Thursday, August 28, 2008

The new Croppin' Cabin!!

Wow..I am so behind here, and I apologize for being absent for so long. I've been very busy, but I'll spare you the boring details. However, I have made some MAJOR changes here on the homefront, and I'm excited to share them.

First, and by far the most highly-expected news I am sure, is that we have added a new camping trailer to our family. It replaces the Shasta, but doesn't really replace the Shasta. Does that make sense? What I mean is while this MORE than adequately fulfills our camping needs as a family, it leaves me feeling a bit void in the "I want a cute canned ham vintage trailer to read & scrap in..." need. But that's okay, because I am totally, completely, 100% okay with that. I know that someday when my babies are at college becoming doctors and lawyers (a mom can hope, right?)I'll have plenty of time to find a new vintage trailer to submerse myself in, but for right now I need to go camping with my family and make memories!

So...I was perusing Craigslist & Ebay and all the local papers pretty heavily after the sale of the Shasta, and just when I thought I needed to take a break from the search, I happened upon a small ad posted on the St. Louis, MO Craigslist RV thread. There were no pictures, but I emailed and asked for pictures. In the next few days, I had totally forgotten about the email, and I sat down to log off one night and lo & behold, there is an email with pictures attached. Robert was here, and we both took one look at the pictures, and my heart started racing. This was THE one..I knew it. I immediately called them, and we arranged to come look at it the following Monday.

The kids, Sadie & I made the 2 1/2 hour trip where the trailer was sitting at a private lake. It had been sitting for 5 years in this same location, as a permanent vacation trailer, so I took the digital camera so I could show Robert the tires, etc. (And hitch, and all those other "guy" things that I'm still learning about but that usually bore me to tears...hey, at least I'm honest.)The seller was super nice, and he took his shoes off before we entered the trailer. I took this as a VERY good sign..the outside & inside were both meticulously could tell he was proud of his trailer. He gave me a walk-through, and showed me all about the electric hot water heater that he'd replaced the old gas one with, and the water pump, and the toilet and etc..I paid him $200 down and we went back later on the weekend and picked it up. are the pictures..It is a 1986 Fleetwood Prowler, 28 feet long. It has double doors, a queen walk-around bed in back bedroom, full bath with toilet, tub and shower, stainless steel appliances, jackknife couch, dinette, OODLES of storage, and get this--everything works. No more porta potty, no more sawing and nailing and electric screwdrivers and putty and water lines and gas lines. YAY. No, really..DOUBLE yay! My favorite things are the toilet (hehe), the extra table with leaf by the sofa (can we say SCRAPBOOKING!!), the porch lights at both doors, and all the storage.

Meet the new baby:

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Charcoal Grilling

We have a new member of the family..or should I say to our backyard oasis...a new charcoal grill. Up until last week, I was a gas grill kinda' girl...but after my fairly new gas grill decided to be tempramental and rarely work, I gave it away on Freecycle & picked this little guy up at Walmart.

Assembly took about an hour, and it was $25 for the grill and another $9 for the chimney starter. (I didn't want to use lighter fluid or other chemicals.) Add a bag of charcoal and some meat, and you're good to go! The first night we had steaks..they turned out delicious. The next night I did burgers & dogs, and again..delicious. I had no idea what I was missing out on. Yes, I was a charcoal grill virgin. There. I said it. I have to agree, however, that while a gas grill might be quicker & easier, this charcoal grill taste is hard to beat.

How to Maintain A Metal-Frame Intex Pool

So Pool 101 has been going well for us...we did some minor landscaping around the pool, which has helped add to the atmosphere of our backyard tremendously. We added a floating turtle thermometer so we'd know what the water temp was before we took a flying leap in.

For the landscaping, I added a garden edging around the pool..I punched small holes and used heavy-duty zipties to secure to the pool poles. My intentions are to keep the mulch from touching the pool. I then used mulch plastic around the pool, and topped this with some mulch. We then added patio lights with an on/off sensor, and some landscaping timbers around the entire project. Perfect! I'm considering adding some Bamboo fencing to the chain link for added privacy and to put lights on, but for now we're just hanging lights on the fence.

As for maintenance, we use a 3" chlorine tab in the floating tablet dispenser. (Was about $8 for the dispenser, and $3 for the individual tabs.)We use about 1 tab every 7-10 days which makes our water test in the perfect range. We also have a testing kit, and a box of test strips. I've only shocked the pool once, but I believe I'll shock it every week from here on out--it really keeps the water looking & smelling clean. A bag of shock is about $3. I use a skimmer with a telescopic handle to retrieve bugs/leaves..I spend about 15 min every morning, and maybe another 10 min each night, depending on how much wind/rain or swimming we've had. I also keep a dish pan full of clean water beside the ladder that they must step in first before getting in--this helps keep the water clean. I did buy a pool vac, but honestly I find it's just as easy to use the skimmer to stir up anything on the bottom, then scoop it out. Wala!

Bye-Bye, Croppin Cabin

Last weekend was a sad weekend for me. After much deliberation, frustration, and sadness...I made the difficult decision to sell the Shasta. I shed tears...I listed it, then immediately had seller's remorse and UNlisted it, then thought it over some more and relisted it.

The Shasta was a beautiful was nearly 40 years old, with shining wings and original everything. I didn't find the Shasta because I was looking for a vintage/classic trailer to restore--I found it because I was searching for an inexpensive trailer that I could take my kids camping in and make some memories with. And we did that. But a year later, I realized that I could continue on my journey, getting more & more in over my head financially & emotionally, or I could cut my losses and sell it. I chose the latter. The fact remains that I do not have the manpower to do most of what is left of the restoration--the water heater, the gas lines, the pump, the paint. It was the coziest trailer ever, which was nice when it was just the dog & I, but when the kids, Robert, the dog, and I all went camping--it was a little too cozy. The layout wasn't the most practical for 5 of us and 1 big dog..with the beds all at one end on top of each other. Without air conditioning it was like being packed in a tin can at times.

Of course I'm sad..I had high hopes, dreams, and plans for the future for that little piece of American history on wheels. It's value was immeasureable, not because of it's worth in terms of being a trailer, but more it's worth in what it brings to a family..a piece of history, nostalgia, and fun. Everywhere the Shasta went, people wanted to see it, comment on it, tell me about their trips with Grandpa in one just like it.

Some kind folks from Olathe, KS made the trip on Sunday and took the Shasta is a pic I took after I set it up for them to inspect; call it a "Farewell picture," if you will:

I will have another vintage trailer at some point in time-I know that for sure. Once you have the Vintage Trailer bug, it never escapes's part of notice them in backyards, in driveways, at campgrounds. I know better what I'm looking for--a canned-ham shape, a bed at one end, etc, etc. I'll know the PERFECT Croppin' Cabin when I see it.

And what are we going to do for camping in the meantime? Well, we do still have a TENT (everyone groan together now!)but we are actively looking for a replacement..something much longer/bigger, with the beds spread out, and some a/c. Oh, and something functional. We're going to see one on Monday...maybe it will follow us home?


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