‘Tis The Season…

We recently had our first real extended below freezing cold spell of the season. It lasted about 3-4 days. The bus stayed toasty warm which was great considering both my daughter & I had colds at the time.

The interior storm windows worked as hoped for. I still need to build 3 or 4 more for the salon. Maybe the cold weather will get me motivated to do so. The heat tape kept the water flowing. I was extra careful to make sure all the metal elbows and connections in the PEX lines were touched by the heat tape. Also we have added a couple of long wire shelves in the bus in an effort to find better places to put things. We put one up in the salon over the daybed. I think I need to add one above the front windshield. One wire shelf is above the windows in the bedroom. That one meant that we had to relocate the TV. Still need to buy one more shelf for above the headboard. We also bought a tall tool chest with locking drawers (the kind to stack another tool chest on top of). I’ve got my beads, clay and paper for the printer in it. The printer is sitting on top of it. We need to get one for Tace’s art supplies (maybe two). I think we are finally getting a handle on our storage problem. Lifting the bed up high enough to slide 5 gallon buckets under it has really helped.

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Ruby Lee spends most of her time in the heated bed. She seems to prefer to sleep under the covers. Like last year, she seems to feel the cold a lot. Pretty much what I expected from a skinny greyhound. So we are keeping the bus pretty warm. We have an electric heater in the bedroom (Tace’s parabolic heater) and I moved the electric heater in the salon to the entry. On my bus, I have a stock heater that is literally in the entry stairwell. It’s not used (and I don’t know if it even works). It runs off of the engine coolant. I used some of the skinny little bungee cords and strapped the little electric Patton Milkhouse heater to the grates of the bus heater. It seems to be heating the salon more evenly and not as much cold air seems to be coming off the entry door. I need to get that thing skinned over with PVC “wood” and add a layer of plexi over the glass. For now it’s covered with Reflectix. Once the outside temps drop below 45F, the fireplace is turned on. I’m so very glad I added the blower to the fireplace. It really makes a big difference.

We decided that this winter was going to have a lot of cold spells which was going to require us to run the fireplace. So we had the local LP distributor drop off a big tank and fill it. Cost us $50 to have it set (they had a special going on) and they let us fill it 50% (60 gallons) which is their minimum fill. The big tank is hooked into one of the unused shut off valves on the regulated LP manifold. We had gotten three of the 20lb LP tanks filled the same day we went in to the rent the big tank. We didn’t know when they would be out to set the tank since a bad freeze was expected and we had no intention of being without LP. But they were out the next day to set the tank and fill it. So I have the three 20lb tanks full to use on the bathroom heater as well as a back up to the big tank. If the big tank empties, they will charge a lot of money to “pressure test” the lines before they will fill the tank again. We’ll just make sure we call them before it runs out (10%) and, if need be, run the smaller tanks. I’ve had the bigger tanks before and I know to keep an eye on them. We just have to set aside enough money to fill the tank.

Tace estimated that the 60 gallons will last about 10 weeks. I figure it will depend on how cold it gets and how much we run the fireplace. The fireplace uses the most LP of all the LP appliances. Tace really likes having the fireplace on because it makes it so cozy and homey. She has yet to toast a marshmallow in the fireplace. Yes, you can once you remove the grill cover, and no, it does not “taste” like propane. How do I know this? Because I HAD to toast a marshmallow when the fireplace was first installed.

Thanksgiving was nice. We both had to work different shifts on Thanksgiving Day. But we had the middle part of the day off. I had bought a box of frozen stuffed chicken breasts a few weeks back. We had those for our dinner. I also made a batch of my homemade cranberry relish. It was nice and tart. It’s just fresh cranberries, unflavoured gelatin, water and a little (very little) sugar. I have enough cranberries to do it again for Yule.

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Homemade Low Sugar Whole Berry Cranberry Sauce

Tace and I splurged for Yule and decorated the mantle for the holidays. Spent a whopping $30. The stockings we hung are really socks (and on sale). We saw them in K-Mart and thought they looked more like Christmas stockings than actual socks. I added a beaded loop (not shown in the pics) so they would hang off the stocking hangers (50% at Hobby Lobby). We picked up a short cheapie greenery garland and a short string of lights for cheaper than buying a pre-lit greenery garland. I just doubled the greenery garland which made it much fuller looking and wound the lights into the garland. I had some seashells, both gathered and bought, that I stuck into the garland. We also bought a 6 pack of battery operated LED tea lights. I stuck a scallop shell on each of those to hide the tea light “flame”. I will probably make beaded tea light covers for next year.  We decided to not put the tree up this year. The wire shelf we put up over the daybed extends from the wall I hung the tree on last year to the back of the driver’s seat. So that did away with the place I had to hang the tree. I need to figure out another spot for the tree. I just have to do a few other things before I find a place for the tree. Next year I’ll probably put the tree up.

 

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