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Rated: 13+ · Book · Personal · #1921220
My thoughts released; a mind set free
These pages contain my thoughts, from meandering ideas and persuasions to deep cerebrations and serious mentations.

Why, for what purpose? To release my mind and set creativity free. Somewhere inside the constraints of my mind dwells a writer, a poet, an artist who paints with words. In here I release those constraints and set the artist free.

Perhaps, lost somewhere in the depths of thought, is a story or a poem, waiting to be written.

I'm docked at Talent Pond's Blog Harbor, a safe port for bloggers to connect.
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October 1, 2023 at 3:12pm
October 1, 2023 at 3:12pm
Our third and likely last camping adventure is coming up fast; we leave Friday and return Monday, so it's time to get everything in order. I know, it should be already done, but September was a busy month and it didn't get done. What can I say?

Yesterday we celebrated my mother-in-law's 89 birthday with a surprise gathering of friends and family. The day started out great, but shortly before we left, I got up from sitting and had to step around Bellah and Max, our pups, who always like to lie by my feet. I didn't want to step on either of them, so I had to do a bit of a twist and step to gain clear footing, and guess what?

I felt a tightening in the right side of my back, kind of like having a cramp that ran from just below my shoulder, over my right kidney, and down into my right hip! I tried to stretch it out, but it wouldn't let up. Within minutes, my lower back began to spasm, and by the time we left, I was once again suffering from an old back injury.

I didn't let it stop me and enjoyed a nice visit with some family and friends, sang Happy Birthday, and helped a dear lady celebrate her birthday. But, since I knew it would likely get worse, my wife and I drove separately, just in case I had to leave earlier than she did. I did have to leave and return home around five, which was fine since the two dogs were at home and needed to be let out.

But, by this time, I was feeling a hot, searing pain in the lumbar and sacrum area of my spine! I took it easy all evening and was hoping after a good (as good as possible) night's rest, it would feel better today. Instead, it has increased and is causing some pinching of nerves, numbness in my feet, and making it difficult to do anything more than sit, which also starts to hurt if I don't get up and move around.

To make it even worse, my chiropractor, who does wonders with my back issues, is in Italy for two weeks! I know, right? Why would she plan a vacation when my back is going to go out? Anyway, she likely didn't know, or perhaps I should curse my back for going out while my chiropractor was gone. No, it's already cursed and doesn't need any more.

It does this, goes out for no real reason, from time to time, and yes it's a pain, but it's old news. It usually corrects itself in a day to a week and ends as quickly as it started. But, I'll be taking things easy for a while and hoping it's better by Friday and won't impact our camping trip. In the meantime, it does provide me with a lot more time to spend in WdC and if I can get comfortable enough, may even give me some time to write a bit.

September 27, 2023 at 6:29pm
September 27, 2023 at 6:29pm
Having a mobile tent is working out great for us. We love camping, and we love using a tent, but with age, it's been getting more difficult. Sleeping on the ground was replaced with air mattresses, then we upgraded to a portable frame so we could get off the bed more easily, and our small tent gave way to bigger tents and more equipment. It was time to get a camper. Because we enjoy tenting, we eventually purchased a used, in pretty good shape, pop-up camper (a mobile tent).

We can keep most of our camping equipment in the camper, we have a small fridge, a sink, a stove, and ten gallons of water complete with a water heater. It has a pull-out dining area, a couch, and two pull-out queen-size (closer to king-sized) beds as well as a furnace. But, since we purchased it and fixed it up, we have only used it a handful of times. We took it out twice last year and twice so far this year. And, we have only been able to get a campsite with an electric hook-up once. That was in June of this year and we really didn't use electricity much at all.

Even though we enjoy roughing it, we would also like to enjoy the accessories we have with our mobile tent. We will finally get the opportunity to do just that, over the weekend of October sixth through the ninth. Yes, we are going camping in October, in northern Minnesota!

We will be camping at La Salle State Park north of Itasca State Park for four glorious days. The forecast calls for some rain throughout the weekend, with daily highs of about sixty degrees, and lows dropping near freezing. Of course, the weather forecast around here is about as accurate as asking the Magic Eight-Ball, so we will see what comes. We may get some rain, and it's possible, but kind of unlikely, to even get a bit of snow.

So, with the forecast, you would likely think we are a bit bummed. But, it's actually really exciting to think about camping in October, having some rain, the possibility of snow, and being able to weather it out in a mobile tent. We have a furnace, and the campsite has electric hook-ups, water hook-ups, and even sewage hook-ups. We don't have a bathroom or shower in the mobile tent, but we do have the means of running our gray water into the sewer. They also have very nice bathrooms and showers at the campground, as well as a washer and dryer (coin-operated) and firewood.

This may be the last campout of the year, but it's looking like it may be the best one since we purchased a mobile tent. Snuggled in a hoodie, sitting around a fire, or sitting in shirt sleeves in a warm and toasty mobile tent, what ever the weather brings, we'll enjoy our October Campout,

September 27, 2023 at 6:02pm
September 27, 2023 at 6:02pm
It's been way too long since I've added an entry! But, I have been adding some poetry to my other book, "Pages of Pint-Sized Poetry so there's that.

I've been wanting to write a bit about our second camping trip this season and now seems like a good time. Our first campout was in South Dakota and worked out well, but our last one was just a short distance from home, in a State Park, but with no modern amenities. What? You know, like Gilligan's Island! Maybe not that bad, but we had no electricity, no water hook-up, no showers, and only a vault toilet.

Not that we mind camping like this. We only recently stopped using a tent and have upgraded to a mobile tent (pop-up camper). We can carry ten gallons of fresh water, we have a three-way refrigerator that's kind of small, but it does the trick, and it has a gas water heater. It also has a gas furnace that we can run off of the battery, but it does draw the battery down rather quickly. Let's say between the furnace and the fridge we would likely drain the battery in about a day, but with the fridge on gas, the furnace will work about two days.

Thankfully, it was pleasant weather, but it did get cold at night and we did run the furnace a bit. I also packed along another deep-cycle battery and we purchased a small, quiet, and very portable generator for this type of camping, so everything was fine; we ran the generator for about a half-hour the first night only because we needed AC current to inflate the air mattresses.

For remote camping, it was a bit crowded. We had reserved two spots just because we like to have quiet and room when we camp. But shortly after we arrived a group moved into the remaining campsites to our south. A group of young women, teenagers, to be precise, out camping with their grandmother. They were tenting, and luckily we had a hammer along because the ground was hard and they were having a rough time driving stakes down.

All in all, they were pretty quiet, didn't bother us, and kept to their sites. Except at night, being in a mobile tent, it doesn't block sound and they laughed and giggled through the night.

Late Saturday afternoon, we had started a nice campfire in the second site and were just getting ready to start our dinner cooking over it when a car pulled up and a young guy and lady got out. He said we were at his campsite and pulled out his phone to show us. We informed him that we had reserved it and my wife went to get her phone to show him.

To keep it short, it turned out that we indeed had reserved that site, he had messed up, or the online reservation was messed up. It turned out he had reserved the site the prior weekend. They apologized for bothering us and proceeded to walk back toward their car. I stopped them just as my wife returned with her phone, explained everything to her, and asked them where they were from.

They had driven four hours to go camping! We knew that the park was full and it wouldn't be very likely they would find another spot, so I asked my wife if she was okay to let them use the second site. She agreed, and they looked like they were going to go into shock. ""Really! You'd let us camp here anyway?"

I nodded, and then added, "We even started a fire for you, all you need to do is enjoy it." They offered us thirty dollars, but since they had already paid double that for the previous weekend, I told them it wasn't necessary. He insisted, especially since we had a nice fire burning. In the end, we took twenty dollars, loaned them the hammer so they could get their tent set up, and threw in a bundle of firewood so they could keep it burning.

Everyone around us seemed to enjoy the weekend camping, and we had a good time as well, but the best night was Sunday after everyone around us packed up and left and we had the entire area to ourselves.
September 5, 2023 at 2:06pm
September 5, 2023 at 2:06pm
This entry was inspired by an entry in Waltz in the Lonesome October book, "Complex Numbers, titled: "The Man, The Myth, The Reality

Living in Minnesota, Paul Bunyan is pretty well known, except I think things may have gotten a bit mixed up with time and the tales of other lumberjacks. I have no way to prove any of this, but in my version, it wasn't Paul, but Pauline who swung that mighty axe and felled an entire forest in one winter.

Pauline Fournier stood a massive 6'10" and weighed an impressive 264 lbs and this giantess of a woman was all muscle and attitude. Pauline was a lumber camp cook who during an extremely cold, long, and brutal Minnesota winter, had a fling with a lumberjack named Bon Jean which resulted in the birth of a son she named Fabian. Later, the two lovebirds were wed, and Fabian took his stepfather's name, so Fabian became, Fabian Bon Jean. Having a terrible lisp and stutter, however, it sounded to others like he was trying to say his name was Thaybean Bonyene, which everyone understood him to say, Thabene Bunyan, so they just called him Bunyan. Since this was easier for him, he just went with it.

One terrible winter, Bunyan slipped on some ice, injured his leg, and wasn't able to chop wood. Needing the income, his mother stepped in and exchanged her apron for his axe and while Bunyan cooked up flap-jacks and beans, she went out and chopped massive amounts of wood. So much, in fact, that when she hooked up her ox, Babe, to drag the logs out the poor critter turned blue under the load.

Well, to make a long story shorter, she did this every day until Bunyan was able to chop again. Once he was back on his feet, Pauline and Bon Jean left the north woods and opened up a pancake house in Minneapolis.

Later that spring, the straw boss showed up at camp and was impressed with the massive amount of wood chopped that winter. He wanted to know who this Pauline was who had cut so much. He told the other lumberjacks he wanted to offer her a big raise. He also told them he was going to lay off all the slackers!

Knowing most of them would be replaced by this female lumberjack if the truth was told, they said it was Bunyan, who because of his terrible lisp and stuttering, had sounded like his name was Pauline, but was in fact, just Paul; Paul Bunyan.

They all stuck to their story and of course, now called him Paul Bunyan so the straw boss wouldn't catch their lie. Paul Bunyan became famous, they kept their jobs, and Pauline and Bon Jean ran a very successful pancake house in Minneapolis. In fact, in time their pancakes were talked about around the world! As a result, they changed the name from Pauline's House of Pancakes to International House of Pancakes, which as you know, is shortened to IHOP.

Hey, this is my version, and unless you can prove otherwise, this is the honest-to-blue-ox truth!

A proud member of "WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group

"Reading soothes the soul, writing sets it free." T.J.
August 30, 2023 at 12:59pm
August 30, 2023 at 12:59pm
I've been trying to make an entry for a few days, but my muse is being stubborn and not helping out. So, this entry is going to be a short tale of a boating adventure I had last summer. It all started when my neighbor brought an older boat home from his brother. To protect the ignorant innocent, I'll refer to him as Lars.

In talking with Lars, I found out he had intentions of fixing the boat up and selling it. This boat had been an open-bottom, sixteen-foot fishing boat, but Lars's brother had added decking to it, making it similar to a bass boat. It had sat outside under some trees for a few years and all the decking was rotten.

I purchased it and planned to return it to an open-bottom boat, but Lars is kind of set in his ways and doesn't really listen to what anyone is saying unless it's also what he's thinking. So, after gutting out the boat, he informed me that if it was his boat, he'd put a deck in it and carpet it. And, while I spent the summer working on our mobile tent (pop-up camper), he set about fixing the boat up as he had planned from the start. I should also mention he likes to use whatever is available to do things; he kind of scabs things together.

Last fall, after Lars had set the boat up the way he wanted it, it was time to take it out and use it. I hooked on to the boat, put in life my life jacket, some fuel, the trolling motor and battery, and a few tools just in case. Lars had taken the motor off and had a friend of his work on it to ensure it worked well, so I was ll set. I put the plug in the boat, towed it to a small lake close by, and put it in the water.

Everything went smoothly and I was soon in the boat and pulling out into the water under the power of the trolling motor. Once away from the landing, I pulled up the electric motor and tried to start the outboard. but it wouldn't start and I was running the battery down trying to start it. This is when I noticed water coming into the boat.

The decking Lars put in was about six inches off the bottom of the boat, and the water was now higher than the decking and the boat was filling up pretty fast. I quickly checked the plug I had put in before leaving and it missing. The current was taking the boat away from shore, and I could barely reach the drainage hole. But, if I continued to plug the drain with my thumb, I couldn't put the electric trolling motor back down and drive the boat back to shore.

I quickly kicked off my shoe and stuffed my foot down to try and plug off the drain with my toe as I re-engaged the trolling motor and headed for shore. I succeeded in slowing the water coming in, but not stopping it. Soon the boat was low enough that the secondary drain up by the motor mount was taking in water, so I put one thumb in that, pressed my foot tighter against the bottom drain, and hoped like hell I would make the landing before we sunk.

Under normal conditions, the trolling motor would have quickly pushed us to the landing, but with the boat almost filled, it was heavy and moved slowly. Also, I had run the battery down significantly trying to start the outboard, so we moved at a snail's pace back to shore. But we made the landing without sinking. The boat was only a couple of inches above the water when the front hit the sandy shore, which raised the front and put the back the rest of the way under.

I was wet to my waist, so I just stepped over the side and went for the pickup and trailer. Once I was backed up to the boat, I hooked onto it, and used the winch and the back of the trailer to lift the front of the boat a bit off the bottom, then pulled it with the pickup a few feet up the shore. Being full of water, it was extremely heavy, but the landing was sandy and I managed to get the back of the boat higher than the water without causing any damage. From here it was crank the winch a bit, wait for the water to drain, then crank a bit more. Once the boat was about halfway onto the trailer, I pulled the pickup, trailer, and boat another few feet so the back was completely out of the water, then waited for the rest of the water to drain.

Eventually it did, but while I waited, I climbed back into the boat and looked for the missing plug. I couldn't find it, even after taking out all the sections of decking. The plug was gone! I secured the boat to the trailer and headed back home. Lars met me in the driveway with the plug in his hand. "I hope you noticed the plug was out before you put it in the water."

I was pissed, so I didn't say anything knowing if I even tried to talk, I would explode on him. "I noticed this plug wasn't attached to the boat and I thought I would fasten a string to it and tie it to the boat so it wouldn't get lost." He handed me the plug that now had some old twine string tied to it.

"Thanks." I managed to hold back my rage. Lars saw I was wet, the inside of the boat was wet, and I'm sure he knew the red face I displayed wasn't from sunburn, so he returned home. I took the battery out and replaced it with the bigger battery I used for the camper. I then drove into town, purchased a new deep-cycle hybrid battery for the boat, and headed back to the lake.

I put the plug back in, took the boat out, and eventually got the outboard to run, but it didn't run very well. I ran it for a while, hoping it would get better after it had been run, but didn't, so I used the electric trolling motor to land the boat and bring it home.

We did use the boat a few times last year but only powered by the trolling motor. I haven't had it out yet this year, but I did find someone who can work on the motor and get it running right, so hopefully I can get some use out of it this year, but if not, next year.

As for Lars, he's a nice guy, he means well, but he doesn't always think before he does stuff and I learned to double-check things if he's been around them. He's my friend, but he's also the kind of person who does things the way he desires and doesn't really listen to what I desire. I take him as he is, and we get along that way, but there are times it can be a bit difficult.
August 4, 2023 at 4:36pm
August 4, 2023 at 4:36pm
It's been a while since I've written, so it must be about time to blite something.

Not much new to write about, we are still looking and planning for some more amper outings, but with the parks all so full it's been a bit depressing. Of course, if my wife had some vacation time left it would be easier, but since she doesn't, we only have the weekends to camp; like everyone else's it seems.

We are hoping that with autumn's arrival and schools starting back up, openings will develop at a campground close to home. This would provide us with a nice weekend campout and if we stayed over, she could commute to and from work from the campsite.

We are still adjusting to not having any children in the home (we had adopted two teenage grandchildren) since they both decided they didn't like it here any longer. The oldest turned 18 and was planning on a college close by so she could live at home, but after visiting with her estranged mother, who gave up custody many years ago, she has had a change in her thinking and attitude towards us.

The younger also had contact with "mom" through her older sister, she also ran away and is now removed from the home. With a past history of abuse and neglect, neither of them was supposed to have contact, but at 18 the older child could do what she wanted. Unfortunately, she also made sure "mom" could meet up with the younger teen at their school, and also informed certain people where we live, so there is no chance of the younger child returning; with all the problems and allegations that were made, we had already decided that it was in our and her best interest if she didn't return.

I've been suffering from some back pain, an old injury, after removing some shrubs from the front of the house. I kind of overdid things and suffered for it for a few days, but it's starting to feel better and I suspect that I'll be as good as new I was before the shrub incident by tomorrow or Sunday.

Shrubs? Yes, they were at one time, the evergreen, low-growing bushes you often see in front of a house. But these were a tangled mess of dead branches and overgrowth, so they needed to be cut back. But, most of the branches were a couple of inches in diameter, so we decided to cut them back to ground level. One we di leave a bit of a stump on to see if new shoots will grow from the root system, but the other was rotting from the inside out so it had to be removed completely. The base of this "shrub was at least eight inches in diameter! I did get most of it out but had to use a grub-axe to chop out the main roots to remove the stump; no wonder my back flared up.

That's it for now; see you all later, take care, and stay safe!
July 7, 2023 at 8:47pm
July 7, 2023 at 8:47pm
After our first camping trip, we've been reorganizing, adding items, and removing unneeded items from our camper. We had some of it organized, but with the idea that our two teens would also be camping with us. Now, no teens, just my wife, the dogs, and I are camping.

Also, much of our camping gear was packed in storage for the winter, with the intent to put it away properly before going camping. But, it's a pop-up, or as I like to call it, a mobile tent, so we didn't want it wet, and the weather ensured that we would not be opening it up before we left. So, we hastily threw much of the gear in the front storage compartment and in the back of the SUV.

Once on-site, we hurriedly set up, since it was getting late in the afternoon, and things kind of got stuffed wherever we could find room. It was fine for the time being, but we knew we would have to go through everything and organize our camper. We also had more room since we didn't need extra bedding and clothing, and we only needed to pack one cooler for the two of us. (Of course, it would have been better to put most of the refrigerated food items in the little fridge in the camper, but that would require opening it, which we didn't get the opportunity to do.

The cooler also doubled as a place to keep water and beverages cool since the camper fridge is pretty small. But, we have a half-sized fridge that I thought would fit in the camper, and we brought that out of storage. It fits nicely, and now we have no need to bring the cooler.

Another issue was the vault toilets! They were pretty clean, but the flies were terrible. The shower and modern facilities were at the other end of the campground, so a long walk or the need to drive. During the day it wasn't as bad, but at night it's a pain to have to run to the bathrooms, or even use the vault toilet. I mean, by the time I get dressed enough to wander out, keep the dogs mellow, and slip out into the cool night air, I've woken my lovely spouse who will likely also need to use the toilet now. By the time I return, I doubt I'll be going back to sleep anytime soon.

So, the only other option was to bring a portable urinal. Now, this wasn't anything fancy, just a glorified plastic jug that holds about a gallon. The lid screws on or off, and it works fine for me, but for my wife, it's another story. First off, the opening is about six inches if that. Another is it's only about a foot high, so she's practically sitting on the floor to use it. Actually, it's more like she's trying to squat over it; very uncomfortable to say the least.

So, we decided to order a six-gallon portable toilet that doesn't take up a lot of room, is about the same height as a regular toilet, and is easy to use and dump. We also needed some squeeze containers for condiments, a padded mattress topper, and an awning. The camper had one, but it didn't survive well after a big storm hit during the night.

See, the awning that a mobile tent has is in a bag that attaches to the roof. Once the tent is up, it's difficult to reach, so it's easiest to set it up before raising the tent all the way. The other problem is, the only way to take the awning down is to undo the legs and support ropes, then roll the canvas up into its protective bag, and zip it shut. This is a pain in itself, but once the camper is set up, it's impossible to reach the bag unless you have a stool. Well, two stools, since it's damn near impossible to roll up as stow the thing without two people.

I found an awning that is designed to fit a porch or any type of overhang, it has a crank to close it up, and I think I can modify how it fits and make it work with the camper. So, now if a storm blows in, I just have to step out, loosen to screw knobs and crank it up.

Tomorrow, we will finish putting everything away. Most of it's done, except for the new items and a few odds and ends we added. With all the stuff we took out we found we have ample room for everything and even some room to spare. It's great to have all our camping items (except perishable foods) already packed and ready to go.

So, this weekend we finish organizing. We find out what it's going to take to put the awning up and make it stable, and then we are ready to hit the road and enjoy an organized and orderly camp trip.
July 3, 2023 at 2:53pm
July 3, 2023 at 2:53pm
As I mentioned in my previous post, this was our first camping trip of the season, the first with Max, my Husky, and with Bellah, my wife's Australian Shepard. It was also our first time camping without any children since we started the adoption process back in 2018.

As I think I mentioned in the previous post, my wife and I have been camping together since 2002 first with my Golden Retriever, Klarissa, and in time we added her Golden Retriever, Hyko. After they passed, we had Hannah, a Labradinger. But now I'm wandering off into other tales and adventures.

We had planned on leaving early Friday, June 23, and returning home on Tuesday, June 27. But, with the mess with the kids, we had to postpone leaving early and do a Zoom court hearing on Friday at 11:00 a.m. before we could head out. We were meeting up with another couple we try and camp with at least once each year, but with the delay, they arrived much earlier. Even so, the results of the hearing were to our desired outcome and we still arrived at the campsite by late afternoon.

It didn't take very long to set the camper up (it's a pop-up with one slide-out) but it did take a bit longer to get everything situated since we didn't have time to fully organize before we left. Quite a lot of our stuff was packed into the back of the vehicle and needed to be hauled in after we arrived. This was largely the result of rainy weather and not wanting to open the camper in the wet weather, and some because we were reorganizing for our two dogs and no kids.

But, again, I digress. We arrived, set up enough to get through the first night, and joined our friends around the fire they already had going. They took to the dogs right away, and Max and Bellah also took to them after a few minutes. They had slept most of the drive, about four hours, so they were loaded with energy and rearing to run and burn it off. Luckily, we had rented two camping sites for our use, since originally our younger daughter would be along with a couple of her friends.

The plan was, she would bring a friend, which soon became two, and ended up with three. Since we still have our big cabin tent, we planned on bringing that, a portable cookstove, and all the gear these kids would need to camp out in the site next to ours. Instead, it was now a place for the dogs to run and frolic, as well as our site, and our friends. The park was pretty busy over the weekend, so it also provided us with more room and a bit more privacy.

We did get rain, but it arrived after we were in bed Friday night. It boomed, flashed, and rained, but nothing bad. Well, except for the fact that Max and Bellah had never heard thunder. Bellah was the first up on the bed, Max jumped up shortly after. But, the bunks are very roomy and we had plenty of room despite a couple of extras in them. Max, being a Husky, soon got too warm and made himself comfortable on the couch, while Bellah snuggled up next to me.

Normally I wouldn't be concerned with her on the bed, but we had removed the foam padding from the camper mattress and replaced it with two twin air mattresses, and anytime she moved, I braced for the devastating sound of air leaking out as the bed goes flat. As I said, we had camped with dogs ever since 2002 and had plenty of punctured air mattresses. But, the heavy material of the camper mattress cover was enough to keep even her sharp claws from doing damage. Also, I had the foresight of this catastrophe and had left the second foam mattress on the back bunk, just in case we needed it.

Saturday we did some hiking, but since it was hot, I didn't go far with Max. We drove over to the disc golf range while the other's walked, and played a round. We don't play for score but just for fun, and nobody else was over there, so we let the dogs run free. Although we anticipated them chasing and hauling off the discs, they didn't. Max chased the first few throws but didn't bother the discs at all, and soon tired of this and went on exploring the area.

Bellah, on the other hand, let her shepherding take over and chased down every disc but didn't really mess with them. She did pick them up once in a while if they landed in taller grass or brush, but she would only move them out onto the mowed area. Mostly, she just chased them down and sat by them until the next disc was thrown.

Saturday evening was again spent relaxing around a fire, eating food cooked outside, and enjoying the coolness of the evening. The days were pretty hot, but the nights cooled significantly and by the time we retired it was actually chilly. Chilly enough we contemplated starting the furnace. We also had some rain move in during the night, but no thunder or lightning. Actually, it rained during the night each night we were there, but only once did we get any rain during the day, on Sunday for about an hour.

We didn't do any kayaking, since we have never had Max or Bellah out in them yet, and we didn't do a lot of hiking like we normally do. Instead, we spent most of the time relaxing and visiting, and just enjoying the peace and quiet. Most of the other campers left Sunday, and by afternoon there were only a few other campers in the park. We relaxed and enjoyed watching the two dogs play and explore since we seldom had them on their leashes (only while hiking). They minded well and we just didn't need them.

We also thought about various ways to organize the camper better, made a few notes, and then packed up early Tuesday afternoon and began our drive home. Since there wasn't any hurry, we took the scenic route home and didn't get back until almost 9:00 p.m., unpacked just what needed to be taken out, and relaxed for a bit while the dogs checked out the backyard.

Rhonda had to return to work Wednesday, so we didn't get started with any of the alterations and reorganization of the camper until Saturday. We spent the day getting things set up to be more user-friendly and enjoyed watching Max and Bellah follow us into the camper ready to go out for another adventure. We now have everything set up, so all we need to do is pack up a few clothes, food, and hit the road.

Oh, I didn't even mention where we went; we camped at Oakwood Lakes State Park in South Dakota. It's one of our favorite parks and one we have camped at a few times many years back with all of our previous dogs. In fact, it's where Hannah went after a skunk, but that's another story for another time.

June 30, 2023 at 11:52am
June 30, 2023 at 11:52am
Although this is our first camping trip of the current season, I should travel a short distance back in time before I tackle the present. My wife and I have enjoyed camping since we first met back in 2002 and survived our first camp-out early that spring. This is an interesting story, and I plan on writing about it one day, but that's not today.

It's enough, for now, to know we started out camping in a tent with my dog, and over time graduated to a larger tent and two dogs. As time passed, our simple camping gear increased, another dog joined us, and our enjoyment increased. We would travel to various parks and pitch our tent and screen tent, which we added for a lace to cook and hang out when inclement weather would strike. We would do a lot of hiking and were considering adding a canoe.

Some friends had kayaks and advised us against a canoe since two Golden Retrievers would be very challenging and said we would enjoy kayaks more. We tried theirs out while camping with them, and we were hooked, so we added kayaking to our adventures. With longer caping trips we needed more food along, more space for gear, and a lot of ice for coolers, so we invested in a small refrigerator that we would set up in the screen tent, which was now our kitchen, we also upgraded our six man tent to a cabin tent that I could stand up in, had two separate rooms if desired, a closet, and an actual door instead of two flaps. In time my back problems began to make it difficult to get up off the ground in the mornings, so we invested in a folding camp bed that we could fold up and take with us.

With all this added gear, we needed a bigger vehicle to pack it all in, so we invested in a pickup with a topper on it, installed kayak racks on it, and were all set. Well, until we adopted two grandchildren. At first, we did all right but needed even more food and soda for them, two more kayaks, and eventually our old tent, which was in terrific shape yet, for them. We now found that the pickup did not provide enough room for all our gear, four people, and one dog (our Golden's had departed but we had another dog at this time). So, we found ourselves driving both the pickup and the car anytime we went camping and also discovered that some of the parks (most of them) required us to have two camping spaces for two tents and a screen tent.

Things were getting more difficult and we would be up early, spend a few hours packing up gear, drive to our sites, and then spend hours unpacking and setting up. At the end of the trip, we would start packing things up the night before, then spend a few hours the last day trying to get everything back into the vehicles, drive home, unpack anything that couldn't be left in the vehicles, and then spend a few hours the following day putting everything away.

Since tent camping was getting to be more work than fun, and since the two girls didn't really enjoy camping very much, we decided to save up and purchase a camper. My wife and I still loved camping in a tent and spent a great deal of time deciding on what kind of camper we wanted, hardshell or tent-camper. In the end, we did not want to give up sleeping in a tent but needed the convenience of a camper, so we purchased a pop-up camper. The price was terrific, but it did need some work; nothing major, just little fixes I could do myself. This was perfect since the two kids we now had did not have the capacity to take care of anything; given if they messed something up we wouldn't feel we wasted a lot of money.

I spent most of last summer fixing it up and getting everything ready, and by fall we finally got to use it. It was so much easier, more enjoyable for all, and provided us with two wonderful adventures before the weather became too cold to go out. The only drawbacks were, it was cold out at night and we did not have access to power at the campground we went to (they were doing work and had shut down water and power to most of the camp). But, we did have battery power and a gas furnace, so we managed. The other problem was, space was limited in the camper, and the two girls needed to bring way too much stuff. Even so, we had a great time, made lasting memories, and still got to sleep in a tent that was heated, had running hot and cold water, and lights (no bathroom), but we were parked close to a vault toilet (no water for the showers or modern facilities).

Now back to the present which I will add in another entry soon~
June 22, 2023 at 1:16pm
June 22, 2023 at 1:16pm
A very good friend of ours sent us these little Keebler (gnome) figurines for us to set out on our patio table. Since my wife doesn't really care for gnomes, we decided to refer to them as dwarves, as in Snow White and her entourage.

We set them up after opening the gift, and an idea flooded my deranged mind. My wife has a small display shelf with little animal figurines, and there was a family of skunks on it. I, jokingly, took the skunk family and placed them around the dwarves.

She laughed and said, "I love it, they have to go with them. But, we need to put them on something so they don't fall or get lost.

I found a piece of wood in the garage and we set them up. My wife thought some green felt would make it look nicer, and maybe if I could cut the wood into a circle instead. I agreed a circle would work better, and the green felt would top it off. But, as we talked, another idea began to fester within my ever-active brain.

Soon, it manifest that we could add a napkin holder to the display. My wife thought it a great idea, and instead of keeping it on the patio, using it in the camper. So, we set about finding a better piece of wood for the base cutting it into a circle, and then making a napkin holder to attach to it.

We completed the work and she glued some green cloth to the base. We set up the figurines and added the salt and pepper shakers, but should we drill a place for them or not? Using aromatic cedar, I feared the wood would splinter and split if I tried to drill out indents for the salt and pepper, but maybe we could use some votive candle holders and attach them to the napkin holder. She loved that idea and said she wanted to get some brass ones she had seen.

We still need to get them and add them to the holder, but that will have to wait until after we return from camping. For now, this is how our little project turned out. It's difficult to see in the photographs, but one elf is lying down, passed out with a skunk sniffing his wine bottle, another is sitting in a drunken stupor with a skunk climbing onto his leg, and the third is getting ready to relieve himself and sees a skunk right in front of him getting ready to spay.

When I set the holder up to take a photograph of it, I notice the box of Keebler wafer cones in the background and thought these "dwarves looked a bit like the Keebler elves with beards. So I set the box next to the holder and took a couple of photographs.

Now, they are no longer gnomes. They are no longer dwarves/ They are Keebler elves out camping and drinking. The beards are there because who shaves while out camping? Apparently, elves grow facial hair quite quickly.

This should be a camping trip they will long remember~
June 12, 2023 at 4:03pm
June 12, 2023 at 4:03pm
This is written for "Note: June 18 is Father's Day. Repl..."

Years ago my dad purchased a used boat. None of us had much experience with boats at this time, including my dad, but we learned. Some lessons were learned the hard way.

Shortly after getting the boat, my dad, my next older brother, and I went out to do a bit of fishing on a local lake. We weren't having a lot of luck, so we moved often trying to find the elusive fish.

My dad had brought a big thermos of coffee and after a few cups discovered that he had to empty his bladder. By this time, we were fishing by a small stream that was flowing into the lake. My dad had the motor in neutral at the time and we were just drifting slowly with the current, close to shore.

We were about ten feet from the shoreline, which was somewhat hidden by very tall weeds. My dad told my older brother to steer the boat so he could relieve himself. He stepped up on the front of the boat and just as he began urinating, the tall weeds and grass vanished.

We had drifted in front of someone's home and it looked like there was a reunion taking place. Yes, the front of the boat was pointed towards at least fifty or more people engaged in volleyball, grilling, kids running in the sand, etc....

No one had yet noticed our boat quietly drifting past them with my dad peeing off the front in full view, but it was only a matter of time. Desperate not to be discovered, he turned to my brother and whispered, "Steer the boat."


A little louder, "Turn the boat around!"

"I can't hear you, those people are making too much noise."

My dad had quite a temper, and very few patients, and the first had now been fueled the second had run out. In a loud voice, "Turn the damn boat around!"

Everyone turned to look at our boat and the load yelling. Still about ten feet from shore, still facing them, and still peeing, my dad was turning bright red. My brother turned the steering wheel one way, then the other, but the boat did not respond.

"Damnit put the boat in reverse, turn the damned wheel and get me the hell out of here!"

My brother did just that, he pulled back on the shifter/throttle to put the boat in reverse, cranked the wheel to turn the boat, and in horror, watched as my dad, still standing in the front, still relieving himself, toppled right into the lake as we backed away.

Luckily, my brother stopped the boat, and being a good swimmer, my dad soon reached the side, clambered over, and was back in the boat. Bad luck had followed him, as he climbed over the side, his pants dropped and of course, that was the side facing the group of hysterically laughing people, some of whom now actually fell down because they were laughing so loud.

My dad quickly took control of the boat and we were soon speeding back across the lake to the boat landing. I had never seen him land, load, and leave a lake so quickly before or after that day. We never returned to that lake, and the next time we took the boat out, everyone had a lesson in driving the boat. Oh, and we always had a bucket in the boat after that dreadful day.

In my and my brother's defense, I should add that I was around twelve and he was around fourteen.

June 6, 2023 at 3:44pm
June 6, 2023 at 3:44pm
It's been a while so today seems like a good day to add an entry. Two months ago I was complaining of snow, cold winds, and being tired of shoveling. Now, although it's not a complaint, we have the bipolar opposite in our weather. It's been in the mid-nineties for a couple of weeks and Sunday hit a high of one hundred and six degrees!

I've been in climates with high temperatures and often it's accompanied by super-high humidity, but ours has stayed a bit on the low side, thankfully. Still, this is considered northern Minnesota, so these temperatures are very out of season. We should be hitting highs in the mid-seventies this month, and seldom see them in triple digits even by the end of July and August, our hottest months.

As I stated, I'm not complaining, I'd rather deal with the heat than suffer frostbite and shovel snow. But, with these kind of temperatures come wicked summer storms. Monday we had hail the size of golf balls drop on us, despite the forecast claiming an overcast but dry day. Luckily, we didn't have any damage, the frozen volley of sky-stones wasn't very hard and most shattered upon impact. Still, they hurt like a bugger when they hit.

Yes, I had to run out in the middle of my dinner and put the Yukon in the garage. I made it down the steps and then retreated from the barrage of icy chunks back into the house to grab my shield (umbrella). There was no wind so I stayed secure beneath my shield until I could enter the vehicle and back it into the garage. By this time, the clouds had ceased and desisted their assault of pounding us with inch-and-a-half-sized polar pellets so I made a quick dash to the house in the rain that followed the barrage. Even this icy assault and cold rain did little to lower Mother Nature's fever and soon it was not only hot but humid as well.

I have stuff I should be working on outside, in the garage, and in the camper, but it's just too damn hot. Hey, I said I wasn't complaining, but that doesn't mean I like it!
May 30, 2023 at 1:45pm
May 30, 2023 at 1:45pm
May is coming to a close, and I haven't done any entries for a while now, so I wanted to get one in before the month is gone.

After a long winter, spring finally arrived and things were looking great. We have the entire house now instead of it being a duplex, so a lot more room. I also finally got the other half of the garage, the previous tenant still had stuff in there so we couldn't use it, but I talked to her and ended up taking a lot of her stuff over to a church for donation, the rest went into the landlord's storage building.

Yep, spring started out terrific, but about halfway through we get blindsided with trouble we never expected. I've already written on this and I really don't want to even think about it anymore. Unfortunately, it's not over yet, we will have a pretrial hearing towards the end of June. Our attorneys told us everything will be settled at that hearing and not to worry about having to go to court in July. I sincerely hope they're right, once it's all over I will breathe a lot easier.

Now, we are getting our camper set up and ready for our June camping trip with some close family friends. The campground we are meeting up is 220 miles away, and we have our pre-trial hearing that day! We had planned to get everything ready the day before and leave really early, but now it's looking like we won't get going until about 2:00 p.m.

I seriously thought about just canceling the camping trip, but with everything going on, it will be nice to get away from here for a while, and we haven't seen our friends in almost a year. If we get the news we want, it will be a nice way to begin the process of putting this all behind us, but if not, I doubt we will be able to relax much camping or not.

I figure to give our attorneys another week and then call them to see how things are progressing. Until then, it's more of just not knowing, and that's the hardest part.
May 16, 2023 at 2:46pm
May 16, 2023 at 2:46pm
Some years back we adopted two grandchildren out of foster care. They ended up there as a result of abuse and neglect at the hands of some relatives who are also related to my wife (her first husband and their daughter)

This made things very difficult because the children could not have contact with their mother, aunts, uncles, and grandpa as a result of the abuse and the likely hood of being abducted. (This was all explained to us when we started this ordeal, along with facts to support it all)

There's a lot more involved, but I want to keep this short. The younger child was always a mommy's girl and really misses her. A few years back, she tried to run away, but there was no evidence found that she was trying to get to her mom. Whomever she was in contact with, we never learned.

However, after the police located her, and attempted to bring her home, she realized she was in a lot of trouble. She had stolen my billfold and spent over $500.00 before being located. To avoid getting in trouble, she claimed that she was being abused in our home. This resulted in her being placed in protective custody and almost ripped our family apart. In time the investigation revealed no evidence and with the older child insisting that it was a wonderful loving home, the younger child was allowed to return home.

The older daughter is now 18 and can have contact with the family she was not able to see. A few weeks ago, she went to visit her mom, and after the visit moved out. Over that week, she not only continued to visit with her mom, but also with her uncle and her grandpa who had abused her, her sister, and her brother. She also posted pictures with these people at the school both of them attend.

We're sure the younger child saw them but do not know if they made contact with her. However, everything was going fine until last Wednesday when both children filed abuse charges against us, again. The older child is 18 and staying with her boyfriend's family and the younger child is being held in protective services again. Through my sister-in-law, we have learned that the children's mom and her grandpa may be involved, but there's no proof.

In about ten days, we go to court to see what's going to happen. As of now, no one has been charged or arrested, there is no proof of any abuse, and it's our word against the children. In ten days we will go to court again, and now we are waiting for the paperwork to arrive, file and see if we qualify for legal assistance, or if we need to hire an attorney. This is what I get for giving this child a second chance and letting her come back into the home after the last time.

I really need to write this out and try and get my stress down to a safer level. The next ten days will be hell, and we will need to spend time talking with the attorney. It also means my wife will be missing more work (she was laid off for the month of April, so money is tight).

Everything was going so nicely; so nicely I didn't see anything coming and got blindsided.

May 3, 2023 at 3:11pm
May 3, 2023 at 3:11pm
As we rented half of the duplex, we had one side of the garage, and the person (I will call her Nits Ninnyhammer) who rented the other half had the other side. Back in January, Nits decided to move and we were set to get the whole house and both sides of the garage on the first of February. Well, that didn't work out, so we got the house on March first instead. We should also have gotten the other side of the garage, but she had stuff stored in there so we could open the house up. At that time, she was going to have the stuff out by the weekend, two weeks at the most.

Now, it's just over two months and she still has not moved anything out. In fact, she sold her pickup and can't move anything. On a side note, she has a storage unit next to the one we rent and could have moved the stuff, it's not a lot, before she sold the pickup. As I said, she's a Nits, a real Ninnyhammer.

Now, she's waiting on the landlord to move the stuff, but he's a truck driver and is not around very much, so it sits and waits. Meanwhile, I have my wife's car in our side of the garage, and our new (new to us) GMC sitting out in the snow, rain, and wind because she still has stuff in there. Also, the storage unit we rent could be emptied out if we had more space in the garage to put that stuff in. Sure, I would have to put in some shelves, but I think they would pay for themselves pretty quickly.

Yesterday Nits Ninnyhammer stopped by to pick up a couple of packages that UPS dropped off here (yes, she has not changed her mailing address or delivery address yet) and I asked again when she was going to get her stuff out of the garage. She gave me the same line about waiting for the landlord to come move it.

As much as I like to be nice, patient, and mild-mannered, the time had come to be assertive and tell her no! My wife thought it was going to get really ugly fast when I stopped her and told her the garage was getting emptied, and that the landlord had said I could put her stuff in his building on the next lot until he had time to haul it.

She backed down and agreed that would be alright, but she wouldn't be able to move the stuff until she found someone with a truck. I smiled and told her I have a truck, I have a trailer, and if you tell me what you want and what you don't, I'll move the stuff you want over to the landlord's building and take the rest to be donated at the church.

She showed me the three items she wants, her grill, a box of stuff, and a garbage can filled about half full of stuff. She said the rest is garbage or can go to the church. She had it all separated and sorted, and for two months I waited for her to get three items moved. Later this afternoon, after my wife gets home, I'll take her three items over to the other building, and then I will go through the remainder and sort out the junk from anything that can get taken to the church.

Finally, the garage is installed and hopefully by this weekend I can have it cleaned out and ready to use.

April 20, 2023 at 11:42am
April 20, 2023 at 11:42am
I'm not sure what I want to write, but I do need to write about a very unpleasant surprise we got yesterday. I should tell the backstory, but that would take volumes and likely get very confusing. So, a short summary may work.

My stepdaughter and her guy had three kids, but because of drugs and bad choices, lost them. By the time, my wife and I got involved, the kids had been in social services care for a few years, bouncing between foster homes and institutes. It took a long time to work out all the problems so we could adopt them and give them a family. One of the biggest, and most difficult parts was to break all contact with any of my wife's kids because of the abuse and trauma they caused.

After finally adopting them, we had to agree that there could be no visiting or contact with them until they turned eighteen or it was approved by psychiatrists and social services.

So, our oldest is now eighteen and wanted to meet her mom. We arranged it, they had a good visit, and upon returning home wanted to spend a week with her boyfriend to think about everything. She went over on Sunday, and yesterday text my wife to say she's moving out this weekend, she's tired of the lies and stuff we have told her.

What did her mom tell her? We have no idea, and that she even thinks we have lied and manipulated her to keep her away from her mom is crazy. But, she no longer wants to live here.

How it all will turn out, we have no way of knowing, but we still have a fifteen-year-old at home with us, and now we fear that if they communicate, and they will, that the younger grandchild will soon want to move out, too.

Time will tell, and there's not much that we can do except hope that they understand we have never lied to them about their parents and have only tried to protect them and provide a stable home.
April 16, 2023 at 9:35am
April 16, 2023 at 9:35am
I will apologize in advance for my following rant: Sorry, I just want to get this out, and who knows perhaps someone has a solution that doesn't risk incarceration blow-back.

With the warm weather, our snow is melting fast and has resulted in quite a lot of mud in the driveway. Of course, there are large snowbanks that are still melting and creating even more mud.

My solution to this was to dig out a few trenches for the water to flow away from the driveway, rake and shovel some of the surface to get all the water to flow off the driveway, and then let it dry out some. Once it was dried out, I drove back and forth over the surface to pack it down and create a solid surface that would allow rain to run off instead of letting it soak in. It worked great.

Except, our neighbor kind of messed it all up. He's a nice enough fellow and means well, but he is also one of these people who does what he thinks is best. He thought it would be good to plow down the remaining snowbanks. It was a good idea, but it would have been nice if he decided this before I put in multiple days of work on the driveway. In the process of plowing, he created more ruts, totally destroyed my trenching, and spread snow all over the drive creating more mud.

After he was done, I redid my work on the driveway, re-dug my trenching, and re-packed the surface. I was ready for the rain predicted for the weekend. I also helped him work on his boiler Saturday and took that time to inform him that I had packed the drive and asked him not to run the drag over it and loosen it all up because it creates more mud. Knowing that he likes to drive the 4-wheeler around with the drag just for something to do, I also told him that I would let him know when we wanted him to drag our side. (I should add that last summer/fall, he would drag both his side and ours daily, sometimes even twice a day. Anytime it rained we had mud and when it was dry, our vehicles were covered in gritty dust.)

Yesterday, he decided to push the knocked-down snowbanks around a bit more and messed up my trenching, then hooked onto the drag and raked it over the entire driveway. Before I could do any repair work it began to rain harder and without the trenching, the water flowed onto the now soft and worked-up driveway creating a lot of mud. Last night the rain turned to snow, so when this melts, it's going to sit on top of the driveway and soak in even more. It's going to take a week or more to get it dried up again, and I'll have to dig trenches, shovel, and rake the damn thing all over again.

I thought by asking him nicely, he would stay off our side, but I should have known he would do it even more because I told him a packed driveway would stay drier and he commented that dragging it and having it soft would let the water soak in instead of sitting on top.

He's like that; whatever someone else tells him, he will argue and do the opposite. I just wish I knew how or what to do to counteract this.
April 4, 2023 at 5:37pm
April 4, 2023 at 5:37pm
April has arrived along with the second major snowstorm of the month; not bad for only four days. I wrote on this a bit in the Newsfeed and in "Alotta Monkey Business but wanted to touch on it again here. In my other items, I may have sounded a bit bitter by the endless winter weather, but in truth, I take what we get and try to keep a bright outlook. Maybe I should say I vent a little, but it's meant to be lighthearted and with humor. Sure, we are in a blizzard, and the snow is butt deep to a giraffe (not really) and I'm eagerly waiting for warm weather and the snow to be gone.

But, others in the path of this storm are having tornados, thunderstorms with damaging winds, hail, and all sorts of other nasty weather. If it's a choice, I'll happily take being snowed in for a few days. Sure, the wind is gusting and howling outside my window, but forty mph is a lot better than ninety. And, I'd rather get a bunch of snow instead of hail.

I'm eager for some nicer weather so I can start working with our Husky, Max (almost six months old) outside, but currently, his training is limited to adjusting to Bellah, our eight-week-old Australian Shepard. There has been so much going on that it's been hard to do any serious training with him, but I squeeze in what I can and everything is going pretty well.

I did try and work with him a bit today on a new task since he has: sit, lie, shake hands, and kiss down very well, but he was much too distracted, so we just did some of his already down tricks. Although Bellah has been with us for a couple of weeks, the newness hasn't worn off yet, and being a puppy himself, all he wants to do is play with her. What did you suggest, separating them? Yeah, we tried that, but his focus then is just on getting to her, and again, no focus. As I said, his current training is trying to get him adjusted to her; we are making progress.

Let's see, what else is happening here? We are pretty well all moved and set up, except for the garage. By renting both sides of the duplex, we also get both sides of the garage. Nice! Well, it would be if we could use the other side. I would love to have another vehicle inside out of the weather, but the former renter still has items in there. When asked about it, she stated that she sold her pick-up and has no way to move anything out until the landlord helps her. He is supposed to be back this week, he drives a truck, but with the weather we're having, he may be delayed. Even if he makes it back, I don't see him hauling stuff until after the storm has ended.

Sometimes life is like two steps forward only to find your three steps behind.

So how are things going this month? So far they are going about the same, only different...
March 30, 2023 at 2:59pm
March 30, 2023 at 2:59pm
Yesterday I blited that things were looking better and I may have more time and fewer interruptions. I also titled it "A light At The End Of The Tunnel, Or A Train?" because I was a bit skeptical. Rightfully so!

When my wife got home from work she informed me that orders are down and she had today and tomorrow off. So much for peace and quiet...

But, the company is also talking lay-offs and has asked for volunteers to take lay-off status for April. In doing this, the company will continue to provide all benefits, but if not enough people volunteer, they will shut down for the month, and as is the standard lay-off policy, no benefits.

So, we discussed it and she is in the office volunteering to take April off, then she will file for unemployment and be around for the next month. Now, with two puppies, the added help is great, but with me liking my quiet and alone time, it's also going to be trying. Even so, I held an optimistic view that it will work out in the end.

Just moments ago, I got a call from the high school and was told my younger teen has been busted for vaping. It's still undetermined if she will be suspended, pending her discussion with school personnel and the local police, and there will be consequences here at home.

If today is a preview of the days ahead, I can see that it's going to be difficult to spend a lot of time in WdC and I may have to write off any writing until my wife goes back to work.

So, was it the light at the end of the tunnel, or is a freight train coming my way?

For now, I have to run, my wife is watching puppies and I can hear a consistent string of no's disrupting my blite...
March 29, 2023 at 4:15pm
March 29, 2023 at 4:15pm
It's almost the end of March and the lion still roars! What happened to in like a lion and out like a lamb? The entire month has been a lion and as I look at the next ten-day forecast, I wonder, "Did the damn beast eat the lamb?"

This morning, it was minus ten degrees Fahrenheit with a minus 18 wind-chill factor and we will be doing well to break twenty degrees. Tomorrow it will reach thawing temps, barely, with freezing rain. Friday more snow is forecast and once again barely in the twenties. In fact, it's the same for the next ten days!

Other than crappy weather, things have been progressing pretty well. The sore on my leg has finally started healing and the fracture seems to be mending. Bellah has started using the puppy pads once again, and as much as the weather permits loves to be outside. I've been working with potty training her to go outside and she does well as long as she can get through the snow and doesn't freeze her little feet. (She weighs a whopping ten and a half pounds now)

Max is doing well, even though his training kind of got put on hold as he adjusts to having a little puppy around. (He weighs just over fifty pounds now but is still a puppy and loves to play but can get a bit rough with Bellah, so his training has been switched to playing nice with her,)

We have everything moved and set up but are still organizing things a bit. I even have my office set up and usable and have actually used it a few times. In fact I was in my office when I started bliting (blog-writing), but had to move out to the dining room because Bellah was crying. (She was sleeping when I retired to my office and woke to find herself alone.)

That's been another issue; she was supposed to be seven weeks old when we got her, but as it turned out, she was three days shy of six weeks. Much too young to be removed from her mother and other puppies. As it turned out, this may have been a good thing for her since they had homes for all the other puppies and they left the next day. They had also removed all the puppies from mom so she would put weight back on, so she would have been isolated and alone had we not taken her.

There's still a lot going on and time is still an issue but things are improving and I'm hopeful that I will not only continue to spend a little time here but will also start having more time to spend. I'm also hopeful that the weather will improve one of these days and spring will arrive so I can start working more with Max outside on a leash. Being a Husky, he doesn't mind the snow and cold, but my coat isn't as warm as his.

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