Touring Agua Prieta

On Tuesday morning, 10am found us sitting in the Douglas, AZ Auto Zone parking lot awaiting our tour guide, Keoki.  When he arrived in a 1987 Volvo which had seen better days I had reservations.  Those reservations were totally unfounded.  Keoki and his Mexican wife have lived in Agua Prieta for over 30 years raising five children.  He’s a former newspaper writer and has the gift of gab in both English and Spanish. 🙂

The tour started on the American side of the big fence–On the US side, the fence is a metal mesh–then there is a concrete ditch and then another fence, twenty feet tall on the Mexican side of the border.  The Mexican people have decided to make the fence a little more visibly pleasing–

On the US side, Keoki showed us the building where the tunnel built by drug lord El Chapo terminated in the US.  The tunnel was huge–Keoki has a photo of the actual tunnel–and allowed drugs to enter the US and drug money to enter Mexico.  The tunnel was discovered in 1990 and here is an interesting NY Times article  detailing the discovery.

There are several American company factories in Agua Prieta–one a Velcro factory.  Keiko told us his sister-in-law works in one of the factories and makes about $11/day.  To put it in perspective, he said his sister-in-law must work two hours to afford two boxes of corn flakes.  Have you counted your blessings lately???  Keiko asked the man “thrashing” the bear grass if he made as much money as someone working in the factories–“yes, I do and here I am outside, I can smoke a cigarette when I want to, I’m not shut in some factory with rules.”

We visited a bear grass processing factory–

Image result for bear grass arizonathe bear grass doesn’t look anything like what we call bear grass in Idaho and Montana.  The grass is being harvested in the mountains near Silver City, NM.  It is used to make bear grass brooms and in the making of fiberglass.  This is a low tech operation–

Drying racksReady to go.

There is a flour mill

which a group of polygamist Morman people built.  The factory is no longer used to mill flour but is still in use–large quantity bags of flour are broken down into smaller quantities and distributed.

A highlight of the tour was Cafe Justo–several years ago the Presbyterian church noticed an influx of people in Agua Prieta from a coffee growing Mexican state.  The coffee bean growers had found it impossible to make a living–they had no resources for distributing their coffee and were unable to support their families–so they abandoned their land and moved to Agua Prieta hoping for a better life.  Many crossed the border into the United States.  The Presbyterian church started a co-op of sorts–the coffee bean producers moved back to their land, the church subsidized the worker wages and provided a means to get the coffee beans to consumers.  The coffee/espresso cafe is part of the co-op and provides additional jobs.  The coffee roasting factory is attached to the cafe.  The smell when we walked in was divine and the coffee absolutely delicious.  I purchased a bag of beans and as many of you know–I’m really, really picky about our coffee–we made coffee this morning using those beans–absolutely delicious!!!

Maria Bonita Hotel–eight rooms, built from the ground up by the owners–we were allowed to see some of the rooms–stunning!!  There is also a restaurant in the hotel.

Lunch was delicious–we ate in a very busy seafood restaurant–the two guys had shrimp dishes, I had fish tacos.  The three meals cost $30 which included the tip!

Wonder what the owner of this house does for a living?????–I bet I can guess!The fence is comprised of vertical steel beams with a space between each beam–you can see into the US between each steel beam.  This “door” is not visible driving directly toward the fence.  But, viewed from the side, the “door” is clearly visible–cool.

Keiko and his Spanish helped us purchase medications in a pharmacy and it was time to head back across the border.  He has a special border crossing pass and is allowed to bring people into Mexico in his car but cannot take people into the US in his car.  So, he dropped us right outside the border entry building and we were soon back on American soil.  We had a great time and enjoyed every minute of the tour–well worth doing!

More Rain And RV Homeless

By Sunday morning the puddles were smaller and there was some warming sunshine.  By Sunday afternoon dark clouds were growing and about 10pm we had a major downpour with even more rain waking us several times during the night.  The storm last night brought our rainfall total up to two inches–amazing!Monday morning rainbow.  I was off to yoga early leaving the Cowboy to his puttering.  After lunch I suggested we go to Sierra Vista–the Cowboy needed to cause major “ouch” on the credit card–supplies for the roof of the main house and we also needed to return an item we ordered online from Home Depot.  It was so chilly and windy no work was going to happen outside so off we went after I returned from getting my hair cut.

As many of you know, we are RV homeless for the first time since 2002 (we do still own the truck camper and it’s in Montana). We are struggling–do we buy a RV or go without??  Do we travel back and forth in the truck, staying in hotels along the way??  With the truck do we pull a cargo trailer with the CanAm inside??  If we do buy a RV what do we get???  Class C motorhomes just don’t do it for us but we certainly don’t need another 40 foot motorhome just to travel back and forth.  The Cowboy wants a 24 foot motorhome with a 500hp CAT engine and he also wants it to only be nine feet tall–anyone know where we can find one of those??? 🙂 🙂

 

 

Fog In Arizona

The phone rang early Friday morning–it was my hairdresser canceling my 8:30am haircut appointment as she doesn’t like to drive in fog.  Huh???  Fog in Arizona??  Yep, Friday morning and again this morning we had heavy, heavy fog.

The Dragoon Mountains are out there somewhere in that soup!

It rained for almost 48 hours straight, a nice, slow, steady rain and most of it was just absorbed by the desert sand.  Our gauge showed it rained almost one and one half inches over that 48 hours–wonderful!!  As I said, most of the rain was absorbed but we did have a few puddles–

Thursday afternoon late I drove out to the Grapevine Ranch/Oasis for yoga and the roads were incredibly muddy.  The Cowboy spent all morning today washing both trucks–it was sticky mud!

Friday was a Sierra Vista day–the Cowboy needed scaffolding–

and I needed interfacing for a sewing project I am starting.  We had a good lunch at the Outback and came home in the rain/fog.

Today the Cowboy started work in the living room of the main house.  He removed the drywall and insulation last week to find the builders of that house didn’t have a clue what they were doing.  There are no trusses and no supporting beams for the roof–the entire roof was supported by a 2×8 ridge pole attached to a single vertical piece of plywood sheeting on the front of the house.  The 2×8 ridge pole spanned sixteen feet and had sagged over two inches.  It’s amazing how that single sheet of vertical plywood supported one end of the ridge pole for all these years!

Our drip catchers during the rain–

The Cowboy also removed the kitchen cabinets, drywall and insulation from one wall in the kitchen.  All those pipes will be removed and new pipes installed in a different spot–the sink will be on the opposite wall and the cook stove will be on this wall.

The Montana geraniums I cut back and brought to AZ are blooming beautifully.

 

Grateful For The Rain

Sprinkled rain most of Wednesday–there is a joke in Arizona where people say, “we had an inch of rain—an inch between the two drops that fell!” 🙂  No accumulation until it began to rain harder during the night and it has rained most of today–we have almost an inch in the rain gauge–very grateful.  This part of Arizona has a rain deficit of five inches for the year.

Wednesday morning I spent at the library learning the ropes–I loved it!  The computer system was easy and the rest of it I remembered from high school where I helped in the library at times.  The highlight of yesterday morning was when an elderly, tall, thin man came in with a load of books to return.  I noticed his “World War II veteran” cap and when he asked me something I said, “anything for a World War II veteran.”  That statement opened the floodgates and he talked to me telling me war stories for more than thirty minutes.  I told him about Nat’s service as a bomber on B29 aircraft over the Pacific and more than likely the two of them might have been in the same area during the war.  This gentleman served on a merchant marine ship which carried the bombs to the B29 aircraft.  I so enjoyed talking to him–when I came home I called Nat and told him the story.

The Cowboy took me to Willcox for Valentine’s Day late lunch and we made a grocery store run too.  Today we had a treat–Pam and John plus Jodee, Bill and Tessa  came to see our place and to have lunch.  Pam and John are currently in Tucson and Jodee and Bill are at a friend’s home in Tombstone.  We had such an enjoyable afternoon–they all received the nickel tour, we visited then enjoyed a fabulous lunch which Jodee and Pam contributed to.  A great day!

After the gang left I changed clothes and headed out to the Grapevine Oasis, formerly the Grapevine Ranch which sits up in the foothills of the Dragoon Mountains.  The Monday morning yoga teachers were starting a Thursday afternoon class at the Oasis.  They announced this class at our Monday morning session and stated it would be an intermediate class–well, thanks to Julia back in Montana I can handle an intermediate yoga class!  Yoga twice a week–fantastic!

One relaxed Tessa dog!  I have a rule–I don’t post unflattering photos of people–we took a group photo with several different devices but the one on my camera wasn’t the most flattering to some of us–we looked as if our eyes were crossed–so no photos of the gang.  Maybe some of the other folks will post better photos on their blogs???

What Took Me So Long

We have a good vacuum cleaner, it has great suction but the tools are almost unusable and I think the stupid thing weighs at least 45 pounds–I kid you not!!  The flooring in this house is all tile, no carpet.  I wanted a lightweight, flexible–as in get under the beds and furniture–type vacuum.  My friend Jane bought a stick vacuum when we were together at North Ranch–a Dyson–which she loves.  I have a large Dyson in Montana but just didn’t want to spend that much for a stick vacuum not knowing how well it would work or hold a charge.

Well, what took me so long???  I wanted lightweight and I looked for the machines which had the vacuum mechanism at the top so the bottom parts would be small and narrow enough to go under the furniture.  I chose this VViViD–reviews were as good as most other stick vacuums but what really made me buy this one–an advertised battery life of 30 minutes.  I used it for the first time today and I am so pleased!–6 pounds and very flexible at the joint where the roller mechanism attaches.  I had no loss of battery power and I vacuumed the whole house–our house is small–but I took my time.  We will see what happens–it wasn’t pricey and it was made in some foreign country with no grasp of the English language judging by the poorly written worthless manual.

Monday went by in a blur–not sure what I did in the morning other than walk Emmi–and in the afternoon I had a pedicure and a thirty minute conference call which lasted over an hour.  Today the Cowboy made one of those truck load dump runs–he has removed all the drywall and insulation from the ceiling of the main house which made for lots of garbage.

Today I helped the ladies from our church serve the monthly “senior lunch” at the Sunsites Community Center.  It’s a great group of ladies and I enjoyed spending time with them.  I served as a waitress–and no, I’ve never waited tables–and I didn’t dump anyone’s lunch in their laps or get any orders wrong.  I did give grief to several of the guys who didn’t eat their vegetables! 🙂

Our UPS man brought another cool package in addition to the vacuum–a new rug for the living room–it really ties everything together!

Life is good!

Fire On The Mountain

Just after lunch on Saturday I glanced out the kitchen door toward the Dragoon Mountains–is that a cloud??  I stepped outside and realized–nope, that’s NOT a cloud!  After alerting Al and Kelly to the excitement I searched social media for information finding a Cochise Country Fire and Incident Facebook site.  Due to some confusion on that particular site we at one time thought we were under an evacuation order but that was later revealed to be a mistake on the part of the emergency notification services.  The wind was horrible Saturday but died in the evening and we have had little wind today.  The fire has grown to 3000 acres but is on the eastern side (Benson) of the Dragoon Mountains.

This photo was taken Saturday afternoon and the below photo was taken Sunday morning–no smoke.

Well, we attempted to dine at the VFW on Saturday–we were there at 5:30pm and the steaks were gone–sold out! So we went to TJ’s–the local bar–and had a very mediocre dinner.  Today the Bayfield Bunch began their trek toward Florida–we wish them a totally uneventful trip and good weather!!!

The Cowboy and I went to church this morning and then enjoyed a Valentine’s Day potluck–the food was great! I need the stuffed pasta shells recipe–it was delicious!  We’ve had some colorful sunrises lately–

Downtown Big TimberThe Big Timber, MT webcam–looks nasty and cold in Montana doesn’t it!

 

North Of The Border Visitors

The Bayfield Bunch stopped in to visit again as they inch their way east–they arrived Thursday afternoon and will spend a few days with us before pointing their rig east.  They have a long way to go in their travels and we wish them all the best!

  Pheebs enjoying some sunshine and Emmi’s duck much to Emmi’s dismay!! We both feel so much better, Thursday was the turning point and today we’ve both felt almost back to normal.  As a result the Cowboy decided to start a couple small projects.  He installed the kick space boards under the kitchen counters–looks “finished” now! I’ve never liked cabinets which don’t go all the way to the ceiling–the ones in this kitchen have about a six inch space from cabinet top to ceiling–as far as I’m concerned it’s just an area for dust and bugs to collect so we are closing in that area.  The Cowboy started that process on Thursday, too.

Today I’ve been so thirsty and my hands and lips are incredibly dry–this might explain why–

9% humidity outside and 11% inside–that’s low humidity!  But it does get chilly here, in the early morning before dawn it must drop below freezing judging by the sheet of ice in our new birdbath each morning!  Our daytime temps have been just perfect lately–mid 70’s–perfect!

Lazy Under The Weather Days

UGH–both of us have lived on the couch the last few days with terrible head colds.  We are finally on the mend! We eat right, exercise, get lots of sleep–why do we keep getting sick?  This is my second cold of the season and that’s two too many!  We are fairly isolated in Montana and when we traveled south in the motorhome we are also fairly isolated–we didn’t seem to acquire every single bug floating around.  In North Ranch we were around lots of people and it seemed we were sick more often.  Now we are in another community and seem to acquire too many bugs!  Guess we need to become hermits.  We’ve tried the EmergenC stuff–doesn’t work.  Any thoughts out there??

I did feel well enough to run some errands this afternoon and paint some floor trim boards.  The Cowboy started and finished our tax prep–our accountant will be so pleased!

So–nothing, absolutely nothing blog worthy going on around here.  These three couch potatoes have streamed lots of TV, read books and napped lots!  And ate chicken noodle soup.  I guess Emmi only napped, she only comes awake when the TV is on and she hears a dog bark plus she doesn’t read or eat chicken noodle soup! 🙂 🙂

Here’s two of our granddaughters enjoying a sunny snow day in Germany–I love this photo!

Image may contain: 1 person, standing, snow, outdoor and closeup

I did complete an application to volunteer at the local library four hours per week and I stopped to visit the local VFW where I was told, “yes, many of our meal nights are open to the public.”  We were told they serve a fantastic steak dinner once a month–this coming Saturday.

Who In Their Right Mind

Their right retired mind that is would want one of these things???–a concrete mixer!  We live about 30 miles from the nearest ready mix plant and they charge big bucks for mileage.  So my frugal Cowboy–bless his heart–wanted a cement mixer for smaller jobs such as the footings needed for the walls joining the two house together.  Why anyone built two houses within 3 feet of each other is a good question–it caused all sorts of drainage/roof problems.  There is also a wind tunnel effect in that 3 feet corridor between the two houses.  So, we are joining the structures making it one house–with guest quarters/mother-in-law suite, etc.

I found the cement mixer on a buy/sell Facebook group–it was located in Willcox so off we went this morning.  The location was so far out in the country the lady in my phone couldn’t find us to lead the way–we were looking for a needle in a haystack but finally found it–nice people!

While in Willcox we tried another Mexican food restaurant–Isabella’s–and it was very good–no margarita today Jodee! 🙂 While in the restaurant we watched another couple enter, sit down, jump up and get their own menus, then twiddle their fingers on the table until the waitress appeared to take their drink orders.  There was only one waitress and several tables with diners.  Our drinks/food were prompt as was the order delivery to the surrounding tables–the waitress had obviously done this before!  The couple gobbled their food then demanded their check before the last bite was taken.  UGH–those two people were NOT raised in the south where I was–no manners!

I’ve been wanting a bird bath–we hesitate to feed the birds and draw in other critters such as rats and mice–but I thought a bird bath might entice some visiting birds.  Ace Hardware in Willcox had just what I wanted–

I’ve started a little “mound” area for shrubs and flowers–I’ve planted a rosemary bush and some sort of tall grass plus our little Christmas tree is also out there.

The watering system for the trees on the west side of the house is now working–the timer which runs the drip lines is fairly simple to understand–some aren’t–we have one of each in Montana! 🙂

In spring of 2014 Geri and Larry took us to see a HUGE crested saguaro–

The ATV gang rode out to see the crested saguaro last week and were dismayed to find this

Image may contain: one or more people, sky, outdoor and natureKathy and Sandy examining the remains–disease, weight, wind–who knows but it was sad to see this photo!

We watched the Super Bowl last night–aren’t you proud of us Jim Meachum–and enjoyed it.  The game came in clear as a bell on CBS using our Amazon antenna.  The words “Amazon antenna” if clicked will take you to the antenna on the Amazon website.  I need to change the color of my hyperlinks so the words show up more clearly as a link but it requires my inserting HTML code into a section of the blog–YIKES!!–I haven’t summoned the courage yet!

And just a little trivia–did you know Tim Hauck, a safeties coach for the Philadelphia Eagles is from Big Timber, Montana??  His brother, Bobby Hauck, is the new head coach for the University of Montana.

We Have Yoga

And I am so excited!!!  There is a chair yoga group which meets weekly at the community center and I tried it once.  The mat yoga classes disbanded several years ago.  A couple from church attends chair yoga and were kind enough to call giving me the exciting news–yoga is “on” again–only one morning per week for now.  Last Monday the class was full and it was great!  I am hoping the teachers decide to have more classes per week.

 Taken while we were at Whitewater Draw Thursday. As we were walking around looking at the cranes an owl was hooting.  We found him in the rafters of the pavilion.  

Friday we made a trip to Tucson–one of those endless ones.  We looked at a couple of privately owned RVs–oh, my–ugh and double ugh!  Costco, Home Depot and Lowe’s–yep, it was an endless day!

The Cowboy spent the day digging in the dirt getting our tree/shrub watering system installed.  I planted two shrubs, ran errands for the Cowboy and made cookies.  I must not be living right–another cold has attacked me I’m thinking–ugh!

A high stepping Kildeer.