Boat in harbor

Boat in harbor

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Farm livin is the life for me...

Farmer Ben and his hay...only thing is that we didn't' have to do the work!
Ben and I live on 20 acres of land, of which 13 acres is being farmed by a local farm here in Door County, WI. We love the fact that our 13 acres is not only zoned agriculture (which helps with taxes!), but that it is certified organic! Waseda Farms, located here in Bailey's Harbor, WI, supplies their organically raised animals and crops to local restaurants, markets and the public. I love that we are a part of the chain that feeds the cattle raised at Waseda! We grow grass, pesticide-free, that is fed to the cattle.
Since moving here in November, we have been in contact with Waseda anxiously waiting for the day that they will be here cutting, baling and hauling off the grass. Well, that day finally came!! We were like kids in a candy store! Ben, Crocket and myself all loaded up in our side by side and drove around taking pictures of all the action.

Really cool video of them unloading the hay bale

This is our front property, looks like they were able to get about 25 bales of hay just from our front field

loading the hay from our back field

Off to feed the cattle! Actually they ferment the hay first so we are supplying hay for the winter months

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

There's a wedding in our future!!!

AND it's at our house!! Our friends Josh and Kacie got engaged and asked to have their special day here on our property! WOW!!... OK! Let's do it!

We had an idea they were interested by several subtle comments made before Josh proposed. Josh and Kacie were visiting us last September, when we drove them past the house. We did not own it at that time but we were pretty excited to show them our future digs. They loved it too! And made the comment about getting married here.
So, on the evening of the big proposal, they talked to us about the possibility and heck, we said YES!

Planning has been underway and Ben and I have been enjoying all the visits they have been making to take care of wedding stuff. I can't believe it! We are going to have a wedding on our property!!

We couldn't be more excited for our friends and the wonderful future they will have together.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Everyone goes through a hard time in their life...

I keep praying that tough situations build strong people. I haven't felt very strong lately as we have been going through a really rough time.
My mothers day! The best gift to have our little boy alive!!
We almost lost our little buddy Crocket May 1st. He had started throwing up and then became lethargic, leading us to the Emergency Vet in Green Bay, WI, about 50min from our home. There they discovered a mass in his abdomen which needed to be removed. We raced him to Veterinary Specialty Center in Buffalo Grove, IL (this is like the Mayo Clinic of Veterinary hospitals, they can do it all!) to perform the surgery. They confirmed the mass in his abdomen but couldn't tell us if they could remove it until they opened him up. We sent him into surgery unsure if he would make it. Thankfully, the cancer mass (which ended up being two masses) was contained and removable. They did not see it anywhere else and felt confident that Crocket would have a good recovery and quality of life post surgery. What caused Crocket to get sick was a ruptured appendix. Had that not happened we would have never found the cancer. Crocket made it through the surgery like a rock star, and he was able to come home after 5 days in the hospital. The  two-week wait to get the results of the type of cancer and treatment options seemed to drag on and was hanging over us like a black cloud. The preliminary results showed either a type that was treatable or possibly a type they could not do anything to help. Prayers for our buddy were fulfilled! His type of cancer is treatable and the chemo pills used to treat it has an 80% success rate. He will not be rid of cancer but this miracle pill will help suppress his cancer (even though they removed all the masses) and allow for a normal life. The Drs shared with us that another dog with the same type of cancer is still alive after 2 years on this pill.
We entered into the two week trial to see how he handled the chemo. Finally some good news...he is responding well to the chemo, he's gained weight and he isn't in any pain in his abdomen. The stress hasn't subsided as we have had other things turn up, like a bladder infection, a spot on his abdomen (which turned out to be a skin infection...phew!!) and now behavioral issues relating to his food. But, he is alive and he is more and more like his old Crocket self. He runs like a crazy dog on our morning walks, he begs for treats and wants to play ball! Pretty impressive for all he's been through at 12 years old.
If you look close, the shadow next to Crocket looks like his angel!
Crocket LOVES to go for rides on anything with wheels (or ski's)!
Crocket was so excited to get tennis balls from his Grandma Oblak
The stress of all this hit me hard and I ended up with shingles on my face. The worst pain I have ever had and it knocked me out. Of course this came at the worst time, just when Crocket was able to come home. The pain was unbearable, I found myself having to take pain meds (which make me way loopy) so I could handle the burning, tingling, itching pain caused by shingles. My poor husband! Not only did he have Crocket to worry about and care for but he had me to nurse. We are over a month since the Crockets surgery and I'm still dealing with the shingles, not nearly as bad but the pain, itching and tingling are still present. And my husband is still my rock!
If things could get worse, they did. We got word that Ben's grandma (who was a month shy of her 96th birthday) was not doing well and it seemed God was calling her home. We both were able to see her and spend time with her the couple days before she passed. Crocket was able to give her love, she even said his name and reached for him! We had a house full of family for grandmas funeral and spent our time celebrating her life with all our loved ones. True blessings!

While we may be stressed we see the blessings in all this, we have more time with our beloved pet. We are blessed we were able to do all this for him and continue to do for him. We have a supportive, loving family and amazing friends, all whom have prayed hard and been there in every way we could imagine. I've been told that all this will make me stronger, I'm still waiting for that to happen. I sometimes feel like a weak ball of stress, but we get up each morning thankful for another day filled with love and another special angel in heaven looking out for us.
This was Grandma and Grandpa Zito's 70th wedding anniversary! They were married 73 years when she passed. 
Grandma "Noni" was new to selfies!

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Road Trip to Nashville AND more Loopers!!

Our buddy's from Liquid Assets
We left Michigan around 8am and arrived outside of Nashville around 6pm. We stopped to spend a couple days with our lovely Looper friends, Tim and Carol! And what a fun couple of days we all had! We enjoyed a boat ride, awesome food (and dirty martinis) served at home AND out, and lots of laughs! It is never a dull moment with these guys. Crocket had a great visit with his buddy Benji, they enjoyed chasing the ball and going for a nice long walk as well as a boat ride too!
When Ben and I left on our Great Loop trip, I never dreamed that we would end our trip with such amazing friends for life! We spent a good deal of time on the water with Tim and Carol and feel blessed to be able continue that friendship on land as well! 

Benji and Crocket having fun!
Boat Ride on Old Hickory Lake...gorgeous!
The adorable Tim and Carol
Check us out...WE'RE ON A BOAT! in winter coats!
Dinner out! 

Friday, March 17, 2017

Road Trip, heading to see some Loopers!

While we have been enjoying our new home and entertaining all our guests, Ben has been sharing his wishes of getting some sun on his pale skin. So we decided to head to florida for the month of February, maybe longer, maybe shorter. We let our moods decide when and where we end up. For now, we are taking a road trip to Anna Maria, with a couple stops along the way!

As you can see, Crocket was ready for a road trip south!
Our first stop was a visit to see our Looper friends Bob and Liz! We loved our short visit. We got to see their new house, where they both work and the great area just outside of Grand Haven, MI. While here, we were spoiled with FOOD and lots of laughs. We met their new puppy, Maggie. Crocket was not a fan of the puppy, he was trying to avoid her but she was quick! He finally figured out if he relaxed on the couch she couldn't get to him...yet!
Meeting Bob and Liz on our Great Loop trip was a blessing as we gained life long friends! What a great start to our trip south, kinda funny we actually traveled north to see them!

Ben and Maggie 
Ben and Bob getting the band ready
Puppy love
What a good looking crew! This was the morning we left for our trip south, it just started to snow.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Boo Hoo! Time to put away the sleds

Our new-to-us tractor comes in handy
While we hate to say it, it might actually be the end of snowmobile season. Not that we had much of one here in Door County, it is still always a bit sad to see the sleds being stored for the summer. Thankfully it was a pretty day to be moving sleds outside. The sun was shining and the winds were minimal (which since we have moved to Door Co, it has been crazy windy). Ben moved two of the three sleds from our garage to the barn for their summer sleep.

Nighty-night Rev!

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Tappin and a sappin!

Our first tree we tapped! 
We are making maple syrup over here! Ben tapped 5 trees a couple days ago and we had our first batch of maple syrup two days later.
For every 40 gallons of sap collected it will yield 1 gallon of syrup. Our first try we collected 7 gallons of sap, boiled that all down to about 3 cups of maple syrup and from our own property! How fun!!

Two of the five trees we tapped, all southern exposed maples 
Our boiling process: we start in the big silver tray and move the sap to the smaller red pot as that boils down.
My sexy maple sugarer!

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Shanty - HEY!

Our awesome almost complete "Ben-built" shanty!!

"What the heck do you guys do in the winter up there in Wisconsin???"

We are asked this a lot. For those that know me, understand that I LOVE winter and all things snow and cold. This was not how I felt growing up, but since Ben and I have been dating he has introduced me to the wonderful world of skiing, snowmobiling and best of all ice fishing! With the proper gear, cold weather is tolerable and actually enjoyable and I couldn't be any happier that we have decided to spend our winters (for the time being) in the cold north.

So, here is what we have been up to, or actually what Ben has been up to! Building our very own ice shanty/shack! I am still amazed at the talent Ben has in all things that need to be built or repaired. He even added a woodburning stove to keep us nice and toasty!

The shanty is still in the build stage but soon we will be hauling this out on the ice of Green Bay, in the hopes of slaying the fish. Not only will we be eating fresh water fish but we will be spending quality time together while enjoying the beautiful outdoors. I can not wait to get out there and catch the monster walleye, perch, whitefish and the prized burbot!! Wish us luck and I will make sure to post our catch!!!

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Crocket turns 12!!

Happy Birthday Buddy!

We have been blessed to have such an amazing dog-son! While he may take more rests than when he was a puppy, he still gets crazy dog! He is loving his new big yard and the many walks we take each day. He has so many new smells and spots to mark, he is happily busy these days.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

THE Most Asked Question...

Our bike ride to Joe Patti's in Pensacola, FL...we enjoyed traveling land by bike

"What was your favorite stop?"

We get asked this EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. our Great Loop travels are the topic of conversation. I love this question even though it is a tough one to answer. It borders on near impossible to pick a favorite. It seemed each stop we made, became our favorite. So, we kept track of all the stops we want to visit again.

The list is in order from our first stop to our last.

We did not include any stops along the Great Lakes since we consider this area our home waters.

So, here goes my first attempt, this is just the first few favorites...lots more destinations to come. In the meantime, check out each of these stops, maybe you will make one of these your next vacation location.

The Wharf, Orange Beach, AL - We found Billy's Seafood with awesome stone crab claws, royal red shrimp and a great town with shopping and restaurants. Although the marina was large, it still had a small town feel. The locals were very friendly and welcoming. We had great food, great night life and gorgeous surroundings. Check out our time at The Wharf...

Tarpon Springs, FL - All things Greek, a great marina and impressive butcher in town, makes this stop a MUST revisit on our list. Read about our fun in Tarpon Springs here.

Pensacola, FL - I'm not even sure how to put into words the love I have for this town. It was pretty much all I needed to see on the trip as far as I was concerned when we arrived. We enjoyed our time exploring the town and enjoying the wonderful food (we made 5 visits to local seafood market Joe Patti's), the shopping was eclectic and fun and the people were welcoming. We spent a week and found ourselves in the middle of two different town celebrations...a town that celebrates like these people every weekend definitely needs a revisit! Check out our week long visit to Pensacola here...

St Petersburg, FL - We arrived here for a couple of days, stayed a week and I could have stayed a month! Next time around we will be here for a month at least. The municipal marina puts you within walking distance to what I call the ideal town. Complete with museums, excellent food ranging from vietnamese to indian, great night life, many bars, safe town and lovely neighborhoods. Our favorite farmers market is held here every Saturday. It is the largest we've seen along the trip and draws something like 20K people.

Ana Maria Island, FL - This is like being in the Florida Keys but in a classy, slow paced kind of way. The island is fairly small but loaded with perfectness! Restaurants, beaches, shopping and great people. We spent two months here and wanted to stay longer...heck we were even contemplating moving here. My only reason for saying no is that I love my winters too much.

Marathon, FL - We really enjoyed our time here, two months to be exact. We stayed at a wonderful marina called Faro Blanco, overlooking the Gulf of Mexico. We explored by land (bikes) and by water (dinghy), eating, hitting the beach and checking out the keys. The food here is delicious, the people fun and the atmosphere is laid back. The views spectacular and the weather glorious. Down the street is the Turtle rescue, a dolphin research center and you can rent a flight in a by plane! We can not wait to get back here!! Click here to read about our wonderful marina in Marathon

Hollywood, FL - Wow! This one was the most impressive as far as expectations. The marina was run by a great group of people and very safe and secure. The boardwalk was across the Intracoastal (easy bike ride across the bridge) and what fun to people watch, eat, drink and just soak in Florida. The beaches are gorgeous with white sand. The town was a couple miles from the marina but no problem for us to ride our bikes. The town was adorable and had the best food, Monday nights food trucks gather in town, and the shopping is awesome. We found pizza that was so good, as soon as we rode our bikes back to the boat after eating, I ordered another one and rode back to take it with us along our travels. Next time around Hollywood will be a must stop and for a month if possible. Click here for a bit of day 1 in Hollywood...

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

It's a Crocket post...the amazing Looping dog

Ben mentioned the other day that I never designated a post about our wonderful dog and his Looping life!!

Crocket was my personal greeter...he met more people than I did. I would walk him and people would approach us calling him by name, otherwise strangers would want to pet him. All he would care about is if you can throw a toy or a ball and how far. He really really enjoyed the social aspect of cruising full time. We were never far from fellow boaters looking for a good time and that seems to be Crockets purpose in life too.

Crocket is English so he is very proper as well as used to routine when it comes to his hygiene and his bathroom duties. Both he seemed to have handled very well while on the boat. We had his hair cut three times in the year we were gone and all three times he was overly excited when we picked him up. Seems he prefers his old groomer, that's all he's known so it makes sense. As far as his bathroom duties...We were never able to get him to go potty on the boat. We literally tried EVERYTHING, we had our aft deck covered with sod, Ben bought a fern to hang so he could lift his leg if he wanted, we cut a section of his best dog buddies yard (which was recently marked) to put out, Ben tried marking the sod. We had scented puppy pads and we even grabbed some of the shrubbery right after he marked it thinking he would want to do it again. All he would do is look at us like we were crazy.
To Crocket, the boat is his house and he was trained to go potty outside, NOT on or in his house. So, we said lots of prayers and talked to our vet about our 24 hour straight travels across the Gulf of Mexico. The vet assured us he would be fine. So, we limited his food intake and water the day we crossed and he did great. Once we reached our destination 24 hours later, he took the longest pee ever!

Crocket was a bit confused and nervous about always being in a new location. Dogs tend to be territorial and with us on the move constantly he did not have his yard to check on daily to get his pee mail. He enjoyed when we stayed at port longer than a day, but that was not always our plan. But all in all Crocket was a great addition to our trip. And I think he loved having us with him everyday all day long, something he never had before when we both were working.

Many people ask about us having our dog on our boat. To us he is part of our family so of course he goes everywhere we go. He loves his boat, swimming, people and us. We never lacked a place to take him potty, we loved that we had him to cuddle all the time, he got us out walking and meeting new people.
Bottom line...did it cause us more work to have him with us? YES Would I have him on the Loop again? Absolutely YES!!!! We shared the experience with our dog and it was wonderful to watch him wake each day stretching, smelling the new air and taking in this most amazing adventure.