Monday, April 25, 2016

Gettin' Things Fixed

Last fall, we purchased a stacking washer-dryer from Lowe's for our winter home. The washer has always worked fine, but the dryer wasn't right. I could get the clothes dry if I used a timed setting--60 or 90 minutes. But none of the automatic settings worked right, leaving the clothes very damp. Several people said I should get it fixed.

Finally, I called Lowe's and requested service on the dryer. I was told they would schedule a repair person and get back to me. A couple of days later, I received a call saying Frigidaire had decided to replace the unit, rather than trying to repair it. What? That's unusual. However, it was fine with me. I imagine my problem wasn't at all unusual and they knew it couldn't be repaired. It took about 3 weeks, but here is my new washer-dryer. It is identical to the original one.

Soon, we will begin our summer travels. After looking at the truck tires, we decided it would be a good idea to get some new ones. They had 40,000 miles on them and the front tires, at least, looked worn. When John took it in to Big O tires, they made a disconcerting discovery. While removing one of the front tires, one of the bolts broke. And they found another broken bolt inside the hub cap! Can you imagine how dangerous that could be? The front wheel could have come off while we towed the trailer in the coming months!

Here are the two broken bolts:

And here are our new tires:

The tire company also suggested we have new shocks installed. That will happen in a couple of days. Since we tow and live in a 5th wheel trailer weighing 19,000 pounds during the summer, we want the truck to be in excellent condition at all times. It's better to be safe than sorry.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

WHAT Have We Been Doing?

We are about ready to leave Gold Canyon until next fall. So, what have we done over the winter? We certainly haven't been hiking much--only twice all winter, as a matter of fact. When we first arrived in October, we were busy getting our new workshop ready, getting a washer-dryer, utility sink, water softener, cabinets, work bench, lathe, scroll saw, etc. etc. etc.

Finally, we got down to work. John used the scroll saw to create three intarsia projects. He also painted the nativity scene characters he had carved over the summer.

He also created this scroll saw cross.

Then, he got distracted. He started attending a class on "Writing Your Family History" here in our resort. For years, he has been writing stories about his ancestors and about his own experiences. He decided to get serious. Here is a photo of the notebook of stories about his personal experiences. He hopes to have it ready to publish (on a limited basis) before 2016 is over. It won't be in bookstores, but hopefully it will be of interest to family and a few friends. He is really a good writer and he has done so many different and interesting things over the years.

Meanwhile, I spent a lot of time working on the lathe. Some projects turned out very well, others--not so much. But I had a lot of fun and I learned a whole lot, especially from my mistakes. Look at what I did.

Next winter, we hope to live a more balanced life--both hobbies and hiking. But, that balance has always been hard for us. All our married lives we have focused on either work or play, but never balanced the two in either a week or a month. Do you suppose we can change that in the 13th year of retirement? I wonder.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Arizona has an amazing number of bird species throughout the year. It is located on a major bird flyway and is far enough south to attract birds from Central and South America. One of my favorite birds is the Gambel's Quail, which lives here year round. This year a pair of these birds had babies near the dog run down the street from our spot in the resort. We had to go see them.

We don't have a dog, but many of our neighbors do. That is how we learned about the babies.

We spotted seven baby birds, as well as two adults. Whenever a human approached the space at the rear of the dog area, one of the parents would begin talking to the babies. They seemed to understand there was danger, but didn't really know what to do. They would run back and forth along the cinder block wall at the rear. Finally, one of the parents gathered them all and hid them under its wings.

These photos were taken with a cell phone, so they aren't good, but you can get an idea of what we saw.

When we walked one of the neighbors called out, "Hey, where is your dog?" "What dog?" we said. "We only are interested in birds!"

Friday, April 15, 2016

Water Birds with Friends

Yesterday, we walked through the Gilbert Water Ranch with Rose and John, looking at all the birds enjoying the ponds there. This week we have had wonderful weather--not too hot and not too cold--so it was a good walk. We saw lots of water birds:

There were mallard ducks--posing for a picture

showing off his colors

and a young one with some color on the wing

The black necked stilt is pretty

and so is the American avocet.

We ended the outing with lunch at Kneaders in Mesa on our way back to Superstition Views.

It was a fun morning.

Friday, April 08, 2016

Time to Go?

The RV section of our resort is getting pretty empty. Look at all these available sites.

A lot of the park models have been closed up for the summer, as well. You can always tell when you see empty decks and covered automobiles.

If you are living somewhere north of Arizona and the temperatures are in the 40s or 50s and there is still a threat of snow, you might be wondering why all these spaces are empty. Here is the reason. This was our high temperature on Wednesday.

Even before it got that hot, we were told over 100 sites were to be vacated on April 1. Many snowbirds stay through Easter, then head home. April 1 was in the week after Easter. We aren't ready to move north, yet. We will be here till early May. Still more fun, turning on the lathe and other wood shop work in store for us here this spring.

Sunday, April 03, 2016

Friends and Flowers

Thursday, we joined our friends Ron and Barbara for a hike on the Hieroglyphics Trail in the Superstition Mountains. Barbara's sister, Diana, also joined us. We have known Ron and Barbara for several years and have followed Diana's blog, Life on the Open Road, for even longer.

You certainly can tell these two women are sisters, can't you?

John caught the three women with their cameras in their hands.

There was this interesting saguaro--partly dead and partly thriving.

Early in the hike, we saw several saguaro cactus plants loaded with buds at the top. Wouldn't it be fun to be able to fly or levitate to where you could see the flowers when they bloom?

But what else were we looking at and taking pictures of? Flowers, of course. It is spring in the desert.

After the hike, we returned to Gold Canyon for lunch. We decided to visit the Cactus Deli in Superstition Views, where we live. Since it was cool and a little breezy, we thought it would be more comfortable inside than out, so we walked to our house to eat.

You can tell the food was good. We did a pretty fair job of cleaning our plates. March 31 was the final day of the season for the grill. It is closed over the summer. We're glad we could go there one more time.