And the road goes on forever...

Tuesday, November 21, 2023

Just a Smattering


I had a blog post going a couple weeks ago and lost it into the internet netherworld. Frankly, with not a lot going on since returning home, I don’t have much energy to come up with one, especially as my pursuits now seem to revolve around my volunteering and sewing projects. 

I’ve been diving into doing some new stuff and found one type particularly appealing: called stitch pots. They are basically just roughhewn, hand sewn decorative vessels on the rustic side but are great fun to design. They start out flat in design and sewing, then end as various sized vessels. It’ll be interesting to see if they sell at the shelter online auction in February but I do plan to line my RV valances with some as well. Especially these first two. 

I caught up with some fall home chores and this month have participated in two shelter events: photos with Santa, and the annual deer hunter widows craft show. I was able to sell a few of my goods, plus others’ donations, while we sat with the most adorable puppy and two kittens, all ready for adoption. They captured everyone’s hearts.

Also in October, we sadly suddenly lost another long-time volunteer, who passed away after just a few days of not feeling well. She had come to our fundraising meeting on a Wednesday and died that Sunday. She was younger than I and always a real workhorse at events as she was strong and tireless. She is really missed.

Earlier in October, I had some skin cancer cut off the end of my nose, with the stitches making me look like Frankenstein just in time for Halloween. Due to lots of nerves in the nose, it actually proved to be quite painful and swollen for a time and my nose continues to be red and numb. Thankfully, it was just basal cell so not too worrisome. 

Other than a brief Halloween snow, we’ve enjoyed great fall weather, with temperatures way above normal and days and days of no precipitation of any kind. That allowed me to do quite a bit of yard pruning and clean-up and Marc got lots of scrap stuff hauled away to recycle, like much of his steel and aluminum. He’s been having quite a few bouts with his back going out so hasn’t been particularly busy so far. 

Now, onto another note about blogs. I have several bookmarked from older days and have noticed the evolution as people age out of the RV lifestyle or move on to other endeavors they don’t care to share with a readership. Mine too, has greatly evolved and I often think of totally giving it up. It's been going a long time and actually I had one before this which started in 1998 under our own webpage called "Itchyhitch" that we had to pay for. One thing stops me. Actually, two things: the blog serves as a visual diary of our lives, and two, I often wonder how many of you tune in just to see how we’re faring? Blogs I follow, whether I personally know the folks or not, give me the sensation that I at least keep up with someone’s wellbeing (or not, as the case may be).

I suppose, however, that without travel and new things to see, there’s only so much interest my blog can now hold for folks and I worry about being just mundane with everyday “life”. Nothing so much to learn from that, eh? The truth is often a hard pill for us to swallow, but realistically, we’re just now old people slowing fading into a life of fairly sedentary retirement with a small budget which prevents exotic or other travels. Plus, the desire is just no longer there given the cats. It’s disruptive to them, hard on them and they just plain hate it and their wellbeing matters greatly to us. Traveling down freeways across the country is no longer at all thrilling to us either; nor would fighting for RV sites be of interest. With the purchase of our northern property, we have the perfect camp spot and it’s all to ourselves! We get the best lakeside spot with the enticing view, there’s no other loud neighbors, barking dogs, running kids passing through our spot or late-night boom box activity. 

I guess where I’m going with all this is that going forward, I’ll likely continue the blog but the posts may become fewer over the course of the year. I hope you continue to check in occasionally but, in all likelihood, the days of any big announcements are probably over. 

Have safe and memorable holidays!



Saturday, October 7, 2023

Wrapping It Up


Usually about this time of year I’m able to post some pretty eye candy of our glorious Fall. This year will be a disappointment, firstly because colors were muted and didn’t occur all at once; it seemed the maples came on, then the others, while still others remained green. Strange. Secondly, weather wouldn’t cooperate for me to get out on any Fall drives to try and capture color so what I have is just from our property. We’ll get the pretty pictures out of the way then….

We had one or two swings back into summer temps which lasted only a day or two at best since I last posted, and since then it’s been a lot of gloomy cloudy skies, rain and blustery winds. I took advantage of one of them and transplanted a couple plants from Waupaca, cut down and planted the mums to see if they can survive, and planted some bulbs to see if they’ll make it for Spring color. I dug up the dahlia bulbs for winter storage and put all the pots away in the boat house so our sitting area looks vaguely empty right now. Oh well, we’re not spending a lot of time sitting there anyway with it being in the 40’s for highs. 

We had thought about trying to stay until freezing temps drove us out but we’ve decided that I’ll soon make the break for Waupaca, as it being at least 5-6 degrees warmer on any given day, there are some things I can get done outside there. Here, not so much, and sitting inside the RV day after day is not my ideal. The joy of this property is being outside and being able to be on the water. It would be entirely different if we had a big home here with all our “stuff”—I miss my sewing and the ability to work on my art. I can do a few things here but all the fun fabrics and embellishments are missing. 

Marc will be making a couple trips back and forth to haul back needed items to Waupaca, then he will button things up by closing up the RV and hauling it under the shelter. We had built the RV shed for the other shorter trailer, so six feet of this one won’t be covered but it will be better than nothing to protect the roof.


The big accomplishment for this year was getting the garage completely done! It was an arduous task for an old man by himself but with the final help of the lift we rented for a week, Marc made a final push and got all the siding, trim and ridgeline metal in place. Next year he will need to work on the interior a bit, in building a small, insulated room where we’ll be able to leave some items and the water pressure tank and filters, etc. That way we shouldn’t have to cart the canned goods back at the end of the season either.  

So, once again it’s a bittersweet time of year for me to leave my beloved island in the woods and I know as I later sit inside cowering from winter’s wrath, my thoughts will often turn to being back here again just as soon as nature allows.



Friday, September 22, 2023

The Island


Across from us almost directly on the far side of the lake is a small island. It’s an interesting place with an interesting history, of which I need to research more of. But the reason I mention it this day, is in sitting outside on my wonderful property perch, I watch its pontoon boat go slowly back and forth to its east side boat house, like a ferry off the San Juan Islands. It hauls the owners, their friends and families to the island for their allotted weekend vacation time. I met one of the owners last year and he says they bought it during the height of the Great Recession when the previous owner just wanted out so gave them, kit and caboodle, the entire island, home, and all its contents for a song. 

The story has it that the house dates from the later 1800s and was built by one of the local lumber barons. At one time it was full of gorgeous wood walls but not so much anymore. There is an electrical cable underwater which comes from the resort to the west (five cabins) and a telephone line to the east which comes from a neighboring house there. The boat house on the eastern side of the lake, which also houses the small runabout motorboat, is on a separate little segment of land with a driveway which allows them to park as many cars as they need. They are attorneys and live somewhere near to the Mississippi, St. Croix I think he said. 

I’ve often wondered if there is a septic as I think I’ve spotted an outhouse (legal in this county) at the far end of the island, or a well—or if they just pump water from the lake. Maybe if I can find a history of the house I will know more. We conjecture that it might have been built in the winter when they could walk across the ice rather than in summer, when it would have had to have every piece barged across. Locals say there was a terrible wind sheer storm in 1977 which practically knocked down every tree on the island; the house stood and now the island is thick with growth which conceals the house almost entirely.

Fall is rapidly approaching this year after our warm, dry summer. We’re entering countdown season to leaving, yet, as always, I don’t want to go. My heart is here; I want to live here all the time, yet it is totally impractical for several reasons. Meanwhile, I’ll revel in the seasonal changes and am thankful for this that I own for a moment in history’s time; just like that lumber baron of yore must have done as he sat on his island looking out at the lake. All of life is illusionary, for all is transitory.

Sunday, September 10, 2023

The No-Good Prize


There’s a local lakeside restaurant in town which features several events during the year and one we attended last year, the Treasure Hunt, over Labor Day holiday, was so much fun we decided we wanted to do it again this year. To add to the fun, my best friend from college years and all these years for that matter, came out to visit for six days so was able to join us. 

The closest airport is about two hours away so Marc returned with Paulette in the evening hours after her 4 o’clock arrival. After dinner, we were able to gather outside under the rope lights, start the fire in the new fire pit and enjoy another glass of wine as we caught up. It was a magical evening and I was well pleased with the area I had made, with the lake disappearing in the background darkness.

We had quite a few plans which were unfortunately foiled by much higher-than-normal temps for this time of year but the weather for the Treasure Hunt was perfect. There was a total of 14 boats competing, with the idea being that spread across the chain of three lakes, there are hidden eight booties of treasure gems hung on a board with a boat number. You are to find the treasures (in bars, on islands, on private docks), take them from the board and at the end turn yours in. Last year we only managed to find three, but this year with the help of eagle-eyed Paulette, we ended up with seven out of the eight, a great haul! Part of the fun is also dressing participants and your boat in costume, which we haven’t done, but the best prizes are for the costumes. Finding the gems earns you a draw from the bags with no good prizes—in our case, a squeaky dog toy which we’ll proudly hang on our pontoon somewhere.

It was Marc & I’s anniversary and the next day Paulette’s birthday, so we enjoyed good food and the camaraderie of having known each other for so many years. I gifted Paulette with the last one of my mother’s quilts and it brought tears to her eyes. Mom would love knowing Paulette has it. Paulette’s visit drew to a close; I dropped her back at the airport and then went on home to attend to the laundry, yard chores and mowing. It was a relief even after a couple of days to return to the woods, the peace and quiet and my spot of heaven. 



Friday, August 25, 2023



Last update we were pretty much dead in the water, but serendipity happened when the young excavator fellow and a friend offered to help Marc out with the garage roof install. Unfortunately, we came up short a couple of pieces (which had to be ordered) but even getting this far along felt like a miracle. Even if he has to rent a lift, Marc should now be able to complete both the roof and siding on his own by season’s end.

Marc made a quick trip to Waupaca to pick up the new RV and it was great seeing it here, although it then had to sit for a couple weeks while the roofing was done. I guess Marc finally felt sorry for me, lamenting that I likely wouldn’t even get to move into it this season, because after I had returned from a trip home, he had it moved and was setting it up for occupancy. It took him a day just to do all the cement blocking underneath to level it. Since we plan to move this at the end of the year, under the RV cover storage, I suggested he may want to install some trailer jacks, which would certainly make the process much easier each year. He also plans to do some cement pads for the wheels since our site is sloped at a fair downhill angle which makes leveling tough.

It was thrilling to move in finally and the extra space feels amazing. The furniture (RV furniture is never good) is so-so and even though with the opposing slides in the living room we have tons of room, there really isn’t a good layout for the placement of anything. The previous owner left some small tables but they are awkward and flimsy and don’t really hold anything well without the chance of tipping over. Currently, there’s two sleeper sofas, each in a slide, and attached recliners/loveseat which faces the fireplace. We certainly don’t anticipate ever needing seating for six so we’ve decided one of the sofas and the recliner/loveseat will be moved out and we’ll be purchasing single-seating residential recliners and end tables. That will still leave seating for four but will then accommodate a roomier layout with functional furniture where we at least have space to set a drink or computer. One of the best parts, is that the view side to the lake is practically all windows (7 large ones plus a slider) so you feel as though you are almost adrift on the lake. Once we get some more trees cleared out and the deck built, it should be truly special as an RV parking site!

To that end, I’ve continued my work on enhancing the outdoor seating area. I did more to the rock wall, got the fire pit built and sifted out some soil for a small planting area. My BFF is coming to visit over Labor Day holiday and I’m so excited to finally share our hardworking efforts. These gloves I’ve used for the past two years tell the whole story I think.

Signing off with just a few other shots…