Wednesday, December 29, 2021

Post Christmas Post!

 Not much has happened since Christmas, a few days ago.   I have a few pictures and, since nothing very exciting is likely to happen for the rest of the year,  I thought I'd do another post.   

It's due to rain tomorrow and New Year's Eve.   The temperatures are in the "chilly" range, although we were able to sit outside (with sweatshirts and socks on) for second cup this morning.    The birds seem to know when we come out and they flock to the suet feeder and whatever piece of fruit I have to offer.  They don't seem to care whether it's an orange or a pomegranate...They all take their turns - thrashers, white crowned sparrows, abert's tohees, cactus wrens, ladder-backed woodpeckers, gilded flickers, gila woodpeckers, house sparrows, house finches, northern cardinals, pyrrhuloxias, mockingbirds and even the quail.   

While we chatted and  dunked our biscotti, we noticed something different in the sky.   Normally the blue is criss crossed  by numerous contrails, high above.    Today there were none, but we saw this, what we called a reverse contrail!  

Our eyes are on the sky always.    We watch planes and birds and clouds as part of the enjoyment of being outdoors.    Never have we seen this.   I've since found out that it has a name - a distrail.   I guess you're never too old to learn something new!

Dave continues to make the new fireplace feel like it belongs.   Today he used a new to him technique - a knock down finish.   All the walls and ceilings in this house have this "textured" finish so he had to learn how to make the new wall match the others.

It's turning out pretty good, although we had to make a quick trip to the lumberyard today for more product.     While I was waiting outside in the Jeep, a prairie schooner wanna be clip clopped by, probably taking tourists on cowboy town tour. 

   Tomorrow he'll put on a coat of paint on the new wall and see how it looks.   If all is well, the heavy stone surround will be attached and it's finally done!   What will we do then? 

Lewis has been pestering us for attention lately.   Either he's bored with this static life or he's reverting to his puppyhood.    I finally revived the old "keep the puppy busy" trick of filling a "Kong" with goodies,  sealing it closed with peanut butter and freezing it.    When I can take his poking and woofing no more,  I pull out the Kong and he's happily occupied for at least an hour trying to free the goodies.   

nom nom nom, slurp slurp slurp

That's about all from here for now.   See you next year!

Saturday, December 25, 2021


 Merry Christmas from our backyard to yours.   We hope this coming new year will be happy and healthy for us all.

We've taken a little more time off lately, things have begun to calm down here and we're enjoying more down time.      My birthday was last week and the day before we decided to drive into Scottsdale and do a little walk down memory lane, have a nice lunch and then drive home "the back way". 

entry to The Boulders

The plan was to have lunch at The Boulders Resort, a place we used to stay at our other life.    It's a beautiful place set amongst the huge boulders with lovely individual cassitas complete with fireplaces and patios in the desert landscaping.   A golf course winds its way around the property and we remembered the food to be excellent.      This day, however, the main restaurant was closed and the only food available was at the clubhouse.    That didn't appeal to us so I found a small french restaurant in nearby Cave Creek.

San Souci has been in this location for many years, and the decor is a bit dated but the food is still excellent and the service friendly and efficient.    We had a great time and enjoyed a little good wine before stopping at a few stores for Christmas supplies that can't be found in Wickenburg.

I've been wanting to take Castle Hot Springs Road past Lake Pleasant, through the mountains, back to just outside of Wickenburg.    We've always enjoyed the ride.   There have been a few changes along the way, a bit of fencing keeping us out of a couple spots we would often stop and share lunch, but otherwise the road was well graded and the scenery just what we wanted.     The beautifully restored resort of Castle Hot Springs was bustling as we passed by.    I took very few pictures along the way, you've all seen plenty here in the past.

A few of the tight washes had water in them so we got Rocky a little muddy - always a good thing!   At one spot we stopped to read a sign.    We both felt we were being watched.....and we noticed a number of unusual white spots not far from where we were.

Burros!   There were about 10 of them, a few babies and their family, probably beginning to gather for their Christmas celebrations.

We smiled all the way home.

On "the" day, Cindy P called to wish me Happy Birthday.    While I was talking with her, the most special person I know snuck in and quietly presented me with a birthday Bismark (otherwise known as a Boston Cream donut), complete with burning birthday candles.    I don't know what I ever did to deserve such a thoughtful and sweet man.

After my special birthday second cup we went to the Hassayampa River Preserve to walk along the above ground portion of the Hassayampa River as it flows through the nature preserve.   We've not visited this area before and we found it quiet and beautiful.   A place to return to.

plank crossing

We walked along a sandy trail through a mesquite bosque and then under huge Fremont Cottonwoods and Willows    The Cottonwoods are just beginning to turn their beautiful yellow color at this time of year and the River was clear and sparkling in the sun

the stream was so clear it is hard to actually see it in this photo

We worked up an appetite (since when do I have to work to have an appetite?) there so when we were done we drove north to Congress and Nichols West for lunch.    Rainy and cloudy weather was coming our way so we were lucky to be able to sit outside on their sweet little patio, and having it mostly to ourselves.  

We were happy to see the little patio kitty was still in residence.   It (I don't know if "it" is a he or a she) is a quiet customer and only approaches for pets if asked.    It mostly relaxes in the sun.

We both enjoyed our meals, as usual.     Dave enjoyed smelling the roses that grace the fence and kitty accepted his post sniffing pets.

yes, again....shrimp/avocado quesadilla and shrimp/lobster tacos

this man enjoys his food!

Did I mention the pretty birthday flowers I received from Jesse and Erin?    Or the picture from Cindy P?

We haven't completely stopped fussing around the house.   A few things needed assembly and placement this week.

no, we haven't had time to remove the log wallpaper yet - we're ignoring it

AND.....the fireplace is finally fully in and working!    The long story of it's installation had one more little chapter.   You'll remember the two trips (two 3 hour round trips) in one day that the first installers took to finally have the right parts.     The second appointment on Dec. 23 didn't start out well.   The man walked in with his tool bags, took one look at what the first men (on Dec. 6) did, asked if this was to be natural gas or propane, shook his head and told us he didn't have the right parts with him....WHAT - AGAIN!     I was so angry I had to go sit outside to avoid becoming a murderer.      Luckily cooler heads prevailed and the guy left with a promise to return.     Hours later he called and said he was on his way back.      Another two 3 hour round trips for this chapter.      All's well that ends well, he did his job, the fireplace works and we're so very happy with it - all of us!


We've had a quiet Christmas again this year.    The predicted rain storm came and it poured, hard, most of Christmas Eve.    Happy hour and second cup found us sitting in front of our lovely fire on our lawn chairs.    Today is another quiet day.   Naps all around!

rain = green!




Thursday, December 9, 2021


 We're almost halfway into December and I'm still wondering where the time goes.    I suppose it's measured by small milestones.

We had a quiet Thanksgiving here together.   My turkey recipe was a bust (the leftovers went directly into the bin)  but the pumpkin pie was a hit.   The night after the big day we invited Steve and MonaLiza here to enjoy the Ornery Hog's famous smoked prime rib (only offered on Friday nights).     It was as advertised.    Wonderful and huge and memorable.    We shared two dinners among the four of us and there was plenty of food!

We're learning the ins and outs of this house.   The furnace works, nice to know on today's chilly and cloudy afternoon.    Lewis no longer sleeps in the closet.    He uses the purpose purchased huge dog bed beside our bed.    Or.....he uses the couch, as we knew he would. 

He still likes to keep a close eye on us, wherever we go, even in the bathroom. 

he doesn't knock, just opens the door and peers in 

He enjoys watching the birds and deer and rabbits as they use our property and he recently noticed the horses across the street. 


The fireplace saga continues.    We got tired of craning our necks to watch the TV sitting in the corner (it's official home will be on the mantelpiece, over "the fireplace".     So Dave put on his creative hat and installed a temporary mantel over the empty spot where "the fireplace" will be.

We're getting really good at imagining how things will look, at ignoring things we don't want to look at!  It's a skill I advise everyone try and acquire, it makes things go a lot smoother with fewer "explosions"!

I ordered a stone surround (mantel piece, hearth and side columns) for "the fireplace" and we got notice that it was to arrive, common carrier, right on time.    Things seemed to be falling into place.   Supply chain problems?   Who has those?     

While we were outside having a pleasant second cup Dave saw the truck coming in the distance.   He ran down to the corner to show the driver where the house was.   We're listed as 1055 N 328 and as 1055 S 328.   He didn't want the truck's GPS to cause him to drive the big rig to the wrong place....nice guy that he is.   

Truck driver said he wasn't driving any further and he would deliver it right the middle of the road, and no where else.   The middle of the road was about 1/4 of a bumpy dirt mile from the house.   The surround was crated in a 6 foot wooden box on a skid and weighted about 450 lbs.   


Luckily, a neighbor raced to our aid  (I think he was secretly watching the discourse between Dave and the driver from his window) in his 4x4 with a towing strap.    Dave was going to hook the "coffin" to our Jeep and drag it home but this man wouldn't hear of it.

   He pulled the box into our steep driveway and unstrapped it.    Dave was going to leave it there until "the fireplace" installation and subsequent drywall work was done but I didn't like that idea so he (good old Dave always comes through) figured out a way that he and I could drag it into the garage for safe keeping.

So, Monday was the appointed day for the install....the unit arrived and they had kept their promise of arriving on Dec. 6.      Alphonso pulled in at 7:30 a.m. (he drove over from the other side of Phoenix, about 1 or 1 1/2 hours away).     He took one look at the area where the fireplace was to go and said he didn't have the right chimney pipe with him....what?????    He left (to go back to Phoenix, another hour and a half drive)     He would be back at some point, he didn't know what his supervisor would do about another appointment.    GRRRRRR.    We made this December appointment way back in October so now how long would we have to wait for the right pipe....and why didn't they carry a few extra parts in their truck!      Long story short, he called back at 11:30 that day and said he was heading back to Wickenburg with the right stuff.   Yay!

Right....yay.     Alphonso and his assistant completed their part (wait for it.....) of the installation and then told us that we'd need another appointment for the service tech to come back and hook up the gas and electric (which, he said,  were in the wrong place and had to be changed), install the fake logs and turn the thing on.     Another appointment!     Another long story short, the service tech is now scheduled to complete the installation on December 23.   Finger's crossed.....    Can't you just wait for my google review?

So, Dave got back to work moving the gas line, moving the electric outlet, buying lumber, drywall and  paint to stay busy until til Dec. 23.

On a more fun note, it's Christmas season!   This year, for the first time in I don't know how many years, we bought a live tree.    Lewis is still loyal to Beluga's flat stanley tree and enjoys keeping it company at second cup.

 And for the first time, ever, our tree arrived in a horse trailer (this IS Wickenburg you know).     

They don't sell Christmas trees in Wickenburg, we would have had to drive into the Valley to a lot somewhere so, thanks to a hint from Steve, we prepurchased a freshly cut tree through the Wickenburg Performing Arts Center Boosters and they were delivered early Saturday morning.

what's so funny Steve?

We chose a very small, table top sized, Nordman variety.    We didn't get to choose the exact tree, they came out of the trailer already bundled for ease of transport, but we're quite happy with the little guy.    Steve and MonaLiza ordered a large one and it's beautiful and perfect for their house.      Afterward we picked up donuts at a new little shop  and celebrated our purchases in the sunshine.      

the donuts were "alright" but not as good as Paula's.

As we were driving to the donut store we noticed lots of beautiful old cars passing us.    As a matter of fact we were so caught up in looking at them we whizzed right by the donut place.    Steve and MonaLiza called and wondered where we were going!   It's a good thing they did, we would have driven a long way before we realized our mistake!        Turns out there was a wonderful car show in town, to benefit  Toys for Tots.     After our little donut/coffee celebration we all went looking for the show and were rewarded with a large and beautiful group of cars!

the paint jobs were phenominal!

even Santa had an entry

I spent a good portion of yesterday polishing silver.     This year our little tree is decorated with 52 Gorham Sterling Silver Snowflakes.    For our first Christmas together as man and wife, my mother's older sister Dorothea bought us the first in what turned out to be a series of silver ornaments by Gorham silversmiths.    She bought us one each Christmas as long as she lived and we've continued the traditoin ever since.  

I took them out of their boxes and assessed how many needed polishing.    Lewis rested on the couch, his head in a bowl of ornaments.    He felt it gave him the best angle to determine which silver snowflakes needed attention.     Lots of them needed polishing.     But, they were so beautiful when they were clean and gleaming and hung on the little tree.

We continue to enjoy our beautiful skies.....