Friday, November 2, 2012

Friday morning

I've been awake since about 5 o'clock.  I've check on my blogs, read emails, browse to Facebook and been to YouTube for the vlogs that I follow.  I've had my breakfast I've got my coffee and I'm waiting for it to be time to go out for coffee with the guys at 730.  In the meantime I'm just sitting here listening to the owls hoot back and forth at each other.
It's still far enough form dawn that the Stars still own the sky.  We are far enough away from man's light pollution that I can really see stars out here.  last night Ella tried to take pictures of the night sky with her smartphone.  It didn't work.  That's a shame because the sky really is impressive.
I just heard some coyotes joining the owls and singing to the sky.  I'm going to join in by singing "My God how Great Thou Art."

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Wednesday, Thursday Oct 31 to Nov 01

            31st Happy Halloween! Wednesday:  This morning I took the sticky buns, that Ella made, for the guys to have with their coffee.  They enjoyed them enough that they said they were going to come down to our trailer and push the slide-out back in and then pull it our again.  I told them if they promised to NOT do that, I’d see about getting some more sticky rolls made.
            The rest of the day was taken up with some lite household chores.  I cleaned out a drawer that we had started using for office type stuff.  You know, paper, tape, rulers, staplers, paper clips etc.  Well, as I said the that was what we intended the drawer to be for.  However, over time, it had become the junk drawer.  Yep!  That drawer where you put everything that didn’t have a place.  Everything in its place is great … when there is a place for it.  So I determined to make a place for everything that wasn’t ‘office stuff’.  Amazingly, what I found was that about a quarter of the stuff crammed into that drawer could be thrown away.  The rest I sorted into categories like: toolbox, electronics, paperwork, and batteries … oh yes … batteries.  We should never have to buy another AA or AAA battery in our lives.  Why?  Why did we keep buying bulk packs of those two sizes of batteries?  Right off the top of my head I can’t think of ANYTHING that we own that uses AA or AAA batteries!  I ended up with a package of battery operated Tealights, a backscratcher, a card with three buttons, a pocket knife that will not open, a printer ink cartridge for the printer that we don’t have with us, and some miscellaneous photographs that I didn’t find a place for … yet.
            I also did some spot cleaning on the carpet.  It looks better but really needs a good shampooing.  A shampooing like I did back in July or August.  How did it get so dirty so quickly?  A better question would be, “Who thought that putting pink (Mauve) carpet in a fifthwheel was a good idea?”   I know that I’ll have to r,ent a carpet cleaner eventually … but for now, I’ll spot clean.
            My next task was/is to clean and polish the cabinets, cupboards and woodwork.  So far I have the kitchen/livingroom area done.  The hallway, bathroom and bedroom will wait until another day.  After all, we’re retired!  Tomorrow is always a better day to do something other than just spend time together.

            1st November Thursday.  Well, Octember is past and today is the first of Nowonder with Desober coming fast.  I can’t remember who first said it that way, but I know that I was in my twenties when I first heard, “Septober, Octember, Nowonder and Desober”.  It’s still funny after all these years.  Or at least as funny as it ever was!
            This morning I had a bill in our mailbox for our site rent and electric.  We had paid for a full month when we checked in on October 11th.  So this month they prorated it for the days we were actually here and only charged us 141.94 for site rent.  We had also used $26.60 worth of electricity and a $1 charge for using the fax machine (when I sent the extension request to the D.O.T.).  That’s pretty cheap livin’.
            On the other side of that cheap living … we were getting low on eggs so we stopped at the little convenience store near (10 miles) here.  $2.69 a dozen!  I’m to used paying around $1.70 for an 18 count carton.  I think I’ll skip buying grocery items there.
            We also went for a drive while we were out.  I’d been seeing the sign for Eagle Canyon Park.  So, we took a drive to see it.  It is about 16 miles off of Texas highway 29.  That is something that the sign doesn’t tell you … how far it is.  It was a nice drive through some interesting landscapes.  The hills changed from the granite to limestone and back to granite as we drove up and down and around.  We got to see more of Lake Buchanan.  Or as Ella said, “You can sure see where the water isn’t.”  There were a lot of areas of sand and brush that obviously was where the lake used to be.  From what I’ve been told, the lake has been steadily shrinking since about 2008.  Eventually, we arrived at the park.  It is the kind of park that we might have enjoyed when we were tent campers because there were nice shady spots with lots of room between sites.  The spots for RV campers were level concrete pads but too close together.  We didn’t go down to the beach area.  However, with the lake so low, I have a feeling it would be a lot bigger beach than it used to be.
I just found the sunlight and shadow interesting here.
            All in all, it was a nice drive and we are slowly beginning to find our way around our new home.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Monday, Tuesday

            29th Monday:  I realized that, come January 2013, my Iowa drivers license would expire while I was in Texas.   Since I didn’t know what to do about that fact, I called back to Iowa and asked.  They gave me the website address where I was able to print out a copy of the “Application for Temporary Extension of Motor Vehicle License” form.  Once I had filled out the information, I faxed the application back to the Iowa D. O. T.  Now I just will need to remember, when I return to Iowa, to get the license actually renewed.

            30th Tuesday: At coffee this morning I asked for volunteers to help push and pull the Hitch Hiker’s slide-out out. The whole gang marched right down the hill to my trailer and, after I’d disconnected the hydraulic hoses from the slide-out pump, got the slide all the way out into the fully open position.  What a blessing!  The root problem hasn’t been solved.  However, out living space is now as it should be and everything is sealed tight against the weather.

            Last Friday night at the pot luck, we were telling one of our new neighbors about all of the tomatoes that we had ripened and ripening.  She said that she had a recipe* for raspberry jam made form tomatoes.  Today, Ella got the recipe from her and this evening I made the jam with four cups of tomatoes.  Ella also had a recipe for sticky rolls made with Bisquick that she wanted to make for the guys who got our slide-out in place.  We were running low on sugar and flour as well as needing some stick margarine for the sticky rolls.  So, we drove to Kingsland to the H.E.B. grocery store and picked up some supplies. 
            When we went to check out using our debit card, it wouldn’t go through.  This had happened a couple days ago also so we ran it through as a credit card.  Today that didn’t work either.  After paying cash for the groceries, Ella called the credit union.  Sure enough, it was as we thought, our series of out-of-state uses had triggered a safety feature with the cards.  This was unusual activity for our cards so the account had been locked.  When we explained that we would be out of state until mid April of 2013, they made a note in the file and unlocked the account.  It was a little inconvenient but still we appreciate the fact that if our cards had been stolen this would have happened to lock the account before too much damage had been done.  Indeed, it the charges had been larger, it would have locked sooner because that would have been even more suspicious.

*Tomatoe/raspberry “Surprise Jam”  (this is the recipe as it was given to us)
5c chopped, peeled tomatoes
4c sugar
1T lemon juice
2 3oz pkgs raspberry Jello

In a large saucepan or dutch oven combine the tomatoes, sugar and lemon juice.  Cook and stir over high heat until mixture comes to a boil.  Reduce heat, simmer uncovered 25 minutes.  Remove form heat.  Skim off foam, if necessary.  Stir in Jello until completely dissolved.
Pour into jars, cool to room temp (1 hour or so).  Cover.  Let stand 3 hours or until set, but no longer than 24 hours.  Refrigerate up to 3 weeks. 
Yield 5 ½ cups
(I made the following modification to the recipe:  I used 4c of tomatoes and after the mixture was cooked, I blended it to make a more consistent texture.)

Monday, October 29, 2012

Friday, Saturday, Sunday

            26th Friday we both had Coffee, I with the guys at7:30 and Ella with the gals at 9:30.
            Shortly after sun up I was going to go to the roof and install the third vent cover.  However, as I opened the vent in preparation, it rained in my face.  I hadn’t realized that it was raining before.  What a surprise.  It rained off and on (sometimes quite hard) most of the day.  So no working on the roof.

            Since we were stuck inside on a cool and rainy day, I decided to bake some bread for the potluck.  We have potlucks twice a month in the rec hall.  I made a large loaf of potato bread which I baked in a skillet in the oven.  It turned out so well that we ate half of if before the potluck.  So, I baked another loaf and made some candied oranges slices also.  Ella sliced a bunch of our tomatoes to take to the pot luck also.

            27th Saturday was still cool but not raining so I was able to install the third and last roof vent cover.  This last cover was installed on a vent that had a fan in it.  Because of the fan, the screws that came with the kit would not work.  So I went to the closest hardware store.  I had driven past “Buchanan General Store” many times and not really even noticed it.  Once inside, I was pleasantly surprised to find that it was just what I was looking for, a real neighborhood hardware store that had bin after bin of hardware.  I was able to buy the eight screws that I needed without having to buy a bulk package.  I’ll be back to this store, I’m sure.
            On my way out of Buchanan General Store’s drive, I saw the sign for another RV park.  Being in no particular hurry to climb back up on the roof, I decided to take a little drive and check out the park.  Excuse me, this was not a park, it was a resort.  I guess the fact that it had a swimming pool and hot tub made it a resort.  It was very nice and neat.  The prices were only slightly more than what we are paying at Shady Oaks.  I was surprised that there were so few people staying there.  Makes me wonder why people aren’t staying there.  Oh well, back to work on the roof.  It had been a week since I had dumped the holding tanks, so I did that also.

            28th Sunday we returned to Cross and Spurs Cowboy Church for the service.  There was a baptism at the end of the service so we got to see that horse tank in use.  After the service we drove into Burnet (not pronounced bur-net, but pronounced burn-et or burn-it) and had a buffet lunch at the Highlander Restaurant.  The rest of the day was spent relaxing, reading, taking a little walk, watching television and yes taking a nap.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

2012 October 25th Thursday

            We drove into Austin to visit with Heather.  Mike was at work so we didn’t get to spend time with him.  We had never been to their apartment before.  Heather was a little concerned about how their dog, Lily, would react to us.  Evidently Lily doesn’t like strangers and especially men with deep voices (me).  It wasn’t a problem.  No barking but a lot of licking and jumping.  She was so happy to see us it was if she’d known us all her life and couldn’t believe we hadn’t visited sooner.  We got a tour of the apartment.  It was not very big, but very nice.  They have been talking about trying to buy a house in the area, which is not very far from either of their jobs. 
            Heathertold us about a gluten-free menu that she had developed for the restaurant andhow well received it had been.  She ordered her desert from the gluten free menu and we got to sample it.  It was inspired by a chocolate pie.  This, however, was served in a small bowl and had no crust.  It was like a mousse with some chocolately  liquor, topped with a huge dollop of whipped cream and candied orange peel.  It was very good (and I’m not a fan of chocolate). 
            Ella and I shared a warm brownie that was more assorted nuts than brownie.  It was three or four inches square and was crowned by a huge scoop (about a cup) of ice cream over which a coffee/caramel syrup had been drizzled.  It was almost more than two of us could eat.
            After lunch we went back to the apartment just long enough to get Lily.  From there we went to a park where we could talk and Lily could run.  She is a high energy dog and the apartment is really too small of an environment for her.  Which is one of the reasons that the kids want to purchase a house with a large, fenced yard.  We stayed at the park until nearly four when I told Heather that Ella and I would need to leave around five so that we could get back to Shady Oaks before dark.  (I’m not comfortable with all the twists and turns and deer and cattle that roam the road, to be driving it at night.