Hi and welcome to the blog. It’s sure been a tough autumn season. I took a short camping trip early in the week to help deal with stress and anxiety… only to return to some more worry. But that’s later in the post.
For some reason it felt like I needed to go to Maquoketa in Jackson County, a peaceful town about a half hour to the east. The plan was to take Jenny and have a quiet rest under the pine trees. She refused to go as I packed the van; she was opting to hide. When I picked her up Jenny howled in disagreement and got to stay home. She’d rather be with Duke!
After arriving in town, I stopped at the Goodwill, a favorite destination. On the agenda was a different chair for the van – something with more storage space underneath but at the same time tall enough to more comfortably sit at the fold down table. I found a perfect chair for the needs for just $5. It is a wooden one with a cushion – much like the kind they have in the waiting room at a doctor’s office. It’s not as cushy as the old “green throne” but has more benefits including just being easier to use for this old guy to put on his socks! I’ve already put a clean tote under it to hold napkins, plates, silverware – items that I use a lot but that never had their own separate space.
After parking, I started a nice fire. Lately I’ve been working lots of extra hours and the old body was sore, particularly the feet. I sat in the new chair with the shoes near the fire and the radiant heat worked wonders. Wood was available for a donation and with nobody else at the campground, I built a larger fire. It felt fantastic!
Supper was cooked in the dual crock pot thingy – the only present to myself from the Black Friday sale. I love this cooker and have already used it for multiple recipes. Before leaving for the trip, a homemade beef stew with ribeye steak, carrots, potatoes, and fresh pearl onions was made and lightly cooked the night before. In an ice cooler was the second crock containing an egg / ham / bacon / cheese casserole that tasted like quiche. I got up for bio reasons about 1:30 AM started the breakfast dish cooking. The breakfast warmed the belly to match the feet. For cold weather cooking, this dual slow cooker was a good investment!
I woke up fresh and ready to hit the road at 5AM. It’s a work thing. Often I will help open at 5:15 AM so getting up that early is second nature. There’s an old saying….
The deer were also up and around pretty early. I had to dodge one coming out of the campground. You can’t miss them all but I am extra careful during rut season. I had one T-bone the van a couple months ago, leaving only a small hoof print in the wheel well.
It was a fun little trip and the relaxation was incredible. You can’t beat that radiant heat. During periods of neuropathy and arthritis, I plan to camp in the driveway to repeat the treatment. After doing some Googling, I saw this is a great therapy for diabetics. It works!
Now the sad news. When I got home, Duke was keeping to himself. That’s not unusual. But he was feeling poorly… and it went downhill. On Thursday I took him to the animal hospital and he will be there until Saturday. They are giving him fluids and some medication to help him start eating again. We’re not sure why he quit eating and drinking but the lab results were quite encouraging.
I was tempted to put Duke to sleep but couldn’t. This little guy saw me through the darkest of times this year. He hunkered under the covers in August as hurricane force winds tore parts of the roof off and shook the crap out of our mobile home. He also saw me through that darned “mystery lung virus” early in 2020 which my doctor thinks was Covid. (I still can’t taste or smell right). Duke was always there. It was my turn to be there for my buddy.
Oh yeah, the “green throne” from the van? I was going to burn it in the campfire Monday but instead hauled it home. These two critters were using it Tuesday night. Now to find a place for it… Maybe in the cat’s bedroom… or mine.
The vet clinic advised that Duke is doing better this morning (Friday) and we’re hopeful. He’s got a great chance to pull through. Below is our Christmas card for 2020.
Take care and thanks for visiting! Have a happy late fall season as we approach winter. It’s turning cold and snowy in Iowa over the weekend. It’s about time! Safe and happy holiday travel to all the camping buddies!
Brad and Jenny and Duke
Jones County, Iowa
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