A foggy Thursday morning. Those shadowy trees are at Joe and Sue’s, our nearest neighbor.Thursday the Cowboy spent the day laying and grouting tile–he was a bit exhausted at days end! I removed most of the stick down tile from the floor of the next bedroom slated for remodeling. I despise that stuff! The previous owners must have had problems with tiles not sticking and used a really, really good glue on about six of the 12×12 tiles. Those required the Cowboy and his handy hammer drill with spade–ugh! We’ve also discovered that the closet in that bedroom is not standard size–so standard doors won’t fit–now that’s a problem!

Friday we moved all the stuff from the last bedroom and Saturday the Cowboy began demolition. We are removing all the drywall and installing new.

Friday the weather changed for the better, no fog and much warmer. Saturday was the same–fabulous weather! I called it a “why we live here” kind of day.

As for the socializing–we were invited to Linda’s house for dinner Saturday night and enjoyed a fabulous meal of buffalo chicken chili, Mexican cornbread (used your recipe Angie), salad and two desserts! Linda always includes someone we’ve not met–Ron was the candidate last night and he and the Cowboy have a lot in common–both installed septic systems. There were a lot of poop jokes going around the table! 😝 It was a great evening and thank you Linda!!

Sunday we had Sunday lunch with Milton and Lucy–Ted and Jeane plus Peggy and …… dang it, I’ve forgotten her husband’s name–joined us. Lucy had prepared a wonderful lunch–pot roast, mashed potatoes with gravy, salad, corn, and homemade bread. I provided an apple pie from my freezer–one of the pies Louanne taught me to make. We so enjoyed ourselves that when I looked at my watch I couldn’t believe how late in the afternoon it was!

Sunday the weather changed once again–the wind howled all day and our temps grew cooler. But we still had some outstanding sunsets throughout the week!

Life is good! And we were reminded this week of how good our lives actually are. The Cowboy spotted an ad on Craigslist for “free firewood.” I communicated with the person via text thinking the person was a man and made arrangements to go out to their place on Friday afternoon. It was a young woman who with her two teenage sons had purchased this project house on acreage. The house burned to the ground a couple months ago. Because the house was a “project house” it would not pass inspection and was not insured. She is now living in a very small travel trailer. Her sons have moved back to Tucson to live with their dad and go to school. They come out on the weekends to see her. She has by herself with the help of her sons on weekends cleaned up the fire debris–no machinery other than a wheelbarrow that we could see. My heart just broke for her. She had a dream I’m sure and her dream burned to the ground. Very sad.

More Rain

More rain, hail and sleet Sunday night and Monday. We made a quick run to Sierra Vista on Monday and on the way back ran into one heck of a storm–the skies dumped rain, sleet and hail. The temperature dropped from 54 degrees to 39 degrees as we were coming back over Gleeson Road.

Home Depot agreed to waive their ninety day return policy for all that broken tile. And when the Cowboy started laying tile again, he has yet to have another broken piece! We grabbed a quick bite of lunch, picked up a small grocery order at Walmart and did battle with customer service–returning an item purchased with your grocery order can be an ordeal! The young woman who brought our groceries out to the truck told me how to make returns easier and when I went in to customer service for the second time in one day it was so much nicer/easier!

Tuesday I took Dan and Louanne to the airport–they are going home to Oregon for the holidays. I ran a couple errands and fought the crowds at Costco. The Costco we usually frequent is always busy but Tuesday it was a zoo. I didn’t have a long list but it still took me about an hour to navigate the crowd. My Costco credit card has a photo of me on the back side. The cashier was a young man with a wild hair do and a scruffy, long beard. He turned my card over, looked at the photo, looked at me and said, “changed your hair color didn’t you??” I laughed, pointed my finger at him and said, “you are not allowed to ask those questions of a woman!” My hair was a different color in the photo–it’s now natural salt and pepper–or as the Cowboy says, “platinum.” 😍

It’s been so damp and humid in our Arizona neck of the woods. We’ve had fog each morning this week making for good photos–

A flock of sandhill cranes flying overhead.

Wednesday I cleared out much of the stuff from the other bedroom. The Cowboy continued to lay tile and in the afternoon he worked on the chain saw. Soon we can grout and move the remaining stuff into the completed bedroom. We have some demolition to do in the next bedroom–a door has to be cut into the wall and we are replacing most of the drywall.

The remodel/restoration continues.

Parades And Fun

We’ve spent the later part of this week working just a bit and having some fun. The Cowboy has been laying floor tile and finding the last batch of tile we had delivered from Home Depot to be a bad batch. So far in the boxes we’ve opened there has been a 35% breakage rate–corners broken off, some tile in pieces. Home Depot has a 90 day return policy–we are debating that policy with them. It’s going to be long past 90 days when we finally lay every single piece of floor tile. We want to be assured we can return all the broken tiles even if the 90 days has passed


Saturday morning we participated in the first ever Sunsites Christmas parade. Our church pastor took the photo of us in the Can-Am. Louanne and Dan. She drove their Can-Am and Dan rode his scooter.

Santa in the fire truck. My Santa Cowboy and Emmi. From our local coffee shop. The parade even had horses and wagons! For it being the first parade there was a large turnout of participants–ATVs, motorcycles, horses, antique cars and even some walkers. It was fun!

Saturday evening Dan and Louanne joined us and we headed to Willcox for early dinner and then the lighted parade. Dinner was good and while the parade was smaller than last year, it was still fun to watch. Lots of people out on the streets of Willcox.

Sunday was church–we had a much larger than usual crowd with some new folks joining us–always a good thing. I love our church–we have a fabulous minister, wonderful music and great people. It’s raining–sprinkling this afternoon making for good napping. In the evening we were at Dan and Louanne’s along with Pat and her son. Pat and family were originally from upstate New York and Vince still resides in New York working for a company which manufacturers all the brakes for locomotives and railroad cars. Dinner was great and we thoroughly enjoyed meeting Pat’s son. Thanks Dan and Louanne for having us–as always it was wonderful!

And meanwhile back in Montana with nary a snowflake it was time for the annual Big Timber lighted Christmas parade–photo taken by Oren Swopes and shared on Facebook.

Exciting Stuff

Not really–painting, plumbing, hanging drywall and cement board–not very exciting. But the new stove works so well–the Cowboy built a fire Monday morning and had the house toasty warm. I marvel frequently at the talents my husband possesses asking him how he learned to do all the stuff he can do. Build stoves (he thinks he’s built right at 300 stoves over the years), remove engines from vehicles and replace them–and the vehicle runs!! Fix leaking coffeepots, change batteries in iPhones, lay tile and make it look professional. For years he kept our ancient haying equipment running and still keeps our tractors going–and they are really ancient! Built houses from the ground up. The list goes on and on! When we met, the Cowboy was really into electronics, installing those huge, flying saucer type satellite dishes for customers and then moved into the smaller dishes more common today. He is an excellent welder, plumber and electrician. The Cowboy and I owned an excavating business–installing septic tanks, building roads, digging basements, etc. Everything he does is self taught and then to top it off, he can add a list of numbers in his head faster than I can find the calculator!

Monday I was re-hanging a Christmas quilt. The quilt is too heavy for the rod I was using and kept slipping down the wall. I have two of those “Hang-It, Dang It” quilt hangers and would like to have another one or two but “dang it” those things are pricey.  Thirty five dollars for a small rod and accompanying plastic hanger is a bit much! So, my Cowboy to the rescue! He pulled a piece of copper pipe out of his “treasure pile”, cut it to length and handed me this fitting–

Pipe and the fitting encased in the sleeve on the quilt’s back.

And wal-la–my quilt is hanging!! Such a smart husband I have! I need to figure out how to store quilts so that crease in the middle doesn’t happen. When we left last spring I laid all the quilts flat on the bed and covered them with a sheet. But, when we got back this fall we had to sleep somewhere, so the quilts were folded and put in the closet. And even though I put extra quilts in the middle and folded this one around them, this Christmas quilt has a crease.

Another of my favorite Christmas quilts–hanging on one of those “hang it, dang it” rods. The nativity scene in the lower left I have had for 43 or so years. It escaped our fire in September, 2000.

Tuesday I finished painting the bedroom–it’s painted, ready for flooring and trim.

And on Wednesday, the Cowboy began laying tile in the bedroom. So exciting!!!

Laci, Lora, and I’m not sure who the little boy belongs to–enjoying the cookies I sent to Germany. It amazes me how quickly stuff travels to Germany via the USPS one rate boxes.

Wednesday we had rain squalls and rainbows. This was taken outside our little grocery store with my iPhone.

Emmi and I never tire of this view on our morning walks. Nor this view with the snow so bright on top of the mountains–that’s a good place for snow–on top of the mountain.

A Busy Few Days

I will warn you–this is a photo laden post!

The rain started Wednesday night and continued almost all night into Thanksgiving Day. The rain stopped long enough for us to get to Dan and Louanne’s for Thanksgiving lunch mid afternoon on Thursday. We even enjoyed this beautiful sunset. Friday morning heavy clouds hung in the sky and we could see snow on mountains.

By noon Friday it was pouring rain again and when it finally stopped in the late afternoon we had over three inches in the gauge! Amazing!!

Thanksgiving lunch at Dan and Louanne’s was wonderful. Dan’s turkey was great and all the other food contributions were fantastic! As usual it was a good group of people and we had a spectacular time.

Two to three years ago the Cowboy changed the battery in my iPhone 6. For a while the new battery worked well but lately it would not hold a charge even with very little use. So, the cowboy decided to be brave once again and changed the battery–the jury is still out on if it helped or not.  What is it with iPhone 6s???

Friday I cleaned and then decorated the house for Christmas putting up the tree and hanging Christmas quilts. We look very festive! Saturday we needed a Home Depot run and headed to Sierra Vista. We are big fans of Walmart grocery pickup and now we are HUGE fans of Home Depot pickup. The Cowboy sat at his computer Friday, entered his order and paid for it online. Saturday he went in the store to the customer service desk with his printed receipt and a few minutes later our stuff was being loaded into the truck. Amazing!!!  Walmart pickup for groceries, a quick stop at Lowes and we were on our way home.

Saturday evening we attended with Louanne and Dan the local library fundraising dinner and auction. It was a very crowded community center but the food was good and we enjoyed the evening. Sunday it was church and stove installation day. The Cowboy worked so hard today but at about 5pm he was building a small fire in the stove–installation successful!

The next two photos are of the San Pedro River on Charleston Road on Saturday after all the rain. There is usually just a trickle, if that, of water in the river bottom.

The Chiricahua Mountains topped with snow.

On Saturday water was still running across the highway in several places. From the debris you could see the water had been much higher on Thursday and Friday. Warnings are issued during every Arizona rainstorm–“turn around, don’t drown,” yet often during one of these storms someone will drown trying to drive across during high water. Sadly it happened during this storm.

Happy Thanksgiving

Here come the storms.

It’s been low key around this house the last few days. The Cowboy has finished a bedroom in the main house, now it’s my turn–to paint. Then we will move all the stuff stored in the other bedroom into the completed bedroom and start remodeling that one–clear as mud–right!  The Cowboy has also been working on the walk in shower, a cranky heater thermostat and many other small projects. He installed a small baseboard heater on our porch–our closed in porch–and goes out there in the morning to drink his coffee, surf the internet and let his wife sleep.

I was an operating room nurse for all of my career and usually worked the day shift meaning I had to be at work by at least 6am, sometimes earlier. Depending on where I was living I might have to get up at 4am so as to get to work on time. For many years after retirement I was still up early with the Cowboy. Something with my internal clock changed and I can now sleep in–usually only until 6:30 or 7am.  The Cowboy on the other hand still thinks he is a rancher and is frequently up at 5am. He tries very hard to be quiet when he gets up but it seems something always woke me. I am loving his new spot and so is he–there is a view of the Dragoons from the porch.

One of the book recommending sites I read recently listed “Dreyer’s English” by Benjamin Dreyer as a must read if you love to write. I ordered a used copy from Amazon and have really been enjoying the book. It isn’t one of those dry, hard to make yourself read kind of books. Mr. Dreyer is copy chief at Random House publishing company and he is funny! I’ve been surprised to read some of his recommendations which probably have my high school English teachers turning over in their graves!

Some examples: you don’t need a double space after that period or question mark–WHAT??? That will be a hard one for me to break! You can start a sentence with “but” or “and”–Mr. Dreyer calls that one a “non-rule.”  Another one: you can end a sentence with a preposition–YIKES!!! Only if you have to and to keep from tying a sentence in a knot as the author so eloquently states!😉 It’s an interesting read!

I’ve baked more cookies–our UPS man, Paul, liked me yesterday.  A pedicure and haircut were on the agenda, shipping of packages, and walking Emmi, etc.

Wednesday I painted–the primer coat after first washing the walls to get rid of the drywall dust left from sanding.This is one of the bedrooms in the main house and it opens into the master bathroom. This old house has small windows mounted higher in the walls unlike modern homes with huge windows. We elected to keep the original bedroom windows after our friend Linda told us, “we like those windows, no one can see in!!” Makes sense to us!

Would you believe it’s raining again and has been only about 45 degrees all day today. It’s not only raining, it’s pouring! The moisture amounts from this storm are predicted to be about two inches. And (I started a sentence with “and!”) the mountains above 5000 feet could get snow and the higher elevations could get snow measured in feet!!  It’s going to be a rainy and chilly Thanksgiving Day in Arizona.  The Montana folks will tell me to stop complaining, their high on Thanksgiving is about 19 degrees!

Happy Thanksgiving to all our family and friends!





When I posted the blog on Wednesday night over one inch of rain had fallen. Thursday morning did it ever rain and blow!!  In just a couple hours we had another half inch of rain. We even had some thunder and lightening. Emmi went to the door and backed away–“I’m not going outside in THAT!”  We had planned a trip to Sierra Vista but chose to postpone–it could wait until Friday.

Here are some interesting facts–The average annual rainfall for Cochise County, Arizona is fourteen inches.  The average annual precipitation in our Montana county is 15-18 inches per year.  Amazing to me there is so little difference. These two next photos were taken Friday morning after the rain stopped. The humidity level was 70%–highly unusual for Arizona–and it was a chilly 38 degrees.

The Cowboy has been “mudding” ceilings and walls–sometimes he gets more on himself than on the ceilings and walls I’m thinking! He came in for lunch with a large smear across the top of his head. I spent Thursday baking–getting a head start on my Christmas cooking. I have 12 dozen cookies in the freezer! Ran out of sugar–I’m down to the last tablespoon I think–time for groceries!

Friday morning after Emmi and I walked we headed to Sierra Vista. By the end of the day I had two five gallon buckets of paint. Obtaining that paint was not an easy task. All our paint will now be purchased from Lowes and not Home Depot. Enough said.

Dan and Louanne happened to be in Sierra Vista also and we joined them for lunch. And then we were on a mission–to find the Cowboy some new Wranglers.  Long ago a friend who owns a store in Livingston, Montana told us to look for Wranglers with a made in Mexico label–Jordan said those jeans would fit better than the ones made in other countries.  Jordan was absolutely correct!

I ordered the same Wranglers the Cowboy has been wearing for years from Wrangler–nope, awful quality, terrible fabric, ill fitting and not made in Mexico!! I tried Amazon but when I asked the question, “are these jeans made in Mexico?” a customer replied, “no, and the fit, fabric…….is awful….sent back!  Well OK–we won’t be ordering from Amazon! We tried Walmart in Sierra Vista and while they do sell Wranglers they don’t sell Wranglers my Cowboy would like! Off to the CAL-Ranch Store where we were successful in finding made in Mexico Wranglers that fit my Cowboy–they only had two pair–I’m now on a mission to search all CAL-Ranch stores!

The water pressure in the kitchen sink was abysmal! We knew it was either the faucet or the hoses and had purchased a new faucet but it wasn’t needed.  The hot water hose was full of crude from our older hot water tank. I now have water pressure and I’m a happy camper! Both the Pinaleno and Chiricahua Mountains have snow on top.

Saturday night we had dinner at Dan and Louanne’s. Dan made nachos and they were the best nachos I’ve ever eaten–they were so good!!  Our contribution was homemade strawberry ice cream–it was a feast.

Sunday was church, visiting with friends, more mudding and I even painted a closet. The Cowboy wanted to see if paint would bring out the dimensions of the texture he is applying and it did–looks great–did we expect otherwise coming from my chief contractor??

A gorgeous photo of our little Montana hometown with the Crazy Mountains in the background taken by Jeff Weston. No snow on the ground but I’m thinking that’s about to change according to their forecast.  It’s been incredibly windy in Montana today.




Getting To Be A Habit

Brooks and Millie.                                                                                     Lora all dressed up for 50’s day at kindergarten.

Taking a break that is! We have more “winter” like weather in the forecast, rain and highs in the low 50’s. Monday was sunny and 75 degrees so off we went in the CanAm up into the Dragoon Mountains.  Dan and Clint joined us–Louanne had more pressing girly things to do–manicure/pedicure!  It was a fantastic day, perfect temperature and the fall colors were still in evidence.

That’s Rockfellow Dome peaking up from the west side instead of our view from the east side of the Dragoons. Can you spot the rock climber? Can you see the sheep’s head?

Tuesday I cooked some, did the laundry, rested my knee and helped the Cowboy put up ONE sheet of drywall.  It’s a good thing we only had ONE of those to hang or we would be divorced! 😲 The drywall lift has been a marriage saver!😋 There was no way to get the lift into the shower so we had to lift the sheet over our head, make it fit around a very specific cut-out and screw the sheet to the studs. It was hard, way hard!! About killed both of us!!  As I said, I’m glad there was only one of those!!

The Cowboy has been experimenting with a rough texture, made to look like plaster drywall finishing technique–he’s got it down–our house is going to look so good!

Tuesday evening about 5pm it started to rain and rained off and on all night long. Wednesday morning there was over one inch of rain in the gauge.  That’s always a good thing in the desert. And, it may rain more tonight and tomorrow. That’s Rockfellow Dome to the left of center taken from our side of the mountains.

These are some sunset photos I took a few days ago–

Lots of people have told us we can’t grow citrus trees in this part of southeastern Arizona.  Well, we have two trees and ONE piece of citrus–not sure if it’s a lemon or a lime because I can’t remember which tree is which.

We Have A Party

Thursday my knee was better and we hung drywall again–the living/dining room is now completely covered with drywall–makes the space look large!

This is the living room in this photo–we decided early on to keep the two brick walls in the house.  The lighter colored beam with the blue tape we installed and I will stain it to match the beam showing on the right side of the photo which was original to the house.

It was such a beautiful day Thursday we couldn’t stay inside and off we went for a short Can-Am adventure.  On Saturday when Louanne and I were in Tucson, the Cowboy, Emmi and Dan joined friends Lisa and Lyndon on an ATV ride.  Friends of Lisa and Lyndon’s joined them–Kevin and Janice. They found an old flooded, abandoned gold mine.  Lyndon had heard the miners discovered a rather large vein of gold when they also hit water, lots and lots of water.  They brought in huge pumps but could not rid the mine of the water.  This is all hearsay of course but it makes a good story.  And there was a huge hole on one side of the “pond” that must have been the mine shaft.

Emmi’s favorite riding spot.  She has learned to duck the limbs along the trail.

You can see the shaft in the left side of the photo.  If you watched the water you could see it flowing from the mine–kind of spooky if you ask me!

Close up of the shaft. Fall in the Dragoons.

We startled a pair of deer when we approached the mine–I’m sure that pond provides water for a wide variety of desert critters.

Friday the Cowboy puttered and so did I.  We went out to the Sunsites “boardwalk” and pursued the vendors who gather every Friday we sell their wares.  I found a beautiful card, a lavender filled neck wrap which can be warmed in the microwave and a pair of $2 reading glasses for the Cowboy.  He can’t carpenter with his normal strength reading glasses and needs a couple steps lower strength–found a bargain, he tried them out and we purchased.

Saturday was spent getting ready for the party and would you believe I didn’t take not one photo of all our friends who gathered in our home to enjoy getting to know each other, eat the fabulous food everyone contributed and just generally have a great time! When we moved to this area almost three years ago we met some people at church and then we met Dan and Louanne who in turn introduced us to other folks.  We’ve also met other people through Brian–our friend/aka well driller.  Twenty four people gathered at our house last night–we cleaned up all the construction mess, set up chairs and tables in the main house and spread out. People wandered in and out of rooms hearing the story of our restoration project, visited with friends and got to know people they hadn’t met before.  It was a fabulous time and we are so glad we reached out!

Sunday we both attended church and the after church Thanksgiving potluck–it was delicious!!!  Wonder how many Thanksgiving meals we can have before the actual day of feast???

Moon rising over Sunsites.

Life is good.


Pie Baking

Sunday evening Louanne sent a text, “want to bake pies Monday morning about 9am?” Louanne is a great pie baker and I wanted to learn how to make pie crust–I am a great baker but pie crusts have always defeated me. So off I went Monday to Dan and Louanne’s after walking the Emmi girl.

The kitchen at their house was in full swing when I arrived.  Dan is the chief apple peeler–

He has a handy/dandy counter top mounted apple peeler like the one Karen sent me a few years ago. We kept him busy as we made six pies!

Another of my “struggles” was getting that crust into the pie plate without tearing. Pioneer Woman Ree Drummond rolls her pie crust out on parchment paper and I’ve tried her method–sort of successfully. Louanne’s method worked like a charm–amazingly well.  Just roll the dough around the rolling pin and then roll it back out over the pie plate–wal-la!!!  See that cloth covered round thing under my rolling pin–it’s also a game changer!  Pie dough does NOT stick to the floured cloth!  I have the cloth but it’s not on a round board–a project for the Cowboy???

I always struggled with those pie crust making directions, “dough should look like coarse cornmeal,” or “dough should have pea sized clumps.” Louanne made it look easy and I mixed the next two batches of dough with her directions. As I said we made six apple pies and Louanne sent me home with enough pie crust dough to make another apple pie which I did after we ate lunch.

Those hands are Louanne’s making the edge of the pie crust look “pretty.”

The Cowboy worked so hard on Monday, he “mudded” a lot of drywall, mixed and spread more cement in the shower floor and then mixed even more cement to fill in a low spot in the living/dining room floor. Remodeling an old home requires vision and my husband has it–but then we’ve had to deal with the aftermath of our “visions.”  We moved walls, lots of walls, and that caused us to find issues which made us wonder, “what were the original owners of this house thinking, what was this room’s use???”  The main house is about 1500 square feet and it was advertised as having FIVE bedrooms.  That advertising was done long after the house had been abandoned and allowed to deteriorate.  We think one of those five bedrooms was actually the dining room but who knows.  The people who originally owned this house would NOT recognize it today!

Tuesday the Cowboy “mudded” some more, moved stuff around so we could hang drywall and completed various other projects.  I sat on the couch and applied ice/heat to my knee.  My knee was basically healed until I started going to yoga class. The woman who teaches the yoga class in this community does not seem to know how to deal with older people or people who tell her, “I tore a ligament in my knee and need to be careful.”  I’ve watched her force older people into poses they shouldn’t be doing and I let her stress my knee again.  She advertises her yoga as “beginner/intermediate.”  I’ve done a lot of yoga over the last few years and her yoga is advanced. She is a fan of going around the room and “forcing” people into difficult poses.  I actually had to tell her one day when she was about to put her foot on my hip, “don’t do that.”  When she persisted I said loudly, “don’t touch me.”   I won’t be going back.  I will either practice yoga at home by myself or drive the 25 miles to Elfrida where there is an extremely competent teacher.  I miss my Julia–our yoga teacher in Montana!

Today my knee was better and I helped the Cowboy hang drywall.  We are making progress day by day.  After lunch I made a trip over to Benson with a long grocery list.  We are having a gathering/party on Saturday night and I needed some last minute things plus the regular groceries.  The Cowboy took a ride on the motorcycle–it was such a beautiful day, 70 degrees and sunny!

Life is good!

Sandhill cranes heading for Whitewater Draw.

Moon going down Wednesday morning over the Dragoons.