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Thursday, September 20, 2018

Fixing the Front Porch Door

We are working on another project on Our Old House, but I can't post about it until everything is installed.  So in the meantime I will post about something we took care of a couple weeks ago.

When you have a house that is 104 years old, things need to be fixed up from time to time. Especially when you want to keep the same things that are 104 years old as well.   The exterior front door on the porch is one of them.   Some people would just rip it out and install some fanky-swanky new aluminum insulated door.  But not us.... nope!

We know from an old 1930's era photo of our house, that the front porch door is close to original.  It gets opened multiple times a day, to put out our flag, grab packages delivered to the front steps, and take the flag back in at night.

Although we try to be gentle with things like doors and windows, (to make them last) the front door gets slammed from time to time.  Add to that the humid weather we have been having makes the wood heave and split and swell.  In the subzero winter temps it freezes and contracts too.

We noticed a pretty big split was forming along the frame on the lower edge.  Oh my!  We had to take care of that before it got any worse, for sure.

Steve sent me to the hardware store to get some long long 6 inch wood screws with a flat pan head that could lay down flat in a recessed hole in the wood (so it didn't scrape the opposite door jamb).  I searched and searched in the store and finally found some at the bottom of a bin, with other stuff piled on top. I guess they don't sell many of them, or nobody can find them?

He pre-drilled two long deep holes into the first part of the door....
(yes in his stocking feet with sawdust all over!) 

He decided this was a "sit down" job! 

Then he carefully installed the long screw into the pre-drilled hole in the first part of the wood, and then the threads pulled in snug as they dug into the second piece of wood. 

With a very careful and slow zip zip zip he let it tug in tight to the wood and draw it all together tight.  Not too tight that it stripped, but tight enough to pull the door pieces together. 

Look At That!  All Fixed! 

(don't look at his sawdusty sock)  

Then I took out my handy dandy paint brush and touched it all up again.  Good to go now for another hundred years????

Speaking of tools, did you know in the monthly newspaper from AARP (not the magazine, but the newspaper that comes folded in half in the mail) there is always a page of coupons from Harbor Freight?  They usually have something for "FREE" with additional purchase.  This month was a set of 6 magnetized screwdrivers.  Sometimes, if Steve has time to kill while his transport people are at doctor appointments in Appleton, he wanders around the nearby Harbor Freight until they are done. He has a phone on him for the transport bus that they can call him when they are ready. 

Most gals want their sweetie to bring them flowers, or candy, or sexy lingerie.... but I get a pitter pat to my heart when he brings me tools!!!  Ahhhhhh  I already have my own set of screwdrivers, wrenches, drill etc. in the house in my workroom.  Sometimes he swipes MY tools rather than go out into the garage to get his own.  I have to find them and put them back in MY drawers and cabinets. 

But I wanted a set of screwdrivers for ME for up in my sewing room.  Now I have a set!  It sure beats running downstairs to get a screwdriver when I need one. Sometimes my quilting frame needs a tweak or my loom needs to be tightened up at a joint.  Having them at hand on the second story is a good thing. Plus---- he can't swipe them.  I have a locking drawer in a file cabinet to stow them in. Tee heeee

Speaking of my sewing room, I got part of my newest quilt done on the quilting frame.  It would not stitch right on Monday when it was hot and humid. The thread kept fraying and breaking. ARGGHHH!!! I did everything, cleaned the machine, changed the needle, adjusted the tension both top and bottom, changed the thread type.  Nothing worked.  So I set it aside until Wednesday.  I walked up the machine, turned it on, and it sewed perfectly!  Gremlins, I tell ya....

This pic is a little dark, but then you can see the leaded glass suncatcher collection on the windows when I sew. This is a  Handi-quilter frame set up on two banquet tables butted up together and screwed down tight.  I set my domestic Janome machine onto a moving carriage and kinda "drive" it back and forth and around to make pretty stitching patterns.

It lets me do my own free-motion quilting on my own rolled up quilt tops, batting and backings.  I don't have the money to send them out to be done by a long-armer contract person.  This is working very well for me and the 9 or 10 quilts a year that I do manage to complete.

Here is a little video clip I made 
while working on another quilt of how it operates:

I wanted to write about our newest Our Old House project, but we are 90% done and just have to wait until tomorrow for the last 10% to finish it up... if the mosquitos are at bay? 

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Power Pole Swap

I went back in my photos to see what I forgot to blog about during the last month or so. I totally forgot about this exciting day in our back yard!

In late July, we were sitting in our lounge chairs and noticed a bunch of sawdust around the base of the power pole that is stuck in our backyard.  The pole is totally ugly to begin with, plus it's tilted to one side.  It's all dried out and grey and full of holes. To make matters worse, it never got replaced when the power company replaced all of the other poles in our block.  We think they forgot us.

Our pole is at the end of a row of poles, and it supplies power to our neighbor's home via the overhead wires. Our power lines are buried.  Also we don't use the cable or the telephone lines that are on the pole either.  But we have to have it in our yard.

When we put up the fence, we inquired about having it moved to the property line 8 feet over.  The cost was atrocious!  It was about $1,200 for the power company, and another $800-1,000 for the cable and phone lines to be moved.  No thank you. 

Well.... now that we saw the piles of sawdust around the base, we looked closer and saw it was crawling with bugs!  It appears that some kind of boring beetle was having a feast on the old worn wood.  We called the power company and they someone out right away.  One good whack of a hammer sent the bugs a-scurrying!  We sprayed them down with a strong insecticide and kept the dogs away.  The guys from the power company said it would be replaced immediately, due to the danger of it snapping off in the next storm.  The base was weakened and it could cause a danger if it went over. Being at the end of a line, if it broke the wires would be on the ground.  If it had been suspended between two other poles, it would not be so tragic.  They moved us right up the line for replacement toot sweet.

Again, we asked about relocating it ON the property line, but nope--- they could only go a few feet from the present location. If we went over 6 more feet, it would be wayyyy too expensive.  Ouch!

The work crew guys arrived in a few days and we offered to remove parts of the fence to access the yard. They said no problem, they have all the equipment to reach over the fence and do it from the neighbor's unfenced backyard.  They have easement rights to drive across the lawns to get to the poles they said.
Here is the old pole:

They fired up the big tools and eased this huge hole driller auger device from the back of a truck, carefully over the fence next to the pole.  I settled down in a lawn chair to watch the show! 

They carefully dumped all the dirt from the hole onto a tarp, and made sure to not make a mess on our lawn.  Soon it was time to attach the new pole to a cable and tauntly snug it up to a large arm.  It came up up up and over the fence into place!

It was so exciting and interesting that I almost forgot to make a little video clip of it!  So here they are putting the pole into place with that big arm:

Once they got the new pole upright and perfectly plumb, they started to move over the wires from the old post to the new one.  They had to add little extension pieces to each of the lines. It was fun to watch and appreciate the care and caution they use when working with such high voltage.

While the guy was up there, he gave the top of the pole a whack and it was just crawling with beetles!  They were dropping to the ground and we sprayed again to kill them off before they infiltrated our garage or house!   Next he grabbed a chainsaw and took off the top few sections, to carefully move the nest of the bugs onto their trucks to take it away.  Then the remaining trunk (which was surprisingly more solid) was tugged out a bit at a time with their big boom. I took a video of that process too: 

Within just a few hours, they had dug the hole, put in the new pole, changed over the wires, and removed the old pole.  They refilled the hole and tamped down the dirt,  One guy even brought two big buckets of good black dirt and some grass seed as well.  They sure did a good job, and we have a nice neat upright level plumb pole!   

It would have been nice to have it relocated to the other side of the fence as we wished... Our property line is actually is almost 2 feet past the fence. When we put the fence up, we had to put the fence between the pole and two big cable tie-downs.  It was as far over as we could. The tie downs go into the neighbor's yard and we could only fit the fence along that portion of the yard.  Oh well, we haven't won the lottery lately, so no moving the pole for us.  We will be happy with the pole where it is.


Things have definitely cooled down this week in Wisconsin.  Last night we turned on the electric mattress pad heater so our bed was cozy warm.  This morning Steve had to leave for work by 6:30 a.m.  He brought me up a cup of coffee before he left, and tossed both dogs onto the bed to keep me company while I watched the news.  

They sure enjoyed the warmth!!!

When I finally did get up,
neither one wanted to leave the bed! 

I guess I can't blame them....

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Got a Shipment From Mexico

I have two sassy doggies who lead exciting lives...  and often that involves seeing what is going on OUTSIDE.  They fling their little bodies up on the chairs, footstools or ottomans to see out the windows.  It is important for them to see what is passing by. It might be the mail lady, a neighborhood doggie on a walk, or just our neighbor Diane hanging out her laundry.  It doesn't matter really what it is, just that it is INTERESTING and they need to see it.  And bark!  While they bark, they hold their bodies up on their dainty little paws, which are braced on the windowsills.

Their claws stretch out to hold them up, and they have made gouges in the woodwork of the window in the family room.  Fortunately, that is not an "original" woodwork windowsill, it had been added sometime in the 80's by the previous owners.  I have covered up the scratches with new stain and added new poly to seal it up.  But....  sometime in the future if I find old windows, we will restore that back to the way it was.  I hate seeing the scratches at any cost.

Since we rearranged the living room, now my "new to me" ottoman is located under the front living room window.  Those sassy dogs want to jump up there to see what is going on out on the front sidewalk.  When we are in the room, they know it's "OFF" and they don't dare jump up there.  But if we happen to be in another part of the house, they have no fear of our wrath, and ignore their inner warnings.  They jump up and park their paws on that windowsill and bark their fool heads off!

(they spit on the glass as they bark as well) 

I tried to deter them somewhat by filling pretty containers with rocks we collected in Canada.  It worked for a few weeks. They still prop their claws and paws in between the containers and continue to bark to their heart's delight.   I see three tiny scratches already, and don't want anymore.

Most people would just say to move the ottoman --- but but but --- it looks so good there and I just covered it to make it coordinate and round out the new livingroom arrangement of furniture.

Soooooo I came up with another idea to preserve the beautiful windowsill.....

I ordered up 20 little hand painted Mexican tiles.  They were on Ebay for only $1.60 each and they offered free shipping from Mexico as well.  I only needed 12 tiles for the windowsill itself, but I ordered 20 in case some broke during shipping. The remainder I could make into coasters by gluing felt on the bottoms.

I was amazed to see them come packed in just a thin layer of newspaper (printed in Spanish which is cool)  and a thin wrapping of foam.  Not a single tile was broken or cracked!  Wonderful! I left the seller positive feedback on Ebay.

I didn't want to adhere the tiles to the woodwork, the idea is to preserve the original woodwork.  We had a sheet of plexiglass in the garage, so I helped Steve cut off a strip just the width and length that I needed. I drew with black magic marker along the edges of each tile so they were dark instead of the clay terra cotta color.   I got out my handy dandy glue gun... and a new pack of Gorilla Glue Sticks.  What on earth did we ever do before the age of glue guns???

I glued them on one at a time to the plexiglass strip.  Working quickly so the glue didn't harden, I pressed each tile into place. The strip needed was 12 tiles long to fill the entire windowsill.

Steve came into the house and brought a 48 inch long board to help transfer the plexi strip from the kitchen island where I was working on it, to carry it over to the livingroom and slide it onto the windowsill.  Voila!  It worked out perfectly!

I still set the three containers of shiney rocks (that I had modge podge coated a few weeks ago)  and it all tied together.  I like the bits of blue and white with the Craftsman style decor in our home.

Now if those little stinkers do get up there and bark bark bark, their paws will just slip around and slide off and perhaps make them think twice about putting them up there.  The containers of rocks are serving double duty... they help weigh down the strip of tiles so they are not attached to the wood.  Also they are a way to display all the pretty rocks I picked from a beach in Canada and didn't know what to do with.

It's all worth it for these two:

Now back to the kitchen to the rest of the tiles! 
I cut little squares of felt the size of the tiles,
just a tiny smidge smaller. 

There we go... the glue gun did it's thing.  I have 8 coordinating tiles for coasters for the small end table between our chairs in the livingroom.  We often have drinks that sweat or make a ring on the woodwork if we don't use a coaster. I always have a glass of ice water at hand, so having pretty tile coasters is just the thing.  (I had some I made with other tiles we brought back from Mexico a few years ago that I can put in other areas of the house now)  I did put some on the coffee table and end tables in the family fiber room.

Our weather changed in Wisconsin overnight.  We went to bed after a high of 90 degrees, sweltering humid icky weather.  Storms moved in, and there was flooding in Green Bay overnight. They had 5-6 inches of rain in the matter of an hour or two.  Here in Chilton, we didn't get a drop, but did have a lot of heat lightning and heavy humid air feeling like a storm was brewing.

This morning things were cool, as a new front moved in.  We were down to the low 50's when we woke up.  Ahhhhh  Today was cloudy, but we had open windows, fresh air, and lower humidity.  Tonight it will be a lit fireplace in front of our chairs, but that is so much better than the humid junk we have had lately.  Actually as I type this, I have on wool socks and a quilt over my lap.

Stay tuned for an upcoming "Our Old House" project to come. We are working on it, and as soon as the mosquito population diminishes out there, we will put the new parts into action.

Speaking of mosquitoes: They are so bad that some sports teams have called off games or practices. Drive up restaurants have closed window and car hop service. Golfing and fishing numbers are down as well. Even campground reservations have been cancelled in unprecedented numbers because they are so bad....

Here is what they said on the NPR news site:

Swarms Of Mosquitoes Plague Wisconsin Residents This Summer

This is a particularly bad summer for mosquitoes in Wisconsin, because many of the insects survived over the winter.
The mosquitoes were helped by relatively mild temperatures and significant snow cover, according to Jamee Hubbard, an associate professor of biology at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point
"Mosquitoes will spend wintertime alive," Hubbard said. "There are some species that spend the winter as larvae in the water. Some of them spend the winter as eggs, and some of them spend the winter as adults, maybe under leaf litter or under bark. When you get a lot of snow cover it does a good job of insulating, allowing those mosquitoes to be able to survive.”
When the snow melted, it created a perfect habitat. Then, the weather turned hot and rainy.
"We had a lot of snow melt in the spring, and this created lots of pools of water that hung around for quite a bit of time," Hubbard said. "We had an immediate warm-up, and when it's warm out the mosquitoes will start to reproduce faster, their life cycle goes faster, and you get more of them."
Hubbard said in late summer there could be an uptick in mosquito borne illnesses like West Nile virus, Jamestown Canyon virus and Eastern equine encephalitis.
She urged Wisconsin residents to take precautions.
"The best way to protect yourself is to either stay indoors or wear long sleeves and pants while you're out," Hubbard said. "If you go outside, make sure that you wear an insect repellent, particularly one that has DEET in it. If you want to use a natural insect repellent, make sure that you are applying that more often, because it's going to wear out faster."

(me again)  
We need a good hard frost or freeze to kill them buggers off!!!!

Monday, September 17, 2018

Meeting RV blog writer The Bird Lady from Travels With Emma Blog

Many RV blog readers are familiar with "The Bird Lady" aka Judy.  She has been blogging for a long time and chronicled her journey with her faithful dog, Emma.  They travelled to volunteer at a lot of nature preserves, wildlife refuges, and sanctuaries that rehab and facilitate bird habitats around the country.

She isn't blogging as much anymore, and decided to settle down in an Escapees park in Coarsegold, CA in a year round destination model unit. Recently she bought a smaller class B to travel and get back on the road for some adventures. 

Although we never met in person, we have exchanged friendship and greetings through our blogs over the years.  We also have a few mutual bloggers in common that we have both met.  

Two weeks ago, I got a quick message from a fellow blogger, Sue, that Judy the Bird Lady was going to be in Wisconsin for just a few days.  And that we should try to connect and meet up if we can!  

Wellllll --- Of ALL the campgrounds she chose to be in Wisconsin for a few nights was also the SAME campground that we were going to meet some other friends at on the SAME day! What are the odds?  

Guess that it was meant to be that we should meet up in person! 

We drove on up and connected at her site along the Oconto River at Holtwood campground, which is just a few miles down the river from where we used to live.  Actually we had just camped there a few weeks ago as well. 

We found Judy's campsite and got to finally meet in person.  Steve snapped a pic of us, and even with Judy's eyes closed, it still is a good pic of two rv blogger people finally meeting up in person. 


While we were waiting for her sister and brotherinlaw to arrive, it started to rain. Ack!  Well, instead of ducking and running back to our car, the neighbors on the site across the road invited us all to come and hide out under their awning. Bring our lawn chairs and dogs, while staying dry. How nice was that?  So we got to visit with them, (they are summer seasonal at Holtwood and winter seasonal to Texas)  and we got to visit with Judy as well.  How fun was that... while the rain poured down.

Soon Judy's sister and brotherinlaw arrived in their motorhome.  We got to meet them and visit for a bit until the rain stopped.  They needed to get parked and leveled and start their dinner.... so we said our goodbyes and headed over to the other campsites where more friends were waiting for us.  Judy and her family were going to head up to the U.P. of Michigan for a tour around and more camping.

We headed over to the other side of the campground.  There was a large group of Excel brand campers having a group campout gathering.  Our friend John was part of that group.  Although he sold his Excel, he is still part of the group even with his fancy dancy resort on wheels, his Vilano by Tiffen.  John also adopts the elderly female shelties from the Wisconsin Sheltie Rescue and gives them wonderful fur-ever homes. He likes the old girl ones who need a gentle place to rest their heads and live out their doggie lives in comfort and peace, with good food, kind words, and lots of love.  Right now he has three elderly elegant gals who are loving the good life with John.

Our mutual friend Ginny was also meeting up with us and had her two sheltie dogs along.  Ginny is a rescue worker with the Wisconsin Sheltie Rescue and is the one who transported Binney to us from her foster home in Lower Michigan over to Wisconsin so we could adopt her.

We brought along Finney and Binney of course, and they all had to wag and sniff and check out each other's butts once we got into John's mega fancy RV.  It's "dog friendly" and all of them made themselves at home.

Ginny's Ms. Clarabell and Mr. Sparky 
came to visit for the week as well! 

We soon had shelties everywhere, 
of every color
and they all had a good visit 
while the grownups talked too. 

Here is our friend Ginny with her Mr. Sparky....  he is a happy and fluffy little guy who adores the woman who rescued him and made him healthy again.

Ginny is a miracle worker with rehabbing the rescue does with good diets and healthy care and ministrations of love and tenderness.  Both of her dogs needed a lot of attention to get them where they are today.

Can you believe this is the same dog???? 

We had a nice visit with all of the dogs... and Ginny and John.  We had to get a move on and get them all settled in for while we were gone.  We were going out to eat with the whole Excel group and had reservations at a nearby restaurant. In an RV, you always want to make sure your dogs aren't barking or causing a commotion while you leave the RV.  Some tricks we learned over the years is to close all the windows, turn up a tv or radio loud enough to drown out outside noises, and pull the shades or curtains.  Lots of treats scattered around, a few toys, a few doggie beds and fresh water is a must. 

Since our dogs were new to the group, we decided to take ours along with us on the way to the restaurant.  Our daughter Erin and soninlaw Waylen live only 2 blocks from the restaurant.  So we begged them and our little granddaughter Claire to babysit our two dogs for us!  She kept a close eye on them, for sure.

We met up with all the Excel group,
 as well as our other Sheltie Rescue friends,
Roz and Gary.  
They have an elderly rescue dog, Charlie, who stayed home this time. 

Gary, Steve and John 
on the guy's side of the table:

Roz, Ginny and myself 
on the girls side of the table: 

After a big meal, and lots of laughs, we headed on out. The rest of the group headed back to the campground, but we took the other two couples with us out to the Breakwater Park in Oconto. It's a long causeway that goes way out into the harbor.  At the end is a street light and turnaround.  Sometimes we have taken our other motorhome (the 27 ft Coachmen) out here and sat on a weekday for a picnic or even in the winter to sit and watch the ice fishermen.

We found it hilarious (after a few beers and wines) that the sign said "NO OUTLET"  on the post. Like--- where were you going to go but back up the causeway to the shore??? WHY would the sign be at the end of the causeway?  Not at the beginning?  LOL LOL

I am not sure if this link will work, it's a short video that Ginny shot of our dogs visiting in John's Taj Mahal of an RV. I am not so good at embedding links from facebook:


It was miserable and hot in Chilton today. For the middle of September, this weather really stinks!  We were up to 90 degrees, humid, and the mosquitoes can carry you away. We wanted to walk the dogs this morning, but got chewed up in just one minute.  Time to hide back inside. 

I felt it was too hot to cook dinner, so we opted to run up to the next town of Hilbert and get Mexican food.  I know the name sounds hokey, it's called "Mr. Taco".

It was "buy one - get one free" margaritas... and we partook of their offer.  LOL .  I had a shrimp chimichanga and Steve had a chicken chimichanga.  It was wonderful, along with guacamole, chips and salsa.

 Steve said his was certainly good to the last bite! 

He also finished up the rest of my margarita.  He was a bit rosy in the cheeks, so he willingly handed over the keys so I could drive home!

As I type this evening, we have tons of heat lightning going on, and storms impending on the northern horizon.  I hope that we get a cool-down on the weather, and get a break from this heat.  I know it's no where near the troubles that people are having along the east coast, but we are not used to this in September in Wisconsin.   The local tv news said 2-3 months worth of mosquito eggs hatched all at once, so we have such a bumper crop of them swarming any time you head outdoors.  If you want to work on something outside (which we do have another Our Old House project in the works)  we can't stand it.  We can sit still with a Thermacell like when we did  the muffler yesterday.  But if we move around, its impossible unless we are slathered with DEET and wearing long sleeves and pants in the heat. 

Let's hope we get a good chill to kill off the skeeters. Until then, we will hide  inside.