This was our 2013 Jayco Flight Swift 198 RD


Where are we?

Back Home on Lake Erie, Leamington, Ontario

Wednesday, 5 December 2018

My trip to Germany

Last weekend I returned home from Germany. It is a long flight, as a matter of fact three flights for me. I flew from Windsor Ontario to Montreal, Quebec, then on a Boing 777 plane onto Zurich, Switzerland and from there on to Hamburg, Germany. The Transatlantic flight is 7,200 kilometers (4500 miles) and lasts 7 to 8 hours depending which direction the flight is. From Hamburg Airport I took two train rides and for the final stretch a taxi ride to my Mom’s house.  The time difference is 6 hours ahead in Germany. If you are wondering, yes, I was jetlagged both ways for several days until my body adjusted. My return flight I had booked from Hamburg to Munich, Germany and again on a Boing 777 plane to Toronto, Canada. For my flight to Windsor I had to wait at the Toronto airport 4-1/2 hours for the Puddle Jumper, as there were no other flights available. Once everyone was onboard the plane sat on the tarmac for 30 minutes before we got the ok for takeoff.  I guess the Airports are over capacity at certain times.  Needless to say I was so happy when Benno picked me up in Windsor and very tired when I finally got home.

The month of November is usually very wet and overcast in Northern Germany so I knew already what to expect. The sun peaked out so very little that I mostly missed its appearance, but we had a lot of the liquid kind. My Mom (91 years young) needed some assistance with bureaucratic paperwork, appointments and general runaround arrangements of various sorts that kept us busy. Mom doesn’t drive anymore so even getting groceries or other shopping becomes difficult for her. She uses a walker when outside and there are no stores close by her home which is located in a very nice subdivision with beautiful parks. She made arrangements to have a hot meal delivered once a day after my departure so she doesn’t have to cook a dinner for herself, with the exception if the feels like eating something else than what was brought. 

Mom lives in a small town close to the city of Hansestadt Stade.  A few days before my departure to Canada, the Christkindle Bazaar in Stade set up its booths and displays. Some snow and lit Christmas lights would have enhanced the ambiance, but when we went in the morning to have a look, it drizzled with a temperature of about 2+C. There were not too many people out in the pedestrian zone and the ones we encountered hurried on to warmer and drier places. Nevertheless, here are some pictures I took with my iPad.

The inner harbour downtown

There is a lot I have to catch up to back home. You won’t believe how much the puppies have grown up since I last wrote in this blog.  Next update will be pictures of them for all the Dachshund lovers out there. So stay tuned.

Wednesday, 7 November 2018

More Travel

Sometimes it’s not easy to write about ones life happenings and all that goes on. This is one of those times. First off, I’m flying back to Germany on Sunday. Mom is not coping very well with her new situation and this time I am staying a bit longer than I did on my last trip.

Next, we moved the pups.
Our litter of 7 Dachshund puppies has now very sharp teeth and they like to test them on (my finger) and their toys. They are now 5 weeks old. Elsa, their mom, still has lots of milk, but nursing the little pups with little sharp teeth is hurting her, so we are starting with puppy kibbles and supplement it with puppy milk powder that I mix up.  The puppies are now very active; wanting to play and run so being only confined to the whelping box became so constricted that we moved them to the garage. Our garage is not like any other garage it is well insulated including the ceiling, doors and thermo paned windows.  The walls are insulated and drywall is painted white. It has two windows to let the sun in and two electric forced air heaters keep the temperature at a comfortable 24C/75F.  Attached to the whelping box we have a wire cage playpen that sits on a neoprene rubber floor so the pups don’t get cold and it is easy to clean up.
Yesterday Benno had the job of relocating the box and installing the box in their new home. I added a radio playing their favorite station :)) for when we are not around so they don’t feel lonely and for our comfort we have chairs to sit and watch, a table for all the essentials and a dog bed for Elsa and Reggy to keep them company.  All in all we try to stimulate the litter when they are awake and with time try to teach them to do their business on the dog pads.

As you noticed on the above picture, the puppies are so cute!

After my return from Germany we didn’t waste any time and used the few dry and still mild days to do some more work on our new lot that we acquired next to our property.  Most of you probably are not aware how difficult it is to purchase Canadian land owned by an American. The closing date was pushed off and off. Let me tell you, it takes a lot of paperwork and time and involves the Federal Government in Ottawa. We finally closed on that transaction last week and are now happy to proceed with our improvements.  There were a lot of misplaced and crooked trees on that property that we wanted cleared out. The final 4 trees that stood in the way of a planned shed got felled last week. Benno did it all by himself with the use of his chainsaw and our truck. To the towing hitch of the truck he attached one end of a braided nylon rope, the other end of the rope he fasten high up onto the trees and tensioned it up with the truck to make sure the trees fell properly onto clear ground of our lot, preventing them from falling onto the neighbors roof and causing some excitement. Afterwards we made short work of some cutting and branch snipping to dispose of the leaves and wood.  In the past months we had to also dispose of several buried tarps on the property. They were underneath dirt and grass and many roots had found their way through them making their removal extra difficult.  It seemed the cleanup was going on forever, but it is looking a lot better now.

Every time we drive by the Hike Metal Company in our neighborhood, we look to see if we can spot any vessel of interest. At the present time there is a new Coast Guard vessel sitting out in the yard that does not have its interior installed yet and a completed Police boat.  If you recall our post from July 27 of last year we can tell you that the then built Search and Rescue Coast Guard Vessel “Pennant Bay”, which was delivered last year from Hike Metal to Halifax, finally got to her new home port St. Anthony, Newfoundland. The Coast Guard had to first renovate the station with wharf and dock for $1.1 million to accommodate the new vessel. The “Pennant Bay” will service the Canadian and US fishing trawlers and the oilrigs on the Newfoundland banks when an emergency arises. The Coast Guard is adding three new vessels to Newfoundland.

Perhaps I will be able to share some pictures with you from Germany after my return. It is not possible to post them directly from my iPad, which I’ll be taking with me, because I need our laptop for that. So there is something to look forward to. Best wishes to all our friends and followers.

Sunday, 28 October 2018

I’m back home

First off, thank you everyone for your nice words in regards of my Dad’s passing.  My trip to Germany had been an emotional one and still is because our Mom is now alone in Germany to cope with her new circumstances and it is a difficult time. My sister Christina has been a huge help in support, making arrangements and in her efforts to manage the affairs for our Mom.  She is coming back home to Canada by the end of next week.


While I was in Germany Benno had been running our household that included looking after all our dogs in our house.  As I am now getting over my jetlag it is my turn again to get up at all hours of the night to tend to the needs of our Elsa. I got back from Germany just in time to celebrate with Benno his 75thbirthday. There was no party this time (because he wants to keep his age secret so don't tell anyone) but I made him his favorite foods and I tried to make it a special day.

Benno's BD cake

For all you dachshund lovers or puppy enthusiasts I will now post some pictures of our litter of 7 pups. They grew quite substantially during my absence. The first two pictures were taken on the day I left for comparison and the rest of them I took today. It is easiest to photograph them while they are sleeping because once they are awake they move around so fast that my pictures turn out to be blurred. I need to maybe use my other camera and adjust the shutter speed or post a video clip.

Pups the day I left, eyes still closed and no hearing yet

I hope that all our traveling friends that are already on their way south to warmer climates are having a safe trip. I’ll be catching up on blog posts shortly and will follow along. Have a great time everyone. More news in my next update, so stay tuned.

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!