Wheres Ray/Wendy yr 2

Monday, May 15, 2017

Rolling with the punches

Hi all, Hope y'all had a great Mothers Day.
 It's been quite a while since our last post. Sorry if you keep looking and wondering but all we can say is life happens.
 So what have we been up to? Well we have kept busy checking out some local entertainment that we  find. We checked out the Live Oak EAA Air Show, pretty small but saw a few old planes and some other different things that only the bravest or craziest would fly off in.
 A big well known thing down in this part is the Spirit of Suwannee River Music Park. This is a large venue with a large campground, bar, restaurant, and dance hall. They also hold a some huge music fests with multiple stages going on.

 Used to be you had to buy the multi day pass to attend an event but they now have started selling one day passes. So we headed to the Suwannee River Jam on the highlight Saturday show. Pretty much just country music, first on the main stage was some stars of the 90s Neil McCoy, Aaron Tippin, and Sammy Kershaw. Then opening artist Hunter Hayes and highlight performer Billy Currington.
We thought it was a pretty good show and the crowd was not near as large as we expected. We also hit great weather for this, even needing sweatshirts in the evening.
 So other stuff going on for us was a couple trips to Jacksonville for a few appointments for my COPD at the Mayo Clinic. We figured out how to sneak in some beach time and make the best of being there.
Mayo Clinic- beautiful setting
 Well we then got 5 more appointments set, oh boy!! Cool Amanda has a time share nearby and some accrued points that she will lose if not used. Well we don't want that to happen so we planned 3 nights at The Grand Villa at World Golf Village. Pretty swanky place located just outside St Augastine and not to far from the beach.

Finally tried my hand at surf fishing
 Trying to keep this short but 5 scheduled appointments turned into 13! Sure put a damper on our fun time, oh well good to get them done why we are there.
 So we did find out a lot from the test explaining my more recent shortness of breath. The doctors at Mayo gave very thorough detail of what showed in tests.
Not all the news we wanted to hear but at least some things to better plan for in our future. I am thankful I have Wendy and all she does to keep me positive, and this living on the farm has been a blessing, thanks to Amanda and Pat.
These northern Mockingbirds nesting in the goat house
 We have a couple more tests and then devise a treatment plan. So we still hope to get out and travel but will probably not be work camping along the way.

Wendy still cranking her basketry- (dyed needles for new projects)

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Happy Easter

Hi all,
Hope everyone had a joyous Easter. Ours was pretty good spent here on the farm with Amanda and Pat. We got in a nice video chat with Colleen and the boys. Wendy cooked us a delicious ham dinner and we totally over stuffed ourselves.
 It has been pretty quiet around here, we haven't had any new goat babies in a while. We have begun mowing the lawn and the garden is looking pretty decent.

We had seen some action around the bluebird house I had made two years ago. After seeing a nest and egg in side I made a few more and have been seeing activity near them.

 This week I spent time building a few bee traps. They have these large carpenter bees that are really damaging some of the wood around the shed. From what I have read these bees are not good pollinators so hopefully we can just get them to lessen some of the damage they are doing.
 The last couple weekends we checked out a couple area festivals. A strawberry fest was held in Starke, a nice medium sized festival they had a good amount of craft booths, some music, and of course we got in on the strawberry shortcake. Wendy even picked up a flat of berries so we got to spend an afternoon making some homemade jam.

 This weekend we found a catfish festival at nearby Branford. This was only about the third year and still pretty small. We did get a good catfish lunch and heard some local musicians that were good.
 Hopefully our plans for the upcoming summer can start to unfold. I have appointments at Mayo clinic in Jacksonville and although there will be no definitive answers we hope we can get a better idea of where I stand now and for the future.

Monday, April 3, 2017

Heating up

 Hi all,
Things are starting to heat up hear in the southland, daytime temps in the 80s are the norm with an occasional 90 mixed in. Evening and morning temps have been pleasant so if we have outside work to do or we want to walk that is the time to do it.
 The past few days we have been finishing off the garden, we had a hard freeze that took out some of it and a couple bunnies that pigged out on new plantings. We erected a fence and replanted now we can wait to see how it goes.
 It's not all work here, we mixed in a couple fun days to. A trip to Amelia Island State Park on the north side of Jacksonville with Amanda, Pat, and his mom Gayle. This beach was a bit different as the tides create serious currents so no swimming allowed, but is very popular with the fisherman. It is also one place where you can drive your vehicle right to the waters edge. But, beware four wheel drive is required and that tide really moves in fast so don't walk off and leave your vehicle for any length of time.
Parking on the beach

Amanda & Gayle
 Another day Amanda took us to the Gulf Coast Livestock Auction in nearby Madison. This is a two day event as they sell not only standard livestock but exotics to. They say if Noah had it on the ark you might see it here. Amanda was a good girl and didn't expand the farm today.

  We did have a couple new farm experiences this past couple weeks. One day we got to assist with the alpacas getting sheared. A lady came in and sheared, trimmed the hooves, and lower teeth of the three alpaca. Anne Shroeder came from Maryland. She travels a big circuit and really knows her job. She explained really well so we knew how to help with no one getting hurt.
Taking care of the teeth

One done, one more to go

Pat holding Jazzie
 She also does it so smoothly and quickly to not stress out the animals. It was all pretty neat, and Patrick was the only one who got spit on, Haha we had fun with that.
 The other newbie for us was Amanda had bought her first alpaca in November and it was suppose to be pregnant due in March. Turns out not the case, well the seller was good on their word and brought a male over on Sunday for breeding.  So we got a whole lesson in how alpacas breed. The females don't go into heat but need to almost be put in the mood for the act to take place. Pretty funny as the lady who brought the male actually had a recorded breeding to get the female into the mood.
 Saturday Wendy, Amanda, and I ventured to Tallahassee for the annual Springtime Fest. They had craft booths, music, and lots of good food. We were quite impressed with downtown Tallahassee and need to plan more time checking it out.

War memorial

Large parade. Lots of beads

 After spending time there Amanda drove us the gulf for a peak at one of the beaches she had used. We also checked out St Marks Lighthouse that dates to 1842.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Spring Has Sprung

Hi all,
Happy Spring to you all. Time to think flowers, gardens, and summer plans.
We have had some difficulty with the garden here. Usually the weather allows for early planting and we jumped right on it. Bad news as a hard 27 degree freeze struck and even with covering some things in the garden much was lost. The worst hit was two peach trees that were really looking promising with a lot of young fruit already. We covered them with sheets but they still froze, losing all.
Moved the RV over to the completed site.

Notice the brown beyond the garden
 In the garden not only the freeze but a overeating bunny wiped about half of it out. But at least with the garden we can replant and still get a crop.
 Another thing down here has been a severely dry winter and spring thus far. Wendy and I think we have only seen 4-5 rainy days since November. Everything is usually totally green and lawns needing mowing by this time. Now everything is just brown unless you are irrigating, not usual for spring in Florida.
 One afternoon I spotted smoke down the road, as there is only one other occupied house on this road we hopped on the 4 wheeler to check it out. We watched as a grass fire quickly pushed toward some pines thankfully the wind pushing away from the residence. We heard dozers making a track around the fire and soon saw fire departments  able to contain it.
 Spring is festival and fair time in Florida squeezing them in before the weather heats up. We made a short drive to Valdosta GA for the annual Azalea Festival. Not to big but nice to get some festival food in.
 We had a fun weekend last week spending time at the Suwannee County Fair. We went on Saturday night to see the demo derby which was cool but didn't get much of a turnout of competitors.

 On Sunday we headed to Lake City to attend a rodeo. Yes they do have horses and rodeos in Florida. Pat's mom Gayle who has been visiting from WI had never been to a rodeo. Amanda also invited Andrea a coworker who was brought up in Peru, a rodeo was new to her also.
 Armadillo Acres had another goat spurt recently. As we had just had the first set of triplets at the last post two more goat mommas had their first kids.
 On March 14 Lucky Bobbi had a baby girl. Wendy had found her secluded and coaxed her to the goat house. Amanda came home at lunch to check and ended up donning the rubber gloves and assisting the birth. I never thought Amanda would turn out to be this farm girl actually helping with births, but just shows you can do anything you set your mind to. With the trouble she gave at birth the new kid received the fitting name Trouble.
 Not done yet on the 15th Judy Smores gave birth to a set of twins girls. The births of Chloe and Zoey went along smoothly although momma did not want to clean them after birth and took some coaxing to allow her to let them nurse. We were thankful she finally succumbed saving us bottle feedings every 4-6 hours.

Max ready for the dog days of summer

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Happy Anniversary

Hi all,
Time to catch up again, seems we don't have much to write on and then when I do there is a lot to fit in.
  I am writing this on our 42nd anniversary!! Hoo boy, how Wendy has put up with me this long is a wonder.) We took a ride yesterday to check out Horseshoe Beach about 60 miles south of here on the gulf. Horseshoe Beach is a small town with some neat homes. We found a county park nearby that had a nice looking beach area. It was nice to get out and explore some new place.
some unique housing

more interesting housing

 We have been pretty productive here on the farm. We got back into some fence painting and pretty much have all the road side done. Well that's the only side people will see so we're good, right?
 We got a big job complete last Saturday adding the septic system to our RV sites.  It was a big undertaking (no pun intended) but we did it ourselves and saved a couple thousand I'm sure.
 Pat was the main man working the backhoe like a pro. Wendy and Amanda weren't afraid to jump right in and shoveled when needed.

 So all set now with a finished site for our RV and room to hook up another so if any of you are traveling by and need a place to stop near the Suwannee River give us a shout, we will be more than happy to have you stop by.
 And speaking of stopping by we got a surprise call from Deb and Roy, members of our WI Excel camping club. Turns out they were passing by and wanted to hook up for supper. So we thought we would take them to the Suwannee Music Park for some good barbeque, but when we pulled in we were told that the bbq. place had shut down two weeks earlier. Wow, we were disappointed as they had some of the best bbq and Brunswick stew to die for. Oh well, we ended up at another bbq joint and had a good meal and fun conversation. Thanks Deb and Roy for stopping in.
We did sneak in a nice kayak trip on the Itchetucknee River. We had a great weather and sunny skies for the trip. Sadly we did not see the manatees that Wendy and Amanda had seen on a earlier trip. Seems the warmer weather has pushed them on.

haha- I told the kids a Cialis moment

 And can't forget the big excitement here at Armadillo Acres. They had the first set of triplet baby goats!! We knew Ruthie was due and with her size we expected twins. Wendy first noticed her missing from the herd and found her off in a secluded area in the goat yard. She was licking the newborn, but had given birth in a loose area of dirt and the baby was a mess. Well Wendy didn't hold back and quickly scooped up the still gooey newborn and coaxed momma to the goat house. So for over the next hour we monitored Momma as she would lay one way and the other with contractions. After well more than an hour passed we began to get worried, so Amanda donned some rubber gloves to assist. Not really knowing totally what to do she must have pushed the right button as soon Ruthie was pushing out baby #2.
Dot, Polka, and Skeeter
 Well we had dinner cooking so some of us went in to tend to that, Pat was cleaning up the area. Soon though Ruthie was on the ground again and lo and behold pushing out #3.
 How cool as they had just on Sunday sold one of the boy goats and got one boy and two girls to replace it.