Harvest host at Sander’s Ridge Vineyard in NC

On our way to see family in Raleigh, NC we spent a night at a Harvest Host member farm in northern North Carolina. After a quick stop at a nearby RV park for fresh water we made our way to the Sanders Ridge Vineyards where they had us park a few hundred feet from the restaurant building in a field adjacent to their vinyards as you can see in the main photo for this post above.
Roger and Kate of Rolling with Grass sampling wines at Sanders Ridge Vineyards
Sanders Ridge is a family owned and operated vineyard with a variety of wines to choose from. We naturally sampled all ten that were currently available. They were all tasty and unique wines and following the Harvest Host recommendation we purchased a few bottles for future consumption.

However since we didn’t have far to walk to get home we went ahead and enjoyed a bottle on their deck while a light rain fell around us.
Kate of Rolling with Grass Enjoys wine in the rain at Sanders Ridge Vineyards
They also have a 15 line zip-line setup which we will definitely be back to experience but this trip we didn’t have a lot of time and headed out the next morning.

Even if you aren’t RVing Sander’s is worth stopping for. The wines are delicious and they have a gourmet restaurant on site. When we went they were having a painting course for about 15 participants.

Upsie Dazey!

When we lost Zeke on October 1st Kate and I separately started looking at different dog rescue websites in Ohio and the surrounding areas including North Carolina. We knew that the best way to remember Zeke would be to rescue another dog that was in the same situation as him. What better way to honor his life than by giving someone else the same love and attention?

One problem we immediately encountered was that most rescue organizations will not even consider an out of state adoption let alone one from a fulltime RV couple with a constantly changing address. Kate was undaunted though and after a week or so of searching found Claire at The Fort Rescue in North Carolina. The Fort has been around since 2012 focused on rescuing Pit Bull breeds and were open to adopting to people in our situation. Kate emailed them about our situation and Zeke’s recent passing and they replied immediately and enthusiastically that it would not be a problem for us to adopt one of their rescue dogs.

The main reason Kate reached out to The Fort was because of Claire. Besides being really cute Claire was also good with other dogs, children, and pretty much super relaxed. Since we are travelling the country in a trailer we need someone who can handle all types of situations with ease and it looked like she would fit that bill without a problem.

Jake Kate Dazey Karen and Abby First Meeting at The Fort Rescue in North Carolina
Jake Kate Dazey Karen and Abby First Meeting at The Fort Rescue in North Carolina

So on Monday October 13th 2014 on our way to Raleigh North Carolina we stopped by The Fort and met Claire, her foster family, and Jake (the owner of The Fort). We spend a couple of hours learning about her past. Apparently during one of The Fort’s adoption events a volunteer found her and her puppies in a garbage dumpster. They rescued her and treated her for a number of infections and parasites and fostered her to Karen and Abbey who cared for her while they searched for a forever home. Thats when we showed up.

Photo of Kate and Dazey talking
Dazey and Kate having their first conversation at The Fort Rescue

When we first met Claire she immediately wanted to get into our truck which we took as a good sign. She is about 40 pounds but has the strength of a dog twice her size. She doesn’t bark and only cries lightly when she needs to go potty. She is a cuddler and love bug and loves getting pets and snacks. When we drove away she immediately stood up on the center console and let us know she was keeping an eye on the road with us.

Photo of Kate and Dazey first ride in the truck.
Kate and Dazey first ride in the truck.

We knew from the start that she was going to get a new name to keep Kate’s tradition of naming her dogs with a ‘Z’ in their name. After throwing a few different ideas around we decided on Dazey since she is beautiful like a flower and she accepted it right away. So now Claire is Dazey and we are “Driving Miss Dazey” and we get to say “Upsie Dazey” when she gets into the truck. Its a good time for all.

Photo of Dazey and Maizey playing on the floor.
Dazey and Maizey playing on the floor.

As you can see we haven’t had any problems getting some good photos and are pretty sure this will be a regular tradition moving forward.

If you are thinking of getting a dog or cat please find a rescue like Dazey or Zeke. They need your love.

PS – If you cannot adopt consider donating to a rescue organization or volunteering.

Remembering Zeke

When we started planning to go fulltime RV in May of 2014 the main catalyst was Zeke’s health problems. He started having problems with wetting the bed and subsequent visit to the vet diagnosed him with lymphoma cancer. The news was pretty devastating and made us realize how temporary life is and that we need to be sure to live it fully.

zeke-door

We rescued Zeke in September of 2012 and it was one of the best decisions we ever made. He brought us so much joy and got us to go fulltime rving so we wanted to remember him. We rescued Zeke so hopefully sharing our experience will encourage others to always rescue dogs. Zeke was also considered by many to be a dangerous breed because he looked like a Pit Bull. While he wasn’t one it always frustrated us that people would make judgments before meeting him and learning that he was the nicest dog or living being you could ever meet.

Good things come in small packages

Zeke came to us from the Phoenix Small Dog Rescue in September of 2012. At 80 pounds he was hardly a small dog and as we quickly learned he was one of the most unique beings we have ever met.

Our oldest dog Bonzai had started to let us know that she needed a companion after our Boxer Ozric had passed away in June of 2012, you can read my memory of him here: Ozric. Kate found Zeke on the Small Dog website and stopped by the foster home on her way back from work. When she got home she let us know that the next day Bonzai and I would be joining her to bring Zeke home.

Of course the final decision was based on if Bonzai got along with Zeke. We even asked the foster family if we could bring Zeke back after one night just in case things didnt go well. In retrospect that was one of the funniest requests ever made cause there was no going back once we let this guy into our lives.

Whats in a name?

When we got Zeke he was called Humphrey by his foster family and before that his original owner called him Tamu. Neither of these names were particularly appealing to us nor did they match his personality. Kate has a tradition of naming her dogs with a ‘z’ somewhere in their name. It started with Beezle, then Bonzai, then Scuzzlebutt, then Ozric, so we had to come up with something to keep the tradition alive. I also wanted to have a short name that was easy to call out and Kate mentioned our nephew Tate’s rabbit was named Zeke. Figuring that one syllable was short enough we settled on Zeke and he immediately accepted it as his name.

He was anything but a small dog either in size or heart or appetite or love. Before we left the foster home the mother gave us a warning that Zeke, as we would come to name him, was not the best at riding in cars and to be ready for that. So we loaded him into the back of our Honda Pilot with Bonzai with me in the back seat to ensure he wouldn’t act up. Within 5 blocks our concerns were abated as he curled up next to Bonzai and started napping like he had been with us forever.

Long and turbulent history

This had not been Zeke’s first foster or rescue. His original owner had died at home and when his body was discovered 5 days later Zeke was lying next to his body obediently waiting for his first friend to wake up. Dehydrated and malnourished he had been taken to a vet hospital for treatment and was released to his first rescue.

Unfortunately she ended up being an hoarder. After a few months he was rescued from that rescue where he apparently had spent hours in a kennel surrounded by other terrified animals. From there he was rescued by the good people at the Phoenix Small Dog Rescue and went to his first foster family.

Genetics smenetics(sic)

While his breed is unknown to exacting standards we think he is a bit of American Bulldog and a few groomers have mentioned Argentinian Dogo, which his white coat and spots under the fur seem to confirm in a very unscientific way. Nevertheless he was assumed by many to be a Pit Bull and people shied away from him with the ignorance of people who judge others by sight before knowing the individual. Even if he were a Pit Bull he was still the most gentle dog we had ever met. The most force he would use towards people would be in lifting your arm with his nose to get you to pet him.

While at his first foster home he had met a few potential owners who eventually declined to take him simply because he looked like a dangerous animal. That foster returned him to the rescue and he went to his second foster home where Kate found him.

When we got him home there was some confusion and he ran to the neighbors house. I probably overreacted a bit but the thought of losing this dog before even getting him in the house was tragically comedic. Kate was more composed and recovered him from the neighbors driveway and calmed me down.

The first night I took out my camera and snapped our first photos. He was a joy from the start and we loved him right away. There would be no need to take him back to the foster family and he had found his forever home and we found another reason to never judge a book by its cover.
photo of Zeke first day
Love heals all

Zeke loved people. He loved getting pets and laying at your feet. He loved going on walks and meeting more people who could give him more petting. For the most part everyone who saw him loved him. One of the best things that happened on walks was when grown men mentioned how ‘handsome’ he was.

Bonzai and Zeke hit it off right away and became inseparable. Occasionally we would need to take one of them to the vet for an appointment and the other would worry and pace the house until their best friend got back home.
Bonzai-and-Zeke-butt-to-butt

Bonzai-and-Zeke-curled-up-in-office

Bonzai-and-Zeke-curled-up

Bonzai-and-Zeke-first-trip-to-copper-star

Bonzai-and-Zeke-more-loving

Bonzai-and-Zeke-say-hello-at-Copper-Star

Bonzai-and-Zeke-yin-yang

Bonzai-on-Zekes-Face

Bonzai-teaching-Zeke-how-to-sunbathe-in-Phoenix

Bonzai-teaching-Zeke-how-to-win

Bonzai-Zeke-and-Kate-at-My-Mothers-Cafe
Eat your heart out

As with Bonzai and Ozric, Zeke was a vegan. We fed him V-Dog brand dogfood to ensure he got all of the nutrients he needed and he was very healthy. He also loved vegetables and would patiently sit near us whenever food prep was happening. There was very little that he would not chomp on and then come back for as much as he could coax from us.

Zeke-in-the-Kitchen-003-Edit

There is so much to write about Zeke but I want to keep things reasonable here. If you have a Zeke story or photo please share it in the comments below. He was a very special being and we will always have him in our hearts.
Zeke-arms-crossed

Zeke-curled-up

Zeke-first-week-to-Copper-Star-Coffee

Zeke-floor-black-and-white

Zeke-Librarian

Zeke-loving-on-Bonzai

Zeke-says-hello

Zeke-sticking-his-tounge-out

Cedar Valley Winery our first Harvest Host Stop

You can blame Technomadia and Gone with the Wynns for todays post. It was their fault for letting us know about this amazing nationwide system pairing RVers with farmers. Kate found a winery in Iowa that was on our way to Chicago so we made the move and stopped at Cedar Valley Winery for the night.

walnut-creek-lake-to-cedar-valley-winery

We rolled in a bit late but Pam Miller was happy to welcome us to their property and even let us fill up our water tank. We happily tasted some of their award winning wines and bought a bottle of:

Chambourcin (sham-bor-san)

Dry medium-bodied red wine with a fruity aroma and cherry and earthy/spicy complexities. Our Chambourcin is aged in handcrafted white oak barrels from Missouri.   Chambourcin is a French-American interspecific hybrid grape variety that produces a deep-colored wine with a full aromatic flavor. Chambourcin is often served with red meats, tomato based sauces, mild cheese and dark chocolate (or desserts made from the chocolate), as the flavors of the wine and chocolate intermingle exceptionally well.

Silver Medal – 2013 Iowa State Fair Commercial Wine Competition