Wednesday, September 9, 2020

Is it too Late???

Hi friends!

I mean...................... is it too late to go camping this year???



Here it is September 9th already and we're finally just winding down from all of our yard work that started last April! We're finally having some time to do a little work on our Van that we purchased a little over a year ago!  And I SO want to go on a little road trip, or camping, just once before the snows fly.



We did manage one camping trip last summer, and it's ironic, that 3 day campout was over the 2019 Labor Day weekend, just a year ago! It was so much fun, and so great to get to the mountains, BUT..........and a big "but"........... we tried sleeping on the bench seat in the Van, that we laid down for a bed (I was so sure it would work!)........but it DIDN'T work at all.

It was a beautiful and nice weekend, but not getting much sleep really put a damper on it. I was determined then to redo the bed somehow. (and somehow it has taken a year..........)






That bench seat was just too short and too narrow. We are used to a KING bed, and when laid down, it wasn't even as wide as a double bed and was way too short. (We even tried laying head to feet, but nope... didn't work).  Needless to say, we didn't sleep at all the first night. The second night, my sister and brother-in-law were fortunately camping with us, so hubby slept in their RV second queen bed, and I slept in the Van. Was much better for me, as I slept cross-ways, but still not real comfortable.

So since last September, my search has been "on" to find a way to have a better, wider and longer bed in our Van!

First, that bench seat HAD to come out!  (It's still sitting in our garage and we're not quite sure what to do with it! Do we keep it "just in case" we sell the Van? or just get rid of it?).

We also had to deal with that big pile of tire jack stuff, bolted right in the middle of the floor! It had to go. Don't worry, we still have it in the Van, just in a different area.

Seat out - not an easy task at all.

Seat hauled up the driveway to garage - not an easy task either.

I thought we would have to build some sort of wood frame, to hold plywood to lay a mattress on. After much YouTube searching, it seemed to me that we could get the widest and longest bed by laying the length of the Van, rather than side to side. It would (hopefully) result in a bed that is 5" wider than a Queen (ya hoo!) and almost as long (about 73"). I had the wood frame plans all drawn out last Spring, but we/I never got to it, due to all of the gravel hauling and yard work we got involved in.

I also did research on Amazon (alot!) on metal bed frames that would fit in our Van. That was a bust. It seemed like they were either too big or too small, too narrow or too wide, or had bad reviews!

Then..... this last Spring, I was at a friend's house and saw some metal folded up bed frames sitting in her dining area.



I asked if those were indeed bed frames, and she said yes! I asked her if she was going to use them or would she sell them? And she said she didn't need them and did I want them? So I of course said yes! Free is a good price, and they looked like a size that might fit our Van. When I got home and tried them in the Van, I was sad to see that the middle legs were too close together to span the wheel well, and that we/I would have to cut off one leg and part of the bar on each frame - so it would fit over the wheel well.

Again... with yard work and "life", I/we just haven't taken the time to cut off those legs. And we needed a special tool for it which we didn't have. And cutting those legs off has been on my "to do" list since last Spring! 

I REALLY wanted to go camping THIS summer!

Fast forward to July 5th when my son came for a visit. The plan was for HIM to bring a tool and cut off those legs. We did manage to find time to fiddle around with the frames and what needed to be done, but he talked me into just pushing the frame legs down over the wheel wells and moving the beds forward. It was a tight squeeze but "would" (maybe?) work, so he didn't cut off those legs. Back to square one.........



Fast forward to August when I looked at the frames again (by then buried under "stuff" in the garage), and decided that forcing those frame legs on each side of the wheel well would make for tippy beds. And I didn't like them pushed so far forward that we'd have no room for an ice chest or our porta potty! (now there HAS to be room for a porta potty, right?). So... needless to say, we didn't buy the plywood or the mattresses, as we still needed to cut off those (blasted) legs!

...........if I can ever get there.............

Fast forward to last week........... I finally got the motivation/energy got off my lazy rear to get the frame legs marked where they should be cut off...... we tried 2 different tools, a dremel tool for which we'd bought a special (supposed to) cut metal blade (which didn't), and a hack saw. I had gone to two different stores trying to find a metal cutting dremel blade!  Neither worked......... then hubby had a brain storm, and tried using a plain old jig saw, and it worked! So we got the legs and bar cut off. I tell you, getting these frames altered to fit in our Van has been my "summer stressor"!!!  So finally, the frames are in place. (What an ordeal).


And we finally went to Lowe's and bought the plywood. I had measured for the sizes we needed, and they made the cuts for us.  And we came home and put the pieces in, and (phew!) they fit just right! Excitement times two!  We will sleep lengthwise, with our heads to the back (so the porta potty can be up front by our feet). The bed will be 65" x 73". It's bigger than a Queen! I am a happy girl.


Now can we take that road trip? Can we go camping?  No..........  had to get some mattresses... and another battery for my CPAP machine, and another inverter to run it. We had already purchased a battery and inverter for my husband's CPAP last summer but needed a set to run MY CPAP. (yes, I have to use one of those crappy/necessary things). Of course, if we camp where there is power, we won't need the batteries. 

We paid to have the two batteries wired into the Van battery, so that running the Van will recharge the big marine batteries. It's also set up so that the two big batteries won't drain the Van battery! Pretty awesome right? (Except those two batteries now sit where we did have our porta potty). But I think there's still barely room for the potty. 

Our two big marine batteries - we can go anywhere now!

Behind the driver's seats, we'll just have room for an ice chest, water jug and our porta potty! We'll use small plastic tubs that slide under the bed for our other items, like clothes, toiletries, food and miscellaneous. And I want to have some hooks put up to hang things on (another "to do").


You wouldn't think getting a nice bed set up in a Van would take so much time, be so stressful and take so long! I guess I/we are just slow workers... and it also takes some "know  how" and money! We didn't  have much of either really. It's been a slow process.

Can we go yet?????

We just got our memory foam mattresses. We bought two twin sizes, and they fold up and can be put in a carry bag for easy removal from the Van. And of course, who found them for her afternoon nap?

Today I'm working on sanding the plywood pieces, and then I'll get the mattresses put down and the bed made up. I needed some old sheets or old blankets to put down on top of the plywood, so went to the thrift store that had just opened up last week. I found just the perfect things.



Next post, I will hopefully show the finished bed project!

Can we maybe then, go camping? or a little road trip? or something.......... before the snows start???

Bye for now!  

~Marilyn~




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Monday, August 10, 2020

This' N That.. and dumpcake......

Hi all... well guess I'll try this new Blogger interface. I've heard rumblings about it but just kind of ignored it. And now it's (automatically) here! So here goes......

Today is Sunday, August 9th. I can't believe it (I know... everyone says that!)..... but really, was July even here?  (My son and his fiance DID come for a visit in July, and we took a road trip up to the mountains and walked the trail along the Metolius River - that was the highlight of July!)



My son and I at the Richardson Rock Ranch, 12 miles north of Madras. They are just that - a "rock" ranch! They have some of the world's largest "thunder eggs" right on the property, besides many other exotic rocks in the raw, and gems and stones. My son and his fiance love visiting there, every time they come to Madras.

My hubby and I went to a town last week (Redmond), about 25 miles from us..... and we decided to stop at the produce stand, or even see if it was still there this year... and it was...... so we bought fresh peaches, blackberries, strawberries and (non-GMO) corn on the cob. I won't buy just regular corn at all, it HAS to be non-gmo.

Everything was delicious! We have a few peaches left. We've eaten them fresh, made a peach cobbler and I've had them for breakfast twice now. So sad they're almost gone. We don't have a produce stand in our town unfortunately. 

We had two boxes of blackberries left, so I decided to make a "dump cake" today. I also had a few strawberries left, so mixed those in too. It turned out just perfect and so delicious! We've already sampled it and it's not even dinner time yet. Oh well... it's a good afternoon "snack".

So easy! Recipe below..........

Hot out of the oven..........

This was so Heavenly! I tried a peach dump cake, but used gluten free Bisquick instead of a cake mix, and it was pretty "doughy" so we didn't love it so much, but we did manage to eat it all!

Can you tell which one is my hubby's????

It was good even without whipping cream or ice cream........... well.. maybe there will be one of those for our dinner dessert tonight.....

Here's the recipe I got from a video on YouTube (of course I tweaked it a little bit):

BLACKBERRY DUMP CAKE

3 cups blackberries or a mix of berries (I used 2 c. blackberries and about 1/2 c. strawberries)

1/2 cup water or juice - I used 1/2 c. of a blackberry ginger ale soda

1 box of lemon or yellow cake mix - I used a gluten free yellow cake mix

2/3 cup sugar - I used 1/2 cup of coconut sugar

2 sticks of butter - I used 1-1/2 sticks (or 3/4 cup) melted

1 cup chopped nuts (I didn't use any nuts)

Directions:

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly spray or grease 9x13 inch baking dish. Pour in the berries and juice, smash them up a little bit, then sprinkle the sugar over them. Pour the cake mix over the berries and spread evenly. Melt the butter and pour it over the cake mix evenly.  Sprinkle chopped nuts over the top if you use nuts. Bake at 350 degrees for 50-55 minutes.  Mine took 55 minutes.

I LOVE that you don't even have to use a bowl to mix things up. 

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So far, this new interface is just fine. It's very similar to before, but the icons are just in different places (and some of the photos don't want to mind me and be centered! Now though, I don't know if when you look at my blog, if you will see the pictures and information that I had on my sidebar (to the right). Could someone let me know if they still see that? Don't know why Blogger had to change a good thing!!!

I've been doing a little crafting in between yard work.

Sweet little mini album using scraps of paper - from a video by Septeria18 on YouTube. She is so talented!
This is my "prototype" so you can see all my little notes! I'm definitely going to make more for my Etsy shop!

I made a pretty card using a "Friday Freebie" from Gi Kerr on YouTube. Every Friday, she puts up a free printable on her Facebook Group, and then she shows us how to make something. I love this pretty vintage card:

If  you would like the link to her Facebook Group or her YouTube video for this card, please let me know.
I tried my hand at some of Gi Kerr's origami dresses. She has had several videos on making origami clothes for ladies - such as the dresses, a sweet little handbag, a fan (seen on the vintage card above), a corset and a dress form. She also has an origami man's shirt! Cute!
Isn't this vintage paper just gorgeous??? I purchased it off of Etsy. If you want the name of the shop, please let me know. I made a cute folder from two #10 envelopes, that opens up and has a large pocket on each side.. to hold receipts, or cash or notes, money.... something to carry in my purse. Again, this idea came from a lady on YouTube named Posh Paper Lady. She used a smaller envelope and only had a pocket on one side. I wanted pockets on both sides.


Here's a darling little "tag notebook" I made using a digital printable from My Porch Prints on Etsy. She has so many darling printable projects to choose from, and usually a video tutorial to go along with it. Her digital set includes some ephemera and some little words also. If anyone would like the link to her shop, please let me know.



Well friends, I guess that's all for now. I really was just popping in to say "hi" and show my yummy dump cake!  See? I watch so much YouTube by ladies from England and Europe, that I'm starting to use phrases like "popping in" and "bits and bobs". 

Have a great week everyone!

~Marilyn~


Saturday, July 25, 2020

All dressed up..... Part 2... THE REVEAL!

Hi friends and followers......

Here's the "reveal" finally, of our backyard gravel project.....as far as we've gotten anyway. We're not done yet!  

Photo heavy, so grab your tea or coffee.......

OUR PATIO AREA:

Fresh, new, 4" deep gravel.. and best of all... no dirt and no weeds!
 Remember, it was like this before:

And though you can't see it that well in the photo, it is MOSTLY DIRT! Very little gravel.
Now, it's clean and new....



We did run out of gravel for our "patio" area, as I said in my prior post.... so hubby spent a day digging what was left from the driveway area that the guy in the loader couldn't get with his bucket. He/we also dug and brought a few wheelbarrow loads from our "back 40" as it was pretty deep there and we didn't need it so deep. We dumped as much as we could scrounge, onto our "patio" as that is what we use the most.

We still haven't finished our "alley" by the garage where the catio is. Hopefully we can do that in the Fall when it cools off again. I'm really not in the mood to have another big pile of gravel in our driveway!


Iris in foreground that I transplanted from our front yard in April!


I wanted to transplant the flowers OUT of all the plastic tubs (blue and green) but I could not find ANY that were even similar (and affordable) to match our nice wood cedar planters. We may have to build our own.


See the Iris in the blue tub? Those are the ones I dug up earlier in the year, in April, and transplanted hundreds (well maybe 50) of them.




Ran out of gravel for under hutch. Will get more in the Fall. This reloading bench, now garden "hutch" will get stained and sealed to protect it in the winter months. And of course, we  had to leave room for the kitties to sleep on the bottom. I'll put new and fresh beds for them there. They love sleeping there!

Decorated with some pretties. I've used the hutch for planting flowers for the summer, so now it's mostly just for looks - but comes in really handy to set our small tools on, watering can, things we use in the flower beds.


I planted two strawberry plants earlier this year, and finally just now getting a few strawberries! They are the hugest strawberry plants I've ever seen!

Love the fountain. It still works! I stored it in the garage all winter so it wouldn't freeze. LOVE the sounds of the trickling water.
NOW... FOR THE "BACK 40" REVEAL..........

Nice new fresh gravel... and no weeds! We're not quite done raking and leveling it yet. We ran out of steam. 
Remember, it looked like this:



Our problem now is.... instead of weeds, we have to deal with LEAVES! There are two huge Chinese Elm trees in the neighbors' yard, and whenever the wind blows (which is always)... the dried up leaves fall in our yard.. and I mean.. there are piles of them already!

Future flower bed will divide the lawn/weeds from the gravel area. Hubby reseeded the lawn, but it's not doing well no mater how much we water and feed it... but of course, the weeds love it.

We bought a leaf blower for the leaves, thinking we could blow them into a corner and then pick them up. That was a big FAIL. All it did was create a tornado of leaves... flying all over the place, into the neighbor's yard and back over on our grass! So we need to find another solution....... any ideas?


When you live in town, and not on acreage, you don't have the luxury of being able to have a big brush pile and a place to put all the leaves, branches and twigs that blow into your yard.

We have a burn barrel (sort of) but there is a burn ban on now. Oh no! weeds coming up already in the "flower bed"!!

We need a place for our tools.... need another shed..... in time I hope. The Golden Chain tree there has died. It didn't like being transplanted.

Spotty lawn. Sod would be best but not in the budget.
One final look..........  we are happy with what we've done so far. We're taking a break for awhile. All flowers are planted that I want to plant for the summer.  The back lawn "weed battle" will continue. I go out almost every day and try to dig up at least 20 weeds. Weed killer does not work as it kills the little bit of grass that we  have!


The front yard is looking good and the shrubs are growing by leaps and bounds. Our Quaking Aspen is awesome, and the crab apple tree has grown at least 4 feet. I need to remulch the little potted flower area as it's been 2 years (or 3?) since I did it last.  I did get the garden bench painted white again.  Still a few more things to do in the front.









I've managed to continue with my paper crafting in between all the yard work.... that is my solace and my Haven and peaceful place....... love my craft room! I can just go there and "bury my head in the sand" and not think about what is happening in the world today.

And of course, now I have a nice little oasis to sit at outside.. by the fountain...... which we have been doing more lately.

Until next time.. hope everyone is safe and well.

~With hugs and blessings to everyone.....~
~Marilyn~







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