Sunday In Arizona

Holy, moly it is warm in Arizona!  Saturday there was an auction nearby–we all three went to the auction but Emmi and I couldn’t take the heat.  The Cowboy brought us home and went back for a while but the stuff he might have purchased wasn’t going to sell until early afternoon.  We had other plans.  Our friends Angie and Ralph are staying in their new Arctic Fox truck camper at the Tombstone cowboy shooting range.  Wednesday they leave on a trip of a lifetime to spend five months in Canada and Alaska.  Angie and Ralph are full time RVers and usually live in their 36 foot Holiday Rambler Presidential 5th wheel but for this journey they wanted something smaller.  When did manufacturers start putting slides in truck campers????  Saturday they invited Jim and Linda–our friends who live full time in Tombstone–and we three to enjoy a late lunch/early dinner with them.  It was a fabulous afternoon with good friends and good food!

 Jim and LindaRalph has his back to the camera and Angie is facing the camera.  Jim is saying, “Linda, she has that camera out again!”

Sunday morning dawned with the Arizona bright sunshine causing the temperature to rise rapidly.  I did some brush painting of the garage fascia boards before heading off to church.  The Cowboy has made building a garage seem easy!  Of course, the cement floor was all ready in place as was one wall but it still seems as if we’ve built a garage in record time!  As I type this blog he is still out there working on installing the garage door.

I wrote about all the used windows we have–taken from a house in which Lonn (the Cowboy’s son) and his late wife LoraLee lived before moving to the new house the ranch owners built for them.  Well–next to that house was a long narrow garage slated to be destroyed–it had FIVE garage doors.  The Cowboy spent a few days removing all those garage doors which have since been stored in our barn.  We hauled one of those doors to Arizona last fall intending to use it at our North Ranch house.  As you all know–that didn’t happen and we are glad to have that door to use in this garage.  The Cowboy’s brain has been working overtime trying to figure out where all the nuts/bolts/springs go–it’s been a few years since he removed all those garage doors!

All the roof sheeting is in place on the garage roof.
The garage door–not working but in place!
Garage door from the inside.

My geraniums are blooming beautifully–getting a head start for the Montana summer.

Sunset in Arizona!

Where Were We

In 2009 on this day we were back in Montana after a winter spent traveling to Mexico.  Our little schnauzer Jazz was so ill that winter but had recovered to some extent as you can see in this photo–one of my favorite of Jazz!  Sadly we lost her to cancer in July, 2009–she was only nine years old.

Our First Accident

Waiting at Safeway for a tetanus injection.

I went to Benson for groceries today leaving the Cowboy home alone.  Just as I was driving through Sunsites my phone rang–the Cowboy’s voice wasn’t right, he asked where I was and said he would talk to me when I was home.  I arrived to find a nauseous husband sitting in a chair–seems he was using the heavy duty, huge air nailer when it double fired.  One nail into the board, the other nail into the Cowboy’s left index finger.  It only penetrated the fatty tissue and did not hit bone.  He gritted his teeth and jerked the nail from his finger.  I may be a nurse but just the thought of doing that made ME nauseous!!

When texting with Geri about a totally different issue she texted, “when was his last tetanus shot??”  Well–I checked with both his physicians in Montana and it’s been a while–a long while.  The Sunsites medical clinic is closed on Friday afternoon.  The Cowboy said, “I got a shingles vaccine at Safeway, do you think they give tetanus injections??”  Well–they do and they filed our insurance!!  Since I couldn’t remember the last time I had a tetanus, I also received an injection–we should be good for a while and we can thank goodness it was only a minor accident!  Dairy Queen ice cream helped the Cowboy’s finger feel better–now what’s my excuse?? 🙂

And, we had a surprise while in the Willcox Safeway–we were walking away from the pharmacy when someone said, “Janna??”  I turned and I know my face must have said, “yes I am Janna but who are you???”  It was Jan and Ken–Jan, in the past wrote a blog–Idaho RV.  They are the people who suggested we outfit Emmi with the Good Life No Bark Collar.  They were staying in Willcox for the night on their way to Silver City to ride ATVs.  It was a short but pleasant conversation–safe travels guys!

OK–now for project progress–yesterday the Cowboy was on the roof early laying OSB getting as many sheets up there as he could before he had to stop and build the last section of roof frame work.

Just before the sun went down Thursday night we were using the backhoe to lift and set the last piece of fascia.  I truly do not know how we could have built this garage without that backhoe!  Today before we left to go get the tetanus injections we used the backhoe to lift and set the last wall of the garage–the wall which will hold the garage door.

Now there are lots of smaller sections to complete but the heavy work is finished.  We just may have a garage before we depart for cooler country.  It’s warm in Arizona–86 degrees today.

On my way to Benson today I stopped to photograph the pecan groves in full leaf–

And last but not least, Kim–one of our readers left this comment, “You should download the “Merlin Bird ID” app for your phone so you can ID the birds when you spot them. It’s a free app.”  Well, I went straight to the iPhone and did just that! What a totally cool app–you can enter details about the bird and the app will present you with possible matches or you can use a photo you’ve taken.  My bird photo from the Wednesday night post is probably a western meadowlark.

And The Project Continues

But it’s not all work–Emmi and I take a walk every morning, the Cowboy prefers to start working early to beat the heat–I think he was out there by 6:30am this morning!  I think this is a ladder back woodpecker–feel free to correct me!

The Cowboy has been going strong–today he created this beam and built the wall to hold one end of it.  Most people would purchase a pre-made beam but not the frugal guy I married.  The dang thing weighs probably 150 pounds and we lifted it into place with the backhoe.  When the Cowboy purchased our lawn tractor at an estate sale, he also purchased several sets of heavy duty metal shelving.  Late Tuesday afternoon he said, “do you think you could put some of those shelves together??”  Well, danged if I didn’t manage to get two sets erected, the first set was a breeze, the second one caused me to cuss!  Must have used all the good bolts on the first one!

While I was playing with nuts and bolts the Cowboy was on the roof installing the OSB sheeting–we now have lots of shade!

When we bought the lawn tractor we repaired three sides of the little shed so the tractor would have a home–for some reason we never got around to repairing that last side–this afternoon when it was shaded we removed the siding, cut it to fit better and screwed it back in place.  Now we are fairly certain the pack rats and mice can’t use it for a home this summer!

This guy sort of looks like our meadowlark????

So, we continue to plow ahead with long days–we lunch, take a little siesta and then we are back at it again.

 

Big Steps Every Day

Every Monday a quilting group gathers in the Sunsites Community Center and today was the second day I’ve gone. Everyone brings some type of sewing project whether it be sewing machines and projects or hand work.  The group creates charity quilts a few times a year and donates these quilts to various groups–shelters, the local fire department and police stations, etc.  Last week and today we worked on those charity quilts using a strip piecing method–it’s fun and it’s also sort of tedious but you can make a quilt in no time!  We are using donated fabric, the strips are sewn together with no thought to matching colors or patterns–just sew.  I find it amazing how colorful the quilts are when finished.

Mine and Gayle’s finished quilt tops.

While I was gone the Cowboy was busy creating on his own–he built and set the other section of the long garage wall.

Coming right along it is!!  He also put up several more rafters.  Soon he can lay roof decking and create some shade in the garage for working because that sun is cooking!!  The other end of the structure will have the garage door.  The opening you see in the above photo will be a door next season–when we leave we will sheet that opening over with plywood and paint it with the Henry’s Roof Coating stuff.

Easter Sunday we attended breakfast at the Sunsites Community Church, came home (you can see the church from our house) then went back for the church service which we both enjoyed very much!  In the afternoon we drove to Sierra Vista via the long way through Bisbee to get more supplies at Home Depot.  Dairy Queen and Culvers were both closed–we thought about stopping at Jim and Linda’s in Tombstone on the way home for ice cream–we know their freezer is always stocked! 😉

Late this afternoon this ultra-light provided our entertainment.  He landed on a road near us then took off again–

Can you still see him?  He appeared to be so close to those rugged mountain rocks–made me queasy watching him!

We Are Moving Right Along

WOW–we’ve been moving!  Friday we started building the garage–last night when we quit at about 6pm, we had a wall–

A wall, sort of–would be a bit breezy!

Today the Cowboy was out there shortly after 6am–drilling holes in concrete with his new hammer drill which works like a charm so he says!  I walked Emmi, then donned my gloves and went to work.  By lunch time we had another section of wall built and up.

Another wall section in place.

Let me say again, we are so glad we had the backhoe brought down from Montana–it is a back saver.  I know the Cowboy and I could not have lifted that section with the outer sheeting in place.

These little guys keep us startled and entertained–they appear so suddenly!

After lunch the Cowboy went to the transfer site then started attaching the 2×8 boards which will serve as the rafters.  He gave me a bucket of Henry’s Flex White Roof Coating and a paint roller–hmmmmm!  We don’t want to have the stucco people come before we are finished with all the buildings.  To protect the wood while we are still working on the houses, we are painting it with this Henry’s white roof coating stuff–and thank goodness, precision wasn’t an issue as everything will be covered with stucco at some point in time.  I managed to not wear too much of the stuff!By 5pm today, the Cowboy had the rafters attached to the wall we built this morning.

Walls and rafters.
He has the prettiest green tail!

It’s hard to believe that one year ago today we had gone to dinner with North Ranch friends leaving our phone at the house.  We came home to multiple text messages from Lonn, Katie and Michael (her husband).  Brooks Michael had been born almost three weeks early and we had a new great grandchild.  Happy Birthday sweet Brooks!

 

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Where Were We:

Nine years ago April 15 was a boring day so I fast forwarded to April 20, 2008 when we took our granddaughter Laci and her friend Brittany to Puerto Penasco, Mexico.  It was a graduation from high school gift–we had a ball!  Those girls were the best–they treated us to dinner at this restaurant and we couldn’t have asked for better behaved teenagers.

 

Progress, Progress

One of the things I remember most about this region of Arizona was how long it takes for things to show hints of green in the spring–it seems later in the season than say Wickenburg.  The cottonwood trees leafed out early but the mesquite trees are just now getting leaves and our poor little scrawny pecan tree is not even totally leafed out as of yet in spite of all the water I’ve been giving it.

I haven’t mastered the Nikon DSLR camera I purchased from Mike McFall–not in the least!  If I leave it on “auto” I am good but if I try to change the settings and use “manual”–forget it!  I tried Tuesday night to take full moon photos with the DSLR and ended up getting a better shot with my Nikon P600 Coolpix.  The P600 has a 60X wide optical zoom lens and as you can see–if I can steady the camera with the zoom all the way out–it takes great photos! Back to reading the manual some more!

Today the Cowboy finished the roof as much as he can before attaching the garage trusses.  It was another warm one at 87 degrees and he only lasted on the roof until about 11am–but he’s finished until the garage roof is attached.  I had an icky job this today–a very icky job–I finished placing insulation in the ceiling and walls of the small we don’t know what to call it room.  Such an itchy, dusty, nasty job but the insulation work is finished in the guest house!

After lunch I helped the Cowboy hang drywall in the living room and that “we don’t know what to call it” room–our little guest house is starting to take shape and look way more live-able!

Emmi and I take about a 2.5 mile walk every morning.  Alongside the trail is a yucca stem–about six feet or more long–she has to grab and growl with that stick every morning to and from.  That’s one big stick for such a small dog!

So, yes, we are making progress–it’s so easy to get discouraged–I have to have a talk with myself on occasion!  As I said in another blog post–we’ve only been here seven weeks today–I would say we’ve accomplished lots!  Off to the local bar, TJ’s, for taco Thursday.

 

What’s Up With The Snakes

I was in the guest house cleaning the kitchen so boxes could be unpacked when the Cowboy came in the back door and said, “did you see this guy out here by the patio?” And I don’t think he was talking about a guy as in man!!  Scroll fast if you don’t want to see the snake or watch the video.  He was about six feet long and in a hurry to be somewhere else–we let him go on his merry way.

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Sonoran Gopher Snake

The Cowboy made so much progress today–good grief–I think he spent about 10 hours up on the roof and it wasn’t a cool day!  The back side of the roof looked like this early in the day:

DSCN4129And by about 5:30pm it looked like this:

DSCN4131That concrete slab was all ready here and will be the site of a small garage/workshop.  We are hoping to have a garage before we leave for the north country–it’s roof will attach to the one you see in the photo and one wall of the garage will be that side of the house.  The entry door you see is leaving and we will drywall over that hole.

I wandered around Pearce this morning (didn’t take me long, it’s not very big) looking for someone who would accept UPS packages for drop off–I wasn’t successful, not one business in Pearce accepts packages for drop off.  There is a UPS drop box but one of my packages was too big–so it’s either chase the UPS man or go to Benson.

After my search I began cleaning the kitchen–ugh!–cobwebs, who knows what on the floors and cabinets but it’s clean now.  All the boxes we hauled from our North Ranch home are in the cargo trailer–I started moving some into the closet and unpacking others in the kitchen.

I had a new to me experience this morning–Laci and Lora called from Germany using Messenger video chat–I loved seeing their faces and hearing their voices–I love technology!

DSCN4107An early morning visitor Sunday.

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Taken last night using my Nikon P600 Coolpix.

The FedEx man brought the Cowboy another new toy this afternoon–a Bosch Rotary Hammer.  He will have to drill holes into that cement slab to anchor the walls.  When we first toured the house the Cowboy said, I would like for that bathtub and toilet to stay in the same place–this is in the main house.  I said, “so sorry sir, get your jack hammer out, it’s not happening!”  The house sits on a concrete slab and the drains are located in that slab.  The bathroom is tiny–tub and toilet are separated by only 4 inches–nope, not happening.  My goal is to have a tiled, walk in shower–so glad he bought that hammer drill!!

DSCN4130Tired Emmi having a nap.

A Day Off

Those gale force winds in the forecast materialized early Saturday morning and the Cowboy decided a day off was in order.  The Chiricahua mountains were calling us.  With Emmi, blankets, picnic, camera and GPS in the jeep, we were off.  This is such wide open, pleasurable driving country–little traffic, few people.  We decided to take the route over the mountains to Portal, Arizona.  We’ve traveled this way once before back in late 2007–we had forgotten just how beautiful it was up there.

Yep, 19 miles of rough, teeth rattling road with breathtaking scenery.

It took us about seven hours to make the round trip.  When we were back in civilization hitting interstate 10 at San Simeon the wind was horrific.  There were state troopers poised to stop traffic on the freeway if the dust from the open fields restricted visibility too much.  We chugged on through making it to the Willcox Dairy Queen for our ice cream treats.

As we traveled up the mountain road we saw several side roads and took one to Barfoot Park where we found several concrete foundations, many concrete picnic tables and nothing to indicate what these structures had previously been.  There was a National Park sign indicating the location of a fire tower foundation high on the mountain but nothing else.  Back home–Mr. Google to the rescue.  The fire tower–Barfoot–in spite of being wrapped in fire retardant material burned in the June, 2011 fires in the Chiricahua Mountains.  Barfoot Park began in 1903 with a forest ranger station.  At one time there was a sawmill at Barfoot which supplied lumber for the US military Fort Bowie and for Tombstone.

And from the Tucson Citizen–the foundations and picnic tables are from the Camp Victorios Cochise County Boy Scout Camp established in 1923.  The camp was abandoned in the early 1990’s due to lack of money and problem bears–one story recounted a child being dragged 60+ feet by a bear.

So much history in this area and so much beauty–

Sunday was a perfect day–not so warm and almost no wind.  Our friends Angie and Ralph came over from Tombstone–they are excitedly planning their first ever trip to Alaska this spring/summer in their new Arctic Fox slide in truck camper.  So, we’ve had two easy days–back to work tomorrow!

And we have a new feature for this Restoration Cowboy Style blog–Where Were We?

Nine years ago–that in itself is hard to believe–I’ve been writing a blog for nine years!!  Yes, nine years ago–April 9, 2008–we were in our 5th wheel parked at Tombstone Territories RV Park in Tombstone, AZ.  We heard beautiful music coming from the RV next to us–Native American flute music. High Spirit Flutes in Patagonia, AZ make Native American style flutes from a variety of woods such as cedar and walnut with different ornamentation and in different keys. The location of High Spirits Flutes gives pause when you are driving up to it–dirt road, mobile home, shipping containers but their staff and flutes are awesome. The young man who helped us was knowledgeable and assisted us in choosing a flute in the key of “A”. It came with an instructional DVD and song book. Now, we will see if Janna can make music with it!  From TinTeePeeLogCabin.

No More Boondocking

DSCN4051We are on a roll now!!  What is boondocking–camping without hookups (electric, water and sewer) for your RV.  Boondocking more often refers to camping out in the middle of nowhere without those hookups.  Dry camping is used to describe camping without hookups in a more developed spot such as a Wal Mart parking lot.  Well–we are out in the middle of nowhere and until Thursday evening we had been partially boondocked. 🙂

The Cowboy had done some “cowboy” wiring from the house to a 30amp box so we had power.  In the beginning before the well was drilled we drove the motorhome to the local campground, dumped our tanks and filled with water about every 10 days.  After the well, we could fill the tank with water and we started watering the only living tree on our place with the gray water.  In case some of you readers are saying–EWWWWW–in Arizona it is legal to use the gray water from your home to water plants/trees.  You are required to have a separate septic system for the gray water.  We are very careful what goes in our gray tank and use only a organic tank treatment.  And judging by this photo, our pecan tree likes the water.DSCN4044

Thursday afternoon the Cowboy kicked into high gear and by happy hour time we were enjoying our full hookups!  DSCN4045I can now shower and leave the water running, I can wash dishes when I want, not just once a day and I’ve finally stopped listening for the RV water pump!  Much easier!

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When dealing with a building project of this scope and size, it is easy to become discouraged.  Both of us were feeling a little overwhelmed this morning and over coffee came to the realization we moved here only six short weeks ago–we’ve accomplished a lot in those six weeks!  We have a new well, we’ve graveled a large portion of the space around the houses, the Cowboy has finished one side of the guest house roof and is probably about one half finished with the second side.  We’ve stripped wallpaper and installed drywall.  And hauled to the transfer site a tremendous amount of “stuff” left by previous owners.  So–progress is being made!

DSCN4046We made a trip to Benson this afternoon for plumbing supplies and groceries.  This area of Arizona is pecan and pistachio growing country plus vineyards seem to be springing up.  Along the highway  to the community of Dragoon there are several pecan groves–I love how neat and orderly the orchards are kept.  DSCN4055And the owner of this small grape growing operation stopped by the house today and introduced himself–he and his wife have lived in this area for 50+ years.

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Extremely high winds are forecast for Saturday–may mean a road trip or perhaps drywall work???

I Will Take Peace and Quiet

Long ago, before the Cowboy, I gave thought to living in the downtown area of a big city–maybe in a high rise condominium complex??  At this stage in my life, I will take peace, quiet and open spaces.  Boston is noisy–car horns honking, tires screeching, sirens wailing, people yelling–that’s not for me.  Don’t get me wrong–visiting big cities is fun–I love the restaurants and shopping but “visiting” is the key word–I wouldn’t want to live there.

The hotel was lovely, the restaurants outstanding and the company was good.  The convention was a convention and hard work–this photo was taken Sunday afternoon when the vendor floor opened to the nurses for the first time–mass chaos!

IMG_1155It was so good to roll into our little spot of peace and quiet last night.  Emmi and I took a long walk this morning and the Cowboy started work.

DSCN4033While I’ve been gone he’s worked on the water and electrical lines to the RV hookups and has worked on the roof.

DSCN4040DSCN4042Once again, thank goodness we have the backhoe!

Last week when we made a supply run to Sierra Vista and had lunch with our friends Jim and Linda, Emmi went along.  I knew dogs were welcome in Home Depot and we let her tag along for the first time–Emmi was right at home as if to say, “hey, where’s the dog toy aisle??”

IMG_1139DSCN4035At times we think our progress is mighty slow until a visitor comes along and we see our progress through their eyes–Brian, our well driller stopped by with his son Ty this afternoon to visit.  Brian is our local contact–if we have questions, he’s our go to guy.

It was such a beautiful, quiet, peaceful day today–life is good!