I’ve spent the past week in the mountains of the Shenandoah National Park with my husband, Jon, and dog, Suzy.
We spent our mornings hiking and afternoons visiting wineries and breweries.
Evenings we relaxed at the campsite and cooked some fantastic dinners.
No Meatloaf, that part comes later….
We take this vacation every year.
I love the mountains and the area around Charlottesville, Virginia is loaded with wineries so I stock up for the year with my favorite wines.
Usually we bring home around four cases – enough to last us the year.
But, this year was going to be a little different. On Saturday, July 2, our almost 13 year old chocolate lab, Missy, became ill.
I woke up to find our kitchen covered in blood. Missy was hemorrhaging.
A quick rush to the vet and we were told she had pyometra and needed emergency surgery and quick.
The vet performed the hysterectomy (aka spay) and sent her home with us.
Almost $1,300 later we have a post-op dog and not much of a “wine fund”.
I’d rather have the post-op dog – she’s like one of my children – except she always listens to me.
Here I will insert what we learned the hard way – get your female dog spayed, even if you plan to breed her do it after she’s had her litter.
Pyometra develops in older non-spayed females. We did not because the original plan was to breed her but life with children got in the way, then she was too old to have a litter of puppies and we didn’t want to spend the money to get an
old dog spayed. So, instead we spent even more money for a spay on an even older dog.
Anyways, back to our mountain vacation.
With our new camper I have more cooking resources and storage space so I spent some time picking out recipes to try. We had some great food!
For our lunches, which would be picnics either in the mountains or at a winery, I made
cranberry chicken salad
for sandwich fillings.
I also bought rosemary ham from the deli which was very good.
I rounded out the lunch menu with grapes, chips, dark chocolate, and dipping oil for some of that ciabatta bread to go with wine.
Two lunches stand out in my mind as great.
The first one we enjoyed on the porch of President Hoover’s camp in the forest: Camp Rapidan.
We hiked about 2 miles down to the camp which is now only the main cabin and one or two other buildings.
The place is beautiful – situated right next to a beautiful trout stream (which Jon fished for several hours while I read) and there was not another soul in sight on this Wednesday afternoon.
We sat on the porch and had crab salad with a white wine that day.
The other memorable lunch was at a winery beside a lake with the same menu.
Each day we hiked a different trail.
The first day we were there we hiked down to a waterfall. The waterfall was not very spectacular and it was a hot, long hike uphill to the truck.
I was in the lead with Suzy by my side on her leash. Jon was behind us.
Suddenly he grabs me and pushes me! I stumbled over a rock in the path and fell.
Thoughts were flashing thru my mind so quick – I had no idea why he would push me.
I mean, I know the waterfall was lame, but why take it out on me??!!
As I start to get up I see my hand is shredded from the rocks and bleeding.
I start to cry “Why did you push me??” Jon helps me up, hugs me and points.
Right beside the path (where Suzy was walking) lays a rattlesnake! He’s just lying there resting; all 40” of him with his 13 rattles on the end of his tail.
I told Jon he could push me any day if that was the reason!
Jon took pictures since he was not showing any signs of aggression.
Looking back I would have loved to have heard his rattling… from a distance.
The rest of our hikes were not that scary. We saw a few bears, even a small cub with his mother, and plenty of deer.
We headed home on Friday with only one case of wine, but I will savor every drop of it and say a prayer of thanks that Missy is with us.
Now on to the Meatloaf.
Right around the time we planned this vacation, our daughter asked if we would go to the Ohio State Fair with her and her husband to see Meatloaf play.
Meatloaf was always one of our favorites and our kids grew up listening to his music so of course we said we’d go.
Saturday morning we got up and headed to Columbus. We spent the day at the fair and then went to the concert.
Meatloaf is getting old (he’s 63) and can’t hit the notes like he used to, but that was one of the best (if not the best) concerts ever.
He is one he!! of an entertainer! So that was the ending to our vacation and now it’s back to the grind and getting ready to return to work in a week.