This was our 2013 Jayco Flight Swift 198 RD


Thursday, 22 June 2017

Hello Everyone

Hi, I’m back from my trip to Germany.  Actually, I’ve come back several days ago, but I got immediately immerged into several projects here at home so that posting in my blog fell to the wayside.

Travel time to my parents house for anyone interested is a 20 hr. event and I’m up without sleep more than 36 hrs. It involves the drive to the Windsor Airport from our house, my flight to Toronto, then to Frankfurt Germany and on to Hamburg Germany, a train ride from the Airport to the Central Station and from there a fast train to a neighboring city close to my parents town and from there a car ride to their house.  Included are the waiting times in-between flights and delays!! Germany is 6 hours ahead of EDT (Eastern Daylight Time) so I’d been jetlagged there and coming back.

How do you kill time during the 8-hour transatlantic flight? One way is to getting entertained by watching several in-flight movies, snacking on pretzels and a Bailey on ice for example.

In my pre trip preparations I spent a lot of time on research as to what changes I might suggest and what services would be available in order to help my parents in a new situation.  I am happy to announce that my Dad’s recovery went very well.  Also my Mom is doing better considering all the ailments and pain that she has to cope with.  If you’ve been driving a car for over 60 years and all of a sudden it is being suggested that it is time to discontinue that practice, it must be hard to swallow.  Hopefully I’ve been helpful in the transition while I talked my 92-year-old Dad into driving a spiffy 16 km or 10 miles/hr. Scooter that is even allowed on the road but does not require a driver’s license and he doesn’t have to walk to the supermarket to get a few groceries!  Now, when is Mom going to get one too?

My parents have a beautiful property and garden that I wish it were mine.  Wait! It was mine for the duration of my stay and at times I didn’t know if I ripped out a weed or a seedling while trying to get in control of the flower beds that had been waiting for my arrival.

I thought my parents had a great idea when they converted the fire pit into a water fountain and the birds liked to drink from it also.

Speaking of birds, the very next day after I had posted about our Robin’s nest, all three Fledglings hurriedly flew out just as I was going to have a look.  The birdhouse has been empty since then but to my utter surprise a new Robin’s nest has emerged in our Clematis plant at my garden shed.  How those spindly vines support the nest I have no idea but it looks like there are at least three young Robins in it and the parents take turns all day long to feed them.

During my absence Benno had not been idling I discovered.  The runoff water from the rain gutter had been eroding part of the grass next to the house.  The ground is sloped and I had considered making a trench and creating steps to rectify that eyesore upon my return but Benno had a better idea.  He dug out and made a large hole in a triangle shape next to the walkway, that he boarded up with a plank and disposed of all the dirt.  It was a lot of clay I was told and then he waited for my return to finish the job ;-)  Together we hauled with our utility trailer three loads (buckets) full of gravel, which we poured into this catch basin that I had lined with a landscape mat.  This new invention passed the test, all the rainwater disappears into the gravel and no more water eats at the grass.  Why hadn’t I thought of that?

And while at the topic of water, this might be of interest to our RV friends.  Lately we had no reason to visit, i.e. go into our camper because it is parked right next to the house.  Benno washes it regularly and it looks like new.  Two days ago Benno went in and to his horror found the floor in the entrance way wet.  What happened?  The first thought was a window had been left open.  No! Rain came in from the slide-out. No!  The door doesn’t shut tight. No again!

A quick search in the galley underneath the sink in the counter and where all the water connections are to and from the water heater, a straight plastic Pex stop valve had popped the O-ring and was dripping a steady amount of water. Enough to get us jumping!

12 o'clock of the plastic valve you see the popped O-ring

The famous In-line water regulator, which we always use in RV parks to police the incoming water pressure somehow did not get mounted here at home in trust of our own city water pressure. This was like a shot in the foot; our city water must have coughed up more than the usual pressure and bingo, this blew an O-ring.

Benno replaced the leaking culprit with a Pex chromed brass ball valve. (We used numerous of these Pex chromed brass ball valves on our boat and never had a leak) I made sure that Benno mounted that water regulator at the city water tap on our post. Whew, and we hadn’t even traveled anywhere.

Since my return home I have tackled several garden related jobs but of course I forgot to take pictures. My brave husband had watered my flower beds like I had trained him, but he watered the weeds too. Yep! When I got back from my trip and looked at my flower beds I went down on my knees but not to cry (I almost did), but to pull the weeds for days to come!! 
Hopefully my faithful readers will forgive me and I promise to take my camera with me in the future.

Sunday, 7 May 2017

Past week happenings

Our three nestlings have developed into fledglings in a matter of a couple of weeks.  They are still being fed and guarded in their nest by their parents, but I have the feeling that in a few days the nest will be empty and all three chicks will be hopping around in our garden.  With the dreadful weather that we experienced during their nesting time I had been worried that they might not survive the heavy downpours, strong wind gusts and cold nights, but all seems to be ok. 

The adult birds don’t seem to mind when we work outside around the garage.  Their nest is located in the birdhouse high up on the east side of the garage wall, however when I climb up on a stepstool to take a picture of their offspring, they protest loudly and stay close by to observe my every move.  Mostly I leave them alone, but to show these pictures of their development I had to invade their privacy.

Last Friday was Grandparents Day at the Catholic School in Waterdown, Ont. where our two granddaughters learn.  Last year we went to this event and this year we had also committed to come.  As most of our readers know, last Friday was the worst weather one could imagine.  We had heavy rain already on Thursday and our area was under flood watch. Nevertheless, at 5:30 a.m. we left in the dark with the rain coming in a steady downpour that never eased up.  Actually, it got worse since the traffic on the highway 401 (the 401Hwy is the major trucking corridor between Chicago, Detroit - Toronto and Montreal) was reduced to one lane for many kilometers because of construction and the many transport trucks that have to press on because they have deadlines.  We made the 280-km/175 miles long drive just in time for the start of the school’s grandparent’s attendance at 9:20 a.m. 

The kids, who normally wear a uniform, were dressed in casual attire with a green theme and various activities had been planned.  We, the grandparents, were shown around the school and attended the different activities.  Because we have two grandkids to attend to our time was split between the senior kindergarten class for Annaliese, and the 2nd grade class for Heidi.  Our daughter-in-law’s mom had also come from Hamilton for the event, so we took turns in attendance in the classrooms.  

After the school’s visit we did a few shopping errands and then went to my sister’s house for a visit. She and her husband live in Mississauga, which is in the greenbelt of Toronto. The rain never stopped, but we all went for a walk with our dogs in their neighborhood so the dogs could get some exercise before our return trip.  Needless to say, we were a bit stressed coming home around 8 p.m. having driven in the rain the whole time and close to 600 km/375 miles in one day.

Last Wednesday we, and just about every neighbor were out to cut the grass before the ground would be too soggy with the proclaimed soaker we got.  That of course takes the better half of the day including the trimming and cleanup. And then I cooked up a storm in preparation of my trip to Germany so that my hubby and the dogs won’t go hungry in my absence. I just mention this in case anybody thinks we are lazing around ;-)
While I spent my time in the kitchen, Benno found something to occupy his time and came up with an idea to improve his workstation at the lathe. He made a really nifty shelf that is attached to the back with the multipurpose of protecting the wall from flying metal pieces and to house his various cutting oils and tools at a practical level.  When it was finished he painted it in the same green shade as the bottom part of the lathe and lined the shelf with a colorful liner.  Then he modified an Ikea LED table lamp and installed it above the shelf with the on/off switch at the side of the machine. It looks like the additions came with the lathe, if I may say so. 

While we were in the Toronto area on Friday Benno bought a piece of brass at the Metal Store.  Yesterday, he showed me his newest creation made from that rough piece of metal.  It is a scriber, which looks a lot like a pen. It is a pointed instrument used for making marks on wood or metal to guide a saw etc. Of course you could buy one of these instruments, but this one is unique and he had fun making it. For the pointed end he used part of a heavy-duty needle, which we still had, from our canvas repair kit from our boat.

I wonder what other fabulous creations will emerge from that lathe…

Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Spring Flowers and Metal Creations

My garden is slowly waking up. Every day now more blossoms popping up in the flowerbeds. With each added splash of color I become more passionate to plant further perennials this year so that by next spring my reward will be even greater.

You have to keep in mind that when we bought this place there was only grass here. No trees, no plants, nothing, and all the dirt that was moved and added when the renovation was taking place.  So this is a work in progress.

The periwinkle I planted around the pompom tree has really spread out. My fairy garden is placed under the tree and the lilac flowers of the periwinkle enhance the charm, I think.  All tulips and daffodils are flowering and I wish they would bloom all year long.  Spring is really a magical time.

This is new garden art from Florida

Of course I use every opportunity to be outside now, cutting the grass, pulling weeds and tending to the flowerbeds.  My hubby does help with the self-propelled lawnmower where I cannot get to with the big John Deere riding lawnmower, but otherwise he leaves the garden to me and rather messes around with his lathe.  His issue was that the cutting tool holder that came with the new Quick Change Tool Post (the experts call it QCTP) had knurled nuts made in China. These knurled nuts were undersized and the 6mm thread was not up to “snuff” (Benno’s words) so he made new ones. In his opinion he has to streamline or personalize this lathe.

And then he thought the bed way had a tight spot where the casting might not have aged enough when it was machined and induction hardened in China. With a Norton Sharpening Benchstone he attacked (lapped) the tight spot and after a morning of elbow grease the lathe’s carriage glides now very smooth over the bed way.  (That’s what he said, because I wouldn’t know) So for all you guys or technical inclined people out there, here are some pics.

Left-the Chinese culprit, Right-his new made knurled nut

the knurled nut installed on the OCTP
note the big stainless steel washer under the grey lever
Benno made that one too
from these SS bolts Benno made the above two pieces
when screwed together they become a lever
here the lever functions as a carriage lock

And, this morning there are a couple of fledglings in the Robin nest.  Sorry, I try to get a better picture next time. Both parents are busy feeding them.