wander project the dogs!


The dogs that live with us. We were relaxing at the end of the day yesterday when my wife asked the question “why, with a couch in the room, do the dogs prefer their beds.” Sometimes we forget that dogs, like people, like to have space that is there. Space that belongs to them. The dogs like their dog’s beds, because they are dog beds, they belong to the dogs. Now when our Grand dogs (Tamsyn and Serenity) come to visit, then we have issues. Two Dog beds, four dogs, the math doesn’t work. For the most part, though we only have two dogs, so the number of beds works. The beds used to be positioned differently, but the dogs moved them to be right in front of the fireplace.

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In the winter, they curl up when there is a fire. Raven, like her momma, would have a fire every day one the weather gets Cold! Raven is a fire dog, and she loves the fire. Dylan loves the fire as well, but he is happy to be on the couch, as well.  One of the funny things about dogs and fires, when the dogs get too hot from sleeping by the fire, they move to the couch. They don’t get too hot in the summer, the ceramic floor traps heat in the winter from the fire, and cool in the summer from the AC. The floor was added by us, and the room had carpet when we moved into the house. My wife doesn’t like carpeting, we’ve removed carpet from the entire house.

(well there is carpet in two places, the master closet, and my office)!

In the basement, the dogs sleep on the couch when I am working at home. They do like to be on the couch, and both dogs prefer to sleep in beds during the night. Raven has taken over the guest room as her bedroom. My wife and Raven have an ongoing argument about the guest bed. The two dogs like to sleep directly on the mattress. My wife doesn’t want them on the mattress and covers it with a quilt. The dogs move the quilt so that they can sleep on the mattress.

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wander project on the way to Bangkok 1971


The first time I flew in an airplane, it was a prop plane. We flew from Indiana Indiana to General Billy Mitchell Field in Milwaukee Wisconsin. I didn’t fly into Milwaukee again for near 30 years. I don’t remember much about that first flight. The next time we flew, we ended up going from Wisconsin to Thailand. The reason we didn’t leave form Indiana, as we were leaving our car with my grandparents so that they could let it run every once in a while. Our house in Indiana was rented out for the year to some students who were taking care of our dog Phoebe. My mother’s parents drove us from Cambridge to O’Hare Field in Chicago, and we flew to Shannon Ireland.

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I suspect starting our international travel by landing in Ireland, and the Emerald Isle was perfect. We got into a car, driving on the wrong side of the road, and my dad clipped a parked car (it happened to be the car of the local police officer.) We got on the way from there. We landed at Shannon International airport and went off to a small cottage near Galway Ireland. We had lunch after the car situation was cleaned up, and I will never forget the place. The owner came over and asked my father, “and the lad will have a Guinness?” My dad said no; he wouldn’t, but for me, that was a huge change. First, I love Guinness. Second as an 11-year-old to be asked if I wanted a beer was awesome.

My suitcase went to Prague; the rest of the family got their luggage. I ended up getting a new pair of jeans and a wonderful seater. I have been o Ireland several times in my life. It remains one place that felt like home to me the minute I arrived. Bangkok was initial strange and different, but it now feels like home as well. But Ireland was the first place I went to that just felt like home. Copenhagen is another like that for me. Ireland was a pre-Bangkok vacation. Dad didn’t have to work for the few days we were there. My dad did vacations like he did life. We hit the ground running. We wandered all over the town of Shannon Ireland. (across the bay from Galway). From farms to scallops, we made sure we experienced Ireland!

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wander project differences.


The reality regional differences are something I often find funny. In the US, like many countries, we have several regions. There are the folks that live on the East Coasts and the folks that live on the West Coast. In between is the land called the middle. The regional difference when you get to the Middle of the US is as much cultural as is agricultural. The middle of the US has been a verdant farm area for many years now.  It is one of the largest producers of corn, soybeans, and alfalfa in the world — the alfalfa going right to cows, horses, and other livestock.

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Today I wanted to wander to the two things I miss most about the Great State of Indiana. The first is the best watermelons on earth. The second is the best tomatoes on earth. Now I do understand that my taste buds were created and matured during the time I was exposed to Indiana Melons and Indiana’s Maters. ‘Mater is an Indiana slang term for Tomato. They are also sometimes called matters. The Melons grow down near the area between Vincennes and Evansville, Indiana, along the Wabash River. The tomatoes grow in the upper part of the state by West Lafayette.

But, 100 years ago, Indiana was more know for steel production than melons or tomatoes. When the Steel Mills moved out of Indiana, the great explosion of using Indiana Limestone in buildings occurred (fun fact, the Empire State Building is built out of Indiana Limestone)! But as the Steel Mills began to reduce production in the 1940s after WWII was over. The limestone quarries began to be less needed in the 1940s. By the 1950s more than half the people employed in quarries no longer had jobs.

(pictures are the twins over the years).

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wander project walking with dad…


How far is the furthest you’ve ever walked in a single day? I am thinking about a hike my father had us take when I was in scouting. Dad was our pack leader for a year. He planned all sorts of interesting hikes during that year. One of the hikes we went on was one that dad found out about from one of his students. It was along a ridge in Brown Country, Indiana. The ridgeline, I apologize I do not remember the name of the ridgeline, wandered along the edge of the state park (Brown County State Park) and private land.

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Dad had called and gotten permission for us to walk on the private land. We were going to walk along the ridgeline for 6 to 7 miles and then basically walk back to the cars. We had two other adults with us for a total of 3 cars to fit the entire troop. We were in search of something my father thought would be of interest to a bunch of 14-year-old boy scouts. We had packed with water, lunch, and snacks. Dad had his camera, and we headed off into the wood on our expedition.

It was at about 2 hours into the hike (roughly 4 miles in) that we came across a herd of deer. By came across I mean that while we were walking the trail, we woke the deer up, and the entire herd, one buck and eight or so do and maybe four fawns jumped across the trail we were on. I have seen deer many times, but that was the first time, that close and with a buck very angry staring at us. We trekked on for another couple of hours (including lunch) and arrived at a building.

It was a simple building, but my dad took us to the plague at the base it said erected by the CCC completed June 1933. The CCC was part of the WPA, which is how President Franklyn Delano Roosevelt helped the US out of the great depression.

WPA – works progress administration

CCC – civilian conversation corps

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Wander project dad’s books


I suspect during the time I traveled that I missed many events. The pictures today are of my father’s home office. Originally my father had a different office in the house, but when he retired he brought home all his books. The books were so heavy that it made the floor bow a little. So they converted the garage into a new office and put on shelves. The former garage (they added a new garage) had concrete floors strong enough for all the books dad brought home. My dad always loved books. I do as well, but most of my books are on the Kindle now. I don’t have as many books as I used to have. When I was first living on my own, as a young adult I had more than 2000 books.

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I realized, moving twice in three years, that having that many books weren’t conducive to easily finding a new apartment. I needed a certain amount of space to store books. So I got rid of them. There was a great used book store in Bloomington, Indiana. Well, it is a college town. It probably wasn’t a great store. I suspect I didn’t get the full value, but the transaction was quick and easy. Today I have some books, some from my father that I am keeping, others that are treasures that I will never get rid of. The same with LP’s, I have a few that I have collected over the years. In many cases, I have copies of the LP’s as backups on my phone (using a great product that converts LPs into MP3s).

But I have two shelves of books now, where once I had 4 or 5 times as many books. It is the change over time. I love sitting and reading a book, but I also love having a book read to me. That makes audible a great choice for me. I can walk, sit, be in a plane, or stuck in traffic listening to the book I am interested in hearing! It is a great time killer when waiting for someone, to be able to grab a book and listen!

Anyway, the pictures are of my parents in my father’s old office in Bloomington.  The house that they moved to after they sold the mini-farm. In the office, they built after dad brought all his books home. Oh yeah, and then the kids got the camera, so we have a Dogs eye picture!

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Wander project follow the shells…


One of the things I look forward to in the Fall is the trees changing color. I also look forward to turning off the AC and having fresh air pour into the house. It’s nice to not have conditioned air. Fresh air is also nice because it gets the stale out of the house. The other part of the fall that I love is the apples! I am a huge fan of Apple. I got that from my father. I think my father survived on plants (in the shell) and Apples for many years. He loved both. I will never forget one of the first times my wife was visiting my parent’s farm. She wanted to ask my father a question. He was out somewhere on the mini-farm, my wife asked my mother “where is XXX?”

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My mother smiled and said, “I don’t know.”

“Oh,” my wife answered.

“But if you need to find him, go outside and follow the trail of peanut shells. He will be at the end of that.” My mother said.

It was true. You could find dad at the end of the peanut shell trail! He stored the plants in the detached garage. The buildings of the farm were Ole’s Place (the mini-barn we built before anything else. The only building on the mini-farm for a year was Ole’s Place. Ole was my father’s father’s nickname. A family friend and I built the barn and painted Ole’s Place over the door opening.

The second building after the gravel driveway was the garage. Dad stored his plants in the garage. That was also where mom and dad had the chest freezer. We stored the top of our wedding cake in that freezer for a year. It was still good a year later when we enjoyed the cake a couple of days after our anniversary! The house was the last thing built, but that is for another story.

The pictures today are from my parent’s house, but not the mini-farm. When my sisters were out of the house, my parents sold the mini-farm and moved back closer to the City. These pictures are from that house!

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wander project family reunion!


My wife’s mother (long story) came from Wisconsin. Interestingly her last name (my wife’s adopted mother) and my mother’s maiden name were the same. But we were not related. They came from a part of Wisconsin that is north of The Wisconsin Dells. The town was Baron Wisconsin. Most of my wife’s mother’s family lived in the Wisconsin area, so we often went to Wisconsin to visit and participate in family reunions. This particular set of pictures from Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Over the years (my Uncle lived in Milwaukee for many years), we spent a lot of time in the city. I also visited several customers there over the years. This particular trip was for a family reunion.

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We arrived the night before and spent the night in a hotel. We then got up early and wandered to the Lake Front of Milwaukee. It a lot cleaner now than it was when I was a kid. I remember over the years hitting the beach south of Milwaukee (Racine, in fact) only to find the beach littered with dead and decaying fish. It smelled, and the water was not clean. There has been a concerted effort to clean lake Michigan over the last twenty years. They are not done, but the lake is cleaner now than it was. We had lunch in a wonderful restaurant that went out into Lake Michigan. It had a beautiful outdoor seating area, but it was far too cold to be outside for lunch. So we enjoyed lunch inside!

Many years ago I saw my first Chicago Cubs game in Milwaukee. (First in-person game). Against the Milwaukee Brewers. This particular day we were heading out to the reunion that was starting at 2 pm. We finished lunch, drove past Miller Field (the new Milwaukee Brewers stadium), and headed out to my wife’s cousin’s apartment. The reunion was held in the complex clubhouse.  I suspect the Twins and our daughter were bored. Family reunions aren’t the fun happy go lucky type events that kids tend to like. There were few kids the age of our kids; I think there were no kids their age. The pool area was closed because it was a little cold. In fact, the only game was Bocce Ball. Luckily I had preloaded games on my cell phone for the twins and our daughter to play!

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