Saturday, February 28, 2015

Computer Scams and Eggs!!

What do these two things have in common??  They both can smell rotten!!    I hate sales phone calls, so when my phone rings with a number from New York or Pennsylvania where I don't know anyone, I immediately go on the defensive.  Usually, I don't say hello ... I just hit the answer button and listen.  Yesterday, Windows Technical Service Department called from India (???) to tell me they were very concerned about my Windows computer.  I know it was India from the accent!!

What are you selling, I asked!  "Oh we're not selling anything ma'am, we are concerned about the passwords on your computer."  Really ... boy that could be a REAL big problem says I.  "We want to check them to be sure your computer is safe."  You're a liar, I said rather loudly.  A BIG FAT LIAR!!  I know that because I don't have a Windows computer and if I did, you're just trying to get my passwords ... LIAR!!!  His very quick response was "OH GOD!!!" as he hung up.  Be careful out there my Windows friends ... this scam is going all around the country.

As of January 1, you better buy your eggs BEFORE coming to California.  Proposition 2 states that chickens must now have "X" number of square feet in which to live, making it impossible for most farms to sell eggs in California.  The farms that are here, had to double the number of cages they have, which of course means double the size of the buildings, in order to produce the same number of eggs.  Who the heck thought up THIS one??  This carton of eggs cost me $5.99 ... that's right ... $5.99 for a dozen eggs.  The bad news is they all have to go in the potato salad I'm making today!!  Another really good reason to leave California.  It's just getting ridiculous here!!
Trying to be a "little" conservative, I didn't want these little Halloween snickers to go to waste, nor the milk and cream in the refrigerator, so I decided to try Snickers Ice Cream.  If you believe that, I have a bridge to sell you!!  
After taste testing the snickers, I chopped up quite a few to add at the last minute.  This seemed to work well with the Heath bars ... it should work well with Snickers.
Such a simple recipe ... 3/4 cup sugar, 1 cup whole milk, 2 cups cream and a tablespoon of vanilla, to which I add a tablespoon of instant coffee ... in twenty minutes, you have coffee ice cream with candy.  What could be better??  Once done, I loaded it into small containers and left it in the freezer to get a little more set up.
While waiting for the ice cream, lentil soup with nice big chunks of ham sounded pretty good since it has been pretty chilly.  I let it simmer for 90 minutes and voila ... such good soup I could have eaten the entire thing!!!  Chalk one up for Nancy!!   Now for dessert ... uhm mu nmn un ... those darn Snickers pieces were frozen pretty solid, and when I bit down, I couldn't get my teeth apart for another bite.  YIKES!!!  This isn't good at ALL!!!  A little hot water and my teeth separated enough to remove the snickers.  Those little nuggets of goodness will require a little mouth defrosting before chewing!!!  I guess it's back to Heath bars!!
I did have some gorgeous cloud images I took yesterday, but I've run into another problem.  My new camera doesn't like the old Photoshop CS6.  Previously, I downloaded a newer version, which I'm not sure is still available, since Adobe has gone to the Cloud for everything, including a charge of $10 a month to use their service.  You can still have Photoshop on your computer, but it will never be upgraded again ... meaning eventually they've GOT you when it fails and you still want to use Photoshop.  It's just amazing how companies can figure out ways to screw the public!!  Since I just found this out while downloading those images, I'll spend the next couple of hours trying to figure out a fix!!
One last pic of my baby boy, exhausted after his haircut.  I know it doesn't look like he had a haircut ... he never does when I do it ... he just looks like a homeless pup!!  Still, it's better than going to the "real" beauty parlor and coming home traumatized!!  Now to find a Photoshop fix!

Friday, February 27, 2015

Google Must Be Sick .....

This post is pretty late this morning ... not because I wasn't up early ... you know my puppies wouldn't let THAT happen!!   Google seems to be having a BAD stomach ache this morning.  Neither of my computers could find the server and when it finally did, nothing would load ... not even the blogs I read.  Other sites seemed to open just fine!  It's taken over an hour to get this screen up, not that I have a lot to write about!!

I made it to my Investment Advisor's meeting to hear some good news ... sort of good news anyway.  I'm pretty conservative in that department, which doesn't make him or me much money, but things are looking up in the next few months.  Remember when you got 11% interest on your little old bank account??  I certainly do ... I made so much money on my bank account I ended up in a higher tax bracket!!  It's sad to see how the world has gone downhill to a point where I'm sure it will never get back up on it's feet.  Maybe we simply never knew how bad it was back then due to lack of social media ... the internet and Facebook that is.

Speaking of social media, the talk of the day was the pictures of this dress.  They showed one picture which you were supposed to look at and determine the colors.  Now really, don't you think they might look different on different phones ... in different light ... or maybe they even set the image up to change every few seconds??  None of the above ... people went crazy over the colors!!  Photographers picked up on it quickly ... it's what they deal with every day ... white balance.  In other words, making the colors in the image look like they did in real life.
With that world crisis solved, I went off to meet my Tax Man.  Having been home only a few days, I worked feverishly to open all those hundreds of letters that had been thrown in a box for me since the end of December.  I really felt overwhelmed, even though this is what I did for a living!!  I threw everything together at the last minute and rushed out the door, hoping I didn't forget anything BIG.  I can't believe I got it right and should actually get a refund after he does his magic, since I had so many ranch rental expenses this year.  THAT was good news!

The list of to-do's is long today ... sew, play with the puppies, sew, drain the water from the RV, play with the puppies and cut out another quilt, all the while trying to figure out what I'm going to eat!!  It's a tough life!!

Thursday, February 26, 2015

It Just Takes A Little Time!!

It just takes time to get everything done once you return from a trip.  A friend I play WORDS with remarked that she had SO much laundry to do, not to mention all the unpacking!!  I have to agree ... and as I told Miss Patty, I get to unload all of it myself!!  After three days of laundry, I put everything back in the rig and made the bed yesterday.  What an effort THAT was!!  It must have been someone that doesn't make the bed who designed THIS setup!!  No matter how deep the pockets are on those sheets, they always come off because you can't get them on in the first place!!  We need to invent something with a chain hoist to raise the head of the bed!!

It takes a little time to unload all the treasures also, mostly because I can't remember where I stashed all of them.  You wouldn't think there were that many hiding places in a motorhome!!  I unpacked and washed these three beauties for my kitchen.  All of the stores said their pottery is lead free, but I think I will figure out a way to test them before adding any food items.
It takes a little MORE time to unload all the doggie supplies.  I think THEY take up more room than I do!!  In the middle of that, I saw another article on Facebook about Beneful dog food.  I mix this with the MUCH more expensive food I give the puppies.  They don't care for the caviar and would rather eat the cheeseburgers.  The unfortunate news is they have found MANY dogs dying from eating this food.  Mine have gotten sick occasionally for no reason and now I'm scared.  I have an entire bag in my back room that will go in the trash.  There's just no sense in taking chances.  They said that Rachel Ray's brand isn't exactly the best nutritionally, but has nothing that will harm your pet.

It takes a little time getting that musty smell out of the house upon my return, so today when I hit the grocery store (I was too lazy to go yesterday), I'll pick up something delicious to bake.  Marie Calendars apple pies seem to work pretty good!!  I did find one lone piece of flank steak in the freezer, which I defrosted and marinated for dinner.  I even fired up the BBQ because I've been craving a little of the red, juicy goodness of cow.  That apparently takes a little MORE time and some skills, of which I have none!!  There's nothing like a big mouthful of burned fat from one end, followed by a big mouthful of uncooked fat from the other end to send me into a tailspin of coughing, followed by hiccups, requiring a gallon of water.  UGH!!!

Someone sent this to me yesterday, which I think won't take much time at all.  You can buy pre-stretched canvas squares at Michaels or Hobby Lobby, get some water soluble paint for your grandkids feeties and paint up a storm.  Be sure to place their right foot on the left to get the correct perspective.  How cute is this???  A great "mom and dad" present!!  Just be sure to wash their feet afterwards BEFORE they go running across your carpet!!  I think this project will make your grandkids squeal with delight!!
I'm still unloading "stuff" from the rig.  There's condiments in the fridge, lots of books and clothes yet to be washed!!  It just takes a little time to get it all done, because it's more fun to work on the quilts!!

I have two meetings today ... investment man and tax man!  It usually takes just a little time to get over the shock from unwanted information.  Wish me luck!!!

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

A Little Frost On The Pumpkin!!

It's been pretty chilly here at night.  Nick Russell must be getting closer to California!  Although I was a skeptic at first, I now firmly believe he has a big black cloud over his head that follows him everywhere!!  If he's in your neighborhood, there's cold temperatures, rain or snow ... or all three!!!  Yesterday and this morning the temperature got down to 34 degrees.  Even the dogs refused to go outside!!  It's not much better inside however, since I'm so allergic to putting money in PG&E's pocket.  Miss Jessie is always cold ... it's not like she has much of a coat to keep her warm ... so she snuggles up in the blankets!!
I finished my Hawaii quilt, taking three days to hand sew the binding.  I have holes in three fingers to prove it!!  This image doesn't do the quilt justice ... it really is much more vibrant in person!!
Here's my MAN quilt, made just for the men, so they know that quilting isn't always about flowers and froo-froo!!!  Again, this one is much nicer in person where you can see the patterns!!  What am I going to do with all these quilts I'm making??  I'll be honest, I have no idea!!  I guess when I have them draped all over every piece of furniture in the house, I'll start giving them away!!!
Today is empty out my checkbook day ... I have over $10,000 worth of bills to pay!!  I know, that's pretty crazy, huh??  Between California DMV, insurance, property tax, PG&E and one credit card, that's what's going out the door.  Now you know SEVERAL reasons why I want to move out of this lovely state!!  To make matters even worse, this week I meet with my Tax Guy for THAT bad news, my dentist and my haircut gal!! So that explains why my refrigerator looks like this!!!
No worries however, as I'm a good planner in that respect.  Every month I begrudgingly put aside enough to cover all those expenses and more.  It just happens that they all come due at the same time!!  Nonetheless, it's EXPENSIVE to live in California.  I filled up my diesel truck yesterday with fuel costing $3.05 a gallon.  Slightly higher than $2.55 in Arizona, but thankfully NOT $5.00 a gallon!!

If I'm going to eat today, I better get to the store.  For those in the middle of the cold fronts, keep warm ... for everyone else, enjoy the sun!!!

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Back In Business!! YAY!!!!

It's going to take some time to sort things out (new operating system and all my preferences are gone), but at least for now, I can upload pictures for the blog.  No more trying to type on my phone!!  This is what I drove home in last week.  Bakersfield was sunny and beautiful, so I thought I had dodged the bullet ... Sanger thought differently!!
This was the accident I passed on Friday heading North on Hwy 99.  On THIS day there was NO fog ... only fast speeds!!  This doesn't show the six vehicles parked on the shoulder on the fast lane side going MY direction!!
I spent the ENTIRE day yesterday at the Apple Store ... did I expect anything less??  Yup I did ... I actually thought I would be in and out in a matter of minutes.   Apparently there was another problem that reared it's ugly head ... a "stick of ram" (memory in human terms) died a horrible death.  That meant it had to be replaced before the backup data could be reloaded to the computer.  I have now become personally acquainted with six of the eight people working there!!  Three asked if they could be my assistants and travel with me!!

The final outcome ... my old computer works fine AND I have a new computer with triple the capacity and speed of my old one, along with the latest and greatest software.  That is why it's going to take some time to get everything configured the way I like it.  You know, so I can find things ... like my pictures!!!  I had to ask for special blessings to get both of my email accounts set up, but since it was a new computer, one didn't get blessed enough.  Upon further investigation, the verification phone number isn't mine.  That's weird!!  Even more weird ... I'm receiving everything for that account on my phone and old computer!!

They repaired my four year old machine (that's 40 in computer years) which I will keep as a backup, and I can only sing their praises.  My total SHOULD have been $729 (installation of a new graphics card and ram stick), but my final bill was $74 for the ram memory parts.  That was a shocker!!!  They did all that work at NO charge!!  On top of that, they upgraded my machine to the latest operating system.

To make it even better ... if you can believe THIS ... because I am a retired Government employee, I got a government discount taken off the purchase of this new computer ... which came to $470 ... AND the Applecare 3 Year Warranty was included!  I just couldn't beat that with a stick.  It's going to take some time getting used to the new operating system, but I'm up for the challenge.  I love figuring out this kind of stuff!!

But FIRST ... I think backing up this NEW computer would be a GREAT idea!!  Here's the tip they gave me ... get an external hard drive that has something OTHER than a USB connection.  Transferring all that data with a USB connection is WAY TOO  S  L  O  W!!  Whenever you have a computer problem that needs repair, take that backup drive with you.  Since I didn't take mine, they used their USB Connection ... which is what took so long.  The difference is TEN hours versus TWO backup time.

YAY!!!  I'm so happy I'm back in business ....

Monday, February 23, 2015

The Answer .. Yes and No!!

It's never easy, right???  First off, I received an invitation to a retirement party and volunteered to make a big potatoe salad. That done, I tried to wait patiently for the call from Apple, but being the IMpatient person I am, I only lasted an hour before braving the phone system.

I suppose most people just say fix it!!  I'm different in that I want to know why it's not working, what exactly are you doing to fix it and how long will it take. That didn't bode well with the first person I spoke to because they couldn't answer the questions. Funny I "accidently" got cut off. Second attempt at the phone system -- I've got it down now -- I asked for the Tech working on my machine, who was of course at lunch. She promised someone would call me at 1:30.

By 2:00 I was zipping through their phone system, and explained to the girl if no one called me back about this, they were going to be dealing with a crazy lady in their store, which was sure to disrupt EVERYONE!!!  The Tech got on the line, explained everything in detail, as well as stating that it was working quite well up to this point. They just needed 8-9 hours to upload my data since there's so much. The max is 750 gigabytes. I've filled up 696. Sounds like it's time for me to clear out some memory!!!

The saga continues .... I'm going this morning to pick it up.

In the meantime, I discovered the SECOND retirement party invitation says it's on the 28th. I never checked the dates after I got the first one, I just thought they sent out more invites. Potatoe salad anyone??  I doubt I can eat this 1-1/2 gallons by myself!!!

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Did Apple Keep Their Promise??

That's the question of the day around my house!!  By noon when I hadn't heard anything, I went through their horrible phone answering system until I finally got another human, who contacted the store. Surprise!!  In less than two minutes I had a girl on the phone that gave me an update. They ordered parts. Parts for what, I asked??  She got a tech to explain they couldn't do the backup because it kept shutting down. Uh YEAH!!!  That's the little problem I told you about!

Seems until it can count correctly, it won't do anything. They ordered a new logic board, which came in yesterday at noon. I know this because they called me!!  That's one promise kept!  The tech said MacBook Pro computers were having some troubles and they were fixing the $500 problem for free. THAT remains to be seen!!!  I'll find out today when I go to pick it up, because they promised to get it on the fast track overnight tech crew schedule!!  The squeaky wheel got that promise - or maybe it was the crazed look in my eyes!!

I admit it -- I'm hooked on computers. So much so that I'm having withdrawals not being able to go check out anything I want or plan my summer trip!!  I'm spoiled terribly. What did we do in the old days????  I suppose people just had to talk to each other, but since there's no other in my house, it's rather lonely without my trusty Mac friend.

So PLEASE Mr Apple ... Keep your promise and fix my Mac so I can pick it up TODAY!!!

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Did They Change The Speed Limit In California??

Sometimes I wonder if I really want to leave California, what with the beautiful fog and crazy drivers. The answer is YES!!  I drove to Modesto yesterday on Hwy 99 at 65 mph. That's the speed limit, right??  After about 3 miles I got a really bad feeling I was going to be in an accident. Over the years, I've learned not to ignore this dread I feel, so I moved over and slowed to 55. Everyone passed me like I was standing still.

Three more miles and traffic came to a screeching halt when a semi truck and trailer T-boned a small car that spun out of control changing lanes. There was no fog, just too much speed. Six more cars got hit. PLEASE SLOW DOWN!!  It's not worth your life!!!

So I made it to my computer appointment. They ran tons of diagnostics, passed them all except one. Apparently it keeps track of the number of partitions. It thought it had 388 but could only count 387. If the math doesn't add up, it goes beserk. To fix beserk, you back up everything, wipe the drive and reinstall the backup. I have complete faith it will work ... well maybe 99% faith!!  The alternative will run almost $3K, so please say a little prayer for me!!!  It should be done today, which means another drive on the highway with maniacs going 80mph, 3 feet behind the car in front.  I'll stick to the slow lane and let them get there 5 minutes before me!!

Friday, February 20, 2015

Home To Valley Fog ... Yippee!!!!

Up to the sounds of train whistles at 4:15, I tried to be patient. There's always fog in Bakersfield, so I didn't want to leave too soon. I lasted until 7:30 before I hit the road. I was so proud to have missed it all with lots of warm sunshine. Until I got to Sanger, where not only was it foggy as all get out, but I hit road construction with the roughest roads ever.

I finally made it home where the puppies went absolutely wild OFF leash. They played racehorse for an hour while I unloaded a few necessities. Then I hit the phone to contact Apple in Modesto. OMG!!  They seriously have the worst phone system EVER!!!  They hung up on me twice, suggesting I go online to make an appointment. Ummm ... That's my problem!!!  Then they seriously expected their machine to understand a serial number with F, C and S letters. Again it hung up!  Finally I reached an actual human, who made my appointment for this morning. YAY!!!!

I'll report back later.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Computer Troubles

I finally get a great internet connection and my computer keeps crashing.  No idea what the problem is but I have a bad feeling!!  I guess I'll be spending Saturday at the Apple Store.  In the meantime, I can post with my phone, but no pics. 😢

I made it to Boron after a long 6-1/2 hour drive through Havasu City. They were blasting North of the city and had a huge caterpillar perched on a cliff, which had us stopped for awhile.  I landed at the Arabian Oasis RV park with a bad headache, which mac n cheese fixed pretty fast. I gained an hour in time, which is awful when you're exhausted!!

I tried to stay up later to adjust to the time change .. Bad idea. The trains started coming by at 4:30 am!!!!!  Maybe I can catch up on sleep at my house tonight!!

That's it -- it was a better story when there were pics!!!!  Wish me luck at Apple!!

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Cottonwood To Quartzsite ...

Well it's not the most spectacular drive I've ever taken, and in fact can be quite boring at times!!  With two different cameras (notice the sky color??) and window reflections, these images leave a lot to be desired, but it is what it is!!  I left at 9:30 and hit the highway, expecting an easy 3 hour drive.  Hahahahaha!  You would think I learned by now, the phone is NEVER correct!!
Best laid plans ... there was construction everywhere and 45 mph seemed to be the speed of the day.  I always love it when I get down to 2500 or so in elevation and the saguaro's are out in full force!!  
When I got close to Phoenix, I took the 303 Loop, which bypasses the big city traffic by going West and then South.  You can tell there weren't many cars ... in fact, there was practically NO traffic.  I just cruised on down the highway until I hit the three mile section that hasn't been completed.  Don't look for this on your GPS unit ... mine thought I was off-roading.  The arrow kept going, but there was no road in sight until I pulled out on to Highway 10 West.  I was saved by the Highway numbers printed on the roadway ... East was a right off the freeway, West was a left lane only!!
I stopped at a rest stop for the puppies, just in time to miss the dumb truck driver who didn't know where his brakes were, hit the offramp and screamed into the rest area at 45mph instead of the posted 15!!  He luckily screeched to a stop, but left his tail end sticking out so no one could pass behind.  The idiots were out in force!!

My three hour trip turned into a four hour ordeal due to all the construction, line painting and drivers who think they should stop on the on-ramps!!
I finally pulled off in Quartzsite at Riggles Ave, went East to the Arco station where I got diesel for $2.55.  Easy in and easy out ... much better than the other end of town!  I planned on staying at the Park Place RV Park, as shown on Facebook by Judy Rinehimer.  The address turned out to be incorrect, as I pulled in to a less than acceptable, very OLD park.  Good thing I can turn on a dime, because that big tree was right in the way of me getting back out on the road.  I finally found the right place ... East of the Arco station.  For $25 a night, I have a 50 amp full hookup.  It's nice to be level for a change!
Unfortunately, Quartzsite is dead!!  There are a few vendors left, but VERY few!!  I did a drive by and was back at my rig in 15 minutes.  I'll hit the road again this morning, heading to Boron ... a 4 hour drive ... lets make that 5 hours!!

Tuesday, February 17, 2015


I usually keep track of the days of the week, but sometimes they just seem to slip away faster than usual.  Such has been the time here in Cottonwood.  I decided to stay in all day and rest up for the trip through Phoenix, although I plan on taking the new Hwy 303 Bypass to Hwy 10, then West.

The puppies were happy to spend the day as lap dogs as I chased Cooper's ball around the rig.  It's a good thing no one was watching, they would have gotten a big laugh!!  There wasn't much on TV, so a marathon of Swamp People catching alligators at least had some catchy music to listen to!!

In between snacking and playing, I stitched up another pair of potholders.  Put on your sun glasses ... you won't lose these in your kitchen!!  They still require binding, but I ran out of time and material.
Here's another great find that I forgot to show.  This is an Apache pine needle pot hanging on the wall, woven by the Tarahumara Indians, native people of Northwest Mexico.  This shelf also holds an Acoma pot I found in New Mexico and a horsehair vase from Missouri.
Just so everyone doesn't think I'm THAT terribly wasteful, I DID salvage the bread pudding and make more sauce.  This time it came out perfectly, so the bread pudding was resurrected, enjoyed and has since disappeared!!

Cottonwood gave me a small sunset as a sendoff last night.  It's been a wonderful two weeks, but the Tax Man is calling, as is my Dentist, so it's time to return to smoggy California for a few weeks.  What a downer!!
I hope to hire someone to get the ranch cleaned up so we can get it on the market.  At the end of April is a Golden Spike Rally in Tehachapi, and since I'm that close, I may as well head back to Arizona while I wait for the snow to subside in the Oregon-Washington area that I have my eye on.  Funny ... this is the first time I haven't had a definite destination in mind and it's making me crazy!!  I'm not particularly fond of jello plans.  At any rate, it's time to get packing!!!

Monday, February 16, 2015

Clemenceau American Craft Fair And Flutes!

I just can't get enough of these Arizona sunrises.  Yesterday morning I just stood outside and watched until the sun came up and the clouds dissipated.  I froze at 38 degrees, but it was worth it!!
There was a big surprise awaiting at the Clemenceau Craft Fair I attended Saturday.  A chuck wagon was setting up and soon the biscuits were being rolled out.  My dad always cooked our biscuits in a dutch oven over pine cone coals.  Every piece of cookware here was cast iron ... even the small pot to melt the butter.  Who could resist this special treat!!  Everyone that drove by and saw the wagon, stopped for breakfast, including my friend here and his two horses.
For $5.00 we got two large biscuits smothered in sausage gravy.  I hate to say it, but that gravy was the best I've had in ages!!  Even though I already ate breakfast, I scarfed this down like there was no tomorrow!!  I could have had another serving, but didn't want to miss anything in the Heritage Museum/High School auditorium craft sale.
It was $1 to enter, the money going to the museum, and the building was packed by 9:30.  This nice lady was selling hand lotion and face creams guaranteed to make you look 20 years younger ... well maybe just 10 years younger.  All of her products are made with goat milk, coconut oil and essential oils.  I picked up one small bottle (it smells wonderful) and I'm sure that my hands now look 10 years younger!!
When you're around craft people, they don't like you taking pictures, for fear you are going to steal their ideas ... and they are probably right ... so I can't show you the great art items they had for sale, except what I purchased!!  There were these hummingbird magnets, quail Christmas ornaments, men's tie purses, some quilts, tons of placemats and hot pads, along with about 8 tables of jewelry.  Magnetic and copper bracelets are a BIG thing here in Arizona.
I was really interested in the stained glass work ... not just window hangings, but original pieces of art.  I decided to walk around the room first and I'm SO glad I did, because I found this gorgeously crafted gourd, done with a wood burning tool.  I have to admit it wasn't cheap.  In talking to the six foot tall Indian that crafted this, he related that it takes him 45+ hours to complete a small piece like this.  He took up this craft some time ago when he blew out his knee and couldn't work.  I paid his price ... didn't even TRY to talk him down.  He was very appreciative, as was his aging mother who took the cash!!
With my new treasures in hand, I stopped in at Montezuma Castle to see Harry Seavey, Indian flute player supreme.  He works with Odel Borg, who crafts the High Spirit flutes and is probably the best in the world.  Harry was playing Saturday at the site and had his CD "The Messenger" for sale.  By the time I thought to take his picture, he was headed off to lunch!!
Fortunately for me, at the same time, the National Park Service had a free pass day, PLUS 15% off anything in the store, including the flutes.  The only one I don't have is an A (they come in different pitches such as A, C, G, F# etc) ...  or should I say I didn't have ... but I do now!!  I found out Harry just moved to this area and gives lessons.  Guess I'll be coming back to stay a little longer next year!!  He had a very small box and a microphone that attaches to his flute.  I don't know what it's called, but I want one!!!  The music coming from that flute was beyond words.
The rest of the evening I spent reading a new book GERONIMO.  I'll let you know how that goes.  There were just so many different stories around here about what happened in the Indian Wars that I decided to gather all the information I could on the subject.  So far this book is a GREAT start!!

Today will be a relax day as I start packing up and hit the road again tomorrow.  I did find out that I COULD stay longer ... I can lease a site here for under $300 a month (including water, which I can run to my hearts content to green up the grass in my yard), build a deck 10 x 18 and fence in a yard 18 x 30 as long as I mow the grass, PLUS you can have a storage building.  Electricity runs about $70 a month and propane, around $400 a year.  That's pretty cheap living ... which is exactly why this park is beginning to look like a trashy TRAILER PARK!!  There's Buddha's, pink flamingos and even a bar set up at one site!!  Who do you call about something like this and more importantly, will they do anything about it?? 

Sunday, February 15, 2015

But MOM ... Where Is The CASTLE!!

"You said we were going to see a castle!!" said the little girl as I walked down the sidewalk towards Montezuma Castle.  "It's Montezuma castle ... well not really because Montezuma was never here" said mom ... as she continued to console her daughter who wanted to see a REAL castle!!  This historic site is off Hwy 17, North of Hwy 260 to Cottonwood.  The limestone cliffs rising 200 feet above the valley made for a safe home that has lasted over 700 years.
The Sinagua in this area are made up of basically two groups.  The Northern Sinagua lived in the Flagstaff area.  The Southern Sinagua lived in the Verde Valley, surviving principally by farming, supplemented by hunting and gathering when not building these seriously amazing dwellings.  These have been restored to some extent ... they have replaced the roofs and re-plastered the outsides to protect from rain.  "That's NOT a castle" the little blond who looked about seven stated loudly!
This particular building is 5 stories high with 20 rooms, occupying the cliff recess above the valley floor.  Ladders were made to gain access which were pulled up at night.  The only inhabitants I saw were small animals, including squirrels!!
Around the edges of this main structure were smaller alcoves used for food storage.  I wonder if anyone fell off the roofs where they spent most of their day.  Woe is the guy who is afraid of heights!!   These structures were built around 1150, reaching their maximum size in the 1300s.  By the 1400s, they were gone ... moving to greener pastures.
Further West is another larger building unit that has completely collapsed.  See all the large holes in the rocks?  That's where the log poles were placed that not only held up the roof, but anchored it to the rock wall.  There was very little overhang at this site, allowing for water to erode the structure, which eventually came crashing down.
Some other creatures have taken up residence here ... the swallows have built amazing mud nests in the top cracks and crannies, just like the Sinagua did.  They were constantly flying around squawking and being generally noisy ... like the little girl because there IS NO CASTLE MOM!  "A castle is like Tinkerbell"!!!
Another creature was pretty abundant in the cliff walls ... bees have created some of the biggest honeycombs I've ever seen.  I wonder if the Indians took advantage of this sweet treat?
What beautiful scenery the Sinagua saw every day as they grew corn, squash, beans and cotton ... yes, cotton.  I'm not sure if they figured out how to use it for clothing, but they did make strings and small ropes.  By this time, Mom was dragging the little girl back to the car, along with her brother who was climbing all over everything!!
Finally, a little peace and quiet as I sat by Beaver Creek which supplied water year round to the Sinagua.  They were so adept at farming, they built irrigation canals in the little valley at the foot of their cliff dwellings.  There are many artifacts that have been collected from these sites, none of which you can see.  They have all been taken away, which is pretty sad, but they have found corn cobs, arrows of chert and flint (which doesn't exist around here), pots from the Southern Hopi Indians and seashells.  At this site, as in Tuzigoot and Palatki, trade was an ongoing business.
Totally off the subject of the local Indians, in honor of Valentine's Day, I thought I should practice making a nice dinner, just in case someone ever comes along that is looking for a Valentine that can cook (won't THEY be surprised by MY cooking) .... so I hit the store and picked up a nice fillet!!  Since I don't have a barbecue, I used my trusty cast iron skillet.  Sometimes, if I'm lucky, it makes a mean steak!!  I found some of the lavender sea salt I purchased in Hawaii and decided to give it a try. Just when I thought it was nicely cooked medium rare, I added a tablespoon of butter to the pan, which made the best sauce EVER!!  I learned that on the cooking channel!!  LOL
With a batch of scalloped potatoes loaded with onions, garlic and cheese along with some asparagus, I had a meal fit for a king ... or queen as the case was ... and it was DELICIOUS!!  I hope everyone had a nice Valentine's day!!
Next up a big surprise at the Clemenceau American Craft Fair.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Clemenceau's Cookbook

HAPPY VALENTINES DAY EVERYONE!!  Do something special for your Valentine and cook dinner or better yet, take them out to Cracker Barrel!!  And for my bestest best friend ever, HAPPY BIRTHDAY Miss Patty!!  I hope you have a wonderful day with Laila and find the backing material for your quilt!
On to Clemenceau's Cookbook .... At one time there were many small towns in this area of Arizona, including Clemenceau and Centerville.  Now they are all included in Cottonwood, so in order to sort them out, check out the Clemenceau Heritage Museum.  It's very small but there's some interesting things here and I guarantee you will learn something from the pioneers that volunteer and give tours.  Check the days and hours, as they are not open every day.
No, it's not the best museum I've ever been in, but the enthusiasm of the volunteers makes up for that.  They are SO happy that you came by, they will give you personal tours filled with lots of anecdotes that you would otherwise never know.  We had a great time and laughed a lot!!!  This town was originally named Verde after James Douglas Jr.'s mine, the United Verde Extension in Jerome, the OTHER big mine.  The museum is located in the Old Public School building on Willard Avenue, just behind the Hospital.
Clemenceau was a company town for Douglas' smelter which he built in 1917.  In 1920, he changed the name to honor the French premier in World War I, Georges Clemenceau, a personal friend of his.  To deliver ore to his smelter, Douglas built the Arizona-Extension Railway, a shortline railroad, between Clemenceau and Josephine Tunnel, which connected to the United Verde Mine.  The eastern branch ran between Clemenceau and Clarkdale.  This picture is of the Clarkdale Smelter, just because it was the best of the two to photograph!!  My tour guide said people who lived close to the smelter had a terrible time breathing from the constant spewing of smoke.  
Shame on me for not remembering the gentlemen's name who led my tour of one.  He had so many stories, including when he was younger and went to the Reservation south of Cottonwood and picked up this tiny pot in the middle from a 10 year old Indian boy just learning the pottery craft.  He gave him $10, which thrilled the little boy to no end.
Did you know there were dairies in Jerome and Cottonwood?  He can tell you exactly where they were and which dairy delivered to his house.  There are too many exhibits here to show you everything, you'll just have to come and check it out.  
Apparently my guide is in charge of what is displayed in each room of the school.  He was very proud of this scene ... even going to far as to find mannequins of the correct year to show off his kitchen wares.  The baby was barefoot for some time before he went to the thrift store and found some tennis shoes that fit perfectly!!  We had a good laugh over that one!!  Next door is a bedroom scene with Grandma sleeping in bed.  He even found a grey wig for her.  Check out the floor ... it's linoleum of the oldest kind with an ancient pattern, salvaged from an old house.  
And this one too.  He got the biggest kick out of LAST LUNCH being mouse bait.  He's very careful about which items he displays and is very proud of this museum.  I'm guessing he's in his 80's and sharp as a tack.  What a wonderful gentleman to escort me around.
Many of the locals have donated pictures.  This lady is riding a gorgeous paint horse on her ranch located here.  At 88 years old, she comes at her appointed time every week to help out in the museum.   I bet SHE would be interesting to talk to!!
This school was originally a grammar school, later including high school kids.  They have pictures of every graduating class, where I learned who was still living, what they did and what happened to the rest.  
The trains I mentioned above, not only brought people from Prescott, but logs to the sawmill near Clemenceau.  Yup ... there was a sawmill here, owned by the Petersens.  They were able to divert water from the Verde River to a spot where the logs could be dumped, then run through their sawmill.    It ran from 1945 to 1961.  Although there was a carriage to take you to Cottonwood, passengers from the trains that stopped in Jerome, opted to walk down the hill instead.  No kidding ... that's pretty steep and a lot of weight for two horses to hold back.  Apparently they just went REAL FAST, which is why everyone walked!!
Ever heard of the board game Decoy??  Me neither, but they have one here.  The description that comes with the game says the ducks are highly decorated with paint.  Looks like they're just painted one solid color to me!!  With 8 pages of rules, I doubt many played this game!!
On the wall is painted a scene that includes Jerome, Cottonwood, the smelters and a power plant.  He was really proud of this scene too because he found plastic barbed wire (something I've never heard of in all MY years), attached it to the fence by the cattle and draped it across the floor.  On the other side, he built a telephone pole in the room and ran wires from it to the power plant in the scene.  It really was a cute idea ... and he was very pleased!!
This is a replica of a first grade classroom ... including the picture of George Washington.  He was quick to ask me if I knew about the picture.  No ... what SHOULD I know??  That the painter (I've forgotten the name) was painting this portrait when Washington died ... so he stopped out of respect, and never finished it.  Who knew THAT one??
I finally came to the Railroad Diorama.  Okay, it's not the best in the world, or the best in the country, but it is the best in Clemenceau.  This is the Railroad Clubs "baby".  They had the best time putting it together and making it look like it did back in the heyday of copper mining.  Both mines and smelters are represented, as are Jerome and Cottonwood.  One member had a huge collection of tiny cars and people, which fell to the club when he passed away, all of which are here.
As you walk around, you will see more scenes than you can imagine.  This image shows the cement plant, one of three that supply all of the cement for Arizona and then some.  Here's another piece of info ... this plant was sold to the reservation where the Indians revamped the entire thing, making it one of the biggest cement plants that runs 24 hours a day.  It is so automated that it only takes three people to run the entire operation!!
I didn't show it here, but when the Clarke mine caught fire, it burned for about 20 years.  They never really could figure out a way to stop it.  So Mr. Clarke, multi multi multi billionaire that he was, tore down his smelter, moved it further south and proceeded to tear apart the entire mountain to the bottom of the mine shafts, gathering material for his smelter along the way and finally getting the fires put out by just hauling the rock away.  Now completed, the railroad club doesn't have much to do ... it's kind of boring just watching the trains go around, so I suggested they put in a large trestle and go UP ... run trains around the TOP of the room!!  
Like I said, this isn't the biggest or fanciest museum you will ever see.  It's the people that make this a MUST see.  They are so dedicated to this project that you can't help wanting to give them a few dollars.  It's donation only, so throw them some money, meet some really nice people and tell them Nancy the RV Lady sent you!  They will be VERY appreciative!!

Just to help a little more, they have a small gift shop with lots of books for sale and a few knick knacks, so I purchased another "local" cookbook.  THIS one is different however ... all the recipes came from the MEN of Verde Valley, not the women!!  The sweet lady in the store said her husband has two recipes in here ... of which she was rightly proud!!!
Today at the museum they are having their annual American Craft Show, which they were setting up yesterday.  I'm sure I can find a few more things to help their pocketbook ... small gifts for friends.  So don't be surprised if you get an odd gift or two from me!!