Water for the Garden

When the house was renovated we had two new outdoor faucets installed.

Our new hose bibb on the side of the conservatory.
Our new hose bibb on the side of the conservatory.

When they were installed we were told the spigots were a special type which don’t freeze.

Anti-freeze hose bib

The valve of the spigot is actually about a foot into the house so water doesn’t sit in the area of the faucet that might freeze.

The water is running even though the valve is closed.

Unfortunately they are both leaking — not dripping — actually running when they’re turned off. (This has happened before.)

The hose bibs are important so Charlie can water newly planted seeds in the garden.

Charlie called our contractor who came out to change both hose bibs.

Radish and broccoli seeds will soon be in the ground.

I think we’re set now to start planting the garden.

What’s your first crop this year?


Puppy Supplies

I’ve had a little buying spree ordering supplies for Dash when he gets here on April 7.

Dash the Doxie.

He is a shaded red long-haired dachshund so I tried to keep his personal items in the green color family.

Green is a good color for a redhead.

I purchased 2 green bowls from Amazon which I think are being sent from China. Both bowls with shipping are under $10.

Paisley collar and leash from Country Brook Design.

Being a lover of paisley I purchased a collar and leash set in green paisley which he will surely grow into. This set is also available at Amazon.

This doorway into the dining room needs to be blocked.

While he’s little I plan to limit Dash’s access to the conservatory and the conservatory bathroom. (Notice his room is green, too.)

I hope a little barricade will not be too restrictive.

I bought a baby gate that should span our 63-inch opening into the dining room.

I’ll be looking for an appropriate cushion to soften the bottom of the basket.

I don’t think he’ll feel too confined because I bought him a wicker dog basket from Etsy much like the one my former dog had back in the 1980s.  The actual store is in Bosnia Herzegovina and will be shipping from there.

Perhaps we’ll put a dog run in the yard to protect Dash from other animals in the neighborhood.

I’m sure we’ll be getting a few more things as time goes on when he gets old enough to have some training.

What brand of dog food do you like?

Prepping for More Travel

Sug recently returned from a mission trip to Guatemala where she breezed past the security screening because she had been pre-screened.

Personal questions are part of the online questionnaire.

When we heard how it expedited the trip we decided to do the same.

UPDATE:  I canceled my appointment because the Global Entry program supersedes and includes the TSA Pre-check. 

I’ll be interviewed tomorrow.

The online questionnaire took about 5 minutes after which I was directed to schedule an interview at a local office. Tomorrow I have a face-to-face interrogation at which I’ll be finger-printed and pay $85.

I’m ready to travel.

Actually Sug’s pass is called Global Entry which I have now also applied for. This is a little more involved and costs $100.  I’ll make a report after my interview is complete.

Do you use expedited travel documents?

Maps.me App

While Charlie and I were in Cuba I became familiar with an iPhone app called maps.me. It was invaluable.

After downloaded the maps.me app can be zoomed.

I downloaded the Cuba map.

Route from Havana airport to Casa Marta.

I opened it after we hired a cab at the Airport to take us to our first casa particulare.

The blue arrow head pinpoints where in the world I am.

The blue arrow pinpointed where we were and showed us that the route we were following was actually taking us to our expected destination.

I could mark destinations of interest.

The best part of maps.me is that it uses no data and does not need wi-fi; it works on GPS.

You can plan a route by car, walking, bus, or bike.

I could plan trips even if someone else was driving as was the case when riding from Havana to Viñales and back again in a taxi collectivo.

I have downloaded my local map and also our next trip: London.

Do you have a favorite app?

Naming My Puppy

I am set to bring my 8-week old mini long-haired dachshund puppy home on April 7th. Dachshunds were first bred in Germany to hunt badgers; dachshund means “badger dog”.

This little fellow is so cute.

We went to see him after he was a month old and fell in love.

Princess Victoria and Dash

I want to call him “Dash” like Queen Victoria’s beloved King Charles Spaniel.  And so his nickname will be “Dash” which seems appropriate for a dachshund.

Little Dash fell asleep on my lap at the breeder’s house.

Having had other pedigreed dogs, though, I knew I should come up with a longer, unique name.

He crossed his back paws while he was napping.

Charlie thinks I’m a little silly but I plan to name him: Jo’s Balderdash von der Lichtung.  “Balderdash” is a word used as early as the 17 century meaning “nonsense”.

Our house is “The Glade”

And “von der Lichtung” is the German for “of The Glade” which is where we live.

In what area of nonsense do you go overboard?

Trip to Cuba: Havana Airport

Havana Airport (HAV) is also known as José Martí International Airport.

Terminal 2 has sufficient services and is far away from the rest of the airport.

There are 5 terminals which are not connected. Most flights from the U.S. come into Terminal 3, the international terminal.

Terminal 2 viewed from the tarmac. Arrivals on the left; departures o the right.

However Charlie and I arrived aboard Southwest Airlines at Terminal 2 which is known as “the charter terminal” but now accommodates scheduled flights as well. In addition to Southwest we saw Delta agents and planes.

The front of the stand where Cuban travel cards are distributed.

So when we arrived we first went through immigration and one at a time presented our passports and Cuba travel card (which we had picked up at the desk near our departure gate in Fort Lauderdale).

We were told to take a photo of the sample travel card because we would have to purchase another one if we made any mistakes.

Passports and travel cards were stamped and returned. We were screened through a security station and then we walked passed the guards under the status of “nothing to declare”.

The area in front of Terminal 2 connects the arrival and departure gates.

I had been told that we could only change money at Terminal 3 but we simply walked next door from the “arrivals” building to the “departures” building to a CADECA window where we exchanged currency.

Some currency exchanges have a sign like this one.

We were off on our week-long adventure.

Everyone waits outside the arrival area until airline employees fill the ticket desks.

When we were ready to head back to the airport at the end of our stay, people with more experience than we had tried to convince us we would not be leaving from Terminal 2 because of its reputation for being “charter only”.

Flights leaving from Terminal 2 are listed on the board.

That was not true but our taxi driver waited for us just in case we needed a ride to a different terminal. We arrived 3 hours before our scheduled flight. I went back to the same CADECA to change my Cuban money back to Euros (they did not have British pounds and U.S. dollars have a 10% additional fee).

The Southwest desks inside the departure area of Terminal 2.

We lined up at the Southwest desk to check-in and check our luggage.

Our passports were stamped.

Once more we entered into the immigration cubicle one at a time where our passports were stamped and our travel cards collected. This time they were not handed back to us.

The waiting area was large and more or less full of people which subsided as the day progressed.

We went through a security screening and into the waiting area.

This CADECA was never open during the 5 hours we spent in the departure area. We used the one prior to immigration when leaving.

There were restaurants, Duty Free shops, souvenir stores, bathrooms, and even money exchange windows which didn’t seem to be open.

We had already purchased rum, cigars, and souvenirs which were packed in our checked luggage.

I had read that none of these things existed at Terminal 2.

Our plane was hours late taking off. I was notified by the airline by email which I could not access in the airport.

Our flight left hours after it was actually scheduled but at last  we boarded our flight headed for Fort Lauderdale.

What do you do when the information you need is not available or erroneous?

Trip to Cuba: Lodging – Days 4 and 5

When I left the story of the details of Cuban lodging Charlie and I were on our way back to Havana from Viñales in a taxi collectivo.

We rode in the front of this 1952 4-door Ford station wagon.

We road for 111 miles in a red 4-door station wagon with 5 other people. Our luggage was packed onto the roof rack.

Calle Crespo near the Malecón in Havana.

We were dropped off around 4 p.m. at the door of our new casa particulare, La California, on Crespo near the eastern end of the Malecón in old Havana. We rang the bell and were shown to our room.

A double staircase took us to the second floor Colonial room in La California at 55 Crespo.

We climbed a long staircase to the second floor.

The room was large and cool with a television and period furniture.

Our room was the largest we had since we arrived in Cuba.

The entrance to the bathroom. The toilet and shower are to the right of the sink.

The en suite bathroom was was also the most modern and largest one we had while in Cuba.

La Prada, a main avenue through old Havana, where government buildings are prominent.

We were within walking distance of the capitol building and the old part of the city.

The breakfast at La California was abundant and leisurely.

The next morning for 5CUC ($5) each were were served an enormous breakfast in the downstairs dining room.

Much of the artwork in our room and throughout building was very strange and disturbing.

I had arranged for our living accommodations through AirBnB months before.  We stayed for 2 nights at the rate of $33 per night.

Our taxi was an authentic VW bus.

As before our hostess and waitress arranged for a taxi to take us back to Jose Marti Airport to catch our flight back to the U.S.

We toured Havana by taxi. Our driver was proud to show us his city.

We had a great week in Havana.

Where’s your next trip?