Wednesday, August 1, 2012


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Thursday, July 19, 2012

Winter Workamp and More RV Stuff

Winter Workamp

Our work commitment at Windy Valley Llama Farm in Blue Ridge is winding down. We have about 6 weeks left here. We have been looking for winter workamp spots in the San Antonio area for the last couple of months.

We are happy to say we have secured a spot for winter in Texas and Spring in Colorado. So where are we going? Glad you asked. We will leave Blue Ridge on Monday October 1st and head for Hidden Valley RV Park. They are located off Exit 144 on I-35 in Southwest San Antonio. They are not a fancy place which is OK with us - we are not the fancy type. There will be plenty of work for us as well as plenty of time off. We will be there during the rodeo season in Feb 2013 - YAY!

We are working on our route back to Texas and hoping to spend time in Nashville and Memphis, TN; Hot Springs, AR; Longview, TX; Copperas Cove, TX; then on to Hidden Valley RV Park.

We will be at Hidden Valley from October 15th until the end of March, 2013. By then we will be ready to head north. We have a confirmed commitment from April 15th through the end of July 2013 at a private Alpaca farm in Wellington, Colorado. We will be about 17 miles north of Fort Collins, CO and 30 miles south of Cheyenne, WY.

We have a couple of options after that. One is to take on a work commitment with Amazon either in Kansas or Kentucky or move back into Texas for a work commitment at Cherokee Acres Ranch in Willis, TX. We were discussing this option for this year but just could not make it happen.

We have several other places that we contacted but just could not make the dates work for us. These locations are in our pending list for a future winter gig.

We love what we do! We have met several new life long friends. And we have a place in Blue Ridge where we can always come back for a short or long stay. God has been good to us.

Now on to the RV Stuff.

The other day I needed to dump tanks. Our black tank electronic valve was acting strange on us. The tank sensors in an RV are at best real lousy. I think I got the tank empty but during the back flush, it appeared I filled the tank and could not get the valve to open again. So for three days now, we have shifted some of our bathroom activities to the basement of the farm house. That is OK but it is a little awkward when you have to use the bathroom at 3AM.

Today, I began the dreaded task of checking out the problem. Rick from Rick's RV in Murphy, NC (15 miles away) was the recommend "go to" person. He said he would be out this afternoon around 5:30. He called about 4:30 to confirm directions and time. I crawled under the RV to see what it would take to remove the belly panel that covers the bottom of RV.
   IMG 0421 This panel is held in place by 4 screws across the front and 4 across the back. The sides of the panel rest on the main frame of the trailer. With the panel removed and insulation moved away, Rick could easily determine which of the valves was connected to the black tank. He verified the black tank was in fact empty and not full as the sensors indicated. The valve has a manual override which allows a person to open or close the valve manually by using an allen wrench. In this photo, Rick is working on get the valve to move.
   IMG 0422
We made sure the valve was open and left it like that. I know it is not a good idea to leave a black tank open but in this case, it will be OK since I will be back flushing the tank daily. I can order a replacement valve for $80 from DrainMaster on line and have it here in a couple of days. Then Rick will come back out to help me install it. When I took the photo of the valve, I was please to see Made in U.S.A stamped on it. Forrest River/Cedar Creek made a good choice with this valve. Other than bad tires from China, this is the first part failure I've encountered on the RV since we purchased it in May 2011.
   IMG 0423
Pam and Jerry take off again for a few weeks with their toy hauler. They are taking their toys out for some play time. In the meanwhile, the farm is being entrusted to us and another helper once again.

Life is good and we are blessed beyond our wildest dreams. Thanks for stopping by.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Doggie Door / RV Stuff

Doggie Door

One of the projects on our TO DO list was to cut a doggie door between Barn 1 pasture and Barn 2 pasture. There are two Great American Pyrenees who guard the llamas on the farm. They run from pasture to pasture chasing off any potential predator. They should be able to easily move between all pastures even if pasture gates are closed. If the dogs are in Barn 2, and need to get to the top of Barn 1 or the house pasture, they have to go to the bottom of Barn 2 pasture, find the access gate at the bottom of Barn 2 or house pasture, then come back up the hill. Sofie can make the trip pretty quickly. Bear is a lot slower because of joint issues. Having a doggie door at the top of Barn 1 pasture makes the trip a piece of cake. Since I fix the busted gate post, it only made since to get the doggie door done also. The wire fence to the loft of the gate is the spot for the goggle door.
  IMG 1021
It did not take Sofie or Bear long to figure out where the new door was.
   IMG 0408

RV Fixes

The owner has a toy hauler RV. They are taking off for a few weeks to ride their motorcycles. Jerry asked me to look a few things that needed fixing.

Fix #1 Ice Maker

The RV has an ice maker that sprung a leak the last time they had the RV out. It appears the hose fitting was cross threaded on the solenoid valve which is where the leak was. I was able to get it threaded correctly but still had no water flow. Apparently the water shutoff was turned off. To make matters worse, the T-handle on that shutoff valve was busted off.

I could not find a suitable replacement valve at HomeDepot so plan "B" was to add a second shutoff valve in line with the 1/4" poly flow tubing. To get the busted shutoff valve opened, I had to pull the ice maker out of the cabinet. That required removing a stair step that was in the way.

There are two types of in line shutoff valves. One is brass and one is plastic. The brass valve is a sleeve inserts that are inserted into the 1/4" poly flow tubing. This won't work with this water line because for some crazy reason the RV manufacturer decided it was important to use a "special" thick wall 1/4" poly flow tube, not the standard 1/4" poly flow found in 99% of home use today.
Brass Valve        Plastic Valve
That means the plastic shutoff valve is the only other option left. This valve is also unique. The 1/4" poly flow tube is inserted into the end of the valve. Nothing to tighten, nothing to twist. Just insert the tube. The valve is designed such that it provides a seal and grips the tubing. Sure enough, that works. Turned water on to RV - no leaks! That is a good sign. Put ice maker back in its resting spot, replace the stair step. Still no leaks and ice maker is cranking out ice.

Here you can see the tight access door that less to the space behind ice maker. Then you can see the original shutoff valve with the t-handle missing and finally you can see the new shutoff valve.

IMG 0415 IMG 0412 IMG 0414

Fix #2 Light Bulb

There is a reason why light bulbs are called light bulbs. The one on top produces light and is called a light bulb. The one on the bottom does not and is called a dark bulb. How a light bulb morphs into a dark bulb is beyond my simple mind. With a new light bulb in place under the range hood vent, Pam/Jerry will be able to see well enough to cook. They also have a spare just in case the light bulb morphs again. IMG 0246

Fix #3 Satellite Dish

Jerry purchased a Winegard Carryout portable dish so they could stay connected while traveling with their RV. My task was to figure out where to connect the dish on the outside, and where to connect their Direct TV receiver inside. In our RV, these connectors are labeled. On his RV, nothing is labeled. I will be adding labels so they will know where things go. While up in the old TV cabinet, I also tied back loose wires. That's it for today.

Tomorrow's blog post could end up a bit messy. Let's hope not. Ya'll come back!