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Sunday, January 1, 2012

HAPPY HOLIDAYS 2011



HAPPY HOLIDAYS BELATED! I write this sitting in my rocker, with my feet up, next to the wood stove (this is Dick). We are burning Gren wood. No it's not a misspelling. We bought a pallet of compressed hardwood sawdust blocks. They burn just like coal. Very cool - I mean hot.
We are all doing well. Gaila is busy with a variety of things. She's always heading into town. I think she has to get away from me to keep her sanity. I stay home on my side of the creek to keep mine.
Maggie has been living here in Traverse City since July 2010. We don't see as much of her as we did when she lived 3,000 miles away in Anacortes, WA. She has been a busy farm girl this year. She and her boyfriend Brenin ran a CSA selling shares of crops and then delivering fresh vegetables every week to shareholders (if you're local sign up for a 2012 share). She also works two different jobs, is a DJ on the local NMC college station and training on car diagnostics. When her car was still running, she used to call and ASK me what was wrong with it, then she got to the point where she would call and TELL me what was wrong with it. Like my dad used to say, "A fart in a whirlwind." She and Brenin are now in Mexico attending a wedding, and Gaila and I are babysitting plants and animals.
Gaila and I agreed a year ago to be home six months and travel six months and it is working out so far. I did get 400 miles of backpacking in this year. As Mark Twain famously said, "The rumors of my death are highly exaggerated." Three people were attacked by grizzlies this past season. Two in Yellowstone were fatal and one man in Glacier was slapped around a bit. One of the Yellowstone fatalities happened to be a 60ish Michigan hiker. I was backpacking at the time, and Gaila started getting emails from a lot of people wondering how she was going to spend my life insurance bonanza. Wishful thinking people, but wrong Park. Besides, they say, if you are attacked by a bear you are safe if you smell really bad. I guarantee, if a bear attacks me I'm immediately and automatically going to smell really bad.
We have had a wonderful fall. The mild fall and early winter weather has given me the opportunity to attack the Autumn Olive bush trying to take over the Ole E Ranch (also known as Oleo Acres - the cheaper spread). I only cut the grass once a year. Once it gets tall enough it falls over. I would rather have an annual prairie fire. I accidentally did that this spring and came home to find five fire tanker trucks in the yard and a corps of firefighters with water tanks strapped on their backs spraying my yard and the neighboring property. Having a fire is actually a great way to see your neighbors. When we arrived home everyone was in the yard with a drink watching the action. Gaila calls these "Pre-Dick-aments," but you already know that. The week before the fire the creek flooded the yard. I want to get back on the road before the quake. --Keep Smilin', Dick and Gaila
The best to you in 2012.



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