Entries to Win Afghan

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Winners are: 3rd place- e-book of your choice: Wendy Nystrom. 2nd place- book of your choice, paper or e-book: Sue Ann Crawford. Winner of the afghan: Elaine Hull.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

My Trailer - Redo Day 20 - Fiberglass and the Big Hole

Today I decided to take on the Big Hole. In the end, I didn't do it the "correct" way, but I'll tell you why. And, it's not done, but the filling has begun. First of all, let me remind you that this is Saturday, and I always give myself a free pass after working all night Friday night. I don't do anything I don't want to do. I probably had time to do more than I did, but at least I did something.

So, this is the hole that was left behind the air conditioner unit after I finally got that whole thing out. It's covered with plastic in this picture which is why you can't see grass and trees, but it measures 11" x 20". Big.

The store finally restocked the fiberglass mat, so I now had all the things I needed again. Actually, it turned out that I could have gotten as far as I did today with the first package, but I didn't want to start until I had everything, in case I decided to keep going.

hole in fiberglass trailer wall

The proper way to do this is to get a cast of the outer surface with one layer and then remove that and build it up until you have a piece about the right thickness, and then fiberglass it into place. I was going to do that until I realized the hole went across the "bump" ridge of the stripes. I actually taped a backing piece into place to do this, but realized I'd never get that angle really right for the outside. So I decided to try it the same way I did the small holes.

I made a cardboard cutout to fit in the hole, bending it to match the ridge, put it on another backing cardboard, and covered it with wax paper. (See link below to Fiberglass 102 for more detail on doing this.) But I wasn't happy with the amount of give in this large piece. So I used the rod from a towel bar and wedged it tight into the angle.

patching large hole in fiberglass trailer wall

It was tricky working the resin into this large of a piece of fiberglass with angles, vertically. And the inside was very rough and irregular from cutting out that housing that had been fiberglassed to the wall. But none of that will show later. It wasn't looks I was worried about, it was air bubbles, and I did get some that I couldn't do anything about. Some I can fill when I start work from the outside, some not so much. Well, whatever I end up with has to be stronger than that big hole, right?

So here's the initial mat with the resin worked in to hold it to the inside wall. Looks opaque because the cardboard is still on the exterior.

repairing large hole in fiberglass trailer wall

You can see that the ridge definition is there toward the edges but gets lost a little near the middle. After it hardened, and I took the cardboard backing and wax paper off, well... same thing. Edges aren't bad, but the middle is sloppy. As I suspected, I couldn't really mold that shape vertically. Hope I can improve that as I build up the layers.

fiberglassing a large hole in a trailer wall

But this initial layer is nice and hard, and ready to add more layers. You aren't supposed to do more than three at a time, but they only have to dry a couple of hours between times.

I also sanded out divots around the screw holes that held all these vents and things on. They need just a small bit of fiberglass mat added.

sanded holes

And there is one more small hole. If I'd remembered to get it ready I could have done it today, but I keep forgetting because it's up high (out of my line of sight). The screws holding the covering are all rusted and I had no patience left when I started to take them out. Another day.

I also started to strip one more tiny area, but the paint is really tight, and it will need a second coat of stripper. I also think the stripper softens up the blades of the plastic scrapers. I broke one, and have softened two. I did buy a few extra because they are cheap, but it's just annoying. Again, patience gone. It's Saturday. I'm calling it a day.

See Fiberglass 102
See why there's a big hole in the side of the trailer
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Friday, July 21, 2017

My Trailer - Redo Days 16-19 - Stripping and Swatching

COM... ing with me? The letters aren't as hard to strip as I thought they would be. The stripes are much harder than I thought.

stripped paint

Stripping the paint on my COM... panion is going to take pretty much as long as I thought. I just hope I'll be able to get it painted this summer. I sure wanted to get a lot more done than that. Again, I've outlined the completed parts in yellow. The part just above the wheel isn't done well enough, but I got rained out tonight. If you are reading this in search of info about trailer refurbishing, at this point, I've not quite used a quart of Citristrip.

stripped paint

Did you catch that: COM... pleted? Being able to really say that is drifting off into the future.

I had hoped the paint would come off like it is on the door. Here's a mystery. Same trailer, same container of stripper (yes, shaken before each use), same thickness of application. But on the door, the stripper bubbles up, and when I scrape the old paint just wipes right off. Now that would have been nice for all of it!

stripped paint

The COM... plicated part is the stripes. They are some sort of tape. And I guess this answers the question about whether they were original. Not. The paint is under them. They are hard to get off. First I tried sanding. It worked, but was slow and was pitting the gel coat because I had to press so hard. Next I tried acetone. That gummed up the adhesive and it did work, but I had to use a lot. That's when I realized there was paint under the tape. So I slathered on an extra helping of stripper, let it sit, and the tape peeled off easily- mostly dissolved. Then I had to strip the paint under it.

stripped paint

I'll do the final stripping close to window edges and hinges, etc when I take those pieces off. Since I am working outside, I don't want to take all those out/off until I'm ready to deal with the openings. I may have to buy a big tarp.

COM... fortable? Not yet. The inside is still a mess of wood pieces, cardboard, tools and stuff. But the vinyl for the floor is ordered, and I've chosen the fabric for the shelving curtains. Had to spend a lot on swatches to get the right one, but I guess it was worth it. Certainly better than driving hours and visiting multiple fabric stores only to learn they don't have enough yardage left, right? I'll be ordering that this weekend. The one I chose has the yellow arrow.

fabric swatches

And, I'm contemplating a fix for the sprung door bottom. Don't have it all figured out yet, but I have an idea that might not be a COM... pletely horrible job. Also, one that I have tools for. I've seen one (and only one) fix for this problem, but it requires a metal shop and skills I don't have.

Oh! And I have the fix for the "strike plate" (It isn't really that, but I'm not sure what to call it on this type of latch) figured out, and it's COM... paratively easy! I might have to find a friend with a larger vise than I have to bend some metal, but this is within my metalworking skills.

When I do finally get this on the road, I hope some of you are looking for some passive/aggressive COM... raderie, because I just might come mooch an electric outlet off you for a visit. I say passive/agressive, because I'm more of a hermit, you know!

See Redo Days 14 &15
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Thursday, July 20, 2017

A Journey of 3000 Blog Posts

Yup, this is my 3000th blog post (on this blog). I'd previously been posting on Xanga, a sort of pre-blog platform, with some friends for several years, and then did a short-lived blog called "Niblets from the Shark" that was more personal. Then I had the brainstorm to take the "Quality Day" exercise and make it into a blog that other people might enjoy (If you don't know what this is about read What is My Quality Day?). This was in October of 2008. Nearly 10 years ago. Blogging was in it's heyday at that point, and I signed up with Entrecard, CMF, and later Adgetize. I started more blogs than I could possibly keep alive. I tried to make money. OK, I made a little. More on that later. I have met a lot of good friends from around the world through this blog. A significant number of us are still friends on Facebook, and a few have made the transition to real life friends.

Are you ready for too many pictures and a bit of philosophy?

Joan H. Young

An awful lot has happened in 10 years. We had a dog, Maggie, and a cat,V-8, then. Now I have no pets. I never thought I'd live without a dog, but I want to travel, and society has little tolerance for people leaving dogs in vehicles any more. Even if the conditions are fine.

Maggie the Vizsla
When I began this blog adventure, I was completely self-employed. I had several accounts designing and maintaining web sites. All but one of those is now gone. People figured out you could make web sites on blog platforms for next to nothing and slowly, my customers faded away. I did a long stint of content writing. I wrote on a LOT of different sites. Mostly, I didn't enjoy it. The one exception to that was a site called Shared Reviews, where I was making the most money. I put too many eggs in that basket, and when it went belly-up, that hurt. But I still have a lot of Facebook friends from that adventure too.

I started writing cozy mysteries. Now I am working on the fifth one! People seem to like my writing, and spending more time doing that is one of my future goals. I want to keep writing mysteries, finish the sequel to North Country Cache, write a technothriller, and some non-fiction.

Dead Mule Swamp mysteries

Somewhere in there, I realized the content writing was making me nuts and not bringing in enough money. When the blog advertising networks folded- and that pitiful income went away, I couldn't make myself write enough pieces about things I didn't care about, and with so much dictated spin that it seemed dishonest. Yeah, I got a job in December 2010. That was the one where I took pictures for insurance companies. I really loved that job for about 5 years. I got to drive all over and see back roads and interesting places. Like this...

trees with red fruit

and this (Hawkins Road)...

Hawkins road view

But then, things changed, and the flexibility really went away. I quit that job in July 2016. Overlapping with that is the job in the mailroom at the Ludington Daily News. I started that in December of 2012, and I'm still there. It will never pay much, but I like the people I work with and it's quite physical, which I find satisfying. (This picture is NOT what the machine is supposed to do!)

mail room machine jam

My hope is that within a year I can quit and concentrate on writing. Fixing up the little trailer as a portable office is part of that dream. (picture from the week I brought the trailer home- December 2013)

mail room machine jam

You've followed me as I completed a major goal, to hike all the miles of the North Country National Scenic Trail (the first woman to do so).

North Country Trail E2E patch

I'm still in love with hiking and the North Country Trail. Lots of foot travel in my future for as long as I can walk.

My health is good. You've heard about almost all the issues- a new partial plate (not nearly as good as the one it replaced, I'm sorry to tell you.) was made in 2009.

funny teeth fitting

I did get lymphangitis from a cat bite, and have also spent 3 years recuperating from a bacterial gut infection they never did identify, but I'm pretty much over the after-effects of the hefty antibiotics they gave me. Probably the only thing I haven't shared is that my left shoulder started coming out of joint after I fell on it in 2013. So now, both shoulders are shot. That has pretty much put the kibosh on my dream to do a long swim unless I get them repaired, which isn't likely.

Other than that, I'm good to go!

We've weathered a crisis I haven't put on the blog at all, but I'm still here. (You didn't think that just because I choose to focus on quality items that my life is all roses and sunshine, did you?) Om and I will have spent 49 years together in another month. (I know... it's kind of a miracle!)

funny wedding picture

I still can't decide what to be when I grow up. But I'll try some adulting as an author for the next round.

I have no idea how many miles I've hiked since 2008, but it's in the thousands. And I've learned hundreds of new plants. Thank goodness the number of uncompleted craft projects isn't quite that high.

I've been through 5 cameras; 3 computers; 3 phones; 2 cars; gallons of yogurt, iced tea and soup; and one God. One. Yup, I'm one of those people. Praise the Lord, All Glory to Jesus. God is Good.

Hope a bunch of you will come along with me to see what happens next!

See Joan of Shark writing blog
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Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Red, White and Blue- Benzie County Style

Anywhere in west Michigan from about halfway up the state north is fruit country. Cherry harvesting is in full swing. These trees are loaded! I know apple pie is supposed to be the most American, but in July, I think cherry wins.

cherry trees

Just look at those cherries!

cherry trees

Tomorrow is a big blog day. Stay tuned. BP -1 and counting.

See Cherry Pie II
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Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Seed Pods of Interest

I told you I went nuts taking pictures of plant parts. A lot of them don't have very good focus, but hopefully, I'll see those plants again. The camera often doesn't seem to want to take a picture of the thing I think is interesting.

All of these are Benzie County, Michigan.

Let's start with a tree. These are the seed pods of Ironwood or Hop-Hornbeam. This is another common name problem, since there are several trees called ironwood. This is Ostrya virginiana. It's a small tree related to birch. This one was growing right out of a sand dune!

hop-hornbeam seed pods

I finally definitively identified these. It's a bellwort, but it looks like it should be Perfoliate Bellwort with the stems growing through the leaves like that. But, aha! Large-flowered bellwort does that too, it's just that most of the books don't really say that. But the one named "Perfoliate" doesn't grow in Michigan. If I'm farther east, I'll need to brush up on the flower differences. Also, the plant is really droopy when it blooms with dangly yellow flowers. Took me a long time to realize it was the same plant.

large-flowered bellwort seed pods

Here's a fun one where the common name makes some sense. And the seeds are much more interesting than the flowers. It's called Lopseed, Phryma leptostachya. See how the seeds are lopped over, along the stem?

lopseed seed pods
I've showed you a lot of different trilliums. This is the common white one, Trillium grandiflorum, gone to seed.

white trillium seed pods

Jack-in-the-Pulpit is another popular northwoods wildflower. Here's the seed pods emerging from the sheath. The seeds will turn bright red.

Jack-in-the-pulpit seed pods

Finally, I just like these. It's Sweet Cicely, almost certainly Osmorhiza claytonii (instead of O. longistylis) because it was in a woods, not a wetland (but the differences are technical). It's one of the plants that is susceptible to powdery mildew. As a result, the seedpods get covered with a whitish bloom, and they sort of look like fireworks going off in the woods. It's really hard to get a picture of that. However, this comes close. It always makes me smile.

Sweet Cicely seed pods

I had a tired day today. That hasn't happened in a while, but I gave myself a free pass. As much as I enjoyed the weekend, it was non-stop. Tomorrow after work, though, I have THINGS TO GET DONE.

(BP -2 and counting)

See Almost Doubling My Trillium Life List
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