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May 2012 - June 2012:


May 1, 2012:                          The Suburban is still running, though badly. We have been using it sparingly since we returned and verified today that we will definitely need to install a new motor. I gave Corcoran Motors the down payment so they can order in the motor. It comes out of a pickup truck that had about 80,000 miles on it, which is about the mileage that was on the last one that is now dying when it was first installed. This will be the third motor in the Suburban. The first one went almost 210.000 miles over 13 years before someone let ir run out of oil. The second one lasted 50,000 hard miles over four years. As soon as the motor arrives and he is ready to install it, I will need to take the truck in to Rochester.


May 2, 2012                           I was sitting at the dinette today and saw a fox in the swamp. I went outside and was able to grab a couple pictures, although it was pretty far off by then.


The photo is sort of grainy since it was blown up from a distant shot.


Shortly after the fox went off, our other local hunter walked by, a dark gray Manx cat.


May 3, 2012:              This afternoon and evening were devoted to taking the dogs to the vet. Last week we made an appointment in the afternoon for JoJo to get her Rabies and other vaccinations. Taz is still not doing well, so we called this morning to see if we could get her in at the same time. We had to settle for an evening appointment. JoJo got her four vaccinations and gave blood for her heart worm test. Later, Taz was examined and given some new pills to take for a week. The vet also took blood samples to run some tests to check for any other more serious problems. He took this blood at the same time he took blood for her heart worm test.


May 5, 2012:              Tonight is the night for the Super Moon. That is the combination of the moon being full and being at its perigee, or nearest distance from the earth. We had a nice campfire as we sat outside and watched the moon rise. Between last night and tonight, I have over 250 photos of the moon. The great tning about digital photography is, you can take as many photos as you want without a feeling of wasting film. Too bad for all the people in Rochester that Kodak did not see into the future at shift gears a whole lot sooner. Based on recent news, I don't think the worst is over yet for Kodak employees and the stockholders have already tanked.


JoJo is not doing well today, but we think it is just the reaction to the vaccinations rather than having the same problems taz had. The vet called today and said that Taz's blood work looked good except for a slightly elevated cholesterol. We think that may be the result of her heart medications or maybe just the heart problem itself.


This picture and the one on the right were actually taken last night, one night before perigee, when it was cloudy. I thought it created some neat photos.




The moon approximately 2 hours before perigee, shining through the trees as it comes over the hill. There were clouds when it was this low but the sky was cloud free later.


Approximately 1 hour before perigee. I couldn't be bothered to stay up until 11:34.


May 6, 2012:              I saw the fox again this morning. This time, it ran right through our campground from the South and went into the swamp to our North. It was moving too fast to allow any pictures. As it got deeper into the swamp, it was interesting to watch it choosing its path and hopping from dry spot or down tree to another dry spot so it could avoid the water.


Both dogs are actually feeling well again. We celebrated by taking them out to play ball for the first time in several weeks.


May 8, 2012:              Julie and I went to pick up the mail and get some groceries and glucosomine for the dogs. As the Suburban coughed and sputtered, we urged it on with words of encouragement. Julie decided Betsy needed her own song, since music soothes the savage "beast." (The correct term is actually "breast," but we'll use the more typically heard misnomer since we are referring to "The Beast.") We came up with the following song sung to the tune of "Davy Crockett, King of the Wild Frontier." That tune was appropriate since the name Betsy was originally applied to an inanimate object (based on historical fact) in the Disney TV series about Davy Crockett. It was the name of his favorite rifle.

Betsy, The Beast

Betsy....Betsy, The Beast, Queen of the Interstate!

She was born in Detroit in nineteen ninety-five,

Always served her Master, wherever he would drive,

She tackled Murder Hill, but couldn't handle the weight,

Lost the piston lobe on cylinder eight.

Betsy....Betsy, The Beast, Queen of the Interstate!

For twelve hundred miles she gave it her all.

Pulled our home up every hill, no matter how tall,

But that half mile peak was just a bit too high,

Almost to the top, she collapsed with a sigh.

Betsy....Betsy, The Beast, Queen of the Interstate!

The last eighty miles, she was so ashamed,

Towed all the way home like some animal tamed,

They all thought she had died and could haul no more,

Till they went looking down at the new truck store.

Betsy....Betsy, The Beast, Queen of the Interstate!

When the sticker shock settled, their plans they rethought,

Betsy might be older, but she's already bought,

Said, "We'll get another engine, that's what we will do,"

Then The Beast will haul again, almost good as new.

Betsy....Betsy, The Beast, Queen of the Interstate!


Just a little whimsy while driving.


June 2, 2012:                         What a long 18 days it has been, and no end in sight. On May 16, I took the Suburban into the shop to get the motor replaced. It is still there with no clear definition on when it will be completed. It was originally supposed to go into the shop on the 9th, hence the shopping we did on the 8th. However, the motor did not arrive until Friday the 11th and he could not start work until the middle of the following week. A week later, on the 23rd, I called to check on the status. He had the new motor in and running, but the motor was no good. It had a flaw in the head gasket and coolant was getting into one of the cylinders. Someone from the dealer he had purchased the engine from came out the next day and agreed to replace the motor, but that now involved taking this motor out and putting another one in, something I do not intend to have to pay for. The motor was supposed to get there the next day, Friday the 25th, but of course it did not get there. As of Thursday, it was due there Friday. As of Saturday morning, it was due later in the day having been sent to the wrong customer. He intends to work on it all weekend and it should be ready Tuesday or Wednesday. I am not holding my breath.


It has been a real pain not having a vehicle. Thank goodness for neighbors. Last Friday, one of our neighbors took me grocery shopping since she was also headed there. As I stood in the checkout line, it started to pour. The noise of the rain on the metal roof was deafening. One of their "helping hand" personnel held an umbrella for me as I took the groceries to the car, but it was not very effective and I and the groceries got soaked. Ten seconds (literally, ten seconds) after I got into the car and shut the door, the rain stopped and the sun came out.


I spent the last Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday cutting up a huge limb that broke off an ash tree across the road. It was about 10 inches in diameter at the end that had been attached to the tree and equaled a small tree itself. All I had to use was my small trimming saw and camp axe, but they got the job done. I did a little, rested a lot, and went back at it. I now have an even better supply of fire wood.


When you are miles from everything, lack of a vehicle is really a pain. We had to postpone Julie's doctor's appointment and we have basically just been stuck here. I have spent a lot of time reading, accompanied by my woodland friends: a few chipmunks, a wren, a couple of humming birds, a squirrel, and even a young raccoon. Julie spends most of her time reading and stitching, although she has also done a little baking.


Here are some recent pictures including what has to be one of my all time favorite wild nature shots.


The dogs can sleep anywhere, even with their head propped on the side of the bed (JoJo) or the side of the toy basket (Tax).


When not sleeping, they like to help take out the trash. Who's that ugly dude in the middle?


My favorite photo. The raccoon came out of the swamp and walked past the far side of the woodpile while I was reading. He (she?) realized I was there and ducked back behind the woodpile, then peaked out around the tree where I caught this photo. It reminds me of a cartoon character, but I can't remember which one. After a short time, he decided I was okay and went on his way, which is the next photo. He seemed perfectly healthy and was acting normally. I think he just got disturbed wherever he was previously and was just moving to somewhere else, even though it was daylight.


The raccoon on its way to somewhere else.


Hard to see, but there is a pair of Canada Geese and four mid-sized goslings on the camp pond. I did not have my camera with me and took this photo on my phone.


June 6, 2012:                         Here is a companion picture to the tree growing in the wagon. Think it's been a while since anyone made a call from this booth?




June 8, 2012:                         Today I am officially old! Turned 65! But at least I can now use Medicare instead of having to keep paying the ridiculous COBRA costs.




June 9, 2012:                         [Odometer 258997]    Finally, we have the Suburban back. The motor arrived on Monday. The owner of the shop was so angry, he jerked at the portable hoist with the motor on it, moved wrong, and threw his back out. He lost two days but his son worked on installing the motor and we got it back this morning. People at the campground, many of whom are aware of the struggle to get it back, asked me if I had to relearn how to drive. I told them I sort of remembered, like riding a bike.


June 15, 2012:                       Today we had to go for blood tests and afterwards stopped at Ihop for breakfast. After a short while a man came up to our table and said hello. I was surprised to see Daryl, my youngest son. He was working on a delivery run today and he and the man he was working with had stopped for a late breakfast/early lunch (it was 10:00 am). I was seated in a booth with my back to the room and he was in the booth behind us. Another "small world" incident.


June 16, 2012:                       Now that we have the Suburban back, along with all my tools, which are stored in it, we have been spending our time working on going through our storage unit to find things we wish to have with us and store things we have decided we do not need. I have also been working on many small repair and enhancement projects. Julie has been spending her days helping with the storage sorting, stitching projects, and trying to keep her blogs current. As for me, I have not really been putting in a lot of time on this blog, as those of you who follow it can tell by how long it has been since I have updated it. Today is actually August 5th, but I always like to keep these chronological and use the real dates when things happen. It helps that all our photos have a time and date stamp on the computer file.

The dogs love it when we go to the storage unit because they get to run loose and play ball. As soon as we get close, they know where they are. As soon as we turn in the driveway, they start whining. As soon as we stop, Taz walks over me to get to the door, like that will get her outside sooner.


If the back door is open and we have not yet gotten the flinger out of the car, JoJo will help herself and drag it out from under the back seat. She will even try for the can of tennis balls if they are stored near the edge of the seat.


No, JoJo, don't grip it there. You need to hold it down at this end if you want to throw it farther.


Time to pack up and go home. The dogs have both proved they can actually get in and out of the car on their own if they are motivated (flinger on the seat, Phillip walking up the car) but they will almost always wait for us to lift them in or out. They're not too spoiled.


July 6-29, 2012:                     In February, a fan fell on top of Julie's laptop and destroyed the monitor. One of my projects for the summer included building a computer table where we could mount one of our old desktop monitors (the computer itself is still functional). The mount for the tabletop, attached to a piece of plywood screwed to the floor, is a combination of 3/4" and 1/2" pipe, which allows Julie to rotate the stand and position it where she desires. The black object to the right of the computer stand is a new dorm-room sized refrigerator we bought to replace our electric cooler, which had become unreliable (read spoiled food).




This unique display is on Route 19 near Brockport, NY. Note the antique car behind the gas pumps.


Our friendly neighborhood bunny.


I was sitting outside reading when I heard a different kind of motor sound overhead. I looked up and was able to get to the camera quick enough to get some shots of this Hood blimp that was passing by.


July 31, 2012:                        We ended the month on a bit of a low note. This afternoon I was sitting outside enjoying the sunshine and reading, although I could hear thunder to the South and to the East of us. Ten minutes later, the rain was coming horizontally from the West (maybe slightly Southwest) with very high wind speeds. Less than two minutes after it hit, the awning went sailing over the roof of the camper. All told, there were at least three awnings and two screen houses eaten by the storm. Yet other awnings were extended and not even tied down that were not touched. Go figure!


Dead Awning! Every piece of metal supporting the awning is either bent or broken to some extent. The fabric itself was not torn, but the whole assembly was totaled by the insurance company. They showed up on Friday, gave me an adjustment estimate, and handed me a check. Since I already had one estimate from Camping World that gave me a good idea of what I was going to have to spend, I was happy. The new awning is on order. Oh yes, everything that was outside unter the awning got soaked, including me when I went outside to see how bad it was. I was just in time to see another branch break off the Ash tree across the road. More work for me to do, but it's free firewood.



The really good news to us was that the solar panels were not damaged. Note how the support end for the awning and the two tie-down springs and stakes landed right in between the two panels.