That Didn’t Take Long

Sunday evening we had the best time! I outdid myself in the cooking department–even if I do say so! Smoked tri-tips, twice baked potatoes, Caesar salad with homemade dressing (that was divine!), and an apple sharlotka cake for dessert. It was the usual six of us–our safe clan–Louanne and Dan, Linda and Janice. We ate, laughed, talked and repeated. We had so much fun!

Monday we took a drive–I drove this time and we bounced and bumped along some extremely rocky roads when my navigator decided we needed to take the “scenic route.” We were in the area of Fort Bowie–a NPS maintained site. We didn’t stop at the Fort as the Cowboy wasn’t in the mood for walking the required 1.5 miles into the site. Louanne and I will have to do that one. But the scenery was stunning! We drove out into the BLM Indian Bread Rocks site–huge rocks, lots of boondockers, windy and chilly.

Our plan had been to eat at the steakhouse/bar in Bowie where we’ve eaten once before. Nope, closed and for sale–another covid causality! Next choice was the steakhouse in Willcox–nope, closed on Monday. We finally landed at a favorite Mexican restaurant–way too chilly to sit outside. There were only two other diners present as it was 2pm in the afternoon.

Back home I got a good start on that pesky sweater sleeve and am now feeling comfortable with the process. For Christmas the Cowboy gifted me this set of really short stainless steel ChiaoGoo circular knitting needles. When I started using the set I was concerned that my arthritic hands would not be able to hang onto those little short needles. I am having no problems with the needles and I love how easy it makes knitting narrow circumferences in the round.

I’m thinking a new camera may be in my future–my Nikon has a spot on the lens which causes light spots to appear on subjects in certain lighting–you can see the light spot on the sleeve of the sweater.

The Cowboy is in the process of making a bench. In Montana we have a mudroom entry way and he built a beautiful bench for sitting down to remove your shoes. I wanted a smaller bench for the back door entry way into this house–he is delivering!

Remember in a blog post several weeks ago I said the laundry room was the last of the projects for this house remodel and that it could wait, it wasn’t a priority?? On Wednesday the Cowboy started demolition on one half the laundry room–he will mud the drywall and lay the tile floor. When that’s finished we will move the stackable washer/dryer which came with this house out and complete the room. There is also a hot water heater in that room that will have to be moved. So–that didn’t take long!

Friday we made a run to Sierra Vista–Walmart pickup order and a quick dash into Home Depot. We went through the drive through at Culvers and ate in the truck–covid is getting so old!!

Saturday we went to a garage sale where the Cowboy scored some steel fence posts (I don’t like the sound of that!) and grinding wheels. We made a dump run and went down to the Mustang Mall–our only gas station/convenience store and it’s 10 miles one way–to get gas and real tortillas (actually from Mexico).

Fog or funk from the two large dairies over in that valley??

 

 

Garage Door Opener, Knitting, Friends

We both are so enjoying being finished with this house/project/restoration. One of us seems to remark almost daily, “it feels so good to be finished!” The Cowboy created a cabinet that goes over the master bath toilet that will hide the pump for the mini split heating/air conditioning unit plus provide a bit of storage. I need to paint that cabinet and some doors but compared to what we were doing it seems like a vacation!

The Cowboy now has a working garage door opener from a box of parts! That was a heavy, insulated garage door we hauled to Arizona from Montana. The door was salvaged along with several others from a building being demolished on the ranch where Lonn lives. The other salvaged doors are still in our barn in Montana. We built the garage the first spring we owned this place in 2017 and we’ve been lifting that heavy door by hand–now it has an opener! YEA!

I’ve finished the body of my sweater and now on to the much dreaded sleeves. So far I think I have “picked up and knitted” then “ripped out” the stitches around the armhole to start the sleeve a total of FIVE times! I am “wearing out” the yarn!

Thursday we drove to Sierra Vista–a Home Depot run for cabinet paint, a light fixture for the guest house and miscellaneous items. Our Walmart grocery order was without issues and we so enjoyed sitting in the sun in our shirt sleeves having lunch at Culvers on an early January day.

We sat outside Thursday evening on our porch and watched the sun go down–still in our shirt sleeves–what a beautiful day!

In 2012 when we stayed in Cedar Key, Florida for two months we met Jerry and Wanda from Mississippi. Jerry wrote a blog, Eggs Rolling–he and Wanda do their traveling in a Casita. They have visited us in Montana and we’ve stayed in touch through blog reading and Facebook. Jerry doesn’t write the blog any longer and we had no idea they were in Arizona until last night I saw on Facebook they had been at the Cochise Stronghold. Well, the Stronghold is just up the road from us. I commented on their post and sent them an email. Friday afternoon they stopped by to visit and see our finished project. It was so good to visit with them again and hear those southern voices!

Friday I dropped by our great little library to reserve a book I wanted to read. The county and our librarian are once again restricting the number of people who can be in the library at one time and everyone must wear a mask. Arizona’s covid numbers have skyrocketed and we are again thinking twice about going to restaurants and any other place where people are not masking.

We’ve had a couple gray, cool, breezy days and a bit of rain is in the forecast. We will see if the weather man is correct!

But cloudy days do make for beautiful sunsets–

Life is good!

Happy New Year

Our friend Sue said she likes the week between Christmas and the New Year–slow, quiet, nothing expected of us and that’s how it’s been this past week. The Cowboy has puttered in his garage building a cabinet for over the toilet in the master bath. I’ve puttered in the house doing I’m not sure what.

It’s been quiet around our house–Monday we made a quick trip to Wilcox for oil and groceries. It was almost lunch time but not quite–I said, “let’s go home and I will make french dip sandwiches from leftover prime rib.” It didn’t take much to convince the Cowboy that would be better than eating out!

At one of the first Lion’s Club garage sales we attended in this area the Cowboy purchased a box full of garage door opener parts–literally, it was parts. Tuesday the Cowboy made all those parts work–he made the opener run! Seriously is there anything the man can’t do??? Parts are on order to make the opener actually raise the garage door.

The phone rang early Wednesday morning and it was Louanne. The Cowboy helped unload and then installed their new dryer Monday. They were calling to invite us to lunch and off to Douglas we went. We had the best Mexican food burro!  Amazingly good!

Thursday I made a run to Benson–our nearest Walmart and also visited the Safeway store. On the way back it started to rain and it rained off and on from then until Saturday morning. And the wind blew–oh, my goodness did the wind howl!! We had rain, the mountains have snow.

Friday evening we joined friends at Dan and Louanne’s for dinner to celebrate New Year’s Eve. We were all informed that we had to be gone long before midnight!😁The company was great and the food delicious as usual!

Saturday we braved the wind and headed to Linda’s for lunch where again we dined well! Do you see a pattern here?? We are dining too well!! Back home we all examined the backs of our eyelids for a bit.

When living at North Ranch near Wickenburg, Arizona there was a large active wood carving group. Our friend Tom belonged to that group and agreed one Christmas to carve a likeness of the Cowboy for me to give as a gift to my dear husband. Tom did a great job–the carving looks like the Cowboy right down the the brand on his chaps. He sits on a table in our living room and catches the morning light casting his shadow on the wall. The carving’s shadow looks very life like! (Robyn and Claire–recognize this table??)

 

 

Sunday morning our temperature was 16 degrees, sunny with no wind. It remained chilly all day but in spite of that I managed to take down the Christmas lights and the tree. Our house looks bare and un-decorated! Emmi and I took two walks and chased sticks–she chases, I throw–she doesn’t fetch, I have to go get the stick and throw it again. The Cowboy puttered in the garage in spite of the cold.

We wish you all a kind, healthy, prosperous and joyful New Year. May covid find its way out of our lives, may each of us find joy in the everyday.

 

We Had A Fabulous Christmas

Sunrise on Christmas Eve

It will soon be time to take down all the Christmas decorations–the outside lights, the tree, etc. and it always makes me a bit sad. I’m usually relieved to be rid of some of the clutter but the lights do make me happy when it’s dark so early and when it’s gloomy

Thursday was spent getting ready for Friday. On Christmas Eve we were joined by friends Louanne and Dan, Linda, Janice, and Betsy and Harry. We had a fabulous meal and the best time. Prime rib, mashed potatoes, green beans, Dan’s famous Caesar salad and Louanne’s famous red velvet cake. Oh my–we all waddled after eating so much! And this is the only photo I took that night!

I was feeling mighty special! My sister Ann and BIL Danny sent us flowers for Christmas, Janice brought this bouquet on Christmas Eve and Betsy also brought flowers. I simply love flowers and with three bouquets, I was special!! Linda brought that cute bag which contained a bottle of wine. She also sneaked a couple presents under our tree–flavored pistachios for the Cowboy and a bracelet she made for me!

Christmas Day was calm and quiet. We enjoyed a late morning breakfast with Dan and Louanne then spent the rest of the day relaxing–reading, knitting, eating, talking and Facetiming with family. The perfect Christmas Day!

Wind and rain clouds rolled through all day on Christmas Eve. The skies were amazing!

Sunday we puttered. The Cowboy had to get back to work making more door trim and installing it. We enjoyed prime rib leftovers for lunch–still yummy! And I baked two loaves of bread.

It was a beautiful, joyful Christmas season and we hope you all enjoyed your own Christmas time.

 

We Have A Harvest

Sunrise

We’ve been in Arizona just a little over six weeks. When I started using the enormous stainless steel kitchen sink that was installed just before we returned to Montana last spring I had my doubts! The dang thing water spotted like crazy–it looked awful all the time unless I cleaned it every single time after running water–now that’s a little inconvenient isn’t it! We do have very hard water but we are neither one water softener people so that wasn’t the solution.

Laurel from Raven and Chickadee has a similar sink and hard water–she also wasn’t in love with her new sink.  Karen from Karen In The Woods has a similar sink but soft water and was loving her new sink. I certainly was not loving mine and reached out to Karen. She recommended cleaning it with spray stainless steel cleaner–it worked!!! I like my sink a lot better now. The Cowboy is relieved he doesn’t have to figure out how to install a different sink in our quartz countertops!!

On Monday the Cowboy took the backhoe into town to help our caretaker Milton with a little project. The golf course in our small town is defunct, done, never to open again and has been that way for many years. The trees have died or are dying from lack of water which makes me so sad! People who have homes bordering what was the golf course mow and cut down dead trees that might fall onto their properties. Many people attempt to water the trees close to their homes to keep them from dying.

Milton had been working on a dead fallen tree all summer, hauling the firewood he cut out to our place. He had reached a point–the rest of the huge tree was too big for his chain saw so the Cowboy went to his rescue with the backhoe.

I’ve upgraded to Windows 11–haven’t found anything I especially despise just a bunch of little annoying things.

Tuesday I made toffee for the first time in my life–it is amazing!! CJ is a Facebook friend I found when quilting–she lives in Arkansas–I’ve never met her but that doesn’t keep me from loving her recipes as she is an amazing cook! Her fruitcake recipe is not your standard, dry, icky fruitcake–it’s amazing–I didn’t make it this year and miss it. The toffee recipe isn’t CJ’s but she is the culprit for posting it!

Alicia Key  (CJ)

Toffee

★★★★★

Candy, Chocolate, Holiday Favorites

Prep Time: 5 minutes | Cook Time: 20 minutes | Servings: Servings 24 servings

Ingredients:

1 cup coarsely chopped pecans

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter

1 cup granulated sugar

1/2 tsp kosher salt

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 cup dark chocolate chips

Directions:

Spray a 9-inch square baking dish with cooking spray and line with parchment paper.

Spread the chopped pecans in a single layer on top of the parchment.

Add butter, sugar, and salt to a heavy bottomed 3 quart pot

Bring to a boil over medium low heat, stirring frequently to dissolve the sugar.

Once the candy is boiling, stir occasionally, slowly and evenly, until the candy has reached 290F to 300F, or “hard crack” on a candy thermometer.

Once the candy has reached 290F-300F, remove from heat and gently stir in the vanilla extract.

Carefully pour the mixture over the chopped pecans.

Let the candy sit for a few minutes, undisturbed, before sprinkling the chocolate chips over the top.

Cover the baking dish with foil and let sit for 5 minutes or until the chocolate has softened.

Remove the foil and gently spread the softened chocolate into an even layer. An offset spatula works best for this.

Place the candy in the refrigerator and let cool completely. Give it at least 2 hours.

I have never been much of a bread maker. I joined the bandwagon and made lots of the artisan bread in five minutes a day type bread but not yeast loaf bread or rolls. I tried sourdough but have kind of given up on that idea–more trouble than I needed with the way we travel.

Another sunrise, can you see the light reflected in our bird bath?

Thanks to covid I have learned to make yeast loaf bread and a couple days ago I made rolls for the first time in my life. The rolls were amazing.

Wednesday we ventured to Willcox–the Cowboy needed oil for the backhoe, we went out to eat and picked up a few groceries. Back home the Cowboy tackled our front porch outside lights and I delivered goodie bags to friends in the community–turtle candies, toffee and candied, spiced nuts.

We have a harvest. When we purchased this place almost five years ago there were two sad looking pecan trees in front of the houses. With water the trees have thrived and today I noticed there were load of pecans popping out of their outer shells. The last couple years we’ve had a few pecans but the birds always beat us to them. This year there are lots and lots of pecans and for some reason the birds have not dined. I picked as many as I could reach–now the Cowboy needs to lift me up in the bucket so I can get the rest before the birds do!

Not All Days Are Perfect

Well, it had to come, it’s been winter in Arizona the last few days. Windy and chilly. Our home in Arizona sits at 4500 feet elevation–we are going to have some chilly days–can’t be avoided. But not as chilly as Montana has been the last few days–14 degrees and lower!

On Facebook I had noticed advertisements from a used furniture store in Douglas. I messaged the store on Thursday to ask if they were open. Yes, someone would be there until 3pm. We arrived at 2pm to find the lights off and the door locked. Anyone want to place bets on how long that place will survive?? So, we joked and said we drove 100 miles round trip for a Dairy Queen blizzard!😆

Friday was one long, long day! I had an appointment for my second and final knee injection. The surgeon kept me waiting almost an hour past my appointment time. His waiting room was the size of a cracker box with all the over scheduled patients sitting on top of each other.  Anyone want to place bets as to my ever going back to him for anything??

While waiting for me to finally come out of the doctor’s office the Cowboy searched for restaurants with patios in Tucson–with this surge in omicron cases of covid we had no desire to eat inside a restaurant. He found a Bisbee Breakfast Club close by and that’s where we dined–on their chilly patio with our hands wrapped around cups of hot coffee! We didn’t know the famous Bisbee restaurant had locations in Tucson–the food was great and so was our service!

A quick stop at Costco and a fruitless journey trying to find another used furniture store–it doesn’t exist any longer we are thinking.  The traffic on Grant was atrocious and we made a mental note to stay away from that part of Tucson in the future!

To Green Valley we go. Emmi had a veterinarian appointment and I had a small Walmart grocery pickup order. The vet clinic was super busy on this Friday afternoon and we waited about 30 minutes past our appointment time, seeing a new to the clinic veterinarian. We are going to try giving Emmi antibiotics long term to see if we can get rid of this chronic diarrhea.

Finally at about 6pm we were home. Ugh–what a day!!

Saturday we puttered and I cooked making more Christmas candies and an appetizer for a party. Saturday evening we journeyed (it’s not far!) to Dan and Louanne’s for a lovely Christmas party with drinks and delicious snacks! Their house looks so festive–

Someone noticed the rising moon and I stepped outside with Louanne’s phone snapping the above photo and some moon photos that didn’t turn out well.

This is the moon going down Sunday morning over the Dragoons.

Sunday was a low key day–a late breakfast and the Cowboy decided cutting up some of the firewood our caretaker brought us over the summer was in order. Just after noon I retrieved Louanne and we went to the coffee shop where local vendors were having a small bazaar. The rest of the day was spent puttering and relaxing plus walking the pooch.

Life is still good!

That Was Almost Montana Wind

We are neither fans of waking early and getting out of the house for appointments. And especially when the weather was as nasty as last Friday morning’s weather! Rainy and cold although not enough rain fell at our house to even measure. Headed to Willcox to see a new to me orthopedic surgeon–my appointment was at 8am–ugh! In less than an hour I had x-rays and a gel injection in my knee which is helping tremendously. Stopped for a few groceries and headed home.

Saturday we were on the road again headed to Tucson to pick up a 12 foot long formica countertop for the cabinets located in what we call the “porch” room. If you remember we drove to Sonita and removed those cabinets from a home–the Cowboy “remodeled” the cabinets to make them fit in the porch room giving us much needed storage. Big box stores such as Lowes and Home Depot do not sell countertops that long–they only sell 10 foot lengths. So, the handy husband was cruising around on Craigslist and found an individual with a house full of countertops and cabinets left over from a former business in Tucson. We found what we wanted, two guys loaded the piece and we were off.

We had another appointment at 1pm which left us with time to kill. Although I didn’t need much of anything we stopped by the Marana Costco–I sure found a lot of stuff for someone that didn’t need much!

Our 1pm appointment texted us that she was home and we headed to Oro Valley. I had found two beautiful leather chairs with ottomans on Craigslist–the chairs came home with us–in need of a good cleaning (why do people not clean stuff before trying to sell it???) but they are beautiful! Not new–but with lots of life left.

And as if we hadn’t done enough driving in two days we drove over to Willcox on Saturday evening for their lighted Christmas parade. It was chilly enough that my long, heavy coat and gloves felt great! Beautiful parade, lots of people.

Snowplow in Willcox, Arizona????

And there is Snoopy fighting it out with the Red Baron!
This was the Red Baron in his airplane.

The Cowboy has finished wiring his garage and has it all organized to his satisfaction. I finished some touch up painting in the porch area from where we gouged the walls getting that countertop installed.

This afternoon I was talking to a friend on the telephone and the most awful noise caused Emmi to start barking and the house to rattle. It was two warthog fighter planes flying over at about 200 feet–the Cowboy was outside and said he could clearly see the pilots.

Last night we had some Big Timber type wind–blew one of our wicker chairs right off the porch along with all the feet wiping mats.

Where Do The Days Go

When working Wednesdays were always named “hump day”–the week was on the downhill slide–thank goodness! At this time in our lives the weeks just seem to fly by–On Monday’s I usually change the sheets and do loads of laundry. I get the sheets on the bed and it seems as if the next day is Monday all over again.

The Cowboy has been on a roll! Not only is the kitchen finished, he has finished laying tile in the porch area. For the time being we are leaving the laundry room remodel for another time. The Cowboy has a project he wants to complete for himself–the garage was built quickly and lighting was not part of quickly. Now is the time.

Friday we took an ATV ride with Dan and Louanne up into the Dragoon Mountains–a short but fun ride on a beautiful Arizona day. We enjoyed our picnic lunch in the sunshine up on Soren Pass. The condition of the road was a concern after the summer monsoon rains but someone had used a dozer and while rough at least the road was passable and not dangerous in the least.  We saw one other person on the trail, riding a dirt bike. Late afternoon we joined Dan and Louanne for happy hour on their screened porch–still pleasantly warm at 5:30pm!

Saturday was a busy day–we were in the Sunsites Christmas parade riding in the decorated ATV. Even Emmi girl was decorated!

 

Notice the Santa hat on the Cowboy’s hat!

After the parade we all gathered in Linda’s backyard for a hotdog roast, homemade chili and assorted other amazing food. Once again it was a weather perfect day–sunny skies, about 70 degrees, no wind–absolutely perfect!

Sunday the Cowboy finished the porch tile and some of the baseboard tile in the kitchen. I painted–I’m so tired of the mess of painting! I have doors to paint and we have the laundry room to re-do. We will get it all done, eventually!

Dan is a great cook and like most great cooks loves sharp knives–so do I! Dan has an amazing knife sharpening device and he brought it out to our house today and sharpened my knives. Wow! What a difference!

Monday the Cowboy grouted two thirds of the porch floor and I did the normal, routine chores of life. I made another batch of Chex Mix and another four dozen cookies. With the way shipping seems to be slower this year I’m in a hurry to get my Christmas goodies in the mail!

Tuesday we traveled to Sierra Vista. One mission–to return the dang seeded grapes Walmart put in my last pickup order! I ordered and paid for grapes without seeds–who eats seeded grapes??? We also had to return some “over the calf” socks to Tractor Supply–the socks were crew socks in spite of the label reading “over the calf.” Don’t these people know how far we have to travel to get stuff???

A haircut, Walmart pickup order, lunch at 143 Street Tacos which was good–a change from our routine of dining at Culvers. Last stop was at Safeway to pick up on sale chuck roasts.

This time of year the UPS drivers are making daily stops at our house–the drivers like the cookies I give them in exchange for packages!! They’ve had a bit of trouble finding our house this year–it’s not been a problem in the past–and every time we sell something people tell us, “my GPS brought me right here.” Maybe the UPS drivers need new GPS units for Christmas??

Wednesday I helped the Cowboy grout–ugh–made me feel like an old woman! But it’s finished now. We still have some touch up grouting and of course the laundry room to do but the majority of that crawling around on our hands and knees is done!

The Emmi girl is all clean and fluffy after her bath this morning–that is until she wandered into the backyard where the Cowboy had piled loose dirt against the new concrete patio.

I shipped my Christmas packages today resorting to actually going to the post office. The stupid USPS website let me input all five of my addresses, weights, etc. then locked up when I tried to pay. Twice the website did this to me giving me a “we have encountered a problem” message. At the post office I was the only person in line–made my mood better after the website fiasco!

The rest of the day was spent in the kitchen–granola, Chex Mix, Chex Christmas Mix, turtles, and cheesy crackers from Gay’s kitchen-YUM. I’m not hungry for dinner at all–too much sampling! The Chex Christmas Mix from WhatGaby’sCooking.com is so good–I’ve never made it before.

Life is very good!

 

 

A Great Thanksgiving And A First

Since meeting Dan and Louanne in early 2018 we’ve spent every Thanksgiving at their house. In the past the gathering was large, 25 or more people. In 2020 it was just the six of us at Dan and Louanne’s–Mike and I, Janice and Linda. This Thanksgiving other vaccinated and boostered friends joined us–Christy and Clint plus Liz and Larry. It was a special day–we all are so truly blessed–and the food was amazing!

Louanne and Dan had their kitchen remodelled this summer while they were back in Oregon. It looks great!

Dan cooks a great turkey!
Christy, Larry, Clint and the Cowboy (minus his hat!)
Liz standing and Linda. Janice was missing in action, she went to Wyoming for Thanksgiving–I bet our weather was better!

Friday we were brave and headed to Sierra Vista–not for Black Friday shopping but to obtain supplies and groceries. Traffic was heavier than usual but not bad. We tried to eat at a taco place Dan and Louanne recommended but they were closed so it was Culver’s as usual–we had the pooch with us.

Every day since Friday we’ve been working. The Cowboy is definitely on a roll! Today we finished the back splash in the kitchen–all grouted and done!

I keep saying every time I walk into that kitchen, “I love my kitchen!” We still have a few things to do–the kick space stuff needs to be installed and a corner bookcase built on the far end of the cabinets but that’s it! So exciting! I was so excited that after we finished grouting and having lunch I cleaned the kitchen, mopping my floors on my hands and knees. Probably not the best thing for my cranky knee but I wanted it to look great and it does!!

I would love to have nothing on my kitchen countertops but that’s just not practical. I’m not going to put the coffee maker away every day or have to open the cabinets to grab a paper towel.

Most of the floor tile is laid in the porch area. The laundry room still has to be redone but that can wait. It works just fine as a laundry room just as it is with its hideous bright yellow walls and blue trim.

And we had a first Tuesday. We are searching for furniture to replace the recliner couch we bought last year. I spotted a leather chair and ottoman on the Tucson Craigslist. It’s my seat of choice for relaxing–a chair and ottoman. Contacted the seller, sure it was still for sale, and arranged to see it Tuesday morning at 10am. I drove to Tucson by myself, the Cowboy stayed behind to lay subway tile. Arriving at the address, there was a locked gate and I called the guy–“that sold.”  Are you kidding me??? I just drove 80 miles and you didn’t have the courtesy to call and tell me it was sold??? We’ve purchased dozens of items from Craigslist and have never had this happen. Good grief!!

Onward! I drove to Costco on Grant Road and was there at 10:20am–the store opened at 10:00am. There were very few parking places and the store was packed with people. But Costco saved my day–they had every single thing and then some on my list–even paper towels!

Home by early afternoon and took a nap after fixing us a quick lunch–I was exhausted after not sleeping well the night before.

Life is good, our weather is still good.

And here is a photo of the greats–our oldest great was in Montana for Thanksgiving along with her Mom and a friend, Elizabeth, who came from Germany to visit. Elizabeth was John and Laci’s landlady when they were stationed in Germany.

We Have Porches

Monday our contractor, Sergio, was here bright and early to set the forms. Tuesday morning his crew and the cement truck were here before 8am.

We now have concrete porch pads and a large patio out our back door. We are very pleased.

When we purchased this property almost five years ago, (YES, five years!!) it did not have a garage. There was a rickety set of steps which went from a concrete pad up to the kitchen door of the guest house–about two feet above ground level. We built a garage that first spring so as to have somewhere to leave our vehicle and tore out the steps.

So, it’s about a two foot drop from the kitchen door to the garage floor–we never replaced the steps. The Cowboy used two of our aluminum step stools that we’ve used for standing on when painting, etc. and created a step to use while the porch cement was poured and is drying. That’s our only way out of the house–every other entrance was blocked by the concrete pour. Emmi is confused!

And there is justice in this world! While searching for Christmas gifts for the greats I stumbled across these piggy banks–

I did not do my due diligence, loved them and ordered the banks. Once I realized I had made a huge mistake–the banks would have to be made in and shipped from China–I immediately tried to cancel the order. Not happening–I must have traded a dozen emails back and forth with someone who had no concept of the English language! They supposedly expedited my order and in a month I received these–

Pressed cardboard with thin, scratched acrylic fronts and sheets of press on sticky letters for “personalizing” the banks. The website clearly showed the bank in the first photo and on the website I had to enter the names I wanted to have “etched” onto the acrylic fronts. I asked for a refund and we went back and forth–email after email. I gave up and turned the matter over to my credit card company.

When filing the dispute with our Visa company I completed a generic form with questions such as, “have you received the merchandise,” was it damaged,” etc. There was no place to enter photos or explain the issue. At first the credit card company sent us a letter with a quote from the Chinese company stating I had received my merchandise and that would be the end of it–the fraudulent company would be keeping my money.

Not so fast!! The letter stated that if I wanted to pursue the dispute I could write an email and send photos which I did. In less than a week we were notified that the dispute had been settled in our favor and the $90 was credited to our account. The piggy bank pictured above in the first photo is available from a reputable artist in the US and sold on Esty. This scum Chinese company has created a website using photos stolen from this reputable artist.

Last Saturday evening we had Dan, Louanne and Linda over for dinner. While we were sitting in the living room enjoying happy hour before dinner, Dan noticed a huge bird had flown by the window. I stood up and could see the owl on the guest house roof–not the greatest photo but that’s one big bird!

Monday morning Emmi and I were on the road early heading for Green Valley and a new to us veterinarian recommended by Gay and Joe who have three rescue pooches. Emmi has now been on the liver medications for two months and it was time to check her lab values. Tuesday evening Dr. Bigelow called us and Emmi’s liver enzymes are significantly lower–great news!!! The Cowboy stayed at home to be available to the concrete crew.

It’s Chex Mix season and this is our first batch–the Cowboy loves this stuff. I modify the original recipe by adding more butter, Worchestire sauce and a teaspoon of cayenne pepper. The Cowboy also likes only the cereal–no pretzels or nuts in his Chex Mix!!

We had rain showers during the night and will possibly have more tonight. Our nice warm weather may be departing too.

Life is good! Happy Thanksgiving to our family, friends and readers!