This was our 2013 Jayco Flight Swift 198 RD


Friday 28 July 2017

The Swallows are back

Every year around this time we are visited by large flocks of Swallows.  They are a bunch of very social birds.  Someone told me they were Barn Swallows but looking through my binoculars they appear to be Tree Swallows, I think.  The information on the Internet states that they form huge communal roosts after their breeding season to molt and before they migrate in the fall. That seems to be just right. 

However, they seem to particularly like the stretch of Hydro wire in front of our house to meet.  (Why, I have no idea) The good thing about that is that when they take off to feed on flies, mosquitos and other aerial insects, there are less pesky bugs to sting or pester us.
The bad thing is that you have to take cover when they are out in full force dive bombing and showing acrobatic skills while catching their dinner and digesting it in midair.  You do not want to have your car parked anywhere nearby either. It’s a struggle to keep the house and camper clean and forget about cleaning the concrete pad or the flowerbed under the Hydro wire.

look closely at the Hydro wire at the end of our driveway

Meanwhile a lost young Robin chick had caught my attention. It’d been hopping around our house calling heartbreakingly sad for its momma to feed it but I spotted momma in the birdbath relaxing and taking a break.

This time of year I enjoy my garden the most.  The Rose of Sharon I planted two years ago shot up a whopping two feet in height this spring.  It seems to be a late bloomer with two different colors, bluish-pink and rosy-pink petals and most of its buds are starting to open up only now but it’s lovely nevertheless.

I’ll take you on a little tour showing off the flowers around the house and hope the resolutions of the pics are good enough for the post because the images are always sharper in my file.

In my next post I will update you about Elsa, who is expecting puppies and our other little rascal, Reggy.

We’ve had a heavy downpour a little while ago. Benno used the opportunity to go out during the rainstorm in his swim trousers and scrub the camper and gazebo off bird droppings.  He was totally drenched and freezing cold when he came back in.
But OMG, after the rain several hundreds more Swallows arrived here! They are all over in the trees, on the Hydro wires and on the ground.  What’s going on?

Saturday 22 July 2017

A week with Heidi

This past week Heidi, our oldest granddaughter, came to stay with us.  Just like with her younger sister Annaliese, Benno and I picked her up in London where our son met us at a rendezvous location for the swap.
Reggy and Elsa, our two doxies, were excited to see her and I am guessing they were looking forward to be getting more belly rubs and playtime with her. The long drive is tiresome for kids. To make the ride somewhat more interesting we were counting all the red cars and trucks underway on the Highway but after a while even that got boring.  Finally arriving home we three were hungry and the cranberry muffins waiting for us were devoured in a flash, then it was time for Heidi to head outside to explore. Luckily for us this past week the weather was super nice for outdoors activities. Taking advantage of the weather Benno wanted to add another layer of gravel onto the foundation for the new shed.  We drove to the pick-up location where Heidi got to see how the big backhoe dumped a full load of gravel into our trailer. Back home Heidi helped me to level the stone.  That truly was hard work and she didn’t just play around but showed how tough she is.

All that hard work had to be rewarded and a shopping trip was planned for the next day.  Before Oma took Heidi into town to buy toys and clothing for her, Heidi posed for a picture.  Upon looking at the photo we discovered she was photobombed by the owl in the front flowerbed. 

Ha, so Heidi thought she could also photobomb the owl!

Lake Erie is approximately 300 feet/100 meters from our house with a small stretch of beach and a breakwater wall that is just so inviting for climbing and jumping off because the water around it is only a couple of feet deep. The pebbles, rocks and beach glass that can be found there are excellent materials to take home for some projects both of our granddaughters insisted.  So that is where we went almost every day. 

By the middle of the week the neighbor’s boy came to play there too.  Now take two 8 year old, likeminded kids to the beach add two dachshunds that like to participate in the action and you got the picture!

The week was filled with all sorts of activities indoors and out. Cake decorating was one of them because her sister did it too.

One day we had to get a new cartridge for our printer and while at the Staples store Heidi convinced me that the pot of modeling Clay she spotted there was something she really, really wanted and she would save it for when she got back to school in September.  Half an hour after arriving back home Heidi was working on several little Clay sculptures in her room. Sigh, I should have known. The clay started to show up on the carpet, door handles and glass table, it became a “Code Yellow” alert in the guestroom and bathroom. She and I proceeded to transfer all her creations to my shed where she could sit at my cardboard covered table to work.  She also made me three little mushrooms and a watering can for the fairy garden that turned out very cute.

The next day most of the clay sculptures had dried enough to be painted.  However, the arms and the head of one of the little figurine men had fallen off, which had her in tears.  I promised to fix it later with my special glue. I left her alone for a little bit so she could paint the clay and rocks she had collected in vibrant watercolors. Meanwhile I clipped a few branches from an overgrown shrub.  When I went to check on her progress and saw that the shed door was closed I became suspicious.  What came next I’ll describe as “we had a “Code Red” alert that made us spring to action!” Heidi had found and used my "Gorilla Glue"  I won’t say anything more, only that I was rushing to get the bottle of nail polish remover and a big roll of Bounty Paper Towels, meanwhile Benno was rushing to the shed with a bottle of mineral spirit and a bundle of wipes.  In the haste of getting to the shed he stepped in dog poop placed there by “Hank” we think, the neighbor’s Golden Retriever. “Good heavens”

What are summer evenings without a fire to grill some sausages and make smores.  Heidi liked it so much that we repeated it the next evening to which she invited Dean, the neighbor boy. 

Yesterday morning at breakfast we were talking about pirates.  Benno told Heidi stories from our boating years and that the Coast Guard patrols the waters. I mentioned that Heidi doesn’t know what a Coast Guard boat is and that she had never seen one.  Well, we live 5 minutes from Hike Metal the factory that manufactures those boats.  So Benno jumps up from the breakfast table, pulls out the truck from the garage still in his pajamas and he and Heidi take a quick drive to the yard of Hike Metal, which is located right next to the fishing harbor to take a look at a Coast Guard boat. I am sure that if Heidi sees a boat with a vertical stripe on its hull she’ll now recognize it as a Coast Guard boat.

This week flew by in a hurry and it was good-by again with another drive to London.  There were Dominik our son, Maryann our daughter-in-law, Annaliese and Hans waiting for Heidi to drive to the cottage for a vacation. 

Hopefully they’ll have as much fun as we had this past week.

Saturday 15 July 2017

Annaliese's Visit

Since I don’t blog every day, it is not so easy to recollect all the activities of the past couple of weeks.  Some days just flew by and I am sure I was busy with something but thought it not worthwhile reminiscing about it.  There were some days I sure do remember.  In the spring it was my intention to give our deck a good sanding to remove old wood preserver and residue that the pressure washer didn’t take off. My trip got in the way and then when I wanted to do it, we had a lot of rain that made the job impossible.  Finally, the weather was right and I took the opportunity to get on with the task.  The Thompson’s Water Seal happened to be on sale that week also, which was just perfect.  There was a lot of wind the day I crawled around the deck with the sander in hand and I decided to leave the dust collector off because most of the sanding dust just blew off into the sky.  However, I sure needed a good dusting and brushing before coming into the house for lunch and a powerful long hot shower before crawling into bed for the night. That sanding job took me all day and I certainly was glad when it was done. 

Reapplying the Water Seal with a brush I found works the best.  In the past I had tried a roller, that created annoying bubbles and the foam brushes ripped and didn’t reach the gaps.  This whole job of rejuvenating the deck once a year is a pain. Especially for my back!  In hindsight we should have used composite decking even if the surface gets hotter in the sun and mold could develop I read online, but it seems that is the way to go nowadays and sometime in the future we might exchange the existing planking for it.  Anyway, the job got done and our two Doxies are enjoying the deck the most.

The town of Wheatley next to Leamington had its annual town wide yard sale this past weekend.  There were a few things we had been kicking around the attic that were no longer of use to us and this yard sale seemed a good way of trying to find new owners for the things and to even get a little cash for them.  When it comes to small stuff it’s no use trying to sell it on the Internet but rather to put on a table and let people see and touch it.  The sale was advertised to run from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. town wide.  A couple of days before the sale we put all the items for sale on two tables in the garage and stuck price stickers on them before we would load everything into big plastic bins to be put into the truck.
Two years ago several neighbors held a street yard sale at which we participated. We sold almost everything and got complaints from some of our neighbors that we hadn’t shown them our merchandise beforehand, because they would have grabbed some of it. 
So this time we went over to the neighbors to give them the opportunity to check out our goodies.  I guess we had some fine looking tools from the house construction and good clean stuff because the load became a lot lighter to bring to the sale!

Waiting for the customers

On Saturday sharp at 7 a.m., Benno and I set up our tables on a corner of a public parking lot at a major road in Wheatley.  Before we had a chance to unpack everything there and stage the tables a couple of guys stopping their van to see what we had.  Tools, tools, tools!! Five minutes later we had sold already a few things and had a few bills in the till and it was not even 8 a.m. for the yard sale opening. Yep, it was a fun Saturday morning, Mennonite families with children, men in pickup trucks cruising looking for a deal, plenty of tables along the curb. Down at the harbor free fishing for the kids with prizes.  At 1 p.m. we called it a day to drive home.  We were really cleaned out good and my wallet got zipper troubles, all what we had left were a handful of things from the camper’s renovation like a new plastic sink and kitchen stuff etc.  We were quite pleased with the outcome of the yard sale.

This summer we agreed to host our two eldest grandkids for several days.  Our middle granddaughter, Annaliese, turned 6 years old in June and she was to come first.  We picked her up in London, Ontario, almost a two-hour drive from our house and about halfway to Waterdown where they live.  Our son brought her in his car after work. This way we only had to drive 4 hours instead of the 8-hour round-trip.  At past visits with our two Doxies in tow there was never enough time for our granddaughters to bond with the dogs or opportunities to play with them.  Well, it turned out that our Reggy was totally smitten with Annaliese. While our Elsa was very generous to give kisses to Annaliese, Reggy couldn’t get enough belly rubs.  He begged her to be petted every opportunity he got.

There was a lot of laughing and giggling when Opa explained at the dinner table how he’d messed up his shirt the first time he ate Spaghetti by turning the fork too fast. 

One day while it rained outside, Annaliese pieced together (in record time) a 100-piece puzzle and when that was done she then drew a colorful picture.  In the afternoon she helped fill dessert shells with pudding and decorated them with strawberries and whipping cream.  But best of all was that she got to eat her creation, too.

At bedtime we spoiled Annaliese with fun DVD movies she was allowed to watch before going to sleep.  The Doxies would not leave her site until we carried them out so that she could rest, but all three would have preferred to cuddle together for the night.

Way too soon it was to say goodbye to Annaliese and to drive her back to our rendezvous spot in London where our son was waiting for her.  During the drive there was another fun movie for Annaliese to watch, which made the time fly by fast.

Sorry for the blurry picture it was done with my iPad

Back here at home, I have discovered that the empty bird nest in the Clematis plant at my shed is no longer empty.  There are new eggs in it and a Robin is nesting again.  My goodness, there must be a lot of Robins hopping about in our area.

Elsa on Benno's lap

And some other news: we think our Elsa will be a mommy.  It is still early and we cannot say for sure, but time will tell.  So stay tuned we will update you in the coming weeks what is happening.