Collie Puppies and an Older Sheltie

Raven and Clover.

Our household has been going through changes lately. We moved into our current home in March and got collie puppies a couple months ago. Regis bought his boat and has been dealing with that. In the meantime, we swapped a car for a motorhome and took it out for a spin.

The collie puppies are amazing and arrived in our house basically good. We have had few issues with them. They are both house trained and I started taking them to a local dog park. I was walking them in the local reserve but found the dog park better meets their needs right now. There are some regulars at the dog park and a few of the dogs run well with the collies. I am enjoying the human companionship and think I go there as much for me them as for them.

Dart was attacked by a Welsh corgi on our street in Florida a couple years ago and has been very difficult to walk since. I recently took him to the dog park with the collies and he had a great time. He is better with other dogs when he is off leash. He can no longer move well, but the dogs and owners we deal with in the park accommodate his issues and he is in heaven. It thrills me to see him so happy and to be around people who understand his needs.

Dart’s hind end is not working well, and I have had to cover the entire house with rubber backed area carpets so he can walk through it. His right back leg refuses to cooperate. When we arrived in March, this was an issue, but we worked through it. He is much worse now. He can barely walk. I bought every rubber backed carpet I liked at the two nearby Lowes. I recently took him to the vet and they took Xrays. His organs are good, but he has significant arthritis. All we can do is give him pain pills if he can tolerate them to make him more comfortable.


I am struggling to train two puppies at the same time. It is harder than I expected. Thank goodness I’m dealing with collies. When I separate them, it works better. Recently, Regis took one dog while I took another on a local walk and the dog behind on the walk howled. It was crazy. I did not realize this would be an issue, so we are doing this now and then to have them walk separately but together. My vet warned me having two puppies at the same time would be an issue and he was spot on. But here we are, and we have to work through it as best we can.

The collies get bored easily with their toys. I started giving them recyclables and it makes them happy. They play with them until they are bored. I give them more any time I can. It works well. It is crazy you can spend money on toys, and like children, boxes and plastics are more interesting.

I recently got a bubble machine for them, but it did little to get them excited. I purchased a dog pool for them, but they were insufficiently interested to keep it, so I donated it to the dog park.

I was able to sign up one dog at the local puppy training, so I picked Clover to move forward. She is enthusiastic and cooperates well. I will get Raven into training as soon as I can. He is my “marshmallow”. He is laid back and a great pet.

Relaxing with my pack.

RV Projects

I got back home from the boat and after a couple days of travel recovery jumped right into RV projects.

It came apart easier than I expected.

One of the things needed was to set up the new to us Kia Soul to be towed behind the RV. Before I left for the boat, I ordered the hardware needed to hook up the car to the RV. The basic idea is to turn the car into a trailer. This RV is smaller than our last one, but having a car to sightsee and run to the grocery store makes life so much easier while on the road.

Time for power tools. Lookout!

Overall, it is not complicated just time consuming and stressful. The process involves removing the front end, cutting some part of the car, and drilling holes into the car. Of course, then you have to put everything back together hoping it looks the same as before you started.

Tow bar installed. Hope everything goes back on.

The good news is I had only two parts leftover (expected) and only cut one thing by mistake. Not bad.

Almost done.

After I completed this, I scheduled an appointment to have an auxiliary braking system installed in the car. Many states require a braking system on trailers over a certain weight. When this is done, we will be ready to use the RV to the fullest.

Looks like new.

Up next: Who knows…

Moving in

Now that I’m tied up at the marina, my plan was to take inventory of what the previous owners left and do a thorough cleaning. Everything should have been working on the boat because it was when we left the dock on the base. Upon hooking up in the slip, I found the air conditioning was not working. Being on the gulf coast in July meant the first order of business was to get the air conditioning running. That project turned into several hours of frustration with no success and therefore, a long sweaty night. Something electrical was not happy between the dock and the boat. Rather than spend all the second day working on fixing the air conditioning, I decided to sit in the AC in the car.

While packing up the Florida house to move to Washington, I had set aside a bunch of stuff I thought I would need on a boat. I put it all in a storage unit in St. Augustine. Therefore, I spent the day driving from Pensacola to the storage unit in St. Augustine while enjoying the comfort of the AC. I was going to load everything into the car and take it back to the boat, however upon opening the unit I realized I stored too much stuff. It was not all going to fit. I sorted through and packed the car with priority items and headed back to Pensacola. I will need to make another trip to get the rest of it out of storage.

Full car and still more to get

It was a long drive to St. Augustine and back, but it gave me time to plan how to fix the electrics and I now had some supplies and tools. So, one more night on the boat without AC. I got started on the electrical issue the next morning after a hot night. I ended up jerry rigging a patch cable and was able to get the AC working by early afternoon. I spent the rest of the day sitting under the vent enjoying the cold air. After a night sleeping with the AC, I was able to start the task of cleaning and organizing the boat, two days later than planned.

This spot is full.
This space is full also full.

I started the day unloading everything from the packed car onto the boat. One thing I realized very quickly was I had collected things with the idea of getting a bigger boat than what I ended up with. I found myself moving things from one pile to another. I became overwhelmed on how to proceed and needed a plan. The previous owner left a lot of stuff on the boat. Some of it was useful but some I could toss. I did not think I was going to eat from a jar of pickles that was sitting for who knows how long on a hot boat.

No sleeping in this bunk. (Note from Linda: This photo got Regis in trouble. After arriving in Washington, I was looking for my cool bucket with the bird on it (see left side of pic). Regis said I probably tossed it before moving. I knew I had not done that. I looked everywhere and could not find it. I figured the movers must have lost it. Then, I see my lovely bucket in this photo and realized that Regis stole it from me when packing up his things and then blamed me for tossing it out.)

By the end of the day, I had made progress. I got the galley (kitchen) cleaned and organized. I still have some stuff to find a place for, but any bit of progress felt good. I also got a bin dedicated to collecting things to get off the boat. This will keep it from getting moved from pile to pile. Most of it will be donated, but some will go back to Washington.

One section organized.

The rental car was due back and I cut this trip short and headed back to Washington. I will spend a couple of weeks there and head back to Pensacola in the RV to continue boat organization. I am not supposed to stay on the boat in this particular marina. To take the RV to Pensacola, I need to get a car ready to be towed behind the RV. More projects.

Next up: Back home & RV projects

First Boat Ride

It’s now the time in this tale where I get on the boat and claim her as mine. Whoo Whoo!

To get the boat, I first had to get it off the navy base where it was located which was no small task. Access to the base is not allowed to the general public, however, active/retired military can bring guests in. Thank you very much Chris, Bryant, and Courtney.

Because I had never operated a boat of this size, I hired a captain to help move it to the new marina. Captain Larry and I started going over the boat, removing extra dock lines, checking fluids, calling the previous owner for starting instructions, etc. As the morning moved on and we were about to leave the dock, big thunderstorms started to grow over where we wanted to go. Captain Larry checked the radar and we decided to hang tight at the navy base to wait out the storm. After a couple hours of chit chat and with the stories subsiding, we took off into the slightly gloomy midday drizzle.

We timed it perfect. We got a little wet undoing the dock lines but after that it was dry cruising. The ride to the new marina was less than one hour. On the trip over, Captain Larry showed me how to do various maneuvers, like spin the boat around in one spot and other of tips and tricks. When you read stories about boat life, a common theme is the need to be flexible. At times you have to wait for weather and at other times mechanical issues will cause a change of plan.

During the days leading up to this trip, my plan to haul the boat out of the water and store it on land fell apart. When I contacted the first boat yard to schedule a time to pull the boat, they told me that there was no space to store it. That would have been nice to know four weeks ago when I first talked to them.

During the document signing drama I was working on trying to solve this boat storage problem now that I had a date to take ownership. I had my broker talking with the previous owner’s broker, and any one they could think of, to find a spot for me. After a couple of days, I got word back that a spot was being held for my arrival on Saturday. As Captain Larry and I pulled up to the dock at that location, we were thinking how lucky we were because there was a marina guy there. We hoped he could help with the dock lines, but he was there to help the boat coming in behind us. After some back and forth, it appears my dock space was never confirmed, or I got bad information. Either way, the man pointed us over to another dock and said to tie up over there and we will get it sorted out. After he finished with that boat, he came over and he got me into a slip and said I could work out the details with the office when they opened in two days. I got to the office when it opened and they set me up to stay there for a couple months. Super nice folks.

Next up moving in day.

Puppies with Ice and Pollinators

My collie puppies love ice. When I get ice from the refrigerator, they come from wherever they are to get some. It has been hot here lately (like almost everywhere), so I threw a bunch of ice cubes in their swimming pool. They loved it but the ice melted too soon.

In the meantime, I took pictures of some of our pollinators. Fortunately, I moved to a place with an established garden. Here are some of the pollinators and blooms I found today.

This little bee has tattered wings.

Interesting plant growing in my rock wall.

A few weeks ago, I went to one of the local Farmer’s Markets to pick up some bee balm (Monarda), among other things. There was only one plant left with no bloom. I bought it. It bloomed a few days ago and it is beautiful.

This bee has an orange or rust colored backend.

I uploaded my images to iNaturalist to determine what species of pollinators these are. I am waiting for an expert to let me know.

Catch 22 and Boat Insurance

Picture so Linda will be happy.

Re-published after some edits.

If my closing drama wasn’t dramatic enough, do I have a tale.

When I signed the paperwork for the boat, I revived a boat insurance quote I had started over a month ago. I sent in some final bits of information and waited. Three days later, sitting on a plane to go get my boat, I get an email that says the insurance company can’t write a policy until two items on the boat are fixed. What?

As part of the boat buying process, you get a survey done. It’s like a house inspection. There were a number of issues found, as expected. After all, the boat is 38 years old. The insurance company wanted two items fixed before they would write the policy. This put me between a rock and a hard place. To get the boat into a marina I needed insurance, but to get insurance I needed to get into a marina to get the work done.

At least I had a plane ride to think up a plan.

At my next airport connection, I got on the phone with Linda and asked her to get us an umbrella liability policy. We had one to cover us at one time but because of a change in insurance on the RV, we could not maintain the policy. To maintain umbrella insurance, the company required all insurance policies to be with them. We never took the time to find another solution. Linda contacted an agent and they issued a policy immediately and did not require all of our insurance to be with them.

She got the work done and by the time I got to Florida. I was covered and could actually put the boat somewhere.

Up next, picking up the boat and going “for a 3 hour cruise”.

My new, unnamed boat.

Basic Guide to Birds Found Near Water in St. Augustine 2nd Edition

I have recently updated the Basic Guide to Birds Found Near Water in St. Augustine to include 3 more birds. The book is available at Barnes and Noble Press.

Puppy Adventures and the New Motorhome

View across Dyes Inlet.

My vet recommended occasionally separating the puppies to give them time alone. I wanted to go camping in the new to me motorhome, so thought it would be a good idea to drop one puppy off with my son in Seattle so I only had two dogs to deal with during our short camping adventure. I dropped Raven off with Jason because he is the easier of the two puppies to handle. I wanted my son and his partner to have the best experience since I hope to have them watch the dogs in the future when I am on travel.

I took the two puppies over on the ferry. Once we were parked on the ferry, I took them for a walk on the outer deck. To get there, I had to go up some steps. No problem with that. The dogs were fine until we started moving and Raven started whining. He talks a lot anyway, so I do not think it’s necessarily an issue. Clover was finding every piece of trash and was interested in a half-eaten lollipop she found. I decided to return to the car and had to go back down the steps. Clover ran down the steps while Raven firmly planted all four feet, so he did not have to go down the steps. I did the arm splits. I had to get Clover to come back to me and carry Raven down the steps. He is getting too big for that. It can be hard to deal with two puppies at the same time. I obviously have work to do.

I took Clover and Dart with me on our camping trip to Bainbridge Island which is only a half hour away but a lovely spot on the water. I did not think Regis would be here for the trip because of the boat, but there were delays in the purchase, so he was able to join us. I drove the motorhome and did the setup by myself to make sure I can do it alone. I was glad to have Regis there for guidance because we had a couple issues, the first being that the hose was leaking when we hooked it up to the motorhome. We did not have the tools to solve the problem but will have them in the future. We had enough freshwater in the tanks and decided not to do the hookup.

Dart does not want to walk, so Regis hung around with Dart at the campsite while I took Clover for a walk on the beach. She loved it. She found every crab, mollusk, piece of trash, etc. on the beach. She would have been in heaven if she could have romped off leash. (I will find an off-leash beach for her to do that). She was awed by some seaweed in the water that moved with the waves. She was convinced it was alive and did not believe me that it was okay to get close. Because she was more interested in being in the muck than I had planned, I mucked up my sneakers big time.

While in the motorhome at night, Dart was grumpy. He growled at Clover just for breathing. The quarters were too close for him to handle another dog. It bummed me out. The motorhome can accommodate us but every living being in the motorhome has to have some patience. Clover was lovely but Dart was not.

I took Clover for a walk on the beach during sunrise and wore my Muck boots. I quickly found that the sole was separating from the boot. It did not cause a problem at that time, but I will have to glue it back together. It was also clear that Clover has too much energy for me to stop and take sunrise pictures. Dart was always willing to lay next to me during the process, but Clover is too much of a puppy to deal with that. Therefore, no pictures.

We were supposed to stay for two days, but Regis found that he was able to move forward with the boat. Since Dart was grumpy, I was fine with leaving. I learned things from our one-night stay. The motorhome will accommodate us, and I am comfortable driving and handling it, but Dart is an issue.

Clover was very subdued without Raven. Meanwhile, Raven enjoyed grabbing sticks in Jason’s yard and trying to bring them in the house. If Raven gets a stick around Clover, she tries to steal it. He got the sticks all to himself, but he was not allowed to bring the big ones in Jason’s house. He learned to hide them somewhere. He was a good boy and is welcome back.

I returned to Seattle with Clover, Dart, and Regis to pick up Raven and the two puppies spent time terrorizing Jason’s and Dan’s gardens. The puppies appear to have strong opinions of when plants need to be pruned and flowers deadheaded. Most of us do not agree with their choices.

Soon after we got back, Regis left to take possession of his new to him boat. At home, I learned to deal with a house that does not have air conditioning when we have a heat wave. Fortunately, Jason gave us two portable air conditioners. Closing all the blinds and running the air conditioners on the top floor is working. We are comfortable. I was most worried about Dart, but he is fine.

Of course, I loved the name of this boat in Poulsbo.

Another Closing with Drama

Raven’s favorite place to sleep. Perhaps because the porcelain is cool.

It’s official. I own a boat! But not without some drama. Its seems that over the last 30 years or so we have had some type of snafu leading up to and including closing day. Every single time. I think it all started back in 1999 or so and I’m talking 6 or 7 houses at 2 closings each. We are snake bit to say the least.

The closing on the boat was a bit less dramatic than the house closings but caused several changes to my plan on taking possession of the boat. My plan was to wire the money, sign and overnight the documents and drive from Washington to Florida where I could take possession. There I could move the boat to a storage yard, take inventory, use my car to get supplies and new boat parts, do some work then drive back to wait out hurricane season.

The process started out well. Got the Documents early monday, had them signed, notarized and in the hands of UPS by noon for next day delivery. My plan was to pack and be ready to leave Wednesday morning so I could get to Florida around Saturday. By end of day Tuesday, the package did not get delivered.

Linda was going to Seattle to pick up the puppy, Raven, who was staying at our son’s house for some “away time”. I was going to tag along and be prepared to go to the title company, conveniently located in Seattle, to sign new papers, just in case. During our visit I got an email stating they received the papers, a good 15 hours later than promised. By now it was way too late to drive to Florida and get there for the weekend.

A reason to get to Florida at the weekend was personnel availability. The boat was stored on a Navy base. I could not get on base and needed someone to escort me. That works best on the weekend. To get there in time, I needed to book a plane ride for the next day and get a ride to the airport very, very early in the AM (thank you Linda) and book a hotel. At least that travel part worked out after serval revisions.

So, yea, just add another fun contract closing.

Next up, Boat insurance catch 22 and last minute co-ordination with 5 or so people!

Note from Linda: Since Regis has not provided any pictures for this post, I stuck some puppy pics in.

Clover with just a few of her many toys.

Little Crabs

Little crab in the water at Tracyton, Washington.

I was hoping to kayak today and for a variety of reasons, it did not work out. I went to the local boat launch anyway and saw that the tide was so far out that I would not have wanted to launch anyway. With such large tides, I have to pay more attention to them if I want to kayak. I was able to see some crabs in the streams flowing into the inlet. See picture at the beginning of this post.

While there I took a couple pictures of the gulls and noticed an eye issue with one gull. I thought I was seeing a new species for me because its eye looked different. After loading the photos, it appears to me that it is a common species (glaucous-winged gull) with an eye issue.

Perhaps a glaucous-winged gull with an eye issue.
Glaucous-winged gull.
I got this image just as the glaucous-winged gull was taking off.

Recently, we had some guests from Florida and took them to Poulsbo to look at the seals. While there we saw this cute little boat and a float plane took off.

Dart is having so much trouble walking that he is breaking my heart. He has a problem with one of his legs and it cannot get traction, so we must have carpets everywhere he wants to walk. I have always loved his one eye that is brown and blue and tried to get close up pictures recently. It’s hard to do with the reflection in the eye, but this is the best shot I got.

Dart’s beautiful eye.