Day 57 - We Gots Piles! (and Brakes)

Day 57... and counting. Some things on the news look promising as far as vaccines or increased local testing. But other things look sad and disappointing. It's hard to know when to turn off the news, but also wanting to keep informed of what's going on.

We can only take in so much of it, then we turn it off and get outside and do something.

Yesterday, Steve ordered up two loads of dump truck materials to be dumped in our yard. Of all three local places, Carlie's Landscaping had the best price, and was recommended by our neighbor who is a building contractor.

The first load was about 6 yards of nice pulverized black topsoil. It is going to be spread out in areas of the backyard where it's a little low, mainly close to the she shed. We want to grade and slope the dirt away to make sure we never have any water coming in too close during spring melting or heavy rains.  It is good to get this dirt now and planted with grass seed so we don't have mud all summer back there.

We moved the motorhome and our cars out of the way.  Our motorhome parking pad alongside of the garage has multi layers of deep rock that the previous owners had constructed, with the sole purpose of being able to park a heavy motorhome there.  Then the guy could dump it as far back to the backyard is he could while still keeping his tires on sturdy gravel.

Neighbors walking by asked if we were heading out camping somewhere.... No, just waiting for our gravel delivery we told them.  Not often we have the cars out on the street, much less the motorhome too.  Three different neighbors asked if we were going some place. LOL

So by moving them out of the way, there was no problem with the dump truck backing up on the motorhome parking pad to deposit the dirt into the backyard.

I wish all of the grandkids could have been here to watch the dump trucks dump their loads. So instead I made videos so we can show them later.

It was pretty exciting to watch this rich black dirt come rolling out of the dump truck.  Steve is going to cover it with a tarp later today because we are supposed to maybe get a little bit of scattered showers tonight. We don't want it compacted down after it's been so beautifully pulverized and loose and crumbly.

Pete can scoop it up with his little bucket on his tractor and bring it around to the various spots in the yard where Steve wants it spread out. Then we will plant it with grass seed and hopefully keep the birds out of it until the grass has a chance to sprout.

Here is a little plug  for the local excavating company  that brought us our loads.    Thanks guys! 

The second dump truck came, this one a full 17 yards. This next load was the fine gravel to put a new layer over our existing driveway.

Again, I sure wish the grandkids had been here to see it. Especially when he bang bang bang's the truck to shake loose any of the remaining material. Here is the video. Note, he had to be very careful because of the overhead power lines.

We had him dump this  right in front of the garage  by the northern stall door. 

That way we can still get around the garage if we need to and still park in front of the southern stall garage door.  I can see that Steve is just itching to get it spread out and would probably have started with a shovel, except that I said it could wait until Thursday when Pete comes with the tractor.  LOL 

Our new garage was built two years ago by the previous owners, and the chunky gravel in the driveway has settled somewhat.  There is a little ledge when you drive into our driveway by the concrete apron from the street. It's a couple inches deep and the cars or motorhome go over it with a little thunk.

The same with the cement approach into the garage. It's a thunk to get the tires up over the little ledge to park the cars.

By adding more gravel, not only will it solve this problem, but by adding a finer form of gravel it will fill in the gaps of the bigger rocks.

The finer gravel is sometimes called screenings or crusher dust. It packs down nice and solid and becomes a more firm smooth surface. This also helps in the winter time to keep the snow blower from tossing the gravel rocks up onto the lawn.

We used this type of finer screenings or crusher dust on our driveway out on the river when we built that house, as well as the motorhome parking pad we created by the house in Chilton. It works very well and is much more desirable in our opinion.
Once the dump trucks were gone, it was time to park the motorhome back in the yard. Steve wanted to give it a loop around the block or two or three just to test the new brake calipers and brake lines he installed during the week. Later today he will run it over to Oconto Truck Center to have Nick re-torque the lug nuts for us. Nick's wife is also the realtor who sold us our home. 

It was good to get out and about in the motorhome, even if it was just for a couple blocks.  I miss our motorhome and camping and fun and the woods.  Hope we can plan a trip sometime soon?

It sure made for a  Happy Steveio Motorhoming Man!

We parked the motorhome in the driveway on the south side and got the car and the tracker snugged in alongside of it even with the big pile of gravel there.

Tomorrow, Steve's brother Pete is bringing up his tractor to help spread out both the dirt and the gravel for us. 
We will have a socially distanced lunch outside on the picnic table. We will grill out some burgers and brats. I think today I'm going to whip up a pot of calico beans and some potato salad for tomorrow's outdoor lunch.  
Then in the later afternoon, Steve's other brother Mark is supposed to be bringing us a load of 16' long pieces of fibered cement siding for our house. I think then we will have a socially distanced outdoor picnic supper with them after the guys unload the siding. 
Oh, back to the brakes on the motorhome. Over the last week or so Steve has replaced both of the brake calipers and some of the brake lines on our motorhome. Our motorhome has some unusual flexible brake lines where a portion is made of rubber hose. Over the years, the rubber hose can deteriorate from the inside out and the rubber will collapse inside, thus preventing the fluid from moving freely through the lines.  They look fine on the outside, but the inside is no longer functioning. 
We had replaced one brake line previously while in New Mexico. Now Steve was able to replace the other one so both of the back wheels brake mechanisms have new lines leading to them.
Of course, that means now we needed to fill with new brake fluid and bleed the brakes. Steve has a air pressure brake bleeding tool and I also helped from inside by pushing down the brake pedal and holding or releasing on his direction.
Here was my view  from inside the motor home  while I was assisting him:

He was the guy crawling around underneath in and out and around taking care of each of the brakes to make sure the new clear fluid was drawn completely through the entire system.

With such long expanses and runs of brake lines, there's more risk for intrusion of moisture or air. It's very important on long motorhomes like ours to replace the entire brake fluid every year or two, as well as check the reservoir multiple times during the year in case the fluid ever drops down to a dangerous level.
View right down from the driver's side window where I was sitting and waiting for the  "PUMP" or "RELEASE" command.

He was now satisfied it was a job well done. His little test-drive confirmed it later on. I'm so glad that he is able to do this himself, rather than paying someone else to do all of the labor. The calipers were only under $100 each and the brake line was around $30. Then add in the cost of a couple big bottles of brake fluid, I think about $5 each.  
(he did take a nice long soaking shower last night, and said his body was aching from crawling around on the ground. We aren't getting any younger!)


Yesterday, one of our neighbors remarked that they had seen a Baltimore Oriole back in the area. They are beautiful black and orange birds with a very distinctive call.  It is well known that they love to nibble on oranges or Welch's grape jelly.
(this is a photo I swiped off the internet)
I didn't have any oranges, so I did the next best thing. 
When we lived out on the river I used to put jelly out in a glass ashtray on the railing of our deck. I would get lots of orioles this time of the year. But the glass ashtray had to be brought in each night so it didn't attract the bears. 
We don't have a railing in our backyard so I decided to come up with something else to get the grape jelly out there near the bird feeders.
I went and dug around in the basement a little bit among my gardening supplies. I found this three-pronged hanger from a flower pot with the little snap clips on the ends. They happened to snap just perfectly around the lid of a ice cream bucket!

Now I could put a couple dollops of grape jelly on the lid and suspend it from the tree during the day near the bird feeders. I can easily take it off each night to wash it off, ready to be filled again the next day.

I haven't seen any Orioles yet, it might take a day or two for them to find it. But today we did see a big squirrel hanging down precariously from the branch above to lick up the jelly!!! 
I think I'm going to have to find a springier branch that will prevent the squirrels from being confident enough to reach out to the hanger, but still strong enough to support a bird. Lol
Well, it's 10 a.m. and Steve is out there putzing around with something. I think he wants me to go join him and work on a project. It's time to close this blog up and hit publish. Stay tuned to tomorrow's blog when we will see the finished work from our piles! #Carli'sLandscapingOconto #BrakesOnMotorhome #Dirt #OrielBirdFeederForJelly #Driveway
Carli BrakesOnMotorhome Dirt OrielBirdFeederForJelly Driveway