I know I just wrote a blog post about observing Memorial Day, but just don’t think I can say enough. For those who know me, I am fiercely patriotic. Ask anyone at your consignment RV store, PPL Motorhomes and they’ll tell you. Just look around our dealership and you’ll notice a sea of red, white and blue. There is no greater nation on Earth and no greater soldiers than those in our Armed Forces.
I found a great compilation video of soldiers surprising their loved ones with their return home that I wanted to share. There is a chance that you’ve already seen it, but it’s just as powerful every time I watch it. The saying goes: “it’s hard to be a soldier, but even harder loving one”. You can see the relief on the faces in the video that their soldiers are safe at home with them.
However, let’s not forget the real reason for this weekends celebrations and that’s remembering all of those who didn’t make it back home. The hundreds of thousands of Americans who gave their lives over generations of wars to secure our freedoms and solidify Democracy. This weekend if for them. It is for their family. It is for our country.
All of us at PPL Motorhomes could never express our gratitude with a simple, “Thank You”, but that will have to suffice for now. “Thank you”, the American Soldier, who has put yourself in harm’s way so we didn’t have to. “Thank you”, the American Soldier, who gave his, or her life so we wouldn’t have to. Finally, thank you families of our American Soldiers who have willfully sacrificed their loved ones so we didn’t have to sacrifice ours. Thank all of you.
I know we all wait for those long holiday weekends. There’s no doubt that our crew at PPL Motorhomes does. Nothing beats having that extra day off to lounge around your Houston RV. That extra day off can really recharge you until the next long holiday weekend. However, there is something that you should remember while you are cooking up you hot dogs and burgers, reeling in a lunker or just kicking back in a hammock under a canopy of tree limbs: Not everyone can take this day off. In particular, America’s Military personnel.
Always at constant guard, the Armed Forces of the United States keep vigil over the entirety of our Nation. Either at home, or abroad, the U.S. Military not only doesn’t get to spend this weekend sitting around and relaxing, they actively put themselves in harms way to protect our freedom so we can do just that.
For those that serve, Memorial Day is day to remember their fallen friends and fellow soldiers, take a moment this weekend to reflect back on all that the men and women of our Armed Forces have done to protect your freedoms and rights. All of us at PPL Motorhomes will be doing the same.
God Bless America.
PPL Motorhomes and many of our consignment RVs are ready to hit the road and head into the full rush of the RVing season. Of course, that means more opportunities to engage with nature are headed our way. I’ve recently written a post about knowing your venomous snakes, so I figured one about spiders would be just as appropriate. I’ll be honest here, I’m not a big fan of spiders. However, spiders play a major role in our ecosystem and are under appreciated. Either in our homes, or our RVs, most of our widespread fear of spiders is unjustified, as Texas is home to just two that are venomous, the Brown Recluse and the Black Widow.
Of course just hearing their names sends shivers down our spines.
The Brown Recluse Spider:
Bites and Medical Significance
Like other spiders, the brown recluse is not aggressive. It is quite common, in fact, to live in a building that is heavily infested and never be bitten. Most bites occur in response to body pressure, when a spider is inadvertently trapped against bare skin. Some people are bitten when they roll over one in bed. Other bites occur while moving stored items or putting on a piece of clothing that a spider has chosen for its daytime retreat. Brown recluse spiders have remarkably small fangs and cannot bite through clothing.
The initial bite is usually painless. Oftentimes the victim is unaware until 3 to 8 hours later when the bite site may become red, swollen, and tender. The majority of brown recluse spider bites remain localized, healing within 3 weeks without serious complication or medical intervention. In other cases, the victim may develop a necrotic lesion, appearing as a dry, sinking bluish patch with irregular edges, a pale center and peripheral redness. Often there is a central blister. As the venom continues to destroy tissue, the wound may expand up to several inches over a period of days or weeks. The necrotic ulcer can persist for several months, leaving a deep scar. Infrequently, bites in the early stages produce systemic reactions accompanied by fever, chills, dizziness, rash or vomiting. Severe reactions to the venom are more common in children, the elderly, and patients in poor health. Persons bitten by a brown recluse spider should apply ice, elevate the affected area, and seek medical attention immediately.
Source: www.ca.uky.edu/University of Kentucky College of Agriculture
The Black Widow:
Of the spiders capable of inflicting a poisonous bite, black widows are the most notorious. The female is about 1/2-inch long, shiny black and usually has a red hourglass mark on the underside of the abdomen. In some varieties the hourglass mark may be reduced to two separate spots. Spiderlings and male spiders are smaller than the females and have several red dots on the abdomen’s upper side.
Widow spiders belong to the cobweb spider family and spin loosely organized trap webs. The webs are usually found under objects such as rocks and ground trash or under an overhanging embankment. Black widow spiders are not as common in homes as the brown recluse. When found in homes, they are usually under appliances or heavy furniture and not out in the open like other cobweb spiders. Black widow spiders are timid, however, and will only bite in response to being injured. People are usually bitten when they reach under furniture or lift objects under which a spider is hiding.
Black widow venom is a nerve toxin and its effects are rapid. The victim suffers painful rigidity of the abdomen and usually a tightness of the chest. Blood pressure and body temperature may rise, and sweating, localized swelling, and nausea may occur. In about 5% of the bite cases, the victim may go into convulsions in 14 to 32 hours and die if not given medical attention. First aid for black widow spider bites involves cleaning the wound and applying ice packs to slow absorption of venom. Victims should seek medical attention promptly. Most black widow spider envenomizations respond to intravenous administrations of calcium gluconate or calcium salts. An antivenin is also available for severe cases.
Source: www.ca.uky.edu/University of Kentucky College of Agriculture
As you probably already know, we live side by side with these two spiders in our homes as well as in the outdoors. You can just as easily encounter either of these spider species in your closest as you would under a rock, or fallen tree. When out in the wild, or even your own home, remember that we share space with a lot of other living creatures. When left alone, the Brown Recluse and Black Widow pose no threat, but when disturbed, they can be dangerous. Remember, to “look before lift” and “shake it before you put it on”. Follow this link for ways to avoid potential spider bites.
Have and creepy crawly stories of your own? Share them here, or give RV Nana a call at PPL Motorhomes…maybe your story will make my blog!
At PPL Motorhomes, we all love our rivers and lakes. In fact most of us take our Houston RVs far out of the city limits to places where the main attraction is a river or lake. So, there is no doubt that boating and fishing go hand in had with Houston RVing. However, how familiar are you with the invasive species of plants and animals that are destroying those same lakes and rivers?
According to texasinvasives.org: Zebra mussels are having a devastating effect on the state’s natural resources. They negatively impact native fish and mussels and foul beaches with their sharp shells. They wreak havoc for boaters by damaging boat hulls and reducing the performance of boating equipment. Zebra mussels can clog water intakes, costing taxpayers millions of dollars. Zebra mussels have already invaded Lake Texoma, and could take over all freshwater sources in Texas.
Hello invasive species…Goodbye Texas lakes
If you are a boater, or fisherman her are some tips for you: (Source texasinvasives.org)
Stop the Spread
There are many things you can do to help stem the tide of invasive species. One of the most effective ways to manage invasive species is for recreationalists such as boaters, fishermen, pet owners, and gardeners to Take Action. Here are some easy everyday things you can do to meet the Invasive Species Challenge:
Boaters and Anglers
You can “Stop Aquatic Hitchhikers” by following these tips for preventing the transportation of aquatic invasive species:
- CLEAN, DRAIN AND DRY YOUR BOAT, TRAILER AND GEAR EVERY TIME YOU LEAVE A BODY OF WATER!
- Inspect your boat, trailer and gear and remove all plants, animals and foreign objects from hulls, propellers, intakes, trailers, and gear before leaving a launch area.
- Drain all water from your boat, including the motor, bilge, livewells and bait buckets before leaving a lake.
- Wash your boat, trailer and other equipment before traveling to a new waterway.
- If you are leaving a water body that is known to have zebra mussels, leave your boat and trailer out of the water for at least a week or wash it at a commercial car wash using high-pressure, hot (140 degrees F) soapy water to kill microscopic zebra mussel larvae that may be hitching a ride.
- Never transport water, animals, or plants from one waterbody to another — either intentionally or accidentally! Do not release live fish, including bait, into a new body of water.
- Anglers should be sure to remove material from and wash all fishing tackle, downriggers and lines to prevent spreading small, larval forms of aquatic invaders.
- Before leaving any body of water, examine all your equipment, boats, trailers, clothing, boots, buckets etc and remove any visible plants, fish or animals. Remove mud and dirt and even the smallest plant fragments.
- Whether you have obtained bait at a store or from another body of water, do not release unused bait into the waters you are fishing. If you do not plan to use the bait in the future, dump the bait in a trashcan or on the land, far enough away from the water that it cannot impact this resource. Also, be aware of any bait regulations, because in some waters, it is illegal to use live bait
What if we aren’t boaters or anglers? Do we have to worry about the spreading invasive species? Absolutely! Here are some things you can do to be a good steward of the land and protect our foliage and natural habitats. (Source texasinvasives.org)
Travelers, Hikers, Bikers, Birders, and Campers
If you engage in terrestrial recreational activities like camping, hiking, biking or birding, take care not to be an unwitting vehicle of dispersion.
- Don’t transport items such as fire wood, hay, soil, or sod from one area to another. They may contain seeds, diseases, insects, or other potentially invasive organisms that are not yet found in Texas.
- Prevent carrying invasive species on your cars, bicycles and motorcycles. Check vehicles for seeds and pieces of plants.
- Wash your boots and socks before you hike in a new area. Invasive weed seeds are common hitchhikers.
- Abide by local laws to prevent the spread of serious insect pests (like the Emerald Ash Borer), weeds (like Cogongrass), and diseases (like Oak Wilt).
PPL Motorhomes wants to remind you that as new, used or consignment RV owners and campers to protect our natural habitat to the best of our ability. We all need to be hyper aware of the damages we can cause to our surroundings, even if we can’t see that damage. have a conversation with the Park Ranger the net time you enjoy one of our State Parks, Lakes or Rivers and educate yourself on how you and your RV can make less of a footprint.