Sunday, January 31, 2021

This Cleaning Has To End!!

As you know, I'm not well versed in cleaning.  This kind of stuff was meant for the SECOND daughter who never appeared in our family.  It was forced labor from day one as my Mother insisted it was MY job to clean the entire house.  Ever since, I've shied away from anything resembling cleaning or cleanup, with an emphasis on scrubbing!

Not only that, but you KNOW how stuff accumulates, and motorhomes are no exception.  I cannot tell you how many rocks I removed from all the drawers.  I must have thought they were special at some point, but yesterday they were just ROCKS.  Out the door they went along with a few odd shaped sticks.  I did save one to retrieve Cooper's toy balls from under the brake pedal.

With only one slide moved out, and that not the entire way, I cleaned and scrubbed until I was bent over like a little old lady.  The couch makes into a queen bed which I have never used for anything other than a dog hair catcher.  It did it's job exceedingly well.  Two hours later I gave up.  Next time I will tackle the floors.

Time for a little rest and relaxation sewing.  You are right, this is not my usual color choices, but when you need almost 7 yards of backing, you go with what's cheap, or rather less expensive.  I'm showing this picture for Cindy and Ray to see the quilting.  It's a new pattern by a new artist, I think called graffiti.  Every row of quilting is different instead of duplicated.

This is why I want the long arm quilting machine with a computer, but the price is way beyond my bank account.

I've been struggling a bit with this one.  As you sew the next row on (or side pieces) you overlap them to save material.  Then you cut it apart being extra careful to make the cuts in the right place.  If not, you cut something you shouldn't, as of course I have done.  That requires taking out 3 or 4 seams to repair it.  

There is a lot of flipping, flopping and cutting involved, so I'm not sure how this will turn out.  The next time I see a beautiful quilt my Quilting Guru made, I will NOT say I think I can DO that!!

After fixing dinner, I think Every Plate is history.  It seems most every meal is the same, either tacos or some kind of meat fried while you roast everything else.  Roasting green beans is just not acceptable, or maybe it was the four cloves of garlic I put in the fig jam sauce.  Yeah, that was a little much!!

At long last, here are the quail for Jan and Bill Mains.  Not a great video at all, but I wanted them to see the size difference between their quail and mine.  I think these guys are MUCH fatter and a little taller.  Probably well fed over at the Chance residence before coming here to play.

I'm determined to get out for a ride today.  Staying home too much makes Nancy a boring (and bored) girl.  I do have one piece of news to relay.  The Tubac Art Festival, always held in February, has been cancelled.  It's a sad day in Arizona!!

Saturday, January 30, 2021

My New TRUCK!!!

It was a beautiful sight as the sun rose over the mountains yesterday.  The picture doesn't do it justice at all.  The snowcapped mountains didn't last long as the weather warmed up a bit.  It was a two-cup of joe day as I contemplated why my California house insurance company is located in Texas and why in the world would they FLY an adjuster from there to my house just to look at a fence.  

The last time this happened, they just paid me a standard price per foot without even seeing it in person,  so the wait is on.

In the meantime, while rummaging though my too-large purse, I discovered an unused $25 discount card from the fabric store.  It expires on 1/31, so I hot-footed it to deep in the heart so as not to lose that free money.

In case you were wondering you cannot find ANYTHING in a Tucson quilt store for $25.  I required backing for this "thing".  As you can tell, I'm not the least bit fond of the fabric OR the colors.  Cooper will be so excited to find he's getting ANOTHER quilt!

At any rate ..... squirrel!!!!! ..... you know how that goes.  I saw a piece of fabric I could not live without.  Nine yards and one jelly roll later, I was in debt up to my ears.  That $25 didn't go very far.  A jelly roll is a package of 40 pieces of fabric, all cut into 2-1/2 wide pieces and rolled up, for those who were wondering.

Just as I got home, guess who graced my water station with their presence.  I haven't seen one of these guys during the day in months and months.  The two on the left are sipping from a huge semi flat bowl set up for the baby quail.  

I'm pretty sure it was Mom who took off first, sauntering on down the hill.

Wait MOM!!  Wait!!  I need one more drink!  In no time they disappeared into the desert.  Cute little guys, right?   But stinky and SO destructive!

SURPRISE!!   Like my new truck?  Yeah, you know that isn't the truth, but I sure would like to have it for my very own.  This is the truck of my dreams, but sadly belongs to Mr. Chance.  It's parked here while his concrete is being poured this morning.  You know, in case he needs to run and get something from the store.  Sadly, it will be gone in a few days when the concrete cures.

I spent the rest of the day sewing and watching the trains pass by.  Last night about 8:00 it decided to rain. Not your normal rain, but a gully washer!!  It sounded like the the roof was going to cave in.  This morning I'll have to check around for any gullies that appeared out of nowhere.

In the meantime, here's my coyote friend again.  I haven't seen the pack lately, just one lonesome guy.

It's Saturday, a good day to stay home since everyone else will be in town and at the grocery store.  It might be a good day to retry those chicken wings!!!  The Super Bowl will be here in no time.

Friday, January 29, 2021

Another New Experience ... So Fun!!

I thought when I left California, I would be done with the "rules and regulations" and would reside in the Wild West.  Close, but no cigar!  After several phone calls, I discovered my Jeep would require an emission test before it could be registered in Arizona.  

As you know, I already made ONE trip deep in the heart to find the place closed, even though their website (and the lady on the phone) said they were open.  Yesterday I decided to try again.

Wasn't I surprised as I rounded the corner and saw a long line of cars ..... waiting.  This will be no 28 second gunfight at the OK corral.  I pulled into line.  Although I thought I counted 15 cars ahead of me, turns out it was 32.  Big sigh.  Trouble was, the longer I waited, the more nervous I got. 

You see I had no idea what was required.  Do they need paperwork?  Do they need proof of my address?  After 45 minutes of wondering, I finally got out and walked to the car behind me.  I tapped on the window.  Luckily he was a nice guy who informed me I needed absolutely NOTHING but $12.25.  I felt like I had won the lottery.

I did get a kick out of the NO PARKING sign as the line now went clear down the street and around the corner behind me.  Much more relaxed, I waited patiently until it was my turn.

I'm not sure how this is an emissions test.  The nice man plugged in to my car computer and tested the gas cap.  That was it.  No stick up the tailpipe like in California, which I suppose is a good thing.  I paid, got my little piece of paper and was out the door 80 minutes later.  My appointment for registration is next week.  

It was significantly weird as I left 25 mph winds and freezing cold at home, to drive out of the facility now  too warm for a coat, with funny looking clouds and not a breath of wind.  I picked up my four quilts that cost an arm, a leg and four fingers on my right hand before heading to the local Bank of America.

That was another new experience.  The doors were locked tight, even though people were inside.  I wandered through the drive-up, hoping for some indication of how to make a deposit ... of cash.  Checks?  Easy peasy, just do it on your phone.  Some how they don't seem to want to do that with pictures of cash.

At MY BofA in my little town, they actually have envelopes you put the cash in and stick in the slot that eats everything.  No envelopes here!!  It said "insert cash", so I put in one $20 bill.  "Complete deposit?"   Uh no, I've got a handful here.  

Thinking this was going to take forever putting in one bill at a time, it finally said I could put 73 bills in at once.  It should have told me that in the first place!!  A very long ten minutes later, my deposit was finally made for $380, not the $400 I had stuck in the mouth of the beast.  I was ready to break down the door when it spit out a receipt, adding the two deposits together.  Ok then!!  Now I know!!

Finally back home, having put my coat back on because it's still freezing and blowing, I felt proud I actually accomplished TWO things in one day.  Woohoo!  I went back to sewing until dinnertime.

Here's the latest Every Plate stir fry.  Not my favorite, and in fact, I'm pretty sure my subscription will be cancelled.  I mean really, even "I" could come up with THIS dinner idea.  

Served over rice in more of my best dishware, it was just okay.  I think I'll go back to tacos.

Here's the banana bread recipe in case you want to try it.  I used to spend a lot of time on Maui where this sort of thing is sold on every corner.  This original recipe, three generations old, came from the far side of the island, way back off the highway in a tiny hole in the wall.  I was extremely lucky she shared her recipe with me, I think because I would buy her out completely every time I visited. 

Since Mike Rowe stopped by and told the world about it on his show, they have changed up the recipe.  I do love this one, as does Jonathan (the parrot who turns 47 years old this year).  He has a sweet tooth just like me.

Try as I might to show the video of the quail for Jan and Bill Mains, blogger thinks the file is too big.  I'll work on that one.  In the meantime, my lone Javi showed up again.

Thursday, January 28, 2021

And Then There Was Wind

One of the things that usually accompanies snow and bad weather is wind.  Yesterday and today are no exceptions.  It's been blowing like me trying to put out that kitchen fire.  There are a few things I don't care for and WIND is at the top of the list.  

What better day to stay home and bake banana bread.  Mostly this is for Jonathan's breakfast every morning, but I admit I steal chunks here and there.  In case you were wondering, you have been cheating your Christmas friends when sending out goodies in these little containers.  They are now making them smaller than before.  

 I have never made more than 5 loaves out of one batch, using the same recipe for years, always using the same tin pans.  Who knew?  Yes of course I had to taste test it!!  This is Hawaiian banana bread with pineapple.  Yum!!

So there I was, sitting at my sewing machine minding my own business when my neighbor sends me a text message.  Your fence just fell down.  Oh great ... just what I wanted to hear!!  Apparently it's been extremely WINDY and WET from all the rain they are having.  

Naturally this is the neighbor who has already proclaimed the fence is ENTIRELY mine on MY property and I will have to pay for any repairs.  Truthfully this fence fell down because the previous owner watered those trees for four days straight every week.  The fence posts are rotten.  Maybe if I'm really really lucky, I can just replace the posts and not all the wood.

I called my insurance company who will send out an adjuster.  I have no doubt there will be a fight over the company not paying for the ENTIRE fence.  Usually they just give you HALF of what they think the value is, assuming the neighbor will pay for the rest.  BIG SIGH.  Just what I needed ... another problem!!

To make the day end on a higher note, I decided to retrieve my garbage can from the end of the driveway before it got completely dark.  Yup the wind she was STILL a blowing.  Just as I shut the garage door and looked towards my rig, maybe 25 feet away, there stood a beautiful BOBCAT.  It looked at me for a couple of seconds as I frantically reached for my back pocket.  No phone ... no pictures.  RATS!  It sauntered off down the hill.  

It was small, probably one of the "children".  I headed on down the driveway and watched it wander right next to my neighbor's house and stop behind their car.  I kept walking.  So did the little bobby.  We shadowed each other until the end of the driveway, whereupon he trotted off further down the hill.   I love it when that happens!!!

I have only seen them once in the last 45 days, so it was a nice treat to know they are still around.

Here's the latest and greatest Every Plate meal.  Somehow I seem to be stuck on tacos.  I added the cole slaw mixture since having those in Yuma.  It's become a must on tacos now!!

Today I'm in for a thriller.  I'm going to try and smog my Jeep again, along with picking up four quilts that are now quilted.  I'm digging deep into my pockets to pay for them.  Sadly I could really use that towards the $1,000 deductible on my fence.  Oh well, easy come (not so much) easy go (definitely)!!

Wednesday, January 27, 2021

THERE'S That White Stuff!!

Woohoo ..... it was a fabulous day of SNOW!  This was my first indication at around 5:00 am when it started to fall from the sky.  Sadly I don't see any more in the forecast, so I took full advantage while it lasted. 

In no time there was a nice dusting on the side of the back patio.  The puppies weren't sure what to think.  It caused a little slipping and sliding, so they were having none of it!!

By 8:00 there was even more as the clouds went from this to whiteout in seconds.  Across the canyon red and blue lights were flashing since apparently some people in Arizona are not good snow drivers.  

I sat bundled up on the patio drinking in the view along with a SECOND cup of coffee, just because it was so pretty.

The temps stayed around 32 and the snow kept falling.  I finally went inside and did a little sewing so I could warm up a tad.  

I made one trip down the trail to the water station, but didn't see one single critter, nor any tracks.  I didn't even put the game camera out, since I figured it just might freeze!!

Pretty soon it quit and began to melt.  Awwwwww ..... but in a flash, it began to snow again and continued most of the day!!  How cool was that?  

Here's one of the most interesting photos I've ever taken.  This poor little hummer would come and sit at the edge of my roof to stay out of the snow.  Look VERY closely.  Now you know how they eat from a hummingbird feeder.  That's his tongue sticking out ... he was tasting the snow as it blew underneath the edge.  He would occasionally fly off, but always came back until late in the day.

Finally in the afternoon the sun came out, sadly melting everything in my yard by 7:30 last night.  It was the BEST snow day in a long time.

Last one, just to show you how big the snowflakes were.  Snow in the desert ... it was an epic day!

By the way, if you want to check out some REAL snow, visit Patsy in Canada!

Tuesday, January 26, 2021

It Was A Black And White Kind Of Day

I have a really big smile on my face right now.  See that white stuff?  Yup it's snowing in the desert.  

 It's beautiful white snow, although it won't stay long.  At 5:00 it was only 33 degrees and is expected to warm up again.  If it's snowing at my house, you can guarantee it coming down in buckets up at altitude.   It's extra cool since the desert needs a really good drink.

To counteract the white stuff, brown made its appearance for a short minute.  Reese's cups are my fav, so when I saw THIS on my 8:00 grocery run, I just HAD to try it.  My oh my these are good for breakfast!!  I would definitely buy it again, mostly because it's BIG.  I really didn't taste much pretzel in there however.

It was cold and wet outside, so my plan was to stay inside ... BUT ....  I was rather disappointed when I checked the website about registering my rig and jeep, only to find I had to smog the smaller of the two.  After checking THEIR website, and talking to a lady on the phone, I drove 30 minutes to find a sign on the door that said CLOSED.  The DOT office personnel were not very sympathetic saying I could just drive ANOTHER 40 minutes to the OTHER station.  

No thank you.  I had already had a BLACK encounter trying to fill the tank when the pump would not read any of my five credit cards, making me go inside with no mask.  I got the lecture of course, but said if their pumps were working correctly, I would not have had to go in.  They relented and I got fuel.

According to the DOT website I would have to fuel up again since you should have a full tank.  I'll pass.

When I finally got home, I thought it was the perfect time to try out that air fryer.  I had dumped in a little Italian salad dressing to marinate them.  That caused a problem.

Look out ... here comes the BLACK part!  Wasn't I shocked when I opened the lid after 25 minutes.  OH NO ... food for the cemetery!  Rats and DOUBLE RATS!!  

I was very reluctant to throw them out since I had spent twenty minutes trying to cut apart the frozen whole wing sections.  I had to thaw out my hands several times.  I have to say here that the wings in California are already CUT.

Somewhere I had read about them being black, but tasting okay.  I decided to give it a try.  Sure enough, they may LOOK burned, but they don't TASTE burned.  In fact, they were perfectly cooked and juicy inside.  How can that be?  I think I need to lower the heat a bit and try again.

I just stepped outside and it's really coming down now.  I may actually have some SNOW pictures tomorrow.

Next on the schedule, a little more brown.  This is something I stumbled on quite by accident.  If you have ever driven through Texas Canyon, and I know many of you have, you must stop in at the Amerind Museum.  Although small, they have some exquisite pottery and pieces well worth seeing. 

So when I saw this class on chocolate cooking for FREE, how could I resist.  Anyone can sign up, so I did.  We'll see just what it is we cook.  I've no idea if this will be old world recipes, Spanish recipes or chocolate covered strawberries for Valentines Day, but it should be fun.

Hopefully the rest of THIS day will be WHITE!!  I could use some nice bright white!!!

Monday, January 25, 2021

Mother Nature's New Dress

We have had a winter storm warning in Arizona for the last three days.  So far not much has come of it other than really gray skies and a little rain, followed up with Mother Nature in her new dress.  It began with a few white clouds sneaking over the mountains with a drop or two of rain.

That's one of the trains that passes by many times a day.  Like your rear view mirror, things are much closer than they appear in this photo.  Scheduling must be having a glitch or two as many of the trains now stop and just sit, sometimes for a couple of hours before lumbering off around the corner.

It was football playoff day, although I had sworn off watching anything NFL due to their thumbing their nose at our flag and the national anthem.  I'm not down with that one little bit and am glad Kaepernick doesn't have a job any more.

Somehow I thought they would start at 11:00.  That didn't happen, so I occupied myself with the quilt, checking out the window every now and then when I heard raindrops.  Ooohhh Mother Nature, like any clothes happy woman, changed her dress.  I just kept on sewing until the game began.  

At least on this day I didn't see anyone kneeling, at which point I would have turned it off.  I'm not supporting any of that nonsense.  It was no surprise that Tom Brady kicked butt, although I was hoping Green Bay would get a chance to hit the big time again after so many years.

Suddenly I noticed how yellow my room was getting.  I looked outside to see Mother Nature had AGAIN changed into a magnificent new number, guaranteed to impress.  It looked like you could just touch the clouds.

For the SECOND football game, I was invited over to the Chance Ranch for some of Dan's beef stew.  Dan makes a really MEAN pot of stew!!  Patty asked if I could bring biscuits.  BISCUITS?  Gosh, I haven't made those in years ... and I mean YEARS!!

I checked for ingredients.  Okay, sure, or at least I would give it a try.  Patty said Martha Stewart wasn't coming, so any biscuit would be good.  

My dad was the biscuit maker extraordinaire in the family.  People would come from miles around to have his dutch oven biscuits.  Maybe some of that rubbed off on me.  

NOPE ... NO it didn't.  I even tried the latest and greatest trick of grating frozen butter into the flour.  What a mess THAT turned out to be.  I had bits of butter scattered all OVER the kitchen.  Funny, the dough didn't seem all puffy like my dads.  It was more the texture of pie dough.  

I'm thinking this isn't good at all, but I persisted.  They came out rather flat, as in not even 1/2 inch thick.  They tasted okay, but honestly, if you put enough melted butter on ANYTHING, it will taste okay.  I just couldn't figure it out.

When I got home, I had a tiny thought.  I checked the date on my can of baking powder.  Hmmmm 4/26/2019.  I think I see the problem here.  My rising agent was ancient.  No wonder they didn't rise.  Now of course I have to buy a new can and try them again, just to prove I CAN make biscuits.

In the meantime, here's a video from a couple nights ago.  He's certainly suspicious and almost standing on his tippy toes to see and hear.  I sure love watching these guys.

We watched the second game and apparently now Kansas City will be playing Tampa Bay in the Super Bowl.  I noticed how they said ten times that only 7,500 VACCINATED people would be allowed in the arena.  I guess I won't be going to any football games.  

In the meantime, I placed myself on the hook for chicken wings for Super Bowl Sunday.  I'm heading to the store, then THIS time I'm making some in advance, just to hone my skills.  Who am I kidding, I have no skills in the chicken wing department.  It's going to be a first!!  I'll let you know how it goes.

Sunday, January 24, 2021

Ride 'Em Cowboy

 You know those nights when you just sleep like a log in spite of all the trains?  Well last night was NOT one of those.  From midnight on I tossed and turned, dreaming up nightmare after nightmare of furniture falling apart and bus rides (on the wrong bus of course) to nowhere.  I'm feeling pretty beat up this morning, so if I misspelled something, it's because I fell off the bus.

After another hour with my quilting guru trying to figure out why my measurements didn't make the grade (I got an F in reading directions), we figure out how to fix the problem ..... sort of.  This quilt is a little above my pay grade, so we shall see how it turns out.  It may just be a great new Cooper blanket.

Since most of the local horse shows have been cancelled, even though they are outdoors and you are never within six feet of one another while on your horse, we jumped at the chance to go to this one on private property.  

For the first time that I have seen, they had kids volunteer to take flags around the arena.  Most horses and flags just don't mix well.  I can say that from the experience of carrying a flag on my horse Cricket in a local parade on an asphalt street.  Cricket wasn't much into being patriotic and that thing flying around her head in 15 mph winds didn't help her skittish nature.  Someone grabbed the flag, but not before Cricket and I ice skated on the slick pavement into the crowd.    

Although one horse did take off and make a slight detour, he ended up back in line for the National Anthem.

I have to admit it got a little chilly when the sun went behind the clouds, but we hung in there to watch Laila and Max in the keyhole race.  This is all new to Max.  He would rather trot around the edge of the arena looking regal than figure out which side of that pole he's supposed to go around.  For this being the first time, he and Laila did a great job!!

There were a couple of crashes (not Laila and Max) when kids couldn't slow their horses down fast enough, causing the screeching halt that dumped the kids in the dirt.  I can't tell you how many times that happened to me when I was young.  It's a good lesson in thinking ahead.  

In the end I had to leave early since I knew the puppies would have their legs crossed needing an outside break.  Sorry for all the bars in the pictures.  There were two sets of interference.

In other local news, my raccoon buddies only show up every four or five days.  Although there were three, this guy seems to be by himself now.  What a hunk!!!  With all the marauding coyotes around, I'm surprised they show up at all.    

The weather guessers say there's a big storm coming for the next two days.  Again, possibly snow, although that hasn't happened yet, nor even come close.  I'm battening down the hatches anyway.

Saturday, January 23, 2021

A New Hat Today!!

I don't think I have ever been so nervous about trying a new occupation.  Having water spray in my face is not on my bucket list.  I could only think of all the BAD things that might happen, including a flood of monstrous proportions that would ruin the oh-so-expensive particle board floors and cause a big hit to my checkbook.

I was extremely apprehensive since the last REAL plumber who came here said they never wanted to TOUCH those lines.  He never explained why.

I gathered all the necessary first aid supplies, along with a stack of towels and every wrench I had in the house.  Fearful that the hose would fall through the floor, meaning a terrifying crawl underneath into the depths of Spiderville and Scorpion town to retrieve it, I attached a wrench to the line and tightened it up.

Very gingerly, I turned the water main off.  Slowly .... slowly ... then went in the house and opened a faucet.  Wow .. that was quick, hardly any water at all came though the line.

Next up, flush the toilet.  There's no use mopping up all that tank water when I release the only thing between me and FLOOD!

First, the top line.  Well that was easy, I just unscrewed it with my fingers.  About a tablespoon of water escaped into the towel.  So far so good.  Next I unscrewed the old valve, took it out and screwed in the new one shown here.  

Last step .. screw the top line back on.  VOILA!!  I DID IT!!!!  All that worry and stress for nothing.  It was easy peasy.  But wait ... now comes the big test of my plumbing skills.  Turning the water back on.  I opened a faucet thinking maybe that would keep the pressure to a minimum and slowly, ever so slowly, turned the valve.  

I didn't hear any explosion or huge waterfall noise coming from the house.  In fact, there wasn't even a DROP of water anywhere.  Woohoo!!

Today I'm proudly wearing my PLUMBER hat!!  Even so, I run in the bathroom and check for leaks about every two hours.  So far so good!!

Around lunchtime I spent an hour with my Quilter guru, trying to figure out how to cut those blocks down.  She quickly pointed out that I did not cut the FIRST ones down according to directions, so they were bigger than the 4" required.  She suggested I take them apart and fix that little problem, until I told her I already had some 64 of them put together.  More on that disaster tomorrow.

In the meantime, every time I walked by the patio door, this gal would fly off.  I felt bad for scaring her six times a day.  I had no doubt she was NOT interested in the birdhouse.  For this picture I had to sit on the floor behind a chair in order to catch it before she flew off again.

 A little later I determined what she was REALLY after.  The hummingbird feeder.  This has to be the biggest hummer I've ever seen!  Actually, it's a Gila Woodpecker.  Their back feathers are amazing.

I was finally able to sneak around the door frame and capture her lapping up the syrup.  The critters around here never cease to amaze me.

In a few hours, even more frustrated by the quilt project, I ended up at Shirley's house trying to figure out how I can "fix" it.  A solution was decided upon, which did NOT include any tearing apart.  I'll post pictures tomorrow.  

I tried to hit the hay with my new Plumber Hat, but Cooper complained loudly.  It's hanging in the closet waiting for another day.  I wonder how hard it is to change out a kitchen sink??