A Girl’s Trip Again

Remember this bird photo–I should have know better! We have an abundance of cactus wren, I wasn’t paying attention and labeled this bird as a cactus wren. Gay, Mike and Jodee set me straight–thanks so much guys for helping! Our bird lady, fellow blogger Judy who is no longer with us would have been appalled!

Last Sunday we had the dinner party for six other people–and we had such a good time but before that dinner party started I had a bad day! Pie crust failure, made another curst and pie overflowed in oven making smoke alarm scream, dinner rolls didn’t rise (milk too hot I think) and I had to make another batch of rolls, wind was blowing so hard the grill would not stay at temperature to cook the prime rib. I put the prime rib in a disposable pan and in the guest house oven, guest house filled with smoke–disposable pan had a hole and all the juice was dripping into the bottom of the oven–now I had two ovens to clean!!

What a day–I was exhausted–but we had such a great evening with good friends!

Monday the Cowboy helped Clint and Larry. Clint had purchased a hot tub from Costco and it was delivered. The problem–the hot tub was sitting outside their walled back yard where the pool is located. There is no gate into the pool area large enough for a backhoe–SO the Cowboy lifted the hot tub OVER the wall. And once the hot tub cleared the wall the Cowboy couldn’t see it and was directed by Larry. Christi was in the house–she couldn’t watch!! And I’m glad I wasn’t there to watch!!

Tuesday bright and early Louanne and I were on our way to Tucson for a couple days of shopping and dining. We stayed in an AirBnB that was quite nice–an older home that had been remodeled. I was taking a tour, pulled back the shower curtain in Louanne’s bathroom and screamed–there was one gigantic cockroach in her tub!! She dispatched him with her flip flop!!! Cockroaches in a desert climate seems unusual–I had my share of those creepy things when living in humid Houston.

One of the best meals on this trip–Breakfast at the Cup Cafe in the historic Hotel Congress which opened in 1919 in downtown Tucson. We also enjoyed breakfast at the Blue Willow.

We shopped Tuesday until we could shop/walk no longer and headed to the AirBnB. Our lunch which we shared at the Yard House was really good. We had some good meals and one awful meal. The awful meal was really awful and when the waitress asked if we needed boxes and we both said “no,” she encouraged us to tell her what was wrong. She deducted 50% from the cost of the meals–that helped!!

Thursday saw us heading home after three days of shopping–tired but happy! The guys were glad to see us as was Emmi.

Dan and Louanne hosted an Easter gathering Sunday afternoon–such a wonderful afternoon spent with special friends. Great food and awesome conversation.

Clint and Christy
From left standing, Liz, Linda, Christy, Janice and Mo
From bottom left clockwise, Clint, Michael, Larry (from Montana), Dan and Larry (not from Montana)
In foreground, Dan, Larry (from Montana) and Clint with Michael and Janice in the background.
Linda and Janna (me) and Mo also took this photo.
Janice and Janna (me)–not sure why we were laughing so hard! Mo took this photo.
Louanne and Liz–such a great photo!

Such a great gathering of good friends–life is good!

Our great grands had to hunt Easter eggs in the Montana snow! Laci and Lora flew in from Nebraska for the long weekend.

And Christy gave us this Easter card–I loved it! It’s a reproduction of a German Easter card printed in 1910.

And lastly, this was my contribution to the party food today–a fresh strawberry cake that was absolutely one of the best cakes I’ve ever eaten! I could have scooped up the icing with a spoon and eaten just that!

 

 

A Proposal

This week has passed slowly. We had a great day in Tucson on Monday with good news from the Cowboy’s physician, a good lunch and very little shopping as we will head north in the next few weeks.

 

Tuesday morning the Cowboy was under the weather and remained that way for most of the week. We are thinking he might have had food poisoning. He is so strong and has still managed to finish tasks–a bit of drywall touch up, changed the oil in the truck, etc.

I’ve puttered–painting some of the drywall touch up, walking Emmi, painting doors–I have three exterior doors left to do. I am determined to find the time and finish these doors!

Friday and Saturday we helped with the Spring Fling at our local library. We helped erect awning tents, moved tables and chairs and also helped vendors erect their tent awnings. I baked cookies for the bake sale. Louanne manned the bake sale table and sold out!! There were bunches of cookies and baked goods–all gone! We had to be at the library by 7am Saturday–we were exhausted the rest of the day–getting up early is most definitely not on our like list!  We both find it hard to sleep knowing we have to rise early.

Saturday night my nephew Trent asked Addisan to marry him and she said yes. I love the smile this young woman puts on Trent’s face! Very exciting news in our family! Not sure who took this photo and the one below–my sister in law Vicky or niece Hannah.

My Mom with her great granddaughter Magnolia–I love this photo.

Sunday was a windy, hot day!! In the evening we all gathered around our table for another lovely meal–prime rib and all the fixings. Mo, Dan and Louanne, Larry, Janice and Linda joined us for good food and good times.

We purchased a whole prime rib for Christmas and froze half of it. It’s time to cook and eat everything in the refrigerator–so a party was in order!

It’s hard to take a photo of a black dog–you can never see their eyes–but we still think Emmi is cute! Life is good!

 

 

A Slow Week

A Scaled Quail–we call them cotton tops.

And his mate getting a drink

This morning I sat down to write this blog and had writer’s block! It’s been a slow week in this household and not much to write about.

I did make this amazing chicken dish suggested by our friend Bonnie. The Cowboy thought it was good and that’s saying something for chicken! And I baked bread–

The Cowboy has been working on this and that–a little drywall work that was missed, more fencing work and catching critters. I have been painting doors–two completely finished and rehung, one partially painted and three exterior doors to go. Have I said before–painting doors is a pain! Our Montana house has all wood doors that we stained but all wood pre-hung doors were impossible to find in Arizona or if we did find them the cost was outrageous. So we went with masonite paneled doors that have to be painted. The exterior doors are metal and those doors are even harder to paint as they show every single brush stroke. I keep telling myself–almost finished, almost finished!

We received a surprise in the mail from our dear friend Sarah–a just because present–the best kind!

And surprise–we’ve been eating again! Dan is most definitely on the mend! He and Louanne hosted dinner Friday evening and we dined like kings! Milton (our caretaker and Dan and Louanne’s neighbor/friend) and Lucy joined us. Dan cooked a pot roast with potatoes and carrots in a marvelous sauce. Louanne made her famous rolls and TWO pumpkin pies (my favorite!). I provided the Cesar salad and another jello type salad that is a favorite of Dan’s. We all waddled home!

The weather has warmed–it’s April in Arizona and the temps are rising. We’ve had lots of wind too. Tuesday it rained a bit once again–still not enough to bring out the poppies.  The trees are leafing and our one lone apple tree has tiny leaves.

The library in this small community is supported by a Friends of the Library group. Louanne is a member of the board of this group. The library is having a “Spring Fling”–bake sale, vendors, etc. The board is short members and needed some help–the Cowboy and I are going to help with setup next weekend.

A cactus wren having lunch–look closely at his beak–poor bee!
My sister Ann took Mom to see the tulips at Garvin Gardens in Hot Springs                                                                                                                                                                                                        And these two munchkins were out for a Sunday drive–

Life is good!

Social Butterflies

Monday we spent a long, long day in Tucson–the Cowboy had a doctor’s appointment at 2:45pm–ugh! It was a quick visit then we were off to pickup groceries and navigate rush hour traffic in Tucson. When we exit I-10 twenty miles from home we both always breathe a sigh of relief and I usually say, “finally, off the race track.”

It rained Sunday evening and Monday morning–not enough to make the poppies bloom I’m afraid.

Sometime in 2003 or 2004 we met Ralph and Angie. You might remember the blog I wrote  about a friend in the hospital with covid in early 2021. His significant other Angie would travel to Tucson every day and sit in a lawn chair outside his hospital window. Ralph recovered. He and Angie workkamp at a shooting range/horse camping/little bit of everything outfit near Tombstone. On the way back from Sierra Vista Wednesday we stopped to visit them–it’s been a while since we’ve seen them and we enjoyed a wonderful visit!!

The Cowboy has been fencing–as in finding the corner stakes for our lots, planting a corner post or two, fighting the tall weeds. That man has to have a project–it keeps him healthy!

Friday afternoon we hosted a happy hour–some attendees have adult beverages, some don’t–we still call it happy hour. Clint and Kristi have been coming to this area for years from Washington. Friends Liz and Larry also from Washington came to visit–and bought a house. These folks joined us along with Dan and Louanne. I made Pioneer Woman’s Jalapeno Popper Dip  and it was so, so good!! Guacamole (my own version for which there is no recipe) along with a meat and cheese tray made for a “no one has to have dinner” happy hour.

Sunday we socialized again–Clint and Kristi’s new to them house has a pool–some of the guests were brave and ventured into the pool–we thought we would wait until the water warms a bit or Clint’s new heating system is fully installed! 🙂 We had a good time visiting with friends and neighbors.

I have a delicious cookie recipe for gingersnaps that uses Crisco. I seldom use Crisco and didn’t have enough for the cookies so I used all butter–big mistake!! The cookies were wafer thin and spread all over the cookie sheet–lesson learned. I switched directions and made snickerdoodles instead to take to Clint and Kristi’s.

And that’s it for another week in the Arizona desert–life is good!

Eating And More Eating

Don’t get excited Sue–the above photo was taken on this day in March, 2019. Since that time our corner of Arizona has been in a severe drought. We had poppies in 2020 but we went north to Montana early that year to escape Arizona’s rising covid numbers. No poppies in 2021 and it’s not looking good for poppies this year as we’ve had less than an inch of rain all winter.

March and April are our warmest months in this winter paradise and we enjoy them to the fullest. Days spent sitting outside in the sun, long walks–soaking up that sun before heading back to mud season in Montana.

Early morning light on the Dragoons

We enjoyed a fabulous dinner at Dan and Louanne’s Monday night with us providing the food–they provided the grill and the excellent company! Every time I cook an outstanding meal like that I say, “why do we go out to eat??”  Eating out has become so expensive and many times the food is just not that good. Marinated flank steak, Pioneer Woman smashed potatoes and a salad with that amazing homemade Cesar dressing!

I saw an article in a local Montana news source describing a new restaurant in White Sulphur Springs which is about 100 miles from our home. Visiting the Jawbone’s website I opened the limited menu–$41 for a filet mignon steak. I haven’t purchased filet mignon steaks in a long time but I’m fairly certain $41 would purchase at least two if not more!!

When the Cowboy and I were dating he took me to a local Montana restaurant in our hometown and it quickly became our go to spot. The food was great, the wine portions were healthy and the atmosphere was so fun. That restaurant has priced itself out of our market as has the Rib and Chop in Livingston which we always enjoy. The food I cook is better and less expensive, the wine portions at any restaurant are ridiculously small for the amount charged (not that we are drinking wine any more) and it’s just OK that we don’t go out to eat.

We dine out when traveling to Billings or Tucson but it’s in restaurants that are either fast food or semi fast food. But even in the semi fast food places lunch will cost $50 and that’s without alcohol of any kind. Have you noticed the upcharge for drinks of any kind–iced tea, sodas, etc.?? I can’t drink water in a restaurant–it tastes like chlorine–so I usually order a diet Coke–$3!!

Tuesday evening our friends from Coos Bay, Oregon arrived with their RV. They have been in Mexico for a few months and are now heading north. We enjoyed a great visit with them and some more of those home cooked fabulous meals. They brought us shrimp–the best shrimp we’ve ever had! Ainslie cooked the shrimp and potatoes Wednesday night and we dined like kings!

Louanne and Dan’s son Hadley is visiting from Oregon and we dined like kings at their house–are you seeing a pattern around here??–eating is our pastime and my jeans are shrinking. Fried chicken–I haven’t had fried chicken in so long I can’t remember the last time I ate this southern favorite. Mashed potatoes, gravy–oh my!!! It was a very enjoyable evening!

I’ve been doing a little touch up painting and also have several doors to paint–not my favorite thing to do but it must be done. I’ve also been doing a bunch of knitting–had to order more yarn for the next sweater I am going to knit. The first yarn was too small and I couldn’t make gauge–important if you want the sweater to fit! Swatch knitting to check gauge is not my favorite thing to do but it also must be done if you want your garment to fit. While waiting for the sweater yarn I started a shawl from a kit I purchased in Arkansas on one of my trips. I’m really liking that project!

Emmi thinks she is neglected when we have visitors–she’s not! She will sit in front of her toy box and just stare at it–

Our metal owl who hangs from the porch roof to discourage birds from sitting on our porch and doing their nasty business everywhere–it seems to be working!

Sunday afternoon Louanne, Janice and Linda came out and we whiled away the afternoon playing Rummikub. And that’s it for our week in the Arizona desert.

 

It’s Good To Be Home

Mom and I stuck close to home the first part of the week, knitting and talking. Various family members come and go during the day and I would walk across the road to visit with my sister and brother in law. I cooked salmon for all of us on Monday evening.

The entire family lives within a mile radius of each other–my Mom, my two siblings and their children. We can almost yell at each other from the respective houses! Visiting is easy–no long distances to travel.

Thursday morning my brother Ross deposited me at the airport in Little Rock and my long day of travel began. I always am most concerned about departure and arrival times for flights I book, seldom paying attention to the layover times. That’s going to change! I had a 3.5 hour layover in Denver and Southwest was running late giving me a 4.5 hour layover–UGH!!! The Denver airport was an absolute zoo–super crowded, noisy, chaotic!

The Cowboy and Emmi were so glad to see me as I was them! Friday I had a bad case of jet lag managing to unpack the suitcases and do some laundry but that was about it.

The Cowboy has been on a mission to eliminate the critters who keep digging under our trees. The trees are watered, the ground is soft and the critters dig. So far it’s critters 0 and the Cowboy 4!!

Dan and Louanne have been having a rough go of it lately and needed the Cowboy’s expertise–plumber and mechanic skills. As a thank you they presented him with the absolute best thank you present–

Sunday afternoon we needed a few groceries and made a run to Wilcox taking advantage of that gift card and the local Dairy Queen. That’s a great thank you present!

On Friday afternoon in Arkansas they had snow–about three inches. My niece Niki took this beautiful photo with her iPhone–it’s a winner!

Sunset in Arkansas

It’s a sunny but super windy day in Arizona. I would guess judging from the long range forecast that winter is over–lot’s of sunny, warm, dry days ahead.

Life is good.

We Take A Hike

Up front I want to apologize if in the last post I caused some of you to think I had covid with my statement about covid fatigue.  We don’t have covid but we are weary of all the ongoing covid issues.

Last Sunday the Cowboy’s cousin Pat and his daughter Julia arrived for a short visit. We so enjoyed talking to both Pat and Julia. Julia has a PhD in archeology and leads archelogy digs in Mongolia. Julia also speaks Mongolian. Her stories about that country and its people are so interesting. We enjoyed some 12 Springs beef (thanks Lonn) for dinner and I had baked a Million Dollar Pound Cake.

Monday was spent packing and cooking. Our good friend had surgery two weeks ago and is finally on the mend. We took dinner to them Monday night and shared the calories of that Million Dollar Pound Cake plus I gifted Linda and Janice some cake calories!😁

Tuesday morning I was off and running–heading for the Tucson airport. My flight from Tucson to Little Rock was just one stop–Denver–then the same plane continued on to Little Rock. I was on that plane from 11:30am until 5:30pm. In Denver the plane was unloaded and re-loaded within 30 minutes. And in that six hours I was offered two bags of party mix as food. Sure am glad I packed apples and cheese plus some of that pound cake!

My brother Ross retrieved me from the airport and we were at Mom’s house shortly–he drives fast but at least he can still drive–2021 was a rough year for him!!

Thursday we drove to the Pine Bluff area to have lunch with Mom’s group of ladies from her church. We’ve spent hours talking and knitting, knitting and talking. Mom and I are trying to make a hat and the pattern is challenging but the yarn is stunning stuff! On Friday we stopped at my nephew’s home to meet Clayton and Hannah’s new family member–Magnolia Kayte–such a sweety!! We then journeyed to Little Rock (45 minutes) for some retail therapy first visiting the new Costco store–Arkansas’s first.

Mom found things she couldn’t live without at Dillards, we had a quick lunch and came home. Sister in law Vicky provided dinner Friday night–pulled pork and all the fixings from a food truck in Sheridan–it was great! Niece Niki contributed a slaw and beans–as usual we ate well!

On Friday my one and only niece (I have three great nieces but Niki is the only niece) retrieved her Mom and me and we were off, heading for north Arkansas and the Richland Creek Wilderness Area. We were taking a hike–I walk daily, sometimes a lot but it’s been a long time since I’ve actually “hiked!” Niki is on a quest to hike somewhere at least once every month and this was her first hike in March.

It’s not quite spring in Arkansas and it was a gloomy, misty day so photos aren’t what they could have been but it was such a good day spent in the company of two people I love so much. The hike was easy, one mile to a spectacular waterfall with a quirky name–Fuzzy Butt!!

Fuzzy Butt Falls
Fuzzy Butt Falls
Six Fingers Falls                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Sunday lunch at Danny and Ann’s was another eat fest–brisket, smashed potatoes, Cesar salad, green beans and leftover desserts. Ann and I took a walk mid afternoon–it’s very warm, humid and the forecast is for storms tonight–yikes!
Little brother working hard building fence. He tried to talk me into operating the skidsteer but I declined.
Blue making sure Ross is still there–that dog never leaves Ross’s side.
Mom’s tulip tree is blooming as are the daffodils.

My hat, Mom is almost finished with her hat too!

The Cowboy and Emmi are enduring wind and cooler temps in Arizona. They participated in a garage sale yesterday at Dan and Louanne’s–the Cowboy was happy with his sales. And Louanne has been feeding him well.

Life is good!

Camera Cleaning–Edited

On Monday we continued to entertain. And just let me put this statement out there–I have such severe covid fatigue as in I want covid to go away! Lonn likes to take presents home to the family and finds the gift shops in national parks have the coolest stuff–and I agree. I love to shop in our national park gift shops–for cards, little trinkets to send friends and family, etc.

The Saguaro National Park on the west side of Tucson was a zoo. The parking lot was full and there was a 20 to 30 minute wait just to get inside the gift shop/visitor center as they are limiting the number of people who enter due to covid–thus my covid fatigue!

I called the Desert Museum which if you are ever in the Tucson area is a place worth visiting. My guys did not want to walk–the Desert Museum entails lots of walking–but I knew the gift shop was within the gates and the tickets to enter are too expensive to just pay only to go to the gift shop. A very pleasant customer service person answered the phone, told me they would take our credit card info and allow us a free thirty minute pass that could be renewed for an additional thirty minutes of gift shop browsing. Considering how much Lonn spent in the gift shop it is a smart decision on the part of the Desert Museum.

We drove through the Saguaro National Park, admiring the views and all the majestic, stately saguaros–Lonn was impressed! Lunch on the patio of BJ’s Restaurant as Emmi was with us–great food and great service.

We live in a valley that is nutty–as there are massive acres of land dedicated to growing pecans and pistachios.  Our good friend Linda gave us tequila flavored pistachios for Christmas and Lonn had sampled them. On the way home from Tucson we stopped at the local pistachio farm gift shop and spent some money.

The weather in Montana the first of this week was frightful–minus 29 degrees and a foot of new snow. In spite of this forecast Lonn decided it was time to head north and he was driving away Tuesday morning. It was such a good visit and it was so nice to have the guest house.

Larry and Geri visited us a couple weeks ago driving down in their new to them motorhome. We had the best visit–not doing much except visiting, catching up and eating. We did drive down to Douglas and attempted to get the title to our new to us truck notarized without success. And we visited Larry’s niece Megan and her husband Scott on the horse property they purchased last year–very near us.  Our electrical panel is just inside the back door situated over the shoe changing bench made by the Cowboy. Geri suggested we hang a mirror over the electrical box to hide it–that was one of our Mexico purchases–and it looks great!

Our neighbor who lost her husband to covid asked me to make an apron from one of his shirts. She had an apron she had purchased made from a shirt that I could use as a pattern. I finished and delivered it Thursday–Sue was totally thrilled!

The rest of the week we’ve been puttering. The Cowboy ordered parts for his chain saw, has it running and spent some time cutting a huge log into firewood. Then he practiced some cardio exercise by splitting those logs.

I am heading to Arkansas to visit family soon and have been getting things in order so the Cowboy and Emmi can function smoothly without me.

We’ve had a couple chilly mornings–not Montana chilly–but cold enough that a fire in the stove felt great! And it sprinkled rain at our house and snowed on the mountains. It’s been such a dry winter we are wondering if the poppies will bloom.

My Nikon camera had an inside the lens dust spot causing some but not all photos to have a bright spot. I knew Al had taken apart his cameras and cleaned the lens but his cameras are DSLR’s. My Nikon is a CoolPix P600 point and shoot with a 60X optical zoom.  I watched a video for another Nikon similar to mine and thought maybe we could get to the lens. The Cowboy as always was game to try.

And we were successful! No more bright spot on the photos!! Thanks Al!!

Cloudy skies make for beautiful sunsets.

We Have A Visitor

Usually I start a blog post early in the week but when we are busy I sit down on Sunday and think–“what have we done this week???” This is one of those Sundays but here goes!

Our visitor–Lonn, the Cowboy’s son arrived Thursday afternoon. He hasn’t visited since 2019 so it’s been great having him here. Lonn is going to tow our cargo trailer back to Montana filled with things we no longer need at this house such as RV related items and construction tools. The Cowboy has spent time gathering all that stuff.

I’ve filled my time with exercise and some sewing. Our elderly neighbor, Joe died about a year ago from covid. His wife Sue asked me to make an apron from one of Joe’s shirts. It’s been a fun process–deciding what parts of the shirt to use as the pocket or the ties, etc.

Last Saturday we took Emmi to the veterinarian in Green Valley. The clinic has reverted to not allowing pet owners inside the building so we were in the parking lot waiting for a technician. Another car parked beside us and a woman with her beautiful chocolate cocker spaniel got out. We chatted with a the woman while both our dogs were taken inside. She had lived in Green Valley a long time and we asked her about restaurants. She is a huge chili relleno fan as is the Cowboy–that’s the only thing he ever orders in a Mexican restaurant. She named a couple restaurants in Green Valley but said the best, absolute best chili relleno she had ever eaten in her life was from a restaurant in Sonita–the Copper Brothel Brewery.

We chatted some more, her pooch was brought out and as she was loading her cocker into her crate the lady asked me, “would you like some Meyer lemons, my tree is producing well?”  Well, of course!! Oh, my–those lemons are a world away from the hard, bitter lemons we’ve been getting from the grocery stores. I made a lemon cake that was divine and I may make a lemon meringue pie. It pays to be friendly!!

We have not talked to the veterinarian but have received a voicemail and an email. Emmi’s liver enzymes are down but not completely normal as of yet.

Wednesday we were in Tucson all day again for another doctor’s appointment. It was a cool, windy, rainy day so Emmi went along. We enjoyed a nice lunch at BJ’s Brewhouse and made a quick Costco stop.

Thursday when Lonn arrived I grilled some burgers and later in the afternoon we headed to Whitewater Draw to see the sandhill cranes. The water level at the usual viewing area is significantly low and there weren’t many cranes. This area received good monsoon rains this summer but we have had less than one inch of rain all winter so far.

As we were driving away heading south, Lonn spotted a bunch of cranes out in the field. There was an open gate and a traveled path out to the birds. It appeared to us that the Arizona Fish and Game is pumping water using solar to create a wetland for the cranes–

And the cranes obviously thought it was a good idea–there were hundreds and hundreds of birds in and around the water, squawking away.

Friday we drove to Nogales, Sonora, Mexico–about two hours from our house. We parked and walked across the border. It’s been years and years since we’ve been in Nogales and is was sad to see how things have changed. Many, many of the businesses/shops/restaurants are closed. The sidewalks used to teem with people–not on Friday–there were very few people on the streets. What businesses are open projected a desperate need to make a sale. There were always poor, unfortunate beggars on the streets of Nogales but on this day the beggars were different. Most were young adults and they too projected a sad, desperate feeling. Nogales was not a pleasant experience and I doubt we go back. It’s unfortunate that Mexico has allowed the drug trade to repress its people, very sad.

They let us come back to the US!!

Now, back to the chili relleno story. Sonita, Arizona is on the way home from Nogales and we stopped at the Copper Brothel Brewery for a late lunch. The Cowboy agreed with the lady from the vet clinic–best chili relleno he had ever eaten. Lonn had a chimichanga and also declared it the best he had ever eaten. I wasn’t adventuresome and had chicken strips with fries–but my meal was also very, very good. Definitely a restaurant worth revisiting!

Saturday the guys drove that same direction but this time hauling Lonn’s dirt bike and our side by side ATV. They rode from the town of Patagonia out into the countryside down to the Mexican border and had a great time.

Emmi and I went to Sierra Vista so I could get my hair cut and pick up a small grocery order. I was also picking up a side table I found on Craigslist. Back home I had to quickly get ready for a birthday party. Our friend Linda’s birthday party was being hosted by Mo and Donnie with help from the ever helpful Janice. It was a great gathering of friends with amazing food contributed by all the attendees.

Our birthday girl!

The guys were home by 6pm and dined on leftovers sent home from the birthday party. We’ve spent the evenings chatting and listening to the grandbabies when they call to Facetime with Grandpa Lonn. They called him Saturday morning and sang happy birthday–such cute, adorable kiddos!

Sunday after a big breakfast the guys were off to find another adventure–this time riding from the house up into the Dragoons. I tried to convince Emmi to go for a walk with me while the guys were getting ready. Nope, I’m not going anywhere except into this CanAm she said–so they took her along.

Monday we are off on another adventure with Lonn–life is good!

 

Before And After

On the fifteenth of February in 2017 the Cowboy and I closed on this property where we now reside for a portion of each year. We had purchased the property sight unseen through our realtor Pam, who we trusted. She viewed the property, took detailed photos and told us “you people are nuts” but in the next breath said, “with the talents you two have, this place has huge potential.” And she was right–it did have potential and all it took was a bit of money and tons of hard, physical, back breaking work over the five years living part time in Arizona.

It was two houses separated by a four foot space but both houses were under the same roof–or what was left of the roof and situated on three acres of land. According to neighbors, the houses had been abandoned for approximately 10 years. The house was advertised as having power (very important in this area as it costs $25/foot to run power to your lot), a well which we discovered was dry, and septic system.

We had a new well drilled, spread truck loads of gravel to contain the dust and got to work.

The original house was built in 1972 and we are not sure when the smaller of the two houses was added. This smaller house was in better condition and had less roof water damage than the main house. It had a finished (mostly) kitchen with refrigerator, dishwasher and gas range as well as a complete bathroom. We decided to live in the motorhome and finish what we started to call “the guest house.” We would then live in the guest house while finishing the main house.

This was our first glimpse of the houses when we arrived. Guest house to the right, main house with brick to the left. And our “glimpses” got worse!!

As you can see, both houses had traditional peaked roofs. I’ve always wanted a southwest, Santa Fe style house–so my Cowboy with a lot of hard work created one for me. Fixing the roofs was a priority that first spring of 2017.

DSCN3942

We now have a house that looks like this–

These two photos are of the guest house kitchen in its original state. We removed that weird center cabinet/eating area.

Guest House kitchen finished
Another photo of the guest house kitchen finished

The living room area had a dropped floor of about 8 inches and some weird doors and walls–the Cowboy raised the floor, removed walls and laid tile.

Guest house living room finished

And now for the main house–it was in sad condition, no kitchen, no plumbing, horrible roof leaks, nasty carpet. It’s still hard for us to believe we created this beautiful home. We built walls to move walls, moved way too many walls, hoisted a 300 pound beam into the ceiling of the living room, laid and grouted about 3000 square feet of tile, custom built kitchen cabinets, planted trees and added a watering system, picked up and disposed of tons of junk the previous owners left, added a garage, painted endless walls and ceilings, installed some new windows, hung insulation (ugh), installed heating and air conditioning, made countless trips to Sierra Vista and Tucson for supplies, and shopped Craigslist for furnishing. We hired someone to stucco the outside of the house, to pour the outside concrete porch floors and to test the mini split heating and air conditioning units–the rest of the incredibly hard work was done by the Cowboy and me. All that hard work just adds to our immense satisfaction with the finished home.

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This room was a bedroom and is now our dining room.
And the dining room now.

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The main house living room before, as you can see, we vaulted the ceiling.
Main house living room now. 
Original bathroom in the main house–downright scary! And we’ve been told the previous owners were a couple with five children!! Three bedrooms and one bathroom in the main house for seven people! 

And the master bath now–I wanted no glass doors or shower curtains to keep clean–the Cowboy delivered.

And this was what was left of the kitchen in the main house–

There was no working plumbing in the main house, the Cowboy had to jack hammer the concrete to move the bathroom and kitchen plumbing to the right places as we had moved walls. I had a magazine article describing a kitchen I loved–big windows, all drawers in the lower cabinets, no upper cabinets. We basically stuck with the design from the article with the exception of installing upper cabinets on the side of the kitchen without windows. I think the kitchen is my favorite room in the whole house, maybe–I love the porch too and the dining room, and the living room!!

These cabinets on the porch were obtained with another day of hard, back breaking work. The Cowboy saw the cabinets advertised on Craigslist for free–if someone would remove them from their location. It literally took us all day long to get those cabinets out of that house. We brought them home and the Cowboy remodeled the cabinets to make them fit our space–they add so much to the porch room.

So–that’s a lot of words and a lot of photos. And while we love our house and are so pleased with how it now looks it’s not something either of us wants to ever do again.