Oy Vey

You know that phrase, Bit off more than you can chew? Well I became really familiar with that phrase today. We have purchased a 1999 Rockwood Freedom series pop up camper for $1000. I wish I could say we knew what we were looking for. I checked the body for damage which there was some (again $1000 dollars and 21 years old) and we looked for water damage. He pointed out where he had seen some and repaired the floor and was about to put down new laminate. Everything looked okay for a 20 year old camper. So we bought it and towed it home. Once we got it home who dove into really look at it. We decided (Well I decided) ttat we are going to put down flooring to match the whole floor and cover repair, paint the walls and cabinets(the lovely wood paneling), I will fix the DIY cushions that his wife did and add storage and a portable toilet area. We went and got the paint and flooring, plus some RV waterproof repair tape.

Monday morning, I film my first youtube video to show off the trailer before and sit down to start work. I measure some tape to tape over the repair and the current flooring and BAM problem one. The repair isn’t supported and the wood appears too low(note I said appears, this is important for later). I have extra wood boards laying around easy fix. Nope the screws are too tight and I stripped one before I could get it out. Okay No big deal, I can work on the cabinets and look into pulling out the step so I can put in a storage area/ step. I pull the old step out and got to remove the handles so I can start to clean and prep the paneling. In pop ups the kitchen sink and counter folder down and there is a board the cabinet sits on. It is supremely wood damaged as well, (great I get to replace that too…..) Finally I gave up and I closed up shop, made tracks inside and ordered a stripped screw set and called it a day.

Look at all that caulking

Thursday I get the screw remover and I attempt to remove the screws. Drill is dead. :-/

Finally Friday! I am off and I make it my mission to get the replacement wood, primer, sandpaper and poly for my cabinets and get a bunch done today! I make my way to Wally World and Lowes. Drive home, grab a Diet Root-beer grab my battery and start on the trailer. I attempt to fold up the door(Has knobs to hold it in place) Hmm that’s odd the door is too long…. Okay Ill just bungie cord it. I sit down and start to remove the striped screws. I got 2 of the 3. The 3rd is in there for life. I trying drilling around it and just having the screw hole there and I will putty it. NOPE! That screw must have been rooting in the earths core. TAP OUT. I will just fix it from under the trailer. Okay for all of y’all folks in the back, ya girl is plump. I don’t mean some Ashley Graham plump, Closer to Rosie O’Donald in Now and Then Plump. We all know my happy ass ain’t fitting under this damn trailer and I ain’t stupid enough to try it without my phone and home alone. I was able to support the floor under spot I noticed but I also noticed that the camper on that side was off. I began to unscrew the door. All the screws are different and there are 2 nails. Weird. Turns out this isn’t the original door. This isn’t a door for this trailer. Which is way the door wasn’t clicking into place on the ceiling and why it wasn’t clicking in place when the camper was open. There is no way to fix this door so it is screwed in properly. FANTASTIC! My husband at this point is going to murder me for messing with this. I move on to the storage area I decided to pull out and put in a portable toilet. I unscrewed the box and pulled and guess what! More water damage! At this point I text my husband photos, remove the rotted wood, spray the rest with flexseal(yes I know that isn’t the way to seal wood) place a bag over the hole to prevent anything from popping in. and went in for the night.

Needless to say I am overwhelmed with what I’ve found so far. I have no worry that I can make this trailer a little slice of heaven for camping. My plans are now fix the hole, reframe the door and replace the wall on the side where the hole was originally seen. My husband has not killed me and we are going to truck on tomorrow. We will be hitting the hardware store yet again. Wish us luck with this journey. I will be posting it on here.

Reflections

Two dogs died today. This isn’t a happy blog post so if you are sensitive to death please consider this your warning.

Yesterday my foster dog, Bosco killed my mothers dog, Adva. I never thought I would ever say those words. We aren’t sure what happened. We were doing yard work and I was on the riding mowing. My mom hears Bosco playing with something and it was her 4 pound chihuahua. Adva was 16 yrs old. We rushed her to the vet down the street but she was gone. When we got home I reached out to the shelter to report the attack and death and to ask if I could bring the dog there since the attack with here and surprise number one. Since I do not legally own the dog I can’t not bring him in, I need let the rescue know and they must surrender the dog. Surprise number 2 they don’t even do a vicious dog report. The rescue is 100% run by volunteers and a board. This particular day no one was answering the phone or listening to emails. I emailed, called and Facebook messaged them. No answer so finally I call the vet who neutered him and they start calling the list of folks they have. I finally get permission to bring him in(he was going no matter permission or Not). I now have to drive this dog I worked soo hard to find a home, to keep out of the shelter and bonded with to be killed. He can’t go into a home having killed a dog. I don’t blame them. Fuck, I can’t even blame him he is a dog and didn’t know any better. I blame myself, thinking I should have taken him to the shelter when I found him. But I worked in shelters and I knew he wouldn’t do well and allowed him to stay. That I put him above the safety of my own pets. My mom blames herself for not protecting her dog and not being able to save her. The fact is we didn’t know. We had no idea that he would attack her. He had met Adva before. We didn’t know him being on a lead wouldn’t be enough. We put him on the lead to keep him safe, we were aware he wasn’t the one in danger. I didn’t know she was outside and my didn’t know she had come by her and wasn’t still laying on the blanket in the sun.

We didn’t hear her make a noise so in hide sight was a blessing because although I will never get the look of panic and pain on my moms face screaming “he killed her!”. I will never forget how her body flatter somehow and bones shattered and how she looked on my counter top as I felt for breathing and a pulse or my mom sobbing in the car while I’m driving 80 mph to the closest vet that she vacated her bowels and knowing in my head she is dead. My mom yelling at the vet office after hearing she was gone “that fucking dog!” Having to send her to the car while I’m arranging the cremation, then guiding her into the shower to wash the poop off while trying to hide my own bloodied hands. Driving my foster to the rescue and him enjoying the car ride just to be put down. Finally the look on Bosco face when I had leave him with strangers to spend his last moments on earth in the company of strangers. Driving back sobbing at this whole thing. Thinking omg my mother is never going to forgive me.

I’m in shock and numb. Adva was my family. We had her for over 14 years. She was my moms whole world. I’m angry. I had this dog in my home for 7 months. I reported him found and tried to do right. This was not merely a lost dog, he was dumped. As you know I live in the country, apparently in Greenville, NC people dump animals they no longer want in the country to fend for themselves. Only reason I know this is because my friend mentioned to a friend that I was going to have to drop him off at the shelter because I couldn’t find him a home or rescue and he told her that it was messed up and I should just drop him in the country to give him a “fighting chance” she told him how do you think she got the dog in the first place. This was an owned dog, Bosco had a collar and was trained. He had a home. Instead of doing the right thing realizing that he had a major issue and either working with him or taking him to the vet and having him humanely euthanized surround by folks he knew they decided sign the death warrant on someone elses dog. They had a choice, much like I did in taking him in. When my dog started to chase the chickens I worked with her. I broke her prey drive. So instead of being a responsible owner they unleashed a dangerous dog on society.

So for now we heal. My mom will probably be leaving soon, I don’t blame her this will forever be the house her little dog was killed. I will try to accept the fact that this happened and forgive myself for not knowing he was capable. I should have known better. Most of my career was with dogs. I should have fucking known. I can’t blame Bosco for what he did. He didn’t realize what he did. I will accept that I am upset about Bosco needing to die. Somehow we will get the images out of our minds and stop playing it over in our heads about what we could have done differently. Things to take away from this post are to love your dogs, cats, whatever. Make sure you have a direct number for someone when working with a rescue. Take more caution than me.

It’s not fair. People caused this. Pet ownership isn’t about convenience. Dogs aren’t disposable. His old owners failed, I failed. We all failed. This didn’t have to happen. Two dogs died yesterday.

RIP Adva Aruna Bethea

Long time no talk

Life has a way of getting away from us. Spring has come and is almost gone and the garden is flourishing. I have gotten yellow squash and hope to have a second tomato for my momma (first one get chewed on by something) in a few days. Oh Yea, btw my Mother has sold her house and officially moved in. It has been an adjustment. We’ve also went to California! I got the flights for an unbelievable price! 2 round trip tickets cross country for 428 bucks. I’m not mad at it. We flew over, spent a full week driving to visit family and friends. We did decide on a location to move to but more on that later. While I’ve been hired on fully no longer through the staffing firm my hours and duties at work have changed. Lastly, I have a foster dog. Well kinda. Bosco was dumped at my house in November and I finally got a rescue interested but only if I foster.

Bosco is soo cute!

We have decided on the Redding area of California. We really liked Oak Run but we are open to the other surrounding areas. We loved the small but thriving downtown. the stores and the people were realllllly nice. What I have been learning is while places like Asheville, N.C, Missouri and the plains are havens for the homestead movement we find ourselves yearning to go west like pioneers. The green lifestyle is there and it is far easier to be more earth friendly there.

At a brewery in Crescent City

So my mom sold her house. She made the decision to store with unboxes by U-Haul. Word for the wise go to U-Haul and look at the boxes before you decide to use them. They are not as large as you think they are and there is a 2000 pound weight limit per box. My mom got rid of stuff, and she still filled my garage with other stuff. The goal is to go thru her stuff box by box and get rid of more.

The garden is doing amazing all things considered. This year I bought seeds from Baker Creek and MiGardener, with a handful of Botanical Interest and Ferry Morse. The seeds germinated well and I placed them in the same window I always have. Well this year Binx has acquired a taste for micro-greens. So off to a different window it went. With the new window came grow lights because it is an interior window and there is a large tree in front of the house. After they got big enough and the weather finally cooperated(Global Warming is real yo) I placed them outside to harden off. We have officially renamed Bailey Boops to Hurricane Bailey. For those who don’t know Bailey our adorable Shepherd Lab pup. She is roughly 2 years old and has gone thru training twice. Well she has the body of a lap and the walk/brain of a shepherd. She gets bored very easy. Plus she has this thing about destroying my stuff only. Well she was outside while I got a shower and was cleaning something and she decided to help clean up the carport and pulled EVERY SINGLE SEEDLING out of the pots and stomp on them for good measure. I salvaged what I could and cried over my lose. I ended up saving 4 tomatos, 4 peppers, 2 squash(and neither are a zucchini!!) Lucky for me some of the plants can be direct sow.

Before the bean trellis and tomatoes took over

Gardening has always come easy to me. I truly believe it is in my blood. I did a genealogy and both my fathers and mothers families were farmers or farm laborers up until my grandparents. It’s times like this mess that I need to remember gardening isn’t an exact science. You never know what pests or bugs will hit this year, If the dreaded tomato hornworm will attack. All you can do is start over and rebuild.

OH AND WE GOT MARRIED! 3/9/2019

Well I think that is everything. I will include some more California trip photos.

Look at that clear water!

SunShine at last!

It’s been a miserable few weeks here in ole North Carolina. Pretty much rain and river flood warnings. Thanks the stars, the weatherman got the forecast right, and two blessed days of sun is here! So today is the day I start my new beds. 3 weeks ago, we started out at Lowes for the supplies. We purchased 3-2x10x16 ft untreated pine boards. Each one cost us $12.72 and had them cost them down to 4 ft piece. I really should have have it cut for 3-5×4 ft boxes, so it would match my existing big width but too late now.

After having our wood cut we rounded out our trip with 2.5 inch wood screws, a drill bit the size of the head of the screw, some wood glue and made our way home.

My super willing helper., Chris.

Fast forward to today. The suns out and while it isn’t exactly warm I began work. I first laid out the wood in a square pattern making sure the two parallel pieces were inside and the horizontal pieces on the outside to make it a perfect square.

Like so.

Next, I pre-drilled holes for the screws as to avoid splitting the wood. I also added a thin strip of glue on the joints for extra strength. After the glue was places and joints connected I began to screw in the screws. I used two per joint but I plan on burying the first inch into the ground so I didn’t feel like it needed the 3rd center screw and honestly my drill was not charged enough. My Starwars lightsaber screw driver set to the rescue!

Me screwing the screws by hand

After all the corners are screwed in it was time to move to the garden. These are heavy! Get help if you need help! Chris was a good sport and moved the bed to the garden area for me. From there I laid it int to position and used the outside and inside of the bed as a mark where to dig. I used the dirt on the inside to somewhat glue the box into place.

Gotta love the dog chewed blinds in the background. Thanks Bosco!

I still have 2 more boxes to build but I think that they are going to work nicely. Next, I need to source some soil. I have been watching the ads, calling around and checking craigslist but nothing yet! I hope you find these instruction clear.

Oh finally got some farm shoes!

Planters Anonymous

Hello. My name is Alisha and I am a plant-aholic. I think I need to join a group. Our last projected frost date is April 3rd. Meaning I should start my seeds February 20th. However!!!! I am super enthusiastic about new growth. I know, I know, the seeds being wasted by it not being warm enough to germinate. Well my friends, this is why I sow inside. I am a very cold person and Chris is a grumpy cold person, so we have the house at at least 65-70 degrees 90% of the time. As for light, I am blessed to live in North Carolina and its been a very mild winter the last few years for my city.

However, this being said, my plants tend to get leggy and my cat, Binx enjoys the micro-greens. This year, I am trying something new. I kept throwing the idea of getting smallish greenhouse or growing light but we the house being prepped for sell, we don’t want to add to what we have to pack, resale or donate. The jiffy min greenhouse wasn’t a great option last year, hard to keep watered properly and the lid kept flying off and into my yard. This year I needed to protect my plants since I plan on going hard this year. Enter a trip to Wally world. While grabbing some last min items I passed by the storage containers area. I think you know where I am going with this. I grabbed a 2 pack of medium, flat bins with the clear bottom and shuffled home. Once home I grabbed the lid, flipped it and placed all of my plants and seedlings on it. I spritzed with some water and placed the bottom on top. So far my plants are doing well and haven’t loss any to my cat. When it is nice and sunny I will move them outside onto the porch and at night or cold days it is in my outdoor store room next to my dryer vent.

Ignore the messy soil.

Today it was a high of 65 but the clouds opened up and gave me some beautiful warmth. Don’t get me wrong, I love winter. I love the rain and the cold weather but I love the early days of spring where I can leave the house with a light sweater but I can feel the warmth of the sun on my skin. I am excited for the last frost. April 3rd, so I can get these puppies into my new garden beds. For now, I fight the urge to buy more seeds, enjoy my hens beginning to lay fresh eggs and do my beekeeping homework. Cheers all.

32

January 29th was my 32nd birthday. My mother always told me the older you get the faster time seems to pass. What I never realized is you know it at the time how fast its going. Last year I frequently was amazed by how fast it spring, summer and fall. Before I knew it, Christmas had come. Last week I looked at the calendar and told Chris, “Holy Smokes BATMAN! MY birthday is next week!” not the exact words but gotta keep it PG13 round here. This is just going to be quick post this week as it is 11pm and I just got home an hour ago from Beekeeping School. In the next few posts I’ll share my garden box building with photos, updating my chicken coop and how I’m keeping my seedling safe from Thatcher Binx, my sweet, affectionate but annoying cat from eating them.

5 things you don’t realize till you own a home and plans

In May 2o17, our dream of buying a home was finally realized and we moved and got to work any making it ours. I painted the computer room with the warm vanilla paint I’d dreamed of while giving Chris his green wall for his “green screen”. I painted my kitchen a sunny yellow with gold glitter and scrapped the popcorn off the ceiling and painted kilz to block anything. I declared I was never going to move again and if we needed more room, we have almost an acre and whole add on. Needless to say the decision to move as you know from my first post was not easy! Owning a home has been everything I ever could dream of and more but it did come with some unexpected things.

#1. THINGS BREAK ALL OF THE TIME!!!

Water Heater, HVAC, Toilet, the lists goes on.

#2 Your House payment may change.

Two things in life are guaranteed, Death and Taxes.

#3 You will have to do basic maintenance

Lawn, Power washing, Clothing line repair…..

#4 You will change your mind about décor

Navy wall with constellations?

#5 Oh the Possibilities

Paint, fixtures, gardens oh my!

I would never second guess our dream of home ownership. However with our plans, I decided to create a to do list. I printed one from Project Zenstead and went to work.

Look how cute!

Since this photo was taking I have added and completed stuff on there but this is our master list of stuff we need to do in order to sell. There are a few random general reminder things but this is our goal sheet. I will continue to update you guys stuff we’re getting done. That’s it for this post. Sorry it was so scattered. My brain works in strange ways. Love ya!-A

Garden Plans for us planning on selling

I LOVE TO GARDEN! Every January I start chomping at the bit for seeds, soil, beautiful flowers and plants. I order far too many seed catalogs and dream of fresh sauteed zucchini and the tomatoes that I grow for my mom. This year is no exception. I’ve already started my beets, carrots, and tomatoes. I have everything I want to order marked with a post its and in my cart on Baker Creek. However where is the question. For the last few years I’ve have a raised bed and pulled up sod and tilled the ground. Herbs are always in pots. However last year, the grass was a real pain and it overtook my beautiful plants.

Our(my) new plan was to put plastic down to choke out the weeds , dig and place a brick boarder to keep the weeds at bay and of course fertilizer and put compost. Since we have decided to list toward the end of growing season, we don’t want put all of that effort in and to be honest the plan we had was for function not looks. Thus we decided on putting in 3 raised beds for aesthetics. Now I know what you’re thinking. “Why are you going to spend all that money on raised garden bed?” A raised bed doesn’t have to be expensive. When we put the first one in, we had just moved in, it was already May and we have too much other things to do other than rushes to plant in to the ground. So I did the next best thing and I googled. Google is wonderful. I saw many plans for D-I-Y raised garden. From $10 dollar beds to pallets gardens! I found a plan I liked and off to Lowes I went! I knew I wanted to get untreated/heat treated wood so I don’t chance chemicals leaking into the soil. I quick learned wood was more expensive that there websites were saying.

A “$10” raised bed was quickly going to cost $20 each. YIKES! So I decided to make 1 bed. I was walking around looking for a 4×4 that was untreated and I saw 2inx10inx14ft for $11.96 a board! I could make one box that measured 3ftx4ft for less then the cost of 2-2×4 and 1-4×4 and it would be better. My grand total for the garden was $16 dollars. To this day this box is super solid and grows beautiful tomatoes.

This year I will be making 3 beds for 33 Dollars!!! When you go in make sure you take advantage of Lowes cutting counter. It will also make taking the boards home easier. VERY IMPORTANT…… Pre-drill all holes where you will be screwing them together. If you do you may (or in my case will) crack the wood. Also I haven’t priced out soil since I haven’t decided if I’m going to schedule a delivery or wait for the bags to go on sale for 5-$10. Nevertheless, I’m hoping to get in and out of this thing with spending no more than $50. We shall see. Either way I’m hoping by the end of March to have a garden full of young plants growing like weeds.

If you would like photos and more details about my specific bed, Let me know!

To plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow. – Audrey Hepburn

The Journey Begins

Thanks for joining me!

Welcome to my life blog! Little about me/us. Hi, I’m Alisha, engaged(for far too long) to my main partner in crime, Chris. We’ve been together for almost 8 years, thru jobs, school and a cross country move. We met in a way that many folks do, online (shout out to OkCupid). November 12th 2011 this cute guy and I met for the worst movie and drinks at Ihop and he has been stuck with me ever since. I am an administrative assistant and Chris works in the Data Center for a local university. We have 3 dogs, Ivan, Minion and Bailey, 3 cats, Lexington, Binx and Zelda and 5 chickens but only 2 have names Bea Arthur and Red.


In 2014, We discussed moving to Texas or North Carolina, We were living in the Bay Area and although we loved it we knew we could never buy a house let alone rent an apartment together near our jobs. You see I had a dream of a home with land. I hated the size of my yard because I didn’t have the room for a garden, no room or allowance for chickens and definitely couldn’t keep bees. And finally I wanted to be able to lay outside and see the stars, something difficult with the city lights. During that discussion my mom decided she had enough and wanted to retire and become a beach bum in North Carolina. We took that as a sign and North Carolina it was. I made tracks over here in April of 2015 and Chris soon followed in July 2015. We finally found a great place(at the time) to rent great jobs and a year later we decided to look for a purchase our “forever” home.

Fast forward to June 2018, Now Chris is the oldest and comes with a lot of siblings (5 total kids! WOW) and I am one of 3. In the time we’ve lived here our family has gone thru a lot of changes. My younger brother had a baby, his younger brother had a baby and although not a change his baby brother has been fighting MS, Multiple sclerosis for those unfamiliar. Which in basic terms his central nervous system doesn’t allow his brain to send signals to his body. His dad has also gone thru a major life change and we haven’t been there to support or help with it. Our family and friends wanted us to visit or move back and at the time my thinking was “NO! are you crazy?! They can come visit. We have 3 dogs and 3 cats plus chickens and I just got a new job!” Needless to say that was not the end of the conversation.

For the last year I have felt unfulfilled in our lives here. We adult hard here. We work, keep a messy house and our social lives and circles have suffered. My mom hates the weather and for 6 weeks my life is hell due to the pine trees releasing pollen. That means for roughly 6 weeks(feels like longer) pine tree release pollen that goes everywhere. Glitter is the herpes of the makeup world, right? Well this pollen is EVERYWHERE!!!! If you have never been in North or South Carolina you must be thinking “Oh you are being dramatic, it can’t be that bad.” I dare you to google “Pine Pollen NC” and look at the images.

Back to unfulfilled, My garden is beautiful and I love our house but it doesn’t feel like home. The conversations with my mother and Chris left me wondering do we need to move home? I know We wouldn’t be able to go back to us lives as they were. I can’t go back to my life the way it was. I’ve changed, Chris has changed. We’ve gotten used to the stars, the fresh air and neighbors being much farther than 8 feet away. We’ve gotten used to letting our dog out to run in the back and not hitting fence. So Chris and I sat down and discussed things like adults. While we love out house and the land and what we’ve accomplished, we miss the west coast.

So October 2018, we made the decision to move back to the West coast. We sat down and wrote a list of things we want in our future home. We want land, no less an acre, 3 bed 2 bath, and snow(that is on me not Chris) We would like to be in Northern California, Oregon, Nevada or Idaho. We want to be able to go hiking and have lots of trees.

This blog is going to be our journey in preparing the house, saving money and honestly still living our lifes while this planning period. Thanks for reading and be kind.

Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton