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Sunday, November 22, 2020

Awaiting Tests - Laying Low At Home - Doggie Dilemma

With this horrible increase in covid, we have decided to stay in and stay safe and lay low.  We did a big curbsite pickup of groceries again, just like in the spring.  We are set for about two months, with the exception of fresh fruits and veggies (but we have frozen or canned), or milk and eggs (which the kids can bring over and drop off on our porch).  So we will be fine again. And yes, we have enough toilet paper... LOL

As for awaiting tests, one of our darling daughters is making it possible for us to be together on Thanksgiving!  They all took tests on Friday, and are in isolation until they get results.  Their 3 kids are off all this upcoming week from both the daycare and their schools... so they are now isolated safe at home and not out anywhere getting exposed.  Once they get the "all clear" either later today or tomorrow, we will be reasonably assured that none of the kids are carrying the virus.  That means they can come and spend the upcoming week with us!!  It's not all of our grandkids, I wish it was, and that they could all take turns.  But at least we can get with some of them.  

Their parents thought it would be a good idea to have them remember "that year in 2020 when we got to spend Thanksgiving week at Grandma and Grandpa's under quarantine".

We have made lists of ideas of things to do, projects to help us with, and stocked up on baking and cooking supplies (and snacks!). The kids will help cook Thanksgiving dinner on Thursday.  They are also going to help us set up our tree and Christmas decorations and village.  It will be fun.  They are sitting at home right now, ready and packed up with clothes, jammies, and craft supplies, ready to rush over here once they get the negative test results.  

We have been texting and emailing and zooming with the grandkids, but having some of them here in person will be soooooo satisfying.  I think we need this more than they do?


Our stubborn little dog still isn't eating on his own, and I am feeding him softened dry kibble food, one piece at a time, placed in the back of his mouth and tilting his nose back until he swallows it.  

This is how we do it: 

For added calories, we found one type of wet food he slightly tolerates (after buying 12 different types and kinds) and I scoop up a small amount on a wide popscicle stick and slide it into his mouth, kinda scraping it off on the roof of his mouth and he swallows it.  It's like a beef stew with tiny carrots and peas and rice. 

It's not cheap, and it's in small containers for tiny dogs.

He doesn't ever act hungry or even show any interest in food. This is so strange because he used to be a dog with clock in his stomach, and he would remind us each and every time it was time to eat.... and his world revolved around his food dish. 

Sometimes he will eat one tidbit of people food from our fingers, but that is usually in unison with Binney getting a treat at the same time, inspiring competition.  But once he has one bite, he doesn't even want a second one.  He is not a happy dog about this. 

He has lost almost a third of his entire body weight since all this started, so we can't just "let him starve until he decides to eat".  He just won't eat. Unless we force him. 

So I am feeding him 3 or 4 meals a day, once little bit a time, and patiently getting food into him.  His bathroom situation is now normal, because we are getting enough of the fibery kibble food into him, even if the food is softened with warm water ahead of time. That is a relief.  Otherwise we were washing his backside 4 and 5 times a day. Ugh. 

BUT  BUT  BUT we may have finally figured out what is going on with him!  

After a thorough recheck by the vet, his teeth and gums are fully healed. She said maybe a mental association of food with dental pain? 

WELL...  WE NOW THINK the cause is from his dental work, infections, and 3 extractions, the resulting inflammation has caused him to LOSE HIS SENSE OF TASTE AND SMELL!!!   

We looked it up and it's not uncommon for inflammation in the dog's mouth to cause temporary or even permanent damage to the olfactory system, resulting in a loss of taste and smell.  It even happens in people!

It has been just over three weeks since he had the surgery, and we only noticed this last day or two now that he has been SNIFFING outside at things when we walk him, like he's experiencing the world for the first time???  Almost frantically taking in scents and smells from anything he is walking past.  Like where the deer congregate by the apple tree, or where the new sawdust is on the ground where Steve cut down the trees.  He stops and sniffs the air with his nose straight up, like he has caught the scent of something really really good.  

The moment I noticed a change was yesterday when I set down a little plate of heated up soft doggie food stew and he was sniffing at the plate with interest!!! This is the first time I can recall him even being interested in any food at all. 

So maybe we are on the upswing about this, and in a day or two or three he will start eating the softened food on his own from his own dish.  I can feel he is putting some weight on, and we don't feel the sharp bones of his spine and ribs protruding as much any more.  

I am hoping with the grandkids here, he will start scooping up the goodies being dropped from the table, and the little tidbits snuck to him from their hands when they eat.  It might help! 


We are pretty much set for the upcoming winter weather. We might get some snow this week. Steve has the snowblower tuned up, the shovels ready, and a big bag of sidewalk salt in the garage. We have our outside tasks accomplished, and the only upcoming house project is the new windows, which are on order.  They are due to arrive by mid December, and we will start replacing them one at a time, which is done from the inside.  It will be fun and interesting and make a real change.  Right now the 100+ year old wooden ones leak and rattle and have a lot of moisture built up on the inside already.  And frost on the outside!



Five years ago today, my Dad passed away. Just as he wished, in his log cabin, on his couch, after watching the Packers win... 


I am sure he is watching the Packer game on tv right now,
while up in a log cabin in Heaven... 
or sitting in a garage in Heaven.
Packers are winning today, just for him! 

 Each time the phone rings, I still think: "It must be Dad".


Friday, November 20, 2020

Looking Back - Where We've Been

We were sitting here feeling a bit sorry for ourselves.  Thinking about being quarantined and isolated during the pandemic, and not traveling anywhere this upcoming winter. The motorhome is winterized and not going anywhere.

But then...

We started thinking.  Remembering.  Reminiscing.  Feeling more grateful. 

  • We have been to the Atlantic Ocean,  the Pacific Ocean, and the Gulf of Mexico.
  • We have dipped our toes into all five of the Great Lakes. 
  • We have been to Canada and Mexico.
  • We have seen all the "have to's" like The Grand Canyon, Mount Rushmore, Niagara Falls, White Sands, The Alamo and many national and state parks in between. 
  • We have gone 1.25 miles beneath the surface of the earth (75 stories down) at Carlsbad Caverns. 
  • We have wound up and down though foggy mists in the Smokey Mountains on narrow gravel roads. 
  • We have eaten fresh lobster in New England, Gulf shrimp and jambalaya in New Orleans, fresh beef steaks in Nebraska and Indian Fry Bread in Michigan. 
  • We have been escorted off a military base after taking a wrong turn.
  • We have literally been "Standing on a Corner in Winslow, Arizona", being stranded there for five days waiting for motorhome parts.
  • We have seen deer, moose, bighorn sheep, snakes, alligators, and a bobcat.
  • We have camped in parks, boondocked in the desert, parked in people's driveways, parked in a friend's barnyard with llamas peeking in the windows (thanks Rosie), parked in a cherry orchard, and even on an abandoned airstrip, (thanks Roger and Lila).
  • We've loved the deserts of the Southwest, the forests of the Northwoods, the sand beaches of Florida, and the flat Plains of the Midwest.
  • We've had a motorhome stolen while on sale on a consignment lot, and the police convinced the thief 3 months later to pay us for it.
  • We've camped at the "Last Free Place on Earth" (The Slabs) and saw military bombing maneuvers at night over the Chocolate Mountains.
  • We put a motorhome on a ferry to go out to camp on an island.
  • 3 favorite campsites: Rattlesnake Point at Elephant Butte New Mexico, Burnet Island State Park in Wisconsin, and a little WE Energies remote site in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.
  • We've watched beautiful sunrises, amazing sunsets, and hunkered down during snow storms, heat waves, gale force winds, and dust storms.
  • We've stayed in fancy campgrounds at $50 a night or more, and have boondocked for free on BLM land and National Forest dispersed camping.
  • We've toured museums and missions, explored historical locations, observed reenactments and saw history in the making.
  • We read an autobiography book, and tracked down the author's original location of a deserted ranch in Arizona. Thanks to Al and Kelly.
  • We have camped in tents, old pop-ups, trailers and motorhomes. 
  • All along the way, we have met the most interesting and wonderful people. Some by chance, some by planned meeting over connections on social media, and some by good friendships and relatives in our family tree.

Upon reflection, we guess we really don't have anything to complain about. 
Do we?

Our final resting place will be with our ashes scattered on an island at a small National Forest Campground that I frequented often as a child... where Steve and I both feel at peace. 

We don't feel sorry for ourselves any more.
We feel blessed. 

Saturday, November 14, 2020

Exciting Night Life - Under Counter LED Lights - Toilet Ride

Oh boy, do we ever have exciting nightlife around here. 

Since installing the backyard lights on top of our flag pole, the dogs really enjoy watching the critters come into the backyard at night after dark. They wait and wait, and watch and watch, until something comes into the yard that they can bark furiously at. It's their job to protect us, you know?

Mostly it's deer. We tell Finney and Binney that they are "big brown doggies". They wait and see them come into the orb of illuminated backyard lawn. It is quite exciting for them, as they perch by the ottoman and let those "Intruders" know that they don't belong in our yard!

Last night they got an extra special surprise. Waddling along underneath the bird feeders was a big huge opossum! It was snuffling around and hung out for only about 5 minutes. The barking of the dogs convinced it that it was time to get along on it's way and get back into the dark depths of the woods. It would be safer there.


I worked on a new project last night. It was a little one, but it's something that I've wanted to do. Ever since we replaced the backsplash with new beadboard, we discovered that there was a third under counter light to the far left near the microwave. All of the while, living here over the last 18 months, we thought there were only two under counter lights to the left and right of the sink. Well, with the additional third light, we needed a fourth one now to balance out the other side. Especially to illuminate our big red chicken! It is a wooden nesting hen that I use for grandchildren treats.

We dismantled one of the lights to read the brand name and find out where it was purchased from. These lights are connected one to another for the power so you don't have to have four separate plugins.  So we wanted the same brand and connection.

I found them at online at Menards and ordered one up. They were a little pricey for my taste. They were $25 for a small 12-inch one. But I needed to keep the same type so they could connect together.  I guess it was a worthwhile investment.

As I was working on the lights, Steve grabbed my cell phone and took a picture of me. See? I actually DO some of these projects myself! I even have my own tools. Usually it's me taking the pictures, even when I'm helping Steve with a project. This time it was all mine.

It didn't take a lot to mount it. Just two screws and 2 little clips and make all the proper connections. Then I had to tuck away all of the wires and firmly attach them so they would not be seen hanging down. 

The previous owner had used a staple gun with metal staples on the wires! That is a dangerous no no. I used some proper plastic wire staple clips to secure the wires safely. I removed all of his old metal staples and replaced those as well.

Now look at that! The rest of that area of the countertop is illuminated, especially the area right over the Big Red Chicken!

I just love that the entire countertop workspace area

is illuminated with these warm toned LED lights.


My feeding efforts with the stubborn little dog are getting better and better. Now that I'm getting more dog food into him, his outside bathroom "situation" has returned to normal. Even though he does not care for the dog food, he is being forced to eat at one piece at a time.

Here's what happens if I try to give him a bowl:

He clearly lets us know what he thinks of softened dog food in his dish. He would prefer people food!

Instead, I open his mouth up a little bit and tilt his nose upwards. I put one softened piece of dog food at a time in his mouth and let him close and swallow. Sometimes I rub his throat to make him gulp.  I'm not forcing him with a clamped shut mouth, but it's enough of a tilt back to make sure that the food goes in---- whether he likes it or not.

Afterwards, he is not happy with me, but the food is in his belly and that's what matters. Then we treat him with a couple little pieces of people food once it's all done. Hoping to entice him and get him to figure out that if he eats his dog food, then he gets a treat.


Well, we did another interesting thing today. Remember the toilet that we removed yesterday? 

Well, we took our toilet for a RIDE today!

We planned to do a curbside drop-off at the Habitat for Humanity's ReStore in Marinette. We carefully checked their hours for dropping off donations, Steve loaded up the toilet, and off we went. We arrived there ready to unload the toilet and they informed us that they do NOT accept toilets! 

LOL ....  
So we took the toilet for a 42 mile round-trip ride in our Saturn! 

Actually, we had a drive-thru pharmacy pick up at the nearby Walmart at the same time, so it really wasn't a wasted trip.

When we got home, we unloaded it and set it next to the road with a sign on it. Then on Facebook Marketplace, we offered it to anyone who would like to pick it up roadside, for free. First come first serve.

We will see how long it takes for someone to come and pick it up.

Friday, November 13, 2020

Stay At Home Day and a New Toilet!

The weather report last night was full of gloom and doom and ominous bad weather predicted. But this morning, we woke up with just a slight dusting of snow, and a little drizzly rain out there. It wasn't nearly as bad as they said it was going to be. The temps are down in the low 30s, but not frozen, so we are okay.

All in all, we are just going to stay in and stay safe. The covid-19 numbers in Wisconsin have increased so high, higher than ever before, that we just don't want to chance going out and about.

We haven't been to the hair stylist in over 9 months. So it's up to me to chop down Steve's wild unmanageable curls and give him a semblance of being somewhat coifed. 

I guess I didn't do too bad of a job, he is smiling so I think he likes it. It may not be as good as a hairdresser as Kelly, but we can manage and stay home by my doing it for him.


Our days are now revolving around two and three times forcing this stubborn little dog to eat his moistened dog food, hand-fed one piece at a time. I have to put it in his mouth and then tilt his chin upwards until he swallows. Once we get enough of his regular dog food into him, then we top him off with a few tidbits of people food that he really enjoys. Yesterday it was tiny bits of bratwurst and flakes of apple pie crust. The day before it was a small pizza crust and bits of windmill cookies. He seems to be just fine with eating people food. But it's the dog food that we HAVE to get into him to build him back up and sustain him---- as well as his outgoing back-end production. People food is not good for that.

We have tried everything to get him to eat dog food on his own: 8 different types of dog foods, canned, wet, pouch and dry.  We have tried cat food, canned, shreds, pouch and even pouched people tuna.  He only ate the tuna.  Figures.  We have tried soup broth over the foods, gravy over the foods, and warming things up in the microwave. 

Want to know what he eats with delight?  FROZEN PEAS!!! Yes, I roll them across the floor one at a time, and loves stalking them and gobbling them up as fast as they come towards him.  LOL 

Sooooo --- here he is with a full belly after I force fed him his dog food this morning. He is avoiding me and staying over in the corner as far away from me as he can get. Takes about an hour for his resentment to wear off, and then he's back cuddling up on my lap again.

He is not too stressed or upset or sick in any other way that we can tell. The vet checked him all over and said it's just in his head. So we will continue to force him to eat his dog food until we get a little more weight on him. He lost wayyy too much weight over the last few weeks.  Then we might try a couple more "tough love" days where he will be forced to eat out of his own dish or go without.

Here is Binney, all relaxed and in solidarity with Finnegan, right by his side. Both are taking a nap now because they both have full bellies. She is more than happy to eat up whatever he leaves behind!

On edit, we just had lunch.  He ate pieces of tomatoes, scraps of the edges of ham lunchmeat and some pieces of bread crust.  Goof ball!  That should hold him over until supper. 


Today's project was a little different. For the last few months we have contemplated the idea of replacing the toilet in our master bathroom. The one that came with the house is a little shorter and has a round bowl. Steve prefers the taller one with the elongated bowl like what we had put in our half bath. It's the tall Eljer Diplomat.  We watched and waited for it to go on sale. Finally it was on sale, plus the 11% rebate at Menards. We placed our order and did a curbside pickup to get it during the sale price.  We don't go into the store, and we let the items sit for 3 days in our garage before we bring anything into the house (and liberally wash our hands after handling them). Also I ordered a variety of other dog foods and my last section of undercounter lighting for in our kitchen. 

Today was the day to put the toilet into place. Steve unboxed and carried it in a section at a time from the garage. That way each piece could warm up and come to room temperature before he needed to assemble it. Of course, it's perfectly normal to have a disassembled toilet in the middle of my she shed, right?

Next step was to gather his tools and get to work.  He disassembled the old toilet and removed all of the water, so it could later be carried out of the way. Now it's time to put together all of the new pieces before installing it to the floor. 

Once we had the main sections assembled together, it was time to push it down on the wax ring and seal it to the floor. Steve likes using the wax rings with the plastic flange, to make sure he has a really good connection and there's never the possibility of a leak. They cost a little bit more than the plain old wax rings, but it's worth it.

Now it was time to do the connection of the flange bolts on the bottom and connect up the cold water feed line behind the toilet. Steve has done these so many times he could probably do it with his eyes closed. Maybe they are closed in this picture? It's hard to tell.

And there we have it! (Steve's favorite saying). A nice new toilet with the taller seat and the elongated bowl. Incidentally, the toilet comes with a cheaper plastic seat. At the same time, we had ordered up a better higher-quality wooden seat that lasts longer and is more substantial. Also more comfortable to sit on. As we get older, some of these things are pretty important to us.

After adjusting the water level to the appropriate amount that we feel is good, Steve let me have the honor of doing the first flush! Perfection!

I guess it's kind of funny, now that we are retired, that this is the highlight of our day. Yes, replacing our toilet. But it's just one more of those things that if we do it now, then we are happy with the results and it will last for a long time to come.


I don't know what the rest of the day will bring, but it will remain kind of cloudy and damp and drizzly, I believe. Saturday and Sunday are going to be a mix of rain, sleet and snow. That's okay, we aren't going anywhere anyhow. We are going to isolate ourselves again, just like we did in the spring.

Now if we can just get this goofy dog back on track with his meals, there will be less stress.

We will see what tomorrow will bring. 

Tuesday, November 10, 2020

Stubborn Doggie and Settling In Back at Home

We decided to head back home on Sunday before the weather turned. We packed up the motorhome and headed south, while still enjoying a pretty sunny day. The clouds were coming and the winds were going to be picking up. Nobody likes to drive a motorhome in high winds, so it's good we got home before noon.

We unloaded the motorhome and Steve did a final winterizing ---again. Even though we were winterized the week before, we de-winterized to go camping at both campgrounds last week. Later on this week I will do reviews of both campgrounds we were at, and post them here.

The last few days haven't gotten much better with the stubborn little dog that we have. Finnegan is still not wanting to eat any dog food. He ate only for one day of the new stuff we bought from the vet, and that was it. Now he turns his nose up at it. 

We decided to try to cut out any enticing people food that we've been managing to get into him. Even that changes from day-to-day as to what he wants verses what he doesn't want. 

So we thought maybe on yesterday we would do "tough love". Not give him anything at all except the dog food and that was that. He won. He wouldn't eat anything. Even the appetite enhancement pills aren't doing it. 

So I gave up and decided today that he was going to eat his regular everyday dog food, moistened with water so it's soft. One piece at a time I put it in his mouth and then I tilt his head back with his chin up in the air until he swallows it. He does so reluctantly, but I can get the entire dish of food into him by patiently giving it to him one piece at a time. At least he gets a full belly that way. 

No more people food, no more snacks. Eating only stuff like that is wreaking havoc with his digestive system and we are having to clean up the messes on his fur every time we bring him in from outside.  Long hair doggy butts and diarrhea do not mix, if you get my drift.

So after I fed him today, here's the look he gives me as he gives me a wide berth to the far end of the she shed. I can just imagine what his little brain is saying as he's huddled over there in the corner, giving me that glare.

Today was a rainy soaking wet day, and we didn't want to get out or do much of anything. I've been sitting here working on some winter hats that I've been knitting. They have really thick brims with double layers to go over the ears as well as knit with heavy 3 and 4 strands of yarn. Getting ready for this Wisconsin Winter? I gave one to each of the grandkids last week, and the rest of these I will post for sale in my Etsy store on line.

I also tied up and tensioned off the big rug loom to get ready to start another rug. This one's going to be in blues and creams.  I have to make two of them for a lady for an order. Maybe in the next couple days, I'll get started weaving on these, seeing as the weather will keep us indoors.  Now they are predicting winds tonight of 50 mph gusts! 

On Monday we managed to get a nice little walk in the back with the dogs before the weather turned. I took this picture while we were quite a ways out in the big backyard, and that is little Binney way back there. 

For some reason she didn't want to come with us and she held back and looked like a stubborn little stinker. Maybe she's jealous that we're giving so much attention to Finnegan lately?

He seems to have plenty of energy and running around and just full of the dickens, but we know he's lost weight over the last few weeks. We need to get more weight back on him and I think this is the only way we'll be to make him eat his dog food. Whether he likes it or not.

Well the rain poured down all afternoon, I took a little nap. When I woke up I had it in my mind to get a few things done in the kitchen. With the rain beating against the window outside, it felt cozy and warm indoors.  I am thankful we are home, safe, healthy and warm. 

Using my new sink workstation area in the kitchen I decided to peel up some Granny Smith apples for an apple pie. I have this handy-dandy little apple peeler corer slicer machine that sticks to the countertop with a big suction cup base.  It makes it so easy to peel up a batch of apples for a pie.  Just minutes and the task is done. 

I love this new setup with my workstation sink. It really is the Sink Of My Dreams and I am so glad we got it installed for my birthday.  I can peel the apples and the peelings and the cores go right into the sink.

With my super duper bad ass garbage disposal that Steve installed, the cores and -peelings are gone in no time flat! There we go, all done and ready for the next project

Some people might tell me to feed the peelings out to the deer. (My sister told me that, too.) But we don't want to encourage them any more than we already do. Those danged deer have already chewed off all the tops of my hydrangea bushes. That means I won't get any blossoms next year! Again! Also they gnawed down Steve's burning bush to almost half it's summer height. We had to surround that one with the fence now. Next year I'm going to have to do the same thing with my hydrangeas. It's funny how they only like certain shrubs and not others. Some stuff they don't even touch.  (like our stubborn dog?)

In no time I had the pie put together and ready to stick into the oven. I cheated with store bought Pillsbury crusts.   Here's the pie ready to go into the oven. In about 45 to 50 minutes it will be ready for dessert tonight. ...

Oh my..... The house smells so good!


Making spaghetti and meatballs

 with garlic knots for supper tonight

The winds are picking up and the rain is pouring down, with some thunderboomers thrown in for good measure.  I think we will curl up with some cribbage games and maybe a movie on tv.  No need to go out, and no place to go.  

That is enough cooking and baking stuff in this post.  Now I will get this blog posted and work on two campground reviews to post during the next few days.  Those kind of posts go over good with my RV readers. Then if I get the rug going on the loom, my fiber readers will be happy too.   

Thank you everyone for reading along with my blog... Did you know I have over 2 million views now?  I am glad that someone finds whatever I write interesting enough to come back again and again.