Monday, December 17, 2012

I'm Soooo Tired

I'm having another fuzzy day today. I've noticed, by reading online, that I'm not the only one with daytime sleepiness. It really is interfering with my writing since I have to be alone to write and when I'm alone and it's quiet, I start to fall asleep. In fact, I have a hard time reading, too, because I'm so sleepy. Tomorrow I might be full of energy and get things done. I never know.
Sometimes I can sleep 10 hours at night, and get up, have breakfast, take the dogs out and come in and lie down and fall asleep again. Sometimes, like today, I'm not really so sleepy that I can sleep, but I'm in that "tired and can't think" fog. I don't have the energy to do anything and no interest in trying.
Another aspect is that I can't ever find anything I'm so cramped in the camper that it can take hours, days or even weeks to find something that I need for a project. Just the thought is so discouraging that I give up before I even start.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Border Collie Christmas Ornaments

I've been writing some articles about some ornaments I found for the season. My first one was.
Border Collie Christmas Ornaments

Sunday, November 11, 2012

In Limbo

I've been having a terrible time this week trying to write. I slowed down on my Wizzley pages because I got an honest-to-gosh writing gig. But then the projects at the ole honest-to-gosh writing gig came to a screeching halt. I'm hoping they pick up again soon, but meanwhile I'm in limbo. I can't seem to start writing again. It's not so much a writer's block as just no energy to tap the keyboard. I don't know what is wrong. I've been reading a lot and playing my dulcimer. I might have a ukulele coming my way. But I can't seem to get writing. I have a project I'd like to write about, but, once again,  can't find the tools to start the project. That always depresses me. It's not that I'm so disorganized, it's really that I'm too cramped in the camper to organize anything.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

What Part of "No Phone" Don't They Understand?

I recently ran out of minutes on my phone. I couldn't believe that people still expected me to call them.

What Part of "No Phone" Don't They Understand?

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

My New Wheels

I just received a gift from a wonderful woman in New Hampshire - a check, just because.. I used it to buy a new set of wheels since I'm going to be car-less for a while yet. At least I can pedal up to the corner store when I need to.
It is a cheap bike. That was my budget, but everything works. no rust, good tires, chain and crank ok. I would have rather had a drop frame but couldn't be choosy. At the price I got it, I could easily upgrade when I get the chance.
I took it out for a half-mile spin when I got it home. I thought I was going to die. There are muscles that haven't been used in way too many years. I was wobbly-kneed when I got back. I guess I"ll have to work up to it.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Tankless Child

I got up the other morning and went to light the stove to make some toast. The stove wouldn't light. I thought that was odd since I had just filled the 20 pound tank a week ago. They usually last three or four months. When I went outside to check it I discovered why the stove wouldn't light. It was GONE. Someone, and we think we know who, had disconnected the tank and stolen it while I was sleeping in the camper.
I really couldn't believe that someone would do that. It wasn't even the money so much, but the fact that I didn't have the money to have my spare tank filled for another week, when my Social Security check came in. That meant no cooking. I have an electric coffee maker so I would have hot water and a rice cooker for rice and pasta, but that was it.
I make it though the day eating cheese sandwiches, but didn't want to live on that. I had been wanting to get a little crock pot. Now it seemed like an essential accessory. I have an electric grill, but couldn't find the cord for it It's in here somewhere but it could take months to find it.

Yesterday A friend said she would be sending some dog food over by way of another friend. When he arrived he had not only the dog food, but some food for me and took my tank and had it filled. Wow. Someone is looking out for me! I really am blessed and rich in friends.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Wow. My stuff on Zazzle was selling yesterday. My best item are the Hard of Hearing buttons. I guess they are filling a need. I know I need to get one. I hope the upward trend continues.
I also had a wonderful miracle last week. A woman I met online offered to send me some yarn that she didn't need. I said I would use it. When the box came, I thought it was awfully heavy for yarn. It was 3/4 full of FOOD including packages of dog treats. There are truly angels out there!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

How to Be a Prepper on a Budget

 September is Be Prepared month. I just got this in under the wire. I'm going to start getting organized!

How to Be a Prepper on a Budget

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Chocolate Moose

I had a craving for something sweet tonight. I'm getting down to the bare pantry, but someone had given me a box of instant hot chocolate. Now it has been way too hot to drink hot chocolate, but occasionally I had mixed it in milk just for something sweet. Now I'm hoarding my milk to have with my coffee in the morning. I may have 1/3 cup left. So I wondered what the mix would taste like with water. After all, it's the chocolate I was after.
I dumped two packages of the powder in a cup and slowly added water while stirring. I managed to get it all dissolved. It tasted a little like a runny chocolate mousse. Not too bad if you're desperate for something sweet.

The Good and the Bad About Camper Living

The Good and the Bad About Camper Living

Friday, September 21, 2012

Adopt a Dog Products on Zazzle

 Another article to go with Adopt a Shelter Dog month.
I really wish I could adopt a dog. There's just no room for another right now and I'm almost out of dog food as it is. The guys have been getting a lot of rice mixed in their food.

Adopt a Dog Products on Zazzle

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Writing and Creating

I've been busy writing and creating new things for my Zazzle store. I just wrote about some great kid's books about llamas. Doesn't seem like too many people have kids or like llamas but I liked it.
I wrote another article on the fact that October is Adopt a Shelter Dog month. Then I got the idea to make things on Zazzle to promote it. So now you can read about it and wear a tee shirt or a button too! Spread the word. Those pups need homes!

Speaking of pups, I've created a new page called "buy the dog a bone." There's a link at the top of the page. Please stop in and see what it's about.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Monday, September 17, 2012

Pizza and Zazzle. Too Many Zs

Today I am still waiting for my truck to be fixed. It has been a month now. I hope that's it for a while but I fear not.
I hitched a ride to the church food pantry today. My neighbor was given a pizza but she didn't like it so gave it to me. It was pretty bad. The crust was good, but the topping looked and tasted like it had been painted on. I cut a piece and put it in a frying pan and added some tomato sauce. I didn't have any cheese but had anchovies (of all things to get from a food pantry....) I happen to like anchoves so I threw some on. Not bad. At least it pretends to be a pizza. If I had more milk and some vinegar, I could have made cheese, but I'm down to my last four dollars. No money to squander on vinegar.
I've been working like crazy on my Zazzle store. If you haven't been by in a while, come by and take a look. I've been really cleaning it up and redoing the look as well as adding a ton of new stuff.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Paring Down or Sacrifice

So many people talk about how great it is to lighten your load and clean out your stuff. They're right, of course, but sometimes it goes beyond cleaning out and becomes a loss. I've lost plenty.

When I moved to the camper parked in a driveway in Canaan, NH, I gave up my house, not that I had much choice in the matter. Seven of my beloved dogs died during the 9 years that I lived there. I had to leave their little graves behind.

I left behind a woodstove, a studio, my rifle, tools and my garden. I had spent hours working on my garden. I had turned a rocky driveway into a lush bed for my perennials and vegetables. I was still waiting for some of my trees and bushes to bloom. I invited all my friends to come dig up whatever they wanted.

 I had to find homes for the livestock.
I gave the ducks to a friend of mine. I was sad to let them go, but she was into ducks and we had shared a few before. I knew she would pamper them.

I sent the pony on a free lease. I’d had him for almost 20 years. He was a wonderful little guy who loved to drive in the cart. We had made it our tradition to go out for a drive every Christmas when there wasn’t snow on the ground. I won’t be taking him back now.

I sold all but three of my sheep. I still miss my lovely, sweet tempered ram, Handy. He really was handsome with his silver grey merino fleece and huge curling horns. I hope he and his girls have a good home.

I sold my goats. The woman who took some of them came back to get a couple more. She seemed really nice and caring so I asked her if she wanted the Angora buck for free because he had such bad feet problems. I still cry when I think about loading him in the back of her car. Some animals are just too special. It just hurts too much.

I kept three ewes for fleece and for my dogs to work. My landlady took two pygora wethers. I was given a llama and an alpaca. I only had them for one summer, but I fell in love with the llama. He was just beautiful and so gentle. I still have some of his fleece.

While I lived in Canaan, three more of my dogs died. I had to leave their little graves behind when we left for Texas. I gave my sheep to the woman who had given me the lamas and returned them to her as well. I miss the oldest ewe the most. She had a wonderful fleece, was great for the dogs to practice herding with and easy for me to deal with.
I still miss the llama terribly. I never even got a good picture of him.
I sold two of my weaving looms. I gave away more stuff and sold anything I couldn’t carry in the truck and camper. I lost another studio full of materials that made it possible for me to do what I love.

I left behind all my friends.

I’m down to two dogs now. One is getting old. I was given a pup just about a year ago. I didn’t want to take on another dog, but realized I won’t have the older one that much longer. I can’t be without a dog. I’d be too lonely

I’ve sacrificed plenty. I can’t see that it has made my life any better.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Not a Crock Pot

I bought what I thought was a tiny crock pot at a yard sale. It had never been used, but didn't come with a box or instructions. I only paid a couple of dollars for it and thought it was a great deal.

I finally decided to try it out. My neighbor cooks beans in her crock pot, so I thought I'd give that a try. I have bags of dried beans in the cupboard. I put the beans in, added water and turned it on overnight. I didn't expect them to be completely cooked in the morning, and they weren't. I kept the pot on low since it seemed to boil over if I turned it on high. As the day went on, they still were crunchy. At the end of 24 hours, they were edible, but just barely.

Next I tried baking bread in it. I read that it works as well as a bread machine. I whipped up the dough and set it on a piece of foil and turned in on high. After several hours, I realized the pot kept shutting itself down to low. I thought this was a bit peculiar. And the bread was not baking.

I decided to go online and see what was up with this little crock pot. I soon found out what my problem was. It wasn't a crock pot at all. It's a RICE COOKER!!! I've never had a rice cooker before so I read some online directions, put in some clean rice and water and tried again. This time it worked like a charm! Within 10 minutes, or so it seemed, I had a pot full of perfectly cooked rice. I added butter, salt and a can of onion soup. It was delicious. Now I can make rice to go with those beans.

How to Cure a Wound in a Duck

How to Cure a Wound in a Duck

Saturday, September 8, 2012

It Sits

The truck was delivered home last night. It is sitting in its parking place but I can't drive it.

It has been at my neighbor's son's house so he could fix the transmission fluid leak. He said he had trouble because it was so rusty. Apparently, he didn't stop to think that the truck was from New Hampshire where any old car will be rusty.

He put the seals in and it still leaked. He found that it was leaking from a line. He fixed that and discovered he couldn't shift gears. Now it seems there was a wire that was burning out that controls the brake and the shifting. 
He got it here at 10 pm last night. I rode with his mom to take him home and we got back around 11:30  so I couldn't get to sleep until almost 1. I'm wiped out.

Her son, and a real mechanic friend of his are coming tomorrow morning to see about fixing that wire.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Truck Homecoming...I hope

The truck is supposed to be on its way back as I write. It's 8:30 at night, but if we wait until tomorrow, it'll be too hot to leave the dogs in the camper. Even with the ac and three fans, it gets over 100 degrees in here. I know he's going to want more money, but I just don't have much to give him. I don't believe that he really knew what he was doing and that's partly why it took three weeks to get the job done. I'll just be happy to get it back. There's a young man in the park that said he worked on cars. At least he could do it here and not worry about having a go-between. We will see, we will see.

Saturday, September 1, 2012


Another cheap recipe. Since my truck has been gone, I've been rushing through the store while my neighbor waits in her car, for me to grab a few items. Tonight I bought canned chili and oyster crackers. I was feeling peckish yesterday and had a craving for soup and crackers. I bought some and some canned chili. It's a good thing I did because the chile was just a wee bit hotter than I like. The crackers made it Oh So Good. This is my idea of fast food!!! And it cost about $2.50. A treat!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Feeling Better

hose and faucet
I am feeling better. I don't know what comes over me. Here's a picture of one thing that is really making my life better. Yes, it's just a hose run through the window with a faucet on it. It has been YEARS since I've had actual running water. At times, I had to drive to the next town to fill water jugs, and then do it again the next day. Being able to just turn a faucet on to get water is thrilling! And in the afternoon, it's actually HOT water! That's the best time to do dishes.
The people I bought my old '69 Chateau camper from did some alterations and removed the water reservoir and cut water pipes. I do want to run a short pipe through the wall and make it a permanent and neater installation, but for now, I'm happy just to have running water! Thank you Universe!

I am still waiting to get my truck back though. It has been a week now....

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

A Spell of Depression

All I ever wanted is my own little cottage and a wee bit of land to go with it. A little bit to keep sheep in and a few chickens and a garden. Once I left home, or it left me, I lived in apartments. I even tried to live as cheaply as possible, in cabins without plumbing, in a 17 ft. trailer, in a barn with rats -  to try to save money to buy something, but it didn’t happen. So I went back to school to try to get a better job, more stability, to be able to buy a homestead. In fact, It did buy a house. I had it until I lost my good paying job.Now I just have an enormous debt I can't pay and I'm  66 and living in a trailer park. But that's a long story.
 I moved south hoping the lower cost of living and the milder winters would make things easier. I guess it has. But I’m starting to get depressed. It doesn’t look like I will ever get that little cottage again. I've given up everything that I loved - playing music, art, weaving, sheepdog trials -  I don’t know what I’m even living for. Thank heavens I have my two dogs. I have to take care of them. Without them, there would be nothing.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Wild Cats in Texas and the Black Panther Mystery

I just met someone who told me about seeing black panthers. I had to read up on this and discovered all sorts of wild cats in Texas that I didn't know about. I wrote an article on Wizzley about what I found out.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Fustic post moved

Opps. I posted a bit on dyeing with fustic. If you were looking for that post, it was supposed to go on my other blog "Cheap Twills." Please see it there and the following post on dyeing with copper.
Sorry if I've confused you.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Really Truckless

I may really be without a vehicle soon.

I had to register the truck last month and that took all my money that I would have used to make a truck payment. This month, the seals in the transmission went and I was scrambling trying to get it fixed. On top of that, my car insurance tripled this month because I had to raise the amount. And I have to get my driver's license renewed...

I still thought I might have enough to make a payment. Now I just get a message that they called my landlord (my phone doesn't work) and I have until the end of the week to send money or they're going to pick it up. AKC!!!! I just can't seem to win.

Recipe for Stuff on the Back Shelf

I was given some stuff from a woman who was moving and didn't want to take it all with her. It was some stuff that I'd rarely buy and seldom get at a food pantry. The items I had my inspiration from was a box of Shake and Bake, one jar of mushrooms (the Portabella ones that can taste kinda slimy) and  half a can of green beans from the food pantry. I have WAY too many cans of green beans taking up space. I'm not particularly fond of canned green beans.

It struck me that the mushrooms might be tasty if they were fried or otherwise made crisp-ier. I spotted the Shake and Bake in the back of the cabinet. I thought, Why Not? So I mixed everything together and put it in a frying pan with a little oil. I cooked it until it started to brown. I would have baked it but don't have a working oven.

\Viola.' It wasn't bad. It pretty much made a meal in itself. And I got to use up some things that tend to linger on the shelf.

By the way, I've updated my Wizzley article How to Live on $1.25 a Day. You might want to check it out.

Sunday, August 19, 2012


I've been without a vehicle this week. I went to the library and store last week and noticed a burning smell. Naturally I kept sniffing, hoping it was something I was just passing. When I pulled into the library, it was obvious - it was MY truck. White smoke was coming from under the hood. I lifted the hood and started checking fluids. No transmission fluid - at all.
Luckily I was two doors down from an auto parts store. I hoofed it over there and bought some fluid. I just got enough to limp home on.
Ford Truck
I've been hitching rides with my next door neighbor since then. She talked to her son who can replace the seals for not much money. We just have to get the truck to him - about 25 miles away.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Keeping Sheep

I've never understood why someone would crank up a noisy machine belching fumes to mow a lawn when they could have .SHEEP.  I miss my sheep. Here's a little bit about them. Keeping Sheep.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

I do miss my chickens....

Keeping Chickens

Nacogdoches and Home

I took a trip this week with my dad and step-mom to Nacogdoches. It was fun, but I came home exhausted.

Yesterday I made a quick trip to the library and, yep, that was my truck smoking and smelling like something burning. I checked under the hood and it was leaking (if that's the right word for "Pouring") out transmission fluid. I bought some and poured it in to try to limp home.
Later, safe at home, I heard a crash but didn't see anything. Realized later the shelf my refrigerator sits on had collapsed. So now my fridge is sitting in the drawer below....
Not such a great day.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Mushroom and Stuffing

I'm still experimenting with some recipes and thought to share the results with you. I was given a box of canned and boxed foods which were pretty close to what I would get at the pantry but some a little different. (Right now I'm eating noodles with Alfredo sauce. Much as I love tomato sauce, it's nice to have a change.)
One of the treats in the box was instant stuffing. I like it in moderation and can even almost eat it as a meal. I tried first adding mushrooms to it. That was a big mistake. It was too slimy. I don't recommend it.

Last night I tried adding cream of something soup. I don't think it matters much which cream of it is. It might have been cream of mushroom, my favorite. Anyway, that was pretty tasty. I'm thinking next time I have stuffing, I might just make soup and use the stuffing as sort of a crouton. I'll keep you posted.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

How Not to Register a Truck

Today is payday and today's task was getting the truck registered.

What a lesson in frustration. I went the first time about 4 weeks ago but needed the old registration which, apparently I had lost. I had to send to NH to get a replacement but didn't have the $15 to pay for it so had to wait. I finally made a sale on Etsy so used the money to send off for the duplicate.  It came yesterday.  I printed out the insurance form at my neighbor's (my printer is out of ink) and went to the DMV this morning to try again.

They told me I still needed more insurance and needed the insurance card - which, of course, I seem to have also lost. I didn't want to drive home (couldn't print and my neighbor is gone for the day anyway) so asked where the nearest library was. They gave me totally wrong directions and I ended up, after hunting for it for 30 minutes, driving back to Willis from Montgomery, about 20 miles, to use the library there.

 I almost burst into tears when THEY told me they didn't have change for the machine that runs the printer and I had to leave and find someplace to get change. Finally, I upped the insurance (the insurance company wants to hit me with almost $100 extra next month - not sure for what) and printed everything out and headed back. The woman at the DMV misread the insurance and was going to give me a hard time, but realized her mistake. I was about to lose it.

It cost a bundle - all the money I had to make a truck payment but I have shiny new plates and more papers. I'm home licking my wounds.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Recipes for Food Pantry Food

I'm not a cook, have never been interested in cooking, but I do like to eat. I'm reaching a food crisis though. It is becoming necessary for me to invent some new ways to use the same old ingredients. I'll be sharing some recipes as I discover them.

Food pantries are not all alike. Even in the New England towns I used to live in, there were differences. Some loaded you up with meat and cheese before doling out the canned goods. Some were canned goods only. Some had bread, but most did not. Some let you pick your own. That I loved. I didn't end up with 20 cans of my least favorite vegetables
Down here in Texas, the lines are longer and the bags are already filled. Everyone gets the same thing. I'm accumulating a closet shelf of food I don't particularly care for or have eaten so much of it, I'll gag if I eat it again.Two dishes I simply cannot face again are pasta and spaghetti sauce and rice and beans.

 Some months ago I had been keeping grated Parmesan cheese on hand. It seems to make everything taste better. I had ramen noodles which I was getting heartily sick of, but it is cheap. This time it was from the pantry along with chickpeas which I do like but not by itself.

I had a flash of inspiration. I discovered Ramen Noodle and Chickpea Soup.

I prepared a bag of ramen noodle by pouring hot water over it in a bowl and letting it sit for 5 minutes.
Add the chickpeas and sprinkle on grated cheese. Simple, filling and tasty!

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Doc's Dilema

Doc's skin is looking worse than ever. I have $8 left until the next SS check. I can't take him to the vet or even get some tea tree oil for him. I've found it really does help. I can put a little oil in a shampoo and bathe him with it. If anyone wants to send me some let me know or donate with the donate button on the right. Doc will send you some wet, slurppy dog kisses.

Update 7/26/12
My gratitute to a generous person! I did get a donation to help us out and I did find a place that sells tea tree oil. Doc's skin already looks so much better. It will take time for the hair to grow in, but he's doing ok with a comb-over. The place smells like a pharmacy here...

NOW Foods Tea Tree Oil

Montgomery and Doc

 I took a ride this morning into Montgomery. I wanted to take some pictures of the old buildings there. The sun was on the wrong side of the street so I didn't get the ones I really wanted. Here's a sample though.

Now I'm having trouble staying awake. It hits me every other day like this. I just want to curl up with a book and fall asleep. I don't know why. I got plenty of sleep last night. Yesterday I was full of energy. I did my "house" cleaning and wrote a pretty involved article on spinning on a spinning wheel. It's not easy taking pictures of what your two hands are doing and snapping the shutter on the camera at the same time. 
 I'm almost out of coffee and am totally out of tea. I'm drinking plenty of cold water though. 

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Texas Sun

There is very little shade in this RV park. It's 5:00 and the the sun has been beating down on our metal campers all day. I feel like I can't breathe. I turned the air conditioner up but it just blows hot air. At least the air is dryer inside. Outside the humidity is 97%.  It's cooler on the floor since I put the fans down low. The dogs are not panting now. I'm afraid to leave them, though. If the power goes off again, it would be like leaving them in a car in the sun with the windows shut. They would die.
I sit in front of the air conditioner and try not to move anything but my fingers on the keyboard. It's too hot to even go to the back of the camper and lie down. I tried it. I was soaked in sweat. It will cool down a bit before long and I can take the dogs for a walk. They don't get out of the camper much. They pick up fleas if they try to get under the camper where it's cooler. I've been battling fleas and ants since we got here. I'm actually looking forward to winter. I've adjusted to that after 40 years in New England.
My neighbor got a new air conditioner that just has a hose for exhaust. She didn't have to take a window out to install it. It really works well. I don't think I'd have the room for it, but it's a great idea and does keep her camper cool. Her's looks something like this one.

Click on the image to find out more about it.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

More Keeping Cool

Another thing that really helps keep the heat out, is not firing up the stove to cook, but cook outdoors. That would come right after having a tent. I don't have a hot water tank either so I have to heat water on the stove to bath or wash dishes. That definitely heats up the camper.
There's another advantage to having two cooking facilities. If one runs out of propane, you can always cook on the other one. Definitely an advantage when you don't know how much propane is left. Click on the image or click here to read more about outdoor cookers.
 This would be my first choice if I had the money. It has its own stand and is big enough for me to dye wool on. I won't be getting it any time soon though.

Most likely I'll get one of these. I've had several and they do work well. The only drawback is that it's a little harder to regulate the heat very precisely. It can be connected to a 20 lb. propane tank so it's economical that way. Click Here or click on the image to read more about these nifty little tabletop propane grills.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

A Tent or Two

One of the things that is in short supply down here in Texas is shade. As soon as I have a few extra dollars, I'm going to get a shade tent. It will give me some space outdoors that will look neater, keep things from getting rained on and give me a place in the shade. I've had big, pop up tents for my craft fairs, but I could make do with a cheap version since it wouldn't be put up and taken down several times a week. It will just stay there.

Here's a reasonably priced tent that would work well to keep the sun off. Click on the box to read more about it.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Other Basic Necessities that a Less Affluent Person Might Need

There are other things a person living on the edge might need or want. Some are essentials, others just something to make life more comfortable.

Communication is often difficult. I avoid signing up for anything that results in a bill at the end of the month. I use a prepaid phone.
The phone itself is very inexpensive, especially for the basic model without any bells and whistles. I’ve always used TracFone for its availability. Almost every gas station carries a phone card for them. They are easy to use if not the most economical. I don’t talk on the phone much and don’t make casual calls. I have a phone mostly for emergencies. Texting, however, is cheaper on this phone than an actual call. I use that more often.

There are fancier models and all sorts of discounted cards that would make a super gift. Click on the boxes to read more about TracFone and minute cards.

When you’re out of spare change, you don’t get to do laundry. Fortunately, living in an RV park, I do have electricity. Some years ago I bought a little table top washing machine. It works great. I can’t believe how clean it gets my clothes. It has a couple of drawbacks though. One is that it only holds a few items. I have to do a wash every day and don’t get down far enough to get to things like sheets. The other is that this model has no drain. You have to dump the water out. It does have holes in the top so that the clothes stay in the bucket. It’s great for emergencies, but gets pretty tiresome.

   This one has a drain hose      

I'll be highlight more things that can make life better for someone  living on the edge. It doesn't have to be all gloom and doom. The way out is upward and onward.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Last on the Essential List - Clothing

Maybe we don't really need clothes, in the summer at least, but it's better to stay out of jail by wearing them. Besides, you wouldn't want innocent people to go blind, now would you?

I've never been a follower of fashion. I'll wear just about any old thing, but sometimes I do want to be neat and presentable. The only thing is, even if I had the money to go clothes shopping, I HATE SHOPPING. I try to get in, grab what I need and get out as fast as possible. Shopping actually makes me dizzy. (The one exception to this is the hardware store)

Lately, however, shopping hasn't been an issue because I haven't had any disposable income to buy clothes with. My friends have been giving me their cast offs and that works pretty well, when, and if, my friends are the same size. I have a lot of shorts and pants I have to hold up with safety pins and a belt.

There are free clothes closets here and there, usually run by a church. They are great, but you have the same issue with shopping. At least you don't have to check out. Other places to get cheap clothes is at something like a Salvation Army or Goodwill. The only thing I am a little squeamish about is used underwear and shoes.

Shoes can be another whole bag of worms. Sizes vary from brand to brand and people's feet are so unique. My feet have always been large and have spread another half size in my old age. I rarely can find my size in a cheap shoe store unless I buy a man's shoe. I can't wear anything with a cheap dye. I'm allergic to it. If the shoes have a thin mesh toe, my big toe will be poking through in a matter of days. I don't like shoes in the summer that are too hot but I want something I can walk and run in. I'm not too picky.

 I found my perfect summer sandal  - Keen Women's Whisper Sandal - and I'm listing it here just in case anyone wants to send me a pair (size 10.5) <grin>

Clothing is so personal, that it is a good candidate for a gift card. Amazon has some nice ones.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Shelter - My Story

Like many people, when I was younger I lived in apartments. I've had neighbors leave candles burning which started fires, leave pipes to freeze so that the water to the building was shut off and it would stay off for weeks before the landlord would attend to it. I've listened through walls to child abuse. I've had landlords accuse me of damage that was already there when I moved in. I really grew to dislike apartment living.

I always wanted my own little homestead.One day I gave up apartments to move into a cabin on a friend's land. It did have electricity, but no plumbing, and a wood stove for heat. I had a job so I was able to buy firewood to stay warm. I managed to save some money and after a year or two I rented a house. That was another fiasco. The friend who got the house for me, I later learned, didn't own it. He was wheeling and dealing. The rent kept going up until I had to move. I was asked by an acquaintance to come to New Hampshire and live with  her elderly mother in a mobile home so off I went. After the mother passed away, I rented the home for a while, but the daughter had no interest in maintaining it. After notifying her about the condition of the wiring, sure enough, there was an electrical fire. My dogs were ok but it was traumatic. And it was my first night of true homelessness.

My sister sent me enough money to buy a little 17-ft camper. I had a friend with an 80-acre horse farm who let me rent a parking space. I went through several jobs before finding one that paid well and I thought, was secure. I managed to buy a little house on an acre of land and thought I was in heaven. I had sheep and goats and a garden. I had room to set up my weaving loom and work. I could have friends over.

Then the bottom fell out. Businesses were closing. My company went under after laying everyone off. I lost my house and my truck. I was facing homelessness again. I managed to get a car and another friend gave me a loan to buy a really cheap 25 ft. camper trailer. It's a 1969 model with a lot of problems. The water reservoir has been removed and water pipes cut. I never could get the heater or the oven to work although the stove top works fine. The electricity worked for a while but finally gave up. The toilet snapped off after about a week. There are holes in the floor. but it's mine!

For a year or so I parked it in another acquaintance's driveway, but that soon got uncomfortable. I decided to move back to Texas where the winter's are easier. I can put up with heat better than shoveling snow now. I won't go repeat what I've already written about the trip, but here I am living in an RV park and it's not bad for now. I'd like to be on my own land again someday, but at least I'm not homeless.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

First on the List

I've written an article on the move down here. I wrote another article on camper living here too. If you don't know the story, you can read up on it or just keep checking in and I'll be putting bits and pieces in as I go. Right now, I'm starting with today.

I've been on pretty hard times since the move. I wasn't all that affluent before the move but I gave up a little part time job to relocate and that hurt. I thought I would write a little about what to give a friend or relation that might be in a similar situation.

 Depending on the living situation, and with little money it usually isn't too luxurious, space is often at a premium. I'm living in a 25-foot camper and don't have room for knick-knacks or ornamental gifts. What most people on hard times need is, more or less in this order, food, shelter and clothing.

Food is a daily requirement. When I run out of food, it becomes an obsession. I don't want candy or cakes, I want real food! Taking food to a friend in need is never an empty gesture. Taking a box of chocolate might  less  appreciated unless they are a chocolate fiend. I am not. That doesn't mean that I don't love sweets, but not too much of it.

If you are going to take food, consider what might be most needed. If your friend is going to a food pantry, or gets food stamps, they will not be getting some items like paper products, soap, detergent, dish soap, dish rags, sponges, cleaner, dog food, cat food and the like. Don't assume that if you take a few ingredients, that your recipient will have what is needed to make a meal. Hamburger helper is pretty bad without the hamburger. Don't take mixes that need baking if the person doesn't have a working oven.

Food pantries hand out a lot of canned goods, corn, green beans, canned carrots and  lots of dry beans, rice, and noodles.  What they lack is something to make this into a tasty meal. A good spaghetti sauce with grated cheese and some sausage or hamburger makes dry noodles into a great meal.

 Keep in mind that with limited food resources, pasta soon grows old, so anything else sometimes is a great treat. Things I don' t get to eat often, and I love is pizza, chicken, fried or otherwise, fresh salads and dressing, fresh fruits and vegetables and anything with mayonnaise. I rarely get to buy eggs, cheese, juice, tuna or other canned meats. It's a struggle sometimes to buy butter and  milk and I'm a confirmed milk drinker, in or out of my coffee. Oh, and don't forget, generally food pantries don't hand out coffee or tea either.

 If you aren't near enough to take food personally, there are gift boxes and baskets and cards to just about every store. You'd have to know which stores are nearby or buy a prepaid credit card. If you want to give them more of a treat, here's some I wouldn't mind getting. Remember that the cards will be useless unless there is a place nearby to use them. And the higher priced the food, the less you can buy with them. I personally would rather go to a place like Subway and buy more food, than a fancy restaurant and buy less.