This was our 2013 Jayco Flight Swift 198 RD


Wednesday, 10 July 2019

The Dog Days Of Summer

Actually, in China the dog days of summer start in a couple of days, on July 12ththis year and I take this phrase for the devastatingly hot and lazy summer days where dogs just lie around panting. As a matter of fact this phrase has many more meanings and originally meant the “Dog Star Sirius” and its position in the heavens, usually July or August.

So we lowered the temps of the thermostat in the house and look what happened.

Reggy must have been cold ;))

Since my last update when the pups were three weeks old, I have been pretty busy with them, the garden and overall with projects.  Mom in Germany needs our attention pretty well daily with phone calls alternating between my sister and me or both of us!

When our weather finally dried up I got to work on the deck, my yearly chore in the springtime which was this year a month behind. The sanding of the floorboards is a pain in the neck, or rather my back although I use a power sander and then the application of the wood stain to preserve and seal the boards. If anyone out there is considering building a deck, you might want to consider composite decking unless you want the wood to turn grey or black. Anyway, I got it done.

And then there were the issues with the zillions of fish flies or the May flies how they are called, sticking to the house, truck and anything else, additionally on top we got rained on with the keys of the Maple trees that landed on our property by the thousands and afterwards the cotton balls of the Cottonwood trees, not to forget the spiders and the birds. You got to love country living (we do LOL) or you go crazy here trying to keep the place clean!! 

We've had two sets of breeding birds in all our birdhouses this year

We are having a lot of fun with the puppies. They are really adorable and so playful. Of course they want us to keep them company which we do a lot, but after some activity of running and playing with each other and the toys, they do get tired after a while and so we get a break and let them nap in their box.  

Elsa is still lactating but I am trying to wean her off. It is hard because she still wants to feed and the pups want her milk as soon as they see her, so I have to keep her away from her pups.  Reggy is taking it all in stride and likes to visit his family but wants nothing to do with the feeding or cleaning up! 

Here are some pics of the gang. I feed them their kibble, special puppy food for Dachshund puppies from Royal Canin in a muffin pan. I find it easier to watch this way that everyone gets enough food as some have a bigger appetite than others and some are slow eaters while others are ravenously hungry. 

Begging their mom for some more milk

So before I forget, I am flying out to Germany again this Sunday. Yes, again! I will only stay a week and come back next week because the pups will be getting ready to be rehomed after 8 weeks of age. In September I will be flying out to Germany once more to help sell off and empty the contents of my Mom’s house. That will be a huge job! 

Hoping everyone is having a great summer and I will be posting one more set of the pups before they are all leaving us. Thanks for visiting.

Tuesday, 18 June 2019

Three weeks of goings-on

Last Friday our Dachshund puppies turned three weeks old and I realized that it is time for an update from our home base happenings.  

They are now able to see and hear. Also their baby teeth are coming in.

I am clipping the sharp tips of their nails so they don't hurt mommy when feeding.

Since my return from Germany I learned that the transition to settle into a senior citizen home is not an easy one for our mom and my sister Christina (who flew again to Germany last Saturday) and I are a little stressed over the things we have to deal with long distance. I have tried to find relaxation by working outside in the garden whenever time or a break in our rained out spring weather would allow me to do.  For the longest time I have wanted to create a little berm, i.e. flower bed at the end of our property line and never got around to making one. 

It seemed like most days it rained and rained...

Not even the dogs were interested in going out into the rain, 
but chewing a bone helped the boredom.

Its a soggy mess this property

Some days the water was even higher than this

Finally, a week ago I donned my big rubber boots, got a shovel and wheelbarrow out of my shed and waded over to our new property. The grounds are lower there than the one our house is on. With all that rain we have had and the high Lake Erie water level, cutting the grass over there is impossible for the moment. Last year we had ripped large tarps up that were buried in the ground and by doing so several mounts of topsoil mixed with debris where scattered over the property. After pulling newly grown tall weeds from those dirt piles I managed to fill several wheelbarrows full of good earth for this new berm. To top it up, so to speak, we purchased an interesting looking large boulder to set on top. We picked that up at a local Nursery with our utility trailer. Benno backed that up right to the berm so he and me, after pumping some blood into our muscles, could slide this close to 400-pound rock bugger onto the top after lowering the ramp into position. Around it I planted some perennials.  Next to the berm Benno helped me to dig three holes into which I planted evergreens to tie the empty space from the wooden fence with the berm.

The border stones will settle some more over time

Wooden fences in this hight are not permitted to go all the way to the property end

While the dogs kept me busy in the house, Benno had projects of his own to occupy his time. A while ago George from"Our Awesome Travels" posted pictures of new bedside lamps he had purchased and installed. That made us think about the factory supplied overhead lamps in our travel trailer’s bedroom, which shine in our eyes like high beam car lights. They are LEDs, but mounted in a ridiculous position in our Jayco White Hawk 24RKS. So after a Google search Benno located a neat set of new bedside lamps, LED as well. They light up in white, or blue and it didn’t take him very long to mount those. 

The blue light is really not that bright as the picture shows

In addition, Benno had not been very happy with the factory supplied folding entrance stairs that showed some rust already, which may had been caused by the late December or early January trip departures, hitting salted roads while driving to the sunny south. He replaced them with a new set of aluminum folding entrance stairs that we like a lot better. These we picked up at a Camping World store close to Detroit in Michigan a couple of weeks ago.

There is another issue we have and hope maybe some reader will have a suggestion or answer to this:
During the winter, while hooked up to the RV Park's pressure water system, the trailer’s water tank filled up also, which it should not. One day, to our surprise, we noticed a puddle of water under our trailer, which we traced down to the water tank overflow hose vent. Benno shut the park’s water off and activated the 12 Volt trailer pump for a few minutes. The water tank gauge showed a full tank, which should have been empty, according to Benno. He had drained the tank after arrival in the RV Park. He then drained the tank again.  Here at home we hooked the trailer up to the shore water supply as we were awaiting my sister and husband to use the trailer overnight and noticed there was water running again out of the tank overflow hose vent. The tank was full again. Benno thinks the trailer’s Shureflo water pressure pump’s build-in check valve is the culprit. He removed the pump and opened it up. In his opinion the check valve’s stainless steel spring is tired. By stretching the spring a little, it may have solved the problem. Time will tell. An additional installed check valve will not work with the Shurflo pump as we discovered. The pump will constantly jerk. Its internal bypass valve will prevent the pressure switch shut-off. Benno tried this out. Any tip from our readers is welcome.

The old shed last year

And while Benno was taking our truck to the Chrysler dealership a week ago for a couple of factory recalls, I got the opportunity to watch a little fire at our neighbor’s property while I was outside in the garden plugging weed and dandelions. There was an old shed sitting at the neighbor’s property close to our property line that had seen better days. Our neighbors are in the process of cleaning up the land and in the process, this little shed caught on fire. The decision was made to let it burn down although the fire department was contacted while it burned.  Actually, at one time I got a little concerned as the fire became quite big and the smoke and airborne burned fragments were blown over our travel trailer.

From the fire’s start to finish it took an hour and a half.  The ashes and remnants, however, are a big mess created by the most helpful crew (I think those were trainees) of the fire department who sprayed tons of water and scattered the charred remnants all over the place.

It looks like this year’s wet weather down here in our area will delay our plans we have with the adjacent property upgrades as well as a gravel pad extension for our travel trailer. We’ll see what we can do. 

I’ll be posting more pictures soon of our little puppies as they are developing very rapidly. Stay tuned.

Sunday, 26 May 2019

Coming Home

On Thursday afternoon the plane I was traveling on from Toronto Pearson International Airport arrived a half hour later than scheduled at Windsor Airport. Benno and our two dachshunds had been patiently waiting for me to come out of the terminal and I could hardly wait to fall into Benno’s arms. Travel time had been 21 hours thus far and I was tired.

The days abroad seemed a lot longer for me than they actually were but that is because I had to accomplished a lot. My Mom has many health issues and being 91 years old she just cannot do the everyday things anymore we all take for granted. It is difficult for her to admit that she needs help. Professional help she did have but because of overcapacity at the various agencies that come into the private homes to provide personal care and housework, good help had been lacking to the point that changes had to be made. That is not only my assessment of the situation but everyone that saw what was happening, from neighbors to friends to family.

Mom's garden shed, part of a lovely backyard

So the day I arrived, my Mom was in the hospital and I let myself into her house. I was shocked at the state her home was at. While I was still in my coat and putting my suitcase down, the phone rang. The “Stader Betreuungsdienste” a new Senior Citizens home not far from her house called to inform me that a room at their facility had become available. If we were still interested for Mom to move in, it had to be occupied within a week’s time. Talk about a sign from heaven! (My sister, Christina, had driven with Mom to various old age homes at her last visit to Germany and got Mom on several waiting lists, thanks god!)

To summarize this blog, Mom stayed at the hospital until move in day. My brother-in-law Harald, (Benno’s Brother), who lives 4 hours from Mom’s house, came to help me with the move of some of her furniture, the purchase of a new TV and phone and their hookup at her room. I had a pile of things to arrange, clean and prepare her closing and other personal items plus meanwhile spend every day several hours with Mom at either the hospital and then afterwards with her at her new home. Beside all this on the plate I prepared, cleaned and staged her house, found a real estate broker, accumulated all the necessary documents (a whole lot different than in North America) so the house could be listed for sale. There were a ton of other things that had to be done and by the end of my stay I think I had done all I could do to help the situation. However, Mom is not happy. The transition time for her to adjust will take a while, if ever.

Partial view of Mom's room

Another view of her room. In addition there is a large bathroom

And then there is the other issue.
You might recall my March 28thupdate when we stopped in Goshen, Indiana at the Lippert Company, which supplied to Jayco our trailer’s frame and axles components. We had an axle problem and in Goshen the Lippert Axle plant took our trailer into the shop to replace our axles with a set of heavy-duty axles free of charge. While the trailer was in their shop, Benno and I were waiting in Lippert’s visitor lounge. There was a moment when I had asked Benno to go out to the truck to check up on the dogs. Both dachshunds where in the large carry kennel. Elsa was in heat, but she was wearing a female dog panty or diaper. It did not take long for Benno to come busting back into the visitor’s lounge out of breath with the bad news that Elsa was without her protective panty. I was out the armchair in record time running to the truck. Yep, her panty had been pulled off. Reggy the culprit looked at me with relieved eyes and Elsa’s expression was of total innocence. We kept watching Elsa and hoping that nothing had happened, but in the weeks to come we noticed that it had happened. I timed my return trip from Germany to be back with a week to spare before Elsa’s due date to give birth. This time getting puppies had not been in our plans at all. 

Being sleep deprived I was in bed at 9 p.m., 24 hours after getting up in Germany to fly back home on Thursday. At 3 O’clock on Friday morning I heard Elsa throwing up. It was way too early in the day for me to start cleaning her kennel so I took her to bed with us. An hour later she started panting and I thought I felt her having a contraction. Suffering from jetlag, my body told me to get up anyway and Benno had been wide-awake too. He was a good trooper and offered to make breakfast, so we had breakfast at 4:30 in the morning, would you believe it. Elsa was not due to give birth until next week, but I suspect the excitement of me coming home may have triggered her beginning of giving birth.  

A few hours after giving birth

The whelping box had been setup in our guestroom already just in case. I fetched a pile of towels and made Elsa comfortable in her birthing bed. She is a brave girl and a good mommy. Over the course of 4 hours Elsa birthed 5 healthy puppies. My good neighbor and friend Teresa came over as well to assist if needed. Thank you Teresa.

The whelping box

The pups taking turns nursing and napping

For a while I will not be able to sleep though the nights as Elsa needs to go outside several times a night and also eat additional meals to help her milk production. 
I’ll be posting the development of the little bunch of pups and happenings here at home in a few days. Stay tuned.