Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Cat hair everywhere!

Still in TN, but packing up the last of the things into the trailer in preparation for hooking up and heading north. One of my concerns has been how to deal with the cat and dog hair in the small travel trailer. We own several different brushes and combs and shedding tools, but so far none have been super effective. Hoping that they were as good as they were claimed to be, I bought a FURminator deShed Tool Cat Lrg/Purple Short Hair. I've looked at them before, several times in fact, but the price always kept me from buying one. Let me just say, I wish I had bought one years ago! This thing is amazing! I knew the cats were shedding a bit, but a few strokes with the FURminator and there were PILES of cat hair! We filled the trash can after only 5-10 minutes per cat! This is Tyndall demonstrating the hair removal process. This is what 5 or 6 strokes with the deshedding tool accomplished.

This should massively cut down on the cat hair floating around. Mr. K(itty) tolerates a collar and leash pretty well, which is a good thing since hair removal really would be best as an outdoor project. I'm hopeful that after a week or so of daily brushing the volume of hair that is left where he lays will be minimal. I certainly hope so anyway, since cat hair is truly unruly stuff. Dog hair is civilized, it just falls off the dog and lays on the floor where it's easily swept or vacuumed. Cat hair on the other hand is truly evil stuff. It's not content to just lay on the floor waiting to be banished into the depths of a vacuum cleaner.  Oh, no, it swirls and drifts in every small eddy of air, even gathering together with millions of other homeless hairs and forming drifts behind doors and under furniture. (Who named it fur-niture, anyway, the cats?) 
And cat hair isn't content with just taking over the floor either. It is so light and fluffy that it becomes airborne at the slightest provocation, floating up to wrap itself around the leading edge of the ceiling fan blades, clinging to photos and everything else mounted on the walls, and perching carefully on any and all horizontal surfaces at any elevation in your home. And it has some sort of magical ability to cling to everything... 3M's super heavy duty Dual Lock Velcro has nothing on cat hair, it's almost impossible to remove it from any articles made of fabric. It's on your clothes and up your nose, and it stealthily works its way into everything you own.
When my older daughter moved in with me after her divorce, she complained about Mr. K shedding on things. She has 3 cats of her own, but they are all of the orange persuasion, and therefore her entire wardrobe was carefully color coordinated so the cat hair was camouflaged. Mr. K's handsome salt and pepper hairs stood out like a sore thumb. The FURminator will be a huge help in cutting down on the sheer volume of the shedding, and hopefully those black and silver hairs are aren't removed by brushing will blend well with the upholstery in the travel trailer.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Screen doors and children

What is it with small children and screen doors? Last summer when camping with my grand kids I lost track of how many times I admonished them "Don't lean/push/press on the screen." I remember my parents telling me the same thing when I would lean against the screen door of the house, and I remember telling my kids not to do it as well, so perhaps it's hereditary. LOL There's just something about it that makes it impossible for a child to resist. And pets are not immune to the lure of the screen either. Cats and dogs will push/bump/jump on/scratch at a screen almost if not more insistently than a child will. I will even admit to using my hip to "bump" the screen door open or to help hold it open if it's windy, and usually my hip hits the screen and not a solid part of the frame, so I'm also a culprit here. Since I plan to camp with my grand kids, and I will be traveling with both dogs and a cat, I thought I better do something to protect the screen door of the travel trailer. I ordered a Camco 43991 RV Aluminum Screen Door Deluxe Grille and installed it today. The grille guard is lightweight but sturdy aluminum and expands to fit doors from 20" to 32" so it fits most RV's.

Installation was a very simple project that consisted of holding the guard up against the door where I wanted it installed and using a pencil to mark the location for the guard on the side of the closed door of the TT. I butted the hinge side right up against the door jamb and left about 1/4" of space on the latch side. You want to make sure there is enough clearance on the handle side so the door will open and close without the guard striking the  jamb. Using a 1/8" drill bit I drilled pilot holes in the door and inserted 4 screws to hold the guard in place. It took longer to round up the tools than to actually install the guard.

 Because of the expandable nature of the beast the center portion will slide from side to side with a bit of pressure, so I also drilled holes in the upper and lower slide bars and used 1/2" sheet metal screws to hold it firmly in place. This stopped any small rattles that may have been noticeable without securing it. As an added benefit it makes the screen door much more solid, also important with kids and pets. (and hips)
While it won't prevent all screen door assaults by determined animals and children, it should at least minimize the damage. Some days that's the best we can hope for. lol

I finished up the project just as the raindrops started to fall yet again, just heavy enough to soak the grass so it looks like I'm off the hook for mowing the lawn today. The peach tree that I planted last spring had about 60 or 70 peaches on it this summer, but shortly before they ripened I discovered they all had brown rot. The previous owner of the land here had several ornamental (not edible) peach type trees that dropped fruit all over the front yard. I'm guessing that's where the brown rot fungus was hiding, waiting to strike down my poor peaches. After reading up on it, it seems it can be prevented by spraying when the tree(s) are blooming, and again before the fruit starts to ripen. I will have to do some more research this winter to see if there is an organic spray that is effective.

In the meantime, the peaches are still edible if you cut off the fuzzy brown areas, which seem to appear in a matter of hours just as the fruit reaches the edible stage. 60 or 70 peaches don't amount to much when you have to whack off half of the fruit, but at least I've been able to enjoy some of them. I have less than a dozen left, and after paring away the bad spots there's enough to make a very small cobbler. Guess what I'm having for dessert tonight.

Monday, July 15, 2013


No, I'm not talking about molten rock oozing from the center of the earth, but rather Magma cookware. I've been searching for a good quality set of cookware for the travel trailer that wouldn't take up half of the limited available storage space. After doing a lot of research on both RV and boating sites I decided on the Magma 10 piece stainless steel nesting cookware. The box arrived yesterday, and all I can saw is WOW!  This is some nice stuff! Magma is made in the USA which I'm very happy about, and it's some very sturdy stuff, much heavier than I expected it to be. The set weighs in at just under 13 pounds.  Ok, so weight in an RV is also an issue, but I'm willing to maybe toss something else out in favor of solid cookware. After all, I'm taking several pieces of cast iron cookware as well, so what's a little more weight?

There are 3 good size saucepans, a skillet and a stockpot, with 2 interchangeable lids and 2 removable handles, plus a bungee to hold it all together in the cupboard. The whole set nests and takes up less than 1/2 cubic foot of cabinet space. Perfect!

You can also get it with a plain stainless steel exterior, but I forked over a few extra dollars to satisfy my obsession with cobalt blue. There is a no-stick version, and they also make a version that works with induction cooktops which are becoming more common in RV's.  The set was not cheap, but it is restaurant quality which should hold up well for years and years of use and abuse.

It was another hot and humid day here with rain again this afternoon. I wonder what it's like to have a day without rain? The raspberries are loving the heat though, the second harvest is just starting and the plants are absolutely loaded with berries. Unfortunately the lawn is also loving the heat and rain, but it doesn't dry out enough to mow so it's getting longer and shaggier by the day. Hopefully I catch a break and can get it hacked down again sometime this week, although the forecast doesn't look promising.

Sunday, July 14, 2013


One year ago this evening, right about this time, I was driving through Waterloo IA on my way to the hospital in Iowa City when Baz called to say they were wheeling him into surgery and they only gave him a 50% chance of coming out of it. That's the last time I talked with him, although I talked to him for the next 24 hours in the SICU. I've been thinking about him a lot lately in these weeks between his birthday and the anniversary of his death, so I decided to break out his bottle of Drambuie and the Swishers.
Here's to you, Baz!

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Rain, rain and more rain!

Happy 4th of July everyone! I hope the weather is better for the rest of you than it is here. In these parts all the celebrations and fireworks have been postponed due to heavy rains. It started last night and has rained more or less continuously all day. Here's a few shots of soggy middle Tennessee taken this afternoon when I drove to the truck stop on I-24 between downpours. The weather on TV frequently mentions "puddling,pooling and ponding" when talking about road conditions during rainfalls, and these shots show why. The PP&P has even been known to close down sections of the interstates around Nashville. You would think in an area that experiences as much rain as they do here that the roads would be better constructed to deal with the runoff, but it doesn't seem that they are. Ditches regularly overflow, pouring water onto the shoulders and across the roadways.

It looks like the Prius, which is parked behind the Tundra, is melting and running in a puddle of red under the truck. 

 The whole yard has and inch or more of water flowing across it like a wide shallow stream. Luckily it slopes slightly so it's not a lake, but it does erode the grass after a while in steeper areas where the water flows faster.

A few of the flooded spots along the road to I-24. Many of the home owners along here have had to replace the culverts at the end of their gravel driveways after they've washed out in previous rains.  They're almost always replaced with a heavy-duty concrete approach so when the water flow is heavier than the culvert can keep up with the water can run over the driveway without washing it away. The water then runs across the roads.

This is a good argument for not having basements. (Besides the fact that the ground is mostly limestone and digging a basement would require blasting.)

Hard to see it, but there is 2" of water the full width of the roadway, it runs out of the driveway at the top of the hill and spreads out across the road in shallow waves.

The forecast is for rain continuing through the weekend, will totals of 5+ inches expected. The 4th of July festivities in the nearby towns have been rescheduled here for several different times, some as late as September and October! Maybe I'll catch a fireworks show down here when I return for the winter.  LOL

Have a Safe and Happy (and DRY!) 4th!