Thursday, July 26, 2007


Several years ago when we moved into our newly built house, I dropped a hint or two that it would be nice to have a clothesline. We get an ample amount of wind out here, so it would save money and there really isn't anything like clothes dried in the country breeze and sunshine. That is, as long as you don't have livestock living downwind.

And that is where I left it, knowing full well that I could rest comfortably in the safety of Hubby's ridiculously long To-Do list.

But he tricked me. During his time off over the last few days, I have watched in morbid fascination as not one, but four perfectly positioned 50 foot long clotheslines have been erected across the backyard, per my previous request. And before I knew it, I was being domestic and hanging clean clothes in the sunshine to absorb all the wholesome country breeze. And as I carried a basket back into the house, Hubby commented, "Hey, they're already folded too!" I stood there with my jaw hanging as I realized he was right. Unknowingly, I had folded the clothes as I took them off the line.

My reputation may never recover.

A Low Simmer

What a terrible thing has been happening in Connecticut. I have read the various posts and blogs on the subject and I am still at a loss for words. Well almost.
  • To those in Connecticut-I am so sorry for your loss. The product of your creativity, effort and giving spirit was appreciated by many. You freely gave so that others might enjoy and that effort was trampled on by a handful. Please don't give up. Take a season to protect and rebuild, but come back stonger than ever. Let us know how the rest of us can help.
  • To those responsible-I am sorry that your life is so empty that doing something malicious and destructive is the only way you can enjoy yourself. Get help.
  • To everyone else, like me, who is watching helplessly-Start carving! Stock up on Lock n Locks! Create logbooks! Let's not only fill our own corner of the world with lots of clever letterboxes, but let's also send some to Connecticut!

Monday, July 23, 2007

Year in Review

This weekend has been about victories and defeats. It has been about all of the things, good and bad, that distract us from letterboxing. It has been about why we letterbox in the first place.

One year ago, we found our first letterbox and we were hopelessly and completely transfixed by this grand and glorious passion. We came, we carved, we searched. We spent way too much time on the computer and way too much money at the post office. We saw places that we never knew existed and met extremely interesting people. We ticked a few people off and hopefully encouraged many more. It was a good year.

This past weekend was a condensed version of our year. We found boxes and searched for boxes that were missing. We walked what seemed like an eternity and have the blisters to prove it. We found thorns and the bugs found us. We spent a wonderful time together away from all of the things that constantly demand our attention (like the laundry). We saw amazing things in God's Creation. We communicated with friends and received a couple of very special PLBs in the mail. We deciphered clues and studied maps. We read the message boards, sometimes laughing, sometimes not. We looked through our journal and shared favorite memories.
If there is one thing that we have learned this past year, it is that all of the negative things about this hobby cannot take away from the wonderful things that we gain. The disappointment of failing to find a box is softened by the excitement of being in a fabulous park. An incredible stamp image is more than worth the risk of poison ivy, ticks and mosquitoes. Coming face to face with breathtaking wildlife makes up for having to search in a pestifilent slough earlier in the day. And paying the bill at the post office seems trivial when a package arrives from someone who works magic with a Speedball.
We haven't learned everything there is to know about letterboxing. But we do know more than when we first started. And we know we are not going to stop here!

Wednesday, July 18, 2007


It all started with the rain yesterday. Frankie the Moose and Tweeter conspired together and cootied Pinky Poo. She promised revenge. Then with another day of rain today, everyone was getting a little punchy and Pinky found my stash of cooties left over from the gathering in Columbus, Ohio. Before you knew what was happening there were cooties flying everywhere, the carving supplies had been pulled out and there was very little actual stamping taking place. It looked more like the melee of a grade school cafeteria food fight.
I pulled out the whistle and eventually brought the chaos to a halt. We decided that since they were all over the place anyway, we might as well have our own cootie event right then and there. With a little organization and cooperation, all the buddies were able to stamp about seventeen cooties a piece. I threw in an event stamp to finish things off and scooted the buddies upstairs for a nap so that I could clean up the mess.
I'm not sure what I'll do if it rains again tomorrow. I'm fresh out of ideas!

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Hostess with the Mostest

Playing hostess to three separate boxing buddies can keep you quite busy, we are discovering! The girls are having a great time and we are all enjoying planning special things for the buddies to do. Even my two nephews have gotten involved. So we're not complaining, but...
Last Friday on the trail we ended up with six logbooks between us, and the stamping got to be really insane! And did I mention we had the crazy puppy with us too? We ended up paring it down to just the nephews' two logbooks and all the sig stamps. We stamped everyone into the letterboxes and then scanned and pasted the images into all of the rest of the logbooks after we got home. That worked. At least with that many buddies, each of the kids had someone to pair up with. It kept them engaged in the letterboxing and focused on what we were doing instead of getting bored 100 feet from the car. Which is a beautiful thing.
The rain this morning kept us all in, which meant alot of cootie mischief going on. I'm not sure what I'll do with all of them if it rains again tomorrow. Two kids, two cats, a puppy, a poodle, a bat and a moose can be a bit much! ;)

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Hills and Hurdles

My two girls have never liked letterboxing. They don't go willingly and it is always Too Hot, Too Cold, Too Windy, Too Sunny, Too Far, Too Boring, etc. On top of the complaining is the reality that my oldest has Sensory Integration Disorder. Which means, among other things, that the light touch from leaves as she passes on the trail feels like thorns to her.
But then the Boxing Buddies arrived. Tweeter the bat for the 8yo who loves bats and wants to be a vet, Pinky Poo the poodle for the 5yo pink princess supreme, and Frankie the Moose for Mom just because. And last night when I suggested we take the buddies letterboxing today, there was no hesitation or murmurings. And when we came upon that monster slippery hill this morning, there was no griping or tears. And when the mosquitoes tried to stamp their signatures on us, there was no whimpering.
And we had a blast, found 5 out of 5 letterboxes, and discovered a little hot dog stand with the best Pina Colada shakes I've ever had.
I still can't believe how well it went. When I think about that hill, I realize that it wasn't the only hurdle that was crossed successfully today. I am immensely proud of my girls! They are the best letterboxing buddies I could ever have. Where are we going tomorrow?

Letterboxes: 33 Laundry: 1

Saturday, July 7, 2007

Beating the Heat

In order to get a few boxes before the heat and humidity became unbearable, Frankie the Moose and I left the house this morning at 5:20! On a Saturday!!
But it was worth it. Here is a list of some of the things we saw:
Little Blue Heron
Snowy Egret
Blue Jay
Indigo Bunting (lots of blue today!)
Rabbits everywhere!
White Tailed Deer
At least six different kinds of "dragonfly"
Lost count on the butterflies
Wild Monarda, Black-eyed Susan, Joe Pye Weed, and Spiderwort

The disadvantage to being on the trails so early is that you get to clear all the spiderwebs for everyone else. We found four out of five boxes and were back home by 9:15. I took some pictures and they will probably be on Frankie's blog later.

Letterboxes: 25 Laundry: 1

Friday, July 6, 2007

Contemplating the Complexity of Clue Writing

To give hints or not to give hints? That's what I'm asking myself.

In the last year, I have planted a number of letterboxes covering a wide range of "types". There are drive-by, indoor, longer hike, kid friendly, straightforward walk-you-to-the box clues, and clues that are a bit more of a challenge. I have yet to plant a box designed for night time hunting, but that is coming. Basically, I have something for almost everyone.

But I also have a dilemma. At what point (if at all) do you give people help to send them in the right direction to find a box? It does not bother me if everyone does not find each of my boxes on the first try. A couple of them are actually designed to be...Hard. *Gasp* It isn't supposed to be easy to hunt a Tiger in the jungle or rescue a Princess from a dragon or spot the elusive Mermaid, is it?
So, after careful consideration, here is a compilation of possible scenerios and my likely response to them (any similarity to actual occurances is purely circumstantial evidence no matter how familiar or likely it sounds):
  • Contact: “Your letterbox is lost because the building it was in moved.”
    Response: Stupified stare complete with chin drop and stunned silence. Extreme urge to respond sarcastically about their future in letterboxing.
  • Contact: “Which fork in the trail were we supposed to take again?”
    Response: No response whatsoever. Identifying trails when you aren’t even there is much worse than trying to identify which fallen tree a clue is guiding you to.
  • Contact: “I was in the woods and saw the bridge in your clue about a quarter of a mile ahead on the right. Didn’t find the box though.”
    Resonse: A raising of the eyebrow (because the clue does state that the bridge should be to their right), but only a vague email in response suggesting that they follow the clue more closely.
  • Contact: “Looked for your box today, but the plant overgrowth made it difficult to follow the clue. Will try again.”
    Resonse: A sheepish grin and self-kick in the pants for writing a clue that couldn’t be followed in all seasons. Plans to remedy that problem ASAP.
  • Contact:“Your clue states that the letterbox is in Such n Such park, but we can’t find an address for that park. Can you tell us where it is?”
    Response: Palm smack to the forehead for stupideocity. Just because it was called that when you were a child and everyone around home knows what you’re talking about even though the park has been through three name changes since then doesn’t mean a non-local would. Email the corrected information with apology and change the clue.
  • Contact: “We found your box even though the sign mentioned in the clue was vandalized and found lying in the parking lot.”
    Resonse: A congrats email sent thanking for the update and an immediate rewrite of the clue.
  • Contact: “We turned over every leaf and stick in the forest and found pieces of the container and stamp embedded in Racoon poo. Sorry, we couldn’t find any of the logbook to stamp into.”
    Response: Another chin drop and stunned silence followed by the immediate mailing of a full color copy of the original stamp image, a handmade logbook as a thank you…and a box of disinfectant wipes.

How do the rest of you decide who to ignore and who genuinely could use a nudge in the right direction?

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Our First Buddy!

Boxing Buddy Frankie the Moose arrived today! This is our first experience hosting a boxing buddy and I was a little nervous. But when Frankie arrived, we hit it off right away and I felt much more at ease. We have a lot planned this month, but it is ridiculously hot and humid today. So we spent the afternoon exchanging PTs and discussing plans. We are still awaiting Pinky Poo and Tweeter. Hopefully they will be here by the weekend.
On the down side, the vacuuming and laundry screamed loud enough this morning to wake me up. I had no choice but to attend to them. You can't win them all!

Letterboxes :22 Laundry :1

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

An Incredible Day!

Nineteen boxes in one day!! I never would have thought it was possible, and yet Trail Rider, Pastor's Wife, Prairie Dog and I did it. Here's what I learned:
  • Never Assume. Anything.
  • Following clues is all about perspective. One person's large field is another person's wide spot in the grass.
  • There is hope for the puppy. After today, he deserves his own stamp.
  • The AQ patches are even cooler than they look on the web. Thanks, PD!
  • The Cottontails are seriously awesome letterboxers! I hope I get to meet them someday. Happy Anniversary, Cottontails!
  • There are lots of skinny trees, fallen trees, giants trees, and tree stumps on this planet.
  • Cooties happen.

Thanks for a fantastic day off, ladies!

Letterboxes: 21 Laundry: 0