Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween

Did you know the term ''bon fire'' actually came from bone fire? After the sacrifices of either animal or human were made to Celtic deities, their bodies and bones were burned. Kinda reminds me of Satanic offerings to Molech.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Using What You Got---A Tale of a Homemade Camper

Mine is red.

I've got an old 5' x 14' utility trailer. Have decided, in order to save $1500 (+/- $600), I'm going to convert it into a small camper trailer.

It will have to be the canned ham can type of camper made of light plywood, weather resistant paint, and good framing. It has to be sturdy enough yet light enough to last at least twenty-five years. That's my plan. Now, on to making plans of what to put where: the bed, stove, sink, toilet/shower combo, heater, closet, other storage, and all the water, gas, and electrical lines.

I've lived in campers before, so the new camper will be like a slide-in that's being towed on a trailer. Except for the bed. It will be a bit tall because clothes will be stored under it. Might have to get stronger RV-type trailer tires, too. Plus a spare.

Want to live as much off the grid as possible, so there will be a couple of solar panels put on it with the necessary safety equipment and two good deep-cycle batteries. Will use a large 25-gallon black water tank for both grey and black water when I'm camping.

Lot's of plans to make. Asking myself, "Just what do you want this 14' camper to do for you?"

Trying to keep the total costs to less than $3000.00. I have stripped old campers of some of the things I'll need, so that will save a few hundred right there. Have 110-volt wire from old jobs, have scrap plywood from working on Mom's house. Lot's of 3/4" pipe from rebuilding water lines "professional" plumbers installed. Gotta use up what I have to keep the costs low. Going to take lots of pictures as the trailer is being designed, assembled, and built.

Now, if I find a decent little camper for sale, I'll remodel it instead.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Fifty Tips on Living Frugal

50 Tips on Living a Frugal Life --- LINK

The world is celebrating another bailout. Huh? Market up 300 plus points, EU leaders toasting each other, and false hope for those who think the good old days of job security is on the fast track back home. Ain't gonna happen no time soon, folks.

Don't eat all your food stores just because a rescue plane flew over your wickiup you built next to your financially crashed survival site. Even if it did tip it's wings, it's probably turbulence. Believe it till you see it is a good thing to do right now. When your old job calls you back, even then be careful. Load up on canned goods, get ahead in all debts, maybe buy some gold or silver, and keep your ride running good.

I'm watching world transportation, fuel, and manufacturing futures. If no one is manufacturing goods, no one will be transporting it. If no one is transporting it, no one is buying the fuel it would take to transport the goods. It's a simple 3-spoked wheel that has to be fueled to revolve.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Current Book: How to Survive Without a Salary - Chapter One

Chapter One: What's the Catch? Learning confidence, flexibility, and patience as I wrap my mind around living a life style not as self-indulgent for material goods.

QUOTE: "There are no magic formulae or secret sugar daddies to milk. What we do have is a lifestyle---carefully planned and slowly built---that reduces the need for cash to a level that can be easily met with casual income." Page 12

How to Survive Without a Paycheck by Charles Long from Warwick Publishing. Bought my copy over at

If I'm going to live in a camper trailer for the rest of my days, I'm going to have to live light and save as much of my cash income that I can for truck repairs, camper repairs and upgrades, truck and trailer tags, land taxes, state & federal income taxes, as well as food, medicines, and for the cat's needs. In my camper, there will be a small library of books on how to live off the land, home medicines, and frugal living. And,of course, my Holy Bible.

Here's the link to another favorite frugal minded book over at Amazon. Living Well on Practically Nothing

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Camper Trailers --- Ham Can Campers

Old Tin Can Campers - Remodeling images CLICK HERE!

I've found the basic shape of my new plywood camper, but exactly how do you build one? The above link has excellent remodeling images of old "ham can" campers being disassembled and rebuilt. Many good ideas at this site. I'll be back.

I own a little land, but have no cash to build a house on it. If it's possible to be phobic to go in debt then I have it. No debt. Period.

Do I really need a house, I asked myself back in 1995? Nope. Been living in campers ever since. My plywood camper will be a blend of the campers I've lived in. A blend of a 8' slide-in and a bumper pull. With the bunk over the propane tanks, I can build a 12' camper and still have lots of room for my gear, a stove, small catalytic heater, sink, toilet/bath combo, and small dorm room type fridge. It will need a black water, grey water, and fresh water tank.

I'll heat water on the stove and bathe out of a bucket. Been doing that for a while and I get just as clean as in a tub bath and don't use but five gallons of water (at the most).

Cat doors are important on cold winter nights when the cat wants out and you're already snug and warm in your surplus military sleeping bag that's stuffed with another soft nylon sleeping bag and it's all wrapped up in a modified bivy bag with a warm, insulated poncho liner on top. You have your home knit cap and scarf on as well as a poofy soft insulated jacket and very thick socks on your feet. Wearing an ugly flannel night gown and a pair of bleach-stained fleece pants, you are comfortable, warm, and sleeping peacefully. As you are dreaming so happily of catching perfect white crappie (three pounds a piece) and fat catfish (five pounds a piece) the impatient cat (who weighs 18 pounds) wakes you up with sharp claws in your leg and a loud meow when he decides to declare, "I gotta pee. Open the door ... or else." And if you don't get up, he starts knocking things off of shelves till you do. Both of my old 8' slide-in campers had cat doors.

Here's another link to images of vintage campers being restored CLICK HERE!

When I start to build the camper, will be taking lots of pictures. Somebody out there might be able to use the images to get ideas to build a cheap home for themselves.

Remembering That There Are Other People Out There ...

... who have it much worse than you do.

Dropping off some bought and home knit caps and scarfs at a local charity. Winter is coming on and sometimes a scarf wrapped around your neck and a thick, warm cap can make the difference between life and death on the streets.

Today's To Do: Clean out the gutter. Sharpen the chainsaw. Cut up some fallen tree limbs.

Get my little backyard camp supplied with extra firewood. Maybe build a campfire after Mom goes to bed tonight and brew a cup of goldenrod tea. Sinuses are a bit congested. I need a few hours away from her and she not knowing it. You have to do that with the grouchy old folks you take care of. If they don't know you are busy enjoying yourself for a little bit, they leave you alone. If they know you are busy enjoying yourself, they interrupt you a lot. Have no idea why that is.

Lunch: Italian beef with elbow macaroni. All tomatoey and good. Definitely cold weather food.

It's a beautiful, cool day. Lots of sunshine with occasional breezes. Mom pees herself every night, so I have to air out her blankets every sunny or breezy day I can.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

You Move Towards What You Picture in Your Mind...

...and how much you love it will always grease the tracks of motivation. We all seem to find time to do the things we love, don't we?

Blah. Blah. Blah. Don't feel like doing anything today and that's not good. I thought myself into this emotion and now I have to think my way out. Just a couple of hours of daylight left, too.

Learned a long time ago that we move towards what we picture in our mind. I need to get up off my duff and picture myself dragging out the lawnmower and repairing the wheel height adjuster. Hmm,feeling a bit motivated already. Yep. It's working. Just keeping that image of me checking out the wheel height assembly is now...what...wait a minute...YES!...I'm getting up. I feel the need to put on shoes and get moving. Just holding that image and...and...and it's working. See ya later. Got some work to do.

Looks like the piece of flexible metal that is suppose to slip into notches is losing it's flex. Will simply find a long enough bolt and permanently fix the mower height to three inches. Don't think I'll be buying anymore Sears lawn mowers again. It's only two seasons old and is already having to be rigged up to run right.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Grouchy Old People

Mom is 93 years old and is dying. You only have to look at her to know this. And she's grouchy. From the constant aches and pains of a decrepit body, I suppose. Grouchiness breeds impatience, too. I have to work at being patient with her now because constantly getting snapped at over nothing grates the nerves to bleeding raw. We're both praying that God calls her home and soon. It hurts seeing her all curled up in her hospital bed moaning from pain, but there's nothing to be done for someone who is resistant to help.

Old people pee on themselves a lot. Even with the adult diapers, it still stinks. Stinks up a whole room like unreal. Mom peed herself in the night and wouldn't get up to be cleaned. Told me she didn't care if she was laying in her own pee and that it stank.

Oh, crap. Here we go again.

Had to open a can of firm patience blended with a little tough love.

I had to threaten to call the fire department to finally make her get up. Gave her fifteen minutes to make up her mind and if she wasn't trying to get up, I'd have to call the cops on her as well. She called my bluff and I raised the stake by telling Mom what I was going to say to the 9-1-1 operator.

"9-1-1. What's your emergency?"

"Hello. My name is Charlotte. I have a 93 year old mother that refuses to get out of bed. She's soaked in her own urine and smells terrible. I am concerned she will get a skin disease from soaking in her own urine. Please send help. I don't know what to do get her out of bed. She smells terrible and this can't be good for her to soak in her own urine for hours. I've been trying to make her get up and she refuses, too. Says she doesn't care if she is soaking in her own pee and stinking up the entire room."

After that, I would have to give my address because this is clearly a call of concern for a person at risk of causing themselves bodily harm. I would have done it, too. No doubt about that.

Mom got right up and is now eating breakfast all cleaned up and in fresh diapers. Grouchy. In pain. Can't do nothing except forget herself in Turner Class Movies or the Weather Channel. Old people are hard headed, but even they have fears you can manipulate to get them to take better care of themselves.

When the day comes and Mom won't get up and out of bed because she is drenched in her own urine no matter what trick I pull out of my hat, well, that's the day I'll call her doctor and home health nurse and see about having Mom put into a nursing home. As long as Mom capitulates a little bit, I can take care of her. If she won't stay clean or refuses to eat, it's hello nursing home. My skill set level in caring for old and grouchy people just went as high as it can go and now she needs professional help.

I asked Mom last week about letting my older sister care for her for a while, but she refused. Said she doesn't trust my older sister. Well, looks like I'm here for the long run then.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Changing Spark Plugs and Making Truck Camper Plans

Hello. Welcome to my blog. Will be recording the experiences of a middle-aged woman who lives with a dying mother. I do most of the work around here, so if you enjoy reading about such things as engine tune ups, lawn mower repair, roof or ceiling work, occasional plumbing or wiring work, taking care of the dying elderly, running for your life from red wasps while cutting the hedge, hunting, fishing, cats, the neighbors, survivalist skills, plants as food and medicine, identifying mushrooms cause it's fun, hiking in the woods, fishing all night on the river, setting trotlines, you'll enjoy my little life here in Jackson, Mississippi.

As the economy tanks and the price of having a mechanic do simple work on your truck increases, it's a good idea to learn how to tune up the engine. You'll get better performance and the engine lasts longer, too.

Replaced the spark plugs and wires this week at 80,000 miles. The Haynes manual stated the engine should be cold when removing plugs, but the plugs weren't budging at all and I'm using the correct tools, too. I was concerned I would either break the old spark plug or damage the engine block. So, cranked the engine till it was a little warm. Enough for the engine metal to expand a little bit. A careful pull with the short cheater bar and the plugs loosened. You have to be very careful of not breaking the engine block around a spark plug or breaking a plug off into the block. That's a very expensive piece of work to repair unless you have the tools and talent to do the work.

I was quite pleased with the terminal end (sparking end) of the old spark plugs with it's dusty brownish gray color. The Shell gas I buy 99% of the time is burning as it should. My 12 year old Ford is now fully tuned up with an oil change, air filter change, gas filter change, antifreeze change, shocks change, and spark plug and wires changed. Keeping this up, I ought to get at least 200,000 miles out of old Boss, The Ford Pick'em Up Truck.

Upton Tire Pros here in Jackson was going to charge me $480 to change my spark plugs and wires. When the young feller told me the price, I was shocked. I expected $200 to maybe no more than $300 at the very most. I had to decline and drove home feeling like somebody took an ax and swung at me and barely missed. Bought all I needed at AutoZone for $75. With the help of a Haynes manual and making it a point to take my time, the six plugs and wires were changed :) Saved $405. (That pretty much paid for the shock absorber changing.) Prayers for help from God to do a good job was included, too. I always ask God for help before I do work on the truck. It's my only ride.

Old trucks have class.

Note: changing out plugs on these newer squshed together engines is a pain. I was use to changing plugs and wires in vehicles built back in the 70s and 80s. Lots of elbow room under the hood in those days.

Now what do I do? Trucks all tuned up. Getting the state required inspection sticker and tag next month. Maybe wash the truck next week. Looks like rain today and tomorrow.

Lawn mower needs repairs to the wheel height adjuster. Only two years old and the height adjuster lever has worn out. If it's not raining tomorrow, I'll turn the mower over and see what's wrong. Have it tied in place right now with a worn out extension cord. Hey, don't laugh. It's an ugly fix that works. The connections of the wheel height adjustment assembly might just need tightening. If more than that, I'll just bolt the lever arm into place at a 3" cutting height.

This old house I'm staying in is falling off it's foundation and is being eaten up alive by termites. Back in the 1950s I guess they didn't have treated wood like they do now. After Mom passes, I'm planning on tearing it down just as soon as I get my two campers built. One goes onto the bed of my truck and the other is going to be a bumper pull camper around 16' long or possibly shorter. Want to keep the dry weight to around 2500 pounds or less on the trailer's axles. It will be a plywood camper sturdily built to last at least 20 years without leaking. Lots of waterproofing to do.

Campers are notorious for leaking, so I'll have to do research on plywood campers on making them leak proof. The roof of the bumper pull will have to be sturdy enough to be walked on, so I can load my aluminium boat on top of it. If you own a "store-bought" camper, put it under a roof or place a tarp over the entire roof when it's not in use. All manufactured campers leak eventually and there's no getting around it except keeping the RV under a cover of some sort.

Well that's it for today. Did some laundry and cleaned up the house a bit as well as work on my truck. Cooking a couple of Marie Callendar's pot pies for Mom and me for supper. They are sooooo good. Mom turns 93 years old in less than two weeks. Wants a fried oyster dinner for her birthday present. That can be arranged. Think I'll get the sea food plate.