Our Travel trailer remodel…Part 1

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I just wanted to share with you a wonderful adventure we have almost completed. We have repaired and remodeled our travel trailer.  Here is the deal.  As many of you know we love to go camping/RVing as a family.  And as God has blessed Merriann and I with more children, space was becoming more and more a concern for us. A growing family and the fact that the fiber glass siding on our travel trailer was failing. Yep, a big long crack which was going the length of the trailer.

Our Camping Command Post....

So that motivated us to start looking around at a few new-to-us or as some like to call them “Used” travel trailers and toy haulers, we even looked that some brand new travel trailers and toy haulers (yes, I know that we don’t have any “toys”….yet!) We looked and looked and to make a longer story short we couldn’t find a used one we liked or a new one that we could afford.

So begins our adventure into remodeling our trailer. But first the plan!!  Like I said earlier we looked a tons, and tons of travel trailers, 5th wheels and RV.  So in that process Merriann and I fell in love with the Airstream’s floor plan and since we were fresh out of $80,000 we decieded to recreate it.  Which began like this:

Then transformed into this:

Then to the scaled drawings.

Tips I wish I would have known at the beginning:  For those of you crazy enough to try this a home:

When planning a remodel of your rv.  Take in account the hard to move items like the kitchen, bathroom, hot water heater, holding tank, doors, windows. etc. and plan around them.  It is just easier to work around these item verses the cost of moving them.

Another major tip is pre-plan all storage, keeping in mind what goes where.  It is easier and just plan smarter to plan it now at the beginning.  Not that we did this but I could have used a few places a little more efficiently.

One last tip in planning this is you should look at boats (yachts, and 30 ft or larger boats) for storage and floor plan ideas.  They fall in the same “boat” do to the size of living size and are build to a higher standard.

Needless to say that this becoming the Thames episode of “Pimp you ride”.

Next up is the gutting our RV and fixing the crack and leak.

Lamb Update

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It just dawned on my we havn’t shared the names of our lambs yet.  Mutton and Grilled were the names Greg and Zoe came up with.  Mutton is the one we are bottle feeding.  They are two weeks old.  Boy, it seems a lot longer than just 2 weeks!  Here are some pictures of Mutton at 9 days old.

 (Notice Oliver’s cratled egg? Nice hold!)

Mutton’s sister is a bit bigger than he is.  I’ll have to get pictures of her soon.  He is still separated from the rest.  We are waiting for him to get a little bigger before putting him back in.  I am hoping Shannon will be nice when he joins them again.  I think as long as he doesn’t try to nurse from her he will be OK.  He has been doing well eating his grain and trying his hand at grass.

Eggs How I Love Thee

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We are in the mists of many, many eggs.  Our chickens are laying at full speed and we seem to have one that loves to give us double yokers.  And lest you think I am complaining about the 13 dozen eggs we currently have I am not.  We love these nutrition packed, golden yoked eggs.  But, yes, now that you mention it, we do sell them!   It’s Zoe’s little business.

 She has been doing an awesome job taking care of the chickens  and collecting/cleaning the eggs.  As with many of us, she doesn’t like to work alone. That’s what siblings are for!  She will take Zeke out with her and tend to the chickens.  It is so sweet to watch her teach him how to do the different tasks.  And to be fair she told him she would pay him for helping.

Ezekiel is a natural at catching the chickens.  It’s quite funny actually.  He is very relaxed and easy when he goes to get one that I never see him chasing a chicken to catch it.  If I need one I know just who to send out on the job.

The biggest problem?  How many ways can one prepare eggs?  We eat our share (and some of yours) of scrambled eggs, boiled eggs, fried eggs, egg salad, egg, egg, egg, egg, egg.  (sorry, a little Dr. Seuss moment)  I was bummed to find out a quiche only uses 4 eggs.

Quick Tip:  Did you know if you put some baking soda into the water when boiling eggs it makes them easier to peal?  I just learned this nifty little trick(thanks Cindy!)  So, what are your favorite egg dishes?

New Milestones

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Abigail has been growing and changing like crazy.  Her newest trick now is walking.  She doesn’t crawl much any more except if she needs to go really fast.  And just yesterday her first tooth popped through.  And on the top too.  It only took her almost 11 months!

Every time I tried to get a picture she would fall over laughing.  She has gotten a bit picky about her food.  Well, not the food itself but rather the method in which she has to eat it.  She doesn’t like the baby food consistency.  None of my kids have.  And she wants to do it herself as most of my kids have.  It makes it a bit challenging to get a variety in her diet.  Applesauce is the one thing she will almost always eat.  Oliver on the other hand likes to eat whatever she doesn’t.  Seems he likes his food pureed now.

Afro Brothers

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Sometime back in November the kids and I were visiting a friend.  The boys were sporting their freshly shaven heads.  Knowing Greg was in charge of their hair she said,  “What?  He’s not even going to let it grow for winter!”. Later, I relayed the story to Greg to which he responded “Fine, I won’t cut their hair till summer!”  And he hasn’t.

So the boys are working on their fros.  They get their hair done right along with Zoe.  It has gotten to the length now where it is getting hard to put some of their shirts on.  Zeke’s hair especially acts a little like Velcro.

Oliver’s is a bit crazy first thing in the morning.

Apparently Not

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 just for fun

Shannon will not be winning the “Mother of the Year” award.  In my eyes she has gone from an awesome ewe with a sassy but sweet personality to “Whats for dinner?”  Yep, my love towards her was very conditional.  She has rejected one of her babies.  The last few days have been less than fun.  She ended up having a boy and a girl.  After the first 24 hours or so she started shoving the boy away whenever he tried to nurse.  We are having to force her to stand still to allow him to nurse.  At first she was reasonable with this and as long as I had her head she was still.  From there it went downhill and she was fighting me more and more each time.  Wresting with a stinky sheep at 1 in the morning is already old.  Then came the ramming him into the side of the house when he tried to get close.

So, we have moved him into his own little pen with a heat lamp and started giving him a bottle.  We may continue to force her to nurse him but only during the day with help other than that it will be a bottle for him.  Plus side to formula is I know how much he is eating and, interestingly enough, it smells like vanilla cake batter.  Not bad.

Our little orphan

Whether or not this will be normal for Shannon on future lambs is unknown.  If we bread her next year she may do great and be a completely different mother.  Or she might always reject one in which case we would stop breading.  We were told that if she rejects a baby next year she will probably always reject one and chances are her offspring would  as well.  On another note Greg started calling him Murdock today.  Isn’t that the cutest name for him?  But then I had to remind him of our naming rule.  Sorry, no Murdock.

Babies!

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No, not me.  Our Sheep, Shannon, had her babies today!  Soooo exciting!  We just recently confirmed she was pregnant.  Here she is a week before delivery.

It was hard to tell if she was pregnant or just getting fat from the extra food she was getting.  Then one evening I was able to poke around on her stomach a bit and saw the baby (or rather what turned out to be babies) kick.  It was so fun to see and confirm lambs would be arriving.  I read up on lambing again and talked with a friend that’s been there done that.  This morning when I went out to feed Shannon seemed REALLY pregnant.  More so than just the evening before.  No wonder!  This evening Zoe went out to close in the chickens and came running back to the house yelling “Babies!  Shannon had her babies!”

And there they were.  All dry and clean hanging out in the house nursing.  Everything you could ask for.  Even more surprising was that there were two.  Being her first pregnancy we were only expecting one.  She had done everything a good mama should.  And now here’s the best part.  Pictures!

It took every ounce of self control for Zoe and I not to run in and hold them but, I wanted to be sure they bonded well with their mama before we start that.  And the proud Papa.  Well, I don’t know how proud.  He just got kicked out of his pen for lamb safety.