Friday, November 17, 2017

Job Jar

The motion detector security lights at the back door quit working sometime over the past year or so. It is not something we test often, if ever, but I noticed they were not working when I went out for firewood the other night and they did not come on. I checked the local hardware stores and they do not seem to be something they stock, strangely enough. I found one online at Home Hardware for $45 and ordered it.

It arrived in a couple of days and yesterday I installed it. A pretty simple operation. Take it down, unscrew the wire nuts from the old one, connect the new one, remount it on the wall and operate the "test" switch. Success!

Now we have functioning lighting when I go for wood in the dark. Or when a burglar comes to the back door!

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Monday, November 13, 2017

Bloggerfest 2018. Any interest this year?

One day every January there is a gathering of Bloggers near Quartzsite, Arizona on the afternoon of the last weekend of the "Big Tent" in Quartzsite. It is a very informal gathering of Bloggers and Blog readers. Everyone brings a snack to be shared, whatever you want to drink and a chair. It is a wonderful chance to meet all the folks we have been reading for years.

This year a host has been slow to volunteer but the initial organization has been started by our Mesa friend Shadowmoss. There will be more details later but here is a link to Shadowmoss's Blog and her post on Bloggerfest.

If you are near Quartzsite on January 27, try to make it, you will enjoy it! You do not have to park in the desert if you do not want to, I have driven over from Mesa twice now just for the day.

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Friday, November 3, 2017


Since we are staying home this year, it was in the back of my mind that the motorhome had to be winterized at some point. Last night made up my mind as it dropped to below freezing and stayed there. I ran the water and it worked but today was obviously the day!

I opened the drain on the fresh water tank and opened the "low point drains" on both the hot and cols water lines after turning on both hot and cold water taps inside. I will give it a couple of hours to drain and then run downtown for a few gallons of RV plumbing anti-freeze.

That should do the trick.


Further to the "It's bloody cold out there", I am noticing the gas furnace is running more than I am comfortable with. I have decided we will use the airtight heater in the fireplace this year. Searching Craigslist, I see dry, split firewood if $200 per cord this year so I will invest in a cord.

My firewood bin at the back is about a quarter full of old wood from several years ago when we last used it and is not really burnable unless I am starting from a very hot bed of coals. I will remove all that old wood to be burned in the outdoor fireplace to make way for the dry wood. The bin will not hold a full cord but will take at least half of it and the rest will stack beside it, maybe under a tarp.

It will keep us as warm as possible this winter.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Fats Domino

Antoine "Fats" Domino, February 26, 1928 to October 24, 2017. Fats died today at the great old age of 89. A New Orleans musician who remained true to his roots, Fats was a great asset to his city. He lived in the Lower Ninth Ward where Hurricane Katrina did her most damage, sweeping whole blocks of houses right off their foundations in the middle of the night of August 23. 2005. Fats' house survived the blast of water bur remained partially submerged and he had to be rescued by firemen who cut through the roof to rescue him from his attic. Fats helped out his fellow New Orleans musicians by starting a fund to replace the musical instruments lost in the hurricane. 

Here is a quote from my Blog on the day we visited the Lower Ninth Ward:

Fats Domino’s House
Here is Fats Domino’s house and studio. It is right in the Lower Ninth Ward district as Fats wanted to live with the people who put him into stardom. The first floor of the house was submerged by Katrina and Fats, who wanted to stay in his house and studio and “ride out” the storm, had to be rescued through the roof of the house. He intends to move back into the house after repairs are completed. Fats started a fund to replace instruments of New Orleans musicians that were lost in the hurricane. His fund has generated over $300,000. Here is his house with his studio attached. It looks almost ready for the big guy to move back in. Ironically, one of Fats’ big hits was Blue Monday and it was on a Monday that Katrina struck his house!


Friday, October 20, 2017

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

How Much Does An (our) RV Cost?

Aside from gas, parking costs and the purchase price, how much does it cost to use and maintain an RV? A few years ago our friends George and Suzi told us to count on $2,000 per year for maintenance and repairs. Our costs have been slightly higher but I include everything to do with the motorhome in my "RV Maintenance & Repairs" Quicken account. This includes updating equipment like GPS's. inverters, adding solar panels, kitchen appliances, TV's, satellite receivers, car washes, even flashlight batteries. Everything to do with the RV.

Over ten years I have paid out $28,600 in this category. This is $2,860 per year. We use our RV a lot. We do not fulltime but when we travel, we travel hard. Mexico is hard on RV's once you get off the toll roads and even the toll roads leading down to the Yucatan are just a series of connected potholes. Things are always falling and banging around. We travel on lots of secondary roads down there where topes hide around every corner and the jungle reaches out onto the road to scratch the paint and sweep the roof.

The above costs include the costs of one accident that required a new roof. Insurance paid most of this but our costs were still around $1,000 with the deductible and upgrading the broken solar panel. Last year was a specially expensive year with all the electrical problems we had driving south in November. This pulled the average up a bit. These years occur fairly often when we have to replace tires (+/- $1,500) and four six volt batteries (+/- $400) This occurs every four or five years.

So George and Suzi's $2,000 figure has proven to be pretty accurate for "normal" wear and tear. Costs have gone up since he gave me this advice and we are probably a little harder on our equipment than they are.

Costs I did not include include RV Parks at $35,100 or $3,500 per year and gas at $38,500 or $3,850 per year. Adding everything together to get the full cost comes to $102,200 over the ten years or $10,220 per year. This has provided us with a six month long "vacation" every year, not bad value for for the money. because the last couple of friends who have taken short European Vacations have faced costs of close to $1,000 PER DAY including air fares, hotels and restaurants. I know this is extreme and are admittedly short 2 - 3 week trips but still... There is no more "Europe On $15 Per Day".

The actual cost of the RV is an interesting discussion as well. We were very lucky. We found a three year old but unused Class C in El Paso, Texas for $54,000 in 2008 when the Canadian dollar was at par. Repossessed from a bankrupt dealer, it had 4000 miles on it from the delivery to Texas and the factory stickers were still on the appliances. This has had a huge effect on keeping the value of this investment. I have kept an eye of the current value of this rig over the years and feel confident that I could sell it for around $38 - $40K Canadian now so my ownership cost has been only about $1,500 per year!

This is a drawing one of the guys at work did of me when I retired.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Sitting Ducks

Well, sitting pigeons anyway. The most peaceful feeders around our bird feeders are the pigeons. They do not hang onto the sides of the feeders, spilling seed all over but rather just hang around on the ground under them waiting for the Blue Jays to attack the feeders and cause spills.

That is what they were doing yesterday. One of them was calmly feeding off the ground when WOOSH a hawk came down out of the sky and killed it in about five seconds! The hawk then proceeded to eat it's kill right there! I got the camera and took a few shots through the kitchen window and then tried to open the front door to get a clearer shot. The hawk heard me, grabbed the dead pigeon and took off, leaving no evidence of the carnage except a few feathers which soon blew away.

Life is fleeting but hawks have to survive as well I guess. Here is Mr (or Ms) Hawk's version of Pigeon Pie

Monday, October 9, 2017

Vents R Us

One of the problems that was revealed when we had the roof vents added was that the dormer over the porch had no way for outside air to get in and the soffits we had installed did not reach up there. It needed some gable end venting. I ordered these a week ago from Windsor plywood and they came in on Friday. Not cheap at $65 each but nothing is cheap anymore. One would have provided sufficient airflow but it needed two to look balanced.

I climbed up, cut a couple of one foot square holes in the aluminum siding and screwed them on. It was not as simple as it looked and ended up taking most of the afternoon but what the heck, I am retired and my time is worth nothing. 😀