Saturday, December 19, 2009

Best of Friends

Spinner is a re-homed Jack Russell Terrier and his new home is with our friends Dock and Lori. Spinner and Guinness have become best of friends and love playing together. We had a visit from Dock, Lori and Spinner today and after playing hard all afternoon, Spinner and Guinness decided to put together a picture to wish everyone Merry Christmas. They're in the spirit, too.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Another Good Day

Every day here is a good day. Some are just better than others. What makes one better? Well, maybe we were more productive that yesterday? Maybe it was warmer? Maybe we just lazed around? No matter, all days are good here.

We woke to a temperature of 33F/0.5C. That is very cold here. We already knew of the freeze warning so we made our preparations the night before with our plants and other things regarding the RV's safety. Some hot coffee and a great cheese omelet and bacon breakfast made the start of our day hearty.

I was off to Lowe's early to pick up a few things to finish the electrical upgrade for the RV. We currently have 20 ampere service and the RV requires 30 amperes. The breakers had tripped often this past summer and had continued to do so since we arrived last week. To correct the problem I needed to add a 30 ampere breaker to the main electrical panel and install a 30 ampere connector for the RV electrical cable.

With all the materials in hand I began the installation. Keep in mind my entire adult life has been working with electricity, of one form or another, and I was very careful with the installation and made sure I followed the local electrical codes. I took my time and after an hour or so we had our full electrical service. That made it a good day in itself.

Meantime, Joyce had been doing some more clearing and burning and in between she made sure Guinness was getting his exercise. Once I had finished with the electrical upgrade she asked me to sit and rest for a while. We did that while sipping a small adult beverage in front of a nice fire she had made in our block fireplace. It was almost 4 PM and the temperature was already dipping back into the 40s. Nice and warm, dog at our feet, sun going down and we are here.

Now isn't that another good day? Every day is a good day here.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Dibilitated Doodle

Yesterday was an all day rain. Guinness was cooped up in the trailer except for the times he had to go out to potty. He was very good and took advantage of his down time by sleeping most of the day.

This morning, however, was a different story. The day broke clear and crisp and all he wanted to do was run and play. Well, we accommodated him. Between our chores, we threw his ball and Frisbee many, many times. We had to make him take breaks which he does on command and needs, for he does not know when to stop. By the late afternoon, he was running and jumping noticeably slower and with more effort. Good. He needs and enjoys the exercise.

He'll sleep well tonight.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Living Large

We are pretty much set up the way we want. There are a few more minor things we need to do, but for now we are comfortable. From now on we will be just doing house keeping, brush clearing and relaxing.

The weather has been great with the highs in the 60F-70F (15C-21C) range and the lows at night in the 40F-50F (4C-10C) range. During the cooler periods and at night we have a small electric heater that works quite well in our small space. This saves us from using the RV heater which runs on propane. Electricity here is much cheaper than propane and almost one quarter the price as electricity in Maryland. We still keep it cool (62F/16.5C) and wear our sweats in the evening.

We are having an all day rain event so we will be having a down day and just do some reading and listening to some quite music. Even Guinness is enjoying the relaxing.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

We're Home!!!

Finally. We departed Maryland early on the 22nd and arrived at the Ft. Stewart campground late the same day. We spent the week with our friends and made preparations for our move back to Berry Oaks at the end of the week. We and five other couples from the campground had our Thanksgiving Day meal with the troops of the 3rd Infantry Division at their mess hall on Ft. Stewart. What a treat to share that special day with those amazing soldiers.

This morning we packed up and made the 35 mile journey to Berry Oaks and began setting up. Our friends, Dock and Lori, helped us with that chore and made it quite a bit easier. We are pretty much set up, but we still have a day or two to get where we want to be. More to come when we get there. WE"RE HOME!!!!!!!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

On The Road Again...

Oh how we love to be on the road again,
The life we love is seeing what's
around the bend....
We love being on the road again.

Monday, November 16, 2009

In Preparation For Next Month

I was never a politically correct person. Maybe this is the reason I did not advance farther while working as a civil servant, but so what. I did not throw away my principals just so I could be seen as one who did not offend everyone. That being said, the following video is exactly how I feel on this subject. If the reader thinks they will be offended, do not play it and go to another blog, otherwise, enjoy.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Thank You

Nearly Useless Factoid
by Suzanne Kubota

A Useful Factoid today: according to the Census Bureau, there are "over 23 million veterans in the U.S." Find one. Shake a hand, give a hug, buy them a cup of coffee. Any little thing to say "thank you for your service."

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Another Surprising Genealogical Find

The last post dealt with the Berry clan finding a cousin who is quite famous. This came as a surprise to almost all of us, although, many had it in the back of their minds simply because he is a Berry. The same question has been asked on our mother's side for the Mitchell family.

The Mitchells of this line were early settlers of Georgia. They had come from Orange County in North Carolina in the late 1820s with the aspirations of getting land that had just opened up in the Cherokee and Creek Territories. The Government had taken the land from the Native Americans and made it available through land lotteries. The Mitchells got some of this land and settled in and around Fayette and Henry counties. It seemed the Berrys who migrated from the same area in North Carolina and at the same time received land there, also. It was not frowned upon at that time for cousins to marry one another, especially if the cousins had different family names.

Fayette and Henry counties are due south of what now is the Atlanta Metropolitan area. Our parents and their parents grew up in these counties and after their marriage began their family there, too. There were many stories from the Mitchell side that a famous person was a distant cousin of theirs, but no one could prove it so it largely went as wishful thinking. During my early research on the Berry side, I found an ancestor, a great-great grandmother who was a Mitchell. It seemed odd that both sides of our family had the same Mitchell name, but at that time I dismissed it as coincidence. That was until this past January when I decided to see if there was some sort of ancestral link there.

I began with the information I had gathered through several years of research and information my cousin Fred had provided me. Through I was able to prove the Mitchell lineage back 6 generations. In doing this, I was able to match a Mitchell grandfather to both of our parents. It turned out they were fourth cousins and did not ever know it. This, again, was not uncommon.

During this process of building the Mitchell family tree, I came upon an unexpected correlation within the family lines. Our parents shared the same great-great-great grandfather, John Hinchey Mitchell. Their great-great-grandfathers, Jonathan and Thomas were brothers. While researching John Hinchey Mitchell, I became aware of his siblings, one in particular named William Mitchell. While William is a common name, it rang a bell in the back of my mind so I began to build a tree for his descendants. Bingo. I found it. William's son Isaac, had a grandson by the name of Eugene.

Most of the Mitchell clan in Georgia were farmers. We knew of no one who had risen much beyond that. Some had begun their own businesses, but none became big captains of industry or extremely wealthy. One Mitchell did, however, make herself quite infamous by writing a book. It was Eugene Mitchell's daughter. Her name was Margaret Mitchell and the book was called "Gone With the Wind".

Let us hope our next find and/or surprise will remain those who have become prominent. But I suspect there are some scallywags in the group, too.

Withdrawn From Contest

Regrettably, I have had to withdraw from the contest. Hopefully, I will re-enter in a later one. Thank you all for your support.

I have entered the "Cutest Labradoodle Contest." Please vote for me. You can do that by clicking on my picture on the left. It will take you to the voting web page. When there click beside my name and then click the red "Vote Now" button. This contest lasts for the whole month of November so I need you to vote often. You can vote every two hours. I am already in the lead, but I need those votes to stay there. What if I win? I get my picture on the page and two bags of doggie treats. And how I love those treats. Thanks for your support.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Surprising Genealogical Findings

As most of you know, I am very into, not obsessed, with genealogy. I have spent quite a bit of time researching both sides of my family. My cousin Fred got me into it first with research he had done on our mother's side, the Mitchell family. Later on my cousin Martha, whom I first met in 1990 at a Berry reunion in Georgia and the first family reunion I had ever attended, got me into researching my dad's side. I was amazed at the complexity of it all.

Many years later and with little progress I received an email from another cousin, Martha, who was a Berry family researcher in Georgia. Georgia is where my family came from. During the depression, our parents traveled north looking for steady work and found it in Manchester, New Hampshire. Manchester was where I and my younger brother were born. My two older brothers had been born in Griffin, Georgia. At the time Martha contacted me, I had no idea from where my Berry ancestors had originated.

Martha mentioned another family reunion in Cullman, Alabama and gave me another cousin, Jo, to contact. I did and both I and my brother made arrangements to attend. While at that reunion, Jo mentioned a reunion near Hillsborough, North Carolina. Hillsborough, it seems, was close to the original home site of a Robert and Elizabeth Berry. These Berry ancestors were thought, at that time, to be the originating ancestors of all our Berry families. She gave me another cousin's name, Ben, to contact there.

We attended the event with Jo and other cousins from Georgia and I heard of a Berry DNA Project that several of our cousins had participated in. I made arrangements immediatley to join this project. I was the third participant from this Berry line. Since then, nine more participants have joined and the results from these findings have drawn together many lines of Berry families to the one Robert and Elizabeth Berry of Orange County, North Carolina.

The DNA method is a finalization step in genealogy. It validates the research one has done. It does not take its place, however. One of the participants of the project came to us as a very big surprise. Most of the children of Robert and Elizabeth Berry migrated south through the Carolinas, Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee and west to Texas. Descendants of one of their children, though, chose to migrate north through Tennessee, Kentucky, Ohio, Illinois and west. It was from this line our DNA participant claimed to be from. With the research they had available, they could only go back a few generations and were not able to connect with any distant ancestor line. Until the results of the test came in. They matched our Berry family line and it was proven through combined research they were the descendants of Robert and Elizabeth Berry. This participant was born in Moline, Illinois. This was in the direct migration path of these Berry descendants. The big surprise was his name: Ken Berry

Ken, our entire Berry family is proud of you and your accomplishments.

In the next few days I will go into another surprising genealogical find in our family.

Sunday, October 25, 2009


One year ago today our Guinness was born.

"I've never had cake before. Awww...Mommy made a special doggie birthday cake for me.. M-m-m-m"

"I like this birthday thing. When's the next one?"

Then and Now.........HAPPY BIRTHDAY GUINNESS!!!!!!!!

Monday, September 21, 2009

While We are Remodeling...More of the Good Stuff

Again, there are so many good grass root musical groups. This one is a group of Moms and Dads in the Midwest who are preforming at a local festival. Tell me if they aren't committed to their passion: music.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Musical Berry Interests

As many of you know my brother Don and I were raised as musicians. Our Dad loved music and, I guess, we inherited that gene. We are so thankful our parents gave us the opportunity to enjoy that artistic talent. I am sure it played a major part in our success in our later lives. To a point, we still dabble in the musical world. I ran across a group that exemplifies musical talent to the highest. They use their own voices with no other accompaniments. Enjoy this.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Back and Under Pressure

We got back late Thursday night. Friday was a wash as all three of us were beat from the 14 hour trip. Saturday was putting everything away with hopes we could get it done before anyone called to show the house. No one did. Today was outside work prettying up the yard. Two months played havoc on it. Still did not get everything done so will have to finish tomorrow. No one called. Next will be some work on the inside. All of this brings to mind a song by the famous band Queen. Take a minute and enjoy it.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Almost Time to Go Back

We have been just cooling our heels since our last post. It has been very hot. The best time to do anything is early in the morning. Mostly we are doing some brush clearing, tidying up the area and some dog training. Once in a while we will venture out for a ride or a day trip but we have kept those to a minimum for the past month and a half.

Early in July and through the latter part of the month we had a rain shower mostly every afternoon. That would cool things down a bit and make the temperatures for sleeping just about right. This picture is a view out of our back window just after a storm. The latter part of July through early this week, however, was very dry and some times the temperature, here on the lot, got up to 107F/41.7C. That made it about 101F/38.3C in the trailer. The heat was probably harder on Guinness than us for he did not understand early on how to cool down. He learned quickly, though, and started to take siestas in the afternoon. At night he would come alive....very alive.

We did take a day trip to Jekyll Island beach, about 2 hours south of here. We traveled there because they allowed dogs on the beach. Our local beach at Tybee Island, 45 minutes away, does not allow pets of any kind at anytime. Guinness had not been to the beach since our outing at Dewey Beach for a Doodle Romp back in late April. At that time he was kind of wary of the water and the sound of the waves. If you look at our last post, he fell in love with the water last month. We have taken him back to the river several times and he has become very comfortable with swimming.

We arrived at Jekyll Island beach early (9 AM) and the water was like glass. No waves to speak of and the water temperature was very warm. We had Guinness on his long leash (50 ft./15m). When we got on the beach he was like a little kid seeing it for the first time. He loved it. Once we settled we went straight to the water. He wasted no time. He went right in frolicking and swimming. We had a ball for him to fetch and that was the game for the rest of the morning. He hated to leave. So did we, but by 1 PM, we had had enough.

In late July, we were able to make contact with a family who adopted one of Guinness' siblings. Her name is Lucy. Lucy's family lives about 2 hours from us in South Carolina and we made plans to go there for a brother/sister reunion. When we arrived, Lucy and Guinness did not seem to recognize each other. We had hoped their would be some sort of recognition, but there was none that we could see. Lucy was the last of nine in the litter and is quite a bit smaller than Guinness. This did not deter her, however, from making sure he knew this was her house and she was the boss. He gave her the space she needed and after a while they seemed to accept each other very well. This was very obvious when we departed for Lucy's mom was holding her as Guinness got in the truck and she seemed quite distressed that he was leaving. All in all it was a very pleasant experience and Lucy's family was exceptionally gracious and hospitable to us. The quintessential southern family.

This coastal region has excellent opportunities for the freshest of seafood. There are many shrimping companies close by and most sell their catch right off the boat. It is typical to get a pound of fresh, live shrimp, of good size, for $2.50-$4.50 per pound. We have taken advantage of that many times. Blue crabs are also abundant here. Joyce, being raised in the Baltimore area, loves here steamed crabs (covered in Old Bay seasoning of course). Over the past few years it has been difficult to find crabs in the Baltimore area that would not empty your savings account. That story is different here. Blue crabs are abundant and inexpensive. We get a dozen of mixed sizes for $10.00. Large males are $15-$18 a dozen. We have had several crab feasts of our own in the past month or so.

Being alone on this land is so peaceful. This is the first chance we have had to be here for any length of time. Prior to this we have not seen any wildlife other than a few birds and an occasional squirrel. There a tons of deer in the area and they remain elusive, although we did see one when we first arrived. Lots of fresh tracks every day, but they come through here at night while we are asleep. A raccoon has raided our trash area so we now hoist all trash into a tree until it is time to dump it. Armadillos are around, but they also come out at night.

Joyce put up a hummingbird feeder and has attracted a gathering of the tiny aviators. They are a hoot to watch. We see several hawks in the area and hear them quite often. Turkey vultures are a very common sight, also. One of our regular visitors is a pair of Pileated Woodpeckers. These are very large birds and are very loud when calling to their mates. They are beautiful. The most exciting visitor was a large Barred Owl. The picture is the best I could get with the camera I had. He sat in the tree and watched us for about an hour. He/she was gorgeous.

Next week we will be heading back to Maryland. Our efforts will be to get the house sold. We will try to do some upgrades, but they will be very limited. It doesn't seem very many homes are selling in our area yet.

Our next big trip is in October when we attend our first Army Security Agency-Philippines reunion. More on that later. The next week will be spent getting ready to pack up and head back. Ugh! We hate this part. Some day soon, though. No more heading back.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Guinness' First Swim

If you have been following Guinness' progress you might remember his aversion to going into the water. We had hoped he would, early on, be attracted to it due to the Lab in him. He had the retrieving part down real good, but, over the months, continued to dislike going into water. We worked with him over the following months and in late spring he finally started to venture in, but we believe it was still too cold for his liking.

Today we took him to a small recreation park, Morgan's Bridge, on the Ogeechee River, just 4 miles from Berry Oaks. Very convenient. It was quite warm, 97F/31C, and we hoped the lure of the cool river would overcome his fear of it. We put him on a 50 foot/ 15 meter long leash so we would have some control over him, yet, he would also have some sense of freedom. He is getting to like his freedom.

Once we were ready we led him down to the concrete boat ramp and up to the river's edge. I started to walk in and by the time I was up to my knees, to our surprise, he leaped right in and started to frolic around. Wow!!! He loved it. I immediately looked around for a stick to throw (his weakness). Finding one, I threw it in close to the shore and he went straight for it bouncing through the water. He brought it back and dropped it wanting to go again. I obliged him, again and again and again.

After a few minutes, I started to throw the stick out a bit farther and farther. Then it happened. Guinness went after the stick which, by this time, was over his head. He started to swim!!!! Those big webbed paws and his strong tail took over. He was elated. Once he returned he started to jump and became so excited he almost forgot his stick. Almost. From that point on he was like a small child at the beach. You have to drag them out.

His first few tries at retrieving the stick was a bit clumsy. He went under a couple of times, but only for a second or two. I had his leash tight and if there was a hint of trouble, I would haul him in, but no....he, very quickly, became the accomplished swimmer he was born as. And my goodness, can he swim.

We gave him a half a dozen turns of this new found play time ranging 15-20 minutes each making him take a 10 minute break in between. He was insatiable. Finally, we had to call it quits for he was struggling to bring the stick back. Of course, he did not want to quit and just like a small child we just about had to drag him out of the river.

Once he was dried off he sat and watched the other people at the park. He loves to people watch. We packed up and made the 5 minute trip back to Berry Oaks where he immediately, after a washing off and another drying, went to sleep for almost two hours. Talk about whooped. During that time I took the pictures and video that we had taken and put them all together in a short video that I have posted on You Tube (see below). We hope you enjoy it at least a fraction of how we did today. Woo Hoo!!! He's a swimmer.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Independence Day

To most of us Independence Day is July4, 1776, the day our wonderful country declared its independence from a tyrannical government. Many of us, at one time or another, experience our own personal independence day. This year we were blessed to have our own day followed by our country's Independence Day.

We departed Maryland in the wee hours of the morning on Tuesday, June 30th. It is a long ride for a straight through drive, but we made it to Savannah around 4 PM. We had a lot to do before we could settle down so we got right to work. First we had to stop by our household storage facility to pick up our 5th wheel hitch. We leave it here so we don't have to store it back in Maryland. Also, it is heavy and makes a big difference in the weight of the truck.

With the hitch on board we headed for the Ft. Stewart campground where we have stayed many times. We quickly checked in and went to our campsite. We dropped off the utility trailer (see previous post), unloaded the truck bed and installed the 5th wheel hitch. We then drove the half mile from the campsite to the 5th wheel trailer's storage area and hooked up.

The last time we had been here was back in early January. We had winterized the trailer so we had to now de-winterize it, unpack the truck and arrange the interior of the trailer. Our intention was to fit-up the trailer and get it ready to move to Berry Oaks, about a 30 mile trip from the campground. We planned on doing this on Friday, July 3rd. By the time we managed to get things a bit organized it was 9 PM. We had been up since 2 AM. We were all tired. We hit the sack without eating dinner. Too tired.

Wednesday was devoted to stocking and organizing the trailer. Thursday was a day of working at Berry Oaks to make sure we could get the trailer up into the property. It took about a half days work to clear some brush, but it looked like it would be pretty easy to get in. Tomorrow would tell if we were right. We returned to the campground and tried to make final preparations then relax a bit, but we were to excited and could barley sleep. All this time, Guinness was going with the flow.

Guinness is a riot. If you remember, his first home away from his mother and siblings was this trailer. He spent his first 5 weeks with us in it. He got very comfortable and made it his new home relatively quick. Then we moved back to Maryland to a big empty, cold house. He made that adjustment, too, in time.

We were curious as to how he would react to the trailer after being away six months. When we set up in the campsite, we let him in and watched. He seemed to immediately remember the trailer and the campground and when he first went back into it after those six months he knew he had been there. After a few minutes he settled right in and found some of his old favorite positions and places. He loves it, still!!!!!

On Friday morning we rose early and went straight to work after a hearty breakfast. Joyce set up the inside for travel while I worked the outside. We made sure the fresh water was topped off since we will not have a fresh water supply at Berry Oaks. Once we were all set we hooked up and went through our towing checklist. After pulling out of the site we headed for the campground dump station to evacuate the waste tanks. Besides not having 1.) fresh water we also do not have 2.) a waste area to evacuate the waste tanks. More about these two points later.

It took about 45 minutes to reach our destination once we were on the road. Berry Oaks is situated on a dirt road about 200 yards from a paved 2 lane road. That paved two lane road intersects with I-95 about 15 miles away. When we arrived at our driveway, Joyce climbed out to guide me in. Entering was fairly simple and we pulled up on the slight hill ready to position the trailer. We had previously surveyed the area and picked the spot where we wanted to land. This was based on several things, most importantly, the ease of situating it.

It took quite a bit longer and with more effort than we had anticipated, however, we were finally successful. I unhooked, leveled the rig and made a basic setup. Joyce would finish up and I would go back to the campground and pick up the utility trailer. Before I could get back to Berry Oaks, though, I had to first go to our household storage facility and pick up a few things.

The storage facility holds many of our useful things for the trailer. There is a 5500 watt generator (no electricity on Berry Oaks although it is wired for it), a portable waste water tank for dumping, several camping items to include water cans and a screen house as well as some other smaller items. Once I had loaded all of this onto the truck and trailer I headed back to Joyce and Guinness. It was now close to 4 PM. and I still had a lot of work to do.

I arrived back at Berry Oaks close to 5 PM., unloaded the generator and other items, then went to work hooking up the generator to the trailer. Did I mention it was 100F/38C? Seems like we are completely wet from the time we get up to the time we go to bed. I finished up what I had to do and called it quits for the evening. Joyce prepared a light meal, we dined, then took it easy for a hour or so before settling in for the night. All the time Guinness was exploring his new home. We did not let him off the long leash yet. Later.

Finally!!!!!! Our Independence Day. We are home and not relying on others to provide for us while we are here. We had been working toward this day for years and it is finally here on July 3, 2009.

We woke the next morning, after a restless sleep, to our Nation's 233rd birthday, July 4, 2009. I started the generator and we made a fantastic breakfast of eggs, scrapple and coffee. We cleaned up, took water saving hot showers and prepared ourselves to work outside to clean up the area and continue our site set-up. It was a long hot day. The temperature peaked at 101F/38.3C. We all three took it very slow and drank lots of water. We did work hard, however, and the heat took its toll. We quit early, made a few drinks and relaxed by just listening to the quiet.

Guinness was affected by the heat more than we were and we had to make sure he did not over exert himself and drink plenty of water. Fortunately, he drinks on command. That was the easier part. Keeping him settled in the heat was not so easy. All he wanted to do was play. We let him off the leash for a few periods of time, but since we could not keep our eyes on him constantly we had intervals of leash time.

We do not let Guinness off the leash hardly ever, especially at our home in Maryland. Just too risky. He knows to stay in our yard, but if sees a neighbor's child ( he loves children) he would rush to them, even across the street. Not a good idea. He is unaware and unafraid of cars. So we keep him leashed.

After another light dinner, we sat out front, listened to the distant fireworks and waited for darkness to fall. The mosquitoes are not as bad as we expected. In the past they would eat us up even with bug spray. This year, even after all the wet weather, they are scarce. Not to say they are not here. We have the bites to prove they are. But we can take it. We are hearty people from hearty ancestors. Guinness is a little wimpy, but he is learning to be a semi-self sufficient woodsy dog. Joyce had six two foot sparklers so she put them out, lit them and we sat in the dark celebrating our independence along with our Nation's birthday. Off to bed.

The next few days consisted of more clearing, cleaning and situating. Oh...plenty of play time with Guinness. We are now letting him off the leash more, but only when we have full sight of him. He loves it off the leash. He can run. He loves to explore and smell everything. He now knows this is 'his" place and he makes it known.

Guinness knows how to cool off....

We had started to run the generator every night since there was hardly a breath of a breeze inside at night. That made for very fitful sleep for all of us. The generator allowed us to run a fan and that made things so much better. What wasn't better was it was costing us a fortune to run it that long. It will run 13 hours on 7 gallons of gas. We were running it at least that long during the day and at night. That equated to about $18.00 a day in gas. We could stay at the Ft. Stewart campground for $10.00 a day. Not very cost worthy so we decided to have the electricity turned on. The next day, Wednesday, they turned it on and now we have electricity anytime at a very inexpensive rate. The generator goes back into storage.

Besides having the electricity turned on, Wednesday was dump and fill day. Remember I said we did not have fresh water or any where we could dump our sewage? Well, we have the means, but it takes some effort. We have a 42 gallon portable dump tank that sits in the back of the truck. We connect a sewage macerator to the waste tank outlet, turn it on and it pumps out our waste water to the tank. Nice and neat. Next we load a 45 gallon fresh water bladder onto the utility trailer with two additional 7 gallon water cans. Now off to the local truck stop where they let you dump and fill for free. A 34 mile round trip though. At the truck stop it take less than 5 minutes to dump and clean the waste tank and about 10 minutes to fill the fresh water containers.

When back at Berry Oaks I pull the utility trailer up close and place a fresh water pump in the bladder. This fills the trailer's 50 gallon freshwater tank quickly and empties the bladder and part of one water can. Voila! Done! All the comforts of home.

Well, that's where we are to this point. We intend to work around Berry Oaks a bit, but mainly we want to relax. Maybe do some fishing, hiking, beach time, reading, you know, the things retired people are supposed to do. Look for later updates. I am sure the adventures will continue.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Our Trailer Project

Most of you know we love camping. We do it all, primitive, traditional, up-scale and RV type (if you can call that camping). We have a small utility trailer that we sometimes use for extended camping trips. It was purchased from a dear Army friend in 1969 and we have had it ever since. In 1989 I refurbished it for the first time. It really needed it by then. Didn't do too much. Painted the frame, new lights and wiring and new wood. Well, it was time again to do a refurbishing job so I made sure I took my time. We wanted something that would stand out a bit.

I started by stripping all the wiring and wood from the frame. I then wire brushed the entire frame, painted it with two coats of primer and then three coats of Rustoleum. Next I replaced all the wiring and added new LED lights. For the wood I used exterior plywood for the deck and pine for the sides. I made the front and back removable for flexibility. All of the wood was stained with exterior "natural" stain for longevity. I repacked the wheel bearings for safety. Once the wood was cured and dried I then, today, put it all together. The pitures below shows the results. Can't wait to do our first camping trip now. Guinness loves it.

" I really need a face lift."



Sunday, June 14, 2009

Flag Day

Today is Flag Day. Wear it, wave it, display it proudly. It is YOUR Flag.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Memorial Day 2009

Please....take a moment and thank those who gave the ultimate sacrifice for us and our country. These individuals, from the conception of our great nation to the present, served our country with honor. And, also, thank those who have served, no matter in what capacity, those that are serving and those that will serve. They are the cornerstone of this great land and we owe every one of them the deepest gratitude and respect.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Guinness' Six-Month Update

Guinness turned six months old on April 25th and he is doing great. He has done a lot in the past few months and continues to be quite the character. He still has his puppy qualities, but he is slowly growing out of them. During a visit to the vet Monday, he tipped the scales at 45 pounds and stands 24 inches tall (at the shoulders). This is about a big as he will get.

His visit to the vet yesterday was for the inevitable surgery dogs his age go through. OUCH!!!!! He braved the visit and surgery well, but, when home, became very lethargic and in obvious discomfort. He slept well after taking a strong pain pill, but today seems in more discomfort than yesterday. He is sleeping a lot and that seems to comfort him. The next few days will be the worst,

but we are sure he will get through them fine in spite of the cone collar he is wearing.

Over the past month he has attended two Doodle Romps. Doodle Romp??? This is where owners of Doodles bring their dogs together and let them play. It is amazing. The first romp we attended was in the Richmond area and was held in the back yard of a Doodle owner. About 25 Doodles and their owners attended and romped for hours in the warm sun. It was hilarious to watch these dogs run, bark, wrestle and do every thing a group of small children would do. Check out the Richmond Doodle Romp below.

The second romp celebrated Guinness’ 6-month birthday. It was held at Dewey Beach, Delaware, a very dog friendly place. Since the weather was supposed to be great we decided to make it weekend of camping. We set up our camp at Delaware’s Cape Henlopen State Park. This park is a beach environment and everything was sand and pine trees. Very nice, but for the cost ($32/night) it could have been better maintained (mainly in cleanliness). We all had a great time and it seems his wariness of the ocean has disappeared. He loved the waves and the sand. We did notice, however, he did not particularly associate with the other Doodles too much. There was one particular Doodle though he took to right away. It was another Labradoodle. All of the other, near 100 Doodles, were of other mixes, mostly Golden Doodles. After speaking with the owner of this Labradoodle we found this is a trait of the breed. They like to associate with their own breed. Very strange. Regardless, the weekend was awesome and we were exhausted by the time got home Sunday afternoon. Check out the Dewey Beach Doodle Romp below.

We know Guinness loves the outdoors, especially, the woods and open fields. We took him recently to a rails-to-trails park and made a 3-mile trek up and back. This trail is all wooded and is adjacent to a small river. Again, we all had a great time and are looking forward to repeating that adventure. Since we love to ride our mountain bikes, we are looking for a bike trailer so we can all enjoy that experience. More to come on that.

With the weather getting warmer, we intend to make some trips in the convertible. He has taken one small trip in it with the top down and enjoyed it, but we were concerned about the wind in his face. More specifically, the risk of something, like a bug, hitting his eyes. We took care of that. We found a small pet shop in Lewes, Delaware that sells Doggles and we tried them on. He did not mind them and found he could stick his head out the window and enjoy it. What a dog.

Not sure what our next adventure will be, but it will certainly include all three of us. Stay tuned.

Should anyone be interested in a chocolate Labradoodle similar to Guinness, Mountain Creek Doodles just delivered a new litter of Guinness' brothers and sisters yesterday. Check them out on the link on the left side of this page.