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January 2013 - June 2013:


January 01, 2012:                  Happy Birthday to JoJo. She is 8 years old today (that's 56 in doggie years).


14 Week Old JoJo


January 28, 2013:                  Wow, January flew by. It was a very low key month. Mostly we just stayed at the trailer park and hibernated. Julie's leg has finally healed, although she does have some pains. The campground is now full. They even added four new sites and those are also full.


We are continuing to take pleasure in watching all the baby sheep and goats in the pasture nearby. I stopped counting after 7, but there are probably more than that by now. We have also been watching a number of beef calves in fields we pass. I have yet to see a dairy cow in southern Alabama.




February 1, 2012:                  We went to Pensacola today so Julie could stock up on some stitching floss and we could get a few groceries. Afterwards, we went to Red Lobster for lunch. I am learning how to live with a gluten-free, corn-free, soy-free, reduced sugar diet. (Yeah, it's supposed to be sugar-free also, but give me a break!) So far there is not a lot of improvement, but I can really only count two weeks of strict adherence. I'm glad I don't have Celiac Disease. It is almost impossible to eliminate all exposure to cross contamination. My new diet is one reason we have not done much. We are still trying to figure out how to stick to the diet while eating in restaurants. Forget fast foods and buffets, they're impossible. I figured broiled fish at Red Lobster would be safe. Too bad I did not realize how little you get for your money there anymore.


February 5, 2013:                  The dogs love to chase a tennis ball but there is no place close to our trailer where I can throw it for them and the I can't drive to the open field at the South end of the park beside the woods we walk in because there is a leach field in the way. If I get the ball flinger out, they go nuts until I finally throw the ball, so it is impossible for me to walk any distance with it in my hand. Therefore, I decided to design my own tennis ball sling, something I can carry in my pocket. Slings I located on the Internet cost from $8 to $25 plus shipping. Mine cost me 10 grommets (because it took 3 tries to get the pocket right, a little scrap leather, and 6 feet of parachute cord off my big spool. We all walked through the woods (although the dogs really did know the tennis balls were in my pocket) until we came to the field. Then we played. The final pocket design works great and it did not take the dogs even one throw to figure out what direction the ball was going to travel in.


JoJo has brought her ball back and waits impatiently (but totally focused) for the next toss. Taz waits out in the field to my left with her ball in her mouth waiting for JoJo to run past chasing the ball. Taz loves to bark at JoJo with a ball in her (Taz's) mouth.


February 25, 2013:                 Two or three times a day, sometimes four, the dogs and I take a walk through the woods. A complete round trip is from 1/4 to 1/2 mile long depending on the paths taken. Sometimes we play ball down in the field at the South end of the woods, but as the days get warmer, I worry about stressing Taz's heart too much. The walk alone is enough for her many days. When the weather is cooler, she is rarin' to go. Here are some of the trails we walk.







This is my favorite spot on the property. It is at the North edge of the large field that borders the South and East portions of the woods where we walk, the same field where we play ball. The picture is taken from beneath the live oak tree right on the edge of the woods. I have suggested the owner put one of the park benches he is refinishing right there. A great spot to sit and rest or just contemplate nature. The trees visible on the left of the photograph are pecan trees. There is a line of about six of them.


March 29, 2013:                     It has been a quiet past few weeks. The Southern winter has been transitioning to spring, farmers are planting their fields, the campground owner is planting his garden, and we have been living lazy. (Unfortunately, we had a hard freeze that killed many of the budding plants and the garden needs to be replanted.) We have not done much of anything except normal daily activities. Shopping has even been pretty well limited to just groceries. The goats and sheep keep presenting us with new little ones to admire. We caught this little kid getting a drink from mama.




April 10, 2013:                        [Odometer 268495]    I am now officially a resident of LA, no, not Los Angeles, rather Lower Alabama. I have also heard the term applied to Lower Arkansas so I'm betting it also applies to Lower Arizona and Lower Alaska. I have changed our address, picked up my Alabama driver's license, and got new Alabama tags for the Suburban. Julie was busy today, so we will have to go get her license next week. We will be staying here through the (rather warm and humid and hopefully hurricane free) summer.


April 12, 2013:                        We went shopping in Spanish Fort and Daphne today for some odds and ends. One place we went to for the first time was Bass Pro Shop. We were told this store does not even compare to the main store, but we were impressed. The two pictures below are the entryway of the store.






April 13, 2013:                        Many of the winter campers have headed for other places or even home if they don't live too far North. The campground has been getting fairly sparsely populated, but this weekend we had 13 rigs come in from a local square dance club. I spent some time talking with them and warched part of their dance last night. It brought back lots of memories. I'm sure all my children remember camping weekends with the square dancers. I know Phillip remembers the night the tarp came down because of the rain.


I guess I was most impressed by all the changes that have taken place in the activity over the 25 years since I last called dances. The one most significant and obvious difference is the dress of the square dancers, or lack thereof. Whereas we almost always dressed in square dance garb even for classes, dancers today come casually dressed. I guess it is just another extension of the "casual Friday" that has peopel now casually dressed all the time at work, in restaurants, and even at church.


The other big difference was in the caller's equipment. Whereas I carried a heavy turntable and an even heavier case of records, the days of vinyl records are gone. No one even makes them anymore. The modern caller has a small laptop with all their music on it. (This caller had over 1000 songs on hers.) Her amplifier was a holdover and still had a small turntable on it, but many callers are now just using an amplifier with no turntable.


They don't dress the same, but they still dance the same. I only heard one call I did not recognize, although I would not even pretend to be able to dance anymore. My memory knows the names, but not what to do.


April 14, 2013:                        In Memoriam

Francis Julian Elmore

December 19, 1918 - April 14, 2000

He beat the tax man!!


Shown holding his first great-grandchild, Kyle Thomas Bagshaw.


April 21, 2013:                        All my adult life, my vehicles have had two tags, front and back. In Alabama, they only have one tag on the back. The blank space on the front of the Suburban looked odd. So, in keeping with the name "Beast" and it's previous rear bumper sticker and hanging mascot (the Tazmanian Devil), I added a new tag on the front. Note the beast's teeth.




April 22, 2013:                        The dogs and I went for a walk in the woods today and they came upon a gopher tortoise out of its hole. I did not get a chance to get a picture of the whole tortoise as the dogs were roaming free and the tortoise quickly retreated to its burrow. However, I did get this picture of its back end in the burrow.




May 6, 2013:                          The bluebird is the state bird of New York, but you need to go to the South if you want to see one. We have a pair living near us who frequently take the time to visit.




May 13, 2013:                        One of the trees they have here in the South that I have not seen in New York is called the Live Oak. These trees grow with an arc to their trunks, some of them reaching all the way back down to the ground. They were used in years past by shipbilders for hulls of the ships because of their strength and natural curve. This picture is of a very old (no idea how old) Live Oak that stands in front of the Robertsdale library.




May 28, 2013:                        Since we are now stationary in Alabama, we have decided to do a little remodeling on the trailer to make it more comfortable. There is a drastic lack of space in the trailer, which we can do nothing about. There is also only two choices for getting of your feet inside the trailer – you can sit up on the dinette or sofa or lie down in bed. We have long wanted recliners, but they would not fit. We still cannot fit in two recliners, but we have come up with a way to add one and that remodeling project starts next week.


As the trailer is currently laid out (shown below) the couch is on the front end and the dinette is in the slide out. Julie has been using the couch to sit on with a swinging computer stand I made for her monitor. The couch is not all that comfortable to sit on for long periods. I have been using one of the dinette seats with my computer and then it gets moved for dinner. Julie is now going to set up permanently at the dinette and I get the area where the sofa is. I am going to take out the sofa and shrink its footprint (the base also serves as under trailer storage). Then we will add a recliner for me that Julie gets to share when I am lying down or am outside, not to mention at night after I go to bed.


Before situation. Yes it's messy. You try living in 200 sq. ft. total.


June 7, 2013:                         The sofa has been removed and I am temporarily using a lawn chair to sit on.




June 23, 2013:                       [Odometer 270024]    Another milestone as the truck has passed 270,000 miles.


On our remodeling project, the frame for the sofa has been moved back and the floor in this area of the trailer, which was weak due to moisture, has been covered with 3/4" plywood. It is much sturdier to walk on now, although I still ahve a 4 foot piece in front of the sink to add. I have reworked Julie's computer stand for my computer and the new layout and have exchanged the straight lawn chair for one of our outside reclining lawn chairs.




The girls are practicing for when we get a real recliner. They still remember the many times we used to nap together.


The recliner is going to have to wait for July or August until we can afford it, but we have a working temporary setup. I should also mention that we added Dish satellite TV since the camper is stationary and have added a second small TV in the bedroom which lets me have a greater variety of music at night, as well as letting us watch TV in bed if we are so inclined.


June 30:2013:                        I have decided there is not enough going on to justify trying to keep the blog up to date, so this will be the last entry until something new and different happens. Otherwise, we are pretty much just living like eveyone else except in a smaller space. By the way, if the air conditioner ever quits, I'm moving to Iceland. I never thought I would see the day when the temperature is at 75-85 every day when I get up, 95 is normal during the day and 85 is almost pleasant, and 75 at night is cool. And it is only the end of June! Then there are the ever present thunderstorms, not once or twice a week, but once or twice a day. The joys of living in the South. But........there is no snow!