Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Return of the GATORS

Gee! Bet you can't guess where we went back to today.
The Critchlow Alligator Sanctuary in Athens, Michigan. We switched grand kids the other day and Rachel wanted to see the gators so we headed back over there. Being a weekday it wasn't as crowded as it was Saturday, as a matter of fact we were the only ones there today. They were doing so research and moving some of the gators from one pond to another, they have three different ponds depending on the size of the gator and once they get to big for the pond they are in they get moved up to be with other gators more there own size, this is to prevent them from hurting each other.

They were right in the middle of moving one that was a little short of being 4 foot long and decided that Rachel should help them, now Rachel is just a tad over 5 ft and the gator was just a tad under 4 ft but when it comes to animals she knows no fear, as you can see in the following pictures.

This place is really amazing for both the kids and adults, as I said earlier we learned more about gators then we could imagine. We have a new respect for the animal but a lot less fear, we now know some of there habits and what to do when you encounter one in the wild. Just call them by named and when they come to you reward them with Purina Gator treat.

Yes Purina really does make Gator treats.

She didn't have any problem at all in handling this guy and the curator was very impressed with how well she did and how fast she caught on.

A little contest to see who had the biggest smile.

A two for one gator girl.

If you are ever in the area with or without kids this place is well worth the 1 1/2 to 2 hours to visit. I know that we'll be back there again before summers over.

Wally, Rachel & Alphabet Soup.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Gators of Michigan

We managed to survive the week of thunderstorms that past this way, the first one hit and knocked out our power for two days, with the generator and fathers day dinner at the kids we managed to get through it without to much of a problem. Then three days later we got hit with another series of storms that took the power out again for about 36 hours, the generators getting a good work out this week.

We brought Nick our grandson back out with us for a few days, after playing about 30 rounds of Putt Putt golf we decided to take a little road trip today.

The kids have been to Florida 4 times and never seen a alligator, not to many of them at Disney World, so we went to a little place I found out about on the internet.

Critchlow Alligator Sanctuary
, this is a small place for reptiles to find a safe haven and the proper care after they have been mistreated by people that thought that they would make good house pets.

The mission of Critchlow Alligator Sanctuary & Zoological Garden's is to inspire and educate people to care for the environment by providing fun and educational experiences that lead to understanding the natural world.

This is one of the best little places that we have been to in a long time, they make sure that everyone there from the youngest to the oldest takes part in being involved with the animals, from holding them to feeding them.

Australian Bearded Lizard

African tortise

Five year old gator

Tom hiding from Godzilla

During our two hours there today we learned more about gators then all the time that we've spent in Florida. They have them trained to respond to voice commands and each has their own color stick that they react to. When he called them by name they would come out of the pond to be feed, one at a time.

We also learned what they are saying by how much of their head or body is sticking out of the water. While we were there the biggest male,Godzilla kept chasing the smaller males from the pond, they would hide in the grass and make different sounds, asking for permission to return to the pond, Godzilla would make a certain sound and they would return, but not to close to Godzilla.

The good thing is that Nick's sister Rachel is coming back out and we get to go back there to take her.


Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Just Some More Stuff

Our granddaughter Rachel spent a few days with us last week, her brother was still in school, so she got to come out here all by herself. There is another family out here and their grandson is a classmates of Rachel's, their place is on the pond and Rachel has become good friends with all their grand kids so we spent a lot of time over there with the kids playing and swimming in the pond. After about three hours in the pond the kids had lunch and then I took them down to the pool for about 2 ½ hours, a short break for dinner and they were back in the pond for another two hours, guess who was ready for bed around 8:30pm, ME, Rachel wanted to stay up and watch movies.

A few ladies on our road have been here for a few years and have fantastic gardens growing, a couple of them are thinning them out and have told Cathy to come by and grab what ever she wanted, so she's getting here exercise carrying buckets of flowers back to the lot and getting them planted. She's got the place looking pretty good and homey right now but says that she has a lot more to do before she's satisfied.

A few pictures of the flowers, the garden still needs to fill in a bit, but you can only do so much. By next summer she;s going to be having to thin it out.

Mean while I decided that with my Chiropractor being a hour and a half drive away I better find a local one, found one about a 20 minute drive away. If you use a chiropractor then you know that they normally have goofy hours, a few hour morning session then a few hours in the afternoon but different depending on the day of the week. My new doctor is part of a clinic and they are open from 8am to 6pm everyday which is going to be great.

Now I've had back pain since my early 20's and have seen dozens of doctors about it, after a few vehicle crashes when I was with the police department they sent me to specialist and nobody has ever figured out the source of the pain. I started seeing a chiropractor on my own in my late 20's and that has been the only thing that has relived the pain when my backs gone out. Today she started out with X-rays of the top half of the spine and another of the lower half, as we were looking at the X-rays, which are now digital, she hit a few buttons and stitched the 2 images into one large picture. She started at the top and working her way down my spine she pointed out different things then she got to the lumbar area which is where my problem is located. She started counting the 5 lumbar vertebra's, the problem was she counted to 6, after 40 years of doctors and specialist she is the first one to notice that I had a birth defect and have a 6th lumbar vertebra. She called it a transition vertebra and the little wings that stick out each side, I forget what she called them, have attached themselves to the hip bone, so instead of being somewhat free floating the 6th vertebra moves with the hip and that is what has caused me all my problems over the years.

When I was younger the muscles surrounding that area held everything in place for the most part, but since I've retired, gotten fat and lazy the muscles have lost their tone and don't support it like they used to. Guess I have two choices one, lose about 50 lbs and get back into my playing shape or two, get lazier and do no type of physical activity at all and just lie around. Damn, I'm going to have to give this some long serious thought.

After my visit to the Chiropractor yesterday I felt so good I stopped at Home Depot on the way home and picked up some lumber and when I got home I framed in the addition to the shed, of course this morning I could barely get out of bed. Some people just never learn!

Friday, June 11, 2010


A few weeks ago the old (125 years) Historic Mill in downtown Homer burnt to the ground, for the last few years it was used as a teen night club (non-alcohol dances) and as a spook house at Halloween. The State Police are still trying to figure out what caused it, it was built on the banks of the Kalamazoo River, for a small town like Homer (pop. 1800) this was a major event.

Everybody has heard about a boy named Sue, well meet a girl named Sam. The kids and grand kids decided that with Arthur passing the house was just to quiet and lonely so they rescued this little thing that was taken from a puppy mill somewhere in Kentucky, we're not sure how all the puppies got to Michigan from Kentucky but they sure are glad that they did. The kids went into the shelter and there were three big area's filled with puppies, the area in the center had about 12 black little puppies all curled up together sleeping and this little girl immediately perked up her head when she saw Nick and Rachel and ran over to them, that was all it took for them to make up their minds about which one was going home with them. Thing have changed since I last went to the shelter for a puppy, now you have to fill out a ton of forms, the animal has to have all it's shots and be fixed and you are asked for a donation of $300.00, at some shelters you have to provide references. We got to meet her Thursday and you can tell that she's going to be one smart dog and great companion.

Cathy's has been busting her butt trying to get a garden going, when she started this area the first of May it was a huge tree stump, she finding places between the roots where she can dig down a little to get a plant in, by next year she'll probably have to many flowers in it and have to thin them out.

We've got a lot of bunnies out here and they're working as hard as they can to eat as much as Cathy plants.

This is her walking herb garden, she found some wooden klompen's at a flea market when we were in Florida.

Gotta go get the bikes ready, the kids are coming out tomorrow for a few days.