Thursday, April 30, 2020

I Pine For The Old West

As you may or may not know, I was born into the wrong era, the wrong time zone, the wrong part of history.  I contemplate this a lot when I'm sitting on the couch with so much to do I'm overwhelmed.  I just can't figure out where to start first.  I relish accomplishments, not a long list of jobs that I can't seem to finish due to one reason or the other.

Now riding my horse across the mountains, or planting a garden for food or even gathering eggs for breakfast ... THAT I can sink my teeth into.
Since that's not happening any time soon, I'm all about reading up on the characters of the Old West and pretending I once lived there.  Such was the case when I saw this book by Casey Tefertiller.  I have no idea how to pronounce his name, but he's on a lot of Old West shows, like the Wyatt Earp Vendetta Ride just a night or two ago.

He has written this book and received many accolades.  I figured to give it a shot when I found it on Amazon for $12.99.  That's a good book price so I ordered it immediately.  I probably should have NOT been preoccupied with puppies, phone games and food.  

Wasn't I shocked when I clicked on the BUY button, only to see it say THANK YOU FOR YOUR KINDLE PURCHASE!!  Noooooooo ... I wanted a BOOK!  One of those paper things you can hold in your hand!!  Sadly, I'm stuck with it.  Now I get to look forward to opening my hard-to-read phone and going blind while swiping back and forth.  Not to mention that kindle books are usually something like $4.00. BIG SIGH!!
Instead of reading, I got a haircut.  Of course if I looked like THIS, I would NEVER get a haircut.  I mean really, who has hair like this?  I was definitely NOT one of the lucky ones when it came to parceling out golden locks.

I won't tell you who, where or how, but people in this little town are getting back to normal quickly.  No it's not on the OKAY list, but they can kiss my you know what.  If Newsom can send kids back to school (the one down the road from me is now open) then one at a time, we can get our hair cut.  I have no doubt AT ALL that Mr. Newsom has had his hair cut six times in the last month.
Next up on the hit parade is an oil change.  Every time I get in the Jeep, it's DING DING DING.  I'm pretty sure the last time I got some hoopty-do oil that was supposed to last 10,000 miles.  The problem is the little sticker fell off and now I'm in the dark.  Today's project will involve scrounging through the glove box for the receipt and trying to figure out where to take it for the next drink. 

I really need to find something other than the drive-through place.  Last time they charged me $107 for an oil change.  I kid you not.  I would go to Jeep, but you have to fight to get in line, then wait six hours.  No one ever said it's a rose garden!!  If I lived in the Old West, I would only need to slap a little bear grease on the wheel bearing and feed the horse.
In the meantime, every time I open a cupboard I see things that need to be donated.  I've accumulated WAY too much stuff over the years.  Unfortunately all ONE of the donation stores in our town is closed.  I began storing things in the garage, but now it's overflowing.  

Oh how I pine for the old days when you had two pair of jeans, one pair of boots and a hat to cover up your horrible hair.  I remember about six dishes instead of cupboards full, with two coffee cups rather than 26 wine glasses.  It certainly was a simpler time.

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Crazy Days Are Becoming Normal

I had a full schedule yesterday with appointment after appointment.  Thankfully, things here in crazy California are not near as bad as I expected.  In fact, we seem to be one of the first states to begin opening up.  Businesses have been authorized to get back to business, a refreshing sign in my book.  Yeah, they are still trying to get everyone to wear masks, but honestly, after what I saw yesterday, I don't know why.  By the way, a scarf around your face counts as a mask.

So just to lighten the load a little, I was laughing so hard at little Cooper yesterday, I had to video him.  I've never added a video to my blog, so I hope this works.  No one ever said he could CATCH the ball!!
So at long last, you won't be arrested for going outside and having your vehicle smogged, or going to the Vet or even getting a haircut, at least in this tiny little part of the world.  On the other hand, I've had a ridiculous time with good old California DMV getting the Jeep registered.  

They didn't receive the insurance certificate, so I sent another one ... they didn't receive payment, so I sent them a copy of their receipt ... and of course they didn't get the smog certificate because I couldn't have it done in Arizona.  It should be noted here that the ten documents I uploaded to DMV a couple of days ago was to get a duplicate title so it can be registered in ARIZONA!!  

Happily, we passed the smog test with flying colors.  Interestingly enough, where I live in Arizona does NOT require smog tests.  Another Arizona savings.
I forgot to mention, you may remember when I left in January (don't worry, "I" barely remember yesterday) I had purchased and hooked up a battery minder to my truck.  I had never done this before and was a little leery of it blowing the truck up while I was gone.  

I'm happy to say it worked stupendously!!!  The truck started up instantly.  I'm sold!!!  There was only one slight problem on the way to the Vet's office.
While I was stuck in Arizona, all my puppy vaccinations expired and I ran out of their heart worm medication.  I called my local office who I've been going to since about 1970.  Wow ... I just realized how long it's been.

At any rate, they told me they were only seeing emergencies.  Well, not having a rabies or parvo shot is pretty much an emergency in my book, since both are prevalent in this area.  What about the heart worm medicine?  Oh gee she says ..... they need a blood test for that.  INSTANT emergency.  

I drove them in the truck that started right up.  YAY!!  About three miles down the road, I was not YAYING any more.  The AC was not working AT ALL.  In fact, the heater was throwing out flames it was so hot.  It was too late to turn back.

Upon arrival, the girls ran out to meet me.  Uh girls ... those masks REALLY need to be up over your nose.  I counted eight girls in all, with only one wearing the mask correctly.  Not that I care, because I think it's nonsense.  Just keep your distance.

They took the puppies in while I waited in the now 110 degree (and climbing) oven.  Two emergencies later, the puppies came back out looking none too happy.  The Vet called me to discuss their health.  It's a good thing I didn't play solitaire the entire time or THAT battery would have been dead. 
Cooper is great, but sadly, Miss Jessie probably won't last much longer.  The cancer in her leg cannot be operated on again and will soon cause her to be put down.  She's fifteen and has had a good life, but I always think maybe I could have made it even better.  

My kids are a little sore from all the shots, so we're going to go snuggle on the couch for an hour or so.  Then it's back to getting things done!!  

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Everyone's Opinion Counts

Thank you for all the kind words about my rant.  As I read it, I didn't realize I was ranting.  I'll try to be more polite in the future.  I just think people should be able to have differing opinions and still get along.  I imagine some of my opinion comes from how I was raised.

I was born on a cattle ranch.  It was a tough life.  There was no grocery store just down the street.  We literally lived off the land, raising all our own food, milking the cow, making butter, raising chickens and turkeys for eggs and meat.

It was a family affair including my grandfather, my mom and dad, along with my dad's brother and his wife.  There was no molly-coddling.  Things died often, including your favorite horse, your calf you raised from a baby, your neighbor (yes really) and the turkey you hit in the head with a rock.  Quite the shot I might add.

So when it comes to stuff like what's going on now ... people suffer ... and sadly, people die.  It's how life works and there is no changing it.  In the old days, there was no unemployment check, no welfare check, no food bank, no FREE money to grab so you could go buy that new TV, nor was there any demand for anything of the sort.  You were expected to take care of yourself and we did.

If we open the country back up, not all at once mind you, but let things start rolling, we might not have 22 million people on unemployment.  I won't even bring up the problem in Idaho where employees are quitting so they can sign up for the free money because it pays more than they were making.  Yes the elderly deserve it, but not everyone else in my book.  Am I ranting?  Okay, I'll quit.

I took a drive over to the Almond Ranch/Pumpkin Patch to pick up my mail yesterday.  The Post Office wanted to charge me $200 for an overfull box, so I mailed the key to the ranch and they picked it up for me.
The almond trees are doing their thing, and for baby trees, are full of nuts.  Too bad there probably won't be a market for them this year.  By the way, if you think California fruits and vegetables are not being harvested, that would be incorrect.  

As I drove along the highways, there were dozens and dozens of cars parked in the fields with people working, most of whom probably came from Mexico.  They have not cut off the stream of farm workers coming into the state as the media has said.  California wants to give every illegal in the State the same money as U.S. citizens because they are out of work.  It's not true.  Unlike the U.S. citizens, they are working everywhere, including the almond orchards.  Farmers take care of their crews.
I spent the next three hours going through the mail.  I had piles everywhere, trying to decided what to take care of first.  The California DMV is the curse I live with.  

I went online to register my Jeep, but they didn't get my insurance notice and it has to be smogged.  Add to that the fact that I cannot find the title, which I KNOW I had.  It took another hour on the computer, uploading SEVEN documents before I got a number, saying they would call me in a month or two.  Woohoo!!  

In the meantime, I gathered up everything to CHANGE the registration to Arizona.  I need my passport, my social security card (which I can't believe I found after 59 years), two bills of some kind showing I live in Arizona, my first born kid (I don't have one) AND my birth certificate.  That's problematic because I was born in Miss Friese's Maternity Home.  We didn't have a doctor OR a hospital 59 years ago.  Okay, maybe it was 60.  Yeah well I'm not telling you my REAL age!

Seriously, four hours later I stopped for lunch and went in the living room to admire my show saddle. This one is completely handmade and hand tooled.  Boy do I miss riding, except for that time I was thrown to the ground from this one.  The front swells are not big enough for cutting cattle.  I think that accounts for the broken vertebrae found in an MRI ten years later.
From all the info sent back and forth, it appears the trailer will work with the high-in-the-sky truck, so hitch work will begin.  That gives me plenty of time to clean it out before they come to pick it up.  I know I'm going to cry.  This thing means more to me than my motorhome.
The good news is I will probably be able to borrow it any time I wish.  

Today's project ... tackle the tax returns.  You know the old adage about the mechanic never working on his car?  I'm the accountant who never works on her bookkeeping.  I just throw everything in a big box.  Oh the fun!!!!

Monday, April 27, 2020

I Lost Another Friend

I really do try hard to stay out of politics.  Sometimes I just can't stop myself and I lose friends.  It really wasn't a rant, or at least I didn't write it that way.  It just seems to me that a President is a President, and you support him as much as you can force yourself, even if you DON'T like him.  In the old days, everyone seemed to stick together.  In the world today, it's a completely different story.

I lost another friend last night, although not really a friend.  He only befriended me on Facebook because he was trying to sell me a million dollar home in Santa Cruz.  I'm sure he never saw my bank account.  We went to school together from the time we were 16 years old.  He never paid any attention to me or even talked to me then, and hasn't since, until he wanted to sell this house.

Unfortunately, we disagree about what the doctors say about the virus.  He's with the stay locked up for one full year group and I'm with the let's get the economy rolling again group.  Neither the twain shall meet and he unfriended me.  It's so sad that we've come to this point where we can't live together whether we are Republicans or Democrats.  It seems you are not allowed to have an opposing opinion any more, either way.

At any rate, my first order of business was to unpack the rig.  Having been told grocery stores were being difficult, I picked up everything I required at Safeway in Arizona.  No difficulty there.  That means I'm up to load #14 coming out of the motorhome.  The good news is I didn't sit on the couch or hit the fridge every few minutes.

For those who were wondering, THIS is the real reason I came back to California when I did.  Yup ... my horse trailer.  It seems the Chance family granddaughter might be getting her own horse.  I knew I was saving this trailer for something.  

The problem is can it be hitched up to the high-in-the-sky pickup her dad owns.  Measurements were taken and the quest is on to see if it will work.  I hope it does, for a couple of reasons.  If it's gone, I won't keep hitting my head on the hitch.  For two, it couldn't be going to a nicer family, and in return, they said I could ride the horse occasionally.
That means the first big project will be emptying it of all my gear, including my sleeping bags and fishing pole.  I used to take it horse camping up in the Sierras.  The front window opens to a queen sized bed.  

First up was to remove the saddle covered with mold.  Leather is like a living breathing animal and cannot take heat and cold without coming alive.  I used a hose to wash it all off, but now have to spend hours rubbing a weird concoction into every little square inch.
Just because I wasn't sore enough already, I grabbed my tallest ladder and spent an hour scrubbing the bugs off the front of the beast.  She's all "purdy" now!!
The next project, since it was 92 degrees, was to give Cooper a haircut.  Here's what's left!!  Just kidding, it took two sets of clippers and lots of patience to get it done.  He's feeling much lighter now.
In no time dinner rolled around and I had nothing in the fridge.  Another two loads and I whipped up some tamale pie, kinda sorta.  You just fry up some onion and hamburger, dump in a can of beans (any kind of beans), a can of corn, a can of Rotel tomatoes, a package of taco spice mix along with a good helping of garlic powder.  Layer it with corn tortillas, only all I had were flour.  Smother it in cheese and bake for 30 minutes at 350.  How simple is that??
Exhausted, I fell into bed, but couldn't stop thinking about how I was unfriended ... twice.  It makes me feel bad.  Actually, that's THREE times since this virus stuff started.  Apparently you aren't even allowed to have an opinion in this environment.  

I spent over an hour looking up Hollywood celebs to see what they donated, most of which involved GO FUND ME pages or proceeds from items they are selling.  I have to give it up for one rapper who paid the rent on an entire building in New Orleans.  Now that's a donation in my book!!  He really helped those people out.

I was wrong about the Clinton Foundation also.  They have set up a site to share reliable information.  They are also rescuing medical supplies and sending them to needy countries.  They partnered with with the City of Little Rock and several other organizations to deliver 120,000 meals to kids in the City up to April 5.  I'm sure other organizations are doing the same, we just aren't hearing about it.

Hopefully today is a better day.

Day 46, minus 3 friends

Sunday, April 26, 2020

Through The Windshield ....

From Bakersfield to home in Central California, my point of view was obscured the entire way.  It's springtime.  What do you GET with springtime?  BUGS!!  Millions of bugs.  It might have helped would I have taken the time to wash them off, but I was facing into the sun.  If you've ever tried to wash a nasty windshield while facing the sun, you know my lack of motivation.

So far on this trip I have been surprised by the plethora of vehicles on the highways.  I thought California was in some kind of lockdown.  After all, that's why we have had so few deaths with Covid19, right?  Well that's probably wrong.

Now they are saying it's because the virus has been in California since October or November and we have achieved antibodies.  Possibly that's because the Greyhound Buses are still up and running.  Those totally enclosed petri dishes of cleanliness are still roaming the State moving people all over.  So why am I forced to stay in my home under threat of arrest because my neighbor called in to say I was out walking the dog?
Your mind wanders when you're driving.  I'm wondering why this project is still under construction when California was in crisis over no ventilators.  This is the bullet train crossing over the San Joaquin River, costing billions.
You can see where it ends, just on the other side of the REAL railroad tracks.  Talk about another petri dish!!!  Now they will be able to spread disease at lightning speed, or at least some time maybe 20 years in the future when it's completed.
For those traveling through Bakersfield, construction on Highway 58 is still ongoing.  It's been ongoing since I got my rig in 2012.  To make it even nicer, now ALL of Highway 99 through Bakersfield is under construction.  

Remember Madera?  How we waited for that construction to be completed?  Well after maybe two years, it's now ALL under construction again.  I think the bugs were starting to get to me.

There was so much traffic, I hit several traffic jams coming to a complete stop.  Here I've tried to be good and not travel or go out much at all.  That just ended.  

Here's a story that should scare you.  My friend really needed a haircut.  He asked his long time friend to meet him at the shop and give him a quick cut.  She agreed, although they both snuck in the back door.  Someone walking by saw them and called the cops.  Luckily one of her friends called to warn them so they could sneak out the back door, just as the cops arrived.  I kid you not ... true story.

That's IT!!!  I've had enough of this crap.  If they can open the golf courses in San Bernadino County and keep the Greyhound Buses running, they can open everything else, just remind people to keep their distance.  We have already given up WAY too much of our freedom to government control.  Think about it ... do you want to be the one arrested for going outside?  I would rather die from the virus than give up my freedom.  Alright, enough of that.
By the way, has anyone heard from the movie stars or the Clinton Foundation or maybe the Obamas?  How much money are they donating to people who have lost their jobs and probably their businesses?  My plan here is to buy once a day from a closed restaurant ... especially the local owners.  It's not much, but maybe it will help a little.  So no cooking for me!!  Yay!!

My house is still standing and my lawn is green.  What more could I ask for?  Oh ... and there are no rattlesnakes crawling across the driveway!!  Life is good!!  Except for that part where I made ten trips to unload the rig and still have at least six more to go.  I better get to it.

Saturday, April 25, 2020

What Happened Here???

As I left Tucson, right off the bat I got fuel.  I'm a top of the tank driver, since I've really no idea just how much fuel I have or how far I can go.  Supposedly I have a 100 gal tank and I get 11-13 mpg.  That being said, I never go further than 600 miles at the most before fueling up.

Pilot on Rita Road in Tucson was $2.62 a gallon.  Not bad says I.  This is going to be a cheap trip!!
I took my normal Butterfield Stage route off Highway 8 and was shocked to find my parking spot all fenced off.  What happened here??
It looked like a bomb exploded.  The entire RV park, fuel station, hotel (if there was one, I can't remember) and restaurant were completely destroyed.  Nothing!!  Even the dinosaurs were gone!!  Lucky for me there was room for two rigs to pull over and ponder the wreckage.  Remodeling?  They've torn the entire thing down to the ground!!
I dined on 6 Oreo cookies for lunch, having completely forgotten to plan for the occasion.  There's no way I was going to dig through that packed to the very brim freezer for something to eat.  

The people of Arizona do not know there is a stay at home order, or maybe there really ISN'T for Arizona.  The highways were as crowded as normal with both trucks and cars.

As I pulled in to Quartzsite, the RV parks were not completely empty as normal for this time of year.  The temperature was in the high 90's, but doable with only one AC unit running.  The kids and I were tired after five hours of driving.
Early the next morning we were off again as I hit the Arco Station to top off my tank.  Fuel here was $2.36 a gallon.  Seems to be the perfect time for a trip.  Luckily road construction was limited to this.  I have no idea what they were doing.  As we headed down into Indio California, I noticed all the trucks were heading OUT of the State, as were cars and RV's.  No surprise there.
This was an interesting distraction.  I think it had a hundred tires on it and could only go 50 mph.  I honked and waved as I went by.  Yay for our military guys!!  The bad news is that wind dogged me the entire trip.  At one point I even had to slow down to 55 mph!!  
Along the way, there was still snow on the mountaintops, but I couldn't get any good pictures.  If you saw that picture on the internet of the smog in L.A. that has now gone away because everyone is not driving, don't believe it.  It's all a lie.  It's just as smoggy as ever ... maybe even MORE so.
As I got into Banning, Beaumont and up Cajon Pass, traffic got even worse.  It's business as usual in Southern California.  

I stopped in Kramer Junction for lunch, but this time I had a plan.  Canned chicken, stolen apple from Jonathan, pecans that I only found because they fell on the floor when I opened the drawer and mayo atop a hotdog bun wasn't bad at all.  Better than Oreo cookies anyway.  Somehow my last piece of cake disappeared also.

By the way, that bypass is WONDERFUL, once you figure out how to get on the freeway.  That's when this huge truck load of garlic passed me.  I wanted to flag him down since there was no garlic available in Tucson that I could find.
After seven hours of tough driving with winds STILL beating me up, we landed in Bakersfield.  The Orange Grove RV Park is open for business if you call ahead and reserve a spot.  They charge your card and you pick up your site number from the board out front.  This is a GREAT way to do business.

I hoped to have lots of pictures to show you, but my camera didn't want to focus on anything but the bug guts on the windshield ... and there are MANY!! 

One thing I did want to note if you are in Southern California.  Every single marijuana dispensary has a billboard along the freeway that says they are OPEN for drive up business.  No wonder there were so many cars on the freeway!!

Friday, April 24, 2020

Here's a Story You Won't Forget!!

It's not often that I get to see something fabulous, something heartwarming that will put a smile on your face.  Almost all RV'ers at one time or another have been to Oatman Arizona.  It's a little almost ghost town with a few people still living there, along with most of the original buildings.

Oatman was named for a young girl from Indiana named Olive Oatman who was captured by an Indian tribe in 1851 as she and her family made their way across the mountains in a covered wagon.  She was later traded to a Mojave tribe who adopted her into their family.  Olive received the traditional tattoo of stripes down her chin.  She was released back to her family in 1856.

There was a lot more that happened over the years, but the last five days have seen more drama than the little town is used to.  You may have heard of the Oatman Burros.  They are a rag tag band of beauties left over from the mining days and roam wild around the town.  The locals love them like their children.

Tragedy struck the little town recently when Wyatt the burro was shot and killed.  Who does that??  To make matters worse, baby Tinkerbell disappeared five days ago.  Momma Annabelle stood at the fence where Tink was last seen and brayed at the top of her lungs for two days.
It happened I saw the post that she was missing on the first day.  Call the Sheriff I said!!  The response was "they don't care".  Call the State came with the same response, "they don't care either".  Come to find out, someone actually took a picture of a truck and horse trailer parked close to town where the burros were hanging out.

Call the BLM Horse and Burro Rescue Organization.  Those kids are government property and SOMEONE has to care!!  In the meantime, I got ahold of the picture with the license plate.  I called my detective friend and hit the internet to find the owner.    Here's Miss Annabelle waiting for her baby.
Twenty four hours later someone DID care, the thieves were located about four hours away and arrested for theft.  Details will be released when the investigation is complete.  Tinkerbell was loaded up and brought back to Oatman last night.  Here's part of the crew waiting for her return.  
And here she is!!!  Safe and sound back in Oatman after a long grueling ride.  One of the locals videoed the entire rescue return as it happened and I got screen shots.  Never has a stolen burro been returned to Oatman.  The town turned out in droves to welcome her home.
Here she is back with her Momma (the darker of the two).  Once reunited, the entire group of about ten took off up the hill to their 5:00 feeding spot.  I'm a happy camper!!!  Welcome home Tink!!
My trip so far was uneventful, except for my exclamation of WHAT?? a couple of times.  I'll show you pictures tomorrow.  It's going to be a LONG day of driving!

Thursday, April 23, 2020

Sacrifices Must Be Made

Remember when you were a kid and any time you went out to visit relatives you had to take a bath?  At least we had running water and a very old claw foot tub.  That made it a little more fun.  Jonathan heard me tell the puppies we were heading off to California, so he decided it was bath time.
His tub is a little on the small size, at only four inches across and about an inch deep.  That means he must stick his head in the water and shake his feathers while opening his wings to spread the droplets.  In no time he looked like a drowned rat.
Once he's nice and soaped up ... it's a military shower ... he grooms all his feathers, picking out the unacceptable ones little by little.  Sometimes when his wings don't act accordingly, he growls and bites them into submission.  What can I say, he's weird.  In the end, I have a big wet feathery mess on the floor to clean up.  
No, the puppies are NOT getting baths.  Although they need it, I'm not up for the struggle that always ensues.  What I DID do was unpack the freezer in the house and try to repack everything into the much smaller freezer in the rig.  

Oh it's a big household fridge, but not near as large as the one inside.  It took some doing.  I removed everything twice and repacked, trying to get every little inch full of something.  I'm sure I've got enough food for a month, meaning I won't have to hit the store any time soon.

I'm sad to say however, sacrifices had to be made.  There was no way I was leaving this ice cream behind.  The OTHER container was half full.  I had ice cream for breakfast, lunch and dinner.  Somebody had to finish it off.  Luckily, that somebody was me!

The trouble is, there was one MORE container.  I'm sorry to say, the huge frozen chicken was sacrificed.  Not only that, but listen to this!  FOUR big pieces of pizza (OH NO!) went along with two containers of homemade broth to the Chance household.  After rearranging THEIR freezer, everything was saved.
I admit, I'm rather sad to be leaving, but things need to be taken care of.  It can't be too bad in California, they just reopened all the golf courses.  Priorities you know!!  Hopefully parks will soon follow.  Lucky for me, all the RV parks I stay at are OPEN.  Don't tell anyone, they have been open the entire time!!

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Good News and Bad News

If I had a choice, it would of course ALWAYS be GOOD NEWS.  Unfortunately, that's just not how life is.  In my life however, the good has always outweighed the bad, sooner or later anyway.  I'm very lucky in that sense and I'm VERY thankful.

My little hummer on the other hand was not so lucky with her house.  She built it on a 130 degree branch.  To my way of thinking, she was not a very good architect.  Less than 90 degrees might have kept it intact during the tornado-like winds we just had.

She also picked the weakest branch on the bush.  She was swinging back and forth six to eight inches in the breeze.  Sadly, it was too much for the little nest and it crashed to the ground.  I've given it a place of honor in my tiny pottery collection.
The best news ever is that I have this kid to keep me company.  To be honest, I would much prefer the human kind of company, but I've been lacking in that department.  Cooper is the perfect alternative.  He's waiting for me to grab and throw the bone he's placed perfectly within reach on the table.  He's concentrating ... waiting for the slightest movement!!
I'm not sure if this is good OR bad.  I dug this cactus up from way out by the railroad tracks, planting it in my back yard.  I was sure it would not bloom.  Surprise!!  It opened two days ago.  Then it closed.  These beautiful blooms don't usually last very long.  

Wait .... it opened again!!  I was sure it was a goner when it closed up the second time and looked rather peeqkid.  What a surprise!  It opened up again, just as beautiful as the first time.  At 4:00 this morning, it was again closed.  I'm waiting patiently to see if it opens one more time.  Weird thing, this cactus.
More good news, I spent most of the day packing.  Truly, there's not a lot to pack except for all the food I'm taking home. It's not that food is scarce in California, but my friends have been turned away at the grocery store door because they did not have a mask on.  

Really California?  She is 80 years old and tough as nails, trying to get groceries during the appointed senior hours and you wouldn't let her in the door?  Shame on you.  If you think you were trying to "save" her, who gave you that control?  I have a feeling I won't be in California long.

Here's the best news of the day!!  My very sweet friend had a Pampered Chef Party.  I always buy because way back in my high school years, I had a party and no one came.  Now I make sure I purchase SOMETHING at every party I'm invited to.  

It was pretty fun really.  It was all done on Facebook.  There were guessing games, like how many pretzels in the bin, comments solicited every hour for grand prize drawing tickets and little known cooking facts.  I have to say it kept me occupied for the last three days.  AT&T threatened to turn me off, but I prevailed.

Wasn't I surprised to find out last night that I actually won the GRAND PRIZE!!  Are you kidding me ... I never win!!!  Well, except for the pastrami burger that I wasn't expecting.  Don't ask me what the grand prize is because I have absolutely NO idea.  I don't ever remember them describing it.
Talk about good news, I'm shocked I won TWICE in one week.  Of course I'm paying for all that with the huge order I placed.  Hey, if everyone orders enough stuff, my friend gets most of her things for free.  It's worth it!!

Time to make room for dog food in the rig.  I think I have more food for them than I do myself.  Jonathan has enough seed for six months.  Not that there will be a run on bird seed like toilet paper and garlic, but nowadays you never know!!

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Finally ... A Cooking Success!!

Alas, there are not many cooking successes in my kitchen.  Even though they are few and far between, I continue my attempts for two reasons.  Well maybe three.  First, it gives me something to do besides watch television, especially now when we're supposed to stay home.  Second, it actually is cheaper than eating out or having my second choice, Lean Cuisine.

For three, my Mom was a GREAT cook.  She was so good at cooking she had her own television show in the 50's before it was even a thing.  I would sit in the corner while she cooked on a stage made to look like a real kitchen.  I kid you not, it was a BIG deal.  Naturally since we raised cattle, there was always beef involved.  She fed the entire crew once a week.  Now you know my shame at having a cemetery in the back yard.

Occasionally however I do have some success.  Here's one of them.  I made hundreds of tortillas for our construction crew back in the day.  That's because they were all from Mexico and they showed me how.  Mix up flour, salt, lard and water with just a tad bit of baking powder.  Knead it for a few minutes, cut and roll into little balls.

Yes I do use lard.  Pork lard actually gives them the best flavor, but my second choice is Crisco.  It works just fine and they taste great.
The trick is to let it sit for twenty minutes so the dough can relax.  That's when the guys would have a beer!  Roll them out on a floured pastry cloth.  REAL tortilla makers use a sort piece of wooden dowel for rolling.  THIS one is a piece of marble from a quarry back East that makes headstones.  Appropriate since so much of my cooking ends up in the cemetery!!

I can only thank Tom Westerfield for this.  When we were back East, he found it in the very back of the shop where they sold huge slabs of marble for things like making candy on, mortars and pestles, that kind of stuff.  It makes rolling tortillas easy as pie.
Then comes the cooking.  Just throw them on a hot comal like here or in a cast iron frying pan.  They will puff up and acquire beautiful brown spots.  
Flip them once and VOILA!!!  Homemade tortillas, much tastier than the ones you get in the store.  So there you have it ... finally ... a cooking success.  
By the way, after the beef and noodles sat in the fridge overnight, it magically acquired a little more flavor.  I had leftovers for lunch and it tasted MUCH better.  I've no idea why.  

In the meantime, while being bored out of my mind, I finished this quilt top.  I tried to make the process last longer by only sewing so many seams a day.  My time here is getting short and I have to return to California.  Starting another project would not be good for my mental health when I lost half the pieces between here and there.
I'm definitely getting WAY too used to sitting the couch.  I think I will spend the day ripping out 118 more dandelions from my back yard!!  Happy Tuesday!!

Believe it or not, Day 40.

Monday, April 20, 2020

I'm Officially A Hoarder

With dinner cooking in the oven most of the day, I had to do something to pass the time.  Pretty little flowers, right?  I spend an hour every morning picking the blossoms off and throwing them over the fence.  Truly, my lawn is dandelions.  There is little grass involved.
I'm trying to keep these from appearing by the hundreds every morning.  All those tiny brown seeds at the middle are the problem.  I'm really not sure why it's so bad this year than other years.  I found if I pulled up the blossoms, THESE did not appear, so every morning as the puppies protect their borders, I pull up flowers.
At the appointed hour, I began to brown the meat for the dinner concoction I was making.  I got this recipe from Michael Symon of Food Network TV.  He and other Chefs have been doing live Facebook videos for your home-bound entertainment.  

Brown the beef, cut up onions, carrots and celery and toss in six cloves of garlic.  It was very weird that the store had absolutely NO garlic at all ... not even the already-chopped variety in a jar.  I think garlic is going the way of toilet paper.  I had to use ground garlic I found in the cupboard.
I added in more spices than normal and stuck it in the oven.  I was a little hesitant and desperately looking for a backup because I truly didn't know if this pan was ovenproof.  I expected the handles to melt off any second.  I left the oven light on and kept a close eye on them.

It smelled DELICIOUS!!!  Crushed tomatoes, bay leaves, oregano ... what could be better?  The meat was to be served over pasta smothered in the sauce, toss on a little parmesan cheese.  Sadly, it had no flavor at all.  I kid you not, it didn't even taste like it had tomatoes in it.  It was BLAH!!!!  At least it was edible so we didn't go hungry, but zero flavor.  Thanks to the Chance family for being guinea pigs.  I should have ordered pizza.
So much for Michael Symon recipes.  On the other hand, we were highly entertained before, during and after dinner by Miss Snoopy.  You can see where she got her name.  She was in the box less then five minutes after I arrived, and stayed there until I was ready to go.  
There's just something about kitties and boxes!!
I did get a nice surprise that I know will taste MUCH better than that dinner.  One of the local restaurants in California (who happens to serve the best food in town) has contests every week.  Name someone you think deserves a free lunch.

I nominated a friend whose husband passed away recently from cancer.  In spite of her troubles, she drives other friends to hospital and doctor appointments WAY out of town, and does it day after day.  Winner winner pastrami burger dinner!!!  WE WON!!  Little did I know, not only SHE gets a free dinner but I do too!!!  Woohoo!!
And lastly for the day, I am officially a hoarder.   I now have 24 rolls of toilet paper.  I've seen on several occasions that husbands and wives split up in the grocery store, both taking packages to the checkout counter.  I don't know how they have room to store all that product.  I should be good for ..... oh a year at least!!!
There's more cooking to come as I try my hand at homemade tortillas.  Hey, there's nothing else to do at the moment.  In the meantime, I'm looking for more ghost towns to visit and trying to fit one roll of toilet paper in my glove box ... just in case I need something for bribes or maybe even ransom money.