Comparisons are …

… invidious, insidious, often incomprehensible, and yet, inevitable!

Arizona! A land of incredible sunsets! Huge ranches in vast grassy plains. Tall pine trees on high mountain plateaus. Warm in the winter, desert lowlands filled with giant rocks and sagebrush. All of which has its own call to the senses. It is supposed to be the “Mecca” for those who are Allergic to the 21st Century, like me, yet, I was running out of safe places to stay.

Kentucky!
 It’s a beautiful, green, lush, land. Filled with streams, springs, ponds, rivers, waterfalls, and rain! Early morning mists to delight the eye. Birds of endless variety chirping sweetly outside your door.  

But then… 

There is the Creature Feature!

…there are the tics! Rude, nasty, disease carrying, blood sucking, creatures! However, my son said they did make him appreciate spiders. You will have to ask him. Yes, tics are in Arizona too, but I lived in the desert for over 25 years, and for the last, what, almost four years? Yes darn close to four years of living in the rough, and I was never bitten there. Now?  I have found those nasty things attached to me, at least a half dozen times, since we’ve been here.  Charles and Macha too!  Ugh! 

…there are the chiggers, which actually make the tics seem not quite so bad. At least you can see the tics!

…there are the mosquitoes, well, we already had those, although, perhaps not quite so abundantly!

…there are the snakes, over four feet long, coiled up under your van! It turned out to be a black snake, which is actually a good snake, because they eat rats and mice, but at that size, small dogs can also become prey! Okay, yes, Arizona has rattlers and sidewinders, but they have a large variety of poisonous snakes here in Kentucky, too. I would call that a draw.

…and Yet! When you are working on what may turn out to be your own place, so much of this gets insignificant.  

But then, it got downright interesting!

 Who said that?

I’m glad you asked! 

This is a quote from Charles, which seems to be repeated, lately, with startling regularity. He always has a half smile on his face, and a gleam of humor in his eye, as he says, with an ever so slightly sarcastic tone,  “Go to Kentucky, She Said. It’ll be Fun, She Said!” I am quite certain, you have already figured out by now, that I am the She, who Said! 

After that, he will make other amusing pronouncements, often producing hysterical laughter, which correlates with what is happening at the time, or just after another minor disaster has been survived.  “See the Country, She Said.”, “Meet new people, She Said!”, “Find the Right Piece of Dirt, She Said!” Oh my! It keeps us laughing. 

Now this is not the same exact look.  This is his, “Mom, you’ve got to be kidding me!” look, but, upon consideration, for the purposes of this post, it is darn close! 😉

This is a classic.  Face to Palm. There are times, I am certain, when he wonders why (or If?) he loves me at all!  

Ah yes. About the dirt.  

Remember that beautiful place? Five or six acres? An old Barn and shed? Charlie’s pond? That creek flowing beside my trailer? Well.  

As you can see, after nearly two weeks without rain, the creek had almost entirely dried up. There were still a few puddles and pools, but the water had gone stagnant and it was making Charlie and I sick. What’s worse, is everything started to dry out.  Even the dirt around the barn, and the shed, and the straw on the ground inside the shed. This meant the land itself was putting off thousands of spores of mold into the air.  Now I think this should be a concern for most people, although, for some, it has no apparent ill effect at all, but for me? Ever since I lived in a mold filled house, I have become extremely sensitive to mold of any kind.  Even Mother Natures mold is very dangerous for me to be around.  You would think that it would be the other way around. The more wet everything got, the more moldy every thing would get. Which is true, but a friend told us, that here, because it’s wet so much of the time, (46 inches of rain a year!) that it actually helps to contain the mold. It’s when it dries out, that things get down right interesting! When it is dry, so much of the time, it means less mold to start with. That’s another point for Arizona. 

Its so funny. Well, funny strange. It never ceases to amaze me, how the Lord answers our prayers. He gave us exactly what we wanted. In many ways. Even though there were some inherit issues with that particular piece of property, it seemed too good to be true. Too good to be true, indeed! You will notice that everything, about the property, is in the past tense. There’s a reason. That property is in our past as well. We got an address while we were there. We did receive some much needed mail there. We were able to get our licenses, registrations, and insurance changed over to that address, there in Owingsville, Kentucky, and we can’t live there.  But. Praise the Lord that He gave us a gentleman who was willing to rent it to us for a little while. We were there for a month. Just over a month. A  month and 5 days. Which is exactly two weeks and 5 days longer than I had stayed any where, for over a year now. When we realized what was happening, I was still hoping, and I think Charles was too, that maybe a good rain would fix everything, and we wouldn’t have to move. Again. It did rain, that afternoon, and I got a little better, which showed our friend’s theory was correct.  But it was a good long rain, and the stream was still just puddles and pools. The algae was wet, the ground was wet, which made it easier to breathe, but there was no doubt now.  We couldn’t stay.  Charles helped me pack, that next morning, which is a story by itself, praying it would stay overcast, until he could get me off the property. So I left, horribly ill, desperately trying to keep from crying, because I had to drive, and I had to drive my van, with a U-Joint that was clunking badly.  Ready to go out anytime. That sound we were going to get checked out, eventually. That was a tough drive.  Praise the Lord! My van made it one more time.  Praise the Lord again, for good people.  I have been blessed with so many in my life! I called, and despite being totally booked, she created a spot for us. 

 You may recognize this view!  

Yes, we are back at the beautiful campgrounds on the Kentucky River. But we are on the side next to the river this time. So we have a little afternoon shade, and a lot of rain! Can you see us? The van is barely visible way down past the end of the boat. Beautiful, but unfortunately, their prices have increased, dramatically! Actually, they are now charging almost as much as what other campgrounds in the area charge. They have finally caught up with the standard. Which means that it’s not better to stay here, than it is at any other campgrounds in the area. But that makes the other unfortunate thing not so bad. They are improving their Wi-Fi, so that even where we are, out at the very end of the property, there will be Wi-Fi access, which means this is a very temporary home. We paid through the end of the month, we will see if I can stay that long.  Its not working right now, because they are still tweaking it, and, Yes, I got sleep last night! It is so incredibly beautiful here, and we are tucked away in a little private spot at the very end of the campgrounds. It is not a regular spot, the sweet manager here, knew we needed to be away from people, so she made a little place just for us.  I wish we could stay, but regardless of the Wi-Fi issues, this campgrounds is only open for the summer season. They close in October, so we would still have to find someplace else.

I would rather find some place I know we can stay. Just stay. A place, a piece of dirt, to call home.  A house? A barn? Even just plain dirt? I was already working on a design, to build a board and baton shed out of green wood. A good, continuous, independant, (Not City) water supply, is now on our absolutely necessary list.  Which means either a good well, or a good spring. A spring that turns into a creek might be really wonderful, but I think we need to leave that in the good Lord’s hands. How will I get through the winter here? Maybe we won’t, maybe we will have to head south. That’s now in the Lord’s hands, as well. My ideas on that are few, questionable, and none, of my ideas, are an option for this year.  Not in time for winter in Kentucky. Thoughts of an old house with a wood stove furnace still sounds so incredibly appealing, but I don’t know how to do that either. Except to make phone calls, once I get out where there is signal.  I am simply trusting the Lord to provide what we need and where we need it. That’s all I can do, and, after all, it is the best place to be. 

Right now?  I still want to go to the reunion tomorrow.  I know that we have to go to Fort Knox to get groceries, on Tuesday, to see if there’s financial help there. Depending on the base, you can sometimes get significant savings on grocery costs. If so, we may want to look for places to live, that are closer to the base. I know that we have to get the van work done, or at least identified, and we have to try to find someplace else to live.  All in the next six days. Sounds impossible? Not for our Lord!  We just need to knock on doors, and see which one He opens.  

We have learned a lot from this adventure. Charles said the first thing that we’ve learned, is that we want to rent some place for at least a year, preferably two, before we decide to buy. That way, we can see how I do, with all the different seasons, and with everything else in the area. We are both open to the possibility that we may need to rent a place here, and then rent someplace further south, for the winter, until we can find the right place to own, but we still both believe that the good Lord has a home in mind, for both of us.  There are many other things that we have learned as well. Important things like; Easy access to the property is necessary, not a nicety. Fun things like; Having a horse in the yard is a cool thing. One of the important things, is that we don’t want to jump at a place, simply because it’s available, and something we can afford to do.  I do know that my music, and a story that I need to write, have become very important to me.  The Lord has laid that on my heart, during this time, but the only thing I need, to answer that call, is to have working computer. The most important one? We want to keep our hearts and our minds open to what the good Lord has in mind, for both Charles and I.

 A friend of mine, who is also Allergic to the 21st Century, asked me today, if I was truly better here.  She said that she looks back over the last year and tries to remember where she was a year ago, to determine whether or not she is better in a new place. It’s kind of an interesting time for her to be asking that question, because I am so terribly tired, and still fighting the mold issues.  I am better, since we’ve been here at the campgrounds for just over a week. Despite the fact that I am terribly tired, so tired still, that I don’t know if I’m going to be able to go to that family reunion. Despite the fact, that I’m still recovering, from two things that hit me so hard.  Even with going through all of these different problems, I am better here. What’s the other thing? During this whole period, I had a fungal infection and didn’t realize it. An internal fungal infection, which is very serious for me. That’s serious for anybody, but I was, and am, actually doing better here, with all that was wrong, than I have been, for a long time, in Arizona. I know that I’ve had my son helping me, and perhaps you may think I am just deluding myself, that I am doing better here, but I don’t think so. I am still able to do for myself, and that’s huge! Charles was helping me in Arizona too, and I just double checked with him to be sure. He said “Yes Mom, you are doing much better, here in Kentucky.”

Add to that, the fact that the problems that I have with electromagnetic fields have been greatly reduced here. That is an added bonus of immense proportions!  Now I’ve come to realize, that being too close to a cellular tower, or a cell phone, is still a problem for me. Even though the effects are not as obvious, or painful, now that I’m back here in Kentucky, I’ve come to realize that it is still affecting me.  I think I am going to keep that margin of safety, with cell towers, up to at least 3 miles away, preferably four miles, away from where we end up living, because I do so much better, when I’m farther away from that kind of electromagnetic field. Which I just realized, as I was typing this paragraph, that means going to the reunion, is probably not a good idea. We couldn’t stay long, at all, because of the location. I just wonder if that is one of those doors I need to knock on?   Charles has been doing all of the running around for us.  Going out, anywhere, is pretty tough on this ole gal right now.  Well.  We will see how tomorrow goes. 

To answer my friends question and the questions I have myself? Yes, despite all the issues, Kentucky is the better place. Not just because of her beauty, which is extraordinary, it’s not the fact that Kentucky is home, it’s not even because I am so much better here. Ultimately, Kentucky is the best place for me, because this is where I feel the Lord wants me to be.

Please do keep us in your prayers, as we continue to search for the Lord’s leading. I know the good Lord has something wonderful in store, in His timing!  That’s all I really want, is to follow His Perfect Plan for my life. When I am doing that, even the tough times in life, and there are always tough times, they just get easier. 

12 Things I See Happy People Do (that unhappy people do not)

I liked this enough, to try to reblog! I hope it works! It is so inline with what I believe.

Rev. Shane L. Bishop

I have been thinking a lot about happiness of late, partially because so many people seem unhappy.  I think that was my first epiphany upon entering the world of Social Media; people are unhappy and there are a lot of them.  Now don’t get me wrong, we all know some people who wouldn’t be happy, were they not unhappy but I am not talking about them.  We will just let them be.  I am also not thinking theologically here (i.e. juxtaposing happiness and joy), today I am going to err on the practical and pragmatic side of things.  With that being said, let’s get going.

I think most people want to be happy; they are just not quite sure how to get there from their present location.  Many people honestly believe that happiness is a lucky bounce; a sunny disposition or favorable circumstances but I disagree.  Happiness is a choice…

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From Nuisance, to Project!

From Nuisance, to Project!

 It is only through labor and painful effort, by grim energy and resolute courage, that we move on to better things.

― Theodore Roosevelt 

Finally, after a very challenging trip across country, then weeks of wandering around Kentucky, we were finally looking at Dirt. Finally. Yup said it three times.  Made me laugh. Because the only thing that is “Final” in this journey called life, is when we get to go to our true home some day.  But I am hoping that the good Lord has brought me to a place where we can own our own piece of Dirt! Perhaps, more commonly known as, Land.  Specifically, land with a barn, and there is an entire story about why not a house, and the Lord’s timing behind that!  At this point, we just want something that we could turn into a shelter for the winter. Then later, I can talk about “Finally” getting, whatever the latest project is, done. 😉

Hopefully, for now, we can find a barn large enough to park my Little Gypsy inside, then, block off a stall, or one corner of the barn for Charlie, and one part for our main living quarters.  Actually, Shelter, from the rain would not be a bad idea either, since I have hardly been able to cook, without getting soaked, since I’ve been back in Kentucky. It is still raining!  Living in the desert for the last 25 plus years, makes all this rain, seem unreal!  

We had looked at literally, hundreds, perhaps even thousands, of places on line, but Monday, just this last Monday, we were out looking at possibilities in real life. There was that new Amish pole barn. The one we heard about before we ever left Arizona. It even had an outdoor privy and a couple of rooms, they had started to add on to the building, with 25 lovely acres, but they were asking a lot for it. Quite a bit more than I felt it was worth. Plus, it would be a nuisance, and such hard work, to clear all the brush. The two houses on one piece of land? Interesting! But, wait, right in town.  Nope. No good. What about that 2 and 1/2 acre piece that was cleared and mowed, yeah, but right on the highway, no barn, and still too close to town, which means people and cell towers would both be a nuisance. There was the house the sheriff told us about.  He showed us the board that had all the listings for the upcoming auction, homes that were now bank owned.  Sad.  The one that might have worked, had lots of old vehicles and trailers parked every which way, and the house looked as though it had been unloved and neglected for years on end.  How did we find out about all these gems? 

You see, one of my sisters, knew a gentleman, who worked with the Amish. She knew, Charles and I, wanted to settle in, or near, an Amish community, so we could have good, clean, organic sources of food. She knew that I wanted, and needed, to be in an area like that for so many reasons.  The Amish are a community of people who allowed the Industrial Age, to simply pass them by, and the Information Highway, is something others use.  They have quietly resisted any efforts from others, to bring them into the 21st Century.  Others, outsiders, people they refer to as The English, (that would be you and me) have tried to impose, enforce, or even occasionally, endorse, our new ways upon them, to little, or no, avail. 

I digress.  

Suffice it to say, these communities offer me the possibility of sanctuary, at least in part, from a world gone mad. Too many electronic gadgets and gizmos, and yes, I am working on one of those electronic devices now, to bring this story to you.  But as I can, I too, have been escaping from the 21st Century. Sometimes, literally running from more virulent pesticides and herbicides. Avoiding genetically modified and engineered crops and animals. I could go on and on, but let me get back to the heart of the matter.  

We may have found the right piece of Dirt! This gentleman, that my sister knew, from a church she was invited to sing at. Well!  That certainly sounds very southern, doesn’t it. He took us on a whirlwind tour of a little section of one of the Amish communities, in Bath County, Kentucky.  He introduced us to some of the Amish, while asking about land for sale.  But it was later, when we were asking the neighbors about the unloved house. Yes, I had hoped to find an old home built before 1960 or so, but kept getting blocked, one way or another, whenever I knocked on that door. 

Anyway, when one of the neighbors, who just came out to get his mail, asked what we were looking for, I said a barn, with a few acres of land, would work. He pointed to the barn, just down the road and said he was selling that. Six acres or so, a big old barn, a shed, a pond, a little creek, more like a brook, and a well, that might be a spring! I asked the good Lord for just one of those waterways. This one has them all. More importantly, he was willing to do an Owner Will Carry loan. That is the only way, Charles and I, can make this happen, without going into debt in a big way.  Someday, I may tell you our thoughts about The Better Mousetrap. Forgive me. I am wandering all over the place tonight! So. Anyway, he took us down to see it.

And…

Yes! We want it! When Charles and I compared notes later, he told me, “Mom, everything we looked at before, had something that would be a nuisance, to take care of, but when we looked at this property, that nuisance, turned into a project!” The gentleman who was driving us around, was also impressed.  So.  We will see.  We don’t even know the terms yet.  But, hey, it could happen!  Then? Surveys? Wood stoves?  A way to set it up? We already know of one way to get wood pretty cheap. Will all this happen before winter?  Oh my! But, Charles was so right about things happening fast. We are both excited about this piece of Dirt! We are here! The owner suggested the idea of renting the property to us, for a while, very cheaply.  We can live here for a while, to make sure it’s a place that we’re going to like. A place where I will do Well.  If we do, then we’ll talk about the terms later.   We’ll see how it goes, but I think this is the place. I pray it is so, but only if it is in the Lord’s will.  It will be a lot of hard work.  Right now both of us are stuck!  Yup!  You heard me.  The owner had to get his tractor out to keep Sassy from going into the brook. 

He wound up dragging the van back by latching onto Little Gypsy and hauling me into a spot that would work until the rain settles down.  

Hopefully, I will get her a little more level, after this rain quits! I keep sliding out of bed, or squished up down by poor Macha, who also keeps sliding to the edge! 

He was able to drag Charlie’s Olde Bleu, sideways! His trailer too, so he could get lined up, to get in the main driveway.

I really can’t complain! The barn is not leaning. Olde Bleu is! Charles spent all night hugging his computer, while practically standing on his head!

 The main driveway.  Sounds impressive, doesn’t it.  But the main driveway is currently two short rows of a few big rocks laid in a ditch, which Sassy wouldn’t make it through, even in perfectly dry conditions.   I came in on the other side of the barn, and hugged the barn, to stay out of the brook, but when I tried to back the trailer in next to the shed, yeah, well, thank goodness for his tractor, and his kind heart! 

Big shed too! I saw a great place for chickens or guinea hens, Charles saw a great shower room!  That would be a more immediate need.  

A lot? Did I say a lot of hard work? That hardly describes how busy we will need to be, just to make this work for us.  But oh, the possibilities!   Charles said he had a feeling that things would happen very quickly. He was right. Our first day of actually looking, and we have a good place to stay through the winter.  

This old barn has been here for generations, it was built in the 1800’s, and it needs a lot of tender loving care. I am praying that if we wind up owning this beautiful piece of Dirt, this old barn will see many more generations to come!

By the way, gentle reader, you may think that quote at the beginning was inappropriate.  After all. We were just moving.  Just moving? Seriously, was it that hard? We were already living in our campers? But with the issues I have, moving across country this way, was extraordinarily difficult.  If you read an earlier post of mine, a Possible Post, you know we were constantly moving into areas and situations that had me in such pain, and confusion, that I would wind up in tears. Charles would become my one man comic, my court jester, anything it took to help me find a smile. He took over most of my chores, so I could rest. In fact, he got very bossy! I would try, so hard, to maintain my equanimity, but all too often, I would fail.  Personally, I think Charles had the hardest job, knowing someone you love, so much, is in such pain, and not being able to fix it.  I cannot imagine anything worse.  But we can smile now.  My health is improving. What a joy it is to feel better! Plus, now that we can stay in one spot, Charles will be able to do our running around. By the Lord’s grace, we have found a place where I can heal.  A place that will be good for The Boy too.  

A place, I pray, if it is in His will, it will be a place, we can call Home. 

Summer Home!

Summer Home!

Twenty shades of Green!

For a gal who has lived in Arizona, Nevada, or thereabouts, for the last 26 years, the views here are a delight to the eye! Now, don’t misunderstand, Arizona has green too, and even the desert has a barren beauty of its own.  All that rock and sand, has it’s own call to the senses, that can surprise you. 

Kentucky, though, Kentucky in the spring, has a brilliance, a glowing beauty, that I have missed more than I knew!

Grass! Rolling hills of grass.

Green, lush, thick, grass underfoot, everywhere, with just that hint of blue, in the early morning dew, that lets you know, you are not only in Kentucky, but in the heart of Kentucky, the Bluegrass section of the state. Grass that just grows. No sprinklers here, except those provided by the good Lord! Water in extraordinary abundance. Water in the air. Humidity, and it will take some adjusting, but I can breathe here. In fact, the lower altitude seems to give me more energy. All that oxygen. Well, until it got hot! Oh my! Poor Charles, he is struggling with the heat! I probably am too, but I feel so much better in other ways, that it just does not seem so bad.

Rain!

Sprinkles, showers, storms. Water everywhere. Brooks, creeks, streams, rivers! Springs, ponds, lakes. All different sizes and varieties. 

Birds!

Songbirds, and we can stop right there for a moment. Waking up to the sounds of so many different singers, each morning, has been such a joy! There are also woodpeckers, heron, quail, raptors, snipe, (yes, they really exist) sandpipers, ducks, geese, swans, pelicans, gulls, cranes, and so many more. Dagnabbit! I almost caught a picture of one of the locals. Even though this photograph is one I took elsewhere in Kentucky, I could hear geese, down river, this morning, so I feel justified in adding it here!

Oh! Did I happen to capture a picture of The Boy at work? Lol. This was taken at the Millstone Library not far from our previous camp site. Very uptown compared to here. Miniature golf, a swimming pool, all kinds of perks, plus this lovely area, but the campgrounds had campers packed in like cord wood! Two nights there was enough, they were starting to roll in, even on Thursday. Very grateful for the “two nights for one”, special, that came at just the right time.  It answered our needs at that moment, but I am so much happier here!

Trees!

So many different types of trees! Ash, Oak, Pine, Pawpaw. Beech, Maple, Hickory, Hawthorne. Pecan, Persimmon, Sweetgum, Magnolia. Even a Coffeetree, and more.

This is looking out past our camp site. You can just see a couple of old boats and some other odds and ends at the far end of the campgrounds. Yes, the sky really looked like that!

Kentucky. Back home in Kentucky. I was born in Kentucky, but I didn’t think I would ever be back to stay. Even so, after years away, Kentucky has always been Home.

Now. About my Summer Home.  We are at a campgrounds on the Kentucky River! I had a dream about living on the banks of the Kentucky River. Now it has come true.  I still can’t believe it. Good Lord willing, we will be staying here until we find a piece of dirt, land, property. A piece of dirt I can call my own. Maybe even a house to go with it, hopefully, before winter. This campgrounds closes in November. But until then, they have monthly rates, that make it financially possible for, Charlie and I, to stay for the summer.  Although, I have warned him.  We will be spoiled.  Even though we are still dry camping, in their primitive area, this is a lovely little campgrounds. Nothing fancy, and it is definitely off the beaten path, but it has showers, (a blessing) ice, (my son’s prerequisite, to get us through the summer!) even a locally made ginger ale, (It was my first soda in over 15 years, but oh my! It was good!) and all the necessities to get chores done. Water, trash, dump. It is what some might call, a quaint little place.  To me, it feels very down home.  A big porch along the front of the building, and even an old wood stove in the camp office.

Here you can see the main campgrounds, where all the regular sites are at, with water, electric, and so forth. You can’t even see the office from here,  it is around the bend to the left, past the boats. It will take time, to build up to it, but walking to the office is a new goal! 

I made it! Today! I walked to the office! Amazing! I was even able to kind of jog a bit, a couple times, on the way back Little Gypsy, to try and beat the rain. Incredible! First time I could do that in 20 years or more!

We are in an overflow section at the end of the campgrounds, which gives us lots of space, and as you can see, it keeps us safe from the chemicals others use, so often.  There is Wi-Fi, so Charles can keep his web page up to date, but just when you’re close to the office, so it won’t bother me. Plus, we are right on the Kentucky River. 
Perfect!

The Kentucky River! Have I mentioned the river? I can just see the river from my campsite.

Can’t quite see it? Well let me get you a little closer.

Go about one hundred feet from camp and you can see down by the bank.

See the little table and benches? They are scattered along the bank for campers to enjoy the view.  Tent campers love those little areas! 

Yes, there are ticks, I’m sure, and chiggers, and snakes, and it will get cold this winter, but it is gorgeous! Haven’t had any problems with mosquitoes, yet, but they need still waters to be a real issue.  A dear friend sent me a picture of the cactus in bloom, in case I was missing Arizona.  Nope. There was much to admire and enjoy about Arizona, but Kentucky is home! Besides, it is so much better for me here!

The Kentucky River starts in Beattyville, Ky, and wanders through the forest, flowing Northwest, for the most part, until it joins the Ohio river at Carollton, Ky. We are not far from Versailles, Ky, much more than halfway down river from the three forks. About 260 miles of water, wandering and winding, its way through mountains, meadows, marshes, and incredible gorges. Gorges, with solid, vast, walls of rock, often hidden by the trees, and little valleys, or dells, like this along the way.

Best of all, I am better here.  Charles is concerned that it is too soon to be certain. But of course, Charles and I have had to move so often, trying to find the right place to camp, that we are both a little gun shy, and we are close to a cell tower here. But I have been able to walk.  I even got my guitar out last night and sang a little. It felt so good! I was able to get my stove out today!

The best part, is knowing we don’t have to move. For at least two weeks! They have you pay two weeks at a time here.  But the way this all happened, the page kept popping up for this campgrounds.  I just know the good Lord has His hand on this and it will work out. I am certain we have found our Summer Home. The difference a few days make!

Home, on the banks, of the Kentucky River.

Now that sounds like a song, doesn’t it? I will have to work on that! 🙂

Inexplicable Joy!

P_20170402_200358

In the foreground, that lump under the covers is my little Macha girl, sitting on her throne, designed by yours truly, and built by my son, Charles.  Through the window, looking out of my van, Sassy, you can just see my son sitting in his truck, Olde Bleu

How can I possibly explain this photo, much less this day? It has been a very tough day. Cold and rainy. Charles and I have been going over and over the numbers, trying to figure out just how we can make everything work, within the parameters that are an intrinsic part of this journey to Kentucky.

Wait! Didn’t I tell you?  Well gentle reader, we are on our way to Kentucky! That’s right, We. My son Charles, is moving with me.  He is living in his pickup and hauling a flat bed trailer, and I am driving Sassy, hauling my trailer, Little Gypsy.

How did it happen? This whole story is an extraordinary example of the good Lord’s incredible timing.  Once more, He is closing doors, and opening windows, in my life, and the life of my son.  You have heard the saying “The Lord moves in Mysterious ways” that is not a quote from the bible, it is from an old English hymn written by William Cowper, yet it certainly describes these last few months.

February 10th my dad passed away and we went back east for the funeral. The train trip going out there, and the one coming back, are both worthy of posts all by themselves.  In fact, I could go on and on, about the wonderful time we had in Kentucky. Tears and laughter, sorrow and joy, but exhaustion will, most likely, keep me from my usual verbosity!

The amazing event during this part of my journey, is that I got better in Kentucky. A lot better.  My son said it was almost miraculous!  As you may know, I am Allergic to the 21st Century. The rest of the world calls it Environmental Illness, or Multiple Chemical Sensitivities with sensitivity to EMF/RF. Allergic, is not really accurate, since I am not truly allergic to chemicals. They are actually poisons for all of us, and my body, like one fifth of the population, just does not deal with toxins well. Anyway, I like to say that I’m Allergic to the 21st Century because it makes people smile. 🙂

Back to the short story? Oh, okay fine!

We were cold, wet and tired. Eating instant organic oatmeal made with water that was not quite hot enough. But it was so good to have something warm to eat.  We were sitting in the Natural Grocers parking lot, in Abilene Texas, right across from McAlisters Deli, which you can just see in the background of that first photo.  Both of us sitting, eating, in the drivers seats of our vehicles, knowing we had to go a little further yet that night.  We also had an organic beef hot dog, that we were eating cold. But as we each took a bite, while standing behind my rig, we thought it was pretty tasty, even cold.

Charles went to his truck to get out of the rain, and I went back to the drivers seat of my van, and there was a moment.  A special, joy filled, moment, that I doubt I can ever truly explain in a way, so you could understand the love that I have for my son. How can I describe, how incredibly proud I am, to have a young man like that as my son.  We were sitting there, cold, tired, and wet, but we looked through our rain streaked windows at each other. Each of us with a half eaten hot dog in our hands, and simultaneously, lifted that cold, but tasty, hot dog towards each each other in a silent salute.  We smiled at each other, both of us knowing, with out any doubt, that we were both happy in that moment. Content to be okay, right where we were at!  Getting down the road that little further was tough, driving in the rain when you are bone weary is so challenging, but that little moment, that shared bit of appreciation and happiness, with my son? That’s what makes life worth living! You can find them in the strangest places, if you are looking for them. Those little moments of sheer joy!

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Me and The Boy!

It is a glorious thing, this journey called life! I am so blessed!

Serenity 

I saw a feather drop from the sky today!

I was sitting here thanking the Lord for all He has done in my life. I was thanking Him for my son being able to come and help me for the last couple of months. With all the changes in my world, Charles being here to help, has been an extraordinary blessing! I was also thankful that my son was able to see, and stay, at my favorite place to camp, Empire Ranch! Continue reading

Changing of the Guard

Perhaps I should say Changing of the VanGuard? They usually lead the way.  Yup! I Bet you guessed it! I have a new vehicle! 

I went around that proverbial mulberrybush a few times, as far as vehicles go. As most of you know, I am Allergic to the 21st Century and have to be careful to stay away from just about every man-made chemical. That means, I have to have a vehicle that’s a 1994 or older because ever since 1995, by law, they have had to spray all of the materials inside of every vehicle with fire retardant, and I react very badly to that nasty stuff! Since fire retardant doesn’t seem to dissipate enough for me to tolerate it for long, I had my son, Charles, looking at old vehicles of every kind.  Even Volkswagens. That’s right, even paid to get one Bug inspected. It sounded great, and it still does, the thought of having all of those engine smells behind me.  Instead, in most vehicles, they’re curling up from under the dash, as I’m going down the highway! All that gas and oil being heated so the fumes are really strong. You’d think they were specifically designed to work on adding to my toxic load. Well, maybe not specifically. 😉  But, Volkswagens have become collector’s items. Oh my, the price tags on some of those! If you want to have sticker shock, look up a few of those old Bugs, or worse yet, a few VW busses!  I  thought of Pickup’s, but trying to get into the back would be tough for me.  I even thought of tiny pick-ups, but I’m not too sure I would fit in the front! Besides, anything too different, and I’d have to make some radical changes in my solar rack design, and go even more minimalist with how much stuff I can carry. Even changing to a Dodge or a Chevy van would mean revisions, but we looked for those too. What would be best was another old Ford van, but we just hadn’t found anything even remotely usable. 

But guess what happened? 

I’m glad you asked!

I am so grateful that we found this new van!

Ain’t she purdy!

Okay, can you hear me chuckling? How about a Little newer van. She’s a 1983 Ford E150. Yes, she’s been around for awhile, 183,00 miles around, and she’s only a half ton, but believe it or not, she’s in far better shape than my old 1977 Ford E250, Jehosheba, with well over 270,000 miles to her credit. 

A face lift in progress! Okay, maybe not a facelift, but new kingpins, tierods, a tranny flush and an oil change should give her quite a boostI. I found a great shop in Sierra Vista. Arizona Auto & Radiator Repair. If you’re in need, and any where close, I would highly recommend them and so would a lot of other people. Check out their Google reviews! Five stars!

 When you consider that her tires looked like this, 

She has been riding on the very outside of both front tires for awhile.

before we put the new ones on, that show how bad the tread was on the old ones.  Of course, it really shows that the front end is in bad condition!

 Now she looks like this! Standing tall and proud, with her wheels standing up straight. 

 Now that the work is done, I think you could call it a face lift!  

This van still needs a lot of work, but I’m hoping and praying she will last for a long time to come.  Some of her issues are pretty expensive, (understatement of the decade!) but there is so much, that is so right, about this van for me, that I’m hoping she is worth the investment. Thank the good Lord, I have amazing and, obviously, crazy friends, who helped me with loans and gifts, for both the purchase and the repairs! Well, most of the repairs. Alright, maybe some of the repairs, would be more accurate. I will be working on her, as I can, over the years to come, but at least the most vital needs are being taken care of today!  

Fortunately, the hitch transferred with no trouble, and because it was a U-Haul installation, they did that for free! I did have to buy an extension, so I could keep Little Gypsy’s mighty prow from being crushed by the spare tire hanging off the back door.  Unfortunately, as I’ve been writing, the shop has already found some new issues. I knew we had some kind of major leak, because we went from a full tank to a half tank in just 20 miles!  Boy, did she stink on the way into the shop! I was praying we didn’t have the kind of problems with her, that we have with Jehosheba.  Thank goodness, it was just some fuel lines leaking.  Some just needed the clamps tightened, some the hoses replaced.  The rear brakes are fine, but unfortunately, the brake shoes in the front were down to the metal. Those are being handled today. The emergency brake assembly will have to wait til next month.   

However. 

Right now, I’m  taking a big breath and offering a fervent prayer. If you are a praying person, I would ask for yours as well!

There is one very serious issue, about which, I can only pray it will take a while, before it has to be addressed. Does the word “Transmission”, when uttered by a mechanic, send a chill up your wallets spine?  Yes, they found bits of metal in the tranny pan, when they pulled it to do the transmission flush. That made me shudder and made me review. She was hesitant, going up those steep little hills, while she was hauling the trailer out to my new camp site out in the forest, a few days ago. But she was low on tranny fluid, and it was dark. Being so old, I’m sure it wasn’t much help. Hopefully, the flush, new fluid, and sealed leaks, will keep her going for awhile.  A long while!

The important thing is, she’s shifting fine, and she is relatively safe for me, chemically.  Certainly much better than Jehosheba! What is causing my old beauty to smell so badly of gasoline, is that her carburetor needs to be rebuilt, and that’s what has been making me so ill lately. My old Jehosheba will end up retired, parked at a friend’s place, and be a parts van when she can.  With an engine that’s slowly going out, doors that won’t close, a gear shift that is welded to the steering column, and a host of other issues, continued repairs on my old van would be unwise, but she could still be useful in the years to come.  

My newer van will be even safer to drive, after the front end is repaired today. In fact, with what she’s had done today, she will be worth the continued investment, by default, if for no other reason. But I’m so grateful that I can open and close the doors so easily. The doors even lock. All of them! First time in over three years that I could say that. The fact that she’s lower and has those wonderful side steps, has also made it much easier for this ole gal to get in and out, it doesn’t hurt, and that’s a huge relief!  Although, they do limit where I can take her. Those two aspects will definitely cut down on some of my “Adventures”! Do ask my son how he feels about that! You will, no doubt, get a sly, but relieved, grin.  😉 You can just see him, starting to give me a little wave, driving Jehosheba, as we leave the shop. I was so relieved that Charles was able, and willing, to come help me when I was so ill.  I’m also grateful that he can stay to help me get everything transferred from my old van to the new one. I have an amazing son, but don’t tell him I told you!

It has been strange to see someone else, even Charles, driving my beautiful Jehosheba.

I’m going to start a new savings account, just for repairs. I’ll only be able to add a little at a time, and I’m going to have to leave it in the good Lord’s hands, as to just when those additional repairs will need to be done. Hopefully, not for a few years, when my wallet can stand it, or at least, after I have the current big loan paid off! Please Lord! 

The visit to the shop was Friday and I’m finally getting a chance to finish this post. She is steering so much better! No more jerking back and forth. I certainly feel more confident about driving her around. The emergency brake assembly, and a full tune up, are next on the list of repairs. Ouch, and, Oh Dear! Unless, disaster strikes, then it will get downright interesting!

But as the shop owner said, these old Ford E series vans are built like Sherman tanks, so for now, let’s talk of the Naming! 

Yes, every vehicle I have ever owned, gets a name. Sometimes, I know right away. Usually, as in this case, I have to get to know the vehicle a little bit first.

Here you can see her getting some last minute advice from Jehosheba, as she is hooked up to the trailer for the first time.

She looks so little compared to Jehosheba. Perhaps it’s the smaller tires? The color? Maybe it’s the step rails? It could be because of all the gear my old van is carrying, that Jehosheba just looks a lot bigger? Perhaps it the combination of all the differences? Whatever the reason, I thought she seemed like a cute little filly, when compared to my old gray mare. 🙂  I thought of naming her Little Filly to go with my trailer Little Gypsy, but even a Filly needs a name. While she may be cute and seem little, or even delicate, when compared to my old van, she still looks like she has a bit of an attitude.  When I mentioned that to a new friend of mine, she agreed and said she looked a little sassy. I laughed and said I thought that fit her just right.  So that’s what I’ve named her.  

Sassy!