Grit Blogs > Adventures of Old Nebraska Dave

Where Nebraska Dave Has Been

A photo of Nebraska DaveWell, folks it's with a sad heart I write this post today. Two weeks ago my sister called with a message that our Dad of 87, who fought the good fight against bladder cancer all summer was beginning to slowly deteriorate. The cancer was in remission but the chemo and radiation wore down his strength.  She suggested I come for a visit. He lives in Las Vegas and I live in Nebraska. My daughter and grandson decided to tag along to see their grandpop. Upon arrival we were told that he had taken a turn for the worse and was now in a semi comatose state. When we arrived at the Long Term Care facility, I immediately went to his room and talked to him. He opened up his eyes and looked at me intently for five minutes as I talked, then closed his eyes. It was to be the last conversation I had with him. Five days later her passed away peacefully.

Dad started his life in a small town in Nebraska and lived all his youth years on a farm. His school education was 9th grade but he just had a way of knowing how to fix things, build things, or come up with solutions for a problem. He was a self taught truck mechanic and had his own business for over 20 years. He retired at 55 and moved to Las Vegas where he and Mom worked as trailer park managers for many years. His attitude for positive living influenced all those that knew him and his humor kept all entertained. He was indeed my hero and a great Dad.

While in Las Vegas I took Bradley fishing at a small stocked city pond close to my Dad's long term care facility. We didn't catch any fish but he had a good time throwing out the plastic fish and reeling it back in. The weather was good most of the time but one day it did rain .... well, they call it rain. It got the street wet. They have a term there they call dry rain. That's when it actually rains but because the temperature is so hot it evaporates before it hits the ground. That happens during the summer hot months.

There's not been much activity with projects or gardening the last couple weeks. All that's left to do is to dig up the potatoes. The broccoli and carrots are not going to reach maturity but the Mesclun salad greens are still growing like weeds (pun intended). I haven't heard anything from the new property yet, but I expect to hear something any day now.

My daughter was in a car accident right before we left for Las Vegas. Someone cut across three lanes of traffic on the Interstate and then slowed way down. She was able to get slowed down but the car behind her didn't. The car hit her so hard that neither the trunk nor the two back doors could be opened. It blew out the back window as well. It's a blessing that Bradley was home with me as he would have been in the back seat. Now we have to go car hunting. I'd rather take a whipping in the town square than buy or sell a car or a house. I'm just not good at wheeling and dealing. It's a good thing that I have a friend in the car business. Oh, yeah, Lydia had a few bumps and bruises but she was OK.

Remember the storage room project of last winter? Well, it's about time to start working on that project again. Maybe, just maybe I can get it finished this year. :0) I still have hopes of working on the backyard patio project, but the weather is starting to get cold with the threat of freezing rain and snow. So it's time to move the working projects inside for the winter. Does anyone else have winter projects planned? It's only about a month until the first of the seed catalogs come out. That's always a joyous time for me. How about anyone else? Which seed catalogs do you like and order from?

I've been working on the GRIT garden planner program for the new Terra Nova Gardens property. Whoa, I can have a lot of garden beds there. The beds will be 4'X8' but without board or rock borders. They will be raised just by natural tillage. I will have four foot pathways between the beds. Each row of beds will be six deep so for every 32 feet I can have 18 beds. The area in the video that's flat is about 50 or 60 feet wide. I can have about 35 to 40 beds without too much hard work. I want to work on some other things before I get into gardening on that scale. A ten by ten patio in the back of the beds with a simple fire ring will be one of the first things on the list to be able to burn the brush and weeds.

Then there is the water issue. I see another gravity feed system in the planning stage. I have a source to acquire 55 gallon barrels that could be ganged together and store as much water as I wanted to store. I would put the barrels as high on the back bank of the property as I dare without being visible from the street. That would give me at least a 45 to 50 foot drop to the gardens. That should give me a good amount of hose pressure just from gravity. Water for the garden would have to be hauled. I figure my little Ford Ranger (Ranger Rick) would be able to haul 110 gallons at a time. At 8.34 pounds per gallon for water it would be about 917.4 pounds which is about the load limit for Ricky. If I pull off the road on the street above the bank, gravity would feed the water into the barrels for the garden watering.

Where would the water come from? I will be beefing up the rain water system from my house. The total roof area is 800 square feet and with a possible .62 gallon per square foot rain collection for every inch of rain, it would be a total of 496 gallons for every inch.

Whew, big plans with a lot of work. I expect this will be a work in progress for the rest of my life. What do you think? I haven't even thought about the fruit trees, berry bushes, or bee hives yet. My mind is spinning with the possibilities.

I really need to go now. I need a coffee break after thinking about all that work. Ya'll have a great fall in the yard and garden.

almost country_1
12/3/2011 1:02:54 PM

Dave, so sorry to hear about your dad, but so glad you got the chance for that last conversation--and for many years of a wonderful relationship. Best to you, Colleen


nebraska dave
11/20/2011 6:25:21 PM

Allan, Thank you for the condolences. It was really fortunate that I planned for a visit at this time. Dad was doing really good the week before I arrived. I will certainly have a lifetime of memories from his influence on me. Have a great Thanksgiving.


allan douglas
11/20/2011 4:32:36 PM

I'm sorry for your loss, Dave. I'm glad that you got a chance to visit with him while he was lucid, and that he passed away peacefully.


nebraska dave
11/15/2011 6:31:58 PM

Sheryl, Thanks for the condolences. It's kind of sad to think that a large percentage of kids growing up today will not have memories of their Dad like you and I do. I really do feel sorry for those kids. It would have been a huge hole in my life not to have the influence that my Dad provided. I will be quite different to visit the family in Las Vegas and not have Dad there. We would always get together for his birthday in March. I have been staying busy but there are still times of sober reflection. I know from experience that time will smooth over the sad times and conversations of joy will become the memories of my Dad. Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment.


sheryl.renfrow
11/14/2011 7:05:55 PM

Dave, Your story of your dad certainly brings back memories. My Dad had an 8th grade education, the prettiest handwriting and was left-handed. He was a very hard worker, took in odd jobs after he finished his full-time job in the oilfield. He loved to coon hunt and coyote hunt. Good memories-so thankful you have your good memories, too. Please accept my condolences in your loss.


nebraska dave
11/10/2011 10:07:25 PM

Caleb, Dad's are kind of special especially for boys growing up. Thank you for your kind words. I can tell that your Dad must have had a great positive influence on you as well. I expect that you are heavy into hunting by now. The hunters are out after ducks here in Nebraska. I never was good at hunting and lost interest to fishing at an early age. The reason I think is that one can still catch a fish while not paying attention but not so when hunting. I only when deer hunting once and blasted a couple holes in the air but didn't bag anything. I have had opportunity to dress out a couple deer so it wasn't a total loss. Good hunting my friend and stay safe.


cregan
11/10/2011 5:01:45 PM

Dave - My heart goes out to you. I lost my dad in 2003 in a wood-cutting accident, and while I miss him every day, I do enjoy remembering him and sharing stories with folks who knew him. Your father must have been a heckuva guy, as he raised a heckuva good man. Praying for you. - CDR


nebraska dave
11/10/2011 2:28:07 PM

Dave, thank you for your condolences. I was definitely glad to be able to see my Dad one last time and spend time with him even though he could respond, I believe he could still hear our one sided conversations about the many memories we had together. Projects are definitely a way for me to work through the sad things in life. Most of my heavy thought is done while mowing the grass or raking the leaves or cleaning the refrigerator as I did yesterday. I'm just trying to get ready for the holiday coming up with general cleaning. We usually go to a restaurant called Golden Corral to eat Thanksgiving dinner. I would really like to bring back the family traditional Thanksgiving dinner at home but probably not this year. It's a lot of work and I'm just not up to it with everything else going on. Happy Thanksgiving to you Dave and all of the GRIT bloggers.


nebraska dave
11/10/2011 2:19:36 PM

Cindy, thanks for the kind words. I was grateful to be there when Dad passed away. My sister and I really did support each other. She lives in Las Vegas and Dad lived in his motor home 10 feet away from her modular home for 15 years after Mom died. They ate dinner together every night and watched movies together. It will be a hard loss for her. It's good that she has great friends and a son that will probably come home from California every weekend for awhile to help with the loss. I hope you are enjoying the fall days, finding the snow shoes, and waxing up those cross country skis because I know your best season is coming up. Have a great Michigan Thanksgiving with the family.


dave larson
11/10/2011 7:49:53 AM

Dave, I'm so sorry to hear about your loss. My Mom passed back in 1999 and I remember as though it was yesterday. There is more than just a person not around anymore. Every day, we have the awareness that there is an absence in our lives. It is so good that you got a chance to say goodbye. Thank goodness, your daughter escaped with apparently minor injuries. It sounds as though you are taking a great approach to getting back in the saddle emotionally with all those wonderful projects. Stay warm!


cindy murphy
11/10/2011 5:39:38 AM

Dave, I'm sorry about your Dad. It's good you were able to visit with him, and be there with your sister. When Mom passed away a little over a year ago, I was so grateful I had that last visit with her. I never got chance that with Dad; he died a couple of days before I was scheduled to fly in to see him. My sympathies to you and your family.


nebraska dave
11/9/2011 11:30:19 PM

Drew, Thank you for your condolences. I have tagged along with your tiny house blog but just haven't had the time to respond much. Dad definitely is in the kingdom with my Mom. The pastor in Las Vegas did lay a heavy on me in a good way. He looked me in the eyes and said, "Well, how does it feel to be the patriarch of the family?" It took a few seconds to sink in as to what he was saying. I have only one sister who is five years younger than me. Indeed, I am now the oldest in the family. That's a scary thought that I will have the think about. I hope and pray you are having a great day in your tiny house.


anotherkindofdrew
11/9/2011 2:16:54 PM

My dear friend Dave, I am sorry to hear about your dad. I am sure he is enjoying his new home in the Kingdom. I wish you and your family peace and blessings throughout the coming weeks.


nebraska dave
11/9/2011 8:06:14 AM

Mary, thank you for stopping by and leaving a nice comment. I remember your watering system but just to refresh my mind I found the post back in March and read it again. It sure makes life easier when water doesn't have to be lugged in a bucket. My watering system for the five garden beds in the backyard is strictly gravity fed. Since there isn't much water pressure, the driving force in gravity feed is volume and large diameter hoses. Once I set it up for the year it stays together until fall temperatures require tear down. I have the 400 gallon main supply tank connected to a rain collection system on my house. The system functioned all summer without a hitch and only had to have supplimentry city water a couple times in July to keep the tank full. It's set up to automatically water the garden with timers so I didn't really have to do much manuel watering all summer. It was many years in the planning stage, one year in the building (last year), and hopefully many years in the working stage. I hope that both of our systems keep working for many years. Have a great fall day in the garden.


mary carton
11/8/2011 9:48:12 PM

Dave, I'm so sorry to hear about your Dad. I lost mine 14 yrs ago and I miss him so. Cars can be replaced, but not daughters. Check out my summer time water line system. I have them running all over my 3.5 acres. I was one of my first posts in Feb, March or April. I just drained mine for the winter and disconnected the lines from the hydrant on the house. Mary


nebraska dave
11/8/2011 12:44:09 PM

MW, thank you for your condolences. We still are in the process of getting a car for my daughter. I am just divinely greatful that she wasn't hurt. We have a car bought but they are fixing some issues with the heater so maybe one more day and she will have wheels again. The insurance has been reactivated so we should be good to go. In the mean time grandpop is the taxi for daughter and grandson. yea!!


mountain woman
11/8/2011 11:21:12 AM

Dave, I'm so sorry to hear about your Dad's passing. My heart goes out to you and your family. I am so glad you were there with him and got a chance to say goodbye. I'm also sorry about your daughter's car accident and I'm glad she is okay and that Bradley was with you. As to the projects, I think they are wonderful. It's better to stay enthusiastic, interested and active as we go through our so called retirement years. We are all benefiting from reading about your projects as well as being highly entertained. Enjoy that cup of coffee.