Monday, December 8, 2014

Nesting

"BITE THE BULLET"...
Accept the inevitable impending hardship and endure the resulting pain with fortitude.
TENNESSEE LIFE
PETS
RV
BOOK REVIEW
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TENNESSEE LIFE:
My Father sent me an email...
"Your Mom & I miss your "Blog" since October 29; what's up?  Love you, Dad" 
I was going to title this blog "Bite the Bullet". The blog is on my mind often, but I just find myself and my life not very interesting anymore. I have to keep reminding myself, that this blog is for me as much as it is for friends and family.
And really, the blog is not a hardship, but it is not as enjoyable as it once was.
It seems every time I post now, I'm trying to explain myself. I'm sorry.

While I was outside on "poop patrol" (cleaning the yard of poop), and Scott was laying stonework, we heard an unusual sound. I went to investigate. As I got closer, I recognized the sound. It was something burning! Oh crap! Then I heard voices. I walked a little closer to the sound and a Pit Bull came after me, I mean greeted me. Yep, even a dog lover like me is cautious around certain dogs. Ends up the Pitty was a sweety. So I've now met another neighbor. He was burning the edge of the corn field to get rid of the overgrowth. Yep, part of living in the country. Nice guy. His Father built our house.

I'm in nesting mode. Last year I was somewhat depressed, because the weather was so frigid and I don't enjoy cold weather RV'ing. I DO look forward to RV'ing again. I just don't know how we'll do it with so many dogs!!!!

I've found myself purchasing for two households. It really bothers me to buy duplicates of items. I still have a clear memory of purging 22 years of stuff out of our house in NJ to prepare for full time RV'ing. I purchased two alarm clocks. We've been using the one from the RV in our bedroom. Well, when we do take the RV out, I don't want to have a long list of items to remember. I want the RV to be occupant ready so we can hitch up and go. So 1 alarm clock is for the master bedroom and the original itty bitty alarm clock can be returned to the RV. The 2nd alarm clock is for the guest bedroom since I've been spending so much time there and have actually had to use the alarm clock. Huh??? There is a comfy king sized bed in the master bedroom and why would I need an alarm clock when I'm retired?
Puppies, that's why!
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PETS:
Anyone following my blog knows I volunteer for A&B English Setter Rescue. A good chunk of my day is dedicated to keeping info organized for the rescue. Well, now that we have a house, I've adopted two English Setters, posted earlier. But, I've somehow had the opportunity to foster one puppy after another.
1st puppy at 8 weeks arrived and stayed about 2 weeks before she was adopted to a family in PA.





She was only an itty bitty thing at 9 pounds, while our Gordon Setter puppy who is only one month older, was 33 pounds.
Because I'm the one fostering and Scott doesn't want to lose sleep with another puppy, I was sent to the guest room for the duration of fostering this pup. Our Irish/English Setter mix, Devin was the only one to join me during my banishment to the guest room. We went through a lot of paper towels and enzyme spray. Neither puppy was fully housebroken yet.
Puppy's new Mom & Dad
The above photos is the good and bad part of fostering. The good in that I was able to save this dog from living in a shelter, or being adopted by someone who doesn't know the breed. The bad, it is so difficult to give them up. She got along beautifully with our dogs, she was a great cuddler too.

No sooner does the 1st foster pup get adopted, I was made aware of a Setter puppy on a site similar to Craig's list. Puppies are highly adoptable, so they are good for our Rescue.  The dog was 3 hours from me, so off I went.
2nd Puppy was one day older than our own puppy. But he had been an outside dog, so no potty training, but luckily our Ryan, has finally become 100% potty trained and uses the doggie door.
1/2 Gordon Setter & 1/2 English Setter

Our pup on left, foster pup on right, recent adopted dog in center.
So I had a few night's sleep in our wonderful Master bedroom and then wham! Back to the guest room on the air mattress.We were very close to keeping this 2nd pup. But we really don't want 6 dogs. We really don't even want 5 dogs, well, we really don't want 4 dogs. I think 3 dogs is the perfect # for us.


Can you picture dinner time with 6 dogs? Even the normal 5 is quite a production.

We go through 30 pounds of food in 2 weeks.



All the dishes are put on the counter. The dogs begin to get excited. Luckily, we have taken the time to train them to hold their excitement. Our puppy Ryan, used to jump up against me to try to get the food. We put an end to that. Now he quietly lays by my feet while I fill the dishes with their food.
I then stack the dishes according to the order they will be served. I need to get the dishes from the kitchen into the mud room where they eat. I don't care if the floor in the mud room gets messy.


Can you find the SIX dogs eating their dinner?
And finally, I put the food bowls down in order. I'm sorry to say the most behaved dogs are fed last. That is because, they are so behaved, they will wait for their bowl to be placed down and not go to the other's bowls beforehand.
Training is the key to a enjoying a dog.
And why did I need an alarm clock? Because I had to get up very early for each of these puppies to go the their new homes. The first pup was adopted by a family in PA. They drove 7 hours and met me in KY, which was a 2.5 hour drive for me. The 2nd pup was going to another foster home (didn't I say I didn't want 6 dogs???) in upstate NY. We have a wonderful volunteer who coordinates a volunteer transport system where many, many volunteers tag team. I drove 2 hours to Nashville, and dropped the pup off to a driver who was then going to drive an hour or two and pass the pup on to the next driver and so on. It takes many volunteers to make dog rescue work.
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RV:
Last year at this time we were in Deming, NM. We were trying to avoid the cold. Yea, right. Here's a link to photos of what we experienced. I believe this may have been the start of the end of RV'ing. We thought we had planned things out nicely. We were to stay in NM only about 30 miles from Mexico, for 2 months through the Holidays. Good company, decent weather....well at least the company was good.


I wonder if this would have been useful during our winter RV'ing. Yes, there ARE wood stoves made for RV's and boats. Oh, how cozy warm I would have been last Winter...
Here are links to a couple of resources.
Kimberly Wood Stove
Marine Stove
And here is a you tube link of a DIY installation.

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BOOK REVIEW: 
24 Hours (Mississippi #2)24 Hours by Greg Iles
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book catches your attention from the start and just keeps going.
A kidnapping that last "only" 24 hours, but so much happens in those 24 hours. A climax, then fails and leads to another climax. Suspense, likeable and annoying characters, all which meld together to make a great read.


Big TroubleBig Trouble by Dave Barry
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Starts out very confusing. Multiple story lines going on at once. I had a difficult time keeping track of which character was with which storyline. By the middle of the book, I started getting the hang of it and by the end, the book was great. Very much like Carl Hiaasen, with the odd characters, and stupid actions.
I believe this is Dave Barry's first adventure into novel writing. I will look into other books of his hoping that they get better. He's definitely got the knack, just needs some tweaking.
Born to Be WildBorn to Be Wild by Patti Berg
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Yes, I am red faced and have a silly smirk on my face as I give this free Kindle book FIVE stars. Very sweet Romance about a couple from two different walks of life. Can they make it work? Is she too snooty? Will he be accepted?
Easy reading..."take me away, Calgon" book.
The 5 stars given because it was such an easy read. I enjoyed a few hours cuddled under an afghan with some coffee and this book.



Wednesday, October 29, 2014

NO!

CONTENTS
TENNESSEE LIFE
RV
PETS
PROJECTS
BOOK REVIEW
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TENNESSEE LIFE aka Sweet Asylum:
It's the end of October and I'm still able to sit outside even during happy hour with short sleeves and sandals. Is this normal for TN life? I don't know. It was in the 30's in NJ last night, but I doubt we went below 50° here last night. We enjoy the color changing of the leaves, yet still have warm enough temperatures to relax outside.

Scott is freaking out about all the different kinds of spiders in our yard. I'm fine as long as they stay in the yard and don't hurt our dogs.
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RV:
Yes, as the cartoon above states, I need a hug. In lieu of a hug, I'll have a shot to make me feel better.

I truly miss my connection with the RV community. I think I miss that a lot more than the actual RV'ing. I like the luxury of having the space and privacy of a house, but I do miss that possibly of meeting up with someone in our travels. When I walk into our RV, it smells like "home".
I was just communicating with an RV friend we met in Washington. I blogged about them before. Mike was very generous with some crab legs that were given to him. He not only gave Scott a bunch, but he cooked them to perfection also. We had told them about Wintering in Deming, NM at Hidden Valley Ranch. Lo and behold, they stayed there for 3 months last Winter with us crossing paths for a few weeks.
Sadly, Mike passed away in June of this year. I recently asked Maryanne how she was doing.
"Life after Mike is like going from Technicolor to black and white."
I have spoken before about how nice the residents at Hidden Valley Ranch are. Well, Maryanne is now living there in her RV! If something ever happened to Scott, I would consider that also, although I really hate the desert, but oh the community is wonderful!
I think living in an RV by myself would be much more liveable. I don't need as much as Scott did, well, it feels like that. He needs all his electronics and big screen computer monitor, etc. I'm happy just finding a cozy spot to read or craft or work on my laptop.

I would need a community to have some socialization. As long as I'm with Scott, I'm fine being a loner, but if I was without Scott, I would be lonely.
I'm always trying to plan for the future, so when things happen, I won't be like a deer stuck in place in front of headlights.
I've even thought that I'd move to Oregon if I got cancer. They allow prescribed suicide. I think it is ridiculous for humans to have to suffer when it's terminal.
Oh boy, I guess I lost track of the RV subject.

There's also the Care Center in the Escapees RV park in TX. Another area that I really would rather not live in.
Any RV'rs know of other nice places to retire to?
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PETS:
I can't believe it's been a whole year since we picked up Dina, the reservation dog. Last I heard, she was happy living with her adoptive family in NJ. We still miss her and we both agree, we shouldn't have given her up. She was a surprisingly great dog, especially being an outside dog.
Ryan & Lou
Our puppy, Ryan has fit into our pack. He is both a pain in the arse and a sweetheart. We must say "no" over 100 times per days. I love the saggy jowls of the Setter breed and his jowls are already pinchable. With long droopy jowls, comes drooling also. I haven't seen it yet, but I'm sure as he matures the drooling will begin.
He still has pee accidents once in awhile. It's almost like he is too preoccupied to bother going outside. He pees while he's running in the house. Ugh! But then other times, he'll push his way through our new doggie door. Thank you hubby.

It only takes one dog to ruin a good thing though. Lou is the only one that does not use the doggie door. He will bark and bark and bark to come in. Coaxing with treats doesn't work either. But 4 out of 5 dogs isn't too bad. Even our little one pushes with all he's got until he makes it through the door.
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PROJECTS: Recycle
Because we have basically started all over again, acquiring "stuff" for the house, we have accumulated many, many cardboard boxes. I've looked at Pinterest and it's amazing what you can do with cardboard. If you layer and construct property, you can actually make furniture!
Since I have 3 garages, I have plenty of space to save all this cardboard. Unfortunately, brown recluse spiders love to make their home in cardboard.

I decided to experiment. Our dogs are having a difficult time getting up on our bed. We placed a plastic drawer by the bed, which works ok, but looks ugly. I thought I try my hand at cardboard construction.
 Two boxes filled with corner styrofoam pieces to cardboard placed upright for stability.
 I have lots of this paper filling. I tore it up and covered the boxes with this and watered down white glue.
Enough completed to try it out. it slipped around when the dogs would step on it, so had to had some rubber stuff to the bottom. Once I'm sure the dogs will use this, I'll cover it up much nicer and you'll never know it's cardboard.

We have 7 acres and 4 acres is probably wooded. I'm determined to make use of any downed trees and branches. I'm starting small, but I'm very happy with my first little project.
Just take a small branch, sand, more sanding until you reach the beautifully bare wood.

The above photo was an afterthought, so this of course is not the same branch, but you can still see the steps. Left is raw wood, middle is taking off the first layer, left is down to bare wood. I did not realize that there is another layer under the bark until I began sanding.
Finished drying towel rack. I'll also use this to dry ziplock bags when I reuse them. I get a great sense of satisfaction from making something from "nothing".
I think this is where the blog will be heading toward...my projects.
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BOOK REVIEW:
314 Crescent Manor314 Crescent Manor by M.  Jones
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This took a long time for me to read. I did not look forward to reading it. It did not take me away...
But it held my interest because it was so odd! So I plodded through.
One event changes the ways things are for a building with a life of it's own. Evil escalates, and causes bizarre things to happen to the buildings tenants. Can things be made right again? Well, maybe not right, but just different.
What am I talking about? Exactly. That's how I feel about the book. I ended with "Huh?".


Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Insanity

CONTENTS
PETS
RV PRODUCT REVIEW
TENNESSEE LIFE
BOOK REVIEW
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PETS:
What did I expect? Something different this time around?
Through some rescue contacts, I found out about an "oops" litter from a reputable Gordon Setter breeder. The oops was simply the coupling too early. Ahhh, when nature calls, a dog's gotta do what a dog's gotta do! That is why anyone with "just a pet" should spay and neuter their animals.
So we are the proud parents of an 8 week old (as of this writing, 3 month old) Gordon Setter puppy.
What the hell was I thinking??????  Are we insane???Puppies are a lot a work. I must have been temporarily insane to agree to get a puppy again!
 It was sort of a thank you gift to Scott for putting up with my rescue work and taking in homeless dogs. Scott loves puppies, I prefer older dogs.
So that makes for the pitter patter of 10 feet besides Scott & myself. In case you can't calculate, that is FIVE dogs. Yep, RVing is over for a while. Sigh.
Since we've had the puppy about a month now, much progress has been made. I was hoping for a puppy like our Flat Coated Retriever, Chance. He was house trained in 3 days. Nope, not this one. I am so glad we do not have carpeting!!!! He is 90% house trained. At least he makes it to the mudroom, which is on the way out.
We named him Ryan. Sort of a tribute to Scott's "heart dog", Ryley. Ryley had eye problems since age 3. He went blind at 9 yrs old. His opthamologist, Petra called him "Ry, Ry". I have started calling Ryan, Ry Ry. I also call him Ryan Rue Roo! I sometimes rue the day I agreed to bring him home and he roos, as is a Setter trait.
Ryley as a pup

Ryley as an Irish Setter breed ambassador
Well, we may have been insane to get a puppy again and expect it to be easier this time, but we know once he matures a little in a couple of years, we'll have a wonderful dog.
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RV'ing Product Review:
When planning our route we would use many resources...Good Sam trip planner, Google Earth, &
RV Trip Wizard,  $39.00 per year
My rating 4 out of 5
I tend to be the frugal half of this relationship. I would not have paid the membership fee for this service. But Scott has. Yes, we still have "our own money", plus "joint money". Since he paid for it, I have enjoyed the benefits. You enter your start and destination. RV Trip Wizard maps the route, but also includes the RV parks/Campgrounds along the way. They include Good Sam, Escapees, KOA, etc. as well as private parks. It does save time to have the parks already listed in the area instead of having to search the net for nearby campgrounds. Although I've had great luck with mapping our route on Google Earth and just picking towns we want to stop near and use RV Park Reviews.
RV Trip Wizard will be featured on the Discovery channel on Nov. 18, 2014 on the show "Trending Today".
I must admit, that I would not pay close to $40. for a trip planning program. I would just do the research myself, but having the use of it has been very very convenient.
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TENNESSEE LIFE, missing F/T RV lifestyle:
Did anyone notice, the new title under our blog title? "Sweet Asylum living in TN". I'm calling our homestead "Sweet Asylum". We escaped NJ and have found sweet Asylum in TN.
Adjusting to TN life has been easy, but in a way, surreal. I keep thinking we are going to hop back in our RV and take off. That this is just a "snowbird" stop.
I've been feeling quite melancholy. I want it all and right now I can't. Mainly because Scott is not one to leave the house unoccupied. Sure, it would be very difficult with 5 dogs, but people do it! We'd have to research RV parks that would allow 5 dogs on one site.
I see commercials of beautiful scenery out West. When in the RV, I would say, "we've been there". Now that we are settled in a house, I wonder if we'll ever be that way again.
I do believe we stopped full time RV'ing too early. Three years flew by. I feel we failed because we did not see the Upper Peninsula. We should have gone along with our plan to not look for a house until the fall. Oh well. I am happy, just somewhat melancholy. I'm not part of that special group of F/T RV'rs. I'm just a "normal" person.
Our 5th wheel has been neglected. We've only been in there to take things out. Well today, I gave a pep talk to our traveling home. Every time I go in the RV, it has a unique smell. No it does not smell of dog, or dust etc. It does have a special RV odor and it brings back so many good memories and feelings of contentment and HOME. I still feel that the RV is our home and the house is just temporary. In time, it will reverse, but the adjustment is taking a while. I gave our Rv a good sweep. I took my time and enjoyed thinking of the happy times we spent in this small traveling home. I never named "her", but she has been very good to us. Thank you Missy Silverback.
I've already started putting it in Scott's head that in 10-15 years, we may do this all over again...our "last hoorah!" before moving into a retirement community. We'll be about 70 yrs old. Maybe travel for a year or two in an RV and then settle down into our final senior living place.

It's sad that I take websites off my toolbar like RV Park Reviews. I used to use that regularly. My stomach gets all knotted up and I almost go into panic mode realizing we are not going to be traveling for a long while. That part of our life is over. Planning to F/T for 6+ years, and actually doing it and now it's over. Yep, melancholy.

Our neighbors invited us over to take a walk through their property to see the 80 acre lake.
View from neighbor's property
I still have not seen the lake from our property. We're still waiting for the foliage to drop to make way for easier trail blazing. The forest area has thinned and we are able to see a glimmer of the lake from our back porch. We hope to clear enough for a view of the lake year round.
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AUDIO BOOK REVIEW:
Mean StreakMean Streak by Sandra Brown
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Can't say this was an exciting book, until near the end. But, the mystery man/kidnapper really intrigues! Is he good or bad? What is his background? Should we like him or hate him? Is he a sexy hero? Is he a sexy criminal? Well, bottom line, he's sexy, which of course held my interest.The questions gripped me and kept me listening. I wanted to know his story!
A well to do woman, from her dead parent's inheritance is quite the philanthropist. She is a practicing Dr. even though she does not need to work. She donates money and organizes fundraisers for causes close to her heart. How did she end up with this mystery man? Should she be afraid of him? She isn't. Why won't he let her go home?
Yep, lots of questions to keep you interested until the end.





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