Saturday, July 30, 2011

Diesel Swimming

It has been a pretty hot July so far this year in Michigan and that has really limited the number of walks Diesel and I have been going on.  Last week was no exception.  Temperatures got into the 90's and Mikey and I couldn't make Diesel stay outside while we were at work, so he got to laze around in the A/C for the week.

After we had all of our chores done for the week, Mikey and I decided that it would be fun to spend a day out at the lake. Typically, that means heading out to Lake St Clair on his dad's boat, but this weekend we thought it would be nice to get Mikey's little fishing boat out and head out to Oxford, to the lake Mikey had lived on as a kid.

Since this was a last minute idea, this of course took some work to get accomplished.  Mikey had to get the boat out, we needed to buy new trailer lights, get out the life jackets, grab a cooler, Diesel's travel bag, some beach towels, get our swim suits on, and drive the half hour to Oxford.  Really it wasn't all that bad, but it did take some time so we finally got out to the lake at about 2pm.  And all that work was worth it.

The tunnel from Squaw Lake to Lake Mickelson
We launched the boat at the DNR ramp in Squaw Lake and then headed through the tunnel into Lake Mickelson.  And by tunnel I mean a 6' in diameter, 100' long pipe laid in the lake between the lakes and under a road!  At first I thought Mikey was crazy, but Diesel and I ducked our heads and right on through we went.

Diesel Swimming!

After giving us a brief tour of the lake, Mikey found us a nice sandy beach area, and we had a great time swimming.  It was the first time I had actually done more than just wade around in the water in a very long time.  I nearly forgot how to swim!  But not Mikey and Diesel, they were off and swimming in no time.  Mikey was throwing Diesel's floaty and he was swimming after it and we were all having a great time.

After a little while, when a few more boats showed up, we hopped back in the boat and cruised around the lakes a bit more. Mikey showed us the house his father had built, and where some friends of the family had also lived.  It was a really nice boat ride around the little lakes, and we stopped to swim one last time before we headed back to the boat ramp again.

Mikey and I both agree that it was a really fun time and we'd like to do that again some weekend.  And I am sure Diesel had a blast as well!

I leave you again, with a quick little video I put together from cell phone clips I took that day. Hope you enjoy it.  And please, leave me some comments so I know you're out there and reading!

Friday, July 22, 2011

What A Good Boy!

Grab Diesel's leash and watch him run around the house in delight.  Catch him and put on his collar. Open the front door and have him burst into the front lawn.  Open the car door and be nearly ran over as he jumps into the backseat.  Get in, kick the AC on full blast, drive to the end of the street.  Stop. Park. Open door for him again as he bursts out of the car.  Let him stop, sniff, and pee on everything.  Go inside.  He's so happy to see his old friends again.  And then it happens, this is when I feel so guilty, the poke of the first needle in the back of his neck and you can just tell he's thinking, "Ouch! WTF!?" And then comes the trickier one, taking blood from his leg. All the while, the Vet and I are reassuring him with repeated, "That's a good boy!"

Taking my animals to the vet has always made me a little heartbroken.  Pets tend to act one of two ways; either they are terrified and you have to drag them into the building howling, or they act like they have never been their before and its totally fun and exciting till someone is stabbing them with a needle.  At least the latter is a little easier to deal with, but I always have that feeling they are giving me the stink eye for the rest of the day.  And for that, I spend the rest of the day making up for it with treats.

For anyone that's been around Diesel, Mikey and I, you can tell that Diesel is Mikey's boy.  Which I totally understand because he was raised with Mikey, even going to work with Mikey at times and riding on the excavator with him.  When Mikey has a day off, the two of them are inseparable, going on errands together or napping in the living room.  When I get stuck taking him to the vet, you better believe I get knocked down a notch.

I have my moments with the big dogger too.  We have our walks, which I know are a highlight in Diesel's week.  And he certainly enjoys when I cook as I am a master at dropping food on the floor.  And we also have our lazy mornings in bed when Mikey has to work, and I don't. But yet somehow, I always seem to be the one to take him into the vet. Just the other summer, Diesel managed to cut his paw open while in the backyard.  We bandaged it up, and kept an eye on it but after a few days, it didn't seem to be any better.  So of course, I have to be the big meany and take him to the vet where the even meaner vet had to take a look at it and decide it needed stitches.  I had to leave him for a few hours while they knocked him out, stitched it up, and bandaged it up nice.  Who do you think was there though when it was time to pick him back up?  Mikey, the hero!

It's really not so bad, I suppose someone always has to be the fun parent, while the other take the more challenging role of the responsible one.  And we most certainly enjoy our time spent as a family.  As a matter of fact, if it doesn't storm in the next few hours as it looks like it could, we're hoping to take Diesel up to Bald Mountain for a swim.

I leave you all now, with a little video I took a few weeks ago, of just how excited Diesel gets before we go on a walk...

Sunday, July 17, 2011

A Different Kind of Diesel Stomping

This weekend was Mikey's Tree Jamboree hosted by his union brotherhood. They have the event at either Kensington or Stonycreek Metropark, alternating yearly. This year the event was at Kensington, and knowing how long the event can last, we couldn't bare to leave Diesel at home all day.

Mikey competing in the Foot-Lock event
Early Saturday morning, we packed coolers,daypacks, and camping chairs, making sure to include Diesel's leash, dog bowl and plenty of water. We headed on down the road at 6:30am. Way earlier than I ever like to be awake on a Saturday. About an hour later Mikey was registering with his fellow apprentices for the days events. 

Mikey is a professional tree trimmer whose company is contracted by the local utility company. The events are the same each year, all designed to test the apprentices in their tree climbing abilities. There is a speed climb, a work climb, throw-bag toss, foot-lock ascend, and an aerial rescue. Each of the events have different point ratings and are timed.While Mikey was climbing, Diesel and I took the opportunity to walk around the area as well as relax in the tree-shaded area of the park. We met many new friends and quite a few other dogs. Diesel for the most part was on his best behavior. After Mikey finished up the five events, we were free to get some lunch and relax while the rest of the climbers finished and they tallied the scores.
Swimming at Kensington Park
After a really great BBQ lunch of pulled pork, hotdogs, nachos, chips and cookies. We wandered on down to the lake and let Diesel go swimming for a bit and cool off. We hung out for a while with a few of Mikey's co-workers while they discusses different climbing systems and the upcoming State championships. I think Diesel had a great time with all of the new people and places to explore.

Overall, Mikey did a good job on each event, but not quite as good as last year, and he came in 7th. He's not a very competitive person, but he's always been a great trainer. After speaking with one of the judges, Mikey may have the opportunity to volunteer his time as a judge at the State Championships.

We were all quite exhausted by the end of the day, and it was quite the relief to get back in to the AC at home. We all slept good that night.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

A Long Walk

Yesterday was a day off from work for me and it should have been for Mikey too but he ended up having to work.  After running some errands in the morning, I decided that the weather would be perfect for walking up to the park with Diesel.

I gathered up our usual necessities; water, bowl, sunblock, sunglasses and put them all in my little backpack and Diesel and I proceeded on down the road.  I don't think Diesel and I have many walks together where we don't talk with at least one person while we're out and about.  And sure enough, we hadn't even made it to the CRT yet when we were stopped by a fellow neighbor who had recognized us from walks the previous summer.  We stopped and chatted for a bit, and he offered to trade Diesel for his dog.  Poor thing!  We eventually got back to walking again and made it down to the trail.

New flowers behind the Dentist office along the trail
Along the Clinton River Trail we passed quite a few more people, surprising since it was noon on a Friday.  I guess I wasn't the only one who thought it would be a great day to have off of work.  We made a brief stop to get some water, but then we were right back on our way again.

We made it downtown and headed over to Riverside Park.  For 1) I thought it would be nice to sit and enjoy the river for a bit and 2) I really had to use the restroom!  Again I have to mention how awesome Diesel's new leash is, when we made it over to the restrooms, I was able to just clip Diesel's leash around a close tree and I didn't have to worry about him getting away. Not that I really think he would go anywhere...  Another thing that was refreshingly nice was that the bathrooms at Riverside have really improved since I was a kid.  I haven't had to stop in there much over the years, but it was nice to see that they had changed out all of the manual facilities with those handy automatic sensors.  And they have replaced the paper towel with one of those high-powered hand dryers.  The place was exceptionally clean.  It's a restroom I won't be afraid to use in future.

Auburn Hills Riverside Park
After our bathroom visit we headed on back down to the riverside and chose a nice shady spot to sit and chill for a bit.  There were a few people in the park that day enjoying their lunch or reading a book.  Not too many kids at that point, no one on the playground equipment.  The river was running pretty low and slow on this day, we haven't had much rain since last weekend.  The ducks seemed to enjoy its lazy pace for a change.  However this completely bored Diesel. He was ready to walk again, but where would we go from here? As we made our way back out of the park it was nice to see a small group of seniors from the local American House were settling in to have a picnic.

We exited the park on Squirrel Rd and headed north.  My sister lives on that end of town and maybe she would wank to take her dog for a walk in the nicely shaded River Walk Park across the way.  We made our way over to her house and stopped for some water. Unfortunately, she had a hair appointment in a few minutes and wouldn't be able to go.  We had a nice visit anyway and said we'd try to plan the next one better.

After refreshing for a bit, Diesel and I made our way back to Squirrel.  It was starting to get quite a bit warmer now, and the look on Diesel's face made it clear that we should head back home.  We crossed the street and entered River Walk Park.  It's a little known fact that you can walk the trails all the way through the park and end up in the Adams Ridge Sub.  That's a nice little shortcut back to the trail and then back on home again.
The boardwalk at River Walk Park - Auburn Hills
We were gone for about 2 hours and managed to cover about 4.5 miles.  Not bad on a pretty warm day.  I took quite a few photos and have started posting all of my pictures to Picasa.  Now my most recent photos will be displayed along the bottom of this blog, along with a link to view the gallery all together.

As always I welcome your feedback!  Feel free to follow @DieselStomping on twitter.  Also, feel free to leave comments, let me know what you would like to see in future posts.  Diesel and I are always looking to see new places, meet new people and participate in what ever we can!  If you like us, share us with your friends and family who may be interested too!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Walking an Old Favorite

When Diesel, Mikey and I first moved to this neighborhood, we started out talking fairly short walks just around the local streets till I could get a feel for how far was too far and which roads I should avoid.  One of our first walks that wandered out of the hood was down and around the trail and back again using a road named Leach.

Diesel and I would head north down our street as usual, pick up the trail in the normal spot and head east.  Once we got to the first crossroad we'd turn right and start heading down Leach.  The name Leach doesn't leave much to the imagination, and honestly its not a very appealing street to walk down, but served its purpose.  Leach is gravel road that is actually pretty busy in the evenings. It's unlike other streets in the area because it has this odd mixture of residential and commercial properties.  Most of the business look as if they were started from people's homes to being with, many of them being landscaping or contractor services.  There's a small church, and quite a few decent little homes on more than decent size lots. 

Meadowbrook Ice Cream Co
Amongst the streets business are two that you may be familiar with.  The first being is the Meadowbrook Ice Cream Company which is known around town for its ice cream truck delivery of the cold treats on those hot summer evenings.  Meadowbrook Ice Cream Company also rents ice cream carts and trucks for any special event you may be having.  Just a few years ago, the company I worked for purchased ice cream novelties for our entire department of over 200 employees!

Allen Brothers Inc.
Another familiar business Allen Brothers, Inc.  Allen Brothers specializes in residential, commercial, and solar roofing options.  Recently, Gary and Robert Allen were invited to the President's State of the Union Address

Today's walk wasn't very long, just under 2.5 miles.  And it didn't take us very long.  We still had plenty of time to get some fresh air, ponder the days most recent events and meet a few more neighbors (Diesel's a friend to anyone that has treats!). 

When I first started walking today, I wasn't sure what I was going to write about.  I'd like to start featuring more of the local businesses and locations around town, and really start providing more of a service to my readers than just blah, blah, blah about where Diesel and I have stomped around.  I'd like to pose a few questions to my readers with the hopes that you can provide some feedback in the comments below:

What would you like to see more of in our blog? Pictures? Events? Businesses? My worldly opionions? 

Secondly, Diesel and I meet a lot of new people while we're out on our walks, and we'd like to share our blog with them.  A larger audience can help us shape this blog into what our readers want to see.  Would it be appropriate to print up a business card of sorts and passing them out when we meet interested people? Maybe post small flyers at local businesses?  

Let me know what you think.  Your opinions and comments are always welcome!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Auburn Hills Farmer's Market

My apologies for not getting this posted sooner!  I had plans to rush home that night and blog, but a friend called and needed some talk time, and before I knew it, two more days had past.

Auburn Hills Farmer's Market
On Thursdays in Auburn Hills, there is a small but delightful Farmer's Market on the corner of Auburn and Squirrel.  It runs from 4pm to 7pm, weather permitting. They have a few farmer's that bring their produce of course, but they also provide booths for other local businesses.  There's the cookie lady and her friend who makes smoked meats.  Duffy's Irish Pub can always be found grilling hot dogs and selling sodas.  Auburn Oaks Nursery has a booth as well, and has specials on many of their plants. I have also seen booths selling organic dog treats, home made pasta & cannolis, pies, fresh breads, jewelery and woodworking.  Nana’s World CafĂ© has also had a small booth offering up samples of their gourmet marshmallows. And one of the other treats I love, is the live music! A different guest artist each week.

In the past I have always just driven up and browsed the market on my own, but this year I thought that it would be nicer just to walk up with Diesel.  I have done this once before, and Diesel was so well loved and welcomed (even getting a free hot dog) I had to bring him again, and post about our walk.

Well come Thursday wouldn't you know it, the weather was hot! And usually on hot days I like to wait until after dinner when the sun has started to hide behind the trees a little more.  If Diesel and I were going to make it to the market we'd have to be on our way no later than 6 and it would take some extra planning and supplies.  I got on my lightest weight cloths, my walking shoes and packed my little backpack.  Complete with Diesel's travel water dish and a bottle of water, and for bring the goodies home, my farmer's market bag I got last year.

Diesel and I headed on down the road about 6 o'clock, hit the Clinton River Trail as always, and then made it to downtown about 20 minutes later. It didn't take any time at all to meet up with my mother-in-law who had stopped up as well.  And wouldn't you know it, as soon as I turned around there was Mikey on my motorcycle.  He deemed it too hot to walk but wanted to take our new bike out for another test run. We  let Diesel get some water and we rested in the shade for a moment and then the four of us wandered amongst the merchants.  While Diesel was busy making friends, I picked up some tomatoes, some garlic bread and an ice cold Arnold Palmer. Mikey headed on down the road to our friends house, while I parted ways with Margaret.
Our Farmer's Market Goodies
Since the sun had started to set, the air was cooling off a little better now and Diesel and I weren't in much of a hurry to get home.  We headed on back towards our house, but stopped at our friends house for a bit.  He ran and played with his girlfriend, a blond lab named Daisy while Mikey and I chatted for a bit with our friends and their kids.  It was a nice walk home after that reflecting on how delightful the day had turned out.  Hopefully next week it won't be as hot, but the forecast isn't playing to my favor right now.  But it wouldn't be a Michigan summer if it wasn't 80 and humid.