Last night, western Oklahoma received its first frost of the season. At this point, the trees haven't begun to change color. I suppose the early frost will shock them into getting serious about the business of shutting down their green chlorophyll factories for the winter.


I had my furnace repaired. It was in the shop for a month. The young repairman assured me it is "as good as new" and ready for the upcoming winter season. The motorhome is 26 years old; the furnace is original to the unit. It shows signs of a previous repair.

I'm pleased the mechanic's repair estimate did not force me into the decision of whether to replace the old furnace. It was several hundred dollars cheaper to rebuild the old furnace than to buy a new one. The young repairman (I have sons older than him!) seemed itchin' for me to make the decision to replace the unit with something new and shiny, something with modern electronic controls.

I can remember being that kid's age; I would have had the same recommendation. But our thought-process changes as we get older; I certainly hope it's "wisdom" not "senility." In any event, I'm proud of my newly-rebuilt, somewhat rusty, 26-year-old furnace. (I'll be celebrating my 51st birthday the day-after-tomorrow. I'll testify that parts of my own body have been rebuilt a few times, and I'm getting a little rusty myself. Maybe in deciding to give that old furnace a second-life, I'm thinking about my own aging body?)

It was 28 degrees when I awoke this morning, just before sunup. But the old rebuilt furnace had kept the rig toasty, inviting and warm. I remain comfortable in the motorhome, even in sub-zero weather, but only when the wind is calm. In cold windy weather I find it necessary to spread a thick second blanket on the bed, and to have a down-filled throw available in the living room. It's not that the rusty old furnace can't keep the place warm; it's that the cold wind seems to blast right through the single-pane glass windows, making the rig noticeably drafty.

There are things I could do to help insulate against the cold winter wind; I might eventually try some of those solutions. It seems that many of the cold drafts are originating from the cockpit area. Replacing the 26-year-old windshield drapes with heavily-insulated modern drapes should help significantly. I'm not interested in skirting the motorhome; I take it out every few weeks, and the skirting would be a pain to remove then reinstall. I might could prevent some of the cold drafts by taping plastic sheeting to the inside of the windows, or by insulating the three roof-vents.

I've heard first-hand stories of folks who became obsessive toward sealing their RV against all drafts, only to learn they had inadvertently created another problem--in the condensation which formed on the rig's windows and walls. I can brag that I don't have the condensation problem in my motorhome; the drafts seem to eliminate that particular issue!

About a year ago I moved full-time into the old motorhome. At that time, I was worried about whether the rig would be comfortable during the cold winter. The Boogie-dog and I have now lived through an entire year, facing knee-deep snow with negative-6-degree nights, followed by the hottest summer ever recorded in Oklahoma. Through those last four seasons, we have remained reasonably comfortable with no significant complaint. Living full-time in the rig has far exceeded my expectations.

The decision to adopt a full-time RV lifestyle, for me, was essentially a decision to live more simply. To get more in touch with Nature, and with God. To know the Grace found in freeing oneself from the responsibilities of all the "stuff" I had accumulated. To experience life from a completely different perspective.

An occasional cold draft is a small price to pay for what I've gained in the trade.

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Comment by William Briggs on November 10, 2011 at 9:27am

Great poem, John. Thanks for sharing. I copied it over to my facebook page as well.

 

I've threatened my kids about "setting up" in their driveway sometime ... but haven't actually done it yet.

 

I ran out of propane in the middle of the night last night; thankfully, I had left the electric heater running in the hallway, so didn't notice the lack of the furnace until I got up and around today. Of course, the propane meter has never worked, so I have to "guess" how much I have remaining in the tank. I suppose I guessed wrong this week.

Comment by John "T" Nordhoff on November 10, 2011 at 9:09am

Sorry it didnt all make it, try again: Speakin of First Frost

When the Frost is on the Punkin by James Whitcomb Riley (1853-1916)

WHEN the frost is on the punkin and the fodder's in the shock,
And you hear the kyouck and gobble of the struttin' turkey-cock,
And the clackin' of the guineys, and the cluckin' of the hens,
And the rooster's hallylooyer as he tiptoes on the fence;
O, it's then the time a feller is a-feelin' at his best,
With the risin' sun to greet him from a night of peaceful rest,
As he leaves the house, bareheaded, and goes out to feed the stock,
When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder's in the shock.

They's something kindo' harty-like about the atmusfere
When the heat of summer's over and the coolin' fall is here
Of course we miss the flowers, and the blossoms on the trees,
And the mumble of the hummin'-birds and buzzin' of the bees;
But the air's so appetizin'; and the landscape through the haze
Of a crisp and sunny morning of the airly autumn days
Is a pictur' that no painter has the colorin' to mock
When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder's in the shock.

The husky, rusty russel of the tossels of the corn,
And the raspin' of the tangled leaves as golden as the morn;
The stubble in the furries-kindo' lonesome-like, but still
A-preachin' sermuns to us of the barns they growed to fill;
The strawstack in the medder, and the reaper in the shed;
The hosses in theyr stalls below-the clover overhead!
O, it sets my hart a-clickin' like the tickin' of a clock,
When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder's in the shock.

Then your apples all is gethered, and the ones a feller keeps
Is poured around the cellar-floor in red and yaller heaps;
And your cider-makin's over, and your wimmern-folks is through
With theyr mince and apple-butter, and theyr souse and sausage too!...
I don't know how to tell it-but ef such a thing could be
As the angels wantin' boardin', and they'd call around on me
I'd want to 'commodate 'em-all the whole-indurin' flock
When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder's in the shock.

Comment by John "T" Nordhoff on November 10, 2011 at 8:52am

  Fun and meaningful blog there William, have to agree. We spend maybe 4 months in our 26 Ft Class C without ALL THE STUFF we have at home and are happy n free with the "first wife" always braggin how she can clean house in under thirty minutes versus hours if at home. Of course, this wasnt possible when raising three kids, but its sure fun now. In cold weather its always coldest near the big front side sliding windows, but keeping a blankie tucked along the bottom and the heavy shades pulled down helps. We are usually south in Florida or Texas so its only on the way down its cold anyway.

 

  The thing I (and our kids) appreciate the most is how when we visit them and park in their driveways WE DONT WEAR OUT OUR WELCOME NEAR AS FAST. Its like no effort or inconvenience on their part whatsosver, plus the grandkids are simply fascinated and want to practically stay night n day in "Grandpa's Big Truck" and come pitch in mealtime the first wife fixes as much or more out in the RV then the DIL has to prepare in the house. its pretty much a WIN WIN situation for all concerned.  I got a kick when I told my dental hygenist (the young chick that cleans my teeth lol) how we do that but she (no clue about modern RV conveniences) replied how she would still want to use the shower in the house. I told her NO WAY I wanna drag in all my toiletries n stuff inside when its already right there handy in my own private comfy shower.

 

  OKAY BACK TO YOUR TOPIC SPEAKING OF FROST, heres my contribution from one of our Hoosier Poets:


WHEN the frost is on the punkin and the fodder's in the shock,
And you hear the kyouck and gobble of the struttin' turkey-cock,
And the clackin' of the guineys, and the cluckin' of the hens,
And the rooster's hallylooyer as he tiptoes on the fence;
O, it's then the time a feller is a-feelin' at his best,          5
With the risin' sun to greet him from a night of peaceful rest,
As he leaves the house, bareheaded, and goes out to feed the stock,
When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder's in the shock.
 
They's something kindo' harty-like about the atmusfere
When the heat of summer's over and the coolin' fall is here—   10
Of course we miss the flowers, and the blossoms on the trees,
And the mumble of the hummin'-birds and buzzin' of the bees;
But the air's so appetizin'; and the landscape through the haze
Of a crisp and sunny morning of the airly autumn days
Is a pictur' that no painte
Comment by Robert Smith on November 7, 2011 at 11:12am
What a encouraging and inspiring story.  :)  I want to thank you for it. Life takes many turns we all know. It's great to hear through the heart beat of you words about yours and boogie dogs life of calm delight and adventures.
Comment by Doug and Judy Dombrowski on November 5, 2011 at 6:08pm
I have to agree, the freedom of releasing oneself from the "stuff" is as liberating as it gets! I'm glad to hear that your furnace is working good, our's got s**t canned after the fire we had when we first got it last january. South Georgia is not nearly as a cold as OK even in the worst of times,(I may eat my words on that) but it does get awful chilly. We're surviving with 1 space heater and lots of blankets. The little inconveniences don't compare to the advantages of this lifestyle!
Comment by Ed and Maryann Smith on November 5, 2011 at 4:56pm
To know the Grace found in freeing oneself from the responsibilities of all the "stuff" I had accumulated. To experience life from a completely different perspective...
Comment by Pat Daly on November 4, 2011 at 11:10pm
Jeez you sure write well. Nice blog. Hope you keep these inspirational words coming!

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