Running Water, a Big Rock, Chili Cheese Chicken, Rose Crochet Pattern & a Casita Project

Chili cheese chicken.  A 5 star recipe whether you are low carbing or not!

Chili cheese chicken. A 5 star recipe whether you are low carbing or not!

We have running water.  Showers work!  Toilets flush!  I am in heaven!

The well guys were supposed to be here 1st thing in the morning, but they were late.  As it inched toward noon, I decided I would wait until after lunch and call them.  Just then Ron announced, “They’re here!”

One of the guys unexpectedly had to go to the doctor first thing this morning.

They replaced the tank, and all above ground plumbing and wiring.  The pump itself is a submersible pump, so it wasn’t damaged.  I asked the guys how long I could expect the pump to last.  They said generally 10-12 years.  I did NOT want to hear that, since we had the well drilled 15 years ago!  But he said it depended on a lot of things, and some of them go 30 years.

Since our water is not hard and doesn’t leave mineral deposits, I am hoping we can go the full 30!

The new pump house!

The new pump house!

When they were doing the estimate yesterday, I had asked them about a replacement pump house.  They said they had a couple of models –one fiberglass and one polyresin.  I think we ended up with the polyresin one.   I was picturing a little white wood pump house with a shingled roof.  I was shocked when a big rock turned out to be the new one!

It’s kind of cool.  It will just visually disappear into the woods.  They also ran an electrical outlet so I can plug in a light to keep everything from freezing when it gets below 20 again.

The pump tank, wiring and plumbing were burned, but it doesn't look nearly as scary as I expected.  Only the pump house was totally destroyed.

The pump tank, wiring and plumbing were burned, but it doesn’t look nearly as scary as I expected. Only the pump house was totally destroyed.

Insurance is covering everything except our $250 deductible, so that’s a huge relief!

The recipe for my chili cheese chicken in the header photo is from Linda’s Low Carb Recipes, and it is superb whether you are low carbing or not — if you like spicy Mexican style food.  Here’s the recipe.  Do add the extra cheese she suggests.  I added 2 ounces of cheddar.

I had lost the pattern for my raised rose afghan, so went looking to see if I could possibly still find a vintage crochet pattern from the ’70’s.  I’m not sure this is exactly the same granny square motif, but it’s close.  Here’s the pattern if you’d like to do it.  Since the photo in the pattern is not good, I am inserting a better photo that I found online.  Like I said, maybe not exact, but close.

I am definitely going to do this one again someday!

My next Casita project will be replacing cabinet latches.  Some of the push buttons are becoming uncooperative and are hard to open without hitting them several times.  Ron could not get his sock cupboard open our last trip so kept banging on it trying to get it to cooperate.

It broke instead.

So instead of just replacing that one, I think I’ll go ahead and redo all of them.  I’ve read that they are using better fitting bezels now.  If that’s so, the problem shouldn’t recur.

Ron's afghan.  I am slowly making myself one to match.

Ron’s afghan. I am slowly making myself one to match.

Also, the hinges on the large cupboard over the refrigerator are rusting so badly that they leave a little pile of rust on top of the refrigerator when I open the cupboard door.  Some of the lower cupboard hinges are getting rusty, too.  So, if I can remember to call Casita tomorrow, I’ll go ahead and order them.

I posted a photo of Ron’s afghan the other day.  But I found a better picture, so I replaced it in the original post.  I’ll add it here just cause I want everyone to see how truly gorgeous it is!  That’s the nice thing about a blog.  You can show off to your heart’s content!  😀

After all the stress and excitement of the past couple of days, I think I’m coming down with a cold again.  So now I have an excuse to have homemade chicken soup and spoil myself.  And go to bed early tonight!

Not too bad!

Needlework & Shorter Days

tatting practice

Tatted practice pieces

Although our days are still in the 90’s and high 80’s, the nights are getting cooler, and the days are noticeably shorter.

So I am working on learning tatting in the evenings.   I am getting the hang of it, but have a lot to learn about tensioning my stitches.  It is fun to play with — to see these amazing patterns that are made of nothing but half hitch knots develop!

I bought some tiny little girls purses and tote bags for adults to decorate with tatting for Christmas gifts.  It sure is a lot more fun to make gifts than to go out and try to find something appropriate to buy.  I do hope that the recipients will like them.

little girl's denim purse

A little girl's denim purse that will be festooned with tatted motifs and lace.

A start on an afghan to match Ron's

My afghan-in-the-making

I am also working on an afghan for myself to match one that I made for Ron last year.  They are twin-bed sized.  And they are great in the Aliner for putting over a blanket when we camp in cold weather.  So when I get this finished, our little camper beds will match again!

Salt Springs Recreation Area, Ocala National Forest, FL

Salt Springs

Salt Springs. You can see the deeper source of the springs in the foreground.

We left Mom’s house and headed for Salt Springs.  There were no reservations available online, but they hold several sites for first-come, first-served.  Since we were arriving on Wednesday before the Labor Day weekend, we thought we stood a good chance of getting one.

There was a whole section available, so we were fortunate.  The campground has been redone, and all the sites are grassy with shade trees, with a huge common area in the center between

Walkway to the swimming area

Walkway to the swimming area

the streets.  And all sites have full hookups.

With our senior discount, we got 5 nights for $80.00.  I am so grateful for that discount.  It is the only reason we can enjoy camping so often.

Even after the campground filled up, it still seemed spacious due to the open common areas.  However, after all the weekend arrivals put up screen houses, tents for the kids, and filled their sites with bicycles, toys, firewood, etc., it started to feel pretty crowded.

Banana Island

Banana Island in the corner of the swimming area

We were fortunate to have wonderful neighbors.  A family — grandpa (Robert), his daughter (Vianna), her husband (Don), and their son (Joey) who will be going into the Air Force in November camped next to us.  They were so friendly and we had so much in common that we felt as though we were camping with family.

Vianna is a crafter and was working on an afghan for Joey’s girlfriend.

Another view of the springs

Another view of the springs

That inspired me to unpack my neglected afghan and work on it with her.  Among her crafts, she also tats.  I mentioned that I had my grandmother’s tatting shuttle, so she proceeded to try to teach me to tat.  I simply could not get “flipping the knot” even after trying late into the evening and the next morning.

Not to be discouraged, Vianna came over to our trailer right before we were leaving on Monday and showed me how to do needle tatting.  That’s a version that I can do!  I promised to send her a picture of the tatting supplies that I buy, and also a picture of my first tatting project.

Wild turkeys

Wild turkeys in spring area

Unfortunately, we did not pass a craft store that carried tatting supplies on our way back, so I will have to order them online when I get home!

Also while we were down there, my sister Ann’s friends, Linda and Marty came by and went swimming in the springs with us.  The water was COLD.  The daytime temperatures were running in the mid-nineties, so the 72 degree water felt icy at first.  But once we were in the water, it was heavenly!

interesting old tree

The inside and half of the exterior of this amazing old tree have rotted away, but it is still alive with healthy branches.

The water is so clear that you can stand in neck deep water and look down at the bottom and see the individual grains of sand.  Gorgeous!  And little bream swim around the edges, and schools of large mullet (vegetarian fish) frequent the seaweed patches.  Past the roped off swimming area, boats anchor and fish.  And we saw a man fishing for mullet with a bow and arrow.  Apparently they don’t bite on hooks well, so that’s a more efficient way to fish for them.

After we swam in the springs, Linda and Marty invited us over to their home for a wonderful vegetarian dinner.  They took us on a walk around their neighborhood pointing out the various mushrooms that grow in their area, and introduced us to a couple of their neighbors.

Marty built a houseboat that doubles as a camper when it’s on the boat trailer.  So they can camp in the national forest campgrounds, then pull their “camper” into the water and it is a houseboat.  He also showed us photos of the sailboat he built several years ago.  What an amazing couple!

Ron and Robert

Ron and Robert

Viana, Joey and Don

Vianna, Joey and Don

Viana and her dad

Vianna and her dad



Unfortunately, I did not think to bring my camera with me when we visited with Linda and Marty, so I don’t have any photos of them and their lovely home.   Maybe after enough such disappointments, I will get better at remembering to keep the camera with me at all times when we are out.

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