Archives for April 2021

Friday, April 30, 2021 – Wonderful Long Ride with Friend

Hi Babe!
Had a good night sleep, though it took awhile for the room to cool down, quite a hot one today with not a lot of breeze in the evening. I was still reading when I suddenly felt a cold, clammy presence on my leg, which I instinctively flicked away, then I turned the light on to see what it was. Didn’t see anything for a minute, then suddenly it landed on me again, and then jumped off and went to the wall, where I saw it was a tree frog! Eeewww! I put a sock on my hand and managed to catch it, got up and threw it outside. Obviously I’m going to have to be more careful about Lola leaving the door open! After I got up and did chores and had breakfast, I decided I had time to run to the feed store for some hay (which was kind of dusty, but I didn’t have much choice), another stop at Tractor Supply for propane and Nutrena, and a quick stop at the gas station to fuel up the truck, and I still made it back before 10:30. Maggie and I had agreed to meet between 10 and 10:30, and she had arrived only a few minutes before me, so it all worked out. I put the hay and propane away, then we got busy saddling the horses. I had trimmed Apollo’s front feet yesterday, and decided to trim Flash’s today, so that took a little bit of time (though not much, he was quite still for me, thank goodness!), and we left shortly after that. There’s a small civil airport nearby, and we had a lot of planes going over us in the Preserve, and then we saw a whole bunch of skydivers appear out of seemingly nowhere! Very colorful chutes! Later we saw the biggest flock of buzzards I’ve ever seen, and though I could smell some carrion, never did see what it was, but it was in a cow pasture, so that’s what we figured it was. We took the long loop in the opposite direction, with a couple of variations, and Maggie did a brilliant job of getting Apollo to resume his nice little jog that I love so much, which is just the right pace to keep up with Flash. He’s been ridden by so many newbies lately that he hasn’t done it in awhile, but she got him right up to snuff. Flash also managed to do a nice little fino, just a half gear up from his walk, which is very smooth, so we made decent time, but it still took more that 2.5 hours to make the trip, and it was quite hot (over 90 again today), so we were both worn out by the time we got back to camp. Maggie went straight over to the trough hose and ran cold water over herself, but she soon recovered. I untacked the horses and ran the hose over them before putting them on their anchors, where the spent the rest of the afternoon. Maggie and I crashed into the loungers and stayed THERE the rest of the afternoon as well! We had more lively discussions today, until she had to leave to have dinner with her roommate Nancy, who has been gone for a couple of weeks and just got back last night. I had dinner on my own (sausage on the grill!), and settled down for the evening. SLIGHTLY cooler tonight, and I’ve been running the fan in my bedroom for a few hours, so hopefully it will be easier to get to sleep tonight. Going to bed early, though, definitely need to make up for my tiredness! Still kind of coming down from all the stress of the past few months, but starting to get back in the swing of things! Shower soon, then bed, so good night, sweetie! Love you!

Thursday, April 29, 2021 – A Second Ride at St. Sebastian Preserve and Visit with Friend

Hi Sweetheart!
Starting to feel like things are getting back to my normal! Slept well with earplugs in, then just after breakfast I took Apollo out for a short loop, just over 5 miles. He was a bit skittish today, lots of smells and a whole new landscape, so I kept my hands near the horn just in case he did something silly. After all, I’m under doctor’s orders not to fall off my horse onto my new knee (if that’s even possible!), so I was being extra careful. We mostly walked, but I did manage to jog for a bit, which I suspect is all good for my knee-strengthening. We got back to camp a bit after noon, another hot one today, so I rinsed him down and put them out on their anchors. Not long afterwards, my friend Maggie arrived, and we chatted away until the vet arrived at around 2:45. When the other vet in Jupiter did all the vaccinations, he wasn’t able to float their teeth because he had recently had back surgery, so I found another vet locally (recommended by Maggie) who was able to come out today to do that for me. She did a great job, using electric tools, and was done in good time for a reasonable price. Afterward, I cooked some burgers on the grill and Maggie and I had a great dinner, chatted some more, made plans for tomorrow, then she and her crazy dog Sedona headed out. By the way, I put a mousetrap out in the back of the trailer last night, and sure enough, there was a mouse trapped in it this morning! Wonderful! Lola’s been hearing them in the middle of the night, sometimes trying to scare them off with a fury of barking (which is hard to sleep through!), so I’m hoping I can stop an infestation and get rid of some more, if there are any. Settled down for the evening, washed my hair using the hose by the water trough in order to save water in the trailer (I do not want to go through the hassle of trying to fill up the tank again, so I’m being VERY stingy), but will take a quick shower before heading to bed, just to get off the sweat of the day. I might have done that at the horse trough hose, too, but two women, three horses and a mini showed up to do a photo shoot around sunset, so I decided not to. Anyway, time to go now, another hot one tonight, stayed in Florida a week or two too long! Oh, by the way, got my lab results back and my cholesterol took a significant plunge since my last test. Don’t know if it’s my change in eating habits or the chaney root tea, but the doctor seems happy with my progress, so hopefully I won’t have to start taking any pills. I’ll just keep doing both and see how it goes! Good night, darlin’! Love you!

Wednesday, April 28, 2021 – Another Truck Repair Done and Labs

Hi Darlin’!
Woke up to the sound of vehicles again, I think tonight I’ll put my earplugs in so I can sleep a little later! Since I couldn’t have breakfast because I was having a cholesterol lab done late in the morning, after chores I went to work on the window of my truck. I found a really good video that made it seem really simple, and believe it or not, it actually turned out that way! I started around 8:30 and 75 minutes later I was putting my tools away! Now my rear window goes up and down perfectly, thank you very much! I decided to head out early to my labs just in case they could take me early, but I ended up waiting even beyond my original appointment time, though not by too much. Of course, the labs only took a couple of minutes, but by then I was starving, so I looked up diners on my phone and found one on the way back called the Pelican Diner, which actually ended up being in the clubhouse of a golf club! Service was kind of slow and the corn beef hash I had was actually mostly corned beef with very little hash (which can be a good thing), topped off with a couple of poached eggs, which made for a nice change. But it was a heavy meal, and when I got back to camp and stretched out in my lounger, I actually dozed off for nearly two hours! I guess I’m starting to get back to my relaxed self, finally letting go of the stress of being in close quarters with others and having to live by someone else’s needs and schedule, now I can do what I want when I want it, and it’s quite a relief. I put a little more power steering fluid in this morning, but I’m not seeing any leaks, so maybe the air in the system is slowly working itself out, it seemed like it was all working a little bit better today. I spent the day reading a book that I had gotten from a friend of a friend, about a family in East TN during the Civil War, and really enjoyed it. I actually read the whole thing today, finishing it off just before it was time to feed the horses. I let them wander in the field again (though Flash kept heading for the road, so eventually I did put an anchor on him to slow him down), and the nurse came again by with both her kids today and played with Lola for awhile, wearing her out, thankfully. Watched an hour of TV, but now it’s time for shower and bed, so good night, babe! Love you!

Tuesday, April 27, 2021 – FIRST RIDE BACK ON THE ROAD!!

Hi Babe!
Had a pretty good night sleep, though I was awakened by the sound of a vehicle after the gates opened, then the sound of one of the horses trumpeting at something, but still, it was a good time to get up. There was a beautiful full moon just about setting when I looked out the bedroom window, so lovely! For some reason the clock on my phone jumped ahead an hour for awhile, don’t know what that was about! I was going to go riding first thing, but I’ve been trying to find a new wastebasket (my duct tape fix didn’t last, and I really like this small size), and I had ordered one from a Walmart in Vero, but then got an email that it was canceled because they didn’t have it after all, so I went searching again (obviously it’s an item that’s about to be discontinued), but I finally found one in West Melbourne about 25 miles away, so I figured I better go get it before it was gone, and they were nice enough to put it aside for me. I ran up there, got that and a few other groceries, then when I got back I saddled up Flash to go for a ride. It was FANTASTIC! Well, the trails are mostly just typical Florida savanna, with one nice section on the west side that’s wooded and shady, but it didn’t matter. Flash was in the mood to go, go, go and we averaged between six and seven miles an hour for the most part. He was a little flighty just because he hasn’t been on a new trail in awhile, but he soon settled down. Lola had a job keeping up with us! In any event, it was a great ride. We saw lots of deer including two baby spotted fawns and a big box turtle crossing the trail in front of us. There were some patches of water along the way, too, apparently they had a lot of rain last week. It was perfect, a nice breeze kept it from getting too hot, and a great time was had by all! After we got back, I rinsed Flash down, then got Apollo out on his anchor and let them graze around the field for a few hours. Meanwhile, the left rear window of my truck has suddenly dropped down overnight and won’t come back up, so I did some research and discovered the repair I need to make, a new power window regulator assembly, which I was able to get at an Advance Auto less than a mile away on the main road, with a good discount for ordering online. I also picked up some Chinese food for dinner, in the mood for something a little different, bourbon chicken, which wasn’t bad. I love sitting outside having dinner! I put up the front panel of my screen room just to block out some of the sun since I’m facing mostly west and it really made a big difference. Still got a nice breeze, but cut down on the direct sunlight big-time. A nurse and her kid stopped by to ask if they could say hello to the horses, and they played with Lola for a bit, too. It was sunset when they left, time for me to come inside and settle down, watched a movie, now it’s time for shower and bed! Good night, sweetie! Love you!

Monday, April 26, 2021 – FINALLY BACK ON THE ROAD!!

Hi Sweetie!
Finally got back on the road again, YAY!! I feel like I wasted so much time these past few months, but ultimately, I guess I got a lot done in retrospect. The trailer is in much better working order with the slide-out repair, new ramp rubber and new awning, the truck has new suspension and shocks and a new brake booster, and I’ve got a new knee that I hope will eventually work better than the old one, so it’s all good! I got up bright and early, though, in order to try bleeding the power steering fluid, something in the system just doesn’t feel quite right, so I spent an hour doing that, then going for a test drive, and even though the power steering still feels a bit tight, the brake problem I was having seemed to disappear. I’m more worried about brakes right now, I can live with slightly harder steering for now. So I managed to get everything packed up and ready to got by about 11:45, then all I had to do was catch the horses. Flash trotted away from me once, but didn’t go far and I managed to catch him without much trouble and got him loaded, and he did great going up the new ramp, no slipping at all! Apollo was so funny, that after I got Flash tied in and closed the partition, I just stepped out of the way and pointed, and Apollo climbed right in, no halter, no lead, no nothing! I get him tied in then off we went, just before noon. It only took us about an hour and fifteen minutes to reach Sebastian Ranch Camp, and finding the campsite was easy. There are four nice little wooden paddocks, mostly covered, so it didn’t take me long to get hay out for them, but I really had a problem with water. They have one spigot of non-potable water that was so crusted up I couldn’t get the hose off, and the hose was too short to reach any of the paddocks except the nearest one. I had to carry buckets of water over to fill Apollo’s bucket, and took about fifteen minutes maneuvering the trailer close enough to reach it, it could barely reach so I had to bungee it in. I called the office and they managed to get a volunteer, Joe, out about an hour later, and because the hose was so short, the water was getting blocked by an air block of some kind, and it had only gone up from empty to about a third by the time he got there. He saw the problem and went back to his shop and managed to find a longer hose and some channel locks (which I had tried but was afraid I would break it, and didn’t want to destroy it, leave that for them!), but he managed to get the hose off and replace it with one that had a splitter. He said he’d leave it on for the week for me, take it off later. Anyway, that whole deal took me to after 4:00 before I was even able to complete the filling up of the trailer tank, so now I had to move the trailer over. I was hoping there would be some shade, but there wasn’t really, so I focused on getting the best placement to get the most breeze, so I pointed the back end northwest, so I could catch the east wind that’s coming through today and tomorrow, and hopefully wind from just about anywhere else to some degree. Anyway, got out my rug and chairs and my solar panel, then went down and got my permit paid at what they call the “bunkhouse” and was back in camp by 5:00, ready to settle down. I sat out in one of my chairs for a bit, suddenly Lola perked up and I saw her looking at a deer come into view, then a few moments another one, then another, and another! They were a good 100 yards off, but it was nice to see wildlife. Fortunately, it’s far enough from the freeway not to hear any noise, so I expect it to be nice and quiet tonight, apparently there are no other campers here except me and Joe (down at the bunkhouse), and he closes the gates at sunset, so no traffic either. With temps in the low 60’s, should be perfect sleeping weather! Anyway, enough rambling, I’m just so glad to be back on the road, doing my own thing! Lola had a good walkabout, we fetched for a bit, had dinner, now I’m ready for an early night, just a quick shower and off the bed! Love you, my darlin’! Good night!

Sunday, April 25, 2021 – First Ride Post Surgery!

Hi Darlin’,
FINALLY took a ride today! Jeff had asked me last night if we could go today, and considering we haven’t ridden together once since I’ve been here, and it’s (hopefully) my last day here before I take off tomorrow, I said yes, as long as it could be fairly early, since the forecast was for temps to be 90 degrees today. I started to get ready around 10:00, Jeff came out around 10:30, and we were almost ready to go when he got a call from his friend Jeff, and asked him if he’s like to come along, so I had another horse to get ready, so it was nearly noon by the time we actually got underway. Fortunately, though, there was enough of a breeze that once we got into the shade, it really wasn’t too bad, surprisingly. Most of the water stretches were dry except on, and we didn’t seen any gators at all, though we did see a lot of birds and a couple of deer, which is more rare. Of course, we stopped at the pagoda for a break, which both Jeffs needed, and frankly, my bum was a bit more sore because normally I put more weight in the stirrups, but didn’t want to stress out my knee so I had more weight in the saddle than usual. But it wasn’t bad, my knee felt okay by the time we got home. A nice ride, thankfully it was uneventful, no drama, just the way I like it. Hosed my two horses down and let them run free again, then I got in my bathing suit and took a swim to cool off myself, hung around the pool for a bit, then deflated my river raft to take with me, since I’ll need that this summer. Took a ride into Walmart to pick up a few things, plus I wanted to take another test drive. I seem to be having a problem with the brake pedal kicking back once it’s warmed up, and after doing some research, I believe it’s just that I didn’t completely bleed the power steering system after I changed the brake booster, so tomorrow morning I’m going to lift it and do the whole process, which could take some time to do it right, but I only have about 80 miles to go, so I’ll have time. I hope that’s all it is, but brakes is one thing I don’t want to take any chances with! We’ll see. I did several loads of laundry so I’ll have a fresh start next week, and I’m keeping my fingers crossed that the forecast of where I’m going is right, and we’ll have 60’s at night and only low 80’s during the day, since I won’t have electric to run my AC. I can use the generator, of course, but I’m hoping I’ll only need it sparingly, and will be able to mostly charge my batteries with my solar panel. Looking forward to getting back on the road, but it will certainly take some time getting back into the swing of things again! Finally settled down for the evening, getting down to the last season of this great BBC series I’ve been watching, New Tricks. You would have loved this show, and I would certainly have been pestering you for the definitions of the slang the writers are very fond of, since it’s based in London. Anyway, the time has come for shower and bed, so off I go! Good night, babe! Love you!

Saturday, April 24, 2021 – A Bit of Preparation Today

Hi Babe,
Managed to accomplish getting a lot of little things done today, in preparation for my departure on Monday. Checked the power steering fluid and it was perfect, checked the air in the truck tires, the back four were fine, the front two just needed a couple of pounds, I repaired a couple of things with superglue, including the lid on the garbage can that Lola had unceremoniously shoved off the bench seat in the dining room the other day and broken. I tried to find another one at Walmart yesterday, but all they had were huge ones, so I just fixed it with superglue and duct-tape, that should hold for a little while, anyway. Did some housekeeping and laundry, made up some satin balls for Lola, did my PT exercises, and still managed to play a bunch of computer games and read in between. It’s what passes for a busy day these days, though it’s nothing compared to the way it used to be, when I didn’t have time for anything. Got a lot done, at a leisurely pace, kind of nice. Anyway, I’m further along in getting ready than I thought I’d be, and since I’m only traveling about 80 miles on Monday, it should be an easy trip as long as nothing goes wrong. Finally settled in for the evening, a few hours of telly, and now it’s time for shower and bed. Good night, my sweet! Love you!

Friday, April 23, 2021 – Another Wasted Day!

Hi Darlin’,
Such a beautiful day today, but I ended up spending almost all of it inside sitting in the same chat room that I’ve been trying to get help on for the last two days, and after SEVEN HOURS watching the queue go from 230 to 22, the dang thing cut out on me AGAIN!! I still don’t have an answer to my simple question, but I finally managed to find a place on their website where I can actually send them an email, though I highly doubt anyone will get back to me anytime soon. Meanwhile, I finally had to run out to do some shopping and drop off some mail, plus I needed to take a longer test drive on the truck just to make sure it’s running okay (well, stopping, actually), and it seemed to be working fine. I’ll check the power steering fluid again in the morning and see if everything looks okay. So another mostly wasted day. I did have one good bit of news, the manager and Loretta Lynn’s ranch has agreed to let me come in a week early and volunteer for whatever help he needs, and he seemed amenable to hearing my suggestions about how they can improve their ride, so there’s that! So now I have to finish planning my trip up there, can’t decide if I want to try some new places after St. Sebastian, or do some repeat visits. I’ve covered most of the places between here and Tennessee over the years, especially those that can handle a big rig like mine, so I’ll have to do some more research and make some decisions soon. Meanwhile, it seems like the season is just about over down here, I was in the Walmart at what should have been a very busy time, late on a Friday afternoon, and it wasn’t busy at all! Still poorly managed, things the website said they had they didn’t have, so it was a bit frustrating, but oh, well, I’ll get over it. Settled down for the evening, had a nice shower, now I’m off to bed shortly! Good night, sweetie! Love you!

Thursday, April 22, 2021 – Truck Repair DONE!

Hi Sweetie,
Well, after days of waiting around, I FINALLY got the parts to repair the truck, they arrived right around noon, so I quickly got busy taking everything apart and putting it together again. While it seemed like a straightforward job (famous last words!), and in fact it really was, but there was this ONE bolt, high up under the brake pedal that took me longer to take out and put back than the rest of the entire job put together! I swear, I had to ratchet that darn thing about 300 times, and that was after I tried every configuration of wrench adapter I had! I was beginning to think I’d rounded out the stupid thing, but I finally managed, about 1/32 of a turn at a time, or so it seemed. Anyway, I finished the job, then took it for a quick test drive up to the mailbox and back, stomping the brakes every so often, and it worked like a charm! No leaking, power steering fluid stayed up well, so I think that solves the problem. I’ll so a little shopping tomorrow, which will give it a little longer test drive on pavement and see how it goes, but I’m pretty confident. Frankly the scariest bit is this tiny little tin clip that connects the brake pedal to the entire braking system, I’ve checked it a dozen times to make sure it’s on right, it just seems like such a flimsy piece for such an important job! At one point during the repair, while I was inside the truck, thank goodness, a tree limb fell off above me and came crashing down, slamming the hood down and make several dents on the hood and along the windshield frame, not to mention making a horrendous noise in the process. If I had been under the hood when that came down, I’d probably have been knocked out cold! I took some pictures in case I decide to claim it on insurance, I’ll call tomorrow and see what that entails. Of course, I can’t do it now, but I might be able to manage to get it done the next time I have to fly out of town on business, maybe find a body shop near whatever airport I decide to fly out of. We’ll see. My hood definitely needs new paint anyway, the clear coat is peeling off and my little repair, though it keeps it from peeling more, doesn’t exactly look very good, if you look close. Anyway, after that job was done, I decided to reward myself and Lola by spending some time by the pool, and the weather was perfect for that, and Lola had a great time, too. I’ve been ignoring her for the last few days, she really needed the exercise. Then, of course, it was feeding time, James and I got that done in no time, and I was soon settling down for the evening. Jeff even noticed that I had combed out Gandalf the goat, which I finished off last night, thanked me, and said he looked like a million bucks now. He was so straggly looking before with his winter coat hanging off in patches, and I took pity on him considering how hot it has been, and he stood perfectly still for me both days. Good goat! Well, now it’s time for shower and bed, so good night, babe! Love you!

Wednesday, April 21, 2021 – Another Wasted Day

Hi Babe,
Another good night sleep, and another wasted day, even more so than yesterday. I decided to try to get a start on my taxes (the deadline was extended again), but I didn’t get too far when I figured out there was a wrong figure on a 1099G that I had, and I spend almost the entire afternoon standing by a chat box trying to get it straightened out, but just as my number was coming up, the network disconnected and I lost my place in line, and by then it was after hours, so I got nothing resolved after six hours of waiting. Grrr! I did manage to load a few things up into the attic with James’ help, but I literally did nothing but read and play computer games until after the horses were fed, then I finally switched to a few hours of TV, and now I’m headed off for shower and bed. I’m hoping my truck parts will come early enough tomorrow to be able to get them installed, and hoping that solves my problem. I guess I could still go out to Dupuis for the weekend, but the forecast is still calling for very hot temps, not sure I want to do that. At least at the horse camp I’m going to on Monday they’re calling for night temps in the mid-60’s, so that won’t be too bad. Just have to wait and see! Meanwhile, good night, my darling! Love you!