Saturday, March 12, 2016


Could a macerator be in your future ? By Larry Harmon The first time that we considered a macerator, our Oliver had sat in the RV port with the holding tanks about half full. We had stayed at the lake until late in the day and just didn’t have time to dump the tanks because we had to be at work the next day. Well, naturally, one thing led to another, and the following weekend we had out of state visitors. Yep, you know it, they also wanted to stay in the Oliver during their visit, to check it out. Not being tank volume conscious boondockers, out visitors waved their way down the driveway with us looking at approximately a forty mile round trip to dump those full tanks. You know that is when I thought how easy it would be to run a water hose over to the sewer line clean out cap and pump the tanks out with a macerator pump. That way we wouldn’t even have to hitch up to the Oliver ! Later, I bought a macerator pump and a couple of hoses that would readily stow in the back bumper storage. The hoses were 5/8 of a inch for maximum flow and stored in their own roll up case. Here is a look at a different one that we have now, but, it is the same portable style that will stow easily. One great feature of the macerator was that I could pump up hill as high as ten feet if needed. This set up gave us years of good service, weighed little, took very little space to store and it was simple to clean and sanitize. As we traveled dumping was usually done with the regular stinky slinky hose, but when the occasion demanded we had the macerator and we did use it quite often even out on the road. Our overall macerator experience was so positive that we have had one with us ever since as we travel about America.

Sunday, February 7, 2016


SALT FREE OLLIE ! Wintering up down on the Gulf of Mexico and wondering about the possible effects of salt air on your aluminum framed Oliver ? Not a problem ! Back in the winter months of 2009/2010, Betty and I spent eleven weeks down on the Padre Island National sea shore. Our senior pass, read that as “geezer pass”, got us into the park for free and the associated half off senior discount let us stay right on the beach in the paved but primitive campground for $4. Per. day ! The stay limit was fourteen days, so we left for two days, giving us a chance to do laundry, restock groceries and so forth. Then move right back to the beach. The campground we stayed in was just up the beach and was ran by the County, located right by the Bob Hall fishing pier, and again, was right on the beach. The Jeep that we towed our Oliver, hull #3, was driven on the beach for many miles almost daily and our Ollie was exposed to the salt air environment constantly. Our salt abatement strategy was to drive the Jeep and the Oliver through one of the local salt free car baths upon arrival and when departing the area. These are easy to locate and are operated by coin or credit card. At first when you enter the car wash you can feel the powerful surge of the high volume of the rinse. And that high volume rinse is a good thing, for it removes little pockets of very fine salt laden sand that will be in every niche. Because our winter stay was longer than our plan, we actually rinsed at a car wash three times. I am not convinced that three times was necessary. Most of the salt away car washes are plainly marked and simple to use. We probably did over worry the issue, since we rinsed in clear water then followed up with a separate rinse that included the salt away solution in the rinse.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Propane Quick Connect, are you ready to plug in ?

When building your Oliver, as you work on your build sheet, you may decide to add a propane QUICK CONNECT to facilitate use of various propane appliances such as a BarBeQue grill or Little Red campfire in a can. In the photo above the female fitting on the left is where your appliance will be plugged into. This port is often times mounted to the trailer tongue on the curb side of the trailer. A lever valve is just behind the female port as a emergency shut off. The part on the right, in the photo above, will go on your appliance hose to attach it to the quick connect. So, you are ready to hook that grille up to propane for the first time, here is something to look for during your project. If your appliance has a hose with this connector on it then it is designed to hook up directly to a tank like the those under the cover on your trailer's tongue. This is a high pressure connector and your appliance has a regulator to drop it down down to a useable value. Now if you replace this hose with one that has the male quick connect half on it and leave the appliance's regulator in place, your appliance will not work like it should because there will be one regulator behind another, dropping the pressure well below a useable value. Should you need to use the appliance before you replace it's hose, regulator and add the male fitting, you can hook your high pressure connector direct to your other propane tank that is on the tongue. I think that the easy solution to resolve all of the "what if's", might be to have your appliance with you when you pick up your new Oliver and ask the factory technicians if it is ready to plug in to the quick connect and use.

Monday, December 28, 2015

Part eight cooking with grandma's castiron cookware

COOKING WITH GRANDMA’S CAST IRON COOKWARE A SERIES OF ARTICLES ABOUT REFURBISHING AND USING CASTIRON BY LARRY & BETTY HARMON Part eight- storage, care and maintenance of the outside of cast iron In this final part of the Dutch oven series, the meat of our topic has been revealed right along through the series, a little at a time, out of necessity, in order to fully cover each area. So, let’s pull those little fragments together. INSIDE cast iron care, maintenance and storage. Simply put, oil it, and keep it oiled. Cooking oil of the type that you plan to cook with will work nicely. Some folks will fold up a few layers of paper towel, soaking them slightly in the oil and leave them inside the cast iron so that it is handy to rub it with. If this is your choice care must be exercised not to over saturate the towels as they will attract dust and so forth. OUTSIDE cast iron care is often done in one of two ways, lightly oiled or well smutted as it comes from the cook fire. Either way provides a quality rust resistant coating and it works well. However both ways will rub off onto anything that they touch. A carrying case , box or bag is in order. Heavy fabric shopping bags seem to work well for us. Some cast iron cookware can be quite collectable and fairly valuable, so keeping it in that “ready to use” condition is a natural concern. Learning how to determine the value and collectability of your cast iron is not difficult at all since there are so many on line resources out there on the internet. Here is a link to one such page that talks about the numbers on the cookware and how to read them.

Monday, December 7, 2015

Childhood memories BECAUSE OF A DAY THAT LIVED ON IN INFAMY Dad was in the US Navy at the time of the Pearl Harbor attack. And, he was an E-7 First Class Aviation Metalsmith, teaching the Aviation Metalsmith trade to sailors, before they were deployed to the fleet. We were living in enlisted housing nearby the Naval Air Station Alameda close to Oakland California. I was too young to remember much at that time, but curiosity caused me to inquire of Mom & Dad in later years. It took awhile after the attack at Pearl Harbor, for us to go, but Dad was sent to Pearl Harbor right away and was stationed at Naval Air Station Ford Island. Probably because there were well over three hundred aircraft that were damaged or destroyed during the attack. It was only after it was decided by the war department that it was safe, that we were allowed to travel as dependents, to Honolulu on the Hospital ship USS Benevolence. My first early childhood memories was living in Enlisted Navy Housing and playing in and on the partially buried bomb shelters. Naturally this was a strictly forbidden activity, but ever so much fun. Even though down Inside the shelters was dark, dank and mostly skeery ! Made out of very thick concrete, the bomb shelters were shaped like a Quonset hut with rounded sides that we could scramble up quite readily. The Navy housing was always manicured and neat, but the nearby bomb shelters were always grown over, mostly I guess to hide them. The shelter nearest to our home was covered with wood rose vines that made a good hand hold when scrambling up to the top of the shelter. Once up on top of the large, long shelter, there was a long wood rose tunnel running full length down it. Now, unless you have been there, it would be hard to understand just what a wonderful play house this was. With sunlight filtering through the vines that had flowers that closed up at night, then opened up in daylight and seed pods that were shaped kind of like a wooden rose, it was colorful and nearly always had a gentle cool breeze flowing through it. This majestic hidden playhouse did have it’s downside though. Because it was a place that we weren’t supposed to be, we would at the first sign of adult activity, go quiet and still. All in all though, it was a pretty peaceful place to be. The concrete was cool to the touch and felt quite pleasant to lay down on, during the heat of the day. Lots of times I would go there by myself just to lay quietly on my back watching the wildlife that also thought it was a cool place to hang out. One day I awoke to Mom calling me, she was standing at the bottom of the shelter looking up when I peeked out. Yeah, I hadn’t fooled her by hiding then falling asleep, she knew just right where to find me, it was time to pull the “Santa brought it”, red wagon that I had wanted so badly, down to the Navy Exchange Commissary, one of my least favorite things to do. Now you would think that I would like to pull that wagon to the commissary since I probably pulled it a hundred miles all around the housing area while playing with the other kids ! Years later. While in the Navy myself, I always felt that it was a Honor to man the rail and salute as my current ship that I was stationed on passed Battleship row. It was quite a sight in the early years, even though there was no memorial, just rusting metal sticking up out of the harbor, with tiny droplets of oil coming to the surface, much like the remains of the Arizona was sobbing quietly in grief.

Saturday, November 28, 2015


COOKING WITH GRANDMA’S CAST IRON COOKWARE A SERIES OF ARTICLES ABOUT REFURBISHING AND USING CASTIRON BY LARRY & BETTY HARMON Part seven- “I lost my cast iron’s seasoning trying something new, what now ? It is a quick fix that you can do readily after cleaning your cast iron cookware. It is just a simple matter of preheating the cookware, adding cooking oil and rubbing it down with a paper towel. Here is a look at the finished cookware ready to use. The easiest thing to do before putting up your cast iron up is to deep fry something in it then wipe it down with a clean dry paper towel. Your cookware will look like that in the video and be nearly ready for your next use. During our extended fishing trips Betty has a couple of tricks that make things easier and reduce the cost of multiple fish fry’s. Your cooking oil will have cornmeal and French fry bits in it and look a bit tired. One of the last things that we cook in the oil after the fish, while the oil is still at a good cooking temperature is sweet potato fries , French fries and onion rings, all together. You will be amazed at how the oil clears up ! Then it is time to strain the oil and store it until the next use. To strain the oil, Betty uses a cotton jelly strainer because it can withstand fairly hot oil, yet, strains well.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

COOKING WITH GRANDMA’S CAST IRON COOKWARE PART SIX A EIGHT SERIES OF ARTICLES ABOUT REFURBISHING AND USING CASTIRON BY LARRY & BETTY HARMON Part six- “do I use a tripod, a campfire grille or on the ground ?” Most of the time your fuel source will dictate which method will work best for you. For example if you are cooking with live coals on the ground and your fuel source is foraged but un cut limb wood, the tripod will give you some good options. Because live coals vary in intensity rapidly, a tripod can give you the ability to adjust the proximity of the Dutch oven to the heat source quickly without removing it from the fire. You can raise and lower the oven by moving the “s” hook up or down the support chain. If the fire wood is limb length foraged fire wood, then it can be end fed into the existing bed of coals, then as it is pushed to the center of the circle, it will crowd the coals up into a more focused pile under the oven, at the same time that fuel is added. The tripod will give many options for suspending different types of cookware over the heat source.