A Happy Wife

Hope all our readers, friends and family had a lovely Easter.

Moon going down over the Dragoons Easter Sunday morning.

The Cowboy has spent hours working toward getting our evaporative aka swamp cooler working.  The house we owned in North Ranch had an evaporative cooler and it was amazing how pleasantly cool the house would be when using it.  Unlike with air conditioning windows are left open to circulate the air when using a evaporative cooler. The Cowboy dislikes (and that’s putting it mildly) air conditioning.  We never used the central air in our North Ranch house only the evaporative cooler which used the same ducting system as the heat pump/air conditioner.  Swamp coolers don’t work in humid climates–but this time of year with a humidity of 1%–9%, the cooler works well.

Today the Cowboy finished the install and I am a happy wife–it’s a pleasant 70° in our house as I write this blog! Saturday night we had friends over for dinner and when we sat down to eat just after 6pm it was 80° in our house!!  This cooler is large enough to cool both the guest house and main house.

Friday we made a Sierra Vista run–the metal was ready for both the cooler and the shed roof.  Emmi stayed home–way too warm that day for a little black dog to travel.  We both like the color roof metal we chose from an internet photo–always an iffy proposition!

There is a local meat market here in Sunsites which also sells Mexican food and pizza to go.  We had yet to try Guzman’s so Friday Dan and Louanne came out and we ordered pizza.  Let’s just say I will continue to make our pizza! ):

Saturday while the Cowboy worked on the cooler, I spent the day cooking.  Stephanie and Larry plus Harry and Betsy joined us for dinner–both couples have lived here a long time and attend the same church we attend.  If I do say so myself our meal was outstanding!  Brisket, Brenda’s cheesy potatoes, green salad and asparagus.  Dessert was lemon meringue pie.  We do eat well!

Easter service at church today was wonderful–all those old hymns I love! We enjoyed another great meal mid afternoon at Dan and Louanne’s.  Ham, potato salad, deviled eggs, green salad, homemade rolls–it was so good!  And another lemon meringue pie for dessert.

We are off on an adventure Monday–stay tuned!

Strange Weather

Tuesday night as the Cowboy and Emmi were outside for last outs before retiring for the night, I heard what sounded like rain–it was–hard rain and the two of them were quick to come back inside!  The wind was blowing, the temperatures dropped and it rained hard for just a bit.  Perfect for settling the dust! Strange weather for late April in Arizona!

The Cowboy is feeling better at times and at other times not so good–he seems to have pinched a nerve or pulled a muscle in this neck/shoulder.  It’s hard for him to “sit.”  So, he’s been doing stuff which doesn’t require heavy lifting.  Heat, aspirin, massage and rest are all helping him get back to his normal!

Tuesday we made a run to Benson–we needed a notary and a few groceries.  The rest of the day was low key. Wednesday morning was the same but the Cowboy was restless after lunch and started a project–the ceiling in the hallway connecting the two houses.  I helped at times but also worked on a little quilt project–Morley the Moose.

Wednesday morning after the storm.

An almost full moon rising Wednesday afternoon.

Thursday our weather was beautiful–clear skies and very warm temperatures.  Thursday morning we set another steel post for the porch roof on the main house.  The Cowboy ran a water line and power to the evaporative cooler. Now we just need the sheet metal to form the ducting from cooler into the house.  We’ve ordered the sheet metal and roofing steel from a guy in Fort Huachua who isn’t fulfilling his end of the bargain–so we will see!

Was so excited to see this bird while on our morning walk–I’m thinking it’s a Scott’s oriole??  Where is Judy when we need her??

And a couple shots of the full moon rising over the Chiricahua Mountains on Thursday evening.


Montana In Our Sights

It’s the time of year when we start thinking of Montana, thinking of Arizona projects needing to be finished before we head north. In the fall, sometime in September we will be thinking of our return to Arizona. We won’t be leaving just yet but certainly in the next month. The Cowboy has a list of things which need finishing–but it’s not such a long list.

Saturday I checked one thing off the list–mow the grass/weeds.  We haven’t mowed as much this spring and instead have enjoyed all the poppies which sprang up after our wet/cool winter season.  The yard was looking ratty so out came the big John Deere tractor/mower and now the yard looks like a carpet–a weedy carpet but then that’s Arizona!  There is also some type of weed out there giving us both the sneezing fits–mowing really brought on the sneezing!

The Cowboy has been under the weather the last few days so projects have taken a back seat.  I think we have a handle on what’s wrong with him and will get him back to his normal hard charging self! It’s been driving him crazy to just be sitting–as you can all imagine!

Sunday was a pleasant, lazy day–the Cowboy managed a small project Sunday morning but spent the rest of the day being quiet. I went to church and then made Instant Pot beef stew using this recipe.  It’s that time of year when freezer/refrigerator clean out begins–now that we don’t have a RV refrigerator for the trip north.

Our sweet little great grandson Brooks celebrates his third birthday today–happy birthday Brooks!

Monday morning the Cowboy managed to finish the framework for mounting the evaporative cooler–We need a few things to complete the project which we will get sometime this week when we go to Sierra Vista to purchase the steel roofing for the little tractor shed.  That little shed is past needing a new roof and if we lived in a wetter climate the tractor would be wet!

Our very own Easter rabbit!

I’ve done routine chores today–laundry, changing bed linens, etc.  I dug out a few sprouting tumbleweeds–I’m thinking the tumbleweed war may be a forever war!

And here’s our beautiful great niece, Elizabeth on her way to her junior/senior prom in Arkansas–she is such a beautiful girl!




Wind, Wind and More Wind

Tuesday evening the wind started blowing and continued to howl all night, not common–the wind usually stops when the sun goes down.  The wind continued to literally howl all day Wednesday and into the evening.  The dust is awful as you can see in this photo of the Willcox Playa.  Our temps on Monday and Tuesday were close to 90 degrees.  Wednesday the high was 65!!

The Willcox Playa is a large endorheic dry lake or sink (playa) adjacent to Willcox, Arizona in Cochise County, in the southeast corner of the state. It is part of the Sonoran Desert ecoregion and is the remnant of a Pleistocene era pluvial Lake Cochise. Portions of the dry lake bed have been used as a bombing range by the US military. It was designated a National Natural Landmark in 1966 for its fossil pollen captured underground, the thousands of sandhill cranes that roost in the area and the largest diversity of tiger beetles in the United States. Wikipedia.

We went to Willcox Wednesday and drove through what appeared to be heavy fog but in Arizona is dust!  I needed a haircut in the worst way and we both had lists.  The Cowboy completes his list while I get the haircut.  Then we have lunch–today we ate at the Double S Steakhouse and it was fabulous!  I had a salmon burger with a dill/mayo sauce, grilled tomatoes and cucumbers–it was divine.  Can you guess what the Cowboy ate??  A few groceries and we braved the wind to head home to Emmi.

Once again my problem with lost photos was not a Lightroom issue but user error–for some reason my Nikon P600 had lost its date/time setting so my photos were not being saved as “date taken.”  Lightroom is taxing my older brain but it’s also good for my brain–there are 76 videos in the disc Sue loaned me–if I keep watching the same ones over and over, it’s going to take a while to view all 76! 🙂 🙂

Thursday we had more wind, not as bad as on Wednesday but still windy plus it was dang chilly!  Our friends Angie and Ralph who are full time RVers and currently staying in Tombstone came for lunch today.  I provided the ribs and potatoes, Angie brought coleslaw, her world famous jalapeno cornbread and a to die for chocolate cake.  It’s always good to see those two who we originally met while participating in Cowboy Action Shooting back in 2003.

The Cowboy has hung more drywall–he had to find an inside job–way too windy to set steel posts. Yesterday afternoon the Cowboy added to his tool and storage collection.  When at the post office he noticed a “for sale” sign on the bulletin board.  Various woodworking tools and rolling toolboxes were advertised.  So, the Cowboy went shopping coming home with a sliding compound miter saw and table, a planer with table, and two large rolling toolboxes–he is a pleased carpenter!One side of the living room ceiling now has drywall.

Friday morning Louanne and I went to yoga in Elfrida.  And Friday evening the four of us went back to Elfrida to have dinner at a little place which serves good fish on Friday’s.  Today the wind wasn’t as bad but our temps were dang chilly!



More Steel Posts And More Lightroom

We’ve been “hanging” steel posts every morning, we now have four in cement.  You might ask, “why steel posts?”  The Cowboy has never lived where termites were a problem until we purchased this property.  So, he wants no wood touching the ground–thus steel posts for the porch roof supports.

The Cowboy has a clamp and chain attached to the end of the steel post.  He picks up the post with the backhoe and I stay out of the way until he’s close to the concrete form shown below.  As the Cowboy operates the backhoe levers I guide the post into the concrete mixture which is in the bottom of the form.

Then he starts measuring and measuring again to make sure we are the right distance from the house and in line with the previous post.  We pour more concrete around the post. The Cowboy climbs the ladder and secures the hooks of three crank straps to the top of the post and we use these to level it and secure the post until the concrete sets. This operation hasn’t been without excitement–I have to scurry out of the way when the post starts swinging too widely–but the Cowboy is so skilled with the backhoe levers this only happened one time.  Monday I was trying to help level a footing for the next post we will set and slipped into the hole into the concrete–oops!

The last couple days have been warm, hot actually and we retreat inside after lunch. We have two LaFuma lounge chairs the Cowboy gave me for my birthday many years ago.  They are such comfortable chairs. Last year at the end of the season the lacing along the sides of one chair broke.  We ordered replacement lacings and Monday I re-laced the chair.

We also hung our new sunshade blinds on the two large windows on the porch.  Doesn’t it aggravate you when you purchase something, install it and realize it’s wonky, manufactured poorly, and just won’t work???  One blind looks great, the other one is wonky and is being returned.  Louanne and Dan came over Monday evening and we enjoyed happy hour outside in the shade–first time this winter season!!

I did figure out the “small photo” problem–it wasn’t a Lightroom problem.  It was user error in Word Press! 🙂  Lightroom and I are making progress–one step forward, two steps back!  Tonight the program ate the photos I  imported–took me a while to find them–now it may take me longer to figure out why that happened! Our supervisor, Emmi.


Lightroom Here I Come

Picasa has always been my photo editing software of choice.  Some of you may remember Rick Doyle of the blogging world.  While his political views and the way he expressed his views were outside my comfort level he did offer such good advice on Picasa and photo management.  I’ve used his instructions for years without a hitch until lately when Picasa has started to import my photos into odd places.  My yesterday photos went into a folder labeled January 14, 2014.  That’s weird enough but when I go to find those photos in Picasa so I can edit, that folder is nowhere to be found.  So–Lightroom here I come.

When Sue and Mo were here Sue gave me a quick tutorial of the photo editing software program, Lightroom.  In addition Sue loaned me a DVD tutorial with multiple videos detailing how Lightroom works.  The Cowboy and I don’t like subscription programs–pay per month/year for extra cloud storage, pay per month/year for software such as Microsoft Office.  So, I purchased an actual DVD of Lightroom–version 6, the last to be released on disk.  From this release forward Adobe will only sell Lightroom as a subscription program.

I’ve watched several of the how to videos and understand the storage system which is similar to Picasa.  Yesterday I decided to jump in and just try it.  I all ready LOVE some of the features and I LOVE the crispness of my photos.  Picasa made importing and then deleting photos from your camera card very easy.  Lightroom does NOT delete photos from your camera card–that’s the only glitch I’ve discovered so far that I don’t particularly like.  I just made myself go find the manual for my camera–stored on my iPad–and figure out how to delete multiple photos at once with the camera. Problem solved.  The following photos were taken while the gang was visiting–one chilly morning walk.

Wednesday went by in a blur, the Cowboy is learning a new technique for him–“knockdown drywall finishing”–that’s our builder friend Terry’s term for rough, make it look like plaster drywall finishing.  Louanne and Dan have the textured walls in their house and the Cowboy has been practicing on two of our walls–I’m thinking he’s got the technique down pat!

Here’s one of the kind of photos I love–good friends having fun–Tom was in charge of grilling but all the other guys were certainly giving him advice! Our friend Sandy took this photo.

Thursday we took a drive to Tucson and purchased steel for the porch roof supports and for supports for the evaporative cooler.  Of course we did the Walmart and Costco thing too.  As you know we are big fans of Walmart’s grocery app–order and pay for your groceries online, chose a pickup day/time, get a text when your order is ready, text back that you are on your way and Walmart starts tracking you.  As you drive into the parking lot for grocery pickup someone is opening the door and bringing your groceries out to your car.  This didn’t happen yesterday.  There were six vehicles parked waiting for grocery pickup–usually there is no one waiting.  One lady said they only brought out one half her order.  Walmart always sends an email asking for feedback about the pickup process.  I nicely explained on the survey that our pickup experience was not up to the usual par.  I received a very nice email in response along with a $10 coupon to be used on our next pickup order–nice!

Friday the Cowboy started pouring concrete for the support footings.  Saturday we set one of the supports for the evaporative cooler–

I even dug one of the holes!!

Friday evening we enjoyed another fabulous dinner with Louanne and Dan.  Saturday evening we are heading over to Joe and Sue’s–our nearest neighbors–for a cookout.  Two nights not having to make dinner is a wonderful thing!

In trying to become familiar with Lightroom I’ve made some mistakes–obviously!  My photos are too small now and I’ve struggled with it for over an hour–so they are what they are for tonight!


The Gang Is Gone

It’s very quiet at our house this morning after four days of non-stop fun, laughs, riding and touring.

Sunday morning had us heading back up into the Dragoons with China Peak as our destination.  YIKES!!  What a steep, rocky, bone jarring, scary trail!!  We made it to the top, 7100 feet without incident–what a view!  It was a hazy day from what we are not sure but our photos aren’t what they could have been and I’m not sure the Cowboy is ever going to get me back up on top of China Peak! 🙂

On top of China Peak, elevation 7100 feet.
Geri and Larry coming through the rock pass.
Snack break before attacking China Peak.
Here comes Tom and Sandy
View from the top.
Another view from the top.
We survived China Peak!

Back home we enjoyed happy hour and another fabulous dinner of baby back ribs.  Monday morning we decided a truck tour was in order.  Larry and Joe decided to stay at home and we took just the one vehicle to the Chiricahua National Monument.

Chiricahua National Monument
Give me some more bread!
Maybe if I give you the evil eye there will be more snacks!

There was one camp robber jay in a tree above us as we ate our lunch at the monument.  The Cowboy tossed a small piece of bread into the air and suddenly there were twenty jays!! Noisy beggars!

Once again, we enjoyed happy hour with Dan and Louanne coming out to join us.  Kathy and Sandy provided steaks and the guys had the grilling honors.  After dinner we took another drive–to Whitewater Draw.  No sandhill cranes–they’ve all flown north for the summer but we did get to see the owl and one of her babies–

Back at home we enjoyed Louanne’s fabulous pound cake!  It was such a pleasure to have Larry and Geri, Tom and Sandy, and Kathy and Joe.  Friends like these are such a gift and we treasure the fact they were willing to make a six hour drive in order to spend time with us.




The Gang Is All Here

Of course the first to arrive was Larry and Geri–they are always early!  Sandy and Tom also brought their RV.  Kathy and Joe are staying in the house with us.  It’s so good to see our North Ranch friends and be able to show them our neck of the woods!  We let them set up their rigs then enjoyed a wonderful dinner of brisket, roasted potatoes, baked beans and salad.  Dessert was homemade chocolate pie and cherry cheese cake pie.

Emmi was so glad to see Larry and Geri!

Bright and early Saturday morning we were off–it was a perfect weather day for riding.  We found a cave with lots of water–complete with art work!

The wildflowers are gorgeous–

Our friend Linda had told us that Curly Bill’s hideout was up in the Dragoons and had given the Cowboy a general idea of where it was located.  Linda said, “look for the stovepipe.”  My eagle eye husband spotted the square opening of the hideout before we saw the stovepipe.  Curly Bill Brocius, was a gunmanrustler and an outlaw Cowboy in the Cochise County area of the Arizona Territory during the early 1880s.  Curly Bill was killed by Wyatt Earp during a shootout.

Can you see the stovepipe??

Dan and the Cowboy inside the hideout.

The stovepipe.

And we had to do a little repair work on Joe and Kathy’s CanAm–we travel with a group of talented mechanics–thank goodness!!!

We stopped by Dan and Louanne’s for a little tour of their home then Dan joined us for happy hour and dinner.  Geri fed us tonight–lasagna, salad and a delicious fruit dessert.  If nothing else we do eat well with these people.

More riding is on the agenda for tomorrow–see we do take breaks from working on the house–occasionally!

Larry and Geri gave us sad news tonight–our friend Beverly lost her battle with scleroderma two weeks ago.  We met Bev while at North Ranch and have such fond memories of the jeep ride we took with Bev and Jim, Simon and Sandy and the Bayfield Bunch, Al and Kelly.  Bev had the most positive attitude in spite of her nasty disease and we will miss her.  Rest in peace dear Bev.



Turkey Creek And Phoenix

Turkey Creek and Phoenix–opposite ends of the spectrum.  One is remote and quiet, far removed from the hustle and bustle of the big city.  The other is vibrant and exciting with so many choices.  I like both, the Cowboy not so much.

Saturday the Cowboy decided it was time for a day off.  We packed a lunch and took a drive up Turkey Creek–a new adventure for us.  The creek is still running strong after the winter’s rain and snow. Pine trees and live oak trees line the roadway and the rock formations are beautiful.

There are signs of the forest fires which sweep across this arid land in summer–

There are people who live up Turkey Creek–miles and miles of gravel road, miles and miles from civilization.

And then there is Phoenix.  I drove to Phoenix on Sunday meeting a friend for a few days of fun in the big city leaving the Cowboy and Emmi to hold down the fort.  We toured–the Desert Botanical Garden and the Heard Museum.

Chihuly glass sculptures at the Desert Botanical Gardens

Butterflies and flowers at the gardens

Sculptures at the Heard Museum–

We had great luck with our dining choices using Yelp and also a recommendation from the owner of the home we rented.  The Perfect Pear was an awesome choice for salads and pasta dishes.  After touring the gardens and doing all that walking we needed hearty sustenance–a brew pub and burgers made from ground brisket and ground beef were just the right choice–the best burger I’ve ever eaten!  After the museum we chose a French bistro–Zinc– recommended by the home owner–again, just outstanding, fabulous food!  We spent a lot of time sitting outside on the patio in the evening enjoying the warm weather.  My Montana friends–Jeane, Jordan and PJ–dropped by for breakfast Tuesday morning and it was very good to see folks from home.

After a few days of big city life it’s always good to come home.  The Cowboy and Emmi were thrilled to see me as I was them.  The Cowboy has the half bath operational and hung some more drywall while I was gone.  More big adventures are in the works–stay tuned!

True Restoration

Many times the blog has nothing to do with restoration, it’s just our daily journal and it never ceases to amaze us the number of people who keep reading that journal! And we appreciate each and every one of you!

This blog has to do with restoration–we’ve gone from this:

To this gorgeous home restored to this point by the two of us in fifteen months.  We did hire Sergio and his crew to stucco the outside but the remainder of the work has been done by the Cowboy and me. Sergio and his guys finished Friday morning and left us both over joyed with the finished product.  We planted the citrus trees–you can barely see them in the photo.

When purchased the houses had no garage and we added a garage. There were two houses joined only by a roof which had seen better days.  I can still see in my mind that nasty entryway into the “guest” house and gag! Now the two houses are joined by a hallway.  The eaves of the houses were rotting and the roofs leaked which in turn ruined the inside of both houses.

Garage being built. Parapets being added to the guest house roof.

This nasty room is in the main house and now looks like this–

When finished this will be our dining room.

That nasty entryway to the guest house which is all enclosed now.

The guest house had a kitchen–cabinets, sinks, appliances.  It was just a little strangely arranged and we went to work removing this cabinet which sat in the middle of the kitchen.

Now the kitchen looks like this–new floors, different appliances, clean!

We’ve made so many changes to both houses, we joke that there isn’t a wall in either house we haven’t moved!

This is an actual photo taken from the realtor website when we bought this property–were we crazy–and why would a realtor trying to sell something use this photo???  This photo is of the small guest bedroom and living room of the guest house.  It now looks like this–

At times we get tired and discouraged about how much we still have to do.  But, we then remind ourselves of how far we’ve come in 15 months of work!

The Cowboy has been doing some concrete work– Why there was a low spot in the concrete we have no idea–there was a closet where this new concrete has been poured. We put up this beam in late spring, 2018, right before we went back to Montana for the summer.  The Cowboy decided to mortar in the gaps around the beam. 

We took a break today, going for a drive up Turkey Creek but I will leave those photos for another day.  I am off to Phoenix Sunday leaving the Cowboy and Emmi to fend for themselves.