Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Chats on the Farmhouse Porch: Texas

I am hoping I can get this post completed and 'up' before Mr. Dreamy wants to move one. We have had an interesting trip through Texas. Luckily, we were "deep in the heart of Texas" so we didn't get hit by the storm that dumped 20" of snow on Amarillo. Yes! You read that right! They had major highways closed for hours. However, we were impacted by the storm because it was a massive low pressure area and the winds around the low were very high, with gusts in the 50 mph range, or maybe even higher. I posted this image of a wind map on Facebook the other morning:

We knew the storm was coming so we had planned to hunker down where we were. When we awoke, the winds were calm, not what we had expected at all. However, if you look carefully at the map, you can see the greenish-brown circle just to the right of the 25 mph label... that's where we were when this screen shot was nabbed! We stayed put and our motorhome was rockin' and rollin' all day and well into the night.
Today we will leave Texas behind as we head to Arizona to meet with some friends. But, before we take off, I want to sit a spell and chat with my blogger friends!

Care to join in? You can respond to Patrice's questions and link up to Everyday Rurality, or comment on her site or mine. Here are her questions for this week:

1. Is there a room in your home that you'd like to redecorate or remodel?
2. Did you watch the Oscars?
3. How many pair of blue jeans do you own?
4. What was your favorite toy as a child?
5. If you could visit a country in Europe, which would you choose?

1. When we purchased our house, which had major water damage from a broken pipe, we redid the main floor. The upstairs rooms sustained very little damage and they are clean and quite pleasant. The basement had been partially finished, and after 'the flood' we had the sheetrock restored, but we need to do something with the flooring and continue to finish the job.

2. I did not watch the Oscars. I don't get out to watch many movies. I don't know who is in what and frankly, that is not a huge area of interest for me.

3. Do you mean how many pair that fit?! I have 7 'jeans' with me on the trip: 2 blue, 1 each of black, tan, deep red, purple and a peach color. I live in jeans. I don't own too many pants that aren't jean style.

4. Early on I loved stuffed animals. As I got a bit older my interest turned to horses and I had a small herd of plastic equines.

5. Sweden... in the summer! My maternal grandmother was born in Sweden. I would love to visit the country and connect with distant relatives.

Ah, what a pleasant way to begin the morning. I have enjoyed sipping my coffee and 'talking' with my friends. Click on the link below to visit Everyday Rurality and see how other folks responded to Patrice's questions.

Everyday Ruralty

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Mr. Clean

I'd like to introduce you to Joey Green....

 also known as "Mr. Clean"

Do you see the likeness?

Well, OK, so Joey seems to be a bit slimmer...
and he's put some clothes on...
and he is wearing something on his head...

No, he is not wearing a colonial mob cap.

It is a .... 
Never mind, I'll tell you about it later, after I tell you some of the tips 
I learned from Mr. Clean Joey Green! 

Joey Green has collected or discovered, and written about,
hundreds of uses for hundreds of things, 
other than what they were originally designed to do.

We went to a presentation at an RV Show in Charlotte.

I was fascinated. 

Here are a few of the suggestions Joey shared with us: 

  • Use Coke to clean oil off your driveway. Pour it on, let it sit overnight and then hose it off.
  • Tang drink powder can be used in place of dishwasher soap to clean built up soap scum
  • Bounce (outdoor fresh, original) sheets put in your belt loops repels mosquitoes. The fragrance is oleander, and mosquitoes don't like it. (We used to use the Bounce sheets to repel no-see-ems in SC)
  • Two tablets of Efferdent, dropped in water, are perfect for cleaning a diamond ring, or a toilet, or for cleaning a burned pan (you may want to use 3 or 4 tablets).
  • Use white vinegar in a 50/50 solution with water for washing windows. Vinegar is also a  deodorant. Put some vinegar in a glass and leave it on the counter to get rid of cooking odors.
  • If you put 1 tsp. of Dawn dishwashing liquid in a spray bottle filled with water, it will kill ants. 
  • Put 3/4 can of beer out to attract bees, wasps or hornets. Hang the can from trees by threading a string through the pop top. 
  • Crisco is great for removing paint, moisturizing your face, or as a diaper rash ointment.
  • Miracle whip, Cool Whip or Pepto Bismal are perfect for facials.  Wash up with warm water, apply the product, then rinse with cool water.

No, Joey is not demonstrating the "Scales of Justice" in this photo! He is holding a bowl that is aflame, and a box of Baking Soda to douse the fire. But, the interesting thing is that Joey demonstrated the perfect fire starter for camping on a rainy day... or on any day, for that matter.

Joey poured Doritos into the bowl and lit them with one of those handy-dandy butane fire starters. The chips readily caught on fire, and burned long enough that they would encourage even the dampest wood to catch fire. And, just as quickly as he started the fire, he doused it with the baking soda, reminding us that we all have it in our kitchen and should reach for it in the event of a kitchen fire, before reaching for a messy extinguisher.

Then, Joey proceeded to make me cry. OK, so, it doesn't take a lot to make me cry. Give me a Reader's Digest magazine and my eyes are bound to leak over more than one story. But, you need to know that Joey didn't upset me, he made me cry because I was laughing so hard! I'm just glad I didn't wet my pants.... although I'm sure he would have had a solution for that!

Joey talked about 'feminine products'. He explained that the very last thing men want to touch is 'feminine products'. Therefore, the perfect place to hide extra cash would be rolled up and stuck in the tubes of tampons. In this photo, Joey demonstrates that 'feminine napkins' make wonderful knee pads... they even come with handy adhesive strips to stick on your pants! Furthermore, they make fantastic pads for washing windows. Often, when living on an RV, moisture in the motorhome condenses on the windshield. Joey suggested that the next time that happens, grab a 'napkin', stick it on your hand, and wipe the moisture off. The image I had in my mind of Mr. Dreamy waving a sanitary napkin around just about did me in!

Joey has published a number of books. If you are interested in new ways to use everyday products you may want to check out his most recent book, "Joey Green's Cleaning Magic". I guarantee you will find more than one new trick!

OK... now, for the headgear that Joey is sporting in the first picture. Did you guess what it is? It is a disposable diaper that has been soaked with water. Joey explained that soaking a diaper, and then putting it on your head or draping it on your neck is an excellent way to cool off when it is unbearably hot outside. He mentioned a number of other useful ways to use a disposable diaper, besides swaddling a baby's bum... but, I won't tell all of his secrets.... you'll have to get his book to find out many uses for diapers and other everyday household products.

Do you have a use for something that is different from its original intended use?

Joey Green's Web Site, listing more books he has written:

Monday, February 25, 2013

Through the Wardrobe

I took the dogs for a walk on a cool, rainy, southern day.
We came across the lamppost.
My thoughts turned to the land of Narnia
in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe
(and other books by CS Lewis)
One of my favorites to read aloud to students.

Tucker and Gypsy looking for adventure...

Wondering if Mr. Tumnus is over the hill...

"Will you hurry up?"

Is this Aslan's table?

... and no Turkish Delight* to eat, either...

So, are we stuck in a land where it is always winter 
... and never Christmas?

* Thank you, Allison, for reminding me that Tucker 
would want to find some Turkish Delight!

Saturday, February 23, 2013

RV There Yet?

We are not there.
we are on our way!

So, when I left you we were stranded 
at the campground in Gaffney, SC.

The Gaffney Peach

Also known as 
"The Moon Over Gaffney"
Butt, why do you suppose some folks call it that?!

The part we were awaiting arrived early in the morning.
Overnight delivery is amazing!
We had a technician there before lunch.
He installed the new part,
with Mr. Dreamy chomping at the bit
quickly tested it...
we were on our way.

We stopped at Fort Yargo State Park in Winder, GA. 
We found this gem on our way to Gaffney,
so we were delighted to visit again.
It is a great place to camp,
and is listed on my 
Mr. Dreamy backed the RV into our site,
and pushed the button for the stabilizer jacks.
The jacks did not want to respond correctly.
The slide outs did not want to go out.
We camped in cramped style. 
Thank Heaven for the Internet.
I found an RV service center 10 miles from our location.
We called at 7:30 in the morning.
They had no problem seeing us, 
so we made our way to the
They took our motorhome in as soon as we arrived.

Tucker and Gypsy wait patiently(?) for their 
home on wheels to be repaired.

Two hours later we were on our way.
All systems...

So, we are not there, yet,
But, we are on our way!

And, the Apalachee RV Center
needs to be commended for their fabulous technicians,
responsive managers and wonderful personnel.
Thank you for getting us back on the road!

(Oh, and Tucker and Gypsy say, "Woof, woof"...
that is, thanks, for all of the treats,
and, uh, we apologize about the dog hair on your carpet!)

Friday, February 22, 2013

ABC's and 123's

Have you heard the term, "jockey lot" before? It is a new one for me. From my not so exhaustive research I have learned that it is another term for a flea market. Ostensibly it comes from the day when horse traders, often referred to as jockeys, would bring their horses to town to sell them. Evidently region dictates whether you call this sort of thing a flea market, a swap meet or a jockey lot.

What do you call it?


Avon products; old and new
Boxes of cheap junk from China
Chinese crested puppies playing with a chihuahua
Elvis everything
Glass lamp shades painted with flowers
Handmade soap
John Deere hats, shirts and salt shakers
Knock-offs: Coach, Crocs and Calvin Klein (to name a few)
Leather jackets, wallets, and purses that are supposedly leather
Machines and tools
Oils and heated scent dispensers
Quacking ducks and honking geese
Rats (yes...real rats for sale) and rabbits, too
Sugar Flyers - cute marsupials that may or may not make good pets
TV's and old Toshiba laptops
Ugly things and used things
VCR tapes
Watkins natural products
X-rated calendars from 2012... but someone might like the pictures!
Yard sale items
Zebra print fleece throws


1: The number one most visited attraction in the state of SC
2: The number of days the jockey lot is open each week
3: The number of  hours Mr. Dreamy & I spent at the jockey lot
10: The cost to rent a table for one day
12: The cost to rent an inside space for one day
24: The total amount we spent
29: The highway the lot is on
65: The number of acres covered by the jockey lot
156: The cost to rent a space for 13 weeks
1500: The number of vendors
1974: The year the jockey lot began
2150: The number of available spaces
30,000 - 60,000 average number of daily visitors
2,300,000: The number of visitors reported in 2006

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Chats on the Farmhouse Porch - View From the RV

Since we are 'stuck' at a campground, I thought I'd show you my "front porch"... and join Patrice's chat, while we wait for the mechanic to install the hydraulic pump control module that dictates what our slide outs and jacks will or won't do. I'm a few days late for the chat on the farmhouse porch, but that is the nice thing about cyberchats - one can participate at any point in time!

This week Patrice asks:

  1. What's your favorite fruit?
  2. Wendell would like to know if you've ever been horseback riding.
  3. Do you carry a small purse, a big one, or just a wallet?
  4. If you could travel to one state for a day (all expense paid), where would you go? If you're not in the US, where would you like to travel within your country?
  5. What was your first car?

My answers:

1. Is a caramel candy considered a fruit? No? Oh, too bad! Then I guess I'd have to say that my favorite fruit.... if I'm eating it all by itself, is a nice juicy pear. If it is cooked in something - I'll take just about anything that is red!

2. Wendell knows that answer to that one! Yes, I began taking riding lessons when I was around 11.

3. I usually carry just my wallet. I don't care to lug anything around. If I do need to carry a purse, it is generally quite small.

4. Hawaii. I can feel the soft, warm breezes right now!

5. I 'inherited' my sister's '68 VW bug. I loved it, despite its advanced mileage. A few years later my grandmother gave me her VW, same vintage, but it only had about 6,000 miles on it. I sold my bug to a guy I was dating... he who now sleeps with me every night ;-)  The VW from my grandmother lived up to its color - it was a lemon. I had nothing but trouble with it, basically because the car had so few miles on it various parts had begun to dry out and crack over time.

How would you answer the questions Patrice has asked? You can join the chat from your own blog, or leave your answers in comments here, or at Patrice's site:

Everyday Ruralty

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Ready, Set .... No!

It is time to head out. Items in the motorhome are secure. Hoses and electrical lines have been disconnected. Slideouts need to be brought in. I said, slideouts need to come in. Ahem... What didn't you understand? When I  pushed the switch that magically communicates my desires to the slideout, nothing happened. So, of course I tried again. Nope. Next, begins the hunt for the problem and,  more importantly,  the solution. We pull out manuals.  

Mr. Dreamy checks fuses. He makes phone calls and leaves messages.  Now we wait for answers... and wait... and write a blog post... and talk to a factory mechanic... and test some fuses... and determine we need a new part... so now we wait, again!
We keep telling ourselves there could be worse places to break down. I mean, we are in a nice campground, and the sun is shining. We could be in the driving rain along the side of the road somewhere!

The part has been sent overnight.  We have connected with a mechanic. Now we have nothing to do but wait.

The Roads I've Taken

This time we are not taking the road less traveled by. In fact, we will be on the hated boring Interstate. We are beginning our trek home. It is hard to believe, but we have been on the road for almost 2 months! We will be meeting some friends in Arizona for a get-together next weekend. Then, we will make a turn toward home - at least that is what we are thinking at the moment! 

I created a new page on my site called, "Travel Trails". The page, accessible from the top of the sidebar on the right, shows the maps for our most recent adventures. I keep wondering, since none of this was even in the cards last year at this time, what will the page include next year?

It's amazing what twists and turns your life can take!

Monday, February 18, 2013

Weigh In

Don't step on it.... 
It makes you cry.

That's exactly how I feel.
I have always had issues with my weight and
I don't particularly care for stepping on the scale.

However, weighing the motorhome made me feel much better!
The Sunshine Dog Food factory in Red Bay, Alabama
allows motorhomes to use their scales after hours,
so we took a little side trip while we were having service performed.
This is the weight, in pounds, of just the left side of the motor home!
That readout says 17,640!
I feel like such a lightweight!

We weighed different points of the RV.
Here are the results:

Front end: 9,900 pounds
Back end: 17,640 pounds
Left front: 4,900 pounds
Left rear: 8,820 pounds
Left side: 13,460 pounds

Entire coach: 27,440 pounds

Why, you might ask?
It is important to have a motorhome balanced for smoother travel down the road. If you have too much weight on one side, your vehicle will not handle well. Tire inflation specifications are also based on the weight of the vehicle. We have suspected that some of our handling issues are due to improper inflation. We will make adjustments, now that we know the weight, and see if there is a difference in how we sashay down the highway.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Scene at a Campground: Hamming it Up

I am not kidding!

I took Tucker and Gypsy out for a walk while at the Allegro campground and service center in rural NW Alabama.  Our path went by a large building on the grounds. When I looked in the garage, this is what met my eyes. The fellow who was butchering the hog explained (in the thickest southern accent I have ever heard... so heavy that at first I thought he was speaking a different language) that this luckless porker had escaped his pen, only to run afoul of the owner's pit bulls. Well, at least he was resourceful and will make use of the meat.
On a side note.... when I asked permission to take the picture he agreed, as long as I wasn't going to post it online. I told him it was going on my blog, and asked his name. He grinned, and without batting an eye, gave me the name of his colleague!

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Say It Isn't So

Say it isn't so snow....

We are in South Carolina.
It is supposed to be sunny in South Carolina.
It is supposed to be warm in South Carolina.
This is the south....
NOT Colorado!

Friday, February 15, 2013

Coon Dog Cemetery

On a remote forested hillside
The trees whisper stories
Of those who eternally sleep
Blanketed in earth's loam.

Markers of milestones
Memorialize achievements
So all will know
Of their greatness.

Leaves rustle and
Somersault along the ground
From phantom footfalls;
Paws on the trail.

Hair stands as if to salute
The keening calls
That play through branches;
Coon dogs baying.

Bittersweet reminders
Of promises to meet
Those we have loved
At the rainbow bridge.


He wasn't the best
But he was the
best I had.

 Easy Going Sam
4-8-89      9-12-02
Last One on the Wood

 Smith's M. T. Rock
1977 - 1988

PK' Kayla's Copperhead Boy
"And though I may call a dozen living
dogs to heel, they shall not growl at him,
or resent his coming. For he is mine
and belongs there."

In memory of
P.R. Blue Kate U.K.C. H284.384
Born 7.29.70
Died 9/3/1978
Owner. Herschel Davis
Tuscumbia, Alabama
Struck by car while running a
raccoon in six years of ownership
treed more than 200
XXX witnessed XXXXXXX
Wilburn Orater
J.T. Bozeman
Hollis Robinson
Leon Davis

P R Uctman's                                                     P R Rackliff's
So. Blue Rocky                                                  Red Rusty "Papa"
Born 2-22-90                     Lassie                       Born 6-27-81
Died 11-14-97        Owner Doug Hampton           Died 3-7-91    

Wednesday, February 13, 2013


So, would you like a motorhome?
Why not build it yourself?
It looks easy....
if you have the space,
the materials,
and the tools....
oh, and 850 workers!
(Over 1500 are needed for outside services as well)

Well, maybe you won't want to build one after all!
Mr. Dreamy & I enjoyed a tour of the
Tiffin plant in Red Bay, AL.
I thought you might enjoy a look inside, too.

A basic chassis is driven to the assembly plant.
Tiffin uses some chassis manufactured elsewhere,
and some they assemble at the factory,
depending on the style of the motorhome.
(Did you know that the plural of chassis is... chassis?!)

 Additional steel is welded to the chassis to support storage bays,
water tanks and the floor.

Up to 3 miles of wire is used in each motorhome. 
Wiring harnesses are created for each model.
Wires are labeled by computers and cut individually.
They are laid out along this board 
and sections are taped together.

One of the wire harnesses is installed along the chassis.
More wire is enclosed in walls and the ceiling at 
other points in the assembly area.

CNC machines cut huge sheets of foam layered with other materials
for the floor and the roof of the motorhome.
Cutouts are made for roof vents, lights and wiring.
This machine zips along and little widgets of foam fly all over.
On a bad static day I wonder if the workers go home looking
like little snowmen?

The tile floor for some models is glued down on sub flooring and
grouted at another location and brought to the factory in one piece.
This 'suction' rig will pick the floor up and lay it on top 
of the precut layered foam sandwich that was mounted on the chassis. 

Cabinets, doors and appliances are assembled,
and are ready to be placed on the flooring.
All cabinetry is built at the factory in a huge cabinet shop.

Walls are put together offsite.
Here is the "Flat Stanley" model of a motorhome.

Once everything is inside the motorhome, the walls are put in place.

The roof is almost ready to be placed on the motorhome.
Notice that all roof-top equipment is in place.

 Slide outs, complete with furniture and window treatments,
are ready to be slid into the openings of the walls.

Here goes the slide out.
Geesh, that worker is strong -
look at him lift that slideout as if it weighs nothing,
and one handed, at that!

The motorhome moves on, 
getting the front cap, windows,
and doors for the storage bays.
The front cap is fully assembled, with wiring and windshield 
 before it is put into place.

Finally, the motorhome goes to another site for painting.
It will return to the factory for inspection and cleaning,
and for minor repairs.

Looks easy, right?

What factories have you enjoyed visiting?

What is Four?

Have you ever thought of the meaning of "four"?  Four is the number of: seasons in a year. corners and sides to a square. virtues....