Blind Sided

Living in a 20-foot travel trailer, 24/7 is more like living in a small house than camping. Much more spacious and complicated than living in my mini-van, which I did one winter as a park volunteer. It has a plumbing system, heating system, sewer system, an awning, and window coverings, however, the plumbing system is a hose hooked up to an outdoor faucet, the heater is a small propane powered unit that roasts the room then freezes it, and the sewer requires frequent emptying into a portable tank that you haul to the dump station. The awning is susceptible to damage in high winds, but though technically retractable (if I were two people with 6 hands) it is so cantankerous that once up, since it offers the only protection from the elements over the door and one window, it stays that way, (though I do lower it in bad storms.)

The window over my bed has no awning, so to keep the blazing sun out in the late afternoon, I like to close the blind, yet since my view seldom includes another soul, I like to leave it open when I go to bed so I can open my eyes to a view of the sun shining through the trees. Great way to start the day!

Blue Bear looking out trailer windowI have only been in residence a short while, however, the daily up and down of the blind frazzled an already frayed cord completely. Suddenly there was no way to raise or lower the blind without hand folding it and attaching it to the valance with a clamp. Workable but most inconvenient on my most used window.

I visited a nearby RV dealer and checked on the possibility of restringing the current blind. I was told that there should be some clamps at the top that would release the blind from the window/valance, however, since it was extremely difficult and time consuming to restring the blinds, they recommended removing it and getting a replacement. What a waste but what is a bear to do???

I went back to the trailer and while laying on my back trying to see the attachments through bifocals not meant for that distance, discovered that not only were there no clamps for easy release of the blind, but the screws holding the blind in place had a square head and I did not have a square headed screw driver.

I visited my trusty RV dealer back home in Madison, and they patiently explained my options and answered a few other questions too. Once the new blind came, which amazingly matches the originals, I used my new square headed screwdriver to remove the valance, narrowly missing my face when it dropped, and then removed the blind itself.

Thinking this will be an easy fix, I removed the old blind but when I went to install the new one, I discovered that the pre-drilled holes did not match up. ARRRRGGGHHHH! I need to go get an electric drill.

Thankfully for my pocket book, the next morning my neighbor was taking apart a deck and was using just the tool I needed. He kindly took a few moments to drill the holes and I was ready to install right?

Not quite. In order to install the valance again, apparently you need two hands to hold it in place and another two to manage the screw and screwdriver. Last I looked, I only had two hands! Do they have 6-handed people at the manufacturing plant?

Though I tried a head, an elbow, and even a foot or two, there was no way for one person to reinstall that valance, not even standing on my head! Thankfully a friend came to visit and with her help holding the valance in place I was able to reinstall it. Ah, soooo much nicer than the towel that was serving as my privacy curtain.Thank you friend.

After all this, I took things one step further and purchased some extenders for the bottom cord anchors. That way there will be less friction on the cords as I raise and lower the blind and less likelihood of having to do this again anytime soon. I thought ahead and bought enough extenders to add to all the blinds however, the cords have been trimmed and are too short. I will just have to wait until they break and repeat this process all over again. At least I now know what to expect and will make sure I have at least two extra hands, one in possession of an electric drill, BEFORE I remove the old blind.

Now if only solving the mystery of the non-working radio (which works just fine in the trailer at the dealer) was so “easy.” But that is another story.

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Rain

It has been a rainy spring in Baraboo, Wisconsin, where my summer home (trailer) is located. Though a long, cold winter with little snow ushered in spring drought conditions, the rain, and rain, and more rain over the last few weeks has alleviated any trace of drought warnings, filling the aquifers to overflowing at times.

A rainy day in a trailer in the woods is much different than the same rainy conditions in a house in an urban area. In the woods you can almost see the trees slurping up the rain — the leaves turn greener as the dust of drier days is washed away. The branches seem to bend to the storm, then stand straighter and taller as their feet absorb the wetness around their roots. Puddles and rivers form revealing a more specific lay of the land than the grasses would otherwise let on.

Then there is the sound. The birds are quiet, all tucked into a place of safety, their song replaced by raindrops on the roof — sometimes a light patter, other times a pounding that would barely be heard in a house with its shingles and attic to deflect and muffle the cry of the raindrops as they splatter.

The stream goes from a tinkling babble to a rushing roar as the water rises and each drop tries to push past the others, over the rocks and through downed branches in their rush to bigger waters, along the way washing out banks and carrying lollygagging sticks, stones, and plants away, even sometimes running over rather than under the bridge in their haste.

Depending on the day, watching and listening to the rain can be soothing; an invitation to lie by the window and let the sights and sounds roll over you. Other times the rooftop dance is so deafening that you cannot “hear yourself think”; the constant pounding can irritate and annoy like the neighbors hip hop music blasting at full volume.

Thankfully showers may be plentiful, even an all day affair, but the storms come and go giving respite to jangled nerves and a chance for the stream, the trees, and wildlife to recover. Almost immediately, the birds are singing again.

As with many things, living in the woods enhances the senses. So as the Eddie Rabbit song says, “I love a rainy night day…You know it makes me feel good.”

 

Green

Living in natural surroundings,  I have become very aware of why the big 64 box of crayons is important. Everything around me is green, but not just one green. There is light green and dark green, pale green and bright green, spring green, yellow green, spruce, pine, and a whole forest of forest green. There are probably more greens that that but who can name them all?

Stream, Baraboo, WisconsinWherever you are, take a moment to sit back, relax and drink in the sights, sounds, and smells of green. Ahhhh, that’s better!

A Natural Rhythm

When you meander, you are not forced into an artificial schedule (work, school, meetings, appointments, sports practice, dance lessons, etc.) Life takes on a rhythm that is attune with you and your surroundings.

I find I naturally awaken to greet the sunrise, then I get some natural exercise, walking a beach or forest trail. Later in the day I will tend to work or projects, then I might head into town for a little culture or a citified lunch. I always try to end my day in natural surroundings, so I can do it all over again tomorrow.

I find this lifestyle to be very beneficial — I walk a lot and fill my soul with the beauty of the world around me. I stress less and thus eat less (a cooler of provisions lasts and lasts.) I thoroughly enjoy my days and fall into bed tired but content.

Who could ask for more right?

Well it turns out that living in the woods offers many of the same advantages. I wake naturally, no alarm clocks to disturb the sound of rustling leaves and bird song outside my window. My eyes open to a forest of green leaves and never ending sky. The stream babbles, sometimes tinkling a happy song, others a rain swollen rush. An early morning walk fills me with wonder. Stretching on the bridge over the stream eases any tension. A paddle plies and smooths tight muscles.

As the sun goes down, a campfire can take away the chill and mesmerizes– slowing, calming, readying the body and mind for deep, restful sleep.

Life is good.
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New Direction

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I woke up this morning to a view of trees– dark trunks smothered in green leaves. The sun is shining and the sky blue, dotted by fluffy white cumulus clouds. The quiet is broken only by bird song, and what I assume is a squirrel using my new home as a shortcut to the ground from the huge maple overhead. The river babbles a stone’s throw away. All is peaceful and calm as only living in nature can be.
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Before I left for Mexico last fall, I moved out of my underground apartment, so aggravating to my chemical sensitivities. What I did not sell or give away, I stuffed into my van, a 5×10 foot storage locker, and a 21-foot travel trailer that is my new summer home.
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Having not had the luxury of moving things in slowly, I faced a daunting task of sorting through the mess of boxes and bins and finding the things I needed, while simultaneously finding a place for everything and putting everything in its place, all in a minuscule space designed for temporary vacation living. It is like having an efficiency apartment on wheels, with the emphasis on “efficiency.”

My new home has a banquette table that could seat four if you are very close, a tiny kitchen (two burners, a single sink, an under the counter frig), a closet to hang clothing, pantry for food, toilet, shower, and bed. And of course an ever changing natural world right outside my door. What more does one need?

Blue Bear taking in the view, Wheeler's Campground, Baraboo, WisconsinIf I could only figure out how to make my phone into a wi-fi connection for my computer (like it is supposed to) I could post this and other posts without making a trip to town.

But one thing at a time. I still have a lot of unpacking to do.

Stay tuned for more of my new adventures.

Sunset, Wheeler's Campground, Baraboo, Wisconsin