The Little Things – Good and Bad

Beach weather  :)

Beach weather 🙂

It’s raining now and we are under a tornado watch until 6:00 pm.  Before the rain it was muggy and in the high 70’s.  But a beautiful stiff breeze made it comfortable — and fun — to be out in.

In spite of the windy weather, this morning a yellow butterfly’s random, seemingly chaotic flutter wowed me.  I tried to get a photo, but he was too fast and moving too erratically.

Dandy Lion :)

Dandy Lion 🙂

I was almost as thrilled to see a sweet little dandelion blooming, along with some other little yellow flower.  The wind bounced the flowers around so much that their photo is blurry.  But I’m posting it because yellow flowers and butterflies in January are a miraculous sight to me.

Our water heater died today.  I checked the Casita Forum’s fix for the problem.  I found the exact same situation we have, and very confidently attempted the repair that worked on the board.

What a beautiful assortment of plant life -- in January!

What a beautiful assortment of plant life — in January!

It did not work on my water heater.  So we’ll have it looked at sometime soon.  In the meantime, it’s campground showers for me instead of using my sweet little trailer’s bathroom.

We were caught unprepared for all of the fully booked campgrounds.  We’ve been down here for almost this long before and could always find someplace.  This time there simply are no vacancies in  any of the state parks we are interested in until late March and early April.  So now I’m trying to find PA campgrounds for after we leave O’Leno State Park on January 12.  Some of them do offer the discount all year, but I’m not sure it will be a lot of fun to stay there.

We could stay in the Forest Service campgrounds, but since we can’t count on solar power when it rains, we hate the idea of not having hookups to power our electronic toys to help pass the long winter evenings.

A primitive site in the now-empty primitive section.

A primitive site in the now-empty primitive section.

So we’ll have to be better organized next trip.

I have totally broken my cardinal rule of not cooking in the Casita.  If the weather is bad, I usually just fix sandwiches or a salad.  But that gets old, so I just bite the bullet and cook inside when I have to, and figure I’ll worry about cleaning the carpet of any lingering smells later.

I REALLY wish I had washable walls and ceiling!

We are really looking forward to staying at a park we haven’t visited before.  And tomorrow’s the day we leave here and head there!



  1. EmilyO

     /  January 4, 2015

    At least you still are able to “live and learn”. I like to add to my “live and learn” AND RETAIN! We are clearing up here and warmer weather is to be upon us in a few days. Hope it heads your way. Dang hot water heaters. Oh, and you know you are so looking forward to cleaning those carpeted walls! Ha. Here’s hoping the new year starts going better – at least you have the flower blossoms to cheer you up. I have 2 blooms on my winter jasmine and they came thru our 4″ of snow this week. Cheers


    • RETAIN is the tricky part! But I bet I won’t refuse to make reservations the next time I come to Florida in winter.

      Enjoy that warm weather!

      I seriously plan to farm out that carpet cleaning job!

      Winter jasmine blooming in snow would be a joy to behold. 🙂


  2. Marsha

     /  January 4, 2015

    We’ve done some cooking in the Casita with no residual smells. I try to cook outdoors, but sometimes the weather doesn’t cooperate.

    Our last trip the refrigerator wasn’t cooling as well as it had in the past. It’s always something.


    • Marsha, when my refrigerator wasn’t cooling properly (60 degrees when set on 5) I moved the little wire thing inside down to the bottom of the interior cooling fin. Then I made a baffle out of Reflectix and taped it to direct all rising air over the exterior cooling fins. I also insulated the sides and top of the refrigerator. It made the temperature drop so dramatically that things will start freezing on 4. 3 keeps it at a perfect 40. Those are summer temperatures. When it gets cold, I can set it lower.

      You might try an easy fix like that and see if it helps. It might not work for you, but it’s worth a try.

      But you are right. It’s always something. I hope the water heater is an easy, inexpensive fix.


    • p,s. It’s very reassuring to hear that your carpet didn’t hold the odors. 🙂


  3. Thanks for always enhancing our appreciation of the small miracles.


    • Kim, many years ago I struggled with serious depression. To train myself to think positively, I took on a challenge to find something beautiful no matter how ugly the surroundings were. Some of my finds were pink periwinkles growing beside a dumpster, a black eyed susan blooming in a crack of an abandoned city parking lot. And most gorgeous of all — iridescent jewels of all gemstone colors glowing like they were on fire, reflecting the glories of the setting sun. What they actually were were beer bottles smashed against the curb in another abandoned parking lot.

      Actually, I think I always could find joy and beauty by appreciating nature’s details, but I had forgotten for a time.


      • What a healthy way to fight depression. Genius, really. I feel sorry for the people who are unable to appreciate the beauty.


        • I think in some way that appreciation of beauty and gratitude are tied together. It IS sad to have neither!


  4. Rick & Beth Clark

     /  January 4, 2015

    Hi Sharon,
    You are so colorful with your writing. We hope you get your water heater fixed soon.
    Thank You for all the beautiful nature pictures.
    Blessings, enjoy,
    Rick & Beth


    • Rick and Beth, what a lovely comment! It made my day! So glad you enjoyed the photos, and thanks for the good wishes. 🙂


  5. Where are you and what states is there no camping because they are booked up.
    I am in Northern Canada, the land of snow and cold, was -30C this morning. We are planning a atrip; down south next winter and wonder how far we will need to get warmer weather. We will need to be in Maryland for Christmas with our Motorhome. I hope it is warmer where you are. Do you show a map each Month?


    • Jan, I don’t envy your freezing weather! And I can see why you would REALLY want to head to a warmer climate.

      I am in north central Florida right now. The state parks in Florida are almost fully booked, starting before Thanksgiving. You can get a day or 2 – 5 weekdays here and there. But no way on a weekend.

      As to how far you would have to go to where it’s warmer, here is a link that gives you a good view of how temperatures are all over the country. Sometimes Florida is warmer and sometimes Texas is warmer.

      A LOT of people head to the Southwestern US for the winter. Maybe we will, too, someday. Florida has very high humidity usually and it can feel unbearably muggy to someone who is not used to it. The air feels heavy to breathe. But Florida is my home, and I love coming back here–humidity and all. The sunshine and warm temperatures (usually — not always) make up for the humidity.

      I lived in Maryland for a couple of years. It gets pretty cold to me. It might not feel as cold to you.

      No, I don’t show a map because we usually just take short trips to campgrounds in Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, and sometimes South Carolina. We’re shooting for the NC mountains next summer. We do try to get to Florida each winter as all my family is here.

      Bookmark that temperature chart link and follow it for a while. You’ll get a feel for the weather patterns.


      • PS Most of the commercial RV parks have very reasonable monthly rates if you don’t mind staying in one spot for a while. Some have even cheaper seasonal rates. $350 – $450 a month is a ballpark figure.


  6. Looks like Spring has arrived, at least the Dandelion thinks so! I trust you find a spot to extend your Florida stay beyond O’Leno and that the hot water heater issue turns out to be minor. Keep enjoying life!


    • January is the coldest month here, so the cold weather next week is right on time.

      We will find a spot, but it might not be one we like a lot! We will definitely know better in the future.

      Good news on the water heater… will post that tomorrow! 🙂


  7. I had looked at a 13′ either Casita or Scamp a while back. It was a wreck and the carpet was falling off. I would have been happy to rip it all out and redo the inside if so many other things weren’t wrong with it. Good to hear there will be good news tomorrow about the heater and I hope about a new camping spot.
    We maybe seeing some warmer weather moving our way so hope I can get out.


    • I’m sorry the little egg you looked at was such a disappointment, Jo. I have seriously thought of ripping out the carpet and replacing it with something more sanitary. But that’s too big a project for me to tackle.

      I love the little Casita so much. The real problem is that I was not the first owner. If I had bought it new, there are all kinds of preventive, protective things I would have done.

      Wishing you days of perfect camping weather. You are past due.

      Really I am so grateful to have the Casita. It has literally changed our whole focus on life.

      It’s not perfect, but then neither am I. 🙂


  8. You’ve mentioned many times for dislike of the carpeting in your Casita. But, I’d be very cautious of removing it – I think it really helps to keep the moisture inside under control. We also have a carpeted ceiling in our T@DA, although it’s quite a bit of a shorter loop than the Casitas’ if memory serves me. Ours is only on the ceiling. Even so, it does get a bit clammy inside at times. Be careful……

    Full campgrounds are a PITA, aren’t they? We run into the same thing in March/early April. Seems like there is did weeks of spring break to contend with. My guess is that you’ll find the perfect spot. I’m loving your extended Casita stay…….


    • Judy, we had condensation problems in the Aliner, and every time i have considered what I’d replace the carpet with, I reluctantly acknowledge the wisdom of using it.

      I’m sure we’ll find a decent place to stay — just probably not in a state park with a pretty wooded site. 🙂


  9. cozybegone

     /  January 5, 2015

    Oh gheez, double gheez. It’s so much simpler when parks offer first come, first served, allowing a little chance of scoring something. Stinks on the tank…know you’ll miss your home shower. That tornado warning sent us to bathhouse at 130am the 9ther night…ecks! I’ll look around for a room open at the Inn…maybe something will come open. Email coming soon…hang in there. TOO COLD TO GO HOME!


  10. Marcia GB in MA

     /  January 5, 2015

    Happy New Year, Sharon! I’m sorry to hear about your hot water heater. When we had a Casita ours stopped working after about two years. It was the anode rod and was fairly easy to replace.

    In the five years that we’ve been winter camping in FL state parks, we’ve found that where we used to be able to get a site on fairly short notice, this is no longer true. The last couple of years we’ve been among those who jump online 11 months in advance and even then sometimes we can’t get what we want! This year we stayed a month at a commercial campground and now we’re at Oscar Scherer SP near Venice for two weeks. This is the first year we’ve been able to book there after trying for four years. We patch together a week or two here or there to get us through the winter. Our usuals are Myakka River SP, Collier Seminole, Lake Manatee and Ft. DeSoto. A place that you might try is EG Simmons County Park in Ruskin on Tampa Bay. They are first come, first serve only and have a good number of sites. There are also a couple of nice commercial CGs near Crystal River that may have openings. I can’t remember their names offhand, but will look them up if you’re interested.

    For next year we bit the bullet and reserved 3 months at a commercial CG, so we’ll only need to book at SPs for a month. I love Florida’s State Parks but the competition is only going to get tougher, I’m afraid.


  11. Marcia, the water heater came back to life. What a blessing hot showers are!

    Yes, we used to always be able to patch together a series of nice state parks by just keeping our plans flexible. It’s unbelievable how fast it has changed.

    Thanks for the heads up on Simmons CP. Also we get antsy if we don’t move every week, but may have to add commercial parks and longer stays to our plans. I’ll check out Crystal River.

    Thank you!!!


  12. Marcia GB in MA

     /  January 6, 2015

    The Crystal River ones that I’ve heard are OK are Lake Rousseau, Quail Roost and Rock Cusher Canyon. We looked at Lake Rousseau last year while staying at Rainbow Springs and thought it seemed OK.


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