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What's New...

10/29/2011: Charlie had her operation on Tuesday, it's challenging keeping her from jumping and running around for 10 days. Traveling in a cage will help. Fall has been fun, we have not stayed here this long before, watching the colors of the leaves change is interesting. Now it is mostly evergreen and reddish brown of the remaining oak leaves. There was frost on the ground yesterday morning. Charlie is enjoying wearing her new sweatshirt. We plan to leave Breezy today, after the mail comes. I'm moving log entries to Spirit's page, because that's where we are heading next, however Taylor the Trailer is set up for a longer stay in and around La Paz, Baja California Sur. We have opened the conversation with a yacht broker at Bay Island Yachts in Alameda.


9/18/2011: As the leaves are starting to turn colors, we're starting to plan the next chapter of our lives. Puppy Charlie is having an influence, we're waiting till we can get her spayed, likely late October before traveling (we'll know the timing when we take her to the Vet. mid October). We're now leaning more towards towing the trailer back a southern route through Albuquerque, stowing it at an RV storage place in Bakersfield while going back to Spirit for about a month, left handed Sag birthday party and Gate 11 holiday party (Dec. 10), then pick the trailer up back in Bakersfield on our way down to La Paz. When done in Mexico, we'll stow the trailer back in Bakersfield until we come back here ($35/mo.), unless we decide to come back on a northern route, then I'll have to go get it - but that's the following chapter. That leaves Feb. and March to think about selling Spirit. The main reason for wanting the trailer this time is Charlie - she loves camping in it, and the thought of dealing with her in hotel rooms seems like a lot less fun.

Added this recipe for Apple Crisp. We have 2 trees that are producing this year, this recipe is now well tested and delicious with French Vanilla ice cream.

9/13/2011: Added this new page containing Ron Lathrop's cookbook, Ronscook to the recipes page.

8/28/2011: These guys never get old...


8/23/2011: Added 3 new photo albums, Spring 2011, July 2011 MI Vacation, and Summer 2011 at Breezy.

7/26/2011: As you learned in my last post, we have a new puppy, Charlie. There are adjustments we all have to make when that happens, and with the cute factor staring you in the face, you just do it.


Cage training is coming along well, but Marsha's now getting up at 6:00 am to walk her every morning. Walk may not be the most accurate word, more like go outside and explore the world by putting it in your mouth. The folding tables blocking the steps to the back deck had to be addressed so I researched deck gates, made a design, made a bill of materials, ordered parts, and when all was in hand, began construction.

deck gate 1

deck gate 2


deck gate 3

An afternoon later, and voi olla, we have deck gates. Now, the design is a good one, strong, sturdy, fits in with the existing construction and all, however underneath all that hair, Charlie is still only 5 pounds (the breeder told us she will grow to about 12 pounds). We learned in about 30 seconds that she can walk straight through the balusters.


As nice as the new gates looked, we still had to have her on a leash while out there, which is every afternoon it's not raining, so back to design mode. We had to take her to town to the Roscommon Veterinary Clinic for her 2nd shot so I swung by the Village Hardware store and bought a couple rolls of chicken wire. Then, a few hundred staples later, voi olla, our nice big deck had transformed to our nice big doggy pen.

deck wired in

deck wired 2

Charlie was a bit apprehensive at first, but over the course of the next couple of hours of relaxing and playing without a leash, everybody became much happier. The hose is handy, plus it rains frequently here so we don't expect a problem keeping it clean. I will have to let the new treated lumber in the gate weather over the winter before staining it. Possibly by then Charlie will be big enough so we can remove the wire. Till then...



Marsha relaxing

7/13/2011: You know you've entered a new chapter in life when an 8 week old puppy enters your life, so I'd better add this update while I can. We brought home an 8 week old Chinese Crested - Pomeranian mixed female puppy last Sunday. She was born on May 9th. We named her Charlemagne Boots Zaalbar and call her Charlie.


This spring has blown by faster than the proverbial speeding bullet. Here is a photo album. We've been working at our jobs part time, and that's a good thing. The rest of the time has been occupied with shopping for food, organizing Breezy, and visiting with family. We've been exploring different shopping options, other than Costco - the nearest one is in Auburn Hills, 165.1 miles south from here. One item we need to buy occasionally is SodaStream supplies. We can order what we need online, or pay for gas to drive instead of shipping fees. The closest options for exchanging the carbonator tanks are 30 miles south to West Branch or 41 miles north to Gaylord. Both are easy drives on I-75. Neither stores carried some of the flavors we like, the one in West Branch said their selection is dictated by corporate, the one in Gaylord agreed to stock for us. So now, Gaylord is becoming a shopping destination. In addition to Walmart and Home Depot, which are also located in West Branch, and Houghton Lake (about 20 miles), they have Lowe's, and Meijers, which opened in 2009. We've heard many people say they prefer the produce at Meijers. So we bought our lawn mower in Gaylord, the first one we've owned since I sold the last one on the internet in 1985. When ever we're in MI and I need a haircut, I've been going to a place a few miles south. The ladies cutting hair there concur Gaylord is a good place to shop because of Meijers, however, the *best* produce is at the Cherry Street Market in Kalkaska. It's about 41 miles from home, more than we'd like to travel for just veggies, but one of the days my great niece Hillary and boyfriend Jeremy were here visiting was rainy so we decided to go there for something to do. We also checked out the logging museum at Hartwick Pines State Park on the way. As of last September, you can opt to get the park sticker when you get your vehicle registered in MI, which we did with the truck, for $10. That gets you free access to the 98 state parks here for a year. Yes, the Cherry Street Market is *the* place to go for produce up here - however, I still believe the only good artichokes can be found at Costco. We will plan on stocking up on produce any time we go to Traverse City, on the way home. We are taking the trailer camping there on Sunday - yumm. We did plant a tree while Hillary and Jeremy were here, a Thuja Green Giant. We wanted to see how it would grow here, in case the forest behind us gets developed and we need to grow a privacy fence. Hillary named it Master Walnut. Another specialty store we learned about, from a waitress at the Silver Dollar Saloon is Ebel's General Store, in Falmouth. I'd asked her where the restaurant got the special, Cherry Brauts. She told us the place had great meat. It's 37 miles south west from home. We decided to go check it out last Saturday. It's a very cool place to shop out in the middle of farm country. We did buy a filet - but alas - it had no marbling and was tough. So Costco still gets our vote for stocking up on meats. After shopping at Ebel's, we continued on to Clare. We had spent a weekend visiting niece Amber and her boyfriend Josh in Lansing in June. Amber invited me down to go on a tour of Techsmith, the company that produces the software products Snaggit and Camtasia Studio. They are located in Okemos, just outside of Lansing. I use Camtasia in my work and thought that would be fun. We had lunch with their CEO, Bill Hamilton. That was fun. He has a weekend place up in Empire on Lake Michigan. We plan to visit Empire and the Sleeping Bear Sand Dunes on our Traverse City camping trip. Betsy Weber gave us the tour, we ended up with bags of T-shirts and other goodies. After a great visit with Amber and Josh, we stopped off in Clare on the way home to pick up a gallon of stain from the Amish Carpenter that built the cabinets in the bathroom and pantry. We plan to use the stain on all of the doors in the house. While there, we also stopped at Jay's. My sister Sally's friend Jim had told me about the store while we were fishing on Lake Charlevoix over Memorial Day. It's a huge store with all kinds of sporting goods. As it turns out, there is also the equivalent of a sidewalk sale for puppies in Jay's parking lot. All kinds of puppies. It was hard to leave there, and thus the trip back, and thus the beginning of the new chapter. PS, I must admit that the produce at the local Glen's in Roscommon has improved tremendously. We can even get fresh ginger root there now - we could do just fine just shopping there, it's 5 miles from home.

6/23/2011: I'm way over due for an update here, and don't want to rush it now - here's a brief breezy note from yesterday:

Tornado Warning

WFUS53 KAPX 230031

831 PM EDT WED JUN 22 2011

bulletin - eas activation requested
tornado warning
National Weather Service Gaylord mi
831 PM EDT wed jun 22 2011

the National Weather Service in Gaylord has issued a

* tornado warning for,
southeastern Crawford county in northern lower Michigan,
north central Roscommon county in northern lower Michigan...

* until 900 PM EDT

* at 825 PM EDT, local law enforcement reported a tornado over the
eastern portion of Houghton lake(7 miles) southwest of Roscommon.
doppler radar showed this tornado moving northeast at 25 mph.

* locations impacted include,
Roscommon and south branch township.

precautionary/preparedness actions...

to repeat, a tornado is reported on the ground. take cover now. move
to an interior room on the lowest floor of a sturdy building. avoid
windows. if in a mobile home, a vehicle or outdoors, move to the
closest substantial shelter and protect yourself from flying debris.


lat, lon 4457 8465 4457 8438 4439 8459 4442 8480
time, mot, loc 0030Z 220Deg 21Kt 4445 8465

5/31/2011: We took Taylor the Trailer out on our first camping trip with her, to Young State Park near Boyne City at the east end of Lake Charlevoix. My sister Sal and her husband Ron have been meeting up with friends there over the Memorial Day holiday weekend for the past 18 years, and invited us to join them this year. For us, it was a 69.3 mi - about 1 hour 25 mins drive. The weather turned out great, their friends were fun to meet, we ate delicious food, and we had bon fires each night. I learned much about fishing fresh water lakes from their friend Jim. Three days blew by quickly, then when leaving the park, we saw quite a long line at the pump out station. State parks here only have electricity at the camp sites. No water, sewer hookup, cable TV or wifi. We thought, lets try out the new Sewer Solution we have at home, we'll be there before getting through that line. It worked great, just hook it up and let it run while unloading the rig. It was a great first outing as trailer towers. Like yachting, the docking part gets your adrenalin going, but we did fine backing into our site, then back on the pad at home. Some pics follow. That's Brian in the picture with Ron, Marsha and Sal. Thanks Sal!

5/27/2011: We've been back a month now, and feel pretty good about how things are going. We're both working as part time consultants, I put in the 75 hours my agreement accounts for, and got a lot done with the time. Breezy's coming along. When we left last fall, the Lazy Susan pantry insert had just arrived, but ended up with shop floor wheels that dug grooves in the hardwood floor instead of rolling. We left it in the living room all winter with a sign stuck to it saying "Do Not Move, Destroys Floor". Ervin, the Amish carpenter that built it while making the bathroom cabinets was here 2 days ago to replace the wheels, and do some finishing touches to the bathroom. So now we have the pantry mostly organized instead of looking for spices in boxes on the floor. Marsha has the furniture for her office in place and has it organized for the most part. We've picked out our first house plant to sit on top of the wine rack. And we've purchased a new flat screen home theater. Those were quite a few decisions to make. While Ervin was here, we reviewed the plans for the kitchen make over, and discussed the work flow. We intend to move forward in stages based on the consulting work we're able to do. The first step will be a new gas oven and range to replace the old Montgomery Ward electric model. We also have Taylor the Trailer ready to hook up to the truck and take off this afternoon on our first camping outing with it. All in all, quite a good month. Oh yeah, about those leaves we intend to watch from buds till they drop this year - here's the rest of the story: I raked up then hauled 24 bags of them to the Gerrish Township community compost heap from last year's batch. Have a great Memorial Day weekend, and happy birthday Mom! Here are a few pics.

5/12/2011: We're getting more settled in, but there is still work to do. I stained the pine wine rack we brought from the storage unit in CA with some of the teak deck stain. A new piece of furniture, now we need a plant to put on top.

5/6/2011: The photos below show a milestone event for us. We turned Taylor the Trailer around today. If you hadn't followed the events of last summer, we bought a 2001 24' Dutchmen trailer on eBay for my birthday. We hooked up with it in Strawberry Point, IA on our way here. We stayed on the Wisconsin River the first night, Escanaba, MI the second night - both with pull through slips, then drove it straight onto the pad next to the garage when we got here. We had never backed it up. To use it, we would have to learn how to do that. I'd been talking to people and watching YouTube videos to learn how. A couple of good tips, 1) Turn the wheel to the side that is getting bigger to straighten it out, 2) Steer with you hand on the bottom of the wheel to turn it in the direction you want to go. There is also the Scoop maneuver. Now we are ready to just hook up and take off when we plan to go camping. Now we can test the awning. The first trip planned is in 3 weeks to Young State Park, joining my sister Sally and her friends over the Memorial Day weekend. Plenty of time to provision Taylor for the first time.

5/4/2011: Reorganized this page breaking off previous years into separate links. Created a Breezy-links page with information about the area and the house extracted from the previous posts. Updated the Breezy-photos page with additional links and videos.

5/3/2011: Besides unpacking and beginning to get the place organized, we've weather stripped the front door, replaced the toilet seat, installed a Critter Free container built by Bruce of Innovative Fabrication 7 miles from here for our trash, and installed a dimmer switch for the upstairs office. We have a dimmer switch, shelves and a table to install in the breezeway office. Ervin Byler, the Amish carpenter will be here to replace the wheels on the pantry insert sometime during the week of the 9th.

4/26/2011: Arrived 10:45 AM Tuesday, April 26 - 4 hours before the cable guy:-)


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4/26/2011: We'll soon be leaving Escanaba to reach Breezy by mid day, in time to be there to meet the cable guy between 3 and 5 this afternoon. We had another great prime rib dinner at the Stonehouse restaurant last night. Cindy was our waitress again (3rd time). She mentioned having a son, David, in CA - Vandenberg Air Force Base. She also mentioned being able to remember my name, same as her ex. We stayed at the Hiawatha Hotel again, because it is within sight of the restaurant. I'll post a few pictures soon.

4/25/2011: We stayed in a very nice cabin style room on a river in Aitkin, MN at the Ripple River RV Park and Motel last night. Dinner was leftover macaroni salad in our room. Lunch yesterday, for Easter Sunday was at John Alexander's Restaurant in Moorhead (the east half of Fargo), ND.

4/24/2011: We stayed at the Select Inn in Bismarck, ND last night. Dinner was a take out prime rib we ate in the room. Lunch was chicken wings at a pizza hut.

4/23/2011: We stayed at the Sleep Inn in Billings, MT last night. Dinner was leftover macaroni salad and cheese its. We had a nice Bison burger lunch at Ted's (Ted Turner) in downtown Bozeman. A very nice town. As we were looking at the menu outside of the restaurant, a gentleman asked if we were new in town, then chatted up the place in a very helpful manner. I saw 2 different couples kissing on the street. The town was still white with snow, but it was thawing - big hunks were falling off trees and roofs.

4/20/2011: Jim took me out fishing today. We floated his inflatable boat down a section of the Beaverhead River. We caught enough fish for dinner, the main goal. I snagged a big one - dinner turned out marvelous - thanks Jo!. The commute on day 1 to Elko, NV and day 2 to here in Dillon, MT went smoothly. Jim and I played tennis yesterday, my serve is on the fritz again. The following are a few pics from today's fishing.


4/16/2011: Test, test, does this page still work? Man, it's dusty in here...