Friday, August 26, 2016

Amish

We camped for two days this week in Quabache State Park near Bluffton, Indiana, in Amish country. If I need to "regroup" for any reason, we head for Amish country. My family roots are intertwined with the Amish and I find the country to be serene, peaceful and therapeutic. If we were out west, I would head for the desert, which I find spiritual and inspirational, but in the midwest, it is Amish country.

Wednesday night at 6 p.m. storms rolled through the area and tornadoes were sighted. We were evacuated to the comfort stations which are considerably more safe than our RV's. When we visited our favorite bakery on Thursday morning, we discovered a tornado had passed between the Graber's home and shop. The end of the shop was peppered with leaves and debris and a door was torn off. The wooden bench out in front of the store was shattered and left in the field, but the rest of their property was largely unscathed. 

However, right next door a large Amish home and barn was ravaged by the tornado. Siding and roofs were blown away and one shed was blown to pieces. Another newer large shed was left completely intact and no lives (animal or human) were lost and no one was injured. I told Marie that we had seen that house when we drove in, but the lack of debris around led us to believe it was just a work in progress. She said, "No, it happened at 6 p.m. and was totally cleaned up last night. Then the repair work started this morning." The Amish do not buy insurance, but you have to think. Insurance is just money we put into a pool to be paid out when there is a loss. After adjusters, reports, etc., are all filed, materials ordered, contractors hired, etc, etc, etc. The Amish have their own insurance. It's called helping one another. They all come together to help a friend in need. They bring their tools, their equipment, their supplies, their labor and food is prepared to feed the workers. One field was set aside for all the buggies and horses with someone attending them. Terry was amazed that at just 10 a.m. trailers full of lumber and supplies were already there and 50-60 men were swarming all over the barn and the house. It was a wonderful sight.

Never is one family ever left to fend for themselves. They all move in and help. Everyone had a job to do and they were working hard to get things back in order for this family. This is their religion and this is who they are.

Till next time. . . 

Dale

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Amish country

Visited some Amish shops around Berne, Indiana, today. Interesting, but didn't buy much. We did happen upon these camels out in the middle of the country though!



Till next time. . .

Dale

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Goodbye Miss. Butter-Scotch of Killdeer 9/23/2005-08/22/2016

 

Our sweet sweet Butterscotch has lost her battle with TCC, aka transitional cell carcinoma, a deadly form of bladder cancer.  She died just shy of her 11th birthday. We loved her till the end and will forever love and miss her.

She started a year and a half ago with recurrent bladder infections and if I had known more about TCC then, I would have taken her straight to Purdue's chief researcher and world reknowned authority on the disease. When we left the Rio Grande Valley this spring, that is where we took her and Dr. Knapp officially confirmed what our little gal was facing. They offered us chemo, etc., and we declined, opting for a more palliative medicine, but one which has shown promise against this deadly disease. We were told May 12 we could expect about 160 days, or about 5 months. But just a short three months later, she is gone.

We were camped for the weekend in Ohio with friends Tab and Deanna. On Saturday, she quit eating and couldn't pee the first half of the day. That is the big sign. . . if they can't pee, they will be in extreme pain and their kidneys fail and the fluid fills their systems. I had so worried we had waited too long, but then later in the day, she was able to pass some fluid besides just blood. She still wouldn't eat or drink and I couldn't give her the medicines that would help. Sunday was a repeat of Saturday, so I contacted our vet tech and she said to bring her in on Monday when our regular vet was working. We were 85 miles from our vet of 30 years and I am glad for that. He and his office are the most kind, compassionate people and know us and our pets very well.

We drove over Monday
in the morning and allowed Butterscotch one last attempt to pee outside. When we took her in she seemed scared, something she never is at the vets. I held her for some time and then put her up on the table. I continued to hold her and we put Duchess up on the table with her. Nathan, the newest vet in the practice came in and talked with us at length. Such a kind man. He went through school when I taught at New Castle, but I didn't have him. He gave Butterscotch a sedation shot which really put her at ease. . . not asleep, but no more pain. She was laying on her side and Duchess put her head very close to Butterscotch's muzzle and kept it there. I truly think she was trying to understand what was happening. She had to know she wasn't well. They had not walked together for months, because Butterscotch could not walk any distance. Dr. Wisecup came in a delivered the shot in her hind leg so as not to disturb Duchess' vigil over her friend. Then she was gone.

We've had to do this with all but one of our dogs and it is never easy. Even when we know it is the right thing to do. Dr. Wisecup says that ending our pet's suffering is the final act of love we can do for them and I believe that. It would not have been long before her systems would have shut down and I didn't want to wait for that to happen. That becomes an emergency and then we would not have been able to make the two hour trip to our long-time vet. He will be cremating her and scattering her ashes around his apple trees. All my dogs are there so they are all together.

Butterscotch and Duchess lived most of their lives in West Virginia on a farm. They chased every rodent known to man and killed as many as they could. I know there was a skunk they got and a large ground hog. There were five Scotties running free and doing the job they were bred for. We got the girls just three years ago. They retired and spent their time traveling with us in our motorhome. They regularly visit Virginia, Florida, Louisiana and Texas. In the summer they spend time in Indiana and loved their special visits with my Mom and Dad.

By having Duchess there with Butterscotch at the end we are hoping to avoid the kinds of anxiety and other problems we had with Neal after Bailey died. So far Duchess seems to be doing okay. She and Butterscotch used to sleep a lot of the time, but now Duchess sits in the middle of the room and watches us, not sleeping all that much. But she doesn't seem to be anxious or nervous or anything. I know she misses her sister, they have been together since Duchess was born. We are taking good care of her and hoping she is able to get past losing her best friend.

Till next time. . .

Dale


Monday, August 22, 2016

Not much direction. . .

It's been hard trying to get interested in doing anything in the way of travel since Daddy died. We just kind of waiver between where to go and what to do. We have spent several weekends down in Warsaw seeing Mom and trying to keep all our spirits up. She is fortunate to have a network of kids and grandkids and great-grandkids who visit and spend quality time with her. She is so loved and she tells me she certainly feels that.

She plans to go to Texas this winter. Her thoughts are that she will clean out the trailer there and sort through stuff to keep. The plan is to sell the place there in Texas. Then in the spring she will go back to her place in Claypool. Her traveling back and forth to Texas will come to an end, but she has a lovely place in Nita's woods, so she will have family near her at all times. She is thinking of flying to Houston and we will pick her up there on our way through and head on down to the valley.

I had to go to Indianapolis last week and get a shot in my back. The surgeon I went to didn't want to start with surgery; he thought I should try the shot first. I had an epidural 12 years ago and it really helped but I consider that a band-aid. I have a condition in my back known as spondylolisthesis. It's where the vertebrae shift enough that the bones in the back are no longer aligned. I knew about the spot at the base, which is the result of a Pars defect, but xrays show I actually have another spot as well. It would require fusing about 5 vertebrae.  So I went to get a shot to help ease my pain. I don't think I will have to have another one because it's been a week and so far I can't even tell I had one. This shot was done a lot differently than my first one and the first one helped a great deal. So not sure the next step. I have to wait two months between appointments with this doctor, so even though I started in May, the summer is shot and I can't have anything done now before we leave the state.

When we left Indy, we drove over to Saint Marys, Ohio, and camped at the Grand Lake State Park. We have a friend who workcamps here and he was anxious to see us. We met Dan and his wife Dee when we had our first big campout of fulltimers back in 2005. They were in the same camp, had just gone full time and joined out little group. They have been part of us every since and we have made lifelong friends. Unfortunately, Dan's wife Dee passed away two years ago and this was the first we had seen him since. He seems to be doing well and has quite the support group of workcampers and family in the area. Tab and Deanna were coming in the next day to camp with us for the weekend, so we had a great time seeing them. They visited with Dan as well, being part of the same fulltiming group.

We had quite a storm come through the camp on Saturday night. They were talking 70 mph winds and I believe it. I have never seen it like that, but it was straight line winds and our motorhome was sitting with the back pointing toward the wind direction, so offered the least resistance. We didn't rock and roll too much. So many stupid campers though. Our loop got hit the worse and almost every travel trailer had left their awning out. First hint of a storm, and our stuff all comes in. But most of the awnings were ripped up and the arms broken and thrown up and over the trailers. I'm not sure why they think those flimsy things are gonna withstand some heavy winds. Idiots. The park rangers and watercraft personnel were out immediately writing up accidents reports for insurance claims. They were certainly busy in our loop and it was nice that they were there to do that for the campers. There was only one large limb that came down and that fell right onto an empty campsite. Other than that, there were a lot of smaller limbs, but I don't think there was any damage from limbs coming down.

Tab and Deanna left on Sunday and we stayed over till Tuesday and then headed to the Berne, Indiana, Amish country. We enjoy shopping at the Amish businesses over there.

Till next time. . .

Dale

Friday, August 05, 2016

Shipshewana!

After visiting Mom for a few days, we left on Sunday morning and drove to Shipshewana and camped in the flea market campground. It is a no frills campground but has full hookups with good power. We park in the row next to the flea market and the market is just about 25 feet away. So it is an easy walk to the venue. There was a guy flying an ultralight over the area every day. He may have been taking pictures.

We normally come in on Sunday because the flea market doesn't start till Tuesday. So we move in and relax on Sunday afternoon. On Monday, we normally walk around the town and visit the shops we like and spend as much time looking as we like. We also made a trip out of town a few miles to visit Leon at National RV Refrigeration and set up an appointment to have an ARC installed in our Norcold Refrigerator. It is an Absorption Refrigerator Controller and works by monitoring the temperature of the fluid in the boiler. When it reaches a certain degree, it shuts off the boiler, restarting it when it cools down. This may happen in the course of driving it over hilly terrain or sitting in an unlevel condition. At any rate, it is the best device for maintaining the integrity of the system and one which will prevent fires. We made our appointment for Thursday morning.

The week was really hot, reaching the 90's every day, so we really monitored our time outdoors. Monday was okay as we were shopping in town and the shops are all air-conditioned. The motorhome stayed cool and we took breaks and returned to the rig for lunch and naps. LOL

Tuesday and Wednesday were flea market days and it was awfully hot. We got started early and the day did take awhile to heat up. We went back home at noon and had lunch. When we got back out it had turned really hot, so we only lasted an hour and came back in, leaving about three rows to do on Wednesday. That was a good thing, because Wednesday started out very hot and when we quit at 11:30; it was close to unbearable for us anyway. Attendance was really down as you can see from the pictures. Made it easy to get through the aisles, but it was miserable. We just hung out, walked the dogs, and visited with some of the neighbors. One of the people we met had a new fifth wheel. They pulled it with a Kenworth tractor and put a Smart Car up behind the cab in front of the trailer. I stopped and talked with him and commented that a friend of ours had had a similar setup when they were fulltiming, but had since left that life and sold their rig. Turns out, the tractor and Smart car were our friends and this guy had bought them from them. Wow. What a small world. Very nice couple.

Thursday we got around and left about 9:30 and headed up to Leon's to get the ARC installed. Took less than 30 minutes, but then he explained to us how it worked and what to watch for. Very nice young man who really knows gas absorption refrigerators. He replaced the coils in ours four years ago when our boiler ruptured. At four years now, it has lasted longer than any of the Norcold fixes we ever had done. So glad we went with his system. You gotta' remember that the Amish have been working with gas absorption refrigeration and freezing longer than Norcold or Dometic. Our fridge continues to work as it should.

After having that done, we headed over to the house and are here today relaxing from the heat of the past week. Normally we would be up north in cooler climes at this point, but with the family situation, we are trying to stay closer to Mom. We are leaving here tomorrow and heading back down to Warsaw to spend a few more days with her, then we head to Indianapolis for the appointment with my neurosurgeon to see what's going on with my back. This appointment was rescheduled by the doctor last month, so hopefully we can get it done this time.

Till next time. . .

Dale

Sunday, July 31, 2016

A needed respite. . .

We were in Warsaw for a few days visiting with Mom and yesterday we took her out for the day. We started by visiting the cemetery to see Daddy's grave. We took off the wilted flowers left from the spray we had placed on his casket.

We continued on, stopping at one Amish scratch and dent store and then went over to the house in Goshen. Mom hadn't been there for some time. We dropped off the dogs there and then drove over to the Elkhart Campground. We had to leave our spot there last week because a large rally was coming in. It was "Vintage Trailers" and we wanted to go and see the old rigs. Some had come in before we left and we thought it would be fun to drive around and look at them. I thought Mom might enjoy it and she did. Mom and Dad camped from the time I was in junior high and were in a camping club. They really took camping to the next level and it was fun to see trailers similar to ones she and Dad had owned.

Here are some pictures of some of the "oldie but goodies."











There were over 100 of the old rigs. It was quite a sight. They were having "yard" sales while we were there. They all had color themes and they had color coordinated awnings, trim, table covers, and dinnerware. It was clear they were having a lot of fun. We met two women who were on their own and had bought old trailers and joined the club. They enjoyed having people to camp with and enjoyed the camaraderie. It was certainly a fun atmosphere.

Mom seemed to enjoy herself and after we left, we headed back over to the house. We picked up the dogs and headed back to Claypool. I think she was tired, but she said she enjoyed the day. Mission accomplished.

Till next time. . .

Dale

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Saying Goodbye

Saying Goodbye is never easy. And it wasn't this time. Daddy died July 9 and his service and funeral were on Monday, July 18, in Warsaw. Even though they had lived in Goshen most of their lives, the last ten years they spent their summers in Claypool at their summer home in Nita's woods. Mother was convinced very few people would come because it was so far. She planned the calling at 10 and the funeral service at noon. There was no processional to the cemetery, because it was so far away. But those who wished could meet out there south of Millersburg and pay their respects at the graveside. Because Daddy was a WWII Navy veteran, there was a flag ceremony, a 21-gun salute, and the flag was folded and presented to Mom.

Mother got quite a surprise when there was a steady stream of visitors, friends, and family, beginning at 9 and continuing until the time of the service. We wish to thank everyone who came. We were honored that you chose to spend some of your time with us on that day. It meant a lot.

We laughed a bit at Daddy's expression. He had a quirky mischievous smile that you can see in the photo in his obit. As he lay in rest, his expression was exactly that. . . the only difference being his eyes were closed. We were happy the mortician managed to capture that wonderful quirky smile we all knew so well.

It's been two weeks now and yesterday Terry and I took Mom and went to the cemetery. She had been wanting to go, so we went and I took some pictures. We are beginning to heal, although things will never be the same. I had my Dad until he was 91 years old. I don't know how people cope who lose their parents at a much younger age.

Mom seems to be doing okay. She has her faith and Nita lives up the lane, so she doesn't have to be alone. There is a steady stream of kids and grandkids of Nita's who try to keep her company as well and Terry and I visit often. My two nieces (my older sister's kids) and their kids have been down a couple times to see her.


We just spent four days there, camping in Warsaw and taking Mom out for an outing or two. She wants to go to Texas this year and clean out their place in Mission. She doesn't think she wants to go back then as she says their friends are mostly gone. We will see that she gets there and Terry and I will stay in our place right behind her as long as she wants to stay.

So things are changing and we are all trying to cope with the changes. It is certainly different, more so for Mom, but she has plenty of support from the family. She is much loved by all.

Till next time. . .

Dale