Leisurely Progress

Vegan hopping john

Vegan hopping john and brown rice

The first order of business when we got back home was to catch up on medical appointments. My doctor informed me that my cholesterol was sky high. Since my body has zero tolerance for statins or livilo, that means my only options are diet, supplements and exercise.

So, I am planning three vegan days per week, and cutting back on meat and cheese the other 4 days.

Fortunately, Ron loves my vegan meals as long as I promise him a steak and a pork chop once a week. So tonight we had hopping john and brown rice. Ron went back for seconds, which assured me he wasn’t feeling deprived with the meatless meal. 🙂

I also found a highly recommended handyman who charges very reasonable prices to do the projects on the house that I can’t do. Needless to say, he is backed up, but should be here next week to put in the new back door and give me an estimate on the utility closet. So we are slowly on our way to getting the place ready to put on the market.

Ron is having cataract surgery Wednesday. The following Thursday I go in for a preop consultation about eyelid surgery. My drooping eyelids interfere with my vision enough that Medicare will pay to have that fixed. Then Ron will go in for the other cataract surgery, then this fall it will be my turn.

At least we should have all that done in time to head to Florida again next winter.

Between repair jobs this summer, we plan to schedule week-long getaways whenever we can work them in.

lbmWe have had tons of rain, so I know the mushrooms are going crazy out in the woods. I haven’t made time to check them out, so maybe I can squeeze a mushroom hunting expedition in tomorrow.

I did find a LBM (little brown mushroom) in one of the campgrounds we were in. I’m not sure which one. I didn’t try to identify it because it’s a tedious process for me and I didn’t have the inclination to spend that much time on it. At first I thought it was a deadly gallerina, but the gills are wrong for that. Anyway, it is definitely not one I was tempted to eat!

We have found the solution for Sunny’s incontinence problems.  It’s a belly band with a sanitary napkin inside.  It’s not very glamorous, but it works.  I thought he would hate wearing one, but he is so used to me putting sweaters and jackets on him that this is just another thing that Mom makes him wear.  🙂

Looking Ahead

Yesterday afternoon I finally got around to calling Casita to order the parts I need.  They have a new phone system so you can bypass the overworked receptionist, which is a big improvement in how they do things.  So I left a message for the parts department to call me.

Very unlike Casita, they did not return my call.  So today I called to leave another message and got a recording saying their mailbox was full.  That is TOTALLY unlike Casita.  So I called again and dialed O for Operator instead of 3 for the parts department.

A very nice man answered, and explained that due to the ice storm, the plant was shut down yesterday.  He took my name and number, and later, I think it may have been the same person who called to get my parts order.  I wonder if the factory was still mostly shut down and he was just doing what he could to help catch up on the backlog?

Anyway, I ordered 6 new cabinet latches, 5 sets of hinges to replace the ones that are rusting.  And a new cover for the cable connection.

This turned out to be a little too much hat for me.

This turned out to be a little too much hat for me.

Around the house I am doing whatever I can to beat the spring-is-never-going-to-come-and-I’ll-never-be-able-to-go-camping-again blues.

I went to Hobby Lobby the other day and got some pretty material and lace to make new valances and a table skirt for my bedroom.  I also got some of their silky *I Love This Yarn* brand yarn.  It is so soft and works up like a dream.

A couple of my friends knit or crochet head warmer hats for chemo patients who have lost their hair.  I’m not sure if I want to commit to it, but I did try one of their patterns to see how it would go.  I’m not too thrilled with either the pattern or the colors I chose, but it is a very soft, warm hat.  I will probably use it as a camping hat next fall.

Hope

Hope

I don’t think I’ll do a big garden this year, but I would like to do some Earth Boxes and maybe a small square foot garden.  So I started some seeds last night.  Maybe when they sprout and start growing a little I will feel more like spring will really come this year.  🙂

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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!

Pump House Fire

After they got the flames out

After they got the flames out

Whenever it gets below 13 degrees here, which is very rare, the contacts on our pump shrink and we lose water.  Ron has to go out and push the contacts together and it’s usually fine.

It did get down to 4 last night.  And this morning we had no water.  So Ron went out to push the contacts together.  He apparently touched the wrong thing and it sparked, then a fire started.

Huge orange flames were shooting up and I was terrified it would get into the woods.  But the fire department got here before it had time to spread.  Thank God!

So now we have no water and no pump.  I have a call in to my insurance agent.

We do have some water stored and Ron is going to Walmart to get more drinking water so we will be fine.  But no laundry or showers for a while.

Casita Tweaks & Plans

Weather stripping added around air conditioner to keep air intake from making black streaks on carpet

Weather stripping added around air conditioner to keep air intake from making black streaks on carpet

For a while I have noticed the Casita’s ceiling carpet around the air conditioner getting dirty.  Finally a nasty black streak of dirt appeared all the way around it.

I took a close look at it and realized the air conditioner housing wasn’t sealed tightly against the carpet. That was allowing air to enter through the top of the unit without the benefit of a filter.  So the surrounding carpet was acting as a filter.

So I took the AC housing down, scrubbed the carpet, and remounted the cover.  But the screws would not go far enough to snug the cover down tight against the carpet to prevent the problem from recurring.

An air conditioner filter that fits the Casita's unit properly

An air conditioner filter that fits the Casita’s unit properly

So I scrounged through my supplies and found some white weather stripping that I thought might work.  It looks like it will do the job.  Time will tell.  🙂

Another problem we’ve had all year is very high humidity from the exceptional amount of rainfall in the area.  Even the ground stinks like mildew sometimes.  Inevitably the Casita started smelling a little musty.  I knew that if I didn’t dry it out good, I would soon be dealing with mildew inside the trailer.

I bought Damp Rid, but was not convinced it would be adequate.  For a while, I ran the Casita AC or heater, but I figured that was getting to be an awfully expensive solution.  Finally I put the little electric heater that we used to use in the Aliner in the Casita.

The little electric heater makes a fantastic dehumidifier

The little electric heater makes a fantastic dehumidifier

I like the little heater because it is thermostatically controlled, and it only runs when it is actually heating.  The Casita’s air conditioner/heater fan runs the whole time it is on.

Running the little heater is a lot cheaper than buying and running a decent dehumidifier.   And it has completely dried out the Casita’s interior.  There is not a hint of dampness or mustiness in it anymore.

I also, after using all kind of unsatisfactory substitutes for the factory air conditioner filter, found the perfect solution at Amazon.  It’s a foam filter just like the one that came in the air conditioner.  The only difference is, you have to cut it to fit.

I bought 3 filters, and figure it is good for at least 9 filter changes in my air conditioner!

spider

A spider lurking on the side of our storage shed

Our weather has been rainy and dreary the past two days.  I didn’t find much outside to take photos of.  But we have several big, fat spiders making their home around our storage shed.  So here’s the best nature shot I could muster up for you today!  😀

We had to cancel our trip to Texas.  Instead, we were going to meet with friends at a nearby COE.  But they’ve had to cancel due to a family emergency.

If the government doesn’t shut down, we’ll still use our COE reservations.  If the government shuts down (which means closing the National Parks and Army Corps of Engineers campgrounds) we may go to a nearby state park for a few days.

We are just bursting to get out again!

In preparation for cooler weather, the Casita's closet has been stocked with jackets, raincoats, dog sweater and coat, hats and fleece gloves..

In preparation for cooler weather, the Casita’s closet has been stocked with jackets, raincoats, dog sweater and coat, hats and fleece gloves.

The project has begun

I had to make an emergency switch in plans and start with the large bathroom instead of the small one.

There is black mold growing along the baseboard in the closet that adjoins the shower stall.  I have watched the problem develop for a long time, but felt absolutely helpless to do anything about it.

But I’ve learned enough from working on the camper that you read up on what you need to do and then just start.

However, I did not watch the Youtube video on “how to remove a shower stall” before I started.

So after I removed the faucet heads, broke off two badly corroded screws, and realized any turning of the wrench would also turn on the water, I told Ron, who was trying to help, “Don’t do anything until I find out how this works.”

So I started watching the video on how to remove a shower stall and discovered the first thing I need to do is cut the water lines and seal them with shark bite fittings.

About that time, I heard a huge gushing of water coming from the bathroom.  Ron hadn’t waited.  So he went outside to the water shutoff and turned the water to the house off.

We also had a load of laundry half way finished.

And now we have a flood.

So I guess we’ll do without water and take showers in the Casita tonight.

I have a doctors appointment tomorrow. After that I’ll head to Home Depot and get some shark bite fittings to cap the water to the shower.

Then I’ll start over.

I used to watch This Old House on PBS and developed a mad crush on Tom Silva.  I’m over the crush, but sure wish he was a next door buddy I could call and ask for a little help.

If we hadn’t just gone into debt for a new roof, I’d just have someone come out and do the work.  As it is, I’ll just take my time.

And thank God for my faith which teaches me, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

🙂

[edited to add that Ron did manage to replace the part he had removed, so we do have water in the rest of the house this evening!  YAY!]

1st Ripe Figs & Fabric

The first of this year's fig crop

The first of this year’s fig crop

I walked outside in a light drizzle today to check on the figs.  They are starting to ripen!  The tree with the early, smaller figs is loaded.  The other fig tree has larger, fat green figs that will ripen later.

I’m keeping this first picking to pig out on fresh.   They are superb!

I ordered fabric for the small bathroom last night.  Am going crazy trying to pick out paint colors.

But there’s a lot of prep work before I start since I need to replace part of the subfloor under the toilet, install a new toilet and lavatory and replace the flooring.  I’ve decided to keep the existing countertop.  It’s dated, but still sound and the color will work with my fabric.

I’m feeling a little under the weather, so might take a while to actually get busy on the project.  But the planning is always the toughest part for me, anyway, and I think I have most of what I want to do figured out.

Deck Refinishing Schedule Switch

I have looked everywhere for the roll-on Pro-Deck the roofing contractor told me about.  I can’t find it.  The only Pro-deck I can find online is one that you lay fiberglass matting down and roll some kind of resin over.  That’s too big a learning curve for me right now and I don’t want to tackle it.

Rustoleum Restore

Rustoleum Restore

So I went to Home Depot this afternoon and got brochures for Rustoleum Restore and Behr Deckover.

I trust the Rustoleum name much more than the Behr name.  Behr’s deck sealers have been non-ending disappointments to me, as they wear off, then have to be cleaned off before putting on more that will look awful in another year.

But the Rustoleum Restore has a horribly rough finish that I don’t think I could live with.  I’ve read reviews that say it is very hard to clean and that if you move a piece of furniture over it, it will scratch the coating down to the bare wood.  Dog claws can apparently scratch it off, too.

Behr Deckover

Behr Deckover

The Behr Deckover is an acrylic with a much finer non-slip texture.  Reviews are mixed.  Apparently if you carefully prepare the surface, some people have great luck with it.  Others (who maybe didn’t prepare the surface well?) say it’s horrible and doesn’t last.

However, at this point it really doesn’t matter, because which ever product I choose has to be applied to dry wood.  And this has been a very soggy year with no signs of it drying out enough for me to feel confident the wood would get dry enough.  Especially the back deck which does not get full sun.

weather1

weather2

So I refuse to go to all the trouble to prepare and redo the decks unless I have decent weather conditions.  I’ve redone that job too many times already.

So I think I’m going to switch gears and maybe start inside the house.  They are saying that the wet weather is here to stay for a while.  So it might be early next year before conditions are dry enough to refinish the decks with what hopefully will be a semi-permanent finish.  There will be more cracks to fill in, but if the job will last, it’s worth waiting to do.

So I think I’ll start planning to redo the small bathroom first.  Since it’s small, I can learn from my mistakes without spending so much on material.  Then I can put that experience to use in the big bathroom.

I’d much rather be camping!  🙂