YA and I can’t go anywhere without seeking out the closest zoo or animal park (or both). We were both actually surprised that there is a zoo in Honolulu. When we were deciding on a hotel, we had several places marked on a map and while we didn’t choose Waikiki due to its proximity to the zoo, it certainly didn’t hurt that it was walking distance from our hotel.
It was bigger than I was expecting considering its prime location right off the beach and had a bigger variety of animals that I was expecting as well. It was a quiet day when we were there so no jostling and every docent was all ours.
There were three giraffes and one zebra together in a large savannah-like enclosure. I asked the docent whey the two breeds were together; zebras have a reputation for not getting along with anybody else, including members of their own species and troop. The docent told me that the larger/older giraffe was named Squirt and the zebra was named Mr. Z. Apparently they had been housed together for many years until just recently when the two younger giraffes were introduced. Mr. Z has access to his own space and sleeping area at all time but he prefers to hang out with Squirt and even sleeps with him. The docent also told me that although Squirt seems to enjoy having the two younger giraffes arounds, he still prefers the company of his zebra pal. The zoo considers them a bonded pair.
I love hearing stories like this so it was great to have the docent all to myself for a bit. Of course, I got a rare YA photo that morning as well so it turned out to be a fabulous morning.
Do you have any “must dos” when you travel or when you have out of town visitors?
Our dog’s toy arsenal has been quite limited because of his post-surgery cone, and he has had to adapt to continue to have fun. Some toys just don’t work with a cone. I am happy to report the horrid cone comes off today. We and he are heartily sick of it.
One toy that has proven a continued delight for him is the large, orange tennis ball in the header photo. I placed a smaller red ball next to it so you could see the size difference. The orange ball is about 7 inches in diameter. He plays with it in several ways. He loves to peel the orange cover off it. That orange cover is glued on really tightly, and I am amazed at the strength of his jaws and teeth. He also likes to slam the ball on the floor while holding the fabric scrap in his mouth, then shaking it violently. He rolls the ball and chases it all around living room. We like it because it is too large to roll under the furniture. He barks and whines for us to retrieve smaller balls. He also likes to have us hold the ball while he tugs and tugs the fabric scrap. A ball lasts about a week.
What have been your pets’ favorite toys? What were your favorite toys as a child.What toys would you buy for a child these days?
Yesterday while it was still snowing, my neighbor to the north got his snowblower out and worked on his driveway. A couple of hours later YA headed out with a shovel to do the steps and back sidewalk. Across the street my neighbors were struggling to get their snowblower going. One neighbor to the south was out doing her steps as well.
Me? I’m sitting inside in sweatpants and fat socks, watching tv and sipping my beverage. For some reason I have always been and “wait until it’s over” kind of person. I would rather do 8” once than 4” twice.
And this works out rather well for me most of the time. For example, as I type this, my other neighbor to the south is currently doing OUR driveway (for which he will be rewarded generously with homemade cookies). My neighbor to the north did our front sidewalk when he was out (cookies for him as well). So by the time this ends and I finally venture out, I’ll have less to deal with!
I’m not hugely adventuresome when it comes to food. Once I find something I like, I tend to stick to it. Almond Butter Granola Waffle at Black Coffee & Waffle. Vegetarian Reuben at Pub 42. Blueberry Pancake at Lowbrow. Quattro Formaggio at Punch. It’s not that I’m afraid to try something new, it’s just that I can’t imagine not having my favorite in that moment. There are a few things I’ll always try: tiramisu, sticky toffee pudding, anything made with macadamia nuts.
Although Hawaii is not the actual birthplace of the macadamia nut (and isn’t even the world’s largest producer of the nut), the 50th state has certainly taken the macadamia to heart. I will say that every time I’ve traveled to Hawaii – I work hard to make it worth their while. And the restaurants on Oahu and Maui did not disappoint this trip.
I learned to love macadamia nuts for breakfast years ago. I was breakfasting with clients and the hotel sales person when I discovered coconut syrup on the waffle bar, along with chopped macadamia nuts. Can we say “heavenly”? I know in this global economy I can easily get nuts and syrup but I never get around to it so I was really looking forward to loading up on fat bombs (what a friend dubbed macadamia nuts long ago).
Our very first morning in Oahu, we hiked about 15 blocks to Eggs `n Things:
We had a great table out on the balcony, looking over a pretty park and they served me the Fresh Fruit Rainbow Pancake. With macadamia nuts. The photo is in the header above. It was delicious and outrageous – how can anybody eat that much in one sitting? Well, I showed them how it was done. It was a good things we had a lot of walking to do that day.
We went to a different breakfast spot every day of our trip and I found pancakes with macadamia nuts every time – but only found coconut syrup once. Aaaah well, the vicissitudes of travel!
When we were planning our trip to Hawaii, we were using “award credits” from our company. YA had quite a few and I had a small fortune, all of which had to be used within a certain amount of time after my retirement before I would lose them. This made it easy to plan things that would have seemed atrociously expensive if it were coming out of my checking account (and have I mentioned how expensive everything is in Hawaii).
Adding a rental car on Maui was a no-brainer. It’s a 45-minute drive from the airport area to the two major resorts areas (Lahaina/Ka’anapali in one direction, Wailea in the other). Even getting around once you are in the resort areas isn’t all that easy. No sidewalks, no buses, a few rare shuttles and extremely expensive Ubers. As YA was scrolling through rental cars on the award credit site, she was looking for small, inexpensive models. When I said “get a convertible” she just about fell off the bed. When did her mother EVER advocate for something more expensive? But there is backstory.
I’ve been is the islands many times over the past 30 years for work. Yes, work. And my job, even in paradisical places like Maui, was work. Early on, I decided that one of the ways I would take care of myself was a convertible. Usually it turned out to be cheaper than private transfers but while I used that as my “excuse”, the main reason was that for the day or so that I had on my own before clients showed up, I had the sun on my face and the wind in my hair. In addition, Maui (and the Big Island) are fabulous for someone who is directionally challenged… so few roads!
When we got to the rental car center at the Maui airport, they sent us down to the big parking lot, saying “turn right and pick your convertible”. There were three to choose from, all three white Ford Mustangs. Easy peasy, right? The two gals who had met us, helped get the luggage into the first car and said their goodbyes. YA was hanging back as I got into the driver’s seat and then suggested that we “look at the other cars”. I’m not at my best on travel days and I certainly didn’t see what there was to look at; they all looked identical to me. She was adamant however and after poking through all three models, she announced that the farthest one was bigger inside and had leather seats. Despite some whining on my part, I let her move the luggage to the bigger/leather interior. I figured if the rental car company didn’t care which one we took, I shouldn’t care either.
I can’t tell you if this was a better car but it made YA happy and as we rounded the first hill on the West Maui Mountain Highway, coming upon the sun shining on the water, it made me happy as well. This is why you want a convertible on Maui:
How do you keep your hair from getting mussed with the windows open or the top down?
The end of another year, pretty fitting that it happens on the last day of the week. It just fits the calendar so nicely and it feels so right that the last day of the year, the last day of the month, also ends on the last day of the week. And then we begin another month, another week, another year on the first day of the week. No open squares, it just all seems better that way.
The end of the year, all the old hackneyed, banal phrases of closing out another chapter, turning the page, another chance to try it again. But they still apply.
On the farm I will collect mileage from all the vehicles and the hours on the tractors and the lawnmower, the four-wheeler, the gator, and even the total gallons on the diesel barrel pump. I put all the data in my spreadsheet to compare with the other years. (At one point I believe we had to report the mileage to our accountant and there must’ve been a deduction for farm mileage or something. Now it’s just all under the standard deduction but I have always enjoyed keeping track of things like that). I also have our farm balance sheet that I will spend the next month working on. It’s fun for me; I like compiling the data and seeing the changes, adding pretty colors, and formatting it.
During 2022, I kept track of how many dozens of eggs I moved out of the house. It was easier keeping track of the dozens going out then it was the eggs coming in. The last few weeks I haven’t actually moved very many, so counting the eight dozen I have on the counter now, I moved 320 dozen eggs. That’s kind of impressive. That’s 3480 eggs. Which averages 10 eggs per day for an entire year. Back in October I only moved about 10 dozen, while between March and August it was upwards of 30 per month. If you count all the chickens around here, which is somewhere between 40 and 50, 10 eggs per day doesn’t seem like enough. I never said I was looking for efficiency, I’ve always said it was a chicken retirement farm.
I’ve also been getting crop inputs finalized for next year. Prepaid some fertilizer, locked in prices on some other products, and finalizing my seed orders. It’s discouraging that fertilizer and chemicals are as expensive this year as last. Hope for another good year of crop production and prices. I expect prices will have to crash and we’ll all take a loss one year before things will come down again.
A lot of the stuff we do before the end of the calendar year so that I can take the financial expense this year. There’s also typically a discount on pricing when you order sooner. My seed company discount goes until mid-January, and I expect to be driving again by then so I will get that done at that point. We paid off all of this year‘s crop loans, paid off another small loan on my truck, and paid a good chunk of an operating loan. Also, at the end of the year the equity checks come in from the various co-ops that we belong to. March 2023 will be 19 years since I sold the milk cows. The dairy co-op that we sold to, AMPI, has a 20 year payback on their equity and so for the last 18 years I’ve been getting a check for a few hundred dollars from the dairy co-op even though there has not been a milk cow on the farm. The check this year was for $200. There’s $2.48 remaining in my equity. Seems to me it would’ve made more sense to just add it on too this year‘s check. But whatever, one more check from the milk cows.
We are all glad the weather has finally warmed up. The ducks finally got out of the pond and actually came back up in the yard. Chickens, squirrels, pheasants, and lots of birds are out and about and enjoying it. The show has melted off the deck so I can go out there and walk around a bit.
I am getting along very well on my knew knee. (Gnu G-knee!) And the 37 staples were removed from the incision on Thursday. The doctor gave me a good report. A few days prior to that Kelly took me out for a ride in the gator, it was just nice to get out of the house. She even took me over to the shop and I got up in the tractors. Just to say I could. Again, after all the trouble I had the spring and summer, I didn’t really think this would stop me, but it still felt good to get in there. I sort of expect to be driving again this weekend and I may have to take over snow clearing duties soon.
Prior to the surgery I had to remove the two earrings that I wear. I asked daughter to put them in. She doesn’t have pierced ears, and she’s never done earrings before and I thought this would be good practice for her. As a guy, I can’t get them in myself, I generally ask Kelly. Daughter got one in and Kelly got the second one.
Years ago when I was giving a farm tour to some elementary school kids, a little girl asked me about the ear tags that I put in the calves ears. I was kneeling down and face-to-face with her and I told her it was like getting your ears pierced. I have a very vivid memory of her looking to my ears at the same moment I Iooked to hers. I had earrings, she didn’t and I thought to myself, this is a fascinating little discussion and I wondered if she’s going to go home and ask to get her ears pierced.
One of the movies I watched this week was ‘Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid’. One of those movies I’ve heard about and seen bits of, but never seen the whole thing. I enjoyed it. I also watched ‘All That Jazz’ for the 349th time. I was home alone so I had it loud to make it the best it could be. And I picked some new bits out of it. I never get tired of that movie.
Kyrill, our Cesky Terrier pup, was neutered on Tuesday. He was really good at leaving his incision alone at the Vet Office, but started licking it once we got him home, so I got a cone from the vet.
Kyrill hates it. It is made even more awkward by his shape. Kyrill has a long snout, so he needs a good sized cone to keep that long snout away from the incision. His legs are really short, though, so unless he holds his head up high, the cone drags on the floor. The cone also pushes away or obscures things he wants to pick up. This makes eating and drinking difficult.
We tried a soft cone that looks like a life preserver, but it wasn’t wide enough and allowed access to the incision.
I considered a dog recovery suit just for this purpose, but I couldn’t find one in town, and if I ordered one, it would take too long to get here. I also didn’t relish the idea of wrestling him into an infant onesie every time he needed to go outside. We can’t crate him easily with the cone on, so he hangs with us and looks miserable. We hope for quick healing so the cone can go away.
What are your experiences with the cone of shame? How do your animals handle being under the weather?
I was delighted to read the story of the New York dentist and his wife who welcomed ten Korean tourists into their home after their van was stuck in the snow. They found beds for them, and they spent the storm cooking Korean dishes and watching football. What generous hospitality!
I figure with the Twin size air mattress and we have in the basement we could sleep nine extra people pretty comfortably. We have fourteen bed pillows and lots of sheets and blankets (Don’t ask. It is German thing) so there would be sufficient bedding. Our freezers are full, and we could certainly feed ten people for days. Being prepared for such an occurrence certainly speaks to keeping a well stocked stocked wine rack!
How many people could you accommodate in a pinch? What would you feed them?Tell of some weather bound experiences you may have had.
Boy, If I was gonna pick a week to stay inside, last week was the week to choose. Although 5 months ago when we set this up, I wasn’t expecting this weather yet. I think there’s some record of the second week of February being historically the coldest. I do remember February 1996. Daughter was born in 1995 and that February she was in the NICU with a bad cold. Kelly spent nights there with her. I was still milking cows and doing chores and it was -42° one morning. That’s the coldest I remember. An owl spent the night in the garage it was so cold. And some yahoo went 4-wheeling with his truck in one of our fields and got stuck and came into the barn looking for help. I wasn’t very nice to him, but I did pull him out. Eventually.
This cold weather is also a helpful remind that I didn’t turn all the heat on in the house this fall when it first got cold. Because we have electric heat, all the rooms have thermostats and individual breakers. I turn them all off in the summer. When it started getting chilly, I turned on some of them. They’re not all labeled, so I only turned on what I thought were the important ones.
Then later we started saying ‘It sure is cold in the living room’ forgetting that I hadn’t turned everything on. Until last week. I managed to get my knew knee (I know that’s wrong, I just enjoy the alliteration) down to the basement for several things, including going in to check that breaker panel and oh. Yea. Only about half are on. We don’t use the basement for much, so I set those all to about 50° and turned on all the heaters. Boy, there’s nothing like the smell of dust burning off a heater.
Got my grade for Meteorology class. ‘A’. I don’t take classes spring semester; too much other stuff going on.
The ducks are spending all their time in the pond with this cold weather. Maybe to stay warm, maybe to keep it from freezing. It has shrunk up a little bit as the stream of water coming into it is pretty light. We seem to have picked up a couple stray ducks. One flies away when Kelly approaches, but there’s still an extra in the pond too. Alumni? Possible. And the chickens don’t have much interest in coming out of the coop either. Kelly opens the doors and throws out corn for them. But no Thanks. We’re fine. They do have water, corn, and egg layer ration in the pens. No reason to come out if they don’t want too. The guineas come out a bit further, but even they don’t go far.
I’m getting around pretty well on the knee. Better than I would have expected at this point. It’s still uncomfortable due to some swelling, and it’s still all sorts of colors. I get a little stiff in the shin and calf. Takes a few steps to get the muscles and tendons loose and moving. Using a cane 50% of the time and walker 25% and nothing 25%.
I’ve hit the BDDT phase of recovery. ‘bored, discouraged, depressed, and tired’. Hard to sleep at night just cause I have a hard time getting comfortable. And eventually, lack of sleep just makes me grumpy. But I’m surviving!
Did you know there is drone racing on TV?? On NBC! With fancy lighting. And drones, which I don’t care so much for, but the lighting is cool. Found a lot of old B&W movies on these new TV channels (new to us. Something called ‘Pluto TV’ which I haven’t quite got all figured out). Jack Lemmon in ‘Operation Mad Ball’. Spencer Tracey in ‘The Last Hurrah’ (with Basil Rathbone and John Carradine. Man, what a long face he has! And he sure could scowl!) ’12 Angry Men’ and things like ‘The Professional’, and several versions of Pink Panther movies. Plus, ‘St. Vincent’ on Netflix. Highly recommended.
Kelly continues to be my rock star. Not only doing all her work, but my work too. She really has never liked cold weather, so extra accolades on her for getting up early and going out to collect eggs and feed everybody. The day she spilled water into her boot I thought she’d quit. But she’s almost starting to enjoy driving the tractor and plowing snow. Almost.
WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO WITH A WEEK STUCK INSIDE?