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Arriving at the lake makes ya lucky.

Arriving at the lake means you got lucky.(click on the pics for bigger views)

The 22 plus hour drive from our Florida home up to the lake always means we count our blessing if we get in before sundown on the second day of the trip. Towing two grand children, 5 and 6, plus a year and one half old catahoula made the trip a bit longer… But no worries-out of the car, the bags stowed inside our camp and then a quick splash in the water made it all good.  Last summer’s first sundown was rated an average of 6 out of ten points…I gave it a five, since I’m spoiled rotten, but others pulled up the rating.

The next day was time to get the games out

The next day was time to get the games out

We were waiting for our boat to be delivered, so the whole day was a bust.

we had to spend time swimming -no one had fun

we had to spend time swimming -no one had fun

Oy Veyish, we had to wait a whole 5 hours for the boat to arrive….so I got the tackle ready while Dale worked hard to over turn the kid’s kayaks. What? I mean, this is the Lake. Who hasn’t been thrown in with all their clothes on? See a shrink if not; you have no true friends.

Dale's on the bottom right, making her move...

Dale’s on the bottom right, making her move…

Finally, after boring games, swimming, kayaking, swimming more, throwing a ball one hundred times for our puppy Shadow to retrieve in the Lake,,,,we got to go out, we got to answer the call of the fish, we got to prove the engine would start and put hooks in my fingers.

The trip was one worm after another, and sometimes fish.

The trip was one worm after another, and sometimes fish.( about 80 in one hour-really) We had three stringers full.

I’m not sure what Isaiah had done to his brother so that he alone could be in this picture… Thing is, I’m certain I don’t want to know. On another note-I was thrilled to see some nice perch keepers come up…It’s been awhile since those tasty fish were on my plate. And, I see from FB shots that the Walleye have been caught lately, too…..very good indeed.

I discovered how to bait one hundred worms on moving, swerving, lookout duck! slap in my face hooks in less than one minute.

Bapa’s Epitaph should read: Survived teaching Grandchildren how to fish-for a pretty good length of time.

More stupid games came out plus a good book while I hunted for antibiotic to put on hook holes.

More stupid games came out plus a good book while I hunted for antibiotic to put on my finger’s hook holes.

The early morning fishing trip was my revenge plan. The three of us went out early, way early, but in June, as Lake Bonapertian’s know, the sun only pretends to set at about 10 PM-it’s actually rising then but you don’t get to see it until just after 3:30 AM. Plus the AM trips lets us guys rev the motor to let everyone know we’re out and about. Good morning!

We allllmmmost beat the light.

We allllmmmost beat the light.

What my grandchildren didn’t know is this: what Bonaparte fish do best in the morning is sleep. Heck, they’ve been tearing one another up all night long. So it was a good laugh while we filled the boat full of nothing time and time again, and then headed back home in a glorious morning light. I couldn’t help but think of mom and dad who’d given us, their children, the camp.

.mom and dad with hummingbird…..(Claudia and Max Franquemont)

The cabin was a bit cool when we arrived back home; I lit a fire while the kids tried to forget about wanting to throw me over board the next time we went out-I hoped.

I kept my fingers crossed and hoped the kids would find some inner peace.

I kept my fingers crossed and hoped the kids would find some inner peace.

When it came time for breakfast, everyone had a face for the 4 AM fishing trip idea….

What?

What?

Okay, with 4 AM fishing trips put out on-a-line, it meant we had time to finish a very difficult puzzle. We gathered for a shot to celebrate two weeks of hard work, and the completion of a master piece-Bonaparte style…

Completely done, and with an added brown overlay tinge for effect.

Completely done, and with an added brown overlay tinge for effect.

Trouble was, the sun kept rising and then the day vanishing before yet again another sunset had to be rated…We turned around, took one swim, a short nap and the dang vacation was over! Someone really needs to look into the time problem up at the Lake. I’ve got my buddy, Paul Doherty, hot on the case-He’ll fix this crap , I just know it.

There's just no way that was 14 days...Pllllease.

There’s just no way that was 17 days…Pllllease.

And since when does time speed up in Mud Lake worse than a Formula One X 2016 at the Daytona speedway?

Ya know-it's like impossible to take a photo of Paul without having a loon photo bomb the shot...really--try it.

Ya know-it’s like impossible to take a photo of Paul without having a loon photo bomb the shot…really–try it.

Anyway, we watched our last sundown-

A most beautiful and untouched up photo--I had to think about the rating.....

A most beautiful and untouched up photo–I had to think about the rating…..(thanks Daley for the pic!)

I spent the next hour thinking of how I might fake falling down the cliff, break a few bones here and there, and get to stay a couple of extra weeks….None of it seemed likely.

I bet our visit put a smile on mom's face...so we to leave, and in just

I bet our visit put a smile on mom’s face…

So we had to leave, and in just 11 and 1/2 weeks we’ll be back. That’s a mere one thousand nine hundred and thirty-two hours….a piece of cake. Actually, I think just under three months sounds better. Anyway, the whole crew is coming back, and I can’t wait for that next early morning fishin’ trip.(Gonna wear my life jacket this time.)

 

Franque23 loves the Lake.

 

 

 

 

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Shadow is watching "TV"...there's something on!

Shadow is watching “TV”…there’s something on!(click on the pic for larger view.)

Shadow will run out our door as many times as there are squirrels on our feeder. That’s one of his jobs, to chase those darn squirrels* away. Usually, those rascals are up a distant pine tree j-u-s-t before Shadow gets to them. Thing is, the one time he actually caught up with a squirrel, and had him dead to right running full speed, all he did was smell the squirrel’s butt as they ran together…what’s up with that?

Today’s TV channel isn’t playing squirrels. Finches have come to town!

To my surprise, the finches had landed!

To my surprise, the finches have landed!

I love these little guys, the gold finch, and a few years ago I had as many as sixty at one time around our feeders! Then last year, I had none-only the house finch, or scarlet finch as some call them, seem to stay year round. It turns out, finches have disrupted migratory patterns, and often don’t return to exactly the same place they’d been the year before. It stays shockingly fun when they do arrive in bunches-yellow darting dots of color zing, zoom, here and there with a chatter clatter that can be heard a block away…

What's up with all these birds? We had a long talk.

What’s up with all these birds? Shadow and I had a long talk.

This is my dog’s best look of consternation-the straight out ears, tight lips, raised eye brows and slightly tilted head. We watched the flickering, flying, bright yellow birds for an hour. It was quite a show.

We went outside ot investigate, and loved seeing the flock zoom to nearby trees...

We went outside to investigate, and loved seeing the flock zoom to nearby trees…(looks like my pine apples made it through the winter-1/2 year old plant in foreground right.)

It seemed to take about ten minutes for the gold finches to return after we’d cleared the yard. I read that often 25 to 100 finches will visit a feeder during one day, so we may being seeing different birds from time to time and just not know it.

I'd picked up this yellow rose form Lowe's , the same day the gold finch arrived.

I’d picked up this yellow rose from Lowe’s the same day the gold finch arrived.(Oh look-it’s another pine apple.)

I wonder if the color of the roses attracted the gold finch to our nearby feeder–same colors flock together? I think birds must pay strict attention to the color of things in their environment.

You can see our neighborhood trees think it's spring-the new, leaves, all in their soft green, fresh looking color

You can see the neighborhood trees think it’s spring-the new leaves, all in their soft green, fresh looking color-

It’s a peaceful, beautiful day in Gainesville, Florida.

In this hustling, bustling word, it's great to find time to relax.

In this hustling, bustling world, it’s great to find time to relax.

Even Shadow had to smile about these wonderful birds, their tweeting filling our ears with tingling sounds of joy.

Shadow's happy face!

Shadow’s happy face!

Cheers to you!

Franque23 *don’t miss the great children’s book- Those Darn Squirrels….(http://www.amazon.com/Those-Darn-Squirrels-Adam-Rubin/dp/0547576811)

here are links for both of my books in the Avatar Magic Series:
Book one, Avatar Magic and book two, The Code of Avatar Magic are on kindle now.

It all began correctly.

We’d be leaving for a long vacation drive early the next  morning; I had this one more night shift to finish at work, first. I’d brought my jacket holding all our money, cards and stuff we needed for the early morning drive in with me to work, not wanting to risk leaving it in my car. I wasn’t one block away from my place of work after the end of the day  when I realized I’d left that jacket on my desk. Thing is, our library resembles Fort Knox about one second after the night doors close. It only took an hour and half of help from great  fellow supervisors etc. to get that coat back.

The vacation plan was simple….and crazy.

This was how my wife and I saw it: we had two grand children, five and six, and a ten month old puppy to take along with us via car up to the lake. In all, the total 48 hour trip up and back drive took us 80 hours. But these long days were all within our plans, knowing, as we did, that a six-hour drive on google meant a ten-hour drive in real terms of time. We had a puppy to walk: children to help investigate bathrooms.( I swear my grand kids had a time of it discovering all the different ways bathrooms had of dispensing soap or drying hands). Fortunately, Dale and I were in no rush.

Thing is, we about six hours into our trip when it became apparent we didn’t have any of the printed copies I’d made of our intended journey. And one hour later, the chord to our GPS broke. No fear, we had google maps to use….that started us down a slippery slope of unintended destinations.

In the end, all the confusion (that day)had only left us one hour off course come the next morning. We headed out to see our first tourist destination with high hopes, though Mammoth cave would be well under ground. Our corrected course lead us through roads in Kentucky God doesn’t know exists. We traveled eerie, twisting, turning, up and down mountain driving occasionally marked by  establishments that may have once been open. It was an odd sight. Clouds formed over head, and then again below us at times as we looked down into valleys. Other times we drove right through the clouds. “We’re in the clouds,” I shouted.  I decided, out of worrisome desperation, to make a game out of seeing the clouds: “Look, there’s a cloud below us and now a cloud above. We’re in the clouds! Whoops! Here we go twenty miles per hour through a no see cloud zone! Isn’t this neat? Isn’t it great to be driving in the clouds?!?!” My dialogue went on for about fifty minutes, while my eyes stayed  peeled on the gas gauge.

At last, we came down a mountain side beneath somewhat clearing skies. The sun rose above a hill to our right. On top of that hill, sitting just in front of sun rays that splayed out through the clouds up above was…….a Walmart. A huge, super center in the middle of nowhere; cloud land had company. The image was almost Christ-like: sun rays behind the building and on top of a hill; a home for the lost.

The silence in the car was deafening; the sight of a Walmart so unexpected to see. Isaiah, our five-year old broke that silence by asking in a perfect cartoon voice, but with sincerity as well…”There’s a Walmart in the Clouds?”  If you could have only heard the sound of that question; I so wish I had it recorded. I had to admit that we may have not been exactly in the clouds, but no way did I mention lost…..And even if we’d been, there’s always, apparently,  a Walmart to help any lost soul find their way.

Me? I wanted to drive back into the clouds. But Mammoth Cave was calling, and that trip was amazing.

Cheers…and more to come.

franque23 is back from vacation.*

*I’ve two books out on Kindle. Please spread the word and share the links!

links for both books in the Avatar Magic Series:
Book one, Avatar Magic and book two, The Code of Avatar Magic are both on kindle now.

First off, if you’ve got a minute, view this.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W3YQODRoIpo

Now you understand my puppy a bit better.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Thing is, Shadow, our eight month old puppy, is a Catahoula Leopard through and through. He’s got the webbed feet, (part duck) and loves nothing better than to fight the hose water or dunk his head into a pail of water. You can’t see it, but his whiskers are more like a seal’s whiskers, curled into soft round spindles(he’s part Seal)….much like this seal’s whiskers, less the snotty nose.

Shadow's whiskers are shaped like this, but much shorter.

Shadow’s whiskers are shaped like this, but much shorter. BTW-can we protect these guys, too?

Shadow camps in the kitchen if  any one’s there. (Part chow hound) And as ferocious his appetite, he eats any treat he’s given with the uttermost politeness, softly, slowly accepting the food with his teeth.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

( If you click on this picture it opens up and you can see his special whiskers.)At eight months, Shadow will sit across the room like this waiting for the golden moment of leftovers. And, he has quite a varied diet(part vulture, wolf, rabbit, bird and even some dog). It’s no secret he loves green beans, but for me this was a bit different from any other dog I’d owned before.* When broccoli florets became his favorite, a mouth-watering treat, I feared his ears might grow equal in length  to the ears on the floppy eared rabbit we once enjoyed as a family member.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

The tomatoes above are the only thing  from this one day’s pick  that Shadow wouldn’t at least try to eat.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

You know, another thing I love about gardening  is seeing all the varied colors of vegetables. We need a blue fruit, or veggie to toss in this mix….and I should have included the red leaf lettuce we had in the frig for this shot…duh and dang it all!

If Shadow hadn’t been eating green beans nearly as fast as I could pick them, this table would look a lot different. But he’d helped plant them, so I couldn’t leave him out of the eating.

There’s nothing like listening to our grand kids and puppy munching on green beans as they’re picked…crunch, crunch, crunch.

A past year in our garden with Grands....

A past year in our garden with Grands….

Back to the shot:

Every morning we wake up to this face, but usually he's got a sock in his mouth.

Every morning we wake up to this face, but usually he’s got a sock in his mouth.

The reason for the sock in his mouth is simple…early on,  Shadow, my wife and I decided it was better for him to be chewing on one of his chew toys, actually anything almost, instead of us. He learned right off “get a toy” meant it was time for him to race to his toy box and shove one of them into his mouth. Then, he comes back and wiggles around us, everyone safe from his teeth. In a way, his name is, Get-a-Toy. Of course, he loves the pull on the toy tug-of-war game, too. This type of activity, as my wife pointed out,  helps develop the dog’s strong teeth and jaw, a survival necessity for dogs.  Somehow, dogs, puppies, know this from the get go. “No stick left  unchewed” is any puppies  motto. But in the morning,  it often is less convenient to find a toy than the sock I left on the floor last night, and the morning greeting is such a desperate matter, so any sock, any color will do.

Let the safe wiggles begin!!!

 I was suffering from a bad case of puppy love in the beginning: it's only gotten worse.

I was suffering from a bad case of puppy love in the beginning: it’s only gotten worse.

 

Franque23, from Puppyville..

I’ve two books out on Kindle. Please spread the word and share the links!

links for both books in the Avatar Magic Series:
Book one, Avatar Magic and book two, The Code of Avatar Magic are both on kindle now.

*Garden shadow.

Shadow eating green beans.

Shadow eating green beans.

 


This post didn’t start here.

IO had both  my four legged gang out...one ol' hand at gardening, the other completely new to the job.

I had both my four-legged gang out…one ol’ hand at gardening, Toby-Toes, the other completely new to the job-Shadow..

I  can weed the garden!

I can weed the garden!

It didn’t start with my missing shoes, well soiled rugs, strewn socks, pull toys, torn papers, not even with last night’s kitchen floor poop. No, those are second-hand fiddle-faddle to today’s garden expose’.

It started with me and brain damage, or is that redundant? Of course, to be fair–I’m just a blusterous, billowing, hot air machine spewing endless  blotches of noise, at  least, this is what I think my puppy is saying with his half-crocked head. Basically, it’s as if I’m a Martian….no wait, as if I’m another chew toy he’s not half-finished dismantling. That’s more like it. I used to have ankles, even fingers…IMG_1618

Maybe it started with my helper pushing  me out of the way

Maybe it continued when my helper pushed me out-of-the-way

"My owner is messed up, likes weeds."

“My owner’s messed up; he likes weeds.”

I take poopy-puppy, (Shadow, by name usually), out to the garden with me today, as if I had a choice. “I don’t want to step on him, or that either–dang, too late,

we did get a nice pile of weeds....and I know Shadow was in to it too.

we did get a nice pile of weeds….and I know Shadow was up to the task too.

To think what could happen?

To think what could happen?

My garden before the puppy

My garden before the puppy

Because I somehow avoided mental illness, often brought on by living up North, I now live in Florida where it’s time to plant the Spring garden. I know this is difficult for my northern cousins and friends  to imagine.(They presently aren’t sure if they’ve died or merely been encased by a white out). Truth is,  my life  goes on even though I haven’t shoveled snow for forty plus years.

Flowers are now blooming  in Florida. In fact , they bloom year round. Of course, I’d come North to help each of you shovel, but the roads….

no roads in sight....Lake Bonaparte-mid summer

no roads in sight….Lake Bonaparte-mid summer*

Anyway,  weeding the garden with puppy is nothing but fantastic.

Relentless Digging....puppy's new American Native name name.

Relentless Digging….puppy’s new American Native name.

Really. Me and my Shadow, pulling weeds here, there, everywhere. I laugh.

Best thing I ever helped grow was my relationship with my wife, Dale.

Best thing I ever helped grow was my relationship with my wife, Dale.

The two of us enjoying Nagasaki at night during one of our visits to Japan.

The two of us enjoying Nagasaki at night during one of our visits to Japan. This shot is one exposure of us looking out a window at the city with our reflections cast upon it.(photo: Kelly Shiohira)

Last years crop was  amazing, bro.

Last years crop was amazing too, bro.

The new paws on the block runs wildly in every direction, flinging weeds left and right, some hanging from his mouth, dangling from his ears, stuck to his legs. And man , can my puppy dig. Down, across, deep, getting to those dang tuber pain-in-the-ass weeds. Haha! Smiles all around.

the oldest four paws never moved a muscle....why bother? We had Puppy madness well harnessed...for now.

the oldest four-paws never moved a muscle….why bother? We had Puppy madness well harnessed…for now.

Then truth, along with an endless nagging vision of the future, hits me.

Smack! Ouch! Puppy-face will understand, ” NO!”, Right? He’ll heel, and not chew apart his halter, again; he’ll totally get that my arms aren’t chew toys. More to the point, today, he’ll know broccoli plants aren’t weeds when the time comes. Of course, Shadow will be able to tell the short crappy weeds we joyfully pull today from tomorrow’s, big, fat, juice green bean bushes, the leafy lettuce, please don’t mention my tomatoes.

Oh crap! I’ve created a monster!

My puppy's self- image

Puppy’s self image

I’ve successful engineered the development of a prime garden destroyer–our own doggie–heaping praise upon praise as he willy-nilly claws my garden soil up into the air.

repeat of my favorite shot....

repeat of my favorite shot….

This has got to be my wife’s fault, somehow.

I know, this whole puppy-garden madness started more than forty years ago when I first met the gal who’d become my wife.

this is my wife at about the time we first met---

this is my wife at about the time we first met—

We still meet, thankful for every day.

We still meet, thankful for every day.

The whole thing-here fault.

The whole garden let’s grow stuff thing-her doing.

That’s when I decided to stay in Florida! I was so innocent back then. How could I know those days would lead to puppies digging up gardens?

“Hey, Shadow, that’s not a stick!  Bring back my rake.”

Now, what is it about a stick and a rake, and a weed and a broccoli that makes me nervous? And , has anyone seen my gardening gloves? They were lying right here a minute ago. Odd, my shoes laces look funny, too. Dang it! Maybe those laces do look like weeds, not sure, but tying my shoe is not gonna happen.

Like I say, not sure what I was thinking , then and now......

Like I say, not sure what I was thinking , then and now……

This is gonna be a long growing season-full of fun. Puppies are cute for a reason: survival.

Franque23

* Picture by M.Dooley

Avatar Magic. by Gerald Franquemont, is on Kindle and it can be downloaded onto most reading devices.

Saving Jane, by my daughter, Laura Dale Bell, is also on Kindle now.


I came home Thursday to meet our new buddy.

I came home Thursday to meet our new buddy.(click on pic to get full effect)

The only thing that happens more often than our new puppy poops is me stepping in it. On the rug, mats, kitchen floor, under the table, bottom of our stairs, front stoop and yard, I’ve found every surprise left by our new rascal.

Shadow-pooped out.

Shadow-pooped out.

No worries, he hasn’t worms or some other problem, he’s just as ambitious eater. No bowl of anything goes uneaten. And, this cute as all get out pup has taught me something.

Who knew I had crap magnets for feet? Not me! Actually, I was a good runner in high school so I know this hasn’t always been the case. No. This crap feet magnet thing is clearly  part of the aging process.  Once, I had toes, a good foot arch and strong heels. but at least I can still learn.  Now, I get the hose before I bother to check my shoes. See? He’s only been in our house four days and, already, I’m pretty well-trained.

I wouldn’t say this poopy pup owns my wife and me, not yet. Sure, he’s a glove to our ankles;a living weight on our shoes; a shadow to our every step; we can’t stay at a Saturday night concert cause we miss him too much; I’m dreaming about him; I smother his face with kisses and he slobbers our faces back with kisses on an every minute basis,  but he’s not allowed on the couch, not even on our dinner plates. We have strength of character, boarders,  when it comes to being  dog owners.

We can say no.....at least maybe not.

We can say no…..at least maybe not.

Basically, us acquiring a new poopy when we still have another aging , also pooping dog is proof my wife and I are a bit off. Butt there was a crack of an idea, a wisp of logic that piled up in our mind’s eye when it came to us thinking getting our old dog a young companion smelled pretty good. Now, it may be necessary to burn our house down, you know, wipe the slate clean when it comes our living room. BTW-I think we’ve got a rug for sale, or did I just throw that out yesterday. Hmmmm.

I have to say that Arrow, who was then quickly renamed Eore, almost Blacky, mistakenly called Smokey by me several times, and now named Shadow is smart. One morning he’d pooped five times inside, the reason I was sure to sleep in, and now my wife who’d cleaned that mess up says he went while walking with her today! (So if you’re going so visit to see Shadow, be careful of the road, maybe of our yard or walkway too, heck even the rugs, mats, and floors inside.)

This poopy is more like a horizontal slinky in motion. Mostly, Smokey, now named Shadow, is actually a wiggle machine. I never saw a poopy bend from side to side, over and over, so much or so fast!( I’ve Poopy bragging rights.)  And our old dog, Toby Toes? How does he like this frenetic, perpetual, “Hey, I can chew on your ears!” new addition?

"Luckily, I have two ears."

“Luckily, I have two ears.”

Well, at first upon meeting Shadow, Toby was stand-offish until a second later when he realized that wasn’t possible. Yesterday, I heard the two dogs playing  together in what used to be our living room. That morning I’d found them together, the new guy in town curled up around Toby’s head, both fast asleep.  Eureka! This wasn’t a stinkin’ idea after all!! Sort of. Plus, the new paws in town has a basket full of toys-who’d want to waste that?

Guarding that toy basket at all times.

Guarding that toy basket at all times.

There’s just nothing like our poopy puppy-really! You can call me Mister Happy about it; we’ve a new bro in our lives. Cute and cuddly; just what our lives ordered. Smiles.

Why do I think I'll be writing again about our Family addition? And, has anyone seen my leather shoes?

Why do I think I’ll be writing again about our Family addition? And, has anyone seen my leather shoes?

Franque23

*Thanks to my wife for today’s pictures!

Avatar Magic, by Gerald Franquemont,  is out on Kindle and it can be downloaded to most readers. Book two, The Code of Avatar Magic, will be out this month.

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