Our Wonderful Little Casita

I had thought that I might be able to hold off on winterizing the Casita by keeping the heater running in it since this winter has been so mild.  But tonight, winter is finally here.  So today we got the winterizing done.

It was so easy with the Camco winterizing kit!  It took exactly one gallon to do the whole system.  Since I had bought two gallons, I divided the other gallon between the black and gray tanks.  That should prevent any damage to the valves.

As I worked in the Casita today, I was again struck with the rock solid quality of the build.  That is one company who still cares about giving their customers the very best.

There are only two things I would change about the trailer.  First, I would prefer washable walls and ceilings to the carpet.  And secondly, I would like drain holes in the bottom so when the inevitable water system accidents occur, the water would have somewhere to go.  I have been planning to drill some carefully placed drain holes, but just haven’t gotten to it yet.

While I was working in the trailer, I decided to go ahead and do a thorough cleaning.  I pulled the back bed and cushions, vacuumed the wall carpet, washed the fiberglass seat bases, and mopped the floor.  The vacuuming took a while.  I would do short sections, then rest.  But I’m satisfied that the rear of the trailer is as clean as I can get it.

Tomorrow I plan to do the front of the trailer.  And when that is done, I will vacuum the ceiling and maybe shampoo around the air conditioner vents.  I also need to clean the front carpet near the floor where Sheba keeps depositing dog hair.  I am trying to devise an attractive barrier to put in front of that part of the carpet so it won’t need such frequent cleaning.  Maybe plexiglass?

Our trailer is a 2005 and we have had it a little over a year now.  It is as beautiful as new.  There are a few little tweaks that need to be done when you get the trailer.  Most importantly, you need to make a drip tray for the upper refrigerator vent.  Otherwise rain will seep in and get to the floor behind the refrigerator.  The other essential is modifying the gray water plumbing so the gray water drains instead of trickles out.

But once those things are taken care of, I don’t think there is a better built trailer on the market.  If you like small campers, you will fall madly in love with the Casita!

 

 

 

 

…..But I Love My Casita

The coffee shelf that Rob built for me that has turned into an indispensable all-purpose shelf.

Dad used to love his tool shed more than any other place on earth.  It was his favorite place to escape to.  He would often say, “I like my house, but I love my shed!”

I feel the same way about my little trailer.  I like my house, but I LOVE my Casita!  Every time I open the door and walk inside, I feel a powerful sense of home.  Like it’s my place to be.  Like I belong there.

My house is comfortable.  It’s a nice place to be.  But in the 14 years we’ve lived here, it’s never felt like home.

I loved our Aliner until it started falling apart faster than I could fix it.  I also felt a sense of home in it.  No matter where we traveled, when we stopped, popped up the top and walked inside, we were home.

But it’s even more pronounced in the Casita.  Maybe because the quality is light years ahead of the Aliner’s.   Maybe because the happiest times of our marriage have been spent traveling and camping in it.

I named it Egg Harbor… obviously because it’s egg-shaped.  But also because I feel so sheltered and safe in it.

We talk sometimes about going fulltime, but we truly aren’t ready to cut ties to a house, garden, and property surrounded by woods yet.  So I don’t know why the Casita is home and the house isn’t!

I spent a couple of hours in it this afternoon, cleaning, rearranging, repacking…. actually just playing house in it!  It will be so much fun to be on the road again soon!

Three Casita Tours & Lots of Discoveries

We saw a herd of 6 tame deer several times today, but I only got 4 in my photo.

Today was one of those glorious days where everything turned out right.

I gave three Casita tours today.  I just love showing off my little trailer and I also really do appreciate the compliments on my decor.  🙂

Tentatively identified as a Red Buckeye

I discovered a new plant today.  It was a small, straggly tree with nut husks that contained two shiny dark brown nuts.  I had never seen an Ohio Buckeye, and originally thought that was what it must be.  But I looked it up and learned that Ohio Buckeye has spiny husks, and this one had fairly smooth husks.  I think I’ve identified it as a Red Buckeye.  In any case, its nuts are poisonous like the Ohio Buckeye’s.

Red buckeye nuts (I think)

Ringless honey mushrooms

In spite of the extreme drought, I found two different kinds of mushrooms today.  They grow on buried wood, which retains water much longer than the soil does.  So I wasn’t skunked in my quest this trip after all!

The ringless honey mushrooms are edible.  However, depending on where they grow they can make you sick.  I’ve eaten some and enjoyed them.  But I got sick on them once, too, so I don’t eat them anymore.  Just enjoy finding and identifying them.

Chrome footed bolete. The pinkish color of the cap did not show up in my photo.

I also found my first chrome footed bolete today, too.  They are a safe edible, but this one was past its prime, so I contented myself with finding and recognizing a new mushroom!

We usually take the dogs for 3 good walks a day, but that’s not always enough to burn up Sheba’s excess energy.  This afternoon, we went on a LONG walk.  On the way back, Roxanne, a camping neighbor who fell madly in love with Sheba, asked if she could walk her.  We said yes and off she went with Sheba dragging her along.

The chrome footed bolete’s speckled stalk and yellow foot.

When they got back Sheba was pooped.  Roxanne said that Sheba had plopped down and lay in the street twice before they got back.

Tonight Sheba is sprawled out on the camper floor, sound asleep.  I think for the first time we finally burned off ALL the excess Australian Shepherd puppy energy!  😀

On our walk we passed a bush with dozens of yellow and orange butterflies.  I stopped and watched them for several minutes.  I’ve never seen so many butterflies in one place at the same time.

Dozens of butterflies were taking advantage of these flowers.

This campground is amazing. It is crammed full of weekend campers, and all we can hear outside are the night sounds of the woods.  We are surrounded by tent campers who apparently are here to enjoy nature.  No radios.  No blaring music.  No loud talking.  Flickers of campfires are the only indication that people are here.  All of the sites are screened by vegetation, so it’s more private and peaceful than we could have dreamed.  We will definitely come back here.  But next time we’ll reserve a waterfront site.

Can’t ever have too many butterfly pictures! 🙂

I also found a couple of different wild pea family flowers, and one precious little blue asiatic dayflower.  And lots of the common little raggedy yellow flowers that make me think of sunshine and smiles, although I don’t know their name!

Oh…. one more thing.  I saw the biggest tent I have ever seen in a campground here today.  It’s as big as a small cabin.  See photo below!

Unknown member of the wild pea family

These have pealike flowers, too. Don’t know their name!

Sunshine flowers!

Asiatic dayflower

Huge tent!

Leaving Tomorrow, EZ Low Carb Cooking & A/C Filter

We’re heading out tomorrow.  We plan to make it a short travel day and find a nice place to stay overnight.  That way we’ll arrive at our meeting with Gail and Mike with energy to spare.

Grilling — Easiest way to cook low carb

Now that the weather is hot, I’m doing as little cooking inside as possible.  I found that if I set the grill on a very low temperature, chicken wings and basted zucchini come out perfectly cooked at the same time.

That’s Sheba and Sunny’s favorite meal for us to cook because they get the wing tips!  🙂

The Casita’s air conditioner filters needed to be replaced.

Only the cardboard frame is 1″ wide. I cut the green mesh to fit my unit and they look like they are just the right thickness.

I had cleaned and washed them so many times that they were no longer filtering out dust.  Instead the fan sucked in dusty air and deposited the dust on the ceiling behind the unit.

I found a foam filter similar to the OEM filter at Walmart, only it was a lot thicker and denser.  I was going to use that, but was worried that the extra effort drawing air through might burn out my A/C motor.

Compressed, they are really thin.

So Ron went back and found some filters that were 1″ thick, but loosely woven so they wouldn’t restrict air flow.  Actually, the filter itself was very thin.  The cardboard frame was 1″ thick.

So I cut them to fit the camper’s air conditioner, and I think they are going to be a satisfactory substitute.  We’ll see how well they do on this trip.

They expand just the right amount to fit my air conditioner.

 

Camping at Mom’s Place

Casita-scale birthday flower arrangement from Hope

We left Ann’s house after lunch and moved to Mom’s place a mile down the road.

My sister Hope greeted me with a birthday card and a beautiful birthday bouquet just the right size for the camper.  So the removable coffee shelf that Rob built for me has yet another use — flower table!

Mom had visited a friend in the hospital before we got here this morning, then stopped by the furniture store on her way home and bought herself a new mattress.  So Cecil and Ron picked it up for her this afternoon to save delivery charges.

Magnolias high up in the tree

Magnolia closeup taken last year when we were here

 

The magnolias are blooming.  But they are so high up in the tree, it was difficult to get a good photo of them.  So I’ll post a photo taken today, along with a closeup taken last May when we were here for Mom’s birthday.

I kept the dogs in the pen when we first got to Mom’s.  But later this afternoon I relented and let them out.  They headed for the cool dirt underneath the trailer.  Sheba, of course, started digging a cool spot to lie in until I scolded her and put a stop to her project.

There is bare sand covered with fallen leaves underneath the live oak trees, so a hole on the edges of Mom’s property isn’t the disaster it would be elsewhere.  Especially a little hole.  🙂

I’m not digging, Mom. Honest!

Sunny with a leaf hanging from his muzzle

Half a tea ball makes a perfect sink strainer

Parked at Mom’s place

 

I had been looking for a strainer for the camper’s sink, but hadn’t found a store that carried them.  But while we were grocery shopping, I found a mesh tea ball that I thought might work.

I got it home, took the two halves apart, and it just happened to be the perfect size!  No more coffee grounds in the gray water tank now!

 

Low Carbing Hostess

Low carb devil’s food cake with strawberries and whipped cream

Gee, it sure is nice visiting a sister who is on a low carb diet, too.  I never make desserts like she does.  So the devil’s food cake with strawberries and whipped cream that she fixed for us today was an absolute delight!

Ann and I went shopping today.  She bought new towels and looked for a dehydrator.  I bought fishing tackle.

I had planned to fish in Cecil’s pond.  But the fish are so tame that when we walk by the pond, they line up in the water and watch us curiously, totally without fear.  I just didn’t feel that it was sporting to fish for them, so will use my new tackle somewhere else.

Sheba was a bad dog!

Sheba dug a hole in Ann and Cecil’s yard.  So she spent much of the day in her pen with the dig-proof hardware cloth floor, only getting out for leash walks.  Traveling with her looks like it’s going to be a real challenge for a while.

We have decided that her crate takes up way too much room in the Casita.  We took it out today, and she will sleep on the floor by the door tonight.  If she makes it through the night without a potty accident, then we won’t use it in the trailer again.

The crate is way too big for the camper, so we took it out today.

If she does have an accident, then I’ll put the crate back in the trailer for the remainder of this trip, but build her a crate underneath my bed when I get back home.

I am starting to think that I was nuts to want a puppy!  🙂

50 Below Ambient!

The Casita’s refrigerator has consistently run 50 degrees below ambient temperature the last three days.  That means when it’s in the high 80’s outside, it’s in the high 30’s inside.

I am thrilled!  I guess insulating it and redirecting the air flow was all it needed.  It feels so good to not have to worry about food poisoning from a too-warm refrigerator!

Since we can’t leave until Tuesday, I’m doing odd jobs today like vacuuming the wall carpet and going through food and tool storage areas to reassess my space usage.

In short, any excuse to spend as much time playing in our little camper as I can!  🙂

Valances Finished & Awning Cleaned!

The valances are finally finished!

I finally got the Casita’s valances finished.  What a relief to have that project done!  The photo makes the side valance look longer than the rear valance, but they are actually the same length — 3-1/2″.

We had not used our awning before because it was really dirty and looked awful.  So today I scrubbed it with laundry detergent and bleach, and it came out looking great.  I was surprised that it cleaned up so well.  It will get a lot of use next week!

There are still a few spots, but the awning looks so much better than it did.

Finally, I’ll include a photo of the dinette mod that is now a twin bed for viewers who haven’t seen it before.

I still have some projects to putter on this afternoon.  Tomorrow is a busy day with vet and groomer, hair appointments and shopping, so I need to get everything I want done to the camper finished tonight.

Then I’ll pack the trailer Friday night and Saturday.  And we’ll head South on Sunday.

Here’s a picture of our dinette-turned-sofa/twin bed mod for those of you who haven’t seen it.

 

 

 

 

Getting Ready for a Trip Home

Our electrician installed my new Progressive Dynamics 4645 converter with 4 stage smart charger this week.  So I can leave the trailer plugged in without boiling my battery dry now.

It’s too late for the existing battery.  It was reading 10 amps the other day.  So I plan to get a new Deka Group 27 battery this week.  I wanted an AGM battery, but the RV place said they don’t carry AGMs for RVs because it needs a specific kind of charger.

I guess that’s true technically, but I had very good luck using two 6 volt AGMs in the Aliner with a PD 3 stage charger.  I have to get the battery this week for our trip next week.  If anyone reading this has a better suggestion, I’d love to hear it.  We are in a rural area and there aren’t too many battery dealers nearby, so I’m not sure where to look for true deep cycle batteries.  Most people only know about dual purpose marine batteries.  Sure don’t want to pay for shipping on one!

I caulked around the refrigerator vent, outside lights and kitchen vent.  Not a perfect looking job, but I did it with Proflex, and the seals are nice and tight.

In the process of cleaning before and after the caulking, I damaged my PoliGlow finish, so will have to strip and redo a few areas.

I am not fond of going to Florida when it’s hot (and it’s already in the 90’s at Mom’s place), but that’s how it worked out this spring.  We plan to leave on May 6, spend three days with my sister Ann, then move to Mom’s for Mother’s Day and stay there a few days.  Then we want to head somewhere in Central Florida that’s central to Ocala, Orlando and Clermont so it will be easy for friends and family down there to visit us if they want to drop in.

I was thinking Lake Louisa State Park in Clermont would be ideally situated.  But there’s no shade there, so I’ll look for some place a little cooler.  We might end up staying at Salt Springs again as they have full hookups, the icy spring to swim in, and a beautiful campground for $18 a night with our senior pass.

I’m working on trying to regulate the temperature in my refrigerator.  It usually gets up to 65 when days are in the mid to high 90’s.  It looks like it is only cooling 30 degrees below ambient temperature.

I need to take it in and have the refrigerator properly serviced, but the budget is REALLY tight lately, so I am going to try to make it through this trip without it.

I’ll probably take it in to the shop before we head to Mississippi in June.

I love our little Casita so much.  I would so desperately love to fulltime, but it’s not in the cards.  So I escape out there and just soak in the peace and beauty of my own private little retreat at least once a day.

It’s the most perfect little camper in the world!  🙂

Getting Ready to Go

Here’s an updated look at the weather forecast for the Augusta area.  We’ll be camping the whole week, from Sunday until Sunday.  It looks like we will have some rain, so we’ll take books and tatting along with our laptops to keep us entertained.  It also looks like the evenings will be good camp fire weather.

We got the camper dewinterized and the water system sanitized yesterday.  I’m still working on the liners for my storage baskets.

I also repainted the stove cover in the Casita yesterday.  It had some scuffs and some rust starting to develop.

I’d like to get all the packing finished today except for the food.  Then we can go grocery shopping tomorrow.  That way we should have a leisurely departure Sunday morning.

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