Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The Last of the Pups

Today we passed Brooks off to his new guardian as Dennis took him away to Tampa. He will be getting the attention of the whole family there, including two little girls, four and six, who have no idea that he's coming. I expect Brooks to have a spectacular life in a setting where he will get a lot of great care and tons of attention. We didn't have much of a chance to bond with the other pups as they were part of a large group soiling their pen. With Brooks by himself, he mostly did his business outside and we found that to be a most endearing quality. That he is so very friendly and loving wasn't a bad thing either. So it was with some mixed emotions that we watched him go. I could say how life is easier now that all the puppies are gone, but one puppy is not a lot of work and the joy he brings FAR outweighs any work involved. Last night he slept in the kitchen area by himself. He had access to water and could attend to business as needed, without calling on us. However, a little after 8:00 AM, he was HUNGRY and he let us know. He set up such a howling to be fed, but once his dish was put before him he was all business. A few minutes later all the dogs went out, with Brooks chasing Jodie and Coco as fast as his little legs would carry him and with his ears flopping as he ran. He took care of business very quickly and hustled back to the house. It was very cold this morning and he knew the house was warm.

From Puppy Pics

From Pups for Peeps

Brooks has come a long way in such a short time. We wish him a long and healthy life and hope to get a picture or two in time.

Now, we are free, so it's off to dinner with friends, if Helen's eyes are not too red.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Christmas, the day after... a family day.

The day after Christmas all the Tempestas gathered at Scott and Heather's for the family part of the holiday. Though I can't vouch for everyone, Helen and I had a grand time. The grandchildren are getting so big. Kolbie is seven and Kyle will be seven shortly. Kourtnie is getting to be quite the young woman and Branden........well, we didn't see too much of Branden.
From Christmas 2009

He pulled an all-nighter playing video games and was unconscious except for the one trip to the bathroom.

The Clermont Tempestas were there as well as the Clermont Evans and Hall. Kimberly has grown so much and has become so mobile. She's going to be a handful as she learns to walk and get into everything.

From Christmas 2009

Gramma Jean was there and I'm sorry that this is the only picture I got. She spent a lot of time walking with Kimberly and we thought that she might not give he back to Kristin.

From Christmas 2009
This is Kristin with Kimberly and Kolbie looking on.

From Christmas 2009
A pair of Duds that showed up at the party.

From Christmas 2009
Keaton and Robin

From Christmas 2009
Kourtnie and Kimberly, while Kourtnie didn't have her Mac in her hands.

From Christmas 2009
Candy canes filled with Hersey Kisses. This is as close as I came.

From Christmas 2009
Kyle and Helen minding Brooks, the wonder pup.

Christmas 2009

Helen and I spent Christmas with Barbara and Rita in Homosassa. Just the four of us.......oh...and Brooks, the last of the puppies. As usual, the Barita Girls did a bang up job with everything.

From Christmas 2009

The food was great. The conversation was lively and we just had a good time. No pressure. No madness. No stress.

From Christmas 2009

As usual, I went home feeling like a stuffed turkey.

Brooks was exceptional. I took him outside several times and he did all his business out there. There is an empty lot next door and he was having a heck of a time frolicking in the tall grass. He seems to like that because he enjoys running through the ground cover at home.

As I said a very nice day with dear friends.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009


This afternoon we lost two more puppies as they went off to a new chapter in their lives. The black female I call Princess is on her way to Fort Pierce and the chocolate female, Bella, is on her way to Port Richey. We are very pleased with both families and feel that these two pups, like all the others are going to very fine home and will have great lives.

At the beginning, Helen and I could only see that we were helping a poor mother and her litter. Yes, we have done that, and we. through Lab Rescue of Florida, have found great homes for all of them. After seeing the faces of the people adopting the pups and the mom, I find that we have also given nine families a nice Christmas. We see the delighted faces on the children and we see the adults cooing like children as they hold their puppies.

In recent years, Helen and I have become somewhat jaded in our view of Christmas, with the gross commercialization and the mantra of more, more, more. Even our own families don't seem to take the season seriously and certainly don't, or haven't appreciated the work that has gone into a family Christmas at our house. Helen and I will celebrate a very non-commercial Christmas with virtually no decorations and no fanfare. We have taken in a desperate mother Lab and her pups, restored them to health and will see them all off to great new homes. It will be our most rewarding Christmas since.........well....since my sons were little boys.

This Christmas I am truly grateful for whatever force brought us and the puppies together.

That's all for now.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Washer woes are gone.

Yesterday I wrote about the washing machine problem we had. This morning I had a new coupler by 9:00 AM and had the washer back in business before 10:00 AM. Are we glad that a new washer wasn't necessary. The part that broke was nylon and I'm surprised it lasted as long as it did. The replacement part is also nylon, but it is reinforced with metal and I doubt I'll ever have to replaces it again. By mid-afternoon we were all caught up with the puppy towels and Helen went to work on the laundry for the people in the house.

The puppies are getting used to having more freedom and do not like to stay in their pen any longer. Even the outside pen cages them in too much. It was too cold this morning, so they had the run of the kitchen and that worked for quite a while. The main thing is letting them run and run and get tired. Then they are content to nap for long periods of time.

In the warmth of this afternoon, we took them out back and let them really run. We left Jodie and Coco inside because they tend to play too rough with the pups. All the pups were very active, running a full speed around the yard. They have advanced to the point where they can run with some speed without tripping from time to time. They were chasing each other around and around and into the trees. They lasted much longer that I thought they would, and when they were brought inside they just collapsed. They must have been exhausted as they have never been that active for so long a time.

We now have four puppies with two going to new homes tomorrow and one on Wednesday. That will leave us with Brooks, the largest of them all, and the most active. We will have him until December 30th and it will be up to me and Helen to keep him occupied. OH BOY!!!! We have names for all the pups except for the black female. Bella the chocolate female will be going tomorrow as well as the black female. Cooper, the male runt will be leaving Wednesday afternoon. Hating to have the beautiful black female with no name I've been calling her Princess.
I could say what a beauty she is, and she is, but all of the puppies have been exceptional and that's my completely unbiased opinion.

That's all for now.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Doggone and Washer Woes

Right now, Sunday afternoon, we are down to just four puppies, and we are very pleased with the caliber of the families adopting our beautiful pups. My earlier optimism about the easing of the poop situation was dashed this morning when it looked like the droppings of more pups than we had before. What can ya do? Of course, part of raising eight puppies is doing load after load after load of towels that we use for bedding as they soil them continuously. At least the washer and dryer have been keeping up with the job.

At least until this morning. We tend to do very large loads and run at maximum load, or more, run at maximum agitation, and run at maximum spin. This morning the washer said "I've had enough!!!" I started the laundry and probably overloaded the washer. When it was full, there were only two or three more towels in the basket, so I just added them. When I left the laundry room, the washer was washing normally. A short while later Helen brought more towels out there and noted that the washer was making a funny noise and was not agitating. I investigated and sure enough, the motor was running but all we got was a clicking sound. Damn!!! A tub full of poopy water and towels.

I turned the control to spin and I got the clicking sound, but also the sound of the pump and the water being pumped out. That was a blessing because working on the washer was bad enough, but having to bail out the tube would have been a real pain. After taking all the towels out and running the pump once more, I got nearly all the water out. Next, I disconnected the machine and rolled it out into the garage and flipped it over. I toyed with it for a little while and didn't make any progress and thought we'd have to buy a new one. I checked out Sears Outlets for a scratch and dent special and was considering a quick ride to Tampa in the afternoon.

Then, since we had a couple of hours before the people picking up their pup were due, I had another go at the washer. It only took a few moments to find that the problem is a broken nylon connector between the motor and the transmission. Now this is a part that probably cost ten cents to make, but will probably cost me $15.00 to buy. Tomorrow, first thing, I'll be up at Welch Appliance repair shop to get a replacement. We'll have to see how it works out tomorrow.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Puppies, puppies, puppies

Yesterday was the day for all the shots with the pups and it went amazingly well. Working with eight active puppies was new to me, but old hand to the girls at TLC Veterinary. They were very methodical and thorough. Three girls working as a team efficiently processed all eight puppies in record time. I was very careful in making sure that the correct microchip was given to the correct puppy. I double checked and rechecked again when I got home. The process was a success.

Today we are awaiting the first adopter, Mike, who will be taking one of the chocolate females. I could say something about his pup being beautiful, and she is, but we were blessed with a situation where all eight pups are very beautiful dogs. The girls at the vets office remarked at how beautiful they all were and appear to be pure Labrador Retrievers. We hope so, but it's not necessary. Our dog Sandy was a Lab mix and a finer dog would be hard to find.

I'm going to go now to get my paperwork ready. This afternoon the people adopting one of the black males will be here and this evening Skyler ( we knew her as Mittens) will be leaving.

Hectic, Hectic, Hectic!!!!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Keeping Busy with the Dogs.

It's going to be a hectic day today as we have to take the eight pups to the vet. The last time was six weeks ago when they all fit in one laundry basket and were not very active. Today we'll have eight squirming, wiggling, jumping demons and I'm really hoping that the vet and staff have some plan to make this work. I'll have more later.

Yesterday we got a message from Olive, Freckles new housemate. She related how well Freckles was behaving and that Freckles even wagged her tail when she was met in the morning. Olive can't know how much we wanted to hear that. We were so worried about the dog and how she would adapt to the new home. It really eased our minds.

So this morning it's off to the vets. Tomorrow will be departure day for three of the pups, which means that there will be 37% less poop to pick up on Sunday. I'll quit now before I go off the deep end.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

A New Home for Freckles!

Today was the day when we had to pass Freckles on to Olive and Frank as they took her to her new home. Helen and I could not be more pleased with Olive and Frank as adopters of a girl we have come to love. We took Freckles in on November 4th, taking her home from a very gloomy animal control station upstate. She was so shy and afraid of everything when we first got her, pulling away when we went to pet her as she thought she would be hit.

In the first few days, Jodie would not allow her into the computer room where Jodie sleeps, so Freckles would stay out in the hall when the rest of us were at the computer. Eventually Freckles became a real member of the pack, running with Jodie and Coco around the yard and into the woods. Helen taught her to play fetch with a tennis ball and she soon became obsessed with playing, not with just the ball, but playing with Jodie and Coco as well. If there is one thing that I can say that is in any way negative, it's that she will take any advantage to grab a cookie if the door is open to the dog food and cookies. If Helen takes out the vacuum cleaner hose and leaves the door open, Freckles WILL snag a cookie or two. That's as negative as I can get and I think you'll agree that it's not really a problem.

We've had many labrador retreivers pass through here in the last few years and they have all been a joy. Freckles went well beyond that and became a real part of the family, as lovable a dog as you could ever find. Helen felt bad that we were passing Freckles on again, but this is not like anything in her past. I'm sure she's going to be doted on by Frank and especially by Olive as she becomes part of their family.

We knew when we first took her that she would be going to a "forever" home some day. In fact, we worried that finding such a home for her might be difficult. Puppies are easy to place, but older dogs are not always as popular. With Olive and Frank it appeared to be love at first sight and though we are delighted for Freckles, our hearts hurt already and Freckles will be missed. Missed, but never forgotten.

From Freckles Move

From Freckles Move

From Freckles Move

From Freckles Move

From Freckles Move

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Smile !!! or at least don't Growl!!!

We had our favorite photographer over today to take a few pictures of us with the eight puppies. It was not our intent to get a "studio quality" portrait of the ten of us, just a picture that we'd have to remember this chapter in our lives. Rita came over on Friday and took several pictures, but none met her approval, so we tried again this afternoon.

Can you imagine trying to pose with arms full of wriggling eels??? Well, eight puppies are not too much easier.

From Puppy Pics

This picture is more than we expected as a picture of the puppies and us. We have, quite literally, hundreds of pictures of the pups, so we'll never forget this short adventure in our lives.

All the adult dogs get along so well that we wonder how Jodie and Coco Will adjust to having Freckles gone in a couple of weeks. When Freckles came home after the spaying, she was greeted with wagging tails and sniffs and licks. She has truly become one of the pack.

More later.


Yesterday was an unusual day in the annals of Tempesta sports. Three generations participated in a round of golf at Whispering Pines Golf Course in eastern Citrus County. My son, Paul, Jr., grandson Keaton, and I headed out for a quick nine holes under an over cast sky. They were high clouds, though, with no chance of rain. The temperature was very comfortable. On the sixth hole I finally hit an iron shot that didn't bounce along the ground and on the seventh tee I hit a drive that was my best shot of the day. Paul, Jr. can easily outpower his dad and was able to get some awesome distance, often over shooting the green. His tee shot on the ninth was his best shot of the day and was an exactly perfect shot straight down the fairway, straight WAY DOWN the fairway. A couple of yards further and a slight fade to the right and he would have been on the green.

Keaton is at the very beginning of his golf life and it's obvious that he doesn't buy his own golf balls. He is a determined golfer and if he drives a ball into the water, he's happy to try again from the same spot. His Dad finally got him to accept the bad shot and drop a new ball and take a stroke penalty rather than keep hitting balls in the water.

I used to beat Paul, Jr. regularly, but those days are over as he has improved greatly since we last played. Now I can eke out a win over Keaton, but it's too obvious that as we continue to play, I'll be coming in third in this group. I feels good to be going out as three generations. I get the same feeling when I go fishing with Scott and Branden. I'm sorry that my sons and I never got the chance to share quality time with my father.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

The Truth about Cats and Dogs

Well, that's not really true as I know very little about cats and there will be no information about them. I'm gomg to dwell on the eleven dogs we have in the house.

We've had the mother Lab and her pups for 36 days, with about 10 days to go. It has been a great experience and a source of great joy. The mother was so shy, timid to the extreme. She didn't know about television and barked at all the noises that came from the TV set. I tried to watch "Marley and Me" which was about a yellow Lab, but Freckles would create such a uproar the I had to turn it off. When Helen first took the dogs out to play ball, Freckles didn't know what to do with the ball and she just watched it roll away. Then she reached the point where she would actually retrieve the ball and brind it back to Helen, as Coco does. Now she has graduated to the Jodie style of retrieving. Throw the ball and Freckles gets it, now chase her to get it back.

Where she once had to be led up the back yard for "business", she now races out there and she is much faster than Coco or Jodie. Beating Coco doesn't surprise me due to Coco's hips, but Jodie seemed so fast. Freckles long legs and sleek profile allow her to find a loping gait that easily puts her well ahead of the other dogs.

Once shy, she now barks when she wants something, and it's a very loud bark that you can't ignore. She barks when she wants a cookie and she barks when she wants to go out. She also barks when she wants water and the water dish is empty. Yup, sometimes me and Helen bad! Generally, when Helen tells her to stop barking and lay down, and she does.

Now, to the little dogs. OK, they are still really puppies, but the seem more like little dogs every day. We got a 10% coupon from PetSupermarket and I told Helen that we should stock up on food for our dogs and the foster dogs while we were buying. I suggested two big bags of puppy chow and Helen thought that it would be too much, but she acceded to my wishes and got the two bags. It was a good thing because we will probably need ANOTHER bag also.

The puppies are going through a lot of puppy chow as they are building mass and body strength. Now you can think of a puppie as a processing plant that takes in puppy chow and water and converts it to another product or two at the other end. So as the rate of using the chow increases, the end product also increases. This end product is not like puppy doo, but normal doggie doo, but a little smaller. OK, keep this in mind. I'm going to another topic, but will return to this subject.

Toys! Do the love to play with toys!!! Little stuffed animals and rubber balls are toys they like. A section of rope or a towel can be used in tug-o-war. Things that squeek get a lot of attention. These are bought toys, but really, anything that enters their pen becomes a plaything. Step into the pen and it seems that your shoes are being attacked by piranha or a swarm of bees. The bottom of your Jeans become a great item to chew and tug. Shoe laces are undone, over and over and over. Now we go back to the last topic.

When one of the dogs creates product, that is new and that becomes a plaything, if they see it. Helen and I try to pick up as soon as we possibly can so it's not tracked all over. They may not notice it, bit as we reach down with a paper towel, the swarm around your hand, walk in the poop, and try to grab the paper towel. I have a squeeky toy in my left hand to draw them away and that worked very well, but only twice. They're on to me and just attack the hand doing the work.

Their voices are getting louder. I mean LOUDER. This morning I wanted to sleep in a bit. Impossible. It sounded like a pack of pit bulls had cornered a dozen cats. Helen was taking care of things, but the noise persisted and eventually I gave up. Ten more days!

Today I remodled the pen, making it more difficult for them to escape. Thinking the pen was secure I was in the other room reading. When I returned the pen was empty as the gate had bee forced open from the bottom. I found the escapees spread out in the family room and back hall. Not a single "accident" or "mess", but only because I got them in time. Having a taste of a larger area, they want more freedom. One puppy is not bad. Two puppies are probably not bad. In fact, the eight puppies are not bad, but they are more than a handful and they keep us very busy.

That's all I'm saying for now.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Black Friday???

This is the day they refer to as Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving when the Christmas shopping gets off to a ridiculous start. It is a beautiful day around here as Helen and I have no intention of venturing out today. It has been quiet and we had a nice time this morning playing with the three adult Labs in the yard. Jodie and Coco love to play fetch, Coco being absolutely obsessive about it. Today Helen tried to interest Freckles in fetching. At first she didn't have a clue and is quickly intimidated by our two. Soon though, Helen would throw the ball and Freckles would fetch it and drop it at Helen's feet. She a quick learner.

Yesterday was a super day! Quiet and peaceful! We had the Barita Girls over (Barbara and Rita) and it was a wonderful day. The puppies were good and Jodie, Coco, and Freckles behaved very well. Barb brought a special dish that was delicious.


2 apples - sliced and placed on the bottom of a 9 x 12 pan (but you can use any kind of bake ware)
Next place 1 large can crushed pineapple - drained - over apples
Next spread 1 can whole cranberries over pineapple


1 cup brown sugar
1 cup oatmeal
3/4 stick butter
1/2 cup flour
1 tsp. cinnamon

Mix together - I use a pastry cutter to get butter cut into other ingredients - Mixture should be so all of the butter be in little pieces.

Bake at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes - until bubbly

Trust me! This is a recipe well worth trying!

Well, now I've got to run, there's still some cranberry-pineapple bake left.

That's all for now.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

A Quiet Thanksgiving

Yes, it's a quiet Thanksgiving at the Tempesta's in Inverness. It's just us and the 11 dogs. The puppies grow so fast that it's hard to believe the difference in their behavior from one day to the next. Oh, they're still puppies, so there's a lot of eating and sleeping, but there are also times of great activity, sniffing and wrestling and running around and playing. Then it's back to sleep again. They are on half solid food and are well on the way to being able to turn Momma loose.

Now Momma is another story. She was so shy and cowered whenever we would move. Raise your hand to pet her and she'd shy away with fear. Now she knows that a hand means petting and she is as friendly as can be. The last two days I've been running her out in the woods without a leash and she has become a member of "the pack". She joins Jodie and Coco for a run out back to do her business and is even getting to play with our two. Jodie was a bit of a bitch at first, but she has warmed to Freckles and is mesmerized by the puppies. One day she was laying outside the puppy enclosure with her nose pressed against the screen. On the other side several puppies were either amusing Jodie or being amused by Jodie. It lasted about half an hour, so it must have been good for them. The Momma was even up on our bed yesterday, along with Jodie, Coco, Helen, and me. It didn't leave a lot of extra room, but it was a civilized gathering. Though we love the puppies, passing Freckles on to her new family is going to be more traumatic for us. She is a beautiful, sensitive dog that has had a life of abuse. That she has rebounded so well is a tribute to her inner strength. She had a deep bark, which she uses to great effect. Coco will sit in front of us and stare until we do what she wants. Most of the time it's for a cookie, but can also be because she wants to go out or there is no water. Freckles will make eye contact with Helen and bark and yowl, almost talking. This means that she wants to be fed or she wants to go out. She has done a remarkable job of training us in only a couple of weeks.

This is a lot of work. The washing machine and dryer are running almost non-stop. With eight pups, some one has just pooped or will poop in another moment. This brings up another situation that I didn't forsee. Those of you who have changed diapers know how different it is once a baby goes on solid food. Well, the same is true for puppies., phew. I was watching TV yesterday when an odor reached my nose and I was certain that the Momma had done a job in the house. Nope, it was one of the pups.

At least having the pups hasn't prevented Helen and me from eating out. We're going to Carrabba's on Saturday! Helen is going at 3:30 PM and I'm going at 7:00 PM, Ha HA.

Among other things, this year I'm so thankful that we got a chance to raise these marvelous little pups.

That's all I'm saying for now.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

It's been awhile

Yes, it has been quite a while since I have added to this blog. I have apparently caught the "I hate to Blog" virus from my friend Rita. Tonight I'll try to atone for my sins.

When I last chatted, we were down the Keys trying to enjoy the late season weather. The weather is like a box of chocolates, as Forest would say, you never know what you're gonna get. What we got was weather right out of the dog days of August. Hot, hot, hot and oh so humid. We didn't do much and we didn't see many people in the campground. Everyone was hiding out in their air conditioned campers. Our air conditioner ran constantly all day and most of the night.

October 28th was our 42nd Wedding Anniversary and we decided to try a place called Louie's Back Yard, the "in" restaurant in Key West. I got on the internet and looked up the menu and the ratings. Dinner for two would cost well over $120.00 and that didn't bother us for this important occasion. However, the customer ratings were so low with a lot of people complaining about the poor service and the worse food. What Louis has, is a view of the ocean, but little else.

OK, we scrapped that and looked for other restaurants. There was an Italian restaurant that was listed as the best restaurant in Marathon, having excellent food and the best rating by customers. Bingo, Italian it would I guess it wouldn't, since the restaurant is out of business. So we've been driving up and down Marathon and each restaurant we decide to try is either out of business or closed for the week. Just a short walk from out campground is Chappy's and we reluctantly ended up there.

AS we entered, just before sunset, the hostess reached for menus and I told her that we were not there to eat, we only wanted to watch the sunset across the Keys and the 7 Mile Bridge. "OK" she said and was prepared to lead us to the other side to see the sunset. Of course I said I was only kidding and she sat us right near the rail overlooking the Atlantic, 7 Mile Bridge, and the Keys further west. Very beautiful!!!! The service was excellent. The food was excellent. The sunset was excellent. What more could we ask.

The next day, Friday, my brother and sister-in-law arrived and Ricky and I went fishing. We took a tour around the island and Ricky caught a number of Barracuda. It was so hot that we elected not to go to Key West on Friday. We went out to dinner at a place called Keys Fisheries, I think. It's a small place right on the Gulf and there are many large Tarpon plying the waters. Helen and I ate there earlier in the week and found the food to be very good so a return visit was warranted.

Saturday we sort of rested for much of the day, electing to go to Key West late in the day. Helen opted to stay behind to care for the three dogs, our two and Linda's Daisy. Late in the day we went to Key West and I admit I was pretty beat from lack of sleep. Ricky drove and we chose to park at the high school and take the shuttle to Duval Street. It worked out pretty well. Duval Street and the section given over to Fantasy Fest had a lot less people than we usually see. We walked down Duval to Mallory Dock for the sunset festivities. There was one man with a guitar and a few people standing around, but that was all. Every other time I've been to Key West there has been a carnival atmosphere at the dock with many vendors, people selling trinkets, paintings, or cold drinks. In addition, there are usually a dozen, or more, street entertainers performing for tips. I was surprised that it was so dead.

Normally, my brother and I have been back to the camper a little after 10 PM, but this year was different. This was the longest parade ever and it didn't finish until almost 11 PM. We got back to the camper well after midnight. Sunday November 1st we sprinted for home.

At home we had the usual job of cleaning out the motorhome and getting it ready to stow away for awhile, thinking that we'd take it to St. Augustine in a few weeks. That was the idea.

Then, we got an email from Lab Rescue saying that there was a momma lab and 9 pups at Animal Control in Taylor County. All 10 of them would be euthanized on Thursday if no one took them. We called and offered our services and Wednesday afternoon we drove to Perry, Florida to get the dogs. The puppies were not two weeks old yet! While there we found another Lab that was also going to be put down on Thursday, so we took her too. Momma and the pups were in our cage and the single female black lab sat behind Helen. What a sweetie! As we drove, she rested her snout on Helen's shoulder and mine. She was a very beautiful specimen. With the mom and her pups we had our hands full, so we passed this one, Amanda, off to Linda Mau, who ferried her to Pat's in New Port Richey.

Now Helen and I had quite a litter on our hands. The mother had been dropped of at Animal Control pregnant and had the litter there. She was emaciated and the pups didn't look so great either. I don't know how her body was producing the milk for the 9 pups. We had one pup that would not nurse. We couldn't get her to suckle at all. Helen tried to get a little water into her but she refused that too. She took a turn for the worse around 3 AM and died shortly after. Helen and I were devastated. What a horrible thing to happen, losing a puppy entrusted to you.

As soon as our Vet opened, we called and made arrangements to take all the dogs in. They are all doing fine now, but we could very easily have lost more, according to the Vet. In cases where the mother has had no medical care and the puppies have not either, the puppies usually die a week or two after being born. This is when the parasites passed on from the mother mature and sap the strength of the puppies. Thankfully, we're past that stage now and we still have the remaining 8. Momma has put on about 10 pounds and is looking so much better.

Today, November 18th, all the puppies seem very healthy. We took them outside today and they seemed to enjoy toddling across the lawn. They are developing sharp teeth, so we're pressed to get then on solid food, and soon. The Momma has enough work giving the milk, she doesn't need to be chewed too.

It seems like we will have homes for all the dogs, at least all the puppies. A retired couple is coming over tomorrow to see the Momma. She is such a dear dog and had such a hard life that we would like her to find a home where she enjoys comfort and luxury.

That's about all for now.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Quiet time in the Keys

We had a very quiet day today, as have the last several as the hoopla that attends Fantasy Fest has not yet begun. Early this afternoon we took the dogs to DOG BEACH, an off leash dog park in Key West. As far as beaches go, it was something less than overwhelming. Dog Beach in San Diego was many acres and hundreds and hundreds of feet of beach. In Key West, the beach is about 50 feet long and extends between two piers. It was wet and the dogs had a great time. The water was very warm and had the turquoise hue that one finds in the Bahamas. It was a pretty setting as small as it was.

There were no crowds and traveling from Marathon to Key West and back was a breeze. I think I only saw one police car on the whole trip. Next week there will be many, many chances to pay a fine for speeding or poor driving. It's this quiet, laid back atmosphere of mid October that got us her the first time. We avoid holidays and lobster season completely. Things should start hopping mid week and next Friday and Saturday will be frantic. Sunday morning we'll be heading home and if it goes as it has in the past, it should be no problem. The heavy drinkers from Saturday night will not be up to making an early departure, so we'll generally have US 1 to ourselves.

That's all for now.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Enjoying our stay in the Florida Keys

From Keys

We're made it to our campsite at Knight's Key resort in the middle of the Florida keys. It's 47 miles to Key West, but it's a trip we'll only take twice. This far from the bedlam that one finds at Fantasy Fest it's quiet and relaxing. The management of the campground is very mellow. Want to change the location of the motorhome??? No problem. Keep your boat on the beach right in front of your camper? No problem. Can we walk the dogs anywhere? No problem. How about guests next week? No problem. All this accommodation and half price rent, what more could we ask.

From Keys

This is the view I have from my computer. Oh, did I mention free wifi? Yes, they even have free wifi, so I don't have to go to the library.

From Keys

This is a friend of Helen's. There are a couple of them around the campground. They are relatively small, compared to most we see in the Keys, but they are a lot friendlier than others we've encountered.

Looking west from the campground just after sunset. It sure feels like paradise to us.

From Keys

Our campsite as seen from the boat basin.

I took a tour with my little Jon boat today and circumnavigated Boot Island. It was a very nice trip and since I trolled for fish as I went, I caught over a dozen barracuda and a small pinfish. I saw several stingrays and one small spotted eagle ray. The area between Boot island and Vaca Key (Marathon is a city which is located on Vaca Key) is a huge boat basin. Closer to Marathon the boats are newer, larger, and more luxurious. Nearer Boot Island you will will find the older boats in poor condition or some that are derelicts. I guess this is where some old boats go to die.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Another Successful Day

I had a great day today! An early run to the lake revealed that the boat is running perfectly. It was a very beautiful morning. The water was very calm and black, making everything reflect in the water and, of course, I had no camera. A white egret on a root, some colorful boats on shore, and a small island of cypress trees were all reflected to perfection. Rita and I will have to make the trip one of these days and record some great images.

The Cove Restaurant is just a short hop from the boat ramp. It took me a while to actually find The Cove, but the trip back to the ramp only took seven minutes. It would be a nice, and different, way to get to the chicken wings. Of course, it was raining when we left the restaurant yesterday and that would make the ride back in the boat most unpleasant.

I turned on my computer this morning and was horrified that I could not access the Internet. A bit of panic was setting in and I was starting to break into a sweat when I realized that I had to reboot the system in order. I removed power from everything and waited a few minutes. Then I plugged in the cable modem and waited for the proper lights to indicate. Then I plugged in the router. Next was the phone modem and finally the computer. Voila! Everything is working well.

I did a little more work on the boat trailer, nothing major, just fine tuning my previous work. Then I started on the motorhome by checking the air in the tires and adding air where necessary. It had started to pour, so I didn't get around to installing the pressure sensors on each wheel as that entails laying on the ground to reach a couple of the tires. Tomorrow is another day and I SHOULD get to it first thing.

That's all I'm saying for today!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Dining at the Cove

We had an interesting day with Barb and Rita during another of our excursions to The Cove, an out-of-the-way bistro that specializes in chicken wings. Oh, there are other items on the menu, but we all pass up the "Big Ass Burger" in favor of the wings.

We returned to our house after, and had a couple of hours of stimulating conversation and gossip. It's always interesting when we spen time with these two wise-cracking friends.
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I'm making some headway and having fun!

Hooray!!! Hooray!! This is being posted from my desktop computer which I got back this morning. It's nice to see all my old applications and, I confess, my games. I have a lot of information saved on the desktop, and I back up by saving to a second hard drive in the same computer. If a hard drive goes down, I have backup, but when the motherboard died, I had no place to go.

I also took the boat back out today and thought it ran better than last time, it still hesitates intermittently at full speed. It's starving for fuel, but between the fuel filter and the tank. I thought I'd check the fuel tank, thinking that a filter there may be clogged. When I went to remove the fitting, the syphon tube fell off. It was a very loose fit and it could very easily allow some air to be picked up. The tank filter was perfectly clean. I put a small hose clamp on the tube and will try the boat again tomorrow. This afternoon I also made a few adjustments to the trailer.

Now for the fun!!! The BARITA GIRLS (that would be Barbara Kennedy and Rita Lang), came over around noon time and joined Helen and me at the Cove. Best wings in all of............. well, I don't know how far, but we all love them. With the nice lunch, we had a session of stimulating conversation. Then we moved back to the house where the conversation continued for quite a while.

A few minutes ago I finally got around to connecting the computer and now I'm in 'puter heaven. I had been using a 1999 vintage Dell and although it worked well, it was S L O W. So now my HP seems to sizzle.

That,s all I'm saying for now.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Unfinished Business

Here it is October 13th, and I still have so many things that are not done. Most of it is not my fault, but I'm getting upset anyway. I still don't have my computer back. I talked to the owner of Computer Doctor and he said he was having trouble getting a replacement motherboard. This morning I went on the internet and found numerous places that had the replacement board. I have a list and will visit him later today. As the owner of the shop, it's his duty to make things happen and this lapse is inexcusable.

I finally sent my dive watch to a Citizen Service Center for repair and refurbishment. It's a place I've dealt with before and their service was very good and very fast. This time I was a bit put out because a lot of time went by and I didn't hear from them, so I called. The shop is in Atlanta, GA. They are located in an area that was very badly flooded after the great rains a couple of weeks ago. They are still in business, but it has taken awhile to get set back up and their backlog is great. Something else for me to wait on.

I did finish the boat trailer and I'm delighted with the way it turned out. The rust was so much more than I expected that I had to cut off the springs and suspension and get new parts. Fortunately, there is a trailer parts place in Homosassa that stocks all the parts and they are relatively cheap. I hope to take the boat out later today to make sure that all is running well. We had a little problem last week, but that was due to an air leak in the fuel line. The new fuel line will take care of that.

Next on the agenda is to attach the boat trailer to the motorhome and ensure that the lights on the trailer will work properly when connected. I'm not expecting a problem, but........... Then it's merely getting ready to travel to the Keys, doing all the little odds and ends that must be done prior to the trip.

I guess that's all I have to say for now.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Capitalism, a love story

Today Helen and I went to see the latest Michael Moore movie, Capitalism, A love story. I'm sure that this movie is not everyone's cup of tea, but Helen and I enjoyed it. It chronicles the capitalism movement in the US since the depression and shows how the current work ethic of greed at any cost is damaging to our country at many levels. Now, Michael Moore is considered to be something of a fringe liberal, so I'm a bit surprised that Helen and I did not disagree with him on a single facet of his film. He makes it so obvious that it's not the people who Congress supports, but the powerful financila interests. No surprise there.

That's all for now.
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More things to do 10/01/09

Here I am again complaining about all I have to do around here. This time it has nothing to do with the house or motorhome. PT brought back our boat Saturday and he had a minor problem with it the last time he had it out. The engine would run poorly at full speed and PT thought he had fixed the problem by cleaning gunk out of the fuel line. I checked the fuel line inside the engine cover and thought all was well. Helen and I took the boat out this morning to try it out and make sure that it is running well for our trip down the Keys. It seemed to run for awhile, then started to run very poorly at full speed. By squeezing the priming bulb, I was able to keep enough fuel going to the engine to keep it running strongly. I believe that the fuel line between the gas tank and the engine has a small leak that lets the engine suck air into the fuel line. I expect to replace it tomorrow. Another test ride is needed, but will have to wait until I get the trailer back together.

Yup, the trailer is all apart. There has been a lot of rust on the trailer because I often use the boat in salt water and I've wanted to repaint for some time. It was a lot more work than I thought and I had a devil of a time taking the axle and springs off. I found one of the springs broken and one of the grease seals on the axle needs to be replaced. Fortunately, the parts are easily found and not too expensive, so I should have the trailer back in service in just a few days.

I'm still waiting to get my desktop computer back. I called Computer Doctor last week and got the girlfriend of the owner's son. Apparently the owner was in the hospital and the family was there also. How can you press people when they are already in a fix?

That's all for now.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Just an update on projects

I'm still working on a number of projects in and around the house and motorhome. The motorhome is finished as far as the air conditioning and damage due to the backing incident are concerned. A few dabs of touch-up paint is all that's left there. Next week it's going to Caterpillar in Brooksville to have some minor work done that is beyond my capability.

A couple of days a go Helen was mowing the lawn when it suddenly would not stay running. The following is probably too technical for many of you, but my sons and some friends may find it interesting. When I looked at the mower, the bracket holding the carburetor was very loose and as I took it apart, I found that the intake tube going from the carburetor to the engine was broken. Easy Wheels in Hernando had the part and I took it home to put the mower back together. Nothing is as easy as it seems. The carb bracket is held on by two bolts and I thought that one had loosened up and was lost. Trying to put the bracket back, I found that the bolt hadn't backed out, it had sheared off. The repair would require drilling a hole on the bolt and using a special tool to remove the broken piece. I have the tool but I have NEVER had any luck drilling and removing a bolt stub.

The first thing is to drill the hole. No drills that I had were up to the job, so I drove up to Lowe's to see what I could find. At the same time I had some welding that needed to be done to the front mower axles, but that is another job. At any rate, at Lowe's there was a chart advising which drills to use for specific applications. The chart listed the cobalt drills as being the preferred drill for cast iron, which is pretty hard stuff. I bought two drills, knowing that I would quickly break one. When I got home and tried to drill the bolt stub, I was amazed that the cobalt drill bored into the stub quickly and easily. How nice! Then I used the extractor and the stub came right out. I put the mower back together and started it up to make sure it worked.

It ran, but the vibration was very extreme. Thinking the blade was out of balance, I removed it and found that it balanced perfectly. This is a new blade the is the kind that fits a number of different applications and has a different insert for each application. The insert for our mower didn't fit well and it allowed the blade to slide off-center a little. I added another washer and put the blade back on and the mower ran very smoothly. I now feel confident that the extreme vibration caused the bolt to break, allowing the bracket to move, breaking the plastic intake tube.

While I was into the mower repair, I replaced the front wheel which were badly worn. As ai mentioned earlier, welding was required because nothing I do is easy. The wheels were worn, but so were the axles, so I had to replace them, too. Because of the way the axles were put on, my only recourse was to weld new studs in place. All worked and now I'm done, at least with the push mower.

The next project on my list is to evict the tenant we have living in the gable eaves over the garage. Last year a gray squirrel made his home in the left side of the eave. I tried moth balls, but he didn't like them and threw them out. I found them on the driveway a few days later. Eventually I cut a piece of sheet metal and closed up the area. When we came back from vacation, we found that he had made a new home on the right side. I have more sheet metal, but I've been too lazy to get up there. I have some concern because we have gables also on the north and west sides of the house, so he will have four more chances to invade. I may have to resort to my Have-a-heart trap and relocate him well out in the forest.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Better Days are Here!!!!

What a turn around of fortune the last few days. On Friday I ordered the new PC board for the motorhome and I was very surprise when it arrive early Saturday afternoon via Fedex. I installed the board Saturday, but decided to wait until I was fresh and alert to continue yesterday (Sunday). Taking as much time as necessary I checked my wiring connections against the wiring chart to make absolutely sure that it was wired properly. Then I turned on the A/C and it WORKED. I'm happy to report that the A/C is working perfectly!

Saturday night I was awake, thinking about how I could check out the equipment that id connected to my computer. A couple of days earlier, my friend Dave told me that he finally got disgusted with his desktop computer and bought a new laptop. Sunday morning I called to find out what he was going to do with the old one. He said that it was worthless to him and he was going to bring it up the land fill. I asked if I might have it and he said yes. So, I went to Dave's and retrieved the computer and brought it home. I installed an old 40 gig hard drive, put a Windows XP CD in the tray and started it up. It ran very well and I soon had XP installed on the computer. I chose not to connect any of my normal stuff as I wanted to make sure that everything was right. The computer worked flawlessly and I shut it down. Next, I connected it to the cable modem and turned it back on. Again, there was no problem and I was soon able to access the Internet and read my email. So far, so good and again I shut the computer down. The last thing to attach was part of my wireless keyboard and mouse. I did so and booted up the computer once more. Flawless operation.

So.....this morning I stopped at the Computer Doctor and told him what I did. He apologized for the problem with the board and told me that he would immediately order a replacement and that there would be no charge to me. Dave's computer is working so well that I told the Computer guy that there was no hurry.

The sun is shining and it's great day!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Down in the Dumps

I seem to be in a funky situation where I can't make any progress on the rest of the damage done by a lightning strike. Yesterday I finally got the start capacitors for the motorhome air conditioner. When I closed the breaker I immediately knew I still had a problem because the fan started even though the A/C was shut off at the thermostat. I ran outside and looked at the wiring and I could see smoke coming from the PC board. That part of the board was not visible before because of a wire in the way. The new wire was routed differently. When I checked the old wire, it was burnt in the same place. OK, so now I need a new PC board. I found them listed on the Internet for $318.00. Ouch. I went on the RV.Net forum and posted a question asking if anyone knew of a less expensive source. I got a reply this morning with a source for $212.00. That's still not cheap, but it's a lot better.

Then I got a call from the Computer Doctor this afternoon saying that my desktop was all fixed. In a jiffy I was up there and saw the computer working flawlessly, and fast. They replaced the motherboard and did a quick tune-up and the performance was awesome. They ran a few programs for me and showed my how it accessed the Internet. It was a bit expensive, but at least I had the desktop back. At my computer desk, I hooked up the computer. Then I removed power from the cable modem and the router for a few moments. I re powered the modem first, then the router, then tried to turn on the computer..........nothing......NOTHING. ARGH!!!!

Back at the Computer Doctor they connected it and tried to boot up. NOTHING! The owner was not there and I talked with his wife. She claims that I must have something in my system that is shorting out the motherboard. No problem, I can buy another one and they'll put it in for free. Again I say ARGH! The wife said that her husband MAY choose to return the board as defective.

In the meantime, I'm supposed to find out if something I have, (mouse, monitor, printer, etc), would cause the board to short out.

This is bugging me because I want to get the problems fixed and behind me and these situations that will not go away are causing me grief.

OK, enough ranting for now. Thanks for letting me vent. I feel a little better now.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

We've had a visitor!

A couple of days ago Helen was outside with the dogs and noticed a very large bird in the woods on the south side of the house. She identified it as a barred owl and came in to get a camera. As is usual in these cases, when she got back outside, the owl was nowhere to be seen. This morning I was outside and noticed the owl in the same location as it flew from near the ground to a branch high up in a tree.

From Blog 8-20

I ran in and got my camera and returned to the woods and found the owl still inthe tree looking down at me.

From Blog 8-20

We have seen a lot of other animals in our yard over the years including a small owl a few years ago, but this is the first large owl we've seen. He stayed in the tree a long time and did not seem to be bothered by my stalking him from below.

Jodie and Coco are trying our patience!

Today was a banner day for the two Labs. After a bad night of sleep, I got up at around 9:30 and when I went out to the kitchen I found both dogs wet. I thought Helen had them in the pool already, but Helen set me straight. Apparently Coco had gotten into something really rotten and Helen had to give her a bath before allowing her back in the house. As long as she was in "bath" mode, she grabbed Jodie, too, although Jodie didn't smell like Coco. As I said, this was all before 9:30. I was glad that I missed all the excitement, but my euphoria was short lived.

Late this afternoon, the dogs went for their "after supper run". A short time later Coco came back and wanted to come in. I opened the door and IMMEDIATELY caught the smell of something really bad, REALLY, REALLY GROSS!!! I ran her right in the garage and back out to the yard for another bath. I started on Coco and Helen came out and took over. Jodie came when called and I gave her a sniff. Whew, another winner! I got the air compressor ready as Helen completed the job and I blow-dried the two mutts. After that, a quick toweling and ear drops and they were ready to rejoin the civilized people and animals inside.

Twice in one day is too much. So, for awhile, the dogs will be walked on a leash. It may be a pain, but it's a lot easier than giving baths.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Just one thing after another!

Just prior to the backing incident mentioned in the last blog, I was preparing to move the motorhome. I had to take in the rear slide before moving and was back in the bedroom doing so. It's not difficult, just push the lower part of the rocker switch and the slide moves in. What could possibly go wrong? Well, someone could be barefoot and standing too close to the slide so that the slide comes in and runs over his foot. Yup, stupid is as stupid does and that's what I did. My big toenail was ripped mostly off and it was pretty painful. I went in the house and put on shoes so the blood wouldn't get on the motorhome carpet and then resumed moving the camper. That's when I backed into Helen. Yesterday I finally got to see a podiatrist and had the nail fully removed. It was done painlessly and I'm very comfortable today.

Two days ago a lightning bolt struck the telephone pole in front of our house, instantly cutting power to us and our neighbors. The power company responded quickly and replaced the fuse at the pole that protects the transformers and power was restored. All was well for a few minutes until Helen advised me that we had no water. I switched the pump breaker off and on and could hear the pump trying to run and suspected that the capacitor had blown. Opening up the pump control box I saw that the capacitor had blown apart. That's actually a good thing because replacing the control capacitor is a LOT cheaper and a LOT easier than replacing the pump. I bought a new control at Lowe's and we were back in business.

Then I went to check out something on-line, and found that I had no internet connection. I did the normal fix routine of unplugging the modems and powering them back up, one at a time. I had limited success. The phone works and the wireless part of the router works, but the desktop connection is kaput. I think the router got a bit zapped, but I'm not positive. I still have the laptop and the wireless connection, so I'm OK for now.

Helen and I have different tastes in television shows, and I often gravitate to the bedroom where I read as I watch MSNBC. Another surprise, the bedroom TV is kaput. I'll have to run it down to TV repair Monday.

The sun is shining and the dogs are in the pool. So all is well with the world...........for now.

I have nothing more to say.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Helen is fine....No really, she's fine.

Helen is doing great. You can't keep a good woman down and Helen has been up doing laundry and cooking supper. I took care of the rest of the grass today.

For those who don't know, there was a slight altercation yesterday between Helen on the riding lawnmower and me in the motorhome. Helen was mowing the grass on the north side of the house (the far right as you look from the street), and was way back by the pool. I wanted to move the motorhome under the awning in the other driveway. I started the engine and let it run for a few moments, then checked the mirrors and backup monitor to be sure all was clear. Then I started backing. At this point I was no longer looking at the mirrors as my attention was on the possible traffic coming down the street. I couldn't hear the mower over the noise of the diesel engine and Helen couldn't here the diesel over the noise of the mower. It's at this moment that Helen chose to cut around the rear of the motorhome to start on the south side of the house.

Apparently I caught her and the mower with the rear right corner of the motorhome, dragging her some distance, according to the skid marks. Helen's right leg was caught between the mower and the motorhome until she was able to muster enough strength to pull her leg out. I knew none of this. Finally, I saw Helen waving frantically from the side and I stopped. What a shock!!! The collision took her right shoe off and her leg was already red and beginning to swell. At first she just wanted to put ice on it and forgo a trip to the ER, but eventually I prevailed with the idea that we would have to have X-rays to determine if anything was broken.

We went to the ER at Citrus Memorial and only 5 hours later we had the answer. Contusions only, no broken bones. What a relief! When I think of what could have happened I shudder. All is well with Helen. I have work to do on the mower as the deck is askew. There is also some damage to the right rear corner of the motorhome and a couple of panels on the right side. She's one tough cookie!

Friday, August 7, 2009

Kristin and Kimberly

Yesterday I drove to the east coast to deliver a patio set for my brother. It was quite an experience driving in such heavy rain, then bright sun, then heavy rain, then bright sun. This is the summer that the rains are here to haunt me.

From Kimberly

On the way home I stopped at P.T.'s house to pick up the mail they have been collecting for over two months and was delighted that Kristin and Kimberly were home. Kristin is my granddaughter and Kimberly is her daughter. Yes, do the math. Kimberly is my great granddaughter. Time flies.

From Kimberly

Kim has grown quite a bit since I last saw her and she is developing a nice personality. She seems to be a delightful baby. I'm sure you'll be seeing more of her in my blog as time goes on.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Home again.....Home again!!!!!

Yes, home again and it feels WONDERFUL. It's hot. It's humid, but there is SUN everyday. JOY!!!

The Friday we were in Hingham we had a day of rest as the weather didn't permit us to do much else. Rain like you wouldn't believe! There was a pond between the camper and the street and everything was mushy. Even when it wasn't raining, the dogs came back from their walks soaking wet and again the motorhome started to get that smell assocviated with constant dampness.

Saturday was a much better day and Helen and I took the Quincy ferry into Boston and the Aquarium. It was a good day; the weather was very nice, the water calm. The aquarium was very interesting but we were a bit amused that the focal point of the whole aquarium, the huge, multi-level central tank, was a typical Florida reef. There were no cod, stripers, or bluefish. Instead, there were jacks, tarpon, snappers and other reef fish as well as several large turtles. Homesick anyone? On the way back we stopped at The Lobster Pound where we had our last meal of real fried clams.

Sunday was moving day as we spent our allotted time at Wompatuck. Each family is allowed 14 days of camping a year and our 14 days were up. I asked if we could extend as the park was only 1/3 full, but the management refuses to consider such a thing. Better to have much of the camp empty then have someone pay for extra days. Thus, we moved back to Ricky's. I was able to fix a few minor things on the camper.

Monday was a trying day. When we got back to MA, we found that an old family friend had passed away on July 21st. The service and funeral were planned for this Monday. We made arrangements to pick up Aunt Marie in Brewster and take her with us. To this end, I left just before 7:00 AM bound for Cape Cod while Helen took care of the dogs and got herself ready. I stopped back to pick her up and we headed for the service in Braintree. Charlie Harrington lived a long and fruitful life and he was surroinded with a large, caring family. Besides his three daughters, his sister-in-law and a number of her children came down from New Hampshire. It was a bitter-sweet reunion for us with Debbie Harrington Fisher who was out Junior Bridesmaid at our wedding. The whole Harrington clan was very friendly and thoughtful, After the funeral we all swarmed back to Charlie's house where a caterer had set up enough food for a lot more people than were there. It was not a sad occasion because Charlie would not have wanted that. He was held in great esteem by all and it was comforting to know that he did so well for his 95 years. Recently he has deteriorated because he lost his beloved Ellen several years ago. Helen and I were very fortunate to arrange a meeting between him and Aunt Marie just a few weeks before. We hate to lose Charlie, but are thankful that our travels brought us back in time to celebrate his life. Helen drove Aunt Marie back to Brewster, making a side trip to spend more time with her aunt.

Tuesday was another nice day and we chose to take a Cape Cod Canal cruise out of Onset. I haven't been to Onset in years, but it used to be a favorite spot of the family for the July 4th fireworks. We boarded the Viking for a three hour cruise, with thoughts of the Minnow in the back of my mind. The day was warm and the cruise delightful. The comentary was most interesting and although I spent a number of summers in that area, I learned a great deal about the canal and the area. On the way home we passed through Carver and Plympton and tried to visit an old friend, Bob Jacobson. He was not at home, but we talked with his daughter, Jennifer. She told us that she now runs the house with her husband and kids and that they built a new addition with a father-in-law appartment upstairs. Jennifer claims her dad is doing very well.

Wednesday was another off day. Helen attended to matters on her own, including another visit to her father's grave while tende to the dogs and the motorhome. We had nothing more that we wanted to do and were biding our time until Wednesday night, when we were finally able to get together with Rick and Linda for supper. Oh Boy!!! Chinese food at the restaurant in Norwell. It was great.

Thursday we were off to Florida. Fittingly, I woke up to rain on the roof and we had some rain as we departed. In Connecticut we encountered a downpour. We settled for the night in White Haven, PA. Heading south Friday Helen did soome of the driving. As luck would have it, she was driving when we caught a really bad storm. Heavy rain and gusty winds had Helen wondering if the motorhome could tip over. It was wild and wooly for quite a while, but she finally passed through. Friday night we spent at the Mayberry Campground in Mount Airy, North Carolina. This is the home of Andy Griffith and everything around here is based on the Mayberry RFD theme. LLoyd's Barber shop, Aunt Bea's Cafe, and Opie's Candy Store are examples. It was an interesting area and we may pass this way again.

Saturday we headed out later than normal and tried to get as far as we could. Again the rain dogged us mercilessly. As we got closer and closer to home, it was decided that we'd run all the way no matter how late we got home. We hit heavy rain from South Carolina all the way home. In Georgia the rain was so hard that many cars and trucks were pulling over to the side of the road. While I was driving, the diesel engine developed the same problem as we had last November, so I'll have to change the oil ahead of schedule. In fact, we got 5 gallons at Walmart in case I have to do an emergency oil change on the road.

We got home close to 12:30 AM Sunday and took in only the bare essentials, milk and coffee for the morning. Now that I'm home, I'm in worker bee mode as there is so much to be done. First I had to change the oil and filter on the motorhome. Empty much of the motorhome. Take the cover off the pool and get that working. I took the Lincoln to Brooksville to get oil sample bottles at CAT and when I came out, the car wouldn't start. I got a jump and dashed home. The A/C wouldn't work and it didn't have enough power to lower the windows. Near the house, I tried to use the wipers and the car almost died. As I pulled into the driveway, it did die, but I was able to coast into the garage. I forgot that on out last day here, Helen went to Walmart for some last-minute items and the car failed then. I drove up and jumped the car to get it home. AT the time, I just put the charger on it because I didn't have the time to fix it before vacation.

A new alternator fixed that problem. As long as the pool level was down, I decided to drop the level some more t0 do some pool maintenance. The pool is now filling and the dogs should be in it this afternoon. Tomorrow I'll be heading to Palm Bay with patio stuff for Rick. It's a set that Linda bought but it would be hard for them to get down in the car. It fit in the back of the Jeep with room so spare. That's about all for now.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Back in Hingham and it hasn't changed!!!

Yesterday Helen and I had a pretty good day meeting a friend from 40+ years ago. She certainly has aged! I'm not sure what I expected, but I know I seldom recognize the old man that looks back at me from the mirror each morning. Actually, Cathy looked good. She seems to be doing well and has her life under control. Health is okay and that's all we can ask for. Did I mention that Cathy was in the Miss Wareham Beauty Pageant of 1964? No, Then I probably didn't mention that Helen was in the Miss Quincy Pageant of 1962. I'm just the type of guy who attracts beautiful women. There's also Barb, from the Miss Iowa State Pageant of 1951 and Rita, who was so close to becoming Miss Bronx in 1949.

On the way back to MA from ME, we encountered the formidable drizzle and some fog that makes it ever so dreary. Driving down Route 128, we were about to pass the exit for the Mass. Pike. I thought how easy it would be to veer off to the right and just head for home. The dismal weather has taken a lot out of me this vacation, but I'm not alone. Back at Wompatuck State Park, the campground is still mostly empty. We hear on the news that businesses and resorts are cutting prices and adding incentives to get people to part with some of their money. We stopped at one restaurant in Auburn , Maine and spent $22.00. With my receipt, I got a coupon for $5.00 off on our next visit! They were really trying. The food was great and the service excellent, but they need more patrons.

We have a few thing that we want to do here in southeastern Massachusetts, but a lot depends on the weather. According to the lates report, Saturday and Sunday will be the only rainless days in the next two weeks. UGH!!!!

I'll cry more later on.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Maine coast in the Sun

From Maine

From Maine

This is the better view in the daylight, from the campsite we had on Sunset Point. Unfortunately, this was a travel day, so we didn't get to see too much of the area.

After we got to the next campsite, Ellsworth, Maine, we took a ride down to the ocean along one of the many peninsulas that form so many picturesque inlets. What amazed is the juxtaposition of multi-million dollar mansions next door to a run-down and cluttered mobil home.

The Saga of the Lobster Trap

Several years ago, while visiting Newfoundland, Helen purchased an authentic Newfoundland lobster trap. It had been a working piece of equipment and it showed. Two years ago, in Maine, Helen sought a smaller replica lobster trap to use for decorating purposes indoors. We looked and looked to no avail. We saw several that were being used as decoration in businesses, but none for sale. Later, I found a source on line and ordered one. Months went by with no delivery and I called. The woman in charge assured me that it would be shipped promptly. Nope! More months went by and several more calls were made. After almost a year, I canceled the order. By the way, the midget lobster trap was about $50.00 US, plus tax, shipping and handling.

In Yarmouth, Nova Scotia a few days ago we saw them again as decorations and I again looked for one to buy. We had little luck until I stumbled on one in the window of a souvenir shop. It was a decoration and not for sale, but the sales lady called the boss and asked if he'd sell it. They quoted me $65.00 ($55.00 US) and I bought it. We never actually saw one on display for sale..........until now.

Yesterday we arrived at the Hospitality Woods Campground in Ellsworth, Maine and I went in the office to register. The office doubles as a small curio shop and there near the desk was not one, but two midget lobster traps identical to the one I bought. Oh, they were a bargain you can be sure. Having one already in the motorhome you can be sure they were cheap, at least by comparison. $24.99 US! Should I get another as a spare??? The coffee mug is in the picture to give you a sense of it's size.

From Maine

Saturday, July 18, 2009


We got back into the States yesterday morning after spending an evening with our friend Lorena and her family in Fredericton, New Brunswick. Between Yarmouth and Fredericton we stopped for two days in Truro, Nova Scotia to see the tidal bore, a large wave that travels upstream as the tide comes in. We we're disappointed that our "wave" was only about ten inches high. Other people in the campground went on a tidal bore raft trip on another river and caught a bore twenty-nine feet high. They got soaked with muddy water, but enjoyed every minute. Helen and I will have to catch that next trip.

In Fredericton we "camped" at the nearest Wal-Mart along with half a dozen others. In our visit with Lorena we met her daughter, Keri Ann, and SIL Rob. Of course we've seen them several times before and always enjoy their company. This time we met Lorena's sister Hazel and find her to be as pleasant as the rest of the family. She has that quality of feeling like an old friend even though we had never met.

Next,it was off to Maine. We passed through the border patrol area and were stopped and searched, as was the camper ahead of us. In fact, the going was kind of slow as the agents seemed to be more careful with everybody. We availed ourselves of cheap fuel(compared to Canada prices) and stopped to plan ahead. We opted to head toward bar Harbor, picking a campground in Harrington, Maine. The Sunset Point Campground is situated right on the coast and we had a beautiful spot. Well, it would be beautiful if we could see. The fog and rain have found us again!

From Maine

From Maine

All was going well until Helen got to thinking about the Border Patrol search and the amount of time one officer spent in the bedroom with the door closed. In fact, the other agents asked him if he was moving in. With the rear slide in, there is not a lot to check, but there was the cabinet with Helen's jewelry. Helen had to check, and she found that two of her pieces were gone. She was irate! And, that is putting it mildly. She has absolutely no recourse. She can't really accused the guy because we were not in there with him and it would be her word against his that the pieces actually existed. She stewed all night and composed a letter to the port officer voicing her complaint, but she will never see those items again nor will she be compensated. It's late in the morning now and she has calmed down......a little.

It's supposed to clear up this afternoon, so we should get a nice sunset. Tomorrow it's off to a campground closer to Bar Harbor where Helen will do her part to keep the shops open for another year.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Busy around Yarmouth

We've been having a grand time in and around Yarmouth. We visited the Cape Forchu lighthouse. Watched the CAT ferry come into port, and later leave. Of course we did some shopping and went out to dinner.

From Cape Forchu

From Cape Forchu

From Cape Forchu
From Cape Forchu

From Cape Forchu

Today we went to an Arcadian restored village and had a very good time chatting with the people there. It's run a bit like Plimouth Plantation, with the people in dress of the age, which was not too long ago for Arcadia. One woman we chatted with is the grand niece of the founder of this area and she gave us an excellent presentation. Everything is working, so the kitchens are operating. We had molasses cookies at the first house, but the woman was already working on more food for the "staff". In a second home split pea soup was in the works.

I couldn't help but feel a little aged myself as I recognized a stove similar to the one my parents had when I was a kid. I also recognized the treadle sewing machine and the wind-up Victrola.

Later we talked with a man who gave us a lot of information about boat building and lobster traps. He showed me how to build a lobster trap and even gave me some netting to use. A demonstration of an early gasoline engine was very interesting as well as the salt drying of cod and pollack. Salt cod is another thing I remember from my past.

From Acadia

From Acadia

From Acadia

From Acadia

Friday, July 10, 2009

Tancook Island

Hello All,

Tancook Island is a small island outside Mahone Bay, Nova Scotia. We were heading there Monday, but got to the ferry much too late. Tuesday we planned a lot better. Tancook has a population of 110 people in the winter, but it balloons to 210 in the summer. The other 100 people are generally past residents who return home for awhile. Most of the people on the ferry were day-trippers, like Helen and me. We take an early ferry across, spend a couple of hours on the island, then return to the mainland. It was quite an experience. The normal ferry is out of service, so they were using a make-shift one for the time being. This one didn't have the boom and crane of the normal ferry, so they had a truck-mounted crane aboard to load and unload cargo. It took up a great deal of the ferry. There were pipes and cables everywhere.

We got there early and the crew told us that we could go aboard anytime we wanted and sit anywhere we chose. In the states, there would be a boarding time a few minutes before departure and we would not be allowed on early for legal reasons. In Canada, other than Quebec, they are more laid back. Eventually all came aboard and we sailed for the island. Much like the conductor on old trains, a crewmember came around to collect fares. $5.00 for us day trippers and a ticket for the regulars. Tickets cost $2.00 each when bought in book form, so its quite a savings.

There were two sisters and a daughter with us and they were a riot. We laughed all the way over and most of the way back. There was also a mechanic aboard whose only function was to use the crane. Thus he was busy for about two minutes before we left the mainland and two minutes when we got to the island. These are the two sisters and their friend on the island.

From Tancook

There is one diner on the island, Carolyn's. The food was good and so reasonable. Helen had fish and chips. I had fish chowder (mostly lobster) coffee and wild blueberry pie. YUM!!! Helen also bought a painted jar for $4.35, and the total bill came to just over $20.00.

Helen and Carolyn

From Tancook

Adjacent to the pier is "Fossil Beach" and Helen and I had to investigate. We only found one fossil and this is it.

From Tancook

From Tancook

From Tancook

From Tancook

From Tancook