August 15

Painting and showing

Have to say, I lucked out on painters. One of the guys worked through the weekend to paint the inside and nearly did the whole job in two days then brought in another guy for some touch ups. We did have a moment of adrenaline. One of the guys cut open his thumb just as I came home. We patched him up and he said he was set to get back to work. It was all finished up on Wednesday, and I have to say it’s a new house. It looks better than when I moved in.

Imagine the whole house in the ceiling color. That was the interior color.
Imagine the whole house in the ceiling color. That was the interior color.

On the sales front, the realtor wanted to take the outside shot for the ad but I told her I could shoot a few and email them and she could decide. So, it turns out that I did the photography for the ad and the real photographer can come out to take the pictures of the inside.

Then on the 11th, the Geordie dog hit his second birthday. All the painters have said he’s the friendliest dog they’ve ever met. I have to admit, Geordie likes every one that walks by. He made the rounds when we went to Home Depot and got a scratching by nearly every one. I took Geordie over to the lake and tossed the float out for him. He never has enough swimming.

With just a few odds and ends to clear up, I should be ready to hit the road, soon. I’m thinking late next week. Fingers crossed.

I was talking with my brother and he suggested going north while I’m able with the weather holding out. Then it would be a slow road south as the fall progresses. Where to go? I’ve never gone to North Park in Colorado. I’ve heard and read there is some great fishing up there. I’ve also been intrigued by the Medicine Bow Mountains in southern Wyoming. I think I read a flyfishing magazine about the streams up there. It’s not far from the Colorado border.

Loft into master bedroom
Loft into master bedroom

 

As I looked online at changing my auto insurance, it may be that I take the beginning of the trip up to South Dakota for the changing of the title, plates, and license. Then I can head south to the Medicine Bow area.

Once again we’ve had rain this week. It’s been great to have any rain but especially nice when it rains at night. Best sound to fall asleep too.

Truck went into the shop for some maintenance. So that shouldn’t have any issues for a time.

I had two more chiropractic adjustments and think I’m finally better. This is the worst it’s been in years.

And with my back in mind I went over to “Malwart” and picked up a new memory foam pad for the trailer. I want no repeats of the last two weeks on the road.

The view from the back porch
The view from the back porch

And last of all, I received a call from the realtor this morning that some one wants to see the house. The first showing!

August 8

Going fast

This week has been a week where loads things came at me at once.

My realtor sent me the many forms to sign and the contract for selling with her. Then the painters finishing up the outside and, hopefully, moving to the inside starting tomorrow.

A fresh coat of paint
A fresh coat of paint

Then later in the week I got a call from the realtor that the photographer will be ready next Wednesday. A bit of panic set in because I’m not sure the interior will be done. The push was to get the photographs done for the big fall brochure.

On Thursday I had the Humane Society Thrift Shop folks come out to pick up the big donation items. I also picked up the paint for the interior.

Meanwhile, I’ve been to the chiropractor twice and still have spasms in my back, all the while lifting, cleaning, and all the things I shouldn’t be doing.

What’s that phrase? I’ll rest when I’m dead? What of strained backs? I’ll rest when I’m in traction?

The plus side is I’ll be able to leave, hopefully, before the end of August and be on the road. All the paper work, when the house sells, can be done online. It’s just another miracle of technology.

Better young bucks up that high than old stags
Better young bucks up that high than old stags

I had one evening where I was thinking about where to go and just a little worry came on. I won’t have a permanent place in my life. As I thought it through to  myself, I thought my permanent place will be my brother’s and sister’s places. I’ll be seeing them most holidays, so why not mentally think of southern California as my constant place.

Other thoughts that came on today, was the need to register my home state in South Dakota. My tags on my truck and trailer will need to be changed and also my license. I think I can wait until next spring to change them over. I’ll have to mull that over more and decide if I need to rush up to Rapid City this fall and get that done.

September seems to be coming on fast. I now need to think even more about the weather changes and the calendar for when I need to head south like a real “snowbird.” To think about a real migration is sort of foreign on a human level. We don’t really move in such practical terms, with weather, the way animals and birds do. We move or migrate on our own terms for the most part. My folks shifted down to Arizona from the Midwest for a few years, but they left when they were ready, not when the weather changed. I’ll have to move when it starts getting too cold for the trailer to handle. That will also depend on if I’m out in the Midwest or high up in elevation. It’ll be a whole new perspective to living.

Thanks again for reading.

Also a thank you to those that have purchased from Amazon via my blog.

 

August 2

Cooking success and low points

Last week I made the dutch oven meals, and I think they turned out pretty good.

Honey mustard chicken brazed in white wine.
Honey mustard chicken brazed in white wine.
Peach dump cake
Peach dump cake

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When I talked to the “experts” at the Chuck Wagon cook-off, they said the key was to heat the D.O. well before the food goes in.

Chuck Wagon meals have to have beans
Chuck Wagon meals have to have beans

On another front, the painters are out and washing the house and readying it to paint today.

Further on the quest to move, I talked to a realtor yesterday and we have an appointment today.

I’m expecting a few items on her list yet to do, but I’m ready to get going.

I hit a bit of an emotional wall this past week. I’ve been thinking of selling the house for nearly 3 years and the last 6 months I’ve looked at every item I’ve owned and dumped, donated, and sold, nearly all of it. The wall I hit was mental tiredness and wanting to be done with it.

I know, for me, that when I hit that emotional wall, change needs to happen. I’ve had those moments in the past where I feel that desperation, and I need to take action or I’ll drown in a feeling of despair. I need to change or I’ll hit a mental breakdown.

I’m very close to that, but if I can square away things with the realtor and take care of the little things that need doing or call in someone, then I know I’ll need to move on, or at least move the trailer to the mountains for a bit of relief of the stress.

Another part of me is nervous. Not for the move but all the business stuff with the realtor. I get nerves when I do legal junk. Why can’t it just be simple? Call a realtor and drive off then wait for a fax copy of the sale and send it off with my signature and be done with it.

As you can see by this post, I really have hit that wall and want to be on the road. Simplifying my life includes deleting all this junk involved in the legal affairs of owning a house. I know it may get complicated again if I buy land somewhere, just dream thinking, but none of the same stuff as fixing up a house and the walk-thrus.

I’ve never done well with stress no matter what people and studies say. It can be the littlest stresses that to someone else is minor. To me it’s uncomfortable and wholly unnerving. I get knots in my stomach, and it happened yesterday after talking to the realtor for the first time.

While I try and be up-beat in my postings, this isn’t one of them. I’m sorry. Life isn’t always little streams and daisies.

I know of a couple of other bloggers that suffer from depression, I don’t by the way, but sometimes life throws you a few days in a ditch.

By the end of the day all was peaceful
By the end of the day all was peaceful

So to top off a not so wonderful post, I’ve strained my back. I was moving a few things last night and the twinge shot thru my lower back and today I’m moving very slowly.

Maybe I’ll dump this post, but maybe I’ll keep it so I can record the ups and downs in this move.

Tomorrow will be a better day.

July 25

Moving into the trailer and dutch oven masters

I’ve made it to the point where I’ve moved into my Casita Trailer in front of the house. I’ve hooked up the air conditioner to the house power as the weather has turned hot. On Tuesday it was 95°, and in the night I was greeted to a lightning show and loud thunder. Best of all I got the Casita washed!

I think moving into the trailer got me even more motivated. More trash dumps, recycling, and the last of the donations. Just a few things to sell in the newspaper.

I’m still waiting on the painter to show up. Rain is not conducive to painting the outside of a house.

A light rain on Wednesday night and heat lightning. Thursday afternoon we had a warning of heavy rain due. We had some rain in the end but not the down pour “advertised.”

One thing I’d forgotten about the Casita is the wonderful sound of the rain hitting the roof. I think the only time I’ve had rain, when traveling in the Casita, was in my maiden voyage up in Minnesota. Back then I had no add-ons on the trailer. Now I have window vents that allow me to open them and shield the rain, and still have ventilation. The other modification was a cover over the roof fan which also allows me to open it when it rains. Both let me hear the rain even more.

DSC_0009

With all the trips around the county, and town and back, I knew I needed to give Geordie a day at the lake. So we went over on Thursday to toss the orange float out. It must have been the calm before the storms, because the water was like a mirror without a ripple, until the water dog came and swam around.

DSC_0007

Durango is a ranching town from the old days. It was the vegetable and meat crates from here that fed the miners to the north, in Silverton. This week has been our “Fiesta Days” to celebrate those cowboys and cowbelles. I found out there is a chuck wagon cook off tomorrow. Seeing as I’ve been working on dutch oven cooking, I’ll head over in the morning to see if I can learn some more from the experts. I wandered over this afternoon to take a look.

DSC_0002

I tried a rib dish out of my “black iron pot” this week. I have to admit that I prefer a good smoked, dry rubbed, bar-be-cue rib much better than the dutch oven ribs. I guess I need to experiment with it when I gain a bit more confidence.

That's a lot of pot for a lot of hungry cowboys.
That’s a lot of pot for a lot of hungry cowboys.

My next dutch oven (D.O.) meal I think will be tomorrow night. I found some chicken thighs when I was cleaning out the fridge this morning. I found a honey mustard D.O. recipe in a book that sounded good. I’ll also try a dump cake that is supposed to be a D.O. classic desert. I’ll let you know how they turn out.

July 18

On one’s own in self-sufficiency

As I posted last weeks entry, we had a good rain and thunder storm. I’m talking about an old fashion gully washer. If we had that once a week for three years, we just might get out of this drought.

Morning Clouds
Morning Clouds

I expected to get a flash of lightning then the power going out, but we were fine.

That’s one thing I pride myself in, self-sufficiency. I’ve always thought that one should never be at the mercy of any company when the weather turns bad. That’s why I have back-ups. In my house, I made sure the south wall was covered in windows for the solar gain. I also have a woodstove and radiant heat. I use the woodstove as my primary heat source in the winter and have about 2 cords of wood for the winters. To some that may seem like a lot, but I know of others that use twice that amount. The other reason I’ve used wood as my heat source, is that 2 cords is much cheaper than hundreds of gallons of propane used in a winter. I had one neighbor that had monthly propane bills in the $300 range during winter. My average wood costs for the season was about $300-350 for the 2 cords.

Beginning the afternoon build up
Beginning the afternoon build up

I’ve have never thought it a good idea, living in snow country, to depend on one heat source like many do back east. It’s always seemed crazy to have an oil furnace then they rush to buy a generator when the emergency hits. Worse yet, huddling around an open gas oven for heat. I get that in a condominium or apartment might have it’s own challenges, but I would work on a plan of alternatives, if I lived in one.

My worst power outage was about 6 years ago during a snow storm that brought 26 inches to my driveway, and more in the higher elevations. The electric company found the trouble way out in the deep snows and it took three days for the power to come on at the house. What to do? Bury the refrigerator items in the snow, shove more wood in the stove and cook on top of it, and throw foil wrapped spuds inside.

Big Clouds
Big Clouds

Of course this takes planning and stocking up the larder come late summer and fall including water. Buy the generator before the emergency need and stock up on fuel for it.

Now that I’m heading out in the trailer, I am self contained in that as well. I carry my own propane, and use very little. I’ll be carrying charcoal for the dutch oven and grill, then I have an axe for firewood for a third option. I have 96 watts of solar to charge up the battery, and carry extra water in the truck. I think with a bit of food I should be fine for a while.

Rain Making Conveyor Belt
Rain Making Conveyor Belt

Security in self-sufficiency takes that nagging feeling of fear and initiates action for assurance that you can handle nearly anything.

Hope you like the cloud photos. Living in an area with nearly 300 days of sunshine, clouds are a welcome change.

Thanks for reading and following my blog.

 

July 11

Is the future now or in the future?

I’ve been thinking about technology this week, after changing out my phone and companies a few weeks ago.

I am now using the company Straight Talk and a Samsung S3 phone that is on the Verizon network. I have unlimited talk and text and without a contract. I almost never texted on my Verizon contract because I was unwilling to pay more for a plan and at 20 cents per text without a plan seemed like a rip off, in my mind. The only downside with Straight Talk is having to buy a phone at retail.

Now that I’m in the 21st century, I’ve been thinking about conversations I’ve had with my sister about this advance in technology and that our parents would be amazed at everything. They were around for the early computers and the cell phones had just started coming out. They’d be taken a back by smartphones and computer video chat.

This brought me to thinking about the fulltime RVers and their communications in years past. They most likely called on the pay phone, with lots of coins in hand, then on to calling cards. Friends and family probably received a postcard every other week, 5 or 6 days after the fact. Now, RVers can see a photo and email the evening they arrive.

It is mind boggling to think of all this new technology, after growing up and seeing the wonders of a beta max video machine and tape of a movie. Now we stream movies to our computers.

Of course I’m old enough to remember getting up to change the channel on the TV, then the first “clicker” that really was a “clicker”, the sound of which was not unlike a manual typewriter.

Now we travel the globe and call on cell phone, that are no longer the size of bricks, and now are about the size of half a graham cracker.

I can blog and show you a photo a minute after I took it, not to mention videos.

What’s next? Telepathic chips stuck in our heads, sending you a voice of my thoughts and real time video, as I flyfish a stream in Montana or Scotland?

Jean-Luc Picard is coming closer on the Starship Enterprise.

Thanks for aiming your tractor beam on this site and reading.

June 27

Short Post

In the early morning hours this week, I’ve been reading some incredible blogs by many spoon carvers. The spoons that these folks create puts my work to shame. It makes me think about taking a few classes, when I go out on the road.

Earlier this month was the “Spoon Gathering” in Milan, Minnesota. Yes there is such a thing as a gathering of spoon carvers. There is one here in the U.S. and one in England called “Spoon Fest.”

This year in Minnesota some of the carvers from England came over and taught some classes at the gathering and also at one of the craft schools. Robin Wood is a spoon carver and a pole lathe bowl turner. He and his daughter, also a brilliant spoon carver, came over for the Spoon Gathering and Robin taught a class up in Grand Marais, Mn. at the North House Folk School.

I’m planning on taking a carving class up at North House Folk School next year along with a class at Vesterheim Norwegian-American Museum in Decorah, Iowa.

I’ve always been a do-it-yourself type of person. I would get a book and figure it out and do it all by myself, but I think with a class or two, I could accelerate my carving progression. Also I could meet some of the folks who’s blogs I’ve been reading now for months and learning with every photo they publish. And to quote a TV commercial “These guys(girls) are good.”

Maybe I’ll take a trip over to England for Spoon Fest!

Sorry for the short post this week. I got dehydrated yesterday after weed wacking the yard then taking Geordie on a hike. I should have brought more than one water bottle.

I’ve slept off and on this morning and by11 am I have downed 60 ounces of water. That’s the problem living in an area with single digit humidity, you have to make sure you drink lots of agua!

Thanks for reading.

June 20

Relax, don’t worry, take your time.

I have to admit, this past week was a mental health week. Not day, week.

As I look back at the boxes I’ve stored, donated, dumped, and given away, I still have things to go through. What came to me is this; like the way my new life will be, the pace at which things happen has to be comfortable and organic in its time. Overwhelm is not comfortable. So I need to change my frame of mind and tell myself that rushing isn’t the best way to travel nor is it conducive to changing a lifestyle.

Go with the flow, take life as it comes, everything happens on its own time, and all those clichés!

For me, the weeks delay was mental fatigue. Trips back and forth to town and storage unit, calls and emails to harass contractors, and decisions on what to hang onto for nieces and nephew from the grandparents they never knew.

The fatigue extended to my blog. I try and start a new post on Sundays with additions and rewrites over the week. This week it’s Thursday and it has taken that long to settle my mind to write.

On a lighter note, I’ve taken a few jaunts up to the high country to see what the spring has been like up there. Lots of water is still flowing in the streams. In passed years, I’ve been up flyfishing  in these streams, and at this time of year. I think all the water must have been from those late spring snow storms.

Cascade Creek
Cascade Creek

As I drove up I was thinking about the pleasure of seeing spring flowers bloom at different elevations throughout summer. I didn’t go up to the passes toward Silverton, but walked a creek I’ve fished, and relaxed in the cool air and the sound of tumbling water.

 

Wild Strawberry Blossom
Wild Strawberry Blossom

 

Shooting Star
Shooting Star

Down in the lower elevations we’ve had Red Flag Warnings, which are fire warnings. Conditions like wind and low humidity, are ripe fire conditions and the authorities warn against open fires, chainsaw use, and the tossing of cigarette butts! We’ve had smoke on the wind coming from the fire about a hundred miles to the south, outside of Gallup, New Mexico. The high country streams may be flowing but it’s dry and windy down in the lower elevations.

West Needles Mountains. Haze from fire near Gallup, NM
West Needles Mountains.
Haze from fire near Gallup, NM

 

Having gone through large fires in our region of Colorado, I’ve gotten too good at smelling smoke. Even a neighbor’s bar-be-cue can hit my nose and start my worry. Pray for the El Nino to come on strong with rain.

I feel better now and the week off has been beneficial.

Thanks for stopping by.

June 13

Rant, Family, and Travel

First, a rant, I hate trades people right now. Why? I’ve contacted two roofers, in the last two weeks, to fix some small areas of the roof, and both said “I’ll be out tomorrow.” Both were no shows and no phone calls. One blew me off twice. The painter I left a message with never replied.

More delays and more calls made this week. I received a work order on the roof and a painter called and set an appointment up for tomorrow. He said he’d give me an estimate, but the job would have to wait until mid-July.

I’d called another painter and he was booked until fall.

On a calmer note, this post is about family.

I’ve got a pretty close family. I think it stems from the difficulties we’ve gone through and overcome.

The past two weeks we’ve had to come together again, and now have tightened our bonds with the next generation over another difficulty. I won’t say more, I’m sorry, but it is a family issue, only to protect the younger ones in our fold.

On another aspect of family, which I’ve mentioned before, is our love of travel.

travel far

 

I know for a fact that my sister, brother, and myself, have gotten that travel lust from our father. Many times, growing up, Dad would pour over travel books. From that we learned, the start of travel begins in the planning.

From Dad, then to the three of us, now the next generation is even more travel savvy than we were/are.

The two oldest nieces spent a fall going to primary school in England when their father taught a semester abroad. Now as they’ve grown, both have spent considerable time in foreign lands, including Thailand, France, Egypt, Italy, and Germany. The younger will be off to Africa soon and eldest will head to Chile to volunteer at the Homeless Football/Soccer World Cup.

For more on the Homeless World Cup- http://www.homelessworldcup.org/

Also, this past Saturday, on NPR’s “Only A Game” there was a segment on the Homeless World Cup – http://onlyagame.wbur.org/2014/06/07/homeless-soccer-chile

The second niece is so travel savvy, that she ended up making an airline itinerary for her family when they were stuck in Washington State by weather, and needed to get back to southern California. I remember they had to split up because of lack of seats, and went in different directions. She worked it all out and everyone was there for Christmas morning, albeit a bit sleepy!

On my brother’s side, he has taken his family to England as well, when he worked there for a year. Last summer they took a ten week road trip, driving from southern California to as far as Washington D.C. and up to Niagara Falls and back. This summer they’ll head to Yellowstone National Park and northward to Canada.

 

Travel is not always about moving.
Travel is not always about moving.

Is it any wonder that my going fulltime in a travel trailer didn’t get a questioning remark from my family? Besides, I’ve driven around most of this country anyway. It’s nothing new for me or to them.

Some of the family is more in the jet-setter travel style. It was remarked by my eldest niece, on a move from Denver to New Jersey, she understood why I like to drive. She said, had she and her boyfriend not been in a rush to get to the east coast, they would have loved to have stopped and wandered more.

I can only imagine what my brother’s kids will get up to as they grow, with their travel experiences, and the help they’ll receive from their cousins to wander the world! Will they go interstellar??

I’ll stay here and look for the nooks on this planet.

June 6

Head-made, Heart-made, Hand-made

I’ve been thinking about hand-made arts this week. I’m forgetting who wrote it, but someone wrote about manufactured products and that people rarely work on the whole product, they work on a part.

My most loved items have a hand-made history. I bought a sweater, or should I say jumper, in Scotland over 30 years ago. I bought it, up in the most northerly area of Scotland, in the town of Tongue. Yes, that is the name. I don’t remember the cost, but it was more than the factory “outlet” sweaters in the shops in most towns. Tongue is a little blip on the map and the store looked like an old farmhouse. My sweater has no label inside. What company would allow that to pass quality control? Having worn it to the point of needing repairs, I took it to a local yarn shop to have the elbow patched. The woman there said the yarns of my sweater were all natural dyes. She could only approximate the color of the patchwork. I didn’t care as long as I could keep wearing that sweater. I’ve received numerous compliments on my Tongue jumper and hope it holds out another 20 years. I love it because I believe it is hand-made.

Sweater from Tongue, Scotland
Sweater from Tongue, Scotland

I was back in Scotland about 15 years ago and again bought a sweater from an outlet shop. This sweater had a label that told me it had been hand knitted by Mrs. Brady. I also receive compliments and love it for being hand-made.

There is a feeling knowing that someone put their heart and hands through that piece. To know that makes it much more powerful. Mrs. Brady’s fingers handled every bit of that yarn to make my sweater.

Mrs. Brady's sweater
Mrs. Brady’s sweater

What other things do we know for a fact is hand-made? A home cooked meal, made especially for you. That hand print, in clay, your kids made in school. Paintings and other arts are all hand-made and the growers of your food at the farmers markets are often right in front of you.

Hand-made is also an economy. I don’t claim to be an economist, but I do know that buying an item from the maker keeps the economy in the neighborhood.

So, what brought this on? I’ve been looking at other spoon carvers websites and they all are individuals that put their heart into each spoon or ladle. Their hands rubbed over that piece numerous times to feel its smoothness. His or her knife and axe was hand sharpened then chipped and sliced that ladle. Human hands and clean, quiet tools carved a spoon. I know, because as I carve a utensil, my fingers feel the item as I sandpaper it smoother with each pass. My pride goes into each piece.

There are many cottage industries that any household can start. You don’t need to list on the DOW . For a while I sold lettuce to a neighbor. It only took some gardening and a $2.00 packet of seeds. There are many ways to create a small income if you look.

To end, next time you have the opportunity to purchase a hand-made piece, know it was made with pride.

Thanks again for reading.