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I’m seeing RED! Wait! and orange!

Not only are the Rose Breasted Grosbeak males and females back but a pair of Orioles with last years kids in tow, a juvenile male and female:) arrived as well! At least I think it is their kids, everyone seemed very amiable with one another, ha! Maybe they are NOT related;)

These are such delightful birds with such a glorious song and repertoire of calls. The young male was belting out a song or two happily, looking for a girlfriend no doubt!

As for the red, well, there were five male Grosbeaks all sharing the feeder late yesterday-that incredible red/pink breast is so beautiful! The Mrs. seems a bit drab after them but she is equally beautiful with her stripes and spots!

As the leaves are finally filling in the canopy the colours are changing to warmer tones in the shade. The dragonflies are out, itty bitty ones no longer than an inch, great cat snacks Groot says as he smacks his lips with delight…and as for more red, the male Pileated Woodpecker put in a visit to the tree beside us, and worked his way around it gathering food. They have been quiet, nesting I would think, but now are out in search of food!

Their size is always astounding when you get to see them up close! Dinosaurs indeed! Early Spring has turned into Summer suddenly, the memories of snow flurries seem distant but in reality, they were not long ago! Now it is 80° in Flintstone scale, 27° Celsius…whew…I can hear the steady hum of mosquitoes coming for me…sigh…

Stay tuned amigos-big changes coming on the horizon, will keep you posted!

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The squirrel prayer

Not sure who wrote this, I wanted to give credit. I googled Squirrel prayer;) but it made me smile;) hahaha! Life is short…Yesterday there were 5, today there are 4:(
“The Squirrels Prayer”
Here we have another part of the Book of Squirrel, a tome of knowledge from the ONE TRUE GOD: Soliloquy the creator Squirrel. This is commonly known as “The Squirrels Prayer” and is a poetic form of praise to the Squirrel. This from the Book of Squalms, 5the 23rd Chapter.
Squalms 23
The Squirrel is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He made me to dwell in the Tree of Life: he leads me beside the full walnuts.
He replenishes my nuts: he leads me on the branches of righteousness for his name’s sake.
Yes, though I walk through the valley of the fallen Squirrels, I will not fear Squircifer: for you are with me; thy Tail and thy Chatter they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of the squirrels: you anoint my head with walnut oil; my nuts run over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the Tree of the Squirrel forever.

I thought Spring was coming…

It is usually signaled by an abundance of very, very simple minded chipmunks appearing to be oblivious of the fierce predators we have around the trailer, namely Groot and Gamora. Rocket still just looks at them with awe…How Gamora can zip out the front door, on the leash as I’m struggling to put my shoes on without falling over and catch a chipmunk before I hit the bottom of the steps is astounding…we do catch and release, I take that back, they do catch, I do release…it scrambled up a tree once I convinced her to drop it, she ran up the tree and caught it again…once more, we released it near a deep chipmunk den hole with hopes it would not come back out for awhile…

When will they learn. Rocket is convinced if he sits under the bird feeder he might just get lucky, well, he might, so much for exercise;) But back to Spring…right now, it is snowing…sigh…I was hoping for some sun, the Rose Breasted Grosbeak is back with two male kids in tow from last year I think. My they are stunning. To see all three together is a treat but only have captured one, through the window, my view to the outside world these last few days. The Goldfinches provide a pop of colour along with the Jays and Purple Finches. My hummingbird feeders are out, as well as a few oranges for the Orioles when they arrive, if they arrive, if Spring arrives…sigh…We had some sun but now that is gone…flurries…in May…0_0

The long gray days make for more boredom than usual. Rocket terrorizes Gamora and Groot at times, so much energy from this less than one year old enormous orange kitten. He has taken to climbing up on the valances of the trailer, he jumps…wowza…he is a monkey. Mike found an old fluffy black corsairs hat which he drags about growling, he killed it, it’s his. Hours of entertainment for the whole family…

The cats have their CTV, Cat TV, the bird feeder in the back window. It is visited by a variety of birds and a particularity dastardly red squirrel, I think I’ll call him Maximus, it seems a fitting title to such a nonchalant little red bugger;) “Cat, what cat? I see no cat”….

What do people without pets do nowadays in these times of stay at home? 😉 ha! If the sun comes out again soon I may have to mow the lawn! Certainly rake up the dead tree branches that have been raining down with the wind. Ah, for a flat calm day…soon, I keep telling myself, soon. I have a hankering for a lovely sunset on a flat calm lake. In the mean time I can look out the window here at the Woodpeckers, my goal is to get the Downy and Hairy Woodpeckers on the same tree…one needs goals in these times:)

I feel fortunate to have this bounty of nature in the form of feathered creatures around me. I keep seeing new ones, a Wood Thrush today! A White Throated Sparrow down at the water…I tried walking around with the camera for a short while today, amazing how that extra bit of weight of the big lens affected my balance, a bit more wobbly trying to compensate…I’ll get it eventually, perhaps stick to seated bird photography for now! I tried to run off through the bush after a pair of Ospreys nest building a few hundred feet away, that was hilarious! Missed all my camera settings in my hurry but wow! Beautiful! So worth watching a pair bringing twigs and fish to the tree, hoping they’ll stay! Less cottagers=more wildlife:) Please stay Mr. and Mrs. Osprey!

All it takes is a few feeders and some patience to sit and wait for them to arrive. I’m planning an oriole feeder, now just for temperatures where I can go outside without looking for my old down jacket;) Soon my friends, soon! Saludos amigos and stay tuned for something other than birds and cats! My small kingdom for a nice landscape;) ha! Maybe Donkeys, horses and cats;) there is even a young bandit about, otherwise known as a trash panda;) Mike saw him/her climb up one of the old dead pines and disappear into a hole:) or maybe he was just trying to get me to fall down;) “Look over there! Quickly!” does it every time;)

Stay at home-stay safe-Saludos and abrazos amigos

Feeling a bit Loony?

We are fortunate to not be too cooped up (that must come from “chicken coop”, or the difference between a convertible and a coupe? I will have to research this!) except by weather when we are limited to about 350 square feet with four cats;) ha! We have the opportunity to watch Mother Nature go by each day. I can see our bird feeders from where I now sit writing, squirrels scamper up the trailer ladder to a feeder on our large back window, the occasional wing beat of Asgard, our local Raven can be heard as well as he/she circles the compost looking for a snack.

The weather has started to warm up today. I sat near the water listening to the Loons singing, that haunting melody, back and forth from one Loon to another across the lake, I was hoping I’d get lucky and one might pop up nearby:) It did, in all it’s glorious breeding colour! For a bird named a Common Loon, it is uncommonly beautiful. The iridescent neck ring, the black and white striped collar and checkerboard back all are changes that happen during breeding season, putting on their finery so to speak. I saw a Common Loon in Baja one Winter, and didn’t recognize it at first!

Maybe he was just a juvenile chilling in his Winter beachwear wardrobe;) Hard to believe they are the same bird, no tuxedo or fancy ballgown;)

Almost as soon as I’d spotted the beautiful creature in front of me, he/she was gone, my usual Loon photos are usually like this;) Now you see him, now you don’t;)

So if you’re feeling a bit Loony, you’re just Canadian;) Saludos amigos, stay distanced, stay safe and stay tuned:)

Mother Nature, please turn on the heat!;)

It has not been the warmest Spring I can remember but it is coming according to the forecasts…please! The daffodils have started to flower at the entrance to the road, a few Trilliums are just about to bloom and bluets are popping up through the dead leaves as well as a new geranium, Thanks Aaron for the ID!

The chipmunks and squirrels are in in full form much to the delight of the cats:) I am not quite sure just how they manage to evade Groot when he is off leash but the Red Squirrels certainly seem to have a super power to do that, so far no deceased chipmunks either, he hides under the truck and waits…

One red squirrel delights in tormenting Gamora at the back window feeder…it knows it is safe;)

It is a bit of a bitter sweet Spring, this will most likely be our last one here at Otty Lake at this cottage. The partnership has not worked out, much to our disappointment, so we’ll be moving on sometime this Summer, looking for our own digs to call home for awhile.

The birds continue to arrive from the South. A slew of Purple Finches have shown up with their young ones. They are feasting on the emerging tree buds.

The Hairy and Downy Woodpeckers are busy. They are quite cheeky and one is very bold! I do talk to him from a few feet away and he remains unfazed. There are some sad pines the Pileated Woodpeckers are doing their carpentry job on and a Red Breasted Sap Sucker was hammering on the metal shed roof one afternoon as the local Northern Flicker watched from high above:)

We are looking for a spot on a lake again, hopefully a bit darker where Mike can use his telescope and we can still hear the Loons, they have been calling and their haunting melody carries across the water, such a spine tingling sound. Wherever I put bird feeders, I know birds will come:) So will our astronomy friends, they are all social distancers anyway;)

It is strange times we are living in. I think we may feel less oddness than many, our world has always been slightly isolated for the last decade from the mountains in Baja to finding quiet gems of State and Provincial parks to explore, we have preferred Mother Nature to man-made attractions and the masses of humanity. I’ve always been a bit of a misanthrope, now I’m sure I am;) hahahaha! Buying groceries has taken on a whole new spin, literally, my balance is still off, no quick head turns, I’ve told Mike PLEASE don’t yell “Look over there!” to me in an urgent voice, he calls me “Stumble-ina” love him:)

I try not to immerse myself too much in the any of the news, I find the state of humanity swinging between appalling and enthralling to heartening at times and it’s appalling portions leaves me with a heavy feeling in my gut, the ignorance and self importance of so many make me shudder. Things can not go back to normal, if they do, I think we as a species are doomed. I hope to have the opportunity to explore more of this beautiful Earth before my time comes, it seems almost more urgent now than before.

On a painful note, our old Burmese, the original Traveling Mewberry, Beezil has been having a rough time, mobility and breathing but he just keeps going, and going, and going, but it means every time he coughs I wake up, thinking, well, this is it…how do I deal with this…then he fills his face with a bowl of food and starts to purr and I am left there, speechless, once again, just how many lives does this venerable older gentleman have left? My heart aches at the prospect of losing him but when his time does come, I know he has lived an amazing life, traveled more than some people I know and brought so much joy to our lives…here is to a few more days:)

I long for the green of Spring, it is coming, but on a rainy day such as today, it seems a long way off and my heart is heavy but that rain is helping. I see red buds forming on the trees overhead and the light is changing, longer days and quiet nights…Hurry up Mother Nature! I implore you;) Stay Tuned:)

I do believe that is a wee little bear cub!

I believe they were not quite sure what the heck that ugly black dog like looking creature with the long snout was but Rocket’s tail was five times it’s normal size and he knew it wasn’t about to be his play buddy;)

Something about Spring. The little fellow didn’t look in bad shape but seemed young to out and about on his own. Maybe Mom has new cubs and he/she was evicted, Momma bear didn’t get the “No-eviction Covid memo”….

We don’t see bears here often, last year a young Quebecois couple saw a bear at the entrance to the road and it was possibly the most exciting thing he had ever seen he proclaimed! Made me smile, we humans need a lot more of nature on a regular basis. This little tyke shuffled about, sniffed the truck and surrounding area while the cats gaped out the window, then took off at a gallop when he heard something that spooked him.

But, lo and behold, as we were walking the cats a bit later I thought I caught a Black Squirrel out of the corner of my eye but no, into the driveway ambled our little friend. Groot became very big, and took a lunge in his direction on the leash, poor little bear had one look at the fierce Groot and ran away down the driveway at top speed, I think Groot was quite chuffed…love this word…

chuffed/CHəft/Learn to pronounceadjectiveINFORMAL•BRITISH

  1. very pleased.”I’m dead chuffed to have won”

He had chased away the bear:) Doing his job, protecting the servants from danger he said;) That afternoon everyone crashed out, obviously exhausted from watching and chasing the bear cub, Rocket was hogging Beezil’s bed as normal….these guys:) Never a dull moment;)

Saludos amigos, stay tuned! Someone turned the heat off up here in Ontario and we need Mother Nature to turn it back on, sunshine please…soon! This beautiful bear was from a couple of years back, he/she was about twice as large and yes, I take in the bird feeders at night now;)

Need my gyroscope adjusted;)

This whole vertigo thing makes me feel a bit rudderless, compass askew, gyroscope out of whack, all those wonderful terms we used as kids living on a sailboat, except the gyroscope, maybe there was one in the sat-nav later:) I feel like when I walk I’m on the deck of the boat, heeling over and I have to level my head to get the horizon straight, just like we did as kids:) Who ever thought of balance as a kid, you just did it;) from climbing the rope spinnaker halyard up to the 2nd spreaders, to diving off there as well…not much parental supervision here;)

The things we take for granted. Don’t get me wrong, I am very thankful to be able to walk today, not just in a straight line! ha! Your highway patrol nightmare;) Please don’t ask me to touch my nose at the same time, only seen that on TV;) The balance is returning slowly, I do my maneuvers, calling them exercise sounded futile as I lie on my back and tilt my head and ear from side to side for thirty secound intervals to try to get the little bones in there to resettle, not exactly exercise…hahahahaha! I can image being on a healing boat right now…NOT!

I guess we were being prepared for social distancing most of our young lives;) We met few kids in our decade traveling aboard the “My Love” and most of our acquaintances were adults, we grew up quickly. My brother was tearing down the diesel Volvo motor by the time he was 11, and putting it back together, often with the loveliest of help. I remember a Russian guy in Tahiti, married to a lovely Polynesian woman who would come after work to help Shea. My brother is a wizard I think;) Cities and ports were for refueling and repairs, then my mother wanted the hell out, we didn’t, it was our only chance to make friends in these busy gathering places for yachties!

My mother’s passion was diving, and collecting, every shellfish peeking through the sand was in danger. When she had too many of the same we would try to toss them back if they were still alive, the back deck, well, it stank of rotting shells most of the time. We ate fish, a lot of fish, it was free, speared, from the line, you name it, my brother no longer DOES fish, I slowly came to appreciate it again, and no, parrot fish does not taste good and if I hear”grouper”I still get slightly ill feelings.

My mother was not a conservationist, if it swam, or wiggled and looked edible, it was eaten. From lobsters, to fish, conch and turtles, she would try anything, with us being the audience to these different meals. There was no google on how to slaughter a turtle…Yup, I think we could survive about anywhere now come to think of it;) She would have made a good pioneer I think, take no hostages, eat everything else. You can imagine our joy when we got spaghetti! hahahaha!

Were we tough kids? Maybe without knowing it. We could make ourselves understood, no language needed when we went off to play with other kids or communicate with adults, not much fear, always learned a few words of whatever language was being spoken. We crashed cruise ship buffets in search of the desert tables:)

A few winters ago I purchased a slide scanner and went about trying to resurrect our childhood memories from floods and bad storage in old barns. Most of the slides were beyond help but the few that were able to have the mildew wiped off have made for some beautiful memories, as well as some of the harsh reality of being raised in such a different way, perfect training for social distancing as I said! smiling. Our longest trip at sea was a 25 day sail from Bali to Perth, Australia tacking back and forth the entire way, sometimes only making 80 miles in the direction we wanted to go. The motor batteries were dead, and at one point off the Australian coast we were rudderless as well, but we survived, Thanks Shea for being there:) To all the families “couped” up in their spacious homes with internet and television, Facebook, twitter and Instagram, well, we had books, a guitar. letter writing materials and each other on a 50′ boat that you could not just step off of, at sea, you could swim away a distance when it was calm but not much room:) Enjoy your time together, it will bring you some fond memories in the decades to come:)

Saludos amigos, don’t listen to the orange vomit #staysafe we’ll see you on the other side of this;) Just need some warm trade winds and sun on our face:)

Quarantine day 14 Part 3, I’ll finish I promise;)

The day starts well when they wheel you in a porta-potty and say ” Go for it, are you game?”…am I game, if I never have to pee lying down again I will be happy! Ashley the bubbly nurse shifts stopped at 6 and the Jamie Lee Curtis voice lovely lady was on for the day, she wheeled me in the portable commode, I was ready to try to sit up, regardless of the spinning and have a go;) It was lovely, the commode, the spinning not so good but something about being able to wipe your own bum gives you a sense of accomplishment, however small. A basin of hot water and a few wash clothes also started making me feel slightly more human, less ape creature. I think I had dreadlocks at this point as well;) I was a greasy greasy spot spot….you Black adder fans;) I combed my hair with my fingers after my lovely wash cloth bath and waited for the doc. who could be heard coming down the hall, he is a very cheerful talkative guy:) Great news-NO Stroke!!! Yahoo! “Now, just to work on the inner ear” he proclaimed. He went through some exercises with me, gave me a few sheets of instructions and went on his way…sigh…a day to practice those and I did, and I sat up, spinning, and I used my commode, and I tried to move around as much as I could in my bed, I now wanted OUT!

Maybe it was just a normal Saturday asfternoon on the ward floor but it seemed short staffed, the nurses tempers, especially Nurse Ratched as I called her, were running a bit higher than normal perhaps, and the dementia yeller down the hall was definitely grating on their nerves at shift change. He was yelling, screaming, crying out for “Nancy! Nancy! Nancy Prudhomme where are you?” as well as a bevy of other names, then he started getting mean. I’m not sure if they tied him down or wheeled him to the farthest away room on the floor but his screams were muffled for awhile, I was thinking a ball gag would have been handy about then, he was having a very very bad evening…the two dementia ladies were somewhat easier to deal with Dolores and Phyllis, they just needed to pee a lot and that took supervision on a regular basis, yes, the bathroom was opposite our room. They were sweet and the nurses teased them gently but you could hear the affection in their voices as well.

We had a new roommate, poor Father Jack’s surgery had been postponed again but at least he could eat now! Across from me a man was brought in suffering severe stomach pains, colitis the Doctor had said and he was started on an IV. He had had a bevy of health problems, stroke, angioplasty to both sides of his neck, can’t remember what else but there was a laundry list of maladies…wow…only smoked a half pack of cigarettes a day he said and hadn’t touched a beer in 35 years…go back to the beer buddy I was thinking, and also contemplating how lucky I was. Genetics? Better diet? Who knows but I don’t have a prescription drug in our bathroom, other than for the cats;) Was counting my lucky stars listening to him, he was an ice chewer, OK, I get the irritation now Mike! hahahahaha! and he snored, it was going to be a chorus tonight!

Dinner arrives, another bright red isolation tray…c’mon guys! and yes, another weird Chinese Food concoction…HELP ME!!! I ate the veggies, mother taught me well;)

I can see why meals are the highlights of your day. They define the hours passing and the days, like a sort of clock that you can judge the rhythms of the day, and mark them off as they go by. Beginning to sound like prison isn’t it;) The ladies who delivered them were very nice, always asking if you needed help. At this point I could half way sit up so could actually look at the trays:) A lovely member of the cleaning crew on the day shift had also loaned me her android phone charger so I could keep the phone going, talks with Mike motivated me to do what I could to come home.

Last night in Ashley our bubbly voiced nurse also found me another charger, these ladies and gentlemen really deserve a standing round of applause for what they do in here. The yeller had finally settled down and all we had were the pings of the call buttons and the beeps of the IV’s, the 4 am blood pressure and temperature checks and the pills in their little plastic cups.

Morning came and they finally removed the stint in each arm…freedom to move. A walker had arrived at my bedside the day before but I couldn’t quite get there, standing, shuffling in place 90 degrees to sit on the commode and shuffling back was the most movement I could manage standing up. I did my ear exercises at 5 in the morning, again at 8, could I do too many? and I finally asked JLC nurse” What would it take for me to go home today?”…”You have to walk” she said….Doc came in, said the same thing, I was just double checking;) This was it…I am a pretty determined individual once I set my sights on things, I’d rather fall over trying than not try at all. I stared at the walker for a few moments, tied up the back of my gown as best I could, my goal was the bathroom across the hall, real flush water…up…unsteady, look straight ahead….shuffle shuffle shuffle, the Fred G. Sanford walk it was;) We made it, there and back! “Now go show the Doc!” JLC said and I did the shuffle past the room the Doc was in and back. It was truly a short 100′ shuffle that resembles the antics of a drunken sailor but it happened!

“You can go home now!” were the sweetest words in the world. I texted Mike “Come get me! Drive slowly” as I envisioned him tearing across the countryside like the Cannonball Run. I took my gown off and put my pajama top back on, and my shoes, and I lay there waiting for my chariot to arrive. The nurse faxed my prescription for the anti-dizzy drug into the local Shoppers at Perth and handed me the paperwork. I lay down and clutched the bag with my papers, a vomit bag, health card, and pill cups (I had to bring the cats a new toy!)…Waiting. I was going HOME!

45 minutes from Perth to Brockville. There was a pile of new construction around the hospital so Mike was turned around and he texted he was near the entrance to Emergency. The porter was called, I was helped into the wheel chair and off we sped down the corridors, no elevators, and out into the beautiful fresh cold air and sun. I squinted through my blur and told the porter “That BIG blue truck!” way over there! I pointed! and she wheeled me all the way out to the door of the truck. I stood up, thanked her, and then just held onto Mike like I would never let him go, we were both crying…that beautiful connection with another human being…how sweet it is to be loved by you:) The trip home was a blur I was just so happy to be with the one I love. We arrived at the trailer and Mike helped me up the steps and into my chair, Beezil the old cat immediately settled down on my lap with his heated blanket, he stared at me adoringly. Mike said his whole demeanor changed as soon as I walked in:) My old boy, Beezil, boys Groot and Rocket and my girl Gamora, our fur kids, all so happy to have me home, as well as Mike;)

It is funny how much we appreciate the smallest things in life when we realize we might not see them again for one reason or another. A chair, some warmth, the ones you love. I’ll be shuffling around the trailer here for a few days learning to walk upright while life goes on and hopefully balance improves:) In the meantime I will be the butt of many good jokes and the smiles and laughs from my significant other as he expresses his happiness at having me home. Mine as well. Hug the ones you love and cherish every day. I’ve learned for some they end much sooner than others and while at this point I think the Golden years is a crock of marketing shit I’m determined to live my life to however fullest I can, before I, one day, may be one of those very unfortunate ones on the ward floor permanently:(

Saludos amigos, hugs, abrazos-Hoping to pick up that big lens again very soon;) Here’s the view out the window:) Spring has decided to postpone her arrival today!

Quarantine day 14-My inmates-Part 2

It wasn’t what you could call a restful sleep-IV’s, stickers all over my chest and a box monitoring my heart. My phone still had a charge in the morning and I breathed a sigh of relief…still here sweetie! The Doctor came in the morning, looked at the nurse and asked “What side was affected?”-“Neither” I said, Good morning. She had me squeeze her hands and push against them, same with my feet as the other nurses had done when I’d been admitted. Said she couldn’t see what the Smiths Falls Doctor did but they would need to do another catscan with dye to rule anything out..answer, but no answer, my hopes were high that she had really good eyes. They brought me a tray of food, I really couldn’t touch it, still spinning. Another Doctor came in, Dr. Kamal and told me they were moving me, YEAH! out of the isolation ward. I didn’t have any of the symptoms and I was 14 days into quarantine, no fever, no cough no shortness of breath. I can’t tell you how many times I was asked that in 24 hours, but I know they were doing their jobs.

Another stretcher, more corridors, elevators, flashing lights passing by, bumps and turns to a whole new ward to wait for the next cat scan and a chest x-ray they said. So glad to have my old phone and to be able to talk to Mike and text him…a feeling that home wasn’t far, the cats missed me, the old guy Beezil was really depressed he said, my heart was aching, if the old Burmese died while I was in here, how could I forgive myself for not being there:(….

At some point in the morning they came to ferry me to the catscan with dye, that was wild, a whole body flush of warmth, the xray was brutal, I had to sit up..”Barf bag please?” I asked, just a few hiccups and being very very still got me through it and the release of lying down and having some of the wild spinning stop was like a happy drug waving over me…now more waiting, but I could lie down and just listen…

This was a busy ward. The lovely day nurse sounded like Jamie Lee Curtis, JLC from now on, she had a quick laugh and a dark sense of humour that was very comforting:) Sometimes you can tell those that truly like their jobs. It was an extremely odd ward as well, where HAD they taken me? From behind my curtain I could hear dementia patients, and a fellow yelling down the hall, for girls, ladies, until he was screaming “Fire, fire!!!Let me out of here!” Just where was I? One flew over the cuckoos nest came to mind;) There was even a Nurse Ratched😉

FATHER JACK: In the bed beside me, a curtain away, a man, unable to walk, was waiting to go into surgery on his leg. I assumed he was older, mind you, I can’t really see anyone without my glasses or make any facial recognition unless they are very close. He grunted a fair bit, the nurses had to clean soup out of his beard and he said “FECK!” a lot…so I called him Father Jack. You won’t get the reference unless you have seen the delightful British/Irish series Father Ted…if you have you will understand why I wanted to yell “GIRLS! DRINK!” after every time he said it;) I heard him speak on the phone once, he mostly listened and I can understand his frustration as he had been bumped all morning out of surgery for emergency cases, let alone his hunger as he hadn’t been allowed anything to eat since the night before, he was also a diabetic, and was checked frequently, had a passion for anything sweet, “Juice! ginger ale!”he said, and he loved his call button, so much, he used it every 15 minutes…ding, ding, ding, ding….until the nurses disconnected it at one point I think. He put his bed up and down and up and down every 20 minutes as well. It wasn’t a quiet bed, it sounded like a World War II relic grinding it’s gears…he was confused. One night he rang and rang and rang asking for the TV, the TV he yelled! One nurse stormed out telling him to “Shut up! There were no TV’s!” The night nurse, she was a sweetie, she was red headed I think and that voice, if you’ve ever seen Star Trek Discovery she was the bubbly red headed ensign Silvia Tilly. Her name was Ashley 🙂 She approached Father Jack with an altogether different approach, one of kindness and exploring what is was that he wanted exactly. After a few questions, she worked out that it was not a TV, but the remote, but it wasn’t the remote but the buttons on the bed he couldn’t find as another nurse had pulled down the window shade and he couldn’t see where they were…mission accomplished. Father Jack had his window shade opened, could see his bed remote buttons and the ringing stopped for the night…Thanks Ashley, you rock! and yes, there wasn’t a TV to be seen ANYWHERE…isn’t that fantastic! That was Father Jack…

Good Looking guy: kitty corner to my bed in the room, there were 4 beds, a younger man was brought in. I could tell he was young by his voice and word choices, and perhaps quite handsome by the delight in the nurses voices, ha! So funny, it made me smile. They attended to him, fetched his sandals he’d left behind in emergency, oh, you’re a “Cowboys” fan one nurse remarked looking at them, “Aren’t you?” he teased the nurse. When I woke up, he was gone…

The Farmer: When I woke up there was an older gentleman with a good farmers sing songy brogue in that bed. He was speaking to his grand daughter, who was also in the hospital as she’d had an appendicitis attack that they had managed to get under control. I couldn’t see her but she sounded like a no nonsense farm stock woman who was quick to laugh. She reminisced with her grandfather, and spoke about her kids, and how happy she was to have a shower that morning, I envied her just then:) The farmers name was Bryce. He had a broken leg, after his tractor went backwards through several fences. Then his grand daughter started talking about the service for Bryce’s wife, she had just recently died, it was so incredibly sad, and yet this farmer managed happy laughs and tales with his grand daughter. They were postponing the service until Bryce got out of hospital and were talking about songs for the service. ” I like Elvis Presley and I like that Frank Sinatra guy” Bryce proclaimed ” Is he still alive?” His granddaughter shrugged and took out her phone and googled it, “Born 1915, died 1998” she said. “Nine years older than me!”Bryce proclaimed…he was 98 years old….I think I was grinning from ear to ear at this point of the conversation. So much sadness, yet so much laughter and joy as they talked about songs. He spoke with another grand niece on the phone the nurse brought over, who had to remind him who she was, daughter of your favourite younger brother Arthur, Bryce! “Oh, yaah” he said cheerily and they chatted away for awhile…then they took him off to surgery for his broken leg that he had kept walking on…

Top songs at UK funerals, 2019:

  1. My Way – Frank Sinatra (non-mover)
  2. Time To Say Goodbye – Andrea Bocelli and Sarah Brightman (non-mover)
  3. Over The Rainbow – Eva Cassidy (non-mover)
  4. Wind Beneath My Wings – Bette Midler (non-mover)
  5. Angels – Robbie Williams (re-entry)
  6. Supermarket Flowers – Ed Sheeran (new entry)
  7. Unforgettable – Nat King Cole (up three places)
  8. You Raise Me Up – Westlife (new entry)
  9. We’ll Meet Again – Vera Lynn (down three places)
  10. Always Look on the Bright Side of Life – Eric Idle, from Monty Python’s ‘Life of Brian’ (down two places)

That was interesting:) No Elvis Presley songs in the UK;)

The puppy owner: I’ll call him that as they brought him in opposite me and I could hear him telling the nurse how he’d tripped over his Samoyed puppy three days ago and fell down and his brother had just found him this morning as he couldn’t get up. Wow…laying there for two days at least. His legs were badly swollen he told the nurse, felt like spongy rubber underneath, but he could walk now, but couldn’t get himself up after falling to reach the phone or anything “I probably blacked out” he said. He was on the phone trying to call his brother but couldn’t remember his cell number., The nurse brought him a phone to call a friend who knew his brother’s number so he could speak to his brother to tell him he was OK. His wife was in a home, she kept falling and he couldn’t pick her up anymore at one point. The nurse was trying to go over his history and he seemed cheerful enough to give what information he could remember. The puppy had been taken back to the breeders for safekeeping he’d said. He wanted to make sure the puppy was ok. At one point later he tried to get up to go to the bathroom and amidst a burst of swearing a giant crash transpired…nurses came running, cut on the head, huge bump, ice, back into bed, they took his temperature, he needed to pee he kept saying and the nurse brought a bedpan but what ensued was basically a fountain of urination…all over himself, the bed, the curtain, the nurses were wailing…he’d spiked a fever, they called for a Covid test, and then he was whisked away on a stretcher…

A nurse walked in after her break and exclaimed to her co workers “Have you seen the line of ambulances backed up out in front of emerge?”…”They are getting brave again” said another,”They need to STAY HOME!” Another nurse passed by was sharing what one of the Doctors on the Covid ward was telling his patients, “There is no cure, no medicine, no magic pill I can use. I can give you a shovel and a pile of dirt, and you have to build the dike to keep the water (Covid) at bay, it is up to you! I am only here to help as best I can, it is entirely up to you….wow…poignant words for someone facing this pandemic but also wise, be strong, fight!

They did bring me lunch at one point, an egg salad sandwich on whole wheat wrapped in plastic on the tray. I still couldn’t lift my head but rummaged around with my hand, it tasted like the finest gourmet snack I had ever had, my horse show friends know my affinity for egg salad…comfort food….I managed to eat half before drifting off. I was wondering if there would be any results from my cat scan today, but no, the nurse said, it was Good Friday, not until tomorrow, not such a Good Friday I thought:( Although I finally managed to pee in a bedpan lying down, you’d be surprised just how hard that is…and what a relief…Father Jack had a diaper, it needed regular changing…and large quantities of Febreeze sprayed around the room;) I used my yoga skills, the bridge for that pan to go in, and come out, “Yeah, no rolling you over” JLC said “filled to the brim, you DID have to go!” These ladies are Saints:)

So I waited. They also started me on an anti nausea/spinning drug with the graval (Dramamine) and Tylenol for my tooth grinding, jaw was getting sore, hard not to while lying there semi awake I guess, I’m not aware I do it but must when I’m dozing, those inner demons working away;) Then came dinner, it seems no one got the note I was no longer in isolation so I received the isolation tray. Now, it may be just me, but is serving a really bad take on Chinese Sweet and Sour complete with a mystery meat a bit of a slap in the face to these folks in the Covid ward, Chinese food? Really? sigh….photo evidence:

Yummy glop it was not, picked at the rice, which was also glommy and set it back on the tray….my kingdom for another egg salad sandwich….by now I felt able to document my gastronomic torture;)

As I settled in for my 2nd night I felt relieved to be out of the Covid ward but with no news, still in limbo. Father Jack had settled into his bed up, bed down routine and I listened to the gears grind. The loony down the hall had settled down from yelling and I was happy for the quiet, the dings and bells of nurse calls and Iv’s had started to sound like background music. I could talk to Mike, I could still talk so at this point, all was well in my little world…

Stay tuned, last part I promise tomorrow:) Look at my lovely view;)

Quarantine day 14-not going so well…Part 1

Day thirteen did not start out well. The old kitty Beezil got me up at 4 am for his “foursises” feeding as we call them and I noticed I was a bit dizzy, like a bottle of wine dizzy, hahahaha! Took an ibuprofen, thinking it was inner ear and went back to bed. Wasn’t any better the next day so I lay still and rested. Thursday morning, the end of our quarantine, well, not the day I had hoped for. Was looking forward to a trip to the grocery store finally. My list was a mile long and I had high hopes to restock. Instead, everything started to swim, lying down, standing up, sideways. After the first thing I’d eaten in 24 hours, a piece of toast came up the retching was constant with the spinning. Mike had a panicked look on his face as I dry retched into a bowl for half an hour with no breaks. He called the Doctors office, they could see me next week…I think I might have had my first anxiety attack about right then. He said we had to go-Hospital. I wasn’t sure how I could even move but was motivated by the fact I didn’t want to lie in bed dry retching and spinning either for the rest of my life;)

Mike started the truck. “Get the bucket out of the bunkie” I said between retches “health card, phone, blanket” it was cold out. I was in my pajamas, he put shoes on my feet and then I crawled backside down on my rear, like the scene out of the “exorcist” and my head did feel like it was spinning around like that;) the cats were freaking out “What is wrong with her!” Step by step I lay on my back and pushed myself down the steps as Mike Pulled me up and steadied me to the backseat of the truck where I lay, with my wonderful bucket, my glorious bucket and he drove…Slowly I kept telling him, I’m not dead yet;)…my theme this week…

It felt like an eternity the drive in. I recognized some turns, the stops, the lights, where were we now, yet a part of me just could care less at this point. I remember arriving, Mike pulled me by my feet until I could slither out of the back seat, his friend Dave sprayed the wheelchair arms with disinfectant, thanks Dave, appreciated that, and someone wheeled me towards the modified emergency entrance. People in masks, shields, as I retched into the bucket. I can’t really remember all the details except being wheeled into a somewhat familiar emergency room, I’ve been here before, usually standing up, or clutching cracked ribs;) not like this. The floor was laid out with lines and I was wheeled into a taped off spot on the floor, I passed one other chair in a taped off spot and continued to retch, as the nurse was leaving I asked her” Can I just lie on the floor?” I felt like I was pleading…”Geez! No you can’t” was her reply in a heavy Lanark County brogue, think Scottish with a bit of Irish thrown in;)..and I retched.

It may have only been ten or fifteen minutes but felt like an eternity. I was trying to concentrate on not dropping or losing the phone, no pockets, I tucked it under my leg on the wheelchair, my lifeline to Mike. By the time I was wheeled into Triage, I was hyperventilating, the nurse said” Breathe threw your nose and out your mouth slowly” my hands and fingers felt like little electrical shocks were zapping through them down to my toes. History, quarantine, 14th day back from coming across the US I remember mumbling, retching, my head was hanging in the bucket and I never took it out. Blood pressure, temperature taken, I was wheeled into the emergency room and with help got out of the chair and lay on a stretcher…heaven, the spinning slowed slightly, the retching eased but the room was still moving. An IV was inserted, fluids, graval, Dramamine I heard and then I was left to rest, shaking with cold and nerves at this point. “The cold fluids you’re getting” the nurse said “I’ll get you a warm blanket.”

When the very kind soft spoken Doctor came over I can’t recall much of the conversation. He kept looking at my eyes and tilted me backwards a few times before leaving me and I could hear the conversations happening in the background as my head swirled, contact the husband, possible stroke, sending her to Smiths Falls for a Catscan. Not a dog scan I can remember thinking;) The nurse couldn’t reach Mike but he’d called Graham and Pam about no signal out at the lake and they asked if I could give permission to Graham to speak to Mike, I mumbled of course. Then the ambulance drivers and medic arrived…my very first ambulance ride…

Through out, I can not stress enough how kind and considerate these people were. The nausea was slowly dissipating and the medics moved me to their stretcher and I felt like a piece of toast being popped into a horizontal toaster as I was clicked into place in the ambulance, hooked up, strapped in, and warned it would be a bumpy ride with a laugh, “Blame the driver, not me” the medic said from behind his mask. He asked where I was from, we talked about Baja and California, he’d done a road trip there from San Francisco South to San Diego but not Mexico, too scary, I told him he should have, it was a wonderful place, wonderful people, food and wine! He said his parents had panicked trying to get back from Palm Springs as all the flights had been booked but they made it home after 10 days and through quarantine as well, and then we arrived. The bright sunlight and cold temperature felt beautiful on my face as they unloaded me. I might mention, I didn’t have my glasses. I am REALLY short sighted! So as spinning as this was, add a dimension of blur to that as well! ha! I hadn’t had my contacts in for the days I was dizzy and now I was totally blind in my books. I usually only make it from the bed to the bathroom without them or my glasses;)

Then come the corridors, a constant theme in the next few days. I arrived at emergency, I know this one as well after a surgery more than a decade ago, unchanged. more wheeling and corridors, lights, and a stop finally, change of stretcher, more blankets, heated blankets are the best. I felt like I was in a corridor but it was emergency. I could hear a woman coughing in the other corner and her conversation with the doctor, she was a health worker, asthma, couldn’t breathe, sort of breath when she walked, coughed, they did a Covid test right there on her as I lay on my back staring at the ceiling trying to concentrate on the conversations around me, the other humanity present. A nurse pulled my shoes off, after trying to untie them, like Mike did, but they are fake ties;) “Just pull” I remember mumbling at this point and she put them in a bag with my sad pajama shirt, didn’t know I was going out today;)

More corridors, and into a small room, the cat scan room. Close your eyes, flashes of light even with my eyes closed, aligning the lasers I think she said, then more corridors and fluorescent lights flashing by, sometimes I just closed my eyes and felt the rock of the stretcher, the turns, the bumps into doors, the auto door openers being hit and then I was back in emergency.

Thursday 5:25pm I’m looking at the texts. “Hi, emergency wants you to call them.loveuou. In Smith’s Falls, cat scan done, no cats. still can type;) Of course I am totally freaked out!” then “they are taking me to brockville for an MRI.” I didn’t tell him what the doctor told me. He saw something on the cat scan but wanted to have it double checked. They were sending me to the Stroke unit in Brockville….calmate calmate I kept telling myself, secound ambulance drive in my life. The medic and driver put a huge smile on my face as they transferred me over to their stretcher I said” I’m not dead yet!” laughing., they came back with “Bring out your Dead! Bring out your dead!” Monty Python fans get extra special treatment they chimed in chuckling merrily. Humour makes the world go around:) they had an air of maturity to them the first medic didn’t he was young, cute medic I had texted later to Mike;)…more masks, more corridors and a blast of sun and fresh air again, that beautiful feel of nature. Back into the horizontal toaster and clicked in, strapped in, no bondage jokes I thought, warnings about the rough ride, not sure what road it was, he said, but I can’t remember which route they took. He accelerated on the straight stretches and slowed in the curves on the very bumpy road. I lay there being rocked back and forth, it was actually comforting in a way that rocking. I thought for a few moments, I should take a picture, but to be honest I didn’t have the strength or the mental ability to do so, let alone any focusing skills! ha!You could hear every bolt and screw clanking in the ambulance and the ride reminded me of my old 65 corvette, Brut Go. Mike hated it. I loved the harsh ride, you could feel every bump, every piece of gravel, every change in the road, I think I lay there smiling for the 45 minute or so ride in the quiet, they checked my blood pressure and temperature a few times but otherwise it was peaceful. As we left I told him the ride was the same as my old Vette, Tell anyone who is whining about the bumps it’s like a ride in a hot rod, “trade ya,” he chuckled as I was wheeled to another corridor.

This one was different, not just masks but face guards and suits. It was now beginning to feel like a science fiction movie. where’s Ellen Ripley when you need her? (Aliens) as I was wheeled into a private room. One nurse came in at a time and had to fully dress outside before entering. suit, gown, gloves, masks, face shields…gulp…wasn’t expecting to come here but maybe my symptoms were weird Covid ones I started thinking. Like a bit more stress was necessary;) I managed to text Mike””In Brockville, graval helping nausea. room 289 if you want to call” and I can’t remember if he did, but I have vague recollection of talking to him. Nurses explained why they were dressed the way they were, this was the isolation ward and the doctor would be by in the morning. I found the battery saver on the phone and put it on my table tray beside the bed. All I remember is the beeping all night. I think they had a heart monitor on me and the calls from other rooms echoed down the halls. This could be the last place I ever see I thought, and I may never feel Mike’s touch again. An overwhelming feeling of grief and desperation overcame me as I lay there, thinking about the many who had already experienced this separation and I kept telling myself. “I can get better, I will get better!” Those who know me know, I don’t give up on anything without a fight….

Just a note: I’m trying to write this as soon as I can so those little conversations and memories don’t slip away. I’m still very unsteady sitting here at the computer, trying to concentrate on the keyboard as best I can, the room is still moving now, but not spinning wildly;)

Part two later-stay tuned…spoiler…I’m not dead yet;) Have to go lie down!

Quarantine Day 8….

These little White Breasted Nuthatches are a treat to watch, they are busy, very busy, and they chat a lot to themselves, starting to sound familiar now, well, at least about the chatting to oneself;) they clammer all over the tree trunks, right side up, upside down and every other position in between:) Good for a smile:)

Midweek the sun finally came out in the afternoon and everything seemed right with the world, you just had to avoid reading any news, anywhere:)

We were tasked with filling the water tank on Myrtle, our trailer. Our old pump, the energizer bunny pump, a wee little thing we picked up at Canadian Tire many years ago to transfer water from a 55 gallon barrel to the trailer tank was put to the task. “Operation fill trailer water tank!” This wonderful little pump has traveled the continent with us and manages to keep going and going…slowly, very slowly it filled our water tank of 80 gallons…from the edge of the lake→all the way up here! 230 feet of hose and 20′ of lift! Wow! That is quite the little pump! As the temperatures are still going below freezing we can’t hook up the un-insulated cottage water yet! A new submersible water pump arrived via Purolater later in the day, I was not sure the little pump that could would continue to be the little pump that can and the luxury of water is something we don’t want to do without! ah, the joys of cottage living and lake water! so, like Baja, we have a plan A pump, and a plan B pump! Not a habit we are ever going to get away from I think!

We had a special delivery of food from friends, dropped off at a distance. A lifesaver, fresh fruit, eggs, ( I love eggs!) chips (salt and vinegar, how did they know?) beer and fixings for cat food. We make our own cat food, might explain the giant size of our feline companions;) ha! Thank you Joanne and Trevor! And a wine delivery, and more beer, never hurts, it could be used as an antiseptic right? 😉 Thank you Regan and Sheila:) All with good social distancing and lots of hand washing:) whew…one really has to think constantly about what to touch, how to touch and where to touch, as well as WHO to touch! ha! Settle down Mike!

We’ve watched the ice recede, then come back with nights below freezing but today, the wind is howling and suddenly, it is gone, all pushed down the lake to the South. Small lake icebergs are floating past in the stiff Northerly wind, all piling up at the end, sorry Judy! I hope your end of the lake doesn’t look like Antarctica! I sat and watched the sunset last night, the concrete was a very cold seat but the beauty was a balm to our troubling times:)

Have I mentioned just how happy the traveling Mewberries are? They are ecstatic, not only do they not have to share us with ANYBODY, they get to go out for long walks, Groot gets to run free and there is a tremendous amount of flying up and down trees and gallivanting in the bunkie, racing up and down and general mischief making! How happy they are!

Nights are pretty quiet after all this commotion! The furball kids fall asleep pretty quickly except for Rocket who seems to get a 2nd wind, much to the consternation of his older sister, resulting in a lot of hissing and “can you just piss off”…hahahaha!

Not the clearest shot but so cool to see three bald eagles on a lake berg;)

Waiting for warmer days myself. I did some raking and cleaning, my oregano and lemon thyme have survived the winter:) Happy face! Today the wind is howling and although it is sunny, and we got to see three bald eagles, a parent and two juveniles. The lake berg (a new word: ice lake shelf/floe, not FLOW I just discovered! ha!) that was on the lake this morning where the bald eagles were resting, is going, going, gone! Wowza! That happened fast!

This afternoon, quarantine day 8 is sunny, windy and cold but bye bye ice! Temperature are going to be above zero tonight and by the weekend it will be balmy, for us, for this time of year! Saludos amigos! Only 6 days to go of quarantine! Stay tuned for replacing the water pump “IN” the trailer, things happen in threes, what could be next!…I don’t want to know! hahaha! The Purolator guy knows exactly where we live now:)

Quarantine day 5

Birthday breakfast was in order for my better half, servant Mike to the traveling, I mean, sedentary Mewberries…I wanted to make Eggs Benedict, for Mike as well as myself, this goes both ways these delicious things but lo and behold, no English Muffins in the pantry so off to an amazing book my cousin Bronle gave us about both the history of these baked goods and the recipes over the ages…hilarious and yum!

Something about quarantine brings out the food cravings, you want what you can’t have;) Not sure what he gets for his birthday dinner but for desert-Creme Caramel of course:) The clouds and rain and even a few thunder claps that shook the trailer bring out that comfort food hankering:)

Still some juggling going on with our water system, not yet in place. Our older pump is getting tired so ordered a new pump through Canadian Tire but has not arrived yet, we did get our mailbox back up when no one was around in case it arrives via delivery slip. A series of hoses should get water to the trailer, if not we can pack it in buckets, not the preferred way;)

The mists and fog moved in later in the afternoon, it created a beautiful landscape of appearing and disappearing shorelines. Little by little the ice is fading away, every day there is a bit more water in the bays:) Just waiting for the sun now:) It won’t be long! We are so lucky to have each other in these strange and uncertain times. Our wonderful traveling Mewberries are a constant source of amusement and we have had so many kind offers from friends for anything we need. For now, I am trying to avoid the news and search for hope in our shared humanity and our relationship with this amazing planet. Saludos amigos!

14 day Quarantine…heaven!

The beeps and warnings are still ringing on our phone, sometimes twice a day, English and French, mandatory quarantine for all those returning from ANYWHERE that is not Canada…how hard is that? Jezzus murphy! Are you stupid you returning Canadians? They must be having a huge problem to have these warnings every day….we know of a few not following the rules, incredibly sad and stupid from people who should know better. Ah, humanity:(

The Canada Customs was polite and to the point, explaining himself clearly, expressing the importance of complete self quarantine for 14 days. After looking at passports, registrations and cats papers we were on our way in less than 5 minutes, it seemed to last forever;)…and just like that, home territory. We waved towards the horses as we passed Plum Hollow!

We did make one stop after the Western Village RV Park in Carlisle, PA. The closest RV park we could find, open, to the border. Sandy is the front lady at Shady Rest Campground in Uniondale, Pennsylvania. She is a delight and gets A+ in distancing and helpfulness. We stopped here on our way South last Fall. Busiest Spring they have ever had she exclaimed from more than 6′ away! All Canadians, fancy that;)

The road into the cottage was clear with a few patches of snow in the shade and a bump where the snow plow had left a pile. Mike powered over it backwards and we wound our way back onto our gravel pad. It was a bit soft but he did as best he could as the ground is still so wet. He gets an A+, not only for the amazing backing ability all the way down Slack Way but for the 5,553 kilometers of driving! Thanks sweetie! You rock!…and here we are…we were unhitched and plugged in, power on in the cottage and bunkie before the first big raindrops began to Fall…perfick…;)

The next morning the sun was shining-the cats were so keen to go out they were lined up at the door after watching the squirrels and birds since light;)

The traveling Mewberries (perhaps renamed the sedentary Mewberries for now;) knew exactly where they were, the tails were trilling and the meows were meowing! Gamora ran straight for the bunkie door after exploring outside! Let me IN! and she climbed up into the rafters and ran back and forth, her favourite game. Groot stalked a few squirrels and Rocket just had a bewildered happy look and couldn’t decide where to go, or what to sniff. Fabulous quarantine companions! Beezil fell fast asleep…the old man needed rest. It was a hard trip on him, glad he didn’t come home in the freezer;) really, that was the option!

We are stocked up on staples from way back, wanting to avoid as much contact with anyone in the US and we’ve had many lovely offers of food deliveries from friends. We have an app we can order food online at the local supermarket so I think we will be fine, and get a bit inventive with what we do have;) The bird feeders are up and the locals are back. A group of three Turkey vultures scared the cats, big tails, especially Rocket. We’ll keep an eye out for Asgard, our Raven as well. I can hear the geese returning and a fabulous flock of Tundra Swans flew over us this morning!

Mike saw a beautiful fat Otter on the edge of the lake who dove in and went under the ice. We’ll keep an eye out for the minks that we saw hanging out under the cottage in the Fall. It is quiet here, not much human activity, so lovely. We will watch the ice melt in the next few weeks, where it was open yesterday, it froze completely last night with the temperatures falling to -4 Celsius (26° Flintstone scale). The trailer was warm and cozy all night with minimal heat, we are thinking the new roof and the resealing of all the air conditioners and hatches has made a huge difference. I did drag myself out of bed at sunrise, it was spectacular coming through the trees but I didn’t last long outside in my bathrobe;) soon though, it will change. We’ll keep you posted on the locals and keeping the kids amused for the next little while. Fingers crossed we don’t develop sore throats or fevers…every cough makes us jump a bit but I’ve had my stress cough for months, it’s a family genetic thing I think, and life goes on. Saludos amigos, stay warm and healthy and we’ll keep you posted when the sun comes back out, we’re headed for a weekend of heavy rain! Hasta la vista from quarantine;)

I must be tired, I forgot where we were last night…

Part of the journey. The old cat requires a lot of TLC. Fed every three hours or he gets sick, so yes, clean up that vomit, better to get up and feed him. Damn, like little kids, as we get old we simply revert. But that look of adoration, when he pushes on my face, ( yes, sometimes covered in his last meal I hadn’t had the chance to clean off)…sigh…melts my heart and the care continues. We’ve had friends say “Why don’t you just put him down?” Would you do that to an old relative, or child? He’s not in pain, he jumped over my head on the bed yesterday, the CBD seems to be helping with his mobility…Beezil, 20 years old and almost 5 months old…wow…he blows my mind where a persistent stance on life can take you. I bow in your honor, and yes, I’m going to get you some more food, warmed, just right, just how you like it…We are cat slaves, I wouldn’t have it any other way;)

I just want for him to make it back to Canada, He lost an eye tooth this last week, I keep telling him two more jumps, and we all can rest, will rest, 14 day quarantine for us and all our friends sake, and we have built in entertainment…cats! It has been a long drive, not the one we expected. No birthday dinner for Mike in New Orleans, distancing ourselves from people who seem to not have a care in the world, oblivious to what is going on around them…shocking, and appallingly selfish. I think that is part of this country’s psyche sadly. We have started rating places on how they react.

Four hours later from Paul B. Johnson State Park we arrived at the check in for Oak Mountain State Park-A+-distancing, gloves staff get a big virtual high five, campers do not…socializing, campfires, idiots…D- to boot, our spot was so uneven our door side tires were 6″ off the ground and there were other spots open, we also had to pay for two nights, as it was the weekend, we left in the morning…Cats were sad, they love the forest, time to move on!

We were treated to a glorious afternoon of sun and even some in the morning, warms the soul:) The wildflowers are harder to find the further we move North. It is heartening to know they will eventually arrive! The trees here were just starting to leaf out and a few blooms could be seen. The spiderweb was amazing!

The next jump was well over 4 hours and thirty minutes, almost 300 miles to the other side of Knoxville, Sevierville, Tennessee. We stopped here on the way down and knew it was a quiet stop and another A+ for social distancing. The lady in the office pointed to the window where our site map and receipt were taped outside…no human interaction! Jesus was looking out for them from the roof;) It rained hard overnight and we discovered ourselves in a pool of water in the morning, no morning cat walking…

We had one more 4 plus hour drive to get us into Virginia. The KOA off the I 81 was another previous stop we knew so we had a night booked there. By now the names were starting to run together and the scratched off names on the calendar had left no room for the new stops…so many changes 0_0….at least the sun had come out!

The Natural Bridge KOA got a flunking grade D- for check in. No gloves, no distance, sign here, I held my breath, (I bring my own pen always)…I did manage to buy a roll of quarters and used all three machines to get the last few weeks laundry done, all by myself:) Here not much blooming either and no leaves on any of the trees. It was a lovely warm afternoon. Our next door neighbour engaged Mike in conversation from a distance, outside smoking his cigarette, complaining that “Dollyville” was closed and what were they going to do….go back to Ohio buddy!

There wasn’t a leaf on a tree but the Woodpeckers were very busy. You could hear them from far pecking at trees. What beautiful creatures they are! Saw a Hairy Woodpecker but he evaded me and the camera:) There were a number of distracting and tasty looking squirrels as well Rocket mentioned;)

“That is a tasty looking squirrel!”says Rocket

The next jump…much shorter into Pennsylvania. I was starting to get stupid, OK, left myself open for that..stupider;) ha! Just tired. When my dyslexia kicks in Mike knows I’m running on empty;) “Do you want the heat seater turned on in the truck?” and other famous sayings;) Flip flopping all those words around:)

Western Village RV Park got great grades for social distancing-no one was there, or they were locked behind the door I later discovered. A half dozen maps and names were taped to the outside wall. A+. Funny how many Quebec and Ontario plates we saw blowing past us on the freeway…in a hurry and all headed North:) I did have to call the office to pick up a package, which they put on top of the ice machine for me to pick up after I’d inquired if it was there:) Dusty and Maya’s and their barn mates vaccines:) Nothing really picture worthy here. In the final days here of a long needed rest and at least 14 day quarantine. Gray skies and leafless trees, drizzle and wind…almost there I keep telling Mike, almost there. We’ll let you know tomorrow! Saludos amigos and stay safe and distant! Looking forward to this….

Mi-ssi-ssi-pp-i

Only the turtles were practicing “social distancing” here…all I said was “Hi turtles!” and they instantly disappeared! Smart turtles!

It seems you can’t come to a state park here without a lot of toys. Mostly fancy golf carts with chrome rims that you spend hours driving around, be it a group of teenagers, old folks, or somewhere in between, social distancing has not dawned on these people…0_0…at least some kids were riding bikes!

We didn’t actually get to Mississippi right from Texas. We spent a night in Lafayette, ah, images of “True Blood” there, at a KOA pretty much right on the I 10. Luckily they shuffled us to the back by the lake, you could still see the I 10, and count the cars and trucks going by, perhaps we should have stayed to the front. The trailer beside us had an outdoor pen with 4, extremely small barky dogs, the kind I would like to strangle. I love dogs, but these 4 would bark if I moved in OUR trailer, let alone try to go outside…ah, if only they would give me the powers of “Q”…one day, that is all I ask, many dogs would become barkless…how I loved our Basenji. People are assholes as well. Why leave them outside, where people like me want to strangle them…you can tell we are getting tired can’t you:) well, have a nice day ya’all….so you can tell the KOA was a memorable spot;) the pen is mightier than the sword:) one word…Google reviews;)..anyway, back to Mi-ssi-ssi-pp-i (my first guitar songbook was Bobby Gentry’s Ode to Billy Joe so I have a lot of her songs stuck in my head;)…Paul B Johnson State Park as 221 miles, 3 hours and 21 minutes from there. Finally heading North! Yeah!

It is a bit of a windy road but nothing drastic to get into this park, past a water overflow area and a few cabins and pull through sites until we got to loop B. No one ever came to check us out the two days we were there, no one was at the booth to check in…social distancing…Good!

Too bad most of the folks here were just going about their park visit as if nothing was happening. We kept our distance:) ah, to not have a care in the world….maybe they were counting on God. Lot’s of evidence of that here, proclaimed on the front of RV’s, in the RV windows, and on their sterns, is that what you call an RV back or end? Also no alcohol or open carry, on the beaches;) Good ideas in pairs!

Our first day here was lovely, no neighbours except a quiet elderly Ohio couple until a toy hauler moved in with two large dogs on 30′ leashes tied to trees outside that barked whenever you moved…sigh, I am cursed by barking dogs this trip. Usually in parks we don’t have too much of that, not here:(

At least there were also a lovely spattering of wildflowers under the pines and along the lake! Haven’t been able to ID many but I’ll keep looking online!

I really couldn’t get much history or information on the park online, other than it is close to several football, or baseball fields, and an Army camp/base…that’s exciting stuff:) ha! A walk around the shoreline revealed some interesting plants and a few lovely bugs!

On the freeway and highway on the road in the Wisterias blooming are amazing. They climb hundreds of feet into the trees, a splash of colour against the pale grey branches and trunks that have not leafed out. I tried to grow one in Baja but the cows kept eating it! There was a spectacular bloom along the road. Stunning!

There is so much beauty around us. At times recently hard to concentrate on it with the incredibly alarming news coming from all corners of the world, yet here, nature goes on being nature, nonplussed by our pandemic. We have tried to limit our exposure to people and places not practicing safe distance and cleanliness. Gloves on, hand washing, wiping everything down. We hope that is enough to protect us but I can’t help but feel in the South there is going to be a horrible explosion of this virus after watching the nonchalant manner people are responding to it. It is very distressing. We made a decision to pick up the pace to head North and back to Canada. Sat down, new game plan each stop. Taking into account the 20 year old cat and how tiring driving a big rig can be.

A few minutes of squirrel watching was good for the soul:) The cats agreed:) After the toy hauler and large tethered barking dogs appeared they said they were ready to go, “Park bad, too many big dogs” the traveling Mewberries all chimed in;) I agreed! Next stop…Alabama, not sweet home, but Alabama none the less;) Stay tuned!

It’s a long ways across Texas!

272 miles from South Llano State park to the North of San Antonio then East to another park. Cities..sigh, really bad roads and miles and miles of construction, people who can’t merge and really bad signage. Only got tuned around once, a trucker behind us as well! We sighed a huge sigh a relief as we left San Antonio behind on our way to Stephen F. Austin State Park. I thought I’d made a reservation but the internet was so bad at South Llano we could barely connect, it must have timed out, no Verizon, T-Mobile or ATT, except at the rangers office and we were not willing to hang out with the happy Texas crowds there. When we arrived the chipper, but tired ranger (third shift filling in for absent workers she said) had one spot left #32. We’ll take it. She warned us she had moved someone out because of the construction noise, building new restrooms she commented, not a problem, it’s almost time to quit! Perhaps the 6 million dollar man would take care of things, it was his park right? 😉 Ha!

As we arrived into the pull through spot #32 and started to set up, the beauty, then the wave of heat and humidity that hits you when you open the door…ugh! We have at this stop left the SW behind. I did not inherit my mother’s non sweating genetics, she must have deep South (and the family does) blood, instead, I got my fathers ability to break out in a sweat at anything over 15% humidity. Rivulets of sweat at the slightest exertion. Mike wonders why these are NOT my favorite stops;) ha! There was construction going on, the entirely Mexican group of concrete guys were happily finishing their job on the new bathroom floors, “guey” this and “guey” that:) I’m always happy when I hear Spanish:)

I think I’ll try to include maps of these State Parks in the future:) Another named park, who is this Stephen F. Austin, and no, not related to Lee Majors;) According to the park website: “The park is on the Brazos River, near an old ferry crossing. It is part of the Commercio Plaza de San Felipe. San Felipe was the seat of government of the Anglo-American colonies in Texas.

The Brazos River from the Barred Owl Trail-muddy and again with signs of recent flood damage. Trails and lookouts are closed due to erosion

Stephen F. Austin, the “Father of Texas,” brought the first 297 families here to colonize Texas under a contract with the Mexican government. From 1824 to 1836, San Felipe de Austin was the capital of the American colonies in Texas. It was also the social, economic and political center.

Austin and other famous early Texans lived in San Felipe. It was the home of Texas’ first Anglo newspaper (the “Texas Gazette,” founded in 1829) and a Texas postal system. The Texas Rangers formed here, as well. Stephen F. Austin began colonizing Anglo-Americans in Texas in difficult conditions.

Due to his work, about 5,000 people obtained around 1,540 land grant titles. Austin’s original colony was the first, most famous, and most successful of the empresario grants from Mexico. Austin worked tirelessly to make his colony a success. When Texans grew dissatisfied with Mexican rule, he used his talents to fight for independence.

Stephen F. Austin wrote in July 1836: “The prosperity of Texas has been the object of my labors, the idol of my existence, it has assumed the character of a religion, for the guidance of my thoughts and actions, for fifteen years.” Betcha he wasn’t popular with the Mexicans;)

Stephen F. Austin State Park protects 473 acres of wetland and hardwood forest. It is not a large park but beautiful, and humid. I walked the Barred Owl trail, looking for Barred Owls of course but just dozens of elusive Cardinals and a plethora of wildflowers that I had no idea what they were:) I did look most of them up! This website is perfect: Texas Wildflowers.

After the last few jumps stretching the legs was a necessity but that humidity…yikes! The wildflowers were beautiful. The bracket fungus on the trees was amazing, especially the yellow clump.

The cats I must say thought it was a perfect spot. The next morning with the new bathroom floor poured there was no construction noise at all and the cats had a frolic in the grass and a great time watching the incredibly fat squirrels. I tried to tempt the cardinals in but they were having nothing of it! The Eastern Fox Squirrels were quite happy to help themselves. Do you know that squirrel hunting ranks third in popularity among hunters in East Texas? Squirrel stew? Squirrel nuggets? I’m not kidding here, check out the recipe, squirrel stew with paprika and greens…There is an entire paper written about them and their loss of habitat: Fox Squirrel Management of east Texas….who knew? Especially about the stew….

The look we got when we were packing up to leave was sad…Four very long kitten faces. Especially after I told them about the squirrel stew possibilities;) One more jump we told them, then we stop for a day or more in Mississippi! That would make 5 jumps in a row of 250 miles or more…time for a break! Stay tuned as we make it out of Texas into Louisiana (third most cases of corona virus, not that I’m counting…0_0) and Mi-ssi-ssi-pp-i!

We don’t want to leave! Someone mentioned squirrel stew!

Apocalyptic highway #285 New Mexico and East to Texas

The morning came and no tornadoes, just a steady drizzle. We got to experience our first virus Armageddon buying as we stopped by a local grocery store in Carlsbad at 9 am to find the parking lot packed, pickup trucks circling like hungry wolves looking for a spot to pull into. Tempers seemed normal, no one wildly raging, politeness ensued which was a relief, wasn’t quite sure what it would be like in the store. No toilet paper or paper towels…what is wrong with people? We tried to keep our distance, 6 feet, and get a few necessities, cat chicken mostly. The younger traveling Mewberries can eat anything but the old guy needs his raw chicken, we grind it up ourselves and felt lucky to find some, oh, and wine, I think I will needs lots of wine in the upcoming weeks;) Couldn’t wait to get back to the trailer…sigh…things are changing rapidly. We looked over our state park schedule and started thinning it out. The emails of park closures were coming in so time to pick up the pace!

We took the traveling Mewberries for a quick walk before our departure. Rocket flushed out a few of these beautiful quail and I ran back in the drizzle for my camera. They are gorgeous! Scaled Quail. a first for me I think! Funny how all quail sound and fly alike:) Rocket was then nearly attacked by a large dog in a space in front of us, asswipe just let his dog out, no leash, it chased a jogger yesterday…grrrr….I called the office and had a rant, “Oh yes, we know him, not the first time” they said…Mike said not to rattle the cage, this is America, land of guns. I was pissed off…hell hath no furry like a mad woman;) It was the “oh yeah, we’ll talk to him again” that really ended up pissing me off more. Boot his ass out! but no, these oil workers are their bread and butter at this park. Time to get the hell out, little did we realize the sad and ominous scenes that lay heading South on the 285.

Flare stack after flare stack on each side of a muddy dirty road where a constant battle of 18 wheelers vied for the passing lanes every few miles. It felt like a scene out of Mad Max. The road looked like it was in a constant state of repair. Our windshield wipers were on not for the drizzle but the mud being flung up on us with each passing tanker or container truck. Endless rows of bleak dirt RV parks and temporary housing lined the roads for the oil workers in the area. Made the KOA seem like the Ritz Carlton! Just before Pecos at the 302 the trucks all seemed to disappear going East but the bad road did not. It felt like the Baja swerve and miss the pot holes or lose a tire type of road. Well, we won’t be back on this one again! Yikes! Even the cats looked at us wild eyed…”What the hell was that, we’re not camping here are we look!” Hey, I learned the first rodeo was held in Pecos (according to them), that was not worth the drive;)

We stopped at the Fort Stockton RV Park just North of the 10 for the night. We unhitched and headed back to town to diesel up for the next day and to check something. At the grocery store the panic buying was hardly evident. Yes to the no toilet paper or paper towels but the other shelves were fully stocked. Texans are tough, too big and bad for viruses….0_0…very very bad Indie, very, very bad. The lackadaisical approach most were taking was a bit horrifying. We stocked up on more chicken for the cats, wine (could be used as a disinfectant no? in my stomach;) and tried to keep at least 6 feet away from these foolish souls! The rain clouds opened while I was in shopping and a deluge of water came from the sky. The town streets turned into rivers as we made our way back to the RV park soaked. We were rewarded with a beautiful rainbow, and enough water to clean off the back window so we could see out!

In the morning we headed East on the interstate bound for South Llano River State park 218 miles away. Located about 6 miles South of Junction, Texas it was a place we had bookmarked, or I had. It had mentioned birders…well, if you like Cardinals, this is the place for you. Maybe its just the hill country but there were dozens, everywhere! The bird blinds were closed due to the Corona Virus but I could still peek over the fence for a few familiar guys:) The Cardinals were fighting their window reflections at the trailer:)

A bit of Park History from the park page: Walter White Buck, Jr. moved to this area with his family in 1910 when he was 18 years old. They lived in the house that is now park headquarters, and the younger Buck took over the family ranch after his father died. Buck felt strongly about con­ser­ving the land. After his father died, he reduced his 1,000 head of sheep, goats and cattle by nearly half. Eventually, he ran only 125 head of cattle, which he later sold. Caring for the land and not overgrazing his livestock allowed him to survive a five-year drought in the 1950s.  

In two of the best years, Buck harvested 75,000 pounds of pecans. He enjoyed caring for the pecan trees, which included both native and cultivated varieties. (that explains what the trees are and why the squirrels are so fat;)ha!)

A bachelor all his life, Buck used to say that this land was his one great love. He do­nated his whole property to Texas Parks and Wildlife Department in 1977 for wild­life conservation or park purposes. The park opened in 1990.

South Llano River State Park expanded from about 600 acres to 2,600 acres in 2011, when the Walter Buck Wildlife Management Area became part of the state park. This backcountry area offers hiking, moun­tain biking, and primitive camping.

The park is home to one of the largest turkey roosts in Cen­tral Texas. Turkeys roost from Oct. 1 through March 31. The day use area is only open from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. during these months, so that humans don’t disturb the roosting turkeys. I did not see a single turkey:) but we only did one hike past the river:) I can see why the campground is a LONG way from the Llano River. Evidence of severe flooding is everywhere, including the town of Junction where a major bridge was mostly swept away…

The news from everyone had us stop and rethink about moving our booties along a bit faster back to Canada. Word of possible border closing (to tourists, not us Canucks) was hinted at so we went to the office and canceled our next two nights and decided to head East as quickly as the old cat would let us:) We also were receiving cancellations from Louisiana at our park stay South of New Orleans. Turns out they are turning it into an isolation center for the virus the Reserve America operator told me…time to high tail it out we decided! We were feeling a little stressed….the sight of several Nine-banded armadillos just at dark sure gave us a smile. So cute! No shots, too dark but they were burrowing around in the grass looking for grubs and waddled off when we went out to look at them. Texas speed bumps someone said they called them:( The idiots outside with their smoking campfires in 85° heat should have been the speed bumps instead, what is wrong with people?

Groot, Gamora and Rocket looked a bit crestfallen as we prepped to leave. This is a traveling Mewberries approved park. With grass, and trees and paths and lots and lots of BIRDS! It is also a Dark Sky Park which is wonderful. No lights anywhere!

But there won’t be any socializing with the telescopes for now, just social distancing:) We were surprised to see so many people’s cavalier attitude towards the news again here….stay tuned for bit more of Texas before we get to head North! Saludos amigos-I’ll be socializing with the birds and wildflowers only for now!

We’ll be socializing with the birds from now on;) as usual;)

Should we stay or should we go….

It’s not too far a drive from Rockhound State Park in New Mexico to Oliver Lee Memorial State Park, 132 miles, two hours and a bit from the I 10 to the base of the Sacramento Mountains via the 70. Past the White Sands Missile Range, we have our area 51 parking permit we should be OK;) and past White Sands National Monument. It wasn’t the nicest day, clouds, rain and an occasional sun shower. We couldn’t secure a reservation at the park, but decided to go anyway, there might be something. The park is South of Alamogordo by about 8 miles. We circled around the two loops once we got there, everything with electric and water was gone, there are only 15 of those but found site 19, one of the 23 budget sites (as I call them, just dirt, nothing else) and squeezed Myrtle in for the night, or two we thought, depending on the weather.

Cats had a great walk in the drizzle, lots to sniff, more pokey stuff they said, these darn desert landscapes:) After we had the generator set up we sat deciding what we were going to do, go for a walk (in the rain), go diesel up, nap(?) when a knock came at the door from a nice lady saying she was the park manager, and they were closing down as of 2 pm the following day due to the corona virus fears…sigh…really? We later found out the parks are open for day use, but not camping. So bunches of people walking the paths are less of a contamination than solitary campers, like us;) no arguing, just threw a monkey wrench into my carefully laid out State Parks plans across Texas and Louisiana….