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Saturday, January 8, 2022

Welcome to 2022

 Cullman, AL


Will 2022 be any different than 2020?   2021?  See shall see.


What's the same.    

1.    Leonard still sleeping in the recliner due to recovering from left shoulder replacement.

2.    It is still a cold winter here in North Alabama.    

3.    Enjoying the various meats we have bought from Savory Butcher.   Still have mostly a full freezer.

4.    Still hosting Boondockers welcome guests.   Expecting number 88 on Monday and 89 on Tuesday.

5.    Still the Covid epidemic surrounds us.   


What's different

1.    Leonard's right shoulder hurts now that the left one is getting better.

2.    Had the most snow we've seen since we've moved here 5 years ago.

    


        Only lasted one day on the ground.




3.    For about 7 or 8 months we had been getting our meats from Savory Butcher out of Idaho. A semi         delivers to this area every other month.   The meat is sold in bulk.   We had bought 97/3 ground beef     twice, chicken tenders, chicken breasts, a selection of steaks, Italian sausage, kielbasa and pork             chops.   When we picked up our last order, we appeared to be the first in line.   The cars line up next     to the truck, tell them your name and they place your order in your vehicle.   We have dealt with the         same man each time.   He told us he had an extra box of steak bites and an extra box of Prime Ribs.       We took the Prime ribs.   I think he said the cost was $215.00.    There were four nice roasts in the         box.


 He said he would charge it to our account.   I've been checking the credit card and nothing has been charged.    Since I placed an order for more steaks and an order for bacon to be picked up in February, I planned on telling him then.

But.... yesterday I received a notice that due to circumstances beyond their control they are out of business effective January 6.  I am so disappointed, but I realize how impossible it would be to set a cost of the meat two months out.   So it appears that I will not be charged for the Prime Ribs.  Shucks, wish I got the box of steak bites too.   Glad the freezer is full.


4.    Boondockers situation changed too.  They are now part of Harvest Hosts and the web site is horrendous.    Way fix a good thing?     Last year we had no guests during the month of December.  This year there were Four.


5.    Covid situation.  Still here.  But the latest variant seems to be much less severe.  My younger daughter was very sick for two weeks with the Delta.  She was fully vaccinated.    In the last couple of weeks my older daughter, son-in-law and two grandchildren were all down with the Omnicon variant.  Headaches, running nose, etc.    As well as were several nephews, nieces etc in Virginia.  All vaccinated.


We had a good Christmas.   Here is our "local" family here for dinner.   Son Lennie, DIL Lois, granddaughter Maddie and great-grandson Jordan.


Trust each of you readers had fabulous holidays and much happiness for the New Year.


Until next time....

Tuesday, December 21, 2021

Eating well and staying warm

 Cullman,  AL


As cold weather has set in we are not doing much.    Our social life revolves around Leonard going to Physical Therapy twice a week.  And church on Sunday and bible study Wednesday night.

We don't expect to have to worry in the future how to stay warm and keep a full freezer full of meat should we lose power.   Two things help.    Our natural gas fireplace and the Generac whole house generator we had installed two weeks ago.

The electric had to be disconnected while the initial set up was done.  We purchased the generator from Lowes.   Below:  Electric truck and delivery.  



The company that did the installation.



The generator set in place.   This capacity of this unit is more than enough to power the whole house.  Every other week it will turn on for a test.   This is done automatically.   Should we lose power, it will power up in about 15 seconds.


Yes we need this as Len is on oxygen.    And we have a full chest freezer in the basement.   Mostly meat.    I found Savory Butcher online.   They are out of Idaho.    They deliver to this area every other month.   All meat is in bulk.  For example, ground beef is 40 pounds.  Their 97/3 beef is all meat.  No fat at all.    I've also gotten chicken strips, chicken breast, Italian sausage, kielbasa and what they call a Chop Box.   The chop box has various cuts of steak, steak bites and tenderloins.   It is the most tender steak we've ever bought.    

As items come in bulk, twice we have split an order of ground beef and chicken with our son and daughter in law.

This month I had ordered pork chops.   They have to be at least an inch thick.


When getting the meats, we drive up to the truck, give our name and the man puts our order in our car.   This week we looked to be one of the first to arrive.  He told us he had an extra box of steak bites and one of Prime Rib.   Couldn't resist the prime rib.    They came in a box 6.   This one will be Christmas dinner.


He said he would charge it to our account.   That was Wednesday.   So far it has not shown up on our credit card.  Gosh, I hope he didn't forget.

I have already placed my order for February.   Thick cut bacon and strip steaks.

Biscuit still wants outside during the day even in the cold.   Except if it is raining hard.  He comes in at dark and goes out when he wakes in the morning.  Usually around 7:30.

He has taken over the house.   


That includes each bed and the futon in the office.


Yes, we are here to serve him.

Four days til Christmas.   As Len is still not able to drive or do much of anything we will remain home this year.   Lennie and Lois and family will come for lunch.   We also have RVers coming Christmas eve and pulling back out Christmas morning.  They will be our 84th Boondockers Welcome guests.

We wish each of our readers, friends and family a wonderful Christmas and the very best in the New Year.

Until next year.....


Sunday, November 28, 2021

Repairs, Dead Critter, Show and Scaling down more

Cullman,  AL


Here we are a few days past Thanksgiving and still some turkey in fridge.

What's happening?

We had Thanksgiving dinner at son Lennie and DIL's Lois house.   Brought home some leftovers.   Once more, forgot to take pictures.  

But I have taken a few over the last month.    Most of them have been of our Boondockers Welcome guests.    Our 81st guest RV left yesterday.   None scheduled for December.   Same thing happened last year.  We think most people are where they want to be for that month.  I take pictures and put them in a file.   We've had people return.   Who could remember all these folks?   Not me.  A picture helps certainly.

We've had two critters recently visit, aside from cats and dogs traveling with their owners.   One couple travels with Charlie, their rabbit.   Okay, so we have a Beagle.  Supposed to be a rabbit dog which means he should chase them.   Luckily for Biscuit Charlie was in a cage as every time Charlie moved Biscuit  would back off.     


The other critter wasn't as cute.    I heard Biscuit howling and baying and barking.  I went outside to see him digging dirt from the side of the house.   Just what I suspected.  A snake.    I got Len.   I got his .22 pistol.   He got the snake.   We had no idea if it was venomous.  A friend told me about a FB page on snakes in Alabama.    I joined the group.   I posted the picture.   I was promptly chastised and the picture removed.   It is against the rule to post a picture of a dead or injured snake.   I just wanted to know what it was for future reference.    In case you are wondering.    It was a harmless plain bellied water snake.   Now I know.  It's harmless and no more posting dead snake pictures.


OOPS!!!!  I think I just did.


Len is feeling much better.  He has started physical therapy.  This past week they have had him move his arm more.   He is still in a sling, still sleeping in recliner.  He sees the surgeon this week so will know how he is coming along.


I am trying to divest of STUFF.   My goal is one thing a day GONE.   Yesterday I cleaned out my sock drawer.     Some things I post on the FB local yard sale pages.    Gone are concrete pavers, concrete landscaping edgers, trailer axles, saddle and tack, foam insulation, a basket of miscellaneous electric connectors, hutch, coffee table, refrigerator, rototiller, wooden blinds and a box trailer.    Tomorrow I will be meeting someone in town and trade these mugs, s&p shakers, creamer and sugar bowl for $10.  I don't use them and they are just taking up space. 


A few weeks ago we and our friends Stephanie and Vic went down to Birmingham to see a talk by one of our favorites Greg Gutfeld and comedian Tom Shillue.

Here is Steph and Vic


We have fabulous seats.   Here are Greg and Tom




Our NOMADS friends Butch and Cheri were between projects and we were thrilled they choose that time to come here.    In exchange for a camp site, they provided labor.   A great deal for all of us.  

First Butch re-caulked around the guest room shower to stop the leaking.   He took off a tractor tire that needed repair and placed it back on.    But the biggest job was working on our mower shed.  The wood on it was rotting from the bottom and starting to allow rain to leak inside.   So they placed tin siding around the entire structure.    It looks so much better and should now last many more years.  Thank you Butch and Cheri


This picture is before it was completely done.   The boring bees had gotten to the roof trim.  This trim was wrapped and the boring bees will have to attack somewhere else in the Spring.   UGOH, our back porch!

Until next time.


Friday, November 12, 2021

Enternal Thanks during this month of Thanks

Cullman,  AL

 At this time of Thanksgiving I think about all those who have helped us since our move to Cullman and now with Len's illness.  We are so blessed to have these people in our lives.

Shortly after moving here our neighbor Hilton and his son Chad did some bushhogging and tree removal.  A few months later Gary and Ashley moved in up the road.  Ashley has willingly fed our ducks when we were away.   Gary has loaned his trailer when our mower had to go in for repair.  He also weed whacked the growth around the pond and repaired water connection at our RV sites that I destroyed with that mower.     We are blessed with the best of neighbors.

Our children..... Terri has visited often.  When here she bakes, paints, helps in the yard.  Whatever she can do.   D'Juana was here at the time her Father needed an Inogen to assist his breathing.  She made the calls and got the ball rolling.     Son Lennie and Lois are a phone call away and always willing to help.  When we sold our RV they unloaded our belongings and brought everything into the house.   We so appreciate all their help.

Last summer Lens brother Bobby and our SIL Charlotte came for a few days.   Bobby fixed some things that needed fixing including changing out the lights in the basement.    Thankful for their help.

Our friends Darlene and Jim have "camped" here a few times.   Darlene presented us with 3 small cross stitch pictures.   She did the cross stitching and her father made the frames.   They fit in perfectly in our guest bathroom.   Last visit she presented Len with a throw she knitted as she knows he is always cold.  Jim replaced some door trim that badly needed replacing and framed out the microwave cubby.

We have just hosted our 75th Boondockers Welcome guests.   Several have asked if anything needed done around the house or grounds.   We used to decline help but have found that we are not only blessed with their help but they are blessed in doing it.

Once we came home from church to find a guest


weed eating around the pond and cleaning algae.  I am showing pictures of guests and not names.

This couple saw I had bags of mulch to spread.  They took it upon themselves to do that chore.


Our mower blades needed changing.   This kind person was glad to help.


When we were away this summer we left this couple in charge.   That meant feeding the ducks.


I've previously talked about the family whose sons put together a bench and father changed oil in tractor and got one of our generators running.

And also about the couple who stayed here while Len was hospitalized and I stayed with him.  They cooked for us, fed the ducks, tended to Biscuit and repaired a shop window that was broken. 

Most recently this couple asked to help.  Along with helping me spray algae on the pond he changed out our porch light.


We have an ongoing project at this time.   A couple of NOMADS friends are doing much needed renovations to our mower shed.    More on that in my next blog.

To all who have graciously helped..... we thank you.    We feel overwhelmed at the generosity of friends and family and to those people that have come into our lives for a brief period of time but have left a loving memory.


Sunday, October 24, 2021

A birthday, friends and surgery

 Cullman,  AL


The other day as I was feeding the ducks and Biscuit I saw what I thought was a stick sitting on our porch railing.  Son in a gun...... it has legs.   I don't remember ever seeing a Walking Stick before.


Today is our son's 50th birthday.    He and Lois invited us over for lunch a couple of weeks ago to celebrate.   They fried FIVE pounds of shrimp for the four of us.   Thank goodness it was enough.


Here is Lennie and Lois.


Earlier this month Len and I attended a Tribute to Lee Greenwood in nearby Huntsville, AL.  What a show.   MCs were Mike Huckabee and Paula Deen.   And so many acts...... Oak Ridge Boys, Gatlin Brothers, Big and Rich, T Graham Brown, Crystal Gayle to name just a few.  So many, many acts.

As we sat in the nosebleed section the pictures are not good so I'll only bore you with two.

   Oak Ridge Boys:


Lee Greenwood:


Enjoying it with us was our friend Wendy.


We are still busy with Boondockers Welcome.   Our 69th guest arrives later today.

Our first guests last October were Bonnie and Earl.  They just celebrated their first anniversary as fulltime RVers.


We've kept in touch through the year.    A few weeks ago they were traveling through this area and asked to reserve a spot for a couple of days.  Their timing coordinated with when Leonard was due to enter the University of Alabama Hospital in Birmingham for a full shoulder replacement.   I asked if they wanted to stay a couple of extra days.   They checked their calendar and said they could come in on Friday the 15th and stay til Friday the 22th.  PERFECT.

This couple was such a help.  God Sent for sure.   Earl replaced a broken window in our shop.  He checked and aired all the tires in our car.  Bonnie cooked every dinner while here.   When we were gone they fed the ducks and saw that Biscuit was fed and kept company with them and their sweet dog Princess.   We could not have asked for better care.  We will be in eternal debt to these good people.

Len entered the hospital on Monday, October 18 .  They inserted a heart catheter which was kept in throughout the surgery.    He was operated on Tuesday, October 19.   I stayed both nights with him.  The first night I hardly slept, being in a recliner.  The 2nd night I zonked out.   Of course being in a hospital he was constantly being  awaken.    Had to check all the tubes, etc. you know.


He was released early evening on Wednesday.  We arrived home to a very happy dog and a meal waiting to be heated.   

Leonard is in a lot of pain.  The meds must work as he mostly sleeps.  He tried sleeping in the bed but found the recliner is more comfortable.   I just don't get it.   If the recliner is more comfortable why did he sleep in the bed in the hospital and I had to sleep in the recliner.

Until next time.


Saturday, October 9, 2021

Into October

 Cullman,  AL


Ah...loving this weather.    Need to get a lot done this week.   At long last it looks like Leonard will be having surgery on his left shoulder.   He is very limited on what he can do due to both shoulders being out of service.   Shoulder replacement is scheduled for October 19 down at University of Alabama Hospital at Birmingham.   Then he will be in a sling for 6 weeks followed with physical therapy.    Glad it is happening in the fall.   

There was much we got accomplished this Spring and Summer.   And some things we need to do this coming week.    He had cleaned out more brush from our side of the creek.  It needs to be moved to the burn pile.   We will be purchasing two raspberry bushes and two blueberry bushes next Saturday.   So some shrubs need to be removed to be replaced by the new bushes.

We continue to be busy with Boondockers Welcome guests.   Just yesterday I received 3 more reservations.   It's that time of year when RVers leave the north and flock to Florida.   

Our Granddaughter Lindsey joined the Navy almost a year ago under the Nuclear Engineering Program.


She is stationed in Goose Point,  SC.   Two weeks ago she graduated from her First A School.  Leonard and I took a few days and drove over to attend.   To our surprise also there was Lindsey's sister Alex who recently moved from the Houston area to Wisconsin. 


Lindsey on the left, Alex on the right.     I took some good pictures while there but I am having trouble downloading pictures from my new phone.   After struggling to get these, I gave up for lack of patience.  Here is Lindsey in the middle.


We got another major project done at the house.  Sidewalk installed.    Here are before, during and after.





We have sold several items that we no longer have a need for.   One of them is a box trailer that we stored items in while we fulltime RVed.    We do need a trailer for times when we take the mower in for service.   But not a box trailer, just a simple small open unit.    So, off went this old friend that served us well.


All of us have seen the increases of our basic needs, including groceries.   Some months ago I placed an order for chicken and ground beef from Savory Butcher.   I saw them advertised on FB and they had great reviews.  This is a company out of Idaho that delivers meat to many areas of the country.  Every other month they come at Madison, AL about 40 miles north of us.   All orders are in bulk.  Our first order was chicken strips and 97/3 ground beef.  Each come in 40 pound packages.   We split this order with son Lennie and DIL Lois.   We were well pleased with the quality.  The ground beef has almost no fat.

Then two months ago Len and I got their Chop Box.  It included three 12oz ribeyes, three 16 oz ribeyes, four 12 oz NY Strip steaks, 5 beef tenderloins, 6 pkgs of steak bites.  After we ordered the steaks, beef prices soared.  We are so glad we had this order in. We also got 10 pounds of Italian Sausage and 10 pounds of Kielbasa.     

 Last week we again split 40 pounds of chicken breast and 40 pounds of ground beef.     The chicken breasts are the size of a turkey breast.   One half of a split breast makes a meal for us.


Our freezer is packed.   No need to but more meat for a while.

As I said we need to get a few things accomplished around here before next week.  I hear Leonard getting ready to start.  I better get outside.  Now.

Until next time.

Monday, September 20, 2021

As we move into Fall

 Cullman,  AL


The days are getting noticeably cooler.   It is a welcome relief.   This is when we can turn off the A/C and open the windows.

We are again getting busy with BoondockersWelcome.com hosting.   Our 58th guests just pulled out and the 59th will arrive later today.   

Len has been going to Physical Therapy for the right shoulder.  Comes home aching.  He is scheduled to have the left shoulder replaced down at University of Alabama at Birmingham Hospital on October 19. And this is always on contingent.   He was to have it done last year but after his pre-op results came back they cancelled.   And now there is the Covid situation again here in Alabama.  Most hospital are filled to capacity.   If it's a go, he goes into the hospital where they will insert of heart cath the day before surgery and keep it in during surgery.  His cardiologist will be there to monitor him.

Last weekend Len's cousin David, who is a long haul truck driver,  was making a delivery up in Huntsville AL only about 45 miles away.   He got there Saturday afternoon and delivery was Monday.  So we drove up and brought David back for the night.    Don't they resemble each other.   As someone remarked, they have the same hairline.


We had a frustrating few weeks with our pond.   It became covered in red duckweed.  This variety of duckweed doubles every day until pond is completely covered not allowing oxygen into the water.  We had a major fish kill.   There were our large catfish floating on top.   The blue gill washed up onto the ground.   There must have been at least 50 that I saw.   The blue herons and egrets where here most days having a feast.   And Biscuit, being a beagle, likes to roll in dead things.   He got more than one bath during those days.


I called the county agent.  He said that once the water turns cold it will die and sink to the bottom but grow back the next year.   To control it, it will have to be treated as soon as soon it appears.  

I don't think the water turned much colder, but shortly after talking to  him it disappeared.  


The pond is now loaded with frogs and I have seen just one fish.  We will restock with some catfish in the Spring and hope to catch the Red Duckweed before it again takes over.

We have a couple of home improvement projects coming up.  We have stepping stones as the sidewalk around the house.  Some set in concrete, others laid there.   They were there when we bought the house.  I have sold the movable ones.   We have contracted to have a full sidewalk starting where we walk down the front steps, wraps around the front of the house, across the front of the carport and connects with the slab we laid at the back porch.

The other project is a full house Generac generator.  We do have times that we lose electric due to storms, etc.   With Leonard on oxygen and we since enjoy all the comforts of home electric,  this was an easy call.

This weekend our Granddaughter Lindsey graduates from her first Navy A School over near Charleston, SC.  She is in the Nuclear Engineer Program.  We leave on Wednesday, spending one night on the road and will get there on Thursday.   Graduation is Friday.  We then head back home on Saturday, getting home on Sunday.  Biscuit will again go the our local Doggie Camp.


Until next time.