Harrell's Happenings travel blog

Today has been cloudy, the beacon of an upcoming storm and drop in temperature. I visited the Nature Center and Heritage Center today. It is encompassed in a building built by the CCC; it was originally the Bath House, located on the shores of Clayton Lake. I had a special interest in the Nature Center since I am going to help with the design of the Education/Nature Center of Fort Parker as one of my Park Host volunteer job. I liked the idea of the Touch/Feel Box; that would be an interesting, interchangeable item to include. They had several animal cages and a large fish aquarium with the native fish of the nearby lakes. They had frogs, turtles and several snakes including two species of rattlesnakes. I met their “star” – a pygmy hog-nosed snake (non-venomous). The Naturalist got her out of the tank and offered to let me pet her – no thanks. I like to look, but I am not one for holding snakes. This particular snake makes trips to schools and has even been featured in a magazine. She likes to be held because she likes the warmth of people’s hands. As I was looking in the tank with a copperhead, a cottonmouth, and a rattler, I noticed a cute little white mouse on the side. I asked if that was “dinner.” Yes, it is, but after they put the mice in there (there were actually three), the snakes sensed that cold weather was approaching and went into hibernation mode and have not been eating. So, they are feeding the mice rather than reach their hand down into the tank to retrieve them out (which I will have to say, I don’t blame them). I met the Assistant Naturalist. We talked about some of the sources she used for the Center. She had many specimens of animal skulls and pelts. I was very impressed by a gigantic hornets’ nest. I really liked the Heritage Center, telling of the history of the area. I liked the story of the Butterfield Stage that went through this area on its trek from St. Louis to San Francisco, a 38-day journey. The stage stations were sporadically placed to replace horses, pick up mail and passengers and travel on ten minutes later. I also met a woman in the gift shop that manages the swimming pool from May until September and works in the gift shop the rest of the year. She was telling me of the most popular times in the year. They just held a Fall Festival two weekends ago and about 80,000 people were here for the event. I drove around the park after I finished touring. I drove by the Bells Starr View Lodge – a beautiful location with more cabins (these were more modern than those I looked at yesterday). I think it would be so much fun to get a group of friends to spend a long weekend here. Some could camp while others could stay in a cabin or the lodge. The cabins even have fireplaces. When I returned to the trailer, I set my mind to locating my electric blanket. I had not seen it in any of my large storage areas inside. So, I started digging in the underneath bins. The weatherman says it is going to storm and it’s going to get cold, about 36, so I was determined to find the electric blanket. In the trailer, the heat is not as penetrating as that in a home. The bed is only warm where I am laying or Luci is lying. If I change positions, the sheets are like ice. Success! Blanket is found and I got it on the bed. I finished reading The Hunger Games trilogy. An interesting ending with an unexpected twist. I thought it was good; it reminded me of the Twilight series in some respects, Harry Potter in a way, and Anthem. Those readings could make for an interesting literary comparison. After reading, I set up the sewing machine and got busy with my apron projects. I worked on the pieces that need to be turned and will give me some handwork over the next couple of days when I move on to a new park. Well, it is late, the rainstorm has come and the shower‘s skylight is now leaking. Most of it pours into the shower but one corner extends beyond the shower, so I feel like I need buckets. The electric blanket warms the bed and it feels great!

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