The Steinthal Blog Archives and Continued Memories of My Family’s Country Living

April 2020

Managing Time

By |2020-04-08T21:24:01-05:00April 10th, 2020|Categories: Family, Radio, Steinthal|

As of today, Since Friday, March 20th, I will have been furloughed for a total of 4 weekdays. When I add my already scheduled vacation days (we had to cancel our trip to Antigua last week), I will have a total of 13 days off. I also have the entire week off next week for a total of vacation and furlough days at 20. Needless to say, I’m starting to go a little stir crazy, especially since I have spent the entire time on virtual lockdown within my home. Luckily I have the country residence to enjoy, and that has been a real godsend. I do run out every three days or so for groceries and other basic needs, but it’s still not what I’m used to in my life. I have always been a busy person at work and at home, and this is certainly causing me to have some severe angst trying to figure out what to do with my spare time. Perhaps this is an indication of what retirement will be like for me. However, still even then, I will have the ability to get out and be a part of social gatherings. I feel bad because my partner is on the exact opposite end of the dilemma in that she is always at work at least 11 hours a day. She even spends her Saturday and Sunday mornings and early afternoons taking part in several virtual work meetings.

So with another 11 days of no work (including two weekends), I have decided to embrace the time and spend my days working on several projects around my home as well as my lodge.   The dogs and I are spending more time together with walks overlooking Lake Michigan and of course taking baths (they are, not me).   I also continue to enjoy practicing the piano and recently pulled out a bunch of ham radios I had stored in the basement. I already have two portable antennas up at the lodge, and last weekend enjoyed talking to several people throughout the United States and hearing many foreign operators as well. I suspect there are a lot of ham radio operators out there that are also finding a lot more time on their hands.

This weekend I’m hoping to get some time working on my Morse Code proficiency (one of my passions) and hopefully will be ready to participate in some contests in the weeks to come. Why not?

Willow and Zed taking in beautiful Lake Michigan

Willow looking beautiful as usual

One of their favorite things!  Bath time!

Two portable antennas outside the Lodge ready for action

The street sign outside at our country home

My choice of mask when out and about.  Thanks Luther College!

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Not Celebrating April Fools This Year

By |2020-04-05T12:33:16-05:00April 5th, 2020|Categories: Family, Steinthal|

We are starting to feel the the serious ramifications of the continued “Safer at Home” order initiated by Wisconsin.  It started on Wednesday, March 25 and has only been 11 days.    Despite the hardships, we have been taking advantage of our country homestead with its added space, but we are starting to feel depression settling in.    The lack of social interactions has been one of the biggest challenges for us, especially for Natalie.   Luckily she is able to use Zoom for her “virtual cocktail parties” as a means of tempering the isolation, but despite the “virtual” connections available we are starting to feel the affects of loneliness.

April 1st came and went with no real desire to “fool” anyone.  There were a few parents that thought it would be funny to tell their kids that school was back in session and watch them waiting outside for the bus only to reveal the gag.  Most people didn’t think that was too funny.

On a more personal note, our work continues to prepare for a surge of patients and we continue to be concerned about our largest elderly care facility that is dealing with an outbreak.   As of today, the National Guard is on site testing patients and staff.   Our hospital has had one death so far and we have 11 patients that are “persons under investigation”.

Wisconsin currently has 2,128 total cases and 60 deaths with a death rate of 2.8 %.    The U.S. currently has 320,619 confirmed cases and 9, 114 deaths attributed to the virus so it seems very dire and we are still ahead of our local surge both statewide and nationally.

My work continues to be furloughed the majority of the time as I worked two days last week, will work one day next week and one day the week after.  This is due to the decrease in elective and non-emergent exams and procedures and also the desire to keep medical professional as isolated as possible from the virus as over 10% of the positive cases worldwide are medical professionals.

Since I now have more time on my hands, I decided to set up a portable amateur radio station here at the lodge and look forward to enjoying that hobby a little more going forward.  The piano is also starting to become center stage during my time at home and I still want to learn the bagpipes and am practicing with the chanter as much as possible.

Zed and Dan during the short drive to the Lodge

As you can see, Willow is beside herself with excitement.

A typical day at work

Zed is probably the only one in our family really enjoying the “Safer at Home” order

Natalie attending daily work meetings while enjoying the outside view

An early spring drone shot of the lodge this weekend.  Looking forward to warmer days!

Zed and Cole out for a run in the field

The crew getting ready for a country walk

A view towards the west.

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March 2020

Saturday Happenings During Safer at Home

By |2020-03-28T13:22:09-05:00March 28th, 2020|Categories: Family, Steinthal|

Gov. Tony Evers prepared Monday to order Wisconsinites to stay in their homes starting this week to fend off the coronavirus outbreak that is ravaging populations worldwide.  Today there are 104,871 confirmed cases in the United States and we are struggling to keep up with the sick as at least 10% of infected people requiring hospitalization, our hospitals are preparing for a surge of sick patients in the very near future.   New York, California, Michigan and Illinois are already feeling the surge within their metropolitan hospitals.

The governor’s order forced the closure of all workplaces that aren’t providing what he deems essential services.   I completely agree with this move and we chose to reopen our country home and make the most of our “indoor time”.    We have ramped up our internet service at our Sheboygan home and reinstalled internet and Dish TV at The Lodge.   So far it seems to be working well.    It’s really been nearly a year since we’ve spent any quality time here so there are the usually items that need to be fixed and maintained.   Overall this is going to be a good thing for us.

Today, Natalie spent a lot of her morning and early afternoon attending online meetings about COVID-19 while I cooked breakfast and the dogs napped.   It’s a rainy day and we are hoping to catch a break and head out into the wilderness for a walk.  In fact, as soon as I was typing that, we left for the outdoors!  Wonderful!

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Provisioning the Lodge

By |2020-03-27T09:54:39-05:00March 25th, 2020|Categories: Family, Steinthal|

Yesterday evening I had Dish TV, internet and a landline phone installed at our country home in Steinthal and we have started the process of cleaning and provisioning for a temporary life spent here. We will continue to enjoy our home in Sheboygan but have decided that due to the continued economic downturn, it makes the most sense to pull our country home off the market and start enjoying all that it has to offer. I have to admit that I am looking forward to the unexpected opportunity this unfortunate twist of fate has forced upon us.

The dogs are also enjoying the new, more open environment and are still getting used to their new sleeping arrangements. Specifically, Zed has always been used to sleeping in his kennel, which is not really possible while spending nights at the lodge.    I’m sure it wont take long for country living becoming the norm for both of them.

El Camino takeout now includes Margaritas to go!

Zed finally relaxes during the evening

Willow dreaming of squirrels

She literally climbed onto the lowest branch in search of an invisible squirrel

Our very regal Dane

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July 2018

Concours d’Elegance Racecar Parade

By |2020-03-27T07:22:56-05:00July 23rd, 2018|Categories: Family, Steinthal, Warm Countries|

A can’t miss spectacle for enthusiasts of all ages is the Concours d’Elegance racecar parade on Friday night, which ran from the track through downtown Elkhart Lake to where the cars park along Lake Street from 6-8 pm – Cars departed from Road America around 6 pm. Throngs of people fill the town and lined the street. Led by a pace car and directed by the police from the track the quiet town is taken over by millions of dollars worth of vintage racing cars. The sound, while not as visceral as being at the track itself is unique in that you are seeing the pinnacle of vintage motoring rumble through public roads.  

Crowds leaned in and listened, fans whistled and threw their arms in the air. Standing ten feet from a 1,000 hp big block Can Am car, or the beyond mad 80’s Formula 1 turbo cars as they idle, shoot fire, and rev by you is a sensation that goes beyond hearing. Feeling some of the cars that once pushed the limits hard enough to ban driving down what could be Main Street in anywhere USA is inexplicably cool. As the cars parked crowd filters through the street to stand inches away from legends like the Porsche 917, 908, 906, Ferrari 312 and 312pb, Lola T165, 911 RSR’s, Shelby GT 350’s, and on and on and on. 

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June 2018

The Steinthal Monster – Revisted

By |2019-01-03T14:56:30-06:00June 11th, 2018|Categories: Family, Steinthal|

Had a fun encounter with another snapping turtle (aka The Steinthal Monster) as previously described by Emily nearly 12 years ago to the day.  At that time, her entry served as the very first made on this site!

The Steinthal Monster Lives!
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April 2018

Willow’s First Road Trip

By |2020-06-15T08:45:12-05:00April 27th, 2018|Categories: Family, Steinthal, Willow|Tags: |

Yesterday, Willow and I took a brief trip to Platteville, Wisconsin to see Lukas play in the University jazz band. He is the pianist for the band and this was my first opportunity to see him finally show off his talent. Since Willow had nothing better to do that evening, she asked if she could join me for the trip. It was a four hour drive to Platteville from Steinthal thanks to the Madison rush-hour traffic, but we were able to get there in time to see the concert which started at 7:30 PM.

Luke’s friends watched Willow for the 2 hour concert and I was blown away by the talent I heard! It was certainly worth the trip, even though my stay had to be brief. The drive home was only three hours, but we didn’t get home until 12:30 this morning. Needless to say, Willow and I are a little tired.Luckily my work starts from 3 PM to 11 PM so I have a little time to get caught up on sleep. Regardless, she did fantastic on the trip and we were even able to stop over in Madison and get a few more pet supplies while in route.

Below you can listen to the entire unedited concert I recorded.

Willow is ready to go!  Took about 10 minutes for her to realize I was not going to let her sit in my lap the entire trip..

This is what I looked at most of the time during the drive..

Luke meeting Willow for the first time on campus.

Luke’s friends were VERY gracious to watch her during the concert!

A quick shot I took after the end of the concert!  It was truly FANTASTIC!  Luke is on the far left..

Willow’s Page
Willow’s Pictures

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Dan Gets in Trouble Again!!

By |2018-04-26T07:47:05-05:00April 25th, 2018|Categories: Family, Steinthal|

This weekend I got in big trouble! It was a beautiful Sunday afternoon, the weather is finally starting to feel like spring and the trusty old minivan was in dire need of a car wash. While stopping for a few groceries, we decided to head across the street and get the job done. Kameryn was my front seat passenger; I was the driver and Natalie and Brynn were stuck in the back.   As we pulled into the car wash (the $10 Super Deluxe Wash with the multicolored wax variety) the jets started to turn on and rinse the car off.  After the soap cycle and just prior to the power rinse cycle,  I thought it would be  extremely humorous to roll down Kameryn’s car window, just before the water got to it and then I planned to quickly roll it up right before the jets hit the window.  This very carefully planned maneuver on my part was so very far from what actually transpired. 

You see, as I was quickly trying to roll up the window, Kameryn, Natalie and Brynn started screaming and yelling at me and Kameryn decided to try and roll up her window at the same time that I was doing it (only Kameryn pushed the wrong direction on the button, forcing the window all the way down and counteracting any attempt on my part to close the gap).  At about this time, Kameryn and I got power-washed by a 1000 psi several gallon torrent of cold water for between 5 to 10 seconds.   We finally were able to get the window up (as I think Kameryn’s entire body was blown to the left by the water gush, releasing her hand from the window switch) allowing us plenty of time to prepare for the visual wonder of the blue, yellow and pink wax cycle.   LOVELY!!!!  But I digress and back to the current story… 

At this point, everyone was continuing to yell and scream at me (except Brynn, who was laughing hysterically, because she was perfectly dry after the experience because her sister was the one that got the $10 shower, minus the wax) and I had a lot of explaining to do to everyone in the van as I cautiously drove out of the car wash with limited to no visibility due to the fog and water all over the inside of the windshield, all over the seats, the interior ceiling, my glasses and of course, Kameryn….

While I think there must be a lesson to be learned from this incident, I am not quite sure what it is, nor have I learned it.    I told Kameryn that this would be a good topic of conversation at school on Monday as she could share it during “show and tell” explaining to all her friends and her teacher how she had her very first personal car wash experience.  She didn’t think that was a good idea at all… 

Would I ever do this again?  Heck yes!  Especially if Kameryn was sitting next to me…..  and I suspect when Kameryn is driving age and I am the one in the passenger seat, she will almost certainly do the same.

The interior of the minivan afterwards.   Note the water dripping from the ceiling…  Ooops

How it looks from the outside.  No words really necessary..

Kameryn, after moving to the back of the van since her seat was drenched.  She’s not too happy with me…

Brynn, on the other hand, thought the spectacle was AWESEOME!  Oh and she stayed completely dry while her sister did not..

The guilty driver trying to reconcile with Kameryn…  It didn’t take too long..

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Willow and the Dreaded 334 Pound Batteries

By |2019-07-30T10:19:41-05:00April 23rd, 2018|Categories: Family, Steinthal, Willow|Tags: |

Today, Willow and I spent our afternoon fixing a few items in the tower shed.   After a long winter storm and no sunlight for days, the batteries providing electricity to the internet media converters and the amateur radio repeater died.  Originally I figured all I needed to do was power off the load and wait for the solar panels to provide charging current to the batteries and then in about a week I could go back, restart the converters and repeater and everything would work fine.  Unfortunately, there was one small factoid that I neglected to understand.  The charge converter (the piece that converts the solar energy into electrical energy) does not get it’s power from the solar panels so it won’t run at all on it’s own.  Instead, it requires a small amount of current to be provided by the batteries which in my case were dead.   I have two 12-volt batteries that are hooked in series powering a 24 volt system.  So all I needed to do was to charge the batteries with the battery charger I have in the garage.  Unfortunately, each battery weighs a whopping 167 pounds and it’s not easy moving them on your own (even with an 8 week old Great Dane puppy along for the help).   Willow and I finally managed to unhook the batteries and load them onto the lawn mower and haul them back to the residence where we can charge them overnight.    I plan to reinstall everything on Thursday morning before heading out to see my son Luke’s jazz band concert in Platteville, Wisconsin.

Willow, in the driver’s seat of the mower that was used to haul 334 pounds of batteries back to the residence for a fresh charge in the garage.  She was quite proud of herself, as you can probably tell..

Willow, relaxing her aching back in the sweet sun after a hard days work…

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