Remembering Pearl Harbor, Passport America & Home Remedies

USS Arizona Memorial in Hawaii.  At Pearl Harbor, the USS Arizona suffered direct-hits from four 800-kg bombs dropped by high-altitude Japanese Kates and the remains of over 1,000 crewmen are still entombed in her hull. Even today, droplets of oil still leak to the surface.

USS Arizona Memorial in Hawaii. At Pearl Harbor, the USS Arizona suffered direct-hits from four 800-kg bombs dropped by high-altitude Japanese Kates and the remains of over 1,000 crewmen are still entombed in her hull. Even today, droplets of oil still leak to the surface.

I don’t know why I am in such a pensive state of mind today.  I’m remembering Pearl Harbor on this anniversary of “a date which will live in infamy.”  Usually I see Dec. 7 on the calendar and I may or may not attach any special significance to it.

Years ago I toured the USS Arizona Memorial in Honolulu.  The visit was profoundly moving as I stood right over the ship that is the grave for over 1,000 sailors and watched the oil slick that is still slowly seeping from the hull.

War really is hell.  I am glad that I do not have any first-hand knowledge of it.

But with all of the ominous rumblings throughout the world, I sometimes wonder how long I will be able to say that.

Moving right along to happier topics, I have all the clothes packed in the Casita for our upcoming trip.  Now all that remains to be packed are toiletries and food.  I’ll go ahead and get the canned and packaged food packed later today.

After I get that done, I want to give the entire house a deep cleaning since we plan to be gone longer than normal this time.  Our plans are to leave December 15th.

I bought a Passport America membership last night.  That will open up a lot of options for inexpensive camping for us.  I absolutely adore the woodsy, rustic, remote Federal campgrounds we usually stay at.  But sometimes I’d like a break from them and would enjoy staying closer to civilization.

Of course, there are a lot of RV parks in Florida that don’t honor PA — or that don’t honor them in snowbird season.  But there are a surprising number that do.

Also, now that I know I can safely leave both Sunny and Sheba in the trailer for a couple of hours, we’ll have a lot more freedom this trip.

Tinycamper's little apothecary  :)

Tinycamper’s little apothecary 🙂

I wanted to report back to those who are curious about how my home remedies turned out.

The frankincense and myrrh balm does seem to have helped.  My thumb joint  is not as swollen and tender to the touch as it was.  But that could be for any number of reasons.  The flare-up could have run its course and calmed down naturally.  I could have an over-active imagination and it could be the placebo effect because I wanted it to work so badly.  Or it may actually have helped.  In any case, it feels better now than it did last week.  😀

I made it in little 3/8 oz. plastic jars I got from Amazon.  A normal salve base is one part beeswax to 8 parts oil (like olive oil — I used almond).  However, the essential oils are so thin and penetrating that the normal recipe turns out almost liquid.  I tried again with a 1 to 4 ratio and it was still semi liquid after adding the esssential oils.  I’m thinking that maybe straight beeswax with that unusually high proportion of essential oils might work.  In any case, to the salve base in the little jar I added 25 drops (1/4 teaspoon) each of frankincense and myrrh essential oils.

The results of the sleeping aromatherapy trials are much the same.  I do think they help me fall asleep.  It could be that I expect them to help, therefore they do. It’s so hard to quantify things like that.  Lavender helped.  Lavender and marjoram helped more, I thought.  Clary sage and marjoram was better.  I finally concocted a recipe of several essential oils that are supposed to promote sleep and I thought that was a lot more effective.

For those who are curious, I ended up with:

10 drops Roman chamomile, 5 drops clary sage, 5 drops bergamot, 5 drops marjoram, 5 drops frankincense, and 2 drops ylang ylang.  I bottled it in a little 1/2 oz. dropper bottle — again from Amazon.

But then last night I couldn’t sleep and nothing helped!  Also I have been breathing so many essential oils lately that they’ve triggered allergic reactions.

So be very skeptical and try at your own risk.  🙂

Electric Brakes & Hard Lotion

Hard lotion bars

Hard lotion bars

We got the electric brakes replaced yesterday, so are good to go.  I watched the guy do it so I would understand how they worked.  I even got to stick the wires in the 7 pin connector to test the electrical connection.  😀

So I’m happy — except that it cost $450 of our trip money.

Oh well, at least we will enjoy the trip a lot more knowing that the brakes work as they should.

I started preliminary packing today — starting with cleaning out my purse!  That’s always a chore, but once I’m past that psychological hurdle, I’m primed for the rest.  Got our underwear and linens packed in the Casita, and have sorted out which clothes to take.  Not that I’m anxious or anything!

Lotion bars shrink wrapped for storage.

Lotion bars shrink wrapped for storage.

After the shea butter allergy fiasco, I decided to stick to a very basic lotion recipe.  I decided against a liquid because I didn’t want to add a preservative.  Without a preservative, liquid lotion would have a short shelf life and I would have to keep it refrigerated to keep mold from growing in it.

So I made hard lotion bars, consisting of equal proportions of beeswax, coconut oil and almond oil, scented with several drops of essential oil.  Since it doesn’t contain shea or cocoa butters, it is not as rock hard as some, and is much easier to use.

The almond oil makes it even more moisturizing to my extremely dry skin, and the beeswax keeps the moisture from evaporating.

So — two things have worked out right in a row.  I’m on a roll!  😀

Pre-Trip Excitement

Everything is packed in the Casita except the refrigerator foods, and they are next.  Dogs are bathed. Menus planned.  Crosswords squirreled away behind the cushions.  Long johns, long sleeved shirts, jeans, shorts and short sleeved shirts are packed.   This is the South, after all.

Ron is washing the trailer again.  He washed it yesterday, scrubbing embedded mildew off the roof using baking soda.  But baking soda streaks ran down the trailer and dried, so he’s washing that off right now.

I’ll freshen up the water system in a few minutes.

The anticipation and excitement of an upcoming trip finally struck me.  And I am loving it!

Cozygirl sent me a picture of the view from her campsite.  It’s beautiful!  And we’ll be right next door. You can see a sneak preview here.

We plan to head out tomorrow, Lord willing and the creek don’t rise!  😀

How We Pack Our Casita

Sheets, blankets and afghans

I hear so many complaints about inadequate storage space in small RVs.  The Casita and other molded fiberglass trailers, especially, have less storage area than many other campers the same size due to their rounded profiles.

I think adequate storage is a matter of perspective, though.  We pack the same whether we are planning to be gone one week or six weeks, so if we decide not to go home, we can extend our trips as long as we like.

Bath towels and wash cloths

Instead of taking a lot of clothing, we plan instead to do laundry once a week.  Rather than take a lot of weather-specific clothing, we count on layering to make our clothes multi-purpose.  For instance, except in summer, we take thermal vests, thermal underwear, a mix of long and short sleeved shirts, jeans and a couple of shorts each.  Shorts and short sleeved shirts become comfortable cool

Kitchen towels, shaving kit, small hair dryer, cell phone charger

weather hiking clothes with the addition of thermal underwear.  And jeans and long sleeved shirts become cold weather clothing with thermal undershirts and vests.  And instead of hauling around a lot of outerwear, we take jackets with zip in fleece liners.  They can be worn as wind breakers, rain jackets, fleece sweaters, or all together if the weather gets really cold.


By planning our clothing this way, our two jackets fit easily into the small closet, and all of our shirts and pants fit into two nice-sized storage baskets.

I pack food for a week’s worth of meals, with a few additional cans of chili, soup and hearty snacks.  When we are traveling, we use instant potatoes instead of trying to find space for fresh potatoes.  I also use dehydrated garlic instead of garlic bulbs (which will really stink up a trailer).  I try to


balance good taste and nutrition with how much storage space I have available.   If there’s a conflict, I’ll often choose what fits the space best.

The main concession we make to the small storage compartments is using hand towels instead of bath towels.  That way I can pack 10 towels and 10 washcloths.  Since we both have short hair, that works well for us.  And after making the mental adjustment, we don’t miss the big bath towels.

Pictures explain our system better than a lot of text would.  The key to making our system work is thinking like backpackers.  We take everything that is essential, and not much that is not.  And wherever possible, we try to make items perform more than one function.

Not having the microwave gives us a lot more pantry storage

More pantry storage under the small dinette bed. Cans of vegetables are in one drawer, soups, chili, and such are in another, packaged foods in another, with beans, tomato sauce, etc. in another. Dog food is on the right.

Essential dishes fit in one small cupboard

Silverware drawer with cooking essentials

Cleaning supplies in small cabinet underneath furnace

One large pot/pan and 3 small nesting pots. One pot is used as a mixing bowl.

Aluminum foil, plastic wrap and bags, tatting supplies, plastic box of toiletries, flashlight and tire gauge and 20 amp adapter in top cabinet over refrigerator.

Miscellaneous storage under dinette seat. Books also go here.

Tools and small hiking pack under the other dinette seat.

Clothes baskets under rear bed. Someday I'll redo the flooring and cover up the hole for the post of the original dinette table.

Our multi-purpose jackets along with purse, flip flops, toilet paper and odds and ends in the closet.

The previous owner installed a small basket in the bathroom, held by two stick-on hooks. We use it to hold shampoo while showering.


Battening Down the Hatches

Washed and waxed

Ever so slowly — and reluctantly — I am getting the Casita ready for her long winter sleep.  Between rains, we got her washed and waxed.

I’m vacuuming, cleaning and organizing the interior.  I had planned to take everything out, but have decided to leave some things in it in the event of severe weather warnings or other disaster.

All the dishes we need, and none we don't need. 2 plates, 2 bowls, 2 cups, coffee press, plastic bowl for leftovers and two drinking glasses. When we are camping, we add disposable plates, bowls and cups and a couple more leftover containers.

Mainly I am taking out things that would be damaged by freezing, and leaving essential clothes, underwear, dishes and towels, etc. in it.  That way if we needed to evacuate, we could just grab food and toiletries and run.

Also I’m working on implementing a few New Year’s resolutions.  One is to work two vegan meals a week into our dinner menus, and the other is to do one hour of physical activity each day that elevates my pulse and makes me sweat.

We use hand towels to dry off after showers, as there's no room for full size towels. I usually carry 10 hand towels and 10 wash cloths.

So far I’m doing okay on the physical activity.

I fixed black beans with garlic, onion and shredded carrots over Himalayan rice last night.  We enjoyed it.  But later I sneaked back into the kitchen for a snack of crackers and cheese, so that resolution needs a little fine tuning.  🙂

I got my partially finished doily out to work on this week and realized that I don’t like doilies and I don’t want to waste the time finishing it… at least for now.

The type of tatting I enjoy are small motifs that I can finish in an evening or two.  I love decorating hand made greeting cards with them.  One of my blog readers, Kathy N., has a little 4′ Christmas tree decorated with tatted ornaments and lights.  That idea really appeals to me, so along with the small tatted gifts and cards I make this year, I will plan to do some Christmas ornaments, too.

Monday night it’s supposed to get down to 20 F here, so I will have to have the Casita winterizing finished by then.

98.2 Degrees Today

Our high today was predicted to be 90, but it actually got up to 98.2   I hibernated inside until the sun went behind the trees, then got the bed covers on the camper beds and cleaned it up for the trip.

Tomorrow I’ll pack the sheets, blankets, towels and start packing clothes.  I’ll wait to pack the food until Monday.  We plan to leave Tuesday or Wednesday.

This is what my Flowerpiece by Mary Konior doily is supposed to end up looking like.

I took a break for a couple of days working on my doily.  Will get back onto it this evening.  The picture on the left is from the book Visual Patterns by Mary Konior, and shows what it is supposed to end up looking like.  The pink and aqua photo is what mine actually looks like at this point.

I lightly steamed it to get the ruffles out, but some of the chains are out of whack now.  I sure hope that adding the flower border will pull them all back into shape.

My doily in progress.

And the ukulele is FUN now.  The lessons have moved onto different rhythmic strums.  It’s a challenge, but it is sheer pleasure.

I hope Ron’s patience at listening to me practice holds out.  So far he’s being a great sport about it.

Tatting on the Wall

This is a bookmark that I made displayed as a picture.

I’ve been tatting flowers and motifs and putting them in picture frames.  Some of them don’t look great.  So far the flower garden bookmark looks the best.

I’ll keep replacing the ones that don’t look so great until I have a nice wall grouping.

The frames aren’t black… they just came out looking that way in the photo.

I’m still not smoking, and feeling better every day.  My chronic cough is gone.  One symptom of quitting that I didn’t expect was depression.  It was pretty severe.  But I’ve apparently turned the corner on that, too, because I feel good this morning.

It is so cold, but it is supposed to warm up this weekend.  So I’ll probably take the tarp off the camper Saturday and start cleaning and packing.  Then probably Tuesday or Wednesday we’ll head home to Florida.

I am so ready to get on the road!

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.


Packing the Aliner – Part 2

In order to enjoy the Aliner and pack it successfully, you have to think like a backpacker.  There’s not room for “just in case items.”  You can only take what you really need, and you need to maximize usage of the items that you do take.

Think like a backpacker!

One large pan doubles as a frying pan and stew pot. A one quart stainless steel camping pot with folding handles nests inside its 2 quart mate.

I’ve found that one large skillet that can double as a stew pot, and two small nesting stainless steel camping pots are all the cookware I need.   We also have the little Weber gas grill for steaks and hamburgers, grilled veggies, etc.

aliner kitchen storage

Shows counter when we are camping, and then where we store the countertop items when the trailer is folded down for travel.

Kitchen countertop items are stowed in the sink and on the bed for travel.  Paper plates and plastic utensils are stored in the microwave.

Blankets and sheets are stored behind the pillows on the bed.

clothes storage under bed

Clothes are stored in baskets underneath the beds

Clothes are kept in baskets underneath the beds for easy access, and underwear and toiletries go in the little 3 drawer chest.  Shoes hide in a cubbyhole in front of the converter.  The electric heater by Ron’s clothes basket hides a tray of toilet chemicals.

3 drawer chest

The little drawer unit is for underwear and toiletries

A propane catalytic heater and laundry supplies, along with a plastic drawer unit for first aid supplies, water filter, duct tape, etc. all go in the rear of the camper by the little drawer unit.  Behind that are setup items like the stabilizer jacks crank, adapters, a tire repair kit, a small manual pump, etc.

Aliner linen closet

Storage for wash clothes, hand towels, and TP behind shower

Our linen closet is the long, narrow cubbyhole behind the shower.  We keep wash cloths, hand towels (used instead of bath towels), spare toilet paper in the back, and the roll in use up front.

Odds and ends like scissors, paper, pens, glue, small tools, clothes pins, needle and thread, etc. are also easily accessible in a tiny plastic drawer unit by my clothes drawer.

Finally, the TV tray is bungied to the chest for travel.  That keeps it from flying around, and also keeps the drawers from coming open.

We could use the shower for storage if needed.  But I don’t like having to drag things out of it if we stop for a bathroom break.  I like to be able to lift the wall, slide the latch, and have it instantly accessible.   So we just don’t bring items that would need to be kept in there.

Properly packed and kept neat, the little Aliner seems a lot bigger than it is.  With its high ceilings, skylights and windows, it can feel really spacious.  But if you let it get cluttered,  it will feel cramped and claustrophobic.

(See also previous post on packing the pantry.)

Aliner bathroom folded

The shower is available for storage while in transit if needed.

shoe storage

Shoe storage in front of converter

more storage in rear

More storage in rear

table bungied for travel

Table bungied to drawer unit for travel

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