Monthly Archives: July 2013

Bella’s Magic Bathing Suit

Sunbathing on the dock at Wolf Creek Reservoir

Sunbathing on the dock at Wolf Creek Reservoir

Bella, like many ladies approaching later middle age, isn’t quite as svelte and athletic as she was when she was a puppy, and I have noticed that she gets a little winded when she goes for a dip. We have tried to put her on a diet, but when she looks at you with those big, brown, soulful eyes, you just have to give her your uneaten buttered mashed potatoes.

A few weeks ago we were fishing at Bear Lake and met a couple excercising their four labrador retrievers who were decked out in colorful, stylish Outward Hound life jackets. Being a worrier, I ordered one for Bella as soon as possible.

The haute couture label of canine swimwear

The haute couture label of canine swimwear

The rainy weather pattern seems to have been thwarting our efforts to try it out, but it finally broke yesterday with a warm, sunny Sunday just perfect for swimming, so we loaded the truck with swimming (and fishing) gear and headed north for Wolf Lake.

Wolf Creek Reservoir from the boat dock.

Wolf Creek Reservoir from the boat dock.

Claire and her friend Lexi swimming at Wolf Creek Reservoir

Claire and her friend Lexi swimming at Wolf Creek Reservoir

Bella enjoyed her swim without becoming winded:

Bella wearing her new magic bathing suit

Bella wearing her new magic bathing suit

Claire and Bella at Wolf Creek Reservoir

Claire and Bella at Wolf Creek Reservoir

…and I enjoyed reading on the dock without worrying about her.

Some scenery shots on the way home:

View along Tanasee Gap Road between Tanasee and Balsam Grove

View along Tanasee Gap Road between Tanasee and Balsam Grove

View along Shoal Creek Road a few miles south of Balsam Grove

View along Shoal Creek Road a few miles south of Balsam Grove

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Filed under News & Events

Gizmo

It was raining again yesterday so I decided to organize some more photos. When I hit about 25GiB a couple of years ago, I decided that just dumping the contents of the SD card into a dated folder makes it difficult to find particular photos and I started filing them by subject and date. Sorting through the old ones is kind of an ongoing task since I have to look at each one, but I’m down to about 5GiB of unsorted photos now and it’s actually possible to find a particular picture in under a minute.

Anyway, I ran across some pictures from 2005 of a raccoon that Bob brought home. Bob and Claire are always bringing home injured, stray and unwanted critters to “nurse back to health” and Gizmo the raccoon was one of the rare successes. By that I mean that he didn’t die and we didn’t end up with another “pet.”

Bob found him in an empty lot when we were living in Florida. He was crying for his mom who was nowhere in sight. Apparently, young raccoons ride on mom’s back when they’re old enough to hang on so we figured he probably fell off and she didn’t notice.

So, Bob brought him home.

Gizmo

Gizmo

He was too young to eat anything and a website suggested kitten formula so I sent Bob to the pet store for that and to the drug store for a small baby bottle while Claire and I gave him a dose of flea spray followed by a flea bath.

A flea-free Gizmo has a bottle of kitten formula

A flea-free Gizmo has a bottle of kitten formula

Despite a full tummy and being ensconced in a cat-carrier with a towel-wrapped heating pad, he cried off and on all night.

During the next few days, he was introduced to our dog, Annie, and visibly gained weight (the cat would have nothing to do with him).

Gizmo and Annie

Gizmo and Annie

During the next month, he became a delightful pet. He learned to use a litter box and would go for walks with a harness and leash just like a small dog. But raccoons have extremely dexterous front paws. So he started opening things. Bob had built him a cage when he outgrew the cat-carrier and he soon learned to flip up the hook that held the door closed. He would open his cage at night and then get into the cupboards, pulling stuff out onto the floor. He was a handfull and we started trying to figure out what to do with him. He was too domesticated to cut loose and he was still eating only kitten formula.

Then came June and time to go on vacation. Nobody wanted to babysit a raccoon for a week, so Gizmo had to go along. He travelled better than Annie who always got carsick. We spent the week in a cabin in Tennessee and it was there that he finally started to eat dog food.

Gizmo and Annie in Tennessee

Gizmo and Annie in Tennessee

About a week after we returned, Bob located a vet who knew of an animal rehab facility near Ocala and offered to take him there. So, after a goodbye hug, we took him to the vet who gave him a once-over along with a rabies shot and took him to Ocala where, presumably, he lived happily ever after.

My pet raccoon

My pet raccoon

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Filed under Department of Parks & Conservation

Too Much Rain

A walk to the post office requires waders...

A walk to the post office requires waders…


Most of the park is now part of the river...

Most of the park is now part of the river…

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Filed under News & Events