Sunday, June 4, 2023

Hello! I'm back...

This was weird!  I wrote this post last year, it’s been a draft since then, and I forgot about it.  Then yesterday, I accidentally posted it, not realizing what I had done.  Then… I received a nice comment from Sandie and wondered what she was talking about.  So I checked out my blog, and here was the draft post from last year.  Fantastic!  I changed some of the dates and made other updates, and here we are!  Now I’m going to add some photos and re-post.

Thanks, Sandie.  I think you just started my blog going again, lol!  πŸ˜

June 4, 2023

I've been keeping up with a lot of you through your posts, and continue to be surprised that so many of you are still out on the road, full-time RVing.  I think about all my years out there pretty often, so I guess I shouldn't be surprised that so many of you aren't ready to hang up the keys yet.

I'm thinking of publishing a book with all my blog posts, not for sale, but just to have a physical record of the great times - the places I've been, the people I've met, all the experiences I've been so fortunate to have had.  I started this blog on August 8, 2010, and the last post before today was March 26, 2019.  Eight years and 7 months.  829 published posts.  That's a lot of text and photos, and it would cost me a fortune.  

Have any of you published a book of your blog posts?  I'm curious about which companies did the best job for the best price.  Please leave any information you have in the comments below, I'd really appreciate it. 

And now - to the rest of the story...  (Thanks, Paul Harvey!)

Of course, a lot has happened since I moved to Truth or Consequences, or TorC as we locals call it.  It took me a while to start using TorC, but honestly, the whole name of this city is so long to write and type!  Expediency won out, finally. 

I've lived here now for over five years.  I moved into a local RV park in early 2018 so that I would have a legal address to use for becoming a resident of New Mexico, and then I was able to get a NM driver’s license and register The Palms in this state.  I can’t believe that was over five years ago.  Seems like yesterday.

The idea was to become a resident, and then start looking for a house to purchase.  I was ready to put down roots again; I wasn't sure about keeping The Palms or selling her, but that decision didn't need to be made until I was ready.  

I looked at a bunch of properties, a single-wide trailer (mobile home) that I loved in Elephant Butte, but I couldn't get a loan and didn't have all cash to make the purchase.  I didn’t realize banks don’t make loans on single-wide trailers.  The next place I really wanted was in TorC, in town, and again it was a trailer, but a double-wide, and so nice.  On a really nice lot.  But the title wasn't "real property," it was shown as "personal property," and I couldn't get a loan on this place either until the seller did the paperwork to change the property status.  He refused to do so.  I even offered to pay for the documents to be done, and he still wouldn't.  Obviously, he wasn't a motivated seller.  My realtor and I decided I'd only look at sticks and bricks, and I did view a few more houses.  Then, just as I was leaving town to visit my family in Lake Tahoe, my realtor called to see if I wanted to look at one more house before I left, and I said, "Sure."  And that's the house I've been living in for almost five years now.  

I really think this house and I were meant to be together!  It's so perfect for me, so solid, a perfect size, I love the area I'm in and have great neighbors.  Just outside of downtown, I'm close to everything, minutes away.  I can't believe I've been here almost five years, usually about two years into living in a house, I'm already planning my move to a new town, but this time, I haven't even thought about moving.  Anywhere.  And after buying the house, I refinanced it a couple of years later, so my interest rate and monthly mortgage payment are so low, I'll never be able to have a house payment this low again.  It was just meant to be.

I'm going to try to post updates pretty frequently along with photos.  In addition to my house, I have Charlie, of course, my great dog who will be 5 in July, and as of March 2022, we have four new additions to our little family.  Four Black Australorp chicks, who have grown into beautiful egg-laying hens.  They are a great breed; I had Australorps before when I lived in Camino, CA, on the western slope of the Sierras.  They were great hens, so I chose that breed again.  My four hens have a coop with a fenced yard, and I've also put a new X-Pen around that, so they have an enclosed coop, an inside fenced area, and an outside fenced area.  

They free-range in my backyard from morning to night, and then walk up their ramp into the coop every night at dusk, where I "put them to bed," by securing their coop door, and the doors in their inside and outside fenced areas.  You'll be hearing more about them as time goes on, for sure! Their names are Annie, Betsy, Coco and Daisy. 

I've always been a pretty quiet, shy, introverted person, I know it doesn't seem like I am, but trust me, I am.  When I moved here, into a stationary house that I couldn't drive away, I felt a little fear of letting people know where I was and what I was doing.  The nice thing about full-time RVing for all of us who are loners and love our alone-time is that we can always move on.  Meet someone who is not working out for us, and we can just start up the engine and move, especially if living off-grid.  I was so used to having that option, not that I ever really needed it, but still, it was an option, that when I settled in one place, I wasn't sure how I was going to feel having people know where I lived.  

I'm not a young woman, and every phase of my life has been wonderful; I've learned so much through the years.  I'm still learning and changing and doing new things, and having new ideas.  For some reason, I'm okay with posting about my life again, and showing my readers photos of me and my little family of loved ones with fur and feathers.  I guess I'm gaining some self-confidence in my old age!  Finally!  lol

I think I'm going to change the header to reflect this new phase of my life.  And maybe the Blog name, too.  "Me and My Dog... and our Hens?"  I'll have to work on that.  But I'll always keep the photos of the header with Katie and also The Palms somewhere on the site.   

That's enough for now, a good start.  I was going to add photos, but I'm going to think about the last five years and see if I can choose some highlights to share in the next posts, along with some photos and current things that come up.

Thanks for stopping by.  See you next time!

♥️ Barb, Charlie, Annie, Betsy, Coco and Daisy 

PS:  When I started this blog, the URL, Me and My Dog, was already taken.  I had a little design business named Dewell Designs, so I used that.  www. dewelldesigns@blogspot.com became my URL for the RVing blog.  So now, only the NAME and HEADER will change.  You won't need to do anything different to visit the updated blog posts.  Lucky, right?  😊


Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Goodbye to The Palms

Goodbye to The Palms. She sold today, and will continue on with a new couple who have two little dogs. She'll be much happier with them, exploring new places, roaring down new roads, than sitting on the side of my house. Onward and upward, sweet motor home. She was perfect, and I'll miss her. This is one of the early photos I took of her, visiting my kids.



So...  that chapter of my life is closed, and I have lots more adventures ahead.

Right now working on the new house is on the top of my list.  Landscaping, fencing, changing out windows and doors.  Patios and pergolas. Shutters and window boxes.  Big things and little things.

She's finally furnished and comfortable, and is going to be a great little house for me and Charlie - who just dug a huge hole in the backyard.  It looks like he's trying to help the contractor dig post holes.

I think about all of you out on the road.  I'll keep in touch from time to time.

You all take care,

Me and Charlie  🐾🐾 😊


Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Some thoughts on The Palms - to sell or not to sell

I've been thinking a lot about The Palms lately. At this point I'm pretty settled in my new house. It's furnished, warm and comfy, and pretty much they way I want it.

So...  what to do about The Palms...I moved into the house the end of July 2018 and haven't even thought about taking a trip.  As much as I love The Palms and enjoyed traveling and living in her for more than seven years, I think my RVing days are over.

I've loved living in the desert, in the forest, next to the Rio Grande, the Pacific Ocean, and various rivers and lakes.

I've loved getting to know the different birds and checking them off in my bird guide.  I got some GREAT photos.

One of the best parts of RVing off the grid for me was waking up and seeing cattle all around The Palms.  Hearing the MOOOOOing throughout the day.

The horse families, especially after the birth of new foals, walking around the campground at Bluewater Lake State Park in NM were such a gift.  Especially when they were in my campsite.

The sunsets!  Wow, I can't tell you how many gorgeous sunsets I've enjoyed!

And of course, friends I've met on the road.  First meeting I liked you all, second meeting you were friends forever.  Some of you I probably won't ever see again, but you will be in my heart always.  Great friends, great times.  Thank you!

And the independence of living off the grid was something I've wanted to do since I read The Private World of Tasha Tudor years ago. It's such a gorgeous book, her lifestyle just yelled at me, "YOU NEED TO DO THIS, TOO!"


I know that living full-time in a motor home for seven years off grid wasn't the same life that Tasha Tudor lived.  But it was closer than city living in a house.  I'd call it different but somewhat equalish.

Only those people who have full-timed for a while and loved it will understand all that I'm saying here.  It's something I can talk about, but like few other things, you can't possibly understand unless you've done it.  There are so many parts in the puzzle of full-timing, especially if you're boondocking or drycamping.

From parking overnight at Walmart, truck stops or rest areas to getting that perfect place on BLM lands, moving every 14 days, finding the laundromat in a new town. A post office to mail off those bills and cards and ballots.  Getting your TV and Internet access to the point where it always works, no matter where you are.  (If not, I didn't go back, one night and I was back on the road to another place where I could get them.)



And the State Parks in New Mexico are so great!  With my annual pass I could always pull in any day of the week, any time of the day and have a place to live for two weeks.  Maybe by a lake or river dry camping, or if it was super hot or cold - and I was lucky - an electric site miraculously empty when I arrived (I never made reservations). And they had clean restrooms with nice showers!  Bonus!

Learning all the systems in the rig and having checklists/alerts for the motor home maintenance items; knowing all the time how the solar panels are doing, and it wouldn't be a good idea to land in a great campsite on BLM land with full black/grey tanks and no water in the water tank. You have to keep track of that all the time.  And also for the truck.  Watching the gas tank - you don't want to run out of gas in the middle of the desert.

I could go on and on.... it was a great learning experience, a thrilling lifestyle, a very full-fulling seven years in so many ways.  I can't say enough positive things about the whole full-timing lifestyle or about The Palms. 

The Palms has been so good to me. I was lucky to choose the right rig the first time.  My full-timing years would never have been the same in another motor home.  She's a beautiful rig with the perfect floor plan for me.  The original owner bought her with almost all the upgrades available, and then apparently didn't use her.  So she was like a brand new motor home when I bought her.  I really appreciated all the upgrades.

I especially like the large bathroom and the rear kitchen, also the long fold-out couch.  And my dinette is so comfortable that I spent most of my time at the dinette table. The over-the-cab bed was also really comfortable. I never woke up with back pain or any other issues, it just worked for me.  Also the great storage inside the rig.  I guess I really love everything about her.  From the day I bought her, I knew how lucky I was to find the exact motor home I had researched and was looking for.



And the truck has been trouble free, too.  Up hills she's a workhorse - with her big engine I never had issues going the speed limit up any hills.  She just purrs along.  I did have to buy more gas because of that big engine.  I usually got 8 or 9 mpg, but I didn't drive her slow.  If the speed limit was 65 or 70, I drove her 65 or 70 mph.  Another driver's gas mileage might be higher, but since I didn't travel far, just often, it worked for me, even on a small budget.  I planned where to go and when - depending on gas prices like most RVers.

I always felt SO LUCKY! I never had an exit plan.  I figured I'd keep full-timing until I couldn't  anymore or didn't want to anymore.

So, now that I'm settled in a sticks 'n bricks house again, can I REALLY give her up?  For a while I wondered if I'd ever want to use the RV again.  Maybe in the summers when it's so hot here, it would be nice to get out of town for a month or two up in higher elevations. For the last six months I wasn't sure, but I was leaning that way.

But is it a good plan, a good financial idea, to keep her on the side of the house for 10 or 11 months every year and only drive her out of town for a month or so each year?  Not really.  Maybe selling The Palms is my best option.  If I change my mind after she's gone, I can always buy another motor home.  But I'll never find one like The Palms again.  That rear kitchen, the high ceilings, all the upgrades...  I guess that would be okay, because the new rig would be just to get out of town for a while, not to live in 24/7.  And that's if, a big IF, I missed RVing and wanted another motor home.

I ran across this quote and it fits so well with my RVing experiences:

 “Travel isn't always pretty. It isn't always comfortable. Sometimes it hurts, it even breaks your heart. But that's okay. The journey changes you; it should change you. It leaves marks on your memory, on your consciousness, on your heart, and on your body. You take something with you. Hopefully, you leave something good behind."
~Anthony Bourdain


Of course I had MANY "pretty" times and living in a motor home is VERY comfortable. Meeting great friends, seeing beautiful scenery, camping with large animals close by, feeling so confident driving my home down the road. Living off grid gave me such a feeling of independence. And I was able to live frugally, which I had never really done before. I found I was GOOD at being frugal. I was healthy and happy 99 percent of the time.  

But of course it did sometimes hurt, my heart was broken, traveling in an RV left many marks on my memory, my consciousness, my heart and my body.  I don't know if I left anything good behind, but I sure did take LOTS of good things with me.  It's one of the best experiences in my lifetime.

If I decide to sell her, now is the time.  She's in great shape inside and outside, the exterior has recently been buffed out, decals removed and painted back on by a professional.  There is some normal wear and tear on The Palms, but nothing major.  All her systems are in good working order, mileage is still low and the truck is in good shape.  Everything has been well taken care of and I have all the original manuals, service documentation, and receipts for the upgrades I added.  

And all this is why I'm having so much difficulty coming to a decision about whether to keep The Palms and not use her much, or sell her and let someone else enjoy her as much as I did.   

But I think I've already made my decision - I'm going to sell The Palms. It just makes sense.


I'll post more soon about selling The Palms - with lots of information and photos.  Really sad, right?  But when the new owner drives her down the street, I'll know exactly what they are experiencing and I'll cheer them on.  Because I felt the same way when I bought her.  And every time we took off for a new location. And they will leave me in a puddle of tears, for sure!  

I'll be back soon. πŸ’“

P.S.  If you are interested or know someone who is, check out the video I did of The Palms for Bob Wells - it's at the end of my blog posts. πŸ˜‰

Sunday, January 20, 2019

More Charlie Photos - He's getting so big!


Charlie has made strides during the last few weeks.  He's gone from 18.4 pounds the day I adopted him on November 6 to 34.2 pounds on January 3.  So he almost doubled his weight in two months.

And he's only six months old.  He's going to be bigger than I thought.  😬

He's doing well with his training.  He's really hard to walk, soooo strong and tries to pull me along, which I can't let him do.  I've invested in different harnesses and a gentle lead that goes over his snout.  That works best, but no matter which we use, our walks are very short.  If he's pulling me or fusing with his lead, the walk ends and we turn around.  Other than that, he takes direction and training really well.

I've been called for jury duty next Tuesday, so I found a doggie day care in town that will take him.

He loves the owner, Anissa:


We've gone for three or four days in the last two weeks, just 2.5 to 3 hours each time, but on Tuesday if I'm chosen for the jury, I guess I'll be there all day?  I haven't ever been on a jury and have always wanted to, but my brother is a retired Sheriff in California, and that might keep me off the jury. We'll see.

I'm gong to keep bringing Charlie to The Dog Shak because he LOVES it and it's great for socializing him with other dogs.  He has two best friends, one is a small one year old dog that the owner adopted, and the other is a day care dog, T, who is a large black lab.  They are both SO GOOD with Charlie!






Luckily Charlie loves it there, the other dogs like him, and Anissa, the owner, likes him.  This will also be nice if I need some time without Charlie to get things done.  He's too young to leave alone at home, and I  wouldn't leave him in his crate for too long.

He was neutered two weeks ago, and also had a dangling dew claw removed, so he had to wear a cone for a while.  Poor Charlie!


Believe me, it hurt me more than it hurt him!  With a Heeler, instead of having his nose on the back of my calf all the time, I was crashed into with the edge of a plastic Elizabethan Cone.  OUCH!  I ended up taking it off early, and everything healed well.

Here's Charlie with Buster and Bibi, Irene and Scot's dogs, (my neighbors and friends). Charlie loves play dates with these two, they love to run and play, too.   😎


Some of Charlie's tricks - since he's deaf, he has to watch me for hand signals.

SIT
 
LAY DOWN 

PAW - We do this from a "sit."  It's a hand out, palm up.  You can see him watching me and starting to raise his paw.

Then he watches my hand.

And SHAKES.

Pretty cool, huh?

He knows a lot of words/signals now, but SIT, STAY, LAY DOWN, PAW, PUZZLE, and WALK are his best ones.

Thanks for stopping by.  Lots of things going on here, more next time.

From Me and Charlie, have a great weekend!  🐾🐾

Saturday, December 22, 2018

MEET CHARLIE!

November 7, 2018

I adopted Charlie on November 6, 2018 from our local rescue center here in Truth or Consequences.  I wasn't there to take home a dog, I just wanted to look.  You know how that goes!  LOL  He seemed so bright and friendly and I fell in love with him!



The TorC Animal Shelter found him wandering around alone on the local streets and he didn't have a collar or a chip, so they couldn't identify his owners.  He had just come off the waiting period when I walked in.  Charlie is a Blue Heeler, about 4 months old when I brought him home.

This is our history so far, starting the day I brought him home up until today. When he first came home he was teething and not yet potty trained, so we had a lot of work to do.  I don't remember having a puppy before, and he sure kept me busy.  I didn't take my eyes off him.  We went out to the backyard every time he was done eating, sleeping, or playing - all day long!  He had some accidents that I didn't catch in time, but all in all the potty training went pretty fast.

It was the teething that I REALLY had to watch out for.  He was chewing on furniture, drapes, rugs, EVERYTHING!  So I was up and down all day, and in bed by 8:00 if I lasted that long.

At this point, he's potty trained and pretty much done with the teething.  That's SO nice!  He's worn out and sleeping from 6:00 pm to around 9:00 pm and then I take him outside for a final potty and then he's in his crate until 7 am.  He's sleeping really well, long hours overnight.

This is from what I posted on FaceBook - it was easier to copy it over than to start from scratch.

November 9, 2018:

Charlie loves playing with his tennis balls, and he loves chasing them when we're outside. He's behaving better and better every day. (That's Katie's bed, he didn't fit in it for long.  He was 18.4 pounds when I got him on November 7 and on December 14 he was 29.6 at the Vet's. That was 8 days ago, and I've loosened his harness and collar twice since then.  He's growing like a WEED!)





November 12, 2018

Storage box under my desk - Charlie likes to climb up on it. He's so funny.


November 15, 2018

Charlie yesterday afternoon - he's laying under the plum tree with his ball. Picture taken by my friend, Irene. Thanks for the Share, Irene! 


November 15, 2018

Charlie has a new trick. His water bowl was empty and he dragged it under the kitchen table. I took it and put an inch of water in it, and he again tried to drag it under the table, of course spilling some of the water. He's such a monster puppy. If I live through this, he'll the the BEST DOG EVER!



November 17, 2018

CHARLIE - He's so funny. Today was such a good day, I spent part of the day working in the backyard raking leaves and picking up sticks. I've already cut back the grapes and other bushes that the frost affected - and that Charlie was always trying to chew on. So the yard is pretty dog-proofed right now. He follows me everywhere, so he got a lot of exercise walking around with me and running away from me with a stick in his mouth. LOL We also played a lot of ball, he loves playing ball. When we came in the house at 3:00 he was pooped and went into his crate for a nap. He moves around a lot when he sleeps. I looked up and he was laying on his back, completely stretched from front to back in the crate.  He cracks me up!



November 22, 2018

The Ocotillo tasting - which he couldn't figure out. Charlie is teething and trying to chew everything.  He's determined to eat this Ocotillo, but it's not cooperating.  He was frustrated, I think.  He tried to eat it, then touched it with his paw, then backed up and just looked at it.  Then he ran up the hill further and dug a big hole.  LOL





November 24, 2018

I spilled spot remover on Charlie. Now I can't find him. πŸ˜πŸ˜‚



November 24, 2018

First he steals my heart, then he steals my chair! πŸ’•  Then he chews off part of the arm on my chair. 😞


November 27, 2018

Charlie loves to watch himself in the mirror. The second photo is where Charlie is every day on and off. If it's warm enough I open the front door and drag over a padded storage box. He jumps up on it and watches the neighbors go by.





November 27, 2018

One of Charlie's favorite toys - a squeaky donut. When he'd had enough food and water yesterday, he got his donut and put it on the bowls. Sometimes I wish I knew what he was thinking!


November 27, 2018

I took Charlie down to Elephant Butte Lake to see if he liked the water.  When we were walking back to the truck, Charlie peed and pooped, and when I bent down to pet him, he grabbed the poop bag out of my hand and proudly carried it all the way back to the truck. Sometimes he's just so darn cute! Then he was back in his crate, and not too long after being home, sound asleep. He still sleeps a lot.







December 6, 2018

I came back from town - after being gone less than an hour - and found this. At first I thought, "Oh, how cute, he's burrowed under his bed."  THE NEW BED THAT WAS DELIVERED THE DAY BEFORE! I got out the camera, took a picture, then zoomed in and saw the carnage. Little brat!




December 14, 2018

We visited the vet today and confirmed that Charlie is deaf. But I already knew. I spent Thursday online finding good hand signals for words I want Charlie to know - I have three pages of typed commands with instructions - 37 of them so far. I'm sure I'll be adding to that list. But for now, only the most important ones, 10 of them, are at the top of the list. I have to learn them, and am practicing the most important ones, but Charlie already knows some... We're doing short practice sessions of a couple signals during the day.  Once he knows the essential signals, I'll add others one or two at a time.

I ordered a couple of books on the subject - and the Dictionary of ASL is a good reference, too. Many people use those signals, but I want to have only "one-hand" signals if possible.

For his safety, in case he gets away from me, I ordered him a Deaf Dog harness.
I've also made some labels to stick on the back of his collar tags, and I called the chip ID place and they noted that he is deaf.  If he DOES get away, it's important that people know he's deaf so they won't punish him for not responding to them.  It's pretty easy to make up hand signals for come, sit, etc. that he would probably understand, but if they talk to him, he won't be able to get what they're saying. And if he isn't looking at them, he won't get any hand gestures, either.  So....  I don't particularly like this vest, and might look for something a little less obvious, but for now, we'll use it.

December 17, 2018

I think this picture is hysterical - I break out laughing every time I look at it. It looks like it's gone through an app to make him look funny, but this is how he looked.



Charlie was a "crazy tired dog" this afternoon, so he napped in his crate in the living room. This is him noticing that I noticed he was awake. Before this he was playing quietly with his toys. Funny thing is, I've been trying to see his teeth, his adult teeth are coming in, and he wouldn't let me. Well, I've sure seen them now!



December 19, 2018

Charlie's puzzle. This is a Level 2, and I have two Level 3 puzzles for him when he gets this down really well. He gets to find the treats every morning. At first I had to help him, the directions tell you how to get them used to it, then he got the red sliders by himself, and now he can do it all. He LOVES it! We'll keep using this one until the gets bored with it.





December 20, 2018

I got Charlie a big bag of flat rawhide chew toys. Every time I give him one, he takes it out in the backyard and buries it up on the hill. So the other day I blocked off the door to the yard so he couldn't scratch the door to get out, and then I gave him the chew toy. He knocked down the fence blocking the door, and killed his fox. 🀣🀣🀣 I opened the fence more and put part of it behind the bakers rack so he couldn't get it down. And of course, he roamed around the house looking for an INSIDE place to bury it. This - under his bed on the couch - was the best he found. Later it ended up buried somewhere up on the hill. πŸ˜πŸ€£





And our final photos from today:

December 22, 2018

Charlie's Bumble Bee toy - BEFORE and AFTER.



Charlie is just an adorable dog, so smart and funny.  I'm enjoying him so much.  He's very different from Katie, like night and day, but if Charlie turns out to be as good a companion as Katie was, I'll be a happy camper.  He has so much energy and personality.

BTW, even though he can't hear, he can smell really well, and is very aware of his surroundings.  I wanted a dog partly for protection and thought that because of Charlie's deafness he wouldn't be a protector, but I'm not worried about that any more.  A neighbor was visiting, he came in when Charlie was in the backyard, and when Charlie came in though the open kitchen door, he stopped on a dime, raised his nose in the air and sniffed, and slowly walked behind the couch to where I was sitting.  He slowly climbed up on me while growling at my neighbor, a man he had met and liked outside during walks.  But in HIS house, it was different.  He was growling for a while and I finally got him to stop. He didn't do anything aggressive, but he let my neighbor know that he was protecting me.  So even though he can't hear, I think he'll be a good protector.  He's only five months old, and did a good job of warning my neighbor without aggression.

And yes, for those of you wondering, he is DEFINITELY trying to herd me.  And he's really strong.  Sometimes our walks around the yard into the house are interesting.  But I'm still bigger and stronger, so I'm going to be the boss!  :)

I have a few other news items that I want to post about - and will do that before long.  So Charlie and I will be back soon.  I need to change my header - makes me tear up just thinking about doing that.  πŸ˜₯

See you next time!

Me and Charlie  πŸ’“πŸ’“