Friday, June 26, 2015


Finally finished getting my little camper ready to go up north, all except the final packing.

I have the seat/table/bed finished.

Table stowed and ready for travel or sleeping:

Raise up to get the seat cushions from underneath:

Seat storage for food, clothes and blankets:

Table up and ready to use:

and I finished my travel clothes drying rack, too. Nice what can happen with pvc pipe and bunji cords:

Finishing up getting the apartment ready for the renter. She'll arrive on Monday. I just need to give it a quick clean and freshen up the sheets and towels, make sure the kitchen and bathrooms are spotless.

And I keep trying to keep up with the lawn care during heat indexes of over 100 and frequent rain storms. It's really tiring mowing in that kind of heat and humidity, but it doesn't do itself. Would that it would!

AND I purchased and installed a rain barrel, and have about 35 gallons inside, prior to this weekend's forecast storms:

And yet another mystery flower:

Next week I'll finish packing and sorting and then I'll be ready to head out, right after the noisy 4th.

Hopefully I'll do a better job of sharing pictures on this trip while it's happening. :)

I haven't forgotten the pictures I took in Arizona. I'm hoping to be able to do another picture post early next week.

And that's it from me today.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

More camping photos

The dog has her own car seat cover I made from two thick towels:

They give her feet some traction on the slippery seats, keep most of the dog hair and mess contained and lets the seatbelt be connected.  Her travel harness fits over the seatbelt and allows her to sit up and lay down but keeps her from roaming the whole car.

She travels really well, as you can see:

At the New Mexico-Arizona border I stopped at a rest stop and took this shot:

The dog was not impressed:

And once I got to my campground in Arizona, my camp looked like this:

Monday, June 22, 2015

two more campsites

These are some of the pictures I took on my little trip this past spring.

They are of two campsites on the way out, Texas and New Mexico, and how the dog managed with the cold night temps.

We had night temps as low as 38 and day temps as high as 90.


New Mexico:

She stayed under those blankets until after I'd gotten my coffee and the sun was well up. 
After that last night, though, I bought a small ceramic space heater for the mini camper and got some of my blankets back. LOL

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Oh, Bill...

Tropical Storm Bill is draggin' it's soggy butt across my part of the world and stealing my brain in the process. Nothing like joint pain and fever and trouble concentrating to wear out a person, not to mention the backspace key.

But there are good things to share today, too. I found out the mystery plant in my garden is a cantaloupe, so I'm looking forward to eating at least two of those nearly free melons sometime in the next 2-3 weeks.

Ordered me up some rain barrels to help control the ponding and have soft, free, nitrogen rich water for the plants. They won't be here in time to catch some of TS Bill's bounty but I'm working things anyway. I dragged the dog's wading pool over to one downspout and managed to harvest 20 gallons just this morning. We've got another 3-5 inches over the next 24-36 hours to play with so I'm sure I'll have plenty to fill it up again plus the wheelbarrow.

The rain and storm has brought the temperatures down 15 degrees, and I am loving that! Couldn't be any more humid than it was, so no change there, but cool and damp I can handle a whole lot better than 95-100 and 100% humid, let me tell you.

The second nest of baby birds will be gone in a day or two. I caught one of them on the edge of the nest this afternoon and it flew into the tree while I watched. Later I saw out the window it had come back. Not quite ready to leave just yet. I'm glad with these storms passing by. It's at least a bit sheltered in the eaves of the porch. Time enough later this week to fly off and get all independent.

Tornado watch until midnight tonight and flood watch through Thursday, so I'll be online quite a bit keeping an eye on radar and ready to unplug from the wall when I hear the rumbles start. I don't expect it to keep me awake tonight, though. I've got the warnings set up on my phone just in case, and that will wake me if I need to move to the storm room. It's all prepped with food, water and battery light as well as the rest of the FEMA emergency kit I've got set up. A place to sit, an ebook, I'm good to go if I have to skedaddle in a hurry. :)

Hope the creek doesn't get too high. I've got another dentist appointment Thursday morning and it's the other side of the river. Guess that would be a valid excuse, though, if I need to cancel, eh? :)

Okay, that's all from me for now. Maybe a few more pictures of my little trip in a day or two. I've got campground pictures and one 'on the way' shot to share. Soon.

Off I go...

Monday, June 15, 2015

Inside the little camper

This is the way I had things set up for my little camping trip in April to Arizona.
I'm making a few minor changes for my next trip, but this will give you some idea of how I have things inside for my trip.

Looking in the door, to the right, and then around counter clockwise:

The head of my bed, and also where I sit during the day when I cook, eat, read or work on the computer. Plastic bins act as headboard and nightstand and drawers contain toiletries (top) and coffee/cooking supplies (bottom).

Shelf above A/C unit for thermometer, kleenex, dog supplies, level, battery light, hat and shawl, and clothespin for umbrella. Below umbrella is a small electric/DC cooler. No melting ice to deal with!
Also, nasal rinse bottle for allergies, soda crackers, eyeglass cloth, and a nice place to put hangers out of the way when I'm wearing the clothes. Silver things are water bottles; red thing is battery light. Squat silver is battery/electric projector alarm clock (I come wide awake in the night and know I should go back to sleep or not). Black bag holds rechargeable batteries and charger. White rectangle is battery LED light.

Bed lifts up to reveal storage underneath for computer, journal, extra clothes, breakfast food, dishes and cleaning supplies. Curtains are homemade (still needing hems!!), and attached with cup hooks. Yarn keeper and crocheted blanket (full size, so fits only folded in half). Extra blankets and pillow at foot of bed. Bed measures 24 by 78, and sits 10 inches from the floor. Sheets are a combo of cotton and flannel so I can use whatever is needed during my trip and the other side works as light blankets or folds under the 4-inch foam mattress. 'L' brackets and framing you see is a floating framework so I can attach things without putting holes in the actual camper walls. Ceiling is dark grey felt.

There is still room for the 20 x 36-inch dog bed with room free in front of the door for a throw rug and room for feet when using the porta-potty. Spray bottle is for cleaning as needed.

There are two sets of cup hooks on each side of each window. The inside ones hold the curtain rod; the outside ones hold hanging clothes at night and a fly swatter as well as the dark brown towels I use as light blockers at night.

There you have it. 
All the comforts of home. 

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

I don't like 'falling behind'

Part of the reason I stopped blogging before is I really dislike falling behind on posts.
I feel guilty.
And pressured.
And confused where to start to catch up.
And I really don't like to write posts that read like 'to do' lists, no matter if it's things I want to accomplish, or a list of things I've been doing lately.
All of which is in my own head, not coming from outside.
But there it is.
And all of that makes it even more difficult to write a blog.
I really want to just be in the moment on here, but it's hard when I don't keep this thing up like I aught.

Any suggestions?

I had promised more pictures, but the weather went through a rapid change and I'm trying to change tack from what I do during Spring to what I do in the Summer.

In the spring/fall I have all day to do outside work, so I do a bit here and there all day.

Once summer comes...
by Summer I mean Early Texas Summer, humid, over 90, and full of nasty bugs like chiggers, scorpions, snakes and centipedes, as well as large red hornets that are just plain mean. And with all the rain we had this Spring, we also are dealing with mosquitoes morning and evening.
Mid Summer means humid and over 100.

So I really need to keep the huge yard mowed, but the humidity makes it difficult to do it early in the morning, plus I have neighbors that I don't want to disturb too early. The dew dries off around 8:30 am. By 9:30 it's too hot to want to be outside. And I don't do evenings well at all, so it's morning or nothing.

So I have about an hour a day to mow an acre, trim the edges, water the garden, take the dog out for exercise, weed garden areas, trim trees, sweep the walks and porches, wash windows, or anything else that needs doing outside.

By the time I do the things outside that need doing daily I have about a half hour to mow before I'm miserable.

Because of the Lupus, I wear a hat, a long sleeved sun resistant shirt, and long pants with tall socks and boots (for the bigger biting pests). Very hot clothes for over 90 temps, especially with the high humidity. Sun screen makes me feel even hotter, though.

I end up mowing 2-3 times a week, a different section a day, and then fit the other things like gardening, trimming and cleaning outside in around those days.

And then I come in hot and dusty and covered in biting things so I run to the shower and splash off, and end up too pooped to want to do anything at all for the rest of the day.

Especially on mowing days. Whew!

So that's why no posts for the past few days. Today I go to town to get the things I need to finish off the Apartment, and tomorrow more mowing. Maybe pictures on Friday?

Friday, June 5, 2015


This is my little camper, a Navigator made by Runaway Trailers, and my set up on my first day using it.

It has a 110V 3-prong plug, and I use a 25 foot extension cord to connect to the campsite electric.

I get water from a spigot at the camp site into a cleaned empty plastic gallon milk jug (the one on the ground, at the camper tire), and put it through my small Brita filter, and collect it in a second empty plastic jug, this time a water jug, for use.

I have a strap that holds the door open; the wind wants to bang it around otherwise.

There are windows on either side with screens for lovely cross ventilation.

I use an empty plastic one gallon ice cream pail for my sink (at night the water jug fits snugly inside when not in use), and keep a dishpan outside on the picnic table to wash my hands as needed and to collect 'grey water' - used soapy water, mostly. I clip a microfiber cloth to the edge of the dishpan with a clothes pin to dry my hands afterwards. That keeps the wind from taking it.

I put a canvas tarp on the seat of the picnic table to keep paint and wood slivers from my clothes, a solar light on the table and a small trash can with a lid for garbage.

The dog is on a ten foot tie attached to the picnic table. Later I had to switch it to wrap around a car tire, instead, as she tried to pull the picnic table to get at a squirrel.

Her food and water is on a metal shelf near the back car tire.

The little camper is the same size inside as the inside of my car, so I can't stand up in it, but sitting is very comfortable.

It is only 4 foot wide, so when I'm driving I can't see it in my side mirrors, only the rear view mirror. That was a bit disconcerting at first. I kept getting quick panics thinking it had come unhooked and I'd lost it. But then checking the rear view mirror, no, there it was, safe and sound.

These pictures were taken the first two days of my trip. Lovely mild weather the first afternoon and night, windy, warmer and humid the second.

I only went 200-400 miles per day, and stayed for two nights each stop. It took longer that way, but I didn't get too tired to drive safely, or get sick from pushing too hard.

I'll post pictures of the inside of the camper, the way I have it set up, next time.


Thursday, June 4, 2015

change of plans

Headache today, so no trip to the wood store again.

Maybe I should just forget it and bring the double bed back downstairs. It's over 90, now, and no fun doing woodworking in that kind of heat.

Maybe I'll just spend June sitting on my butt watching Netflix.

I'll sort through my phone photos today instead and get some set up to post here this weekend.

Oh, and those things I don't know what they are in the garden? Might be cantaloupe. Got two mystery growths on the plants.

I might have to do this again next year, plant some kind of mystery food plant. It's kind of fun trying to figure out what I planted.

Maybe dementia has an upside.

(no, it's not actual dementia, at least I don't think it is, but you have to admit it's kind of odd to have planted something in the garden and have no idea what I planted)

I'm in a bad, sad kind of mood so I'll keep this short today.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Hello summer

No slow transition from Spring to Summer for Texas. Temps are inching into the high 80's and 90's here. Normal temperatures, after months and months of odd weather.

Every place I've ever lived has one season I don't care for. Here it's summer.

I don't really mind the heat if it's a dry heat. But hot and humid make me feel ornery, sticky, easily tired.

I dislike the restrictions to activities. I have a few hours in the early morning when I'm comfortable doing anything outside, and that's pretty much it, and I have to fight the mosquitoes for that much.

I'm an early riser so I really can't wait to do anything in the evenings. It takes until 9 or 10 pm before it drops back into the low 80's here, sometimes not even until early morning again.

Knowing that, I'd planned on getting out of Dodge before Summer got here.

... Life had other plans for me this year.

And darned if I'm not having trouble being a good sport about it.

But I am trying.

My garden is pretty well finished for this year. Time to compost the remaining greens and get things set up to decompose over the hot summer, and prep a second bed for this coming Fall.

I don't use bug powder on my vegetables, and that's the only way I've found to grow food here in Summer. Takes all the fun out of it.

So I garden from October to May instead, and set black plastic over the raised beds to keep the weeds from sprouting until Fall.

I've some young onions to pull, slice and freeze sometime this week.

And the cucumbers to water, just in case it makes it.
Thought I'd planted green beans.
Must not have been paying very much attention that day, because they are definitely cucumber vines. :)

The back yard needs mowing again already. I'll do that on Friday.

Today I'll work inside on desk work in the morning, and then after the sun gives me some shade in the front, I'll drag out the hose and wash my car and camper. Maybe pull out the area rugs and shampoo them, too, and lay them out in the driveway to dry.

Still want to go to town to get wood. Maybe I can do that tomorrow.

I want to take some time today and go through the pictures on my phone and find the camping photos so I can share them with you. I got some lovely ones. I haven't made a picture post for a little while now. I guess I need to do that.

So, a new day. Off I go.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015


Fever today and stiff and sore. I guess I overdid it yesterday without realizing it.
So a day to rest, and watch Netflix tv shows, and maybe a movie, read a book, eat leftovers from the freezer.

Not what I wanted to do today, but I don't get to choose that.
I only get to choose if I'm going to take care of myself and do what my body is telling me I need to do, or if I'm going to push things further than I aught to and make it worse.

Well, that's a no brainer, then, isn't it, putting it that way.

I want to go to the store, and buy my wood list, and build my bed I've dreamed of making for years.
But it will need to wait a bit longer.

And really, if it's waited this long, a few more days to take care of myself probably won't make that much difference.

I'm getting older, and feeling the press of years. I know I haven't forever to keep putting off my dreams. We've all a finite amount of days, and each one feels shorter.

I made the decision nearly a quarter of a century ago to put most of my own dreams on hold and follow another. I thought I was just putting them off for a bit.

I don't want to find myself too old to do them at all.

Silly me. Isn't that a mess.
An achy day and I go all doom and maudlin.

Well, that's enough of that, then. Time for a cheery comedy and a milkshake.
That will get rid of the doom and gloom.

Off I go.

Monday, June 1, 2015

When the wind is from the north

Here in Central Texas, a southern breeze brings a welcome warmth in winter, and a north wind brings biting cold.

In spring, summer and fall, when the wind is from the south, it's sticky, hard to breathe humid, and too warm.

But when the temperatures rise into the low 80's and the air moves in from the north, it is wonderful to be outdoors.

Gentle breezes and low humidity make it a bit of heaven then.

Normally there are quite a few of those days from mid March through June.

This year, only three. Yesterday was one. Today is supposed to be another.

I spent quite a bit of time outside yesterday, clearing and burning brush.

The areas in the yard that were holding water have dried, and I'm forming plans for landscaping the ruined areas caused by the ponding.

Today I plan on clearing around the fence lines, and hanging out my sheets to dry on the line.

It's a good day to wash the car and I'll give the camper a bath, too. The weather's been too uncertain since I came back from my little camping trip to want to try to hook it up and pull it out of the safety of the garage.

A trip to the big town to get wood supplies was on my list for today, but I think tomorrow would be better. Mondays are always busy days for me. I take the weekend off of chores, so by Monday there are drifts of dog hair and cluttered surfaces that drive me distracted. It's also the day I change sheets, and do some desk work.

Trash goes out tonight, too, so I'm reminded to look around and see if there is anything outside to get rid of, or anything I want to declutter that can't be donated or recycled.

Tomorrow can be errand day. I need to go to the post office, too, and mail a couple of boxes overseas. I might do desk work tomorrow, too. I need to make some changes to my pattern sales system. Ravelry, who handles my pattern sales, has decided to collect and pay all associated VAT taxes required by the change in EURO tax law change at the start of the year. That means I can begin to sell to EURO countries again. Just a few website code changes should take care of it.

Nearly at the end of weather that allows me to do woodworking unless I buy a window air conditioner for the garage. I might. Not sure. When the temps get over 90 it's not much fun to be in a hot boxy room with no air flow. And I don't like using a box fan when I'm doing woodwork. It blows the sawdust all over and in my eyes, hair, etc. I'm nearly done with the projects I wanted to get done this year, anyway, so if I hurry and get done, I can put that decision off until this fall. Or next year, even. :)

Well, the list doesn't do itself, so off I go.