This Is Life

Romaine lettuce and Chinese cabbage sproutng

Romaine lettuce and Chinese cabbage sproutng

Sorry about the crappy lighting.  :)

Sorry about the crappy lighting. 🙂

My little seeds are sprouting faster than I expected.  I’ll have to rig up some kind of decent lighting for them tomorrow.

I got the first chemo hat finished tonight.  I’m happy with how it turned out, so will work at getting a dozen done before I take them down to donate them.  My goal is that each hat be pretty enough that the recipient will feel cherished.

My Casita parts arrived late this afternoon.  So tomorrow I plan to start trying to get the little trailer ready for its first trip this spring.

Still got the blahs, but maybe working on the Casita tomorrow will cure them.  🙂




Casita Repairs — & Epic Fail!

Several months ago we had taken the Casita to a local tire shop to have them check the bearings.  They apparently forced too much grease in and blew out the seals on the back.  We ended up with grease squirts in our wheel well, and our brake controller started showing wildly random, nonsensical readings.

Ron took the truck in for service and had them check it to make sure that wasn’t the problem.  They told him the truck’s brakes were fine.

Long story short… we’re having a guy look at the electric brakes on the trailer Wednesday, and are pretty sure they’ll have to be replaced.  And that’s something we need to have done before our next trip.

Secondly, we have to park the Casita under trees, so we have a problem with mildew growing on the roof.  Before our last trip, Ron was scrubbing the roof and decided that a foam mildew remover would make the job easier.  What we didn’t count on was the foam running down the sides of the trailer and leaving chalky streaks in the Poliglow.  It did.  It totally ruined the finish.

So I got the old Poliglow stripped off the top half of the trailer before it turned cold.  But the weather hasn’t been warm enough to reapply it until now.  Now that it is warm enough, we are also getting rain.  And I can’t apply the new coats of Poliglow when there is a chance of rain.

So we will probably head to Texas with a matte finish trailer instead of a shiny white egg unless we get a break in the weather really soon.

My cayenne infused oil made a gorgeous pinkish red salve.  Unfortunately, it doesn't work!  :)

My cayenne infused oil made a gorgeous pinkish red salve. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work! 🙂

The epic fail story?

I’ve rarely used shea butter before.  When I did, it was always way down the list of ingredients in a lotion.  Since I had read that shea butter was superb for eczema treatment, I ordered a pound of it for my homemade creams and lotions.

Last night I made two big batches of shea butter cream and lotion — then slathered myself with that wonderfully rich, creamy goodness before going to bed.

Rich, silky, deeply moisturizing cream -- that I'm violently allergic to!

Rich, silky, deeply moisturizing cream — that I’m violently allergic to!

I woke up itching — bigtime!  I had a weepy red rash all over my body!  It never occured to me that I might be allergic to shea butter, but I am.  Violently allergic to it!

So tonight I’ll scrape my creations out of the jars so I can reuse them.  Then I’ll make another batch.  This time it will be unscented, and with no shea butter!

The Window is In!

I can see outside now!

I can see outside now!

I finally got a break in the rain, so was able to install the new clear, smoke colored, opening window in the Casita’s door.

The old window out and on the ground.

The old window out and on the ground.

The first step was ridiculously easy… removing the screws that held the old frame in, sliding a spatula underneath the bottom outside flange… and it just fell out.  After I had the old window out, I test fitted the new one.  Perfect!

This is going to be the easiest mod I’ve ever done! I exulted.

There was one chore to do before I could mount the new window — scraping off the old silicone.  I used a good silicone remover which made the job not difficult.  Just tedious.

Next was sticking the weather stripping to the new outside flange.  It was cut perfectly to size.  So I had Ron carry the new window outside for me where I would triumphantly mount it.

The new window

The new window

But then, Murphy reared his ugly head.

The directions said nothing about drilling screw holes in the frame.  So I got a few screws in, but the weather stripping wasn’t compressing and there was a half inch gap between the window and the inner frame.   I thought it must be that the weather stripping was too thick, so I removed it and replaced it with butyl tape.  But the butyl tape wouldn’t compress and there was still that one half inch gap inside.

Then I realized that the screws weren’t penetrating deeply enough, so I drilled pilot holes for the screws and tried again.  Still no compression of the seal–and still that gap.  So I figured I needed to drill the pilot holes deeper….  and I drilled a hole all the way through the outside frame.

New window interior

New window interior

So I took out all the nice, matching black screws that were provided and hunted through my screw collection until I found some shorter screws that were the same width.  Amazingly, the screws bit in, compressed the outside sealant and pulled the inside trim flush against the window.

But there was still some covering my mistakes to do.  I had to insert a screw into the outside frame (well sealed) to cover my Murphy drill-through.  And I had to paint it and the interior screws black to match the frame like the factory screws.

Anyway, it’s done, and now that the window is in, I am thrilled with it.  I can see the view outside my dinette bed while I’m reading, surfing, working crosswords or just enjoying a cup of coffee.  And the window opens!  Having that extra ventilation is wonderful.

New window open

New window open

The window has a very good latch.  It’s as secure — or maybe more secure than the original window.  If someone wants to break in while the window is closed, they are still going to have to break the glass.  And I won’t leave it open unless I feel it is safe to do so.

But like all projects, this one means I have a couple of new projects to do

First is new curtains.  I don’t want curtains up in the daytime because they would block the view.  So I’m planning to mount an attractive curtain rod and make curtains with little rings to go on the rod. They will slide off the rod easily so I can store them during the day.  And they will slide open easily if I need to open them to see who is outside the door at night.

That presents another project.  The screen door is between me and the window.  The only way to open the screen door is to open the outside door.  So I plan to attach a small cup hook to a narrow dowel and hang it from the last curtain ring on the right.  It can hang down to door handle level where I can reach it to open the curtain without opening the door.

The Murphy screw

The Murphy screw. I’m calling it a beauty mark. 🙂

BUT before I can see who is at the door at night, I need to wire my outside porch light so it can be turned on from the inside, too.

But I’m so thrilled with the new window that I’ll get the curtains done before our next camping trip in July.  The wiring might have to wait a little longer.

I need some time to recover from the Murphy ambush!

A Funeral & Bygone Crafts

We just got word that my husband’s older sister passed away yesterday.  She went the way I would like to go.  She was sitting in her favorite chair when her son checked on her that morning, dozing, he thought.  Three hours later he came home and she was still sitting there.  He spoke to her and she didn’t answer… and that’s when he realized she wasn’t breathing.

Julia was our favorite.  She semi-raised most of her grandkids because they always wanted to go stay with “Aunt Julia.”  She will be sorely missed.

We don’t know yet when the funeral will be… should hear today.  But today I will be madly getting the trailer de-winterized and organized for the trip to south Georgia.

We had wanted to keep going south after we spent some time with Ron’s family.  But I have two packages on the way that I need for our next trip, and they won’t be here for several days.  So we’ll have to come back and wait for them to arrive.

I was writing another blogger yesterday about our love of crafting.  I did silver jewelry, beading, Indian beading, soap making, tatting, crocheting, knitting, crosstitch, embroidery, wood crafts, gardening, canning, dehydrating, raising chickens…. any craft you can think of, I have probably dabbled in it.  I dug up some photos of things I had done before camping took precedence over everything else in my life.

Silver jewelry

Silver jewelry

Tatted rose for greeting card.  I still tat because it's a portable, camping-friendly craft.

Tatted rose for greeting card. I still tat because it’s a portable, camping-friendly craft.

Birds nest in worm-eaten wild cherry log

Birds nest in worm-eaten wild cherry log

Panda on a swing

Panda on a swing

I’m in a strange space this morning.  I think it’s just denial of what has happened and trying to distract myself.

Got to go pack a trailer and bathe a couple of dogs and get haircuts…

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.


Busy Day Today

Sulfur soap, Christmas shoe boxes, and food for church Thanksgiving baskets

Had a busy day today–for me, anyway!

Saw the dentist, and got great news from him.  He told me to keep on whatever I am doing because my teeth looked great.   That was a major relief because my gums were not doing too well until I bought a Waterpic and started using it every day.

Then we went to dinner, then shopping for Operation Christmas Child and the church’s Thanksgiving baskets for needy families.

I also made some sulfur soap–melt and pour castile base with sublimed sulfur  and LOTS of coconut oil added, along with a little stearic acid to keep it from melting so fast.  I use the sulfur soap to help soothe my eczema during the winter months, and the added coconut oil keeps it from drying my skin out.

And I continued working on another cross bookmark from Lene Bjorn’s Tatted Bookmarks book, although I still have a bit to do on it.  I did enjoy having the tatting along to occupy me while I waited to see the dentist.  Love the fact that it’s such a portable craft.  And I must admit that I do love it when people comment on how beautiful the work is.  🙂

Tomorrow I’ll get start cleaning and packing the Aliner for our trip south on Friday.  We must get Sunny to the groomer, too, before we leave.


Last Tatted Tote Finished

The last tote I plan to do this year

I just finished the last of the totes I planned to do for Christmas.  I do hope the recipients appreciate them.  Since there is no danger of them checking my blog, it’s safe to post pictures of them.  🙂

We are gearing up for our trip to Florida in around 10 days.  I’ll take the tatting supplies and work on smaller projects while we are on the road.

I had considered splitting off the tatting posts and putting them in a new blog dedicated solely to tatting.  But then I decided not to.  The blog is a running commentary on my days–camping and non-camping, and I like the idea of having it all in one place.

Stormy Trip to Florida

storm clouds

Stormy weather

We left High Falls State Park on Saturday and headed south to Florida.  The sky became progressively more threatening.  We couldn’t remember seeing such ominous clouds on any of our previous trips.  At one point, we thought it looked like a large funnel cloud was beginning to form, but thankfully, it never did.

We went through three different downpours where visibility was reduced to almost nothing, and the storms followed us all the way to Florida.

Ominous black clouds

Ominous black clouds

More storm clouds

More storm clouds

Turbulent skies

Turbulent skies

Funnel cloud forming?

This is the one we thought looked like it might be a funnel cloud beginning to form.

Near zero visibility

Near zero visibility

It seemed somehow fitting, since we were going home for Joanie’s memorial service.

Sunsets at West Point Lake, GA

Sunset 1 at West Point Lake

A sunset at West Point Lake

We are home from our camping trip to West Point Lake now.  Since the days ranged from the low to high 90’s, we couldn’t do our normal camping activities like hiking, so we got bored.  It was the first time I have been anxious to return from a camping trip.

Sunset 2 over West Point Lake

Another glorious sunset

My best memories of the trip are the glorious sunsets.  All were shades of orange and mauve, but each was distinctive and unforgettable.  Long after the sun set, the gleaming colors lingered on the surface of the water.

One of three sunset shots over lake

First of three photos of this sunset

Shot 2 of 3

Second of three photos

Final shot of sunset 3

The last photo of the sunset the night before we left

Back Home Again

Aliner popup folded down

Time to leave

I actually felt a little grief at having to leave today.  I got over it quickly, resigned to reality.  But I honestly do think there must be some Gypsy blood in me.   Probably on Dad’s side.

The road home

The road home

We plan a fairly short  local trip for June due to budget constraints.

In the meantime, I’ll try to take some good photos of edible and interesting plants and mushrooms in our woods to keep the blog alive until our next trip.

Thanks so much for your interest.

Almost home

Almost home

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