Saturday, July 4, 2015

Good time at the river house

I must admit, I'm looking forward to Oscar being adopted. Then we can open up the whole house again, not worry about dog fights, not have a dog constantly under foot. While enjoying some outdoor office time, I had my laptop on the table and Oscar was next to me. Ryan decides he wants to play. That could be a good thing or a bad thing, depending on Oscar's "mood". At this time it was a bad thing. A fight ensues, and I jump up to break it up, spilling my full glass of wine all over my laptop!!! Anyone that knows me, knows that I practically live on my computer. I do dog rescue work all day long. Losing my computer is a disaster. As soon as I saw that wine go over, I just knew...but the dogs's safety was more important and had to break up the fight.
Fight finished, all dogs ok and now separated. Back to my computer...blank screen. Just as I expected, but was hoping it somehow would survive. Scott? Honey?? Can you fix this??

Well, as you can see from the photo above, he opened it up, dried it out. My fan need replacing anyway, so this was an opportune time to do that. The good news? The hard drive is fine, so if I have to, I can plug it into Scott's laptop or computer and use it as an external hard drive. The bad news, the keyboard is shot. Will take a few days to get a new one. The good news, the computer is actually still working except for the keyboard.  Scott lent me his wireless keyboard until my new one arrives. All is well. New keyboard arrived, installed and computer is working normally. A week later, damn! My track ball/mouse isn't working. Again, Scott loans me his mouse until my new trackball arrives.
If you look closely at the dog, you'll see that he is muzzled. I've never had to muzzle a dog before in the house. Oscar is just not trustworthy with our dogs. He'll play for a bit and then he gets more excited and it turns into attacks. Poor Ryan, he's almost twice the weight of Oscar, but a bite is a bite, so Ryan wants to be close to us for protection. Oscar will be a great dog to his adopters, since he will be the only dog and get all the love and attention he wants. He's a great cuddler.
Starting to miss RV life again. Farm markets, new places, something to blog about, the simplicity of RV life. Living in our house in TN really isn't like the burden of living in a house in NJ. We don't have high property taxes, our house is new and better made. We are retired so yard and house maintenance isn't the chore it was trying to squeeze it in on our off days. I miss trying new restaurants. We only had two dogs and could crate them to go out together. I don't think we have gone out together since acquiring our 3 additional dogs.

I am now a "regular" at the Jackson Knitting Underground or as I call it "Jack Knit" get togethers every Thursday evening. As I said before, a great group of ladies and no one that "bugs" me as in a certain knitting group I was a part of in NJ. If any "What's The Scoop" knitting ladies still read this, it is none of you!
One of the girl's has an in-law that lets us use their River House getaway home a couple times a year. Ever since attending the knitting get togethers I've heard about how great the River House weekends are. I wondered if I was invited since I am still fairly new. Yep, invited and now feel a real part of the group.

And the weekend lived up to it's reputation. Just a chance to get away from the hustle and bustle of life. Although, I really don't have a hustle, bustling life. I brought my laptop (pre wine spill) to the River House and still kept up with my dog rescue duties.
Only 3 of us stayed overnight. Plenty of bedrooms and comfy mattresses to relax overnight in. We spent the evening knitting and watching TV with conversation that caused us not to really pay attention to TV.

We all bring something to contribute to our meals. For breakfast, there was all the makings for omelets. Yum!

More ladies arrived mid morning. More food, snacks, laughter and knitting.

For dinner, our host smoked two whole chickens. Yep, down here in the South, smoking is just like grilling in the North. No big deal.

This house sits right on the Tennessee River which has similar qualities as the Mississippi River.

They are both huge and long and are used to transport goods on barges. I've always been fascinated by the great Mississippi. Would have liked to find a home on that River. We were not disappointed by the Tennessee River though. She has her number of barges also.

The ladies got all excited when a barge would pass, especially after a few chocolate martinis!

I was told that we are supposed to flash the barge workers as they pass. Ya know, show 'em a good time. Hmmm, really? We are all over 40 and many over 50 years old. Do they really want to see our sagging boobies?

Here we go! One! Two! THREE!!!!
Chickens! Or maybe we all know better. We wouldn't want to distract the barge workers, now would we. All in all, we had good company, good food and lots of knitting time. Thanks to Amy and her in-laws for allowing us the use of their lovely home away from home.
Well here's a change...I'm not going to show a knitting project. I signed up for a woodturning demo, taught by West Tennessee Woodturners. We made a pen! I think I could really enjoy woodturning and making bowls, table spindle legs, etc. But lathes are sooo expensive. I'm glad I attended the demo. I was able to experiment a little on the lathe and turned a long rectangle block of wood into a pen!

I made this!

Crunch Time!


It's been yucky hot here lately. But it doesn't feel any different than in NJ. Except here I have a huge porch and view of our green yard & woods to look at instead of looking into our neighbor's yard hoping they don't talk to me. Now that the cicadas are gone, the flies are here. I'm told it is worse than most years. At least they don't bite, they are just annoying landing here and there on my skin.
I've never seen THIS in NJ!!! 

Our property tax rate is going DOWN! What??? Yes down! The board feels they have enough to work with. In NJ, it's always more, more MORE! It's for the children. The middle school HAS to have an Olympic sized swimming pool. How can we deprive the CHILDREN???? Yea, it would be nice, but let the parent's raise the money for the pool and maintenance. We never had children, so never used the school system, yet had to paid the ridiculous school taxes. I have to think of it as securing our future, since the children are our future, but they don't need the best of everything to make theirs and our future bright.
No, we don't have an RV life right now. Our RV is a mess and I really need to take the time to clean it up in case we need to get up and go in a hurry. But...
we did have an RV friend visit! Our 1st and hopefully not last.
Mary Anne of  Not lost, Just Wandering blog came by for a visit for a couple of days. How we met and how things ended up is just part of the wonderful full-time RV lifestyle and a part that I dearly miss.
We met Mike and Mary Anne while staying at Port Hudson RV Park in Port Townsend, WA. They were parked right next to us and the sights were very close. They had two of those itty yappy type dogs, but their dogs weren't yappy! Yea! Mike is very outgoing and will talk with anyone that comes along his path. He happened upon someone that had just caught a load of crabs. His new friend gave him a whole bunch of them! In turn, Mike doing the neighborly thing, shared the crabs with us. Little did he know he could kill me with that gesture since I'm allergic to shellfish. But that didn't stop Scott from enjoying them! From there we got to talking and somehow we mentioned Hidden Valley Ranch in Deming, NM as a great place to winter. Sure enough, we spent 2 months at Hidden Valley during our last Winter on the road and Mike and Mary Anne were right next to us and staying for 3 months!

Sadly, Mike had a heart attack after they left Hidden Valley and passed. What did Mary Anne do? Move to Kansas City to be near her relatives? Nope! She knew where she wanted to be. She had their 5th wheel moved back to Hidden Valley Ranch and leased a permanent spot. If something happened to Scott, I would seriously consider the same plan. Hidden Valley Ranch is our favorite RV park as far as hospitality. NM is not our prime environment, but the wonderful owners and residents there make up for the desert environment.
Mary Anne bought a little R-Pod so she could still travel and it seems to all be working out well for this independent woman. She came East to visit some Civil War sights and since we were on the way, she stopped by for a couple of days. It was great having her here.

We have since received an unexpected, unnecessary, but much appreciated thank you gift from Mary Anne. A package from Harry & David came the other day. Triple Berry Jam and Raspberry Jam survived. Mary Anne took note that I have toast with PB & J almost every morning, so she knew the jam was the perfect gift. That's one of the things we miss about traveling. At local markets, we usually were able to pick up some interesting and tasty jams. I also mix a touch of jam in cottage cheese to add a bit of sweetness and flavor. Yum!
On a sad note...only two of the 3 jars survived. The packing list said the 3rd jar was "Tart Red Cherry", but the jar that broke was Peach. Maybe it committed suicide because of an identity crisis! The triple berry and raspberry survived. Scott said that packing was very bad.

Have you ever tried their hot and sweet pepper relish and mix it with cream cheese? Addicting!!!!
Crunch, crunch, CRUNCH! What is that sound? Hmm, it's coming from the living room. Ryan's probably just chomping on another stick. I better take it from him. We don't need any bowel obstructions.

Damn, that "toy" is really messed up! I don't remember a toy that makes a crunchy sound. Better make sure it's safe for our dogs.
Yeck! Yeck! Ohhhhh! Nooooo! It's a dead squirrel on our COUCH! Thank goodness we put old blankets on the couch to protect from our dirty dogs.
Scott was still asleep, so it was my job to clean up. Ewwww! Again, glad to have that old blanket on the couch. Off with the blanket and the squirrel inside. Open blanket over garbage and squirrel is gone. Thank your Ryan!

I am now admitting defeat. Between my hours on the computer doing dog rescue work and having 5 permanent dogs and 1 foster dog, I am overwhelmed.  Lesson finally learned...well, sort of.
Since I have 5 dogs and don't see that shrinking for a couple of years at least...I hope, I might as well continue to foster dogs. 2 dogs is perfect. 3 dogs is nice if you have a house. 4 dogs is still ok, but now getting to be a bit much. After 5, it doesn't matter because they are not going to get the attention and care needed anyway.
Setters need grooming. All but one of my dogs hate to be groomed, so it can only be done in small stages time 5 which means a lot of stages. One of our dogs has to be sedated to be groomed! So,  our Setters are not sleek, but fluffy, with spiked hair on their heads, flyaway hair on their sides, mats behinds their ears, and who knows what in the paws with all that hair to live in.

Training a foster? Difficult when there are 5 other dogs that want those yummy treats I'm using for incentive. I have to go off into one of our HOT garages to train and I hear my own dogs barking at the fence wondering why they were invited to the party.

I need a spreadsheet to keep track of who is due for the vet and for what. Heart worm pills must be given monthly and come in a 6 pack, so each month I practically use a whole pack at $50.00 a 6-pack. With a foster dog, I DO use the whole pack!
I'm not getting anything physical done. No woodworking, no preparing the RV for storage or traveling, no exercising, and on and on. I sit like a lump of lard (and look like it too) all day on the computer.

We currently have another foster dog. A 3 year old English Setter who is deaf. Deafness really isn't a big deal. Dogs learn sign language quickly. You just need to get them to look at you and you to give them a sign command and you cannot let them off leash in an unfenced area. Other than that...not a big deal. His name is Oscar and he's a sweet dog. He follows me wherever I go. But he's another dog that doesn't play nice with our dogs. So again, our house is split in two by an xpen to keep the dogs separate. Sigh. We've had him for about a month. He is getting adopted in about a week and moving to NY state.
I'm winding down on the Mystery Knit-a-longs I've been doing. I had two scheduled to begin in July. One was cancelled and the other I felt was too difficult for me to deal with right now with all the dogs and rescue work.
I finished a very boring MKAL called Alpine Scarf. Most MKAL are a challenge, whether a big challenge or small challenge, with a different pattern of knitting for each clue. There are usually at least 4 clues with usually more like 5-6 clues. This Alpine Scarf had 3 clues, but the 1st and last clue were the same. BORING!!! Then the long middle was the same pattern over and over. It's a nice scarf but I don't plan on joining this designers future MKAL's.
I have enough scarves. Anyone want this one? My gift to you for reading my blog. It's machine washable, made with 80% Acrylic, 10% Wool, 10% Mohair.
Mom in back with 4 babies
I used to foster guinea pigs when we lived in NJ. We had a small house and 4 dogs already, so had no room for fostering dog. Me, being the rescue friendly person I am, found out about a rescue for guinea pigs! There is a rescue for just about any animal. I fostered piggies for about 4 yrs and had 2 litters born in my care. Guinea pigs do not eat their young and they are born fully formed. They look just like mini piggies!
Guinea pigs are great pets for children. Fairly easy care, rarely bite and usually just because they think it's food. Lives longer than hamsters/gerbils. More to cuddle with.Anyway, my reason for bringing this up under "browsing the www" is because there is a great you tube channel called "Talking Animals". This guy does quality work! There is no way you won't be laughing by the end of the video. I especially love the guinea pig videos, because they "talk" so fast! Here's a link to just one of his talking piggie videos. Laugh on! Just have to add another link. He got Ricky Gervais to help him with one. Check it out.


The Color of the Season (The Color of Heaven Series #7)The Color of the Season by Julianne MacLean
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A romance and working through grief. I kept waiting for this to turn into a religious book for some reason, but it never came to that.
The book leaves you wondering as you did probably prior to reading the book, if the dead can communicate with the living. Do people that have "died" and been revived really see the other side and can they make a decision whether to go on or give up?

Bowling AvenueBowling Avenue by Ann Shayne
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Was going to rate this 4 stars, which of course is a very good rating, but as I neared the end, my emotions took over and I realized what a great "self-help" book this was, but told as a wonderful story.
The book is full of words of wisdom to think on.
"...not talking is a great way to not solve problems."
"Misery shared, is misery halved." or "Joy shared, is joy doubled."
"Life can only be understood backwards, but it must be lived forwards."
"Attention is the rarest kind of generosity."

Multiple characters all with their own secrets, emotional immaturity or maybe better called severely controlled emotions. Instead of sharing with a friend or relative, things are held in so not to hurt another person. So things fester and impressions are made because of truths not spoken. I found the book very thought provoking as well as entertaining.

Being a knitter, I enjoyed the references to yarn & knitting also.

Carved in Bone (Body Farm #1)Carved in Bone by Jefferson Bass
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I enjoy reading medical mysteries. I enjoy learning from the medical staff's point of view.
I was excited to read this. Being a new resident of TN and a "fan" of the concept of the body farm, I thought this book would be a slam dunk for me.
10% in and I was ready to quit. Boring! Too much detail into the actual medical procedures, reasons, effect, etc of death on the human body. Interesting, but just too much info. I felt like I was back in school, reading a textbook.
I plodded on. 20% into the book, now it was getting a little more exciting and was getting my imagination warmed up to what may be ahead. Murder, rednecks, corrupt police, backwoods entrepreneurs, danger...
Seems by 70% into the book, the author is learning how to write. Seems like a totally different book. Quirky characters, some extra twists, who's good, who's bad, who's just weird. A little bit of Carl Hiaasen like.
Maybe there's hope since the author improved greatly within the span of one book.
I will probably try his next in the series, but don't expect much. I hope to be pleasantly surprised.
The Longest RideThe Longest Ride by Nicholas Sparks
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Two separate storylines, that I expected to intermingle at one point. Back and forth between two couples. One couple has been together for 75 years, the other is just beginning. This was an audible book and although the narration was excellent, the story of the senior couple, Ira & Ruth was quite drawn out. I get it, Ruth was Ira's whole life, his one and only love. Let's move on.
The younger couple, Luke and Sophia was more interesting, but almost too sappy, predictable. I thought I was reading a harlequin type romance.
The ending is what made this book. How the two couple eventually connected. And yes, in typical Sparks tradition, it was very romantic, very sad, yet the end. A lot of slow moving to get to a sweet ending.

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