Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Noise and Noisier

Now that the AC and fans are off, I'm back to being kept awake by conversations outside at 6 am. It's not loud enough or close enough to make out the words, but it's definately a conversation.
When I first moved here the noise drove me crazy. I was used to quiet with only the occasional moose or coyote sounding off. Now I'm bombarded with noise - loud vehicles, motorcycles and people warming up their trucks (even in summer) people talking and yelling, and roar of  the park lawnmower and tractor. It still drives me nuts but I've managed to ignore most of it.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Why I Don't Always Finish Projects

My music stand was falling apart. At last Saturday's jam  it dumped my music book on the floor, popping open the rings and pages were everywhere. I decided it was time for a new music stand.
I like the wire ones because they fold up and fit in my music bag, and if I'm on bass, I can raise the book so I can see it. So I went into the music store where we were playing and bought a new stand. It seemed more substantial than my old one.
At a rehearsal today, I pulled out my new stand and set the music book on it. It promptly flipped the book over backwards. I couldn't tighten it enough to hold the music book upright. The guy next to me "helped" by cranking it so tight I thought he was going to strip it right out. I think I'm returning it. I'm giving up on wire music stands.
I have seen some nifty looking stands that are built like a folding stool. The book sits in the fabric and there's no way it can flip over or tip. I thought I could make one out of pvc pipe.

On the way home today I stopped at a box hardware store. I don't like these stores because it's so hard to find what you need but it was right on the way. I walked to one corner of the store to find pvc pipe, wandered around some more to find the corner pieces I needed and then back to the opposite corner to find two bolts. Of course none of the workers there will ever stop to help a customer.
When I got home I realized that I needed two more feet of pvc. And the bolts were too short. And one of the corner pieces was a three-way piece. Sigh.

I assembled the parts that I had just to see if it was going to work. I still needed to find some fabric for it. I found a weaving piece I had done that I didn't really have a use for. Turns out, it is exactly the right size for the stand. Now I just need to sew a hem on each end to slide over the pvc. I do have a little battery operated sewing machine that I haven't used in a while.  Of course I don't have any batteries on hand....I could charge some up or buy some. But wait....I got my weeks confused and I'm going to be out of  money for gas for the last week. I really wanted to go to the fourth Saturday jam this month. I might not make it.
Meanwhile, I will need a stand for Thursday's nursing home performance. Or just sit next to someone with a book.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Shelves and Such

Contrary to appearances, I haven't been totally lax lately. I've been finishing up some projects that have taken more time than they should have.

I've been very inspired by the articles I've read online about narrow shelves. I finally more or less finished some of my own between the bathroom door (big mirror) and the dog crate. 
I didn't do the best job of woodworking but it's up for now. It keeps wanting to slide away from the wall even though it's tight at the top.

Eating Area

Another project I'd been planning to do for ages was making a breakfast tray.
The only places I have to sit is at the computer (no free desk space here...) or on the bed.
It doesn't fold and I have to move it around but it gives me a place to eat and read a book without food slopping on the floor or worse, on the bed. 

Bedside Shelf

For the past couple of years I had been wanting some place to set my book and glasses when I'm ready to sleep. Currently, I've had to almost get out of bed to set them on the dresser that is at the foot of the bed. I tried some hanging bags and other arrangements but they were all unsatisfactory. I also wanted a tiny space to set a cup of coffee if I wanted to sit on the bed and read. The problem was to have something small enough that I wouldn't be crashing into it.

My neighbors pulled a corner shelf out of their camper and gave it to me. It was much to large for my camper and I had no corners that it would have fit into. I cut the top off and hung it upside down by the bed. PERFECT. I can't wait to go to bed tonight and try it out.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Longing for Home

I had no idea that I would love it out here this much. I love the sky and being able to see for miles. I love the dry air and the almost constant breeze. (Gets a little out of hand sometimes though.) I love prickly pear syrup that I've made from the prickly pear cactus around the homestead.

I would love to have some land even if it was further west. Any place to call home. But land is still out of my reach. I don't know if I'll ever have a house to live in again. I'm not getting any younger.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014


I've been away traveling to Gouldbusk, Texas. I'm staying on a ranch caring for animals while my friends are away. I just LOVE it here. It does get hot, but I've yet to really break a sweat. At home I'd be sweating in front of the AC. There's almost always a stiff breeze blowing.

This is the house I'm staying in. Notice the two front doors. It was purchased in 1930 from a Sears and Roebuck catalog. It does have an addition on the left side of a bedroom and bath. It's really an adorable house.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Day 34 A Quiet One

Spent the day working on genealogy stuff. If you're curious, I have a blog about that too.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Day 33 - Fire Ants

Fire ant attack. I hate the little suckers. I step off the pavement to let a car go by and this is what happens. Not only do they sting when they are on you, but it itches for days and days afterwards. The only thing I've found that lets me get some sleep is applying milk of  magnesia to the bumps.
Anyone have some perfect (and cheap) remedies?

Edit: I'm trying some vinegar and baking soda on a rag wrapped around my ankles. Working pretty well.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Day 32 Jumping with Joy

Feeling energetic today. Swept the floor, made the bed, worked on my Zazzle store, transcribed for Genealogy Trails and even played the dulcimer and jammed on Skype with my sister. But the real excitement was finally getting the life vest for my old dog, Doc.
I lugged the vest, tennis balls, my camera and tripod down to the boat launch to tape the guys in the water. Moss is making some great dives off the dock.
Hop on over to my dog blog to see it HERE.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Day 31 - Tank Top Day

Feeling a little more energized today. It was hot though. I've been looking at tank tops online that are made from tee shirts. I have plenty of old tee shirts, but the ones I've tried have been baggy or look great on a younger person, not so much on me.
I found this idea which is tied shoulder straps. I don't know that I'd go to the grocery store in it, but it's cool and comfortable and I can answer the door and still be dressed.
One of these days I'll save up and buy a sewing machine. I could do a lot with all the unwearable clothes I've got laying around taking up space.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Day 30 So Tiredddddd

Days like this would worry me if I had the energy. I overslept by an hour and a half. Took the dogs out and had to nap when we got back. I've worked a little on the computer but haven't practiced at all. Drifted off again while reading.
Granted it has been a cloudy rainy day, but still.....

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Day 28 Good Food and Good Sheep

 It's Sunday and the last day of the clinic. We're all sluggish with too much good food  too much heat but we're enjoying the breezes and watching good dogs practice.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Day 27 Clinic

Another weekend sitting under the arena shade watching dogs herd sheep. No one has tried herding cats yet.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Day 26 Not Doing Much

 I haven't been practicing much lately - a  bit, but not as much as I should. I'm looking forward to a sheepdog clinic this weekend. It does mean I'm missing some of my favorite jam sessions. I'm heading over in a bit for a warm up practice session and a supper.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Day 23- Nursing my Sunburn

Haven't had one of these in years. Baking powder solution really works.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Day 22 - I Just Wanted a Piece of Toast....

I have made a half-dozen of these little soda can stoves. I made two just today. Same problem with all of them. They won't stay lit.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Day 20 - More Sheep and Playing and Herding


Another day of playing with dogs and sheep in the hot sun. I think I got sunburned. Moss is doing better.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Day 19 Hot Dogs

We were supposed to be attending a sheepdog clinic this weekend on a friend's farm. Unfortunately it was cancelled at the last possible minute. My friend invited all the people who had signed up for some training in her field. Not many people out on Friday but had some good runs with ole Moss.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Day 18 Refrigerators

I admit it. I always postpone this chore until I can't stand it anymore. I started with the little fridge. It wasn't so bad. The bigger fridge is worse. It has way more ice to defrost and the old "science experiments" in the back. I'd just love to have one new(er) fridge.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Day 17 It All Started With the Toilet Paper

I thought I was doing good. I had two fat rolls of TP to get me through the week until I get my next paycheck. But as I ran out of the roll on the holder, I realized I couldn't find the two rolls I had stashed away somewhere. I really should be more careful when I decide to clean up around here. As evening wore on, I realized that this was rapidly becoming an emergency.
The only solution was to run to the corner store and spend some of my meager cash on a roll. Might as well get a gallon of water and a treat of 50-cent ice cream. So off I go into the twilight on my errand. When I get to the counter, all I can find in my pocketbook is three dollars. Now I had just bought gas earlier and had broken a twenty and put ten in gas in the van. I should have had a ten and some singles.
I went back out to the van and dumped my pocketbook into my hat. I did find the watch I thought I had lost last week. But no ten dollar bill.
Back to the counter and told the man at the register that I'd have to return the water. Bless his soul, he dug into the change bucket and found all but 20 cents. He let me take the ice cream, water and the TP and said I could pay him later.
I simply cannot find that ten. I even drove down to the park where I had let the dogs swim for a few minutes since they were so hot. Nothing. I checked pockets about five times. Nothing on my desk, on the floor, on the floor of the van. I definitely remember putting the ten in my pocketbook and I didn't buy anything until I went to the corner store.
I don't even want to think about where the two rolls of toilet paper are hiding....

Ed. The next morning I found the $10 on the floor of the van - almost in plain sight.... 

Ed: Found the toilet paper days later while hunting for a book. Found the book a few days after that. Making progress....

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Day 16 Sunshine and Hot Water

Today was a sunnier day than the past few days. I decided to try out some reflector on my black hot water bottles. I can't say for sure that it made a huge difference. The water was definitely hotter than it has been the past few days but there was more sun. I'd like to see if I could cover it with a towel or something and conserve the heat.(I'd really like to have a wooden box with a glass lid.) I'll be busy this weekend and might not be home in time for a really hot shower. I'm ok with a warm one though.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Day 15 - FOOD

I'm out of eggs, only a couple of slices of bread left and more dried beans that I can look at. Finally, I got the message that my payment was in. I ran to the store and stocked up. I was so thirsty that I drank most of a half gallon of orange juice on the way home.All I had to drink the past few days was tap water and it really does not taste all that good.
I definitely think having enough food is good for the morale. I'm not as depressed as I was the past couple of days. In fact, I'm feeling pretty cheery some of the time

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Day 14 - Eggs and Untoast

I learned how to cook eggs in the microwave. Pretty tasty, even if I can't toast the bread. I've been out of propane for over a week now. I could make an alcohol stove, but haven't gotten around to it.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Day 13 - Presents

My birthday presents arrived! I was so excited. The new uke strings came first. I put the low G string on since thats the one that broke I'm still trying to find strings I like. The wound one I had last broke really quickly. This one is not wound, but it's not as bright either. I'll have to see how I like it when I've played on it for a while.

Next came two boxes. One from my Amazon gift card from my sis. (LOVE those things. I broke down and bought a real luxury - a single serve blender. I've been so envious of people talking about their I can have one too. I did just make one out of milk and canned fruit. It was delicious.

The doggy water vest is going to have to go back. It's too small.  I was so excited to be able to get Doc further out in the water so that he would use his back legs. He's going a little further every day but still not out far enough. I thought of modifying it but might as well just send it back. Phooey. Then again, maybe I'll modify it.

Last but not least came a box of shirts! Haven't tried them all on yet, but always like to have decent clothes! Thanks again, sis.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Day 12

I wasn't just kidding when I said I'm almost out of dog food. A depressing day. I'm owed a payment but not getting it.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

The Real Day 11

I'm a bad doggy mom. I totally forgot today to look for a floatable toy for Doc. (Moss needs something throwable so he got the tennis ball.) I improvised with a water bottle and an old hand knit wool sock that was beyond repair and some sturdy cord. Doc loved it. No sense of pride in that dog. He would shake it and carry it around.
I do my best....

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Day 10 - The Tennis Ball Tragedy

Now that Moss has taken up swimming, (and Doc is wading) we needed some floatable toys. We had a couple of tennis balls and, to our delight, they floated fine.

I did realize today that one was floating lower in the water than the other one. Someone had smooched in his jaws and split it. It still worked so we got it a good round of water fetch. (Moss swims like a Lab, except for the narrow pointy head.)

The last toss was for Doc (who wasn't paying attention anyway) and to my horror, the split tennis ball sank like a stone, with only bubbles to mark its descent. Looks like my mission tomorrow is to find another floatable toy. Hope I can find some training bumpers.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Day 9 - Ice Goes in Drinks

It's not a surprise that it's warm down here in Texas, but it was getting pretty warm in the camper too. I thought the air conditioner filter might need cleaning (I do it regularly) but this is what I found when I took the filter out! This is ICE! My bad. I had cranked the ac up too far. It just can't handle it. I thawed it out and turned it down and it spit ice at me. Running ok now. Could be cooler......

Monday, July 28, 2014

Day 8 - A Strange Morning

I woke up at 5am and could not go back to sleep. I usually sleep to 7 but I gave it up after a while and got up. I started in on working on the Genealogy Trails pages that I had volunteered to maintain. Before I knew it, it was 8:30 and time to take the dogs for a game of frisbee. 
The plan for the day was to take the van for inspection, but when I got home I was so tired I was dizzy so I lay down and immediately fell asleep. I woke up again at 11 and decided to run down to the inspection place and give it a go anyway. I only had 4 days to get this done. 
I gave the new power alarm a test run. This little device will sound an alarm if the power goes off as it did a couple of weeks ago. The cord is long enough so that I can set it on the front steps when I leave.  I had introduced it to my neighbors so they'd know what it was for. Yesterday, with the power on, with an air conditioner running and two fans, the back end of the trailer was 102 degrees. Without the ac and fans running, the dogs would not survive. 
The inspection place said they were running behind since they only had one machine working. Seemed pretty fast to me. The BEST part is that the van passed. Then I made a quick stop for food and was home by 12.  And it's already getting hot.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Day 7 - Hot Water

This worked great yesterday. I could take a shower without having to heat up the camper. I've been heating bath water on the stove, but why not get it for free?
Of course, today is partly cloudy, but I don't need super hot water, warm is good enough.
It was so muggy this morning I could hardly take a picture. The camera lens kept fogging up.

7/31/14 Update: Today was cloudy but since I was out of propane, I decided to put the water out anyway. Even if it stayed at the air temperature, it would be better than bathing with cold water from the hose and underground. It worked great! Perfect shower.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Day 6 - Happy Birthday to Me

I don't generally pay too much attention to my birthdays. In some societies, birthdays are ignored. It's only the history of the clan, or tribe or country that is remembered. My obsession with genealogy would seem strange to them.
But sometimes it's good to stop and take stock of where you are in your journey.
I've been back in Texas for just over two years now. I'm still in the RV park in my ancient trailer. It's miserable on hot days but I celebrate the winters while folks up north struggle with snow and cold.
Most of my days are spent in front of the computer (and the AC). Sometimes it's just too hot to stand up.

I miss my friends. I've made a couple of new friends here but don't get to go anywhere much since I'm afraid to leave the dogs in the camper on hot days. (Power has gone off on occasion, therefore, no ac or fans, and it's like sitting in a hot car in the sun. The dogs would not survive.)

I do get to visit my dad now and then when I can arrange to leave the dogs with one of my friends. It has been great for us to get to know each other again.

I've been practicing my music and am making progress. I can play much better than when I started. I even took a solo on my ukulele last week. 

Although I would love to change my living situation, I try to focus on my blessings. I have a roof over my head (which has just about stopped leaking), I have a bed to to sleep in. I have money to buy food for the dogs. I have a good car to drive (thanks to one of those good friends) I have music to play and instruments to play them on. And I've found my spiritual path after a lifetime of searching. All of that makes me very happy.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Day 5 of My Life - Home Again

Back home to the pod. I dread the old-camper smell and the few bold cockroaches. I did put out bait for them so there aren't many, but the ones that are around are really obnoxious.
I was met by the park owner complaining about the untrimmed grass. I got right on it.
But it's a roof over my head and a bed to sleep in.

(Believe it or not, I just washed this thing. It's just old - like me. It is a 1968 Chateau. Not even made anymore)

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Day 3 Heading Home

I'm happy that my friends are coming home, but sad to leave my cozy little bunkhouse.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Day 2 - Guard Dog Adopts Housedog Status

Smoky has decided to become a house dog after a lifetime as a livestock guard dog. He forces his way in at night and he's stronger than I am, so in he comes. This makes night-time visits to the loo a bit tricky.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Day One

I'm starting a bit of photo journalism here. I"m farm sitting and this is what happens when you go out to do chores in tall, wet grass. My feet are so wet that they are sliding around my garden clogs.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

First Real Try at Solar Cooking


I got a whiff of propane this morning. That usually means I'm running out of lp gas. I have wanted to try solar cooking for some time and this might be the perfect time to give it  go.

I never seemed to have the right components together at the same time. I did have a box and some tin foil so I decided to try a simple prototype and see what would happen. I actually put in cooked food to see if it would reheat it. 

I used a cardboard box that I painted black on the outside. Then I realized that almost none of the black was going to be facing the sun. I lined the inside of the box with tin foil and put a scrap of black cloth in the bottom. I didn't have any glass to cover it with so I put the bowl in an oven bag. I put in some rice and sausage and let it heat for about 2 hours. It did work. The bowl was so hot I needed pot holders. The sausage was just right but the rice was just barely warm. Guess I should have stirred it once or twice. 

The box wasn't very large so I could only put a small bowl in it. I'd like to try a larger box and maybe make one out of wood so it wouldn't fall apart if it rains. 

Of course I could pop this in the microwave and have it ready to eat in 2 minutes, and I have a nice crock pot for all day cooking, but the crock pot actually helps heat up the trailer. Solar cooking is done outside, is free and I'm learning something. 

Saturday, June 28, 2014

What the Heck is Zazzle?

In spite of Zazzle's growing popularity, there are still folks out there who ask me what it is. I thought I'd explain it a bit.

  • Zazzle is a print on demand company. It's main appeal is that you can order as few as one item. Most printing places have a minimum of dozens of a particular design.
  • You can design your own product or you can buy one that is already designed for you. You can even customize many ready-made designs.
  • The ready-made products are designed by people like me who group them together in a virtual store. When someone buys a product with my design, I get a royalty. It may be only pennies or a dollar or two but it adds up.
  • Zazzle offers more than just tee shirts and coffee mugs. There are pendants, trophies, stationary, cell phone cases, mouse pads, jewelry, electronics, housewares, hats, belt buckles and more items than I can list. They come out with new items all the time.
  • From a few items I've seen they are high quality products. You can read the reviews to get an idea of what others thought.
  • Zazzle products make great gifts. You can even get awards for your club or activity.

Take a look at my stores at

Sunday, June 22, 2014

There's Texas and Then There's Texas

I've been thinking a lot the past couple of days about West Texas. I've never been there except to drive through. I've never really wanted to live in a desert. The thought of not having water always seemed like an insurmountable obstacle. But I found an article about a guy who is doing just that. He's totally off the grid and stores water from the infrequent rains. (to the tune of nine storage tanks.)
It seems that land is still pretty cheap there. All I'd need is 2 or 3 thousand dollars. How I'm going to get that, I have no idea but it almost seems doable.
In the meantime, I can be working on my solar system. No, not THAT solar system. The one that gives me lights, fan and a computer.
I have been reluctant to leave the dogs in the camper in the summer. If the power ever goes off (and it has - for no apparent reason) the dogs would die from the heat. It would be like leaving them in a car in the sun. It finally dawned on me that I could start working on my solar power by getting a deep cycle battery and powering either a 12V fan (expensive for a good one) or getting a (cheaper option) converter to run one of the fans I already have. I don't know if that would be enough, but it would be worth a try. In any case, it would give me a source of light (and a fan) when the power does go off. For now, I could charge it from my AC power.
Now I just need cash for the battery and the converter. I already have a battery charger. So buy lots of stuff from my Zazzle store!

Thursday, June 19, 2014


I've had a bad spell of no energy and too many naps. I also realized I'm feeling a bit shaky when I grocery shop in the morning. I have to go in the morning because it gets too hot to leave the dogs in the camper later in the day. If the power ever went off, it would be like leaving them in a parked car in the sun.
Anyway, I thought it might be my blood sugar. I've had low blood sugar for many years but it seems to be affecting me more as I get older. I started paying more attention and eating a meal or a snack every couple of hours. I was amazed at how much energy I had the past couple of weeks.
Today, though, I was a bit shaky in the grocery store and when I got home, I simply had to lie down and take a nap. I slept really hard and I'm still trying to wake up. I had help with all the noise in the park. People are mowing the grass and weed-wacking and I can hear my neighbor's conversations. I really long for some peace and quiet.