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Friday, June 30, 2023

Back Home For A Bit, Anniversary and Goodbye to Bob Senior

After our abbreviated camping trip last week (due to excessive heat) now our area is suffering from extreme smoke conditions due to the Canadian wildfires.

With my lung problems, it's probably a pretty good reason to stay home with our central air conditioning.


We got home in time to attend our youngest grandchild's cheer recital. She has been taking a fun two-week course in summer school, learning how to do cheer routines. Here she is at her little Grand Finale Finish while she stands up on another little girl's leg, while a third little girl holds her from behind. How totally adorable!

Go Claire! 

They sure had a lot of fun at summer school this year. It's just a short two week session of fun classes. She had classes in swimming, gymnastics, and cheer. Also reading and math. Her older siblings took courses in bowling, fishing, and some creative cooking classes. What a great way to transition into summer vacation.


As I mentioned, just like a lot of the northern part of the country, we are suffering with the haze left over from the Canadian wildfires. We can actually smell the smoke this week. Everything feels like it's foggy or cloudy.  The air quality is so poor that even right now we are under a very high hazardous warning on the local news.  This is supposed to be a blue sky, no clouds. 

It was so heavy yesterday we couldn't even see to our back tree line. Look way to the backyard on the photo. The trees far to the back look like they are in fog.  On top of it, it's going to be very hot and humid today. Up to about 90. Ugh! 

Actually, I'm glad we are not camping. Otherwise we would just be sitting inside the camper again, at some campsite with electrical hookups. That's not the type of camping we like to do. We like nice quiet rustic sites out in the woods with beautiful scenery. We enjoy outdoor walks, cooking outdoors, and just sitting in our lawn chairs with a beautiful view in front of us. See last week's blog at Blind Sucker #2 campsite. That's our kind of camping!

Since we were stuck at home for a while, it's fun to get out and take a spin in the Mustang. Tuesday evening there was a concert in the park here in town. We took the car out and sat there in the parking area for a little while listening to the music.  Then we then zoomed around along the shores of Green Bay. 

But then.... we had to go home and start prepping Steve for his Wednesday adventure. 

Prepping is the right word. He had his 10 year colonoscopy performed in Green Bay. Ahhhh the things we go through as we age. But it's important that he does this, especially with his father's history of colon cancer. 


Thursday morning we sat out comfy and relaxed on our front porch. It was somewhat breezy so the haze was lifted for a while. We really enjoy sitting out on the porch and it is actually an extension of our living area during the spring, summer and fall.

A couple weeks ago I hung these beautiful ferns from the front porch. They are becoming so pot bound that I want to put them in larger hanging baskets with cocoa matts to help retain the moisture. I really love the look of these three big ferns hanging on the front porch. 

The only problem is, the cute little wrens in the area decided that they really like them too! So much so, that they built nests in two of them! Oh my, that means I cannot repot the ferns until the babies are all hatched, fed and raised, and flying out of the nest. 

I was perplexed on how I could water them because I did not want to drown little baby birds! A friend of mine suggested getting some of these glass ball watering globes. I slide them out carefully and fill them up with water each day, sometimes twice a day cuz it's very hot on the west side of the house. Then I slide them back into the fern on the side farthest away from the nests.

So far it's working, and mama or daddy bird fly away when I come out there. But then they fly back again. We have not pulled the baskets down to look at the progress of what's going on in the nests right now. When we first found them there was one egg in one basket and three eggs in the other. The third fern doesn't have any nests in it.

Sitting out on the front porch, you can see the haze up the road to the north. It wasn't so bad on Thursday. This morning they said we might get a little east/west breeze and blow more away.  I hope so.

In the morning hours, we enjoy this part of the front porch to relax.  It gets hot in the afternoon, because it faces to the west and is no longer in the shade. 

In our morning routine, we pull the cushions out of the tote for our chairs and I bring out my spinning wheel for a peaceful morning to relax and listen to the birds.  I have a little bluetooth speaker for playing soft music and Steve refills the coffee mugs as we enjoy our porch. There's a bird bath right in front of the porch, down in the flower bed, the birds have really been diving in and out to get its moisture. We haven't had rain again for a while so they are stopping by just to grab a drink or take a bath. Binney is "on duty" to warn us about any burglars who might be walking by or riding on a bike in front of the house. That is her job to protect us.  If they stop to chat, she HIDES behind our chairs. LOL

I try to go around and water all of the flowers and plants early in the morning. Yesterday morning I came upon this little surprise! The foremost hosta in the foreground here has been chewed down to almost nothing! Those sassy deer.

Usually one or two times a week I spray diluted Louisiana hot sauce with water in a garden pump sprayer....  and also sprinkle on cayenne pepper onto my hostas and some of my other more delicate desirable plants. But because we were supposed to get a thunderstorm, (which never happened), I didn't spritz them when I was going to. By the next morning those little buggers had chewed the hostas right down to the ground. Two of my other ones in the west and south flower beds also were chewed down. Guess I have to be more vigilant on my hot sauce patrol. 

Since we were home for a couple days, we decided to work on some Home Maintenance projects. Last year we put in this patio area near the side She Shed door leading out into the dog potty yard. Now that all of the big paving stones have settled and are reasonably level with a little bit of drainage slope, we need to address the cracks. Steve took out his air compressor with the blow nozzle and took care of blowing out any clumps of dirt, weeds, and little ant hills that keep appearing. 

The paving stones are actually large 16 in by 16 inch blocks with grooves cut into them to look like individual stones. But you can see the larger grid pattern of the 16x16 blocks. That's where all the weeds and the ant hills are sprouting up from. 

We already used a product called polymeric sand on the sidewalk leading from the driveway up to the pergola. This is the finished result. This is what we're planning to do on the patio grid of blocks as well. It makes them look like individual paving stones now, not just big blocks.  

Here is the polymeric sand. I guess it's a bag of sand mixed with some form of a concrete and polymer glue sticky stuff. The bag we grabbed happened to be tan. In retrospect, we should have maybe grabbed gray? But on the other hand, the look of the tan almost looks like sand between the blocks and is kind of cool too. I think I like the contrast. But at least, you know you can get different colors if you wish. 

It is swept gently into the cracks and try to keep the top surface of the blocks free and clear from excess sand. At first I tried using a little household broom about 10 inches wide. That didn't work so well--- it kept pulling the sand right back up out of the grooves. Instead I used a wide shop garage type floor sweeper broom. That kept things more level and helped guide it into the cracks and not pull it back up again.

Once it was as evenly distributed as I could get it, now it was time to lightly mist with a hose. You cannot spray any type of a blasting spray or large drops. That distorts the sand and moves it around too much. Just the lightest mist to get it moistened and activate the polymers. 

After the first misting, once it dried, I swept away any excess that really didn't need to be on top surface of the stones. Then I gave it its second misting, and this set it up more firmly. About an hour later, I gave it its third batch this time a little heavier. Now I know it's sinks down in between the cracks and activates everything down below. Soon it dries to almost a cement-like consistency.

On Wednesday, it was also another special day for us to celebrate. It is 26 years of wedded bliss to my dear darling Steve. It's hard to believe that 26 years ago we stood on this hot humid day and became husband and wife. We actually got married in a state park! We rented the Moravian chapel at the Heritage Hill State Park in Green Bay. Afterwards we had a beautiful reception on the shores of the Fox River on the grounds of my employer. He owned a beautiful office complex called Meadowbrook that had grounds with ponds and walkways and bridges and was absolutely a serene perfect place to hold a wedding reception. It was hot and humid, but at least it didn't rain!

Afterwards, we sped off in our little red Fiat Spider convertible to a unique bed and breakfast. We only spent one night there for our honeymoon, then we hopped in our camper and went north! For two weeks we circled Lake Superior around through Canada and enjoyed our honeymoon together doing what we both enjoyed best. Camping!

This year, to celebrate our anniversary we are staying home due to the heat and humidity and smoke. But we decided to celebrate and steam up some lovely Alaskan snow crab legs. It's one of our favorites and Steve cooks it outside on a propane burner unit meant for deep frying turkeys. He perfectly times them from frozen to tossed into a rolling boil for 14 minutes. They come out perfect every time. 

A romantic anniversary dinner with baked potatoes and salads alongside of our steamed crab legs. Couple glasses of wine and some candlelight rounded it off to a beautiful evening together. 


As a final note, we would like to say goodbye to a dear camping friend of ours who passed away this week. 

Many many years ago, probably about 25 or so, my brother had a friend named Rick. 

Rick had a buddy named Bob. I think they worked together. 

Well... Bob happened to mention he had a father who was retiring from the postal service down in Lower Michigan. He was going to come up to the Upper Peninsula to retire. He enjoyed fishing, hunting and camping! But since he didn't know anybody he was looking for someone to go camping with.

So Bob mentioned to Rick, "Hey I know your friend Butch's family likes camping. Do they ever want to have an extra guy tag along? And he has his own camper. He's just looking for people to go camping with"?  

So Rick asked my brother Butch if this guy, who none of us even knew, could tag along with us. My brother replied:  "Sure! The more the merrier!"

Well, Bob Sr, fondly from then known as "Senior" became a constant camping companion with our family. Anytime any of us were headed out to a campground, any of the National Forest parks or anywhere nearby, we would give him a call or leave a message on Senior's voicemail of where we were going. Sure enough, within an hour or two he would show up and pull into a campsite near us. That was just enough time to throw in some things into his camper and hook up and head on out to join us. By the second year, it got to where we would save a campsite specifically for him and strategically park our campers so we could all be in one area of the campground.

Many, many, many nights were spent around the campfire with Senior, and all of the world's problems were solved. He became a part of the family and we shared in all of our meals, fishing excursions, and campfires. We helped him with things, and he helped us. He became part of our lives, and our children loved him and he was like a grandfather to our grandkids too.

This photo I took the last time we were together last year, of he and Steve enjoying an evening by the campfire---- after dinner with a couple beverages of their choice. 

He truly became a part of our camping group. When everybody else got woven lawn chairs that my sister and I make, we were sure to make one for Bob. We couldn't fit the whole word Senior on there, so we just did Bob and a fish. You can see the guys in this picture, solving more of the world's problems with their lawn chairs. 

Bob's daughter Laura, who lives in lower Michigan, told me yesterday how much that chair meant to him. And how much our family meant to him by taking him in under our wing. If he could have taken that chair to Heaven, I am sure he would have.

We will see you sitting around that
 Great Big Campfire in the Sky, Senior. 

This time you are first one to the campground, 
and YOU have to save a spot for US!!!  


  1. WOW! You crammed a lot into this post. Loved the Bob Sr story - thank you for sharing.

  2. Great post. How wonderful to include another camper in your family group camping.

  3. What a wonderful post....you shared a lot of good stories with us....especially the Bob Sr. story.

  4. Sorry you're dealing with the heat and smoke, hopefully that will abate soon. Good job on the patio area and your porch looks very inviting. Good that the grans had a summer session to amuse them. Sorry about Senior's passing, it sure was a nice friendship over the years.


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