Monday, November 27, 2017

So Many Memories

It's that time of year again, time to put up the Christmas decorations.  For us, and probably for many of you, it is also a time to rejoice over a lot of good memories.  The decorations on our little tree bring back memories of Christmases past.  We talk about where the ornaments came from.  Some belonged to my mother, some remind us of why we bought them--like the small US Marine in dress blues, bought when Doug went into the Marine Corps.  There is a Santa in running gear to remind us of when we both ran for exercise.  The Santa wearing a priest's color brings back the many years John served as a priest in Colorado churches and here in Arizona

We have been traveling in our RV since 1988 and some of the ornaments were purchased as souvenirs of places we've been.  Even one from England--obviously we didn't get there in our RV. We have a canoe and a lighthouse from the Maritime Provinces of Canada and 4 small RV trailers recalling our mode of travel.

I collected Santas for years.  One of these I had as a child, 2 belonged to my mother, 4 are Santas John carved and others were purchased on our travels or at garage sales.

These 4 snowmen were made--or dressed--by my mother.  They represent John, me, Doug and Eric.

I also have a small collection of nativity scenes. This year is has been joined by this great scene that John carved over the past couple of years. We set it up in front of our house here in Arizona.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Family, Friends and Food

We celebrated Thanksgiving at the home of my cousin Deanna and her husband Don and their neighbors. It was a beautiful, sunny Arizona day and we visited and ate on their patio.

Don and Deanna are real animal lovers.  They rescue dogs--large dogs.  Today they only have 3 at their home.  Within the last few months 2 others have died.  These dogs were quiet and very interested in what was going about 20 feet beyond their enclosure.  Usually, they are loose in the yard or in the house.

They also have 3 large turtles in another enclosure.  These animals are very friendly and enjoy having their necks scratched.  We have never before seen turtles this large as pets.

All of the guests brought food to eat so we had quite a spread--including smoked ham and turkey.

The next day we had  to work off some of what we had eaten so we walked from our resort to Silly Mountain and back with our friends John and Rose.  The trip is about 3 miles round trip.

This saguaro reminded me of a menorah, except it was missing some arms.

As you can see, everyone enjoyed the walk and the talk.  This was taken at the end of our journey.

We give thanks for so many things in our life, including for family, friends, being able to spend our winters in the beautiful Arizona desert, and good food.

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Happy Thanksgiving

I have so much to thank our loving God for--family, friends, health, the wonderful world we live in and the opportunity to travel around it, good food, an being married to my best friend.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Proud Grandparents

We think being grandparents might be even better than being parents. There is the advantage that you can enjoy them when you want, then send them home when you are tired. Plus, you don't have to pay their bills unless you really want to. As they grow up, we are seeing that we can enjoy their achievements without spending all the time and energy it takes to help them accomplish them.

We just received photos of our two Colorado grandchildren.

Not a Good Day

Could I just forget this day happened?
Or maybe ask for a do-over. It really hasn't been a super day.

This afternoon I decided to spend some time turning a bowl out of a bowl blank of red cedar. I had used a paper joint to glue a glue block to the bowl blank. The glue block had a faceplate screwed on. When I attached it to the lathe, I asked John to leave the work shop while I turned on the lathe and made sure the paper joint would hold. There was a loud sound, then the bowl blank came off and hit wall behind the lathe. This is what the "injured wall" looked like.

At least only the drywall was injured, not John or me or the window in the door to the shop.

Next, I thought I would turn a pen. I loaded the pen blank on the mandrel and turned it. When I checked to see how much further I had to go, I discovered the hole for the tube must not have been straight into the pen blank. The turned item was round but on one side there was plenty of wood left, on the other side I had bare copper tubing. D***, double ***. I cleaned up the shop and went in the house and turned on my computer.

But the damage wasn't done yet. While cooking dinner, I removed a pan from one of the burners on the stove but I neglected to turn off the burner AND I inadvertently pushed a plastic storage container onto the burner. This is the mess I made.

I would really like a do-over on this day. Or maybe I should stick to ordering take-out and working on my computer.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

San Tan Mountains Hiking

Tuesday we took a hike in the San Tan Mountain Regional Park in Queen Creek. It isn't our favorite park in the Phoenix area but it has lots of trails and most of them are fairly flat.  We hiked 6 miles that day.

I just love the saguaro cactus.

The trails are popular with runners (didn't get any pictures of them), bikers and horse-back riders.

In 2009 we went full-time in our RV. On New Year's Day 2010, during our first winter in Arizona rather than Colorado, we hiked in San Tan Regional Park. That was a new experience for us--very different from spending New Year's Day in Colorado.

We are still enjoying spending the winter months in Arizona.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Cooking on the Trail

History and good food come together each fall when competitors gather for the Chandler Chuck Wagon Cook-off at Tumbleweed Park. We have gone several years in the past and wanted to check it out again this last weekend.

The competition includes both authentic recreations of the chuck wagons that traveled with cattle drives in the old West and typical trail meals.  The contestants put a lot of effort into recreating the complete kitchens that fed the cow hands. Notice the tipi to the left rear where the cook would sleep.

A lot of time and effort is put into finding authentic containers and cooking equipment. Antique dealers must love to see these folks come in the door. Cooking without running water takes a lot of work. Look at the bucket of water this woman is carrying. And imagine how hot her clothing must be. I was glad to be in chorts.

I hope these red long-johns weren't washed in the water that was then used for cooking.

This miniature cook wagon attracted the young visitors. It's important to get children interested in cooking and history at a young age.

You can click here or here if you want to learn more by looking at my blogs from previous contests.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

An Annual Hike

Almost every winter one of our first hikes is in Usury Mountain Park to Wind Cave. It is a very popular trail and a little under 2 miles one way. We went there last week. The desert in that area is beautiful.

Although the trail isn't too long, it is steep. This is an awful picture John took of me. I really wasn't struggling as much as it looks like here but it does take some work to get to the "cave."

But the view over the valley is worth it, even if we had to share it with quite a few other hikers.

Although it is called a cave, it is really an overhang. At Mesa Verde National Park in Colorado  overhangs like this and those a lot deeper were used for cliff dwellings. Wind cave would provide some protection from rain. It often hosts large numbers of bees and some chipmunks as well as hikers.

Saturday, November 04, 2017

A Good First Hike

Each day we try to walk 10,000 steps.  Thursday we wanted a change in scenery from what we see walking around our resort.  The trailhead for the hieroglyphic trail isn't very far from our home and we have hiked this trail a number of times so we knew it would be a good place to start this winter.

At the end of the trail there are a number of hieroglyphics or petroglyphs on the stone wall.

Phoenix is really dry after the past summer.  This pond usually has water higher than the white lichen on these rocks.  Most of the lichen in the Superstition Mountains is usually fluorescent green so I was surprised to see this white growth.

The weather in southern Arizona has been spectacular for the past couple of weeks so we didn't leave for the hike until about 8 am.  We didn't have to get out earlier to avoid the heat but we could still wear shorts.

If you click this photo John took of me to enlarge it, you will see that there were a bunch of people sitting around on the hill.  In fact, I counted 14 people I could see from where we were sitting.  We learned they were from a college science class.  We must be hiking too early in the season or on the wrong day or something.  This trail is popular but we have never seen this many people in one place.

The flora on this trail includes prickly pear cactus, ocotillo, and cholla cactus.

We even found a bush with pink/magenta and orange bougainvillea flowers.

We enjoyed the hike, which is about 2 miles each way (8,000 steps or so total). We intend to try hiking once every week this winter. We went on very few hikes last year.

Friday, November 03, 2017

This Is Better

Soon after we returned to our winter home in Gold Canyon , we took our Airstream trailer to the Mesa Airstream dealer, Desert Autoplex on Oct. 2, to get a window awning installed on the off-door side of the trailer and for some warranty repairs.  We made the appointment weeks ahead of time, thinking they would be able to start on the issues right away.

That left a big empty area on our patio.

Even with the appointment for repairs on that date, apparently that meant we were in the line behind all the RVs already checked in for repairs. At least we didn't have plans for any travel during October. It was mid-month before the work began. Finally, on Halloween, the trailer was ready! We went to get it, checked each item to be sure repairs had been made, and brought it back to our lot.

This looks right, now. This is what our space is supposed to look like.