REALLY? I HAVE LOYAL FOLLOWERS WHO WOULD MISS THIS BLOG?

I received three comments on my last post where I said I was ending this blog after 5 years and 1,365 posts.  I am surprised for my stats don’t reflect that I have a loyal following.  Well, well, well, lookit that.  Readers.

I will admit since I hit POST I’ve missed writing much, much more than expected.  I have learned one can become addicted to a pen in hand and the pleasure of the perfect word.

Yes, it appeared to be an abrupt ending from the point of view of the reader who can’t mind read.  I follow many blogs and are often left hanging when posting ceases, and I wonder what the heck happened.

Several years ago I bumped into cheaprvliving.com and became fascinated by the idea of living in a small mobile space and wandering about the United States.  One side of my family tree, a century ago, were gypsies wandering around Europe in caravans.  Their blood flows through my veins, yet I can physically and emotionally root to a location faster than anyone I know.  I’m here.  The last move.  Let’s plant some redwoods and watch them grow.  Did it twice as fast when we moved to the Sacramento Mountains in New Mexico.  Grace had found my perfect nesting place, and I knew it.

Grace had tried for years to get me to travel.  We didn’t do much, which now seems like I failed her.  Now that we are retired with no steady disposable income coming in and medical issues starting to be an issue it logically makes sense to do less.

Yet my brain is driving me half crazy with dreams of building out a tiny moveable home and fly fishing the southwest until I physically can’t do it anymore.  Would it be in a small RV so Grace can go or a high top van so I can stand up or squeeze my things into my favorite vehicle of all time, a Jeep XJ?  I spend my nights building, modifying and repairing each and live in them in my head, fixing each problem as it pops up.  I could show you 10 plans for each type of vehicle if I didn’t throw them away in fits of anger and housecleaning.  My head still feels like a hoarder’s house.

I have made a final concrete decision about which vehicle at least two hundred times in the last year.  Then some small tick in my life and I rethink and rethink and after a storm of sketches, come up with another yes, absolutely I’m going to do this other one for sure.  Analysis paralysis some call it.  I call it dammit.

Oddly, I think about mobile living without Grace.  Yes, without Grace, my tower of strength and bravery.  Who the hell is going to chase off the boogie bears and the real ones?  Who is going to chose the destination and how we get there?  Who am I going to ohh and ahh with?  It’s a puzzlement.

It would also be without SillyDog whose constant, loud panting would send me into a suicidal rage within 15 miles.

The day I posted, I was putting an end to the tornadic frenzy in my head.  If I put it on paper, it means I’d made an absolute, never-change-my-mind-again, binding decision.

Right?

Oh god…

Posted in Miscellaneous | 6 Comments

THIS BLOG IS ENDING

I am moving, and since I will no longer be living in the Sacramento Mountains I’ve decided to end this blog.  Am currently deciding whether I shall delete the entire account.  Leaning in that direction.  I’ll make a decision by the end of the week.

Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments

SUNSPOT VISIT PART 1, OCT. 28, 2016

I was aching so set aside brush and ladder for the day.  I couldn’t make up my mind as to what I wanted to do.  Would I hang out, camp, fish or geocache?  The same conundrum popped up the week before, and I ended up not going anywhere.  Indecision was not going to do this again.  I threw all the tubs in the truck.  I’d head to Cloudcroft and let my truck chose the final destination.

It was closing in on an early lunch time.  My favorite eatery, The Front Porch Bistro in Cloudcroft, is no more.  I don’t know why it closed or when.  It’s now an auto parts place so I went across the street to a BBQ place.  It advertises a Texas style BBQ which I prefer above all others.

I’d have to wait 30 minutes.  Headed over to the Trestle campground.  Drat, the restrooms are already closed for the winter.  They won’t be available again until April 1st.  I sure wish they didn’t close them so early.  After all, the toilets themselves are vault toilets requiring no water.  I returned to town to the only restrooms for window shoppers.  If I had to make one suggestion for the community who relies on tourists, I’d say to build nice roomy restrooms at opposite ends of the shopping area for us old timers with the heavy wallets and bladders.

The BBQ place’s parking lot and porch were filling fast.  Egad, more decisions to be made as I wait in line to order.  Order first, then sit or go.  This would be a go.  The menu is a bit short.  Perhaps it is because it’s a weekday during the down season.  No chicken.  No roast.  No steak.  Brisket, ribs, and sausage.

I came away with a single serving sausage.  The ring is a cutie.  Could wear it for a bracelet.  Cole slaw, mustard potato salad, a slice of white bread and a Mexican coke round out my meal.

I’d do my supping at Sunspot about 10 miles from Cloudcroft.  Aptly named, Sunspot is a small government facility tasked with studying the sun.  There is a Visitor’s Center with a museum and you can see into or walk into the buildings housing the impressively sized telescopes and equipment.

spork-closed-2016-oct-28I hoped to find a picnic table among the pines.  No luck, but there were three tables under the shade of the Visitor’s Center, and it was at one I laid out my meal.  Good thing I brought my camping cook bag because I’d neglected to get plastic eating utensils and napkins.  I think they were hidden behind a fella waiting for his order.  I scrounged through my MSR Microdualist set for a telescoping spork and paper towels from the truck door.  Here’s what the spork looks like closed.  Pull the handle to the right and it becomes a bit longer than a teaspoon.  Happy to say it works very, very well if you don’t act ham fisted.  You can see it in the photo below.

sunspot-meal-2016-oct-28Now, let’s talk the meal.  Sausage with sauce, good.  Tater salad with impressively firm hunks of potatoes (My potatoes are always too mushy, probably because I buy bags of baking taters), good.  Slaw, a bit too vinegary for this fan of old-fashioned mayo slaw.  The bread was a couple steps above the cheap white stuff I’m usually served.  The cane sugar coke was perfect.  The serving lady forgot to include sliced dill pickles even though we talked about them.  I’m a native Texan, so their lack was sorely missed.  I could have made a lighter meal with one less side and been happy.

sunspot-sundial-2016-oct-28From my spot I could see the large sundial which sits near the parking lot.  It is awesome.  It would look even more awesome in my yard.

Eating within historical ambience was very satisfying but a little sad since I know the facility is slowly being shut down.  Outmoded I’m sure since most was built at least 30 years ago.  I finished my meal, tucked the coke in a deep pocket and walked the loop, sipping as I went.

Sadly yet understandably, upkeep has declined.  As I walked the circle past half a dozen buildings filled with specialized telescopes, I see finger-sized curls of peeling paint and rotting window sills and doors.  The first telescope building is closed, and the sparkling glitter on the floor is dying moths.  I thought of how long it would take me to repair, scrape and paint all these exteriors, and I sighed.

sunspot-dunn-telescope-entrance-2016-oct-28Walking the grounds is the closest I’ll get to the 50’s (I was a toddler and recall nothing of the decade).  The architecture of low, concrete block buildings constructed long before double pane windows were standard.  A tin Quonset hut, probably a re-purposed barracks.   I’ve seen historical photos of the area in the early 60’s where narrow paths through the head high snow connected the buildings.  Gosh, I bet those concrete buildings were cold in the winter.  Hats off to those scientists and their families who lived nearby.

I noticed a Jeep Cherokee XJ, my dream vehicle, outside one of the buildings.  I hope they figured out what I was doing as I measured heel-to-toe trying to determine if I can fully stretch out in the back with the seats laid down.

There is a small residential area adjoining the facility.  There are signs prohibiting access to all but residents.  If memory serves me correctly, mostly double wide mobile homes with substantial stacks of split firewood.

What will be the future of the facility and community?  It would be a shame to lose such a historical place.  I returned to the picnic table to dream of of high school astronomy students getting hands on experience on the old but still awesome telescopes.

Posted in Food, Place to Visit | Leave a comment

APPLE FESTIVAL BUYS, 2016

apple-festival-produce-2016-oct-15The annual apple festival was well attended again this year and of course I went.  I spread my money more liberally than I usually do.  No paltry slice of apple pie for me.  I carried home a full pie.  It was very good.  Crust stayed crispy for days.  In the plastic is a cinnamon raisin bread.  I’m always surprised at how long it stays good in the refrigerator.  Slice a hunk and drop it in the toaster.  A little butter and my, oh my that is good (although three times as many raisins would be appreciated).  The bottle holds a cherry sauce.  Haven’t opened it yet.

The little star shaped thing in the zip lock is a small unglazed tile.  I soaked it in distilled water and dropped it in my brown sugar bag to keep the sugar loose.  Working good so far.  The green jar is honey.  When spooned into hot tea little dots appear on top.  I guess it’s not highly filtered.  Tastes really good.

Another apple season is almost over.

Posted in Food, High Rolls | Leave a comment

HIKING WHISTLE, OCTOBER 26, 2016

whistle-acme-orange-2016-october-26There may one day be a need for me to get someone’s attention while I’m out hiking or camping.  Fell down a hill.  Run over by an reindeer.  The most likely scenario is tripping over my dog.

I could yell “Help, help.”  I learned to yell at an early age.  I’m darn good at it.  But no matter the experience, after a certain amount of yelling the vocal cords will have had enough and hoarseness will take over.

This whistle is to maintain a good strong sound.  Nice bright color so I can find it anywhere.  Non metallic so my lips won’t stick to it in the winter.  Pealess as well.

When you hear three blasts come running please.

Why three blasts?  This is what Outdoor Life says, “Three blasts of the whistle is an international distress call, which is loosely translated to “Help me!” Two blasts of the whistle is a call-back signal which means “Come here.” One blast can mean “Where are you?” or it can be a call-back signal if you hear anything that sounds like a code.”

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WINDOW FILM EXPERIMENT EVALUATION, OCTOBER 27, 2016

Around January I bought and installed window film.  I wanted to get an extra layer of protection from the cold.  Was concerned that the method of holding it on – double sided tape would leave a sticky residue so I installed it on an out of the way French door.

Took a little while to get it on but after heating with a blow dryer it was very taut.  Can easily see through it although it fuzzies things up just a bit.  Touching the surface in winter told me it was working quite well.

window-film-old-2016-oct-26I peeled it off today because there was a slight tear in the film.  Here is a photo of the clear film and next to my thumbnail is the thin, clear tape.  I am happy to say the tape barely left any residue at all.  Just a slight line from the edge of the tape.  This line could be easily removed by a light wiping of gunk removing liquid.

I really wanted to put it on the windows in the cabin part of the house.  Single pane.  My hard-earned wood stove heat rushes through them.  Unfortunately, the windows have no metal trim.  It’s glass pane set in raw wood and the directions say the tape is not to be put on raw wood.  I’m guessing it would change the color.

Thought I’d try it by laying the tape directly on the pane, around the perimeter.  Took a long time to blow dry it and it never did get tight.  It doesn’t look like that particular experiment will work.  It’s the trapped air between two surfaces that make it work.

I’ll leave it up for a while and monitor how well it works.

Posted in Equipment, Sustainable Living, Tools, weather | Leave a comment

CAMPING TABLECLOTH, OCTOBER 2016

My campsite at Mesa Campgrounds in the Gila Mountains was very nice.  Big drive up, grill, shade from a tree.  And a picnic table in desperate need of an hour’s scrubbing from remnants left by man-made slobs and birds who just don’t know any better.  The best way to describe it was ew, ew, ewwwwwww.

I used up a lot of alcohol wipes which didn’t work particularly well.  What I really needed was pre-scrub in a sprayer, a scrub brush and a bucket of hot, soapy water and of course, disposable gloves.

table-cloth-laid-out-in-quarter-2016-oct-26I don’t plan carrying such around nor do I want to muddy up my site.  So I bought a big honking camping tablecloth.  It’s about the size of a queen-size spread. I may cut it in half and add some grommets so I can secure it from flapping and turning over in the wind.

Look at that nice stitching.

Look at that nice stitching.

It has a cloth like backing so it doesn't scoot around.

It has a cloth like backing so it doesn’t scoot around.

Posted in Camping | 2 Comments