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IMG_0634We spent the Polar Vortex Winter down in Mission TX, avoiding the worst of the weather. Some nights have been getting down to the mid 30's (just above 0℃). The worst of the days have been in the mid 40's (7 ℃). Luckily we brought along some of our winter gear from Massachusetts on the off chance that we might need it. Well, this winter was the 'off chance’. This has been a very odd winter in Texas. Rain, cold days and even colder nights. After each cold spell, you could see the lineup of propane tanks along the roadway, patiently waiting to be filled by the Pony Express truck as he made his rounds (many rigs have propane furnaces). I even have pictures of icicles that have fallen from the palm tree fronds as we made our early morning walk with Robbie.

IMG_3400IMG_3440We finally went on an outing to the National Butterfly Center in November. We had missed the monarch migration, but there were still many varieties of butterfly to observe, up close and personal. <picture of Lynn and friend>. We observed a group of enthusiasts on a guided tour, practically jumping out of their pants in excitement. trying to identify a specimen, that turned out to be a very rare Clench’s Greenstreak. You can see our Butterfly Center visit on our photo gallery.

 

 

I have been putting off writing our blog for our stay this winter because of all the grief that ensued.

IIMG_0324 - Version 2t started in December when Abby died. She was doing her favorite indoor tricks of twirling on the carpet in the living room. One Sunday, she was playing with Robbie and twirling and all of a sudden stopped with a yelp. We thought at first she had just strained or pulled something, but by the afternoon, she was no better and took her to the emergency 24 hour vet. The vet came to the same diagnosis, but the Vet ended up being very wrong. Abby had actually broken a rear leg in 3 places and it was not until the next morning, practically in shock, that we rushed her to her regular vet and immediately got her on an IV and an x-ray, when the true nature of the injury became apparent. By afternoon, they had her stabilized and we went to visit. While we were there, she started to convulse, strokes and blood clots were hitting her brain and heart and she was dead in minutes. It was a shock and even now 6 months later, can’t write about it without crying.

Then in January, Robbie started to paw at his left eye, the one with cataracts. We noticed that it was looking swollen and blue. Off to the vet who diagnosed Glaucoma. She deduced that his cataracts had shifted and were causing the pressure and thus the glaucoma. The first treatment was eye drops, to reduce the pressure and keep it under control. That worked for a while, but then the swelling returned a couple of weeks later. The next treatment was an injection into the eye. This would kill the cells creating the fluid that caused the pressure, but also would result in total loss of sight in the eye. Since he was already blind in that eye due to the cataracts, he would not really be loosing any vision. That seemed to work, at least in the beginning. And then a few weeks later, the swelling and pain returned. The last and final treatment was to remove the eye. It probably took 3-4 weeks before Robbie returned to his normal clownish self. The first few months of the winter were gut wrenching. As Robbie was recuperating from his operation, he started eating his meals while laying down, and now eats that way almost all of the time. It must be nice being waited on hand and foot.

IMG_3472IMG_3474I did however have the opportunity to start working on my HMS Victory again. It had been 8 years since I worked on it last, falling victim to bathroom and kitchen remodels. When I left the model back in 2006, I had only gotten as far as getting the bulkheads in place with a couple of decks in place. These next phases in construction, although hidden from view, were critical in maintaining the structure on the planking over the gun ports. Each gun port was marked, and then supports glued into place on either side of the gun port, to support the planks of the hull. This was an extra step that I added. Without the supports, the planks would be ‘hanging’ onto a bulkhead, at one end or the other. This way, the gun ports would have solid support on all sides. These additional supports, when painted black, will add to the 3d effect of the gun ports and also add support for the gun port doors.

IMG_3491When I left the model in April, I had only 5 or 6 more planks to go to complete the hull down to the keel. When I get back, there is going to be a lot of sanding to do, to get the hull absolutely smooth and any littles gaps filled in. The hull will eventually be painted to match the Victory’s color scheme at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805.

 

 

 

Art and Nutcracker CollectionIMG_3476The rig took on it’s usual christmas air, with pictures, nutcrackers, gift bears and reindeer.

Many of the rigs at Retama have signs name signs either in the center garden or hanging on the 5th wheel hitch. There is a traveling awning & sign maker who comes to Retama fairly often, so we selected a design and now have a bold announcement of who lives here.

An annual event at Retama is a fund raiser for Cinderella Pet Rescue, a local animal shelter that takes in strays and finds new forever homes for its dogs and cats. One of the local residents was offering to create photo collages of your pets with a donation to Cinderella. We provided a number of pictures of Robbie and Abby, and she created these for us.

Abby2 v2 Abby and Robie v2Robbie v2

 

F550 and Robbie Ready to GoCome May 1st, we were ready to leave. It seemed very strange just with Robbie in the truck by himself, looking out the window..

The tentative travel plans include a stop in Junction City, Elkhart, Oakville, and then on to the Amana Colonies for the New Horizons Owners Group Rally. A final stop at the Escapee Care Center in Livingston TX and then back to the valley.

 

 

2014 Travel Map

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Pictures
All of the pictures in our log are available for viewing on Smugmug and each picture or map links to the exact picture in our gallery. Thumbnails of the pictures in a gallery appear on the left. You can increase the size of the displayed picture by clicking on it. Once in a gallery, you have the choice of using thumbnails to navigate or scroll from one picture to the next. The Navigation Bar at the top allows you to move from one gallery to another. Tool bars at the bottom allow you to download pictures from the site.
 

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  Second Winter in Texas  
  Third Winter in Texas  
  Fourth Winter in Texas  
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  2011, The First Season  
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  Natashas Excellent Adventure  
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