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Friday, October 28, 2022

Mold, Leaves, and Bats???

What do these three things have to do with each other? Nothing really. 

They are just the three different topics I'm going to talk about in today's blog. LOL

I belong to a Facebook group of treadle sewing machine owners. We all share ideas and thoughts and hints and projects and repairs and supplies. I made a friend on there named Robin. She happens to have the same Franklin treadle sewing machine as me, but she also has the same unusual and rare beautiful parlor cabinet. This is a special wooden cabinet that the machine rises up out of the bottom using a chain and gears.... and the treadle for the feet is enclosed within the base of the cabinet. It is a lot different than the standard iron framework Singer treadle machines that you usually see.

The only problem is that she is missing a section of the applied wooden scroll work on the left hand curved door of her beautiful cabinet. She was at a loss of what to do and how to replace it, because this is something that is 100 years old.

her cabinet

When she found out that I have the same cabinet, she asked a huge favor of me. Is there intact scroll work on the left hand door of my cabinet? Yes there is!

my cabinet

She sent me a box in the mail. This is where the "mold" part of my title comes in. Not icky mold growing bacteria infested gunk! Instead, it is a molding kit that you can use to create a flexible rubbery type mold material. I was worried about it perhaps ruining or blemishing the varnish of the hundred plus year old cabinet. So I did a little test sample in an inconspicuous area on the inside of one of the doors.

After 20 minutes, I peeled it away and it came out perfect! Even right down to the tiny lines of wood grain. That is exactly what Robin had hoped for.  This is gonna work. 

So I proceeded to mix up the two compounds in the remaining material of the kit. Mix mix mix thoroughly, wearing rubber gloves so I don't get my oils from my hands into the material. You mix the white and the yellow compounds together like molding clay making, sure that they are thoroughly mixed.

I cleaned the surface of the scroll work and brushed it free and clear of any excess lint or debris that might be hiding in the cracks. Then I pressed the mold material into place starting at the top and working my way down. Making sure to press it firmly in every little nook and cranny.

She also wanted the mold to go as far as the lip edge of the door so she could be sure of the exact placement of the scroll work. The faces of these doors are somewhat curved a little bit and she wanted to be sure it would be formed exactly when she used the mold.

I set the timer to wait 20 minutes. Actually, I waited closer to 25 just in case the thicker parts of the mold material needed longer to cure?? 

I started at the top and peeled it away carefully

Oh my! Look at that! It was a perfect exact copy replica of the scroll work on the door. And thankfully it did not harm the finish whatsoever.  Our joint project was a success on this end so far. 

I packaged it up to send it back to her. She is going to fill it with a flexible wood putty product that is stained the color of the woodwork. She was hoping to get all the details like the wood grain lines and even the little aged cracks that are in mine. That will make it look more realistic than ever.

I was so glad to be able to help her. What are the chances of her finding somebody on a little Facebook group of a couple hundred people that happened to have the same machine and cabinet as she did? 

She was so thankful, that in the box for extra padding she included these two beautiful skeins of wool sock yarn! She said the colors were perfect for somebody known as "Karen In The Woods".

Yesterday I hauled out my handy dandy cranky sock knitting machine. If you followed my blog for quite some time, you will know that I am an officiado and collector of these very interesting antique contraptions. They are known as CSM's, Circular Sockknitting Machines. I had to work on an order for another friend, Patti, who wanted me to make her a couple sets of leg warmers for just her ankles. She said she has a pair of fuzzy boots that she likes to go barefoot in, but she wanted something to keep her ankles warm between the boots and her pants legs. So I custom made her four different pairs in assorted colors on my sock knitting machine.

Once I got her order finished, I started with my new yarn from Robin. It was so pretty as I cranked it up last night while we were watching tv. These sock machines are finicky and cranky and sometimes they work great and sometimes they just don't want to. I have been cranking on sock machines since 1998 and they are a lot of fun. But other times they are a source of frustration and you want to throw it out the window! 

This newest machine I have is from 1925. It works better than the ones I had from 1904 and 1908 and 1914. I guess they kept getting better and better?

Here is a YouTube link on how I operate the machine:

The machines have been recently put back into production and can be purchased at the Erlbacher Knitting machine company in Cape Girardeau, Missouri.

They are rather expensive, but they are made from the same patents and diagrams that this one is made with a few more improvements. If you're looking for some cranky fun and can't find an antique one to restore, at least there are new ones are available. 


While I am working on my fun stuff in my she shed, I am looking out my window from time to time. Sometimes I get lost in day dreams looking out over the backyard. Fall has really come to the area and the colors are beyond peak now. A lot of leaves have fallen and more come down every day. Our backyard has a carpet of golden leaves spread across wherever the trees are standing.

In the middle of my daydreaming I suddenly hear an engine start up and the whirring noise of a leaf blower. What do I see out by windows?  That super industrious Steveio is out there trying to blow away all of these leaves from two and a half acres!  He would blow them up into great big piles and then transfer them onto tarps. From there he would drag the tarps up to the front of the house and dump them along the curb. 

Our city comes by with a big vacuum cleaner sucker machine that sucks them all up for us. Bye bye leaves! 

And then it will get windy tonight, and a lot more leaves will go right back where he just cleaned them up. Such is the routine of fall. But it's good to get them up before the snow flies.

Speaking of preparations before the snow flies, Steve and his brother Pete went up by their father last week to Door County. They helped him get all of his little tasks he needed done that he needed before winter. While they spent the day up there, I took care of painting the "A-Door-Able Door". 

If you look back a couple blog posts you will read about the beautiful antique door that Steve found on marketplace. Once he stripped it all down and sanded it off, then he filled all the gouges and holes and scratches with putty. Now it was my turn to put on some primer and paint. After a couple coats, the door was all done! It is so nice to have a vintage looking door that matches the rest of the doors in our 100 plus year old home. Much better than the modern cheap hollow core door that was there before.

This is a new doorway that was created between the living room and the master bedroom by the previous owners. There had never been a door there before. The only way to get into the bedroom was to walk through from another bedroom. I really like that the doorway configuration had been changed. But Steve couldn't stand looking at that hollow core door. Now that it's been taken care of, I think it's nice to restore the house with items from the same era.

We have another project in the works. I was in the kitchen and I heard a little noise outside. I looked out the window and what did I see? Steve's knees!

Now what on earth was he doing? I went outside to see. He was perched up on his ladder with his tools. He was going to take care of a problem that we noticed this summer...

And this is about the third word in our title. Bats! 

We went through quite a process the year before to remove the bats from the attic of our home. We had hired a "Batman" exterminator from Green Bay to eradicate the little stinkers. He used humane methods by installing one way trap doors to let them out, but not back in.  All of the bats are alive and well, but OUT of our attic!  Everything was sealed up and cleaned after we got them out. Then we had to spread a special paint with a big rented sprayer to kill the odor and smell from those buggers. Finally the last step is we had all new insulation blown in. It was quite an expensive process. We are now free of the bat excrement called "guano". 

But there was one little section where the one part of the roof meets up to the other part of the roof where the two houses were joined together years ago. This section of attic is not open to the rest of the attic--- it's merely a long enclosed triangular tube between them. This past summer, we had noticed that there was a bat flying out of a little edge opening along the soffit and fascia! Steve had gone up there to examine it and sure enough, those little buggers found a way in to that little triangular space. He caulked it up firmly at night to make sure they couldn't get back in there again. It was done while they were out for the evening searching for mosquitoes. But he really wanted to seal that space up, and he also realized it had never gotten filled with insulation. So it was a wide open triangular shaped space about 12 ft deep by a couple feet wide and high where the two roofs came together.

He decided the best way to fill it with insulation is to cut a new opening and then place a firmly sealed vent over the opening after he has the opportunity to blow in some insulation. So he decided to get the first part done by at least cutting the opening and fitting the vent into place.

The vent is just screwed into place right now. Perhaps this weekend we will rent the insulation blower unit from Menards and get a couple bags to fill the void. Then when he puts this vent on permanently he will seal around all of the edges with caulking.  He will also repair the soffit and fascia boards. Got to keep the bats out!

When we hired the "Batman" from Green Bay to come in eradicate them the year before, he told us a couple interesting facts. 

1. The bats that seem to congregate all up and down the West Shore of the Green Bay are all from the same species and family. They gather along the shoreline in all of the homes throughout Menominee Marinette Peshtigo Oconto Pensaukee all the way down to Green Bay. 

2. The reason why they congregate here is because they have a vast amount of food available from the swamplands all along the water's edge. We are right next to the great big marsh and the mosquitoes are overly abundant. He said he has quite a list of customers from all of these towns along the bay, especially in the older homes and their attics. 

3. Where they congregate over the winter is a mineshaft in Iron Mountain, Michigan. They have a bat viewing area to view them as they emerge in April and early May. The bats start leaving the cave and start looking around for food. That's when they migrate south all along the Lakeshore and Green Bay.

4. That's when they come to our house! Then again in September and into October the bats return to the mine up north. There is a large bat viewing area that you can see these millions and millions and millions of bats return to their winter haven. 

Here is a link about the bat viewing area if you are interested in such things. I'm not!


I just want them out of my attic! There are plenty of bat houses nearby in our neighbor's yards for them to hide out in, as well as all the trees in the swamp behind our house. Just stay out of my attic please?

Well, that is enough for today.  Tomorrow I will write about a thrifty day with my friend Vicky! 

Monday, October 24, 2022

CAMPGROUND REVIEW Twelve Foot Falls Campground - Marinette County Parks

On Friday morning, the weatherman gave us a wonderful surprise of promising some sunny 70° days here in Wisconsin! We don't ever get that in mid to late October. That's about 20 to 25° above average. I convinced Steve that we should toss some groceries and clothes into the motorhome and take off. We wanted to go try out one more campground before the end of the camping season arrives. And before the *S*N*O*W* flies.

We perked up a pot of coffee in the morning, grabbed our mugs, hopped in the rig and took off. The colors were ablaze as you can see in this picture over Steve's shoulder as we headed north.

It really feels good to sit in the sunshine as we're cruising down the road, looking out the big picture windows of the front of the motorhome. In a way, I wanted to just keep on going and going and going. We are making some plans to maybe head south this winter in January or February. Maybe northern Texas, southern Arkansas, into Oklahoma maybe, or even into New Mexico and Arizona. Who knows. A lot depends on the diesel prices.

The beautiful blue sky was having some wisps of clouds come across, but nothing that promised any rain. The temperatures were climbing as we headed north to a county campground that we have wanted to try camping at. What a great day! 

We turned off the highway onto some back roads and worked our way back into the campground. It is all pavement until the very last mile and a quarter into the park. Then it turns to gravel.  We don't care for gravel much, because our diesel air filter is at the back of the rig with our engine.  Dust is not good in that.  But the roads were not busy, so there wasn't much dust in the air.  Just what we stirred up. 

The campground we were headed to is called Twelve Foot Falls County park, part of the Marinette County Park system. It is a rustic campground without any hookups. There is a  handpump well for water and pit toilets. No showers, no flush bathrooms. There are three garbage cans in each area for garbage pickup. There's no dump station, but you can drive to the other County Park at Timm's Lake to dump there if you camp here. But it's quite a ways away.

The campground is comprised of two loops:

The first upper loop has sites one through seven. We can fit easily on campsite number one.  We can also easily fit on two and three.  Those two are together, great for people who are camping in pairs and want to share the larger site space.  Number four is actually around a little corner into the trees, but there is a long stretch of gravel road into it leading to a defunct wood-selling shed. A big rig could easily park on the long stretch and still occupy campsite number four. Campsites number 5 and 6 both would work in a pinch but maybe for a smaller camper than us.  Site six is actually a pull through right in the middle of the loop, but short. Number seven is a nice deep site but the way the trees are positioned at the opening, it would be very difficult to get a large rig into it. Maybe a fifth wheel could get in with careful turns and maneuvering. 

In the lower loop down along the river there are five more sites. Some are sloped and some are very tight. We would never get down into them. The road down to the parking lot and those extra sites is kind of steep. I would not go down there with a big camper or a motorhome. Perfect for pop-ups, small campers, truck campers, or tenting.  NO ATV's or UTV's allowed in the park. 


We were the only ones there, so it didn't matter to us.  But in the busier summer months, this could cause a problem. 

The beautiful waterfalls attracts a lot of visitors on the weekend. About every 5 minutes there were cars going back and forth down to the main parking lot. Up in our loop, we were the only ones camped there, with nobody else around. In the lower loop there were two pickup trucks--- one with a tent and the other one had a hammock. I can't imagine sleeping outside in a hammock because it got down to 33° at night. I kind of think he switched and went back inside of his pickup truck? No idea. 

As for the campground, the rate is $15 a night. That includes two vehicle stickers. Otherwise if you just want to come as day use you have to pay an additional $5 for a vehicle sticker. I do believe that you can buy a yearly pass on their website. 

Cell phone reception is a little weak, one bar or two bar limited LTE signal. But it was enough that we could stream Roku late at night to catch up on the weather and TV shows. Over the air TV antenna signals fade during the day but in the late evening they come back. We could only pull in the NBC 26 and CBS 5 from Green Bay. We could get PBS out of Marquette in a weak signal that would pixelate in and out. But we could not get the FOX 11 network. That's important, because the Packer game was on Sunday. And we could not pull in FOX. More on that later. LOL

Here is a link to their website and note that some of the campsites are actually reservable. I think it was the even sites were reservable and the odd sites were first come first serve? Don't quote me on that because I kind of forgot what it said on the sign. I'm sure the website has more information:

This is copied and pasted from the website:

TWELVE FOOT FALLS PARK – This park was built in 1956 and 1957 in the center of the County’s largest forest plantation. The construction work was done by the Marinette County Forestry Department. Old time river drivers, who helped move the pine timber logged in the area named the falls by the distance the river dropped over the rock edge. Rustic camping sites are located near the reflecting pool of the falls.

We got all set up on campsite number one. It was very nice to pull in nose first. The campfire pit was positioned up near the nose of the rig so you could either back in or go in nose first, either way for this site. But there was more grass and open area if we drove in nose first. We also chose this site because it seemed pretty open to get some solar exposure. This time of year with less daylight hours, every bit of solar that we can get is better than running the generator. We have 500 watts of panels on the roof that are slightly tilted. We have a bank of four large 6 volt golf cart batteries that do quite well with any of our electric needs overnight. But we do need to charge back up during the day.

Here is a photo of the little loop of the top end camp sites. As you can see, we are the only ones here. At the far end there is an outhouse, three garbage cans, and a defunct wood selling shack. There's a sign there saying you have to go over to Morgan Park at Timm's Lake near Pembine to purchase firewood.

We set up in the sunshine and rolled out our tarp. The nice grassy area kept down the dirt or the dust. Some of the workers had recently been through there and pushed back or brushed back or blew back all of the pine needles and falling leaves. They must have been there just before we got there because everything was clear and neat as a pin. There were clean new fresh bags in the trash cans and plenty of toilet paper in the outhouse. Very well kept campground.

We walked down by the waterfalls. This one is called Twelve Foot Falls and there's also a sign to hike over to 8 Foot falls. There is a whole map if you Google Marinette County Waterfalls Tour . I think 10 or 11 different waterfalls in the area are marked to travel to. We had done it once years ago when we were on our little Honda Helix scooter. It was fun.

Here's a little video clip I shot of the waterfalls

It sure was pretty, sitting on a bench watching the waterfalls. There are three or four benches in the area to sit down on, as well as a nice big parking area, picnic grounds, and more out houses.

Our little Binney enjoyed the walk down to the falls, but it was quite a hike back up the hill for her. She is now 10 years old and with the damage the heartworms had done to her heart before we adopted her, it takes a toll on her. She needs to stop and take a break. So do I! 

We walked back up into the campground and I took this panoramic view. The entry point kiosk is on the right to pay the camping fees at the self-pay post. Otherwise you can also pay for your site online. It was nice to be the only ones in the campground loop. Peace and quiet--- ahhhhhhhhhh.

I took out my new-to-me red oak spinning wheel. This is the one that I will take along camping from now on, and leave my other more delicate Wee Peggy New Zealand wheel at home. This one is made to be much more rugged. Here is my previous blog post about the wheel and how it came to be:

Steve grabbed my phone and took a picture of me while I was sitting in the sunshine, with my little dog at my feet. It was a beautiful way to spend the afternoon.  It is hard to imagine that last week we had *S*N*O*W* in many parts of Wisconsin! 

I spun up an entire bobbin of cream-colored sheep wool blended with caramel colored llama, and then I started on some soft fluffy gray sheep wool that I had taken along. This will make a snuggly warm winter hat.

The birds were singing, there were little red squirrels rustling around in the leaves, and it was just so completely peaceful. If it hadn't been for cars every now and then driving down to the waterfalls, it would have like we were the only people all alone in the woods.

We were getting the grill out, ready to sizzle up a big plank of salmon for supper, we had a couple cocktails. Well, actually one each. 

Steve prepped the salmon while I made the salads and some pasta.  We do put the grill away at night, so we don't attract bears or coons.

The temperature was dropping quickly, and the weatherman forecasted we would be probably down into the freezing range for the night. We went inside the motorhome and got cozied in for the night and decided to not light the campfire after all. 

Even though there aren't any hookups, most people with built in propane furnaces really wear down their battery overnight by running the furnace with the electric blower fan on it.

Instead, we have long ago installed this Olympian Wave 8 catalytic heater by Camco. It doesn't use any power at all.  Only propane. On "low" it keeps the motor home very comfortable, especially in the evenings during regular camping season. Knowing that we were going to have such bitterly cold temperatures, we turned it up to "medium" for the night. You can see the red glow of the catalytic pad. We keep everything away from the front of the heater and have one window cracked for extra ventilation.  This size works quite well for the space in a 40 ft motorhome without slides. 

Here is a past blog post about the heater and how we installed it: 

In the morning we woke up and it was pretty chilly outside. But we were cozy and warm inside. 
We like having all of the creature comforts of home.  We set the Wave 8 to "high" for a while, so we could sit around in jammies and relax. 

Looking out of the windows, it looked like it was going to be another beautiful day with clear blue skies. We turned on the tv, streaming through Roku, and picked up the local weather. Yes, it was going to be in the 70s again!

We set up the old glass Pyrex flamethrower coffee pot on the stove. I have such fond memories of this type of coffee pot when I was a kid. Dad would fill it up in the morning and it would be on the stove in the dim morning light of the kitchen in the middle of winter, before the sun came up. The first few perks would be caramel colored swirls coming down into the water underneath. Watching the bubbles go up the clear glass stem in a rhythmic perk perk perk as the scent filled the air.  I put a paper coffee filter in the glass basket for easier clean up. 

Steve, the chef, cooked us up a hearty breakfast of hash browns and bacon, and I cooked the eggs. We had picked up farm fresh brown eggs from the Mennonites when we picked up the thick slab bacon at Brubaker's in Lena on our way North. We only had plain bread because we weren't going to run a toaster on the inverter and our batteries.

Steve looks pretty happy to be spreading
  homemade jam on his plain bread.

He grabbed the phone and snapped one of me 
even with my messy bed hair!

Sipping my fresh perked coffee, I was looking out the windows of the motorhome while still being inside and comfortable. Waiting for the temperatures to rise outside before I was going to go outside for the day.

Once it warmed up outside, Steve pulled out my white Cosco folding table. We shortened the legs just a little bit so it would be the perfect height for sewing. I brought along my little antique Singer Featherweight sewing machine. It can run on electricity if we want, but it also has a little hand crank device that I have added so I can run it without electricity. I turn the little crank and it sews nice little short seams for my quilt blocks. I wouldn't want to do big long seams with it. But it works perfectly for working on quilts.

Steve relaxed in his chair for the afternoon while I was working on my quilt. 
He looks pretty happy.

The sun was streaming down and filling up our batteries with solar power. If I really wanted to, I could run the on-board propane generator to sew with electricity. Not really noisy, but I really didn't want to do that. Also I have a pure sine wave inverter that I could transfer the battery power over to 120 volt electric AC electricity to run the sewing machine. But I really wanted the limited solar exposure this time of year to work to top off our batteries. Getting them back up to 100%. So instead, I just crank crank crank on my little sewing machine and enjoyed myself.

As evening came on, Steve broke out another beverage and I had to have another glass of my Two Buck Chuck wine from Trader Joe's.

Steve had marinated some tenderloin steaks all afternoon. I cut up and sliced some potatoes with onion and olive oil and seasonings and rolled them in tin foil to go on the grill. A crunchy salad with the very last tomatoes from our garden topped off our meal.

I took out the spinning wheel again to spin by the fireside as Steve got the wood stacked to get the campfire going. It was a nice warm evening after a relaxing day.

 Isn't that what camping is all about? Relaxing.

 Got some more grey wool spun up. 

Watching the flickering flames as we sat and talked about our upcoming travel plans. Everything of course is just ideas, nothing written in stone yet. But it's nice to talk about places to go, or things to see if we decide to take off this winter and go south.

Once the snow starts piling up, Steve gets a little antsy and would like to be somewhere warm. Me, on the other hand, have plenty to keep me busy and tucked away in my She Shed all winter long. I can be quilting or weaving or knitting or spinning and be content. The nice thing is, when we go in the motor home, I can still bring along all of my fiber fun stuff. I can do it wherever we are! 

While we were talking, Binney was curled up on my lap. She enjoys being close by the heat of the campfire as the temperatures were dropping again for the night.

We woke up to a very cold and chilly 38°. It wasn't quite down to freezing like the night before. But it still was very strange because we were getting a heavy mist and fog. Things felt damp. No sunshine!

I looked out the windows to see a whole bunch of neighbors lined up for their turn at the outhouse? It was a whole flock of turkeys! They moved eerily through the mist, not a peep or flutter. 

The silly little things were wandering around pecking and looking for something interesting. I don't know if turkeys need to eat little bits of gravel for their gizzard like chickens do? But they sure were busy over there and they must have found something good.

Well now, back to the TV station thing. Because we weren't able to draw in the FOX network channel 11 out of Green Bay, Steve would miss the Packer game at noon. I figured we could watch the recap of it or even a repeat of the game on Roku later.

But he was kind of chomping at the bit that maybe we should head on back home before noon. We were only 60 miles from home. Also, the weather reports for Sunday night, Monday and Tuesday look to be pretty windy and rainy.

I got things roadworthy inside while he packed up a couple things outside. We were ready to go in a matter of minutes. He raised the jacks and backed out of our campsite. Once he was out, he BARELY made it around the loop with the 40 ft motorhome but he had to jig jog a couple times. I would recommend that if you do come in with a big rig, that you take the time to back out the same way you came in. If you are in a truck pulling a trailer or a fifth wheel you should easily be able to fit around the loop. We hit the road heading back out of the campground and encountered even more fog.

It was only this way for a couple miles and then the sun started burning through and we were able to get out to the highway with ease.

Home again 

home again 

jiggity jig.

The Packers played horribly and lost at the end. 

I think I would have rather stayed at the campground?