Archives for January 2020

Friday, Jan. 31, 2020 – Drive to the Florida Agriculture Museum

Hi Babe,
Got up early with the alarm this morning, making sure I told Jeff we needed to get out of here by 10:00. I had everything packed and ready to go by 9:45, only had to wait for him to get/do a few last second things, which, of course, dragged on, and on. It was more like 10:50 by the time we finally headed out. Sigh... Anyway, it was a beautiful day and we had a nice drive up, but when we arrived, I was surprised because I had specifically asked if there were trees we could highline the horses on (and thus didn't bring my portable fence), but the only few trees we could find were right by the roads in there, so it was a matter of parking by the side of the road and highlining them in a tiny space between the trailer and the trees. Did not like that! Eventually, we made a daring move. There was a hill about ten fee high where there was a large pile of windrow (apparently this whole area HAD been trees, but they recently cleared it, and the pile was at the top of this hill.) Well the slope seemed just safe enough for us to drive up it, which I did, and we managed to park on top. There's a small clump of trees left where we put up our tents, and I strung the highline from the trailer to one of the trees in the pile, which worked just fine. The only trouble here is that there are a couple of sections of really soft sugar sand, and I almost got stuck once, but there more ground cover closer to the road, so I'm being careful to stay on that side. I took a quick run out to the grocery store for a couple of things, then had a glass of wine before going over to the dairy barn for Open Mic night, where after a series of musical numbers and cowboy stories, I jumped up to do Man from Snowy River. I'd been working on that for the last couple of weeks, and I thought I had it down pretty good, but you know how it goes the first time in front of the audience. I had my cheat sheet in front of me, and I ended up having to use that a couple of times, but I think it went over well. All dedicated to you, my love! If you had been here, I know you would have done it instead! Anyway, that went on for several hours, then Jeff and I headed back to camp, lit a bonfire to warm up before going to bed, drank some more wine (Jeff was drinking like a fish, I suspect he'll be in not great shape tomorrow morning), and finally retired to write and read before turning the lights out, which I'm about to do now. Love you, babe, good night!

Thursday, Jan. 30, 2020 – Camping Prep

Hiya Sweetie,
First order of the day was to deliver the lift chair to it’s new owner down in Boca, right on the intracoastal, not far from where we got married, kind of full circle again. Glad it went to someone who needed it, and it works fine now with the new controller. It’s strange, though, even though we only lived here in Florida together for a couple of years, and stayed away for so many years afterward, you were right when you said it felt like we were coming home this time. Despite all the places we’ve been, all the traveling we did, there seem to be more memories here than just about any place else, except possibly the house in Tennessee. It makes me miss you even more, if that’s possible. Anyway, the rest of the day was spent packing stuff for the camping trip this weekend. It should be interesting, camping with my brother, something we’ve never done together in our lives, so we’ll see how it goes. The weather isn’t going to be the best, but it’s hard to predict at this time of year. I trust I’ve remembered everything we need, but if not, no problem, we’ll make do or go out and get it. Heading off for my last shower, then heading off to bed. Love you, darling, good night!

Wednesday, Jan. 29, 2020 – Euchre, Packing and GPS

Hi Babe,
Spent some time on the phone with Social Security trying to figure out what happens with your pension, among other things, pulled out the camping gear to make sure it was all there, sprayed some camp dry spray on the tent to make sure it stays dry (hopefully better than it did on the cattle drive when it poured for three days!), drove up to the senior center and played euchre, though we didn’t do very well today, and finally met a young couple up in Port St. Lucie to buy a new personal GPS tracker. It’s pretty much the same as the last one I liked so much, and I really miss not being able to download a trail that I can actually follow (which I could probably do on my phone app, but have never been able to figure out) but I got a good deal on it through Facebook Marketplace. I managed to just get to Ranch Feed before they closed to pick up the three bales of hay I need for the weekend, and got home just as the sun was setting, so it was mosquito hour by the time Jeff was ready to swap out the horses, but we got it done. Later it started raining really hard, with lightning and thunder, and Lola kept trying to crawl into my lap. I was up in the bed on a phone call (about the only place inside the trailer where the signal is good enough) and she climbed up and started sprawling all over the bed, so I had to get her down, then she went outside and disappeared. I eventually found her in the house, I guess Jeff let her in when she came scratching at the door. I put her in the truck, in her nice comfy bed, where she feels the safest. Finally finished off the binge of Cheers, was pretty disappointed because I thought I remembered the Diane and Sam got together and stayed together, but that’s not what happened. Sam went back to an empty bar, which was really depressing in the end. Oh, well, no accounting for Hollywood writers, they haven’t been able to write a happy ending in decades, have they? Anyway, it rained most of the evening, though it sounds like it’s just about done, and now it’s time for a shower and bed again. Good night, darlin’. Love you!

Tuesday, Jan. 28, 2020 – Worked on Tractor and Dinner with Friends

Hey Darlin’,
Did a little work on the computer this morning, then finally went out to work on the tractor. I drained some oil out of it because I overfilled it yesterday, but still couldn’t find the reason why it didn’t start, but Jeff did some testing and figures it’s the starter, so I’m having to look to see if I can get a new one, or have that one rebuilt (he knows a guy, no surprise!). Met Jayne and Irene for dinner at Duffy’s down in West Palm, sat on the patio so Lola could be there, too. Got back late, but Jeff had already fed the horses for me, so I just settled down for the night. Was surprised that Tom Berenger played a bit part on one of the Cheers episodes I watched, didn’t realize he’d done that. Anyway, settled down for the evening, though I’m getting to bed a bit late. Good night, my love!

Monday, Jan. 27, 2020 – Finish The Brick Pile

Hi Sweetie,
Lots of physical labor today, I finished moving the pile of concrete blocks, got rid of the junk that was left, ripped out the bad trees by the roots and put them on the burn pile. Just on my last load, though, for some reason the tractor decided not to start (it has been fine for the last two days), so I have no idea what’s going on with it, but that’s a problem for another day. I got everything done except a final leveling and bush hog of the area, but hopefully I can do that later this week. Then I washed the truck, it was filthy from the several trips out to Corbett last week. By that time it was just getting dark, so we did feeding, and settled down for the night. Off to the shower, and then to bed. Good night, babe! Love you!

Sunday, Jan. 26, 2020 – Reconnoiter Ride in Dupuis on Flash

Hello Darlin’,
Got up with my alarm this morning, picked up Anita from OTL and headed out to Dupuis to start marking the trail for the OTL. They’ve instigated a whole new bunch of rules out here, and the gate is now locked at all times! You have to get online and sign up for a free permit in order to get the gate code, then the latch on the gate is so cumbersome, it’s very difficult to work it. Crazy! You’d think a public facility would want to have the public be able to get in and out easily, but that’s not the case out here anymore! Anyway, I managed to set up and account and get the code, so we eventually made it in. We got the horses saddled up and headed out on the trail on a beautiful morning. You remember I got so turned around in there last year, and it became pretty clear why, when even Anita got lost in the first 10 minutes of the ride! We managed to get back on track, but I realized that a lot of these folks don’t ride out here much, which surprises me considering how great the trails are out here, and that they’re sponsoring an event that starts from here! Anyway, we managed to get on track, though, of course, Flash was outpacing her pokey Arab for a while, then suddenly Flash decided to get behind him, and kept his head literally at his hindquarters, which got a little scary because I don’t think the Arab liked it that much. We followed the trail all the way down to the first water stop, which was at the south end of Dupuis (and over 5 miles in), then headed back at a much quicker pace. The plan now is for me to leave camp each day during the event ahead of the pack, and fill in any markers that may have been lost or missing, or that I think need to be added to insure clarity. I still feel like they’re not putting enough markers out, but that’s just me, and I’ll fix it when the time comes. Anyway, it was a very nice ride, and I made it back home by about 2:00. Jeff was working on scrapping in the back, and I gave him a hand with it for a while, but then he didn’t really need me, so I decided to start moving that pile of cement blocks that have been bugging me for so long. I got the tractor going and starting moving them and stacking them underneath his big Mayflower trailer. I didn’t quite get it finished, but I certainly got most of it done, so I figure I’ll finish it off tomorrow. I’d love to get all that junk moved and then bush hog over that area, it should open that whole section up quite a bit. I’ve been bugging Jeff about moving that line of units right in front of the house, and scrapping or moving the Skeeter mobile away from the house as well. If we can get that done, it will make a huge difference to the look of the yard in front of his house. Any improvement would be nice, frankly. Anyway, that took us until horse feeding time, after which I settled down for the night. Tired from all the physical activity, so heading off to bed now. Good night, my love!

Saturday, Jan. 25, 2020 – Brake Job on the Truck

Hi Baby,
Had another good night sleep last night, feel like I’m finally getting caught up on my zzzzz’s! I had set the day aside to do a brake job on the truck. I told Jeff I wanted to start early, and I managed to get him on the job by a little after 10:00, which was early by his standards, as you know! Believe it or not, everything went smoothly, except for one minor hitch with the rotors, when they didn’t get to the parts store last night, but the manager went above and beyond and sent his driver out to go get the missing rotor, so it was waiting for us when we got to the Autozone around 12:30. The rotors and brake pads were under warranty, so I didn’t have to pay for anything except stuff like brake cleaner and Permatex, and we decided to replace the seals even though the ones on there looked pretty good, we figured better safe than sorry. We stopped at that little Mexican place Jeff was raving about, the one we didn’t get a chance to go to like we had wanted, and I bought him lunch, which really was nice. They obviously make their own tortillas, and they were wonderful! Fast, too, we were in and out in about half an hour, and back on the job in no time. We managed to get the whole job done by about 5:00, including putting all the tools away. I test drove it down to the end of the road so that I could put out the sign I made this morning while I was waiting for Jeff, about the Open Range trailer being for sale. The brakes actually felt better now than when our mechanic in TN did them! It’s a good job done, now I don’t have to worry about those for awhile. I hooked up the little horse trailer just as it was getting dark, because I’m off with Anita out to Dupuis tomorrow to do another reconnaissance of the OTL trail. I’m really looking forward to this one, and I’m doing all I can to help. I discovered that the president of the group has a little in-home studio, so I think I’m going to write a PSA and do the voiceover and send it out to the local radio stations to get more publicity. I’m hoping I’ll have time to contact the TV stations as well, Tim’s been trying to get me to do that, but I just haven’t had time yet, but I’m going to try next week. Did my usual chores and settled down for the evening, still trying to finish off Suits and Cheers, but now it’s bedtime. Good night, my love!

Friday, Jan. 24, 2020 – Another Day of Errands

Hello Darlin’,
Finally had a great night sleep last night, first in a long time. Spent part of the day doing some work on the OTL project, starting with an appointment to meet the woman who is generously offering her fields on Jupiter Farms Road as the Saturday night stopover, rather than Jupiter Farms park, which evidently is insisting on charging an outrageous amount of money to rent overnight, plus security, plus money for the pavilion, all adding up to a crazy figure, so naturally the team looked for an alternative and found it. It’s a great location, and Tim wanted me to go along to take advantage of my camping expertise to give it my seal of approval, which I wholeheartedly did. The end of her road does, in fact, lead directly to the Riverbend Trail, so we don’t even have to worry about crossing Jupiter Farms Rd., which is a great advantage. After that meeting I ran down to Autozone to start the process of getting the parts I need to repair the back brakes on the truck. They’re starting to squeal, but the parts are still under warranty, and Jeff has agreed to help me change them out tomorrow. Shopped for a couple of essentials at Walmart before heading home, than ran into Jeff and his friend just as I stopped for the mail, and since they were heading out to Angelo’s for lunch and decided to join them. Finally got back home, did my usual chores and settled down for the evening. Good night, Sweetie!

Thursday, Jan. 23, 2020 – Corbett Reconnoiter

Hi Babe,
Got a pretty good night sleep last night, up until I heard Jeff drive by and pick up the garbage for pickup today, but that was late enough for me to say I got a full night for a change. After a quick breakfast, I hooked up the horse trailer, loaded up Flash, and headed out to Corbett again. I wanted to check out an alternate route to the one we had marked, because it seemed like it might be a bit drier, though in the end, that didn’t turn out to be the case. First, of course, I got turned around looking for the trailhead I wanted, and did a nice loop around the swamp that ended up being in the wrong direction. When I came finally came across our markers and realized where I was I managed to figure out where I went wrong, and soon found the alternate route, but that was mostly underwater, too, though it was shallower. So if it stays dry enough, it might drain off enough to be better, but there’s no way to know for a few weeks. I didn’t get any pictures in worth printing, because Flash was being too jumpy today, what with all the water and the stopping and starting while I was trying to figure out where we were and what direction to go in. I suggested to the organizers it might be best if I leave camp every day about an hour before each day so that I can confirm the trail markers are there and legible, and I think that’s what will happen. They’ve been working on a place to have a different overnight stop on Saturday night, and that seems to be working out. I’m meeting Tim in the morning at a farm that’s offered to house the campers overnight for free, and it looks like it’s only a block off the Riverbend trail, right there by the lake, so I think it’s going to work our perfectly. Anyway, got back from Corbett to find the package with the shore power connector and already come, so once I got everyone settled in, I fixed that. It looked like it would work perfectly, but Jeff had me unplugged to use the dryer, so I didn’t know for sure until after 8:00 when he finally plugged me back in, and yes, it worked perfectly. Had a little dinner and settled down for the evening before taking my usual shower and heading to bed. So off I go! Love you, Babe! Good night!

Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2020 – Busy Errand and Euchre Day

Hiya, Sweetie,
Well, I didn’t sleep very well last night, unfortunately. I decided to leave Lola inside because it was going to be so cold tonight, and she had been so quiet sleeping in your chair all evening that I thought she would be okay, but as usual, as soon as I went to bed, she started to get restless. Scratching at the screen door to go out, scratching at the bedroom door to get in, walking back and forth with her toenails clicking back and forth. I wasn’t about to get up again, so I let her go, and she settled down a couple of times where I got some sleep, but a few hours later she’s be wandering again. Last time I’m going to let that happen! In the truck, every night, she just obviously likes that big bed of hers on the back seat! Anyway, I set my alarm because I made an appointment up at the local brake place that would honor the Munro warranty we had, because the brakes are starting to squeal, and the one thing I DON’T want to do is have a brake problem. Turned out the front brakes are fine, but the back brakes that were done by our TN mechanic are starting to go. The rotors and pads are starting to wear. Fortunately, the parts have a 3 year warranty, and they’ve only been in for about 14 months, so according to my mechanic, all we have to do is go to an Autozone and pick up new parts. Unfortunately the labor part is only 12 months, so I missed that (not that I’d get anyone locally to do that for me anyway), but brother Jeff is an old hand at truck brakes, and he said he’d help me. No hurry, as long as they’re done before I leave, but I will pick up the parts so there at hand when we’re ready. Anyway, that didn’t take as long as I thought, so my next chores was to find a replacement connector for the shore power cable. I went to four places and the only one that had one wanted $85 for it! I figured I could probably get a whole new cord for that! He offered to lower it to $75, but even that was too dear, so I got on my phone and found the exact same part on Amazon for $43! I found a different manufacturer but the same part for $37, so I ordered that one. There was actually another one for just $16, but I figured that had to be a really inferior product, so I went for the middle of the road. Amazon Prime again, and they say it will be here by tomorrow! I don’t know how they’re doing it, but I’m getting really impressed with the Prime delivery system! With that settled, I ran down to Walmart and did a little quick shopping, but now I was running late so I grabbed a sandwich instead of having soup at the Kane center like I usually do on Euchre day, and arrived right at 1:00 to discover two full tables. I thought maybe some other folks would show up, but no one did, so it was round robin for me for awhile. Didn’t do quite as well as last time (guess you had somewhere else to be today :-), but then I had a different partner every game, and never the same partner I had last time, so maybe that was the key. Anyway, I enjoyed that for two hours, then dodged the raindrops down to Ranch feed where I picked up some horse feed and 10 bales of hay, which should last me until I can get some cheaper stuff up near St. Augustine next weekend when Jeff and I go to the Great Florida Cattle Drive Reunion. Though the forecast was that the rain would be over by 3:00 (yeah, right), it was sprinkling just before I loaded up the hay, but stopped just long enough for me to get home. I had just loaded into Jeff’s boarder’s trailer and covered it up, and got the four bags of feed into the back of my trailer when the sky burst open. Perfect timing, but exactly the opposite of what was forecast. Finished off the chores and settled down for the evening. Something I wanted to tell you, though. You remember the character of Rachel on the series Suits that we were watching? The girlfriend of the main character Mike Ross? Well, I finally realized that she’s the same girl that married Prince Harry! Don’t know why I hadn’t figured that out before, guess it’s because I’m not really into the celeb scene, but there you go! Strange world, isn’t it? Anyway, that’s enough about my day, glad we’re still having this conversation we started back in 1986, even if I’m the one doing all the talking. You always were a good listener! Love you, darling! Good night!