Thursday, March 31, 2016

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

This & That

Top 30 Very Funny Animals Memes #Jokes:
I saw this on Kimberly's blog, who got it from Erin, who got it from someone else, etc, etc, etc.  It looked like fun, so if the 123 things tab above isn't enough, here's some more stuff about ME!

( X ) Shot a gun
It's been a while but I actually own a 12-gauge singleshot shotgun.  I also learned to shoot a .45 in bootcamp.

( X ) Gone on a blind date
Yes, like most - it was awkward.

(X) Skipped school
It was on senior skip day, so I was with a bunch of friends and our parents all knew about it.

( ) Watched someone die
No, thankfully.  I saw my Dad right after he'd passed.  But does a kitten count?  If so, yes.

(X) Visited Canada
Yes, there are 2 border crossings withing 40 miles of me.  Spent my honeymoon in Niagara Falls on the Canadian side because they have a better view of the falls. Our 5 year anniversary was in Niagara Falls and Toronto.

(X) Visited Hawaii
Yes.  Several times.  One time as a freshman, once on my senior trip and once while in the Navy.  That time meant the most to me, since we manned the rails as we went by the Arizona Memorial and it was very touching.

( ) Visited Cuba

( ) Visited Europe
Nope, but I'd love to.

(X) Visited South America
Is St. Maarten part of South America?  I think so.  Been there!

( ) Visited Las Vegas
No. I'd love to see some shows & the lights!

(X) Visited Central America
Grand Cayman while on a cruise (on a non-haze gray ship!)

(X) Visited Asia
Singapore, Hong Kong & saw way too much of Bahrain & Jebal Ali

( ) Visited Africa

(X) Visited Florida
I went to bootcamp in Orlando and my first ship was stationed in Kings Bay, GA, which is about 8 miles from the Florida border.  We went to Fernandina Beach & Jacksonville a lot.

(X) Visited Mexico
Tijuana & Cozumel (where Randy proposed to me!)

( ) Seen the Grand Canyon in person
Nope, I would love to!  I want to go out on the glass walk thing.

(X) Flown in a helicopter
Yes.  One of these puppies.  Off and onto an aircraft carrier. 
 CH-53E Black Stallion
And quite honestly - if those rotors were turning on the flightdeck - people would have to be lying on the mail bags so they didn't get blown over the side!

Bonus... I also did this...... launched & recovered on a carrier.
C-2A Greyhouse "COD"

( ) Served on a jury
No.  I made it into the courtroom but wasn't chosen for the jury.

(X) Been lost
It happens when you got to as many new places as I've been!

(X) Traveled to the opposite side of the country
Yup. In fact I've driven from coast to coast!  I went from Kings Bay, Ga to Alameda CA.

(X) Visited Washington, DC
Just last summer!

(X) Swam in the ocean
In the Atlantic, the Pacific and the Indian.

(X) Cried yourself to sleep
Not for a long time, but I have.

( X ) Played cops and robbers
Yup.  2 brothers and their friends.

(X ) Played cowboys and Indians
Again. Brothers.

(X) Recently colored with crayons
Not as recently as Randy & Angel have.  I bought them both coloring books a couple weeks ago.

(X) Sang karaoke
Badly, but yes.

( ) Sang a solo or duet in church

( X ) Paid for a meal with coins only.

(X) Made prank phone calls
As a kid, yes.

(X) Laughed until some beverage came out of your nose
Oh yeah. I've also laughed until no more sound comes out!

(X) Caught a snowflake on your tongue

(X) Had children
OK, a child.

(X) Had a pet
Got one on my lap right now!

( X ) Been skinny-dipping
Yes. In a pool, a lake & the ocean.

( X ) Been fishing
I managed to catch a fish with a worm tied onto a piece of fishing string!

(X) Been boating

( ) Been downhill skiing

( ) Been water skiing
Does tubing count?

(X) Been camping in a trailer/RV

(X) Been camping in a tent
Yes.  Camped out in a barn before, too.  Threw an air mattress down in the aisle between the horses' stalls and got stared at all night!

( ) Driven a motorcycle

( ) Been bungee-jumping

(X) Gone to a drive-in movie

( X ) Done something that could have killed you
A couple of things that could have turned out very badly when I was younger.  My guardian angel was a busy guy!

(X) Done something that you will regret for the rest of your life
I regret getting out of the Navy, but  my parents would have raised Angel for a couple years while I was out to sea.  And I never would have met Randy and my life would be totally different.  So I;m good.

( X ) Rode an elephant
During liberty weekend during bootcamp.  Wearing dress whites!

( X ) Rode a camel
Last October at the Ohio Ren Fest while visiting my brother.

(X) Eaten just cookies or cake or ice cream for dinner

( X ) Been on TV
Accidentally.  I was walking down the sidewalk and the news cameras were across the street at a movie opening.

( ) Stolen any traffic signs

(X) Been in a car accident
I got rear-ended 5 different times!!!  I was convinced that 2000 Ford Escort green was like a cloak of invisibility.  People were always cutting me off or turning out in front of me.  It must have been me + that car, since Angel is driving that car now and she doesn't seem to have a problem.

(  ) Been in the hospital in past 24 months
I had to go to one for a mammogram, but I was in there less than an hour.

(X ) Donated blood
I did regularly until I started having female issues and now don't have enough to spare!

( ) Gotten a speeding ticket in the past 12 months

(X) Gotten a piercing
Just my ears 3x

( X ) Gotten a Tattoo
I have 4 - used to have 5.  I got one touched up and it covered another.

(X) Driven a manual transmission vehicle
Yes.  I drove a column-shift poo-brown mini van while in Bahrain.  Our classy US Government vehicle.  I had to shuttle all 3 shits of workers since no one else could drive it.  It s kinda fun to drive in a foreign country, tho!

( ) Ever owned your dream car
HA!  No.  But I'm pretty happy with the one I have right now.  A 2008 Saturn Vue.

(X) Been Married
3 times !!!!  Third time really is a charm.

(X) Been divorced
I get along with my 2nd ex better now than I did when I was married to him!

(X) Fell in love
Oh yes.

(X) Fell out of love
Oh yes.  Clearly.

(X) Paid for a strangers meal
Yes!  We'd gone out to breakfast and there was an old man eating by himself and I felt that we really needed to pay for his breakfast and told Randy so.

(X) Driven over 100mph

( X ) Been scuba diving or snorkeling

( ) Written a published book/story/poetry
Not a whole book, but a poem of mine has been published.  I wrote it when I was 15.

(X) Eaten snails
Yes - escargots.  They're really good!

Leave a comment and let me know if you do this, too!

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Happy Tuesday-after-Easter!

Hope you had a good (hopefully long) Easter weekend!

I didn't get any extra time off, but Randy did manage to get home before me.  That was a pleasant surprise! Angel had to work Saturday night, so she drove herself and the dog to my sister's for the family shenanigans and left right after I got home.  I finished packing and showered while Randy loaded the car, then we met the family for dinner.  
Gratuitous cuteness!

Friday night we spent quality time in the barn, getting the horses cleaned up for a vet visit on Saturday.  That meant selfies!!
me & Kisses

me & Captain

Saturday morning the vet came out for vaccinations for both horses & both barn cats.  Captain needs some dental work done, but the vet wouldn't do it the same day as the vax.  He would need to be sedated & at his age doing both the same day would be too hard on him.  So if Laurie needs an extra set of hands when he comes back out, I'll go help out.  

 We took the dogs for a walk
 (aka the Mutt Strut)

and Angel decorated the bunny cake.  It was quite elaborate this year!

Saturday is when we had Easter dinner.  We had 9 in attendance and most contributed to the feast.  Then Dave & Jamie left, because they have allergies to all Laurie's critters and can't handle being at her house long.  Catie & Charlie stayed to color eggs, then left.  Mom & Linda left not long after them.  That left my fam & Laurie as usual!  Angel missed dinner, but she got off work early and made it back to color eggs.  She was happy since she didn't want to miss that!
Webster is a very busy guy.  He has to be a part of everything going on. 
Here he's inspecting an egg before I color it.  

Jack has his own way of being in the middle of things.  
He's more like a speed-bump in the kitchen.

Sunday was pretty low-key.  
The Easter bunny was a slacker this year - he forgot M&Ms for our baskets!! 
(Laurie got a Ken doll in her basket!)

Then we hid 2 1/2 dozen eggs a total of 3 times.  
Randy was happy that I found this egg, strategically hidden ON my license plate.
He makes one like this every year - it's for the Michigan QSO party, a ham radio contest he does every year.  He draws Michigan & an antenna and takes lots of pictures of it. 

We always have at least one totally inappropriate egg. Usually they're just colored brown so the blend in with the horse poop.  This year's had a penis on it. And there was much discussion on how it should look....side profile or front, erect or no?  We're so bad!  Oh, and that green one?  Has a butt & boobs on it. 

Then we went for a walk while Randy loaded the car.  We went around the block and it was pretty muddy and he didn't bring boots.  
 Laurie had the dogs, and I walked Kisses, but Angel wanted to ride.  So we were a pretty motley bunch going around the block!
Laurie & Jack walking with Captain Slow & Barney Slow. 

Kisses enjoyed her little walk.

Captain is still pretty good-looking for such an old man!  He's 24.
He's been the ideal horse for the kids to learn on.  
Nothing bothers him and he loves the attention.

Barney & Rusty the barn cat enjoying the sunshine. 

Saturday was breezy & kind of chilly, but Sunday was glorious!  It was upper 60s and sunny.  It actually got a bit warm on the walk and I was just wearing a hoodie.   I'm glad the storms held off until later that evening so everyone could have a nice day!

I didn't sleep well Friday night.  We camp out in the basement and Randy & I put our air mattress near the laundry room because Laurie said it would be warm.  But I was getting a cold draft onto my head from somewhere and I could imagine my brain getting cold!  So I took my flannel lounge pants and wrapped them around my head, then I could finally get to sleep.  Saturday night, we put the mattress in the living room and it was much better.  Both nights I felt one of the cats sleeping between or on my legs - it was Cody, who is my Daisy's brother.  Her younger cats are on the shy side - it's usually so quiet at her house that it freaks them out when family gatherings happen.  Charly the older cat always makes an appearance to see what's going on. 

It's always so nice to get home after being away a few days.  I was OK while I was there since I was on the go so much, but once we got in the car to come home, I kept dozing and head-bobbing.  So glad Randy was driving!  And I try to avoid showering at Laurie's house, since she's got hard, smelly, well water and I never feel clean after getting in it. So a shower at home is like Heaven!

Did you do anything fun?


Thursday, March 24, 2016

Skywatch Friday 3/24

I'm kind of doing a #TBT.  
I plugged my phone in to upload some recent pictures and it chose to upload ALL 900+ pictures again.  But it brought this oldie, but goodie to my attention from January 2013.
Sunrise from my work parking lot, Troy MI

Linking up at Skywatch Friday.


Happy Almost Easter!

OMG, I was thinking about this for 2 days!  A honeycrisp apple and reduced-fat cheddar.  Mmmmm.  I had cheese yesterday & ate it, THEN thought about having it with the apple.  And it totally lived up to my expectations. 
 I just had to throw that on here.  It was SO GOOOOOD!

So, female issues (STILL!) aside, I had a good week on the scale - down 1.4 lbs.  I didn't go to Zumba last Wednesday (was at the gyn office again), but I did go Monday.  It was funny that I didn't feel terribly sore in the days after that, but at the WW meeting on Tuesday, when we did the 5 minutes of a Leslie Sansone DVD, I could feel my butt muscles big time!
 I sucked for journalling.  I need to force myself to do it  every day!
Last Saturday was the laziest day ever!  My total steps came in at 2411.  The whole family was a bunch of slugs.  Angel had spent the night at a friend's and got home at 9:30am - and went back to bed and I didn't see her again until after 2.  Randy had a sinus headache and it was almost 2 before he got vertical.  I took the dog out & fed him at 6:30 and for sure went back to bed.  I woke up when Angel came in and was in bed, drifting in & out of sleep while messing around on my phone.  I finally got up at like 11:30 when the dog wanted out again.  We did a whole lot of nothing - it was glorious!
The rest of the week's stats aren't too horrible. 

So the challenge this weekend will be Easter.  We'll be heading out to my sister's on Friday night and going out to dinner.  Then Saturday will be the big family dinner & egg-coloring festivities.  Sunday is the egg-hunt, but it looks like it'll just be my fam & Laurie since everyone else will be leaving Saturday night.  Pfft.  Their loss!  On the plus side, I usually get plenty of activity in during weekend's at Laurie's.  I'll be out to the barn a bunch of times, we'll take the dogs for a walk.  Stuff like that.

I'm gonna sign off here - it's almost time for the Thursday night #azchat #atozChallenge Twitter chat.  Have you signed up for the A to Z Challenge?  Last I saw, there were over 1400 blogs signed up!


Monday, March 21, 2016

Drumrooooolll please! The Theme Reveal

I drew my inspiration for this year's challenge from a Blogging from A to Z post  from last October.  The topic was about cleaning out the garage or closet and how that could be a wealth of ideas.  

Well, it was! 

 I looked into the cluttered abyss that no car has ever sheltered in, aka our garage....
and saw a whole lot of 
Halloween goodies!  
Radio stuff and tools, too, but those aren't as fun.

I love Halloween.  I set up a full cemetery every year and mine is the only house on the street to do anything as elaborate.  People drive to my house on Halloween just so their kids can come see me!  I don't do blood & gore, but a mix of humor, fun and a hint of traditional spooky (look for it, it's there, I promise!!)

So for each day in April, I'll showcase something that's currently in my garage, in the house or even in my head!

And just an FYI, I have a blog for my Halloween display, Maple Grove Cemetery, along with Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. 


I know I could have actually done the Challenge on the MGC blog, and I did the first year I participated, but I chose to cross-blog instead.  I do the Countdown to Halloween in October and Creepmas in December over there so I'll give this, my main blog, its moment in the spotlight.

So, welcome to my little corner of the Blogosphere.  Hope you enjoy yourself!

Saturday, March 19, 2016

It's a super lazy day.....and it's been fantastic!

Life barely started stirring around here before noon today, and since it's highly unusual, it was a nice change.

The dog woke me up around 6:30am so I took him outside and fed him...then went back to bed.  Angel had stayed the night at a friend's house and was home around 9:30am....then she went back to bed.  Randy woke up with a bad sinus headache, so he got up around 10am and took some medicine...and he went back to bed!

We finally get out of bed and the cats take over MY side! 
I drifted in & out after Angel got home, but got up for good at 11:30 when Jack wanted to go outside again.  I spent the quiet time getting caught up on reading blogs (I confess to marking quite a few of the 400+ blog posts as read!)  It's been almost 3 weeks since I read any, ooops!

I messed around on the blogs for a while.  Have I mentioned the A-Z blogging challenge lately??  I'll be posting every day in April, except Sundays and each day my topic will correspond with the appropriate letter of the alphabet.  Monday is the BIG theme reveal!  I don't like to be stressed, so I've been working on & pre-scheduling my posts.   You should sign up, it's fun!  And the variety of themes is quite astounding.  Right now there's 1242 blogs signed up!  
Last night, Randy and I went out to dinner, then wandered around the Salvation Army (aka "date night"!) For some reason, both of us found this giant stuffed sheep highly entertaining, so we brought it home!  This morning, I put it in bed next to him, with its head on my pillow and under the covers, so when he rolled over, he was nose-to-nose with it, Muahahaha!  His name is Simon. 
I went out Thursday and put the Easter blowmolds out in the front yard.  I need to switch out the indoor stuff, but I'll get it done tonight.  St. Pats & Easter are too close this year!
Last weekend we did our annual St. Pat's Girls Night Out.  For some reason Mom backed out, but her loss. Then she acted surprised that Angel & Catie were there.  Last I checked, they're girls, too!  Now she's being wishy-washy about Easter, too.  Something weird is going on, but I don't know what.  Normally she's all about our GNOs and is right there planning holidays with us.  Now she's saying she doesn't know if she'll be there for Easter???  WTF?? What else would she be doing?  So she knows that she's invited, but we're planning as tho she won't be there.  We don't want to expect her to bring the ham or whatever and then she bail on us.
Anyway, Laurie, Linda & I went up north with our cousin Debbie.  Then Catie & Angel met us at Laurie's house and we all went out to dinner, wearing our green.  Then we went back to Laurie's and played a rousing game of PieFace  (Angel was clearly the winner, since she never got hit.  So we made her play until she got hit!) 
Then we played Scattergories and then watched several episodes of Dr. Pol since Linda & I had never seen it.  He's local to "the Farm" and Laurie wonders if he's the vet who treated her horse when he cut his foot, many many moons ago. 

It was funny that the next morning, Jack went to Linda and asked to go outside, since he never bothered me.  She must have been awake already and he knew it.  But I was awake once she let her dogs out and Webster came flying across the room and landed on my bladder!  Laurie likes when I stay over, since she gets to sleep in and knows I'll go out and take care of the horses. 

Catie with all the festive puppies!
I has waving around the celery out of my Bloody Mary so 3 of the 4 were really interested.
That's a cyst of some sort on his melon. On a hair follicle. The vet isn't concerned about it, so we just deal with the ugly.  Altho I do wonder if tea tree oil or something would work on it like it's supposed to on skin tags.  Hmmm, thoughts to ponder. 
The rest of the week should be pretty quiet.  We don't get any extra time off work around Easter so we'll hopefully head up to Laurie's Friday night.  I'll have the everything ready so all we have to do it jump in my car and leave as soon as Randy gets home...if he leaves work at a reasonable time!  Angel apparently has to work Saturday night so she'll have to drive separately.

Randy's over there watching last week's SNL with Arianna Grande and I like her, so I'm out!


Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Still hating being a girl!

My sympathy snuggle buddy.  She's next to me because I was on my side and she likes to lay across my thighs. 
I put a call in to the gyn today.  My female issues were acting up again and being on the pill was doing absolutely nothing for me. The gyn told me to skip the placebo week so that's what I was going to do. But, the insurance company said I was refilling them too soon and wouldn't let me refill then again until yesterday, which made me skip a few days and gave my "regular" cycle a chance to start.  So after lying down all night, when I got up you can just imagine how gravity reacted to that fun!  But anyhoo.  I'm so done with this nonsense!  I've been bleeding for a full 2 months now, with only 1 1.2 day break.   I moved up to option #2.  She did a biopsy on my uterus (just so we know!) and she installed an IUD, so I have a continual dosage of hormones which will hopefully (fingers & toes crossed) slow or stop the bleeding.  Hooray!  But it still does nothing for the fibroids. 

This is a weird thing.  First of all, if I'd known how bad everything would make me cramp on top of the ones I already had, I would have taken some drugs before going in.  And I totally skipped Zumba tonight.  One of the last things the gyn said was "I hope it stays in!"  I was all WTF!  Don't tell me things like that! She said that my cervix was dilated a little bit, due to my current bleeding, and apparently that opening is what holds it in place.  So yeah - I sure as hell wasn't going to Zumba! I'm sure Monday will be OK to start going again.  Even before I had this done, I wasn't going to go.  I didn't want to be doing my thing and start leaking or any of that grossness in the studio! 

I came home and took some ibuprofen and heated up the heating pad and crashed on the bed with the cats.  I'm all paranoid since I keep expecting to be able to feel it like a tampon, but I know I'm not supposed to.  But I'm also freaked out, what if it falls out when I use the bathroom and I don't know it?  I don't analyze what's in the bowl before I flush.  I go back in a month for an ultrasound to check on it, so I guess I'll know then! 

Here's my fitbit stats for last week.  I'm pretty pleased with those.  
Oh yeah - I was down .8 lb.  I was hoping more, but I'll take it!
You sure can tell the days I did Zumba - I have an 11K step day and a 12K day!  Saturday I was at my sister's and we went to my parent's place up north  so we did a lot of walking around up there, for old time's sake.
I actually journalled!  And planned!  That took a lot longer than I expected.  I couldn't keep my attention on it, but it's done AND I have a grocery list made.  I've been thinking it's Thursday all day today!
I slept really good last night, I guess it started to storm around 2, but it didn't wake my up until almost 4.  I don't think I opened my eyes, but heard the thunder & saw lightning thru my eyelids and I thought, yay! Then went back to sleep.  I love storms!

No exciting plans for St. Patrick's Day.  We did our girl's night Saturday with the sister's but I haven't blogged about it yet.  We had Bloody Mary's then went out to dinner.  Then went back to Laurie's and played a rousing game of Pie Face and some Scattergories, then watched Dr. Pol on TV.  We are such crazy party animals!! 

I need to get ready for bed so I can make my 2300 taps.  Keep sending those thoughts & prayers this way!  



Monday, March 14, 2016

A sad trip down memory lane.

"The Farm"

In 1973, Dad bought a 120 acres and a 1890s farmhouse from his brother.  This was my second home from birth, about a 2 hour drive (it always seemed so much longer than that!!) from home.  We spent most weekends and entire summers up there.  Mom would have everything ready to go when Dad got home from work Friday and we'd load up the car and go.  Saturday would be spent cutting the grass (an all day project) and Sunday would be for exploring and cleaning up to come back home.  

Kids would probably die if they were stuck at a place like this nowadays.  We had a TV, but it was an old black & white console set that we were lucky to get 5 channels on, using our rabbit ear antenna.  Pretty sure it's still there and works!  Dad always had a radio playing, tuned to a Tiger game if one was on, or a country station the rest of the time.  We had a shelf full of books that I'm sure we all read 100 times.  We had board games, coloring books and the great outdoors.  Most of our days were spent outside, Dad would whistle for us at mealtimes and we'd come running.  

I wish I had an original picture of the house - that gorgeous (at the time) porch was built on while I was in high school.  There had just been a basic cement porch that stretched across to where the stairs are now and between the porch & the basement door was my "sand box" or patch of dirt that I played in. 
Circa 1991

The whole reason we went up there this weekend was to get pictures because my sister is acting on Mom's behalf and talking to a realtor.  However Mom never offered up the keys for us to get INTO the house!  My brother has been living up there since before Dad passed away in 2009, so it's hard to say what condition the inside of the house is in anyway.  I don't know 100% the story behind him being there, so I'm not getting into those details. I do know the sisters are very bitter about it.  They were mad because he hasn't "made any attempt to keep the place up how Dad would have".  Hmm.  Seems to me that you generally need money to buy supplies and transportation to get said supplies from town...neither of which he has!  I'm not even entirely certain how he gets food!
LOL - that's the SAME tree in both photos!

There's no running water, but I'm not sure why.  The well is in the basement and there is electricity, you'd think the heater & pump would work!  In the year or two before he got sick, Dad had the second story roof raised 18 inches.  But the upstairs was never finished to Dad's perfectionist satisfaction.  As far as I know, Bo has the tall part of the house blocked off and more or less lives in the dining room / kitchen.  The bathroom is over there, too but if there's no running water, its pretty useless.

It looks different to me now.  And I don't mean because it's faded & worn.  The tall part looks weird.  Maybe because the roof isn't as steep and that attic window in the peak is gone.  
This is the view from the driveway.  You can see a definite line where the newer siding is.  I think I saw that "front" door open once in my entire life,  It was always covered in plastic.  Its quite the drop to the ground since there's no steps or porch. 

Directly opposite the above view.....
This is the north side so it is a bit mossy.  

 The view from the road as approaching.  
We joked about looking at this picture later and seeing a face in the upstairs window!

Pretty sure the door is even older than the sticker claims. 

Our cousin Debbie went for the ride with us and took this picture.

Bo has a lot of crap piled up on the porch.  The sisters kept wanting me to look inside things, to which I'd exclaim there's probably a head or body parts in there.  I didn't find any...right away!  Linda and I opened a table top grill that is perched on the rail and as we peered inside, Laurie grabbed both of our necks and scared the crap out of us!. 
This angle shows the basement door (with a wagon in front of it and a couple jars of mystery liquids. I wasn't about to touch those things!!) The "back porch" has another door (where the hose is) that I've never seen open but inside the porch is where the fridge & freezer are.  There's never been a washer or dryer here.  As as kid when we stayed all summer, we'd make weekly trips into town to the laundromat

I'd guess that over 100 acres is all wooded.  When I was in high school, Dad made a deal with the neighbor, he could keep his horses in our pasture around the yard, as long as I could ride whenever I wanted. The horses also helped to keep the field grazed down, which supposedly kept the snakes away.  Didn't happen!  But I have 1000 stories that involve those horses! 
This lilac is ancient, but has buds on it!  If I remember correctly, these are white. 

This tree shows some recent ravages of time.  The branch pointing toward Laurie still has flexible new growth and buds, so it just fell recently.  The horizontal branch is hanging in its neighbor.  We call this Mel's tree, since back when we were having family reunions every year, my cousin Mel always pitched his tent under this tree.

Those family reunions were big deals.  We'd easily have over 100 people there - and nobody was allowed in the house, except Mom & Dad and occasionally Aunt Betty.  Mom & Dad would rent a couple porta-potties for the weekend (which usually stretched 3-4 days!) and everyone fended for themselves in regards to food and lodging (aka tents).  We started having them when my maternal Grandma turned 80.  I think I was a junior in high school.  The first time Randy went with me to one, I told him to not be surprised or offended at anything he saw, heard or was done to him.  I'm glad it didn't scare him away!  The only way to be safe at night was to have a kid in the tent with you.  Laurie always had multiple nieces & nephews in with her!
This huge white pine is the reason we all love pine trees now.  There was always a breeze under it, no matter how hot it was out.  When we we kids, Dad worked up there a couple years, my brother Terry would climb it every afternoon to watch for Dad to drive down the road.  Which made me mad, since I wasn't tall enough to jump up and grab the lowest branch and haul myself up!

I did spend a lot of hours sitting in this apple tree.  I'd take books, Barbies and my imagination up there with me.

There used to be a fantastic orchard in the yard, but time has taken its toll on them, too.  Probably 1/3 of the trees are gone and the rest are looking really sad.  All I remember having is apple, pear & plum trees, tho.  I know Dad tried to plant peaches and stuff, but during the week no one was there to water the new trees and the deer would eat the leaves.
These concord grape vines have been here as long as I can remember, too.  I don't think anyone ever successfully made wine out of them, even after several attempts by different people.

We do have several nice pine trees along the road.
 Close up of the little tree in front of the house, the one from both pics. 
It might be 6 feet tall.

This is the area closest to the house called "the Estates" during family reunions.  It's where me & my siblings would camp.  Hey, its our parent's place, we get to be closest to them!  

I always had my tent under this tree.  I have no idea what kind this is, elm I think.  
That's the pond Dad had dug out beyond.

The pond was crazy high.  The "beach" is about 8 feet away from the edge of the water. 
They must have gotten a lot more snow / rain this winter than we did further south.  

At the far south end of the yard / pasture is a river in a valley.  
I took these from along the top of the ridge on the edge of the treeline.  We spent a lot of hours walking in these woods.  And if Dad was still here, he would have been crossing the river on that tree and I'd be blindly following him....and I'd be the one to fall in the river!  When that thought flitted thru my mind, I could imagine him laughing because it's so damn true!

 The bridge.
 Looking back toward the house.  We used to keep all that mowed. 

When I was in junior high or so, Laurie and I were out by the fire pit (the base of an old silo, so it was a large stone ring) and were watching a storm roll across the neighbor's pasture across the road.  It was sunny & blue sky on our side, but black & ominous coming quickly towards us.  We decided idly to start heading toward the house.  As we walked, lightning hit a tree along this same ridge and we took off running as soon as we heard the crack!  And pieces of tree bark went flying past us as we ran!  One tree had all of it's bark skimmed off one side and the pieces we picked up were only about 1 1/2 inches thick.
Gratuitous back-lit tree picture

Looking down the road from our driveway to the bridge. It was really muddy and we were happy to see the road grader go back & forth twice while we were there.

From the bridge.
Back in the day, this was the deepest part of the river and we could jump off the bridge.  Then it collapsed and the rubble was never removed.  It's still the deepest, but not as deep as it used to be.  There's no way in hell I'd jump from that height now!
Spent a lot of hours fishing here, too.

It was pretty neat that we had a sunny & warm day, but since nothing was really growing yet, we could see way back into the woods.  This is the valley where the river is.
This is upstream from us, the other side of the bridge.  The neighbor used to have cattle, so we'd swim in the river and play "Dodge the Cow Patty".

We saw clear signs that someone had been inviting themselves onto the "Back 40" to do some hunting.  Like this deer skull wired to the gate.

This was a dog skull of some sort.  I took this with a zoom and when I looked at it - is that another set of antlers in the tree??   If you're squeamish, don't look at the next picture!

Well, I found the head I was expecting to find on the porch!  It was a quasi-fresh 4 point buck head lying on the branch.  Laurie said she could smell it, but I couldn't.  But I sure wouldn't want to be around there once it really got warm!

 The last thing that caught my attention was this stacked rock.  That clearly doesn't happen naturally!

Laurie posted the picture of the 3 of us on Facebook and so many cousins commented that they'd love to go visit because they heard so many fond memories, etc, etc, etc.  I think if they did go visit....they'd be sorely disappointed because it couldn't live up to the hype.  The house & yard are shadows of their former glory.  I'm pretty sure Laurie & Linda felt more emotional about visiting than I did.  I think once Dad passed away, all the life was gone from here, too. He made the Farm what it was and Mom just doesn't care that much about it.  She's getting up in years herself (altho she denies it!) and doesn't want to deal with taxes and relatives bugging to hunt on the land and it's just a lot to deal with for her.  I heard there was some interest from family, friends & neighbors in the area, but for some reason they all seemed to think Mom would just hand it over to them!  Once it was appraised and Laurie told them what the selling price was, they all backed off.  Funny how that works!

I'm sure there will be at least one more trip up there.  Mom seems to think we can sell the house "as is" and leave all the junk on the porch and such.  Um NO!  That's not how that works, either!  So we'll have to take a dumpster up there and get rid of a lot of stuff.  And a year or two ago, Mom asked if we wanted anything out of the house and a trip was made there.  However, I had a bad cold and it was within days of Mom going in to have a hip replacement, so I didn't go.  I didn't want to be locked in the car with her and risk getting her sick.  I asked them to grab me a picture that's been hanging in the living room forever.  It's probable not even a real painting, but its a woods scene with a river and a bunch of birch trees. And they didn't get it for me!!  They claimed there wasn't any room in the truck!  Seriously?  It's a framed print.  It's not even 2 inches wide and is flat.  So that damn thing still better be in there!!!

So this story will be continued at another time, just not sure when!


edit - pretty appropriate that I posted this on what would have been Dad's 80th birthday.  Happy Birthday Dad!