Thursday, October 12, 2023

What’s New?

I meant to write this post weeks ago but better late than never, right? Here’s an update on the house renovation.  The kitchen is finished and it has surpassed my expectations.

I chose white Café appliances, which please me to no end. And we hired Home Depot to put in the countertops and tile backsplash.
The bedroom now has carpet, although we haven’t yet painted the walls.
The stairs look much better now.
Ditto for the craft room (here it is set up for company.)

We had a wonderful summer, and have put all future renovations on hold until next spring. It’s good to take a break from all that!

Tuesday, June 20, 2023

Big Changes in 2023

Deepest apologies for the sound of crickets on this blog for the last six months. A quick catch-up: We sold our motorhome just after the New Year, and then immediately put an offer on a home in NJ. This is a house that is very close to daughter Catherine, being only 1 mile away. She initially toured the house while we FaceTimed with her, and then she returned with daughter Kristen a week later on another video call with us so we’d have another opinion.

Ugly kitchen during FaceTime tour

While it’s on a busy road, the layout really works for us; a large open kitchen/living area, two bathrooms, a large main BR with en suite (something I’ve never had), a bonus/guest room, and a huge craft room. It also has a nice sized garage to serve as Bob’s woodworking shop and a large shed for garden tools. The house itself is not too big, only about 1724 square feet, but it will suit us well. 

I had forgotten how drawn-out the process of buying a home is. The seller had to jump through quite a few hoops before the town would sign off on the certificate of occupancy. We arrived in NJ the first week of April, expecting to pass papers a few days later. It actually took a month before all the ends were tied up and we could see the house in person for the first time. Nothing really surprised us when we did our walk-through. Before we bought it we knew the house was smelly (incontinent dog, smoking owner) and dirty, the kitchen cobbled together with scrounged materials. So now the work to make this house ours has begun.

Everything has been scrubbed down, and smelly bits have been removed. Mold has been remediated. Walls and ceilings have been painted on the first floor. The downstairs floors have been torn up and are being replaced with a lovely LVP floor that will wear well and tie the rooms together. Our kitchen has arrived and we are beginning to assemble everything. Three dead trees have been removed from the backyard and another tree has gotten a long-overdue trimming. Tomorrow the ducts will be cleaned and the appliances will arrive. Strapping on the foundation will be installed within the next week or so, ensuring a safe and sturdy base for this house for many many years to come.

Our realtor, Mary Ann, has been invaluable in all of this, offering us names of contractors who are reputable in the area. 

Our plan is to complete the downstairs (kitchen/living room, guest room) this year, and then take a break. Next year, if the Lord is willing, we will tackle the main bedroom and bathroom, and then the following year my craft room will get a makeover. Sometime during the next two years the downstairs bath will get new floors and updated vanity. Patience, patience!

I’ll post some “after” photos as rooms are finished. 

Saturday, December 31, 2022

End of 2022

Well, happy New Year, y’all! Bob and I have had a good year. Our health is good. While the motorhome has not yet sold, we know that the right person will come along and will have many new adventures in it. Until then, we have been keeping busy. Bob has been making beautiful things, as usual. He recently made me a bowl that I just love.

He added little divided trays to the jewelry box he made me a while back.

He built a cutting board for the kitchen.

And installed the last four replacement windows to the front and deck side of the house. In addition, he was asked to be the treasurer of the park’s woodshop so that has kept him pretty busy!

Some of the projects I finished this fall: I finished the coasters that I was weaving earlier in the season, fulling them so that they would be nice and thick.

I wove a cotton scarf to keep my neck warm on cool morning walks.

I wove some log cabin cottolin towels on my 16” wide Ashford Rigid Heddle Loom…

…as well as some 8 shaft undulating twill towels and dishcloths on my big Macomber loom.

I sewed up an organizer to hold the presser feet for my sewing machines.

We had a nice Christmas and did some caroling around the park.

We keep busy. Bob golfs every Monday, and is a monitor in the woodshop at least one morning a week, while I keep up with the Fiber Arts group and have been helping a couple of friends in the park with their weaving.

Bob and I hope that next year brings joy, peace, and health to all of you.

Wednesday, October 26, 2022

Selling the Motorhome

I know that I’ve been remiss in posting and I do apologize. We arrived in Mesa without any difficulties and spent close to a week completely emptying out and deep cleaning the motorhome, because we have made the difficult decision to put it on the market. The plan is for us to find a small home in NJ near family and for us to stay there from roughly April through September. We will keep our little home in Arizona and will fly back and forth seasonally. It was a big decision for us to make but we both felt it was time for this change. Our motorhome is for sale on consignment at Camping Nation RVs in case any reader is interested or wants to tell a friend. We were pleased to find out that this dealer will finance older coaches and also offers extended warranties for them as well.

We left a lot of things in NJ for our new home: dishes, woodworking tools, some craft room supplies, books, a few items of clothing. I’m shipping a few things to my daughter’s house to hold for us, too. So I’ll be able to sew and weave when we get back there. It will be fun to set up a new craft room, and of course Bob will have a work space, too, for his woodworking.

We had some rain here in AZ this past month, along with some high winds. Fortunately we didn’t have any damage but a part of the wall around the park (not near our house) came down. But we did have projects.

Bob has been working on replacing more windows in the front of the house; we now have just one left to replace but are having trouble locating that particular size. I’m sure we’ll find one eventually.

I made a new liner for my bike basket…

…and have been working on weaving some winter trees on my 16” Ashford Rigid Heddle loom.

In health news, Bob and I got our flu shots, and we were pleasantly surprised to have no reaction to them at all. We are waiting two weeks, then Bob will get his Covid booster but I have to wait a few more weeks until I can get mine, since I had Covid in August.

Scheduled activities in the park will be starting up next week and we are looking forward to that. Bob starts golfing this Friday. 

Thursday, September 22, 2022

Logan Utah to Emily’s House

Logan is really a nice town; surrounded by mountains, it is very picturesque. Here’s a shot I took as we entered the town.

We were here for three days, and during that time we stocked up on supplies from Walmart and I visited two fabric stores. Bob and I also visited a new brewery in town.

It was annoying that out of the list of seven beers on the menu, only three were in stock, but then we found out they had only been open for two weeks so we quickly forgave them. Our beer was good, the wait-staff was very nice, and we enjoyed chatting with them. 

Then we were on to Idaho. We spent one night in a little county campground, then continued directly to Emily’s house. Such fun we had seeing everyone! My daughter’s town allows them to have chickens in the backyard which was very cool. They get fresh eggs every day.

On Friday, four year old Silas and 1 year old Luca came with us to Babby Farms in Caldwell, a large petting zoo filled with exotic and farm animals. Silas got a pony ride and was able to go into the kangaroo pen to pet the ‘roos. They had a nice selection of species, from camels and emus to monkeys and rabbits. Silas and Luca loved it.

The next day we took Quinn and Eve for a weekend GrandCamp. They swam in the pool and learned to do kumihimo (note the concentration

…and visited the Boise Aquarium. Eve used my camera to take some great photos.

On Sunday Bob and I went to church with Em and her family.  I had been worshiping online with this body of believers since the start of the pandemic so it was a joy to be there in person. 

Bob spent Monday building walls for a new chicken yard while the kiddos played outside and Emily and I visited.

We did help some, but it was mostly Bob!

On Tuesday Emily and I went thrift shopping while Bob and Anthony went golfing. We then drove into Boise to meet up with our Mesa friends, Joy and Mark, who have a home here. After touring their lovely home we went out for Pad Thai for dinner. It was fun to see them, and will see them again in October when we are all back to Mesa.

On Wednesday Emily, Anthony, Bob and I went to Caldwell for a yummy lunch at the Orchard House Restaurant.

We had the best portobello sandwiches. We then went over to Ste. Chapelle Vineyards where we tried some of their wines.

What a beautiful setting! We brought a couple of bottles to bring back with us for a special occasion, too.

All too soon it was time to say goodbye. We should be in Mesa on Monday.

Monday, September 12, 2022

Ugh oh in Utah

Our two nights in Wyoming were pretty uneventful except for the really pretty views from the Sweet Water Event Center in Rock Springs, WY.

This place takes no reservations, yet always has had space for us. It’s quite reasonably priced, too. 

We set out for Utah on Saturday morning, expecting to arrive in Logan around 2:00 pm. It was less than four hours away and the weather was beautiful.

We stopped for a brief break around noon and saw across the road there was a family of five pulled over with the hood of their truck up. The truck had overheated, and Bob brought over a small cooler with water from our sink to fill their radiator so they could be on their way. We then continued on and came to a few miles of twists and turns in the road along with steep declines. By the time we got to the bottom we could smell burning rubber. Ugh oh. There was a nice spot to pull off so we stopped and got out to see what was wrong. This was when Bob realized he should have used the engine brake; the brake pads were now smoking. There was a small campground about six miles ahead so, after waiting a while for the brakes to cool down, we continued along and stopped to see if the campground had room for us for the night. Fortunately they did, so after I made a quick call to the campground in Logan to say we would be delayed until tomorrow, we settled in. We were right on Bear Lake in Garden City, Utah, one of the prettiest spots you could imagine, with a lovely view of the lake. I’ve actually had this place on my list of places to visit so it really worked out.

We walked down to the beach and saw this odd-looking tractor towing a flat-bottomed boat out of the water. Water levels are so low that the tractor could just drive out and hitch up the boat!
Bear Lake is currently about 19 miles long and 7 miles wide, and has gotten smaller with lingering drought conditions. At its deepest spot it is over 200 feet deep, but not where we were! 

The next morning we set out again for Logan which was now only 47 miles away. The ride through deep canyons was beautiful and the engine brake was engaged so there were no problems.

Not a relaxing ride, though, after the day before. But we made it! We’ll be in Logan, UT until Wednesday morning and I’m looking forward to visiting some interesting shops.

Thursday, September 8, 2022

North Platte, Nebraska

I have to say, though, that we really enjoyed our stay in North Platte. We stayed at Holiday RV Park, right off route 80, yet we’re not bothered by highway noise at all. We were within a mile and a quarter of a Walmart and only a couple of miles from a really nice quilt shop, The Quilt Rack and Wool Cubby.

They also carried rug hooking supplies and wool by the yard for wool embroidery. Plus bolts and bolts of wool felt, which thrilled me because it can be hard for me to find except through mail order sources. We were right around the corner from the Buffalo Bill Cody Trading Post and Fort, which was a fun place to visit.

The fort display was a little sad…

but there was a nice diorama of Cody’s Wild West Show, all hand carved.

Next we visited Bailey Yard, the largest rail yard in the world.

At 2,850 acres, the yard is is 8 miles long with 400 miles of track. They process 12,000 railroad cars a day (125 trains,) repair 1,200 locomotives a month, and use 18 million gallons of diesel fuel every month. We went up in the lookout tower at the visitors center and had a panoramic view of the rail yard.

It’s pretty amazing. Yesterday we went out to lunch at Pal’s Brewery, a couple of miles from our campground, and sampled some really great beer (free samples!) and enjoyed a veggie pizza, no cheese. Yum! It was a really friendly place, too, and we left with some fun memories.

Afterwards we drove over to Buffalo Bill Cody’s ranch where he spent quite a few years. It’s a pretty place and nicely restored.

Today we head for Wyoming for a couple of one-night stops, then will be on to Utah for four nights.