Monday, February 27, 2012

2.27.12 Raisin’s Ramp

We think Raisin is 13 or 14. Not really sure.  You can see she has cataracts and her eyesight is almost gone. She knows her way around the house but has trouble getting down steps that she isn’t sure about.

Other than her eyesight and hearing….she is very healthy.


She spent the first 3 years of her life in a “puppy mill” and most of that time was spent in a small carrier. Not much interaction with people and most of her time with other dogs was spent trying to get food.

My Mother had just lost her little grey poodle, Daisy, and was not handling it well. She kept saying she did not want another dog. My sister had seen Raisin at the puppy mill and decided she needed  a good home. She said Raisin was in such a dirty state that they gave her a bath and shaved all her hair off…it was such a matted mess. Then she brought her over to my Mom…

Joanne said she walked in the door with this funny looking, naked little dog and said “Mom…this dog needs a home.”

Even though Raisin had not spent much time, if any with people, she must have known that my Mother was meant for her. She jumped up onto her lap and wouldn’t get off. They were inseparable from that day on.

Raisin didn’t like other people near her or near my Mother. We didn’t mind her snapping at us (bit Jim 3 times) when we were home….we felt she was a good protector for Mom, since she lived alone while we were on the road, which was most of the time.

Back to the ramp…Raisin  has a doggie door that leads out onto a small deck. She quit going down the stairs and did her business on the deck. I had enclosed it and kept my Milkweed plants there when we went boating, so they wouldn’t  be killed by a frost. I noticed that something was eating the new ones that I had just bought. Raisin likes to eat grass at times and I guess this was the only thing she could find, So Jim built her a ramp.


The weather has been nice so I blocked off the steps with the plants and started practicing with Raisin going up and down. She caught right on to coming back up…but needed a little nudge to get started down. Yesterday afternoon and this morning she walked right out and down to the grass…all on her own.

If you aren’t familiar with “puppy mills”…check out this link      be sure to watch the video. Raisin acted just like these puppies, with anyone other than my Mom.

If people would buy from reputable breeders or better yet…take home a dog from the SPCA or other group that rescues dogs and cats, there would be no incentive for someone to run a puppy mill.

Since my Mother passed away and Raising became ours, she has learned to love us both. It took several years before she would ask Jim to pick her up.

If we go somewhere…she goes….boating or camping. I think she enjoys boating most…we are a captive audience and there is always a lap to sit on.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

2.18.12 Jim’s busy again

We have a 33’ car hauler/camper  and a 28’ Trawler. Jim usually has to back them down the road to get them in here.

We cut a few small trees down (now next years firewood) and Jim pushed the brush back so we could put some dirt in for a parking area.

Right now we are at the end of the road.If they ever continue the street  thru here, we’ll have a circle driveway. But for now, it will work as a parking lot. There is room to drive in with either the camper or the boat and back into the spot.

Jim did all the work by hand, chainsaw or this tractor and box blade. This is the first load.


He’s getting pretty good with this thing.


Starting on the second load….some of it is dragged down the road to fill holes. The county doesn’t maintain our section. They wanted every owner to “give” them 5’ to increase the right of way or they wouldn’t continue to maintain it.


He had the first load all spread before the second arrived.

The finished area.


With the vehicles in place.


Everything off the pad is muck…like potting soil. If we didn’t spread something over it, bushes would be growing up under the backs of the trailers….and that is a roadway for ants etc. We hope this lime rock/millings mix will deter plant growth for a year or two.

Jim made the mistake of asking if there was anything else I wanted done before he took the tractor back to his brother.

This area was totally covered with vines. He pushed most of it back but this dead palm tree was giving them a place to grow….so he climbed up the ladder, tied a rope around it and hooked it to the tractor….down she came.


Tomorrow we can get the rest of the vines knocked down. There are 3 nice Needle Palms behind all that dead stuff.

It’s still a jungle out there.


Jim works harder…puts in longer days and very seldom ever takes a day off. He can out work many men half his age.

Even when we are on the boat or in the camper, there is always something that needs repairing. If it isn’t ours…..there is always someone who needs a helping hand.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

2.14.12 Queen Butterfly

When we arrived home from our boating trip, we had 3 Chrysalis on the plants on the porch. One emerged the next day. It was a Queen.

We took our camper/hauler to Silver Springs, FL for a “test camp” for 3 nights in a campground. The ‘28 Buick went along and we went to 3 car shows. Once got rained out…one we left early and the next one Jim got a trophy for “most unique”.

When we got home the second Chrysalis was empty and the 3rd was turning black. Normally that is the day it emerges….it didn’t. That night we had a heavy frost. The plant and Chrysalis were on the porch with the vinyl, but I was concerned that it might freeze. Today it emerged.


By afternoon, it was gone. They don’t normally eat the first day. And there are a few Bottlebrush blooms. The tree farm about 1/4 mile down the road has a lot of Bottlebrush so I know it will have plenty to eat.

I still have 5 Chrysalis in the Butterfly House in the Florida room (fancy words for screen room with sliding doors), and 1 Queen caterpillar and 1 Monarch caterpillar.


Most of my Milkweed plants have very few leaves, so there won’t be many eggs laid until they start growing again.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

2.8.12 Rainbow, Monarch, Chrysalis

We had a small rain shower yesterday, and with it came a beautiful rainbow.


It really was more beautiful than in the photo. Everything was so fresh, clean and shiny.


It wasn’t much rain, and we need it, but it was better than nothing.

There are no flowers other than a few of blooms on the Bottlebrush. I have a drip on it and it is helping.

I do have a couple of Milkweed with blooms. Right now there is a Monarch Butterfly on it.

I was pruning the Bougainville bush and she was sitting on the wire fence. It is still pretty cool out and the Milkweed is in the sun, so I picked her up and put her on the blossoms. It looks like she is feeding.


I have several Giant Milkweed plants that will not take a frost. They also had Monarch and Queen Caterpillars on them. Before we went out on the boat we took clear vinyl shower curtains and enclosed the small front porch to act as a greenhouse for them. The 2 sides can be rolled up, as they are now. The lower part is clear visqueen, though not very clear and is the reason we used the shower curtains.

The top is open at the rafters, We left it that way, even though there is heat loss, so the Butterflies could leave when they were ready to. I found over a dozen empty Chrysalis.

As you can see, there aren’t very many leaves left on the plants. I had to buy 4 Milkweed plants, like the one the Monarch is on, yesterday, to feed the 6 Caterpillars I found in the yard when we got home. 2 of the plants can be seen at the bottom of the photo…the leafy ones, and they have buds.


Normally one of the Giant Milkweed plants will be so full of leaves they practically fill the Butterfly House that Jim built for me.

Now it looks pretty empty.


The 2 big pots in the back (looks like stalks) and the 2 little ones in the front are some of the Milkweed I dug up and potted when I got back. We’ve had nice weather and they were leafing out. That is where the 6 caterpillars came from. All Monarchs. I did find one tiny Queen on the little plant in the red pot.

I was afraid the 4 new plants wouldn’t be enough to feed the 6 big caterpillars, but 1 was in a “j” when we got back and is now a Chrysalis and 3 have gone to the top and are in “j”s. They will be in Chrysalis today. The other 2 should be heading up today or tomorrow and that will leave just the little Queen, unless there are eggs that I didn’t see.


Go to  and you can watch the process of pupating. It is very interesting.

There were 3 Chrysalis on the plants inside the “greenhouse”. One emerged yesterday. A Queen. I didn’t even think to grab the camera.

This one looks like it should emerge today. 014cs

This one possibly tomorrow. It’s looking darker than it did yesterday.


Go to   and you can watch a couple of Monarchs emerge.

I really enjoy watching the caterpillars go from the size of a pin head to full grown and into a “j”. When they shed their skin they seem to double in size in a day. During the warm weather it only takes about 9 or 10 days. Same for the change from Chrysalis to emerging Butterfly. As the fall weather and cooler temperatures arrived, it took as long as 12 days.


Sunday, February 5, 2012


We pulled the boat out on the 30th. It was a great trip, but never long enough nor far enough.

The day was spent unloading the boat and getting things working around the house again. The “new” replacement refrigerator (Nov) still wasn’t working right so I made a call to their service department….they’d be here on Thursday.

We had enough supplies so we didn’t have to go into town until Tuesday. That way we could vote, check the mail and pick up groceries.

Jim spent a couple of days installing the propane drop in countertop burners and the heater. This is my kitchen area. The whole kitchen unit is from the old camper, with a cupboard added above it, and one to the R. They were extra doors from that camper.

The Catalytic heater should be all we’ll need. Jim doesn’t plan on spending time in the North when it’s cold. The roof air also has a heat strip, but that would require being plugged in at a campground. I don’t know if the 1000 watt generator would keep the batteries up for very long with that running.


Once the propane job was done, he started filling in all the holes and dents in the trailer. They were all sanded and refilled if necessary and resanded. The greenish places are where old decals were removed. He spent days getting the adhesive off.

When you see the finished pictures, you’ll notice we painted the framework around this door. It lets the shape blend in easier. The front door is square.



Jim figured there were about 1000 bolt or screw heads in it. Every one had some rust on it. He did each one with a wire brush on his drill, then put Osflow and primer on them.



We then made a trip to the paint store.

Sat, the 4th, looked like a perfect day to paint. Rain is forecast for Sunday and possible Monday. We plan to leave for Carl’s on Thurs so we started hustling. Jim showed me how to mask anything that wasn’t supposed to be painted. Once I got started it was fun. I was surprised at how long it takes. Every time we thought we had everything covered…Jim would find something else.

It was afternoon before he got started painting and then the paint gun acted up. Nothing he did seemed to make a difference. By the time the trailer was half done he thought of something that could be the problem….cleaned it out and started painting again. By that time, the sun had gone down. I had set up 2 spot lights and he finished with them. I continually moved the lights as needed, so Jim could concentrate on painting. We have a few sags and bugs stuck in the paint…but they just add character. It looks really good.



Jim could hardly wait to get the masking off. He said that is the best part of painting something. It really doesn’t look like much in the picture above…and I thought we sure had a lot of white.

But once we started….everything took on a new look.


When I pulled the paper off this window, there was a green tree frog on it.


These windows are the ones that were in the old camper. (It is now a small flat bed trailer). This window is at the head of the bed. The full bed folds up against the front of the trailer. That is why there is no window there.


The finished product….



It has an inverter, 4 batteries and 2 30lb propane tanks. They allow us to “dry” camp. (no electric hookups when we go camping in Brookfield NY and I go horseback riding with Tom and Regina, or an occasional Wal-Mart parking lot, truck stop, rest area etc.).

2 roof vents, 5 windows that open and can be left open in the rain. They crank out instead of sliding sideways. The back door has a screen door and there is a walk thru door between the camper part and the car hauler part. I am working on a screen for the front door.

The awning is from the old camper. Unfortunately it doesn’t cover either door. There wasn’t room enough to put it above the front door and the back door was an after-thought, but we’ll think of something.

Jim put new axles, brakes and tires on it before we left. Looks like we are good to go…..

The sheets have been washed and are on the clothes line. We are already packing…and it is only Sunday. May take time off to watch the Super Bowl…but maybe not…GO PATRIOTS. I have to root for them…I spent a couple years in Foxboro Mass at the racetrack, right by the stadium.