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Arizona Off-grid living Ownen-built tiny house Tiny Homes Tiny House Uncategorized

More Weather Delays

I made it through the heat wave! We had temps of 87-92 degrees for several days. I coped with that by getting up and going to work between 5:30-6:30 in the mornings, when it was still cool. I could work til almost 9:00 before it got too hot. After that, I’d go out for only 5-10 minutes at a time.

Now the heat has moderated, but the wind is back! We’re having 25-50 mph winds for nearly a week…next Wednesday is the next day with winds under 25 mph. (This is Saturday and the 3rd day of wind) I have tried for the past two days to go out and work early, but it’s been already too windy even at 5:20 in the morning. Soooo…we wait, read books, play on the Kindle and computer and eat too much.  I fear I am becoming an Early Riser. I seem to be always getting up around 5:30 and instead of hating it, I guess I’ve gotten used to it! I’ve never wanted to get up early!

I finished the foundation beams and have the bump-out floor all done and attached to the main house floor. (I was going to say “big house” but that would be ridiculous!)

I’ve got the rigid foam cut and fitted between each floor joist.

Rigid foam between joists

I thought I had them all nice and snug but in the 50 mph wind gusts, half of them flew away. I had to crawl around under the bushes to retrieve them all and replace them, with rocks to hold them down. That didn’t work either so I resorted to putting shovels and 2×4’s on them. Also I had painstakingly measured and custom-cut each piece, but after they flew away I just plopped them into any old empty space, and they fit just as well. Hmmm.

So that’s where we stand right now. The next step is putting R-19 fiberglass batts between the joists, and I held off doing that in the heat because it’s such a miserable job, and I didn’t have any way to take a shower afterward. I went to work on an outdoor shower. I had purchased a pump-up pressurized garden sprayer and jerry-rigged a kitchen sprayer nozzle onto it, thinking I could have nice pressurized showers with that. But it only holds pressure for about 10 seconds, then it just lets out a pitiful dribble. So I ordered a nice 2.5 gallon solar shower bag from Amazon Advanced Elements Summer Shower

showerbag

It was the only 2.5 gallon one I could find, it got great reviews and seems sturdier than the rest, which is important since I’ll also be using this in the house. (More on that later). I got a large $3 hula hoop from Dollar General and suspended it with some light rope, and added shower curtain rings all around it. I repaired and placed two pallets under a likely-looking horizontal tree branch and I’ll use a $6 concrete mixing tub as my shower pan; that way I’ll be able to save the water and reuse it on my little trees and bushes that are suffering badly in this drought.I already have two $1 shower curtains so it is pretty much ready to go. OH. I just went out to take a photo of the concrete mixing tub and it’s gone! I had put a big rock inside it but apparently that wasn’t enough to hold it down. Bye bye bin! I suppose it’s in the same “black hole” along with my grill cover and bucket.  I guess I can take a shower and just let the water go between the slats of the pallet, until I get back to town to buy another one.  At any rate, I don’t think I can keep the shower in place in the wind or I think it will shred the curtain, even if it’s bunched up and tied together. I will have to figure out a quick and easy way to get the hula hoop up and down each time.

My plan was to not have a shower inside the house; just a tiny potty room. I was going to build a nice outdoor shower, but I can’t figure out what materials to use that would withstand 50 mph wind. Heck, we’ve had as high as 85 mph winds here! I thought I could use shade cloth and the wind would go right through it, while still being opaque, but I have found that’s not true. I use some small shade cloths on the camper and over Roxie’s pen and they actually do resist the wind a lot more than you’d think. So I guess I will buy a 24×36″ shower pan and make the whole bathroom a “wet bath”.  I hate those and swore I wouldn’t have one, but it really would be much more convenient than having to go outside to shower, especially if it’s wintertime. Instead of making all the walls waterproof, I can use two shower curtains around the whole room and hopefully keep all the water off the walls and window. I can use the bucket potty as a shower seat.  I don’t plan to have a water heater, so I’ll still use the shower bag I just bought and fill it with warm water, not try to heat it in the sun. At some point I could possibly bust through the back of the bathroom (where the window will be) and make another bump-out for a larger shower room. Maybe some day.

I borrowed the neighbor’s trailer again and went to get all the 2×4’s for the stud walls. It was one of the really hot days so I was on my way to town before 7:30 a.m. I thought I’d be home by 10:00, hah! It takes a long time to pick out 73 good 2×4’s! After an additional stop for a few groceries, I got home at noon. I unloaded and stacked them all early the next morning. The wind has actually been strong enough to blow some of the 2×4’s off the stack!!

My stud wall materials! 73 2×4’s

My camper fridge has given up. So far my strategy has been to wish and hope it revives itself, but that doesn’t seem to be effective. It probably needs a good cleaning; it’s been two years since I had that done. I guess I will find a tutorial on line and see if I can do it myself. The last time I tried it, there was one part that I could not remove but I’ll give it another go. In the meantime, I’m using an ice chest and blocks of ice.  😦

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Chocolate Dipped Insects

 

 

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Arizona DIY Micro House DIY Tiny House Micro House Off-grid living Ownen-built tiny house Tiny Homes Tiny House Uncategorized

One Step Forward

You know that old saying, “One step forward, two steps back”? Yeah.  That’s the dance I’m doing today. The great feelings I had for yesterday’s progress are gone.

Yesterday I opened the outlet valve on the water tank to see how it worked, and to make sure it was closed when I got the tank filled. Some water ran out! It was supposed to be a brand new tank, but I thought “Well, maybe they put some water in it to test it or something”. Didn’t think a thing more about it until this morning when I went out to wash off the valve so I could attach the thingie to convert it from 1 1/2″ opening down to garden hose size. I decided to catch that valuable water in a pan and use it to water my baby pinon tree. So I poured a couple pans of water on the tree, and it was still coming out pretty good so I went and got a bucket. As it was running into the bucket I put my hands into it to splash it around and get the dust off that area. “Hey, this isn’t water, it’s oil”!!

 I called the place I got it and he said nonchalantly “Oh yeah, it’s new but it’s got some MCT oil in it, it won’t hurt anything or you can just rinse it out.” Don’t you think that’s something they should have MENTIONED when I bought the thing????!! If it’s been used for oil, IT’S NOT NEW!!! Now I know why it was cheaper than everyone else around here. Won’t HURT anything!? It would totally ruin my water filter if I tried to run water with oil through there, and there are plenty of things I don’t want OIL in, no matter how harmless it is. (Including my baby tree that I’ve probably killed) I’ve already drawn off about 1 1/2 gallon and there’s still more in there. And it’s all over the ground and the wooden platform, what a mess.  I’m so glad I found this out before I took delivery of 275 gallons of water!!
Just rinse it out, he says. Sure, if only I had any WATER to rinse it with!! And I don’t think oil is going to come out without some kind of soap or emulsifier. So if I do put soap and water in it, how do I swish it around? Maybe a mop stuck down from the top, although now that the top of the tank is about 7′ off the ground, that would not be easy.   And is the outlet valve at the lowest point so all the soapy water would come out?? No, it is not. I would have to put water in it several times in order to dilute the soap that’s left in the bottom!!  I am SO MAD!!!!!
MCT is Medium Chain Trigliceride oil; usually from coconuts. So he’s right that it wouldn’t hurt to drink, and it’s actually very expensive to buy. ($30 a quart!)  But I don’t want it in my drinking water, and I don’t want to water my plants with it.
Also when I was awake in the middle of the night again, I realized my foundation is not good enough at all. What was I thinking??? I’ve got the whole weight of the house resting on just two 2×6 crossmembers!  I will need to add a support in between the existing two, with 4×4 going across. I should be able to do that while the floor frame is sitting in place; in fact it’ll make it easier to get the height exactly right.
And here I was feeling so optimistic about progress. Silly me, I totally forgot about the Paquette Curse. I’ve just taken a bunch of steps backward. My heart is down around my ankles and I just want to cry. I never would have bought that tank if I’d known there was anything in it, because of the difficulty of washing it out with so little availebl water. I’m probably going to have to buy some 5 gal. water jugs, and I don’t want to spend money on that! All I have is eight 1 gallon jugs, which normally last me about a week.
And I think I’m going to have to ask Frank and Tracy to lift the tank back down to the ground, and I hate to ask for help in the first place, let alone to UNDO something they just did yesterday!  Very discouraged right now.
Categories
Arizona DIY Micro House DIY Tiny House Micro House Off-grid living Ownen-built tiny house Tiny Homes Tiny House Uncategorized

Foundation Piers and Water Tank

Well construction has gone slowly; for two weeks we had very high winds (35-65 mph) at least 4 days a week. I tried but it’s really impossible to work in those kinds of wind, with silt blowing into my face. And sometimes it’s hard just to try to stand up against it! One day it blew down one of the little trees in front of the house site, which I really needed for shade! (Even though it was a little scraggly) Turns out it had been sawed nearly all the way through at the base..?? Maybe the shed guys did that. It would not have lived anyway. Maybe someday I can plant a prettier tree there.

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Finally I have the foundation piers done. For each one I dug down a few inches and filled the cavity with small gravel and tamped it down good, then added a large 16×16″ patio stone and leveled that. Then added a cement deck block and made sure everything was level again. The trouble I ran into was trying to get all the piers level with each other, and it was really hard and heavy work, having to keep removing the deck blocks, lift up the patio stones and rearranging the gravel underneath. Actually the first three went fairly easily, it was the last one that gave me fits. Then on one of my 2 a.m. think sessions, I decided to back up and do it differently.

The cement deck blocks have indentations that will accept a 2-by board going horizontally, or a 4×4 post vertically.

DSCN7693I was trying to use the 2×6’s horizontally but I remembered that with both my first and fourth house, I attached the floor joists to short lengths of 4×4. Then in order to level it, you just adjust the height of the 2×6 on the 4×4, it doesn’t really matter if the piers are level to each other! Phew….SO much easier! After struggling with the first ones for three days, I had the new ones all set up, level with each other and clamped in place in just a few hours.  I  had to use shims to hold the 4×4’s in place and plumb though, as the spaces in the deck blocks was considerably larger than the post. Then I drilled holes and bolted the 2×6’s to the 4×4 posts. Done! The floor frame will be cantilevered out from these supports on all sides. Now I’m waiting for some help to lift the floor frame onto the foundation.

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Another thing that I had to change was how to attach the hardware cloth to the underside of the floor. I am using 1/4″ hardware cloth as rodent protection. I got the floor all squared up and screwed braces across each corner plus added joist hangers, hoping it would keep it in square. Neighbor Frank helped me list it up and lean it against a tree so I could staple on the hardware cloth. Here it is leaning against the tree.

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I got out my handy clamps and unrolled the first piece of the mesh, clamped it evenly across the top and then when I clamped it to one side, I noticed that it was not lining up straight with the floor joist. So that meant the floor was not square any more.  Frank thinks the only way to do it is to lay it on the foundation, square it up and add the mesh, then flip it over. Ugh! That’ll be a lot harder than just standing it up, attach the mesh, and lay it back down. But I’m afraid he’s right.

I’ve also been working on the water tank support in my spare time. Three sides are done and I got the first course of cement blocks all laid and leveled on the 4th side, ready for the really heavy corner pieces which are two cement blocks stuck together, with post holders embedded in the centers. I managed to get one of them down so I could work on the leveling but they are too heavy for me to lift back up, so will have to wait on that also until Frank can come back and help with the lifting. I wish I was stronger but I already have back degeneration problems and the bad knee; I’m terrified I’ll injure myself and then not be able to work on the house at all. News Flash…Frank and his friend Tracy just left,  and they helped me finish up the water tank! Wow, now I can order some water! And they also laid the floor framing down and we got it squared up so I can now attach the hardware cloth. Yippeeeee! What a good day!

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Most of my seedlings are doing well, though they seem to grow really slowly. I think they are sooo cute, especially the teeny tiny lettuce plants. I’m not sure what I’m going to do about a garden; a discussion on Facebook about gardening showed that a lot of people have given up on it around here because of the critters who come and eat it all. Even in a friend’s greenhouse! I think I will maybe just have some container vegs and maybe even put them up on a table to keep the critters away. Right now they reside inside Roxie’s exercise pen during the day, or in the car if it’s too windy.

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Two varieties of heirloom tomatoes, lettuce, chives, rosemary and a couple onions. The bell peppers never did germinate.

Oh and here are a few Amazon links; items that other readers have recently purchased. You can use these links as a gateway to the rest of Amazon’s products, and I get a small percentage. (It doesn’t cost you anything extra) Thanks! Also there are a couple links at the top right for donating……if you like the blog, please consider “a cup of coffee” for $3. I promise I won’t waste the money on buying coffee, LOL!  And for those who have donated, thank you so much!!

Lodge Enameled Cast Iron Dutch Oven

Colorful Kids’ Telescopic Butterfly Nets

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Categories
Arizona

Concho

Wednesday I had an appointment at A-1 RV Service Center in Camp  Verde. I dropped the camper off and then went to PetSmart in Sedona to get some food for Roxie, and some other small errands. I had to pick up my lawn chair from Donna, as I’d left it at the rally site. They had my camper all done by 1:00 and everything now works! They said the fridge propane orifice was filled with bits of rust. That makes me soooo mad, as I paid a highly recommended RV guy in Asheville $75 to clean the propane fridge system just 3 months ago. If he’d done the job right, there would not be a buildup of rusty junk now! At any rate, the fridge works just fine now.  They also fixed the camper brakes; the wires to the magnet on one side were completely torn in half! I have NO idea how that could happen. They checked the frame welds, rotated the tires and checked out the Fantastic Vent, which had suddenly started running slow and was obviously hitting on something. Guess what….there was a dead bumblebee and a beetle in there, and the blades were hitting on them! Crazy.

So $250 later I headed to Holbrook and met up with Deb again at Petrified Forest National Park. There’s no camping inside the park but at the south end there’s free camping at Crystal Forest Gift Shop, which provides covered picnic tables and use of their dumpster, plus the restroom while the shop is open. Across the road is Petrified Forest Museum, where you can get a campsite with picnic table and electricity (no water) for $11 a night. Deb stayed on the electric side and I was at the free side. The winds were around 25 mph with gusts up to 40 so I was careful to park heading into the wind and stayed hooked up to the car for more stability, and there was surprisingly not much buffeting. Apparently the winds seldom calm down around there! The gift shop guy said they get a few good days. We decided to skip going through the park, as we’d both done it before. We went into Holbrook and had breakfast at Joe & Aggie’s Cafe on Rt. 66. It’s been in existence since 1943 and is a little run-down but the breakfast was really good!

Then we headed to Concho to check out my new property & see if I could get my camper onto it. I was embarrassed that we had to go right back past where we’d camped….a 40 mile round trip for breakfast! And we didn’t really have to haul the campers to town and back, either. Oops. We are camped at Concho Lake Park which is a pretty nice boondocking site with a porta-john and garbage cans, with sites all over in the pinon trees. Still very windy here too so the trees help block the breeze. I guess it’s Open Range here as we have to watch out for giant cow flops. I rearranged my passenger seat and moved some of the bigger rocks so Deb could fit in, and we drove out to the property.

Along the way we met up with some of the “neighbors” from about 3 miles away I think. They were on our tail the whole way so I pulled over to let them by, but they didn’t want to get past, they wanted to know what we were doing out there. They had just had their 8×8 wooden storage building stolen a few days ago!! So we got an earful about the area, and none of it sounded good. Lots of theft unless you stay on your property 24/7 to guard everything, the nearest neighbor is a drunk who steals things, the police don’t come out there. And the guy in that car had wild-looking eyes; Deb thought he was high on something, either meth or cocaine!  Apparently the wind blows pretty constantly there too. They said there was about two months in summer when the winds die down. Once we got to the property and walked around, it looked like there was really nowhere quite level to put the camper and it would require some bulldozing to make a level pad for the camper and for my future larger camper.  And it was very very windy, just like the first time I was there.

I decided perhaps this was not the place for me. I was not happy to hear it was an area where people would steal something as large as a storage shed, and I don’t think I could live with that constant wind.  So I’m not buying it after all. The seller was very gracious about it and of course I forfeited the two $77 payments I already had made but that’s OK, I think I dodged a bullet. Gee, I never knew there were places that had constant high winds like that!

So I’m “homeless” again. And very sad about it. I wanted to have a garden, and a home for my rocks. I probably picked up an additional 50# of rocks when I was in Superior, thinking I’d be dumping them off on the property! And I love them and don’t want to jettison them.  I was so looking forward to eventually getting a larger camper to live in. Oh well. I will continue to try and save money in case another promising homesite comes along. The problem is that Apache County is one of the few in AZ that allows you to live in a camper. And I think all of Apache County is also a huge wind tunnel! There are also not that many places in AZ that don’t have those really high sumertime temps. Flagstaff is great in summer but has a really harsh winter…..Prescott has perfect weather but property is quite pricey.  Somewhere out there is a home for us, I just know it!

 

Categories
Arizona

Red Rock Country

We’re back in Red Rock country, camped on BLM land between Sedona and Cottonwood. I really liked my site in Superior but the crazy old drunk guy (Jimmy the Desert Rat)  was driving me nuts, so I left early.  Pat kindly scrounged around in the wash and brought me some great Barnes Conglomerate rocks before I left…some of them pretty big!  They filled up the floor on the front passenger side of the car. Now if you open any door of the car, you see rocks. So glad I’ll be able to get them out of my poor car soon. But aren’t they great?! I get a little giddy just looking at them. Funny, I never was much interested in rocks until I started traveling around. Deb is going to be soooo jealous….maybe I’ll let her have one or two. One. A small one.  She’s headed this way and we are meeting at Petrified Forest at the end of the month, then we’ll head over to my property.

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I’ve got a nice small circular site just off the pavement here. I can hear the highway noise from 89-A but it dies down at night so I don’t care.

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I must say, people are strange here. Last night just as it was getting dark, a big yellow school bus covered with graffiti pulled in and parked less than 20′ from my camper, and didn’t leave until 11:00 this morning! The “sign” on the back door said something like “We need clean water too”. ??

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And now a young couple in a car just pulled up and set up a tiny tent about 6′ from the back of my camper. This kind of stuff makes me crazy!! Why would people think it’s OK to park and camp so close to someone, especially out here? That’s even closer than sites in a campground. I’ll bet they’ll learn their lesson though; I’m quite sure they are close enough to hear me snoring all night.  I didn’t realize what a popular spot this would be….I just want to be alone!

We got a big ol’ rainstorm yesterday afternoon right after I got here. Roxie was quaking down at the foot of my bed, covered with a fleece throw. She hates thunder. And even when she’s scared to death, she still doesn’t want to cuddle with me!  We had more rain today, and the forecast is for rain 3 of the days of the rally next weekend. Ugh.

I went to a couple thrift shops today, got propane and went to WalMart for a few groceries. I didn’t find anything good at the thrift shops; I was looking for tools like shovels, rakes, maybe a pickax or mattock. I guess people don’t give tools away.  At WalMart some Haagen Dazs chocolate peanut butter ice cream was calling to me, anxious to be my friend, but I resisted. $4.48 for a pint of ice cream that I HAVE to eat right away because I don’t have a freezer…..no.

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Categories
Arizona

Exciting News

I forgot to say that on the way in here initially, I kept hearing something that sounded like metal bouncing or scraping. So I stopped and yep, it was both! The wire holder on one of my propane tanks had lost it’s wingnut and the wire had fallen down and was dragging. I lost the whole wire holder off the other side last winter and it’s just held on with thick string, so that poor tank was bouncing all over the place, and had inched along until it was almost falling off! It’s the one that’s serving  the camper right now; that would have been a nice mess.

We went in to town yesterday morning and got ice, water and a few things at the grocery store (but not what I went in there for). The town of Superior looks a little unloved.

I took Roxie for a walk and saw the biggest cow-patty ever, right behind camp…it was more than a foot in diameter!  I guess this is open range country.  I don’t want to meet whatever made THAT mess! I think it’s a Wooly Mammoth.

I found a really cool rock! It’s a Barnes Conglomerate. Looks like a lot of little stones got caught up in some volcano lava.

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So the Exciting News is, I’m buying  a little over an acre of property  in Apache County, AZ and it has ELECTRICITY!!  (Thank goodness for the Zero Interest, EZ Time Payment Plan) Wow, can you imagine having electricity just any old time you want it?!  And it’s legal to live in a camper there too. The lady at the zoning dept. said I don’t even have to get a septic tank either, they just ask that you don’t dump your raw sewage out on the ground.  ???  Yuck! I’ll probably switch to a composting toilet.  It is 14 miles to a grocery store, but there are a few convenience stores nearby, a gas station, propane fill place and even a nice library!

The kinda bad part is, it’s pretty barren land; elevation around 6335′. It has a few small bushes, but no trees. It has real dirt though, not desert sand. But the big brown electric pole kinda makes up for the lack of greenery.

poles
Here’s the Very Best Thing

It’s quite rare to find cheap land around there that’s not completely off-grid. This is right off a county road, and not too far from a paved road. I’d love to have more acreage than that, but there aren’t any neighbors close by so it’s fine. The property taxes are less than $10 a year! It’s on a slight slope but has a level bench towards the back.

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I’m working on a plan for maybe building a carport or something but for right now I’ll probably buy one of those heavy duty 10×20 portable shelters and camp.. I’m pretty sure I can get the camper under the shelter; that’ll help as it gets warmer.  At that elevation, there’s definitely 4 seasons, and the summers are not as hot as most other places in AZ. They do get a bit of snow, but on average only 10″. I guess it snows a bit, then goes away a few days later. In fact, there’s a little patch of snow there right now. Not on MY property, but across the road. Pretty nice view, huh?

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This line of electric poles & easement runs along my property line on the east side, and there’s a sort of track all along it which I think I can use as a driveway!  Those piles of rocks are way towards the back & won’t be in my way. Might be nice to have free rocks! Though I guess I won’t be  messing around the rock pile when the snakes are active.

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The road and easement have a lot of these rocks….they look like cinders, what they used to use alongside the railroad tracks! It’s very light.

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I have to check this out…it runs along that easement, the whole length of the property. I wonder if I can get city water??? I need to call and find out. I knew it was nearby, but didn’t think it came out this far, so maybe it’s just running along and I can’t tap into it.

water

It’s still a bit chilly at night there right now but I’ll probably be heading there towards the end of the month. I’m very excited about having my very own place to squat!

Here’s a view in another direction. More mountains, nut its’ hard to see them.

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Categories
Arizona

Sunny Days in Buckeye

We’ve been having amazing weather, and according to the forecast, it’ll be about the same for the next 10 days!  Mid-70’s during the day and cool nights. It’s been so warm, I’ve had to rig up my shade cloth over the big side window.

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It’s just clipped to the edges of the roof at the top, and then bungied in three places to an adjustable painter’s pole at the bottom. The pole is stuck through the legs of my stepstool and zip-tied in place. The stepstool keeps the cloth from laying right against the glass, and lets some breeze through. It also comes down far enough to shade the fridge vents, not that the fridge is working right now, but someday.

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Yesterday I finally did the laundry! I’ve been putting it off for a couple weeks! HATE doing laundry in a laundromat. The dryers there were awful; I kept putting more and more quarters in and they never really got very hot. I finally gave up and brought home my warm, wet clothes. I couldn’t find my little rope so I had to use an electrical extension cord. I zip-tied it to the supports for the picnic table shelters. (What would this world be like without zip-ties???)  Not all of it would fit so I also draped things over the sides of Roxie’s exercise pen, all over the inside of the car and all over the inside of the camper. Thank goodness for the Arizona-quick-dry sunshine!  I guess we looked like a yard sale was going on.

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As I was getting out of the car at the laundromat, a man in the truck next to me said “Do you have a dog?” I said yes, and he said he’d bought some rawhide treats that his dog didn’t like, and if mine didn’t like them either, to just throw them away. Well I took them just to be polite, but rawhide certainly doesn’t pass Princess Roxie’s lips!  I don’t know why; I asked him what kind of dog he had and he said “English Cocker”. What??!!  I said “I used to breed and show them!”  So he got her out; sweet little blue roan with an undocked tail wagging madly. She was a field-bred from breeders in Vancouver, BC.  How crazy is that; there are not that many English Cockers out there!  Behind me in the car, Roxie was barking like crazy and he asked me what kind I had. I said “Havanese” and he shook his head. “Little barky kind”, I said, and he nodded and smiled.

I made really good beef vegetable soup for dinner but now I’m worrying about finding something big enough to put the leftovers in, and then finding space in the fridge. It’s really hard to make a small batch of soup.

OH! I almost forgot….I’ve been WALKING!  Roxie and I go out 3 or 4 times a day and walk 1/8 mile up the road and back. So most of the time we do a mile a day! Wow, not so very long ago that would have been impossible. My knee doesn’t even hurt! Sometimes my hips complain about the time we get back to camp though. (It’s always something, right?!)

The sunsets haven’t been that great lately; I think because there are so few clouds in the cky, there’s nothing there to reflect the colors.  I was actually awake at sunrise this morning and was all set to take a photo but it wasn’t very colorful either. Here’s tonight’s sunset anyway. I’ve been enjoying the coyote concerts almost every night.

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Categories
Arizona

Musings on a Sunny Day

It’s a beautiful sunny day in Buckeye, Arizona! And the weather forecast says there are 9 more sunny days to come!! That’s reason to celebrate right there….Life Is Good. It’s been a very different winter so far; much more rain and overcast skies than last year. When they say “rain” though, it usually means about 20 drops at a time but the other day it was a real gully-washer all day off and on, and the washes were running strong. Boy the desert plants are getting green quickly!

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I’ve still been getting plenty of light on the solar panel to serve my meager needs, in fact I’ve got it bungied to the spare tire on the back of the camper and I don’t move it, so it’s only getting sun about 4 hours a day. It’s still enough. It’s gotten a bit cold at night (33 degrees last night) but the Wave 3 heater has been doing a great job of keeping us warm and cozy.

Neighbors have been coming and going, most staying only a night or two. If you are old enough to remember the sitcom “Bewitched”, remember the cranky neighbor lady who was constantly spying through her curtains at Samantha?  That’s who I’ve become, to my shame. Yep, I’m a nosy old witch. I find myself watching everyone that goes by. I’ve resisted getting out the binoculars but…..I want to!  I really prefer being all by myself back here, and then I don’t have to worry about Roxie barking too much, or getting fully dressed to take her for a little walk.  On the other hand, if I happen to have a heart attack or something, it’d be nice to have a neighbor within screeching distance.

I love hearing the coyotes yipping and howling at night! And it reminds me to be vigilant with Roxie so she doesn’t end up being a coyote snack.  My little packrat that lives under the picnic slab has been feathering his/her nest with bits of a throw rug that blew into Roxie’s exercise pen. In hindsight, I should have picked it up right away and not left it there for 3 days. Oh and I don’t have any critters in the car; false alarm. I kept a mousetrap in the car for 3 nights and didn’t catch anything, and then when i cleaned off the floor with a whisk broom, I noticed that what I thought were critter poops were actually some kind of empty husk or hull. I have no idea how they got under the floor mat, but I’m glad! I’ve gotten out my solar string lights and put them on the ground under the car’s engine to discourage pack rats, which love to chew wiring. They don’t stay lit all night but I’m hoping the critters don’t “work” all night either.

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Categories
Arizona

Buckeye Hills Regional Park

I got away from Ehrenberg with only one rock! OK two, but one is really small. I had collected five rocks, and at the last minute I narrowed it down to just the two. It wouldn’t be so bad except I have to carry all these rocks around with me everywhere I go! Sometimes I get them all out and see if there are any I can bear to get rid of, but it usually doesn’t work.

We’ve moved to Buckeye Hills Regional Park, about 35 miles west of Phoenix. This is the 3rd time we’ve been here, and we like it a lot. There are not very many campsites here and most of them are spread very far apart (like 1/2 mile!) Nearly all the sites were occupied but I got one at the dead end. Later I got a neighbor; a massive Class A whose occupants can’t live without their generator. It’s fairly quiet though, and they don’t run it late at night.

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I got a site with a covered picnic table, so I can use my bbq grill. I went out and bought some boneless pork ribs and a small steak to grill and was very excited about it. But first I had to put a new propane burner on the grill. All the info on the web said it was easy as pie.  Well….only if you can get the old one off! I struggled with the bolt for a long time and finally gave up.

Then yesterday I had a short visit from Donna Morey, who was en route back home from a Sisters on the Fly gathering at Quartzsite. She had a little socket set, yay! And then that ol’ bolt came right off, and so did the burner, and it WAS easy! It’s all a matter of having the right tools. I carry a small socket driver set but it wasn’t big enough for this particular bolt. I cooked those ribs, mmmmm they were good!

I think it’s funny that someone has made all kinds of paths (that go nowhere) with little rocks. But the fire ring has no rocks!

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We’ve been having very overcast weather; what happened to my nice bright Arizona sun?? This morning there was heavy fog! I didn’t know Arizona had enough moisture in the air to make fog.  The sun finally broke through around 11:00 and it’s beautiful now.

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The only bad thing about these sites are the trash barrels; they always seem to be overflowing! I think I remember that they come around every week and empty them, but they fill up quickly. I think people come and dump their household garbage.  It’s very nice to have any kind of garbage pickup though. There are a couple vault toilets here also and they are very very low…..maybe only a foot high?  It’d be good for little kids but really tough for us old folks with bad knees!

Buckeye seems to have everything anyone would need…Wal-Mart, PetSmart, Lowes, big grocery stores, and even a do-it-yourself dog wash that we’ll be visiting one day soon!  All that stuff is about 13 miles from here, but there’s a small IGA grocery store, Walgreens and a few smaller stores in Buckeye itself which is about 8 miles away.

There’s a little critter that has a hole right next to the concrete slab for the picnic table. I don’t know what it is, but he’s been working on his hole, as he’s thrown up some sand onto Roxie’s exercise pen mat! Maybe I’ll catch a glimpse of him soon.

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I also see evidence of some little critter in my car again…..something bigger than a mouse but smaller than a rat, judging by what he left behind. I set a trap last night but didn’t catch anything, nor was the bait (a pistachio!) disturbed so maybe whatever it is has already moved out. Or maybe it just doesn’t know what a pistachio is.  I wonder if it’s the same little guy who owns the hole? I’m going to look today for my solar string lights and put them on the ground under the engine; I’ve heard that’ll keep rodents away.

 

 

 

Categories
Uncategorized

ALiner Life

After seeing the photos I posted yesterday, a friend commented that she’d never seen the inside of my camper. So I decided to post a few more photos , with explanations.

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This is one from yesterday. In the corner of the camper is the sink, but it’s tucked right up where the roof is lowest, and it’s a real pain to use. So I made a little riser to go over the sink & faucet and I have 5 bins there. The white one holds cosmetics, hairbrush, comb, toothpaste, that sort of stuff. The big blue one behind it holds dog grooming & medical supplies, some paper products and the pans on top. Behind that is one that holds a big bag of essential oils (for making my own insect repellents), homeopathic medicines and oh, I just found some cookies that are probably a year old!  Another holds napkins, some paper plates & bowls and plastic cups. The 5th one holds bread products. Hey, this is a good exercise; I think I could consolidate some of this junk and get rid of one whole bin! (Later….I did! I got rid of the white one!!!)

The wire shelf overhead is resting on two adjustable painter’s poles, which are supported by pieces of wood along the eaves.

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Moving on. The Olympian Wave 3 heater hangs on a cupboard door and it’s removable. (The heater, not the door) Love this little heater! It has a quick-release propane connection. Behind that door is 3 shelves. One holds plastic wrap, alum. foil and baggies. One has a bin of spices, and one holds first aid supplies.

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Next to that is a drop-down door and two drawers. I can pull out the top drawer, get out the hot pads and put them on the corner, then the drop down door will sit level and can be used as a workspace.

I sit on the porta-potty to work there, and to cook. (with the lid down, of course) One of my good friends says when she thinks of me, I’m sitting on that potty, chopping vegetables and stirring stuff on the stove! Hmmm.  Inside the microwave are a bunch of nested bowls and a couple pans. In order to get to them I have to first remove all the jars of most-used spices from in front of the microwave door.

 

 

The most often used cutlery & utensils are kept in a mug on the countertop but the other kitchen gadget stype stuff is in one drawer, and the cleaning products in little bitty bottles plus some nested bowls are in the bottom drawer.

There’s a hidey-hole under the air conditioner just inside the door that’s supposed to be for a porta-potty but mine is too tall to fit in there, so there’s a bin of Justin Case stuff. You know, just-in-case I need it. It’s a bunch of stuff that I rarely use, but I never know when I might need it. Spare batteries, insect repellent gizmos, a fish skinner, well I don’t even know what all else is in there, but I’ve been through it recently and decided it all needed to stay. Between the door & window are my decorations. Three postcards and my little “JOY” Christmas decoration that I’ve decided should be permanent. Everyone needs a little Joy every day.  It’s crazy but just putting up these few cheapie decorations makes it feel like home.

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Next to the bed at each end are plastic bins.

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They help keep the mattress from sliding away from the wall. One holds socks & undies, prescription drugs and a couple books.I use the top of that that as my workstation/table. The other contains folded clothing. Under the bed are two more plastic bins; one for lesser-used and out of season clothes, and the other for food.  Roxie’s little bed sits on the floor next to my bed. She could sleep on my bed but she’s always been a “floor dog”. When I got her she was 5 years old and I was told that she was a “floor dog”. She’s very much NOT a lapdog!

The blue thing behind the bed is an ensolite backpacking pad, about $8 at Wal-Mart. In winter I slip it between the wall and mattress and it keeps the hinge on that side from collecting condensation in the night (outside cold meets inside warmth = condensation) and covers the bottom of the big curtain so cold air doesn’t fall on me; it goes behind the foam. Inside the curtain is a dollar store car windshield reflector; white side out (if foil side is out, the bubble window could get superheated and melt!) and also a big piece of folded fleece material for insulation. It works really well; I can put my hand right up to the curtain and don’t feel any cold (or heat). I also have a thinner piece of black ensolite against the head of the bed, to insulate against the outside wall.  It all seems to be working well, it’s very cozy in here except when it’s really windy, then there’s nothing that’ll keep that out, with all the seams in this type of camper. My Library (two atlas books and a spare Kindle)  is also here, between the ensolite and the mattress. I see a little bit of my red Arizona atlas sticking up. And of course my fire extinguisher on the floor in front of the bed so I could get to it quickly, if needed.

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There are two storage areas accessed from the outside that contain things like tools, leveling blocks, electric extension cords, tarps, my rubber boots & some spare shoes, and the off-season sheets.

I think that completes the tour! I know I could be a lot more organized if I wasn’t carrying everything I own. Most full-timers have at least a camper with a bathroom, so they have cabinetry and a medicine cabinet in there, and many more kitchen cabinets and overhead cabinets. That’s my story and I’m stickin’ to it.  This works for me, it just doesn’t look very good, LOL!

 

Categories
Arizona

After Christmas

Now that Christmas is past, I’m back to regular chores. I mailed some solar gadgets to a friend who’s just setting up her new system and went over toBlythe, California to get some groceries. I didn’t know that in California you have to bring your own grocery bags or else pay for them! I’ll try to remember.

I finally got around to doing laundry today too….I’ve been putting it off and putting it off, washing out a few undies every few days. The laundromat in Ehrenberg is very cheap…it cost only $3.50 to wash & dry two loads of clothes! And I forgot (again) to put any fabric softener in the dryer. I don’t like to use dryer sheets; I don’t want whatever those chemical are, all over my clothes & touching my skin. But here in the desert you almost have to. And since I didn’t, I’ve got enough static electricity in just my clean underpants alone to power this camper for a full day, if only I could harness it! Hate when that happens, don’t you?

While I was out I called Wal-Mart Pharmacy. On the 23rd I called to have 3 prescriptions refilled and sent to me at the Enrenberg Post Office (General Delivery). On the phone we wet over each one and the strength, etc. I looked on line and it looked as though only one of them was ordered. Sure enough, not only was just the one ordered, but the woman said they were waiting for payment before they shipped it. (A whole $.83) I said “You have my credit card, right?” and she read off the last 4 numbers. So what’s the problem here??  She said she would TRY to get it sent out tomorrow.  I guess I’m going to have to get the others ordered for pickup at the nearest Wal-Mart, which is 40 miles away!!!  An 80 miles drive just because people are stupid.

Other than those exciting things, we are just hanging out here, enjoying the sunny weather and being lazy. One day soon we’re going to go to Cibola Wildlife Reserve which is on the California side of the Colorado River but not too far from here, and I have orders to check out a campground near Blythe that my friends are interested in for next winter. I have to find them the best site……oh dear, the pressure’s on!

There was a really cute sign in the laundromat that said “Free hair washing sink”! Wish I’d known that. Then there was another sign that said “Washing dogs and kids, special today $139.00”!!   I took a picture of it with my phone but it refused to email it to my laptop. It always does that.

Oh it looks like the computer is in a good mood today and is going to let me post a few photos!

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Categories
Arizona

Ehrenberg Camp

I finally got camp pretty well set up. When I woke up this morning, my first thought was “I’m home!” and I was happy. I don’t have to do anything, don’t have to go anywhere. I guess I really needed to stop traveling! Not that I would want to live here, I just want to be able to stay in one place for awhile.

I made a mistake in packing up yesterday morning and had a little incident with some spilled instant mashed potato flakes on my bed.. This has happened before and wasn’t a problem but with the dry air here, those darn flakes are all charged up with static! They’re not going anywhere; they cling like crazy to my fleece sheets and even the quilt that has a smooth surface. I tried using the whisk broom to fling them on the floor but they are resisting. Maybe I can pretend it’s snow…….And if it ever rains, maybe the humidity in here will go up enough that I can sweep them up. .No Biggie.

I’ve been busy today though; I washed out a few Unders so I don’t have to go to the laundromat for a few more days; made vegetable soup and applesauce, charged up the Kindles, laptop and some batteries for my little flashlight and rearranged the back seat of the car a little. I get it all organized but then as soon as I take one thing out, it becomes one big jumble again.

Here’s the “road” in…..and the neighbors. Yes, that’s right, there aren’t any! They are all about 1/2 mile away or so. Sorry abhout that handprint in the upper corner; I was trying to shield the lens from the sun.

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And here’s our camp. Nice tree, huh?dscn6807

 

Categories
Uncategorized

Ehrenberg, AZ BLM Land

I am hoping this is my last move for a good while….I’d love to stay here for a month or so. I’m told the 14 day limit is not enforced here.  It seems like a great place, except it’s rather windy right now.  The ground is covered with coarse gravel which is a little hard to walk on but at least it’s keeping us from getting sandblasted. I even have a TREE which gives shade for a good part of the day!  It’s a Palo Verde tree so it doesn’t have any leaves, but it still does a pretty good job of casting shade.  The gravel around here is very interesting; lots of white quartz stones, some of them pretty big. Oh no, not more rocks!!  I will try not to look down.

I’m a mere 3 miles from Exit 1 on I-10, where there’s gas, propane, dump station and water, laundromat and a convenience store! And it’s only about 7 miles to Blythe, CA for bigger grocery stores, etc.  I am getting great wifi and cell signals too.

I can’t tell you how happy I am to be settling into one place for a while. I even took the time to finally put up my little decorations….I hung a glass art piece of a happy little whale I got in Maine, and some postcards on the wall, and of course my tiny Christmas tree. I might even get out the solar string lights, if I can figure out what I’ve done with them.

I first went in the other direction and tried to find a nice campsite right on the Colorado River but didn’t see anything that I really liked. There are other campers around me here but not close. This is the kind of place where if I don’t feel like getting fully dressed in the morning, I don’t have to! But yet there are others “within shouting distance”. I think.

 

 

Categories
Arizona

Moving to Yuma

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Wow, pretty amazing sunrise this morning! Roxie again woke me at 6:45 to go out but once I got up I was kinda glad, as I got to see the magnificent dawn breaking. There was a group of coyotes howling about 1/4 mile away so I hustled Roxie back into the camper pretty quickly. I love to hear them though!

Even though it’s a Moving Day, it’s also going to be a Pancake Day. I got some huge blackberries at Safeway for only $.88 and I love blackberry pancakes. Boy that reminds me of living in Ecuador where blackberries are available year-round and are $1 a pound!! Yum.

Later…..I set my GPS with the coordinates for Cochise Stronghold West but when we got just past Tombstone, it wanted me to turn on a road that was gated and locked! I asked it to fine an alternate route and it said there wasn’t one. So…..I just decided to head for Yuma.

We got as far as Gila Bend and stopped at an area that is part of the AZ State Trust Land. It requires an annual $15 permit to camp there but I  got one & printed it out before I left NC. It was very convenient for a quick overnight stop; just off I-8. It was almost dark when I got there and I really couldn’t see where to camp, so I just pulled off the little dirt road onto the desert and went back about 150′. The road is only about 3/4 mile long and it was very worrisome that I saw this sign on the way in:

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Yikes. It was already too dark to find another spot, so we hunkered down and didn’t use much light; I read by the light of the Kindle. We survived! We were out of there by 8 a.m. and headed to Yuma.

Got to Fortuna Pond (outside of Fortuna Foothills) by 10:00! Wow, it was way more crowded than when I was here last winter. I thought if I got here before Christmas I’d have my choice of sites, but not so at all. I barely squeezed into a tiny lakefront site near the porta-potty and dumpster. (I hope they don’t smell!)  Many of the sites have nice trees for shade but not this one. Hopefully it won’t get too hot while we’re here.

Categories
Arizona

A Do-Nothing Day

It was so nice to Do Nothing all day yesterday! Oh, caught up on little chores like some housekeeping, cooking & stuff, (made some really great sloppy joes to have for lunches!) but I never left the campsite til late afternoon. I needed this! It was very warm today; high of 79. My little canopy does not provide any shade since the sun is so low in the sky right now, but Roxie has shade cloth over her exercise pen, both for shade and for protection from predators in the sky.  33 degrees this morning, 79 by afternoon!

I was so pleased the other day at Safeway when I had a short conversation in Spanish! I had been looking and not finding the little Halo tangerines, and when I went to the checkout line, there was a Mexican lady there who had some in her cart. I heard her speaking Spanish to her grandson, so I asked (IN SPANISH!) “Where are the little oranges?” And I actually understood the answer! OK, I didn’t understand most of the answer, but I caught the word “debajo” which means “under”, so I knew to look for them below the counter. Found them!  It was the most simple little conversation but it really made me happy that I could even remember that much of my Spanish. I wish I had occasion to use it more often, as I really worked hard at learning it at my age, and I’m forgetting more and more all the time.

I walked back to the viewing platform this evening. That makes a mile or more of walking just today, wow!  Here are some pics….most of them taken using the digital zoom on my camera, so they’re not super clear.

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Categories
Texas

Arizona!

Finally I made it to Arizona! I didn’t get quite as far as I’d hoped, but I drove 350 miles and that’s a pretty good day for me. I just have 55 more to go tomorrow morning. Much of today’s drive was on the back roads again, through the desert which is pretty boring except for trying to figure out what all the squished animals are on the road. In case you’re wondering, there were probably 100 jackrabbits, with a few raccoon and a coyote mixed in.

As I left Guadalupe Mountains National Park I drove over to the Frijoles Ranch Museum exhibit. The buildings were not open so I just wandered around a bit.  The ranch was started in the 1870’s, then changed hands in 1906. The Smith family added onto the house and made their living by truck farming and a small orchard. The nearest market for their produce was in Van Horn, 60 miles away. So they would load up the wagon, hitch up the horses, cover the produce with wet paper & rags to protect them from the dust and heat, and drive all night, arriving the next morning to sell to their customers. Phew, sure sounds like a hard way to make a living!

This is the little red schoolhouse, built in 1925. The Smiths hired a teacher who was paid $30 a month plus room, board and the use of a horse! They had as many as 8 kids in attendance.

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And here’s my last view of Guadalupe Mts.

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Ahhh Arizona! Back in the land of magnificent sunrises and sunsets. The past few mornings I have been up in time to catch the sunrise, thanks to Roxie. (Grrrr) It’s definitely worth seeing; I just don’t want to get up and go outside at 6:40 a.m.!

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