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Timber Valley SKP- Co-Op Park

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Our home base, space 55
Friday, September 7, 2012: This new page begins a new experience for us. We began full time RV back in October, 2006 when we sold our property and moved to an RV park in Applegate, Oregon so I could continue working for a few more years. We've been full time RV since then not owning any dirt or having a "home base". Today, that changed. We became "lease holders" for space 55 at the Timber Valley SKP Co-Op park in Sutherlin, Oregon. We put our names on the wait list to become Timber Valley lease holders in 2008. There are 206 lots here and they become available as current lot holders give them up. So it's taken four years to rise to the top of the list. As a member of the Escapee RV Club we can rent a space on one of their many parks for a good price and we can lease our own lot. We paid a one time lease fee of about $11,000 plus a bit more than $1,000 for the 2012 maintenance fee. From now on we pay only the annual maintenance fee (which works out to about $100 per month). Our certificate says this is our lot for the "rest of our lives" (as long as we pay the maintenance fee). What we get is a very large RV lot, all utility hook ups (we must pay our own electricity use), garbage, clubhouse events and activities (something is happening every day), a 10 x 12' storage shed plus an extra vehicle storage area on the "back 40". So this can be "home base" for us and when we travel, our lot can be rented and a portion of the rent goes to offset the maintenance fee. Finally, when we give up the lot, the original lease fee is refunded to us. Lot holders can improve the lot to fit their idea of "home base" within guidelines. Gwen is already making landscape plans.

Chloe is celebrating Noah's first birthday

My home-made HAZMAT suitMonday, September 17, 2012: I've been away from the Webpage posting for a week to visit the grandkids and help my mother. Noah turned ONE year old while I was visiting so the photo above is of Chloe and Noah attempting to eat a birthday cupcake baked by my mother. Chloe has had experience so has an easy time unwrapping the cupcake but this was Noah's first experience so he get help from Dad Ben then dives in, at first with a fork but later with his fingers.

While visiting my mother, her garage door was falling apart so we arranged for a new garage door. When the installer removed the first ceiling tile to begin the installation, dust and rodent poop fell onto him. He went screaming from the garage insisting he would not install the door until the ceiling was removed. I believe the ceiling was installed more than 50 years ago when I was junior in high school. I probably helped install it under my Dad's direction. I created my own HAZMAT suit using one of my dad's old shirts, pants and hat. I backed my pickup into the garage and began removing the ceiling dropping the tiles and supporting wood beams into the back of the pickup. I hauled it to the transfer station and was charged $50 which included an "environmental fee" and "fuel surcharge". I threw away the HAZMAT clothes along with the ceiling. The installer returned the next day and finished the new garage door installation. It's been a week since removing the door and I've not felt any effects from the demolition so I guess my HAZMAT suit worked. The blue tarp is on the floor of the truck so I could pull everything out at the transfer station. I still washed down the truck bed with a high pressure hose and soap. Click either photo for additional views.

Painting the interior of the shed
Tuesday, September 18, 2012: Each of the lots at Timber Valley has a 10' x 12' shed identical in the exterior except for the paint color (which must be approved by the park). But the interior of each shed has been modified by the lot holders. Some of the shed interiors are nothing but studs and exterior siding. We were lucky, our shed has been electrified, insulated, and covered with waferboard but it's all raw wood, no covering on the walls, ceiling or floor. We purchased paint at Lowes and I spent the day painting the interior of the shed including the floor. Two days later, I spotted a Fred Meyer coupon giving a free gallon of paint for each gallon purchased ... darn! Actually, we intend to use that coupon because I want to paint the shelving white and Gwen wants to paint the deck a different color. The walls are white to help reflect the light and the floor is brick red. It was a hot painting day, hence, no shirt. My shorts made it pretty well until I sat on the lid of the brick red floor paint, now they are going to be my permanent paint pants. Click the photo to see a view with the painting complete.

Bats housed in a neighbors colapsed umbrella

Wednesday, September 19, 2012: Our new neighbors, Bright and Betty invited us to "happy hour" where we sat around their patio table and exchanged traveling stories. Before opening the umbrella, Bright made sure he opening it carefully and slowly explaining a couple of bats had made the umbrella into a home. They were still home long enough for me to take a photo. Bats are a good thing, they eat their weight in mosquitoes every night.

Our responsibilities have changed
Thursday, September 20, 2012: Now our responsibilities and priorities have changed. Before being a "lot holder" we were concerned only with fifth wheel and truck maintenance. Now we are concerned with storage sheds (which I'm also turning into a woodshop), the deck around the shed, and later ... landscape. Today we went shopping to repair two problems. The deck is in very weathered condition so we purchased deck paint using a Fred Meyer, 2 for 1 gallon coupon. I decided to test my theory that the underside of the deck boards are in better shape than the painted top side. I learned that part of the problem (besides being old boards) is they are Douglas Fir rather than cedar. But it does seem that we would get a better deck if all the boards are turned over and butted next to each other (they have shrunk leaving large gaps between the boards). I also learned the deck screws (I was fortunate the previous lot holder used screws) must be replaced, they are so old, they are disintegrating. Another advantage of flipping the boards, they will be painted on both sides. One additional project is the set of concrete blocks leading to our concrete patio. One block was missing and all the rest are disturbed and must be reset. I purchased a pressure treated 2 x 4" to set a boarder for these blocks and another block to replace the missing piece. To see this project, click the photo.

The concrete blocks have been reset

Friday, September 21, 2012: This was a day to make some outside repairs. I had all the parts and tools needed to reset the concrete blocks so that's where I began. Click here to see what they looked like yesterday. I really wanted a hoe to help level the foundation under the concrete blocks so made a quick trip to St. Vincent De Paul in downtown Sutherlin. I found nothing there so walked across the street to a second hand furniture store which had some really nice used furniture and collectibles. The owner told me her father had more stuff at the farm only five miles away so I followed her directions to the farm to meet "JC". He had several hoes so I picked on and paid $3 for it. I returned to complete my project. I began leveling with the hoe and the handle immediately broke (click the photo to see what I mean). Maybe the new hoe with a fiberglass handle on sale at BiMart for $10 may have been the better choice. I still used the working part of the hoe to complete my project. The previous lot holder pounded rebar into the ground to hold the original blocks. I recovered the rebar to use again to stabilize the 2 x 4. Once the rebar was driven into the 2 x 4 the blocks were easy to set. The rest of the afternoon, I worked to take apart some of the decking, I'll show that project later next week.

Shopping at the Umpqua Community Center Yard Sale

Saturday, September 22, 2012: We began with breakfast at our favorite local restaurant, White Horse Coffee Shop just across the street from Bi-Mart in Sutherlin. They have great coffee and inexpensive potatoes and eggs. After breakfast, we drove to the tiny community of Umpqua where the second annual community yard sale was happening. Gwen found a nice sun hat for $1 and I found something I've been looking for since getting an idea at the Pike Street Market in Seattle. I'm not mentioning what it is because I expect to make gifts of them. I will say I got enough to make about thirty gifts for $5 although to actually make these into a gift, other parts must be added and some woodworking must be done. At this time, I don't have the woodworking tools to complete this project so I've got some time to perfect the idea. After the yard sale, we visited the Reustle (pronounced Russell) Vineyard for a "dry run" at a wine tour I promised my sister Dorana when she visits in a few weeks. Click the photo to see the Reustle tasting room. The rest of the afternoon was watching Oregon State Beavers beat UCLA in Pasadena, California.

Our first electric bill


Sunday, September 23, 2012: We received our first electric bill. This is for only ten days (we didn't arrive until early September), note that it is at 10¢ per KWH. How much do YOU pay for electricity? The electricity is our only monthly expense on Lot 55, the maintenance fee is paid once each year.

If you click the photo you'll see a small town choir at the church we attended. The choir is small but seemed to get into their tunes and were well appreciated by the congregation.

Thema, on the left introduce us to Norm Lehne, on the right.

Monday, September 24, 2012: Thema and Nick, new friends at the Timber Valley Park, introduce us to the Norm Lehne Garden and Orchards about 10 miles from our park. Gwen has been considering planting a garden next spring (I'm not interested in a garden, too much work). The Norm Lehne farm helps to answer that question. What a good idea for the Lehne family. They do all the work in planting and watering then advertise the U-Pick idea to market their vegetables and fruits. We pick a variety of vegetables, as many as we figured we could eat in a week. I was most looking forward to the fresh corn called "Candy Store" because it's both yellow and white kernels. Click the photos to see additional views including me picking Candy Store corn. Norm is on the right in this photo. One of the ways he markets is by gathering email address from his customers then broadcasting email announcements letting customers know what vegetables and fruits are available. What a great way to use the Internet to keep Roseburg and Sutherlin residents in fresh vegetables. I see no reason to grow our own when Norm already does all the work and sells his fresh vegetable still connected to the plant at good prices.

Gwen finds eggplant and red peppers The porch of the Lehne Farm
The old walkway to the shed

Painting the douglas fir deck

Tuesday, September 25, 2012: There are three main decks on our lot. They were all built using Douglas Fir rather than cedar so in bad shape. The previous lot holder painted the decks to help extend the life of the boards. I started with the walkway to the shed. I quickly learned that most boards were in better shape on the bottom so I decided to turn them over. That would help extend the life of the boards since they would then be painted on both sides. Additionally, the boards had shrunk since installed so I closed the gaps and routered the outside edge of the deck before painting. I believe the main deck inside the fence can be fixed this same way, turning over the boards and painting. The smaller deck in from of the shed must have been built with the original lot holder, it is in such bad shape, it will have to be replaced entirely. Click the two photos above for additional photos.

The deck in front of the shed The support boards are rotten too


Wednesday, September 26, 2012: The deck in front of the shed measures 4-1/2 feet x 10 feet, made of Douglas Fir and is rotten. It was probably the first deck built, and was built with nails rather than screws. As it turns out, the supporting structure under the deck is also rotten. I replace all of it with pressure treated 2 x 4s and set the supporting structure on concrete blocks rather than setting them in the dirt as was done by the original builder. I replaced the Douglas Fir with cedar and routered both ends of the deck boards to give it a finished look. I can understand using fir to this deck, the cedar was $1.20 per linear foot while fir was 50¢ per foot. So the cedar in this small deck was $12 per board times ten boards, so $120. That doesn't include the pressure treated support, nor the screws to secure the deck. I plan to seal this deck with something, maybe, Thompson's WaterSeal. Click the photos for additional views. I hauled all the rotten wood to the park's burn pile. I hope to tackle the main deck in a few days.

Max and Eva celebrate a birthday

Friday, September 28, 2012: It seems there is always some reason for a party here at the park. Yesterday the party was to celebrate two birthdays, one for Max and one for Eva. They are both turning 85 this month so Deloris got a cake and invited many of the folks on our street to join the party. Max and Eva have been together for more than six years after their spouses passed. Max has been in the park for 12 years and has been on the board of directors three times. He is currently on the board and says it will be his last time. We'll see. The cake was good and so was the company. Click the photo for a better view of the cake showing 170 years (that's Max and Eva combined).

The Harbor Freight workbench I ordered At this point, it's time to make some of the changes recommended by the reviews. Saturday, September 29, 2012: So now that I have a tiny 10 x 12 foot storage shed, I want a woodshop in my shed. The previous lot holder insulated, electrified and used wafer board on the walls. I painted the walls and floor and added some lighting. First item on the woodshop list is a workbench. I first thought of building my own but found a nice hardwood workbench with four drawer and vice for only $300 including shipping on eBay. I kept up the research and learned that the workbench actually came from Harbor Freight and was on sale for $160 plus shipping. But I kept up the research and found a coupon making the bench only $130 including shipping. I couldn't build a hardwood bench for that price.
I made two simple changes to the workbench.Before ordering, I read the reviews from previous customers and learned of several flaws with the workbench, unfortunately, to be expected when purchasing from Harbor Freight. But those making the reviews had solutions for the flaws. Click these top three photos for additional views. Click the photo, above right to see the first of the changes. The reviewers were unhappy with the 3/4 inch thickness of the bench top so suggested adding 3/4 inch plywood to the bottom of the bench to increase the thickness and reduce the change of the top splitting with use. So I added plywood to the bottom increasing the thickness to 1.5 inches. Another reviewer pointed out that the bench top was a little low for a workbench so I raised the height by adding 2 x 4s to the feet. The height is perfect now. I was a little concerned about the draw slides. One of the reviewers pointed out that the slides did not allow the drawers to pull completely open. I agree with the reviewer that, for the price, we can put up with this short fall. As it turns out, the drawer slides are on ball bearings and better than I expected. When you click the photo to the right, you'll see I used the bench vise and bench "dogs" to help with drawer assembly. The size of the bench is small, 21" x 60" but since I have a tiny work space, just right for me. I'm considering adding a back splash but I'll wait to learn if a splash would be in the way of larger projects.
The completed workbench

Ice cream social every Sunday

Sunday, September 30, 2012: Every Sunday, at 5:30, if I remember, the park has an ice cream social for 25¢ each scoop. Christy is testing the flavors. I sometimes buy a 50¢ root beer soda, then add vanilla ice cream for a root beer float. Tonight, Gwen baked a peach cobbler so I considered putting my cobbler in a bowl and adding ice cream at the social. Instead, I chose two scoops of Huckleberry Cheese Cake and one scoop of Mountain Berry Revel. It was all good.

Next project, a cedar stairway into the trailerMonday, October 1, 2012: My next project is a cedar stairway leading into the trailer. I built a deck back in 2006 for the time we spent at Howard Prairie Resort. The deck cost nearly $500 in lumber and when I retired at the end of June, 2009 we were unable to find someone to purchase the deck so left it. Still, we got four years use of it, so it was worth every penny. That deck also had a second purpose to act as a storage location for items we did not want to leave in the open during our time at Howard Prairie. This stairway is to be much more simple. It may have to be moved it we leave and decide to rent our lot. You will see that I have also concealed a small storage area under this stairway. The cedar and pressure treated stairway support boards were not cheap so something this simple still cost about $170. Pressure treated stairway support
Click these four photos for additional views. The deck is held together with screws and bolts, no nails. The handrail can be only on the far side because the door must be able to swing back to the trailer to be held open during hot days. I used a circle saw, sabre saw, two cordless drills, a hand held router (all stair edges and hand rails have rounded edges) and a borrowed table saw to make this stairway. I would have used a band saw and scroll saw on the decorative cutouts but I don't own either of those tools yet. The sabre saw left the cutouts pretty rough on the side opposite the stairs. Behind the photo of the sabre saw you'll see my planning for the decorative cutouts. I did a bit more this time than on the previous deck. We've learned the stairway makes it a little easier to keep Annie (the cat) contained since her exit is now much more narrow than without the stairway. The park does not allow roaming pets (including cats) so it has been a challenge to keep her under control.
A sabre saw is used to make design outlines The finished product is behind this photo
Tuesday, October 2, 2012: Our truck (tow vehicle) is a 2004 Dodge diesel. We have 110,000 miles on it and our expenses in the eight years we've owned it have been minimal or covered by the warranty. Today, that changed. We noticed a hopping in the steering when turning. The NAPA repair station identified failing "U" joints in the front axle. They also identified failing ball joints and front brakes. These had been identified in Washington when we had the water pump replaced. We also had the front seals replaced so this all added up to more than $1700 after we get the front end aligned. Making matters worse, we need an oil change, transmission flush, power steering flush, transfer case flush and a fuel filter. Add a set of tires before we can tow again and we are back in the traveling game. We have been setting aside maintenance money each month, but not this much. So, we'll hang around Timber Valley for a while catching up financially. Of course, now I have other priority interests. I'd like to replace the woodworking tools I sold many years ago to go traveling.

Our shed before the new paint job

Wednesday, October 3, 2012: This is our storage shed as it looks today. I'm leaving tomorrow morning for a quick trip to Reno to baby sit the grand kids while Ben and Kim take a two day weekend to themselves. While I'm gone, Gwen wants to change the color of the shed. Fortunately, the park provides the paint for exterior shed painting. This color is pretty bad and the days have been perfect for painting. While I'm gone, the temperatures will be in the mid-70s. Click the photo to get a hint of the color Gwen has chosen for the shed. You won't hear from me again until I return from my Reno trip. I'll take another photo then so you can see what Gwen did while I was gone. The deck to the right of the shed still needs to be repainted. But I plan to flip most of the deck boards first because the bottom is in better shape than the top. That will have to wait until I return.

The new color for our shed

Tuesday, October 9, 2012: Here I am. Back from my babysitting duties in Reno with my two smart grandchildren. Gwen spent her time relaxing AND painting our shed a different color. The park provides the paint to take care of the exterior of park sheds so our only expense was in time to apply the paint. I will admit, our shed now looks far less "institutional". Click the photo to see an overview of the shed.

While Gwen was painting, I was taking care of my two Grand kids. What a pleasure to get to spend time with them. Chloe will be 3 in a month and Noah is 13 months. We had no "incidents" and they were both very patient and helpful to their Grandfather who stumbled with diapers and food preparation a few times. Click the photo to see Noah.

Chloe is exploring the aquarium at Cabella's

Our shed can tell which way the wind blows


Wednesday, October 10, 2012: Many years ago, I gave my father a special weather vane. I'm not sure if he ever actually used it, I found it in his storage shed. My father had a degree from Washington State University in poultry husbandry and spent much of his life working with chickens. So I gave my father "chicken things" for special occasions such as his birthday. So the weather vane is a chicken. Now it has a new home on our shed. Click the photo to see it. While installing, I accidentally reversed the "west" / "east" and began walking off the roof. Then took a second look realizing the mistake. The residents in the park are pretty sharp and someone would have noticed, glad I figured it out.

The last project, the deck under repair Morgan tests the deck boards after they were flipped
Thursday, October 11, 2012: While waiting for my sister to arrive for a visit, I worked on the final #55 lot project, reversing the main deck boards then repainting. These Douglas Fir deck boards are severely weathered but in better condition on the bottom side, so reversing and repainting seems like a good plan. They are still pretty rough but better than buying all new decking. Today, I completed half the deck. Click the photos for another view. Tomorrow will be a fun day, Gwen and I will be touring the Umpqua wine trail with my sister Dorana and her partner Robin. I think we'll start the day at the U-Pick vegetable farm we like.
Our first stop, the U-Pick vegetable farm Using the hand crank Hazelnut cracker
Lost in the hay bale maze

Visiting three Oregon WineriesFriday, October 12, 2012: We have one day to spend with my sister Dorana and her partner, Robin before they return to California. They love quality wine and Douglas County has the Umqua Valley Wine Trail with many fine wineries. I chose three in the same area and close to Sutherlin to visit. But first, I had to take them to the Lehne Farm, U-Pick Vegetables and fruit. Dorana lives near my mother and mom gave an order for Dorana to bring some fresh beets after hearing how much we enjoyed our fresh beets. So she dug beets, picked tomatoes, egg plant and corn. We did the same but added squash and gords plus corn stalks for halloween decoration. The Hazelnut harvest has just become available today so we bought 5 pounds to share. Lehne offers the free use of the Hazelnut cracker. You pour the nut in the hopper and crank the arm to break the Hazelnut shell. The shells and nut meat go into the same bucket but we had fun later in the day talking and separating shells and nut meat. Next, we visited Kruze Farms for Ocra chips and beet chips for my mother and a dessert for this evening. Dorana experimented with a hay-bale maze too. We slipped into a "barn sale" before the first winery.

The first winery visited was the Henry Estate Winery. This is one of the most popular and well known wineries in the Umpqua Valley. I'm glad we started here because it was free, with a knowledgable server, a nice gift shop, pleasant surrounding and some impressive wines.

Next, we stopped at the Lighthouse Cafe and Bakery for lunch and fresh bread. This is a vegetarian cafe with unique presentation and very good food. I had a vegetarian Rubin sandwich while Gwen had a spinach quesidilla. Dorana and Robin shared a Portabella Mushroom sandwich. Excellent place for lunch.

The next winery was Misty Oaks Vineyard. This is a small winery but some very tasty wine. I was first introduced to Misty Oaks when I found one of their bottles at the Roseburg Costco several months ago and took the bottle south to share with Dorana and Robin.

The final winery was the Reustle Vineyard. By this time we were at a place we wanted to enjoy the setting and return some other day for an actual tasting. This is one of the most picturesque of the wineries.

To finish the day off, Gwen made a fabulous dinner, Dorana provided the dessert, then we tortured Robin with several games of Eight Handed Marvin. Click each photo for another view.

A simple router table design Adding legs
Sunday, October 14, 2012: Today's project was to make a router table. I originally thought I would buy the Craftsman Professional contractor table saw which includes a router table. But after reading the reviews and looking at the saw, I decided against it due to lack of quality for the price of the saw. I'm still shopping for a table saw, it will be the key piece of woodworking equipment in my shop. So, I decided to build a simple router table. A router table is needed for edging small items. This table is very simple but I believe it will work. I owned a router table until we began traveling full time. I owned two routers at that time, one for the table and one to use on larger projects such as the stairway I just completed. I'll stick with one router this time. I purchased a plastic coated shelf for a dollar to have a smooth surface then routered a space on the bottom of the shelf to mount the router. I put the "feet" onto the legs to be able to clamp the table to my workbench. You'll see how this works when you click the photo on the right. Click the photo on the left for another assembly view.
Drill press/Sanding table bench

Monday, October 15, 2012: The project today, after the Halloween Party Committee meeting, is to start on a bench to support the new (used) drill press I bought and a small belt sander. I really wanted a reciprocating drill press to use as a spindle sander as well as a drill press but just can't justify the expense. I found a used, small (10") Delta drill press on Craig's List at a fraction of the cost of the drill press I wanted. It's a bench model drill press rather than a floor model so I need a bench but also need someplace to put the little belt sander I bought. Both will mount to this bench. It will finish out with a top about 20" x 32" and tall enough to put items under the top. I'm using my new Jet band saw to make tenons for the interlocking corners. It's been 20 years since I've owned a band saw so I'm having to relearn how to use it. I'm using a 1/2" blade and ended up pulling the blade off the wheel. I thought I had broken a blade, but fortunately, only pulled the blade off the wheel. I made some adjustments to centering the blade on the wheel and tightened the blade tension. I still pulled the blade off the wheel one more time before learning to be far more careful when backing off the blade and/or make a cut so that backing off the blade is not needed. All cuts have been made to assemble the base, then attach the top and shelf. Click the photos for additional assembly views.

Fall colors arrive at Timber Valley RV Park
Thursday, October 18, 2012: Fall colors have arrived at Timber Valley along with the wild turkeys. Click the photo for a view of the turkeys. These clear blue skies came after a foggy, cold morning. These trees are found in front of the clubhouse.

October board meeting

Friday, October 19, 2012: Timber Valley SKP Park, like all the Co-Op parks, is run by a board of directors elected from the lot-holders. Once each month, the board of directors meet to discuss and vote on issues. The issues I remember for this meeting are, no smoking signs in the storage area, allowing the maintenance helper to park his utility trailer next to the maintenance building, identifying a budget line item for microphone batteries, the end of the ice cream social this month, a few details of the Halloween Party, details of a new time for mail delivery, assignment to the Rules and Bylaws Committee the responsibility to make a recommendation of fine amount and implementation of fines for breaking park rules (something which has not been needed in 24 years so the only "hot" issue) and the appointment of a replacement director for one who resigned before her term was completed. This particular meeting lasted a bit more than an hour but I've attended board meetings which continued for more than two hours. So this meeting had no volatile issues. My guess is that most volatile issues happen at the peak of the summer months when the park is nearly full.

Example of an advanced kinetic sculture


Saturday, October 20, 2012: I'm slowly creating the best woodshop I've ever had. I've owned more woodworking tools in the past but most were not the quality of the tools I'm slowly assembling. I've also got a much different interest now than I did previously. I've built furniture, wood toys and lots of small items. From 1976 to 1991, I made my living as the president of my own corporation where I designed and sold the blueprints to make many items of wood. I owned the copyrights to more than 300 designs. I also sold the specialty parts to make many of my designs, such as wooden wheels, wooden train smoke stacks, wooden people, etc. Now I'm interested in designing some unique wood toys (for the grand kids), unusual clocks, lamps and what I've learned is called "Automata" or "kinetic sculpture". The photo shows a very advanced kinetic sculpture created by David Roy. Be sure to watch the video at David's site to learn what a kinetic sculpture is. Of course, this will take a lot of study and experimenting to learn how to create these. The other end of the skill is found here with inexpensive kits. This will require a skill I don't currently have but hope to acquire.

The last corn of the season at Lehne Farm
Sunday, October 21, 2012: The last corn crop of the season for Lehne Farm where we love to get fresh vegetables. We have our share of the corn and love it, sorry to see this season end. But now we are on their email list and will know as soon as they have other produce to sell.

Drill Press Table


Monday, October 22, 2012: OK, the drill press table is completed. The Delta drill press and Harbor Freight (Central Machinery) sander are mounted to the table top. I hope the Delta drill press will be adequate. It was used and on $45 so it fit my budget. It was advertised as a "10" Drill Press" ... I later learned what that meant. It will drill a hole into the center of a 10" diameter circle. That means there is only 5" from the post to the spindle. I've already experienced what that limitation means. The Harbor Freight belt and disc sander is also an experiment. I consider Harbor Freight tools to be low quality (very inexpensive) and there is a good deal of discussion about this belt sander. One of the review videos I watched showed a buyer disassemble the sander and resurface the two belts sanding drums using his metal lathe. Fortunately, this sander is not showing the problems his sander did because I don't own a metal lathe. I haven't used it yet but not having a problem with centering the sanding belt on first setup. Anyway, this was a test to learn if Harbor Freight tools can be trusted to do ANYTHING. The six drawer organizer cabinet I happened to find on sale at BiMart for only $30. It is solid wood, not particle board and made in Brazil, not China. It will be great to store drill press and sanding accessories. I expect to use the drill press as a spindle sander and possibly as a shaper if I can find the right shaper bits.

University of Oregon Ducks Ice Cream


Tuesday, October 23, 2012: Look what I found while shopping today. I've seen lots of approved logo wear; hats, shirts, sweat shirts, sleep wear, chips (yes, yellow and green corn chips in a Ducks bag), and chocolate bars. Now, I've found Duck Tracks ice cream manufactured by our local creamery, Umpqua. I'm need to give this a try. The Oregon State Beavers are also undefeated so Oregon is doing well at football and in ice cream ... I hope.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012: We had to make a decision today. We've been with National Interstate insurance since day-one but they've raised their rates which has caused us to search for cheaper insurance. We got half a dozen quotes with the best quote coming from our AAA agent who carries our truck insurance. He is an agent for Progressive who offers "Full-Timer" insurance. Foremost and Progressive were not competitive in 2007 but that has changed in 2012 where Progressive now has the best policy for the money.
Fifth Wheel
Finishing the deck The deck is finished
Thursday, October 25, 2012: This is what I did all day today with only a short break for lunch. Two weeks ago I did the first half of the deck then the weather turned to rain. The weather man promised no rain today with rain resuming tomorrow so I worked hard to complete this project during my window of opportunity. This half of the deck was much more complicated because both sides of the fence had to be removed. Also, there were more rotten boards to replace and gaps to fill. I was also running short on deck screws so only used one at each junction rather than two and will add the second tomorrow after the paint dries. I finally got all the deck boards flipped and screwed down at dusk. I grabbed the paint and rolled it on as quickly as I could before dark. The photo on the right was taken with very little light. I'll add the additional deck screws and replace the fence tomorrow if it's not raining. It's time for some Advil. This project is done and now I can concentrate on some woodworking. The photo on the left has an additional photo behind, just click the left photo to see it. One more thing, while I had the deck torn up, I leveled the shed using a borrowed floor jack. With the deck out of the way, I had access to this side of the shed thinking I might need to add support to this side as I lifted the shed. I was right, I added a brick under this side. I also lifted the deck support under the table at the right with Gwen's help. It was sagging a bit. According to Dave, the lot holder who loaned me his floor jack, I probably have the only level shed in the park, "none of them are level" according to Dave.
The Stack-On 39 drawer organizer The dividers with a story
Friday, October 26, 2012: I have to tell this story. About a week ago I bought the Stack-On, 39 Drawer organizer. I didn't read the packaging very well so after I opened the organizer I learned it had NO dividers for the drawers. It's been six years since I've owned an organizer (2006). That's when we went full time RV. I found a tiny piece of paper in one of the drawer saying, "for dividers, call 800-*** or visit So I visited their Website and found the 39 drawer organizer thinking I would find a price listing for the dividers. Instead, I found 37 reviews of the organizer. I began reading the reviews and virtually every one was complaining about the lack of dividers in the package. So I did a review agreeing with the others. Then I spotted a "contact us" link. I wrote an email to Stack-On telling of my disappointment when dividers were not included with the package. I gave them my name and address asking that the dividers be mailed to me... no expecting them to reply. To my surprise, today, I got a package of dividers. Click the envelope for a photo of the dividers in a drawer. The drawers on the left have dividers while the drawers on the right lack the dividers. I wrote another review about my experience and added a few stars.

A deer is visiting our fig tree


Saturday, October 27, 2012: This afternoon we were visited by several dear, not unusual, we have lots of dear in our park and they like the apple tree down the hill behind our trailer. But this time, they were under our fig tree only ten feet from our trailer. They weren't eating the small figs still left on the tree but eating the leaves that have fallen to the ground. Perhaps they were just hiding out from the hunters since hunting season has begun.

October special day celebration


Sunday, October 28, 2012: Once each month, the park celebrates birthdays and anniversaries by visiting a local restaurant, usually Sizzler in Roseburg. Actually, the folks in the park will have a party for almost any reason or for NO reason. This last week, many of the folks went to Seven Feathers Casino in Canyonville for the crab feed buffet on BOTH Thursday and Friday, then to Sizzler on Saturday for the special day celebrations. The folks LOVE the seafood buffet (with crab) at the casino so that's the reason for two visits this last week. Gwen and I ordered the salad bar. It's usually pretty good but this time I was disappointed so for the November celebration, I think I'll order some real food.

My $5 shop chair

Monday, October 29, 2012: I've been shopping for a used shop chair since returning to Sutherlin. My friend Ralph and I were at a barn sale several weeks ago where I found a stool which was the right height and would have worked for my shop. I asked the price and learned they wanted $15. I didn't even bother to offer $5 which was the price I was looking for. Ralph and Gwen wanted to know what it was I was looking for because they both felt it was a good price. I replied I would have give $5 for the stool but the ideal shop chair would have wheels, would swivel and have a chair back. I found what I was looking for last week and reupholstered it today. What's really great is that I got this chair for only $5. Yes, it looked to be in back shape mostly because of the condition of the upholstery which I removed. I disassembled the chair and painted the metal parts. I also found upholstery on the clearance table at the JoAnn Fabric store. It's a good tough fabric and perfect for my shop. My upholstery job won't be close to my sister Sandy's talent but I was able to complete this job without doing any sewing. After reassembly, the chair works great and is even better than I had hoped. Click most the photos for additional assembly views. So the chair cost $5, paint $5 and upholstery $5; the perfect chair cost me $15.

Reupholster the back Back is completed
Attach the back support The completed shop chair.

Learning how to carve a pumpkin



Tuesday, October 30, 2012: Gwen and I have volunteered to help with the Halloween Party committee so we spent most of the day turning the clubhouse library and game room into a haunted house. Theresa has made all the plans so all we had to do was follow orders. She provided soup for lunch which we enjoyed. But later in the day, I began to work on pumpkin carving for the PC contest. Gwen purchased the carving tools with a book of designs. I've never been good at pumpkin carving but with the help of the book of designs, perhaps we'll win a prize. Tomorrow is the party and contest. You can click this photo to see the folks we were helping to hang black plastic to create the haunted house.

Captain Timber Valley

Wednesday, Halloween, October 31, 2012: What a challenging day. First, I carved the pumpkin to the right. It looks great in the dark and with a nice bright candle inside but tonight's judging was in a well lit room and my candle was replaced with a half dead, battery powered tea candle so it was impossible to know what the carving illustrated. Am I sore about NOT winning any one of the three pumpkin carving prizes, hell no!

So next, I had to put together my costume. I wanted to be a new super hero, Captain Timber Valley so I carefully sewed the letters, "Capt" then "T" and "V" under. But as it turned out, my super hero equipment blocked my letters. I had a sewer hose around my waist, 50 foot extension cord over my left shoulder, water hose over my right shoulder along with a TV cable and roll of duck tape, plus hose insulation strapped to my back. I thought Captain Timber Valley was pretty creative but did I win any of the three prizes for best costume? Heavens NO! This may be my last Halloween party, ever.

Oh Man! Thanksgiving and Christmas are ahead.

My pumpkin carving attempt

Frigidaire Dehumidifier

Thursday, November 1, 2012: One problem with staying in a cooler climate during the winter months is the increase in humidity both inside and outside the trailer. The average low humidity during the winter is about 80% and it gets much higher in the morning hours. That brings the average humidity inside the trailer to about 60%. We can see this change because everything is damp and the air feels "heavy". On a cold morning, you can see the increased humidity as condensation on the inside of the windows. This situation can eventually cause mold if we don't take care of the accumulating water pockets. After talking with several of the year around residents here at the park, we learned that many successfully use a dehumidifier to reduce and control the humidity inside inside the trailer. We've been using the Frigidaire "30 pint" unit for the last several days. Every morning I have emptied a gallon of water from the holding tank so that much water has been removed from the air in our trailer. There seems to be a "learning curve" in using the dehumidifier correctly so as we learn how to use it, I expect we may even reduce the humidity further. One of the features of my weather station is to measure the inside humidity. Before using the dehumidifier, the inside humidity would vary from 50 to 80%. After using the dehumidifier, the inside humidity is held at 52%. We could turn the unit to a higher setting but it does have a fan which can be annoying if it runs continuously. We'll learn to turn it to high every time we leave the trailer. Click the photo to get more details about the Frigidaire.

Roseburg Theaters Friday, November 2, 2012: Gwen and I decided to take ourselves to a movie. It's been a while since we've gone to a movie so we though we chose carefully. We picked the new Tom Hanks movie, Cloud Atlas. My suggestion would be to either read the book first or wait for the DVD so you can watch the movie multiple times. There are six stories happening in the movie with flash backs and flash forwards. A couple of the stories have broken or old English so hard to understand. One of the stories has a Korean actor, also hard to understand so that difficulty along with trying to follow six stories jumping around on the screen means multiple viewings. Follow the link above and you will see what I mean.

Buying diesel for less than $4/gallon


Saturday, November 3, 2012: We finally purchased enough at Fred Meyer to get 10¢ per gallon discount at the Fred Meyer pump. So, for the first time in a long time, I paid less than $4 per gallon for diesel ($3.82-9/10). I'm hoping the price of fuel will come down further, so I didn't fill my auxiliary tank.

Our first holiday craft fair
Sunday, November 4, 2012: Gwen and visit our first local holiday craft fair. This one was at the Douglas County Fairgrounds in Roseburg. I was actually impressed with the quality of the crafts and with the low prices. Some of these craftsmen and not giving themselves much of a wage. This wasn't the art faire we saw in Big Fork, Montana during the summer. That was the best, highest quality arts and crafts I've seen but also very steep prices. However, there were lots of affordable, quality items here and a few project ideas Gwen and I took home with us. I'm looking forward to the next craft show.

My first scroll saw project

Monday, November 5, 2012: I've added another tool to my woodshop, a Hitachi scroll saw which I found on Craig's List. I once owned a very old jig saw which is similar to a scroll saw with the same size blade but the mechanics are different. I thought I needed the scroll saw to be able to make interior cut by disconnecting the blade then passing the blade through a hole in the pattern to cut out the center of the pattern. That's what I used the jig saw for. However, I've already spent more time at the scroll saw than any other tool. That's because I have several project in mind for gifts and all of them will require the scroll saw. In this photo, I'm working on my first scroll saw project. The scroll saw is far better than the jig saw I owned. This saw was used but used very little and I paid only a fraction of the new price. I opened it up to learn how it worked and discovered that some animal had been living inside the saw. It was full of bedding material (plant matter). I'm hoping the animal which made the bed was left with the original owner. I cleaned out the saw and everything seems to work fine. Click the photo for another view.

Norm speaks while celebrating the life of Jane Lee

Tuesday, November 6, 2012: Last spring we spent a couple of months at Timber Valley before beginning our travels into Idaho, Montana and Washington. While here, we met Jane Lee who showed us her favorite local restaurants and told us of the history of Timber Valley which she knew well since she was an original lot holder. Jane was 92 and very active. In August she took a fall while bringing home groceries and broke several bones. She did not recover from those injuries and died in October. Today was a celebration of her life presented by her friends here at Timber Valley. It gave us a chance to share some of the memories of Jane. Gwen and I are about 20 years younger than the average age of the residents here at Timber Valley. Because many of our new friends are older, we have a chance to learn from their experience but it is also a lesson in the limitations we face as we grow older. Gwen and I work hard to stay active with diet, exercise and travel but we can also see there is no stopping the effects growing older has on the mind and body. For now, we miss a new friend we made last spring and fear the loss of others. We are learning how important it is to enjoy each moment because life changes can happen in an instant.

Starting the project using Poplar
A birthday greeting card Using a plug cutter
Wednesday, November 7, 2012: This is my first real project with my new woodshop. Gwen surprised me a couple of days ago with the news that her grand daughter's birthday is at the end of the week and we needed a giftThe finished clock ASAP. Of course I wanted to make something for her. While looking for a birthday card, Gwen chose the card in the center photo above. I looked at it and said, "I can make a clock of this card." So we bought two cards. One for the clock and one for happy birthday wishes. I needed to complete this project in less than two days so we could get the clock in the mail today. So the idea I had was a simple one. Fortunately I already had clock movements and the only hardwood at Roseburg Lowes, Poplar. I made a frame of the Poplar using lap joints, I haven't built a miter joint jig yet so wouldn't dare try a miter joint. I really needed a tenon jig to do the lap joint correctly and will make one before the next project. Click the frame photo for a view of the completed frame. Next, I glued the face of the greeting card to 1/4" birch plywood. I cut a 1/8" strip of cedar (because it's light weight) using my bandsaw and glued a dragonfly design, found on the back of the card, to the cedar to use as a pendulum bob. I sprayed both with clear lacquer. Click the card photo to see the dragonfly before it's cut into a pendulum bob. Next, I wanted to create reference points for the 12, 3, 6 and 9 position of the clock. I use to have several really nice plug cutters but now I have only one cheap cutter but it's just the right size for this project. The plug cutter is pictured on the right. I made the plugs from Poplar but a dark part of the board. I knew it would stand out against the light colored frame. Plugs are normally used to fill screw holes. Normally you would make a plug from wood with the same grain pattern and match the grain in the base wood to hide the screw hole. In this case, I'm using dark plugs in light wood and inserting them cross grain to help them stand out even more. Glue is placed into the four holes I drilled into the frame then plugs are inserted into the hole. Once the glue has dried, I use a bent shank paring chisel to slice off the plug. The chisel was once owned by a previous wife's grandfather. He was a patternmaker in New England many years ago. When I graduated from college I spent a summer with him learning woodworking. He taught me how to create, use and slice off plugs using a bent shank paring chisel. Click the plug photo to view the drilling of the frame using my favorite brad point bit. Finally, I sprayed the whole project with clear lacquer. The clock looks and works great. I'm not sure an 18 year old would want something like this but I had fun making it.

Dining with new friends

Thursday, November 8, 2012: Today we met new friends. Bernd and Erika are German citizens living in Victoria, BC and currently traveling south to warmer weather. They have been reading our story for a couple of years and today wanted to meet us in person. What a special day it was. We learned much about Germany and Canada while they learned more about our Escapee and boondock experience. Today we first had a special lunch at one of our favorite lunch stops, the Lighthouse Bakery and Cafe in Umpqua. We each had a vegetarian lunch-time item. The Lighthouse always does an exceptional job of presentation and flavor and today was no disappointment. After a long lunch and discussion, we both purchased a loaf of their brick oven bread which is the best in the nation as far as I'm concerned. On our return to Sutherlin, I drove Erika and Bernd through our only covered bridge. I happen to mention, on our return, that the price of propane in the park will be the best during their travels ($1.60) so we both filled a propane tank. After more discussion and a tour of each other's RV, we concluded our day at Tolly's in historic Oakland. Tolly's is always a special place to eat. Erika and I had the chicken special, which we both found excellent. Bernd had a steak while Gwen had salmon, both met their expectations. Erika felt this was the most comfortable restaurant she has eaten in, and that's saying a lot because she has traveled much more of the world than we have. This meal was the best way to end a perfect day. Erika and Bernd remind me of the days we spent researching and asking many questions about long term RV travel. They are doing exactly the right thing, learning from others who've lived the lifestyle.

Friday, November 9, 2012: Gwen and I drove to Roseburg today. Gwen is shopping for a new raincoat. While there, I visited the art and craft store, Michaels, looking for a short list of items. I'm trying to learn how to paint because many of the woodworking projects I have in mind will Trying out a paint penrequire "decorative" painting. I just finished a project where I painted with small brushes and began to think it would be nice to have a "paint pen". So I asked the clerk at Michaels if such a product existed. It does. In fact, they had two brands. So I used my 50% coupon to buy ONE pen just to see if I liked something called a "paint pen". There were two sizes, fine point and broad point. I looked at the sample lines on the packages and decided on the "broad line". Unless there is a special method of holding this paint pen, the broad line in reality is three times the size of the sample line on the package. Additionally, the paint seems to come out in blotches, well, maybe there's a learning curve to this "paint pen art". Anyway, this paint pen will not do what I want it to do, the line is far too broad so apparently I should have purchased the fine point. Good thing I didn't buy the package with multi colors of pens (all broad point) and this one pen only cost me $1.14, no tax in Oregon. So I'll use another coupon to try the fine point and continue my lessons while trying to find a use for a broad point pen. Perhaps a fine, small brush is the answer. We'll see.

I prepare the area for our new Red Maple The Maple is in the ground
Saturday, November 10, 2012: I think this will be the last investment in our new Timber Valley lot. I planted a large Red Maple today hoping for some good shade about five years from now. The trees are on sale this time of year and after rain for the last month, the ground is softer so lots of advantages to plant a tree now. The dirt here is pretty tough clay. Carl, the park manager said that trees love the clay and will grow fast but the nursery guy was not so sure about that. We'll know in a couple of years. Be sure to click these photos for additional views and check Gwen's blog. She was watching from the trailer while viewing the Stanford/Oregon State football game (OSU lost). She got many more photos than I did and better photos. Frank, our next door neighbor came over to help unload the tree and get it into the hole. That was appreciated.
Salmon Harbor in Winchester Bay
Sunday, November 11, 2012: Today was a nice drive to the ocean and back. We are only about one hour driving time to the Pacific at Reedsport. On the way, we pass an Elk viewing area where we spotted many grazing. Above is Salmon Harbor at Winchester Bay just south of Reedsport. Click the bay photo to see the Elk. We explored the Winchester Bar area for an RV park to spend a month some time this winter. Another reason to visit Reedsport was to visit Cash King. This is a retail discount store recommended by Theresa and Ron in Timber Valley park. That's where Theresa bought the duck tape we used to build the haunted house. It was great tape and I wanted more of it. I didn't really find the duck tape I wanted but did buy a small roll. I did find spray paint at $1.69 per can. Behind the Cash King photo is a photo of the Umpqua River entering the Pacific Ocean. Next, we found the Umpqua lighthouse on the way to Florence. By this time we were both hungry for seafood. We found a great place in Florence where Gwen had seafood chowder and I had blackened oysters. Unfortunately, we missed all the NFL football games but had an enjoyable day along Highway 101. Downtown old town Florence is behind the lighthouse.
Cash King in Reedsport Umpqua Lighthouse
The Bosch Table saw arrives One of the best things about this saw is the mobile stand
The stand is completed The saw works great
Monday, November 12, 2012: One of the final and most important tools to complete my woodshop is the table saw. After lots of research, I chose the Bosch model 4100 with a gravity rise stand. As it turns out, now that I have the saw, the gravity rise stand is worth every penny. Since I have such a small shop, it's very important that my table saw is easy to move out of the shop for use, then back into the shop when my project is complete. This stand is marvelous. Set up it literally seconds and breakdown is nearly as quick. I've only made a few cuts with the saw but I can already tell it's the best table saw I've ever owned (actually the first NEW table saw I've ever owned, the others were used saws). Click the above photos to see the stand assembly steps and the final step of setting the saw on the stand. The saw sits exactly where I had planned and I still have plenty of room to move around my shop using the other tools.

Using the scroll saw to cut out the apple tree

Tuesday, November 13, 2012: Today is my Mother's birthday so I'm telling the story of the gift I built for her birthday. I used the scroll saw for the basic outline of the tree onto 1/4" birch plywood. I got the tree pattern from the Internet but had to expand the pattern, hence the break in the pattern. The base is cut from Poplar (the only hardwood sold nearby). I first split the board using the table saw then used the table saw to make the two inch rectangle to receive the tree. I then glued the base back together, shaped the base with my band saw then used my home built router table to round-over the edges. The tree trunk is made of rough 1/2" cedar, again using the band saw to shape the tree trunk. I purchased the sun at Michael's in Roseburg and used 10 gage copper wire flattened with a hammer on one side to support the sun. I used epoxy to glue the wire to the back of the sun.

Routering the base Parts to the clock are coming together

The finished clock


While visiting my mother last year I found a box of craft items in her garage. She was given the box by a friend thinking my mother would have use for it. I used items from that box to help with the decorations on the clock. The apples, hearts and little people on the house are from that box. The pendulum clock movement came from Klockit in Wisconsin. Fortunately, I already had the clock movement because I have several clock projects in mind including this one for Mom. The hummingbird pendulum bob came from a yard sale purchase I made last summer. A gentleman at the Umpqua Community Yard Sale had a stack of interesting cork-backed coasters. I purchased all the designs I liked for a discounted price and plan to use several of them in my clock projects. The little house with the heart shaped hole, for a birdhouse, was purchase unfinished a Michael's for only $1. I used my band saw to cut a slot in the roof so the humming bird pendulum bob would pass through the house. The two figures glued to the front of the house are to represent Mom's two oldest great-grandchildren which often come to her house to play together. I chose NOT to glue the house to the base. You can click each of the photos for more views of the clock parts and their assembly. Additionally, I made a short video to help Mom assemble the pieces into the finished clock. You can see the video here. Oh, the movement is completely silent, no ticking or chiming.

I've been talked into joining the bingo
Wednesday, November 14, 2012: Tonight I was decided to spend a couple of hours playing bingo with a small group in the clubhouse. Gwen really enjoys playing games with the folks in the clubhouse and some game is being played every evening. She doesn't play games EVERY night but does about half the week. I've never liked game playing so I rarely head to the clubhouse for game playing. That's why tonight was special for me, folks don't usually see me at game night. I actually got a bingo and Gwen got two bingos so we came home slightly better off than when we arrived. In the photo, Fred is in the back getting ready to turn on the ball blowing machine which randomly blows a ball with a number to the top of the selection tube. Nora is on the left counting the entry fees and arranging them to pass back to the bingo winners. Gwen and I have set up our cards, we each have six cards, so we are ready for the first number to be called.
Camping to see a movie

Thursday, November 15, 2012: Gwen and I find ourselves at a movie again. This time we chose, Skyfall, the new James Bond movie. When we arrived at the theater, we met theater viewers camped on the sidewalk circling the theater. I learned they were camping to see the new Twilight movie which was to have a premier showing this evening at 10 pm, then would be showing it at regular scheduled times beginning tomorrow. Many of these folks have been camped here since last night.

The James Bond movie is rated four of four stars. I don't think I would go that high on the number of stars but we both enjoyed the movie and at least followed the plot unlike Cloud Atlas. Fortunately, James wins again but it's not such good news for Judy Dench (M).

Approaching Autzen Stadium  from the south
Inside the practice center where fans get refreshment before the game
Just before the game began
Sunday, November 18, 2012: Yesterday, my son Joe and I attended the Oregon Ducks vs. Stanford game. A very important game for the Ducks. Win the game and they would be the number one college team in the nation. The exciting part for us was the walk to the stadium and the view of the stadium once we arrived. Our tickets said, "Where black" so you see most fans in black. We arrived about 2 hours early to make sure we got a good parking location. We were near the campus, across the Willamette River from the stadium. There was a paved pathway to the river and then a pedestrian bridge across the river to Autzen stadium. We were careful to pay attention to our parking location realizing we would have to return in the dark. We visited the practice center where fans get refreshments and food and the cheerleader perform for the fans. This is also where we had access to the Duck Fan Shop. In the bottom photo, our seats are located to the left behind the goal posts, in section 40, row 48, seats 10 and 11. That's important to know because our row was drawn for a prize during the game. We didn't hear the prize but later learned we had each won a miniature Duck football (in Duck green and yellow colors) provided by Wells Fargo. Both Joe and I donated our footballs to Chloe and Noah. I created a short video just while the teams were warming up before the game. Be sure to click each photo for another view. Unfortunately, the Duck offense was pathetic. Today the commentators were calling it the worst performance ever. The Duck quarterback, Mariota connected with only 4 of 17 pass attempts. The two star offensive players, Barner and Thomas did nothing during the game. I am so disappointed that I'm ready to support the Oregon State Beavers for the Civil War game next week. The Beavers won their game against California, 62 - 14. It took us more than an hour to exit the stadium after the game because we were moving with 60,000 fans. I overheard from other fans that the reason for the slow moving crowd was because no fans stayed in the stadium after the game. After a win, many fans remain to celebrate with the team. In this case the team left the field immediately after the loss and so did the fans. Even exiting with 60,000 fans was exciting. It's not often I've been in a crowd that size. I did learn something new, the Ducks moto is WTD .... WinTheDay! (Joe also says it means "What the Duck!")

Monday, November 19, 2012: This was a special day for Gwen. Her birthday is on Thanksgiving day so we chose today to have a birthday lunch in Roseburg then went shopping for the sewing machine Gwen had found about a month ago which was exactly what she wanted for her birthday. We visited the "Sewing Bee" in Roseburg about three weeks ago. Alice and Mike are the owners of this sewing machine store. Alice spent about an hour showing Gwen all the features of the Viking Emerald Model 118. I watched all of this Viking Emerald Model 118with interest. I'm not interested in sewing although I've used a sewing machine to reupholster a couch, chair, and two airplane cockpits. What interested me was the MACHINE. Gwen has been using a lower level Brother machine which reminded me of the machines I had used thirty years ago. One thing which always bothered me was the motor for these machines. You apply power with the foot pedal, the motor hums louder as you slowly push the pedal toward the floor but the needle doesn't move. Finally the motor gets enough power and the needle races forward out of control. There was always a learning curve to get the needle moving then backing off enough on the power to regain control but keep the needle moving at the same time. I learned from Alice the reason for this is the alternating current (AC) motor. The Emerald 118 has a direct current (DC) motor which works differently. The needle begins moving with a slight touch on the foot pedal, this motor makes all the difference and I could tell, this would be an entirely different experience in sewing. So Alice made the sale that day but we returned today to actually buy the machine. We learned today was Alice' day off but Mike was ready to sell us the Emerald 118. However, he had only one machine in stock and that one was promised to someone in Grants Pass driving to Roseburg today. I had asked Mike for a better price. I didn't tell Mike, but I had found the machine on the Internet for considerably less than his asking price. Still, we wanted to purchase locally and Alice had promised Gwen free lessons with the purchase. Mike offered to order an Emerald 118 today for Gwen and give us a special price if we would pay today. He lowered the price $150 which brought his price much closer to the Internet price and made me feel better about the purchase. We feel good about making a local purchase, Mike was happy, Gwen was happy and I was happy. Now we are waiting for the exciting phone call from Mike to tell us the Emerald 118 has arrived. I'm looking forward to my new shop apron.

My make-shift wood lathe Tuesday, November 20, 2012: This is my attempt to save a few dollars and still come up with a method to make a couple of parts for a project. I need a lathe so I spotted a plan in a woodworking jig book of how to use a drill press as a lathe. I finally got all the parts needed today and tried it. I'm only able to turn stock 6-1/2" long or shorter so not much of a lathe but enough to do the two projects I have in mind. This is a piece of fir, so not good for turning but good for practice. I purchased a cheap set of chisels, only $2.37 each chisel so I'm not expecting much from them. So far the chisels work except the parting tool, I may have to make my own from a file if I can find a bench grinder. I didn't trust the chisels or the make-shift lathe so wore the protective helmet and face mask I purchased last spring for gardening. I haven't used a lathe in 20 years and trying to use this one in a vertical position is much harder. But what I need to do is simple. Click the photo at left for a better view of the homemade lathe. Trying out the different chisels
Thanksgiving at the clubhouse

Gwen helps with the service

Thursday, November 22, 2012: We got a giant newspaper today with all the black Friday ads tucked inside so I spent the morning ad shopping just for fun. Gwen fixed a green bean and bacon dish with special sauce using fresh green beans. We took that to the clubhouse before 2 pm. Gwen volunteered to help serve so she ended up being last in line. I was sitting at the first table served so I was first in line. I don't think she missed out, there was plenty of food. About the time she got her plate to begin eating, her friend Joan announced her birthday and the room sang "happy birthday" to her. We enjoyed visiting and eating with friends then returned to our trailer stuffed full of food. Click the photos for additional views.

My first Black Friday store Fred Meyer's parking lot was full at 7:00 am but didn't seem crowded inside
Free antlers at Petco Some nice long sleeve T-shirts here
Black Friday, November 23, 2012: Did you know Black Friday got it's name because that's the day of the year a business finally begins operating in the black rather than the red. I decided to see what Black Friday is all about so I chose to go shopping at 5 am when the stores open. It almost worked, I walked into the first store (Lowes) at 5:55 am. There was no crowd but quite a few shoppers. I went prepared with a list of stores I wanted to visit and the items I wanted to see in each store. Lowes was a disappointment and I left with a couple of non-sale items. Home Depot was next and much better. I normally prefer Lowes to Home Depot but this morning, Home Depot did a far better job of Black Friday gifts. Fred Meyer was next and the most crowded store of the day. Two for one board games was a pretty good deal at Freddies. Next was a quick stop at BiMart for one gift then on to Petco for free antlers with any purchase. I purchased a cheap cat bed to try to keep Annie off our couch. Michaels had a couple of craft items I wanted for projects and a cheap Ottlite ($5.50). JC Penney had some sleep pants and long sleeve T-shirts I wanted. Finally, Costco had a workbench I purchased for one of the other lot holders. It's to be a gift for the man of the house from the woman of the house and I need to keep it in my shed to keep it a secret. My last stop before returning home was at True Value Hardware with a 50% off coupon on any one item. I found some hedge trimmers needed to trim the few bushes we have around the trailer. Really nice trimmers and I got them for half the regular price. I did not experience any checkout lines so the day went very smoothly and I had lots of fun. Tomorrow Gwen wants to visit a store or two in Roseburg before the monthly park get-together at Sizzler. Be sure to click the photos for views of the other stores.
Hanging Christmas lights on the shed A few Christmas lights on our lot
Saturday, November 24, 2012: Our first Christmas at Timber Valley so we decided to hang some Christmas lights. These are the new LED lights which use so little power they can be left on or at least forgotten. The set next to the trailer use 72 watts in 24 hours while the set on the shed use 288 watts in 24 hours. If the lights were left on continuously, it would cost 10¢ in 2.78 days. I think I'll run them for 5 hours each night so it will cost 10¢ every 13.34 days. I'm not seeing many other lots with decoration, maybe in a few more days. Gwen likes the lights, I'm not sure about the neighbors since the shed lights are only 20 feet from their living area windows. This was all Gwen's idea, click my photo to see her installing the step lights.

We've been loaned a golf cart for several months


Monday, November 26, 2012: What a great surprise. Theresa and Ron have left the park until late May. Before leaving they asked if we wanted to use their golf cart until they returned. Of course we do. This park is large enough to need to drive for the mail, propane, garbage, clubhouse events, laundry and to visit friends. NOW, no need to start up the diesel, instead we can use the golf cart to run around. This cart is gas powered, many of those in the park are battery powered. This will give us a chance to learn if we like a gas powered cart. I joked with Theresa and asked if it had enough gas to get to Eugene, she replied, "Good luck with that!" Oh, Gwen says she's going to walk Morgan as she drives around the park.

John Hehn is an expert at intarsia

Tuesday, November 27, 2012: What a pleasure to get to meet John Hehn. John is co-owner of the Gassy Creek Gallery here in Sutherlin. I learned of John while reading a magazine in the doctor's office. The magazine had a cover article about John who is an intarsia artist. I then learned he was co-owner of the Gassy Creek Gallery and visited the gallery looking for a source of hardwood. John worked in Douglas County in the lumber industry for 30 years. During that time he collected hardwood which is stored at his ranch. After retiring, John began an artist career with intarsia using the native hardwood he collected as a lumberman. I've seen his work and it's incredible. This last weekend, I stopped by the gallery to purchase some hardwood and John was present. He invited me to visit his ranch to look for some other pieces of hardwood. I got to spend about an hour with John. He used his huge bandsaw to make lumber of the few pieces of fig I brought to him then we toured the wood he had available to sell. I was looking for something dark to contrast with the white Poplar I already owned. I ended up with some black walnut and John ran it through his planner for me. That's what he's doing in the photo. I'm looking forward to spending more time with him learning some more woodworking techniques. John is also an experienced RVer. He use to spend the winter in Tucson making and selling intarsia in that area while traveling in his motor home.

Flush the hot water tank The anode rod
Wednesday, November 28, 2012: It is time for some trailer house keeping. The water heater has not been flushed since April so it's time again. Be sure to turn off the hot water heater power and propane switch. Then turn of the water supply. Test the water inside the trailer to be sure it's only luke warm or cold. You don't want hot water spraying on you as you pull the anode rod. When you pull the anode rod the water will begin to slowly exit the hole. Release the pressure valve at the top of the water heater then the water will shoot out the anode hole. The anode rod is covered with slime and a jelly like substance is on the rod and inside the heater. I used the flush wand to thoroughly flush the inside of the heater. I used a wire brush to clean the anode rod and teflon tape around the threads. Close the pressure relief valve then turn the water supply back on. All the air in the water heater will exit whatever hot water taps you turn on in the trailer. Don't turn the power on the heater until it has enough water to cover the heating elements. Now you will have clean hot water again. Click the left photo for another view.
An idea is forming Rough idea of a project idea
Thursday, November 29, 2012: While shopping on Etsy ( I found some nice water color prints of birds and they started to give me some ideas. These four photos show the development of a rough copy of the idea. I'm still working on the idea. I glued a robin print to thin plywood then cut it out using my scroll saw. I happen to have a bunch of fig branches trimmed from the fig tree on our lot. I think real branches will compliment the bird on a branch water color so I've trimmed a branch to fit this project. I want the robin to stand off from a rough cut cedar board so I cut a tenon into a branch with the idea of using it to hold the up the robin. The tiny birdhouse was purchased a Michael's. I'm thinking it should be finished with colored stains. Now! Does this need a clock movement in the top left or bottom right? Or, no clock movement at all? It is still a project in progress. Click these two photos to see the other two showing the progress of this project. I'm thinking this will hang on a wall, maybe in someone's kitchen. Perhaps this one should be for spring and some other designs should be created for the other three seasons.

Decorating the clubhouse



Saturday, December 1, 2012: It's time to decorate the clubhouse. It's a tradition at Timber Valley to setup clubhouse Christmas decorations then set toy donations for "Toys for Tots". The local fire department will come after the toys closer to Christmas, then distribute to Toys for Tots. If you click the photo, you'll see the decorations in boxes before the activity began.

The beginning of a "do nothing machine" nothing is progress
Sunday, December 2, 2012: Today was a lazy day. I've come down with a head cold so I watched football much of the day trying to rest. Then Gwen mentioned that I need a "manly" gift for the Christmas gift exchange. I began to wonder what I could make as a "manly" gift. I thought of a "do-nothing machine". I've never made one but I think a "man" would enjoy the silliness of this wooden machine. Click the photo on the left for another view. If you don't know what a "do-nothing machine" is, I'll post the finished project so you can see how it works.

Who ME? I'm not running next to this thing!


Monday, December 3, 2012: "You gotta be kidding!" "I'm not running next to this thing!" "I'll drive ... YOU run." I'm sure that's what Morgan is thinking. She drove with me as I make a garbage run and mail run. Then I did the laundry while working on rehanging the storage shed door. The rain has caused it to swell and sag then stick. I drilled out the hinge screws then plugged the holes with glue and dowels so I could redrill pilot holes. This is a heavy door so I installed 4" screws to catch as much of the 2 x 4 behind the siding as I could. I also had to reset the catch for the lock, redrilling pilot holes. The door doesn't stick any more. This is also the first Monday of the month so potluck tonight at the clubhouse. Gwen fixed a great ham and potato dish. She stayed for game night but I returned to watch the Redskins beat the NY Giants (darn). When Gwen got home she informed me that the game night people are ordering in pizza next Monday night so I'm "on my own" for dinner next Monday.

Bette tells me of a historic Roseburg business


Tuesday, December 4, 2012: Gwen gets her first lesson of how to use the features of her new sewing machine. While Gwen takes her lesson, I walk the historic downtown area of Roseburg. One of the stores I found was the Roseburg Stationary which has been in downtown Roseburg for more than 100 years. After wandering the store, Bette introduced herself and I told her of an idea I was getting for a clock project using one of the graphic papers she sells. She told me of the history of the store and that she had been employed at the store for 28 years. We discussed my idea of how to use the paper to create a special interest clock. It was interesting listening to the stories Bette told and fun to discuss an idea with her. She made suggestions and told of ways she has used the paper and other items in the store. I'm liking this store and plan to visit again for more ideas. Gwen finished her lesson so we went grocery shopping and lunch at the Round Table Pizza buffet for the first time. Our last store before returning home, Costco. Click the photo for a view of Roseburg Stationary.

Anne spends the day inside the golf cart

Wednesday, December 5, 2012: Annie is becoming harder to deal with. The park has a rule that pets must be on a leash when outside. We've never found a method to keep Annie on a leash so we try to keep her inside but that doesn't always work, she's fast and often escapes. Lately, the weather has been wet all the time. When Annie gets out she sticks pretty close to the trailer to stay dry. She'll hang out under the trailer or under the truck. But yesterday, she got out and we were gone all day in Roseburg. Before we left, Annie had found her way into the golf cart. When we got home late in the day, she was still in the cart. That's a good place for her, keeps her out of trouble and out of view from the neighbors. I hope she continues using it as her outside hangout. Click the photo for another view.

A trip to the big city for Gwen's birthday gift from Mom

Thursday, December 6, 2012: This was a day to visit the "big city", Eugene, Oregon, about an hour north of Sutherlin. Gwen had received a cash gift for her birthday from Mom and really wanted a NutriBullet (the machine is $99 at Target, not $119 advertised on the Website) so she could make health smoothies for breakfast. She has worn out two Magic Bullets and they aren't as good as the NutriBullet. Target is one of the few retail stores which sells the NutriBullet and Eugene is the closest Target. I subscribe to the Target e-mail announcements and had a coupon for a $10 gift certificate if we purchased $50 in merchandise so away we went. Gwen had also just received a package from her daughter living in Germany and that contained a gift card for Olive Garden so away we went to Eugene. For some reason, the Target clerk gave us TWO $10 gift certificates which was OK with me. Then we enjoyed the Olive Garden holiday special of 2 dinners for $25, the amount of our gift card. We visited a few more stores and I got to spend time in Harbor Freight (cheap Chinese tools) and Woodcraft Supply (expensive quality tools). Those two stores are the exact opposite of each other but if you use a particular tool very little and only for special projects, then cheap, low quality sometimes works fine. I purchased two 36" clamps for $8.79 each. The same clamp at Woodcraft (well not the same clamp but clamp for the same purpose), $38 each. I used up two coupons to get my clamps at that price so will wait for more coupons to get a couple more clamps. Gwen's NutriBullet looks pretty good and makes healthy promises, I may have to try it myself. Click the photo to see Gwen in front of Olive Garden.

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