NGLVC: Dog Days

We’ve been battling a bit of dog-day ennui, starting to feel the pull of the road and the limitations of being in one place for an extended time. The fires across the lake in Canada have been sending their smoke to us, creating hazy, poor air quality. Because we’re working in a federal building, we’re back to masking inside as of Wednesday, and while it hasn’t affected our overall visitation numbers, I have already noticed a decline in interpersonal interaction. That makes for some very long, very boring stretches in our work days. We had a few big thunderstorms pass through, the moisture sorely needed, the high winds not so much. For the first that predicted large hail, we and our neighbor moved our cars into the barn, and we pulled in our slides until the winds subsided. Fortunately, the hail bypassed us, and neither of our rigs sustained any wind damage. As I write, I have an ouchie paper cut on my right ring finger, a newly-discovered fly bite (?) on the back of my right upper arm, and I just saw a mosquito in here. But! I can see the shadows of the hummingbirds on the blinds as they fuel up for the day, I have a good, strong cup of coffee, more body parts that don’t hurt than do, and we did have some fun this past week.

We met up with our friends Al and Ingrid again when they picked us up for a day of fun in Bayfield. Ingrid was our gracious chauffeur and travel planner, and she started us off at Blue Vista Farm for some blueberry pickin’.

We headed out to the furthest grove which was in the organic section, everyone but me in blueberry-colored garb. The berries were ginormous! They practically fell into our hands, and we had plenty in our boxes in no time.

The farm had a wonderful old barn in which the shop was located, and I wish I’d taken a better shot of the pretty mosaic-like bottom half of it. There was also a beautiful flower garden alongside it, and I saw two little weasels scurrying through it. They were too fast for me to get their pictures, but the flowers were more cooperative.

Next on the itinerary was a picnic lunch on the Bayfield shore. The view over the water was hazy, but we thought we had the best lunch spot in town.

After refreshments, Ingrid led us on a nice little hike through what she called a Midwest version of a slot canyon.

We continued our walking by adding in a good portion of downtown Bayfield to admire both the public and private flower gardens that festoon the village. Then it was back to our place for more visiting and plans for our next adventure. Thank you, Ingrid, for putting together that lovely day!

In other activity news, we did get out for another bike ride along the Ashland lakeshore trail on one of the few clear blue days. No pictures were taken, though, because we screwed it all up by arguing most of the way. For smart people, we sure can be dumb. Though the rest of our weekly activity was all close to home, I still managed to add a few new birds to my summer checklist and get some better pictures of ones I’ve seen but have eluded my camera.

When I showed the picture of the Baltimore Oriole (whose beak cannot access the sugar water in this feeder but who cannot help but be drawn to it) to our USFS maven, Susan, she went downstairs and came back up with this

for me to borrow, complete with the rest of the grape jelly supply from the VC fridge. Of course, since I added it to my Deluxe Bird-Feeding Station, no Orioles have shown up. The hummingbirds appreciate having a second juicing bar, though, especially since my smaller feeder crashed and shattered earlier this week.

I continue to flex my culinary muscles, too, challenging myself and my Instant Pot.

This week’s dishes included homemade Baba Ganouj, Walnut-Pesto Chicken Roulade (made with fresh basil from neighbor’s potted garden which I tended in her absence this week,) and banana bread, my first attempt at baking in the IP.

{click the ganouj or bread links for the recipes; the chicken was butterflied breasts, stuffed with processed walnuts, basil, and a bit olive oil, add a few garlic cloves when processing if you like, rolled & secured with toothpicks, cooked on the IP trivet for 7 mins on High, QR, toothpicks removed, browned on the stove top.}

A sparkling delight arrived this week from my Momma.

And, as promised, this is our neighbor pooch, Meeka:

Here’s hoping your dog days of summer are going well, Faithful Readers. As always, thanks for stopping by!

17 thoughts on “NGLVC: Dog Days

  1. Pingback: Big Changes Ahead – Live Laugh RV

  2. The smoke haze has been following us around as well. Also, the Michigangers seem to really love a smoky fire ALL DAY LONG. There have been places that we were sure they were burning tires. I’m not sure whether it is pollen or smoke but, I’ve been spending a small fortune on allergy meds.

    I can’t believe how many birds you are seeing. We just really haven’t been spotting very many.
    Maybe the forests are too dense? I need to get my hummingbird feeder back out.

    We took Jack for his last swim in the big lake yesterday.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I think we might be getting a break from the smoke, but that’s because rain has moved in. Oh, well, the moisture is sorely needed. What is it with some campers and their fires?! My “favorites” are those who leave something smoldering when they go out for the day or go to bed 🀯

      I do see a lot of birds, but I also spend a lot of time by myself looking (and not seeing anything!) and Ashland really is a birding hotspot. You should get out your hummingbird feeder — the females especially have ramped up their activity, and I bet you’ll get lots!

      Aw, Jack’s last superior swim πŸ₯°

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  3. You are making me jealous with your activities with our friends, especially the blueberry picking part :). Blueberries are my all time fave fruit.
    The smoke is something I can’t relate for now, the monsoon season has been active and helped a lot with the fires in AZ which is now contained. And thanks to the rain, the desert has perk up including my plants that I thought were already dead!
    The smoke coupled with the surge of the Delta variant and ticks will just be your ticket to head south sooner.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I appreciate that you shared your challenges with us and then demonstrated how you pulled yourself right out of that funk! You went directly from the annoying smoke/mask wearing/boring job/bug bite/mosquito buzzing around to appreciating the hummingbirds and a very fun day of blueberry picking and picnicking with friends.

    As Laura said, the smoke will definitely wear you down. And so will the stupid pandemic and having to wear masks again. Keep focusing on your beautiful birds and keep on making those delicious looking recipes…before you know it, it will be time to travel again. Hugs to you, my friend!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Oh, my dear, some days…some days…:D
      I have to say, though, that our “bad” is never really that bad, and for that I am truly grateful. The birds — any critters — do keep my spirits buoyed. Just last evening I discovered that one of “my” Gold Finch females is banded, so now my mission is to see if I can get a good enough photo of the numbers.

      I am so looking forward to seeing and hearing about YOUR travels, and I’m very excited for you to be out there!!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. The smoke definitely wears you down. Trust me, I know. And we just got to our new campground and found a sign on the front door saying they were requiring masks again, so back to the car we went to grab those. A total bummer after several weeks of mask-free goodness, but what can you do? If I were you, what I would do is snug the hell out of Meeka the dog. That pup is gorgeous! And I might consider adding some blueberries to that banana bread? Love the gift from your mom and happy to hear you emerged from the stormy weather unscathed. I hope you get some respite from the smoke and doldrums soon.

    Liked by 2 people

    • This was supposed to be our summer of staying in great shape with running, etc. since there isn’t “big” hiking, but it seems like every time we get a rhythm going, something interferes — like horrid smoke!

      Isn’t Meeka just the prettiest thing? She’s husky/border collie, and it seems to be a super mix.

      I think I *will* add some berries to my next bread! So far, they’ve just made it into fruit salad, which isn’t too shabby.

      We’re going to persevere through the smoke tomorrow, if it’s still icky. Screw it, we have things to DO! πŸ˜€

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  6. Sorry it’s smoky up there too. It seems no one can escape it! I think it’s a cloudy day here in Spokane, the weather people say it is, but it just looks like another smoky day! I love the sparkly hummingbird for your window….nice mom! So, what did you get to aid your Oriole?

    Liked by 2 people

    • Oops, I have fixed the missing bird feeder photo! That pretty bird has finally found the little grape jelly cups, and it’s so cute to watch him eating his treat. A real hummingbird flew inside the RV the other day trying to get to the feeder from the inside! TBG just opened the window by the feeder, and it hopped on πŸ˜€

      Liked by 1 person

  7. It’s too bad about the smoke and reduced activity at your volunteer job (is that an oxymoron?) but luckily none of that interferes with coming up with interesting ways to use those gorgeous blueberries! The fresh local produce must be one of the highlights of the area and I am glad to know you are taking full advantage. Glad to hear you escaped the storms unscathed. It’s a bit nervewracking to experience high winds in an RV and big hail is too terrible to contemplate.

    Liked by 2 people

    • The smoke today (8/2) was the yuckiest yet, and lucky us we’re doing our big Madeline Island outing tomorrow. Ugh!

      I did get some new pancake mix today, so blueberry cakes/waffles are in the VERY near future, and now that I have successfully made bread in my Instant Pot, I think a blueberry loaf can’t be far behind. We’re hoping the puffball mushrooms come up before we pull up stakes. Even I will munch a puffball!

      Storms and RVs just do not mix, and you are so right that large hail is a huge fear of ours.

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  8. We had a fun day hanging out with you two and I’m putting all those blueberries to good use. The smoke haze skies are sure getting old. This is our third summer in a row spent in this area and we’ve never experienced such smoky skies or such dry conditions. Let’s hope Mother Nature agrees for our boating excursion.

    Liked by 2 people

    • We’re keeping our fingers crossed the weather cooperates for Pontoon Day, as we’re so looking forward to it! This smoke is the pits! We’re still heading out tomorrow to Madeline, and we’re surely hoping things are more clear 😐

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