Spring Break

RedbudThe second weekend in March found us among the spring breakers at Loyd Park. It seemed like children were everywhere: playing street hockey, screeching through the forest, riding bicycles. Thankfully, most parents (and grandparents) call a halt to their activities around sunset, so we were able to enjoy calm, quiet nights.

Typical of spring in Texas, the weekend began with warm temperatures and clear skies that ended in cool, wet weather as a front moved through the region. We were grateful that the predicted hail and damaging winds never materialized. When your home is made of aluminum you tend to hold your breath with each passing storm.

We’ve been spending more of our Airstream time exploring our ancestry. For Christmas, we gave each other the gift of a DNA test, and were startled to learn that we are both entirely European in heritage. Jon’s DNA is mostly from England and Cliff’s is mostly from Scotland. As a result, we’ve decided to honor Cliff’s Scottish lineage by having accent pillows made from his family’s Duncan tartan. Jon thought that was an acceptable alternative to Cliff’s wearing a kilt. We’ve seen men wearing kilts on camp-outs, and they just seem out of place. Most people are familiar with the tailored or military kilt, but the garment actually evolved from the woolen cloaks worn by Celtic warriors since Roman times. Clearly better suited for the cold, windswept Scottish highlands than the hot, dry Texas terrain.

This weekend brought us kicking and screaming into Daylight Saving Time, which will extend through November 5. The idea of optimizing daylight had an early proponent in Benjamin Franklin. In 1784, while serving as the American envoy to France, he wrote a letter to the editor of The Journal of Paris, in which he suggested that Parisians could economize candle usage by getting people out of bed earlier in the morning, making use of the natural morning light instead. As it turns out, Franklin was only joking. His satirical letter also proposed taxing window shutters and waking the public by ringing church bells and firing canon. Daylight Saving Time (DST) as we now know it was formally proposed by New Zealand entomologist George Hudson more than a century later, in 1895. Regardless of DST’s origins, people of every age have tried to optimize daylight hours for work and leisure activities.

During our last outing with the Heart of Texas Camping Unit, we became acquainted with an Oster electric grill. A portable gas or electric grill is ideal for departure days, when using the BGE (Big Green Egg) would make it too hot to handle at check-out time. We purchased an electric grill with a ceramic cooktop that features a smooth surface on one side and a grill surface on the other. It heats quickly and evenly, allowing Cliff to make a perfect weekend breakfast without our cast-iron cookware. And this is called “roughing it”?