Wednesday, July 31, 2019

There's Nothing Like It .... Oops!!

Actually, the oops happened first yesterday.  Overnight, I suspect as a result of the last Vail Gale, THIS happened.  Uh oh .. one of the family took a head-first dive off the table.  My first aid training kicked in immediately as I donned a pair of gloves (remembering all those stickers in my fingers in emergencies past) and went about resuscitating this baby.

So far so good ... she's repotted and sitting back on the table amidst several others so she can't fall down and go boom!!
While doing that, I noticed the clutch of thirteen baby quail, now teenagers, hitting the water station.  They were quickly followed by another group that came out from under a huge pile of cactus, only these were baby babies.  The once inch variety.  A second round of quail have been hatched.
Monsoon season is officially open for business in Arizona.  The forecast is for rain every day this week.  Don't get your hopes up however, since it literally rained on one half of my house while the other half got not a drop.  

One thing I can never get enough of is the soft afternoon "golden hour" light that comes after a storm.  It makes everything beautiful, even cactus.
It also makes for some of the most fabulous purple blue pink sunsets.  It's like a rainbow, only a hundred times better.
I parked my chair outside, flailing my arms to ward off all the bugs.  I didn't care.  THIS was a gorgeous sunset that lasted over 30 minutes.
I got my exercise for the day when I went back into the kitchen and hit a spider web straight on.  I danced around like I was walking on fire.  How do they do that??  Spin a web in 30 minutes to trap me when I return?  
Luckily I never saw the energetic spider that built it.  I contemplated my world globe in the garden for another few minutes before heading off to watch a baseball game.  The Giants lost this one to the Phillies, retribution for us kicking their butts the last time they played.
I've really got the itch to head out for some hiking and photography, but everywhere I want to go has dirt roads, not conducive to driving in the rain.  I'm going into historical building withdrawal.  Sometimes you just have to take off and see where you end up.

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

WooHoo ... Flash Flooding!

Rain in the desert is another creature altogether.  Mother Nature puts on a show like no other.  There I was, sitting on the couch enjoying puppy time when CRACK!!!  The skies lit up like the studio lights when I was doing portraits in my garage.

How is that possible?  It's sunny with lots of blue up in the air.  I looked across the riverbed to see the weirdest sight yet.
Instantly I got the Alert beeping and vibrating my Apple watch.  Severe dust storms.  Wait ... isn't it raining like cats and dogs over there?  How could you have dust storms at the same time?  

You can see where it all started with the wind just beginning to catch the sand.  In no time, the entire mountainside disappeared amidst the fog of sand and debris.  
That's about the time I got the SECOND warning.  Flash flooding in Tombstone, about 50 miles away.  I of course grabbed my camera and ran outside to tempt the lightning Gods even more.  In no time the sand disappeared as the rain came pouring down like a curtain at the theatre.  Not here, but right across the way.  I seem to be just on the perimeter of the storms.
About that time I remembered I wanted to cook some ribs in my Instant Pot.  After all, I've got that propane bottle sitting out there ... I might as well put it to good use.  Twenty five minutes later I had cooked meat, however bland and tasteless.  

I put them on the barbecue to crisp up and brown, adding a little sauce for flavor.  WRONG!!!  You always put the sauce on at the very last moment.  I remembered that as I walked outside to check them and found black smoke pouring out the side.
They don't look all that bad ... pretty tasty looking if I do say so myself.  Too bad they missed the mark.  They really should have had MUCH more seasoning and a gallon of sauce.  Tender?  Oh they were tender, just not much in the flavor department.  I guess you really can't beat smoked ribs.  
As the lightning got faster and the thunder louder, I headed back outside for a couple more images.  This was a biggie.    
Barely visible in the above image, and almost not even visible here, you can see just how big this strike was and how the lightning spread out like fingers.  
Flash flood warnings began to beep again for my specific area.  It's okay though since I live on a hillside.  When I was a kid, we always camped out on our one-week-a-year vacation.  Several times we ended up in big lightning storms in the mountains, in a huge green army tent that weighed in at like 2000 pounds.  My Dad always told us to never EVER stay at the top of the hill during a storm, nor do you ever run to the bottom of the hill.

Top means lightning and bottom means drowning.  Besides that, you always build your house on the SIDE of the hill for the same reason.  Lastly, NEVER touch the sides or the top of the tent when you are inside.  Water will instantly begin to stream in where you touched it.  

He was right, because I of course TOUCHED it, meaning I had to sleep in the wet sleeping bag all night.  I learned my lesson well.  I'm glad I'm in a house on the side of the hill when Mother Nature comes to visit.

Monday, July 29, 2019

Well That's Weird

The other morning I heard a group of coyotes way off in the distance.  I usually keep my eyes close to home, but on this day I looked way out beyond the railroad tracks.  I spotted the back of something moving through the bushes.  Naturally I grabbed my camera, just in time for nothing.  Not a movement anywhere.

All of a sudden my old, or rather young deer buddies came walking up through the brush.  Here I thought I was going to get a picture of several coyotes.
The weird part is I haven't seen hide nor hair of them since.  I guess those storms we've been having have dropped enough water for them down in the creek.  In fact, none of my "critters" have been back except the quail and a couple of bunnies.
I think I showed you some Enlightened ice cream awhile back.  I decided yesterday it was time for a taste test.  They are coming out with lots of no-dairy things that fit right in to my no-sugar diet.  This one is marshmallow and peanut butter.  Not bad, as evidenced by the empty carton on the counter.
I should have known better when I grabbed this one.  I've tried Halo Top before and it was very icy with not much flavor.  This one was even more weird.  It tasted terrible and I couldn't figure out why.  I saw nothing that even resembled peanut butter or peanut butter cups.

What it did taste like was stale coconut.  Ugh ... I hate coconut.  Sure enough, it was made with coconut milk.  Scratch this one off.  I doubt I can even eat the rest of the small $5 carton.  It was just too weird.
This one will do the trick.  It's probably a good thing they aren't very good tasting, or I would be buying them all the time.
So who has had salisbury steak lately?  It's weird they call it that since it's not steak at all, but hamburger.  I remember it well from my childhood.  When a cow was butchered, it was all cut into roasts or ground into hamburger.  Mom did everything she could to disguise it.

I found this recipe where else but on the internet.  Basically, it's meatloaf made into patties and fried on the stovetop.  Then you make a sauce from beef broth, mushrooms, garlic and one weird ingredient that I just happened to have.  Dijon mustard. 

Who knew just a couple teaspoons of Dijon mustard would make this dish!!  Surprisingly, it was a keeper!!    
Here's the last weird thing of the day.  You know when you are on Facebook and you get dozens and dozens of those darn ads for things you aren't even the slightest bit interested in?  You tap on "hide this ad" and three more pop up in it's place.

Don't get mad, get even.  I began to report every single one I found on my phone.  Sometimes I reported them as offensive, but most times SPAM.  For every one I said was offensive, they sent a message back that they had investigated it and removed the ad from Facebook.  

I seriously doubted that, so I just kept on reporting.  Well that's weird ... amazingly the ads disappeared from my account.  I mean I get absolutely NO advertisements any more, only posts from my friends.

If you have the same problem, you might just try reporting every single one of them and see what happens.  I truly thought they would eject me from the world of the internet, but instead, I'm advertisement free.  

The weather remains weird too, 107 one day with rain, 95 the next with wind the likes of which I've never seen.  It hasn't been below 85 at night in three or four days.  What makes it bearable is the Giants are wining again ... something like 22 games in a row, which is VERY weird for them.  GO GIANTS!

Sunday, July 28, 2019

The Arizona Cowboy

There's lots of history in Willcox Arizona and E. Pierre Brehm will tell you all about it.  He's the elderly gentleman, slowed from age and arthritis, who is the official Willcox Tour Guide.  Call him any time and he will set up a tour for you for FREE.  He's retired, you know.

Thankfully E. Pierre opened the Rex Allen Museum for me on my overheated-convection-oven trip to Willcox last week.  No one in their right mind goes there mid summer.  The building has air conditioning, so I spent some time walking around looking at all the stuff from the 50's and 60's western music scene.
You can't miss the windmill courtyard.  Rex was born not far from here in Mud Springs Canyon.  As he grew up, he played guitar with his fiddle-playing dad.  Being a real life cowboy, the rodeo life was for him until he learned how hard it was.  He wandered East to Chicago to become Cactus Rex as part of a vaudeville act.
Along with Roy Rogers and Gene Autry, he became one of the singing cowboys in the early 50's, riding his horse KoKo.  By 1954, he was the LAST of the singing cowboys and moved over to a new show Frontier Doctor.  Unfortunately, that didn't last long.
The little town of Willcox was pretty proud of their Arizona Cowboy, beginning the tradition of Rex Allen Days.  What you probably don't know is he had a badly crossed eye which caused him to be very timid and shy.  Surgeries were never able to correct it.  
I have to say this is the most fabulous gunbelt I've ever seen.  I watched in awe every Saturday morning as he rounded up the bad guys and put them in jail.  
Rex Allen was the first to have THAT voice.  Like Sam Elliot or Mike Rowe, you would recognize it anywhere.  Disney recognized it too and he became the voice of their wildlife films and the Carousel of Progress at the World's Fair.  Oh I remember it well!!  
He even had his own show for awhile, featuring the Sons of The Pioneers, writing and singing his own songs.  
He was given a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and inducted into the Performers Hall of Fame at the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma.  He was also the very first to win the Golden Boot award.  No, I never heard of it before either, but it's from Hollywood to anyone in the business who made significant contributions to the Western Genre of film.  
At any rate, he was a good old boy who came back to Willcox for every Rex Allen Days event, including the burial of his beloved horse KoKo.  The town had this statue built across the street under the big oak tree to remember their hero of the film industry.
Unfortunately KoKo wasn't buried here until he had been moved a couple of times, but alas, his bones are now below this memorial.  Rex cried, as would I.  As you walk around, you may even encounter Rex himself.  They say his family spread his ashes in this park so he would forever be with his beloved horse.  
It's also interesting to note that the town of Willcox is very proud of their cowboy heritage.  In the back room is their own Cowboy Hall of Fame.  The images you see, and there are MANY, are of the local cowboys who made this town possible.  

It was fascinating to me to walk through here, as many of these gentlemen and ladies reminded me of the folks I grew up with on the ranch.  Just good normal cowboy folk.
I thanked E. Pierre for his time and dropped an additional $20 in the box.  It seems both museums here are having a hard time staying afloat.  Since then, I've learned about Apple Annie's Country Store in Willcox, as well as the Pioneer Cemetery, resting place of Warren Earp.  

I think a phone call and an official tour of Willcox should definitely be planned.  There's more history here than meets the eye.

Saturday, July 27, 2019


I couldn't stand it any longer.  I had (and still have) cabin fever.  I really have a hard time staying inside when there are so many things to see in the old West.   

It was a long hot drive, with my poor little Jeep air conditioner working as hard as it could.  I thought maybe if I got a good chill in my bones before getting there, I would be able to beat the heat.

I was surprised as I drove through town to see almost every building closed down, as in out of business.  This little town is in trouble it seems.  Come to find out, it only has 3800 residents.

This is Historic Railroad Park, with not a human in sight.  The original railroad line is just beyond the sign, as evidenced by the Union Pacific train that went by going about 50 mph.
Turns out there was one of the young female variety of humans sitting in the top of this 300 year old tree.  It's perfect for climbing she said.  A girl after my heart!!
So this is the main reason I went there.  My heros have always been cowboys, and Rex Allen was one of them.  Not only that, but his voice on the Disney channel (one of the few I was allowed to watch) was so memorable, I would still recognize it today.  
But first, lets interrupt the days of Old West cowboys and check out the town.  Some of these buildings are just fabulous ..... and original!!  Here's a little tidbit for you ... the surrounding area of Willcox (I hate autocorrect ... it keeps taking out the second L) has begun to produce wine.  So much so that it has not one, but TWO wine tasting rooms, stealing all the thunder (and tourists) from Sonoita Arizona.

This building is the newest winery adventure and has yet to open.
It won't take long until their vineyards go the way of Sonoita I imagine.  The Arizona desert really wasn't meant to grow grapes.

Wait ..... look at this empty store.  Actually all but four were empty.  Anyway, THIS would make a perfect QUILT STORE!!  And it's for rent!  I'll check it out later.  On with our tour.
You might be aware of Marty Robbins, legendary country singer and race car driver.  Why is there a museum in Willcox??  Apparently he and Rex Allen were good friends, and Rex moved this museum here from Glendale Arizona.  

It's the Friends of Marty Robbins Museum, run by Juanita Buckley, founder and President of Marty's fan club.   
Both museums were supposed to open at 11:00.  I finally saw one man go in at noon.  Sadly, I think we were the only two people in town.  I paid my $2 and Juanita turned on the video for me.  

There were lots of pictures of Marty glued on sheets of paper and framed, along with many newspaper clippings.  I admit, I didn't sit through the entire video.  
I thought this was the most interesting piece of the collection.  It says "to Marty Robbins with much love, Felina from El Paso".  You might recognize that song ... Felina, written and sung by Marty.
At any rate, unless Marty Robbins is one of your all time favorite country singers, you could probably skip this little museum, even if it is only $2.  Next up, THIS little sign caught my eye.  It was the only place in town that was open when I arrived on a Saturday at 10:00.  Look closely at the sign.
Yup, this little store sells dead people's stuff.  A true statement I suppose.  With fans running everywhere in this little building, it was at least cooler than being outside.  Surprise!!  I came away with no purchases.
As I wandered back down the block, I spotted the movie theatre.  They still show movies here, although on this Saturday, it too was closed.
Maybe a quilt shop wouldn't last long here either.  As I returned to the Marty Robbins museum, I heard the lady say someone was insistent on seeing the Rex Allen Museum next door.  A little old gentleman arose from his chair, donned his cowboy hat and said he would open the door, just for us.  

Rex Allen is the real cowboy hero around here and I didn't want to miss this little piece of history from the days of Roy Rogers and Gene Autry.  I spent an hour walking around, mostly because it was the only building on the block with air conditioning.  

In the interest of time, I'll show you some pictures of that tomorrow.  YeeHaw!!!  

Friday, July 26, 2019

Well Hello Muscles!!!

My day began with a spectacular sunrise, in fact pretty epic in my book!  Just what I needed to get my act together and try my hand at handymanning.  I don't think that's a word.  Anyway, at 5:30 in the cool morning 80 degree weather, I gathered up my tools.
I refitted each tile and measured out the spaces.  Nothing fit like the day before.  I was very careful to keep all the tiles in order, but when it came to getting them flat against the wall, they were all wonky. I spent another hour hammering and chiseling away more of the old grout.  
See all those grey spots on the white above?  That's where the old mortar was sticking.  No wonder they were all coming off.  Just as an FYI, did you know that thin-set mortar will remove your fingernails in about 10 minutes?  I guess men don't have to worry about that.

No, it is NOT as easy as they make it look on YouTube.  That stuff was thick and really hard to spread.  In no time, it was all over me, the steps and the dogs!!  Yeah, that one spot is a little off kilter.  I just couldn't get the old grout out of the channel without fear of breaking the tile.  

All those pieces laying on the steps are for the top edge.  The problem is each one has about half an inch of hardened gunk on the back that I can't remove without breaking them.  Today I'll go see if I can find something to use as a cap.  At least it's a lot better than it was.  Whoever did this originally had about as much experience as me!!
Two hours of being bent over hit me between the eyes this morning when I tried to get up.  Good grief.  Hello there muscles, you unused weak little critters you!!  My muscles are so sore it hurts to touch them, let alone move around. 

Trying to distract myself from the pain, I went out to the garden and collected all my vegetables.  People are posting tons of pictures on Facebook of their productive gardens.  Mine ..... not so much.  Here's my garden bounty, at least those that the birds have not eaten!!
I might as well toss them to the quail.  These aren't the ones from my back yard, but another group growing up in the FRONT yard.  There are 13 babies, all of whom have survived.  
On a side note, the score is Nancy 2, Spiders 0.  I walked into my kitchen and straight into an invisible web.  Don't you just hate that?  I grabbed my swiffer sweeper and prowled the kitchen until I found the culprit.  

There's another one on the ceiling of my bathroom, but I can't reach him.  No way am I getting up on a ladder swinging a broom.  They would just laugh when I fall off.

I did finally go on a short road trip.  Not exactly short at 70 miles away, but it was interesting to see the big little town of Willcox (with two l's).  Pictures tomorrow!!

Thursday, July 25, 2019

Who Needs House Plants Anyway?

I'm framing this one and posting it on my patio.  
House plants are overrated.  Yes they do liven the place up, even though green isn't really my color.  Yes they bring life into your living room, but sometimes death quickly follows if you have a black thumb like me.
I worked very hard to keep this guy going, but he just insisted on dying.  The first casualty of the war against the heat and sun has succumbed.  I'm so sorry Patty and Dan, I'll buy you another one.
With a tear in my eye (not really) I headed out to mow the lawn in 83 degree weather.  It can't be that bad, right?  By the time I got two extension cords in place and the mower out of the garage, I required water.  I quickly downed TWO bottles of the cold stuff from the fridge.

I wasn't out there five minutes when the sweat began to pour off my forehead.  There's nothing worse than trying to keep that cord from being run over.  I double-dutched my way all around the yard.  You remember that game, don't you?  Two jump ropes turned in opposite directions while you try not to be hog tied in the middle?

It only took about fifteen minutes before I was done, as in having a heat stroke requiring resuscitation.  After putting everything away, I laid down under the ceiling fan turned on to break-the-sound-barrier speed.  

When I finally felt human again, I turned the sprinklers off.  Let the lawn die.  I'm not doing THAT again!!
About that time I went BACK outside to check the heartbeat on the rest of the cactus.  Lookie here!!! Another one blooming gorgeously!!  Maybe my thumb isn't all black after all.  Of course you know these only bloom when there is LOTS of monsoon water, which means I'm overdosing them.  I'll cut back.
The rest of the afternoon I stayed inside trying to cool down.  It didn't really get all that hot, but the humidity was something like 200 percent.  The embellishments on these square will take place after the entire quilt is complete.  Stuff like buttons and dangly things.
I did brave the heat for another barbecued dinner.  It was yummy in my tummy!!  I love it when you can get four edible meals out of one cooking episode.
Still feeling rather warm, I turned on every ceiling fan in the house ... five in all ... and sat down for some amazing enjoyment.  Enlightened ice cream.  I found it at Safeway.  If you're looking to play the Keto game, this has only 5 net carbs.  

If you're on any other kind of diet (or even if you are not) it only has 70 calories.  That of course is for 1/4 of the small container.  Even so, it's only 280 if you ate the whole darn thing.  I'm in!!  It was VERY tasty ... just like ice cream!!
So this morning, with a lovely 77 degrees lurking outside, I'm going to start on the tile.  Even if it only sticks for a year or two, that's better than it was.  Worst case, I'll actually call some tile guys and pay a fortune to get it all replaced ... maybe with some fancy Mexican tiles!!