Sunday, December 25, 2022

Happy Birthday and Merry Christmas!

My birthday is right before Christmas, almost always has been.....but that's another story.    My mother almost named me Holly.     I'm an only child so you know my birthday was always celebrated muchly, don't cry for me, but it IS right before Christmas.    Presents wrapped in Christmas paper, everyone singing carols instead of happy birthday.    No balloons, just christmas decorations....waaa   waaa  waaa 

I won't share my number this year, but Dave made sure I had a wonderful day.     We drove up into the mountains to Prescott for lunch.    It was a beautifully sunny and relatively warm day with enough snow around to be festive but not enough to cause trouble. 

 I always enjoy the drive up through the switch backs and into the pine trees.       Lunch was delicious and pretty at Farm Provisions.     

interesting black and white farm paintings, including a very disconcerting cow photo in the restroom
which will not post, no matter how hard I try...hmmmmm

No, MonaLiza, I did not eat the orchid.     After lunch we did a few errands and ended our stay at Lynx Lake.     We had the place to ourselves as we walked along the shoreline looking for birds and ducks.  No Mandarin Duck this time, but flocks of energetic Merganzers zooming around the middle of the lake.  We could hear their muttering from the trail!

When we arrived home I found a birthday delivery from Jesse and Erin....the most lovely arrangement of pink and blush roses that brought lots of friends to fill the house with their fragrance.

Note the flowers are not Christmas colors....they're birthday colors....girl birthday colors.   

The next day we took a spur of the moment drive into the desert, down Constellation Road here in Wickenburg.     The road is paved from town before turning graded (ocassionally) dirt for miles and miles into the desert and mountains.     Across washes, up hills, over cattle guards, up a mountainside on a very narrow, twisty dirt road 10 miles to our destination.   The Goldmine Experience, World of Music Theme Park....... Let that sink in.

 I joined a FB group called Wickenburg Bulletin's very gossipy but occasionally something interesting comes up.    The reason for our drive down Constellation Road was because of a post on that bulletin.    One that had 50 or more comments.    If you're interested, google it, you'll think that another western style Disneyland is coming to the desert.      So do a load of people here.    They haven't taken the time to drive out to see just what is there though.     We couldn't believe our eyes.    We checked the mileage to be sure we were in the right spot.     Yep, The Goldmine Experience all right.     I can't imagine who will take the 10 mile rough road and up/down the mountain to get there.    I don't know what is actually down at the bottom, we saw a small, very small cluster of buildings (?) and tarps, a number of old mining entrances and tailings piles, and a spiderweb of narrow dirt tracks.   The sort of place we've learned to avoid in the desert.   Private Property says the signs along the "road".      It is set to open Jan 4 (for a free tour) says their website.     I will wait with baited breath.

On our way back, however, we found a real treat....a Saguaro with a large crested arm!    We usually set about to find these beauties and here one was, just standing there along Blue Tank Road (another dirt road) just waiting for us to notice.

Other than that, nothing exciting is going on.    We're spending a quiet Christmas cooking and reading and doing a Christmas Nutcracker puzzle.    I'm working on "eyes" today.

Lewis is a little under the weather.   Perhaps he ate too many mashed potatoes?

Merry Christmas to you all, and we wish you a Happy Healthy New Year.'s the bathroom cow.   How'd he get here?

Tuesday, December 13, 2022

It's almost Christmas!

 Lots of people are getting snow, even here in Arizona!     I know most folks welcome the white stuff, especially around the Christmas holidays.    It is pretty, beautiful really, it sets the mood for Santa and twinkling lights and hot chocolate.    It's perfect for expressing one's self on a large scale......  

early morning message on the lake (2014) know who

 That being said, we'll take our holidays with blue skies and sun.

I love being able to dry my sheets outside in the fresh air, even in December.   Nothing nicer than falling asleep with the smell of sunshine on your pillow.

trying out the farm's hammock now in the desert

Lest you think that the weather is always perfect here, let me show you a different side of Arizona.    A side we welcome, albeit not with great enthusiasm.    This is the desert, and we know rain is to be celebrated, but Dave and I love the sunshine.       Ware the sunshine, however, and remember to always....wear your sunscreen.

During my yearly skin check, a small melanoma was found on my lower leg.   It was completely removed and is healing nicely but a scar there will remind me to respect the sun I crave.

even the desert can have a dunkle day once in awhile

he wishes these petunias were better umbrellas.....

Dave captured this early mornng mood

Lately though, it is almost Christmas after all, that rain has produced some ice on the ground, on the bird water (peck peck peck, look at the house, peck peck peck, help please?)  and on the old lake chairs.    It's quite chilly, the fireplace is our best friend now.

thawing chairs steamed in the sun this morning

second cup is more often fireside these days

We've kept busy inside, baking cookies, playing ball (endlessly playing ball), decorating the house, putting up our little live tree, giving Lew his Christmas groom, and visiting with friends.     We even met friends we've never met before - did I take any pictures?   No.....    did they?    No.....    Janna and Mike (we've been following each other's blogs for quite awhile now but have never met face to face) of  were in Wickenburg this week checking on a friend's home, so they came over for lunch and we had a wonderful time together.     They even lent us their wall paper steamer so we can, finally, get rid of the log wallpaper in the guestroom!     

Dave puts up our "flat stanley" christmas tree, Lew supervises

he sneaks one of Judi's yummy Christmas cut outs before they make it in the house!

prep for Marilyn's wonderful ginger molassis cookies

once again, Lewis can only supervise....he doesn't have thumbs he reminds us

trimming the tree!

a few of the 52 sterling silver snowflakes on our little tree

grooming is much more pleasant with gramma pamma's chicken treats!

Jesse and Erin arrive on Friday and we're getting ready....can't wait!    So, until after the holidays, Merry Christmas to all our wonderful friends and family.    

Friday, November 25, 2022

Happy Day After....

 Happy Thanksgiving, still happy to have such a good life, happy to have such good, loyal friends and family, happy to live where we want to and to do what we like, when we like.   Still Thankful for sharing this life with the absolute perfect man.    Thankful for our son, who has grown from a funny and interesting curly haired little boy into a wonderul man, and thankful that he's brought such a sweet woman into our family as well.    At the same time, I'm very conscious of just how very fortunate I am, and never take these things for granted, not for one minute.

Dave is continuing with little projects around the house.    No, we have not tackled the "log wallpaper" in the guestroom yet, give us time.   

getting rid of the yucky blue/green trim

We had a quiet day yesterday.    The parade, the dog show, the Bills game, the shrimp cocktails, the wine and a good Turkey dinner, if I don't say so myself (at the risk of sounding like my dearly departed mother-in-law).

Unfortunately the Bills game and the Dog Show were on tv at the same time and neither of us really wanted to watch our thing, after the fact so we went to our separate rooms.

Lew wouldn't watch the dog show this year -
The Standard Poodle was WHITE!

yes, we did share the shrimp with Lew

the breast carving, the rutabaga bubbling.....

do you see the can marks?   That's how he likes it.

Happy Thanksgiving

Monday, November 14, 2022

Time flies......

 It's been almost a month since I last did a post.    We're all settled in and comfy.   The weather has settled down and we're enjoying mostly sunny, blue sky days and cool clear nights. 

We've moved from our early fall, shady happy hour spot to our late fall/early winter sunny happy hour spot.    Lewis approves of course, especically when he gets his stuffed Kong to schlutz on while we enjoy our wine and conversation.

nom nom nom

Our days don't hold much excitement, but excitement is often overrated.....

As in when I was making a chocolate cake and the cocoa box exploaded all over me!   You know how hard cocoa is to wipe up....Excitement!     The cake turned out very well, but the shirt (and underlying underwear didn't clean up all that well).  

Dave has been busy "working around" as he says.    New door latches, rearranging his work space in the garage and in Beluga's building, ordering and receiving things to make his work easier, convincing a 100 + year old piece of oak from one of the farm's barns to become a table leaf....rematting a couple of pictures brought with us from the lake, laying in front of the fireplace.....

oh baby baby he says!


But the month hasn't been all working around and finding places to drink wine outside comfortably.....We've been social!

One Friday we picked up Steve and MonaLiza and made the long, twisty, beautiful drive up through the mountains to Prescott, Arizona.     Our destination was lunch at Farm Provisions, a great restaurant just down the street from historic Whiskey Row and the picturesque Courthouse Plaza.      We ate and drank well there.     I can't recomment it enough......

Dave's Walleye tacos

my wild mushroom bisque

The food was so delicious and the preparation so interesting, MonaLiza even ate the orchid garni!

As we walked back to the Jeep, after a lucious meal and shared dessert,  we may or may not have made a slight detour to Grama's Bakery.

The next week, Pam and John drove down from Boulder City for a shared adventure.    The night they arrived MonaLiza and Steve came over and we had our first adventure - a fondue party!    We've been married long enough to have received fondue pots as wedding presents (it was a "thing" in the 70's you know).      MonaLiza and Steve have never had fondue so it was a fun evening recreating a meal from our youth and guiding newbies through the ins and outs of how to safely dip bits of raw meat into boiling oil.    And, how to retrieve your meat/bread when  it escapes into the pot as a result of incorrect spearing techniques......

Needless to say it was a "hands on" meal so very few pictures were taken.     We had an Italian cheese pot with Italian bread dippers, filet mignon, pork tenderloin, shrimp and ahi tuna to be dipped in HOT oil with 6 or seven sauce choices, and a huge vegetable tray. Chocolate fondue with bananas, cheesecake bites, strawberries, pretzels and pound cake dippers for dessert.    burp   

The "boys" were enthusiastic about the chocolate fondue....

The next morning Pam and John piled into Rocky with us and we set off in search of two crested Saguaros.    Finding them in the desert is Pam's "thing" and friend Janna had given me What3Words coordinates to find these two.    

Off highway 60, off paved Gates Road, over the dry (ish)  Hassayampa Riverbed, up through the gate (carefully closing it behind us - thanks John) and into the desert on some decent and some very not decent tracks up and down and around.

After some "discussion" about whether we should go "up there!!!!", we can't go up there, let's turn around, let me get out, we're going to slide back down!   This is far enough, we're happy with this, we don't need to find those saguaros, oh look, there's a cave up there!  (mostly heard coming from the female voices in backseat),    Pam finally realized we WERE going up there so she made a very timely and knowledgable suggestion that the driver took and up we went, easy peasy! (thanks Dave)

We parked Rocky and made our way up to the cave we had seen.   It turned out to be an arch also!

After scrambling around a bit we scanned the distance in all directions.    A forest of Saguaros below us, which way were the two crested?    None of us had a clue.    Did we call it quits, say we had a great adventure and head home?      Not Pam!    She saw she had cell service so she called Janna (in Montana) to ask for more help!     Thanks Pam, Thanks Janna!


  Success!    A few feet beyond the first, was the second.    They were both huge and magnificent and complicated. 

 After we ate our lunch, we walked around the area a bit, you never can tell when you'll run into another crested, right?      The desert was healthy and vibrant.    Careful where you walk!

Mission completed, we headed home.    MonaLiza and Steve were waiting with dinner for us all!    I didn't take any pictues while we ate Steve's delicious Taco soup and home made bread.    I didn't even take a picture of MonaLiza's yummy Bibinka.    I guess I was just too tired and too busy eating.    Here's one of old Lew, using their fountain as his water dish.    

Phew!   This post is longer than I thought it would be.     Just one more story of food and friendship, I promise.

Saturday night we were guinea pigs, a role we always enjoy.    MonaLiza and Steve had been served Maqluba on their recent cruise and she was anxious to try and replicate it.    It was that good.    Basically it's a one pot meal of layers of protein (chicken), vegetables and rice cooked together with fragrant spices and then dumped, upside down, onto a serving platter - BANG!     Pot removed (with a flourish) to reveal a layered delicacy.

She cooks, she layers, she cooks again, he pours, he dons sequinned red pot holder gloves, he carries to the table, we confir and discuss process, BANG! he slams the pot onto a waiting dish.   BANG, she pounds the top (bottom) of the pot.  She, very carefully, very carefully, removes the pot,  et voila - Bob's your uncle -  Maqluba ala Lowe!    Mmmmmm


That's what happens here, while time is flying.....