We are home in Montana–cooler by far, greener by leaps and bounds and with much cleaner air. The wind and dust in Arizona coupled with the dryness was getting to both of us.

Those readers who are friends on Facebook know we flew home. Dan and Louanne took us to Tucson Sunday afternoon and we flew out on Delta Airlines leaving about 7:30am Monday morning. We landed in Bozeman at 12:29pm.

Why did we fly? We were both weary of spending three to four days each way just to get to our homes on either end of the country. Just the thought of loading and unloading a RV was discouraging. We’ve traveled every route possible and have seen all there is to see. So, the motorhome acquired new owners in late March.

I can hear all of you saying, “not again!!” ๐Ÿ˜ By the time we had driven that huge motorhome to Arizona from Montana we both said, “what were we thinking??” We don’t need a 40 foot motorhome to drive back and forth between our two homes. In fact we just proved we don’t need to drive anything!

Logistics were difficult–suitcases will not hold the Cowboy’s tools, all our clothes or all my yarn! And suitcases will most definitely not hold the CanAm! We decided if the item needed to be transported back and forth each time, it stayed in Arizona and would be replaced in Montana. That made packing a bit easier.

Flying was so much easier–Emmi was a trooper helped along with a little dose of calming meds. Lonn retrieved us from the airport, we had lunch at our favorite restaurant in Livingston and made a quick stop at the grocery store. All was well at our home and we settled in quickly unpacking suitcases rather than a 40 foot motorhome.

Tuesday the Cowboy spent the day trying to make his 1997 diesel pickup run with no success. Dang it! I ran the washer/dryer non stop laundering all the sheets used to cover the furniture while we are gone. Emmi enjoyed her walks and playing on the green grass. No leaves on the trees yet but the fields and yard are starting to show green.

Mr. Grouse trying to woo a lady!

And two cute kiddos–our granddaughter Katie captioned this photos–“Mediocre branding help–expert snackers.”

Wednesday we spent the entire day and then some in Billings. Costco broke the bank as it always does when we restock the pantry. Walmart also didn’t help the bank account! Our car could not have held another thing!

We dined at our favorite Billings restaurant, CJ’s and the food was so good! Maybe when you don’t have to cook it yourself it’s better??

I had an appointment with the orthopedic surgeon I saw last fall for my knee. Remember my cranky hip–well it’s still cranky as in still very painful. I saw an orthopedic surgeon in early December and had a few physical therapy visits with no relief. Time to see someone I trust–Dr. Fischer at Billings Clinic Orthopedics and Sports Medicine. The hip x-ray is normal and due to my specific symptoms Dr. Fischer thinks I have ischial tuberosity bursitis. OK–you might ask what the heck are your ischial tuberosities??? Well–they are your sitting bones located at the very bottom of your hip joints and mine hurt! We are going to try some more physical therapy and maybe some massage therapy.

Emmi was once again a trooper–soon it will be too warm for her to accompany us but today was a cool, cloudy, rainy day in Billings.

Life is indeed good!

Busy Days

The kitchen cabinets are finished, upper cabinet doors hung–sink works, dishwasher works–now we just wait for the missing section of countertop. Every time I walk into or through the kitchen I say, “I LOVE my new kitchen!”

Wednesday evening we were invited to Linda’s home for dinner with Louanne and Dan. As always Linda prepared a delicious meal and we enjoyed the company very much. The Cowboy helped Linda with her new watering system timer–he didn’t get it right Wednesday night and had to make another service call on Thursday.๐Ÿ˜

Thursday Milton and Lucy came for dinner. Milton is our summer caretaker and does a fabulous job making our place look nice and also keeps an eye on the comings and goings in the neighborhood. We enjoyed beef tenderloin, mashed potatoes, salad and asparagus. Dessert was a fabulous chocolate pie–I will say it again–we eat well!

Friday our friends Linda and Jim came to visit–they live in Tombstone year round and we had not seen them in too long due to covid. We had a great visit and enjoyed some of the leftover chocolate pie.

We’ve been packing, putting away the outdoor furniture and decorations and getting rid of excess groceries–donating them to Lucy and Milton! It’s hard to know just exactly how many groceries you will need–we buy our meat in bulk from Costco and I always have a bit leftover when it comes time to depart one house or another. I’m going to attempt to buy groceries by menus this summer and see if I can get closer to having nothing left when we change houses.

Saturday I fought the heat and the ants to work on the water system to some of our trees–they just weren’t getting enough water. The ants won by biting me three times!! But now the trees are getting plenty of water–if Milton can just keep the rats and gophers from eating the trees!!

In the evening on Saturday we dined at Dan and Louanne’s with Milton and Lucy. Good food, good company–and it’s no secret why we gain weight!

And Sunday evening has us in a Tucson hotel–more on that later–all is well!

Countertops Are Installed

Countertops are installed, sort of–

As you can see, there is a missing piece–the measuring guy who came way back on March 9th didn’t get this one section measured correctly–it fit exactly on top of the cabinet but had no overhang. And of course the situation could not be rectified immediately, oh no, we have to wait until May 6th for that section. I am not a fan of Lowe’s kitchen department and most certainly not a fan of the companies they use for installation of the countertops they sell. I do realize we live in the middle of nowhere but if you are going to take my money then you better be ready to treat your customers well.

The upper cabinet doors are almost ready–two more coats of polyurethane and the doors can be hung. The Cowboy installed the last light fixture in the kitchen on Wednesday morning. When we come back in the fall the Cowboy will install the back splash which will go all the way up to the bottom of the windows on the west side of the kitchen and cover the entire wall between countertop and bottom of upper cabinets on the east side.

My dream sink!!

While we were enjoying our coffee Wednesday morning the Cowboy spotted this herd of grasshoppers trying to dine on our trees–they were encouraged to move along!

We had lunch out on Wednesday at our favorite Mexican restaurant in Willcox and picked up a few groceries. While the Cowboy was waiting for me the clouds opened and it poured rain–there were deep puddles everywhere and I was a touch damp by the time I got to the truck. At home we had had not one drop of rain–๐Ÿ˜ฉ.

Tuesday evening we took a drive to see the area that burned in the Cochise Stronghold back in February. Rumor has it a resident in that area was burning garbage on one of those windy days we are prone to have. The fire burned probably about 50 acres and could have been so much worse!

And no one bothers to ask this Mimi what she thinks about Millie being on that huge horse!!

And The Winner Is

The automatic number chooser (aka, the Cowboy) has chosen Terry R. as the winner of the KURU shoes. I will be reaching out to Terry for a shipping address and hope her husband enjoys those shoes as much as we both do!

It’s been a busy non-stop week (what else is new??) of packing, buttoning up last minute projects, entertaining, etc. We haven’t heard from the countertop installation folks so fingers are still crossed the install happens Monday morning–if not you might be able to hear me cursing wherever you may live!!

Saturday we hung the only upper cabinets the kitchen will have–that’s hard work! The Cowboy does most of the work but I help lift, hold, fetch–whatever I can do to help him. The upper cabinet doors have not had their polyurethane applied and I’m not sure I will get them all painted before we leave–time will tell.

On Friday our long time friends Ralph and Angie came for a visit and late lunch. You may remember, Ralph is our friend who had a tough go with covid and I wrote this blog post about their love story. Ralph continues to improve but he’s definitely not back to his pre-covid self! We enjoyed a fabulous lunch and a nice, long visit. They will stay in Tombstone for the summer taking some short trips to cooler destinations. It was so good to see them!

It’s a warm, warm day in sunny Arizona this Sunday. Early in the morning the Cowboy spent some time on the roof. Saturday morning while enjoying our coffee we heard this awful screeching sound coming from the stove pipe attached to our wood burning stove. Seems a bird thought it might be a good idea to investigate the stove pipe–not–he ended up in the stove. We fashioned a catch pen around the stove–an old sheet secured with clothespins, both of us donned gloves, slowly opened the door, and let the bird fly into the sheet where the Cowboy caught him. Released outside the bird flew away probably thinking–“that was a close call!”

On Sunday morning I lifted the Cowboy up onto the roof where he attached poultry wire around our stove pipe cap so birds can’t commit suicide by falling into the stove when we are not here. Crisis solved!

Sunday evening we are dining at the home of our friend Janice–we do eat well!! Thank you to those who entered the KURU shoe drawing and thanks to everyone who continues to read this blog of ours!

KURU Shoe Giveaway

Kelly, the marketing and communications director for KURU Shoes has given us a pair of shoes to gift to a blog reader!!! The first pair the Cowboy received didn’t fit and instead of jumping through the hoops to send the shoes back to KURU, Kelly directed me to keep the shoes and give them away!!

So, the men’s shoes are size 9.5 wide in the Chicane style. The shoes fit more like a size 9. If you would like to put your name in the hat for these shoes leave a comment mentioning the shoes on this blog. If you comment about the shoes on our Facebook post linking to this blog, you will also be entered in the drawing. We will do a random drawing of a name from those comments and announce the winner in Sunday’s blog post. We will pay shipping in the US. Good luck!!

Those of us who are heading north soon are trying to cook/eat all the food in our refrigerators and freezers. Monday evening we had dinner with Dan and Louanne–their guest, Bob from New York City was leaving on Tuesday morning and we enjoyed a fabulous goodbye dinner consuming some of the food from Dan and Louanne’s freezer/refrigerator.

Tuesday I applied more polyurethane this time on the dining bar cabinet. Countertop install in less than a week–fingers crossed! The Cowboy has been applying drywall mud in the porch room now that he has all the kitchen cabinets constructed. He has also been clearing out more treasures making room in the garage.

Wednesday we drove to Sierra Vista to pick up a prescription at Walmart–something I have always avoided doing. Those long lines in Walmart pharmacies make me cringe! I prefer to have medications delivered to my mailbox!! Here’s the ugly story about why I stood in line for 20+ minutes, was told the medication wasn’t in stock (the pharmacist had told me on Tuesday she had the med in stock) and waited another 10+ minutes while they corrected their mistake.

I have for years used Acyclovir cream for the cold sores I develop when stressed. It’s a fabulous drug and if applied when you feel the first tickle the cold sore doesn’t develop. If one does appear the cream significantly reduces the pain and the length of time the cold sore will be present.

Acyclovir cream when I first started using it back in the late 1990’s was inexpensive so to speak, $20 for a very small tube. Suddenly that very small tube was $400+!!!! I purchased the medication from Canada for a long time then started to obtain it in Mexico when we would visit the border towns. The Canadian AND the Mexican versions worked just as well as the US version. The Canadian route is no longer an option and we aren’t really thrilled with the idea of crossing the Mexican border right now with everything in such turmoil. US citizens may still walk across the border for “essential” services–medications, dentists, etc. and we may still make that crossing before heading north.

My Medicare drug plan will not cover the cream, they cover the Acyclovir pills which are really inexpensive at $9 for a 30 day supply but will not cover the cream. I spoke with my drug plan pharmacist yesterday and she told me about the Acyclovir ONITMENT–not cream–that was less expensive if you used GoodRx coupons. She kindly sent me a coupon for the ointment.

Good grief–same drug, same strength–one is a cream and one is an ointment. Let the games begin and some would wonder why many US citizens find our health care system beyond annoying! Look at these two photos and tell me the pharmaceutical companies aren’t robbing us! The first photo is for the cream, the second the ointment. The lower prices are using GoodRx coupons.

I paid the $33.26 for 15grams of the ointment at Walmart. That’s reasonable. $316 is not reasonable. I called a pharmacy in Aqua Prieta, Mexico today–their cost for a tube of the CREAM–$4!! Yes, $4!!! Yep, it’s a racket in the US, an expensive racket!

And don’t get me started on the cost of diabetic testing strips–I was behind a man in line at a local pharmacy who was hard of hearing–I helped him understand what the masked, behind plexiglass pharmacy technician was trying to tell him thus I heard his entire conversation. $148 for a box of 30 test strips if he paid out of pocket which he did. Insulin and testing supplies have been around forever, literally–can someone tell me another reason other than pharmaceutical company greed that causes these items to cost so much???

OK–off the soap box!

In less than two weeks we will be heading north–yippee!!

Gatherings And Stuff

Storm clouds gathering over the Chiracahua Mountains

If only these storm clouds would bring us rain. As you can see in these photos, it’s dry in southeast Arizona. No beautiful fields of poppies this year, very little green grass. We haven’t mowed once this season and usually we mow at least twice.

And yet, the tumbleweeds sprouted out of that dry, dusty earth. While I was in Arkansas the temps really warmed and those dang tumbleweeds sprouted by the dozens in our gravel. So, out came the big lawn mower with its Cowboy attached weed sprayer and those tumbleweeds have a dose of weed killer. I also sprayed around our house and outbuildings for termites. It’s always something isn’t it!

Emmi had a much needed bath and haircut and I also had my hair cut. The Cowboy is next–I cut his hair and he doesn’t wiggle as much as Emmi!

Saturday evening we had the best gathering of friends and the best of meals! There were seven of us including our Montana friend Larry who was going to depart on Friday or Saturday for the north country. But, once viewing the weather forecast for Sunday and Monday in Montana he decided to postpone his departure and was able to join us. We also welcomed Louanne and Dan’s friend Bob from New York City. Bob likes our Arizona weather which has been mighty perfect lately–except for the wind! I outdid myself with the meal–brisket, Calico beans, garlic and herb roasted potatoes and salad dressed with poppy seed dressing. For dessert we had a chocolate cake with ice cream. We do eat well!

Sunday afternoon I must have been tired–I was just going to close my eyes for a few minutes after lunch–an hour and a half later I woke up! Yep, must have needed that sleep!

Emmi and I continue to take our walks out across the desert roads–the scenery just isn’t very photo inspiring right now–

On Wednesday evening we were invited to the home of friends Clint and Christy for a Hawaiian meal. Christy’s college friends from long ago, Bev and Ralph were visiting. Bev is Hawaiian and treated us to an outstanding meal–teriyaki chicken, spring rolls with peanut sauce, jasmine rice, fruit salad, the list went on and on–it was all so delicious!!! Ralph has an amazing story–he grew up as one of ten children of a single mom struggling to keep her family together. Ralph was the only one of his siblings to attend college and has a PhD in communications!!!

We’ve both been sorting and packing a bit. The Cowboy has used a bit of Crisco and thinks he can store all the vehicles in the garage. Our cargo trailer is spending the summer under a secure carport belonging to friends Clint and Christy. I’m sort of sad to be leaving but also anxious to see some green!

KURU Shoes

Have you ever tried Kuru shoes (only sold online). I have found the Quantum best for heel pain. Have been wearing that style for about 3 years. Free shipping and free returns. Good luck. It is miserable when it hurts to stand up!–Marlene, a blog reader, left this comment on the March 7th post I wrote about plantar fasciitis. I responded to Marlene’s comment by saying no I had not tried this brand of shoes but would the next time I was looking for shoes. I had just purchased a pair of sneakers to use with the inserts and wasn’t in the market for more shoes at the time.

Not long after that blog post I received an email from Kelly, the marketing and communications director for KURU Shoes. She offered to send “the Cowboy and the Belle” each a pair of KURU shoes of our choosing from their online only catalog. We were awed by the offer, chose shoes and Kelly had them quickly shipped.

The Cowboy’s shoes were too small and Kelly quickly sent a replacement–WOW!!! When I returned from Arkansas I tried the shoes and my pair fit. These KURU shoes are amazing!! Totally amazing!!

The Cowboy has chronic ankle pain–severe ankle pain to the point he has trouble walking at times. He was having to walk Emmi a couple times a day while I was gone and had resorted to walking her in the air boot cast he has for times when the pain is so bad. The ankle has been broken three times over the course of his life and probably has major arthritis. He wore the KURU shoes the first day for a few hours and—–NO MORE ankle pain!! He continues to wear the shoes and still no ankle pain.

KURU Shoes has it right–there is support in the right place in these shoes–your heel stays where it should and the arch support is in the right place. They are without a doubt the most comfortable shoes ever! We have concrete floors and are on our feet for hours every day–as you all know!–and neither of us has foot/ankle pain when wearing the KURU shoes. We both chose the Chicane style and here you see us wearing our new shoes as we head off to Home Depot.

KURU shoes is an online only store offering free shipping, free exchanges and free return shipping. They advertise themselves as the “world’s most comfortable shoe” and we would agree with that slogan!

KURU promises the world’s most comfortable mens shoes and womens shoes, ensuring maximum comfort and superior support. Our patented KURUSOLE technology adapts to your feet and cradles your heel for unprecedented comfort and cushioning.

Optimized for comfort, KURU shoes bring joy into everyday activities for thousands of people just like you. Experience a quality of life never before realized with our comfort shoes for work, sports, or casual wear.

KURU has transformed the lives of hundreds of thousands previously suffering from foot pain. Something so powerful it can banish away foot pain is more than a shoeโ€”it’s a KURU” (copied from the website)

We are looking forward to trying more of these shoes–the company has not only sneaker/hiking type shoes but also sandals and dress shoes. I LOVE shoes much to the Cowboy’s dismay!๐Ÿ˜

It is warm and windy in Arizona and we are puttering along finishing up last minute chores as it’s almost time to head north. The cupboards were bare and we made a grocery run to Sierra Vista on Tuesday for fresh produce, etc. to get us to departure day.

Back In Arizona

We aren’t night people and if that makes us old, so be it! Neither of us likes to drive at night but Saturday it was a necessity. Southwest Airlines has poor connection times going and coming from Tucson to Little Rock, Arkansas. My dear brother took me to Little Rock Saturday afternoon and I flew home to my Cowboy and little Emmi. It’s hard to say who was more glad to see me! The plane arrived at 9:45pm and by the time luggage was retrieved and we were home and in bed it was midnight–UGH! Of course we were both awake with the sun–another UGH!

The Cowboy has been having trouble sleeping much later than 5am due to barking dogs–another UGH! He’s one of those people who sleeps very lightly–years of sleeping with one eye and both ears open for loose horses in hunting camp! If the horses left, you walked and the Cowboy at that age was allergic to walking! Our windows are open at night, thus he hears the dogs. I sleep with ear plugs as I too am a light sleeper but the Cowboy can’t use earplugs. In Montana we have no neighbors and no barking dogs.

Mom and I enjoyed being together so much. We knitted a lot and she is progressing well–I also made great progress with my shawl knitting!! I cooked and we ate too well!! We shopped and dined out–I’m a better cook than any of the cooks in the restaurants where we ate! I saw cousins and aunts I haven’t seen in years–another good. Visiting with my immediate family, sharing meals–it’s all good. There is a tight bond in my family and living so far away is hard but I have a life I love with the Cowboy and Emmi–we just make it work.

I found a package of frozen blackberries in Mom’s freezer and created this amazing blackberry cobbler!

Sunday was kind of a day of rest. I unpacked, ran a few loads of laundry and bathed one grubby little pooch. Our time in Arizona is coming to a close and it will be time to head back to Montana in just a few weeks. The countdown is on to use everything in the freezers of both refrigerators. We may get a little tired of beef–not a chance said the Cowboy!

I grew up on the farm my great grandfather purchased in 1900. My grandfather inherited the farm and passed it on to my brother who still raises hay and cattle. It’s home. It’s where the majority of my immediate family lives–on the farm. This time of year the grass is vivid green, the trees are almost completely in leaf and everything is blooming–including the dang pine trees. When it rains, the puddles are yellow with pollen dust.

That’s my sister and brother in law’s house across the road from Mom’s. It was evening when I took this photo and I loved the color.

I joined the ladies (Louanne, Janice and Mo) at Linda’s Sunday afternoon for happy hour. It was great to see everyone but I faded fast–it’s going to be early to bed for me!

Busy, Busy

It seems life never slows down for this family of mine living in Arkansas. In this last year we lost three family members to non Covid illnesses. Mom’s husband Chuck died in late March in what I’ve started to refer to as the lost year–where did 2020 go?? Mom’s only remaining sister died in early April of 2020 and a cousin died shortly thereafter. No funerals happened in the lost year. On Thursday Mom and I drove to Clinton, Arkansas again (second trip in less than a week of 200 miles roundtrip) to help my aunt’s daughter Jeanette bury her mother’s ashes. We also said goodbye to my Dad’s oldest sister–her daughter is taking her to Chicago to live for a while. After we were at the cemetery we all headed to a local restaurant and enjoyed lunch and catching up.

A friend from my growing up and church years died on Monday. Joe and his family still attended the church where I grew up and that my brother in law has pastored for almost 30 years. The funeral was Friday and I helped Ann prepare food to feed the family after the funeral. Earlier in the week Danny and I were discussing the practice of taking food to the family home–a practice which I think is a southern thing. In the south when someone dies it isn’t long before friends and family are at the home bringing food and all sorts of other items. When my father died in 2002 friends were at our house almost immediately–the first couple brought us all sorts of paper goods which came in handy during that time. Is it a southern thing–it doesn’t seem to happen in Montana–does it happen in other parts of the country?

My brother’s new toy–I told the Cowboy we needed to replace our Montana skidsteer with one of these!

Mom and I have been cooking/eating/knitting–rinse, repeat. I’ve done a little spring cleaning in her house and we’ve spent time looking at a few old photos–

Mom was one of six daughters, and was fourth from the oldest–

Mom is in the middle top row. I think she cut her own hair and ours to match??

This is me on the left, my sister Robin Ann on the right–Mom made our dresses.

On Easter Sunday with all the church activities we lunched mid afternoon. The whole family was present and I enjoyed being with them so much. Before lunch I hid the Easter eggs for our “children” with the youngest being 16! They joyfully hunted for the eggs filled with candy and money–an added incentive! We found all but one–let’s hope it was one of the eggs that only contained candy!

The Easter basket I made for my niece–I knitted the basket, felted it and adorned it with beads. Niki is my only niece and even though she has teenagers of her own, she always gets an Easter present from her Aunt Janna.โค๏ธ

The Cowboy and Emmi are doing well–ready for me to come home. He’s been working on the cabinets and had to start the air conditioners and evaporative cooler–it’s warm, too warm for this time of year in Arizona.

Life is good.

It’s Spring

The airports are back in business, crowded even. The airplanes are full.

Spring has arrived at least in Arkansas. The dogwoods and redbuds are blooming, the trees are leafing and the grass is growing–yep, it’s spring!

I arrived in Arkansas Wednesday afternoon with no delays. Wednesday night and into Thursday morning the skies opened, lightning popped and thunder boomed–it’s a little nerve racking to be in the south this time of year! Mom and I have hit the ground running. Thursday we headed to Malvern stopping in the tiny town of Poyen for lunch–my great niece attends school in Poyen and one of her best friends is a waitress at the 270 Grill. The food was hot and good. Our destination was Arkansas Yarn Company in downtown Malvern. A cute, bright yarn shop filled with delicious goodies!

Coming home we stopped at Walmart for our grocery pickup order. By the time we were home, the rain had stopped and patches of blue sky were visible. In the evening my niece and her girls arrived–they don’t have TV at their house and wanted to watch the premier episode of The Rambling Red Head on HGTV. Grandma has DISH so we all gathered in Mom’s living room for a fun evening of yacking and watching this red haired woman remodel homes with no demolition. It was actually entertaining and I saw something which helped me make a decision for our AZ home.

Friday we were once again on the move. I used Mom’s Instant Pot to make a delicious beef stew before we drove over to the small community of Ain to meet my first cousins Mary Ellen and Debbie. Many of our relatives are buried in the cemetery behind the small Baptist church–Mom’s parents and three of her sisters. Mom was one of six children, all daughters and she is the only surviving one. Mary Ellen’s and Debbie’s moms are buried in this cemetery and we placed the flowers Debbie brought on all the graves. Mary Ellen’s dad, Uncle Frank Lee was with her and it was good to see him; he will be 94 years old in December and is still very mobile.ย 

Mom’s parents.

A stop at Walmart and the drug store for Mom’s prescription and we were home. The bed in Mom’s guest room is HARD and I was having trouble sleeping. At Walmart I found a memory foam mattress pad and Friday night I slept much better! My niece and great niece dropped by after their hiking trip to find waterfalls–it’s amazing how many waterfalls are in Arkansas in the spring when water flows are high.ย 

Saturday evening we were glued to the TV as another sign of spring in Arkansas is this–

All those orange spots are potential tornadoes. The skies turned green (yes green), the thunder was so loud and the lightning was striking–no pun intended! I’m not sure I like spring in Arkansas!! Mom’s yard is a lake after almost three inches of rain!

Sunday was spent on the go again–unplanned but necessary. We are home, the weather is calm tonight–maybe it will be an early to bed evening!