All the dark clouds on Thursday brought only a little rain–three tenths. My polyurethane brush and I are becoming best friends.😝 The man in the cabinet shop has been sawing, sanding, nailing–making cabinets way faster than I can apply the polyurethane. We finished the pantry doors and couldn’t be more pleased!
I baked a cream cheese pound cake Thursday and sampled a slice (who am I kidding, I sampled several slices)–I love that cake–and that’s the reason I don’t bake it often!
My latest knitting project is off to its new home and here are some photos of projects I did over Christmas–
Our neighbor lost his battle with covid Wednesday night. Two people have died in recent days in this small community here in southeast Arizona. Our friends Ralph and Angie continue their struggle with this disease–good days interspersed with lots of bad days.
Saturday night Dan and Louanne joined us for a low key, pleasant dinner of spaghetti, good salad dressed with Ina Garten’s Green Salad Vinaigrette, probably the best salad dressing I’ve ever made! and artisan bread. Dan received Ina Garten’s latest cookbook as a Christmas gift and he introduced us to that delicious salad dressing. Dessert was the cream cheese pound cake I made earlier in the week and fresh strawberries–Fry’s had strawberries on sale and they are quite good for this early in the season.
Sunday the Cowboy worked in the cabinet shop a bit and I was a knitting bum although I did apply polyurethane to two drawer fronts plus I made lunch.
It’s winter even in Arizona! Sunday was a day of rain squalls and wind. Monday and Tuesday our forecast is for rain and snow with extremely cold temps–on Tuesday night it could be 12 degrees! Brrrrr! As I publish this post, it is snowing/raining horizontally!
At least I can remember what we did Friday–we took a day off! Bright and early on one of those sunny, warm Arizona winter days we met up with Louanne and Dan and headed to Rucker Canyon. Up the hills, down the rocky slopes, we bounced along all day. Emmi was a trooper and seems to be back to her old self.
Last Saturday I began work on trying to keep the dang jackrabbits from eating our pine trees. We had removed the wire cages from the trees we planted first in 2018, thinking the trees were big enough that nothing would be dining on their needles and limbs. Wrong! The bottoms of those trees are destroyed and there is tons of rabbit poop all around the base of the trees. I built new wire cages, bigger, and new dams lined with rocks to help keep the irrigation water where it needs to be. Stupid jackrabbits! It’s so dry here I think all the animals are looking for anything green but I hope they have a tummy ache from eating our pine trees!
The Cowboy completed the doors for the pantry and I’m in the process of applying polyurethane–stinky work!
The new vacuum cleaner, a Shark, came and I like it. The manual states the filters only need to be cleaned once every three months–I doubt that! Our poor UPS man, Paul has been delivering to our house after 8pm and then he has to drive home to Sierra Vista–poor guy!
Sunday evening we enjoyed another fabulous gourmet meal at Dan and Louanne’s with Janice and Linda. Dan made rolled flank steak with mushrooms, spinach and provolone cheese inside–it was divine!
Tuesday we made a run to Sierra Vista for more wire for trees and a few groceries. I donned my mask and braved Fry’s grocery store. I really didn’t need any groceries other than yogurt–which Costco did not have last week–not in two different Tucson Costco stores. And I needed apples which Walmart pickup didn’t have–really???
Wednesday was another day of chore after chore. The Cowboy worked in the cabinet shop all day, I applied more polyurethane to cabinet doors, and cooked. Late in the afternoon I ran a few errands–books to the bookstore, package to the UPS drop off and a gift to a friend.
Our forecast is for rain tonight and tomorrow–let’s hope so!
Our dear friend Angela has given me permission to share this love story. In 2003 or 2004 while participating in a shooting sport one winter in Arizona we met Angela and Ralph. They were from Maryland where they owned a horse farm, boarding and training horses. They took time off in winter to find sunshine and eventually sold the farm, becoming full time RVers. We’ve stayed in touch all these years, they have visited us in Montana and we’ve met up in other places. They winter in Arizona in their fifth wheel parked on an Escapees lot and also spend some time near Tombstone in their truck camper parked on a shooting range as Ralph is still participating in shooting sports. In summers they load up the truck camper and travel the US. A couple summers ago they spent from May through September in Alaska.
On about January 3 Angie called–she and Ralph had tested positive for covid and Ralph was in the ER. He had been sick for about three days before going to the ER. He had pneumonia, they gave him lots of fluids and sent him home with a drug store full of medications. For a while it seemed he was gaining–with Angie’s help–very weak, awful cough, miserable but gaining. Then things went very downhill.
Angie took him back to the ER on Thursday where the doctor painted a very grim picture. Our friend was losing the battle. They transferred Ralph to a hospital ICU in Tucson. I drove to Tombstone on Thursday afternoon to sit with Angie for a while and we both shed lots of tears.
On Friday Angie went to Tucson from Tombstone taking love letters (she is a fabulous letter writer!) for Ralph, cards and cookies for the nurses. On Friday evening she spoke with his nurse–Ralph was doing so well he had been moved out of ICU and into a room on the “covid floor.” Simply amazing–you cannot imagine the joy in Angie’s voice when she called.
On Saturday she took a big red heart to the hospital and asked the nurses to place it in his window so she would know which room was Ralph’s. You see, Angela was sitting outside in a little cactus garden beneath the windows of the fourth floor covid wing–that’s as close as she could get to Ralph. Angela was on the phone with a friend, she saw curtains moving in a room on the fourth floor and all of a sudden, there was her red heart and then there was Ralph–waving to her.
Sunday Angela was back at the hospital, sitting beneath the windows of the fourth floor. She has become known all over the hospital as “the lady that sits outside all day.” Sunday they released the man who on Thursday wasn’t expected to live. Prayers were being said all over this country–our mutual friend Linda belongs to a prayer group and had asked them to pray for Ralph. Ralph and Angie have a wide circle of friends who were praying. We are so, so glad he is improving. I’m sure there is a rough road ahead but hopefully he will continue down the right path!
Angela and Ralph have been together almost 31 years. Their love story is one of closeness, mutual respect, humor, love of history and anything cowboy. Being separated from him while he was fighting for his life was heart breaking for Angela and I’m sure for Ralph too.
And that’s all I’m going to talk about today–it’s been a rough few days for Angela, Ralph, their family and friends.
When I have a cleaning question I can always count on my friend Kelly’s cleaning advice–you could say Kelly is particular about clean. My cook stove has two ovens and both were in need of cleaning–it’s a self cleaning oven so that was easy but those oven racks–not so easy. Kelly to the rescue! Spray the racks with oven cleaner and put them in a plastic garbage bag overnight. Wow!!! I used the water hose to spray the racks after their soak in the bag and oh my goodness–they are so clean!! No scrubbing!!
Monday was a busy day–I stained some door trim for the Cowboy and used polyurethane on the pantry facing boards. On Sunday I washed two windows, on Monday I washed four. A few windows at a time is doable–
After much vacuum cleaner research, I caved and bought another bagless vacuum–a Shark. It’s amazing how much vacuums can cost! I remember when I paid $200 for a self propelled Hoover long ago when I was first married–that was a lot of money back then for a vacuum but that Hoover lasted probably a good 25 years before it died and handy husband couldn’t fix it. As we all know, household items don’t last these days. I had to laugh at all the comments which said something about their husbands taking the canister out to the garbage to dump it. My husband may be handy but cleaning is not his strong suit!🤣
Tuesday morning in the wee hours Ms. Emmi developed tummy issues and the two of us took several trips outside in the dark and cold. So Tuesday was non existent for me–I spent a large portion of the day wandering aimlessly, trying to nap and generally not getting anything accomplished. I did feed us. Emmi is much better–don’t know what happens as she does not have access to any people food or garbage–only her expensive dog food and I even give her bottled water!!
The Cowboy drove to Willcox Tuesday afternoon to receive his Moderna covid vaccine. I tried and tried to schedule him on the Arizona Department of Health website but it was a no go–couldn’t get it done–either the website is malfunctioning or there are no appointments available in our county or even in Tucson.
I was able to use the state website to schedule him in Glendale, AZ of all places but really didn’t want to drive that far! Friends Linda and Janice were able to schedule at the Medicine Shoppe in Benson but when I called they had used all their doses. Called Safeway, CVS–nope, no vaccine. So, I called the Medicine Shoppe in Willcox, the pharmacist sent me a link, I followed that link and was done–the Cowboy was scheduled. Now why can’t the state use something similar–simple, asked all the right questions, gave me a way to upload a photo of the Cowboy’s Medicare card, done! I called Dan and Louanne–she got the link then shared it with other friends here in our community. That app worked like a charm!!
The Cowboy has no side effects other than a sore arm. Hope my turn comes soon!
Wednesday we went to Tucson–and the day didn’t go exactly as planned. Emmi had a sudden bathroom accident in Lowe’s traumatizing herself and me! I tried calling our Tucson vet and they are closed on Wednesday so it was off to the Tucson Veterinarian Specialty Emergency Clinic. They do not take appointments, you wait–outside in your car in these times. Fortunately they weren’t very busy and were able to see Emmi within 30 minutes. Bloody diarrhea and slightly evaluated liver enzymes–possibly the beginnings of pancreatitis again. They gave her subcutaneous fluids and sent us home with antibiotics. She is eating, drinking and playing well. Wish we could figure out why our girl becomes so ill.
So, it was a long day with issues other than Emmi but we survived and are home with our feet up!
Even though we’ve been busy, Thursday we took a day off. We joined Dan and Louanne for a Can-Am ride up into the Dragoon Mountains. The weather was perfect–blue sky sunny and warm. We didn’t go far, only up to Soren Pass stopping at the abandoned mine along the way to eat our lunch. Social distancing at its finest.
Friday we stayed way too busy all day long! The guest house living room is now ready for guests–
Quilts don’t do well folded–they develop permanent creases where folded so I decided to just leave these hanging–they bring me joy!
Sunrise on Friday morning brought me joy too!
I have such a good husband–my vacuum cleaner had developed this awful noise. I had to wear earplugs when vacuuming and even then the noise was almost unbearable. The Cowboy decided to investigate–
It’s kaput! Blown bearing in the motor and a broken brush–new parts, $45. We paid only $40 for this vacuum at a garage sale and I have always disliked it because of its weight–heavy! It was a good vacuum and now it’s time to find something else. Do any of you have a vacuum you love?? I have a Panasonic canister vacuum in Montana that I really like but it’s not made any longer.
The Cowboy started building cabinets Friday–or at least he started cutting and planing the lumber. He worked hard all day long and was one dusty, sawdust covered, exhausted man when he came in for dinner. I kept us fed and I cleaned all day long. Plus I took care of the Emmi girl.
Saturday evening Dan and Louanne along with Janice and Linda joined us for yet another fabulous meal. We had such a good time eating, laughing and talking–friends are a necessity for me. Everyone approves of our new living/dining room in the main house. Janice always brings the most original hostess gifts–I told her in these times it might be a really appreciated gift!!
The new dining room rug–
Sunday we rested–at least I did–the Cowboy puttered as always. I joined Linda, Janice and Louanne in Linda’s backyard for drinks–even though it was only 54 degrees, there was no breeze and we were sitting in the sun–heavenly. And Linda feeds the birds–amazing activity and chatter–so fun to watch.
Our friend Sandy had this quote on her Facebook page today–
Mondays are blah–even though I’ve been retired for years–Mondays are still blah in my humble opinion. It was me doing the “honey do’s” on this past Monday–I stained some door trim and re-stained one of the living room beams that had become dusty from all the drywall sanding.
Tuesday we made a trip to Sierra Vista to buy used golf cart tires my ever on the search for a bargain husband found. I needed some groceries and we were also picking up an item for friends with the dang covid. I tried to get a grocery pickup time but there were none available for same day. I hope to not have to go inside Walmart in Sierra Vista again until I’m vaccinated!!! Everywhere I turned today there were people wearing no mask. At Walmart, at Culver’s, at Home Depot. Arizona currently has the highest per-capita rate of new Covid-19 infections, with 785 cases per 100,000 people over the past seven days. That rate not only leads the U.S., but is the highest in the world, according to NBC News data. Not only do friends have Covid, our neighbors are also ill with the virus. Our numbers are increasing daily in this zip code where before the numbers had remained low and steady. Will it ever end?
On Wednesday we made some big changes.
We moved!! Somehow my Cowboy husband and I hauled these two heavy couches from the guest house to the main house living room–we went out the front door of the guest house, into the back of the truck and in the front door of the main house. As you know Bayfield Al–that leather couch is heavy!! In the photo you can see the new to us leather chair we bought and the new rug. The southwest print love seat will move to the porch when that room is finished–it kind of clashes with the new rug!
The guest house has two windows in the living area which face south and we had mini blinds on those windows greatly limiting our view. The living room/dining room of the main house is finished and we decided it was time to move. We’ve been thinking about it and when the new rugs arrived yesterday we made the decision. We now have views in all directions and a very comfortable, beautiful living room. Emmi is not so sure–her bed and toys moved over but she stayed in the guest house for a while.
There were some tense moments this morning as we hung the curtains, drilling into the bricks. My husband is so incredibly handy! Look at what he did with those “free” cabinets we found–
Today was a dark day in the history of our country, a sad day in our country. The Cowboy and I have our opinions and they are private. What went on in our nation’s capitol today should not have happened. And that’s all I will say.
The first day of 2021 dawned chilly and cloudy. As Emmi and I walked our normal route I began to hear sandhill cranes. There were three bunches of probably 100+ each soaring above my head. The coolest part–it was so quiet, even the cranes were quiet–so quiet I could hear their wings. Gave me goose bumps–a good start to 2021
On New Year’s Eve we dined at Dan and Louanne’s with Linda and Janice. It was a fabulous evening with outstanding food and drink! Louanne boiled the biggest, best shrimp and made rice pilaf–it was so good! We were all home by 8pm where we caught the last of the fireworks over the little community of Sunsites–we could see them from our house.
All the Christmas decorations are put away leaving our house a little bare and sad looking. I even managed to take down the outside lights. The Cowboy started building cabinets on New Year’s Day–hooray!! And he’s been working too hard installing those “free” cabinets we spent a day in November retrieving from a house. Because these houses were built in the late 60’s, there is a shortage of closets–no huge walk in master closet–we just couldn’t make that work. So our plan was to install these free cabinets in one end of the room we call our “porch.” This porch was to have been open but I lost that battle and it now just has large windows and a door–it’s actually an extension of the living room. The cabinets are partially installed and we think it’s going to work–counter space for serving at gatherings (if we ever get to have another gathering that large!) and lots of storage cabinets.
We drove down south to the little community of McNeal on Saturday to look at a leather chair. On New Year’s Eve we made a mad dash to Tucson to look at a chair that was a complete bust–saggy, no way to replace the cushion foam. We brought home the one we saw in McNeal on Saturday–needs seat cushion foam and has a zipper to access that foam. This chair is in good shape and comfortable–when Amazon sends the foam I will post a photo.
Arizona’s covid numbers are skyrocketing–17,000+ cases posted in today’s numbers. Our zip code has eight new cases posted in the last few days. My heart goes out to all those poor nurses working in our hospitals–they have to be exhausted and scared.
Our weather is nasty–for Arizona! Highs in the 40’s and 50’s and lows in the 20’s. And I swear the wind today was blowing off a Montana snowbank!
Do any of you mend? The Cowboy accidently created a hole in his down vest by touching it with a hot pan he had used to pop popcorn–it melted the vest fabric. Monday I stitched a patch over the spot where the feathers were escaping through the hole, repaired a dishcloth with an unraveling hem and made a blanket fit the bed!
Blankets labeled “queen/full” do NOT fit a full bed. They fit a queen and hang over the sides of a full bed almost to the floor. So, I cut about 20 inches off the side of the blanket and re-hemmed it. Now it fits the full size bed.
Tuesday I volunteered for one of those projects that after starting I was ready to un-volunteer but I trudged onward. Many of the outlets and switches in the main house needed cover plates which isn’t as easy as it sounds! Most of the outlets and switches require shims to bring them out flush with the drywall–shims for this application are tiny flat washers that are very fiddly!! I was successful on all but one outlet which required the Cowboy’s expertise! I finished this chore on Wednesday and I must say I’m might proud of myself!
We drove to Willcox Tuesday afternoon and purchased two used bar stools for our eating area in the main house kitchen. The stools need new fabric and foam on the seats and a new paint–but were a bargain!
The tile is laid on the floors in the main house with the exception of the porch (the current cabinet shop) and the laundry room–not my priority right now. The Cowboy took a break on Wednesday from floor work–his knees were complaining.
Remember that new iPhone I received for Christmas? Well, last evening I sold our iPhone 6 we had using one of the local Facebook groups. A person we know, Patsy, purchased the phone, coming to the house to get it wearing her mask–we appreciate you Patsy!!
Full moon coming up Tuesday night–not the best photo.
And the moon going down Wednesday morning–I tried to catch it right as it touched the Dragoon Mountains but sat drinking coffee and knitting just a touch too long.
Some of the Montana family have been enjoying the beach in Florida–having had Covid they decided to escape for some much needed fun!
Christmas Eve we enjoyed the company of four friends for a lovely dinner and we actually dined in the main house. The Cowboy and I hauled our beautiful dining table we found on Craigslist in 2018 over to the main house, I found a tablecloth, snipped some greenery from one of our trees and added the Cowboy’s mother’s silver candlesticks–it was just right!
Christmas Day dawned with clouds and a brief rain/sleet shower of all things! It was a quiet, peaceful and easy day. We enjoyed pancakes for breakfast, opened our presents and spent the day getting acquainted with those presents. The Cowboy gifted me a new iPhone and I was amazed at how easy it was to transfer the data from the old phone to the new–without having to visit a Verizon store! I also received a new fitness tracker–I had a FitBit for a while but wasn’t impressed when the $75 device died in less than a year! So, this one is a $25 Lintelek–installed the app and it too is up and running–aren’t I the techy??–Not! The Cowboy loves his gifts–a new set of Makita drills and driving slippers (aka house slippers) from LL Bean. He liked the drills so much I caught him using them on Christmas Day!
My sister sent me the sweetest gift–a pottery nativity scene from Osage Clayworks located in north Arkansas. Ann collects nativity scenes and her house is beautiful at Christmas time. I had admired a particular scene when there last year and she remembered.
It was a quiet, peaceful Christmas Day–we Facetimed the family in Germany and in Arkansas and spoke with other family on the phone.
In the evening on Christmas Day we went to Dan and Louanne’s for nachos–amazing, delicious nachos and jalapeno margaritas–also so, so good!
The Cowboy went right back to work on Saturday laying tile and he’s still at it on Sunday. Mid afternoon on Sunday we helped Louanne make use of the wine tasting she purchased at the recent library fund raiser. Southeastern Arizona is popular with grape growers and wine makers and there are multiple small vineyards all around us. This winery, 1776 Vineyards is just up the road from us and the owners are super pleasant people who escaped the big city life of Phoenix and moved to our valley in 2017. They have outdoor tables for covid times and it was just pleasant enough to sit outside. Louanne brought a tablecloth and the most wonderful, creamy cheese we devoured as we tasted four different wines. The four of us, Louanne, Janice, Linda and I had so much fun–and will most probably do it again!
While I was out drinking wine the Cowboy bought a sewing machine! An industrial Singer–to make covers for backhoe seats and golf carts. What next I bet you are asking!
Monday I had an appointment cancelled and asked the Cowboy–“want to go cut firewood?” After lunch off we went up into the Chiricahua Mountains via Rucker Canyon. At first we wondered if we were on a wild goose chase–no pine or fir to be seen–just cedar and live oak. But as we rose in elevation pine trees appeared. The Arizona USFS fire wood cutting/permit rules are a little different than the rules we follow in Montana. Standing dead trees can be cut but only if the tree is nine inches or less in diameter.
We searched for a while before finding a spot with several standing dead trees the right diameter. In just a short while we had a truck full and wound our way back down the mountain. Rucker Canyon is beautiful and we even found running water!
Tuesday I spent the morning cooking–made another batch of those “turtle chocolates” and another/last batch of chex mix for the Cowboy. Milton, our caretaker stopped by with a gift–his wife Lucy had made anise cookies–they are addictive! And Lucy had written us the most beautiful Christmas card and thank you note for the dinner I took them–made me cry!
I’ve never had packages take as long to reach their recipients as has happened this year. Mail USPS One Rate boxes and two days later the Montana folks get their cookies and gifts–NOT this year. Those two day boxes took 7 days. Amazon usually manages to get things to Germany in a timely manner–not this year. Amazon Prime is NOT working this year. Is anything working this year???
Wednesday was physical therapy in Willcox for me. My physical therapist told me the hospital began giving healthcare workers the covid vaccine today. He was hoping to receive a vaccine before going home for the Christmas holiday tomorrow evening.
These are two of my favorite Christmas decorations–the pillow I’ve had for many years and chuckle every time I read the saying. The little Santa was made for the Cowboy by his Grandmother–amazing that it’s held together all these years! While Mom was here she reattached one of his button eyes.
We wish you all a Merry Christmas and hopefully a very good 2021!!