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–

We Have A Porch Roof

Monday we drove to Sierra Vista to purchase the steel for the porch roof and miscellaneous other items. Walmart grocery pickup worked seamlessly this time. We had reached out to Steve from The Hounds And Other Adventures but a meet up just couldn’t happen. We will give more notice next time and make it happen.

Tuesday the Cowboy spent the day running electrical wires while I cooked and cleaned.  About 3pm Jeanie and Ray arrived. We met these folks in 2011 through Al and Kelly of the Bayfield Bunch while spending time in the Elfrida/Pearce area in our camping in the motorhome days. The little schnauzer in the photo with Jeanie is Jazz, our sweet girl we had before Emmi.  Jazz was thinking the chicken behind the fence looked mighty tasty.  We  had a great time catching up and enjoyed a fabulous meal.

IMG_1773IMG_1778

The last couple of days clouds have rolled in allowing for good sunset photos–

The mornings have been calm and chilly–the coal fired electrical generating plant was sending up big plumes of steam as Emmi and I took our walk one of those chilly morning.

Today we spent the entire day working on the porch roof and we now have a roof.  Later in the year we will have the cement poured for the floor. It certainly changes the look of our house.  We will also have a porch over the front door of the guest house–later.

And I hung my little “It’s A Dog’s Life” quilt today.  Have you quilting readers ever used the Hang It Dang It quilt rods?  I love these hangers–one little nail in the wall and the quilt is balanced perfectly.

And that’s about it for the early part of our week. Thanks for reading!

Work And Play

Thursday we worked on the porch roof a bit and Friday the Cowboy worked on the porch roof a bit too much! Friday evening Louanne and Dan joined us for a fabulous meal if I do say so myself! I grilled a tri-tip using this recipe I found on the internet–

Grilled Tri-Tip (Allrecipes.com)

Ingredients

4 pounds tri-tip roast

4 cloves garlic, peeled and very thinly sliced

1/3 cup salt

1/3 cup black pepper

1/3 cup garlic salt

Directions

Using a sharp knife, cut small slits into the top of the roast. Stuff the slits with slices of garlic.

  1. Mix together salt, pepper, and garlic salt. Rub entire mixture all over the tri-tip. Refrigerate at least an hour and up to all day. Take the meat out of the refrigerator about 20 minutes before grilling.
  2. Preheat an outdoor grill for high heat.
  3. Place the meat directly above the flame for 5 to 10 minutes per side (depending on thickness) to sear the meat and lock in the juices.
  4. Turn the grill down to medium heat and continue to cook for another 25 to 30 minutes, trying not to flip it too much. Check for doneness with a meat thermometer. Thermometer should read at least 145 degrees F (63 degrees C) for medium-rare. Let stand, covered loosely with aluminum foil, for 5 minutes before slicing. Slice across the grain.
  5. My notes:  I reduce the amount of both the salt and garlic salt just a bit–it’s too salty for us if you use the amount in the recipe. Use an instant read meat thermometer–I use this thermometer  by Weber and it works well by keeping you from overcooking this cut of meat.

Dan provided the dessert, an apple tart kind of dessert–it was wonderful and we got to keep the leftovers!

Saturday we drove to Elfrida to visit the farmer’s market.  Not much “farm” to the market, mostly arts and crafts and assorted garage sale type “junk.” Back at home we joined Dan and Louanne for a trip to the Amerind Museum to enjoy the museum’s Autumn Fest celebrating the Native American Zuni art, history and culture.  These Zuni women were amazing–we are thinking those are real pottery pots on top of their heads which stayed in place the whole time they danced–

Their costumes were stunning–notice their squash blossom necklaces! These two ladies were the musicians.

Sunday we enjoyed a late breakfast, I headed off to church and the Cowboy erected the rest of the ceiling in one of the main house bedrooms.  Late lunch and the rest of the day was quiet–I stitched quilt binding and read–I started a 1474 page book–A Suitable Boy. I am a fast reader but this one may take me a while.  The book is set in India and I keep having to refer back to the character list to keep myself oriented.

Life is good.

Fall In The Chiricahuas

We’ve been having some of the most wonderful weather–high 70’s in the day time. One morning it was 37 degrees but most mornings it’s in the low 40’s. We will take it!

The Cowboy and I have been working on the front porch of the main house in the mornings before the sun gets too hot. I can’t wait until this part of our house is finished–it’s going to make a big difference in how the house looks.

Has anyone ever seen a tree like this?  We purchased this potted tree in December of 2017 at Home Depot.  It sat beside our front door and I strung Christmas lights on the tree–we purchased what we thought was a spruce tree. When we arrived this season our spruce tree had morphed into a pine tree?????

We took a break today and drove over the Chiricahua Mountains to Portal. We usually go home through Rodeo, NM and then Douglas, AZ but today we just turned around and headed back over the mountain. It’s beginning to be fall at those higher elevations and we saw beautiful color and no people.  We were both amazed at how few people were up there today–awesome!

This one’s for you Mike McFall  –to those of you who don’t know, the RVing, blogger world lost a good one last week.  Mike had struggled for years with cancer and the disease finally took him.  We will all miss that big smile and those stories, rest in peace Mike.

Our lunch spot at the Paradise, AZ cemetery.  There is a list of those buried in the cemetery and the earliest date was 1904 and the latest 2018. Paradise was a former mining town in the early 1900’s but when the mine was abandoned and the post office closed, the town died in about 1943.  There is an eclectic group of people living in Paradise now in a cluster of old homes.

Emmi’s favorite position when the truck is going slowly.

And that’s about it for the last few days, life is good.

One Big Train

Moon going down over the Dragoons Almost down, peeking over the Dragoons

Moon coming up in a cloud bank.

Party is over, time to go back to work! Thursday I painted the hot water heater closet–part of the remodel of the remodel. One of the bedrooms in the main house was going to have two doors–one to the hallway and one into the bathroom and they were both originally going to be located in a corner. The Cowboy despises pocket doors–I love them because they take up no space in a room. So, in a semi-compromise we moved the location of the hot water tank and put the bedroom door to the hallway in the former location of the hot water tank–clear as mud, right! After the paint dried the Cowboy laid the tile flooring, grouted it Friday morning and then moved the hot water tank into its new spot.

The Cowboy has been working on the bedroom ceiling–lowering it a touch.  We tried to find some garage sales Friday morning but the people who advertised and put out signs obviously changed their minds!  I finished a great book–A Tangled Mercy by Joy Jordan-Lake set in Charleston, SC during the slave era and present day.

Mid afternoon Friday the Home Depot truck arrived with all the stuff we had ordered a week or so ago. Very nice and competent driver, Larry. He made short work of unloading, we moved some of the stuff into the house and garage–the rest of the stuff will stay outside for a while.

Saturday we had an exciting experience–we got to see Union Pacific’s No. 4014 The Big Boy steam locomotive.

Big Boy No. 4014

Twenty-five Big Boys were built exclusively for Union Pacific Railroad, the first of which was delivered in 1941. The locomotives were 132 feet long and weighed 1.2 million pounds. Because of their great length, the frames of the Big Boys were “hinged,” or articulated, to allow them to negotiate curves. They had a 4-8-8-4 wheel arrangement, which meant they had four wheels on the leading set of “pilot” wheels which guided the engine, eight drivers, another set of eight drivers, and four wheels following which supported the rear of the locomotive. The massive engines normally operated between Ogden, Utah, and Cheyenne, Wyo.

There are seven Big Boys on public display in various cities around the country. They can be found in St. Louis, Missouri; Dallas, Texas; Omaha, Nebraska; Denver, Colorado; Scranton, Pennsylvania; Green Bay, Wisconsin; and Cheyenne, Wyoming.

Big Boy No. 4014 was delivered to Union Pacific in December 1941. The locomotive was retired in December 1961, having traveled 1,031,205 miles in its 20 years in service.  Union Pacific reacquired No. 4014 from the RailGiants Museum in Pomona, California, in 2013, and relocated it back to Cheyenne to begin a multi-year restoration process. It returned to service in May 2019 to celebrate the 150th Anniversary of the Transcontinental Railroad’s Completion.  from UP.com

It was thrilling to stand by the tracks and watch that gigantic train approach.

Oiling the pistons, has to be done at every stop.

I know those guys!   The whistle was loud and the engineer blew it long and loud for the crowd. Willcox was also having a wine festival and the little town was quite crowded. After the train left we headed to the Double S restaurant for lunch. We are glad Dan went with us. And as we were walking back toward the truck I heard someone say my name, I turned and there was a couple from the past–Jeanie and Ray from McNeal just south of us.  The Bayfield Bunch introduced us to Ray and Jeanie long ago–Al and Kelly used to ranch sit for them and we also stayed in this area. This link will take you to our other blog and our first visit with Jeanie and Ray.   As I read that post on TinTeePeeLogCabin I had to smile–we did a complete turn around about owning property didn’t we!

Before leaving for Willcox we started a little preliminary work on the front porch of the main house–I am so excited–I’ve been wanting that to happen but I don’t bug my contractor! 🙂

Sunday we went to church and when home the Cowboy finished installing the new hot water heater. In the late afternoon we went to the home of friends, Lyndon and Lisa where we met some new people and enjoyed a fabulous meal and conversation.  Life is good!

Twenty Five Years

And they said it wouldn’t last! Michael and I celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary today, Wednesday. We were 38 and 48 when we met and were married shortly thereafter when we were 39 and 49. Where have the years gone, it truly does seem like yesterday when I walked into Walkers Grill in Billings, MT to meet a guy I’d never seen before.  I often say I wish we had met when we were younger but I will take the years we’ve had. He loves me to the moon and back and I love him to the moon and back. No, it hasn’t always been a bed of roses but we’ve had way more good times/days/years than bad.

our wedding dayOur wedding day in October with a snowstorm at the home of dear friends, Jill and Terry.  Here’s a link to the story of how the Cowboy and I met.

And no, I didn’t ride the motorcycle wearing flip flops, this was a photo taken by the organizers of a rally we were attending.

When we first met I was Director of Nursing at the hospital in Powell, WY and the Cowboy was managing a ranch near Big Timber. He also owned the ranch up the Boulder.  We were taking a Sunday drive discussing where we would live, Wyoming or Montana.  As there was no hospital in Big Timber (at least not with an operating room–my specialty) I didn’t see how it would be possible for me to live in Big Timber.  The Cowboy said, “well, you wouldn’t have to work.”  I was driving and that statement about sent me careening off the road. I had never not worked!

So, I moved to Big Timber and didn’t work except on the ranch helping the Cowboy.  I learned what constitutes a calf coming out the right direction and what would tell me if it was coming out the wrong way–get the Cowboy–and hurry!  When I saw my new husband walking the top rung of the wooden fence I learned heifers are sometimes cranky after birthing their first calf.  I learned how to drive an 8000 pound hay swather with a 12 foot cutting bar.  And I even baled hay one summer. The Cowboy learned to live with a bossy oldest child–he’s an only child–and he learned how important my family is to me.

He learned that I wouldn’t eat anything I had to feed every day with a bottle and that I didn’t particularly like cow poop on my boots! My life helping on the ranch only lasted about nine months and I became very bored–the owners of the ranch kept the Cowboy busy but not me.  I went to work as a consultant for the Kimberly-Clark Corporation supporting their healthcare product sales representatives all across the country.  I traveled usually twice per month and in the “honeymoon” phase the Cowboy would take me to the airport (100 miles) and then come back and get me at the end of the week. This job lasted 12 years and I learned to take myself to the airport :).  At the age of 62 the Cowboy retired.  I worked a couple more years and retired at the age of 54.  We have been incredibly blessed in our life together and I wouldn’t trade places with anyone else.

Today we left Emmi at home and traveled to Tucson for lunch at the highly rated El Charro–a Mexican food restaurant operated by the same family since 1922 in downtown Tucson. We made a Costco run and stopped at Petsmart buying the Emmi girl a new bed and a new toy which she absolutely loves!  Life is good.