So we’ve been a little busy. When we got back to the Bott-Lott we had some improvements on our mind that we wanted to implement this year. One of the big ones was dying our large cement patio. Which quite honestly, neither one of us was looking forward to. Well, looking forward to the results, yes. Looking forward to having to actually do it, all the prep, all the work involved, the days of being out of our site and discombobulated, that was certainly another story. You see, not wanting to have any chance of any acid cleaner, dye or sealer on our coach, we decided to move our coach into the circle in front of our site.

Yes, we lived for 3 nights like this. It wasn’t as bad as I had thought though. David was able to use an electrical extension to reach our pedestal so we could at least have 30 amps (we did not have an extension for the full 50 amps). And with the weather still being on the cooler side (60’s) it was perfect to not have to run air conditioners and just have our windows open. Not to mention with the cooler weather, it made it ideal to do this manually laborious work without sweating too much through it all.

The prep work is really the key to a good result in the end. And since we put the cement patio in over a year and a half ago when we moved onto the site, we never did seal it, knowing that we wanted to dye it. So a lot of acid wash cleaner and etcher was needed to get all the dirt and stains off the patio and properly prep the cement to take on the dye. Once that was done and sufficiently dried, we started the dying process. Waiting the allotted amount of time between each layer to dry before applying the next. We were literally waiting for paint to dry.

Then finally we were ready to seal the patio. Something that we were anxious to do as with every minute that goes by without sealing, it gives that much more time for stains to happen. Birds to poop on the freshly dyed surface, leaves and other nature time to fall onto the cement and stain before sealing. We were ready! Thankfully, Once the dye was dried, the next day we were able to seal it without anything dropping on it overnight.

Once the patio was done and we were all moved back into our site, it was time to move onto the next project.

One of the things that bothered us last year was that when we were having a party, like the Bott-Lott CampJam or just hanging out with friends around the campfire, we wanted to have some additional lighting. You see, we have lighting around our coach and also around our pavilion patio but nothing in between. This made for some dark evenings. It was more difficult to navigate for a party but also made things dark around the campfire if you’re talking with friends and want more light.

Of course these couldn’t be any ordinary lights. We wanted LED’s so that we could tie them into the current lighting system. That way we could control the colors, dim them and rotate colors, as we like, based on what we are doing. All from our phones or controller. However, after researching different LED lights, we could not find any that already came with controllers that would tie into our current system. Of course that did not stop David. He found some through Costco online that had the basics of what we wanted and he found a way to retrofit them into our current system. So after cutting out the controller, adding a 12V power supply and a 30 AMP step-down DC transformer to make it 7.5V, add in the Wi-Fi controller we use, and POOF…Fully controlled lighting.

So now, the lights all work together or separately, depending on what we want and it can do more than just 4 colors that the original controller could offer. It’s been really nice sitting around the campfire with friends, with our lights on and dimmed down, so that we can actually see who we are talking to. It makes for a much more pleasant evening when telling stories and entertaining to have the lighting.

And for those evenings that we just want to sit around a campfire by ourselves and enjoy the darkness and peacefulness of the frogs croaking and crickets chirping, we can turn them off and just relax.

We can’t wait to throw another Bott-Lott CampJam with our new lighting!

And speaking of campfires… One of the things that really bothered me and I think it also bothered David was our campfire woodpile. It was always just piled up off to the side. No real order to it. Anytime we had wood delivered, we would just pile it up even higher. It just never really looked finished.

And as you can see from the above picture, we had A LOT of campfire wood just delivered for this season. This pile is over 5 feet tall. So a nicely organized rack would come in handy right about now.

In this case, I went to Pintrest to get some ideas. We didn’t want to have a huge, elaborate wood organization area. Just something to make it neater looking. And Pintrest had lots of ideas. We picked a few that we liked and set off to build it.

Thanks to our friends, whom were also building a wood organization area and have a pickup truck, they went off to Home Depot and got all the 2×4’s and such that we needed.

You see, we didn’t want to have to get a bunch of tools out and build anything giant. Just something simple but neat. Once we got our base set, all we needed were some cement blocks and 2×4’s. Gravity took care of the rest once the campfire wood was added.

So once this was done we had our woodpile organized with a kindling pile off to the side. However, with one issue we discovered the next day. If you look at the above picture of the finished pile, you will notice we have 4 cement blocks underneath the pile but when we were building it, we only used 3. Well, the next morning we went out there to check out our work and the 2×4’s underneath all that wood were starting to sag. We should have thought this out more thoroughly. We were just going by what we saw on Pintrest without thinking all the way through about the weight.

So we borrowed a floor jack and jacked up the bottom 2×4’s enough for us to slide a 4th cement block underneath. I imagined the entire woodpile falling and having to restack all that wood. David had confidence that it would work and of course, it did. So luckily no wood was harmed in the making of this rack. You see, we have 2 stacks of campfire wood. One in front and another right behind it. Each holds an entire cord of campfire wood. For those of you that don’t know, cause I didn’t, a cord of campfire wood is 8 feet wide by 4 feet tall. So that’s a lot of wood.

So after weeks of working on Bott-Lott improvements, we were able to sit back, put our feet up, grab a glass of wine and enjoy a nice campfire, with wood from our newly organized campfire wood stacks that we could see nicely with our new lighting, while admiring our newly dyed patio. And oh yeah, we also added new black mulch to the wolf statue area. But who really wants to read about mulch?