Tow vehicle, yard, rain barrel, fountain

Tuesday, August 28

Even though I’m eager for the exhilarating freedom of rolling down the road again with my sweet, little home-on-wheels tagging behind, I postpone our next camp trip until after Labor Day.

The Perfect Tow Vehicle is at the auto repair shop for an oil change and tune-up.

Of course, being new to this area of southern Arizona, I don’t have a relationship or any history with a shop from which to make a choice. This one is chosen for its location and nothing more.

As I said previously, I’m pleased with the quote for an oil change (a little over $34).

On the other hand, the quote for the tune-up seems high.  I expect something like $350, give or take.  (We’re talking about a 2005 Chevy Express 1500 van, 8 cylinder.)

Perhaps a quote of $430 is a little too much “take?”

Maybe I’m wrong.  

However, since I don’t know the shop, I opt out of the tune-up.

Funny thing.

When word is received that the oil change is done, Nancy drives me over to the shop to pick up the PTV.

From the shop I go to the polling place and then home. Two stops and the PTV idles fine.  I hope it continues to do so.

I wonder if it was bad gas . . . .  I should schedule a tune-up anyway. Try another shop.

Puttering around the house.

Every day the weather allows I get out the lawn mower or the string trimmer or both to work on a section of our yard.  No rain at all today and I take advantage of that.  The heat pulls me up short, however, and I quit after taking care of “the worst of it.”

I do leave bunches of wildflowers.  

Whether weeds or not, I want to keep their cheery color for a while longer.

I turn my attention to the rain barrel.

The faucet is inserted.  The new downspout is installed (awaiting paint).  Window screening is in place over the inlet under the screen with too-large holes that came with the rain barrel . I also put window screening on the overflow outlet at the top of the barrel.

Gotta’ keep the skeeters out!

Painting the platform.

The big, honking, gray blocks are too noticeable. The red paint matches the trim and trellis on the house.  I like the way the darker color causes the blocks to recede visually.

I purposely positioned the blocks to create planting holes at the corner, following the idea from Mike, the roofer.  I’ll pour in gravel and above that some potting soil.

Hmm . . . Morning shade with full sun in the afternoon.  What to plant next spring? Perennial or annual?  

Now all the rain barrel needs is rain.

Overnight visitors!

Nancy and I notice droppings on the porch floor from some animal or bird, obviously attracted to the sound and water of the fountain.

At first I think the droppings are from a bird or birds. Nancy says, “gecko.”  She’s probably right — a lizard of one type or another.

Labor Day Weekend is almost here.

Nancy and I won’t stray far from the house during the upcoming weekend.  What are your plans for the holiday?

Relaxing at home?  Going visiting?  Doing what you love?  You know what Margaret and the boys will be doing . . . .


NOTE:  Nancy brought the fountain from Florida. We love the soothing sound! I looked for it on Amazon without success.  If you are interested in adding gentle, flowing water to your living space, here are a few links to help you with your search. — Sue

Glenville Water Pump Cascading Water Fountain
The Travertine 31″ 2-Tier Fountain with LED lighting
PetSafe Dog and Cat Automatic Drinking Water Fountain


To see products recently purchased by readers or to browse and shop at Amazon, follow any of these links:

Brownie Bar Pan
Hot Logic Mini – 12V Version
Daily Multi-Vitamin for Senior Dogs
NOAA Weather Alert Radio & Alarm Clock
Womens Victorian Comfort Cotton PajamasBrooks Men’s Adrenaline GTS 18 Running Shoes

RVSue and her canine crew is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn fees by linking to and affiliated sites.

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128 Responses to Tow vehicle, yard, rain barrel, fountain

  1. Gail from Buckeye AZ says:


  2. Rachel says:

    I love the water fountain!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Rachel!

      A fountain makes a lovely “white noise” that creates a soothing atmosphere. As I wrote, we love it.

      I hope you and Macha are well and happy. Still living on land outside of Benson?

  3. Ilse (no longer in Sequim) says:

    In the top ten. Rare! Hi Sue and Nancy!

  4. Barb in Florida says:

    Looking good!

  5. Columbus Calvin says:

    I like all the flowers! They make a lot of difference in the feel of a place. The fountain is nice, too, especially in all the heat and sunshine.

    Painting the concrete blocks is a good idea. It helps “unify” the look of the house.

    The header shot is well chosen and nice in this season of heat.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Calvin,

      I hope you are enjoying this day. Yes, flowers add so much. We’re already looking forward to the garden centers filling up with plants for spring.

      I thought the same thing about the header photo. 🙂

  6. Linda, Molly & MIdgy in Carmichael, CA says:


  7. Pat in Rochester says:

    I like the idea of leaving planting space in those blocks. When I first saw the photo I thought “yikes, spider hide-aways!” But I should have known you’d have a plan.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Haha! I like your trust in me, Pat. Yeah, I may have a plan. Whether it’s a good one or not, we shall see. 🙂

      • Those holes in the blocks under the rain barrel may be absolutely perfect for the assortment of lizards and such! Cool, sometimes damp, and lizardly perfect!

  8. The blocks look very nice with the new paint. And a small fountain is always nice near or on a porch. Love the chicken/rooster.
    I hope you have a good weekend.

  9. Susan in Dallas says:

    Wow, those plants look very healthy! Florida is a lot different than Arizona for sure but plants don’t always respond to what they are “supposed” to do. I love all the accessories, especially the terra cotta ones. I think they even look great when they “weather” too! I’m staying home for a quiet Labor Day and preparing for my trip home for my 55th high school reunion the following week.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Home is a good place to be for these long weekends. 55 years since high school. It’s hard to believe we’ve come this far. I hope you have a great time, Susan!

  10. Becky in NJ says:

    Hi Sue. things are looking great around the house- very relaxing and “homey”.
    I hope if you are goqing camping soon, you can find someplace halfway cool to camp!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Becky! I was wondering about the heat, too. I know I’m spoiled from living in the temperature-controlled house. I’ll find someplace in the mountains and turn on my fans. I don’t want to lose touch with simpler living. 🙂

  11. Linda, Molly & MIdgy in Carmichael, CA says:

    It sure looks like Nancy brought lots of homey touches with her. Love the little green table. My daughter gave me a table top fountain one year for Christmas. It made me think I’d left the faucet running so I was very glad when it stopped working. The red blocks look great. Ooh your header picture does look inviting. I need to hit the road now that my Roadtrek is out of the shop with a repaired fridge and a new storage cabinet. Good idea to stay put over the holiday. I’ll be home working on some sewing projects.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      You know, Linda? I might not like a fountain indoors for the reason you give. I’d probably be running to the bathroom too often. 🙂

      Enjoy your sewing and a low-key, at-home holiday. The Roadtrek is ready when you are!

  12. Diann in MT says:

    Hi, Sue. So glad to hear you will be on the road again for a brief time. We are taking the camper up to Newlan Reservoir out of White Sulphur Springs, Montana. We will meet up with my little sister and her husband, but we won’t go until after Labor Day. I expect most of the really good sites at the Fishing Access there have been taken for the weekend. Enjoy the holiday and Thank God for all the Men and Women whose hard work and skills enhance our lives. Happy Labor Day to all the Blogorinos!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Sounds like you have a wise plan for enjoying more of Montana. I’m going to look up images of Newlan Reservoir. Never know when we might go to Montana again. 🙂

      You enjoy your holiday, too, Diann. Nice of you to remind us how our labor and the labor of others is important for our lives.

  13. Sandy in TX says:

    Everything is looking so inviting – I, apparently like Nancy, enjoy my “yard art” and probably do more to decorate my outdoor spaces than indoor spaces! Going to a class on rain barrels in a few weeks and will come away with a rain barrel to install at our place.
    We are leaving on a two week ramble in our Casita on Labor Day, heading to Savannah, GA, and Pawley’s Island, SC, then just going where the road takes us! My mother moved in with us in January so our travel bug has been squashed for several months – looking forward to hitting the road and have been having so much fun getting the Casita road ready.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Great, Sandy! You’ll become my rain barrel advisor, with all the knowledge you’ll gain at the class. 🙂

      I imagine your “two week ramble” will be especially fun after being in one place for several months. I know what you mean about the fun of getting ready. I love the anticipation of hitting the road. I hope you will tell us about Savannah and Pawley’s Island when you return.

  14. Pam and Maya in Oregon says:

    Hi Sue, Everything looks so homey and beautiful! I love the idea of planting flowers in the corners of the rain barrel, sun in the afternoon, maybe some succulents? Happy Labor Day weekend all!

  15. Geri in the FL panhandle! says:

    Chuck and I will be sticking close to home this weekend! Right now, we have rain dancing on our roof! It has been60% chance of rain all week but it never rained! So today I said the heck with it and did laundry! Of course it rained so guess we will be headed to laundromat for a dryer !😂
    I love the idea of a fountain! We have so many birds at our feeders, I think they would like one too! I love all of Nancy’s plants and clay critters!
    Definitely looks like home! I do hope you are happy there Nancy! Just wait until Sue takes you exploring !💗 Arizona is wonderful! Hugs to all y’all! 💗 We love ya.

  16. milliehubbard says:

    The home is looking great…I love the dark window frames (mullions?) against the light/white walls…very stylish. The plants are very nice, they really create an oasis feel. As always the pup pics are great…Marg sure is a cutie…is she ruling the roost yet or is it a three-way “agreement”? Haha

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Thanks for the compliments on our home, millie. We like the window frames, too.

      I thought Roger would rule the roost. As it stands, no one does. Nice. 🙂

  17. ReneeG from Idaho says:

    Good job Nancy! You’ve helped make the house a home with all the lovely decorating and plants. I do like the fountain! Does it run on batteries or is it plugged in? I could use something like that on my back patio and I would have plenty of bird droppings. I’ve setup a bird bath in the shrubs on the side of the house, but they prefer my Maggie and Mica’s water dish which is down low.

    Enjoy your upcoming holiday. There have been many times that we are home over the Labor Day, but even so, it feels like a holiday. This time though we will be boondocking up in the mountains where it will be much cooler and even downright cold, in the 30’s in the mornings. That’s fine with us!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Your mountain camping sounds delightful, Renee!

      The fountain is plugged in to an outlet behind it. One thing about this old house I like — It has plenty of outlets inside the house, on the porch, and on the patio. Birds like the low baths. We have a large crockery saucer set a few inches off the ground near the feeder.

      Happy camping!

      • ReneeG from Idaho says:

        Thank you for the information on the bird baths! I’ll make sure to adjust it for them. We have so many birds in our yard I suspect from all the seed we put out that the air is alive with singing and chirping into the twilight hour.

  18. eliza says:

    I love the fountain – and hope to get one for our yard. We have a couple of small bird baths and it’s so much fun watching them (robins are especially fun to watch when bathing) – but we got rid of our rainbarrels and now have routed water off the roof right into the garden through buried piping. That works for us because we get so much rain that the barrels are too much work! I’m all about cutting back on the work.
    I love the pictures – the hints of your current environment are different from the wide-expanses you have provided of your nomad life — but still tantalizing! thank you for sharing.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      You’re welcome. I’m glad you’re enjoying the photos, eliza, whether those at home or out in the “wide expanses.”

      Clever to bypass the rain barrel and send the water straight to the garden. I’m not convinced the rain barrel will turn out to be convenient. My interest in having a rain barrel for that particular spot was brought about when faced with the option of having one of those ugly, expandable hoses to lead water away from the house (when another gutter is installed). The rain barrel will catch water and send the overflow pouring out under pressure. I’m hoping enough to put the water over the curb.

  19. LeeJ in Northern California says:

    Your yard and patio must be stunning! I love my porch and smoke seems to have dissipated somewhat so I actually was able to sit outside yesterday. I see wicker in one photo, that is what I have, white wicker chairs and tables and a lovely porch swing, accumulated over a few years… porches, must be a bit of my,southern heritage showing up!
    Love your photos today

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      I’m glad you do, LeeJ.

      Nancy has collected a variety of wicker from thrift shops. Some white, some brownish gray, even some she’s painted green. Little did she know all that wicker would be for a porch and patio in Arizona. 🙂

  20. Suzette in TN says:

    I’m loving everything Nancy is doing to the house. It’s just lovely. But, I’m looking forward to your getting back on the road, too. Once you’re sure the PTV is healthy and happy once again, that is.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      I appreciate your patience, Suzette, sticking with us through The Summer of Waiting and also during this time we’re hanging around home. Travel will commence at some point. 🙂

      Have a great weekend! Thanks for the compliment on the house.

  21. Deena in Phoenix says:

    Hi Sue and Nancy, nice setting ya’ll have set up with the plants and the homey touches…like the rooster…I like the idea of the trailing succulents by the rain barrel…had to turn off my fountain this summer, there was a swarm of wasps decided to claim it for their own…finally found someone to come a move hive rather than just kill it…hope to have my zen waterfall back next week…staying home this weekend, need to put finishing touches to a couple crochet projects…Zo says hi to the Reg, Rog and Marg, he just arrived for the afternoon…laughing at the rooster that lives inside the house…such a joy today, Zo and your story and pictures and the blogorinos!

    Take Care

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Deena . . . Those kids are a delight! 🙂 Tell Zo the rooster says “Cockadoodle do, to you!”

      Interesting about you dealing with fountain wasps. How kind of you. Enjoy your weekend and crocheting…

  22. Dawn in NC says:

    Hi Sue. Thanks for the update! I love the idea of planting flowing flowers/vines around the base of your rain barrell. What a pretty picture. I am excited for you to get to go traveling again. However, I consider your moving in with your sister a new adventure as well! As for Labor Day, no big plans. Might grill some Mahi Mahi. I need to look up a good marinade for it. I love to eat, but don’t as much love to cook.

    • rvsueandcrew says:


      • ReneeG from Idaho says:

        Teriyaki sauce is a great marinade for fish. We use it on salmon.

      • Cinandjules says:

        Grilled Mahi Maui with asparagus

        Salt and pepper
        2 limes juiced
        3 tablespoons soy sauce
        1 1/2 tablespoons grated ginger root
        1 tablespoon veg or canola oil
        2 tablespoons of toasted sesame seeds

        Mix the above and marinate Mahi Mahi. Grill 6 minutes on each side (1 inch thick) or until firm and opaque. Throw the asparagus on grill until the tenderness you prefer!

        bon appetite!

        • Cinandjules says:

          For the oven
          macadamia encrusted Mahi mahi (iPad doesn’t like the word)

          1 can 8oz coconut milk
          3/4 cup smashed roasted macadamia nut
          1/2 cup panko -Japanese bread crumbs
          2 TSPB flour
          1/4 cup melted butter
          1/3 cup shredded coconut.
          Salt and pepper to taste
          Preheat 425
          Soak Mahi Mahi in coconut milk for 30 minutes
          Mix all the other ingredients in a bowl.
          Place mahi mahi on top of foil…top with nut mixture.
          Bake 10-14 minutes…

          You can also do this on the grill…in a foil pouch. Jules sometimes omits the coconut soak and smears mayo on the top of the filet. Sounds gross but it makes it moist.

  23. Marilu at home in Northern California says:

    Hi Sue,
    Your porch looks wonderful! I bet Nancy is right about the gecko. It is probably drawn to the fountain to scoop up nighttime insects coming to the sound of water. Go little gecko!😁. I can’t wait to read where you decide to go. New Mexico, Northern Arizona? Gotta get some altitude this time of year. Have a peaceful Labor Day weekend at home. That’s where we plan to stay as well.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Aha! I bet you’re right, Marilu! I hope so because we’re dealing with mosquitoes. Go, go, go, little gecko!!!

      Enjoy your weekend at home…

  24. Claudia says:

    I love all the plants and the fountain. I believe the yellow flowers are hardy hibiscus. Love the bright yellow color .

  25. John says:

    Hi Sue,
    I checked a web site: ( and got an estimate just for changing the spark plugs on your vehicle for $283 to $347 in the Tucson area (since I don’t know where you are in AZ.) I wonder what the shop you were at will do for a “tune up” on your vehicle?

    Cheers John in Duluth, MN

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Cheers to you, too, John.

      Here’s the breakdown on the tune-up work:

      Labor to remove and replace spark plugs: $168.
      Labor to remove and replace spark plug wire set: $56.

      Parts: 8 spark plugs (double platinum) at $10.20 each = $81.60
      Premium spark plug wire kit: $87.98.


      Labor: $224
      Parts: $184.37
      Shop Supplies: $10.08
      Sales Tax on $194.45 @ 6.1% = $11.86

      TOTAL: $430.31.

      • Marvin McKelvy says:

        Sue, any tune up should include air filter and fuel filter if they have not been changed since the last recommended service of those items. A partially clogged fuel filter or water in the system can cause poor running and performance.

  26. Elizabeth says:

    Love the rain barrel with plants around it idea!! How cute and the painting does make the base look better too. Happy planning for your travels! We met up with friends from our earliest days, yesterday…how lovely it is to catch up as we lost contact for several decades!! Thanks to the internet we found them!! Something to be said for old friends!!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      I’m pleased and happy for you, Elizabeth. What a treat for you to find and get together with old friends.

  27. A gal in Maple Valley, Wa says:


    I love ‘weed’ flowers, too! I’ll always pick a bouquet of dandelions. They close and droop but come back after awhile. (I snack on the leaves and put some in salads; kinda peppery) They are so bright and cheery. Even the dreaded chokeweed/morning glory. They make me feel like a shepherd; corralling the vines daily changing their courses.

    Is that bird feeder placed so it can be viewed from inside or outside? Do you have any ‘hummer’ feeders up yet? Up here, I can’t decide if I love feeders or hate them. Even with my engineering, during the rainy seasons, the seeds will either germinate or mold. I’ve had to modify every one of my feeders. I’ve tried every type I could find. There are little or no drainage holes. If I drill the holes too big, the seed falls out. The next size down, the seed slots in and plugs the holes. I’ve taken the bottoms off many and added screen. I can’t afford the $30 hoods to put over each one of them. One would think that a company, based right here that makes them, would have figured out that they must have air flow and drainage. Instead of a feeder, I have a rain gauge.

    And DON’T get me started on how many BIRD feeders I’ve had to repair/rebuild/replace from my squirrel buddies destroying them. They have their OWN feeders, but nooooo, they have to chew them or ‘fly’ onto them, knocking the contents to where they will germinate in flowerpots or lawn or window sills. These are very potent seeds! I have to keep the bags in the back of my truck w/topper because the squirrels eat the containers. (can’t use metal cans yet) The loose seeds grow a fine crop in the truck. I should just as well turn the back of my truck into a greenhouse. They can climb up any pole or rod hanger I have. My small bit of entertainment was greasing the poles with spray cooking oil and watching the critters slide back down. OK… rant over. ?

    My avian friends are letting me know the blackberries are ripe now. Lots of purple ‘splats’. Time to go pick-a-peck. Hmmm blackberry smoothie, perhaps? My fave is swirled in almost melted Vanilla Bean ice cream.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, MV gal,

      I haven’t put up any hummingbird feeders yet. A hummer came around yesterday while we were sitting on the porch. He was interested in the blooming plants. Since he seems to be happy with the pickins around here, I haven’t hurried to put up a feeder. Once I start, I’ll have to keep up with it.

      Sorry you’ve had trouble with feeders getting moldy and squirrels raiding and such. So far we haven’t had any problems. Of course, there’s only been one big rain since I put up that feeder.

      Blackberry swirl. Oh yeah. With fresh blackberries? Even better!

      • A gal in Maple Valley, Wa says:

        Now, if I can just find that recipe for the cobbler/crumble that just uses spiced instant oatmeal. Now let me see ……. in the way back of the cupboard behind that …… OH NO! …. RUN! It’s all falling …. Is that something MOVING? Quick. Shut the door. May we never speak of this again.

        Off to pick more berries to freeze.

        • Denise - Richmond VA says:

          Maybe it is a vole or shrew that your cats brought in! LOL! 🙂

        • A gal in Maple Valley, Wa says:

          Found it!

          The fruit can be substituted with other high-moisture types. A splash of Amaretto or Frangelico kicks it up a notch.

          Easy (Peach) Crisp

          2 cans sliced peaches, drained (15.25oz.)
          2 pkgs (1.6 oz. each) cinnamon and spice instant oatmeal, uncooked
          1/3 c flour
          1/2 c chopped walnuts (or other nuts)
          1/3 c butter, melted

          Preheat oven to 425*. Pour peaches into lightly buttered 2 qt baking dish. Combine inst. oatmeal, flour and nuts in a bowl; stir in butter. Sprinkle over peaches. Bake 15 min. or until golden brown. (Best when eaten with ice cream. IMHO)

  28. Denise - Richmond VA says:

    Hi, Sue!

    So much to love in this post! The picture of the BLT, framed by the greenery and bright blue sky looks like it could be in the lush, green Northwest. It compliments the header photo nicely. The wild flowers (weeds) are pretty. Your rain barrel support with corner built-in planters is a good idea. Plants will soften the hard edges of the concrete blocks. If compatible with AZ heat, one of those petunia plants that starts out small and becomes a huge mound (the name escapes me), with flowers spilling over the sides might look nice. Or some sweet potato many possibilities! 🙂

    All of the plant, statuary, and comfy furniture really make your home look so inviting. Nancy is doing a great job! Your freshly painted front porch railing looks nice! Love, love, love the fountain! The gentle sound of falling water is so relaxing and soothing. Are the sunrises and/or sunsets visible from the front porch? 🙂

    Maybe Mike or your realtor can recommend a good mechanic. I am glad you are waiting until after the holiday weekend to get away for a few days. You won’t have to contend with the holiday crowd and will probably find a nice boondock more readily. It will be interesting to see how Reggie and Roger act on your first trip since purchasing your home. 🙂

    I have a new animal that calls my yard home. Earlier this year during one of our snows, while taking Gracie out, I saw this tiny black bundle of fur(?) scurry across the snow and make a mad dash under the back porch. It was windy that day and I thought maybe it was a bundle of string or twine that had escaped a neighbors trash can. I was really puzzled.

    Early this morning (1:30 AM!), Miss Gracie requested a potty break. On our way back into the house, a tiny ball of fluffy black fur darted out of the grass, and ran in front of Gracie. It made a surprised, high-pitched “Peep!” and scurried under the back porch. Well, it just about took all my strength to get Gracie up the steps and into the house. She was bound and determined to try to go under the porch to investigate. Westies were bred to go to ground to flush out game for hunters. This time, I knew it was an animal. String or twine does not peep!

    Mystery solved. Our little friend is a shrew. She is so tiny, less than 2” long. She would fit inside a tablespoon with room to spare. Shrews eat bugs. They don’t eat plants or damage grass like voles do. I leave the back porch light on at night. She must visit, along with Mr Toad to feast on the bugs that are drawn to the light. I read that the shrew has glands beneath their skin that lets off a foul odor which detracts cats. So for dogs, that means, “Let me try to eat it or roll in it…the stinkier the better!” Another reason for Gracie to peer intently under the back porch at night. She might be looking for Bunnykins, Chippy the chipmunk, Mr Toad or Miss Shrew! 🙂

    Have a good evening, Sue! Sending you, Reggie, and Roger lots of love and hugs from me and Gracie pup! Reggie had Roger pinned down in the last picture, “Gottcha!” Marg, you are a beautiful girl! 🙂

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Wow, Denise! I love your comment! A shrew that can fit in a tablespoon? I had no idea! Fascinating. 🙂

      Gracie, control that terrier impulse, okay?

      Thank you again for all you add to my blog, Denise. I hope you and Gracie pup have a good evening, too.

    • A gal in Maple Valley, Wa says:


      There is some kind of critter in the yard that just fascinates the cats. They can crouch and stare for quite a long time and out of the blue – pounce. Sometimes they catch the thing and bring it to me inside and let it go. It has a chirp or squeak and a funny nose. They aren’t very fast so the cats love to ‘play’ with them. Once I divert the felines, I can easily catch and relocate the little guys. I was thinking they were shrews. Maybe not?

      • Denise - Richmond VA says:

        Hi, Maple Valley gal,

        Might be! The shrew is so fast that I have not had a chance to see it’s features, just a tiny, black furry ball. Both times I have seen her, she was frightened by Gracie, so she was literally running for her life.

        Your cats might be playing with voles. They have a funny nose. I did a Google search on voles and moles and a state horticultural department had pictures of both, and happened to mention the shrew. There are several variations of each animal. An image search for vole and shrew might help to identify the critter.

        • A gal in Maple Valley, Wa says:

          I have to wait for 2 crows and 3 junkos and 1dove to land on my clothesline to get enough internet, but when I do, I will look ‘er up. 🙂

  29. You know, Sue, your tales about settling into an AZ house have reawakened our desire to make a permanent move to the Tucson/Green Valley area. My spouse and I both are starting to miss the area and even though we had committed ourselves to stay in Oregon for the winter, are starting to seriously think about paring down (even more than we already have) our household contents so we can possibly make a quick getaway in spring when selling our house would be more advantageous. I would love to hear from anyone who has made a permanent move to AZ in the past few years.

    We have an interesting summer of camping. We sold our Edge trailer and since then have tried yurt camping, tent camping, and saying at our favorite beachfront condo/hotel with a new king bed. Guess which one won?

    Can’t wait to hear of your travel adventures! I’ve missed reading about the crew on the road.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Robin,

      Didn’t you just sell a condo in Green Valley or was that someone else? I can understand you missing the area. Oregon is a lovely state with lots to enjoy, but the snow and cold can be more than people want to cope with in their mature years. You face a big decision.

      Blogorinos in Arizona: What are your thoughts about moving permanently to the state? Pros and cons? Any regrets?

      • Yes, and we loved our little villa but it was too small for full-time living for 2 people. We don’t need that much more room but another bedroom and a garage would be necessary. We love Oregon but turns out we love the Sonoran desert, too. Thanks for putting out the call for information.

        • Cinandjules 🌵 says:

          Well…there is always northern AZ…cooler, snow depends on how north you decide…trees, forest type area…not like the desert! Up north also has a lot of fires. Difference between desert and forest is about 1 1/2 hours either way.

          As for the water situation..that can happen anywhere..the weather everywhere is a bit whacky. Some folks use/waste water like the supply is endless. One doesn’t REALLY get it until they rely on a spring or well. The water here is hard..really hard and taste like crap..we only drink bottled water…same for the fur kids.

          This will be a personal choice….do whatever’s best for you both! As for over populated….no all evens out..when someone else decides to move out of AZ.

    • AZ Jim (Another MRI this AM) says:

      Please bring water!! It is scary how quickly we can run out of one of life’s most essential commodities. We have room for you but please ………BRING WATER!!!

  30. Carin says:

    The tune up seems high. But I don’t know where you are. I’m currently in Sierra Vista but haven’t checked around for pricing either.

    Your home looks very homey. Did you get your roof all done? Are you going to add shutters (red of course) to your windows?

    Does ivy grow here? Or creeping Charlie? That would look cool in your planter.

    I’m staying off the roads for the holiday – not like there’s a lot of heavy duty traffic in Sierra Vista. Lol

    So enjoy your blog!! You have wonderful ideas and a fantastic sense of humor.

    Happy Labor Day to you, your sister and the little ones!!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Carin,

      I’m glad you enjoy the blog. Thank you for your kind words.

      The roof is done. Just some gutter and trim work to be finished up. No, we aren’t going to add shutters. It’s not a style house that would look good with shutters. I’m glad of that — We don’t need the expense!

      Enjoy your weekend at home. I’ve always felt home is best on a long weekend. We are blessed to have a home where we don’t have ATVs, firecrackers, gunshots, late night parties, drunk drivers, etc. 🙂

  31. Eddie says:

    Modern vehicles don’t require the old fashioned tune up. Spark plugs last 100,000 miles. Most don’t have distributors or long spark plug wires. All that is left is the fuel filter, oil every 5,000 miles. Check fluid levels and change the trans fluid about every 50,ooo or so. Also check differential oil level. Rough idle is probably fuel injectors. Get a can of Sea Foam and add it to the gas.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Well, the transmission fluid was changed recently and I think the fuel filter was also (I’ll have to check my records.) Thanks, Eddie, for your input and for the suggestion to add a can of Sea Foam.

      • Abel Perez says:

        You might want to use high premium gas from a new gas station. Some of the old gas stations have dirty tanks with bad gas. I recently started buying gas at a new gas station and I’m getting better gas mileage, My 2004 Chevy HD 2500 truck is idling and running better. Just a thought to think about.

        • Cinandjules 🌵 says:

          Or if you see the fuel tanker parked on the premesis…they just got a delivery and the sediment has been stirred up!

          We have a QT that I used to get gas from …every time I filled up..I noticed my car would hesitate upon acceleration. Needless to say…I go elsewhere!

  32. Cynthia in San Clemente says:

    So much in the post to comment on…

    I love, love, love the black window frames on your house (3rd photo down) – if I could build my own house it would definitely have black window frames!

    Brilliant idea by Mike to fill those holes with potting soil and plants. I vote for perennials – something that drapes over the edges. It will look lovely.

    My thoughts on the bird feeder and the water fountain … while I love the “idea” of having a bird feeder with seeds in it, when I tried it we ended up with rats. Big. Rats. Apparently the birds tend to eat the outside or inside of the seed (I can’t remember which) and discard the rest, which entices the rats. So I got rid of my bird feeders, except for my hummingbird feeders (I have 9 now). We recently had a pest control guy out to spray for ants and he commented on my three water elements ( a fountain, a small waterfall, and a small pond). He liked them but said rats can hear ultrasonic sounds, including flowing water, from quite a distance. I am not going to get rid of my water features because I love the sound, but I do see rats occasionally on top of my fence at night. Funny story – we had company one night last summer and we were sitting outside enjoying some wine. I saw something move on the top of the pergola above us and I didn’t say anything. Then I saw it again and I could tell it was a rat tail, so I said I was cold and suggested we move inside. OMG, can you imagine if that guy had dropped into our laps???

    Nancy’s plants and garden furniture and outdoor rugs look so cozy – you just want to pull up a chair and rest a bit!

    I’m glad you’re waiting until after Labor Day to take off – I think it will be a little crazy out there! We are staying home – fire danger is still high and we live on the edge of a canyon with a lot of dry brush. I don’t want to not be here if everything needs to be watered down!

  33. Love the greenery on patio and porch. My thought would be to put watermelon seeds in the corner holes….you’ll have tasty watermelons mid summer or green chili peppers. Lately I’ve been saving rocks & pebbles around my yard to make rock art around perimeter of the yard fencing i.e. lizard shapes, desert turtle shapes, etc. I even thought of honey bees and lady bugs & maybe hummers.

    My thoughts on people moving to Arizona? Don’t they know we don’t have much water? Water tables, lakes and rivers dry up. If folks keep moving to Arizona, we won’t have enough water for everyone. Tucson gets the brunt of water shortage…by the time they get water, the quality is poor. Half of Flagstaff residents haul their water into cisterns. The late Senator McCain fought the Native American tribes for their underground water supply. It’s bad enough the Native people have to running water to begin with so now politicians want to get their hands on water on reservations. Big mining corporations also want land where streams flow i.e. Oat Flat and a lady in southern Arizona is fighting to keep rivers free flowing for better ecosystem…it’s the only source of water for wild animals, birds, bees, insects, plants etc. Anyway, if we had plenty of water, I’d encourage a move to Arizona. Unfortunately, we don’t have much water.

    • Rita, Thanks for your detailed reply. When we returned from Green Valley to Oregon, our main concern about moving permanently to AZ was the water situation. We knew the mines required a lot plus were quite chagrined to hear of the Rosemont mine plans SE of Tucson. We were also aghast to hear of a big water park proposed for Tucson although I’m not sure if that was approved. Anyhoo, here’s the irony: When we returned to our Salem home, it was announced that an algae bloom in the lake that supplies our water had high levels of a contaminant and so it was recommended that those with risky medical issues (like my husband), children, and pregnant women drink bottled water as boiling wouldn’t kill the bacteria. The City had to provide water stations for weeks and it just a month or so ago that the water was cleared for use. So basically we had water water everywhere but none to drink! And the question is will this be a yearly event?

      So yes, that is a major concern, mainly, too, because we saw so much growth and building going on and we wondered where the water would come from.


  34. Those holes in the blocks under the rain barrel may be absolutely perfect for the assortment of lizards and such! Cool, sometimes damp, and “lizardly perfect”! Maybe a horned toad or other small creature who wants a few amenities close to the protection of the house!! The house is looking lovely, and I DO hope Nancy is enjoying her new home in her new state and all it has to offer! She may SLEEP all of the time while you and the crew go on your next trip!

    I’m more than eager for you to hit the road again! It’s so fun to travel through you and take the road less traveled unexpectedly when you are at the wheel !! Keep that BLT ready, for soon, you may again hear the call of the wilderness or mountains!! I’ve always heard that once you’ve experienced the freedom of being a wanderer, it’s forever in your bones!!
    ……and all of us out here in the ‘internet world’ will follow you where ever you may roam!! We’re ready when you are! Happy long Labor Day weekend!

  35. Cinandjules 🌵 says:

    Your casa is coming along quite nicely! I can see why you like the porch!

    For heavens sake 400 to change the spark plugs? I do believe spark plugs comes already gapped and all you need is a socket wrench…as for the wires..are they cracked or seem worn? I looked it up as well 300 at the most. Did you ask for the “gray hair” special rate? Don’t laugh…55 is the age at most places. Ummm…best to look somewhere else..I like Denise’s idea of asking Mike for a referral. Word of mouth is a business’ best referral.

  36. John Spoden says:

    Plugs $32, coils $80 plug wires,$30 bottle of injector cleaner $12, buy the best at Auto Parts store, pay $150 For labor.
    For $430, they should be ashamed.

    • John Spoden says:

      Differential fluid, every 75k, transmission…MAKE SURE they use the same fluid as meets factory spec, NEVER mix, torque converter retains fluid always during most trans flush, DO NOT MIX.

      • John Spoden says:

        I re-pack front wheel bearings at 100k, flush radiator and refill every year, replace tensioner and belt and rad hoses at 100k. Fuel filter at least once every 5 years.i drive my rigs until I’m sick of looking thru the windshield. One more thing Sue, lube any greese certs on oil changes.

        • Any time I have work done on truck or repairs on house, it’s usually the labor that is high not the parts. Sometimes the part is less than $2.00 yet the labor will be $150.00. I guess mechanics have to eat, send kids to college, pay mortgage & taxes…it gets us all. When I was little, I remember folks helping one another harvest crops, repair transportation, planting, shearing sheep and any number of things without pay. If a neighbor helped you, you helped them also and things got done, repairs were done. The only thing you paid were for parts. Today it’s different. Neighbors don’t want to talk to each other and consequently don’t help each other or even know each other. I talk to my neighbors, loan them lawn mower, tools, etc. and they in turn help me lift heavy things or help me when I can’t do it myself i.e. reach something I can’t (I’m short).

  37. Don in Alaska says:

    About the quote for a tune up…

    The last tune up I had done on my Suzuki (4 cly) was just a tad over $600. For perspective, an oil change here locally runs about $100. Sometimes, I wish I was living back in AZ. Then I look at the weather reports….

    Might be worth the time to go to the library and check if they have a flat rate manual, should tell you the ‘normal’ time for the work to get a better idea of the ‘real’ labor costs.
    Parts are often just a fraction of the cost – with he new trucks, mostly just the plugs are changed. If the plug wires, distributor cap etc are replaced, the cost is higher.

    Best of luck, glad to see your new home is a blooming success!

  38. Van motors are hard to access, and could drive up tuneup prices due to added labor time. Most mechanic shops charge a “shop rate” of $90-100 per hour for labor.
    And you might just need a new fuel filter replaced to improve idle. IMHO

  39. Doris in Pa says:

    How do you like your new lawn mower?

  40. suzago in PNW says:

    Love the peeks at your new home. Lovely! Just went on a harrowing drive on the Million Dollar Highway in Colorado (my daughter drove so I could be the passenger and fully experience the terrifying views). We stopped at Little Molas Lake campground for a walk around the lake and I thought of you. She lives/works in the area (park ranger) and the two of us share RV dreams when we get together. When we get together, after checking in with all the family news, she asks: so what’s RV Sue up to? and I fill her in on your latest. Very happy to see all the progress on your home, and to imagine you in the future – back to exploring and boondocking, but with the added security of having a sweet home to return to. What a wonderful series of decisions you’ve made.

  41. weather says:

    When you had mentioned the size of the truck Nancy used to move there I thought it seemed large for the amount of furniture one woman would have in her home. Now seeing that she also had so many things to use in the outdoor areas as well, including all those plants, it makes sense. Wow, she really has transformed the whole place into an amazingly well appointed home!

    My son, daughter-in-law, grandson and granddaughter were in Syracuse from Wednesday afternoon until early Tuesday morning. Lord, it was hard to say “see you soon” to the three that went back to San Diego. I probably won’t see them again for 21 months. They’ll come back then for my granddaughter’s graduation from Syracuse University. It’s a two hour round trip from my home to the apartment my granddaughter has for this school year, where they all were staying. Every time we got together we also drove a lot going to other places, so I am really looking forward to just local get togethers with friends during the Labor Day weekend.

    A few of us that live here in the lakeside grove usually have an impromptu barbeque with a few people that are only here for the summer. My three friends with the antique store and I spend most holidays together as “a family”, and will have something simple, too. What’s especially nice about this holiday is the availability of fresh locally grown produce. What we can buy at the stores during the rest of the year is alright, but doesn’t even come close to how wonderful what we have now is.

    You are wise to drive the PTV for a while before taking it on an extended trip. I don’t have any advise about what else you will want to have done to make it more road worthy. You will know what’s necessary and I trust your ability to make the right decisions. It’s not like you’re going to be on another continent with no services available, if something needs to be repaired you will handle it as well as you always have.

    Gosh, those wildflower “weeds” are pretty! The plants the flowers are on might be lovely even without the flowers. I would be tempted to move them into the spaces around the rain barrel until springtime, you know they can handle the heat and other conditions there.

  42. Renee (Datil/North Ranch) says:

    In my own personal dictionary, non-domestic plants that bloom are “wildflowers,” not “weeds.” Love all the outdoor photos; I miss having a yard/deck/patio to decorate. I do set up a pretty inviting yard in AZ while we’re there for the winter, though!

  43. Lisa and Dad, Tommie, Buddy in FL says:

    Hi Sue,
    As a lady who has done the tune-ups on her own car, I can caution you that doing the work your self might cost you more in the end. Spark plugs can be tricky to remove without breaking the ceramic top off of the plug, especially since most shops use air tools to put them in. If the tops break off, the rest of the plug might have to be drilled out of the block, $$$$. I have changed the spark plugs using a pipe over my socket wrench to give me more leverage, even then I was very careful. Also, I was fortunate to have a mechanic who would loosen the old plugs and hand tighten them so that I could do the rest of the job myself. If you ask at the local auto parts store, the employees probably know a reasonable and reputable mechanic to suggest to you.

    I love the idea of planting something in the blocks under your rain barrel. I suggest Portulaca, a beautiful flowering succulent that is tolerant of drought and heat. If I remember it is an annual, but you may get it to self seed each year. Well that’s my twenty-five cents worth of advice.

  44. Jean in Southaven, says:

    Hi Sue. I really love what Nancy is doing in your new house. It really looks inviting. I haven’t commented in awhile, but I have been reading all your posts. I have added baby chicks to my menagerie. I bought 4 day old chicks about a month ago. Needless to say, they are no longer little chicks. I lost one to a hawk. That hawk got that chick through the holes of chicken wire on the side of the coup. It did not get the chick through the wire but it still got it enough to kill it. So we have covered the coup with hardware cloth as a double layer. Your new life is really wonderful. I love the rain barrel and the plants. The flowers in your yard are really pretty. I guess that is why the call the Sonora the green desert.

    The dogs seem to be made for each other. I am so glad they get along. It makes for a peaceful home. I did not comment on your last blog, but if Nancy wants to share her recipes with us sometimes it would be great. Food, plants, dogs and travels all go together.

  45. Barbara (Nashville) says:

    Love the new header photo. It seems to fit right in with the lovely photos of your new home. You and Nancy seem to be moving right along with sprucing up you outdoor relaxation space.

    We are staying put for the holiday weekend. I am in the process of getting quotes on my kitchen update. My sister will be here on the 17th to paint for me and help weed out some of the junk. Hope I can afford to do what I want. If not, I may go back to the painting cabinets.

    Need to run will read comments tomorrow.

  46. Velda says:

    Hospice began Tuesday for hubby so my weekend will be filled with 24 hr day care plus planning funeral. Today ordered his Navy Chief casket from a vet-Jonathan Field in Sausilito CA. Such a out of body experience planning husbands funeral as I sit beside him in his last days.

  47. Ruthie in Fontana says:


    …When God opened the window of heaven,
    He asked me! What is your wish today?
    I said, please take care of the person reading this.

  48. Cynthia in San Clemente says:

    Has anyone heard from Rusty? I haven’t seen a comment of his for some time, although I could have missed it. I’m getting kind of worried ….

  49. Paul G. says:

    I would be interested what the $400.00 tune up consists of. On a 2005 vehicle about all there is to tune up are the filters (gas, oil & air), spark plugs, air in tires, etc. I believe you have done the transmission and spark plugs.

    I guess unless I’m missing something, the price is wayyyyyy out of line.

    Good luck.


  50. FL-Val says:

    RV Sue, Hi from FL-Val. I don’t see a way to private message you so decided to comment here on your latest blog post. To be honest I haven’t been reading your “.net” posts because I found your “.com” posts first & have been reading those from the beginning. But as you can imagine that is taking a long time to do, especially since I don’t read the blog every day. I found your blog a few years back when I began looking for a smaller RV to downsize to. I don’t remember how I found it but I was fascinated with your adventures & pictures so kept reading. I even enjoy reading the comments of your readers & the comments you make in response. Eventually I’ll get to the “.net” posts… Anyway, the reason I wanted to contact you is to let you know that you will be getting a referral bonus!! 🙂 After much, much, much looking at RVs I finally decided on a Casita to downsize to. I chose the 2019 Liberty Deluxe. I’ll be picking it up from the factory in January. I asked my sales guy there (Jonathan) if there is a referral bonus for someone who got me interested in the Casita & he said yes, $200! So I told him I don’t actually know your full name, only your blog name, RVSue. But he must know your name because he said you would get the referral bonus. I suppose you’ll get the bonus after I pick up the Casita in January. I was wondering if you could email me your name so that I can make sure the sales guy looks up the right “Sue” in their records. Thanks for being such an inspiration to so many! I won’t be full-timing yet. Retirement is still a few years away. But I only work 2 days per week now so I consider myself “semi-retired” & intend to do more camp trips once I have downsized into the Casita. The RV I’m selling is just way too big for one person & so I don’t camp in it much. It’s not fun maneuvering a long, long trailer by yourself… It was fine when my entire family went camping but now that I’m the only one in the family interested in camping it’s not fine.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Congratulations on your decision, FL Val! Thank you for giving me as your referral. Jonathan knows who I am. If I print my name here, it encourages problems. Thanks again!

      • FL-Val says:

        Understood. I just wanted to let you know & to make sure you get the referral bonus. I’ll ask Jonathan on my pick-up day when you will get the bonus & let you know. Happy trails! 🙂

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