Monday, June 26, 2023

So Good to be Home!

 While last week may have been all about family and friends, this week was all about work, work, work. You know how it is, when you are home working like crazy, you want to get away, but after you are away for a few weeks, you cannot wait to get home and back to work! So, we worked while our motivation level was high. 

But first, we had one more adventure even before we even got home. We were driving west on I-90 just east of Rapid City when I saw a sign for Badland Distilling Co in Kadoka. We have been wanting to stop by here for a couple months. Even though it was 7pm and we were tired and anxious to get home, we stopped to check it out. 

We got a flight of 6 of their spirits. I am glad we stopped, we had a good conversation with one of the owners and learned a few things about how they make certain spirits.

We had two traumatic events this week, both involving woodticks. The mosquitoes were so bad on our summer adventure that we barely mentioned the ticks. Something we did not even consider before leaving home as we have no ticks on our oasis. Oh, they are in the area, but for some reason our area does not have any. So, we did not apply any tick guard to the dogs before we left. Both Minnesota and Wisconsin were thick with ticks. It would be nothing to pull 20 off the dogs and us after a walk. Most of them we were able to remove before they imbedded themselves but all of us had at least a dozen imbedded by the end of our trip.   

The first incident occurred after we got home, and we noticed that Dakota was not feeling well. She was panting all the time and was very lethargic and would not get up to eat or drink. We had to bring her food and water to her bed. 

When it did not get better after a day, we took her to the vet. She had a fever of 103 and yep, lymes and another tick related illness. She is now on Doxycycline for the next 30 days. The fever has broken and she is back to her usual self with no apparent aftereffects. 

The next incident was traumatic for Zoey, Barb and me. If you are having breakfast, you may want to finish it before you read the rest of this. It all started when we were in the camper and Barb "Zoey has a woodtick on her butt". She then asked me to hold Zoey as she tried to remove it. Now, to get an idea how traumatic this was for Zoey, she does not like her nails done or thing picked off her. As a matter of fact, the last time she was at the vet to get her nails done, they said "Don't bring her back for nail trims anymore". 

So, I grabbed Zoey and pointed her backside to Barb. Zoey immediately knew something was up as I had her front side and Barb was holding her backside. She started squirming not liking whatever was about to happen. It was quite the scene, Barb was trying to grab the tick as Zoey was squirming and trying to bite behind her. But here is the problem.... The tick was so close to her you-know-what that when Zoey puckered the tick would disappear entirely! Now that I think about it, it was probably traumatic for the tick as well!

Barb kept yelling at me to hold her still as her fingers tried to hone in on the moving target. But as soon as she got close to grabbing it, Zoey would pucker, and it would disappear. This went on for 5 or 6 attempts, but the results were the same as the tick play peek-a-boo with Barb. I was able to get her to stop squirming but how to get the tick from disappearing? I wondered if I blew on her nose, if that would do it. Then a moment of genius struck me and I told Barb to get ready. With fingers poised on the target, I gave Zoey a quick squeeze, Barb said "Got it!" I am pretty sure Barb went two knuckles deep but, she got that little bugger. Zoey jumped down, ran a few steps away, and gave us both a look at I am pretty sure meant "What the hell?!?!"

If only I would have taken pictures, I know many of you wanted to see a close up of the action. Had I taken a picture, Zoey's face would have looked something like this.....

We also caught up with several of our friends four days this week. First with Kevin who came over for supper on Tuesday night. Cheryl was away in Minnesota, so we had to wait to catch up with her. Wednesday night we got together with Dan and Bonnie at our house for burger night, Friday night we went out to Rushmore Brewing Co. with Jim and Carmen and then Saturday our RV friends, Dale and Ruth came over for Taco Saturday. 

Dale tested a few of our varieties of Moonshine!
Dale and Ruth are in the area for another few weeks so hopefully we can get together with them again before they carry on with their summer adventures. 

In the work department we had (and still have) a lot to do. The first order of business was to jump on the old Ford and cut the grass in the front of the house. It was over 2' tall and poor Zoey could not see anything. 

Then it was time to tackle the rest of the sofit and facia. 4 straight days measuring, cutting and stapling up sofit. I used a circular saw with a metal blade which worked well but resulted in more than one of the hot metal shards landing somewhere on my body burning me. 


I finally got done on Saturday right before Dale and Ruth arrive. Sooooo good to have that project behind us!

Barb has also been busy cleaning and dusting the house after being gone as well as getting the camper clean. So many dead mosquito bodies everywhere! She has been trying to find the right solution to get the body spots off the shades. 

The weather has been wet, wet and more wet with intermittent picture-perfect days in the upper 60's, low 70's. We had two hailstorms last week, nothing too serious but one morning we woke up to piles of pea sized hail outside. 

The cattle are still wandering around our property (and Jim and Carmen's). They have a bull mixed in with the herd, but he seems pretty mellow. We have driven within feet of him in the 4-wheeler and seems more interested in the cows than he does us.

Thats a big bull!

And no post is complete without a picture of Zoey (right Harry?). So, if you can find her, here she is. And before you ask, that is not a fawn pelt, that is an axis deer from Texas. About every non-hunter that comes over asks if I shot a fawn. My answer depends on the person. It is fun to see the horrified looks on some people's faces!

Saturday, June 17, 2023

Carrying On

We have had so much going on it seems like I have not posted a blog in forever. In reality, it has only been 10 days or so. 

Last time we left you, we were still in Ontario fishing at Pasha Lake Cabins, I have come to a couple of conclusions since then.  The first is that it is not really about who out-fishes who, and who catches the biggest fish. It is really below me to keep track of such things. The other conclusion I came to is that anyone who does boast about catching the most, or biggest fish, is really just a braggart. It is all about teamwork. How your boat did as a whole. Enjoying time with your spouse and enjoying the outdoors.

View from our screened gazebo

We got out a couple more times, twice in a boat and one more time in the canoe.  We did not catch anything to top Barb’s 28+”er, so once again Barb leaves Pasha with the biggest fish award. Most of the fish we caught were in that 17-22” range. Still really nice fish.  

Tuesday night was fish fry night at the camp. Barb and Shelby (the owner's sister) cooked the fish, just like old times.

 The only thing missing were Chad and Michelle. We kept wondering if the new owners Victoria and Kenny were thinking; “Who are these old people?"

We had two people from two different cabins come up to us and said “Hey, I’ve watched your Onaman videos!” One of them laughed and asked Barb if she really does out fish me. Did I mention I did not like braggers? The other guy said that we were the reason he booked up here. He felt like our videos were not staged, not a production, we just looked like a normal couple out fishing and having a good time. I told him not to let the video fool him, only one of us was normal.

One evening, about 5:00 as Victoria was wrapping up her day she came over and asked if we wanted to go fishing in an hour. Sure, why not! We went to Northwind where we probably had our best outing of the trip. I’ll tell you right now, Victoria knows how to not only fish, she is quite the fileter as well! We had a great time and got back to camp a little after 9:00 with our limit of 12.

The next day was departure day. Overall, we had a great time at the "new" Pasha. It was different but the same all at the same time. The bugs were horrible, the fishing was great!

The border crossing was a breeze. He just asked me what I was bringing back and what was in the trailer. He then looked in the trailer and I was on my way. Barb’s experience was much easier. He did not ask her anything other than, “Are you with that guy?”. Then then proceeded to talk about Frenchies for a few minutes. Apparently, he has one too.

We spent the night in the Pigeon River Rest Area just across the border. Although we were less than 4 hours away from Pasha, the bugs were sooooo much better. Still there but not nearly the numbers.

The next day, we woke up, had breakfast and drove to ….where else? Chad and Michelle’s! To see Michelle of course, we had had enough of Chad. Michelle and Barb talked while Chad drank the remainder of my Molson. I only got this one picture….

Chad working on their chicken coop. Some would say it is his good side. I would argue that he does not have a good side.

That night, they cooked us an awesome steak supper. Any weight we may have lost in the past few weeks is going to be put right back on this week!

The following morning, we packed up and continued south to Danbury, Wisconsin to visit our friends Jim and Melanie. They have a beautiful, secluded spot in the forest. They are also fulltime caregivers to Melanie's mother. 

Barb and Melanie were horse friends from way back, probably since the early 90’s. They went to horse shows and horse camping for years. Barb has some great stories and memories from those adventures. Like the time they were horse camping and were sleeping in the back of her horse trailer.  Melanie woke up in the middle of night screaming and kicking that someone was attacking her. Barb then proceeded to scream and kick at the attacker only to find out that it was all a dream that Melanie was having. They woke up the entire campground who were wondering what the two crazy women and the trailer were screaming about.

Jim joined Melanie at many of the shows and he and I quickly became friends. Just hanging out, talking and drinking beer. I remembered one picture of the two of us at a horse show so I had to go and find it. This was 1997.

If you are a horse person and are lucky, you are blessed with the perfect horse once in your life. Sarge, this Palamino was that horse to me. That horse would do anything I asked of him without hesitation. We had some really good time. There are not many horses that you can also use as a recliner!

Now, all of us are horseless, they moved further out into the bush and are loving life up near Danbury.

Jim cooked up an awesome spaghetti dinner and we spent the night laughing and reminiscing about old time, cuz, that’s what old people do. They have two dogs; Sophie and Bailey. Bailey and Zoey played and played and played while Dakota and Sophie just sat on the sidelines and watched them.

Then it was off to Solon Springs to see Mike and Mary Jo. It had been 10 years since we've seen them. Of course I forgot to take pictures. Mike was my first boss, 42 years ago and we have been friends ever since. Over the years their property up here has become a hunting destination for many of us. So many great memories and one of the places I mentioned where I wanted my ashes scattered in our last post. Mike and I drove around the property, looking at how things had changed in the past 10 years, remembering old hunting tales and just basically catching up. When we got back to the house we had a “bump” to our friendship vowing not to make it so long next time.

This entire leg of our trip was all about seeing friends we had not seen in forever and visiting places from our past. Next stop Balsam Lake Wisconsin. But not before driving through my old haunts in Spooner and Shell Lake. So much has changed and so much has stayed the same. Barb and I spent a lot of time in this area with the kids, going to horse shows and visiting my dad who lived on the lake. We drove past the beach and Main Street Shell Lake where I spent most of my summers as a kid. The beach was deserted. Back in the day it would have been filled with kids, not so much anymore. We drove by the airport where my dad kept his planes and where his ashes are scattered at the end of the runway. No pictures at all, we just drove through and silently recalled memories as we drove past each of these places.

After dropping off the jeep and the trailer at my sisters house in Balsam Lake we headed off to our friends Doug and Connie in Somerset. I think we met them in the mid 80’s. Doug is an incredible taxidermist and has mounted every animal in our house. He gave that up fulltime years ago but still does some for friends.

Now they are into a solar endeavor with their son, traveling all across the country and world for business. They also have over 4,000 fruit trees on their property which are irrigated and powered by, you guessed it solar!

      Doug, demonstrating how the panels move with the sun.

At this location, Zoey got to play with Harold....

Dakota came in but kept two paws in the safe zone. Bella hid from Zoey and Harold as they raced around the house. 

From there, we were off to Milltown to meet more horse friends Joe and Pam. 10 years+ again since we had seen them. Joe recently retired and Pam recently got her bachelor’s degree in hospital administration.  Both could not be happier.

The next day my sister Judy had a birthday party for our brother Rod. All my siblings (except one) and their spouses made it. We had not all been together since October of 2020.

Rod, Rachel, his wife Beth and our brother-in-law, Mike
Brother Bob, his wife Greta and sister Carol
Brother-in-law Murray and sister Rebecca

Somehow sister Judy was successful in avoiding the camera during the party (but I got her later). It was also a housewarming of sorts as Judy and Mike just moved into their new house!

Judy and Mike have a couple of critters of their own, Sam, their cat. If I were ever to have a cat, this is the one I would want. And Wilma, a rescue that loves, loves, loves people and thinks he is a lap dog. 

Wilma loves her belly rubbed!
You would think the visiting would have been done there but no! The following day we were off to my brother Bob's in Taylor's Falls, MN to pick up a couple of stainless-steel tables and then to Almelund, MN to see our niece Kris on her farm. She has cattle, chickens, ducks, and 5 labs. The farm is called Nelson’s Corner Ranch but I think Chaos Acres would be equally as fitting!

That night, it was off to The Thirsty Otter, (our old hang out when we lived here) for all you can eat ribs! I used to be able to put away a couple of servings but nowadays, I struggled to finish one. As we were finishing up our niece Katie joined us! I cannot even guess the last time we saw her. 15 years ago? I doubt she would have recognized me in a crowd, but she saw Barb and recognized her right away. We spent a couple of hours catching up. She is all grown up and is now a grandma, crazy!

Our last night here, Judy, Mike, Barb and I went back to Milltown to see our Julie, our favorite bartender and then to the new brewery in Balsam Lake.

With that, the whirlwind Wisconsin tour was over, and we were headed back to South Dakota. We will do the 12-hour drive in two days. 

48 days, that is how long I have been gone from our oasis. It will be soooo good to be home. Then, we have to unload the trailer, unload the camper, take the camper off, and get back to work!