Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas 2011 In Central Florida

This is Christmas Eve and the early evening is simply beautiful here at our campground in Bushnell, Florida. Lexie and Ozzie have just finished their 6 pm walk during which we enjoyed a beautiful view of the first stars of the night.

Today was about as spectacular a day as we could have asked to have. Warm in the sun and cool in the shade.  We did nothing but relax. 

I did manage to snap a few pictures of Lexie and Ozzie in their 2011 Christmas shirts.  Let me share...

Being good

Did you say Santa is coming tonight?

Oh joy (jumping). I've been real good.

I'm always good and I give kisses.
My shirt says so.  "Meet Me Under The Mistletoe".

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Dogs and Neighbors In Bushnell

I've met my match. Our neighbor here in Bushnell is as bad, or worse, than me about doting over his little dogs.  Joe and his wife, Pam are retired full-timers from Virginia. They have a Tibetan Spaniel named Izzy and Allie, a Maltese. Joe is a full-time papa to his girls and his devotion to his dogs very nearly surpasses my own to Lexie and Ozzie. Joe and I have shared dog stories.

On Monday, Joe decided to try his hand at grooming Allie. He and I set up a make-shift grooming table on our patio and he gave haircuts to his babies -- complete with regular kisses and baby-talk to all four dogs.  It was a great way to while away an afternoon. 

Working on Allie's paw pads. 

Izzie gets a full haircut. 

Lexie, Ozzie and Allie playing in while Izzy gets a haircut.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

New Photos of Lexie and Ozzie

Anyone who reads our blog or knows us knows how important our babies are to us.  This morning we awoke to another funny scene that can be attributed to Ozzie. Wayne left a new roll of bathroom tissue on the floor and Ozzie found it.  Most of the roll is strewn across the floor now.
Some of the toilet paper left by Ozzie.
Wonder how much of it he ate...

All is forgiven now as treats are being dispensed.

Ozzie, the troublemaker.

Lexie, the angel

Anticipating mealtime.

Dade Battlefield in Bushnell

In late December 1835, the United States, in an effort to remove a group of native Seminole Indians from their Florida homeland to a reservation somewhere out west, suffered a surprise attack here in Bushnell.  A group of 107 soldiers, led by Major Francis Dade, was moving from Fort Brooke (now Tampa) eastward to Fort King (now Ocala).  The weather was cold and so, after many days without sighting any Indians, Major Dunn's soldiers put coats over their guns.  They didn't realize that some 200 warriors, led by Micanopy, Jumper and Alligator, were hiding in the nearby palmetto brush. The attack left 103 of the 107 soldiers, including Major Dade, dead on the field here in Bushnell. This action would bring the United States into the costliest Indian war to that point in time.

Having lived in Florida (including Dade County) for so many years, one would think we would have heard something of this battle and the history of the name "Dade" -- but we didn't and all of this was new information to both Wayne and me.  

Our campground bears street names of this historical battle, including Dade, Micanopy and others. We learned of the existence of the battlefield, read up on the attack and took an afternoon to explore. 
Battlefield entrance

Sunlight through the trees entering the park

Palmetto like those in which the Seminole warriors hid prior to the attack.

Markers show the location of the battle and indicate where certain of the soldiers fell

The Live Oak trees in this area are beautiful.
According to records, most of these trees were here during the battle.

Of course, Lexie and Ozzie were with us and they seemed to enjoy their stroll through the beautiful setting of old Live Oak.

Lexie and Pop

Lexie and Ozzie are anxious to get out for a stroll through the park.

The babies and me.
Returning to the campground, we drove through the historical downtown area of Bushnell. The town is small and quaint.
The courthouse at Bushnell, Florida

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Beginning Winter in Florida

Perhaps we stayed a little too long in Auburn this year, I'm not sure, but the weather seems volatile with more cold and/or rainy days than nice ones.  We didn't really have a choice as we had to wait for Lexie's dental procedure but we were both ready to head south. 

Yuma, Arizona was really nice last winter but in keeping with our usual camping behavior, we decided to move along to the next great adventure. This year that adventure would be in Florida. 

Our first night out of Auburn we got as far as Winter Springs, Florida, near Live Oak. We happened to choose Lee's Country Campground, about a mile off I-75.  The RV park reviews for the family operated campground looked inviting and we were pleased when we pulled in -- even though it was already dark.  We don't like waiting until dark to arrive at a campground but it couldn't be helped this time -- we just wanted to keep making progress into warmer weather.  Everything in this campground was as clean as a pin -- including the garbage cans. As a matter of fact, the only negative about the property was the intermittent grass/sand that caused some additional work for us walking Lexie and Ozzie in the late night and early morning dew.  The sand sticking to our feet was so troublesome, in fact, that our original plan to stay on through Saturday (to watch the SEC Championship Game) was altered and we would move on instead.

We arrived at Paradise Oak Campground in Bushnell by about 1:30 on Saturday with plenty of time to set up, walk the babies and enjoy the late afternoon game.  This campground is just beginning it's third season and we like it a lot. The only negative here is the nearby train tracks that are a major north-south corridor for freight trains and they lay down on the horns. After the first night, the train horns aren't even noticed.  We originally signed on to stay here two nights but decided to remain for at least another week.  Our neighbors are Pam (who we've not met), and Joe, with whom we enjoy casual visits.  They have two sweet dogs, Izzie and Allie (a Maltese) and we trade dog lover stories with Joe about the care and ownership of our babies.

We've committed ourselves to the Jan 11-15 Tampa RV Super Show, have already sent our registration fee, and I'm getting excited about it. If we decide to stay on here for the final remaining month, we'll be set to pull out of Paradise Oak in Bushnell the day we are set to arrive for the show.  We're looking forward to seeing Ray, Cindy, Dan and Shelia and maybe DJ and Tom, if they decide to come down.  After the show, we'll move south along the western (Gulf) side of the state , maybe take in the Annual Mullet Festival at Goodland and then return up the eastern (Atlantic) side in spring.   Because we lived so long in Florida and like it so much, it's like coming home.  Incidentally, the weather here is fine.

Entry to the Florida State Fairground in Tampa.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Lexie's Dental

Wednesday, December 30, 2011 has been on our schedule for over a month. Lexie's dental cleaning is set for 7:30 a.m. and will take the better part of the day. Her periodontal disease includes gingivitis -- she will need to have her teeth cleaned and polished and her gums planed at a minimum. We arrived at Auburn University Small Animal Teaching Hospital a few minutes before appointment time. We've been dreading this morning as Lexie and Ozzie will not understand the change in schedule.  Lexie cannot eat before the procedure so we won't feed Ozzie either -- at least not until Lexie is admitted so she won't see him eat. 

A nice young woman named Ann Haggard came to the reception area to greet us. Lexie has already begun to tremble with fear -- the sixth sense a dog has about being in a vet clinic. Ann explained again what would be done today.  Heart and respiration monitors would be in place while she's under the anesthesia (Propofol) for the dental. A small area of her right front leg will be shaved for the intravenous fluids that will be given.  The back of her throat will be packed to keep the tarter and fluids from being swallowed.  I was a nervous wreck and Wayne wasn't much better. I think he was a little choked when he said "Take care of our little girl" when Ann finally took her from my arms. Ozzie was waiting in the car. To have both of them in our laps during this time of separation would be too much for us.

We returned home (Chewacla State Park Campground) to feed Ozzie and pace the floor. Before noon, Ann called to say that Lexie would need to have a total of 5 extractions -- this would include the already missing tooth, the broken one and three others.  We were not surprised but sad to think of the pain she would have afterward.  Wayne gave permission to proceed. Ann told him that she would call again  when Lexie came around.  Ozzie did very well considering he and Lexie have bonded so tightly and we managed the next two hours until Ann called again to tell us the dental work was complete and Lexie was coming out of the anesthesia.

At 2:30 we were back to retrieve our little girl.  Ozzie went in with us this time and he growled at a very old large dog with a huge growth on his abdomen.  We quieted Ozzie but he occasionally gave a muffled "buff" at the old dog who never even noticed us.  Finally Ann came to the lobby to escort us to the examining room where we would be reunited with Lexie. Ann spent a few minutes telling us all about the procedure and which teeth were removed.  Finally, they brought Lexie into the room and I could have cried. Her little eyes were glazed and looked almost bruised. This was from the blood that had splattered all over her face which had been wiped but the stain was still there. She was groggy and lethargic. It will take 36 hours for the effects of the anesthesia to go away but Lexie is able to take walks.  Wayne gave her a meal of all fresh beef Wilderness canned dog food and we saw a great improvement almost instantly.

Then we noticed during evening, throughout the night and all the next morning Lexie gurgled and coughed.  Around noon, I called the clinic to make an appointment for her to be checked. Wayne and I both feared she might be getting pneumonia.  She sounds like she is drowning.  We took her in just after lunch and as is so often the case, the gurgling stopped the moment we walked into the clinic.  Dr. Bellhorn and another of the fourth year students, Stacy, listened with stereoscopes but could not hear the gurgling.  To calm our fears, we were given prescriptions for antibiotics and inflammation. We planned to leave Auburn the next morning but would stay on if her condition didn't improve.

Friday morning, Lexie was much improved, the gurgling was still there, but less troublesome. We did not start her on the antibiotic but the anti-inflammatory was added to her food.  She continued to sound better but the gurgling and coughing did remain for a few days.

2011 Iron Bowl Weekend

On Thanksgiving Day 2011 we left Chewacla State Park and moved onto campus for the Iron Bowl game to be played Saturday afternoon.  Our usual place in the Fish Biodiversity Lab hayfield was already almost full and we were unable to find a suitable space. We pulled Mona onto a grassy, flat spot on Devall Street. Another motorhome and a camping trailer were nearby and across the street, in a vacant field, several others had already set up for the game.
Bad news: We a bit farther away from tailgating activities.
Good news: Plenty of good concrete sidewalks for dog walking.
The sun was bright and temperatures were nice. We went about setting up an outside patio area, taking Ozzie and Lexie for long walks and generally enjoyed being on campus.  Rain is predicted for Saturday, probably beginning around gametime and lasting through Sunday night at least with cool weather following.

Lynn and Helen came down from Birmingham Friday and Lindsey was returning too, to work her stadium boxes for the game Saturday.  We met them at Lindsey's dorm so Wayne could help take a small TV table upstairs for Lindsey.  After, we drove home and waited for them to come out to see us and watch the Arkansas-LSU game.  Wayne bought two game tickets for Cam and Amy from the neighbor in the camping trailer down the street. The afternoon was great fun and we enjoyed good eats. Cam called to say they would stop at a motel for the night and planned to arrive early Saturday morning to avoid gameday rush. Lynn, Lindsey and Helen were gone by early evening and we settled in for the evening.
Helen and Lindsey (the photo crasher)
Helen, Lynn, Wayne (with mouth open) and Lindsey.
We're watching the Arkansas-LSU game.

Cam and Amy arrived later than expected Saturday and we enjoyed a good visit with them before they walked to the stadium for 2:30 kickoff.
Wayne and Cam
Alabama's team was just better this year than Auburn and won the game handily. Cam and Amy stayed only until halftime and watched the second half on tv with us. Before dark they were on their way back home in hopes of getting a day of rest Sunday before returning to work Monday. Their long Thanksgiving weekend was spread across hundreds of miles and I'm sure they were very tired.

The expected rain had not arrived even by Sunday morning. The temperatures were mild and the sky was overcast when we took a drive around campus to see the remains of gameday.  Surprisingly, cleanup crews had made great progress and trash was being managed with efficiency.
Day after. Remarkably clean.

There's a great deal of good organization in the cleanup process.
They have lots of experience.

Where "it all happens"... Jordan Hare Stadium.
Some of our usual favorite spots were visited and we took a few pictures again this year..
The oak trees that were poisoned by a crazy Alabama fan last year.
The trees are expected to die.  Here they are protected from the crowds by a barricade.

Toomer's Corner is a "must" for every Auburn fan and visitor.
Samford Hall and the famous clock tower.

By noon we had pulled away from our site on Devall Street and were on our way back to Chewacla for a few more days.   Lexie's dental appointment at the University Small Animal Clinic will take all day on Wednesday, November 30.  We'll leave Auburn after that.