Friday, September 20, 2019

Cool Things That Make Me Happy

Here we are parked in lovely downtown Quartzsite Arizona in Park Place RV Park.  This place makes me happy every time I come through.  The two hosts are as nice as can be, always remembering my name.  No paperwork required and $19 gets me two air conditioners running full blast.  It was 102 when I arrived.

I'm also happy and proud that I actually stopped at an unfamiliar fuel station.  Getting diesel is my nemesis.  I've only had one bad experience, so it shouldn't bother me so much.  I fretted the first hour of driving that I wouldn't have enough fuel to get to Quartzsite, where I always fill up.

Between the generator running the AC for about five hours and two trips to the Cummins Repair Shop, I wasn't sure I had enough to go 265 miles.  It would help if my fuel gauge was correct, but it isn't, plus generator fuel doesn't record on the dash.

I saw a Pilot sign and at the last second said SELF ... Just pull off and get fuel so you'll quit stewing about it.  I pulled off the freeway.  It was straight in, pay the nice lady and around the corner to out.  YES!!!!!
Clean ceiling fans make me happy too.  Terrible picture, but I noticed this just before leaving the house.  Good grief ... where did all THAT dirt come from??  There was enough on this five blade fan to stuff a pillow!!  Only three fans to go, but that's for when I return.
Turning on the faucet and getting water makes me happy too.  Not a single faucet in the rig had much more than a drip coming out.  Once parked, I took all the gizmos off (the screen thingies) and soaked them in vinegar.  Worked like a charm.  When done, I stuck the shower head in too, just to be sure it would work also.
After five hours of driving, being passed constantly by trucks, as in a steady line of them (it must be drive-your-truck Thursday) I was ready for lunch.  The only thing I could scrape up was a can of tuna.  What about the pizza you ask?  I only have enough for dinners!!

I was exceedingly happy to find an empty container for the tuna juice.  I was even more thrilled when I poured the juice into the empty Advil bottle and didn't spill not ONE drop!!  SCORE one for me!!!
That's when I had my only non-happy moment.  I got an email saying our Golden Spike Chapter has to bring a gift bag to the meeting in Hanford for the Ladies Tea at the January Rally.  Rather short notice.  I'm headed to Hanford now and I rarely unhook my Jeep when traveling, to trot about town. The only quick thing I can come up with is Starbucks ... or maybe a Cold Stone gift certificate, which I doubt they have in beautiful downtown Dairy-Capital-of-the-Valley Hanford.

I was interrupted in my thoughts however as I tried to light my gas stove and heat up one of my amazing pieces of pizza.  Boy was I looking forward to this, not having had any bread in ages.  The stove wouldn't light.  Ughhhhhhh.

I went outside and found the tank turned off.  Okay ... now it will work.  Click click click ... again and again.  By then I was ready to eat the pizza FROZEN.  At long last I smelled gas and hit the igniter one last time.  SUCCESS!!!  Or not, as I had no lid to put OVER the pizza in the pan so it would warm up before it burned.  Yes, I could nuke it, but if you've ever tasted pizza warmed up in a frying pan, you'll never nuke again.

At last, I scrounged up a cookie sheet.  In 15 minutes I had PERFECT PIZZA, which put a BIG smile on my face.  I savored every single bite.  THIS makes me happy!!
I'll be getting a late start this morning as I only have a two hour drive to a new-to-me RV park in Indio.  With the high temperatures, I really need a 50 amp hookup for AC.  See you there!!

Thursday, September 19, 2019

What's For Dinner Mom??

I'm sure this has happened to everyone.  I had to defrost two pork tenderloins before I could throw them on the barbee.  I purchased them at Costco, so I guessed the heavy plastic would be plenty to contain the juices.  I was wrong.  I noticed early in the morning that the bag had lost pressure.  That has only one terrible outcome.

Oh my ... yes, there was lovely pork blood and guts flowing all over my fridge.  Not the kind of activity I envisioned for my morning.
I removed bin after bin, glass after glass and all the plastic supports.  It's amazing how far that stuff can run.  At long last dinner time rolled around and I barbecued both tenderloins.  Let me tell you, that is entirely too much meat for one person.  

I've been eating on it now for about three days and I admit, I'm sick of pork.  I've fixed it every way you can imagine.  Note to self ... no more pork tenderloin.
Just for giggles, Patty and I took a short drive over to Green Valley to peruse the perfect puncturing machines.  Long arm quilting machines have come into my sights.  I never wanted to go there, but honestly, I probably could have purchased TWO with what I've paid my quilter over the last few years.  It's a costly purchase, so much more investigation will be required.  

Having returned home, I stopped in the Chance driveway just as we noticed these two roadrunners.  The smaller of the two kept following the other, shivering it's feathers.  I thought it might be a baby since it was so small, but maybe there was some courting going on.
The mystery was quickly solved when the smaller ran in front of the bigger with mouth agape and wings fluttering.  It was a baby looking for food.  MOM ... what's for dinner??  Mom??
Mom kept looking up into the trees, we decided in the hopes of spotting a nice juicy bug.  Nothing seemed to jump out, so she left the baby and ran across the yard.  In no time, she came back with a big black bug.  Dinner was served with a smile.  Mom and baby trotted off looking for more yummies.  What a great spectacle to see.  
So I'm packing this morning for an early takeoff.  Two dogs, one parrot, eight boxes of fabric and what's left of my threadbare wardrobe.  Wouldn't you know, the weather has cooled down considerably, just in time for my departure. 

Several of my desert friends came to say goodbye ... hummingbirds, bats and my favorite .... Mr. Spider, in all his three inch glory, came sneaking in when I opened the from door.  YIKES!!  I chased him half way down the hallway with a flyswatter before my aim took hold.  Sorry little guy ... not really.  

I am .... on the road again!! 

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Big Nose Kate In Dos Cabezas

Mary Katherine Horony-Cummins was born in 1849 in what was then the Kingdom of Hungary.  Her father was a physician and her mother a teacher.  In 1860, they left Hungary for the United States in hopes of a better life.  Sadly, it didn't turn out that way.

They settled in Davenport Iowa.  Three years later, both parents died within a month of each other.  Mary Katherine and her younger sister Wilhelmina ended up in the house of a lawyer, finally working as domestics (housekeepers).
Hard to believe that at 16, Kate snuck out and stowed away on a riverboat for St Louis.  By 1869, with no chance of getting regular work of any kind, she became a prostitute.  In 1874, she was working as a "sporting woman" in a "sporting house" (brothel) in Dodge City Kansas, run by Bessie Ketchum Earp.  You've heard that name before.  Bessie was married to James Earp, Wyatt's brother.
In 1876 (she moved around a lot this girl) she ended up in Fort Griffin Texas where one year later, she made the acquaintance of Doc Holliday.  In no time, they hooked up and moved to Dodge City where Doc opened a dental practice.  With many more moves under their belts, Doc ended up making money at gambling in Prescott while Kate worked as a prostitute in the Palace Saloon.  They finally ended up in Tombstone.
In 1881, three cowboys tried to rob a stagecoach near Benson Arizona, killing the popular driver, along with one passenger.  It was thought Bill Leonard (a former watchmaker from New York and good friend of Doc Holliday) did the dirty deed.  

When Kate and Doc had one of the infamous fights, Sheriff Behan made a beeline for Kate, getting her drunk and convincing her to sign an affidavit implicating Doc in the murder.  In the end, she testified in court that it was not true and Doc was released.  Needless to say, she moved out of town for a time, eventually landing back in Tombstone just in time for the big shootout at the OK Corral, which didn't even happen there.  It happened behind the stables and down the street a bit in an empty lot.
I'll skip that part about the shootout.  Kate says she saw it through her hotel window, but apparently Kate lies a lot, or at least had a hard time remembering the truth.  After Doc died, she married blacksmith George Cummings in Aspen Colorado.  They eventually ended up in Willcox Arizona where George became an abusive alcoholic.  
Kate left him in 1900, which brings me to why Miss Patty and I visited this little ghost town of Cochise.  Kate moved to Cochise and worked in the hotel owned by John and Lulu Rath.  The hotel is not only still standing, but up until recently, was available for rent.

Starting back at the top, that's the church, still standing but not in use as far as we could tell.  At it's height, Cochise had about 3,000 people here, only because it became a stop on the railroad for water and coal.  It was also a good shipping point for cattle.

The next picture with the red roof is the post office, as evidenced by the sign on the highway, Post Office.  As we drove through, this magnificent abode came into view.  
Although approximately 50 people still live here, we only saw three cars and one human.  It being summer and all, maybe the town is shut down until cooler temperatures prevail.  It was rather hard to tell which places were really old and which were just in disrepair.
This is the hotel, in very nice condition I might add, that Big Nose Kate worked at.  I wonder if anyone called her that name to her face?  The sign says it's available for weddings, barbecues and whatever event you may have.  
In the 1910 census, Kate was listed as living at the home of miner John J. Howard.  When he passed away, she was the executrix of his estate.  By this time she was 61 years old.  
She said the money she received as Executrix wouldn't even buy wood for the winter to keep her warm.
Directly across from the hotel is the railroad line.  I can just imagine huge corrals full of cattle and cowboys, waiting for the train.
In 1931, Kate contacted her old friend Arizona Governor George Hunt and applied for entrance to the Arizona Pioneers' Home in Prescott for destitute and ailing MALE miners.  It took six months to be admitted, even though she was female, because the home had citizenship restrictions.  Amazingly, a birth certificate appeared with her name on it.

The old general store is also still standing in Cochise.  By the way, the town was originally named Dos Cabezas.  Two Heads, named for the two granite peaks of the nearby mountains.  This building would make a good quilt store, yes??  I could live in the back.
There are lots of discrepancies in Kate's life, as her death certificate says she was born in Iowa,  which probably allowed her into the Pioneers' Home.  She recited many memories until her death, none of which could be verified.  She died in 1940 and was buried under the name Mary K Cummins in the Arizona Pioneers' Home Cemetery in Prescott Arizona.  

That was a pretty exciting life for a prostitute.  Driving through the little town of Cochise Arizona, I could just imagine the hustle and bustle of cowboys and robbers, gamblers and ladies of the evening.  The town is just off Highway 191 heading from Highway 10 to Douglas.

In case you were wondering, the Big Nose Kate Saloon in Tombstone was originally called the Grand Hotel, built in 1880.  The McLaury brothers stayed there the night before the gunfight.  The main entrance was in to the hotel.  The bar was downstairs.  It basically burned to the ground in 1882 and was rebuilt and renamed.  If you haven't been, check it out ... the food is good ... and wander down the spiral staircase to the original bar.

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Edible ..... Inedible

There's a very fine line between words in this house as I walk the corral fence tops.  Competent ... incompetent.  Flexible ... inflexible.  Edible .. Inedible.  Every day I walk those lines, most times falling off the fencepost to the ground below.  Yesterday was a fall day.

Try as I might to be the Parrot Chef of the year, Jonathan continues to put me in my place.  It's hard to get birds to eat, let alone eat what they SHOULD to be healthy.  Every morning I'm put to the test.  Things like bananas and banana bread have been left in the bowl each morning for a week.  His bird biscuits, specially made to contain something that resembles vitamins, remain untouched.

Yup ... there's carrots, apples, peanuts and even spinach in this bowl, but like a good 3 year old going on 46, he has refused everything but the sunflower seeds.  I tried corn on the cob, which he used to love.  Nope ... not having it.  THUNK!!  That's me falling off the fence and hitting the rocky ground.
Our sewing confab always puts me in a good mood.  There's nothing like being around friends who laugh with you and make you forget your Chef shortcomings.  This was supposed to be the best red velvet cake ever.

It all went well until the last of the mixing when the batter got so thick I could barely whack it off the spatula into the pan.  Unfortunately, I missed the part about this being baked in a 7" pan.  This is a NINE inch pan, with the batter barely half an inch thick by the time I spread it out.  I was teetering about midway between the fenceposts on a cracked wobbly board.

Having tasted the frosting recipe previously, made with fake sugar, I was hopeful it would pass the test.  How wonderful it would be to have an ooey gooey dessert without the carbs and sugar?

Not today .... no not today as I hit the ground with a crash.  It actually came out of the oven pretty good, if you were looking for brownies.  I was looking for cake.  Okay ... so we'll just have red velvet brownies instead.

We ate about half of it and they all were sweet to say it tasted great.  They lied.  It was pretty much tasteless.  The texture wasn't bad, but my brain locked up with every bite thinking I was going to get a yummy taste of lovely thick sweet frosting.  It didn't happen.
Having already foreseen the outcome (it happens so often) I had whipped up my favorite cherry pie crisp smothered in brown sugar, oats and nuts.  That's what I'm talking about .... I walked the top of that fine line of a fence like a champ!!

Yes, I did try the brownies again after dinner, but they didn't get any better.  Sorry folks, no BEST EVER recipe this time.  I'm sure even Cooper here wouldn't have eaten it.  Cooper is a smart cookie.  I think I mentioned before, he spends most of his time laying on the AC vent.
As I left the house after conversing about all things long arm quilting, I spotted this tree with beautiful flowers.  If I can figure out what it is, maybe I'll find a spot for one around my house.
I was so tired by the time I went to bed that I forgot to bring in the hummingbird feeders.  This morning they are both completely empty as the bats have discovered the buffet line.  At least hummingbird nectar is something I can cook that turns out right every time!!  In the meantime, I'm packing.  Time is getting short.

Monday, September 16, 2019

Things Are Closer Than They Appear

Although not in the case of the moon, things around here are closer than they appear in pictures.  The moon looked like you could reach up and touch it on Friday the 13th.  I've made no mention of it thus far because it's usually the cause of weirdness in my life.  Now that it's passed, I can post a picture.  Too bad it's not MY picture.  Cloud cover kept us from seeing anything that night.
My steam iron was MUCH closer than it appeared, as I was working on some appliqué (hand sewing) work.  Out of the blue, it shot out a scorcher cloud that steamed my hand quite nicely.  I'm sure I could smell BBQ.  Thanks to everyone for the bag-o-peas remedy.  It worked quite nicely.
Since my rig returned with no recall work done, I figured I might as well clean out the basement while it was relatively empty of everything RV.  I vacuumed from top to bottom and replaced what I could.  It's funny how it didn't all fit back inside, although it was close.  
Things are definitely closer than they appear here.  The train looks small and far away, but it's VERY close.  It's a good thing I love trains, although a steam train going by would be MUCH nicer.  
They've been working on the tracks for the last month, dropping off new concrete timbers for under the rails.  That means lots of REALLY loud equipment going along at 2 mph taking out the old spikes.  Actually, spikes have been eliminated for some time.  They have hook-like things now.  Once undone they pull out the old timber and slide in the concrete one.  

Try as I might, I couldn't get close enough to see how it was done.  How can a machine do all that?  They spent almost three hours in front of my house, possibly because it's on a curve.  Go forward ... DING DING DING ... back up.  Then the engine would stop and I would hear lots of banging, like with sledge hammers.  Start it up ... go forward again!  I thought they would never get done.
Then this guy came along throwing huge amounts of dust into the air with a loud grinding sound.  All of this is at night, by the way.  Then the original big machine came back and they started all over again last night.  In the mornings they take a break to let the freight trains pass.  
This baby is NOT closer than it appears.  Arizona Pizza Company has a place close by where I can get my pizza fix once in a blue moon.  It's definitely not on my diet ... only because of the crust ... but it's a quick and easy dinner.  I broke it up into 8 packages and stuck it in the freezer.  It will make perfect dinners for the week I'll be on the road.  No cooking for me!!!

By the way, if you are anywhere around Tucson, friend them on Facebook and they will post a secret password on Thursdays that will get you a discount.  This $25+tax pizza came to $21.37 including tax.  It's better than a kick in the pants!!  The pizza is good too!
It's sewing and experimental dessert day.  I made my first ever Keto red velvet cake and I'm experimenting on the gals at sewing.  Truthfully, I'd rather skip dessert than eat Keto cakes and brownies.  I'll let you know how it turns out!!

Sunday, September 15, 2019

Desert Delights

I have to say, there are an abundance of delightful critters in the desert.  More than you can imagine.  I've probably only seen a snippet of those hanging out around here.  Honestly, I don't want to know just HOW many there are.

I guess they come with the rain.  Even though we haven't received that much monsoon rain here, it has fallen all around us.  The wildflowers are happy campers, even these growing up through a cattle guard.
There are dinosauric (is that a word?)  lizards everywhere, like this guy with amazing scales doing push-ups in my back yard.  I really don't see them that often around the house.  Too bad because maybe they would eat the thousands of moths that scream through the sliding door at breakneck speed every time I let the dogs out.  These guys are really fun to watch.
Patty and I made a quick stop at the biggest cactus nursery I've ever seen last week.  They also promote kitty adoption.  These older guys hang out in the gift shop getting lots of pets and love.
They are pretty much past their prime, but would make great couch ornaments.  Unfortunately Jessie would think they were just for her chasing pleasure.
With all the rain, many of their plants were blooming, making it very hard to keep my wallet in my pocket.
I haven't been able to keep count of the 30 or so quail that come to drink every morning and evening at my water station.  Apparently I have two resident roadrunners also.  You can't see this guy's tail for the bushes.
They definitely are fun to watch however.  These two are smaller, so I'm guessing maybe they are young-uns.  I could sit outside and watch them all day long.
Except for these guys!  Mesquite bugs about two inches long.  They LOVE the mesquite trees ... and they FLY!!!  Upon landing however they aren't very graceful.  Most tip over, and once on their backs, like us old folks, can't get up!  I saved a couple on my patio by turning them right side up, but come on buddies ... you need to figure that out.

Luckily my mesquite tree is some weird variety that they don't care for that much.  The Chance house has dozens of these babies under THEIR tree.
Sporadic rain has caused many of the barrel cactus to bloom, least that's what I think they are.  As you drive around, you can see bits of red everywhere.  Amazingly ... you're not going to believe this ... it's 70 degrees right now with a high of 82 today.  I think my ski parka needs to come out of mothballs.  I'm sure if I went outside, I'd freeze!!
These guys appear to be pretty prolific this year too.  I showed you one large guy previously ... then I found three babies (or maybe smaller males) hanging out on my screen.  These are the good guys, eating flies and other awful critters.  They can hang out any time.
Here's an unusual one.  It looks like a honey bee, but it's wings are two-toned.  Half brown, half clear.  I didn't want to get any closer, you can understand why.  They swarm my hummingbird feeders in the late afternoon when it's warm, looking for food.  They are not the only ones.  

Every night now I have to bring the feeders inside.  The bats have found their snack bar.  They do fly-bys, swat the feeder with their wings and lap up the syrup as it drips out.  They can empty a feeder three times as fast as 20 hummers.
And there's even MORE ... like the tarantula I've been playing with by the back door.  I drop stuff down his hole, he pushes it out.  He appears to be tired of the game, since now he has covered the entire top of the hole in webs.  If he'll eat the scorpions, I'll leave him alone.  At least some of the desert delights can be entertaining!!

Saturday, September 14, 2019

Speaking of Cochise

Interestingly enough, this is Cochise County, in which lies Cochise Stronghold (an easy drive in a two wheel car), and Cochise Cemetery, along with the town of Cochise.  So when I saw this sign as I drove by, I immediately hit the brakes and made a U-turn.

This is a fairly well kept BIG cemetery, probably the only one around for miles.
It even has it's own water supply with working windmill pump.  We had these all over our California ranch.  It was the only way to get water to the cattle, since at the time, there was no electricity.  I'm not really sure WHY there is water here, since it isn't used for landscaping at all.
This was probably the most interesting headstone.  This my RV friends is a World War I Veteran.  This is PFC Ray Amick, II Balloon Company Air Service World War I.  Can you just imagine what his life was like?  Born in 1883, he passed in 1961.  What a great hero!
Here lies Elizabeth Moore, born 1852, passed in 1917.  She must have been a real pioneer.  Originally her headstone only had her initials.  It appears this might have been added in 2007.  In fact, many of these headstones have been replaced with newer ones.
Sadly, Baby Clark died in 1923.  
Back out on the road headed home, I spotted the sign to the town of Cochise too late to stop.  It's now on my MUST SEE list.  In the 1880's, the Southern Pacific Railroad came through here.  A stop was needed for coal and water for the steam engine, so the town grew up around the railroad.  

Originally a bustling old west city of 3,000, it now boasts 50 residents.  There's some interesting history here I definitely want to check out.  Hint ... it involves Doc Holiday!!  Yahoo!  This is a picture of the old general store.  I've no idea if it's still standing, but I'm going to find out.
Since I was so close as I headed back to Hwy 10, I thought I might as well check out Apple Annies.  Not that all that sugar is on my diet list of edible items, but they seem to be famous for their apple pies.  Wasn't I surprised to find such a tiny building for it's big reputation.

The walls were lined with apple jams and jellies, along with apple salsa, apple syrup ... you get the picture.  I'm not sure how apples grow in this area, but there are many orchards around the Dragoon hills.
The Christmas tree is apparently up for every holiday, this being Halloween/Thanksgiving, even though it was still August.
They have a small lunch counter and seating area for your apple pie enjoyment.  They also had whole pies, with a choice of crumble crust or regular crust.  I chose the crumble.  I figured to pawn off most of this on the Chance Household.  Shhhhh don't tell them.

Miss Patty and I had a piece with a little ice cream.  It was good, but nothing to write home to Mom about.  Surprisingly, it wasn't as sweet as the apple pie I'm used to and rather dry.  It had good flavor, but not enough to prompt me to return to Wilcox for another one.  Obviously, my plan worked, as this is all I had left.
So there you have it.  Another day, another adventure.  I can't wait to return to Cochise before I have to start packing up.  Time flies when you're investigating the local history.