Saturday, December 29, 2018

Goals for 2019

It's that time again, when I make goals with every intention of keeping up with them all year. And every year, I have forgotten about them by March, or sometimes February. But not this year. This year, I am going for attainable goals, baby steps to the big goals.

Health:
Walk five days a week
Yoga three days a week
Acupressure daily


House:
January - drywall
February - interior light fixtures, wood walls
March - bathroom and closet cabinets install
April - kitchen cabinets install
May - Pantry cabinets install, and under stairs build
June - cabinet doors and facing
July - door trim and baseboard
August- doors
September - fireplace
October - Rugs and curtains
November - Dining Table
December - Christmas decorations!

Garden:
January: Move lily tank, retaining wall east side
February: Remove trees and install fence posts in poison ivy corner
March-May: Build and fill planters
June-July: Water new plants and trees, collect seeds, mow
August: Regrade driveway
September: Driveway gate
October-November: Replant field
December: Final mowing

Enjoyment:
Finish at least 6 quilts
Read at least 20 books
Write at least 12 books for my grandsons
Make a barn quilt

Most of this is dependent on Hubby's help and cooperation, and of course, finances. The main goal is to be living in the house by February, and living like normal people by June. Right now, that doesn't seem possible, but if we can stick with it, we can do it.

Thursday, December 20, 2018

AIP Turkey Vegetable Soup

Tuesday, Hubby took me to Costco. I looked for glasses frames while he loaded up on groceries. We both had eye exams last Thursday and he had gotten new glasses there, but I couldn't find any frames that fit my face. But Costco had a surprising number of petite frames and I finally had it narrowed down to two or three. But then Costco had a problem with my prescription so we left without ordering, and stopped by the eye doctor on the way back home. Turns out she didn't find any astigmatism in my left eye and only put a prism on my right lens. I don't know if the Graves eye disease caused the change in my eye or if astigmatism can magically go away on its own. I've had astigmatism in both eyes for the last fifty years, but the doctor insisted there was no astigmatism in my left eye now. Hmmm.

Yesterday, I didn't want to kill another day for Hubby, so I drove myself to Costco. I made it there without hitting anyone, yay!, ordered my glasses, and bought a four pack of ground turkey. I know, you're thinking "what does glasses have to do with soup?" Absolutely nothing. Except that the reason I made this soup is because I need to get back on the AIP bandwagon. After my frustrating visit with the thyroid eye disease ophthalmologist who only wanted to talk about plastic surgery, and the subsequent phone call from my endocrinologist who insisted that thyroid surgery is my only option, I decided to get back on the diet and see if that made any difference. I am 90% convinced that surgery won't do anything except make me hypothyroid for life.

On the way home from Costco, I stopped at Sprouts to check out their vegetables, and bought white sweet potatoes to use instead of white potatoes. The combination of turkey and white sweet potatoes, along with the other vegetables, made a tasty soup. Slightly sweet, with just the right consistency to make it stew-like. Even Hubby, who often cringes at my AIP recipes, thought it had a great taste.

Ingredients:
One pound ground turkey
Small yellow onion
Two celery sticks
Two carrots
One white sweet potato (it was big)
One zucchini
Four cups of chicken bone broth
Salt and pepper to taste. I leave out pepper.

Normally, I wouldn't put onion in my AIP soup, but I had it in my refrigerator and just couldn't throw it away. In the future, I'll use roast a clove or two of garlic instead.

I started by dicing all the vegetables, and then sauteed the onions. Add all the vegetables and broth to the soup pot. Then brown the ground turkey, cutting and stirring with the spatula to make it crumble. Add it to the soup, bring to a boil, and then turn down to simmer until carrots are tender.

That's it. Super easy and delicious.

This will be the start of an eternal soup for the next few days. I'll add something new to the pot every day along with water or more broth. I have more zucchini, and then I think I'll add cauliflower, though we're not crazy about the smell of cauliflower cooking.

Friday, December 14, 2018

Now WHY Did I Go to That Doctor?

During my last visit with my endocrinologist, she wanted me to see an ophthalmologist who specializes in thyroid eye disease and then a thyroid surgeon. She said she wanted the ophthalmologist to take measurements and test the progression of the disease. It took almost two months to get an appointment with the doctor she wanted me to see, and once there, he never even looked into my eyes. He spent nearly the whole time talking about "lowering" my eyelids.

He asked at the beginning if I was having double vision, and I told him I was, to the point that I think my time driving on the highway is over. It's hard to focus with all the eye movements needed to watch traffic, and each eye movement takes a few seconds to adjust the focus. He didn't seem too concerned except to say he wouldn't do the eyelid surgery until the changes in my eyes was stable. Huh? I'm worried about losing my vision and he is talking about plastic surgery to make me look better?

I have a call in to the endocrinologist. Either she wrote the order to the doctor wrong, or she misled me as to why she wanted me to see this doctor. I just want to be able to see at this point.

The day after I saw that ophthalmologist, Hubby and I had appointments at an optometrist for new glasses. A couple of months ago, right after I found out I had thyroid eye disease, I told him I really needed new glasses and he recommended getting cheap ones because more than likely, my eyes would change so much in the next year that I'd need to change them again. This optometrist turned out to be at Walmart. It didn't say anything about Walmart on our provider list, and frankly, if I had known she was the Walmart optometrist, I wouldn't have gone to her. But she was actually one of the better optometrists I've been to. We discussed my eye disease, and she recommended putting a bit of prism into the lenses to help me focus. My retina specialist had mentioned that, so I agreed. Walmart has a low selection of frames that fit a narrow adult face, so I haven't gotten glasses yet, but hopefully, I'll find a pair in the next few days.

In the meantime, the wind is howling here. I hadn't planned on stepping foot outside the barndo today, but the wind isn't supposed to last all day. If it does, I'll run over to the nursing home to play a game with my mother-in-law and try to sneak some clothes into her closet. She has gotten really weird about clothes. She worries about not having anything to wear all the time and yet, she doesn't like anything we bring to her. So I thought if I could sneak some of her old clothes into her closet, I could pull them out when she asks what she is going to wear tomorrow. Wish me luck on that one. She is still sharp enough to know what clothes were in her closet.

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

It's Hard to Believe that Christmas is Almost Here

It doesn't feel like Christmas here. Other than Christmas movies on the television rerun channel, tv commercials I tend to tune out, the Salvation Army bell ringers at Walmart, and a few Christmas songs on the radio, I haven't seen many indications of the season. Neither our town, nor the nearest bigger town has any Christmas decorations on the streets as they normally do. I haven't seen many cars, make that ANY cars, with wreaths on the grill or antlers on the roof. But most of all, people I've seen in town seem to be doing the same thing they do every other day, just like me. I haven't heard anyone say Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, Happy Hanukkah, Feliz Navidad, or any other holiday greeting. Don't get me wrong, people are polite, they just aren't any different than the other eleven months of the year.

We don't have our lights and decorations up, save for one star Hubby put on his radio tower, and I seldom have a view of it. Maybe, because we don't have a normal home right now, with our normal decorations, that I just don't notice them in other places. Maybe it's because I haven't been to the mall. Maybe it takes circling the parking lot for thirty minutes looking for a parking space and then battling hordes of people for the perfect gift to feel the full effect of the countdown to Christmas. Maybe it's because I haven't bought any gifts. (We're exchanging consumable gifts this year, so I'm waiting until the last minute.)

The weather isn't helping either. Except for a few cold and rainy days last week, it's been warm and pleasant, not like Christmas should be at all. I've never thought much about the smells of Christmas before, but now that I have, most of my memories involve them. That cold, crisp smell when it is about to snow, the scent of pine when walking into a warm house, and that tantalizing aroma of cinnamon, and ginger coming from the kitchen. It's all missing this year.

I think I need to find my copy of It's a Wonderful Life (I bought it last year), followed by The Nativity Story, make a cup of hot chocolate, and spend an evening letting the reason for the season seep into my soul.

What does it take for you to get into the holiday spirit?

Friday, November 16, 2018

Feline Friday and Friendly Fill-ins

In the house, we have a food and water dispenser so Buddy boy will always have clean food and water. In the fifth wheel, we have small bowls for his food and water, and in the garage, we have another set of bowls. But when Buddy is in the garage, what water does he crave? The five gallon buckets that we used to collect condensation water from the air conditioner!

Actually, he prefers the orange bucket and usually stands on his hind legs with his front paws on the rim to drink. But when the water was an inch or two below the rim, he got inventive.



It's a good thing the gray bucket was full of water or it might have turned over and dumped him into the orange water bucket. Silly cat.

But because I love him, I'm going to let him answer the Friendly Fill-ins today.

1 – I can’t wait to have both my people home to pet me on Thanksgiving.
2 – I am thankful for a warm home, plenty of food, and all the water I can drink.
3 – When it comes to pie, I'll let my human mom and dad have it all.
4 – A feast is not a feast without lots of leftovers.

Linking to:
Feline Friday at Comedy Plus
Friendly Fill-Ins at 15 and Meowing

Friday, November 9, 2018

When a Good Plan Takes an Embarressing Turn

This spring, when the weeds were growing taller than the hay, we I spent a lot of time mowing. I usually mow in the evening, but one day was so nice that I started in the morning and didn't finish until early afternoon. I usually wear a long sleeve shirt when I mow, but that day I was wearing a short sleeve shirt and I got one of the worst sunburns I have had in a long time. Luckily, there was Preparation H in the medicine cabinet. If you haven't used Preparation H on a sunburn, go buy some NOW and keep it on hand. It works like a charm to take away the burning pain and to turn a sunburn into a tan practically overnight. Your skin won't peel either, provided you stay cool and out of the sun for the next day or two. And no, this post isn't about Prep H; I just got carried away. Besides, you need to know how I got my dark farmer's tan.

So anyway, I now had a super dark farmer's tan next to my super light normal skin, and I wanted to wear a sleeveless dress to an event in a few days. I considered sunless tanners or spray on bronzer, but I didn't know if the color would match or if I could get it dark enough. Then I saw a commercial on tv for Covergirl Tru Blend Matte Made Foundation. The selling point of the commercial is that the makeup doesn't transfer onto clothing and stays on when other makeup melts into creases. Naturally, I wondered if I could use it on my upper arms.

The next day, I was at Target and looked for the makeup. That Target only had four shades of the makeup. The two darker shades were D40 and D70. D40 looked too light and D70 looked too dark but it was hard to see through the glass bottles. I felt like Goldilocks looking for makeup, without the middle shade that was jussst right. What I really needed was a demo, but this was Target, not Dillards, and there was no demo bottle. A peek inside the bottle would tell me the true color, but under the lid was a pump top, not a view of the makeup. I have never, ever, opened makeup in a store before, but I did this time.

I pumped a small dot on my fingertip and touched it to my pasty upper arm next to the tan line and it wasn't a bad match, but I thought it might look lighter when it was spread out across my skin. It didn't. That tiny dot was now a dark streak across my arm and I couldn't rub it in because I still had a little more makeup on my finger. So I wiped my finger inside my wrist, which was a shade darker than pasty, and then tried to smooth out the makeup on my upper arm. It spread out, but didn't thin very much, just enough to be a perfect match for my tan. Then I tried to rub off the streak on my wrist and only smeared it up the inside of my arm. By this time, the palm side of my hand was also dark tan too.

No problem, I thought, I have a water bottle in my cart, I'll just get it wet and wipe it off. No dice. Water just beads up on the makeup. Then I looked around the makeup aisle, which was mercifully empty, and couldn't find anything resembling a wet wipe, a makeup removing pad, kleenex, or anything - nothing except makeup. Now what? Search another aisle, where there were people, or just hold my head up and go through checkout with brown streaks on my palm, inner arm and upper arm? I tossed the D70 into my cart, clamped my streaked arm and hand to my side, and managed to get out of there with nothing more than a few strange looks.

Once I got home, I tried to wash off the makeup with soap and water. It thinned it down to a brown stain, but didn't totally remove it. Hand sanitizer removed it completely though. If you need to fill in a light area in your tan, this product works. It works great on legs too, and goes on without streaking. And of course, it probably works great on the face since it was made for that. But take my advice, don't try it out in the store!

Covergirl Tru Blend Matte Made Liquid Foundation

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Coincidence or God Sent?

Monday afternoon, I had some errands to run in a town not far away. I forgot that the time change Sunday made it get dark earlier and was worried I wouldn't get home before dark. I have light sensitivity and night blindness so it's not a good thing if I am driving at dusk or later. But here it was, dusk, as I turned off the highway onto my road.

This particular stretch of road is pretty deserted, in fact, I don't remember ever turning off the highway at the same time as another car. So I was surprised and a little annoyed when I saw car lights behind me. Not only were their headlights blinding me, but they were driving close enough behind me that I knew they wanted to go faster than I was going. I always feel pressured to go faster when a car is following that close. Not that they were tailgating, but they were close.

I finally got to T intersection and hoped they would take the right since I was taking the left. As I rounded the corner to go left (which is west), the last rays of the setting sun totally blinded me and I couldn't see anything. I couldn't see the road and I couldn't see the fields on either side. Just the blinding sun in front of me and the scene in my rearview mirror. Then, that car rounded the corner behind me and then I couldn't see anything in the rearview mirror except their headlights.

I eased over to the side of the road until I felt the rough edge of the road under the tires, and the car passed me. I was getting out my phone to call Hubby to come get me when I realized that the car (it turned out to be an SUV) was blocking a bit of the sun. Even better, their tail lights were so bright, I could see a bit of the road behind it. So I dropped the phone, hit the accelerator, and tucked in behind them. I just prayed that they were going all the way down the road and past my house, or at least until the road turned back to the north and out of that blinding sun.

I'm sure they thought I was following them for some other reason, or maybe road rage. Their speed increased to 50mph in a 35mph zone, (not unusual, unfortunately) on a road so pitted with pot hole patches that I usually go 25mph, but I hung with them until they turned into a place at the bend of the road. By that time, I could see to get around the bend, and once I turned away from the sun, I could see a little bit again. I slowed to a crawl, turned on my bright lights, and made it on home.

When I got home, I had time to think. The odds of someone turning onto that road behind me were slim. Most people who live near me turn at a major exit where the road is somewhat better. The odds of someone on that road going all the way on the west-facing section are also slim. Most people who turn off the highway where I did live on that section before it turns west. It was either a timely coincidence or orchestrated by God, and either way, I am very thankful.

But here is the main question that passed through my mind. Why?

I'll admit, I've had a lot of down days lately and my faith has slipped. I've prayed for healing, I've prayed for an end, and I've prayed for acceptance. I haven't prayed for a guardian angel and I haven't prayed for proof that God hasn't deserted me. (But I've certainly thought it.) So I wondered, why this, and why now?

I don't know. What are your thought? Have you ever had an coincidence that you thought was God sent, or that you were being protected in some way?

Monday, November 5, 2018

Can I Outsmart These Deer?

The deer finished off my last lily Saturday night. I thought I would have to put a cage over my lily tank, but then I found this youtube video (below) and I think it may be my answer. I've certainly got enough cat food cans!

If you have a better solution that isn't too conspicuous and doesn't restrict me from walking up to the tank, I'd love to know it.



Friday, November 2, 2018

Walking in High Cotton, Hard Times Never Looked So Good


Around here, a good cotton crop is normally about thirty to thirty-six inches tall. The cotton in the field behind me is about sixty inches tall. It is lush and pretty, and totally worthless. Want to know why?  Take a look at cotton from a good year.  I'm not sure if it's the same field.  It was taken in the fall of 2016.


The cotton plant is compact and the cotton is thick and plentiful on the plant.  This field had just been picked except for these two rows so that is why there are some stripped stalks behind this and and empty field.

After a long drought this summer, the cotton crop looked dismal; not just this field, but everything around here was stunted, including corn and hay. By the end of August, most of the cotton in this field was barely a foot tall, with a few bolls hanging from each bare twig. The leaves had long since dried up and fallen off.  By the end of July, these plants had given all they had. Farmers didn't harvest it, either.  Maybe because such slim pickings wouldn't make a profit or the cotton machinery wasn't scheduled to be here. I don't know; I wasn't consulted.

But then, at the end of August, it started raining. And raining. It rained for days on end, stopped for a few days, and then rained again. And suddenly, the crops started growing again. The corn, which had already been stripped and baled, put up new shoots and entire fields of corn were growing again. The puny cotton twigs sprouted new leaves and seemed to fill out overnight. They grew taller and taller, but had very few blooms. Now it's the first of November and they have some flower buds, some bolls ready to open, and still have the cotton bolls that opened in July.  You can see some of that cotton on a plant about five feet left of me.

In the almost forty years we have lived in cotton country, I don't remember ever seeing this happen.  I don't know much about cotton, (which is why farmers don't consult me), but it will be interesting to see what happens next with these plants.  It's time to start planting wheat too, and yet still too wet to get into the fields.  I hope they all had insurance this year.

Farming is risky and stressful and for most, has a small profit margin.  But farmers are a rare breed of optimists.  They can lose money on crops one year do it all over again the next year.



This is my "farmer", getting the hay moved before the storm.  Even though the hay started growing again after the rain, and everyone got a second cutting, cattle ranchers had already been feeding the winter stockpile, so many are still looking for enough hay to get their herds through the winter.  We saw a sign yesterday: Coastal $95 per round bale.  Time to plant coastal!

***********

I've been asked by a couple of people why I haven't been blogging as much and if I am moving over to Instagram with them.  No, I'm not going to close my blog.  I do have an Instagram account but seldom think to post to it.  I'll try to do better.  I haven't been blogging as much because I've been having more vision problems for the last few months.  Turns out I have thyroid eye disease, aka Graves Eye Disease.  My eyes burn, my near vision is worse, and it hurts to move my eyes, so I haven't been doing much more than I have to do lately.  I've got enough doctor appointments in the next three months to keep them employed, and hopefully, we'll find a solution.

Monday, October 29, 2018

Nature's Thief in the Night

Yesterday was the first day I've been outside our barn home in almost three weeks. It was a gorgeous day, in the mid 80s, with a light breeze, and overhead, the sound of geese honking back and forth to each other as they made their way south. We enjoyed a walk down the road and then spent the afternoon planting trees.

With all the rain we've had lately, the saturated roads are an inviting place for these yellow butterflies to puddle, gathering the minerals they need. They seem to prefer this road to our driveway.


Our usual evening routine for years has been to sit beside our water garden, feed the koi, and watch the sun set. When we moved here, we didn't want an inground water garden, so an eight foot stock tank took its place. I brought my favorite lilies, but left everything else behind, and we bought a few new goldfish to control mosquitoes. But with the rain and other things, we haven't been able to get back into our daily routine since our vacation.

A glance or two at the stock tank pond while pulling into the driveway was enough to see that the water level was okay and lilies were still blooming, but the filter had been knocked over. Wind, I supposed. I did think it was odd that only the lilies in the center were blooming. A closer look yesterday and this is what I saw.


Not only was the only bloom in the center, but very few lily pads except in the center. There were stems that looked like lily pads had been clipped off, but it wasn't by me. A closer inspection showed the culprits.


Deer! They've never eaten my lilies before, but apparently have recently developed a taste for them.


The night before, we had just been saying that neither of us have seen any deer on our place in a long time. We thought they probably moved further away from people. I think now that they just started coming out at night. I like watching deer, but they can't have my lilies.




Linking to:
Nature Notes at Rambling Woods

Thursday, October 18, 2018

When Vacation Plans Go Awry

We just limped home from a twelve day vacation.

It started great, going to a drag race event at a local race track with high school friends who brought their trailer here, but it went downhill fast. Our friends left late Sunday afternoon and we pulled out the next morning. A few hours into our trip, it began raining, and at times, the rain was so heavy we could barely see the tail lights in front of us. White knuckle driving!

Rain plagued us on every leg of our trip. We reached our first stop just after dusk, and were thankful that the rain had stopped before we got there. But as soon as I got out of the pickup to guide Hubby into the site, I found that there is something worse than setting up in the rain - swarms of mosquitoes! They were so bad that we didn't even try to level the trailer or unhook from the pickup. Hubby hooked up water and electric and got into the trailer fast. That's when we discovered our next problem. Driving through the rain, water had gotten under the slides and gotten the carpet wet. We thought it might have been because of the extra heavy rain, but it happened every day we drove with even with a light rain too, which was every leg of our trip. Water and trailers are a bad combination. So we had a new item to add to our set up checklist: dry the carpet.

The next three days were clear and we spent them doing some repairs on my mother's house. One of the things Hubby did was to replace her sump pump which had quit working in the last rain. She was thrilled and we were happy to be able to do some things for her too since we do so much for Hubby's mom who lives here. That's a story I will tell one day too, but since it will involve considerable griping, I'll save it until I can tell it without grinding my teeth.

We were hoping for clear skies when we drove the five hours to visit my oldest daughter, but it wasn't meant to be. It was clear when we got there though, and we had a really nice visit with her and the two boys she adopted. We were going to spend most of the day with her the next day, but radar showed a huge storm moving in, so we left when a light rain started. The edge of that storm kept up with us the entire drive to Roaring River State Park in Missouri.

We had borrowed some towels from my mother so we could keep the water from getting to the carpet, and it kept the carpet from getting sopping wet, but it still damp every trip. The towels though, were soaked. We arrived at the campground before our youngest daughter and son-in-law who were meeting us there. So we made a Walmart run, picked up dinner, and found a Laundromat to wash and dry our soaked laundry and ate dinner while we waited.

Skies were clear the next morning and we decided to try trout fishing. I know you are expecting a picture here. Any normal blogger would have a picture here. But my phone had no service and I didn't think to bring it for a picture. But I will tell you that the water was crystal clear and we could see the trout swimming between each section of the river. The river was more the size of a large creek, with rock dams every forty feet or so, which trapped the fish into pools. People were everywhere, calmly bringing in one fish after another. Now you would think it would be easy to catch a fish when you could see your fly land inches from the fish. And it was easy for those other people. But it wasn't easy for us. After hours of throwing every fly and worm in our box at just about every fish in the river, and donating a few hooks to the bottom of the river, Daughter and I gave up.

Finally, my son-in-law caught a mid-sized trout and as we congratulated him on getting one, he took it off the hook and threw it back. "What are you doing?!!!" we wanted to know. "It had something white on its head and I didn't want it," he says. He didn't even take a picture of it. Hubby, however, took a picture of his prize catch. Don't be jealous.


And it's not even a trout. Apparently we drove four hundred miles so he could catch the same fish, in miniature, that he can catch here.

The next day was cold and rainy so Hubby, Daughter and I played board games while Son-in-law played video games. We like board games and it is a nice way to visit too, so we didn't mind. Daughter and Son-in-law were disappointed though. It was their third camping trip in their new camper and every trip has been cold and rainy for them. They are discouraged and want to sell their camper. Mini Winnie anyone?

We broke camp the next day and hoped to drive home under clear skies. We got as far as Bentonville, Arkansas when the check engine light came on and the pickup powered down. We felt lucky that it ran long enough to get to the Chevy dealership and that they were able to start working on it right away. Unfortunately, they had to order a part and we had to camp in their parking lot overnight. They let us plug into a 20 amp outlet and it wasn't too bad except that cars came through the lot all night, driving around our trailer to check us out before going over to look at cars. That was a little unnerving. Dealerships here put a gate across the entrances at night so cars can't drive through but they encourage night visitors there.



Twenty four hours and $1100 later, we were on the road again, which made that Chevy dealership the most expensive campground ever! And then we drove home in a steady rain and got home around midnight. I have never been so happy to be home!

If you are an RVer, either new to it, or an experienced camper, you know that things break or quit working from time to time.  It happens on cars and pickups too, and we get them fixed and carry on.  So don't let my experience here discourage you from the experience.  We've had far more good trips than bad.  In fact, if this is the worst trip we'll ever have, we'll be happy.

Saturday, September 29, 2018

Kitchen Cart Makeover


A few weeks ago, someone left this cart beside our driveway. It was the evening before trash day and they probably wanted it to go out with our trash.


But I saw that it had wheels and took it in to remove the wheels. Turns out, it was the same height as our table saw and I used it a few days as a feed table for the table saw to cut some whole sheets of plywood. Just as I was about to take off the wheels and haul the cabinet back to the end of the driveway, Hubby mentioned that we might use it temporarily for garage storage. I've built a few cabinets for the garage, but no drawers yet. After looking it over again, I thought it might work in a spot I wanted to use for cooking in the garage.  I needed to make a narrow cabinet to fit between the refrigerator and freezer.  Earlier in the summer, I built a dutch oven cook table, but I didn't want to leave it outside all the time even though it was built out of pressure treated wood.  Instead, I wanted to store it under a counter in the garage so it wouldn't take up good counter space.


With the wheels off, I needed to build a new base for the cabinet, and since I wanted my dutch oven cabinet to slide under it, I needed take off the base anyway. The cabinet was completely made with mdf except for the thin butcher block top and drop leaf.  I started by taking everything apart and refinishing the butcher block top.  I used the two shelves in it to build a new base and reinforced with some scrap wood, and used the old base to make stretchers across the back. Then I refaced the cabinet with some scrap pine. I probably should have rebuilt the drawers as they are fairly shallow, but for now, I just built new drawer fronts. Attached to the wall, it is sturdy.


With my rebuilt drawer fronts, the original drawer screws were too short. When I tried using longer screws, I found that the original screws were metric. At first, I thought the cabinet was from Ikea, especially with the metric screws and being made of mdf, but I didn't see anything like it on their website. It probably came from Target or Walmart. It looked like something that had to be assembled by the buyer with a hex key. Since I didn't have any screws with the right threads, I decided to buy new pulls instead of new screws. Until I found some, I just made some pulls out of scrap. Later, I found some cute pulls at the big box store with the same spacing.  The dutch oven table fit under it with the concrete pavers removed.


With a curtain held in place with tension rods, and cabinets on both sides, no one will ever know it's not built of solid pine.

I used the attached towel holder and some of the leftover shelf scraps to build a new towel rack but I haven't finished that yet.  I made a shelf above it to hold eye wash and first aid supplies and then I cut the John Deere logo with a scroll saw.  Since the wall is a blue green, I didn't want to paint the shelf green and let Hubby pick the color.  It looks good against the wall.  Eventually, it will go on the wall to the left of this cabinet.  But that wall hasn't been painted yet.



After the cabinet was finished, the only leftoever pieces were the doors, the butcher block leaf, and the wheels.

Friday, September 28, 2018

First Real Modification to Our Fifth Wheel Trailer

In the RV world, mods are things done to an RV to make it work better or be more comfortable. We've done a few things, like added some stick on lights and towel bars, but nothing major. So this is my first.

The bottom part of the corner tv cabinet has a big open space with two doors separated by a panel.  The panel makes it hard to get to anything behind it, but I'm sure it is supporting the rest of the cabinet, thus the size.  Also, it was dark in there.  To take this photo, I had to hold a flashlight in one hand and the camera in the other.  Otherwise, the inside would look like the cubby above it on the left side - another odd little space.



We've never really known what to do with this space, especially since it doesn't have any shelves.  The previous owners had a laundry basket in it, and we tried that, but dirty clothes were always falling off the side into the black hole behind the panel, and hard to reach over the laundry basket.  They left the laundry basket in the cabinet, probably because it wouldn't come out easily.  We put various things in the odd shaped space on the left side and eventually just started tossing our shoes in there until they too ended up behind that panel and were hard to reach.

This week, I decided I'd had enough and I made some cardboard organizers.  If you'll notice, the cabinet is an irregular wedge shape and the corner on the left is walled off for something electrical. That makes the cabinet space wide at one end and narrow at the other end, with even less space in that one corner.

One of the biggest issues with an RV is the amount of weight it can carry and that the pickup can tow. Every pickup and trailer comes with its own weight limit called the Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR). Ours is 8800 pounds. That sounds like a lot until you start subtracting the dry weight of the trailer, the weight of water carried in the tanks, and the amount of cargo stowed in the trailer. The dry weight of our trailer is 7153. Then there are the unseen or unnoticed extras like the vent covers, the septic hoses, water hoses, surge protector, water regulator, filters, jacks and levelers, camp chairs, rugs, power tools and tool box, and storage bins for all that stuff. And we haven't even made it inside the trailer where the fun stuff is. It adds up fast.

I'm always amazed when I see RV remodels where someone has taken out the RV cabinets and replaced with a solid wood item. (RV cabinets are built with 1x1s, 1x2s, and 1/8" plywood. Yes, it's cheap, but it's also light weight. I don't know if they are aware they have a weight limit or if they just don't care. Going over the weight limit makes the trailer harder to pull, harder to stop, and it's just dangerous for them and everyone on the same road.

So with that in mind, I made these organizers out of cardboard. Heaven only knows we have enough of the stuff here and more delivered every week. I doubled the cardboard pieces, put them together with hot glue, and attached all the pieces with reinforced packing tape. They seem pretty solid, but time will tell.



Since we need to be able to access the electrical corner of the cabinet, I couldn't install anything permanently, so I made these pieces fit snugly together. No one piece could be very big and still get through the doors either. I'm not sure what the manufacturer was thinking when they designed this. A lot of people have put a fireplace there, but with it tucked behind the dining booth, we wouldn't be able to see it, or feel any heat, so this is a better option for us. Plus, we didn't have anywhere else to put shoes or the vacuum.  I also made room for a small printer and our big collection of plastic tote bags, aka trash bags.

Here they are in place.


And loaded with stuff.


I also added a small, stick on light so we can see what's in there.  Next, dividers for the upper cabinet in the kitchen.  Not that there is a separate kitchen in our RV; if I stand in the middle of the room, I can be in the kitchen, dining room and living room at the same time.  As tiny house people say, it's not crowded, it's cozy.  Liars.

Friday, September 14, 2018

Funny Feline Friday

I think my cat is a masochist. He thinks he is a martyr.



This is not the face of a happy cat. This is his accusing look. Blaming me for the too small, too hard, and too uncomfortable bed he is in.

He has a soft, cushy bed.



But will he sleep in it? No. He sleeps in every new box that comes in, and under boxes that are propped against another box. He sleeps on the rug in front of the door so he can see us from all directions. He sleeps inside the coiled garden hose. He sleeps on an uneven pile of lumber. But he won't sleep in his bed. So it was no surprised to see him sleeping in this tub that had been in the pond for a year and smelled like pond scum. I threw a rug in it to make it more comfortable, and then he wouldn't sleep in it anymore.



He likes to be wherever we are working, regardless of the noise or mess, so it should have been no surprise to find that he had made himself at home in this container. It is right in the middle of the room we are insulating.



It looks a little like a cat bed, but it isn't. It is a cast iron hibachi that I put on some wood to flatten it, and I put a towel over it to keep the dust and cat hair from sticking to the oil on it.



It can't be comfortable, and not just because it is iron. See the middle? The damper is in the middle of the hibachi, sticking up right where Buddy's lying.



After I took these pictures, I moved the damper to the side and covered it back up. Then, I put a chair cushion on the floor for him to sleep on. When I came back through the next time, he was back in the hibachi. Silly cat.

Linking to:
Feline Friday at Comedy Plus

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

The Cat Said

If you own a cat a cat owns you, you've probably said that from time to time, maybe even daily. If you own a dog, you may have said "the dog said...". It's not like they really say the words.  Wait, before you correct me Pixie and Zorro, let me amend that. They are saying the words, but not in human language. But as pet parents, we learn what their sounds mean.

Hubby was resistant to Buddy's charms at the beginning, and called him "your cat" for at least a year. He continued to huff about "your cat this," or "your cat that" until I walked into his office one day to find the Buddy in his lap. It still took him a long time to say "our cat" and he left most of the responsibility to me. Over time though, Buddy wore him down, and now he thinks Buddy is almost part of the family. (I think Buddy is part of the family.)

We went outside the other day and left Buddy snoozing inside. After a few minutes, we heard him meowing at the door and Hubby said, "Buddy says he is hungry." But that wasn't the hungry meow, that was the 'you're outside without me' meow. I opened the door, Buddy sauntered out, and all was good.

If you asked me to tell you the difference between the 'I'm hungry' meow and the 'I want to be with you' meow, I couldn't tell you. I just know it's different. Language immersion, taught by the cat!

Monday, September 10, 2018

Bloggers, PLEASE Watermark Your Pictures!

Not feeling well this morning, I decided to surf the web for some RV organization ideas, especially how to deal with Hubby's shoes. I found a picture on Google, which led to Pinterest, which led to another Pinterest, which led to yet another Pinterest, which seemed to lead to a blog. I searched the blog, and no photo. I did an image search of that photo and the search results yielded eight pages of results, and only one of them was Pinterest. But none of those results went to real websites either. Well, I suppose they were real, but they had no substance. They are websites that collect photos and snippets of popular information from other websites and they are designed for the sole purpose of installing cookies on computers. Your computer and my computer. You can read more about it here and see a few ways to protect yourself from these modern day cookie monsters.

Here's what I mean. I went to Pinterest.com and typed Unique shoe rack into the search box. Google image search does better with photos that stand out from the others, thus the word unique. Then, I picked a photo that went to an actual website. This photo:



The link was to core77.com and they sourced the photo to theshrine.co. That photo, however, is not on The Shrine's website. It may be an old design which has been taken off their website, or it may not be their photo at all. So I went to their About us page, where there is a photo of their original shoe rack design, not watermarked, and did a google image search for it. Now you would think that doing an image search from the original photo on the original website would make it easy to find. Apparently not. Google came up with ten pages of search results, and from my quick glance, The Shrine wasn't found at all. This, however, is what it did find:



Search garbage. For the last year, nearly every image search I have done has been filled with this stuff and it has gotten a lot worse in the last few months.

Google image search is pretty worthless now because of Pinterest and these Cookie websites. It's almost impossible to find the original source of a photo unless it is watermarked. So if you see a photo of a whatzit on pinterest and you'd like to see how they made it, or see it from another angle, you probably aren't going to be able to find it unless it is watermarked or the photo is sourced.

Fellow bloggers, I beg of you, please watermark your photos so the rest of us can track them back to you. It won't keep these websites from using them without permission. I've given up on trying to protect my photos, but I do watermark most of them so people will know that the photos are mine and not the website where they found it. Until the last few days, I didn't think it was necessary to watermark poor photos, but after my search this morning, I am rethinking that too.

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Storm Clouds Moving In

You know by now that I love clouds and I love odd and unusual things. So when I saw this cloud Saturday evening, I ran to get the closest camera, which happened to be my phone. Not the best for good photos, but I thought I was only going to show this to Hubby, so it didn't matter. Do you see the dragon cloud?



I recently moved my galvanized stock tank pond into the middle of the 'yard' beyond the back porch, and we've been sitting around it nearly every night lately. So after I took that photo, I let the cat out, propped my feet up on the edge of the stock tank and got ready to watch the sunset. The sunset itself was nothing special, but I glanced to the east and saw that the clouds had continued to build, and as the sky darkened below the clouds, the top of the clouds caught the sun and shone a brilliant white. I took a quick photo even though all the antenna lines marred the beauty.

Just after the last bit of sun disappeared over the horizon, I glanced back again to the east and was amazed at the colors that had appeared around that cloud.  This time I ran past the antennas to take a picture.


The colors were brilliant swirls of pinks, corals, and blues, and my phone camera doesn't do it justice. I had to lighten the photo for the bottom of the clouds to show up and it distorted it a little, but it didn't affect the colors.  This picture shows the color but not the intensity that they really had.

It rained this morning, a nice, slow rain that turned all the low spots into little pools, and then the sun broke through and chased away all the clouds. Late this afternoon, the clouds started building again, and I grabbed Hubby's old phone, which is still a newer phone than mine. He had to quit using it when it started dialing random phone numbers when no one was even touching it. As I type this, it is on the counter taking pictures of the ceiling every so often. The last thing Hubby needs is a phone that calls customers at 2 a.m. so now it is only good as a camera. It looked like the clouds were going to split and rain on everyone but us. To the east, the clouds were sending rain to the same area that got it Sunday night.


And to the west, it was moving right over the neighbor's house.


Right after this, the clouds on both sides moved our way, colliding over us with pounding rain, lightning, and thunder that shook the walls and sent the cat running for a place to hide.