This was our 2013 Jayco Flight Swift 198 RD


Where are we?

Back Home on Lake Erie, Leamington, Ontario

Friday, 12 October 2018

A well-lived life

My Dad  01.01.1925 – 12.10.2018
When the phone call came this morning at 4:15, I just knew what it meant. My Dad, called “Papi” by my sister and me went peacefully after being in a deep coma for two weeks.  He was fortunate enough to be able to celebrate with my Mom their 70thwedding anniversary this past April. Until this last stroke he still enjoyed independent living at home. Although being discouraged to keep driving his car, he would not give up doing small shopping trips with his scooter, which kept him mobile. I suspect he enjoyed racing this thing for all it got, because he looked for opportunities to take it out onto the road, and he was 93 years old.
My parents had a successful retail store in Germany for over 30 years. The store was well known in town. Among his many talents, my father had learned the trade of sewing machine mechanic at the Singer Company and there was not one model or type or brand of sewing machine he could not fix. Even as a POW after WW2 in an American POW Camp they were relying on his knowledge and had him fixing the sewing machines of the US Army. The sergeant would say, “Hey Heinz have a look at this one, it is really messed up” and Heinz (my Dad) would have a look at it and had the sewing machine working again in a flash, earning him some extra ration of food treats. This trade he continued to do as a hobby if someone needed help with his or her machine in the later years up into his high age.  He will be missed.

Rest In Peace Papi. I will be off for a while so no posts while I am in Germany, but there will be more news about the puppies when I return, which I will leave under supervision of Benno.  They are now a week old and have all doubled their birth weight and are doing fine.

Friday, 5 October 2018

The pups have arrived!

Yesterday, just as I had marked our calendar, we welcomed 7 puppies to our family. 

The night before I spent on the couch in the puppies’ nursery together with Elsa. She was restless and I could tell it would not be long now before she would be giving birth. However, nothing happened overnight. On Thursday morning it was obvious to me that I now had to pay close attention.  Around 10 A.M. I sat in front of the whelping box when Elsa started having contractions and ten minutes later a little female puppy was born. I had hoped all other puppies would follow soon after, but that was not to be.

My good friend and neighbor Teresa came to help out and to keep me company. Benno was sent off to watch TV and later on he busied himself in the kitchen. I became concerned after a couple of hours when Elsa had no more contractions. That was when I started looking for answers in Google and what to do. When it came close to 3 1/4 hours with nothing happening I got close to panic and called our Veterinarian and he said I had to come in right away with Elsa to have her x-rayed to see if she needed a cesarean section done. In haste I ordered Benno to get the car in front of our door “Pronto”, packed Reggy into the smaller travel kennel and loaded him into the rear of our truck cab.  Elsa I held on my towel covered lap on the front seat together with the little puppy wrapped up in a tea towel, Benno stepped on the gas like a Formula 1 Racer and off we went leaving a cloud of dust behind us. Almost half way to the Vet’s clinic Elsa started to get contractions and birthed another puppy right on my lap. Quickly Benno turned the truck around and raced back home. (Well, we stayed somewhat with the speed limit) Arriving back home Benno honked the horn wildly and Teresa, who had been in her garden, came right running over to hold the two puppies while I attended to Elsa.  The rest of the afternoon dragged on as the rest of the puppies slowly took their time to come out. At around 6 P.M. we counted 4 girls and 3 boys in the whelping box and Elsa seemed content. 
What a day. To all this excitement I am in constant contact with my mom in Germany, my dad (93 years old) had another stroke a few days ago (the 3rdone) and is in a coma in Hamburg’s University Hospital. It does not look good.

I spent another night on the couch close to the whelping box to make sure the pups were cared for and if needed I would feed them mixed up powdered milk to supplement their nourishment. Today, Friday, pups and mom are doing fine. Elsa has been cleaned up and so is the whelping box. The puppy family is now getting into a routine of feeding about every two hours, followed by Elsa licking all of the pups clean and napping the rest of the time. She needs lots of extra food and liquids to make sure the pups get the benefit of it, so I will do my best to keep the food supply flowing.

Some facts:
The extra combined weight of the puppies and fluid was about a kilo and a half Elsa had to carry.  The second pup born had a longer body than the rest of them. Just as with Elsa’s first set of litter, we have one puppy with a brown coat and it is also a girl. (Elsa’s father was brown) And we have again one puppy with a white stripe on its belly. The different coloured Velco bands around their necks have the purpose that I don't get them mixed up as I weigh them every day to make sure they are getting enough milk to drink.
And no surprise, all puppies are absolutely gorgeous and cute!

Saturday, 29 September 2018


Once more our guest room has been converted to a nursery. The mom to be, our little dachshund Elsa, is pregnant with puppies.  When is it going to happen? Well that is a guessing game although we marked the calendar with an approximate due date, but I speculate it’ll be sooner than later so you’d have to check in every so often to find out if the little ones have arrived yet, as I will be posting a picture of them.

The whelping box is ready for the new arrivals

Elsa is checking out the accommodations. Reggy never goes in!

The dad, our Reggy, is very relaxed about the whole situation. At times I have noticed him trying to entice Elsa to play with him, like running around the house, but Elsa didn’t go for it. He then took Elsa’s favorite squeaky toy from her to get her to chase it from him, but all she did was to come to me begging to interfere and to give it back to her. Smart girl.  As Elsa’s belly keeps growing (at a rapid rate now) she rests at lot and just takes it easy. I don’t blame her. When she has the urge to scratch her ears her big belly gets in the way of her short legs and she moans and groans while she does this acrobatic performance. Poor thing.

Elsa's every growing tummy

Elsa is taking a relaxing sunbath

Both dogs love an occasional chewing bone

Reggy occupies the day bed while Elsa prefers the floor

While doing my weekly grocery run yesterday I saw lots of the frozen turkeys landing in the shopping carts of the customers in the store. Our Thanksgiving is a week away but I am hesitant to participate in this tradition this year. Maybe I will be too busy with Elsa and a bunch of little puppies to cook an elaborate dinner. I have a week to decide and to find out (or not) what is happening.

Rose of Sharon void of leaves

As of lately I have not paid too much attention to my garden, so I was shocked a couple of days ago to discover that one of my Rose of Sharon bushes was almost stripped off of its leaves. Last time I looked it was in full bloom. Obviously there was something in there or had been that was eating up all the leaves. Upon closer inspection I noticed a caterpillar underneath a leaf. Then I saw another one crawling up the stem. In short order I grabbed a bucket and a Kleenex and picked those crawly things off. When I thought I had picked all that I could see my count was at 62 Caterpillars. Whoa! Where did they come from and what are they?  They are not Monarch Butterfly caterpillars and they are not hairy either, to my knowledge. The younger ones seem to have quite a spring to them. Nowhere could I see any cocoons so what are they to become and where I still don’t know. But whatever they are, they are not going to develop themselves in MY Rose of Sharon plant because I evicted them!

These little buggers have been munching on the leaves
and there was a whole horde of them

Thanks for dropping by and hopefully I'll be posting exciting news real soon.

Wednesday, 5 September 2018

Is it already September?

The dog days of summer are almost over and hopefully we can breathe cooler air soon. We thought this past August was extremely hot, but that is probably due to the fact that we spent most of it outdoors with projects in the garden.  Even the birds seemed to be sluggish as they were hiding in shady spots and although there were plentiful flowers in the garden I observed Hummingbirds, Orioles and even a Monarch butterfly drinking from the feeder in our backyard. Must have been more convenient.

We had two sets of visitors to break up the month to take us away from our daily chores. Patsy and Bill with their adorable dog Clemson came to visit first. We knew of each other through our blogs. Patsy writes Chillin' with Patsy and Bill writes On Our Way They were in the London, Ontario area for several days with their 5thwheel, which is about an hour and a half drive from us, and took this opportunity to drive down to meet us.  This lovely couple told us of places to visit down in Arizona and plans have been made to meet up down there. We think that would be fun and we are looking forward to that. Bill suggested that we take off the white plastic wheel covers which I had installed to keep the sun off the tires. Instead of doing a worthy thing I had unknowingly done more harm than good because the air cannot circulate behind the covers and the sun bakes the tires behind the covers. Benno tested it and he thought he could roast a chicken there in that heat when he put his hand behind the cover. Thanks Bill.

Next our friends Sofia and Leszek came for a visit. We met so many years ago through the Ontario Boat Builder Cooperative where we were all members. Les and Sofy sailed their first boat all the way to Australia from Lake Ontario and we saw each other again in St. Thomas, US Virgin Island, one of the Caribbean Islands. Now they have another sailboat and the plan is to duplicate the trip Benno and I did in our “Diesel Duck” around South America. In more specific terms, they like to visit Patagonia and to round Cape Horn in their own boat.

Patagonia is a vast, exotic, wild and infinitely beautiful area in the southernmost extreme of the American continent. We traveled through its fjords and channels in an unbelievable gorgeous and unspoiled wilderness while marveling at the views of the mountains with cascading waterfalls. We even inched our vessel close to many of the hundreds of glaciers. Of course it was not all sun and calm weather as storm fronts are frequent in that part of the world. So there was lots to talk about and Benno gifted Les a set of sea charts for that area to navigate by. What nice memories the visit from our friends brought on. Here are a few pics of Patagonia.

Several of our blogger friends have made plans already and set dates for a fall departure with their rigs. Benno thought it would be prudent to take advantage of the nice weather to get down and grease the wheel hubs of the camper in the shade under the pulled out awning of our 24 White Hawk trailer. Here are some pictures of the undertaking.

Benno has done this before, about 3 years ago on our previous 19ft Jayco trailer.

Working on the wheel hubs not all working positions are comfortable.

To lift the trailer Benno used a 10 ton hydraulic jack and after lifting, 
secured the axle with axle stands.

The Dexter Axle Operation and Service Manual that came with the Jayco White Hawk trailer explains the wheel bearing lubrication process. One page is dedicated to the approved grease sources. In our case Benno used "Valvoline Multi-Purpose GM" grease that he purchased at the
TSC store in Leamington. The grease nipple is hidden behind a rubber plug which has to be carefully removed first.

Notice above in the picture Benno is rotating the hub with his right hand while pumping the grease gun with his left hand. Rotating the hub prevents the grease gun pressure to bust the rear seal. The rear seal contains the grease to the wheel bearings and prevents the grease to get onto the electric brake system.

Don't loose the rubber plug and don't forget to put it back to the metal end cap. 
It keeps the road dirt out of the wheel bearing.
Picture below wheel hub with the rubber plug back on.

Benno used the opportunity while the wheels were off to give them a good wash. After installation he torqued the wheel nuts. In our case it is 14" wheels and the wheel nuts are torqued to 115 - 120 FT-LBS. The tire pressure will be checked just before we are hitting the road south and during the drive frequently during pit stops.

I might now spend more time indoors and on my computer so updates and comments will be more frequent. (I hope so)

Thursday, 16 August 2018

Collateral Damage, Sick As A Dog & Great Visit

For all the folks wondering what is happening with our newly acquired property and self imposed work at this neglected piece of wilderness, read on.

Not shy of work we thought it would be an easy task to clean this land. Boy, did we have some surprises while undertaking the job. To start off, I thought it would be best by starting to get rid of the weeds such as 4-foot long thistles and such.  Some pulled out easily, others I had to cut off. 
Along the hydro pole there were many of those weeds and tall grass surrounding it. Benno asked me to quickly clear that area. What we didn’t know was that the weeds and grass covered a pile of boulders, old asphalt, broken concrete slabs and dirt, three feet high hidden underneath around the hydro pole. We want the hydro pole free of debris because a lot surveyor stake is right at the pole according to the plan. In fact, it was several wheelbarrows full of dirt, one trailer load of stones and two days of hard work to clear this. But these were not the only rocks we discovered. Buried underneath and around the many potted trees, which had all rooted deeply by now, were more of those stones and other things like a pile of metal pieces used in roofing that where discarded a long time ago. 
Once we had that chore completed and a path cleared, Benno worked around the two discarded trailers with the old hardtop piled on. There were some old tarps, old pallets and other stuff laying next to them which he removed and then pulled the trailers out in front of the rest of the junk vehicles sitting there. Hopefully all those will disappear sometime soon. I hope!

With the help of our neighbours, Teresa and Dave, and their large utility trailer in addition to our trailer, we made several trips to the Town's Leaf & Yard Depot site to deposit tree branches, logs, roots and grass cuttings with weeds.  One full trailer load of firewood went to a neighboring fire pit.  

Benno’s newly acquired Stihl saw got a real workout. In fact we bought an additional new saw chain and had both already sharpened. We wanted the roots out together with the smaller trees and to do that, Benno used a high test choke chain with a hook on the bottom of the tree trunks and an attached tow strap with a shackle fastened to the hitch of the pickup truck.  Benno then gave it a good yank with the truck and in most cases the trees came down after one, two or three good jerks. There were at least a couple of dozen trees he felled this way. That is until he heard a loud noise like a gun shot behind the truck as he had stepped on the gas pedal. He thought the hitch had come off or the previous caretaker had dug up and fired his old musket. However, after further investigating, Benno discovered a good sized hole in the back tailgate of our truck which looked like someone had plastered him with a shotgun slug. But it appears that high test hook, which he had purchased at the local TSC store just a few days ago, had a flaw and had snapped in the middle during the tree removal try.  We did not find the other half of the hook and presume it’s inside the tailgate. I call this collateral damage but Benno called it very loud "shit".  On the good side I am just grateful this projectile did not hit the rear window of the truck and Benno was not harmed.

Meanwhile we’ve had hot weather down here in the southern part of Ontario, which made our efforts a bit harder as we sweated through several sets of t-shirts and shorts each day. Last week we picked up our granddaughter #2 who is 7 years old now and she turned out to be a good helper. Not that we wanted her to spend her vacation with us working, but I think she enjoyed picking up the clippings of tree branches and depositing them into the trailer. That made the job so much faster; great job, Annaliese.  Of course we had fun with her too with shopping for dresses and toys, playing games and a picnic at the beach.

It was so hot here the past weeks that I wonder if that brought out this big turtle that wandered into our neighbor’s yard. We fed it some lettuce and a celery stick. Even the geese came to the water’s edge to cool off.

A couple of days ago our Reggy got sick. He threw up and had a bloody diarrhea. Of course I took him to the Erie Veterinary Hospital to find out what is going on.  First I though he might have swallowed something he shouldn’t have eaten and I asked for an x-ray. That was not conclusive to Dr. Hussain so he sent the x-ray via Internet to a specialist in Texas. Their findings and conclusions suggested a Gastroenteritis for which he is treated now at home. We can tell he is under the weather and hope with all the meds he’ll be better soon.

That’s it for my update today. Hopefully I have better things to write about on my next post. Stay tuned.