Under Attack

Wow, it’s been a whole week since my last post! For all the excitement that’s been going on around here, there really hasn’t been much to blog about. I got a huge unexpected transcription project that is going to keep me busy pulling overtime straight through the first week of August. What a blessing!

My friends C and C are away for a couple of weeks and I am cat sitting. I go over in the morning to give them their wet food and back again in the evening to spend time with them.

The boy cat is wonderful and always glad to see me. You’d think he’d be excited about the wet food in the morning and the treats in the evening, but he’s more thrilled to see a human who will pet him and tell him what a good boy he is. In the evening, I sit in the living room in a comfy chair with my feet up and read while he sits beside me on the floor so I can pet him. I’m hoping that he’ll eventually move to my lap!

The girl cat is the devil incarnate and I steer a wide berth from her. This morning, I couldn’t find her and I didn’t like that. I searched the basement and main floor, then decided that perhaps she was hiding in the hallway upstairs. I climbed up the stairs, turned the curve, and BOOM. I found myself with an armful of hissing cat hell bent on scratching me to death. The little monster ambushed me! I managed to get away unhurt and I could swear she was laughing at me as I raced back down to the kitchen!

And speaking of getting attacked, let me tell you about my wasp situation.

Monday night, I was going into the shed when a wasp came and stung me behind the ear. It was the worst pain I have ever felt and I have had a dentist drill into a nerve for an hour with no pain killers, so I have a good point of comparison. My ear swelled up like a cauliflower and was numb for days. So soon as I can get an appointment, I need to go see a doctor so I can get a prescription for an Epipen as it looks like I might be allergic to wasp stings. Reactions apparently get more severe each time, so this isn’t something I can just brush off.

I found out that the wasp came from a nest inside my shed. I need my shed! I asked Charles before he left what I should do and he told me to get some wasp spray, wear thick clothing, go to the shed at dusk when the wasps are bedding down for the night, and shoot the nest until it’s soaking wet, then slam the door shut and run for my life. This sounded like a plan except for the possibly getting stung and dying from anaphylactic shock part.

Well, he came by the next day to let me know that he’d spoken to another neighbour (the one who leveled gravel and moved my power pole) and this neighbour said that he would deal with the nest for me!

I went to town yesterday and bought wasp spray (conveniently 25% off this week), then went to see him as it was perfect wasp killing weather (cold and wet). He promised to be by in the evening. We had a big rain storm (my roof doesn’t leak anymore, by way, YAY!) and as soon as the sky cleared, he was at my door. He was dressed in jeans, tall boots, a heavy coat with a hood, thick gloves, and goggles, looking ready to go to war!

I explained where the nest was and he went to work spraying it. He just stood there calmly and sprayed while I could see (from a safe distance) that wasps were pouring out of the nest! He sprayed about three quarters of the can, wanting to save some for this morning. Then he shut the door and promised to follow up today.

He was here this morning around 9:00 and went to check out the shed, telling me to stay back in case he opened the door and there was a swarm of angry wasps waiting to take their revenge. Nope. There was a huge pile of dead wasps on the floor. He still sprayed the nest a second time and left just a bit in the can in case I find another one growing nearby. He volunteered to get rid of the nest, but research tells me to leave it there as it will discourage other wasps from moving into the shed.

So that’s all of the excitement out of southern Saskatchewan this week. Stay tuned for the next riveting installment of Little RV On the Prairie!

Moose Jaw Heist

It’s probably obvious that I’ve had a bit more disposable income for several months, mostly thanks to the exchange rate. I’m living as frugally as ever, but it’s nice to be able to pounce on good deals when they come and not have to cut back on the food budget! Well, did I get a doozy of a deal today…

One of the things I knew I needed this summer was a skill/circular saw for building storage in my shed. That was going to be the best bang for my buck tool-wise because a miter saw wasn’t going to let me do long cuts, a table saw was out of my budget, and I didn’t want to keep having to ask Charles to borrow tools. So for July, I had $120 set aside for a skill saw and I was watching the fliers.

I was also watching Kijiji and I saw an ad for several types of saws at prices that were frankly astounding, ‘we need to move in a hurry and everything has to go!’-level prices, well worth going out of my way to go check them out. I made an appointment for today at 3PM.

The couple lives about 20KM west of Moose Jaw, so it made sense to actually go into town even though I really didn’t have any shopping to do (shocking, I know). I got in just before noon, minutes before DK Sushi opened. I had a yummy and leisurely lunch and then headed across town to do something I’d meant to do in May but didn’t because I didn’t think I could afford it. Silly Rae, making assumptions without doing her research first.

The stop was the piercing salon where I had my nose done last April. The ‘screw’ in my piercing (the end of the stud twisted into a corkscrew shape to keep it from coming out) was very large and loose and had been driving me nuts for months, enough that I actually considered doing something about it in Mexico if I could find a place I trusted!

I explained what I wanted and why to the gal at the counter and she showed me what they have, explaining all the different stud ending types and materials. I was really hoping to get something different than another tiny jewel, but that’s really all they had in steel with a much more discreet screw. It cost me $16.50 all in for the new stud, having it put in (didn’t feel a thing), and having the screw on the other one adjusted. It’s still huge so I doubt I’ll want to go back to it, but it’s nice to have the option. My original stud had a dark pink jewel, this one is dark green, like an emerald. The difference in comfort level is astounding.

Next stop was across the street, Canadian Tire, for truck engine oil and some weed killer. I only bought that stuff there than at Peavy Mart in Assiniboia because I had quite a bit of Canadian Tire money, which took care of most of the tax. I never thought I’d be the kind of person to buy weed killer, but they are coming up through parts of my gravel where it was spread too thin and pulling manually (a chore I actually enjoy) is very difficult because the gravel is like cement.

After, I had time to either go to the complete end of town to Bulk Barn, Walmart, and Dollar Tree or back to downtown to check out Safeway sales. I really didn’t need anything at the discount stores, so I went to Safeway and found there something I have literally been looking for for eight years:

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It’s a small glass pitcher with a lid that seals out odours. I haven’t been able to find anything in this sort of size for storing water in my RV fridge in all these years. I’ve used plastic bottles, Mason jars, metal carafes and other workarounds that didn’t pour well or keep the water from getting bad flavours from everything else in the fridge, so I usually just have tepid water. But my fridge in Mexico could accommodate a gallon-sized jug of water and so I got used to cold water in warm weather. Needless to say, that for $7.99, this pitcher was going in my basket!

Of course, it was made by those crazy Europeans with small fridges! I’m not sure if you can see this, but the instructions on the lid are in… Italian.

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After spending a very little amount of money at Safeway, it was time to head out for my appointment. I was probably going to be a little early, but I was going to an acreage and didn’t know if I’d find it easily. Well, the seller gave me excellent directions and I got there without any trouble. As it turns out, he and his wife are moving to New Brunswick for a job related to their church and they decided to do the ‘if it doesn’t fit in the truck, it’s not going’ method of relocation, so everything was priced to go.

First off, I checked out the skill saw that I was keen on buying:

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It’s quite a bit heavier than I would have liked, but for $20 with a recent blade, it was going home with me!

Then, I checked out the table saw that I hoped would look worth hauling home:

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Um, wow. What a nice table saw! All the bits and pieces were there, he’d just replaced the bearings on the motor, and it has a brand new never used blade on it. For $30, it was going in the truck!

Then, his wife offered me a free router table:

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Not sure what I’ll do with it, but it just seemed like something that will come in handy some day, so I took it.

Most of the rest of the stuff in the garage was unfortunately already spoken for, but I was glad to grab 40′ worth of lawn edging for $5:

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That will do the other side of my drive that doesn’t have the power pole to hold in the rocks!

The lady then asked if I’d be interested in a tub full of rollers, scrapers, sandpaper, and dry walling supplies:

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“How much?” I asked? “Five bucks!” Sold!

I thought I was done, but then I saw a really good dolly just like Charles and Caroline’s, something I could have used several times since I got home. I asked if it was for sale and they pondered that for a bit. When the pondering got a bit involved, I asked what they would sell it for if it was for sale. They asked how much it was worth to me and I checked to see what small bills I had left. I offered $10 and their eyes went round and they exclaimed, “SOLD!!!” at the same time!

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Oh, and I also looked at an air compressor, but for $100 it was too much for me today.

So for all those of you who didn’t pull out your calculators, I came out of there with all that stuff for just $70! I feel like I robbed them, but considering that the only thing where I set the price was the dolly and they were so happy about the price, I can’t feel bad!

I took highway 36 to get home, just for a change of scenery. Anyone who’s been through southern SK will laugh at the absurdity of that statement. Just different rolling olive green hills, bright yellow fields of canola, and periwinkle sky. What can I say, it’s still the landscape of my dreams… and of home.

Spreading Out

Now that I have to usable outbuildings, my living space has grown from 125 square feet (plus exterior storage compartments, plus loft, plus cab), to that plus about an additional 500 square feet of floor space (never mind the potential of going vertical), plus yard space.

I’ve always done a pretty good job of not keeping Miranda too over stuffed, but I’ll confess that it’s nice to be able to spread out a bit. I’m storing excess cold weather clothing in the cabin and anything related to home maintenance has been moved to the shed, which has really freed up my office overhead cabinets.

I’m also actually doing things in the buildings, especially the cabin. It’s nice to get up in the morning and ‘go to the gym.’ After work, it’s lovely to go spend an hour on the swing in the yard and listen to the birds. Laundry is so much more pleasant now that all that’s involved is bringing the garden hose from the fresh water intake on the RV to the cabin instead of having to move piles of stuff out of the way.

While I didn’t like living in RV parks for a lot of reasons, one thing I missed about them was having facilities to go to. That’s a common theme among tiny home dwellers. If you study their stories, very few tiny home dwellers spend as much time in their homes as I do. Many work away from it, have a city at their feet to use as a living room, and/or work outdoors on their property, so they pretty much only use their space for sleeping. I wouldn’t say that I’ve been getting claustrophobic living in Miranda, but since there is nothing within a reasonable distance of Haven, it’s really nice to be able to get a change of scenery once in a while.

I’ve been asked why I’m building my homestead this way with a series of outbuildings and a main house instead of just bringing in a single prefab home. I really don’t have a logical answer for that other than the fact that the proportions of a regular home are too large for me. Building piecemeal the way that I do, I can have things be right-sized for me. Also, this is how things are done in farm country. Everyone out here except folks living in towns has a main house and multiple outbuildings that go beyond a simple shed. My situation is only peculiar because my main house is an RV.

I really do think I’ve found the compromise that I didn’t believe was possible, a way to reconcile my two very different yearnings for both an exciting nomadic life and a mundane sedentary one. I can’t have it all at one time, but I can have it all. I’ve got my cozy domestic summers in Canada and my urban winters in Mexico, with a bit of exploring in between. I really wouldn’t be surprised if a few years down the road, after exploring Mexico as thoroughly as I have Canada, that I buy property in the heart of a city the size of MazatlĂĄn and then spend my retirement years going between these two extremes. Time will tell. 🙂

Taking It Easy

It’s quiet at Haven today. I’m just enjoying my space and taking a breather. I went to the thrift store in Willow Bunch this morning to drop off some donations and hoped to find a dresser or other item for starting on the shed organization project. But I came home with some puzzles and magazines, a sign from the universe that it’s okay to actually take a day off once in a while!

I came in and spent some time on the swing reading and then my neighbour from last night pulled up in his truck with “something for [my] gym.” It’s a Gazelle exerciser!

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Before the comments start, yes, I know that the Gazelle isn’t much of a workout. But it is perfect for my off treadmill days as it will still stretch out the muscles and get me moving without there being any impact on my knees. I am very happy to give this piece of equipment a good home!

Now, to find some weights!

One Person’s Trash…

Something I knew I would eventually want for Haven as soon as I got outbuildings was a treadmill. There’s not really any place to walk to around here unless you want to walk around the block 50 billion times and there’s certainly no place to run. Because of my bad knee, I am very picky about where I run and so I haven’t had a regular running routine since I hit the road eight years ago. It’s something I miss and that I always pick up again when I have a good place to run.

Last summer, after getting the buildings, I put a wanted ad on Kijiji for an inexpensive treadmill. I soon discovered that treadmills are something people buy, don’t use, and then want a full return of their investment. The market was saturated with treadmills and no one wanted to offload one cheap.

So needless to say, I got suspicious two weeks ago when I saw an ad in the local buy and sell paper for a FREE treadmill. I figured it had to be a crappy old manual one and didn’t bother calling.

The ad was still there this week, so tonight I decide to assuage my curiosity and called. As it turned out, it was not a manual one, but an older basic electric model.

I asked the giver awayer where in Assiniboia she lives. She apologized and said that, yes, her number is in Assiniboia, but she actually lives in… my hamlet. She’s my postmaster!!!

Reeling from shock, I asked if I could go pick it up right away. She pretty much begged me to do so, saying that it had been (covered) on her porch (also covered) for about a year.

I drove over there and she plugged it in and turned it on and I gave it a try. It needs some cleaning, but works great! She, her husband, and I wrangled it into the truck and I somehow wrangled it into the cabin, facing the door so I can look out in my yard when I’m exercising. There’s a stand on it that will hold my iPad so I have something to watch while I’m working out.

Ta-dah!

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Now, if I can only get a bench press to materialize the same way, I’ll be well on my way to a little gym. I also have my stepper, which I use quite a bit, but which I don’t enjoy nearly as much as I know I will enjoy the treadmill and which is harder on my knee. And by the way, running is a much more natural gait than walking and causes me a lot less pain.

I’m waiting on a phone call, so I can’t go out and try it, but I’ll pull out my running clothes so I’m ready to go first thing in the morning!