Rural Life in the UP of Michigan Some stories about life on 160 rural acres in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan

October 19, 2014

Rough Summer

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin0 @ 10:07 pm

I was recounting the summer’s events with a friend of mine this afternoon, and was struck by the highlights:

1) Helped move my Dad, who has dementia, to an assisted living facility.

2) Caught pneumonia, and was pretty sick for about 6 weeks

3) Got informed by our local vets that our beloved dog Franco, who just turned 6 years old a few weeks ago, likely has a fatal spinal disease.

4) Made a quick trip to the Michigan State Small Animal Clinic, where they determined he instead has a nasty case of Lyme disease. While not fabulous news, Lyme is treatable, and Franco is now on an aggressive course of antibiotics, which seems to be working.

5) Worked to encourage my Mom to move from the home she and Dad have loved on the Grand River in Dimondale to a more suitable sized apartment with services more in line with her age. Today, I think she agreed to the move.

Whew! Even writing all that was hard work. We have made several trips downstate this summer to help Mom and Dad adjust to their new reality. While we were down there last time, I took a picture of a picture in his room:

feedstoreI’m pretty sure that I am the little guy standing next to him inside the doorway of his business, which was called Ruhf’s Feed Store in those days. Dad’s hard work, talent, and his wisdom for enticing my younger brother into the business, all contributed to seeing that business expand to the success it is today. Looking at that picture of Dad standing in the doorway of his place, so full of vitality, courage, and smarts, makes me think about the wisdom of the circle of life. While it is hard to see him so diminished by age and dementia, I know full well he had a life he has lived to the full. He enjoyed his work, especially if he could make a good deal or two during the day. He loved his family, and liked having us spend summers on a lake near the place he grew up.

That little guy standing next to him is me, now 62 years old. I’ve had a career I’ve enjoyed, retired from it, and am enjoying my second life on our beautiful acreage. I hope you enjoy reading about my life as much as I enjoy writing about it.

October 18, 2014


Filed under: Uncategorized — admin0 @ 7:35 pm

veggiesWe got a few more things done in the greenhouse garden today. My job, since I am an expert with the spade shovel, was to dig the carrots and beets, line them up on the lawn, and spray them on both sides with the garden hose (for some reason, these pesky vegetables get dirt all over themselves!)

I found myself humming the Rolling Stones’ song, “Satisfaction” while I was working. I found myself smiling at the lyrics, which talk about a poor fellow who tries and tries, but he just can’t get no satisfaction. “You must not be a gardener,” I said to him. I find it hard to imagine anything as satisfying as these lovely vegetables all lined up on the lawn, each getting their bath, and showing their beautiful colors.

October 17, 2014

RV Stories

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin0 @ 8:39 pm

We moved the RV to her winter quarters this morning. With antifreeze in her arteries and batteries disconnected, I hope she’ll have an uneventful winter in her slice of the barn in Chassell. I credit myself as pretty good at handling vehicles, but I can truthfully say I have never parked a machine in as tight a space as I did today. We had inches to spare on each side, but with my friend Tom’s help, she slid into her slot like a champion.

As Alice and I drove away in our car, I thought about a couple of events with the RV this season that stuck in my mind. The first was the realization that you don’t really control your vehicle. You perch on a seat looking out a window, with hands and feet on some pretty rudimentary controls that allow you to nudge the machine in the direction you want to go in. Concentration for something this big with a car being towed behind is pretty important. Things can happen quickly on the open road, and you need to be ready.

The driver’s and passenger seats up front can swivel, so they can be used as livingroom chairs when the RV is parked. Swiveling is a nice feature, because it also allows me to turn the chair so I can get out of my seat when we come to a stop. With my long legs, I find it difficult to get my legs out any other way. The problem with the swivel it is just a little bit sloppy, such that if it is bumped while I’m driving, it swivels just a bit. I’ve noticed this because Alice often gets up while we’re driving to get me something out of the refrigerator, use the bathroom, or other chores. Once she gets out of her chair, she’ll often steady herself by bracing her hand on my seat. It moves an inch or two when she does it, but boy does that little movement throw me for a loop. The first time it happened, my entire adrenal gland emptied into my bloodstream. I had no idea how important it was that I keep myself properly aligned to my direction of motion until this happened a couple of times.

My other RV story happened this past Monday. We were near Lansing waiting on some news from the MSU small animal clinic about our sick dog Franco. When the news arrived about mid day on Monday, it was pretty good news, such that we decided to leave for home that afternoon. Now I prefer to get going early in the morning, because I find travelling on the almost deserted roads that time of day a good way to get a jump on the trip. We were pretty sure we wouldn’t make the whole 12 hour trip, but wanted to get going down the road. We made it to the Mackinac Bridge, and decided to stay at the Straits State Park in St. Ignace. I was pretty tired when we pulled into our slot. The weather was cold and kind of dreary. I girded my loins and headed outside to hook up the electric, see to the car, and walk around the vehicle to be sure all was ship shape before going in for the night. I was really tired when I opened the door to the RV and plodded up the steps.

When I got inside and opened my eyes, I broke out into a big grin. While I was outside, Alice had been busy closing the curtains, turning on some lights, and generally making the place cozy. The vehicle I’d driven for 5 hours had magically turned into a haven, something I didn’t expect when I walked in, but smacked me in the face nonetheless. I turned on the furnace, put my pajamas on, got under the covers, and said, “ahhhh.”

In my younger days, I never would have believed I would take to travelling this way, but after a few years of it, I have to admit I’m hooked. The fuel economy isn’t great… about 9 miles to the gallon, but having your own place while travelling, and at the end of the day’s travel makes it a pretty darn nice way to travel.

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