This was our 2013 Jayco Flight Swift 198 RD


Tuesday, 18 June 2019

Three weeks of goings-on

Last Friday our Dachshund puppies turned three weeks old and I realized that it is time for an update from our home base happenings.  

They are now able to see and hear. Also their baby teeth are coming in.

I am clipping the sharp tips of their nails so they don't hurt mommy when feeding.

Since my return from Germany I learned that the transition to settle into a senior citizen home is not an easy one for our mom and my sister Christina (who flew again to Germany last Saturday) and I are a little stressed over the things we have to deal with long distance. I have tried to find relaxation by working outside in the garden whenever time or a break in our rained out spring weather would allow me to do.  For the longest time I have wanted to create a little berm, i.e. flower bed at the end of our property line and never got around to making one. 

It seemed like most days it rained and rained...

Not even the dogs were interested in going out into the rain, 
but chewing a bone helped the boredom.

Its a soggy mess this property

Some days the water was even higher than this

Finally, a week ago I donned my big rubber boots, got a shovel and wheelbarrow out of my shed and waded over to our new property. The grounds are lower there than the one our house is on. With all that rain we have had and the high Lake Erie water level, cutting the grass over there is impossible for the moment. Last year we had ripped large tarps up that were buried in the ground and by doing so several mounts of topsoil mixed with debris where scattered over the property. After pulling newly grown tall weeds from those dirt piles I managed to fill several wheelbarrows full of good earth for this new berm. To top it up, so to speak, we purchased an interesting looking large boulder to set on top. We picked that up at a local Nursery with our utility trailer. Benno backed that up right to the berm so he and me, after pumping some blood into our muscles, could slide this close to 400-pound rock bugger onto the top after lowering the ramp into position. Around it I planted some perennials.  Next to the berm Benno helped me to dig three holes into which I planted evergreens to tie the empty space from the wooden fence with the berm.

The border stones will settle some more over time

Wooden fences in this hight are not permitted to go all the way to the property end

While the dogs kept me busy in the house, Benno had projects of his own to occupy his time. A while ago George from"Our Awesome Travels" posted pictures of new bedside lamps he had purchased and installed. That made us think about the factory supplied overhead lamps in our travel trailer’s bedroom, which shine in our eyes like high beam car lights. They are LEDs, but mounted in a ridiculous position in our Jayco White Hawk 24RKS. So after a Google search Benno located a neat set of new bedside lamps, LED as well. They light up in white, or blue and it didn’t take him very long to mount those. 

The blue light is really not that bright as the picture shows

In addition, Benno had not been very happy with the factory supplied folding entrance stairs that showed some rust already, which may had been caused by the late December or early January trip departures, hitting salted roads while driving to the sunny south. He replaced them with a new set of aluminum folding entrance stairs that we like a lot better. These we picked up at a Camping World store close to Detroit in Michigan a couple of weeks ago.

There is another issue we have and hope maybe some reader will have a suggestion or answer to this:
During the winter, while hooked up to the RV Park's pressure water system, the trailer’s water tank filled up also, which it should not. One day, to our surprise, we noticed a puddle of water under our trailer, which we traced down to the water tank overflow hose vent. Benno shut the park’s water off and activated the 12 Volt trailer pump for a few minutes. The water tank gauge showed a full tank, which should have been empty, according to Benno. He had drained the tank after arrival in the RV Park. He then drained the tank again.  Here at home we hooked the trailer up to the shore water supply as we were awaiting my sister and husband to use the trailer overnight and noticed there was water running again out of the tank overflow hose vent. The tank was full again. Benno thinks the trailer’s Shureflo water pressure pump’s build-in check valve is the culprit. He removed the pump and opened it up. In his opinion the check valve’s stainless steel spring is tired. By stretching the spring a little, it may have solved the problem. Time will tell. An additional installed check valve will not work with the Shurflo pump as we discovered. The pump will constantly jerk. Its internal bypass valve will prevent the pressure switch shut-off. Benno tried this out. Any tip from our readers is welcome.

The old shed last year

And while Benno was taking our truck to the Chrysler dealership a week ago for a couple of factory recalls, I got the opportunity to watch a little fire at our neighbor’s property while I was outside in the garden plugging weed and dandelions. There was an old shed sitting at the neighbor’s property close to our property line that had seen better days. Our neighbors are in the process of cleaning up the land and in the process, this little shed caught on fire. The decision was made to let it burn down although the fire department was contacted while it burned.  Actually, at one time I got a little concerned as the fire became quite big and the smoke and airborne burned fragments were blown over our travel trailer.

From the fire’s start to finish it took an hour and a half.  The ashes and remnants, however, are a big mess created by the most helpful crew (I think those were trainees) of the fire department who sprayed tons of water and scattered the charred remnants all over the place.

It looks like this year’s wet weather down here in our area will delay our plans we have with the adjacent property upgrades as well as a gravel pad extension for our travel trailer. We’ll see what we can do. 

I’ll be posting more pictures soon of our little puppies as they are developing very rapidly. Stay tuned.

Sunday, 26 May 2019

Coming Home

On Thursday afternoon the plane I was traveling on from Toronto Pearson International Airport arrived a half hour later than scheduled at Windsor Airport. Benno and our two dachshunds had been patiently waiting for me to come out of the terminal and I could hardly wait to fall into Benno’s arms. Travel time had been 21 hours thus far and I was tired.

The days abroad seemed a lot longer for me than they actually were but that is because I had to accomplished a lot. My Mom has many health issues and being 91 years old she just cannot do the everyday things anymore we all take for granted. It is difficult for her to admit that she needs help. Professional help she did have but because of overcapacity at the various agencies that come into the private homes to provide personal care and housework, good help had been lacking to the point that changes had to be made. That is not only my assessment of the situation but everyone that saw what was happening, from neighbors to friends to family.

Mom's garden shed, part of a lovely backyard

So the day I arrived, my Mom was in the hospital and I let myself into her house. I was shocked at the state her home was at. While I was still in my coat and putting my suitcase down, the phone rang. The “Stader Betreuungsdienste” a new Senior Citizens home not far from her house called to inform me that a room at their facility had become available. If we were still interested for Mom to move in, it had to be occupied within a week’s time. Talk about a sign from heaven! (My sister, Christina, had driven with Mom to various old age homes at her last visit to Germany and got Mom on several waiting lists, thanks god!)

To summarize this blog, Mom stayed at the hospital until move in day. My brother-in-law Harald, (Benno’s Brother), who lives 4 hours from Mom’s house, came to help me with the move of some of her furniture, the purchase of a new TV and phone and their hookup at her room. I had a pile of things to arrange, clean and prepare her closing and other personal items plus meanwhile spend every day several hours with Mom at either the hospital and then afterwards with her at her new home. Beside all this on the plate I prepared, cleaned and staged her house, found a real estate broker, accumulated all the necessary documents (a whole lot different than in North America) so the house could be listed for sale. There were a ton of other things that had to be done and by the end of my stay I think I had done all I could do to help the situation. However, Mom is not happy. The transition time for her to adjust will take a while, if ever.

Partial view of Mom's room

Another view of her room. In addition there is a large bathroom

And then there is the other issue.
You might recall my March 28thupdate when we stopped in Goshen, Indiana at the Lippert Company, which supplied to Jayco our trailer’s frame and axles components. We had an axle problem and in Goshen the Lippert Axle plant took our trailer into the shop to replace our axles with a set of heavy-duty axles free of charge. While the trailer was in their shop, Benno and I were waiting in Lippert’s visitor lounge. There was a moment when I had asked Benno to go out to the truck to check up on the dogs. Both dachshunds where in the large carry kennel. Elsa was in heat, but she was wearing a female dog panty or diaper. It did not take long for Benno to come busting back into the visitor’s lounge out of breath with the bad news that Elsa was without her protective panty. I was out the armchair in record time running to the truck. Yep, her panty had been pulled off. Reggy the culprit looked at me with relieved eyes and Elsa’s expression was of total innocence. We kept watching Elsa and hoping that nothing had happened, but in the weeks to come we noticed that it had happened. I timed my return trip from Germany to be back with a week to spare before Elsa’s due date to give birth. This time getting puppies had not been in our plans at all. 

Being sleep deprived I was in bed at 9 p.m., 24 hours after getting up in Germany to fly back home on Thursday. At 3 O’clock on Friday morning I heard Elsa throwing up. It was way too early in the day for me to start cleaning her kennel so I took her to bed with us. An hour later she started panting and I thought I felt her having a contraction. Suffering from jetlag, my body told me to get up anyway and Benno had been wide-awake too. He was a good trooper and offered to make breakfast, so we had breakfast at 4:30 in the morning, would you believe it. Elsa was not due to give birth until next week, but I suspect the excitement of me coming home may have triggered her beginning of giving birth.  

A few hours after giving birth

The whelping box had been setup in our guestroom already just in case. I fetched a pile of towels and made Elsa comfortable in her birthing bed. She is a brave girl and a good mommy. Over the course of 4 hours Elsa birthed 5 healthy puppies. My good neighbor and friend Teresa came over as well to assist if needed. Thank you Teresa.

The whelping box

The pups taking turns nursing and napping

For a while I will not be able to sleep though the nights as Elsa needs to go outside several times a night and also eat additional meals to help her milk production. 
I’ll be posting the development of the little bunch of pups and happenings here at home in a few days. Stay tuned.

Monday, 6 May 2019

Another Trip

Hi everyone! Thanks for not giving up on my blog writing. I know you must be wondering if there is nothing to write about in my life. There is plenty, but all I can say at this point is that my Mom is not doing so good coping by herself in Germany. My sister went to see her in April but only three weeks after her return to Canada there seems to be another crisis with Mom.  So I am flying out tomorrow to see what I can accomplish.

In the meantime Benno has been very busy with projects around the house.  I had said to him that it would be great if I had an electrical outlet in my shed.  When we assembled it several years ago it didn’t seem necessary to have power in there. After all we have an electrical outlet just about everywhere outside the house, outside and inside the garage, outside and inside Benno’s shed and a full hookup for the camper. This spring Benno thought he would do me the favor and grant me my wish. It never even occurred to me to take pictures of the trench he dug from my garden shed to underneath the deck where the conduit with cable runs to disappear underneath the house into the crawlspace where the cable is connected. Inside my garden shed the conduit comes up neatly at the wall and the outlet is just above the table. It is wonderful that I can now plug in the weed trimmer batteries to charge and to use my new toy, the rock tumbler, in the shed as well. Thanks to my hubby I got it now.

You can hardly see where the conduit is buried as the grass is nicely growing on top of it. I did help with the dirty earthwork, yep, but the rest is Benno’s doing.

Another item on our to do list that got pushed off again and again were the front steps into our house. When we rebuilt, i.e. fixed up the house and the area in front was redone with a concrete pad, there was a gap up to the door that needed a proper step. We temporarily put concrete blocks with a wooden board on top to help the situation and then went on to other things. Over time we got so used to this temporary fix, that we just ignored it. 

I think Benno outdid himself with this project. Look at this beauty of an entrance step. It is so solid and heavy built with the best materials including composite Trex Decking and aluminum powder coated railing, which will last hopefully for many years to come.  

It looks like the weather has finally turned for the better and although the ground is still pretty saturated from all that rain we have had, the sunshine is trying its best to dry out the ground and today I gave it a try by cutting a good section of the grass with my lawn tractor.  Lets hope for many warm and dry days this spring and summer.

I’ll be in Germany close to the Hanseatic City of Stade for the next little while and hope to have better news when I come back. My garden has to wait for my return and maybe the flowers in the garden centers will be all on sale by then. If I can I will pop into the blogs from time to time, otherwise I have to catch up later.

Thanks everyone for checking in. Please do so again, I appreciate it.

Thursday, 11 April 2019

My New Hobby

You must have thought I disappeared with no postings coming forth. As is the case every springtime, there are lots of things to do and clean up outside in our yard. Especially with this new acquired property of ours there will be much more time spent there. However, I got everything under control including inside our house and all is fine and in good shape. Got our income tax returns done, did lots of loads of laundry and have the travel trailer spick and span ready for more trips. Benno replaced the trailer’s two rear tires with new Goodyear Endurance pneus. The curbside tire was toast, but the roadside tire with only little wear (2000 miles) found a new place on the spare tire rim. And while I had Benno working on the trailer, he put a bigger heating duct into the bathroom, which is now toasty warm when we take our showers. He also relocated the sofa mounting in the slide 4 inches closer to the wall so we can now access the rear much better when the slide is in. Hey, every inch helps!

These are some of the quartz, minerals and igneous rocks I collected
I like when they show glittery mica

So now that I got a breather and start to relax more I will tell you about a new hobby of mine. While in the southwest this winter I became interested in rocks. I mean there were colorful and unusual looking stones and rocks all over the place wherever you looked. Every time when I walked with our dogs I would spot some interesting rocks on the ground that intrigued me and I started to pick them up if they weren’t too big for my pockets.

An assortment of Agate rocks some with cryptocrystalline silica

Many of the touristy shops in Arizona have barrels full of polished Agates in just about every color for sale. You just pick the ones you like into provided little cloth sacks until full and pay the price for the size of bag. Now these beautiful little stones or Agates as they are called, are not found that way. The rough stone doesn’t look like it at all and you would probably not even recognize one if you saw it. Only after a polishing process do those Agates become so beautiful.

Just a pretty conversation piece on the table

We met a Geologist in the RV Park in Arizona where we stayed who had a rock tumbler under his trailer. That little machine rotated or tumbled nonstop a pile of rocks he had found. We got talking and I was shown his little treasures. Not only did he use the tumbler to polish rocks, he also extracted in this method gold flakes that were hidden in some quartz.  He had me hooked!

The Geologist who experimented with the rock tumbler

For my birthday Benno got me a Rock Tumbler from the Harbor Freight store. They carry a variety of tumblers and also kits of polishing grit. Since this is all new to me, I started with a couple of kits that contain four varieties of grit and a polishing wheel. For sure I will find other sources where I can purchase grit for this tumbler and it is a learning curve that I am going through. 

My rock tumber

The kit of various polish compounds

I thought this will get me introduced to the process

Some bags of rocks I collected just because I liked them

The rocks I found and collected in Arizona are not Agates. They are for the most part Metamorphic and Sedimentary rocks, which are not suitable to polishing or will not change much after tumbling. I have tested some, using the coarsest grit and tumbled them for 48 hours. You can see the slush when I opened the drum afterwards. After rinsing the rocks and drying them this is what they look like now. Interesting and good enough for the garden but not for display indoors.

The rock tumbler in motion and not very loud

After opening the tumbler this is what it looked like

The rocks that came out after a couple of days tumbling
Their hardness is pretty high on the "Mohs scale", so they do not polish well

Apparently on the beaches of Lake Superior one can find many Agates. However, we live close to Lake Erie and I will have a look if any rocks will meet the criteria for tumbling. So stay tuned for my discoveries.

Rocks typical for Arizona

Wishing everyone a nice springtime and thank you for stopping by again.