Saturday, February 13, 2021

Febuaryish

 As I sit down to write the latest action packed, edge of your seat, nail biting installment of our blog, I want to share with you that it has been 8 days of below zero temperatures. It doesn't even get above zero during the hottest part of the day. In fact, it is negative 24 below as my frozen fingers peck away at the keyboard.


Cold is a relative term. For those that live here or anywhere north of here, they just deal with it. Life goes on. We have left this area the last 6 years because we were tired of the cold. That makes this the first winter back in 6 years and we are actually dealing with it very well for several different reasons. The main reason is that the cabin we built is so warm that we don't get chilled while sitting inside. Our floor heat and foam insulation is the best we have ever had. Second reason being is that we are retired and we don't have to leave the house at all if we don't want to and if we do leave we dress much warmer than we used to. We have Carhart jackets and coveralls. You aren't going to win a beauty contest but it will keep you toasty warm.

That is me drinking a beer at negative 20. It doesn't work that well because your lips can freeze to the can and if you leave your face uncovered, it can freeze in minutes.

Like our elderly friends in South Dakota, we to like to sit and watch the wild life out our back door. 
We started by feeding the birds and squirrels.  As word spread amongst the animal community about our abundant bird buffet, more and more birds and squirrels have showed up. Finally the deer have found our feeders and are raiding it morning and night. We conferred with some wildlife specialists in SD and they advised us to get some alfalfa for them. So we did. They are much happier.

Work on the inside of the cabin is progressing right along. We have been working on the inside of the bathroom. Putting shiplap on the walls and also the ceiling. Lisa had to stain the boards for the ceiling before we installed them.
The 14 foot ceilings and walls are becoming a little bit of a challenge. It makes for a lot of trips up and down the ladder. It is really starting to look good.
I finally got to use my new nail gun and I love it. I wondered how I got this far in life without one.
As you can see, I have just a little bit left at the top to finish along with the trim. That mirror is only temporary. That was just a thrift store find until we find the perfect mirror for that spot. Speaking of finding deals.
                                                     
Before.

             
After.


Last summer Lisa found a bunch of cedar boards that were in a barn since the 1960's, never been used. Well Lisa brought those in and washed every board by hand and then put a clear poly coat on them and they are ready to go onto the ceiling. That's the next project.

We found cabinets and they will be installed at the end of February. So we have to get the kitchen walls ready for those. That means more sheetrocking. Yay!
All of this renovating cannot go on without some kind of injury. So for this months injury, I give you the "Driving the screw gun into your finger" injury.
It wouldn't have been so bad but I drove it into my carpal tunnel finger. Talk about a new level of pain. I did not cry though. Not until Lisa left the room anyways.

That's it for February. Next week they say that the temps will get into the 30's. I can't wait.










Sunday, January 24, 2021

Januaryish

 


50 winters I have spent here in the land of rocks and cows. Most winters have been so cold that it makes you wonder why our forefathers settled in this area at all. But I must say that this is one of the mildest January's I have ever experienced here. We have had little snow, hardly any Alberta Clippers blowing in. A few days have been in the 30's. I am so glad that it happened this year, our first winter back in 6 years. It makes winter feel one month shorter and believe me, winters can get very long here.

I am getting much better at removing snow with my tractor. At the start of winter I had my doubts but with lots of practice, I'm getting it done. The hardest part was having the bucket at the right angle so that you don't dig in.

My hand is slowly getting better. I would say that it is at about 52 and 3/16 percent right now.
From this.

To this.
It's been over a month since surgery and I am getting some strength back into my hand which means that we can start to work on the cabin again. First thing I did was to finish hanging the sheetrock in the inside hallway for our firewall. Once that was done Lisa did the mudding for me and she discovered a new talent. She is much better at it than me.
Now that wall is ready for our cedar and steel. However the steel we have for it is buried under the snow at the moment and it really needs to be washed off before we hang it. So that may have to wait until spring. Another project I tackled was to build Lisa a closet for her mink jackets and evening gowns.
Our room is not very big so I had to be careful not to take up too much space. We are going for an industrial look so I used tin on the inside of the closet.
It was slow going with one and a half hands but I finally got it done.
A little bit of trim work to do yet, but it turned out great. 

I know this started out as a travel blog, but it just wasn't in the cards this year. I am definitely getting the itch again. We went to the cities (Minneapolis) a couple of weeks ago to visit my 94 year old father. I remarked to Lisa that I haven't left our super secret undisclosed location since June of last year and Lisa hasn't been anywhere since March when we arrived here. Damn Covid.

We have had some great times with our kids and grandkids though. That is worth it right there. We don't have a bath tub in our cabin, just a shower. Little Virgo likes our shower and we improvised and used a sled so he could play in the shower one day.
And then there is little Audie who has started to walk. He walks like me after I have had a few beers.

That's it for our update. I hope everyone is healthy this year and having a great time wherever that may be.








Friday, January 1, 2021

2020 Year in Review

 To say that 2020 was an odd year would be an understatement for sure. We had such high hopes when January started. Little did we know that the rug would be pulled out from under us.

We started the year out in Quartzsite, Arizona camping out in the desert with many friends. We had lots of "happy hours", ATV rides and of course the big RV show.

If you are an RV'er and have not been to Quartzsite, put it on your list of things to do. In February we said our goodbyes to the group and pointed our rig westward to Anaheim, California. What's in Anaheim you ask? Disneyland! Lisa has never been there and the last time I was there I was probably 10 so we had to go and see it.

It is different than Disney World yet kind of the same. It was worth checking out. We stayed at a campground 2 blocks from the parks entrance so we were able to just walk everyday. In the news there was some talk of a new kind of virus in China. We didn't think much about it at the time. Since it was still February and too cold to head to Minnesota, we were looking for warm places to be. So we headed to Lone Pine, California and Death Valley.
Lone Pine is probably the western movie capital of the world. Hundreds of TV westerns and movies were filmed there, along with the movie Tremors, one of my all time favorites. The Alabama Hills just outside of Lone Pine offers the perfect background for westerns with the Sierra Mountains behind them. Next up, Death Valley.
We didn't know what to expect here but it was breathtaking. I never knew the immense size of the valley. It was truly amazing. Next stop, Pahrump, Nevada.

We got a great deal to stay here from the RV show. 2 weeks for half the price of one week. It was a great place to use as a base camp. We made several trips to Las Vegas, back to Death Valley and many other places we explored.

After Pahrump we headed out to Stewarts Point on Lake Mead. One of our special camping spots. If you are looking for a spot for peace and quiet, this is it.
From Lake Mead we went to Kingman, Arizona for a few days. We did a little exploring along Route 66.

We continued on to Camp Verde, Arizona next. This was a great area to visit. Lots to see and do. Our favorite had to be mining town of Jerome.
A very interesting town. We visited several national monuments in the area along with Sedona. Next up, Lone Rock on Lake Powell.
I have seen this in other blogs and have always wanted to find it. We have been here on Lake Powell before and never knew this was here. We got the Ranger out and had some fun also.Word of the virus is getting more and more news time. We are starting to see empty toilet paper shelves and don't know why. Our next state is one of our favorites. Utah!
I think we have done a pretty decent job of exploring the south east corner of the state over the past few years. It is always beautiful and breathtaking. This is Goose Neck State Park. They have a small campgound there and that was a bucket list item for me. I only wish the weather would have been better to stay longer. We also drove up the Moki Dugway. That is always a butt clencher of a drive. 

In March, we were getting nervous about what we would hear on the radio so we decided to get to a campgound with all of the amenities so we could get some TV. Things were getting worse. People were panic buying and of course the media was blowing it out of proportion. We were weighing our options now. We figured if we had to self isolate we could do it around Moab.
We made a quick visit to the OK RV Park to see the girls and their horses. It has been a few years since we were there and they have grown so much. We headed back out into the desert to wait. We got word that Moab and the state of Utah was going to shut down. So we headed east to Palisade, Colorado. We found a campground that would let us stay if it should come to that. By now the virus was running rampant in the US. 

After some talks with our kids we decided to bee line it home and help them out anyway we could. We just had one obstacle in front of us. The Rocky Mountains and it is still winter. There were a few days of better weather so we packed up and hit the road, driving hard to get to Pringle, South Dakota. We knew of a place that was warm and welcoming and it has an endless taco bar.
The infamous J bar B homestead. We dropped off some of their stuff we were hauling around for thousands of miles. It was a good night of laughs and camaraderie but in the morning we had to leave. We made it to our sons house in one piece. We watched our grandkids because they pulled them out of daycare. Too many sick kids in one place. 

The rest of the year we were out at our super secret undisclosed location building our "fortress of isolation."
From this.

To this, something we can live in. It was a very busy summer for us.

So that is our 2020. As I look back, I feel grateful that we were able to travel as much as we did last year, because we did see a lot. I am also thankful that the pandemic didn't hit our families as bad as the media led us to believe. I am not dismissing it by no means, but we will continue to be careful out there. I would have to honestly say that I would not want to repeat the year over. We made it through it mainly because of what we learned during Y2K. LOL.

We wish everyone a Happy New Year. We also hope that everyone stays healthy until we see each other down the road somewhere. Stay safe and stay happy.

I forgot to add our injury update. My injuries have been a torn rotator cuff, tennis elbow and carpal tunnel. Lisa's was just a tiny chainsaw cut and she needed my help to get that. So I win!















Wednesday, December 9, 2020

Decemberish

 


The calendar continues to turn even during these trying times, and as the calendar turns, we continue to work on our cabin. Although I will say that the progress we are making is very slow at the moment. I only have myself to blame.  Rather I should say my hand is to blame. 

I am still having issues with my hand. The numbness and the pain continue. I have had so many doctors appointment lately. Last time I went, I saw my doctor drive up in a new Mercedes with the vanity license plate that said "THNXDINO". I have been to Orthopedics and  Neurology. They have done x-rays and MRI's. Over the last 7 weeks I have had no relief in pain. 5-6 hours of sleep is a good night. Finally after all of that, I do have a date scheduled for surgery. So there is light at the end of the carpel tunnel (pun intended). I have no strength in my hand. Here is a video of me trying to make a fist. Enjoy.


But enough about me. We have been able to make some progress. I was able to make a bed platform so that we wouldn't have to sleep on the floor anymore.

The real reason though is that it was just too damn hard for me to get up off of the floor. I looked like a turtle stuck on its back, which usually makes Lisa laugh. She has been laughing a lot lately. Like when she sees me struggling to put on my socks. It is very hard to do that one handed. So she will exclaim "OMG!" and then come over to put them on for me. In this Covid world, everytime we get in our vehicle we get the hand sanitizer out. I will grab it with my left hand a try to squeeze some out into my palm. I will squeeze and squeeze until my hand starts shaking, little grunts escape my mouth and sweat starts rolling down my face, then I hear "OMG!" again as she snatches the bottle from me and gives me a squirt. All while laughing hysterically. Serious, if you thought watching me use chopsticks is funny, you should see me try and get some hand sanitizer.

I try to be self sufficient but Lisa is not with me all of the time. I was at the local building supply store one day by myself. I had to use the bathroom. I finish my business and I attempt to button my pants. Fail. Then I proceed to button them again, and again, and again. Fail, fail and fail. I just didn't have the strength in my left hand to pull my pants together to fasten them. I look around to see if anyone is watching me struggle because that would be awkward. There was no one else in there, so I gather all my strength and with a final grunt, I failed again. Well I am not going to ask for help so I zip up my pants and fasten my belt and walk out with all of the dignity I could muster. Luckily I had on a belt. I am in the market for pants with elastic waist bands now.

Back to our progress. Boy did that take a left turn. Our son and his wife came out one day to help me start to hang sheetrock in our hallway. They did most of the work while I fell naturally into a supervisory role.

That was such a big help to have them do that for us. 

We went to the big city and bought Christmas decorations. We haven't really had any for the last 6 years so we had to start from scratch. Since my tractor wouldn't fit in the barn this year I ended up getting a portable shelter for it. The directions said it would take 2 people 2 hours to assemble. So in my reality, it would take a 1 armed man all day to assemble. Which it did. Lisa did help after I heard the usual "OMG!"

There it is all tucked away. To fasten that thing to the ground they supply you with screw in type tie downs. Those don't work very well when there is frost in the ground. You might as well try to screw it into concrete. I had some rebar left over from the concrete jobs so I took some pieces and pounded them into the ground making an X over the top of the legs. Genius! I know! 

What would my blog be if I didn't include a "Dorks on Parade" moment? As fate would have it, we had a wind event that very night. I think mother nature wanted to test my ingenuity. I woke up around 2 in the morning to howling winds outside. I think to myself "crap". I can hear the tarp material flapping like crazy. So I get dressed. Lisa was sound asleep. I wake her up just so that she would know that I am outside. I didn't want her to wake up and I was nowhere to be found. So as the wind was whipping around, I was taking tie down straps and fastening them to the tractor and around the frame. Crisis averted.

We were having some condensation build up in the barn along the wall  between the cabin and barn. So we hired another foam company (that makes 3 if you are counting). They ended up putting foam along the top where the other company just threw in some fiberglass insulation.

Hopefully that does the trick. Since that wall was cleared we put up some sheetrock. The bottom layer was easy to put up and it was something I could handle. Lisa helped hold them in place while I commenced to screwing. The sheetrock, not Lisa. Get your minds out of the gutter.

The sheetrock we do have up, I started to mud and tape. That's something that can be done one handed.

That sheetrocked wall in the cabin and barn will make our fire barrier between the two areas. We also had a tree company come out and trim our Oak trees.

There was no way that Lisa was going to let me climb a ladder with a chainsaw to trim them up. She said she didn't have a good feeling about it and feared for her life because she would be the one holding the ladder for me.

The only reason I agreed to that is because it would have been challenging to do it one handed. That kind of job is easier when you have the right equipment.

We have also been looking for new appliances. Always looking for a good deal and I think we found some doorbusters. 

With the money we would save we could maybe buy a Tootsie Roll or something.

That's it for now. We hope everyone has an enjoyable Christmas. Stay safe and make good choices.