We Are Definitely Back In Work Mode

Just one photo of the spectacular fireworks from Lake Havasu, Arizona last weekend. Photo compliments of friend Susie Orr.

Rats and gophers are a fact of life when you live in the desert. We catch a few then won’t see any for a while–but they are never actually gone. We have one trying to make a home under our guest house and sorry, dude rat but that’s not happening. The Cowboy was out in the yard setting a trap for a gopher or rat when Emmi and I came back from our evening walk. Emmi thought the guy with the black hat was a big, bad something and just shrieked at him–she bounces off her feet and is the funniest looking little dog.

Monday the Cowboy textured the ceiling in the last main house bedroom, hung a bedroom door and grouted the rest of the master bath floor. I made some phone calls–two phone calls turned into ten (literally) and I won’t say any more except Good Sam’s automated phone system about sent me over the edge and I now no longer have to use Alliance/Prime/Walgreens for my prescriptions refills–Costco here I come. After lunch I enjoyed a pedicure.

Sunset Monday evening was spectacular turning the skies in all directions various shades of pink and red.

Tuesday it seems as if I spent the entire day on the phone–talking with family and friends. I did trim the lemon and lime trees–time will tell if they are still alive. We caught a rat in the live trap Monday night–one gone. The Cowboy finished texturing the last main house bedroom and installed the bathroom heater the UPS man brought us. He also installed another door. He has more energy than any 74 year old man I’ve ever seen!

Wednesday was painting day for me and I didn’t finish painting the bedroom but made great progress. The accent wall and a bit of touch up is all I have left to paint. The Cowboy ran some electrical wires, fired up the new hot water heater and spread some more drywall mud. Wednesday night we tried the new restaurant in town by ordering a pizza to go. It was good–not the greatest but when you are hungry and don’t want to cook, the pizza was good.

Life is good!

Back In The Work Groove

Thursday morning at North Ranch was spent being bums. Emmi and I did take a stroll out in the desert. That’s one of the best things of living at North Ranch–the miles and miles of hiking and ATV riding trails right out the back gate. Larry and Geri live on the street which borders the desert so it’s a short walk to that gate. Late in the morning we visited with Joe and Kathy which is always fun–those two make us laugh! I thought of you two yesterday when I was hanging clothes on the outside line!! 🤣 🤣There are many less people at our house to see what I’m hanging on the line Kathy!

We were early for our tire install appointment and the guys at Big O Tires made quick work of sending us on our way with four more new tires. Back at North Ranch we spent an uneventful, quiet evening. Friday morning we rolled out and headed south with a stop at the Marana Costco, arriving home at about 4pm. Uneventful trip–a good thing! Thanks for the use of your backyard Larry and Geri!

Saturday we were both back in work mode. The Cowboy laid drywall mud in one of the main house bedrooms and also finished laying the master bath tile. Emmi and I worked in the yard pruning apple trees and also on the watering system. By evening we were both exhausted! Here’s a photo of Emmi “working”–she finds the sunny spots.

My geraniums are gorgeous!

And our lettuce crop is growing–

This curved bill thrasher sang so prettily this morning–in this photo he appears to be annoyed with me!

Church this morning and a delicious potluck afterward–good food! We were relaxing at home when we heard the unmistakable sound of a Harley approaching–it was our Montana friend Larry. We had a nice catch up before he left to beat the dark back to Douglas.

 

Are You Kidding Me

Wednesday morning four rigs left North Ranch heading for Lake Havasu. We just decided the work waiting at the house could just wait a little longer. We’ve enjoyed our little mini vacation immensely. Monday was a lazy day spent slowly getting ready for the move. Our Montana friends Jill and Terry dropped by in the afternoon and we spent some time getting caught up. For supper we first tried Arrowhead just north of Congress–closed for water problems–and ended up at Nichols West. The food was great as always in this surprising little restaurant in the middle of nowhere.

Sometime Monday night it started to rain and when it stopped raining mid morning we had received almost an inch of rain. I love being in a RV when it’s raining–it’s such a soothing sound, rain on the roof. The mountains surrounding us were snow covered. Tuesday we continued getting ready to move–I baked a cake, the guys went to the land fill, Geri baked–if nothing else we won’t starve! Late in the afternoon we went to visit our friends Jerry and Caryl who have recently moved back into North Ranch.

Note I said in the first paragraph–“Wednesday morning four rigs…..”  Well, by Wednesday afternoon late this rig was back at North Ranch. Just out of Salome–less than an hour from North Ranch we noticed the rig was riding horribly rough and thought it was the road. The loud pop we heard convinced us otherwise and luckily there was a nice wide spot beside the road. We texted Larry and Geri and decided to go back to Salome. The NAPA store did tire work but did not sell tires. The ruined tire was an inside dual. This motorhome has a spare and the NAPA store quickly installed the spare and we were on our way.

Not fifteen miles down the road–same exact thing–rough riding, loud pop, pulled into a driveway and yep, it had happened again–flat inside dual on the passenger side this time. Are you kidding me!!! No damage to rig or trailer but two flat tires in one day. This time we had no choice but to call Good Sam Roadside Assistance. We decided to have them bring us two tires so as to have a spare. We aren’t at all thrilled with the price Good Sam charged us for the two Toyo tires and for changing the tires–$937!!! We waited about two hours for the tire truck and once the guy arrived he made quick work getting us back on the road.

We decided to turn around and head back to Congress and Wickenburg Big O Tires where we had purchased tires in the past. They could have four of the exact Toyo tires ready for us by Thursday afternoon at 2:30pm. And four tires would cost us $800!! Now you can see why we weren’t thrilled with Good Sam’s price but what can you do when you are stuck beside the road. I will be calling customer service to complain but doubt I will make any headway.

So, we are tucked into the backyard at Geri and Larry’s with full hookups. We enjoyed lasagna and salad for supper. Larry and Geri’s neighbor Marilyn keeps a close eye on their place and was quick to come over and see why we were back. She felt sorry for us and brought over some delicious blueberry/lemon bread.

So, no injuries, no damage except to the pocketbook–life is good.

 

Nice To Take A Break

We left home about 9am on Thursday and our wheels on the motorhome and trailer still roll. Our trip was uneventful and we were at North Ranch by 3pm after stopping in Wickenburg for gas and propane. Larry and Geri before retirement built from scratch the Broken Arrow campground in Custer, South Dakota. They still know how to run a mighty nice campground!😁They were glad to see Emmi and us too, we think! We are parked in their backyard with full hookups and a potluck party was planned for happy hour/supper. It was so incredibly good to see all our friends and to meet some new people who have joined the ATV gang. Larry moves all his “toys” out of the garage and they set up tables and chairs–it was toasty warm for a few hours of visiting.

Friday Geri and Larry headed to Phoenix–a neighbor ended up in the hospital yesterday and needed some things so Geri and Larry “broke” into his house, found the things and went to Phoenix. The Cowboy and I relaxed–no projects other than a walk in the desert with the pooch and enjoying the warm sunshine.

Many of you long time blog writers and readers will remember Mike McFall, our friend who died back in October after a long battle with prostate cancer. Mike was 84 years old when he died and had lived a good life–insurance agency owner, state trooper, cowboy, volunteer law enforcement at Custer State Park, full time RVer in a “big rig”–semi pulling a huge luxury 5th wheel and graduating to his beloved Foretravel motorhome. He and Pat sold tire pressure monitoring systems for several years. He loved his guns and shooting and he loved happy hour. The joke among his friends was Mike believed in happy HOUR–then it was time for everyone to go home. The memorial service Friday afternoon was a fitting tribute to Mike.

Saturday morning thirteen of us headed out across the desert and “up the hill” for breakfast in Yarnell. The Ranch House is a tiny restaurant but can churn out the food. The Cowboy and I have been trying to eat less sugar and I fell off the wagon having french toast for breakfast. After breakfast we loaded the rigs and headed out to see some country the ATV gang had never seen–highly unusual as most of these folks have lived at North Ranch and ridden out the back gate for many, many years. It was a beautiful cloudless day, a bit chilly early in the morning but the afternoon temps were perfect!

Full moon rising Friday evening.

It’s impossible to get lost behind Larry and Geri’s new rigs–those ATVs are BRIGHT!

Little cabin located on BLM land.

Sandy, Heidi and Geri.

An ominous sign

And look Pam, we found a “crested”!!

Sunday afternoon we dropped in on Bonnie and Robert who are in the process of building a gorgeous new home on one of the outer perimeter lots of North Ranch. They are far enough along in the construction process to be “camping” in the home and it is truly going to be a stunning home with awesome views of the desert and mountains. It was so good to see them both–thanks for the tour Bonnie and Robert! Sunday evening we were going to go out to Jaxon Hole–a North Ranch gathering spot in the desert with fire pit, rustic tables and views. Our plans were to grill some hot dogs and visit around a campground but the wind wasn’t cooperating and we decided to be smart and not build any fires. Instead we spent the evening solving the problems of the world–if the world would only listen!😉

Geri and I walked Emmi around the perimeter of the park and now we are all tucked in for the evening–life is good!

Dang It’s Cold

Wednesday morning we woke to this-

That’s the coldest temp we’ve experienced in southeast Arizona at 4500 feet elevation.

Tuesday the Cowboy laid tile on the master bathroom floor in preparation for installing the vanity. And on Wednesday we manhandled that heavy vanity into place–it will have a back splash which matches the top, the Cowboy is just not ready to install it.

I wrestled with foam–as in changing out the foam in the cushions of the motorhome. Wow, what a difference new foam made in the couch cushions!! But “wrestling” was the key word–but now it’s done and I’m very happy with the way it “sits!”

When we purchased the Winnebago Aspect motorhome a new mattress was required. We bought a very comfortable memory foam mattress from Costco and stuffed it into the corner bed area of the rig. It fit so tightly, unlike the original mattress, that I could NOT get the bed made. I needed oxygen after trying for 15 minutes to get the sheets around the corners. The mattress fits so tightly there was NO room for your hands. I had a brain storm and asked the Cowboy if he objected to my cutting the memory foam mattress like I cut the foam for the couch cushions. He thought it was a great idea and helped me wrangle that mattress out of its corner into the living area of the motorhome. I found a really sharp knife and went to work. Success, success!! I now no longer need oxygen to make the bed.

Once I had the bed made the loading began. Multiple trips later and the motorhome is close to being ready. I also cooked a bit on Tuesday preparing a pan of lasagna to take with us for sharing. I used this recipe  and when we sampled the lasagna for dinner both of us decided it was the best lasagna we had ever eaten! My niece Niki introduced me to Gaby’s website and Facebook page. The recipe is complicated and time consuming but not hard.

Loading the motorhome was not uneventful–don’t you just love those bag zippers that don’t work!

The Cowboy got a haircut this afternoon, Emmi was bathed and trimmed a bit–I think this gang is ready to roll. We are heading to Congress to visit friends and attend Mike McFall’s memorial service.

A stormy sunset. Monday we finished planting the last of the ten trees we purchased. We are going to have quite the forest when the trees all grow up.

 

As Always We’ve Been Busy

Warning–wordy post!

We were both so exhausted Thursday evening bedtime came really early–as in I think I was asleep by 8:30pm! The Cowboy had a really hard “restoration” to complete on Thursday and I took not one photo–shame on me–but I have a good excuse–I was busy!

The backhoe has been leaking hydraulic oil from its boom lift cylinder main seal. The Cowboy had ordered the parts and Thursday was restoration time. We are talking heavy work which required a five foot long, sixty pound all steel pipe wrench!! And another backhoe which along with the wrench we borrowed from our friend Brian who drills water wells. The chore took the Cowboy all day long but we now have a non leaking backhoe–we hope–he said we needed to make the backhoe work before we could be sure it didn’t leak. When we plant the new trees the backhoe will get a work out.

So you can understand why the Cowboy was tired but why was I so exhausted? I painted the bathroom and by days end we have a beautifully painted master bath. I don’t like painting ceilings one color and walls another–too much detail work. In the guest house I didn’t–walls and ceilings are the same color, same finish. In the main house we are using some bright southwest colors and I wanted satin white ceilings. So–painting is much more time consuming. The ceilings are satin finish and the walls are semi-gloss. In the midst of painting I left to get my hair cut and came back to finish painting.

Friday morning we had a date which gave me absolute joy. In my life before the Cowboy I became friends with a family in Powell, Wyoming. Jane was one of the nurses who worked under my supervision, her husband Rich was a medical technologist working in the lab and they had two young children–Elizabeth and Jonathan. Living so far from any of my own family, they welcomed me into their family. Fast forward 25+ years–sadly Jonathan and Rich are no longer living.

Elizabeth is married and with her husband Jon, have two beautiful children. Elizabeth has faced a terrible health crisis recently but today she looked wonderful, healthy and beautiful! They are heading to their next military posting traveling from California to the east coast with a RV, a dog, cat, two children and two adults. The family spent the night in Tucson Thursday night and we had breakfast with them in Willcox. It was so, so good to see them, it literally made my heart sing!

Image may contain: 2 people, including Janna Barnes Clark, people smiling, people sitting and indoorMilitary children have no fear of strangers–those two kiddos haven’t seen us in two or three years yet they were so outgoing with us. Their parents have done a great job!

Elizabeth’s mother Jane, one of my best-est friends has remarried to Paul. This past week Jane and Paul have been on a medical mission to Ecuador. Ecuador has one of the largest populations anywhere of children born with cleft palate and cleft lips. These surgeons, anesthesiologists and nurses travel to Ecuador at their own expense and spend a week of twelve hour days operating on as many children as possible, literally changing their lives. The founding surgeon of this medical mission group is 87 years old–he no longer performs the actual surgery but does assist the primary surgeon. A fabulous, giving group of people. So–my heart was full today after seeing on the scene photos all week from Ecuador and getting to have lunch with Elizabeth and her family. Life is so good.

Jane is on the far right with some of the operating crew.

Jane and Paul are the two people standing at the back in this photo below.

Saturday we made a quick run to Green Valley–while cruising the internet early that morning I found some nice bedroom furniture, reasonably priced and off we went. We enjoyed lunch and Emmi was even able to join us on the outdoor patio.

Hundreds of pigeons hanging out on the electric lines in Green Valley–poor photo taken through a dirty windshield but you should have seen all those birds packed onto those wires!

Sunday afternoon we planted seven of the ten new trees we purchased–uffdah! Our friend Larry dropped by and we stopped planting–thanks Larry!!

LoraLee, our daughter in law left us six years ago today after a valiant fight with lung cancer. We miss her presence in our life so much!

Lon & LoraLee 001

 

 

 

A Trip To Tucson

Monday the Cowboy once again taped and then spread some drywall mud in one of the bedrooms of the main house. His right arm is about ready to be finished with that chore!

Do you receive your medications through a mail order service? I used Prime Med and the process worked seamlessly. I don’t remember ever having to call them with issues. Enter Walgreens who purchased Prime Med and now I don’t refill a prescription without having to call them! They ship the meds to the wrong address, they use an expired prescription and send me an email telling me they can’t fill my prescription even though they all ready have in hand the new prescription. So, Monday part of my morning was once again spent talking to Walgreens. They found my current prescription, told me they would ship it and what the cost would be. I asked if they had a credit card on file (knowing full well they did) and she said no but when I received the medication I could just call and give them a credit card number–now does that make sense to anyone?? That same evening we received an email stating our credit card had been charged for the cost of the medication. Yep, Walgreens is the place to do business–NOT!

Tuesday just after lunch we picked up Dan and Louanne and drove to Tucson. They are off on an adventure and left bright and early Tuesday morning. They were benevolent in thinking we wouldn’t want to get up at 3am in order to get them to the airport by 5am and spent the night in a hotel near the airport–they are very kind aren’t they!😁

Dan and Louanne went to Home Depot with us and we brought home their tiny purchase compared to our gigantic one–$$$$$! It was door buying time and paint buying time and door latches buying time which all added up to one big invoice!  Whew! We picked up our Walmart grocery order and made a very quick and unusually cheap Costco run.

Back home we found one happy little Emmi patiently (probably not) waiting for us. She is just the best little dog!

Tuesday I started the process of painting the master bath and by days end I had the ceiling finished–it’s a small bathroom–why didn’t I finish the whole painting job??  Well, first you have to get rid of the drywall dust which takes a while, then primer, then paint. And in and around painting the laundry has to be done, meals have to be prepared, and Emmi needs attention. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it!

The Cowboy has finished installing drywall in the bedrooms of the main house and is almost finished with taping and spreading drywall mud. Wednesday a friend from church and I went to Bisbee for lunch. What an eclectic little town! We wandered into some of the open shops and I brought home a bottle of lime/jalapeno balsamic vinegar plus a little gift for someone having a birthday soon. It was a good day–chilly and cloudy–but a good day.

These photos were taken early on one of our cloudy mornings last week–

 

 

Montana Friends Come To Visit

Thursday I painted and the Cowboy hung drywall and spread more drywall mud–it’s a never ending process! I painted half the ceiling in the living room–oh, my aching neck! And I painted a partial wall in the living room–a gorgeous, golden yellow–it looks great.

Friday morning Montana friends Max and Dave arrived. Max has a brother in Apache Junction and they flew down to visit with them and took a side trip to see us. Really Max came to see the sandhill cranes–not us.😄And we obliged by taking them to Whitewater Draw. It was a beautiful day and the wildlife area didn’t disappoint. We’ve never seen so much water at Whitewater. It was the middle of the day and still there were hundreds and hundreds of cranes, ducks and small birds. The owls were under the eaves of the pavilion structure–it was truly a perfect day!

   

Someone in our group wanted to see the border fence and we once again obliged–we are good tour guides! Off to Douglas we went stopping at the Gadsden Hotel for a late lunch. We ate at the hotel a long time ago and I remembered the service as being horrible and the food mediocre. It’s changed! I had a Gadsden burger and it might be the best hamburger I’ve ever eaten. We all had great food in a restaurant with ambiance (read–not a bar and not a Mexican restaurant) and great service. This is the lobby of the Gadsden Hotel which opened its doors in 1907. The hotel is in the process of slowly being renovated and updated and it shows.

Late in the afternoon Max and Dave headed north having not decided if they were stopping in Tucson for the night or continuing on to Apache Junction–thanks for coming guys–we enjoyed seeing you!

Saturday we hung the first of three mini splits in the main house.

It was a beautiful day Saturday and I spent time in the yard cleaning around the base of our trees and doing a bit of pruning. Saturday evening we were invited to Dan and Louanne’s for dinner where we were joined by Janice and Linda. The food was spectacular–Dan smoked racks of ribs and they were the best ribs I’ve ever eaten–delicious!

Sunday was another beautiful day and after church and lunch I again worked in the yard. The Cowboy is making progress and is almost finished with the drywall install in the second bedroom of the main house. The master bath is also now ready for painting–we are definitely making progress!

I took this photo at Dan and Louanne’s last night using Louanne’s Samsung phone–sunset was amazing! Life is good!

Friends And More Friends

Happy Birthday to the best sister in the world! My sister Ann is kind, giving, so hardworking and a joy to me. Happy Birthday Ann!

My niece Niki–Ann’s daughter came up with this gorgeous photo of her mother and me–oh my!! Taken in 1992–1993.

Monday afternoon the Cowboy and I had just retired to our respective couches for our after lunch sit down when we heard the noise of those loud type motorcycles approaching–and close–Harley motorcycles if you are unsure which ones are the “noisy ones.”😁😁 It was Montana friends Larry and Rocky. Larry has inherited a place near Douglas, Rocky drove down with Larry and will fly back soon–they were out enjoying the warm weather and sunshine. We sat at the dining table for a couple hours and solved the world’s problems.

Tuesday we had more visitors. John and Pam who have given up full time RV living and have purchased a home in Boulder City, Nevada are in Tucson for about a month. Jodee and Bill have purchased a home in Tombstone. They all arrived about noon and we did the house tour–they were all here two years ago when the main house was still a structural wreck–they were impressed with all our progress. Jodee brought delicious beans and Pam provided a fabulous Cesear salad to go along with the brisket and potatoes I cooked. Dessert was one of those decadent flourless chocolate cakes–YUM! We spent the entire afternoon catching up and solving those world problems! The dogs–Tessa and Emmi–tolerated each other.

We don’t answer calls from numbers not in our contact list. We get those annoying calls from our Montana area code which make you think it’s someone you know but have learned–don’t answer! Last week I got one of those calls from my OWN number!! Well, today the phone rang twice before I could get to it and then stopped ringing–this message appeared on my screen–

The phone number had too many digits–maybe even an out of country number. Thank you Verizon!

Pam has quite the reputation across the nation among the dogs belonging to friends–she is known as the Treat Lady. Tessa has had more experience with Pam and knew exactly who she was–Emmi learned fast!

Wednesday I started painting–the ceiling and a short wall in the living room area. The Cowboy continues to hang drywall and spread drywall mud.

Geri posted this photo on Facebook today–made me homesick for all these people. This ATV ride was out of Brenda, AZ in 2016.

Tuesday morning it started raining and by the time the storm ended over a half inch of rain had fallen. Wednesday morning the storm clouds were still hanging around making for nice photos– And, one last thing–the finished shower–well, except for the grab bar.

Not Much Going On

We welcomed the rain on Thursday–only about three tenths–but it cleaned the air and made the desert smell wonderful. While Emmi and I were walking Thursday morning the sandhill cranes were on the move–three large flocks flew overhead chattering away.

I tackled the shower cleanup on Thursday, cleaning away the remaining grout powder and then sealing the grout with some nasty, smelly stuff–about did me in! The Cowboy is working on the mini-split install. Everything is harder in an all ready existing structure with almost no attic and lower ceilings than most houses have.

After the rain Friday dawned with mostly sunny skies and some fog–the hills rising out of the fog made for a cool shot.

Friday afternoon we headed to Douglas with a mission in mind. I’m swearing off reading reviews! We chose a restaurant that had nothing but four and five star Yelp reviews–it was absolutely awful–the worst Mexican food we had ever eaten! On to the Walmart store for a couple things where we were most definitely the minority!😃And finally to the nursery where we purchased ten more trees for our yard–three foot fast growing eldarica pines. The trees we purchased from this nursery two years ago as one foot trees have grown to six feet–abundant sunshine and water.

On the way home from Douglas we made contact with our friend Larry and his driving partner Rocky. They had driven from Montana through awful snow storms and were very glad to be in the sunshine and 68 degree weather. Larry owns a place near Douglas.

Saturday I sewed–nothing exciting–patching a pair of Michael’s jeans and attaching a backing to a wool piece of my sister’s. Sunday afternoon I attached the binding to the same wool piece–now for the hand work. My sewing machine gave me fits Sunday–it was a used Pfaff when we purchased it and a piece of junk! The bobbin thread kept breaking, time after time. What should have taken me 30 minutes took two hours! My sewing machine in Montana is a Pfaff Tiptronic and it will sew anything–I love that machine!

Saturday evening we enjoyed a delicious prime rib dinner at the VFW hall with Dan and Louanne. The people sitting next to us looked familiar–at least the wife did. I began talking to them and discovered it was Ken and Verna–Canadian friends of John and Brenda’s. We’ve met Verna before–just not Ken. They too are loving the sunshine and warm weather!

Sunday we were couch potatoes–I went to church, made us lunch and except for the sewing machine debacle, I laid on the couch and read becoming so relaxed I forgot to publish the Sunday night blog–so here it is! The Cowboy watched a documentary about how country music started and parts of the football games.

Life is good.