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Sunday, April 25, 2021

Cancer Sucks - Apple Trees - Fireplace and Quilt

Yup... Cancer Sucks! 

We just spent a marvellous afternoon with my younger sister. She is going through all of the stages of breast cancer treatment. She had been spending the last 2 days in Green Bay, getting information on her upcoming radiation procedures. It was so good to spend time with her and her husband, now that we are all now fully vaccinated. It's been a long year. 

Life has dealt them both a tough blow. She was by his side during every step of the way with his cancer surgeries and treatments. Now he is there for her. 

We are wishing her the very best in a healthy happy outcome and the prognosis is looking very good. Her previous surgeries leading up to now have indicated that all of the margins were contained. She will now go thru this radiation procedure with great determination and success. She has a Schmootie Attitude!

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We received a special shipment in the mail yesterday. Who knew that places would send you live apple trees in the mail? Our wonderful patriarch of the Pfundtner family, Pops Pfundtner, decided that we needed more apple trees for our yard. We are now the proud owners of 2 Honeycrisp trees and 2 Mutsu trees, which are like a Golden Delicious.



It will be a while before there are any apples to be eaten, but right now we are soaking the roots and getting ready to plant them tomorrow. They will be fenced in to get away from the deer and rabbits.

  

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Steve found another little bargain on Facebook Marketplace. We talked about getting a second natural gas heater to put in the fireplace cavity in the living room. We are no longer going to burn firewood in that fireplace.  It is especially handy if the power goes out, because these natural gas fireplaces can still operate without electricity.



He found this really cute one and picked up for a very good price.  It has a blower unit to help spread the heat as well as a remote control!


It has realistic looking logs and two rows of flickering flames, just like our other fireplace



Once we got it home, we realised it would fit better in the available space in the She Shed. Then the other gas fireplace from the She Shed would fit perfectly in the recessed fireplace of the livingroom. 



In the living room, we will remove the old black fireplace doors and surround. The fireplace will recess back into the opening. Then we can put the pretty leaded glass screen back in front of it.  It will look like a nice custom job when Steve is done. 


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I finished sewing together the blocks for my newest quilt. I added a pretty floral darker border around the edges and it's the same fabric that will also be on the back side, as well. I have it all rolled on to the quilting frame and ready to go.

Of course, with the hundreds of spools of thread that I seem to have on hand, I just don't have the exact color of what I want for the stitching. That will mean a stop today at little quilt shop, before I get any further along on this project. That isn't such a bad problem, is it? I mean, a quilt shop is a great place to pop into and look around for ideas and inspiration anyhow.  



It was a cold damp day, with some snowflakes falling. Yes! Snowflakes. We actually have more due for tonight again as well. I simmered up a pot of beef minestrone soup with vegetables and cute little bowtie noodles. It hits the spot! 



We had also stopped at the local Mennonite store. They happened to have these great big huge juicy hydroponically grown tomatoes.


The other little thing they had at their store was something I had on my shopping list for the motorhome. I had already had one but I wanted to grab some more of these silicon spatulas. They're little tiny ones, perfect for scraping out a can or doing a decorative frosting on cupcakes.



Today, we are grabbing a container of my homemade soup, some nice thick bacon from the Mennonite store as well as those delicious hydroponic tomatoes. We are heading up to visit with Pops Pfundtner, way up at the top of Door County, to have a little lunch with him. 

Homemade soup and BLT sandwiches should hit the spot. Nice way to say thank you for those apple trees.


Sunday, April 18, 2021

The Maiden Cruise of "The Green Bean"

We checked the weather this morning and it was going to be a beautiful day. Tomorrow and Tuesday were gonna be miserable, so we decided it was either go today, or nothing! 

It was time to take our famous canoe, The Green Bean, on its maiden voyage!

Ever since we bought it a week ago, the weather has just not cooperated.  We've been itching to get out and take a paddle around.  You know, to try it out.  It's exactly the same canoe as we had before in 2012, but a different color.  We know how it handles, but we wanted to play with it! 

Nearby our home, actually less than half a mile, is a channel of water that is routed around a levee. This is property surrounding Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources land that is a wildlife refuge. It's a protected marsh land for migratory birds. It is called Green Bay West Shore State Wildlife Area.


It's just on the other side of the Northeast Wisconsin Land Trust Preserve, directly behind our property to the east.  As the crow flies, it's 4 tenths of a mile to the channel.



Our plan is to load of The Green Bean canoe onto the roof of the Saturn, and drive around to a little parking area on the corner of this levee system. We chatted with someone else who said that she has kayaked around it.  With the water levels up this high right now, there should be no problem at all going through with a canoe.

Our proposed route:


The outside temperature hit 60´żčafter lunch, so we popped on out to the garage and loaded up The Green Bean. The two of us can easily lift it up onto the roof. It is 80 pounds. We tied it down with straps to the front tow bar mechanism and the back hitch. We also can put another strap around the middle that goes through the rear passenger compartment. But since we were only going about a mile, we didn't bother with the middle one. We tossed in our life jackets, paddles, seat cushions, my go bag with a first aid kit and some water bottles. We also have a triple zipper sealed bag designed for a cell phone in case of emergency.  



We got to the parking area and unloaded the canoe. We had to portage over this little walkway bridge. This bridge prevents people from going into the preserve with  ATV's, dirt bikes or other motorized vehicles. 

It was a beautiful blue sky / puffy white cloud day!  There was a slight breeze and it was just perfect conditions with a light jacket.



Just on the other side of the walkway, we were able to find a nice easy area to launch the canoe. We loaded in our gear and it was time to set sail.  LOL



Here we go piddle paddling around. There is a silly little camp song I know about:  "A Boy and a Girl in a Little Canoe". That song kept running through my head. We floated on through the water and looked around at all of the beautiful marshland.

Even though things are not greened up yet, the sky was so blue, making the water even bluer. At this time of year, there are very few bugs or mosquitoes--- so this was a perfect time to go canoeing through the marsh. I've always wanted to see what it was like on the back side of the levee.



This marshland is part of the migratory bird route and an important part of the ecosystem. The levees are here not to protect the town, but rather to protect the marshland from ever getting drained down too low. If the water gets drawn too low the little critters and frogs and bugs and things that live here will no longer exist. That is what the huge flocks of Canadian geese, ducks and sandhill cranes need to thrive on their routes North or South. It is also a nesting area for a lot of the game birds as well.  So maintaining a good ecosystem of readily available food is necessary. That's why these marshes are preserved and kept wet and swampy.



We only floated a couple hundred feet when we came across some beautiful Canadian geese. They looked at us, few of them honked at us, but we tried to be quiet as we paddled on by and not interfere. I don't know how many of them are nesting right now, but we didn't go on shore or disturb any potential nesting sites.



A few times the geese would fly up in the air as we paddled past. Then they would fly back to where they were, so I am guessing they are nesting in those areas.



We slipped along quietly through the little waterways, working our way to the West. From time to time the winds would blow a little stronger. It would create some waves, but we were basically floating along in pretty calm water.



We managed to paddle right up alongside of these geese in a row. All 4 took off at the same time. I was using an old cell phone that I don't care if it gets ruined, and I quickly managed to snap snap snap the pictures.  I caught all four in motion.



As we slipped on through the waterways, this beautiful tall marsh grass was dipping and swaying in the slight breeze. It was peaceful and soft, making a quiet rustling sound.



Every time we turned the corner there were new photo opportunities or interesting things to see. At one time all of the levee area had such low water levels due to drought, the trees had started growing in on the side and bottom of the channel around the levee. The maintained water levels are on the other side for the marsh.  It was that way for 10 years or more. Now that the Great Lake levels are so much higher these last few years, the water levels in the levee are higher, thus killing off the trees. They look like some strange stark skeletons standing up here and there.



Along the top edge of the levee all the way around is a walking path. Periodically located here and there are some benches for resting. Maybe someday we will head out here with the dog and walk all of the way around. I think it's about 4 miles total.



We saw some signs over at the parking area warning us about the muskrats. The signs said they had made holes underneath the levees in various places so they warned you to watch your step. As we floated around this corner we saw some muskrats swimming across on the water and taking off down in the holes around this tree stump. It was too late for me to grab the camera out of the zipper bag to actually photographed the muskrats. But here is their home:



Floating along through some of the wider areas of the marsh, we could see where the overflowing water stretches across over to the golf course at the edge of town. We paddled over a little ways where we could even see the Hi Seas Marina across the road. This was never open water before, it used to be a marshy field.  It was quite a large area of water that we could now paddle around besides the little channel we had originally decided to plan a route on. So we got in a little more paddling than we originally thought.



We worked our way around the entire levee system and made it back over to where we could portage out over the levee or just park by the road and walk back to get the Saturn. Maybe next time will portage over the levee and continue on the inside waterway. But for now, this was enough paddling for one day. The winds were starting to kick up and we wanted to head back home


Now that we got The Green Bean anointed with her maiden voyage, it was time to bring her home and settle her into her new resting space in the garage. 

We had come up with an idea to string her up from pulleys up to the rafters of the garage and get her up out of the way.

We unloaded the canoe into the garage in the middle between the 2 garage doors where we had hung some pulleys and threaded them up with some ropes. Inside the canoe, we tossed the paddles, the cushions, the life jackets etc all of the gear that we would need the next time.



 Crank crank crank 
up she went 
raising to the ceiling. 
This really was working out rather well! 



I can completely walk underneath it without ducking, Steve has to duck a bit but he said he will just walk around it. We snugged it up as high as it will go. The garage doors can still shut and open easily with the canoe suspended between them.



So this will be The Green Bean's resting place when she's not in use, or tied on the roof of the Saturn getting towed around behind our motorhome.



The ropes are securely wrapped around boat cleats on the sides, tied out of the way. I think this is a great way to store the canoe so it doesn't take up valuable floor space in the garage.


  Steve says: 

"And there you have it"

Silly guy. 

Firewood Friday

I was going to post this blog yesterday, but I didn't get around to it because of our work on the motorhome antenna.

Steve has been busy busy busy in the backyard. Look at this pile of firewood! He's just like a beaver. Actually, he cut down some trees last year and he had left the wood in large round pieces. Now it was time to take care of them, so they can season and dry out. 


He borrowed our neighbor's wood splitter, and took care of splitting up the entire pile of wood into smaller chunks. Now we can dry it out and use it for campfires in our backyard. The only problem is, as he uses the wood splitter, he just tosses all the cut pieces onto the ground. Pretty soon he had that great big pile to deal with!!!



Now, if you have a pile of firewood and you happen to know a couple grandkids that would like to come over and help???  It just so happened that on Friday they only had a half day at school. Hmmmm so they were off Friday afternoon. It was the perfect time to go and steal them and put them to work!



And work they did! My oh my, look at all of the wood that they helped to stack. They did very well and they did it all without so much as a bit of bickering or fighting between them.



At the same time, Grandpa was doing something new in the backyard that had them both intrigued. He had cut some holes in the three stumps that were left behind. He filled the holes with charcoal and some slow-burning tiki torch fluid to get it going. Soon he had all of the stumps smoldering. It's been so dry in Wisconsin the last couple of weeks that he didn't dare start this until now. After two straight days of rain, things were finally dampened down and not so dangerous to light a fire!



The grandkids decided it was a perfect opportunity to roast some hot dogs for an afternoon snack! This was during their break time.



I got such a kick out of them sitting there, huddled over the smoldering stump, cooking their hot dogs. They even cooked one for Grandpa and myself. No buns, no condiments,  just right off the roasting sticks. 



They had done pretty good with stacking the wood but there was still quite a pile left in the back.  We were running out of time and energy. They only had a couple hours to be here, because they were going on up to their cabin for the weekend. As soon as their parents were done with work at 5, they were getting picked up to head north. They easily got 2/3s of the pile done.


They had to play a bit in the mud too...  since they were wearing our big swamper mud boots.  They put in thick wool socks to fit their feet.  


It's so much fun to just slosh around in the puddles and look for things in the grass.  They had so much fun, doing simple things.  No electronics, no expensive fast food, no high priced toys or equipment.  Just old rubber boots, hot dogs on a stick, and good ole fresh air! 



Guess who ended up in the mud?  (for once, it wasn't Clayton!)   She had to change into my clothes until hers could be washed and dried. 



Clayton tromps around in the mud, in his own little world, singing songs and enjoying the outdoors.  Makes my heart sing to see him like this.  Enjoying life. Being an innocent kid.  Away from the realities and mess that our world is becoming. 



Here is the fire pit in the backyard that we will use the firewood in. We really can't take it with us camping anywhere, because of the emerald ash borer infestation in Wisconsin. We're not allowed to transport firewood. So this will just stay in the yard and we will use it for backyard family campfires.



While the big kids were busy working on the firewood, this littlest munchkin was helping me put out some cute little garden gnomes, mushrooms, and fairy princess house garden figurines. 


She helped pull all of the old dead weeds from last year
 and then put out all of the little figurines.


Another project that the guys tackled was planting Steve's new cherry tree. Clayton got out the shovel and the wheelbarrow and went right to work. He really tries hard and puts all his effort into it. 



Look at him working that shovel. What a strong kid for only just turning 9 years old. He dug the entire hole for the cherry tree and helped to plant it. 


Some day he will look back at the huge cherry tree, and remember that he was the one who planted it for his grandpa.

He looks pretty proud of himself even though the winds had kicked up and it started getting cold out. Was time to get back inside of the house! 



We did surround the tree with tall 7 foot stakes and some deer mesh to protect it from the deer. We will see how well this works, or if we need to go to stronger fencing. I also spray anything that might become a "deerlicious" detectable tasty treat with watered down hot sauce in my sprayer bottle. It is seems to work to deter the deer --- and I just have to go around every few weeks and spray again. 



While we were huddled up inside for the last hour or so, we had time to quick whip up a treat to take to their cabin. The girls carefully counted out the marshmallows while Clayton was busy washing his hands. 



Soon all three kids were helping to make one of our favorites, Rice Krispie bars. The bars always taste better when they're made with everybody to help in the process. Plus sprinkles!  Of course, we always make sure there's enough left over in the bowl that everybody can get some with spatulas at the end.



Here is the pan of Rice Krispie bars that they can take to the cabin for the weekend. They also had time to make a second pan to leave here for their Grandma and Grandpa!


It sure was a fun way to spend a few hours on a Friday afternoon. Especially since they had no school, what a better way than to spend it here at grandma and grandpa's house. Although they never expect to get paid and they try to refuse it, we gave them each a little bit of green folding money for giving us a hand. Clayton said a better payment is to just get a great big hug. Awww isn't that sweet?

Maybe next week they can come back and help with the rest of the pile.

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We took a nice walk yesterday evening with Binney.  We start out with crossing the big backyard. But then, she has started to play a fun new game with us. She likes the reward feeling of being cheered on and greeting us with ecstasy and excitement if she runs to us when we call her name. 



So about every fifty feet, she stops and waits and stares at us until we get too far away.


Then she rushes to us with an "Oh joy, Oh joy" expression on her happy little doggy face. We greet her with praise and pats on the head. What a happy girl.  

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It's getting to be a beautiful day today. We are going to double check the Dicor sealant on the motorhome roof antenna, and then maybe do a couple little projects around the house. By this afternoon it might be warm enough to take the canoe for a paddle.