennis, the facilities manager, to find out what needs to be done. There are tent platforms to complete and new ones to build. There are walls to be taken down and others to be built. There are organizational projects and possibly some painting along with some pressure washing. If it goes like other projects here, there will be other things to do that no one has even thought of yet. There is always work at Sumatanga. We are sure it will be another great project and we just pray that our team accomplishes whatever it is that God needs us to do while we are here.

Today there was a crew from Cutters for Christ working on taking down trees in preparation for the zip line that will soon be installed. They have more than 84 trees to remove. They had 8 men today and tomorrow there are suppose to be a few more. Needless to say, it will take several more days to clear the path down the mountain. Since the Cutters were here the camp was preparing lunch and we were invited to join them. Donna and her staff as usual out did their selves. From the picture you can see why it is very hard to not gain weight on this project. The roast beef here is some of the most tender and flavorful you can find. And they make a dish we have never had anywhere else. Tomato Pie. It’s tomatoes and onion and cheese and we really need the recipe because we don’t know the other ingredients and it might not sound good to you but wow it is very good.

We have the campground to ourselves tonight and we are enjoying just looking out over the lake. Can’t wait for the rest of the team to join us. Some will be arriving tomorrow and the rest Saturday. Drive safely all you NOMADS moving to new projects this weekend.

Alone in the Sumatanga campground
Alone in the Sumatanga campground


Tuesday, March 28, 2017

First humminbird of the year
First hummingbird of the year

We know it’s spring because we had our first hummingbird at the feeder. Always love it when our hummingbirds return. We had put the first feeder out last week thinking it was about time. Today when we saw the first ruby-throated hummingbird, Max grabbed the feeder to refill it with fresh sugar water. We got one quick picture of the bird impatiently waiting. After Max got the feeder back outside we did not see another bird.

reptile faceoff.jpg
Reptile face-off

While waiting for the little feller to return we did get to watch a brief encounter between a young blue-tailed skink and an eastern fence lizard. Oh, well – surely the hummingbird will be back tomorrow. We had storms last night! Loud storms with lots of rain. The driveway was a little washed this morning but otherwise, fortunately, no problems. Early morning was still cloudy and dreary but later in the morning the sun was awesome. We started reloading FRED today. We plan to move the rig to Camp Sumatanga Thursday – the weather is suppose to be better than Friday morning. Part of the team will be arriving Friday afternoon so as leaders we must arrive before the team. We are so looking forward to another great project for Sumatanga.  It’s going to take a little longer and a lot more trips to get loaded out with Max’s lifting limitations but we should finish up tomorrow.  We turned the refrigerator on tonight so we can load it out tomorrow. We are going to be back to work soon!  Anne completed Juno’s and Aunt Helen’s tax returns. YEA! We also did some planning for later in the year but we are keeping that a secret for now. Otherwise it was laundry, answering lots of emails, and other mundane stuff.

Link to drone video of MHCC campground
Link to drone video of MHCC campground

As you remember we had asked one of our team members for an aerial view of the campground at Murphy Harpst Children’s Center and we included that picture in an earlier blog. Today he did even better. Late this afternoon we received a link to a drone video of the campground that our friend Frank Loy made.  It’s pretty awesome so be sure to click on the link and take a look.  Thanks so much, Frank.  We sure have missed being with you guys.  Hope everyone gets a good nights rest and check back with us tomorrow. 


Monday, March 27, 2017

Max felt better today than any time since his surgery so after carefully checking the weather this morning we decided we could get a road trip in before the thunderstorms hit. At about 6:45 we headed out to Red Bay Alabama. What? You say you have never heard of Red Bay? Red Bay is not near the ocean, not on a bay, and is a tiny little town on the far western border of North Alabama. The population is about 3100. According to our guide today, who was a retired history teacher, Red Bay was named for its red soil and the bay trees that grow there. Red Bay is home to Tiffin Motorhomes which was our destination for today. Tiffin also happens to be the manufacturer of our FRED. We think Tiffin is the only RV manufacturer in the state of Alabama and we are very glad they are here. Their Phaeton model has been the best selling model of class A diesel pusher motor homes for a number of years. They currently produce 12 motorhomes each work day and employ about 1,500 people. We took the factory tour today and then spent a good deal of time looking at various rigs. Sometimes when you want to see various models, fabrics or décors it’s easier to go to Red Bay because dealers usually only have a few units in stock at any point in time. We always like to take factory tours to watch companies make anything from ice cream or candy to cars and RVs. This was not our first time to tour the Tiffin plant but we enjoyed it again. If you are ever in the area, they conduct tours each day they are open at 9:30am. After you do the tour and if you are still looking for something to do you can check out the Coon Dog Cemetery or the Rattlesnake Saloon which are also in the area. We have visited both of those compelling locations before so refrained ourselves today. We wanted to get back home before the storms arrived and fortunately we did – just barely. Hope you have all had a great start to your week.