A Change Of Scenery

That’s most definitely not a photo of Arizona. The Cowboy and I decided that the place we call “home” was the place we needed to be in all this upheavel. On Friday morning, April 3 we made the decision to head north to Montana. We packed the motorhome, finished last minute projects and were rolling before 7am on Monday morning. We landed in Blanding, Utah for the night at a RV park. I made the reservation, paid by credit card and asked to be assigned a spot so we didn’t have to go into the office. They were very obliging at Blue Mountain RV Park.

We traveled through the Salt River Canyon again–

And we traveled some awful, rough roads through Arizona and into Utah. It’s a wonder the cabinets are still hanging! It’s a might dangerous to travel through the Indian reservations in Arizona–cows and horses grazing alongside the road. It was sad to see the normally busy, vibrant Bluff, Utah almost totally empty. It was a long day, 523 miles.Recognize those mountains Gay??

This guy was our only neighbor in the RV park and he was definitely social distancing!

On Tuesday we were up and on the road early. Moab was incredibly quiet–no traffic, no people. Interstate 70 was deserted, trucks but very few passenger vehicles–eerie! Once we left I-70 at Rifle, Colorado, our cellular service was non-existent and stayed that way until we reached Columbus, Montana on Wednesday. Northern Colorado and all of Wyoming must be customers of some service other than Verizon. We would occasionally receive a text but if I tried to place a phone call the service invariably dropped the call.

Riverton, Wyoming was our stopping spot Tuesday night and we stayed in the Walmart parking lot–a first for us. My dear husband chose the parking spot and at 2am we were awakened by a noisy forklift–very noisy. The forklift went away after about 30 minutes but it took much longer for the three of us to go back to sleep!

On the road again Wednesday early and after driving a total of 1409 miles on this trip we arrived at our Montana home. We interacted with no one, we stopped for gas only, no trips into the convenience stores for treats, no stops for meals, no rest area restrooms. We are a self contained RV and we took advantage of that way of travel. The Cowboy pumped gas wearing gloves, I wiped the credit card with a disinfecting wipe and he removed his gloves before getting back in the RV.

Montana residents returning from out of state are under a mandatory 14 day quarantine order. No going anywhere and no visitors. So, we are tucked away in our log cabin by the creek. We navigated the driveway with no snow issues, there are some drifts around the house and on the hillside but at least we didn’t have to plow snow to get up the driveway! We brought home lots of food, we should be fine for two weeks plus. Both of us know our weather isn’t going to be great until probably the first of June but it is good to be home. We have a nasty storm predicted for this coming weekend but we are safe and warm. Life is good.In Big Timber, Montana–unreal!!

 

Just Muddling Along

I’ve hidden the scale in the closet. I’m not usually a bread maker–I don’t like to knead bread and with my arthritic hands, it’s almost impossible. Several years ago I did get hooked on the Artisan Bread In Five Minutes A Day cookbook. There are several basic bread recipes with basic ingredients–flour, water, salt and yeast. No kneading. Each recipe makes enough dough for four loaves of bread or more depending on the size you chose. The dough once it rises the first time is then placed in the refrigerator. When you are ready for bread just pull off a chunk, let it rise and you have crusty artisan bread or pizza dough or a baguette. My kind of bread making.

Then along came Judy from The Patchwork Times with her homemade hamburger buns and other breads. Yesterday she blogged about King Arthur Flour No Knead Harvest Bread–oh, dear, I’m hooked! A heavy, crusty sort of sweet bread with cranberries, raisins and pecans–what’s NOT to like??? And no kneading!! Today Judy is talking about focaccia breadI love focaccia bread and again, no kneading. You can now understand why that scale needs to be hidden.

We’ve just been staying at home–taking walks, working on the house, reading, and probably watching too much news. I’ve been trying to get a grocery pickup time and am seeing I would have better luck with Fry’s than Walmart.

My great niece Elizabeth is a senior in high school in Arkansas. It’s senior prom time but of course there is no senior prom this spring. Elizabeth dressed up and Facetimed with her boyfriend–that’s a great attitude in these uncertain times. I love this girl!

These photos are from our Monday drive over the Chiricahua Mountains.

It’s been a tough few weeks in my family–we lost a cousin to cancer, our stepfather and now my Mother’s sister. Mom was one of six girls, no boys and now she is the only one living. Makes me to sad to think all the aunts are gone. Dad died in 2002–he was the oldest, the only boy. His three sisters are still living.

Happiness and Sadness

On Tuesday morning our Chuck died leaving his suffering behind. He and Mom married almost ten years ago and he always said, “I’m so glad I landed in this family.” Chuck took such good care of our Mom and had the best sense of humor–he could make you laugh! He suffered a horrible heart attack in 2016 and almost didn’t survive–that episode destroyed his health and he has struggled along for four years. We will miss him so much! Rest in peace dear Chuck.

My sister, brother-in-law and brother cared for Chuck at home until he died–I will be forever grateful to them for the sacrifices they made in order to keep him from a nursing home. Chuck was very grateful too–he landed in the right family!

We have a budding cook in the family. They are self isolating in Germany and Laci keeps repeating, “I am NOT a teacher.”

Monday we took a drive over the Chiricahua Mountains just to get out of the house. We waved to a few other folks taking a drive and saw people camped in the forest service boondocking spots. All the USFS campgrounds were closed. We had been told the wildflowers were spectacular and they were–stunning!

 

And I am becoming so domesticated–Judy from the Patchwork Times was making hamburger buns lately as was the RV Goddess.  I decided to give it a try today and when we ate lunch both of us were wondering why I never made buns before–they were delicious!! I used the King Arthur flour recipe for bunseasy and so, so good!

Our granddaughter Kristen just finished her second year of college and prerequisites  with an eye toward nursing school. The nursing school accepts 26 students, 300 applied and our Kristen is going to nursing school. So proud of her!

Life is good–I enjoy the company of the person I’m spending 24/7 with, we are in a safe place, we have plenty to eat as the scale tells us–Life is good.

Still Isolating

Whew! Montana’s governor put into place a “stay at home” order effective early Saturday morning. Cases of the virus in Arizona are rising by over 100 per day yet no stay home order. We are safe and secure in our little isolated spot in Arizona. Any one other than me tired of cooking??–it’s not so much the cooking as it is deciding what to cook–some nights we resort to popcorn.  😁

Since posting on Wednesday I wrote a long, wordy blog about our Thursday Tucson adventure–you might ask why we drove all the way to Tucson–our local (Benson) Walmart and Safeway are very poorly stocked as is the Safeway in Willcox–I wanted to stop going to the store just to see if they actually had anything! Instead of being so wordy let’s just say there were too many people (400+) waiting in line at one of the Tucson Costco stores. I posted on Facebook about this adventure and said 200+ people–the Cowboy corrected me! We left and were able to hit a Walmart and another Costco store, obtaining most everything on our list–I bought the last bag of unbleached flour in Walmart. We wore our masks and gloves.

Both Walmart and Costco had purchase limits. Costco has instituted several protective measures–they sanitize the carts, limit the number of people in the stores and now have a plastic/plexi-glass screen between the cashier and customer. They ask you to hold your own credit card and they scan it.

All our purchases rode home in the back of the truck–being aired!😁

In Costco I witnessed a man fussing at his child for leaning against the meat case and getting germs on his clothes and hands. The man picks up a package of meat, turns to put it in his cart and scratches his eye! 😣No gloves, no mask. I wanted so badly to bring this to his attention but refrained. 😏

The new trees have water lines, more tile has been laid and I painted a set of closet doors. Too much news both on the TV and on the internet has been consumed.

Any of you who have read this blog for very long know I am extremely picky about my hair. My regular appointment was scheduled for this coming Wednesday and I am canceling. I cut my own hair this afternoon–YIKES! It doesn’t look bad–the Cowboy helped me trim the back. But don’t fret Becky and Sharon–I will be back!

Life Goes On

Nat would have been in his hay day right now. He loved to discuss the news and most especially the stock market–the ins and outs, why it was going up or down. I miss that man!

In the midst of all this craziness life goes on doesn’t it. A dear, dear friend has lost her husband, another friend is in the hospital in Tucson following an ATV accident Monday. His wife isn’t allowed inside the hospital–that would be hard for me! Friends in France have lost a pet. My family in Arkansas is struggling. Life goes on.

So, what have we been doing–the same thing we were doing before COVID-19 reared it’s ugly head–working on the house and yard. The Cowboy had to take a break from laying tile–our knees don’t work as well as when we were younger–imagine that!😄I finished painting the living room and dining room areas. Tuesday we ran the watering lines to some of the new trees we planted–it’s good to have that task done. We still need to run more lines to about four more trees but that too has to wait until our sore muscles aren’t so sore! 😋 😋

We are warming up in Arizona–lots of sunshine and temps near 80 degrees. This March wind needs to blow itself right out of here!

So tell us what you’ve been doing during this self isolation, sheltering in place, distancing business–we’ve been eating too much–this morning it was pancakes!

Sheltering In Place

What have we been doing–staying home and staying home. And we’ve been accomplishing a lot! The living room is painted, the Cowboy has started laying tile in the living room foyer area and I’ve primed the ceiling and walls in the dining room area. We’ve been eating–too well!

We have enough food to feed us for a while–a long while–but if this crisis continues for weeks as the experts are predicting we may need more. Saturday morning early I ventured out to the Willcox Safeway–wasted trip–the store was ravaged. I thought by going early I would avoid the crowds–wrong–I was there before 8am and the store was crowded!I was prepared–the mask is what the medical community refers to as a N95 respirator mask. We wore these masks in the operating rooms when caring for patients with contagious airborne diseases and wearing them was miserable! The masks work so well it’s hard to breathe through them. These are the masks our front line medical workers need during this COVID-19 crisis. We purchased these 3M masks at Home Depot of all places when we were demolishing parts of this house we are remodeling. I put my credit card in my back pocket taking nothing inside the store other than my list. The list was useless–so many empty shelves. I asked two different employees if they were having trouble getting deliveries and they both said, “no, we are getting our normal deliveries, this is panic buying.”

What groceries I did find I placed in the back of the truck. Once home I removed all of the items from the bags, left some out in the sun and wiped down the rest with sanitizing wipes. I changed my clothes and washed them. I think we are good.

On another note–it’s happening. Experts say it is not only important to study the number of cases, but also how they increase over time. Their growth rate. The number of confirmed cases in the United States has doubled in just two days with 5400 new cases Saturday. Three days ago Arizona had less than 20 cases statewide. We now have 104 and one of those cases is in our county. I wrote these last two sentences on Saturday afternoon–on Sunday Arizona has 152 cases. There is still only one case in our county.

So, we stay home and hopefully the precautions we are taking will keep us safe. Some of our Montana friends practiced some extreme social distancing today–

Photo by Lloyd Rue.

 

 

Staying Put And Some COVID-19 Thoughts

The big fifth wheel rolled down the driveway early Tuesday morning after we said our goodbyes to Beryl and Ainslie. It was a great visit and we are glad they stopped by on their way home to Oregon.

Tuesday morning I needed toothpaste and checked the food shelves at our local Dollar Store while I was there–mostly bare. Our meat is purchased at Costco which means big packages–so we are good with meat. My pantry in Arizona is no where near the size of the one in Montana but I’ve managed to cram in a lot of stuff–we have lots of beans, rice, pasta, almond milk, cereal, oats, etc., in addition to canned goods. I start to think, “oh no, do I have enough to feed us for at least a month??,” and then start thinking I need to go to the grocery store again–NO! We are good–for a month or more I would say–we might not particularly like what we are eating but we will eat.

I am concerned about all the older people in our community without the transportation resources we have or the ability to order over the internet.

We went out Tuesday afternoon to a small gathering of folks we trust at Linda’s–just 10 of us with fabulous food–Dan cooked the corned beef for Linda and the rest of us provided the sides. We didn’t hug or shake hands and a lot of the time we were outside in the mighty wind!

Left to right, Renata, Linda (standing) and Janice The Cowboy and Dan sporting the hats Linda had for all of us to wear.

And a laden table.

It’s Wednesday and we are at home and intend to stay here. There are no COVID-19 cases in Cochise County Arizona as of yet but that could change in a heartbeat. But the scary statistic is that several days ago there were four cases in Arizona–we now have 27 cases.

Our friends Nina and Paul are living in France which is under a strict quarantine and a pass must be obtained online to even walk their dog. Their cat became ill and Nina obtained a pass to take her to the veterinarian. The clinic accepts only one pet at a time, owner must wait outside in their vehicle, clinic employee comes outside with gloves and mask, takes the pet and brings it back to owner after the exam. Results are by phone call. It could happen here folks if we don’t voluntarily flatten this curve.

My brother-in-law is pastor of a church in Arkansas–they have closed their church until at least April 1–a very difficult decision to make I am sure. I was to travel to Arkansas next week and I’ve cancelled my flights.

A friend of mine in Montana has a daughter who is a physician’s assistant in Auburn, Washington. Her immediate boss is an emergency room physician and was interviewed on Good Morning America today. He stresses quicker testing and staying home. He states their hospital currently has enough ventilators but the nearby hospital is out of ventilators. He also said his hospital has a two day supply of face masks–that’s not good–and here’s hoping they are resupplied soon! This COVID-19 is real, it isn’t “just the flu” and this situation in the US could get much worse. Patient’s with “just the flu” don’t usually need ventilators.

And then we have the oblivious tourists. We have friends who live in Tombstone, AZ. Texting with her tonight she said Tombstone is as busy as ever and many of the cars have out of state license plates. We folks in the United States need to sit up, take notice, and read about what happened in Italy!

It rained cats and dogs today while the Cowboy did some drywall texturing and I painted. We might accomplish lots while staying at home!

 

 

 

 

 

Oregon Visitors And Covid-19

Years ago while traveling with our fifth wheel and truck in Mexico we met a couple from Coos Bay, Oregon, Beryl and Ainslie. While they have continued to travel to Mexico we’ve not gone back since the year we met them–2009 or 2010. We’ve visited them in Coos Bay and they’ve been to Montana. Beryl is a proper English lady and Ainslie is a giant of a man who worked in the oil industry all over the world as a geologist. They have started their trek back to Oregon and stopped in to see us for a few days. As usual we’ve been eating well and doing a bit of touring.

Friday evening we invited other friends–Louanne and Dan plus Larry (our Montana friend)–for a lovely dinner party. The food was so good–I even made an apple pie–and the company totally entertaining. Saturday the guys went ATVing; Beryl and I braved the Safeway store in Benson. We tried to enjoy lunch at the Horseshoe Cafe in Benson but the place was overwhelmed with people (what happened to social distancing) and the service ridiculously slow for one bowl of soup and a salad. Back at home Ainslie made a delicious fajita dinner.

The Safeway store in Benson had so many bare shelves–no hamburger meat along with no toilet paper or bottled water. The pasta, rice and bean shelves were also almost empty.  It was disconcerting to say the least. Our good friend Nina of Wheeling It blog fame has written on one hand a totally scary, panic inducing post and on the other hand, it’s what we all need to read. I was amazed and overwhelmed with the amount of information contained in her post. Read it here–Decide Where You Want To Be And Go There.

In between reading scare inducing news reports I’m reading one of those books I find hard to put down–really hard! It’s American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins. Oprah received a lot of flak for placing this book on her 2020 Book Club list but I haven’t even bothered to read about the reason for the uproar. Our librarian briefly alluded to the controversy when I borrowed the book. The book is about a woman who with her young son must escape Acapulco and the entire country of Mexico. Cummins can write and I’m so engrossed in this book–I’m more than halfway through and only borrowed it on Thursday plus I’ve had guests so my reading time has been limited–it’s a good book!

Church for me Sunday morning where the message was, “Fear Not”–appropriate in these times I would say! Late in the afternoon we ate once again–steak, shrimp from Mexico, wedge blue cheese salads, Pioneer Woman smashed potatoes and leftover apple pie–we do eat well! After all that eating we enjoyed happy hour with Dan and Louanne on their porch–it was a beautiful Arizona evening. Louanne feeds the birds and it’s always entertaining to watch the finches and quail as they feed.

Stay well and safe dear readers.

Ladies Trip

The Cowboy doesn’t often pick up the camera and take photos. While I was in Tucson he took these two photos–good ones–moon going down over the Dragoon Mountains.

On Sunday morning in the pouring rain Louanne and I headed to Tucson for an overnight stay and shopping. The rain followed us to Tucson but was much lighter and by noon gone completely. At home, the rain continued to fall all day and by days end we had over an inch of rain–should have some gorgeous wildflowers this spring!

Louanne and I shopped and shopped on Sunday. We briefly stopped to enjoy the best shrimp tacos at one of the numerous taco spots in Tucson–Toro Loco–that taco was spectacular! We enjoyed our day, Louanne and I are extremely compatible–easy keepers as we say! When we tired of shopping we checked into our Airbnb which while centrally located left a lot to be desired in neighborhood and cleanliness. In the evening we ventured out again to have dinner at Caffe Torino.

And here’s where the story becomes funny. Earlier in the day I had made a reservation for 5pm at Caffe Torino located not too far from our Airbnb. When I Googled the restaurant to find directions I realized it was WAY out north. Off we went with plenty of time. When we got to the restaurant almost 30 minutes later they could locate no reservation for us but could seat us. I went out to the truck, got my phone and re-dialed the number I had called earlier to make a reservation. Yes, Caffee Torino had my reservation, it was 5pm, was I running late???  Well–there are TWO locations for Caffee Torino and we had driven miles out of our way. We laughed, drank our wine and enjoyed an amazing dinner. We are easy keepers.

Monday we enjoyed our coffee which I had to make in a french press–haven’t done that in a long time–and some lemon poppy seed scones I had made. We shopped a bit more and enjoyed another fabulous meal at Eclectic–which by the way has a pet friendly patio. It was time to head for home and a slower pace of life where the Cowboy had been hard at work applying texture to the remaining section of living room ceiling and walls. Emmi and the Cowboy were glad to see me as I was them.

Tuesday I spent the day painting door jams and a door. The Cowboy is a bit under the weather but he did manage to get some of the door trim measured and cut. Wednesday we made a run to Sierra Vista for door paint and a Walmart grocery pickup.

Visitors are arriving tomorrow–they’ve been in Mexico in their fifth wheel for several months and are heading home to Oregon. The last time they were here was in December of 2017–the house and property looks a bit different now than then!

While Sarge and Sarah were here Sarah, Emmi and I took a late afternoon walk–I posted a photo very similar to these but I like the ones Sarah took and sent to me–taken with her iPhone, no editing–gorgeous!

Prepping And Good Sam Comes Through

Life is good. We are hanging out, avoiding crowds and delaying travel. Everything but the “delaying travel” is our normal. We enjoy hanging out at home and we avoid crowds if at all possible. The Patchwork Times lady wrote this blog about prepping as in being “prepped” or prepared in the event of a natural disaster or if you were forced to remain in your home for two weeks. Could you feed your family for two weeks with what you have in your refrigerator/pantry? I think I could. We would run out of milk and maybe eggs but I have enough meat and other various food stuffs to feed us if I had to. I could make bread with what I have on hand. We would probably run out of fresh vegetables and fruits. But I could feed us for two weeks–we wouldn’t starve. Could you?

Remember our two flat tires and our ire at being over charged for the tires brought to us by the Good Sam tire technician. We were charged $310 per tire. When we purchased additional tires at Big O in Wickenburg, we were charged $163 per tire. I initially called Good Sam on February 17 and my call was returned the very next day–that was it–never heard another word. So, on Thursday I called Good Sam again. On Friday afternoon late Good Sam customer support called me and asked for a copy of our Big O Tire receipt. On Saturday morning they called to tell me that while they couldn’t match the Big O price they could reduce the tire charge from $310 each to $185 each. Wow! We will receive a refund of about $270. So, we will continue to be loyal Good Sam Roadside Service customers.

Friday afternoon we had unexpected guests from Montana–Bob and Judy–they came last year and stayed a few days. We knew they were in the area and when Judy texted and asked if we would like to go out to dinner we invited them to use our RV parking spot. We enjoyed a good dinner in Willcox and some great conversation back at home. They pulled out Saturday morning heading for more adventures.

The Cowboy has been applying tape and drywall mud to the living room ceiling. We hung the last mini split and are waiting for some tubing to arrive via Amazon. I painted a set of closet doors today and did some cooking.

The poppies are popping and the moon is almost full.

Friday Geneva Street over in Sunsites was a happening place–the scene of the annual Geneva Street garage sale. We bought a rug and some hat hooks–that was it. But, when Louanne called and said she was pulling biscuits out of the oven we abandoned the garage sale and headed to their house–YUM!!

The last several days we’ve had that why we live in Arizona in winter kind of weather–warm and sunny. A touch windy today but when it’s warm, wind isn’t so bad. And Saturday night sunset was unbelievable!

Life is good.