Exciting Stuff

Not really–painting, plumbing, hanging drywall and cement board–not very exciting. But the new stove works so well–the Cowboy built a fire Monday morning and had the house toasty warm. I marvel frequently at the talents my husband possesses asking him how he learned to do all the stuff he can do. Build stoves (he thinks he’s built right at 300 stoves over the years), remove engines from vehicles and replace them–and the vehicle runs!! Fix leaking coffeepots, change batteries in iPhones, lay tile and make it look professional. For years he kept our ancient haying equipment running and still keeps our tractors going–and they are really ancient! Built houses from the ground up. The list goes on and on! When we met, the Cowboy was really into electronics, installing those huge, flying saucer type satellite dishes for customers and then moved into the smaller dishes more common today. He is an excellent welder, plumber and electrician. The Cowboy and I owned an excavating business–installing septic tanks, building roads, digging basements, etc. Everything he does is self taught and then to top it off, he can add a list of numbers in his head faster than I can find the calculator!

Monday I was re-hanging a Christmas quilt. The quilt is too heavy for the rod I was using and kept slipping down the wall. I have two of those “Hang-It, Dang It” quilt hangers and would like to have another one or two but “dang it” those things are pricey.  Thirty five dollars for a small rod and accompanying plastic hanger is a bit much! So, my Cowboy to the rescue! He pulled a piece of copper pipe out of his “treasure pile”, cut it to length and handed me this fitting–

Pipe and the fitting encased in the sleeve on the quilt’s back.

And wal-la–my quilt is hanging!! Such a smart husband I have! I need to figure out how to store quilts so that crease in the middle doesn’t happen. When we left last spring I laid all the quilts flat on the bed and covered them with a sheet. But, when we got back this fall we had to sleep somewhere, so the quilts were folded and put in the closet. And even though I put extra quilts in the middle and folded this one around them, this Christmas quilt has a crease.

Another of my favorite Christmas quilts–hanging on one of those “hang it, dang it” rods. The nativity scene in the lower left I have had for 43 or so years. It escaped our fire in September, 2000.

Tuesday I finished painting the bedroom–it’s painted, ready for flooring and trim.

And on Wednesday, the Cowboy began laying tile in the bedroom. So exciting!!!

Laci, Lora, and I’m not sure who the little boy belongs to–enjoying the cookies I sent to Germany. It amazes me how quickly stuff travels to Germany via the USPS one rate boxes.

Wednesday we had rain squalls and rainbows. This was taken outside our little grocery store with my iPhone.

Emmi and I never tire of this view on our morning walks. Nor this view with the snow so bright on top of the mountains–that’s a good place for snow–on top of the mountain.

A Busy Few Days

I will warn you–this is a photo laden post!

The rain started Wednesday night and continued almost all night into Thanksgiving Day. The rain stopped long enough for us to get to Dan and Louanne’s for Thanksgiving lunch mid afternoon on Thursday. We even enjoyed this beautiful sunset. Friday morning heavy clouds hung in the sky and we could see snow on mountains.

By noon Friday it was pouring rain again and when it finally stopped in the late afternoon we had over three inches in the gauge! Amazing!!

Thanksgiving lunch at Dan and Louanne’s was wonderful. Dan’s turkey was great and all the other food contributions were fantastic! As usual it was a good group of people and we had a spectacular time.

Two to three years ago the Cowboy changed the battery in my iPhone 6. For a while the new battery worked well but lately it would not hold a charge even with very little use. So, the cowboy decided to be brave once again and changed the battery–the jury is still out on if it helped or not.  What is it with iPhone 6s???

Friday I cleaned and then decorated the house for Christmas putting up the tree and hanging Christmas quilts. We look very festive! Saturday we needed a Home Depot run and headed to Sierra Vista. We are big fans of Walmart grocery pickup and now we are HUGE fans of Home Depot pickup. The Cowboy sat at his computer Friday, entered his order and paid for it online. Saturday he went in the store to the customer service desk with his printed receipt and a few minutes later our stuff was being loaded into the truck. Amazing!!!  Walmart pickup for groceries, a quick stop at Lowes and we were on our way home.

Saturday evening we attended with Louanne and Dan the local library fundraising dinner and auction. It was a very crowded community center but the food was good and we enjoyed the evening. Sunday it was church and stove installation day. The Cowboy worked so hard today but at about 5pm he was building a small fire in the stove–installation successful!

The next two photos are of the San Pedro River on Charleston Road on Saturday after all the rain. There is usually just a trickle, if that, of water in the river bottom.

The Chiricahua Mountains topped with snow.

On Saturday water was still running across the highway in several places. From the debris you could see the water had been much higher on Thursday and Friday. Warnings are issued during every Arizona rainstorm–“turn around, don’t drown,” yet often during one of these storms someone will drown trying to drive across during high water. Sadly it happened during this storm.

Happy Thanksgiving

Here come the storms.

It’s been low key around this house the last few days. The Cowboy has finished a bedroom in the main house, now it’s my turn–to paint. Then we will move all the stuff stored in the other bedroom into the completed bedroom and start remodeling that one–clear as mud–right!  The Cowboy has also been working on the walk in shower, a cranky heater thermostat and many other small projects. He installed a small baseboard heater on our porch–our closed in porch–and goes out there in the morning to drink his coffee, surf the internet and let his wife sleep.

I was an operating room nurse for all of my career and usually worked the day shift meaning I had to be at work by at least 6am, sometimes earlier. Depending on where I was living I might have to get up at 4am so as to get to work on time. For many years after retirement I was still up early with the Cowboy. Something with my internal clock changed and I can now sleep in–usually only until 6:30 or 7am.  The Cowboy on the other hand still thinks he is a rancher and is frequently up at 5am. He tries very hard to be quiet when he gets up but it seems something always woke me. I am loving his new spot and so is he–there is a view of the Dragoons from the porch.

One of the book recommending sites I read recently listed “Dreyer’s English” by Benjamin Dreyer as a must read if you love to write. I ordered a used copy from Amazon and have really been enjoying the book. It isn’t one of those dry, hard to make yourself read kind of books. Mr. Dreyer is copy chief at Random House publishing company and he is funny! I’ve been surprised to read some of his recommendations which probably have my high school English teachers turning over in their graves!

Some examples: you don’t need a double space after that period or question mark–WHAT??? That will be a hard one for me to break! You can start a sentence with “but” or “and”–Mr. Dreyer calls that one a “non-rule.”  Another one: you can end a sentence with a preposition–YIKES!!! Only if you have to and to keep from tying a sentence in a knot as the author so eloquently states!😉 It’s an interesting read!

I’ve baked more cookies–our UPS man, Paul, liked me yesterday.  A pedicure and haircut were on the agenda, shipping of packages, and walking Emmi, etc.

Wednesday I painted–the primer coat after first washing the walls to get rid of the drywall dust left from sanding.This is one of the bedrooms in the main house and it opens into the master bathroom. This old house has small windows mounted higher in the walls unlike modern homes with huge windows. We elected to keep the original bedroom windows after our friend Linda told us, “we like those windows, no one can see in!!” Makes sense to us!

Would you believe it’s raining again and has been only about 45 degrees all day today. It’s not only raining, it’s pouring! The moisture amounts from this storm are predicted to be about two inches. And (I started a sentence with “and!”) the mountains above 5000 feet could get snow and the higher elevations could get snow measured in feet!!  It’s going to be a rainy and chilly Thanksgiving Day in Arizona.  The Montana folks will tell me to stop complaining, their high on Thanksgiving is about 19 degrees!

Happy Thanksgiving to all our family and friends!





When I posted the blog on Wednesday night over one inch of rain had fallen. Thursday morning did it ever rain and blow!!  In just a couple hours we had another half inch of rain. We even had some thunder and lightening. Emmi went to the door and backed away–“I’m not going outside in THAT!”  We had planned a trip to Sierra Vista but chose to postpone–it could wait until Friday.

Here are some interesting facts–The average annual rainfall for Cochise County, Arizona is fourteen inches.  The average annual precipitation in our Montana county is 15-18 inches per year.  Amazing to me there is so little difference. These two next photos were taken Friday morning after the rain stopped. The humidity level was 70%–highly unusual for Arizona–and it was a chilly 38 degrees.

The Cowboy has been “mudding” ceilings and walls–sometimes he gets more on himself than on the ceilings and walls I’m thinking! He came in for lunch with a large smear across the top of his head. I spent Thursday baking–getting a head start on my Christmas cooking. I have 12 dozen cookies in the freezer! Ran out of sugar–I’m down to the last tablespoon I think–time for groceries!

Friday morning after Emmi and I walked we headed to Sierra Vista. By the end of the day I had two five gallon buckets of paint. Obtaining that paint was not an easy task. All our paint will now be purchased from Lowes and not Home Depot. Enough said.

Dan and Louanne happened to be in Sierra Vista also and we joined them for lunch. And then we were on a mission–to find the Cowboy some new Wranglers.  Long ago a friend who owns a store in Livingston, Montana told us to look for Wranglers with a made in Mexico label–Jordan said those jeans would fit better than the ones made in other countries.  Jordan was absolutely correct!

I ordered the same Wranglers the Cowboy has been wearing for years from Wrangler–nope, awful quality, terrible fabric, ill fitting and not made in Mexico!! I tried Amazon but when I asked the question, “are these jeans made in Mexico?” a customer replied, “no, and the fit, fabric…….is awful….sent back!  Well OK–we won’t be ordering from Amazon! We tried Walmart in Sierra Vista and while they do sell Wranglers they don’t sell Wranglers my Cowboy would like! Off to the CAL-Ranch Store where we were successful in finding made in Mexico Wranglers that fit my Cowboy–they only had two pair–I’m now on a mission to search all CAL-Ranch stores!

The water pressure in the kitchen sink was abysmal! We knew it was either the faucet or the hoses and had purchased a new faucet but it wasn’t needed.  The hot water hose was full of crude from our older hot water tank. I now have water pressure and I’m a happy camper! Both the Pinaleno and Chiricahua Mountains have snow on top.

Saturday night we had dinner at Dan and Louanne’s. Dan made nachos and they were the best nachos I’ve ever eaten–they were so good!!  Our contribution was homemade strawberry ice cream–it was a feast.

Sunday was church, visiting with friends, more mudding and I even painted a closet. The Cowboy wanted to see if paint would bring out the dimensions of the texture he is applying and it did–looks great–did we expect otherwise coming from my chief contractor??

A gorgeous photo of our little Montana hometown with the Crazy Mountains in the background taken by Jeff Weston. No snow on the ground but I’m thinking that’s about to change according to their forecast.  It’s been incredibly windy in Montana today.




Getting To Be A Habit

Brooks and Millie.                                                                                     Lora all dressed up for 50’s day at kindergarten.

Taking a break that is! We have more “winter” like weather in the forecast, rain and highs in the low 50’s. Monday was sunny and 75 degrees so off we went in the CanAm up into the Dragoon Mountains.  Dan and Clint joined us–Louanne had more pressing girly things to do–manicure/pedicure!  It was a fantastic day, perfect temperature and the fall colors were still in evidence.

That’s Rockfellow Dome peaking up from the west side instead of our view from the east side of the Dragoons. Can you spot the rock climber? Can you see the sheep’s head?

Tuesday I cooked some, did the laundry, rested my knee and helped the Cowboy put up ONE sheet of drywall.  It’s a good thing we only had ONE of those to hang or we would be divorced! 😲 The drywall lift has been a marriage saver!😋 There was no way to get the lift into the shower so we had to lift the sheet over our head, make it fit around a very specific cut-out and screw the sheet to the studs. It was hard, way hard!! About killed both of us!!  As I said, I’m glad there was only one of those!!

The Cowboy has been experimenting with a rough texture, made to look like plaster drywall finishing technique–he’s got it down–our house is going to look so good!

Tuesday evening about 5pm it started to rain and rained off and on all night long. Wednesday morning there was over one inch of rain in the gauge.  That’s always a good thing in the desert. And, it may rain more tonight and tomorrow. That’s Rockfellow Dome to the left of center taken from our side of the mountains.

These are some sunset photos I took a few days ago–

Lots of people have told us we can’t grow citrus trees in this part of southeastern Arizona.  Well, we have two trees and ONE piece of citrus–not sure if it’s a lemon or a lime because I can’t remember which tree is which.

We Have A Party

Thursday my knee was better and we hung drywall again–the living/dining room is now completely covered with drywall–makes the space look large!

This is the living room in this photo–we decided early on to keep the two brick walls in the house.  The lighter colored beam with the blue tape we installed and I will stain it to match the beam showing on the right side of the photo which was original to the house.

It was such a beautiful day Thursday we couldn’t stay inside and off we went for a short Can-Am adventure.  On Saturday when Louanne and I were in Tucson, the Cowboy, Emmi and Dan joined friends Lisa and Lyndon on an ATV ride.  Friends of Lisa and Lyndon’s joined them–Kevin and Janice. They found an old flooded, abandoned gold mine.  Lyndon had heard the miners discovered a rather large vein of gold when they also hit water, lots and lots of water.  They brought in huge pumps but could not rid the mine of the water.  This is all hearsay of course but it makes a good story.  And there was a huge hole on one side of the “pond” that must have been the mine shaft.

Emmi’s favorite riding spot.  She has learned to duck the limbs along the trail.

You can see the shaft in the left side of the photo.  If you watched the water you could see it flowing from the mine–kind of spooky if you ask me!

Close up of the shaft. Fall in the Dragoons.

We startled a pair of deer when we approached the mine–I’m sure that pond provides water for a wide variety of desert critters.

Friday the Cowboy puttered and so did I.  We went out to the Sunsites “boardwalk” and pursued the vendors who gather every Friday we sell their wares.  I found a beautiful card, a lavender filled neck wrap which can be warmed in the microwave and a pair of $2 reading glasses for the Cowboy.  He can’t carpenter with his normal strength reading glasses and needs a couple steps lower strength–found a bargain, he tried them out and we purchased.

Saturday was spent getting ready for the party and would you believe I didn’t take not one photo of all our friends who gathered in our home to enjoy getting to know each other, eat the fabulous food everyone contributed and just generally have a great time! When we moved to this area almost three years ago we met some people at church and then we met Dan and Louanne who in turn introduced us to other folks.  We’ve also met other people through Brian–our friend/aka well driller.  Twenty four people gathered at our house last night–we cleaned up all the construction mess, set up chairs and tables in the main house and spread out. People wandered in and out of rooms hearing the story of our restoration project, visited with friends and got to know people they hadn’t met before.  It was a fabulous time and we are so glad we reached out!

Sunday we both attended church and the after church Thanksgiving potluck–it was delicious!!!  Wonder how many Thanksgiving meals we can have before the actual day of feast???

Moon rising over Sunsites.

Life is good.


Pie Baking

Sunday evening Louanne sent a text, “want to bake pies Monday morning about 9am?” Louanne is a great pie baker and I wanted to learn how to make pie crust–I am a great baker but pie crusts have always defeated me. So off I went Monday to Dan and Louanne’s after walking the Emmi girl.

The kitchen at their house was in full swing when I arrived.  Dan is the chief apple peeler–

He has a handy/dandy counter top mounted apple peeler like the one Karen sent me a few years ago. We kept him busy as we made six pies!

Another of my “struggles” was getting that crust into the pie plate without tearing. Pioneer Woman Ree Drummond rolls her pie crust out on parchment paper and I’ve tried her method–sort of successfully. Louanne’s method worked like a charm–amazingly well.  Just roll the dough around the rolling pin and then roll it back out over the pie plate–wal-la!!!  See that cloth covered round thing under my rolling pin–it’s also a game changer!  Pie dough does NOT stick to the floured cloth!  I have the cloth but it’s not on a round board–a project for the Cowboy???

I always struggled with those pie crust making directions, “dough should look like coarse cornmeal,” or “dough should have pea sized clumps.” Louanne made it look easy and I mixed the next two batches of dough with her directions. As I said we made six apple pies and Louanne sent me home with enough pie crust dough to make another apple pie which I did after we ate lunch.

Those hands are Louanne’s making the edge of the pie crust look “pretty.”

The Cowboy worked so hard on Monday, he “mudded” a lot of drywall, mixed and spread more cement in the shower floor and then mixed even more cement to fill in a low spot in the living/dining room floor. Remodeling an old home requires vision and my husband has it–but then we’ve had to deal with the aftermath of our “visions.”  We moved walls, lots of walls, and that caused us to find issues which made us wonder, “what were the original owners of this house thinking, what was this room’s use???”  The main house is about 1500 square feet and it was advertised as having FIVE bedrooms.  That advertising was done long after the house had been abandoned and allowed to deteriorate.  We think one of those five bedrooms was actually the dining room but who knows.  The people who originally owned this house would NOT recognize it today!

Tuesday the Cowboy “mudded” some more, moved stuff around so we could hang drywall and completed various other projects.  I sat on the couch and applied ice/heat to my knee.  My knee was basically healed until I started going to yoga class. The woman who teaches the yoga class in this community does not seem to know how to deal with older people or people who tell her, “I tore a ligament in my knee and need to be careful.”  I’ve watched her force older people into poses they shouldn’t be doing and I let her stress my knee again.  She advertises her yoga as “beginner/intermediate.”  I’ve done a lot of yoga over the last few years and her yoga is advanced. She is a fan of going around the room and “forcing” people into difficult poses.  I actually had to tell her one day when she was about to put her foot on my hip, “don’t do that.”  When she persisted I said loudly, “don’t touch me.”   I won’t be going back.  I will either practice yoga at home by myself or drive the 25 miles to Elfrida where there is an extremely competent teacher.  I miss my Julia–our yoga teacher in Montana!

Today my knee was better and I helped the Cowboy hang drywall.  We are making progress day by day.  After lunch I made a trip over to Benson with a long grocery list.  We are having a gathering/party on Saturday night and I needed some last minute things plus the regular groceries.  The Cowboy took a ride on the motorcycle–it was such a beautiful day, 70 degrees and sunny!

Life is good!

Sandhill cranes heading for Whitewater Draw.

Moon going down Wednesday morning over the Dragoons.




Fabulous Weekend

Thursday the Cowboy hung drywall with a little help from me now and then. I spent the day packing and cooking so the Cowboy wouldn’t starve. 🙂

Friday morning bright and early Louanne arrived and off we went heading for our weekend away in Tucson. We rented a condo in the downtown area of Tucson, shopped, shopped some more and ate some fabulous meals.  It was the best of times spent with a good friend.

Our condo was an older one somewhat remodeled–we didn’t try this stove except to heat water for Louanne’s pour over coffee–

See the row of white push buttons in the upper right of the photo–those controlled the burners.  I think that stove came over on Noah’s ark!!

The flooring was wood plank looking tile and was obviously newer.  The pool area was pretty–this was a fountain feature just off our balcony and there were always birds bathing and splashing in the water.

The condo was very convenient to everything. We ate Italian at Vivace–delicious and it was warm enough for dining outside. Saturday we shopped and had an late lunch/early dinner at the absolute best Mexican restaurant–it was outstanding!  I like Mexican food but I’m not a fan of those plates of cheesy–can’t tell what anything is–Mexican food. This place didn’t serve that kind of Mexican food.  The menu at Cafe Poca Casa changes daily and somehow the wait staff memorizes the extensive ingredient lists for each of the 8-10 items on the menu presented to diners on a chalkboard. Louanne and I absolutely loved what we ordered and I brought home a portion of mine and it was just as good for lunch today!

We were home by about 1pm to a happy Cowboy and Emmi–I’m sure Dan was glad to see Louanne too! 🙂  It was such a good time but it’s also good to be home in our quiet country place and I’m looking forward to sleeping tonight without all those city lights and city noises.

The Cowboy, Emmi and Dan took an ATV ride with friends Lyndon and Lisa yesterday up into the Dragoon Mountains–so we both got to play this weekend. The Cowboy hung drywall again today and the master bedroom is actually starting to look like a bedroom!

And for the first time in a long time the Cowboy–much to his dismay–has a phone and it’s even a smart phone. A simple Android Tracfone which arrived from Amazon on Friday after I had left. The Cowboy tried to make the phone work over the weekend but wasn’t successful. I ended up having to call Tracfone which once I got past their stupid automated system wasn’t a bad experience.  The person who helped me spoke understandable English and had my problem solved in just a few minutes.

Life is good.

A Little Rain And The Cowboy Turns Mechanic

During the night we woke to the sound of rain on the roof. It rained just enough to settle the dust and this morning the skies looked ominous–but no more rain. Emmi seems to be saying, “enough with the photo taking we are going to get wet!!”

We’ve been working steadily on hanging drywall and the Cowboy has been running more electrical wires. Tuesday I washed all the windows in the living/dining/porch areas of the main house–I’m thinking we installed too many windows!! 🙂

Tuesday afternoon the missing in action bathroom vanity arrived. And as I always say, “thanks goodness for the backhoe.” That box was heavy! We had been looking for ready made vanities–to save the Cowboy a little work–the ones I liked were way too pricey and the ones the Cowboy liked because of price–I didn’t like.  We found one we both liked in the Sierra Vista Lowes store but it too was a bit pricey.  I’m sure you’ve all experienced this–you are searching for a particular item on Amazon for example and the next thing you know ads for that item are showing up on every page you surf.  Well, we are thinking Home Depot might have been lurking in the background–you think??  We received an email offering a bathroom vanity we both liked for less than $200!!  It has a granite top and sink–not as many drawers as I would like but we will cope.  It’s original price was over $800–I’m thinking a bargain found us!! The shipping company Home Depot used was a touch sketchy but the vanity finally arrived–all is good.

The master bath shower is taking shape. We elected to build a walk in shower with no door to clean.

We’ve had some cloudy days making for beautiful sunsets–

When we were riding the Paiute Trail in Utah this past September we were having trouble with the CanAm–the speedometer would read “0” even if we were going 40mph and we would lose power steering.  When at North Ranch Larry and the Cowboy were talking–Larry had the same issues with his CanAm ATV and it was the speed sensor.  Today the Cowboy changed all the fluids in the Can-Am and cleaned the speed sensor–took it out for a test drive and all is good.  It’s good to have your own mechanic! 🙂

On the way to Willcox along the back road you will find the Bonita Bean Company where they raise and sell pinto beans. We needed beans and as we were almost to Willcox we decided to go the rest of the way and have dinner at the Double S Steakhouse–good meal.



Miles On The Trucks And Goblins

Thursday on Halloween the Cowboy moved–as in cleared out one of the main house bedrooms so we could begin laying the drywall–he worked hard all day as there was a ton of stuff stored in that room. I baked a cake–one of those decadent flourless chocolate cakes. We live too far from town for trick or treaters to bother coming to our house so in the evening we headed to Dan and Louanne’s. Dan cooked a fabulous meal as usual and we got to see all the cute kids coming to the door for Halloween treats.

These are our goblins–John, Laci and Lora in Germany.

And Brooks and Millie in Montana. Those little cheeks just make me want to grab her and snuggle!!

Friday we hung drywall–not my favorite thing to do.  We have an electric drywall screw gun but unless you have it positioned exactly right the screws aren’t set perfectly for application of drywall mud.  So—my job is to go behind the Cowboy with a regular screw gun and re-seat the screws which sit too high.  Again–not my favorite job and there is often a bit of cursing going on!! 🙂

We took a lunch break on Friday and went to the Sunsites Fire Department open house.  Lots of raffle tickets to buy–I won a $15 gift certificate to the little coffee shop in town–and lots of other informational booths.  They served a lunch of hot dogs and hamburgers. While the Cowboy and I were sitting on a stone wall eating our lunch I noticed our reflection in the hubcap of the fire truck–

Saturday Dan and Louanne came to get us about 9am and we headed to Tubac, AZ for a fall craft festival.  We took the long way around through Sonoita and Patagonia–beautiful country.  Lots of treasures at the craft festival and I managed to come home with only ceramic Mexican style house numbers.  We enjoyed a great lunch on the patio of one of the many restaurants, shopped a touch more and headed home.

Sunday was another long day of driving. That dang Craigslist got us again–I saw a bedroom set I really liked and when the price dropped by $200 the Cowboy said, “let’s go get it.”  The three of us left home again at 9am and didn’t get home until 4:30pm because of course we had to stop at Costco and Walmart–both of which were a zoo on Sunday!

And a sweet photo of my Cowboy and Emmi–