This was our 2013 Jayco Flight Swift 198 RD


Saturday, 9 November 2019

Man, it's cold out there

Man, its cold out there. Our weather all of a sudden dropped well below the norm for this time of year, namely the beginning of November. While so many of our friends and acquaintances are already on the road to a destination south and warmer temperatures and others already set up at their winter domiciles, we are still sitting here at home. As retirees we are free to chose when and where to travel but there was no real rush for us to head out in October while we still enjoyed beautiful weather. However, parts of Ontario have already had their first snowfall and soon we will be blessed with this cold and wet stuff that we all dread. So I guess we better get organized and start packing.

We added a new "friendship" spare tire cover

This annual chore is somewhat a routine but not the same every year. On our first trip down to the southwest we packed a lot of unnecessary stuff that we never used. But also we learned a few expensive lessons by not having certain things. So for that reason we have on order a Surge Guard for our shore power connection, when we are hooked up to a power post in an RV Park. Hopefully it will get here in time (it better be!) Reading too many suggestions of should haves and must haves and not having had any experience ourselves in the first year of RVing we just packed everything.  Over time in the following years we realized that what is needed really depends on weather you stay in a RV Park or choose to boondock most of the time because you keep moving around. Now we have become a little smarter, I hope, but nevertheless we probably still end up with a few unused things that just travel with us to and from. 

Who else washes their travel trailer in the rain?

So in anticipation of a soon to be departing date Benno decided to turn our travel trailer around for easy hook-up, because should we get snow before then, this exercise would be a bit messy. For this task we have a power dolly, which we store in our crawlspace underneath the house.  There is not too much of a space for our truck to maneuver from the garage to the stored trailer and the power dolly really is ideal to tackle this job of moving the trailer out to the road. We wrote a post about the dolly on Nov. 7th2016 blog  "He did it!“  

Hooking up the power dolly

Benno attached the cable from the dolly to the battery of the trailer that sits behind the propane tanks and started moving.  It’s an easy thing as you walk slowly steering the trailer down the driveway. He made it down and turned the trailer onto the road. He then reversed the dolly, pulled the trailer a few feet and then toggled the dolly switch to the forward position, but to his surprise nothing happened. After a few hectic pushes on the switch with nothing happening to the dolly, panic set in. The trailer sat on the road blocking all traffic so nobody could pass. It now dawned on Benno that the dolly was on the fritz and he came chasing up the driveway in his crocs to get the truck out of the garage in a hurry. Well, the truck with Benno behind the wheel got the trailer where it was supposed to go. The dolly he pushed up into his shop where he pronounced a short while later that one of the two relays was defective and needed to be replaced. (Ordered two relays of higher contact rating, got shipped, Benno replaced both relays, now all-working again!) 

A couple of days ago he torqued all the trailer’s wheel nuts and what is left to do in this department, the checking of the tires’ air pressure will be done on the departure day in a couple of weeks or earlier. We carry a little 120 Volt tire inflator or air compressor with us. Jayco provided on the White Hawk trailers two outside 120 Volt receptacles conveniently close to the wheels position, which comes in handy for the tire inflator. In case we are on the road and not plugged into shore power we could use our portable Honda Generator fired up to give us the 120 Volt power to run the tire inflator. We use the gen set anyway while traveling after a night stop for breakfast preparation and afterwards Benno can quickly run a tire check before hitting the road again.

The 120V receptacle, one of each side of the trailer

So what is left to do is packing what we think we’ll need for a few months away from home. Not a big deal but a chore nevertheless. In the meantime I am roasting some back ribs for supper, suitable for this miserable cold weather.

I hope you are all staying warm and cozy and I thank you for dropping in again. Next posting should tell you that we are underway!

Saturday, 26 October 2019

The making of a wooden fence not your everyday kind of task or cup of tea

This latest job we tackled had been on our minds for quite some time. It took some planning and of course Benno doing research by watching a pile of YouTube movies (truly recommended) of how to approach the work involved. There are a few contractors in our area to do this kind of work, but after getting the estimate for the 100ft fence with materials and labor we were a little shell-shocked and decided to do the fence ourselves. After all how hard could it be, right?

Having a wooden fence on the west side of our property sure helped with the planning. A professional contractor and his assistant built that fence three years ago, but this fellow is now retired. Since Benno did such a nice job with the chain link fence during my stay in Germany, I was confident we would build this wooden fence also with no problems and there was no rush to it. The important part was to get all the materials and calculating how much of everything we needed. At this time of year the big lumber and hardware stores were trying to clear out their inventory of pressure treated and outdoor lumber before the wintertime. We used those discounts to our advantage.

Now that the fence is done, I can tell you the hardest part, or difficulty was to bore the holes for the 14 - 10ft posts at the exact distance so the posts would all be equally spaced and straight. This chore became a challenge a few times because there were roots crisscrossing at the exact spot the holes had to be drilled. 

I let the pictures speak for themselves and to capture the process.

Purchasing fence pickets

bringing home the stash of wood

and this pile is what 240 pieces of pickets look like

The 10ft posts

quick set Cement to set the posts in

starting to drill post holes, but there are tree roots slowing us down

measuring the exact spot to position the auger drill

inserting the fence post, adding cement and water and levelling 
to get it 100% straight 

another tree root is pestering the drill

smacking the tree root with the $69+ tax digging bar
we especially purchased anticipating trouble

something down there blocking the drill
so Benno is applying all his weight

finally the auger drill is all the way down

I helped cleaning out the holes
but look what it did to my old Kodiak work boots

picket support bars are fastened to the posts

Benno is cutting off the tops of the fence posts
he used the trailer to stand on rather than the ladder

the fence pickets are being fastened with a nailer
Benno made a jig for the exact spacing in-between 

he's on a roll now and moving along pretty good

he had me bring load after load of pickets
saying hurry up!

I'm placing the pickets where they are needed next

all fence pickets are installed
a look from the other end of the property

closeup of a section

voila! all done
Benno did a super job and I helped a little ;-)

To celebrate our accomplishment I made a batch of locally caught Yellow Perch in beer batter in our "Fry Daddy" deep fryer with a pile of onion rings for dinner. (Thanks for the fish, Barry) 

So if you think Benno would now put his feet up and relax, wrong. This morning he washed the travel trailer down before the predicted rain this weekend.  I guess he wants to be ready to  head south, but I think it will be a little while yet.

Thanks for visiting again. Wishing everyone some fun at Halloween this coming week.

Saturday, 12 October 2019

Its good to be back

I have returned from the land of bratwursts, schnitzels, and scrumptious cakes and of course the land where they brew 5000 different types of beer. Germany is still a beautiful country and from the culinary point of view you would be in for a treat no matter where you stay. This time my visit was a bit longer than my previous trips because Mom had sold her house and it had to be emptied of all contents before the closing date. Meanwhile she has been living in a Senior Citizens Home.

Currywurst and Jägerschnitzel

Of course I ate all these cakes!

Back on September12, I took a flight from Windsor to Pearson International Airport in Toronto where I was to meet my sister Christina for our connection flight to Frankfurt, Germany. My flight was delayed for over an hour because the airplane was late coming in from Toronto. I barely made it to our departure gate on time where my sister had been anxiously waiting for me. 

When we arrived in Frankfurt 8 hours later, on Friday the 13th, we had to clear customs and immigration and go through another security check before continuing with our next flight to Hamburg. I was pulled aside and told that my designer purse showed traces of explosives while moving through the scanner. Of course I thought the security guy was kidding. He was not. I assured him that he must be mistaken but he insisted that I had to wait for the two Police officers who arrived with drawn weapons before he could examine the contents. One Police officer said to me that my purse is going to be shot and all its contents were going to be destroyed. Now they were kidding and laughed at my shocked expression. The security guy pulled everything out of my purse, looked into my wallet and makeup pouch and declared that I was free to go as he handed back all of my belongings.

After arriving in Hamburg, we sisters took the airport shuttle train to central station in Hamburg and then another fast train to our destination, to continue with a taxi ride our mother’s house. The first thing we found out when we let ourselves in was that the telephone and wifi weren’t working. The fault seemed to be in the AC wall plug that felt very hot to the touch. We thought we quickly take the car to buy another connection cable at the tech store in town to be able to use the phone and Internet. The last time I had used the car was in July and it stood where I had left it in the carport. Oh no; the bugger would not start up. Shoot! The battery was more dead then dead. It is a Toyota Yaris, a hybrid car and it does not like to be stored that long without recharging the battery. On top of this we had no cell phone to use for help, we had not had the time to purchase a German Sim card.

I went to a neighbor’s house asking if I could use their phone. Their house phone and wifi didn’t work either! Apparently a lightening storm a day earlier had knocked out hardwired phone systems in the area. However, the neighbor loaned me her cell phone so I could call the car dealership and phone company. Unfortunately a service technician to bring an exchange battery for the car would not be available before 7 p.m. and the offer from the phone company for a loaner router set so the phone and wifi would be working would only arrive on Monday in the mail. The neighbor was kind enough to offer us a ride into town so we could purchase at least some groceries so we would have something to eat and to purchase a Sim card for my sister’s iPhone. We happily accepted her offer. I bought more food than I could carry and was grateful for a ride back because the road into town was closed for construction and everyone had to take a detour. We just turned the corner to our house when suddenly her car lost its steering, the engine belt decided just there to snap. Holy Moses! Did I mention that it was Friday the 13th?

Well, eventually we sorted everything out but not without overcoming more difficulties. Did you know that you cannot just buy a Sim card and use a mobile phone in Germany? No, you have to video-call via Internet with the phone company and show your id etc. to get a phone number and be accepted, yep! Next morning my sister and I started the job of trying to empty our parents’ house with all their belongings. My Golly it was a lot of stuff. A few days later my brother-in-law Paul, my sister’s husband, took a week off from work in Toronto to join us for the huge job of sorting, removing and disposing of some of the contents of our father’s workshop and the many other technical things lying around in the house.

Our sign advertising the garage sale

After a week of hard work we organized a garage sale a la Canada, i.e. flea market that we advertised with flyers inserted into the mailboxes of the neighborhood, through Facebook Marketplace and an ad in the local newspaper. My sister Christina made a huge sign advertising the event that we hung out on the hedge. The weather was perfect for our sale and we called it a success after counting our combined earnings.

This is just a fraction of the items at the garage sale

When the closing date came we had managed to empty the house of all the things that were not sold with the house. The new owners, a very nice young couple, graciously allowed us to stay, eat and sleep (think camping style using garden furniture and mattress on the floor) in the house until our departure day, three days later. They were not going to move in right away and planned on doing some painting and customizing. This was a very nice of them and it saved us some lodging dollars.

My sister Christina and Mom at her room
We visited her every day!

Well, I have been back a few days now and have marveled at the job Benno did in my absence. He built and erected a new chain link fence on the new property all by himself. That new fence looks better and is straighter than the fence that was put up on our property by the fence company four years back. 

The new fence beyond the gate

I threw myself into some garden work and thankfully the weather cooperated so I could get a lot done before we get busy with falling leaves. 

I am using all the toys available for the job

Wishing all our readers a Happy Canadian Thanksgiving and thanking everyone for not giving up on my blog. 

Sunday, 8 September 2019

The fastest summer ever

This summer flew by in a hurry. I will remember it as the most time spent with raising puppies. 

Yes, I was mostly occupied looking after our litter of Dachshund puppies. They required a lot of attention, feeding, cleaning up and pee pad training. After my return from Germany I had them vaccinated and ready to be rehomed. They were already 9+ weeks old. Legally pups are not permitted to be rehomed before they are 8 weeks old. I placed an ad in Kijiji, an Internet buy and sell firm. Most items are placed for free, however pets are not one of them so the ad costs money (have to re-purchase after 4 weeks) and if you don’t want it to be buried, boosting the ad to the front costs extra. The ad, although placed for our area is also posted for all of Ontario. That is maybe a good thing, but most people will not drive long distance to get a puppy. At the same time our ad was placed, there were 41 other ads for Dachshund puppies running, each with several pups! I could not believe the amount of Dachshunds on the market, some people advertising the pups as early as a few days after they were born, ready to receive deposits!

For the doxie lovers here are some pictures:

This time around it took much longer and more effort to find a loving family for our pups. It turned out that none of our puppies ended up in Leamington. Some we had to deliver partway to meet their new owners as they came from afar as Port Perry, St. Catherines and Fort Erie, all in Ontario. One pup went to Windsor and one to Chatham. In the end we are confident that all new families are happy with their pups and we have received pictures and phone calls telling us that it was a good match every time.

This picture of "Marvin" was emailed to me from its new owner

This last litter of puppies was not planned. Our Elsa demonstrated that she is a very good mom and she diligently cared for her puppies day and night before we weaned them. Now its time she just enjoys being our pet together with Reggy. We had her spayed and the whelping box and playpen were sold to a breeder out of town. 

Our grandson Hans playing with the puppies when he was here for a visit

While I spent so much time with the pups, Benno had projects of his own. He decided to extend the parking area for our travel trailer to make the back-in process a bit easier.  That included a few hauls of various gravel, backbreaking shoveling of the stuff and the rental of a plate tamper with Honda engine to pound the gravel down.  Now finally we could park even a 45 ft. Motorhome in this spot. (Don’t give Benno any ideas!)

Also the new property needed more work. He rented a MT85, Diesel Mini Bobcat and spent a day digging out tree stumps, moving dirt and two piles of woodchips around the property. By mid summer the place looked somewhat decent, but the ground was still uneven. 

We hired Brian from the Deer Run Excavating Services to put several truckloads of soil on the low spots and then to level it out. Most of the grass is covered with dirt now and we should get our rakes out to smoothen the surface, pick rocks and debris that come to the surface in the process and then sow new grass.

Benno’s cousin Regine, who lives in Germany, flew with her husband Atti and daughter Lisa for a vacation to New York. They rented a Motorhome to tour some of the USA. When they drove up to see the Niagara Falls, we met up with them in the area. Since the Hwy 401 is under construction for long stretches, we opted to take the Talbot Trail Road #3, which is very scenic, but also a long journey. While we were parked for our visit with our cousin all these exotic cars came into the parking lot. They were new customers out for a test drive to the Falls.

The end of summer is in sight and the Monarch butterflies are coming into our area for their flight south. Usually they gather by the thousands in Point Peele National Park, which is near us, to take advantage of North winds to assist in their journey. 

Also, I am getting ready for my next journey this coming Thursday to Germany. Mom is selling her house and it has to be emptied of all contents by month end.  Wishing everyone a great September, I will be back in October. Thank you for visiting again.