On the seventh of August Chippie did not eat anything in the morning. When I got back from driving schoolbus, he would not get up by himself. Carrying him outside to do his business he would walk around my leg hugging it as if it was the only way to stay upright – his body was also decidedly bent to one side. It was clear that he had had a stroke and I knew this was his last day. I let the kids know, we made the appointment with the vet and the whole afternoon Chippie quietly lay at my feat like this. He did have a good last day.
Even when the sun is not shining I like this spot next to the I494 highway. The Mississippi always looks good here. This time my feet were a bit tender – I had walked here all the way from our house and I was waiting for Gina to come and get me after she finished working.
(The walk was about 2.5 miles all on sidewalk or tar roads.)
Jacques joined me and the group for August’s barefoot hike. As ususal it was like tasting a small bit of heaven.
After a fresh haircut, I grabbed the opportunity to get a few pictures of Jacques.
He was curious when I tild him I could see a lot of his grandfather in him and so I was able to give him this:
One afternoon I got the chance to introduce a friend from church to one of the local lakes – Fish Lake in Eagan.
Our State Fair was also held in August, and I landed a job at one of the booths. I must have done OK, because the same company afterwards offered my a full time job as assistant manager at a brand new store / type of store in Minneapolis.
This was the booth at the state fair:
July always start for us with a big Potjie Dag at Mark Sampson’s house. We cook, talk (Afrikaans a lot without translation and regard for non-Afrikaans speakers – it is the one day we just go with Afrikaans), swim and relax a lot.
July’s hiking weather was just perfect – good memories to last through the cold barefoot-unfriendly winters.
It also became clear that the house needed a new roof – luckily only the tiles needed to be replaced and the rest of the roof structure was still very good.
Summer makes for beautiful walks next to the Mississippi river – this was taken off an old bridge – half of which was left intact when the rest was demolished.
Another school field trip took me to an old museum in Mendota Village. It was right next to the train track and it is not every day that you get to take this sort of photo!
Summer and kayaking! The sun is just so welcome. And we have to soak up all we can before the days get shorter! This was Fish Lake in Eagan.
This was a first: a really very very heavy rainstorm trapped me at home in my car! Believe me – this photo is deceiving. It was worse that what you see here. After about ten minutes I dashed to the house.
Another barefoot walk next to the Mississippi river – this time where it flows through (or just south of) downtown St Paul. I was on Raspberry Island to take this photograph.
Our church had a float in the local city parade (South St Paul Days Parade) with our church band playing live – you can see them here as they just passed us.
And with that we reached the midpoint of the year!
By May the weather was nice enough to join the Dalldorfs in burning their old Christmas tree from 2014. Few things feel as nice as the green grass after a cold winter.
We did a long nine month course at church and it was a huge privilege to have Jacques there too. Here he is talking to the group.
With the improved weather, the barefoot hiking group started the monthly hikes again!
Towards the end of the school year I had to take the high school band to a parade – only the second time I had to tow a trailer with a school bus. All good.
I accompanied Wilhelm to Kansas City, where we had a booth at the fantasy art convention, Spectrum. I had a lot of fun talking to people and demonstrating how leatherwork is done.
Wilhelm finally became a US citizen. He was too old to become a citizen with me or Gina and had to do the deed on his own.
I found myself more and more taking photos of Chippie – it was very clear that his time was limited on this earth.
On the 11th we went to the local special Sunshine Restaurant for breakfast with the boys! For no reason. Just fun.
The two old guys in the household. Top is Tuffie, born in 1999 and bottom is Chippie, born 1998. We were basically providing hospice care for Chippie.
Not many fuculties remained intact for old Chippie, but I suspected he still had a very keen sense of smell. And somehow they just always know when they are close to you.
I made biltong and it came out good. I have not done that for so long that I am not sure where my biltong cutter is, but a sharp pocket knife is actually just as good!
I am really having fun with this app on my phone – InstaWeather. The actual photographs are a bonus and simply a vehicle to capture the weather, time and date and location. In Minnesota where the weather is constantly on your mind and often discussed, it is nice to have record of when the weather did what.
Look at these three pictures taken in March and take note of the temperatures for example.
On the first of February Wilhelm came home with the first car he bought for himself – flashy red!
My leatherwork continues and I made this guitar strap for a singer in Mankato.
I continued to drive school bus – this was the half size special ed bus I was responsible for. Schoolbus drivers are thankful for every early morning without snow on the buses. Cold did not bug me – this one was small enough to warm up really fast and was very comfortable to drive!
At the end of February the four of us went out to eat a dinner for Jacques’ birthday – I am still sporting that beard and the young man is doing his best to keep up with me!
Having a birthday does not mean you must stop having fun. I just hope I can continue getting older and being like Jacques.
The year started off on the first much like 2016 is kicking off – little snow on the ground and just about “warm enough” for a barefoot photo op outside.
2015 was my fifth year going without shoes as much as I possible can. I look back on this time with a lot of joy. If only the weather shared my passion for a barefoot lifestyle!
When I am at home and busy in my leather workshop, the two dogs are never very far away – especially when I do work like braiding that does not involve loud noises. As soon as I start tooling, the banging noise startles the two old guys because of how deaf they are getting.
In their old age there are things the dogs loose and then there are things they do not loose. They sometimes loose bladder control, hence the old towel lying ready in a strategic spot. They do not loose the urge to be VERY close to you when you are on the throne in the bathroom. Here Tuffie lies outside the door waiting for Gina.
As usual we try to make sure that we have a games evening with the Kuhn’s and Sampson’s every month in winter and January was no exception.
I went to see the Aztec Dancers, Kalpulli KetzalCoatlicue, dance in honour of St Paul, the apostle, in Minneapolis. I could not resist taking this picture of this little drummer who stood through the whole hour and a half, drumming away in perfect rhythm!
A beard is all well and good, but too much trouble, and I think like clothing, you have to have a particular body/face to make it look good.
A Facebook friend of mine, Marc Carlson, have been posting one photograph per day and he is planning to do a full 365 days of photos. This inspired me to do the same, so now I am doing the homework to see what vehicle to use for this.
I want it to be a glimpse of our surroundings for our family and friends in South Africa and also a nice record for us to look back on.
This will also be a mini tribute to Marc : he was the very first person I identified on the web and whose writings of the Internet I enjoyed. This was when the Internet was only text based and mostly used for sharing University documents. The document I found, put out there by Marc, dealt with the heat hardening of leather. I have that same document not quoted in my leather instruction blog.
I have to decide on where the graphics should be stored for this blog, how to group them and how to present them. Hopefully I will be ready in January first to kick off this fun project.
To help test, I took this picture this morning on the train going on to work.
Just as I said in a post about a month ago, Chippie did not have long on this earth.
Yesterday at noon it was clear that he had had a stroke and could virtually not walk. He also refused food – even his most loved treats.
So we decided to have him put down. I will post some photos of him here from a vast collection of photographs (a large part of his life was part of the age of digital photography abundance).
The early days: