Aside from wedding planning and work we’ve been trying to take it easy this week. Lee spent a couple of days mowing on the farm and had a blast. He gets very zen when he mows and I got to spend a day teaching Jim and Linda how to make my Great-Grandma Alice’s homemade noodles. These are the types of activities we rarely get to do in the RV and both of us enjoyed ourselves immensely. My Great-Grandmother was a huge part of my life and since I was little little she would let me “help” her make noodles. So not only are these the best noodles I have ever eaten but they hold deep sentimental value for me. Unfortunately they take all day to make and a ton of work space. I could probably do it in our table in the rig but it was much better making them in Jim and Linda’s large farm kitchen. Jim is a real foodie (I caught him watching Julia Child on PBS the other day) and with the ingredients he has to work with, who can blame him? Since one batch of the noodle recipe requires a dozen eggs and eggs are definitely something not in short supply out here, I asked if I could use their kitchen and they kindly agreed. Linda and I had a lot of fun and the noodles turned out pretty good, not as good as grandma’s of course, but not bad. So we made three batches and they kept some and I have others to freeze plus now they have a recipe they can try if they have a lot of eggs to use up. So I have included the recipe below, just in case you are so inclined but be prepared for your table to be taken up for most of a day.
I also made dinner for them one night (pasta shells stuffed with meatballs, using Mom’s spaghetti sauce recipe) and we had a salad fresh from the garden. Ahhh, salads. We have had a fresh salad almost every day and every one has been different. We largely have been making our own dressing and trying different ingredients and every one has been delicious. To this point in my life I have largely stuck with iceberg lettuce but the quality of lettuce coming out of their garden has won me over. Plus they made kale salad one night and I liked it much better than I thought I would. Kale is one of those “superfoods” that is really good for you, and I was glad to try the recipe of someone who is a true kale lover. So, it’s been a great eating week with my only concern being that I don’t overeat to the point where the dress I’m wearing to the wedding doesn’t fit! Actually, the calorie count on these meals is pretty low and the ingredients are so fresh they don’t need heavy sauces to give them flavor. So, yummy and good for you..I am sold on this farm living!!
I do like to give a complete view though, and farm living in an RV does come with some challenges. Water was my first concern. Not all well water is equal and some is not drinkable at all unless it is filtered, but we are very lucky here that the water quality is excellent. Pressure is another matter though as we are sharing a pumped well-water source with both the main house and all the animals. Generally pressure is fine, but whenever they are watering the animals it goes down to a trickle. We are working around this by filling our tank in the evenings and then using the our freshwater tank and water pump during animal feeding times. It took a few days to figure out the routine, but now we’ve got it down.
Electric has also been interesting. They have a 30 amp outlet on the side of their garage, but it is a different, residential connector than the 30 amp adaptor we have for the rig. So, we’ve been using the standard 15 amp outlet with an adaptor to our 50 amp rig. We have a voltage regulator which protects us from sudden drops and increases in power levels, but we need to be careful on how many amps we are pulling at one time. Lee has gotten really creative about this, changing the fridge to propane prior to running the microwave, or turning the water heater off throughout the day and only using it in the morning. Again, once we figured it out it has been fine but when it started to get really hot we all felt we needed to try something different. We need at least 30 amps to run one air conditioner, and since our space in the field is full sun the internal temperature of the rig can get 15 degrees higher (or more) than outside. Lee discussed it with Jim and he picked up a 50 amp stove/dryer outlet box at the local hardware store. He removed the existing 30 amp outlet and installed the 50 amp outlet. The breaker is still 30 amp, so there’s no danger, but it does allow us to pull the full 30 amps we need to run at least one AC, which is actually adequate to cool the rig and pull down the humidity level. Running two AC units, at least in moderate heat, just allows them both to cool without working as hard. Then we tested the power and we were able to run one air conditioner at a time, which should be a life saver this weekend as the heat index is going to be extremely high with 70 percent humidity. So keep in mind although the farm may have 30 amps, the outlet may not be RV compatible. Farm outlets are different from RV ones. Technically, the outlet Lee installed is not supposed to be used outside, but it’s not exposed to the elements, because the garage has a roof extending 10′ from the side of the building, creating plenty of cover so if it rains there’s no danger of the outlet box getting wet. It’s also going to be in place for less than 5 days.
Another possible issue was heavy rain. I was very concerned about being on grass because we have seen friends get stuck in fields before. We talked to Jim about this ahead of time though and our spot is grass on gravel, in a high point on the yard, and has very good drainage. This was proved out when we had 6″ of rain in a 24 hour period and we had no standing pools of water. Lee was proactive as well and put the wheels on rubber mats and the stabilizers in rubber squares as well which worked great. (Before we left to go on the road, Lee bought two heavy rubber horse stall mats and cut them into squares for all 4 jacks and longer strips for the tires on the truck and RV in case of this kind of scenario. I love how he thinks ahead and it was great to see it work.
(Another thing worth pointing out is that since we’re still not hardcore “boondockers” yet, we don’t go over the top with water conservation yet. We take normal showers, and we cook and eat on regular pots and dishes, so we use water to wash dishes. We also do laundry in the rig. [As a further aside, as part of the electrical solution, I hung a laundry line between the rig and the garage to dry clothes. I love the smell of clothes dried on a line, there’s nothing like it.] So, we fill our grey tank pretty quickly. We have a portable tank in the bed of our truck and a macerator pump, and when we stay places that don’t have sewer connections, I pump the grey water into the tank so I can drive it to a dump station. That has worked very well in the past, but being here for two weeks and no nearby dump station, we are doing something a little different. We’re on the edge of a grazing pasture, and since it’s just grey water, we are using the macerator pump and 100′ of hose to just pump the grey water out into the field. I’ve stuck a post in the ground and attached the hose to the end of it, and I’m essentially just watering the field. There’s been no smell whatsoever, and I’m putting water back into the ground. After a week and a half, the grass and wildflowers in that area are already noticeably taller than those around them.- Lee)
Bugs is the other big surprise to me. When we visited before it was September and the bug population was manageable but its high growing season here and not surprising the bugs are in a flurry. We are using our tiki torches and pots quite a bit to some effect, but get herded inside at dusk when they really seem to go nuts. When (not if) they get inside, our tennis racket style bug zapper does work great. The main house has lots of bats which work wonders to keep the porch and immediate area largely free of bugs. I am thinking we should have a bat house over by the garage area where we are staying for future visits 🙂
These issues don’t really bother us at all. Jim has been more than helpful in trying to get us setup as comfortably as possible. Lee views it as a bit of a challenge and by looking at it like a puzzle to be solved, avoided any feelings of frustration. I’m so grateful to have a place to stay for free, I am more than happy to get creative, so overall the entire situation has been great. But I realize not everyone has the knowledge to do electrical rewiring and not every property owner would be OK with it in any case, so it’s very important that you recognize the situation may have unique challenges and then work together to find solutions.
The nicest thing that happened to me this week was Cori sent me a surprise. She reached out to Linda on Facebook and coordinated sending a care package to me at the farm. She included a wedding care package for Lee and I (including a lot of alcohol and some tissues that say “This Ain’t My First Rodeo” which made me laugh as this is the second wedding we have planned. It also included a super sweet card and my favorite, a package to take into the brides ready room the day of the wedding with tons of little things that we could need in an emergency. The kit was put together by Cori and included some great items like the Altoids I use, bug spray (it’s an outdoor wedding) and a first aid kit. It was such a thoughtful gesture that I immediately burst into tears. Later when Lee took a break from mowing and saw the present I told him how surprised I was I started crying, his response was “I’m not surprised. You’re an emotional wreck.” Men!!! I think I am holding up pretty well considering. Anyways, it truly was one of the kindest things anyone has ever done for me and I love Cori for it.
Grandma Alice’s Homemade Noodles
The recipe below is per batch. Since the drying process takes so long and the noodles freeze so well I recommend making multiple batches simultaneously, assuming you have the table space. The noodles can be used for chicken and noodles, soup, or any other recipe that calls for egg noodles.
- 12 eggs
- 3 cups flour
- 4 TBL water
- Add 2 complete eggs and 10 egg yolks to large mixing bowl and mix
- Add 3 cups of flour and mix until you have a yellow colored ball of dough (do not over mix as this will result in tough noodles)
- Refrigerate dough for 30 minutes
- Cover table with thin layer of flour
- Place ball of dough on table and smash somewhat flat with hands, flip and flour the top lightly
- Using a rolling pin roll out the dough to about 1/4″ thickness (this is an inexact science the main point is uniform thickness throughout and the piece of dough does NOT need to be perfectly round)
- Lightly flour the top and let dry for 2 hours
- Flip and lightly flour the other side (too little flour and it sticks, too much flour and you lose the egg flavor, again, inexact science)
- Let dry for 2 hours
- Start with the edge of the dough and roll into a multi-layered tube (think strudel)
- Place tube on a cutting board and with a VERY sharp knife cut to desired width. (I like about 1/4″ but they can be skinnier or thicker)
- Take slices and gently unroll pinching off noodles into desired lengths; shake gently and let dry on table
- Freeze in ziplock bags with as much air removed as possible.
Easy Stuffed Shells
- 16 uncooked pasta shells
- 16 oz spaghetti sauce (bottled or Connie’s sauce with no meat)
- 16 frozen full cooked Italian meatballs (thawed)
- 1 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
- Thaw meatballs
- Cook pasta shells as directed by the box, drain, and rinse with cool water
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees
- Place 1/2 cup pasta sauce in bottom of baking dish
- Place one thawed meatball in each shell and lay on top of sauce
- Pour remaining sauce over shells
- Top with cheese
- Bake covered for 35 minutes
- Uncover and bake for 3-7 minutes until cheese is melted and bubbly
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