This was our 2013 Jayco Flight Swift 198 RD

THIS WAS OUR 2013 JAYCO FLIGHT SWIFT 198RD, PARKED AT THE TOMBSTONE TERRITORIES RV PARK IN ARIZONA



Tuesday, 19 September 2017

Our pups are 4 weeks old today

Within the past week our Dachshund puppies have progressed quite wonderfully in their development.  All their senses are functioning and they started to walk. The brown female, I call her Chocolate, is the most advanced. She was the first to wobble around the whelping box while the rest still crawled on all four paws.  Now all pups are walking and climbing over each other.


Last night when I came into the guest room I couldn’t believe my eyes. Chocolate was walking towards me with her tail wagging! What? She had been very interested in what was going on outside their den (whelping box) and I had observed that she wanted to climb out but I thought that was impossible for her because of the height of the opening. I guess not. This morning Benno quickly fabricated two small plywood slats to insert there where the sliding door goes.  We wanted Elsa still to have access to her pups and not close off the gate totally during the night. Elsa takes longer breaks now between feeding and cleaning them. She is very attentive but I guess its natural for the mom to let the little ones alone for long stretches, as they grow older. She still has plenty milk. A couple of weeks ago I purchased a regular baby bottle to see if I could assist in feeding the pups some of the formula we have.  It did work much better with this kind of a bottle but it really was not necessary for the supplement as all the pups seem to be well fed and they are steadily gaining weight.


Producing so much milk does take a toll on Elsa and she is very skinny.  If you wonder if she eats enough, let me tell you of my efforts to keep up with her appetite. She gets 5 meals a day plus several snacks of dried chicken breast and Cesar Bakies.  In the morning I fry up a cup of lean ground beef mixed with half a cup of brown rice, half of a medium sized grated carrot and a half a cup of dry Royal Canin Dachshund mixture for her breakfast. At lunch she gets a cup of cooked chopped chicken legs with half a cup of each brown rice, carrots, cooked pumpkin and dry dog food, and that is repeated every 4 hours or so.  At night, if she is hungry, she gets chicken broth and dry Royal Canin puppy food.  There is a lot of cooking going on in my kitchen and the chicken legs I purchase with the skin on because they are cheaper than the already skinned and deboned chicken, but I skin them before they are put into the pressure cooker as I don’t like all that additional fat. The chicken I cook for 15 min. on high with filtered water. After that time the bones fall right off the meat and cutting the meat into small pieces is a snap.

chicken legs with skin on
same chicken legs with skin removed
cooked chicken in two portion containers
regular dry dog food, pumpkin, rice, shredded carrots and puppy dry dog food

One of the little males, which my neighbour (the super girl Teresa) calls “Blue” has been on trips to her house for some outings. He must have had a very good time there because he sometimes barks (yes, he can already bark) in the den but then when I pick him up he seems to be content. The cutie pie already knows what he wants.


The pups’ teeth are coming out at various stages.  Yet again being more advanced, Chocolate has all her teeth and her incisors are quite sharp, but the other female, “D” also has a sharp bite when I put my finger in her mouth.  It must hurt Elsa when she feeds them.  Yesterday I mixed some of the Esbilac formula and poured it into a little dish. First the little pups didn’t know what to do with it, but after I stubbed their noses into the milk they started to lap it up. Yeah success, I guess it’s their instinct, so I wont need the baby bottle if they get hungry after being fed by mom.




It is so cute to watch the little guys interact with each other and by the sounds they make, they are communicating, or talking to each other. They play bite each other in the legs ears or mouths while they crawl or tumble over each other until they get tired. Then they all cuddle up for a snooze.


For the purpose of identifying the pups when they get their first shots and deworming done, we will give the pups temporary names to be put onto the health certificates. The pups have been wearing different collars and neck strings so we keep them apart.  I simply named them by the alphabet in the order they were born. The first pup born was a male and will be named with an "A", the second was “Blue”, then came the brown girl, which I call "Chocolate" followed by the tan and black girl "D", finally the last two males who look a lot alike will be named starting with an "E" and "F". Of course renaming is optional for the new owners.








So for today I leave you with enough puppy overload.


Tuesday, 12 September 2017

We live where the Tomatoes grow



In the spring of 2012, while we were still cruising on our Diesel Duck boat, we flew up from Miami Florida to Leamington, Ontario to purchase our house. Through research on the Internet Benno found this property for sale and we were intrigued to see it. The post you can read on the Diesel Duck blog under "I think we will eat lots of tomatoes this year" Back then, before Warren Buffett took over and pulled the plug on the well known Heinz Tomato factory, Leamington was known as the “Tomato Capital of Canada”.  Since then, the Heinz factory was bought by Highbury Canco who now produces the paste for “French’s Tomato Ketchup” here in Leamington where the mild climate and fertile clay soil are ideal for growing tomatoes. However, Highbury Canco is not the only factory processing these delicious tomatoes in town. There are other large vegetable processing factories in the area. 


If you ever wondered how the spaghetti sauce is made or about the canned chopped or whole tomatoes in the can are being produced, and what the hundreds of fields of ripened tomatoes look like, I have a little info for you. Derik, one of the sons of the  owner of "Weil's Food Processing Plant" here in Wheatley/Leamington, happens to be our neighbor. Last year at this time at the height of the tomato processing, when the facility runs 24/7, we were invited to a tour at their plant. 
First hand we got to see the whole process from the time the tomatoes were delivered to their plant to the finished product in cans ready to be picked up.









There are probably a variety of harvesting machines out there, but the process of harvesting and producing the canned tomatoes, paste, juice and spaghetti sauces everywhere is very similar. For all of you out there interested in this, there is a little youtube video showing the process from picking to the finished process. It is better viewed than me trying to describe it here in detail.

While driving past the many fields of ripening tomatoes here in our area, we see the harvesting machinery in action. It is optimal when all the tomatoes in the field ripen at once on the clusters. The harvesting machine drives along the rows of tomatoes as it lifts the whole plant from the field and shakes it, so the tomatoes fall off without the stems.  Photo cell's and infrared controlled electronics, which separate red, green and not ripe tomato, guide the red tomato onto the conveyor belt. 
The green and not yet ripe tomato, plus the stem and the leaves are being discarded and ploughed under by the harvesting machine. Any foul tomatoes are being quickly sorted out in the harvesting machine by hand from a small crew of 4 to 6 women, (men are too slow in picking, I was told. Yep!) and the good tomatoes are being transported by conveyor belt into a trailer, which is being towed alongside the driving harvester. The operator, a Mennonite, said that he owns 2000 acres and that his whole family and other Mennonite crews are involved in the harvesting process.
















And these, my friends, are the forerunners of todays modern machinery!
Seen at the Mennonite's property






Wednesday, 30 August 2017

More about the newborn puppies and what goes on in the garden

It has been one week since our dachshund “Elsa” gave birth to 6 very cute and beautiful puppies.


With a litter of 6 pups in our house, our focus has been on the wellbeing of the puppies, their mom Elsa, and Reggy, the dad of the litter who has been very interested in this whole process. So other activities took a back stage.  Just like newborn babies, all they do is eat, poop, sleep- and repeat. However, the pups have grown considerably and have already doubled their birth weight.  I presume it will be another week before they are going to open their eyes for the first time but they do crawl around in their whelping box searching for their mama or to find their siblings to cuddle with.




So in the past week I had to get up several times at night to let Elsa outside to do her business.  The pups feed every few hours and Elsa’s food intake has doubled, too. She does a great job looking after her puppies and cleans them up regularly.  This does affect her digestive system in addition to the affects after giving birth. What it also means is that in order to keep the whelping box clean there is an increase of laundry in the house. I’m glad I have a good washer and dryer in addition to a pile of extra towels.


The first night I spent on the sofa next to the whelping box to keep an eye on Elsa and the newborn pups ready to assist. Instinctively Elsa knew what to do but there was some unrest. The pups wanted to feed and Elsa nursed them often.  Now, a week later, the pups and Elsa have gone into a more settled routine and times in-between feeding are longer and the pups sleep content for longer time periods.  This is probably due to her increased milk production and I think in the quality (and quantity) of food she now consumes. While Elsa spent all the time with the pups in the first days, she now leaves them to sleep by themselves. She stays close by napping but checks on them frequently.

 Elsa cuddling next to a pup

Reggy sniffing a pup


I am glad that so far Elsa seems to be producing enough milk to feed her pups.  We have the Esbilac Puppy Milk Replacer powder (a USA product) at standby (thank-you Teresa Warren), but I was not able to feed any to the pups yet.  They refused the nipple and/or the milk. 
If you think the cost of a can of powdered milk ($33) is exorbitant, then the cost of the little plastic pet nursing bottles ($9) and the plastic syringes ($8) are ridiculously outrageous. (Both products are produced in China and they were the only options available at the pet stores). They look like children’s’ toys to me! Not only are the nipples of the bottles too hard for sucking, even with a cross cut opening and squeezed, there is hardly any milk flowing out. 
In desperation I bought the syringes but I fear I could harm the pups with their hard and pointy tip. So I keep the milk as a supplement for feeding once they are old enough to start on solid food.


It’s all a learning process, but I have to say we adore the puppies and I enjoy the whole progression and involvement of it. It is an experience I would not want to miss.

Meanwhile in the garden I have been amazed at the size of some of my Canna Indica plants. Their growth might be attributed to the rich soil they are planted in.  Last fall I had cut up several banana peels which I dug under at the spot I buried the roots of the Cannas.  Also I wanted to share some of the critters in our garden. At least the ones I managed to capture. :-)