This was our 2013 Jayco Flight Swift 198 RD


Wednesday 19 August 2020

The Kioti tractor finally goes to work

With a few cooler days in the weather forecast we thought it was time to order some topsoil for the planned fill and grading of our property. We ordered a truckload, i.e. 15 tons of brown topsoil to be delivered to our address. For a full truckload or starting at 15 tons there is no delivery charge. 


I really had no idea what 15 tons of topsoil would look like, and in my mind I had a vision of a small mountain, so we were surprised to see that the delivery truck was only half full when it arrived. I kind of expected the load to look a lot more than this heap that fell out of the truck. It was a big truck that could haul 25 tons I found out after my phone call to the company to make sure we got the 15 tons and not less than what we ordered. 


We do not need to cover the whole area of this 80 x 120 feet piece of land, but there are some low and uneven spots that we want to even out. Every spring we noticed some large puddles of standing water in certain areas that took forever to dry out. So we are working on filling them in.


With the tractor’s help it was easy to scoop up the dirt and bringing it to where we want it. However, the tractor does not fit behind or next to the shed where we also wanted some fill, so I dumped several less than half full buckets of the topsoil into the wheelbarrow that Benno had to manually carry to those areas, empty it and then to rake it all by hand. 


Benno and I took turns driving the tractor and scooping dirt as it turns out to be a fun thing to do. But we also need to hand rake so it is only fair that we are both working with the rakes.  We even got two little helpers who wanted to participate to move some dirt around.


As it turned out, our helpers tired out quickly and needed to rest. Oh well, I guess Benno and I have to do the work ourselves.


It did not take us long to decimate the pile with the tractor, it is just too easy (maybe we should go back to the ole shovel technique) and this little heap of dirt we have left is not going to cut it to finish the job. We are going to use it up and then calculate how much more we’ll need to complete the rest of the property.  

Next blog should have some more progress to report. Thanks for dropping by and stay tuned.


Sunday 16 August 2020

So we finally got the promised rain

 Of course yesterday turned out to be another hot and humid day just like most days this July and August. I might have mentioned before that the grass on our property looks dead and the only green spots are the weeds that are determent to hold on regardless of how much sun is scorching it. When the meteorologists told us that this Saturday and Sunday we could be expecting some rain, as they had done numerous times before without it coming true, I didn’t believe them and watered my plants in the evening as always. Benno had spent some time this week in his “man cave” aka his workshop making a bucket level indicator for the Kioti tractor. This gadget is meant to show the operator of the tractor if the bucket is level with the ground. When we sit on the tractor it is difficult to know or see if the bucket is level or tilted, as the lever for the up/down does not display it. Yesterday evening this “level indicator” was finished and Benno had the tractor in the garage to make final adjustments and our truck was parked outside. Just then a noisy warning came over my iPhone for severe weather with fierce winds, lightening, heavy rain and hail for our area. 


                                        Benno is rushing the tractor into the shelter

It didn’t take much convincing for Benno to realize that it might be prudent to move the tractor into its portable shelter and our truck back into the garage if we were to get some golf ball size hail like some folks had last week somewhere else in Ontario. We went into overdrive and hustled to move the equipment, brought flowerpots and garden chairs into the garage and even took the big sun umbrella from its stand and into the shelter. 

                      Following pictures show the parts made in the man cave

               The white ring on the rod indicates that the bucket is level with the ground

All these above gizmos Benno fabricated in his shop and even painted them and the rod in the same red paint as the factory painted tractor came with.


And then we waited, and waited for the predicted storm. Finally, after the late evening news we gave up waiting and went to bed. Looking out this morning, everything looked just like yesterday, all dry but I noticed a refreshing cooler air. Yes, it was again the storm that never was. So, all that excitement for nothing!


Today, however, we did get a good dousing and even a heavy downpour by 10 a.m. that lasted for a while. The ground just absorbed it like a sponge and I believe there is a shimmer of green where we had parched grass before.


                                 Monarch and Black Swallowtail butterflies in my garden

My vegetable plants are slowing down now in their production but some peppers and a zucchini are in the making as are some green cherry tomatoes waiting to ripen. I decided to sacrifice my dill plants to the 4 Black Swallowtail Larva hanging there and eating them up so we will have some more beautiful butterflies among my flowers. 


                                       Look at this bumble bee loaded up with pollen.

Today, for our afternoon coffee, I baked a peach and cherry galette that we ate while it was still warm from the oven. It smelled and tasted heavenly. 


Hoping everyone had a good Sunday and wishing you a nice week ahead.


Sunday 9 August 2020

What a wonderful visit we had

Wow, Patsy and Bill Chillin with Patsy  live on a piece of paradise and we had the fortune to be invited for a visit. First up, thank you again for your hospitality and we had not expected to be plugged into a 120 Volt power cord Bill had waiting for us. Benno had brought along our extra long-range gasoline fuel tank for the Honda 2000 generator to keep up with our electrical usage, but we didn’t need it.

Entrance to the property

Don't know how to make this picture smaller, Blogger problem!
Just about to pull into the driveway
Going up the long driveway

Durham and Hanover are charming little towns that are the immediate areas for shopping for Patsy and Bill. The property they are staying at is probably close to 4 acres and has two very large lawn fields in addition to other very well kept grassy areas that both of them keep in immaculate condition through their hard work. Part of the property and adjacent to it are ponds that attract geese in the springtime.


One of the grassy fields our dogs loved to run on
Here is Oreo in the far back just loving to run the field also
Benno brought his drone and took a photo of our setup
Kim & Ken to the left, us in the middle and on the right Patsy & Bill's 5th wheel
Bill is waving at the drone above him

Also there for a visit were Kim and Ken Journey with Ken & Kim who we had met down in Yuma, Arizona. Just as it was during our cruising time, it is always nice to meet up with friends again that we had met before and enjoyed their company. Next day we got to meet another friend of theirs, Keith, with his dog “Oreo” Keith’s hobby is also flying model airplanes and who is a member of the same club just as Bill and Ken.  Of course most of the time the guys were down where Bill has his little shop, aka “The Hangar” and cargo trailer with his many airplanes. It seems those fragile planes need a lot of adjustments and fixing when something brakes and Bill appreciated some expertise and input from these hobby pilots.


Ken and Benno watching as Bill is demonstrating
The big Telemaster plane
Two other planes of Bill's airplane fleet
Some serious engineering is involved here
Just so you get the size of the Telemaster I had Bill stand next to it
Bills cargo trailer
Keith is making something for Bill

Patsy, Kim and I were mostly in chairs at the sitting area around the fireplace in conversation, or having our noses buried in books. A nice distraction were the three little chipmunks that entertained us as they dashed around our chairs looking for peanuts. I enjoy watching birds and wildlife and so was delighted looking at the several birdfeeders and even spotted a rabbit that hopped into view probably curious of all the visitors. Every evening after supper we all would gather around the fire that Bill kept feeding with the logs he had cut from felled trees. It got cool overnight all the way down to 8C/46F, but we all bundled up around the fire and had a good time.


This was taken late afternoon with the tele lens

Chippy in his element
Peanuts in my hand that Chippy wants
Chippy is now pestering Patsy for more peanuts

We were expecting our mutual friend Suzie that we had also met down in Pilot Knob RV Resort with her late husband George  Our Awesome Travels She was not able to come up from Stratford to stay overnight, but made it out for a couple of hours on Friday afternoon. It was good to see her, touch base and hear about recent on goings in her life.


Happy Hour
Patsy, Kim, Suzie, Bill, Keith, Ken & Benno
the empty chair is mine

Meals were done to everyone’s own devices and tastes. Our travel trailer fridge was packed with all kinds of foods and precooked items I made in advance like Pesto Pasta Salad and German Potato Salad, because I did not want to do a lot of cooking while on vacation. On the first night I put Benno in charge to grill some Italian Sausages on our Weber Grill outside and on the second night he grilled a couple of Pork Tenderloins that I had marinated. Meanwhile I did some home fried potatoes on the stove inside. We had so much food leftover to eat the third night out that the Chicken Souvlaki didn’t make it to the grill and stayed uncooked in our fridge. Patsy surprised us with a couple of home baked Carrot Muffins topped with icing in honor of Ken’s birthday as a desert. Those were delicious and very much appreciated.


Benno is grilling Pork Tenderloin
All done and ready to eat

On Saturday morning it was time to say our goodbyes. The weather was again beautiful warm and sunny. Our return drive home we decided to be different than going up. We swung around Goderich, Bayfield and Grand Bend, following Highway 21 along the shore of Lake Huron. The marina in Bayfield was of interest to us and Benno took our travel trailer into the road of the marina. The place was hopping with boaters coming and going. Taking a travel trailer there on a Saturday in August might not be the best decision we have made and we were glad that we, or rather Benno, got the trailer turned around without incident, I must tell you it was a hair rising situation. The same traffic jam we saw in Grand Bend with so many tourists around trying to get into the Pinery Provincial Park. Did we see just one person wearing a mask? Nope.


Following 1 horsepower through town

Late afternoon on Saturday we pulled up into our driveway. It was hot and humid. The front lawn was totally dried out and crunchy under my feet. By the time I had emptied the travel trailer fridge and personal things to bring back to the house I was quite sweaty and Benno after positioning and setting up the trailer just the same. We had a wonderful three days of vacation with friends and hope to do it again some day. Thanks a lot Patsy and Bill and friends.