Newest posts are first. Scroll down on the right to see a list of Archive posts and also subject posts.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

the weekend review

Good morning.
Well, this has been an expensive week so far and it's only Wednesday!
Besides deciding to buy a new car, we bought a new washer/dryer combo for the Salon.
A stylist from the Salon called yesterday morning to say the washer wouldn't work. I called a repairman and they said they could come in the afternoon. This washer is 13 years old, and does nothing but heavy loads of towels all day. It has had multiple service calls. Well, this time it was past saving, so we went out looking for a replacement. Lowe's had a Frigidaire, but the repair man said buy anything but a Frigidaire, so we went to Menard's, and they had a Maytag that would take 8 days to deliver. Not wanting to wait that long, we went to Home depot, and they had a GE they could deliver tomorrow. Sold! And they were running a 10% off all appliances! So that helped a little.
So, with Monday, the car, Tuesday, the washer/dryer, I didn't get any where near the stuff done I planned on.
But here's an actual pic of the new car...

I'm not in the pic because I took it while Craig was still sleeping.
While waiting for the repair man to assess the washer situation Craig did manage to mow the yard, and I did some repair work on the mo-ho.
Here's the bay door handle assembly we got and the broken one.

you can see the poor design on that little lever. And the improved wider design of the new one. And yes, there's just a little screw holding the lever on, and no, you can't just order that lever, you have to get the whole thing! Isn't that just a waste? I also replaced the dryer vent assembly, so the mo-ho is now whole again. At least for the time being.
And finally a flycatcher update.

Compared to the last pic you can see they're barely all fitting in the nest. I suspect they'll be gone by the weekend. The parents yesterday would fly up to the nest, but not land. They'd hover for a bit and fly away, as if to say 'see, you can do this, come on"! It was very comical. And boy do I have a mess to clean up after they're gone. Bird crap everywhere!
But now I must get ready for work. Another very busy short week with the holiday coming!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

a new addition to our family

Good morning.
The last couple of days have been such a blur!
After cleaning the Salon Sunday morning, I came home, showered, woke Craig up, and while he showered, made our morning coffee. Except, we had no milk. So no coffee for us! So we went out and did some grocery shopping, came home, and then had our coffee, and read the paper. I went out to wash/wax his PT Cruiser, while he did laundry and bookwork.
I got the car washed, and vacuumed, and as soon as I was ready to wax, it started to rain, and it rained for several hours.

So, Craig had been interested in trading in my 9 year old, gas guzzling truck in for something more economical, especially since we sold our boat years ago and really have no need for a truck. My 2001 Ford Ranger 4x4, 14 city, 19 highway

So online we went.
He had seen a few interesting vehicles on the road and we started to check them all out. He really liked the mini Cooper, but it was to small and quite expensive. He thought the smart car was stupid, since it doesn't get that great mpg, and requires premium gas! He liked the cube, but I said no way! That was the ugliest car I've seen, and would not be caught dead in it much less drive it!
So we settled on the KIA Soul.

The dealer in Lansing had 12 in stock, but from the web site, they didn't appear to have one with the options Craig wanted. But I said let's just go , look and see if you even like it in person. Test drive it, and we'll go from there.
So by then the rain had stopped and I went out and weeded some. Craig fixed dinner, which was ham steaks, mashed potatoes, and asparagus.
Okay, flash forward to Monday morning. I'm thinking if we do find a car he likes, I better get the truck cleaned up, so as soon as it was light enough out side, (5:45am) I went out, washed him, cleaned out the interior, and waxed him. Damn! It looked real good for a 9 year old truck! I got done a little before 8. Took my shower, woke Craig up, made coffee, and off we went!
Well, to make this long story a little shorter, we bought a car! One exactly like the stock pic above. I'll try and get a pick of me and it today. It's about the same size as Craig's PT Cruiser. The color is called Titanium Metallic. It has everything! Even a free subscription to Sirius Radio.
They were giving generous rebates, and gave me way more for the truck than I expected. And none of the pressure to buy extended warranties and other crap. It was really a quick and easy deal!
We drove it home around 2pm. Spent the rest of the day checking out everything it has.
And so, that's why I missed my Monday morning post. But it was worth the wait, right?

Sunday, June 27, 2010

The flycatcher post

After we got home from work yesterday, while we relaxed with cocktails, I thought I'd try to get a pic of the busy parents that are feeding their babies. They usually fly from the nest, land on the chair a few moments before flying off to get more food. So I got the camera, and as soon as I returned, one flew to the chair and just sat there as if to say, "okay, hurry up and take my pic cause I'm very busy right now"!

They are cute little birds. Bigger than a Sparrow, but smaller than Robin. If you missed the earlier post, they're called Flycatchers. I see them on the light posts or a low branch sitting, and then they'll fly off into the air to grab something, and fly back to their perch. They are fun to watch.
Then Craig made tasty home made pizza's and we watched the Starship Trooper trilogy. I liked the 1st and 3rd one but not the 2nd one so much.
And now I'm off to clean the Salon. Not sure what else I'll do today. More storms are forecast so we'll see.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

5 little birds

Good morning.
I know, an unusual Saturday post.
And a short one because I need to get ready for work soon.
It turned out to be a very busy week. The phone started ringing off the hook on Thursday, and I'm completely booked now right through the 4th of July weekend.
I did manage to get the yard mowed when I got home from work, and took a couple of pics of our new neighbors.....

This is the nest they built right next to the patio door Craig won't let me use now.

I originally saw just 2 eggs, but apparently she wasn't done, because now there's 5 little birds in the nest. And the parents have been flying back and forth non stop feeding them. They're getting so big, they barely all fit in the nest! I'm thinking they'll probably be gone in about another week.

In other news, Dennis RV called and said the pics did the job. Newmar was able to find the right dryer vent assembly and has shipped it out. I should get that and the door handle assembly early next week. It'll be nice having the 'big guy' whole again. ;-)
And now I gotta go and get ready for work!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

it's always something!

Good morning.
Fortunately, the severe storms forecast for us stayed a little south of Lansing. Some wind and rain, but nothing severe.
But as I said, just to be safe, we moved the mo-ho over to the side of the garage. Well, upon doing that, I had to unplug him. And when I went back to plug him back in, I couldn't open the bay door. The handle just loosely lifted but wouldn't open. We had this happen once before a few years ago, so I got a screwdriver and a pair of pliers and crawled under. If your careful, you can push the latch up from underneath, which I was finally able to do. Which means anyone could probably do it. Which means you don't want to keep anything in your bays you can't afford to lose. But anyway, I had to take the handle assembly off the door and took it over to Dennis RV to order a new one. There's just a bar that I need that broke in half that does the actual lifting of the latch, but of course, you can't just order that, you have to order the entire assembly. While I was there I was to pick up the new dryer vent assembly, but when I looked at it I knew that wasn't what I needed. It came with a 4 inch vent, and ours was only about 3. He said 4 was standard for dryers. I said sorry, apparently not mine! I even called Craig to go out and measure to make sure. So he took the vin # of the mo-ho, and was going to try and find the right one.
Now it was back home to shower and get to work! Fortunately, I didn't have any early appointments.
Later in the day, he called to say the man he talked to from Newmar said they made several ones back then. He described another one that was 6 inches square, and I said Mine was only about 4 inches wide. He asked if I could measure it, and I said I would as soon as I got home. So I actually took a few pics of it, printed them out, and wrote the dimensions on it and ran it over before they closed. Hopefully that will be of better use in his hunt.
I'll keep you informed as it develops.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

possible damaging winds

Good morning.
Yesterday was a fairly lazy day. It had rained during the night, so everything was good and wet. Our rain gauge said 3/4 of an inch. I did manage to clean the portable grill we take on our trips, did a little more waxing, and polished the tires. Craig vacuumed the house, and that's about all we did.
Even dinner was lazy. Craig made Hamburger Helper. But diced up some boneless pork sirloins in stead of beef. It was yummy.


And today they're forecasting storms and with possibly damaging winds, so when Craig gets up, we'll move the mo-ho from the driveway back over next to the garage. Our main tree in the front yard is a very old Chinese Elm. They give nice dappled shade because of their small leaves, but they are very prone to breakage and I don't want it coming down on the mo-ho.

Here's a pic of the mo-ho in the driveway...and the big l-o-n-g branch on the tree above it.
Next to the garage are 2 big not that old maples that I think it'll be safer parked under.
And now it's time for my shower, and to get Craig up.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

mo-ho update

Good morning.
While Craig got his beauty rest yesterday morning, I cleaned the roof cap and trim on the passenger side of the mo-ho. And I remembered to take some pics!

If you look carefully, you can see the difference. It's shadowed because I was out early, before the sun was up completely.


And here's the side I did the day before.
Then I showered and ran to Sam's Club for Salon supplies.
I returned around 8:30 and finally woke lazy bones up at 9.
I made us coffee, and we dropped the supplies off at work, went to the bank, and grocery shopping. On the way home, we stopped at Dennis RV to pick up some mo-ho stuff. If you remember, on our trip to Muskegon, our dryer vent cover flew off. The bracket that holds it was cracked and it was just a matter of time before we'd lose it. So we needed to get a replacement assembly. I had put duct tape over the opening to keep rain out, and Craig thought it really made us look like trailer trash. Camping world wanted $56.00 for it. I thought that price was insane! Until I kept looking. I swear, any specialty item they jack the price up, just because they can! Well, Dennis had it for $51.00 plus $6.50 shipping, so we decided to at least help a local business. We also picked up a couple of vent caps for the mo-ho.
While cleaning the roof, one touch and the brittle plastic broke. We have 2 vents. One for the toilet, and another for the kitchen sink/washer, dryer.
As I tried to carefully remove the cap, it came apart in pieces.
But I got them off and easily installed the new ones.

And yes, it looks like I need to clean the roof again!
I also cleaned the roof rack that goes around the back of the mo-ho.
The top pic shows the aluminum bar all corroded. the bottom shows it nice and shiny.
I used the same stuff I use on the wheels. Turtle Wax Chrome Polish. It's taking care of the little things like this that help keep the mo-ho looking good!
I also waxed the back of the mo-ho, and 2/3rds the passenger side.
Then for dinner, Craig browned some Hot Italian Turkey sausage, sauteed some onions, peppers, and mushrooms. Made a tomato based pasta sauce and boiled some spiral noodles for a tasty pasta dinner!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Monday post

Good morning.
Sorry for the lack of posts. Obviously not much going on. On Saturday after work, I did some weeding, cleaned and filled the bird baths, and blew twigs off the driveway. We had quite the storm the night before with lots of wind. Our 2 main shade trees are Chinese Elms. And while they give nice dappled shade because of their small leaves, the trees are very prone to breakage. So the least bit of wind, and we get a mess of twigs everywhere.
For dinner Saturday, it was home made tacos.
On Sunday, after I cleaned the Salon, I worked on the mo-ho. I washed him and then waxed the roof cap on the drivers side. I also used soft scrub with bleach on the trim that runs along the cap. When I do the other side today, I'll try and remember to get some pics. The trim appears to be a type of rubber or such and was black with mildew or something. The soft scrub cleaned it up pretty good. I then went on the roof and cleaned the air conditioning vent covers.
For dinner, it was pork cutlets on the grill with baked potatoes and grilled marinated zucchini.
And that's my update.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

another Friday

Good morning.
Nothing much to say. Just another busy week at work.
The Flycatcher that built a nest on top of my light by the patio door apparently has hatched her eggs. The parents keep flying in and out, so they must be feeding them. Hopefully they'll grow fast and be gone so I can go back to using that door again. ;-)
And here's some more pics for your viewing pleasure.
A raised fountain with Mother of Thyme just about to bloom.
Red and white water lilies. I really need to divide them next year before they fill the entire pond!
And a selection of cranesbil. Above a nearly white one with purple streaks on some petals. And below a blue and pinkish purple one.
Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

just another day

Good morning.
Yesterday was wet and dreary, so no yard work. Instead, I cleaned the inside of the mo-ho, and restocked essential supplies for our next trip.
I also worked on the hydraulic jack that just doesn't want to come up. I have to physically pry it up, and last trip it was a mosquito fest. So I went online to figure out solutions. I've had this problem pretty much since we bought it in 2005, and I've tried various sprays and nothing seems to work. So one thing I read was to fully extend the jack, wipe off the cylinder, and spray with silicone spray. I did that 3 times, and still nothing. Oh well, It's just another to do thingy when we pack up. Maybe I'll look into having it replaced at the end of the season. I'm sure it won't be cheap.
And although I haven't said anything here on my blog, Our Michigan State basketball coach, had been entertaining an offer to go to the pro's. It's been a big thing locally in the news for nearly 2 weeks. Well, he's decided to stay here much to every ones relief. He's a top notch coach that's taken the basketball program to national status. That's if you follow college basketball. We went to the final four last year. And every player who stay 4 years has played in a final four. Better than any other college in the nation.
Okay, enough chatter, I know you want to see more pics of the yard, so here we go....

A couple of roses,



Clematis mingling with a honeysuckle vine above, and Clematis on both sides of the arbor.
And finally, a mass planting of Stella D'Oro in the front side yard around a banded grass with golden barberry, mugo pine, and a purple leaf sand cherry.

Now I'm off to get ready for another busy work week!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Ft Custer Recreation Area

Good morning.
As I said yesterday, we've just returned from trip #4. This took us just 75 miles to the Ft Custer Recreation Area. We arrived late Friday afternoon, and since rain and storms were in the forecast, we left the awning closed and rug and outdoor furniture put away. It was also very humid and warm in the upper 80's, and with having so much rain, the bugs were bad. But as usual, we adjusted. Saturday morning took us about 18 miles to the Kalamazoo Air Zoo. They have an amazing collection of planes. And they are displayed in chronological order. They've also have many amusement park-style rides, full-motion flight simulators, 4-D Missions Theater, Magic Planet, Space Ball and a Zero Gravity Experience, as well as historical exhibits and educational activities. So it's a family destination, which seems odd since none of the kids we saw seemed at all interested with the planes, just the rides. But I guess that's what get people in the door. And admission to the the Air Zoo is free. But you have to buy tickets to get on any of the rides, so that's how they make money. And there were a bunch of kids there the day we went.
Anyway, here's a couple of pics....






After the museum, we headed into downtown Kalamazoo. I've lived in this state most of my life, and managed to never go here. I thought I'd now find out why. And we were pleasantly surprised. Being a smaller city than Lansing, it has a really nice downtown. They've managed to keep most of the old storefronts and after a nice lunch at the Olde Peninsula brewpub where Craig had a burrito, and I a tasty California Ruben, and as you see, Craig doesn't like his pic taken, hehehe, We took a couple of self guiding walking tours of downtown.





They have many cool old buildings, and I didn't take one pic. I'm just terrible at taking pics. ;-)


Then to the heart of downtown to Acadia Festival Place. This is a park in the heart of downtown where they hold city festivals, and this weekend was Kalamazoo Pride.


They had rainbow banners everywhere! Music, food, vendors, and lot's of people. But it was too hot out for us to stay the rest of the day, and after purchasing a few items, we headed back to the campground.
Took a walk around the campground which is quite large, and then fixed turkey/cheddar kielbasa for dinner, and watched Our DVD set of Eating Out. A very funny movie night.


Then on Sunday morning, while lazy bones slept, I took a bike ride around the park.



I ended up down at the Kalamazoo river, which runs along the west boundary of the park. You can see how high the water level is. We've had a lot of rain in mid Michigan.
After my ride, I showered, woke Craig up, and we took a walk with our coffee. Then it was over to the Firekeepers Casino, where as you know, is usually not a good idea. ;-) But we had fun, and as usual, one of us won, and one of us lost. We left about $30 down, but felt we had spent enough time there to get our money's worth, Then a quick lunch, and back to the campground, where we did some extensive biking around the park. A front went through the previous night, so the temps were better, (mid 70's) and lower humidity. Back to the campsite, and a campfire to go with the Sunday paper, and cocktails. For dinner, pork streaks on the grill and Craig's homemade pasta salad. It rained during the night again, and so it was a buggy damp morning, packing up to go home. We made it safe, and finally a trip without any incidents.

What did piss me off is we always dump our tanks at the campground, add a couple gallons of water, and a bag of ice. We let that 'agitate' while we drive home to better 'clean' the tank and then we stop at the Flying J to gas up and power flush the dump tanks. Well, they're now charging $5 to use the dump station. I would think with all the money we spend on gas for the mo-ho, we should be able to dump for free. I fired off an e-mail to them saying so. I doubt I'll hear anything back. We'll see.

Monday, June 14, 2010

paths and trips

Good afternoon.
We've just returned from trip #4! This trip took us to Ft Custer Recreation Area. A huge state park just about 75 miles from Lansing. We had rain, we had heat, we had humidity, we had fun!
I'll fill you in the details later. I have to mow the yard, and Craig has bookwork to do.
But here's more on the yard tour. This time, paths.....

A path leading from the sunny grassy area into the shade garden.
This is another pine needle path. Most of my shade garden is under white pines.

This is a brick paved path leading from the shade area back to the sun.
And tomorrow, trip #4 details.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

hosta

As you know, I have a large yard, and with it are 100's of plants. Including nearly 50 varieties of hosta. Here's just a few....

Plain solid green hosta around the end of the deck. This variety can take sun and the deck gets a few hours of sun.

A large hosta with pale yellow/green leaves with a slightly darker green edge. Called Rascal.

3 more hosta I have no idea what their names are.


And hostas around my 2 backyard trees. There's 3 varieties around the big tree, and a miniature variety around a sycamore called Golden Tiara.
I like how the hostas give the trees more of a focal point in the yard instead of grass going right up to the trunk.
And soon, more yard pics. I bet you can't wait!

Friday, June 11, 2010

work, and some yard pics.

Good morning.
It's been another busy week in the Salon. We also had an electrician come in on Thursday morning for some work. In this pic, you can see we had taken out all the ceiling panels, but left the grid and painted it purple. Above the grid, hanging from the roof rafters are 2 ceiling fans. We have them set on reverse, and in the winter, use them to push the heat down since we now have a very high 'ceiling'.

Well, back in the early spring, after 13 years of use, 1 of them decided it was time to die, so we needed to get it replaced. So that's what he did. And while he was here, we had another electrical outlet installed by our new security system. The new one came with separate plugs for each camera, and we had to use extension cords which the fire department doesn't like, so we wanted to fix that too.

And now to the yard.
Here's a closer pic of the pond that you saw in the post a ways back with the roof view of the yard. If you want to see how I did the pond, look over in the side bar and click on 'building the pond'.
It's looking real good this summer. The water lilies are blooming like never before. I'll try to get a pic when I get a chance. The real tall stuff to the upper right are dwarf cattails, and the large mass to the upper left is Pickerel Rush. Soon it'll be loaded with purple flowers.
And on the side of the pond between the flagstones and gravel path, a sedum garden with numerous varieties of sedums. They do well here with all the heat generated from the stones.



A gate going to my compost/storage area with a couple of some type of evergreens trained to arch over it. Then, around the corner of the gate and along side of the yard by the garage, lily of the valley with variegated dwarf bamboo, and then daylilies.
And one of the many paths that snake through my shade gardens.
And I'll post some more pics later this weekend. Now I need to get ready for work.
Have a great weekend!