Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Talent Galore

Well ..... it's raining in Yuma Arizona.  Actually, it poured last night waking me up several times.  Who would have thought?  Today the winds will pick up pretty good too.  I'm hoping the desert gets this all out of its system because it's time for me to head on off to Tucson.

Luckily, it held off while Ray and I played shuffleboard.  Not together, mind you ... everyone draws a chip with a color and a number on it.  The number is the lane, the color tells you what end you are on and who plays first.  I know NOTHING about shuffleboard.

Luckily the men I played next to, who were my opponents, explained everything including the nuances of strategy.  They even told me how to knock them off the scoring areas, knowing full well I would miss completely.  But I DIDN'T miss ... some times anyway.  There's great satisfaction in knocking the pro's yellow puck out of the scoring blocks.

Of course they won in the end, with something like 55-7.  The first game score was something like 28-20, so I did a little better with my partner at the far end.  One gentleman cracked me up saying everyone hated to play against him because he was a dead-eyed player and out to BEAT you!  He made me laugh.   We finished just as the rain started to fall.

Because we had an event to attend with the quilts Cindy and Ray make, we had a late lunch from Panda Express.  Gosh I love their food.  Add to this the crab Rangoons Cindy made, along with huge pork rolls from the air fryer, and I was stuffed to the gills.  I mean REALLY full!!  

Then it was time to head out to their church where they were having a big gathering showcasing the talents of this amazing group of people.  I was very surprised to see things like this handmade card.  There were many more ... too many to take a picture of.  

As we walked around the room, I just kept saying WOW!!  More groups should do this kind of get together.  This is a kind of cross stitch, done on checkered fabric, something I've never seen before.

This was familiar ... handmade decorative gourds.  They were so well done they looked like leather.

Got rocks?  This gentleman buys rocks that look just like plain old rocks, then uses a rock saw to cut them in half.  Once polished, they look like these amazing pieces of art.  Who knew?  He did not fill in the centers, that's how they are when cut open.

It took us quite a while to get Cindy and Ray's quilts displayed.  Cindy sews the tops and Ray quilts them on his longarm.  The patterns are amazingly intricate, some times taking three or four days to complete.

Here's another one I haven't seen before.  These are called Diamond Dot pictures.  It's a sticky canvas covered with teeny tiny plastic dots ... one at a time!!  She did a demonstration for us.  This is something I may just try!!  The picture doesn't do it justice.  It's just amazing to see in person.

The men weren't short of talent either.  Their woodworking skills are amazing.  Not to be wasteful, he took all the tiny scraps and made key chains at the top of the table.  He carves all of the canes by hand and only used power tools to sand them for finishing.

Finally, this one is just weird.  Who would have thought about making something like this?  Those two hammers and the hatchet handle are made from plastic grocery bags.  He stuffs them in a can and places it in a toaster oven ... NOT above 350 degrees so there are no fumes.  As it melts, he keeps adding them until it's the size he wants.  Same goes for the handle, though I don't remember what he said he uses for the shape.

Once done and cool, he sands the pieces down, drills out a hole in the head, then heats up the hole and the handle before squishing them together.  This thing is so hard, you could use it like a regular steel hammer.  

Having gone around and checked out all the crafts, too many to show here, we had snacks galore before heading back home.  I waddled into my rig WAY too full of food.  In no time at all, the rains began again.  I love the sound of rain on the roof when I'm awake ... NOT when I'm trying to sleep.  It brings on waves of weird dreams which had me up at 4:00 this morning.  

Maybe I'll get in a few winks this afternoon.  It's packing up day as Tucson is calling.  I'm praying the winds die down for my exit.  It's been a GREAT week with wonderful friends.  I'm sad to be leaving, but no worries ... I'll be back!!!

Monday, January 30, 2023

An Invitation I couldn't Refuse

It has warmed up in Yuma.  I can usually tell when I have to take Cooper out at midnight and forget my coat.  It's 48 this morning.  Although there haven't been any spectacular sunrises, this one gave it a good try.   

Since I'm up early, I usually eat something very early.  Cooper, Jonathan and I shared a scrambled egg in the dark while I checked on my propane use.  Apparently I have a leak in the tank filled by the RV repair shop near my California house.  When I finally turned that tank on, I went through the entire thing in about three days.  

In spite of my tank sensor, the one Bill and I had filled reads 100% after having used it for the last three days.  You've gotta love the accuracy of all things RV.  Today I'll have to run out for more sensor batteries and a replacement for the grey tank handle that fell off somewhere between California and here.  

So ... after having heard a knock at the door, I opened it to find Ray with an invitation to a blueberry pancake breakfast.  Who could refuse THAT??  This is not MY house where you get paper plates!  Cindy sets a very nice table!!  I brought out the Canadian maple syrup for them to taste.  What a feast!!

After breakfast, I tried to get a little more organized.  I went though all the bags of fabric and sorted them with patterns.  If I don't do that, I forget what I was going to do with it.  Cooper and I went for a nice walk, which he of course LOVES.  He got to meet Izzy, who I think is his new girlfriend.  Don't tell Penny.

Then I sat down to watch the football game.  I think San Francisco was on something like quarterback #4 when the game started.  He got hurt.  #5 took over.  He got hurt.  #6 took over.  That along with a bunch of penalties (some deserved, some not) got them nothing in the way of points.  They lost.  

About that time, there was another knock on the door.  It was happy hour time across the street.  What nice folks these are, letting me hang out with them for a couple of hours, stuffing my face with all that food.  Our planned Chinese dinner was cancelled due to overtime at the snack table.

I got back in time to watch Kansas City take the win to the Super Bowl.  I don't know how Mahomes did it ... he was limping the entire game, several times hopping around on one foot to make the throw.  The game was tied when he actually ran with the football to get close enough for a field goal.  Thanks to the other team tackling him out of bounds, they were close enough to make the kick and win.  

And so our day ended with a few corn chips, since it was National Corn Chip Day.  I mean really ... you have to celebrate the IMPORTANT days of the year, right??

Here's one more picture of Elva and I.  I guess she didn't grow a few inches after all!!!

It's shuffleboard this morning, then Cindy is participating in a quilt/craft show we are going to set up for.  Hopefully somewhere in there I have time to hit the parts store.  The days just fly by when you're having fun.  

Add to that the rain that is expected today.  Unlike California where you get a red warning only if it's going to flood .... here you get a warning that it's going to sprinkle.  Maybe I'll even get pictures!  Happy Monday!

Sunday, January 29, 2023


It was early morning Yuma just as the sun was coming up.  This is the second trip out with Cooper.  It's weird ... the first time it wasn't all that cold ... the second time I should have worn a coat!  Brrrrrrrrr 

Lucky for me, there is a doggie area right next door to Cindy and Ray's house.   I'm sure I wouldn't need a leash (they require it) because Cooper would stay there for hours just smelling the smells.  I have to drag him away every time.  

Surprisingly, he missed the kitty kitty who was laying down in the sun.  He looks like he's standing, but he's really laying down.  He didn't move an inch.  I imagine he knows the dogs can't get to him.  

I came out of my rig an hour later to see someone decorating their golf cart to the chant USA USA!  Not long ago they had the Canadian Parade around the park.  On this day it was the USA parade.  Wow ... I've never seen so many fancy golf carts!!

Cindy and I dressed up in our finest red, white and blue before heading to the clubhouse for hot chocolate and donuts.  The music blared away as the patriotic folks flew their flags.  Even the doggies were dressed up.

There were two big Uncle Sams and lots of bunting!  I love seeing people share their patriotism. 

I thought this was the entire parade, but in no time it was twice this long!!  Once they take off, they go around every single street in the park.  THIS is a fun group of people!!!

Here's Cindy and Penny dressed up in their finest!!!  Surprisingly, I was even able to find a white T-shirt and red shirt to match.  We were twinsies!

On the way back home, there was a lot having an open house.  Well lets just stop in and have a look.  It was a casita with washer and dryer, bathroom and huge Murphy bed, along with lots of room for parking and happy hours.  $165,000 in case you were looking.  AND donuts, muffins and coffee.  Who could resist THAT?  I'm sure I've gained ten pounds in the last month!!

No time to waste though ... I was off to Wellton to visit Elva and Jerry.  It fascinates me how this valley is all agriculture.  To be sure water gets to everything without waste, the fields are tiered down to the lowest point.  

Amazingly, I drove right to their house.  No surprise since Elva gave me directions again.  I think I could have found it ... maybe.  I just love visiting these two.  So many laughs!!!!

Pretty soon we took off to have lunch in town.  There were actually THREE restaurants open and we chose The Hive.  Wow ... the prices were right and the food delicious.  This is a Hawaiian burger with yummy Cole slaw and a slug of fries.  Best fries I've had in a long time!!

We didn't solve the world's problems, but we laughed a lot and had a good time.  Afterwards we went for a short ride with more laughs about the little town of Wellton.  Elva was happy that on this day the wind wasn't blowing the lovely feed lot smells to her house.  It's no problem for me ... it just smells like the ranch ... something I'm very pretty familiar with!  

Back to Yuma, I walked in to Cindy and Rays to see this gorgeous piece on the couch.  This one was cut and sewn by Ray.  You have to be a master sewer to do this ... for those that know what they are, this is all done with Y seams.  That's the hardest seam there is to sew.  One is a pain in the patoo .... 100 is just insanity!!

And so I ended a fabulous day on the floor of the rig rolling the ball for Cooper. Somehow I misread the football app on my phone and thought the games were Saturday.  Nope ... they are TODAY!!  So from 1:00 on, I'll be glued to my couch.  After that, who knows!!  The weather is changing it up once again with possible rain Monday and Tuesday.  Another trip to Gramma Jo's may be in order ... you know, just to LOOK .........

Saturday, January 28, 2023

Freeze Dried Algodones

Since several people asked how this freeze drying works, I did some homework last night.  First off, let me just say this is not exactly a cheap hobby.  Not as expensive as horses, but a bigger layout than just fabric.  The money saving part comes in when you buy groceries on sale and make double batches.  One to eat and one to freeze dry.

You cut your fruit into smaller pieces, or pour your casserole onto the trays in a thin layer.  To make the process shorter, you put it in your freezer on one of these trays and freeze it first.  Then you place it in the machine where it takes it down to -40 degrees (yup that a minus), then it heats the bottom, turning the ice into a gas (least that's the way they described it) which freezes on the walls.  It removes absolutely ALL the water while leaving 95% of the nutrients and flavor. 

Dehydrating and drying food is a completely different process, with an end result nowhere near as tasty or healthy.

The cycles run anywhere from 20 to 40 hours, depending on what you are drying.  Once done, you place the product into a special bag or glass jar and remove as much air as you can.  If not, the product will become soft and soggy.  

I ate a piece of strawberry that tasted like it was just picked.  I ate yogurt with berries that tasted just like fresh yogurt.  Of course there are some things you cannot really reconstitute ... like the pizza.

They come in three sizes.  Will I buy one for around $2500??  Maybe, maybe not.  It's pretty pricey for a single person.

So bright and early, we took off for Algodones.  It wasn't as chilly there, but I wore a big coat anyway.  I felt pretty freeze dried in about ten minutes.  

For those that haven't gone recently, they now have a machine at the gate to pay for parking.  The nice lady inserted the money for us, but it does take credit and debit cards also.  Go early because you KNOW it's going to take three times as long for us old folks to figure out how to use the machine.

The guards are also checking purses, so smile and say something nice.  We headed right out to Tury's Pharmacy.  I can't tell you how to get there because I always get lost.  I think you go in, cross the street and turn right.  They seem to be a little cheaper and are VERY friendly!!  In ten minutes we were on our way out the door.

We didn't find Snowbirds Alley, but when Cindy asked where she could buy some flower pots, one of the guys from the Pharmacy walked us down the road while telling us the history of the Police Department, all of which I couldn't hear.  I heard BARS on the building and decided I better mind my P's and Q's.

This area used to be called Cottons because the local Indian tribes cultivated the property for wild cotton.  During Prohibition, Los Algodones became a tourist destination with it's open cantinas and bars.  It wasn't until the 80's that it became popular for dental work and meds.  I tried to find more info on the town, but there is little out there.  It says the population is about 5400.  

Inside the shop where you could barely move without knocking something off the shelf, they said the pots were $25 each.  Cindy said no.  I said ten.  He said $20.  Ray just shook his head.  Cindy said $10.  We kept that up until she got three pots for $10 each.  Gotta love bargaining in Mexico.

We didn't stay, but we did have to scout out the exit since the big gate was closed.  That's the first time I've ever seen THAT!  In two minutes we were back in the U.S. headed home.

Well not quite home ... we had time to stop by a couple of garage sales and this big building full of stuff.  You'd be proud ... I didn't buy a thing!!!

But I did head back to the Arizona Marketplace for some sticky paper.  It's a sewing thing.  Yikes ... there was a really big fire right next to the marketplace.  Apparently it was a control burn of some kind?

I walked up and down all the aisles and completely missed the fabric store.  I tried on a couple of shirts that always look so great hanging on the wall, but terrible on me.  There were wood carvings .....

plenty of socks ... Karmel Korn ... a few veggies and lots of RV stuff.  Out at the front, I ran into a couple giving away pork sliders for FREE.  Who could turn THAT down??  Unfortunately it was WAY too greasy, but that didn't keep me from eating most of it.  You never know what you are going to find.

Need a wine bottle holder?  It seemed there was not as many vendors as in the past, and since it was so early in the morning, the band had not started.  They didn't even have the pretzels out for the dip!!  Yes, the same ones I bought in Indio.

I headed back home with nothing really exciting ...  maybe 2 yards of white material ... and I sat on the patio with Miss Penny while she soaked up the sun.  She is such a sweet thing you just want to hug her.

Believe it or not, it's only 12 o'clock ... so lets go have shrimp tacos!!!  This is Tacos El Cositas.  A terrible picture, but this is what you look for when driving the frontage road between Fortuna and Foothill roads.  Best tacos in the country and really reasonably priced.  There are lots of other things on the menu and they all look delicious.

Check them out!!!  There are probably ten different sauces and salsas you can adorn your tacos with.  I think I'd go there every day if I lived here.

Finally back home, I spent the next two hours playing with Cooper before crashing in my chair.  I passed on dinner since I already ate four times today!!

This morning I'm heading out to visit Elva and Jerry in Wellton.  Elva invited me to lunch, followed by "nothing is open on weekends".  I offered to bring a loaf of bread.  This is going to be an interesting visit!  

Friday, January 27, 2023

You're Not Going To Believe This

 It's early morning here in Yuma with the wind coming up quickly.  It's definitely NOT your normal Yuma warm and sunny weather.  The good thing is I never have to comb my hair.  It always looks like I just got out of bed!!

So here's the amazing thing that happened yesterday.  See this jar of funny looking stuff?  It's freeze dried enchilada filling.  Appropriate since I just made a terrible enchilada casserole.  This was cooked and freeze dried by Cindy and Ray some time ago.  You just put it in a jar, suck out all the air and stick it on the shelf.  It can last up to 20 years.  Crazy, right??

Dump it in a bowl and add water, a little at a time.   Cindy added a little more chicken (yes it had freeze dried chicken in it also) and within minutes it tasted like she just made it.  I was very surprised that the texture was just like if you made it that minute.  I could not tell the difference in the rice, the beans, the olives or even the chicken.  

She filled some tortillas, added a little sauce and cheese ... and VOILA!!  Some of the best enchiladas I've had.  I just can't believe it.  FYI the tortillas were fresh ones.

Even MORE weird ... this is an ice cream sandwich cut into pieces and freeze dried.  It's dry and crunchy, but tastes EXACTLY like an ice cream sandwich.  It's just downright crazy!!  I tried yogurt and berries, apples with caramel sauce, Skittles ... some of the strangest things I've ever eaten.  What a fascinating hobby Cindy and Ray have.  And there's more ... tomatoes, pears, squash ... almost everything you can imagine.

Very early on this day, we headed out to a couple of yard sales, finding a brand new $5 casserole dish to replace the one I cracked.  Then we moved on to the Arizona Marketplace in Yuma.  That is where you can get fabric for $6.00 a yard (and sometimes less) instead the going rate of $14.  I picked up a few pieces for quilt patterns I have.  No I didn't buy too much.  Okay, yes I did.  Not that much however, I got away with just over $100.  I must be sick!!

With a little time on my hands, I ran on down to Gramma Jo's for some of their southwest fabric.  It's become very hard to find, except for here.  This is not for me ... being the good personal shopper that I am, I sent pictures to Patty Chance, who said that one or this one ... and this is for her.  See ... it wasn't ALL mine!  

Just to show me how good freeze drying fresh garden vegetables is, Cindy made freeze dried butternut squash soup from squash she grew in her garden.   This is just crazy.

Add water a little at a time and stir.  This could even be a side dish of squash ... add more water if you want soup.

She added a little milk for flavor and consistency and served it in this cute little pumpkin bowl.   I'm just fascinated with this stuff ... especially when I heard about all the freeze dried CANDY!!!  Oh yeah!!!

What's in my fingers above?  Pizza crackers.  Yessirree ... they freeze dried a pizza cut into small pieces.  Yes, they taste just like pizza,  but they are very crunchy.  This is one you would not add water to.  It's just crazy weird.  Imagine packing all this super lightweight food in your rig ... you could easily carry enough for a year!!

We spent some of the afternoon trading quilt patterns.  Remember this one?  I passed on the entire 30 page pattern to Cindy.  I really don't ever want to make another one with this many pieces!!  I can't wait to see what fabrics she picks.

So this morning it's very early and a chilly 44 degrees.  We are off to Algodones to play in the sun, even if we are freezing.  There will be NO margaritas on this day!!  But maybe three shirts and a jacket!!