Schmidt Homestead

Our new home in Woodburn, IL

Monday, May 7, 2007

The trailer is livable! We have electric, septic & water now. The water is spotty – it only works in some of the faucets – but we have at least one sink, toilet and shower that work completely. We’re not sure if the non-working faucets are clogged or if they possibly have bad gaskets, because the water was shut off for a number of months. The kitchen sink doesn’t work, so I had to do dishes in the bath tub. We’ll have to spend some time investigating the water situation, but it wasn’t a priority this weekend.

Phil & Kathy came out to help us this weekend. Steve and Phil worked on building a deck (we have a platform and temporary stairs, so no more ‘climbing’ into the trailer!), and Kathy and I moved all our stuff from the house and pop-up to the trailer. We’re sleeping on mattresses from the popup on the floor and using a dorm refrigerator and a plug-in cooler for our food. We don’t have gas hooked up yet, so we’re using a camping stove on the counter with a 20 lb propane tank on the floor. It’s far from the lap of luxury but many times better than what we had before. At least we don’t have to put on our shoes to go to the bathroom or get running water!

Phil and Kathy spent some time clearing out the old garage. We’ll take down the pop-up soon and move it into the old garage to store it. Phil burned a bunch of the garage stuff yesterday.

We had hoped to plant a garden, but with all the rain last week, it was too wet. Luckily it didn’t rain at all after Friday, even though the forecast predicted some rain all weekend. Steve and Kathy cleaned out the overgrowth around the peonies. Kathy mowed with the tractor, I used the push mower in the harder to reach areas, and I ran the weed eater until I thought my arms would fall off. The dogs learned to walk across the planks over the mud, which made a big difference in how dirty they got.

The two exterior doors on the trailer are in pretty bad shape and need to be replaced – especially the back door. It was literally falling apart when we bought it. It was sagging on the frame, so it was very difficult to open and close. I refused to use it, but when Steve and Phil began working on the deck (and blocking the front door), we didn’t have a choice. With all the in and out this weekend, the back door finally bit the dust. The door must not have been closed properly, and a gust of wind caught it. It was ripped off all the hinges except the top one and flapping in the wind. Did you know that they made doors out of Styrofoam? We didn’t. Phil took a door from the old house and cut it to fit the opening. Surprisingly, the make-shift door works better than the old one! Out there, it’s always an adventure.

Speaking of adventure… Friday I stopped at Dollar General in BH on the way home from work (home being the property where Steve and Phil already were). As I pulled into the parking lot, a lady in a car waved me down and signaled for me to roll down my window. She pointed south of town “There’s a funnel cloud. You probably want to go home.” I looked into the sky, and sure enough, there was a funnel cloud a few miles south of us! I headed for the property to alert the guys. They were in the front yard but hadn’t noticed it. I won’t repeat the expletives that were exclaimed when they saw it. Steve immediately got on his HAM radio and found the local weather reporting station. He told them where he was and what he saw and that he was an official weather spotter. They issued a tornado warning based on HIS report! He was very excited about that. Then he hopped in the truck and headed north of town when he heard a report of a tornado in that direction. Phil looked at the old house and said “I’m not going into that basement.” I said “If there’s a tornado, I’m going into the basement!” There were several tornadoes in the area, and the only one that touched down was the one that Steve reported. The news said that it went into a field and didn’t cause any damage.