Perennial Periwinkles, Casita Projects & Gorgeous Specialty Yarns

Perennial vinca (periwinkles).  The actual color is a deep royal purple, but my camera changes it to blue.

Perennial vinca (periwinkles). The actual color is a deep royal purple, but my camera changes it to blue.

Another cold night last night, but today warmed up nicely enough for me to set my seed trays out on the deck for a bit of sunshine.  Now it’s getting chilly again.

I am thinking of everyone at the Green Eggs & Ham rally and am hoping that it’s not too cold for them to enjoy being there.

Today I took the screen off the Casita’s bathroom fan and cleaned it, removed leaves and pine straw that had gotten inside and sprayed the motor with lubricant.  It had been running pretty rough, but it purrs now.

The little white ring around the on/off knob was so sun rotted that it disintegrated.  So tomorrow I’ll head out there with a tube of glue and see what kind of fix I can come up with.  🙂

I am procrastinating so badly on the latch replacement project.  Today I did get the old latches removed, but didn’t want to start grinding with the Dremel, so am putting the rest of that project off for another day.

I do have something beautiful to share with you!

My friend Peggy is the one who got me interested in making chemo caps.  She knits incredibly beautiful, fashionable, ultra soft, feels-like-a-caress hats using specialty yarns. She sent me a sample of the types of yarn she likes to work with.  They are just stunning!

Can you imagine how special a hat made of these yarns would make a chemo patient who has lost her hair feel?

Can you imagine how special a hat made of these yarns would make a chemo patient who has lost her hair feel?

I tried to crochet with one of her samples, and it just does not work with a crochet hook.

I feel like my hats look like Grandma hats after seeing what she works with! But, I guess there’s a place for all kinds of different styles. 🙂

Our Drought is History

Today's deluge

Today’s deluge

I read that February broke our all time record for rainfall.  Our multi-year drought is finally broken!

I am thrilled that the drought is gone.  That means lots of flowers and mushrooms this year.  But I am wondering if I should consider building an ark now.  🙂

Right now lightning is flashing and thunder is booming.  A tornado watch is in effect.  Colder weather is moving in behind the rain.  It sure is testing my patience, as I am beyond chomping at the bit to get the fan installed in the trailer.

As changeable as the weather is lately though, I’m still hoping that an unpredicted, beautiful day will pop up.  I’ll be ready when it does come!

I am working hard to keep a positive, cheery outlook. Warm, sunny weather will be such good medicine!

On the other hand, Sheba doesn’t care about the rain.  I opened the door to take a photo for the blog and she tore out into the downpour.

As an old friend would say, “That dog’s not right bright.”  😀

Prepping the Casita for Natural Disasters

It’s scary to read about the storms that wiped out electricity for millions, leaving them to deal with extreme temperatures without so much as a fan.

I’ve changed my priorities a little about which Casita projects come first.

I’ve ordered a portable 90 watt solar system that folds up small enough to ride inside the cab of our truck.  I’ve also ordered a Maxx window vent so I can leave a window open for ventilation and run the fan even in rain and stormy weather when there is no shore power. 

With the portable solar panel, I can park the Casita in the shade and put the panels in the sun, guaranteeing that my battery will stay charged enough to keep the fan and lights running.  That wouldn’t keep us cool in this heat, but it would at be better than nothing.  Also it will hopefully keep the batteries topped off in cold weather so the furnace won’t drain them.

This photo from CEA Solar’s website shows two panels used together to boost power production. I’m posting it to show the built-in stand which should make it very easy to set up.

All this is assuming I get enough sun for the panels.  A couple of cloudy days shouldn’t be a problem.  A week without sun would be a problem.

The upside is the trailer will be boondock ready earlier than expected.

I have read so many great things about CEA Solar both on the Casita forums and on other RV boards.  They have a reputation for quality products and superb customer service.

I’m including pictures from their website so you can see what the new system looks like.  I doubt they would mind, since I’m promoting business for them!  🙂

Here are the specs from their website:

  • Built in 3 stage PWM charge controller with bulk, absorption, and float modes.
  • Produces 30-40 amp/hours per day in full sun*.
  • 5.2 amp operating current* (approx)
  • 17.2V max operating voltage
  • 14.4V peak charge voltage (temp compensated)
  • 13.8V float mode
  • Compatible with Lead-acid, Gel, or AGM type batteries
  • Indicator lights confirm proper operation
  • Adjustable, telescoping tilt legs
  • 16′ connection cord standard, 25′ extensions available
  • 4 different battery adapters included with every unit
  • Padded aluminum storage case
  • Panels fold for easy storage inside case
  • Dimensions panels folded: 27″x22″x3.5″, 25 lbs.
  • Dimensions panels open:  43″x27″x1.5″
  • Dimensions of metal case:  28″x24.5″x5.3″ 12lbs.
  • Total weight (panels inside case): 37 lbs
  • Shipping weight:  41lbs.

Since the Casita battery compartment is so hard to access, CEA Solar also offers a Casita special, which consists of a DC connector that you can just plug in instead of having to attach the cables to the battery each time.  They also include a security lock.  I will have to cut a small hole in the battery compartment door and seal a waterproof fitting to it so I can pull the connector out through the hole instead of leaving the battery compartment open while I’m using the panel.

I like this option so much better than permanently mounting a solar panel to the roof.  This way it won’t be subject to hail damage like a rooftop mounted panel would be.  And since we can fold it up and keep it in its padded case in the truck, it will be a lot less likely to get beat up or stolen than carrying a regular solar panel in the pickup bed.

And if the electricity goes off, we can still run a fan, use our refrigerator and freezer, cook, take hot or cold showers, have light at night, and charge our laptops and cell phones.

That feels like a lot of security to me!

Staying One More Day

The rain is here as predicted, so we’re staying at Indian Springs State Park another night  instead of trying to drive home in bad weather.

Needless to say, we aren’t enjoying outdoor activities today, although Ron has gone to town to pick up a few more groceries.  We do a lot of recreational eating in bad weather.  🙂

I am snuggled down in the trailer, surfing right now, listening to the rain pounding on the roof.   It’s a cozy feeling.  I had to close the vent fan because rain was coming in.  But there are enough air gaps on the sides where the A frame sides fold up under the roof ledge that we still have adequate ventilation.

Will probably work on a tatting project this evening if I can find a decent pattern. I didn’t bring along a very good selection.

I have put the complicated snow flake pattern on hold until I feel like a challenge.

Added at 4:37 p.m.:

The rain has continued all day, and we have been cooped up together in a 6 x 12′ box.  We are still contented and are entertaining ourselves.  We surf, read, and I am tatting a pretty rose pattern in variegated shades of mauve.  Sunny has slept most of the day.

I think that is a pretty good indication that we could full time — or at least travel extensively — in a very small RV without driving each other bananas.

Our longest trip so far in the Aliner has been two months, and although it did get a little small at times, we enjoyed the trip.  So I think that a Scamp 5th wheel would be plenty big for us when we eventually upgrade.  Especially if we added an awning and a screen room.

As you can see, I am also daydreaming this rainy day away.  🙂

A Needle Tatted Fan Motif

tatted fan

Pattern designed by Heather Johnston

Just a quick post to show off last night’s project — a fan motif.

I had to start over three times because I kept getting my work turned around and joining to the wrong ring.  And I had to rip out a stretch because I refused to start over a fourth time.

But I finally got it done!  I am thrilled that even beginner projects can turn out pretty!

The pattern is by Heather Johnston.  You can see it here.

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