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Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Time with Friends

A couple of weeks ago, Bazinga and I decided to go on a road trip to go see my friend Dawn. This meant that Bazinga was going to get to have time with his own mom and dad. I wasn't quite sure how Pig, Bazinga's dad, was going to welcome him. Now that Bazinga is a full grown male dog, therefore competition, I didn't know if he'd see him as a rival, or still as the pup he knew. After the very long trip down to Dawn's, I took a wrong turn, and then hit horrible traffic, Bazinga was accepted as part of the pack. Pig reminded him of his manners and all was fine. 

 A surprise awaited Bazinga, he had a new brother and sister to get to know. He was fascinated with them. He stood and watched them and tried to get in to their kennel with them. Not exactly sure what to do with them, he spent most of his time following his mom, Isabelle,  around. "She smelled PURTY!" Her pregnancy hormones still in full bloom, and  the smell of her milk enticing his senses, Bazinga wasn't sure how to approach her. One moment he would be following her like a smitten suitor and the next he'd be trying to nurse. He was one confused boy. Her reaction was to tolerate kindly and snap him into place as needs be.

He had a whole pack of dogs of all different kinds and sizes to play with.  He had chickens to chase. He could safely go in and out as he pleased, never wandering too far from Isabelle,  was a happy puppy.
Knowing that Bazinga was in good hands, Dawn and I decided to go to town. We went to lunch at an outdoor restaurant in St. Charles, Missouri.  We each had quiche, mine asparagus and brie, hers ham and cheese, and a cup of lovely potato soup. We then went for a walk down Main street. St. Charles is right on the Mississippi River and still has the charms and architecture of an 1800's river town. The shops are mostly independently owned small businesses each with a unique sense of style and quaintness that honors the term Main Street America.  

We enjoyed walking down the street, window shopping and admiring the brownstone buildings. The flower lined streets beckoning us to continue walking. The open doors of the shops welcoming as they let the mid May air in to mingle with the smells of fresh baked cookies, old hardwood floors and the cool, sweet aroma that you only get from aged brick.

Dawn and I could have spent all day there, but we had other things in mind. We got back into the car and found our way to a Habitat for Humanity Restore. Habitat for Humanity, is and organization that builds homes for people. They restore or rebuild old homes, or start from scratch when necessary. These houses are then sold to people at a very reasonable price and with financing that is affordable. They help people get out of rentals and tenements, but give them the responsibility and pride of home ownership.

The Restores take donated items, including building materials, that they can't use, and resell it to the public at much reduced prices. In areas where construction is strong, you can find everything from lighting fixtures, crown moulding, and flooring, to tiles, bathtubs and old doors. It may be stuff torn out of an old house and salvaged, to brand new stuff, that perhaps some one special ordered, but then decided wasn't the right color and couldn't be taken back to the place of purchase.  You can find treasures and bargains galore. We have one in Danville that I have visited, but was amazed by the things to be found at this one. Danville does not have a lot of construction going on, so that Restore is much smaller and relies more on donations from the community. You can still find the bargains, but have to be very diligent and go often as the inventory turns over often. This store was huge, it had enough tile in one color to tile an entire bathroom. Oh, how I wished I lived closer!

Dawn and I both found things, she a new door for her barn, and a few other things. Me, an arched window frame, that may become a picture frame, or something, I haven't decided yet. After that we went to another resale shop, each filled a  grocery bag with things like old books full of upholstery samples, and wine corks. Each of us having visions of Pinterest dancing through our heads. Our very over stuffed bags only costing $8.00 each we left satisfied we had spent the day frugally. Re-purposing discarded items, a passion for us both.

The next day was spent at Grant's Farm in St. Louis. It was a day of relaxing and enjoying a little time outside. Grant's Farm is the historical home of Ulysses Grant. Part of the grounds have been turned into an area with animals and petting zoos. It also houses the training facilities of the Budweiser Clydesdale Horse Team.

We rode the tram into the park and spent time watching elephant shows and animal education shows. I was wishing that Kahlen was there with me, knowing how much she would enjoy it.
 We fed baby goats, who were very excited to be fed. They clamored up to us and less then politely demanded the baby bottles that contained the much desired milk. Dawn's and my bottles were emptied quickly and with gusto. Leaving many kids asking for more. Somehow, Kristie, Dawn's daughter, the newly anointed veterinarian, was able to make her bottle last and made the kids share it. She gave a sip or two each goat, making it last fifteen minutes or more. Dawn and I were perplexed at how she did it.

 After escaping the remake of Hitchcock's The Birds, replacing the birds with baby goats, we continued walking around the grounds. The end of the tour was at the horse training facilities. The Clydesdales weren't there, but you could see the grandeur of the grounds and how the horses were cared for when they were there. It was a good day, and a good break from reality and all that comes with it.

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