Why the title?

"Pioneers take the arrows"

Oh, wait. I should be upbeat and taking arrows doesn't sound like an upbeat thing to say.

So, let me amend that statement.

It was courage and vision that led the pioneers to leave behind a comfortable, settled life and trek West to begin a new life in a new place. Many of those from the East that went West found a strength within themselves that they didn't see while they were in their old life. Instead of being one of those that just kind of went along with the others in the old life, they became leaders and visionaries in their new lives.

The sentiments of that last paragraph come from a favorite author, Louis L'Amour, in many of his books. So, I can't really say that it is an original thought from me. However, what he said is truthful.

Welcome to being a pioneer. Look ahead and ignore the "barking dogs" that give you negative opinions and comments. Louis L'Amour also spoke of the barking dogs.

In some of his stories, it was usually a father or older man telling a young boy how it was that when the Westward bound Conestoga wagons rolled through towns, the dogs came out to bark at them. His character then told the young listener that the barking didn't stop the wagons from going on to their destinations.

Following the advice of the Louis L'Amour characters, may we all forge ahead with our plans, after carefully considering all consequences and leave the "barkers" behind.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Home Ownership Issue Re-emerges

This has almost been the month from H*ll. The greatest and best part was the closing on our home in the Tuttle/Mustang area of Oklahoma and moving into our Mobile Suites in a mobile home park.

The issues of getting the last of things sold, given away (mostly that one), and moving out was stressful enough. I also had the “gun-shy” issue to deal with and it was a welcome blessing to finally see a good outcome to a three year odyssey.

Getting used to a new life in a 400 square foot or less home has been a learning process. With only one bathroom, Jo and I pretty much have a choreography working. She first gets up and feeds the dogs. When that goes on, I’m getting up and making the trip to the bathroom to “sit for a bit.” Then I get up and sit in the living room while she does her things in the bathroom, including taking a shower and prepping for make-up and stuff. (You married guys know that we don’t mess with the creation of beauty.)

Once she steps out, she lets me know and I go in and shave and other issues that an aging man finds the need to do. While I am doing that, she finishes her preparations and gets dressed. Once I reach the point that I’m ready to get dressed, I let her know and she puts my eggs on the stove.

Now, anyone who knows how we all tend to get certain patterns in our daily routines in order to make the morning go right, any deviation leads to near disaster. Since we come home to eat lunch and let the dogs out, I no longer take a lunch to work and thus have no need for a bag for carrying everything. I’m still trying to adjust to only having a mug of coffee in my hand when we head out to the vehicle.

But today, we went back to a “chore” that I first thought I was rid of for good. Since our landlady offered to take off $20 a month for us to mow our own lawn, we broke down and bought another lawn mower and electric string trimmer. After all, since we will only be mowing roughly 6 months of the year, but getting to save $240 for the year with my own mowing, one year will about pay for the mower and trimmer.

We have already begun the process of making our lot nicer looking. There were tree “shoots” growing up into the chain link fence along with some vine-like plants. Given time, those would have broken down the fence. The back fence even has a tree roughly 3 ½ inches across that will lift up a major pipe bracing area of the fence. So, in addition to removing the above mentioned plants, I’ll have that larger tree to deal with as well.

I don’t normally like destroying plants, but that one will have to go. In addition, we’ve been raking dead leaves out of the fence corners and along other areas. Jo also wants to plant some shade resistant grass in the yard. So, a mower and trimmer are needed anyway.

Since we will be here for some time, we’ll also put down some granules to get rid of the ticks and chiggers in the yard. Those (at least the ticks) have become something of an issue. They like me more than Jo.

We also still have a few things that won’t fit into the basement of the Mobile Suites, like the bicycles and generator, and now the mower and trimmer. So, guess what….we’re now needing a small storage shed. We’ve found one that we like for about $500. It is one of those plastic ones, so it will certainly need to be secured with some kind of anchors and cables. It is about 6’X8’, so it is just big enough for the few things we need to put into it. I will now have to work diligently as avoiding purchasing any other items to put into it.

The storage shed is at Home Depot. While there are others around at Lowes and Sears, the one we saw seems to be built better and is less expensive. A couple of hundred dollars less expensive than the others we saw. It is just about the right size to put on the long concrete slab right next to the Mobile Suites, but still leave me some room to get around it.

Suncast Sierra 6 x 8 Storage Shed

The mower is one that I took a liking to almost immediately. It is a Husqvarna with a Kohler engine. The drive method is purely human powered and is a mulching mower. Many years ago, we had an experience with the Kohler engines on a farm implement that had to operate in very dusty conditions. With that engine, we extended the air intake up above the worst of the dust and that engine gave us a lot of service with very little service needed to it.

Husqvarna 21 inch Kohler Engine

I’ve since had two Craftsman tractor mowers with Kohler engines with no issues with either of them. So, when I saw the Kohler on the Husky and the low price tag of $200, we snapped one up pretty quick. I really didn’t ever expect to see a Kohler on a push mower and was leaning towards another brand that had the Briggs engine on it. But, that mower was $50 higher than the Husky with the Kohler. In one sense, I would have liked another mower with the Honda engine, but those mowers are even higher in price.

So, in spite of my desire to end home ownership, I have again begun to accumulate the “trappings” of that lifestyle. I really can’t wait until retirement so I can travel and really leave that behind.

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