Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Hmmmmm, what's up with Katie?

Last night I was visiting with the Dingbats around the campfire with Katie in my lap.  I was petting her and noticed something soft on her ankle.  Since it was dark, I carried her over to Hazel's nearby motor home and asked her to check Katie to see what it was.  Hazel has a nursing/medical background and has a lot of knowledge in the area of dogs, too. 

We laid Katie down and checked out the inside of her right ankle and this is what we saw (the black marks are permanent marker I put on the lump).

This is her other ankle, you can see how skinny and boney her ankles are:

It didn't seem to bother her, she was eating, drinking, walking fine, acting perfectly normal.  Hazel said she thought it was filled with fluid, and was not a tumor, and to keep an eye on it.  She gave me a permanent marker to mark off the four sides of the lump so I'd know if it's growing or getting smaller.

I took these photos last night when I got her home.   When she was laying on her back on our couch, I took this next photo of both her ankles.

And this morning:

It looks bigger, but it's the way she's sitting.  I think it's the same as last night.

Weird, huh?  I can't imagine what would cause something like this.  Any ideas?  At least she doesn't seem to be bothered by it.  I hope it will go down and we won't need to see a vet.

On another note...

I subscribe to a website called Living Life Fully.  Every day I get a quote in my e-mail box, and I liked this one - it kind of fits me the last few years, and probably some of you, too:

Living life fully doesn't mean having it all, going everywhere, 
doing everything, and being all things to all people.  
Many of us are beginning to see that too much is too much.
--Elaine St. James

It continued with these questions to consider: 
  • Is there anything that you have too much of?  What?  What do you do about that?
  • Why do we tend to fill all of the spaces of our lives?  Why can't we let space be space?
  • How do we go about recognizing what's essential and what isn't?
Living in our small spaces, I'm sure most full-timers have asked themselves the same questions.

Speaking of small spaces, here's our "small space" in it's new campsite - I don't think I've posted photos of our new site.

We have a nice view of the mountains to the west.

Behind us are the Dingbats.  We're close enough to easily walk to the campfire and visit, but still far enough away from the wash that we get TV channels.  We couldn't get any channels in the first space by the wash.

Below is is the wash that's behind our first campsite in La Posa West.  The parking lot that will be the location of the Big Tent is on the other side of the wash from the camping sites.

Every day more and more RVs arrive.  I wake up in the morning to more and more campsites filling. 

This is my last post for the year; 2013 will be history in 12 hours.  I've had a really good year, 2013 has been good to me - and I'm looking forward to 2014.  I'm expecting it to be even better!

Thank you to all our readers who have ordered items through our links this year.  We've generally had a tiny amount of income from our links, and we appreciate every penny, but this month has been different.  I'm sure on-line Christmas presents are the bulk of the purchases, but as far as normal on-line buying, whatever you're all doing, please keep doing it.  :)

Here's to better health and more wealth and tons of happiness for all of us full-timers, part-timers, friends, families and followers.  And a more peaceful world for everyone.

From me and Katie, have a great Tuesday, everybody, and a fun and safe New Year's Eve tonight! :)

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Wordless Wednesday - Merry Christmas 2013

Happy Birthday, Jesus.  From me and Katie, have a Blessed Christmas everybody!  :)

Sunday, December 22, 2013

The worthless LOT has sold!

In May of 1968, my parents traded a small apartment building they owned in Redwood City, CA for three pieces of property in Boulder Creek, CA.   One had a small A-frame cabin on it, and the other two were bare land.  The trade was uneven, so on the deed of the third, smaller piece of property, my parents took ownership of  60 percent of the parcel and the two Realtors split the remaining percentage.  At the time it was worth something, not much, but something.

Then, to slow building in the area, the local County Board of Supervisors passed an ordinance that lots had to be a certain size for a septic tank, and this third parcel was smaller than the required square footage.  It immediately became worthless - "unbuildable."   Since there is no sewer in that area, and a septic system can't be installed on the lot, it wasn't worth anything to anyone, except possibly to owners of adjoining parcels.

My parents and others with similar "now unbuildable lots" tried to fight City Hall, but were unable to overturn the ordinance.  After a while they got tired of paying taxes on it, and just stopped paying.  They were "letting it go for taxes."

My lot is on the left side of the street in the photo below, a pretty, forested piece of land.

When I heard they were letting it go, I told them I wanted it, and would pay the back taxes to own it.  So, I paid up the taxes, we did a "gift deed" and title transferred from my parents to me.  I paid around $1,000 total to get the taxes up to date and the parcel in my name.  That was 22 years ago.

I hoped in the future the local sewer system would come out to that area, but in the 45 years the lot has been in the family, it hasn't happened.  From time to time I've worried about personal liability if something happened on the lot.  It's forest land, and right on a main highway.  There are houses on three sides.  A tree could fall on a nearby house, or into the main highway and hit a car going by, something like that.

It's a long story, but briefly, when I took over my parent's percentage I only owned part of the lot.  Many years ago I found one owner and he Quit Claimed his portion to me, so then I owned 85 percent.  No one has ever heard from the other man on the deed, and he is presumed dead.  I've wanted to sell the parcel over the years, but it's hard to sell property with so little value if you don't own it all.  Getting an attorney and filing a Quiet Title to get the other owner off the deed would cost more than the lot was worth.  And there are still Realtor fees and Escrow and Title fees. 

I've had three offers on the lot over the years, one from each of the homeowners on three adjoining properties.  All for nominal amounts but I was still hoping the city sewer would be built out to that area and I turned them down.

Last month I decided to get a Realtor in the area and have her contact the last potential buyer. He agreed to purchase my percentage of the lot and pay ALL fees, leaving me a little profit.  The area my lot has, added to his small lot, gives him a decent sized parcel with frontage on the main road. 

On Saturday, December 7, I signed the documents in front of a Notary Public in Blythe and escrow closed on December 10th.   It's a small amount of money, but will fluff up my emergency fund and the liability of owning the land is gone. 

I am now truly a turtle.  Everything I own comes with me, wherever I go.

And that's how I feel as a full-timer.  :)

In case you were wondering, when I started full-timing, I called the county office in Santa Cruz to see if I could park The Palms on the lot.  Unfortunately, that's not allowed unless I have a "structure" there, and according to my Realtor, I'd have to get permits to build or put down a small structure, and without a septic system, they wouldn't give me the permits needed.  It's cold there in the winter, gets some snow, but it would have been a nice place to spend the summers.

This is what I was thinking of - below - for a "structure" on the lot.  I might still get something similar if I ever buy a piece of land I can use as a part time home base.

I saw it and a bunch of other styles for sale right near the Grants, NM Wal-Mart.  Katie and I walked all around them all, looking in the windows.  The office was never open when I was there.  I think they come in a kit and have to be assembled, but you can pay to have the manufacturer of the kits do it for you when they deliver it.  It wouldn't take much to make the shed above look "homey."

This one is a Tuff Shed - all done up like a little house:

Isn't it darling?  A little, tiny house with water, electricity, heat and sewer (or not - maybe a composting toilet), maybe a stacking washer and dryer on a back porch.  It could also be used for storage and have a little bed and tiny efficiency kitchen - and a pad behind it for The Palms.  Flower garden, some vegetables, a few fruit trees, and a chicken coop. 

Maybe some day, if it still sounds good.  Right now it sounds like heaven!  I guess I'm going to have to start seriously saving my pennies, but I have a few more years on the road, at least.  :)

Sometimes I think about what my life will be like next year, or the year after that.  Five years?  It's constantly changing, but right now, a little house like one of the above sheds sounds really nice.  And of course with The Palms parked in the rear always ready to go at a moment's notice.

From me and Katie, have a great day, everyone!  :)

Friday, December 20, 2013

My teeny-tiny Christmas Tree and 3 Katie photos

This year I finally found a tiny Christmas Tree that easily fits on my dinette table, and will be super easy to store during the year.  I got the tree at Quiet Times and purchased tiny flowers to wrap around the branches, a few little bags of gold ornaments and a string of battery operated lights.  And Waaaa Laaaa! - my Christmas Tree:

A close-up of the tiny cloth flowers, gold musical ornaments, gold and white round bulb ornaments and lights:

That's all I've done this year to decorate for Christmas, but I love my little tree.  When I was done decorating it the other day, it looked exactly they way I pictured it.  :)

Here's Katie - when we get back from our walk, or a drive with Hazel and the Greyhounds and I take Katie off her leash, she runs home and waits for me.  Notice her left front paw raised?  She still does that a lot when she "sits."

And here she is playing ball - she'll bite her tennis ball, shake her head back and forth until she loses it, and then she wants me to get it for her.

Mom??  Mom??  Mom??

I DO usually get it for her because I don't want to trip on it and, having gone through this over and over, I know she ISN'T going to get it and put it on the couch, out of my way.  Just like a kid.  LOL!  I remember, back in the day, when "playing ball" meant I'd throw it and Katie would run and get it

From me and Katie, have a great Friday, everyone!  :)

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Can you tell the difference? And new camp furniture and a new camp ; )

I think these are so clever - notice the large eyelashes on the mom and the thin eyelashes on the baby:

Don't you just love these clever water towers?  They are at the edge of the parking lot where the big tent will be in January.  A family - Mom, Dad and Child.  Very cute, and you can't miss them when you're driving past - what a cool way to advertise.  I don't know if they are full of water, but I'd bet during the Quartzsite Big Tent event, they are.

I got some new chairs a couple of days ago - from K & B Sales on Khuen Street - $39.99 each, and $87.97 including tax for two.  (High sales taxes here at Quartzsite - which I don't mind at all.  We RVers who come in for brief periods of time, or even the whole season, are using all the facilities, roads, etc., and paying no taxes to the town, so the sales tax is the only way we can help out, and that's fine with me.  First time I've happily paid a tax.)  So far I'm really liking the chairs.

They have a side table that folds down when not in use:

And the other side has a number of storage compartments  attached - for a Kindle, cell phone,  camera, etc. Two are fastened closed with Velcro, one zips and the largest is open at the top.

I've put them on my new rug, an 6 x 8 I think it is.  Just the right size for my small camp, and it'll be easier to store when not in use.  I had a larger one last year, but I gave it away.  It was just too big to store.  This rug has some brown touches in the center flowers and they match the chairs - wasn't that good luck!

Merry Christmas to me!   :)

Oh yeah, this is kind of embarrassing, but I forgot to tell you.  Katie and I moved camp again.  I decided I wanted to stay in this area, but I really wanted to get TV if I'm going to stay here for months.  So the other day when I left camp to fill my water tank, Katie and I drove around in this area, testing for signals, driving on, testing again, etc.  We finally found a spot that has a pretty good signal, and so I'm nesting now.  Everything is out, the new rug is "nailed" down to the desert floor so it won't blow away, and we are settled.  We are a little ways from the Dingbats' camp, but I can see them and we go down once or twice a day to visit around the campfire.

I hope they don't move again - I'm getting tired of following them around looking for this seed.

Welcome to our newest Followers:

Black Sheep no info is shown for you Black Sheep, so I can't give you a plug  left me a comment that he does have a blog and here is the link:  Voyager54, so you can check it out.     I'm happy you're following along with me and Katie.  Katie is a White Hat sort of dog, but I'm a bit of a Black Sheep myself, so even if you aren't an RVer, we have something in common.  Thanks for joining the blog and traveling along with us.

And Wendy's trip log -  Wendy isn't an RVer, but she has a blog that she's hoping will keep her creating and connecting with others.  She lives with her husband, kids and dog Upstate NY.  Wendy is an independent consultant for Close To My Heart scrapbooking and crafting supplies (that's her passion) and as a therapist for her day job.  I'm a scrapbooker, too - but with space being an issue in  my small motor home, I'm loving digital scrapbooking for now.  It must be fun working with Close to My Heart.  Thanks for following me and Katie on our travels.

Welcome aboard to you both!

From me and Katie, have a great Thursday, everyone!  :)

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Wordless Wednesday - Beautiful Photos

More photos from the National Geographic Photo Contest:

Scott Bechtel - Male Rufous.  (Isn't this a great photo?  I wish I had taken it!)

Mark Bridger - Large Red Deer Stag calling.

Sara Malas -  Blue Footed Booby in the Galapagos Islands.

Graham Erik Mandre - Brown bear cubs climbing.

Ian Schofield -  Little owl and great spotted woodpecker with dramatic full wing extensions. 

From me and Katie, have a great Wednesday, everyone!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

New speaker, campsite birds, a broken chair and a funny text

I said in a previous post that I ordered a small, portable, battery operated speaker with volume control.  It arrived and I love it.  The photos below are of my new speaker.  It's the best small portable speaker I've had yet.

AmazonBasics 3.5mm Aux Portable Speaker (Amazon photo)


Since I said I'd post a review of this speaker, I'm doing that today, but unfortunately, when I went to get the link for you this morning, it showed the speaker is sold out, and they don't know if it will be available again.  I was going to give it a glowing review, but there's no point now.  If you're interested in an MP3 or Audio product for a Holiday Gift, check out this link.  It will take to to the Amazon.com page for those items. And if the radio above is available, I highly recommend it!

Last evening one of the ladies in the group, Chrisma, invited us all for a bowl of delicious shrimp bisque at 5:00.  Another lady, Sue, made some fantastic cheese biscuits - made from a mix she got at WalMart.  It comes in a box by Red Lobster and if you like their biscuits, you'll love these.  Then for dessert the soup maker also had fresh baked cookies.  Yum, it was all so good, I had seconds of everything!  Thank you both for a wonderful dinner!

When I went over to the campfire for our soup dinner, my canvas chair had a rip in it, so had to borrow a chair.  After dinner I brought mine back to camp and tried to fix it.  First one row of red stitches, then another row of white stitches, then I glued it, top and underneath, with E6000 glue.

Next I duct taped it on the the top and bottom of the repair.  I hope it holds, or I'm going to end up on my butt!  I've been assured by my neighbors that if that happens, they will help me up.  It's been holding pretty good so far. 

My second chair is a really good one, but very old.  When I hold it up to the light, you can see through it.  It's fabric is getting thin, so I'm expecting it to fail any time now.  I thought it would be the first to go.  So, I'm searching for new camp chairs.  I have to go to town tomorrow, and maybe I'll see what's available.

Here are some bird photos snapped in the last few days - first Gambel's Quail:

Next, House Finches - these birds are all over the place in Arizona and New Mexico.  I always seem to be getting photos of them.

I think this little guy is a Say's Phoebe:

And I think the next two photos are of a juvenile White Crowned Sparrow.

Feel free to correct me if I've gotten any of these bird types wrong.

Have you seen the lists of test messages gone wrong?  I saw this one the other day and had to pass it along:

Sounds like something I'd do.   ; )

Welcome to our new Followers:  Jean Fox, laurie aggas and Virginia Martynowicz!  None of these new followers show any information, no blog or "About Me" info, so I can't tell you anything about them, but we're sure happy to have you all following along with us.  So, from Katie and me,welcome aboard to you all!  :)

From me and Katie, have a great day, everyone!  :)