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Saturday, November 18, 2017

Mom's Roto-Rootering and Garage Reorganization

I want to take the time on the top of the blog to thank everyone for all the prayers, good wishes and kind thoughts for my Mom.  She underwent some heart procedures over the last few weeks that culminated in an angioplasty and implementation of 2 stents yesterday.  (I called it Roto-Rootering)  She came through with Flying Colors!

She got two special new stents where the polymer coating dissolves off after the drug regimen is completed.

Very interesting:
The SYNERGY BP Stent is the first and only FDA-approved drug-eluting stent with abluminal bioabsorbable polymer coating available in the U.S. It was designed to address the challenges associated with permanent polymer stents such as inflammation, neoatherosclerosis and late stent thrombosis.
The SYNERGY BP Stent provides synchronous drug elution and polymer absorption; the polymer is absorbed shortly after the drug elution is complete at 3-months, providing rapid healing and freedom from long-term polymer exposure.

She did so well, that she didn't have to stay overnight as expected, and was released on the same day.  I am sure she rested better at home in her own bed anyhow.  I called her this morning and she was so bright and chipper sounding. She is moving better and will follow all of the doctors orders from here on forward for sure. Today she was planning to head out on the new deck Lyle built around their home since they moved it. She wants to finish painting the spindles.  Like mother, like daughter?


As most of you blog readers know, we call our place "Our Old House".  We enjoy making things nicer, easier and try to restore it back to original if we can on our 103 year old house.  Some things are newer, but most of the original features are still there to keep us hopping with upkeep and maintenance. 

The garage is newer (built in 1974) after they moved off the old garage to someone else. Steve and I both have been unhappy with all the "STUFF" we seemed to have accumulated in the garage. Since the basement does have some water seepage during heavy rains, we opt to not store anything down there.  As we work on projects or collect lawn and yard items, the garage has become cluttered and not too orderly.

Steve saw an ad on the Facebook Buy Sell Trade Marketplace pages... and thought he would buy three of these steel racks with nice cream colored coating to put up around his raspberry plants next year.  They are 7x4 and he figured three would work around his plants.  They are coming out of a closed video store down the street.  She was selling them $10 each, but if you bought 2 you could get another free! 

We bought three panels for the raspberry bushes and stored them away for next spring.  But... but ... but... Steve's brain was thinking.  Remember what I said about an unorganized garage???  See what I mean?

How about getting some MORE panels and suspending them from chains and mounting to the back wall and making some overhead shelves in our garage???   We got ahold of the seller and bought four more sections!

This is a $30 investment to see if this will work.  We also bought some heavy welded link chain and S hooks from the hardware store, cleared out all the "STUFF" to the other side of the garage and went to work. 

Honestly, I was helping, but I only stood back to take pics.
The board is taking my place while holding the racks up and level
while he screws them into the back wall with brackets.

We are putting the shelves up high enough to walk underneath.  Well, most of us. They are 77" inches off the floor so Steve can just walk underneath it (at 6'4") and knocks his hat off. LOL .....  This way we can pull the car forward all the way and the nose of the car will nicely fit under the shelf as well. 

We had a couple supervisors watching all that we did 
from the safety of their "boss chair" 

It was a little tricky to screw the top screws into the brackets--- unless he would lay out across on top of each shelf to do it. Instead, he pushed the drill across from the top to get it over to the wall.  Then he reached up in between the mesh holes to hold the drill and take care of each brackets' upper screws.  We hung the front edges with chain rated for 250 pounds.  Once each panel was level, he crimped the S hooks shut so they wouldn't ever slip sideways and drop the chain links. 

Each panel was bolted together end to end to keep them all in row....
That steel stuff was pretty thick to drill through, for sure. 

This looks like it is actually going to work!  Two panels up, two to go!  We also added more chains than in this pic, It was only enough to get them level at this point.

 I opted for a fourth panel to be hung below the other three to the far right of the garage. This was originally my area for my shipping boxes and pots and planting stuff.

By having a lower shelf, I can reach my stuff without needing a ladder or Steve to fetch things for me.  I ship out a lot of things and need all the assorted sized boxes at hand when I am heading to the post office or shipping out from home.

Underneath this last shelf, I can still fit our wheelbarrow, red wagon and my rolling garden cart. But not being too low, the floor space can also be used when Steve puts our utility trailer all of the way back to the wall.  The garage is deep enough to fit the trailer behind and the Tracker in front in the same slot....

Three remaining panels and an extra metal door are setting underneath.  Those three are being saved for his raspberry plants next spring.  Or maybe more shelves?  Who knows what ideas he will come up with.

We added more chains for extra support. We don't think they are really needed, since we are not putting any really heavy things on the shelves. But we had the chain already bought, so we might as well finish it up as planned.

We took a break for a little lunch and then headed back to the garage to start arranging our "STUFF" on the shelves.  Oh my... for only living here just under five years, we have too much "STUFF"!  We sorted some, set some for donation to the thrift shop, and some to the garbage can.  The remaining items were lucky enough to get put up on our new shelves.

By three pm, we were getting chilled. It has only been in the 30's today and cold and damp and icky.  We don't have a garage heater hooked up (yet) and I was thinking enough was enough for the day.

We still have more to do, but Steve was heading for a hot shower and I wanted a nap in our bed with our heated mattress pad. Ahhhhhhh  he joined me in time for our nap.  Gosh we are getting old, eh?

But at least we have an organized garage. LOL! 

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Motorhome Oil Change, Getting a Silver Lining, Loom Getting a New Home

This blog has three parts:

  1. Motorhome Stuff
  2. Our Old House Restoration Stuff
  3. Weaving Loom Stuff

Oh yes, I am playing catch-up again and here is a whole week in one blog post. I HAVE to get my butt in gear and start posting more often again this winter.  Until we go away on a motorhome trip, it can be kinda boring for my RVing blog readers.  (the fiber and family folks always get good blog fodder)

Steve found a GREAT deal on the diesel oil for a motorhome oil change.  It was on sale at Fleet Farm for $64.99 a FIVE gallon bucket and then a rebate of $35 from Mobil and a 10% rebate from Fleet Farm in the form of a gift card.... plus on top of that if we use our American Express, we get 6% cash back at the end of the month.  It was such a good deal, he bought a second bucket to save for next year. It's sealed up and will stay good. 

Of course with 5 gallon buckets, that isn't enough for our rig, we need 32 quarts for our size oil pan.  Steve adds to the volume with one more gallon of oil (also on sale) and a gallon of Lucas Oil Additive Stabilizer. That is enough to bring it all back up to operating level with some of the old left in the oilpan after draining.

He found that removing the flex-hose adaptor from a funnel, he could screw the flex hose right on the bucket fitting!  It fit perfectly! He could reach the oil fill tube opening in the back of the rig's access door, and pour it all in carefully from the big bucket.

Here are from my notes of our Maintenance Log:

oct 2017 
oil change mobil del vac super 1300 heavy duty 5gal bucket 15w40
$64.99 rebate of $35 for the 5 gal bucket
$10.99 for one more gallon of oil
$29.99 for Lucas oil additive stabilizer

fleet farm 10% off rebate gave us an extra $10.60 back
filter was bought elsewhere wix 51791 $17.99

total cost $78.36 plus tax
2099 engine hours
74330 miles

He also changed the oil and filter in our Onan propane generator:

oct 2017
 onan generator oil change
$14.99 filter mobil m1-209
3.5 quarts of non detergent 30W  $2.44 each quart
480 hours
total cost $24.75 plus tax

All of our drain oil is brought out to a guy who burns it in a drip system to heat his repair shop. Recycling at it's finest!

We are up to snuff now and ready for perhaps a winter jaunt to the south or the desert?


Can you believe we just hit the five year anniversary of the accepted offer on our Our Old House? It was Nov 3, 2012 when we bought it from the three Baldock sisters after their parents passed away.  We didn't close until the end of December of 2012.  We keep doing little bits here and there to restore the house to original and preserve what we think are the best features of this 104 year old home.  We fondly refer to it as Our Old House.

Around "Our Old House" we decided to work on another project....  Five years ago, we bought this huge beveled mirror to hang in our diningoom. We found it on Craigslist and Steve overestimated the length limit that we could haul in the little Tracker.... this was the ONLY way it would fit for the trip home!

At that point in time, we hadn't bought a chandelier yet, so the heavy gold metallic frame was just ummm *okay*.   In this pic below, we hadn't even put back up the rest of the pieces of the plate rail yet....

I had added family photos all around the room in frames that were gold to match the mirror....  Using the plate rail for setting the photo frames on helps keep them all in order, plus eliminates all those nail holes in the walls!

After that, we added a chandelier that has silver accents for the light holder stems, and some little crystal lamps on the buffet that also have silver accents.

A few times over the last five years, we mentioned that we should paint the mirror frame silverish, as well as the picture frames. Last week we bought a cute little ornate set with a napkin holder and trivet that were silver as well. Sooo I guess it was time to paint that gold mirror!

I bought a can of hammered paint with texture in a pewter grey tone of silver, and a can of bright shiny chrome silver.  Steve set up the sawhorses in the basement for me, as it's cold and damp out in the garage. Steve helped me carry down the mirror and we carefully taped off the beveled edge and then covered the mirrored portion with plastic.

First I painted with the hammered paint to add to the texture and the entire thing looked pewter-ish (autocorrect dictionary says that isn't a word)  then I lightly fanned the silver chrome-ish (also not a word)  over the highlighted sections of the frame.

While that was drying, I went around the whole dining room plate rail and took down all of the photo frames. I carefully numbered each frame on the back side and put all the glass and photos in numerical order on the table.... so I could put them all back together correctly again. I had 18 frames to paint!

I did half of the frames in the hammered pewter-ish paint, and half in the chrome-ish to mix them up.  It was so cool to see each one change from what it was to something new and fresh!

Now these are lined up on more of the sawhorses drying in the basement as well.  It sure was a good thing I garbage-picked these three sets of old sawhorses last spring on bulky item pickup trash day.  I used them for painting all those hundreds of spindles for our fence this past spring. Now they are doing another duty in the basement (Steve didn't want them in the first place, and after the fence was done, he wanted to knock the sawhorses apart and burn them) ....

After lunch, everything was dry, so we carried the mirror back up and hung it on the wall. It is pretty hefty and very awkward. It has very heavy duty brackets that are hung onto heavy screws into studs on the wall. (see? the plate rail is complete in this pic on each side of the mirror)

Ahhhh that looks SO much better! 

I put all of the picture frames together again and each one is back in their spots. I need two new prints of Claire and Whitney, the two youngest grandgirls, who are growing like weeds.   I will print those up this afternoon and replace the baby shots in those frames.

 That is the end of another project around Our Old House.

This week I had the pleasure of meeting Carol Ann Kapheim and her husband Thom. They have an art gallery in Waukegon, Illinois.  https://www.kapheimstudio.com/  Carol is also the editor of the Weavers Friend 2 Newsletter

Carol had purchased my old sturdy Union Custom loom from me a few weeks ago.  They made arrangements this week to come up and take it to it's new home.  She was completely delighted when she saw it in it's glory. I had debated between stripping off the fading historically correct blue paint.. or even painting it all solid blue again.  But either choice would have ruined it's original condition.  She wanted it just the way it was!   (so glad I didn't paint it)

They tore it all apart and loaded it up in their SUV to head on down to it's new place of glory in their studio. From there we enjoyed a nice lunch at Hilde's Deli and Bakery in Chilton before they hit the road back to Illinois.

Later her husband Thom posted these pics from their studio:

After a few swear words, they were able to get it all reassembled.  I am SO glad it is going to have a new loving life in a new home. I just didn't have room for it at my house. It needed a new job to do, and someone to love it--- scars and scrapes and all the dings to it's surface over the years.

I think it looks pretty happy, don't you? 

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Halloween at HIgh Cliff State Park

I am finally catching up here and going to write about last weekend. 

Once a year, the Friends of High Cliff State Park put on a "Halloween Campground Walk".  High Cliff State Park is located near Appleton WI on the NE shore of Lake Winnebago.  This is our sixth year attending this event.  We have to reserve campsites a year in advance as soon as they become available.  112 campsites in the park, and they go quick!

Now... understand this it's not ONLY the campers who celebrate Halloween in the park, tons and tons of local people from the surrounding community come!  Last year it was over 5,000 people came to the park.  
(on edit) The count from this year was

It is quite the event, and we have been coming for the last six years, as I said. On top of it, my birthday is on Halloween, so it is a time for getting together with all of our kids and grandkids to celebrate that as well.  So we reserve a double family campsite for any of our kids who join us to spend the weekend.  

It has been a very warm strange autumn, and the weather was forecast to be in the 70's! How unusual for this time of year in Wisconsin. In contrast, as I write this, we had below freezing temps last night, more in keeping with normal Wisconsin October temps. 

The colors were absolutely gorgeous already, in spite of not having a hard freeze yet. We were missing some of the deep reds and oranges of the hardwoods, but plenty of yellows and golds were scattered along the cliff.  The cliff is part of the Niagara Escarpment, and the park is built on the site of an old lime mining operation, with a historical kiln still on the grounds.  Steve retired from the park in January, but still comes back to volunteer and help with last minute emergency repairs...  (the state never hired anyone yet to take his place, so the two rangers and park superintendent are doing the best they can without him on the payroll) 

The sun was shining and the blue skies made a great backdrop
to the fall colors in the park. 

This is my favorite spot on the park, 
I stopped in the car to snap this pic as we were heading into the campground.
This path is along a rock wall from a long-ago farmstead. 

We drove in early on Thursday morning after stopping to replenish our propane supply at a local dealer. The motorhome needs to be driven to a propane filling station as it takes a large bulk tank connection like on home tanks.  We make an appointment to get filled, as many propane dealers have their guys out in delivery trucks and not hanging around the office to fill us.  When we lived in Oconto, we had the delivery guy fill our rig when he was filling our house tank in the yard.

I drove ahead in the car, as the park is only 15 miles from home.  I was able to snap this pic of Steve driving in the rig through the colorful trees up to our double family campsite.

We got all set up and leveled and ready in our side of the campground. But later on Friday morning, Steve decided to turn the rig around to face outwards.  Because the sites we had reserved were non-electric sites, we were allowed to run the generator for just this weekend in the park. (otherwise generators are not allowed in state parks unless it is for medical emergency purposes).  The generator in our rig is very quiet, and runs on propane. It is located at the back of the motorhome, and the exhaust pipe goes right out the back. That would be facing the road with all the kids and our chairs and candy distribution center.  LOL .... so turning it around later was a good idea.

Here is the rig now turned around the site and all of our decorations strung out among the trees. We had a lot of light-up items to run off the generator... and also we ran a cord over to our son's side of the double campsite to illuminate their decorations as well as keep their camper battery charged up. They could charge their cell phones and run their lights and heater without worry for four days while we kept recharging them to 100% on their single battery.  Our rig has 4 batteries and solar on the roof, so we are fine even without running the generator.

Here is our son and daughter's side of the campsite and their decorations too.  It was so nice to have a double site for enough room for all of our family to attend. There is overflow parking nearby for vehicles and we can have an open space for handing out candy near the road.

Thursday and Friday were a lot of fun, but I could feel myself "fading fast" into illness.  I had picked up some kind of bug, and my stomach was giving me fits. Since I suffer from complications of a digestion surgery after my work accident, my ability to fight off flu bugs is compounded by not being able to handle stomach ailments...  I usually end up in the ER in the middle of the night, getting a lidocaine cocktail and an IV with morphine to get though it.  I kid you not.  And I could feel it coming.... oh no! 

About midnight Friday, I couldn't take it anymore. I had Steve haul me back into town to get some other emergency prescription meds I had at home to try. If that didn't do it, I would be needing a trip to the ER.  I was soooo upset that I was missing out on my Halloween Celebration with my grandkids! That hurt worse than any stomach problems.  It was breaking my heart! 

I laid on the floor in the bathroom writhing in pain, and hoping that it would pass and I could get up again.  Steve stayed with me until 9 or 10 am the next day. I was finally able to rest in bed peacefully, so he left me at the house and he returned to the park. 

He took over all the food prep I had planned to do myself. He was my hero!  He did up the big crock pot of chili, heated up the bucket of the calico beans, grilled the brats and hot dogs, set out the go-withs and the set-ups.  He had everything done for the family visitors and most of all, he held down the fort for making the weekend great for the grandkids.

I laid at home in bed until about 3pm. I was still feeling miserable, but half assed enough to get up and look at my phone.  OH my ... it was breaking my heart to see all the pics the kids were sending to me!!!!  The grandkids were all dressed up in their costumes and the candy was piled up in the tub (the first of many batches---- we go through over $100.00 worth of candy as well as all the extra bags our kids bring to contribute to the bucket) 

Our youngest daughter Heather and husband Jesse texted and said both Whitney and Jameson were under the weather and would not be able to attend as well. Awwwww this was really turning out to be a crappy weekend full of illness!  
How disheartening! 

The parents were sending me pics to my phone so I wouldn't feel so left out.

The boys were full of the dickens,
and I am sure full of pre-Halloween candy as well.


Who can resist little Claire, 1 year old, 
as a tiny monkey in her wagon? 

That was it... I couldn't take it any longer.

I HAD to get up, 
and get dressed 
and get in the car 
and GO back to the park!  

I drove slowly through the throngs of people all parked in all areas of the park.  The nice rangers who know me, let me through with the car to slowly wind my way into the campground about 3:30 pm.  The roads are already blocked off to any new traffic, but registered campers can get through if they are careful.  It took me almost half an hour to get into the first road of the campground to our sites on 14-15.  AHhhhhhhh   Steve set me up a lawn chair so I could just sit and watch and enjoy.

The grandgirls helped me dress Finney and Binney in their costumes too.
They are a referee and a not too cheery cheerleader! 


Soon the throngs of costumed trick or treaters came down the roads...
wave after wave of trick or treaters were moving along from site to site. 

It was so much fun to watch.... 
and so many polite kids taking just one piece of candy.

Grand nephew Matt had a BLAST handing out candy and 
scaring people in his ghoulish costume:

We even set out a cauldron of doggie biscuits 
as many people walk around with their pets as well.

Finney and Binney enjoyed watching the people and dogs
 from the safety of their lawn chair next to me.

What fun.. people walked past for four hours, collecting candy
and parading in their costumes. 

I was totally exhausted, and worn out but sat in my chair and snapped pictures.  I was joyful and thankful that I still got to attend the event.  Steve was my hero and took care of everything that I normally did.  Oh, our son Dan also got to try out his new grill that his wife Heather bought him... it had a battery operated rotating device to keep the grill moving over the fire.

The trick or treaters went on well after dark, up to 8 pm, with a few stragglers after that as well. We didn't run out of candy (we learned that after our first year to take MORE than enough and we could use the excess at home the following week).   I was worn out, but the guys sat up playing cribbage at the picnic table.  Matt and Steve skunked Dan and Waylen.  LOL 

Some people were getting lost on the paths in the woods, trying to find the parking lots down at the end of the trails.  They ended up coming back through our campsite to walk on the road instead. We were lit up as a beacon in the woods for the stragglers trying to get to their cars.

Our gandkids were slowly coming down off their sugar highs... and stripped off their costumes to sit around the campfire.  I made it for about an hour longer with stories, laughter and family time.  I was so thankful that I got to come, but I was fading fast.

So were the grandgirls Chelsea and Allegra.....

I hobbled off to my bed in the motorhome, comforted in knowing that my family had a fun event after all and I was able to attend.  I took my meds and went to sleep, with visions of fun and frivolity dancing in my head from a great day.  I felt bad that little Jameson and Whitney missed out.  Knowing he was sooo excited about his new knight helmet and costume he was going to wear this year. (we later made arrangements for them to come visit me the next weekend)

I made a promise to the grandkids at the campsite. In the morning, no matter what time, they could get up and come over to our motorhome for their favorite little boxes of cereal.  They were all sleeping in Dan and Heather's camper: 4 adults, 4 sugared up kids, 1 toddler in a crib and a big ole dog! 

We woke up about 6 am and I was feeling a bit better.  As soon as we turned on a light in our motorhome, quick as a wink over came three of the grandkids!  They had been waiting for us to get up so they could come over as planned. awwwwwwwwww  It was still dark out, but they zoomed over in their jammies to come to our place.

It has been kinda a tradition to bring along the little boxes of cereal for tiding them over until we made a bigger breakfast once the adults get up. (my Grandma Kafehl used to buy those for us kids too).  We found some cartoons on the tv, and they were happy to hang out with us for the morning.  We have plenty of battery power to run the inverter to run the tv, as well as the lights in the early morning hours. The last thing you want to do is fire up a generator to watch cartoons at 6 am! LOL

Little baby Claire woke up, so her parents brought her over to the motorhome as well.  She was so busy playing with our little Cup-O's on the blanket on the floor, while the kids were enjoying their cartoons.  My life felt more complete, now that I got to have them all come to my camper.  It's a thing that brings joy to my heart, and I hope it is creating memories they will carry with them for a lifetime.

Clayton, the last grandkid to get up, also came over to join in.  We do not have any slides in our motorhome, so the floor space is a bit limited. But the kids are small and do not take up a lot of space.  Finnegan learns to hang out and watch for spilled cereal bits (no milk) and finds spots to scoot around the others out of the way.  Binney hides out on her little bed under the dash, and is happy to watch from her "safe spot" as the kids giggle, watch tv, play or color.

Once we knew the grownups were getting up, it was time to start our "Breakfast Bake" casseroles. Now that I have an oven in our rig it is easy to bake two big pans at one time.
 (see blog posts: New Oven Part One  and New Oven Part Two )

The girls were eager to help, as love to crack all the eggs and put together the pans to bake breakfast for everyone in one fell swoop.

also we used ham instead of bacon or sausage.

It was starting to drizzle outside, and the weather forecast was calling for rain all day long. Steve and Waylen went out and quickly took down all of the halloween decorations.  They packed them all quickly into the car to be sorted out later.  We were going to decorate our house for the upcoming week, so it didn't matter much how it was packed away.  But they packed away some of Heather and Dan's decorations that had to be taken back out before they left. The guys cleaned up the campsite while I kept the kids inside the motorhome high and dry.  

Soon everyone ate and Dan and Heather got their trailer road worthy. Steve had helped adjust their hitch as Dan got a new truck recently.  It was good to go, and they were able to head on out before the downpour started. 

I was totally worn out and exhausted by the time they all pulled out of the campground. As the rain was coming down, all I wanted to do was curl up and sleep again. We had planned to stay two extra days, as Steve was going to help volunteer with the draining and blowing out of the water system of the park, a rather complicated process. He could tell I was drained and fading fast again.  He pulled an executive decision and said let's just go home instead. He can drive back to the park the next day to help them out.  

Steve, that kind soul, unloaded the rig of all the extra food and dirty clothes.  I didn't have to do a thing but rest.  What a guy! 

Soon I was back at home, in my own warm bed, with happy smile on my face for not missing out on another Halloween Celebration at High Cliff.