Sunday, January 23, 2022

since then

We've been doing a bit of exploring our own "backyard" lately.   Jesse and Erin are coming for a belated Christmas visit and we'd like to show them some of our beloved desert views.    I'm also working on making the What3words app work for me.   Janna turned me on to it and I'm having a modicum of success, just recently learning how to "reverse" the directions when we're done!  These things don't come easily to me but I'll be da mned if I'll quit - Keeps the brain young, right?

oh Dave.....

We managed to find the "house rock" near Congress with the app. but I wasn't able to turn the directions around to lead us home.    Luckily, we've navigated many desert tracks in our lives,  without the aid of modern technology, so paying attention to landmarks worked just fine for us once again. 

lots of morteros surrounding this native american homesite

love this chartreuse colored lichen that covers so much of the rock surfaces

faint petroglyps found all around the house rock area

Another day we set off to find the popular box canyon.    Some folks in the area have fenced off part of the Hassayampa river bed, noting it as "private property" (pretty sure that isn't true, but I can't blame them for not wanting millions of loud dirt bikes racing around in the dusty river bed outside your house....) but we soon found a very easy go around further down Rincon Road and continued our explorations. 

In some places, small streams of water raced past us, shining in the sun.   In some places we drove along a sandy track, and some spots there were pools of beautiful water, reflecting the blue sky.   Lovely drive.

walking into the box canyon

I'd love to see the water pouring over .....

Some people just can't read signs.....

Friday we drove into Surprise to pick up some Mexican tile tables from Roberto and on our way back we set off Gates Road and into the desert in search of some crested Saguaros (again, using What3words).    Unfortunately, it was later in the day than we usually like to start explorations and when the "road" started to get really washed out and wonky, and the sun was starting to drop into our eyes, we called it a day and headed home.    Another exploration  for the future!

here's an arm for you Pam!

this looks like a good spot for lunch, next time!


Saturday, January 15, 2022


The fireplace is complete!     It took a little bit of engineering for me to be able to help Dave lift the heavy stone surround, but, his brainwork paid off!   


We lifted the mantle piece and carried it into the livingroom where I was able to sit it atop the specially built contraption and hold it here while he secured it in place.     Piece of cake!

I'm enjoying the warmth and the ambiance of the fire, but the "boys" really love it and it's been in near constant use since it was finally done.....

As a matter of fact, Dave is standing in front of it right now, watching the Bills play in frigid 5 degree temperatures at Highmark Stadium.....glad we're not there right now!

Jesse and Erin are due to arrive in a week or so and we're really looking forward to their visit.   In preparation we've taken a few reconnaissance desert drives and done a bit of housekeeping, including washing and clipping sweet Lewis.   He smells divine after his bath and, since he's always right in their faces, we thought it would be nice to have lavendar scent wafting around him instead of the normal peanut butter and dog breath. 

he drops his tail and quietly disappears when he sees the bath supplies come out



Peanut butter breath comes from his new Kong obsession.   You'll remember I've started giving him a frozen, stuffed Kong when he pesters for attention.    I try to stuff it with novel and possibly interesting things for him to discover as he licks through the frozen layer of peanut butter.    Some ideas are winners, some are not.....but it's all a game.

he carefully avoided the rice crispies when they fell out of the Kong

Rice Crispies, asparagus and pumpkin - not very interesting.   Bran cereal, dog cookies and peanut butter - big hits!     He loves asparagus raw, but evidently limp frozen stalks aren't as interesting and he really dislikes the oft suggested pumpkin.    He's always been an individual so I'm not surprised. 

We're trying out a few new to us mapping/tracking apps with varying degrees of success.   What3Words, GAIA GPS and Avenza Maps to name a few.    We really just like to bumble around in the desert and see where we end up, but I've been led to believe that there is an area that we should be careful when and where we  poke around and I'm hoping these maps will help us stay in welcome territory! 

exploring near Vulture Peak

checking the road ahead

Since the fireplace job is done we've been taking it a little easy.   Dave helped our "neighbor" Steve lift and put into place a garden wall he's building, I tried a new recipe for a Jelly Donut Cake to make use of a jar of delicous home made strawberry jam that Erin sent us. and a neighbor came over to move a large dirt pile the previous owners left for us behind the house.      The cake turned out really, really good and I'll definitely make it again, using more jelly next time.

Mmmm - Jelly Donut Cake

Dave has tractor envy....he'd love to be using this little machine instead of our neighbor

We've been enjoying our second cup and happy hours very much.   We've found spots to stay in the warm sun while we consume and converse, both morning and late afternoon.   We always have company.   One morning we had a hawk fly in to sample the pomegranate half.  

hawk on the pomegranate

Lewis is always with us, of course, but since we've been offering pomegranates, or oranges or apples to our feathered friends, they continue to keep us laughing with their antics.  Another day a normally loud and self confident Thrasher displayed an unusual behavior at the apple offering.    We don't really know what it was doing but it started eating, suddenly looked up and noticed the little seated gargoyle a few posts away.    At the risk of anthropomorphizing, it looked shocked to see the odd creature watching and it responded by squatting down, staring at it and wiggling its outstretched wings.     It then hopped down from the apple and walked over directly below the unmoving gargoyle and proceeded to squat and wiggle for quite awhile.   Finally it just flew away and we didn't see it again for the rest of the day.   Was it embarrassed, relieved, shocked, unnerved?  I didn't have my camera outside so I only have this bad camera shot to show you.....

can you see him dancing around below the gargoyle?

   In the afternoons we move around to the side of the house where the sun will eventually set.   It gives us another hour or so of warm sunshine to enjoy.   Again, Lewis is our constant companion.

We've been living in this house since mid October, and yesterday Lewis just discovered the light over the side garage door.    As we sat and enjoyed our wine we watched him stare at it and circle it and woof softly at it for minutes.   At first I thought something was up there, a snake, a bird, something sinister.....Nope, just a light fixture......What a knucklehead he is!

oof oof oof

We were planning a short, two week trip down to Tucson and then to Borrego Springs in the beginning of February but have decided to cancel.   We think it's just not a good idea to expose ourselves anymore than is necessary just because "I want to".    We'll be back on the road in the spring, and that will have to be soon enough.    This certainly isn't a hardship, we're happy here and enjoying the house and exploring new areas.   Right?