Tuesday, March 31, 2020

A Couple Of Reviews

About once every three months, I see exciting things out on the train tracks.  No worries, they are not going to fight at the borders.  These guys load up and head East for practice runs.  In no time, I will see them returning.
The train wasn't long at all, but it was a nice diversion from sitting on the couch.
With not much else going on, I've loaded a couple of pictures of the items I've been taste testing.  I'm in love with macaroni and cheese, although I never make it any more.  Pasta and I don't get along.  HOWEVER ... when I spotted this in the frozen food section, I thought why not?  Does it not sound delicious?  And that picture!!!!
They say a picture is worth a thousand words, and this one just about sums it up.  Doesn't quite look the same, does it?  I will tell you that the beautiful pulled pork chunks above have been ground into paste in this version.  That one lovely piece you see is more akin to baby food, I kid you not.  

This is an F for epic fail.  I couldn't even TASTE cheese and the sweet barbecue sauce just didn't get it.  I never call the 800 number and give a review, but with nothing else to do, I plan on letting them know their grade.
In the meantime, what to do with four bananas!  Make more bread of course.  This is actually Jonathan's favorite food at the moment.  This one is loaded with pineapple, making it moist and delicious.  Jon gives it an A!!
Next up, as I wandered through Walmart, I spotted this package of bacon bits.  You can actually see the little pieces through the "window".  I've no idea what this cost, I just threw it in my basket to be used in salads.  

This is the best thing since peanut butter!!  It gets an A+!  There is very little fat, GREAT flavor and I put it on everything.  I even spread some on my pizza.  All the bacon and none of the greasy fatty mess.  This is my new fav!
I did make a quick run to Walmart for DEF fluid for the rig.  I have one of those where they put the DEF tank on the wrong side, meaning I have to buy it in containers to fill the tank.  Driving backwards through the "IN" truck line is a good way to get yelled at.  I'll describe that adventure tomorrow.

In the meantime, I tenderized a chunk of flank steak for dinner, using what I had on-hand.  
I'm rather short of time this morning, as I'm heading back to the grocery store for a few things.  I love that the stores have all come up with Senior Hours between 6 and 8 am when everyone sleeps in until 9.  I have actually seen pajamas at some place besides Walmart.

I'll report on that tomorrow too!!

Monday, March 30, 2020

More On Safari

A big shoutout to Leilani for finding information on this abandoned building south of Tucson.  It truly amazes me that this huge very expensive steel girder building was left to it's own devices in the desert.  Apparently it was a manufactured home construction company that went bankrupt in the mid 1960's.   It would seriously be a good location for a house ..... and an RV or two or three!!
At any rate, no matter where you go, there are idiots with cans of spray paint.  I just don't get their need to deface buildings, rocks, trees, tunnels and even dams.  The entire inside and outside of this building is covered.  Hmmmm maybe that was the moaning sound.
Once the motorcycle guy left, I walked around a little, being mindful of rattle snakes, cactus and the sounds of vehicles.  This would be a wonderful view.  All the cactus is happy and blooming quite significantly.
Wildflowers were out in abundance, but only in certain places.  At the beginning of the road there were layers of them, but further along, I think the cactus sucked up all the water.  Sadly, I did not see one single creature on the entire trip.  Bummer!
I kept looking over my shoulder to make sure no one was following me ... the moaning and all ... when I spotted this beauty!  What the heck!!  Here I thought the fairy dusters were rare, and now everywhere I look .... there they are!!  This one is a beauty, just like at the desert museum.  Where's my shovel?
Back home safe and sound, my acacia tree was happily blooming bright yellow pom poms.  How in the world did this tree get here?  They are native in tropical and sub-tropical countries, like Africa and Australia, yet here's one in my back yard.  I've been waiting for the elephants to arrive for happy hour.
I spent the rest of the night watching Jonathan molt.  Exciting, no??  Every spring he loses his tail feathers and every July-August-ish he loses all the white downy under-feathers.  In other words, I'm always cleaning up feathers.
My next big safari is to the grocery store.  Woohoo!!!  To Doug and Yuma, if you need anything, let me know.  I'll be heading your way for some photo ops this week and would be happy to deliver.  

Day 18 - I feel like I'm wasting my life away just sitting around doing nothing

Sunday, March 29, 2020

On Safari

This safari wasn't exactly what I was expecting, but it got me out of the house for a couple of hours.  It did have just what every safari should have ... some rather scary moments!!  There's this dirt road I've been eyeing for some time.  I was pretty sure it was Jeep worthy.  In truth, although rocky with a couple of big dips, it was an easy drive.
It was only when I arrived at this old abandoned building that I realized just how many dirt roads there WERE back here.  
I haven't done my research yet, but apparently this was some kind of construction company.  A BIG construction company by the size of the building.  Weird there are no paved roads anywhere near this location.  I parked and started to go inside for some cool graffiti pictures.  No matter where you go any more, someone has had a can of spray paint.  

That's when I heard it ... a long painful moan.  I stopped dead in my tracks, looking around quickly and measuring the distance back to the Jeep.  Hmmm maybe I don't want any pictures after all.  Suddenly I hear the whine of a motorcycle.  Not wanting to be caught out in the open, I ran back to the Jeep and locked myself inside.  The motorcycle made a slow U-turn and went off down another dirt road.
Okay ... pictures out the window are just fine I told myself.  I drove around the other side to see steel girders holding up the building.  This thing is massive.  I wonder what they made here?
All were in good shape except this one.  Nature is beginning to take this building back I guess.
As I drove around the far side, I found railroad tracks going right up to the dock of the building.  There are two rails here, only one was shining in the sun.  This must have been some large company to have these.  To walk away and leave this building was an expensive loss.  
Here's my plan ..... I can make a quilt store in one corner and live in the other 6,000 square feet!!  I stood in the doorway a little afraid to go inside.  It just might fall down on my head.  I could hear tin siding bumping and squeaking here and there.  Then I heard that mournful moan again.  NOPE!!  I was out of there.  
As a photographer, we're always looking for rusty things.  Jackpot!!
There's more pictures, but I'll wait till tomorrow.  That way you won't have to look at excess pictures of my vacuum cleaner or my puppies.  

Here's an interesting one though.  Have you ever seen baby roadrunners?  One of my Facebook friends has a backyard bonanza.  The roadrunners come every year and lay eggs in the same spot.  Here's the latest brood.  You have to look close ... they are so well camouflaged it's hard to find their beaks.
And of course I can't leave out these guys.  I just love capturing them on camera.
Day 17 ... still in Tucson.

Saturday, March 28, 2020

Rug Burns and Rolls

Unfortunately for me, the horse whisperer has not come by to visit.  Instead, all those rug burns came from playing with Cooper on the living room floor for three hours straight.  Several leg muscles, whose previous existence were unknown, came to say hello in a charlie horse kind of way.  THAT resulted in flailing around on the carpet causing the rug burns.

The good news is after eating some salt, the cramps subsided and Cooper slept for the rest of the day and night.  It is rather interesting the angles your toes can create when those little muscles go bonkers.

With all the hoarding going on and no yeast available at my local store, although I was able to procure a package of the old fashioned kind, I kept thinking about how I could make bread without it.  Not that I need bread ... but your mind goes crazy looking for something to do.  

Back in the days of the dinosaurs, we made all our bread from scratch, using those solid blocks of moist yeast that you melted in warm water.  Once some of it was liquid, we mixed in water and flour to become sourdough starter.  

You "fed" it more water and flour every time you took some out of the crock.  It would bubble up again and smell like heaven.  It sat with it's cheesecloth cover on the back of the stove to keep warm and "working".

I was surprised when my neighbor called to say she had some sourdough biscuits for me, and some starter if I so desired.  Heck yeah!!!
It's new starter, so hasn't created it's best flavor yet.  Some bakeries have starters over 100 years old.  They just keep it growing day after day.  Back in the cowboy days, Sourdough Slim was named because he had the tastiest sourdough biscuits around.

When Patty invited me to dinner, she suggested I make rolls.  It would give me something to do.  THAT was a great idea.  I took two recipes and tried to put them together since I didn't have all the ingredients for either one.  What I DID have was a bread machine that would knead it for me. Yahoo!!

Oh my ... that looked like too much water.  I took some out, double checking both recipes.  Oh NO!!! There's not enough water!  I put in some more.  In no time, I realized I put in too MUCH!!  Good grief.  I sat with a spoon and added one tablespoon of flour at a time, trying to get the right consistency.  

At long last, the bread machine was done with it's job and I dumped the dough out on the counter.  I completely forgot about letting it rest.  I chopped it up and let them rise one last time before plunking them in the oven.  I was praying they tasted okay.
They certainly look delicious!!  You know how it smells so good when you walk into a house that has fresh bread baking?  Not so much here.  I don't understand why ... maybe it's the new instant yeast.  At any rate, they were a hit at the Chance house (even if they were a tad tough) and went perfectly with that wonderful stew.  I may just have to make some more for good measure.
In the meantime, winner winner!!!  I found some of those Monopoly pieces from Safeway and opened them up to discover I won $5.00.  Better than a stick in the eye!!!  
The safari was cancelled due to bad weather.  It got very cold again, with rain and wind on and off all day.  I was rewarded for staying inside with a beautiful sunset.  
I'm pretty sure all this sitting has extended my undercarriage a couple of inches.  All the more for the puppies to snuggle up against I suppose.  

As to our recovery, Stanford University Researchers say we will recover from this pandemic much faster than expected, although I have no idea what time frame that would be.  It WOULD be wonderful news not to have families losing their members.  Just when we think everything is coming up roses, life throws a big wrench into the world.

Friday, March 27, 2020

The Desert's Favorite Color

Yellow seems to be the color of the day in the desert.  No matter where you go, Springtime has many  shades of yellow growing about every twenty feet.  A couple of these pictures you have already seen.  That's because I never did go on safari yesterday.  Due to circumstances beyond my control, it's been rescheduled to today.  Okay ... it was stew.  It was a huge crockpot of homemade beef stew that waylaid my plans.

I think these are called desert marigolds.
You've seen this one ... a lighter shade, but still yellow.
The local Indians used plants and flowers for dye.  I wonder what color you would get with these little button mums?
This is a huge golden barrel cactus in my back yard.
Even my little palm tree is blooming bright yellow stalks full of pollen that make me sneeze like crazy.  When all the yellow clusters are gone, doves make their nests on the stalks that remain.  
My huge Acacia tree even has yellow blooms to go along with those one inch spikes every inch along the branch.
Finally .... one that's not yellow.  Remember that Baja Fairy Duster I saw at the Desert Museum?  I even went to the nursery and bought one tiny little plant for $14.  With nothing else to do yesterday, I wandered down my driveway, looking closely at the holes in the dirt wall.  I have been wondering what lives in those holes.  

That's when I spotted this!!  Well for goodness sake .... there's a pink fairy duster.  Oh look!!  There's another one!!  Oh good grief .... there were maybe 20 of them all along the driveway, and here I bought one for $14.  I see a little transplanting in my future.
So when the Chance Household called and invited me to dinner, how could I possibly turn down Dan's homemade stew.  It's the best I've ever eaten.  Patty suggested maybe I could make some rolls to go with dinner.  It would help keep me busy.  

She was right, it took most of the day, with the results actually being edible.  I'll show you pictures tomorrow.  In the meantime, does anyone have a remedy for rug burns??

Thursday, March 26, 2020

My Guilty Little Pleasure

Elva ... you're going to love this!!!  Here it is, my guilty little pleasure, CHEETOS.  I haven't had any of these in over a year, but since the world is ending, I might as well indulge myself.  I don't go crazy, I actually make the little bag last through four sessions of orange-fingered yumminess.  I opened them from the bottom, hoping for some good luck in our return to normalcy.
Here's another thing I don't eat ..... bread.  Why in the world I thought I should make some, only because there was none to be had at the store, is beyond me.  At long last, after almost thirteen days, this loaf is gone, along with all normalcy in my stomach.  It doesn't like bread NEAR as much as cheetos.
In an extreme effort to not WASTE any said food items, I took a ten day old box of raspberries and made sauce out of them.  I was inspired by Patsyischillin who has done this a couple of times.  It was pretty tasty, but I sure got tired of picking those seeds out of my teeth.  I can scratch raspberries off my list forever.

Here's another thing ... I eat VERY little ice cream, so why in the heck did I buy that whole gallon of Blue Bell?  It was the only container of vanilla I could find.  I'll never finish THAT off!!  
All this food I'm not used to has systematically added almost all those pounds back on.  How depressing.  It's bad enough I have no one to talk to, but add to that those uncomfortable I-feel-fat pounds and it's a recipe for disaster in my book.  

So for the rest of the week, I'm determined to quit eating all the bad stuff and get back to feeling deprived.  It's much healthier for me.

My cactus looks like it's going to bloom any minute, but alas, nothing is happening.  Maybe it's too warm?  Up to 80 yesterday.  I even drug out an old pair of levis and cut the legs off in order to have a pair of shorts without going to the store.  Today they are so tight I'm miserable.  I know there is a solution to that ... stop the hand to mouth exercise I've been doing.  It would also help if I quit opening the fridge door like there was someone in there to talk to.  
My current pastime is laundry.  How exciting, right?  A little more fun is playing great white hunter and getting rid of all the moths that flock into the house every time I open the back door.  It's perfectly okay though, it's that time of year ... spring is here!!

Today I'm taking my camera out on safari across the asphalt highway and into the unknown.  At least there won't be any food out there and maybe I can leave a pound or two.

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Our Great Adventure!!

Who would have thought the greatest adventure this month would be going to the grocery store.  I have more than enough food to last the kids and I for many weeks and I didn't even have to hoard anything.  What I'm out of is eggs.  Toilet paper and eggs seems to be the treasures of the day.  I've decided the run on toilet paper is because no one has had to eat their own cooking for many years.  The results are probably not pretty, requiring at least 300 sheets per person per day.

Our local Safeway opened from 6:00 to 9:00 am for seniors only.  I went at 5:45, hoping to be first in line.  There was already a line of about 20, half of which were NOT seniors.

At long last when the door opened, they all made a beeline ... practically running ... to the toilet paper aisle.  I circumvented their route and went for eggs.  AND I FOUND THEM!!!  I have to say, Safeway has fallen short in these trying times.  They only get four trucks a week from their distribution center, wherever that is, and they have not kept up at all.  Almost every aisle was empty due to hoarding and apparent short supply.

They did have toilet paper however and were finally limiting people to just one package.  I got my eggs, one bag of cookies for pie crust and one bag of rice (there were only two bags on the shelf).  My plan is to donate the rice to the food bank if I don't truly need it.
Back home, I called Miss Patty to give her the bad news about Safeway.  She said let's go to Fry's.  Okie doke!  We were off on another adventure, without any protective gear, face masks or gallons of disinfectant.  Living on the edge in true buccaneer style.

What should my eyes see when we walked in the door at 8:30?  GROCERIES!!!  Who knew!!  For whatever reason this grocery store is chock full of everything.  They have been in overdrive keeping up with the demand fairly easily.

Although they were short on paper towels (what are people using all those for?), toilet paper and disinfectant wipes, they had every shelf well stocked.  I did pick up some macaroni just in case, along with yeast, sugar and one whole chicken.  The extent of MY hoarding consisted of a total of 3 dozen eggs and two bags of sugar.  Between Patty and I, we didn't even fill one basket.
What an adventure THAT was.  Either Fry's really has their act together (which they do) or the hoarding has subsided.  Here's the OTHER thing ... Fry's has extended their "senior hours" to every day between 6 and 7 am.  I think just that little change has allowed people to relax knowing they can get back to the store every day if needed.  

In an effort to clean out my freezer, I finally finished off the last of the fish.  Doesn't it look lovely on the package?  This stuff sucks, but I ate it anyway.  Crispy outside, yes, but inside, half the thickness you see in the picture, including all the brown flesh that tastes terrible.  BUT I ATE IT!!!
The weirdest part of the day was when I realized at 10:00 in the morning, that was it.  My big adventure was over in a flash and I had nothing left to do FOR THE ENTIRE DAY!!  

I did discover four limes in the fridge that needed to be used up, so I made that no-bake cheesecake, running the mixer for a full five minutes until my arm felt like it would fall off.  If nothing else, I will have a nice tasty desert to go with whatever horrible concoction I fix for dinner.
Into the freezer it goes in my springform pan.  I did want to mention one thing I whipped up and have been eating for the last week.  I cooked up onions and mushrooms in butter (can't go wrong there), added in cooked chicken from the store, then when almost done I drizzled in some cream with a teaspoon of dijon mustard.  I'm not a mustard fan, but this came out delicious!!!  Who knew dijon was so good?
I wandered around the house like a zombie the rest of the day, looking for something to do.  I better come up with something soon, because opening that fridge door every few minutes is going to make my electric bill skyrocket.
Things are definitely slowing down in Arizona.  I'm hoping the travel ban will be lifted and we can all get back to some shade of normal very soon and maybe the spring breakers can go have fun at last.  

Remember folks, we are all in this together.  Be kind to your fellow humans.

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

One More Kitty Picture

It's been an exciting week so far.  I've spent a few hours watching the orchids grow and a few MORE hours playing with Cooper.  Jessie's not much fun as she prefers to sleep.
The orchid has gone crazy, blooming right and left, an amazing feat considering my thumb isn't even the slightest shade of green.
Every morning I run outside to see if this guy has blossomed out.  Every morning it just gets bigger.  Around here, you cannot be without your fly swatter, or in this case wasp swatter.  Their sentries are looking for a nice home on MY home and I object.  Chasing them around is my new morning exercise.
I did recently discover THIS cactus is called bunny ears.  Believe me, it's nothing LIKE soft fuzzy bunny ears.  This is one that sticks you with at least ten spines every time you get too close.  
This guy is blooming beautifully, but I can't find a name.  I can't even find a picture.  He's happy for sure, but rather disjointed and growing in all directions at once.  I found several different cactus on my walks that I would love to have in my yard were I a little more motivated.  
Finally, in a fit of boredom and feeling like I was the last person left on earth (it gets that way when you're single and home alone) I WALKED all the way to the Chance residence.  It's really not that far.  It was nice to be outside, but I saw not one single person ... or car for that matter.  

Happily I was met by Miss Snoopy, the best kitty in the west ... so here's one more kitty picture.  This is one of the sweetest cats I've ever had the pleasure of meeting.  Unlike most kitties, she does not get more than two feet from her Mom at all times!!!
The most exciting thing on the schedule today is to hit the grocery store between 6 and 9:00 (Senior time) to see if I can come up with eggs and sugar.  Hopefully there won't be any cane waving or pushing and shoving.  Most likely there won't be any eggs either, since the hoarders are still hard at work.

The good news is that no pasta or eggs won't bother me a bit.  Last week I got not one, but TWO bags of flour.  THIS week I discovered I could become vegan and make my own pasta WITHOUT eggs.  Won't THAT be tasty!!!  

Pasta and bread have not been on my menu for many months ... too many carbs.  When times are tough however, you have to sacrifice.  Unfortunately that probably means I'll gain that 20 pounds back.  

One last thing ... there are over 39 million people in California.  At last count, if you believe the news reports, there are 2000 cases of the virus resulting in 33 deaths.  Arizona, with over 7 million people has 152 cases of the virus resulting in 2 deaths so far.  

I hope the numbers remain low and the stores catch up so we can put this all behind us and get back to living, instead of screaming at everyone to GO AWAY!!  It has definitely been interesting to see how the residents of our country are handling this situation.