Tuesday, December 31, 2013

The End of Another Year

Last year at this time, we were in staying at Valle del Oro in Mesa, a huge 2000 plus RV -- mostly park models -- site. While we were there last spring, we did some driving around, more and more on the outskirts of the Phoenix metropolitan area, looking for a spot we might like a bit better. Valle del Oro is larger than Ritzville, the town where Forry and I both went to school. We both like the country and we were hoping to find something a little more rural, somewhere we could actually see a bit of desert.

We left Phoenix in mid-April, finally making that jaunt to the Meteor Crater that Forry has been wanting to return to since he was a little boy. We spent a night in Gallup, New Mexico on our way to spend time with our good friends Tom and Juni in Albuquerque. As usual, we had only planned to stay a couple of days, but ending up spending two lovely weeks with them. Their two little Yorkies, Idgie and Cassie and their very dignified Toy Poodle Tica are special little dogs.

Our next stop was to spend a couple of days with my friend Tina and her daughter Delcherie and Granddaughter Kaili near Farmington, New Mexico. Tina serves on the Mennonite Church USA Executive Board with me and her family has become some of my favorite people.

We worked our way north through Utah and Idaho, finally spending a couple of nights in mid-May at Wildhorse Resort Casino in order to sneak in a quick visit with Sister Sherry and the slobbery dogs. We ended up at Uhlmann's RV in Chehalis for another repair of those damned hydraulic hoses and got in a few days mooching off of Sister Roxy and Rich.

We spent most of June in Dawn and Todd's driveway while we helped prepare for Granddaughter Havela's high school graduation and celebration and family time, then helped pack moving boxes for their more to Keizer, Oregon. From there it was to Daughter Mary Mae and Scott's for a month of NW Shakespeare and Claire's rehearsal for Pan, the Musical along with more family time.

We spent the last part of September taking care of doctor and dentist appointments in Spokane and Moses Lake, visiting with Son Sean, getting in a visit with our friend Mary, catching up with Brother Pat and his fast-growing grands and the annual AHEC reunion. We spent another week and a half with Sister Sherry getting to watch Keiko San win his Chanpion points. Then back to Chehalis again for another hydraulic hose replacement and a new set of tires for Auntie Violet in Woodburn.

We worked at the Mennonite Country Auction the first Saturday in October, then started heading our way south again. We made a stop at Seven Feathers in Canyonville, then down through California to Mojave, then to Kingman, Arizona, and finally to Fort McDowell. We are definitely out in the country and can here coyotes howling most nights. There are no park models in this park and it has less then a two hundred sites. We'll spend the rest of the winter here at Eagles View, then once again head north.

Monday, December 30, 2013

Almost the End of 2013

We spent out for most of the afternoon enjoying the warmth, sitting out under the canopy. It was comfortable watching the hummingbirds squabble. There is one of them which chases off another one that tries to even drink from one from the feeders. There was also a very noisy Gila woodpecker who flicks around around the mesquite tree. We watched it go from there towards the large saquaro down a bit along the fence. I think there may have another one, but they both flew on down the road.

I think we saw a vulture across the valley, but didn't get a really good look at it. It just seems like there aren't many around as there were the last couple of years. Last year we saw them all the time. I read something about in the paper about them being further south, but it hasn't been any colder then before. Forry likes to watch them, but we haven't seen but one or two this year.

It was another quiet day. We watched RVs leave and we saw other RVs come it. We watched multiple dogs lead their owners around. We heard coyotes yapping outside the RV Park teasing the dogs inside  the RV Park. We watched the grackles fly in and land as a flock on the tree across the road. We saw couples walking around and around the park. We saw bicyclists riding around and around as well. 

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Another Lazy Sunday

We stayed up very late last night -- actually watched a movie. I couldn't tell you the name of it, but it was funny and light. But, since we stayed up so late, we sure didn't get up very early this morning. It was quiet around the park as well. I sliced some thick slices off of the last slab of Mennonite bacon I bought at the auction, fixed some waffles and eggs. Add a little maple syrup and we were good

One of the things we really like about Eagle View is the absence of park models. Everyone here has an RV of some sort: a trailer, a fifth-wheel or a motor home. This is in contrast to most of the RV parks in Arizona, especially the bigger ones, where maybe one out of ten or so sites has an RV, all the rest are park models. Many of these are filled with seniors who fly or drive in from somewhere up north, then stay in their mini-houses for 2 to 3 months. We even talked with a few folks last year who had been driven down by family who would then return to pick them up in the Spring.
 We found the park model owners to be rather a cliquish bunch. After all, many of them had lived side by side with the same neighbors for many years. We even met one older lady who said she lived on the same site as her parents had -- only with a much nicer park model! Unlike most RVers, they did not have many "travelin" tales to share.

It was another very warm, very nice day today. I spent some time this afternoon putting together a chicken pot pie. I've been "tasting" various versions ever since we had that absolutely delicious one that we bought in New England, but none of them seemed to be as anywhere near as good. So this afternoon, I stripped the meat, especially the dark meat, left from the chicken I roasted a couple of days ago. I had parsnips, celery and half an onion in the refrigerator, so they went into a roux with the chicken. All that went into a pie shell, covered with a crust and baked for an hour. It turned out very well. It really could have used some peas, but it was pretty tasty. We have half a pie left for tomorrow, so it should be an easy day.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Laundry and ?

Not too much happening here at Auntie Violet's today. It was another gorgeous day with lots of sunshine and very little wind. The RV Resort here at Eagle View is filling up as many Snowbirds wait until after Christmas to head south. I'm sure that by next week, it will be almost entirely full.

The fellow who washed and waxed our rig when we arrived seem to keep constantly busy. It seems that almost every rig that comes in is ready to get cleaned up. They seem to do at least one every day, sometimes two. I watch them polishing the wax jobs and can just imagine how muscular they must be.

We again walked the perimeter of the park today. Rather Forry rode and I walked... I would like to take a survey to see how many of the rigs have dogs. And for some reason, this park seems to be attractive to people with big dogs. And of course, you've got to have two of them. I've even seen a pair of mastiffs being walked. Today we met a man with what he said was an Italian Grayhound. It looked a lot like a whippet with the most delicate leg bones. The owner said it is the smallest of the greyhound breed.

I did do three loads of laundry today. I hadn't done any since the week before Christmas, so I guess it was about time. Other than that, it was a quiet day. I fixed potato soup for supper and that was about it.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Another Sunny Day

We enjoyed another beautiful sunny day today. Forry and I pretty much walked -- well, I walked and he rode the trike -- the perimeter of the park this afternoon. The back side of the park is bordered by a rail fence. I like that every so often there is one of these "pick it up" stations on a fence post.

On the other side of the fence is the Verde River. It's pretty overgrown with brush and you really can't see much of it...

You have to admire the saquaro cactus. They take an incredible beating, but still hang on and even put out new "babies." I've heard they are at least one hundred years old before they start sending out new branches.

Another glimpse of the Verde River. You can see a bit of water to the right of that front bush...

This is one of the many mesquite trees that grace the desert --

Most people seem to have the urge to decorate or differentiate their sites. These folks have a set of metal horse cut-outs. Not sure how they store them when they travel...

This little path connects the two portions of the resort. It goes through a grove of mesquite trees and creosote bushes. Notice how the grass has sprouted since we had those rains a couple of weeks ago.

I had finally filled the big hummingbird feeder and we sat it on top of the cable box alongside Auntie Violet. The sugar water level has gone down considerably. When we came home from our walk, this little fellow was busy getting a drink.

I met some dressing this afternoon and roasted a chicken for supper. I think the dressing turned out better than the chicken. Oh well, I'll have some good stuff for soup tomorrow.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

The Day After...

It was another beautiful, sunshiny day here at Eagle View. We are especially thankful when we watch the news on TV and see all of the ice and snow around the country. Many are in places we can visualize as they are places we visited when we were doing our 49 state odyssey a couple of years ago.

The pictures of the ice reminded us of the huge ice storm we had in Spokane, the year after we moved to the city. The storm came a week or so before Thanksgiving. The icy rain settled on the trees and broke limbs, which in turn brought down power lines all over town. We were without power for eleven days. We had to tell all of our new neighbors that we had never been without power for more than two days when we lived on our ranch twenty miles from the nearest town! Then we moved to the city...

We hung blankets over the doorway into our little TV room that had a wood stove and slept in sleeping bags there on the floor. (Though we didn't spend more than a couple of nights at home as we were kept busy managing shelters for the Red Cross.) We did have hot water however. We had gotten a new hot water heater when we moved into the house that had an old fashioned pilot light instead of an electronic starter. I do remember that we barbecued a duck for Thanksgiving dinner on the gas barbecue outside.

We made a quick trip into Fountain Hills for groceries this afternoon. I wanted to get the ingredients needed for crab cocktails as we still had crab left from our Christmas Eve feast. After we heard Daughter MM talking about her husband Scott cleaning leftover crab for cocktails yesterday, we knew what we wanted to do with ours.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

And a Very Merry Christmas To All!


We welcomed Christmas Day either very early this morning as we stayed up until 2 AM or very late when we finally got up around nine this morning. I guess it's all in how you look at it! The Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra had two very different, very good musical programs last night and we watched both of them. We watched Christmas in New York which was a very energetic contemporary African American musical presentation.

We also watched the Christmas Mass from Rome. What a difference from last year with Pope Benedict so frail and this year with the new Pope Francis so energetic. His homily was excellent no matter what religious persuasion you might -- or might not -- be.

I had a wonderful bowl of Dungeness crab left over from our dinner last night. Combined with some lovely Chevre goat cheese, we had scrumptious omelets for brunch. I made toast with what was left of that loaf of bread from last night and we had another feast!

I have been tantalized by a large package from Sister Sherry. When we finally opened it, we found this pretty bird waterer:

I'm sure our feathered visitors are going to be enjoying it in this dry country. As I sat outside this afternoon (82 degrees) reading my book on my iPad, I could see the hummingbirds squabbling over the front feeder. We're thinking they may have a nest in the tree across the from Auntie Violet.

We had a chance to talk on the telephone with both of our daughters and the families and also with Son Sean today. Forry had a telephone chat with his brother-in-law Les. The one thing I do not like about our full-time RV status is missing family and friends on holidays.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

It's Christmas Eve

This is looking east from where Auntie Violet is parked. I took the picture just as the sun was starting to set. I love the way the tops of the mountains are reflected in the sunlight as the rest of the countryside starts to turn dark.

As the sun sinks further, the reflection of the sunset is only in the sky --

The pink only last a few minutes, then the dark totally descends...

Over the years we've spent Christmas Eve in many places. Christmas Eve dinner has always been special. For many years, it meant fresh Dungeness crab to crack and feast upon. I can remember trips out to Bow with Son-in-law Scott to buy fresh ones. Some years it has meant fresh tamales as our Son-in-law Todd has a deft hand with masa harina.

I can remember one night when we visited Daughter Dawn and Todd in Santa Cruz, Bolivia. Dawn and I had made and baked sugar cookies that she wanted to share with her neighbors. Due to the humidity, the pink frosting we made just didn't want to set up and we ended up with very sticky cookies. Her neighbors, who weren't used to home baked treats, seem to enjoy them greatly anyway.

The last few years we've been in the South -- either in Arizona or Florida -- and we've gotten together with friends to go to Joe's Crab Shack for a crab meal. It's been good, but they serve it hot...

Since this year none of our friends are with us, I tried to find seafood shops in the area on the internet. I called a couple I found, but none had Dungeness crab. (King, snow or softshell crabs are just NOT the same to a Northwesterner!) We decided to take a chance, and headed for Costco in hopes they had gotten in more (I'd seen some a couple of weeks ago when we were there.).

Sure enough, they had some, frozen solid from Alaska. I bought two and we headed home. We made a stop at a Basha's bakery to pick up a crusty loaf of bread on the way. Once home, I put the crabs in cold water to start thawing them, cleaning the shells, gills and innards off in the process.

I made a couple of small green salads; sliced and buttered the bread; and we feasted. There is more then enough crab left for omelets for Christmas morning breakfast. Life is very good.

Monday, December 23, 2013

It's Getting Closer

I had to chuckle when I got up this morning and took a look at Facebook. The first five or six items I saw were all counting down the remaining days to Christmas in various fashions. One used a term I hadn't heard before. It said that it was the "Eve of Christmas Eve"... Christmas Eve Eve? Okay, I can handle that. Just goes to show that someone is always coming up with a different way of looking at things.

It was a beautiful day here at Eagle View today. When we went to get the mail -- I walked and Forry rode the trike -- it was shirtsleeve weather. The sun was out and there was a slight breeze. I took the long way home, walking along the back fence. There were several Christmas cards in the mail along with a package from our friend Mary.

Mary sent along some pickled beans she had made this summer along with a jar of ruby red plum jelly. I had a pot of stew simmering on the stove. The biscuits I made to go with the stew went well with that plum jelly! A nice way to end a lovely day.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

And the Days Start Getting LongerI

I must confess that when I was younger I never made any attention to such things as solstices. I'm not sure I even knew what they were.

I'm not even sure when I started noticing how the days shortened and lengthened. I did notice when we had harvest crews, how towards the end of harvest, it became almost too dark to eat outside in the evenings. Although it had been no problem when we started in the early days of cutting. We had no air conditioning in the house at the ranch, so it was much cooler to feed the harvest hands outside at the picnic table. (Even with the occasional mosquito!)

As time went by I realized more and more how much I disliked the long nights of winter. There was something about waking up in the dark, going to work while it was still dark, enjoying a bit of sunlight at noon -- if we were lucky -- then driving home again in the dark. I started looking forward to the lengthening of daylight as Spring approached.

Then there were the couple of trips we made to Alaska in the month of May. I recall how we looked out our hotel windows at eleven at night to watch kids still playing basketball -- without needing lights! I remember thinking I'd really like to live where it was daylight for so many hours a day. Then someone explained to me that it also meant living where there was more than 23 hours of darkness the other part of the year!

I've also become aware of how many people become depressed during the short days of sunshine. Some even use light therapy to help them get through the winter darkness. I do find it sort of ironic that when I, and others, celebrate the beginning of longer days, it is technically, the first official day of winter. So be it! It still makes me happy!

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Today at Eagle View

It was a chilly overcast day today, so I didn't spend too much time outside -- I'd rather be inside, nice and warm and reading. But I did go out for a short walk.This gold and green swatch is a tradition from Daughter Mary Mae's family. It arrived in the mail early last week.

These little guys were wandering along the edge of the park. They blend so well, that they are hard to spot --

They are Garmbels Quail, one of the two common quails in Arizona --

There were six of them, but I could never get all of them into one picture!

Today was the first day of the football bowl games. Washington State University played in Albuquerque today against Colorado State University. It started out great  14 to 0, but in usual Cougar fashion, they "couged" it away in the final quarter! So disappointing.

Friday, December 20, 2013

A Rainy Night

The weather forecast said it was going to rain last night, but it didn't look much like it. Then about ten-thirty or so it clouded up and we had a few drops on the roof. By the time we got to bed it was raining pretty steadily.

Then about three-thirty in the morning, I woke up to some big bangs and flashes of light. There was thunder and lightning for about an hour, along with lots of heavy rain. Forry was a bit surprised to hear about it this morning as he slept right through it! It continued to rain until about eight this morning, then cleared off a bit. The forecast talked about more rain this afternoon, but I think it went by us on the west.

It always surprises me to see how quickly the puddles of water disappear. The local news is warning of possible flooding due to supersaturated ground.

The Great-tailed Grackles were busy this morning as usual checking out all of the garbage bags that had been set outside for pick-up by the resort crew. The one in the front with the brownish breast is the female.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Shopping Expedition

We only had two things on our original list -- a Suduku calendar and a file box -- to start with, but it ended up being an all afternoon shopping trip. Several years ago our friends Leslie and Bill got Forry a calendar that was a-page-a-day Suduku puzzle. He liked it so much -- and he is so religious about keeping up with it -- that we've had to go buy him a new one every year since.

We've had good luck finding the calendars (by Will Shortz of PBR fame) at Barnes and Noble, so that's where we headed in Scottsdale. While there I started looking for something to help keep Grandson Varick occupied while he heals from the surgery on his leg that he is having tomorrow. After looking through lots of puzzles and games, I finally called Daughter Mary Mae to get her input. I talked with a young woman clerk about what I was looking for and MM's thoughts. She took me to a different area of the store and cheerfully helped me successfully sort out what I wanted. But, that success added the need for another stop -- the post office.

Our next stop was at the Office Max to pick up a file box. The store was just down the street from Barnes and Noble, so it was a quick stop -- at least until the check-out. There was a lady in the pay line ahead of me (we waited a long time as only one clerk was effectively working -- the other two were tied up with customer problems...) who started chatting with me about her purchase of a Kindle. She chattered all the way out to the parking lot where it turned out she was parked right next to us. Such a delightful soul who was actually a full-time, long-time Scottsdale resident.

From there we went to the Hopi Post Office, the nearest one according to the GPS. Darn, the game I picked up for Varick was too big and didn't fit into any of the Priority Mail boxes that are self-sealing.

So I went to the other part of the Post Office to the regular boxes they had for sale. As I went to get a roll of tape to put the box together, the lady next to us protested, saying she had just bought a roll and she'd glady share it! She was quite insistent, so I used her roll of tape. She also had a large roll of newsprint which she offered up for stuffing in the box! We laughed and joked about good deeds and karma as we prepared our boxes. She then ended up using my permanent marker to address her package. Another delightful soul!

Our last stop was the grocery store. I had the same checker I have had before. AnnaMaria and I commiserated about our readiness for the holidays and ended up wishing each other Merry Christmas! I had to chuckle on the way home about all of the lovely people we had met today. They made it fun to go shopping.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Finally, the Canopy!

Almost a month ago we found the canopy we had been looking for at the Big 5 Sporting Goods store down in Tucson when we were there. We brought it home and set the bag on the outside rug by Auntie Violet. Time went by and we kept looking at it and thinking we needed to get it set up.

 This afternoon we decided it was time...

First of all, the directions are LOUSY! And the tiny (one inch by one inch) pictures are even worse! It took both of us -- and we finally gave up and sat down and reconsidered. One of the directions was to put on the fabric and fasten it tight before opening the frame all the way. We backed off and loosened it up, then actually took it entirely off.  Then we were able to open the frame and get it stabilized.

THEN we put the fabric back on. We had to use a rod to flip the fabric up and over the vented top. But, we finally figured it out!

This particular canopy has a halfwall at the back and front. In the picture the front wall is raised all the way up...

I think we're going to enjoy it!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

A Day Trip

Forry has been reading a series of articles in the Sunday Arizona Republic about car trips in the Phoenix area. He had read about a loop that would take us north and east on Arizona Highway 88 up to Tortilla Flat. The road covers the same area as the fabled Lost Dutchman Mine.

 The whole area is criss-crossed with saquaros and cholla cacti -- and lots of power lines!

The hills in this area are covered with bands of lichens. They follow the strata of the layers in the rocks. It looks like they are striped...

Highway 88 is classified as an Arizona Scenic Highway. It lives up to its billing. As you head north, you come upon Apache Lake, the first of a string of lakes behind the dams on the Salt River.

And also the first of the seven "one lane" wide bridges on the trip --


The scenery just keeps getting more spectacular as we head up through the Sierra  Ancha --

By now, the pavement is gone! The next thirty plus miles are all dirt road.

Some of it is pretty wide and the recent run-off has been graded to the side. But it's pretty "wash-boardy" in places...

 And full of turns and twists -- and switchbacks! This is what the road looked like on the GPS!

And it gets pretty narrow as we get towards the bottom. Take a look at those guard rails!

Many of the side canyons are pretty rugged --

Love the colors!

After miles of dirt roads, we came to Theodore Roosevelt Lake. The water level in all of the reservoirs is quite low, evidence of the continuing drought in the Southwest.

This is the dam in the canyon at the foot of Roosevelt Lake.

You no longer (since 9-11) can drive over the top of the dam. The road turns back on itself, then becomes Highway 188 and crosses over this beautiful bridge.

We drove back towards the northeast along the shores of the lake towards Punkin Center to where Hwy 188 joined up with Hwy 87, the highway that eventually ends up back at Eagle View RV Resort.

We got back to Auntie Violet just as it was getting dark. We had planned to eat out on the way back, but decided we'd rather eat at home than drive these roads in the dark.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Enjoying the Sunshine

The sky was blue and clear today and it was beautifully warm. I took my iPad and my cup of coffee -- and my camera -- outside with me to enjoy the sun. It is fun to watch the hummingbirds at the little cups on the feeder.

They drink for a bit, then sit there and just seem to enjoy --

As the light refracts in the sunlight, different colors pop out --

I heard whirring of the wings behind me and finally spotted this little guy up on the top of one of the trees --

The birds switch from side to side on the feeder. The cups are both equally close to empty when I change them.

I wish we had bought another one of these feeders when we were at the street fair. If I see the lady at another event this winter, I will certainly do so.

It was a lovely afternoon to be outside. I listened to yesterday's worship service at Menno on U-tube while I was sitting there. We really appreciate the Claassens (mainly Gene, but also Michael) for filming the service. Bill Dyck is religious (no pun intended) about loading each Sunday's service onto U-tube so that we can experience it almost in real time!

Sunday, December 15, 2013

The Letterman

This evening we went over to the ballroom at the Radisson Hotel. I had purchased tickets for The Lettermen Christmas Show from on-line. I had to go over to the Casino entrance to pick up the tickets from Will Call. The ad said the doors would open at 5 PM for the show that would start at 7 PM. We got there about six. I was surprised to see how many of the seats had coats and pieces of paper on them to "reserve" them. I guess I think there's something a bit wrong about sending someone ahead to reserve a whole bunch of seats and then arriving at the last minute. I remember at Granddaughter Havela's graduation whole rows were "reserved" like that.

The Lettermen have been together with various members of the trio since the1960's. One of the fellows had been with the group since the beginning while the other two had been involved for eight and twelve years. They started off with a couple of Christmas songs, then sang a medley of their many hits.

The crowd was mostly seniors and most of them knew all the words and sang along. There was a group of women in the row behind us who were quite inebriated who either sang along very loudly or talked amongst themselves the entire show. (One of them even made a phone call during the show telling whoever she talked to about where she was...!)

It was a good show with a lot of the songs we remembered from our early married and baby-making years. I don't understand, however, how you can do an entire Christmas show and not sing a single Christmas carol or hymn.

This large fire circle is right outside the entrance to the hotel and conference center. It really lit up the night.

The large saguaro cacti were also doing their part to add to the festive appeal --

It was a fun night.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

The Post Office

I checked out the USPS (United States Postal Service) website looking for the address of the Post Office in Fort McDowell. There was a whole list of post offices within a twenty mile radius, but none listed for Fort McDowell. After I looked at the list for a bit I realized that it included a whole bunch of places that were just basic postal outlets. The notes on many said they sold stamp books only.

I found out I could narrow the search by checking full service post offices only. That helped. Now the list had only about ten places starting in Fountain Hills and extending into Apache Junction and then into Phoenix and Mesa. We targeted the Scottsdale/Fountain Hills Post Office which the site said was only 3.5 miles away. I put the address into Toad II's GPS and off we went.

Okay it says we're here. But, where's here? There's a whole bunch of fancy buildings with lots of bronze sculptures in between. There's City Hall; there's the Police Station; oh, here's the library. Guess we could ask the lady who just came out. Nice lady, but she says she doesn't know, she doesn't live here either. But wait, says she, I'll go back into the library and ask. Wait, we can go... But, she's already gone!

A few minutes later, out she comes followed by a young man. He points out to us the building about a block away on the other side of the parking lots. It's the back side of the Post Office. Turns out the address we had is the address of the whole civic complex, not just the Post Office. So off we go.

I head inside with my stuff to mail. The line inside is L-O-N-G! But, there's nobody at the machine in the lobby. I remember Daughter MM had said she'd used one of the machines. I pick up the necessary Priority Mail envelopes and put my stuff inside and address them. By now, there's a fellow using the machine. I watch what he's doing. Doesn't look too hard. My turn. The machine asks for the ZIP code of my envelope, I tell it, it tells me to swipe my credit card. I do. It asks if I have more to mail. I tell it I do. It tells me I don't need to swipe my card again. I put in the ZIP codes of the other two envelopes. The machine spits out the postage/bar code/ZIP code labels; I slap them on each envelope; and drop them in the revolving door. The machine asks if I have more to mail. I tell it I don't. It spits out my receipt with the tracking numbers for each envelope. Job done! With never a human contact...! I walk out and join Forry in Toad II and we head home.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Getting Ready...

I was trying to get the rest of our Christmas gifting taken care of today. I had picked up some cards yesterday while we were in town, but realized today I had forgotten one, so I guess I'll have to do some more shopping tomorrow.

We have been following the travels of our Granddaughter Havela as she flies home today from Hesston College via Wichita and Denver to Oregon. We were pretty concerned when we heard about the terrorist who was planning to set off a huge car bomb at the Wichita Airport today. Thank goodness our security people intercepted his internet ramblings and led him into thinking the FBI were sympathizers so that he ended up with a fake bomb.

Havela is in the air on her last leg from Denver to Portland. She'll be landing about 9 PM. Sure wish we were close enough to give her a big hug. She'll be at home for three weeks.

Forry got the fixed tire back on my tricycle this afternoon and we took turns going for rides around the park. I couldn't believe how I was huffing and puffing -- the trike has only been out of commission for a couple weeks. Didn't take long for me to get out of shape. I guess walking doesn't use the same muscles...

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Birds of the Park

This time of year, there is not a great deal of bird activity in the area. There are the usual busy grackles every where you go, lots of sparrows and we almost always see quail when we are out and about. When I went out to get the paper yesterday morning, I heard this fellow's shrill chirp and spotted him in the tree behind Auntie Violet.

It's a Gila Woodpecker, one of the ladderback clan as you can tell by its back.

I don't know if this is the one that has been raiding the hummingbird's sugar water or not. It looks a little bigger than that one to me...

Forry has seen one when he went to get the mail and both Sandy and Ron in the office talk about them being around all the time, but I had not seen a Greater Roadrunner since we got to Eagle's View. But today, I spotted one!

She was hunkered down along the road and she kept trying to make herself small. They are so funny to watch. She kept acting like if she didn't move, I wouldn't be able to see her...

We spent several hours this afternoon in Fountain Hills and Scottsdale trying to find a bicycle shop where we could get the flat on the rear tire of my trike repaired. One of the shops was now a car repair place, another had its phone disconnected. The one we finally found in near Old Scottsdale was an empty building, but had a sign on the door telling us where they had moved to.

Turns out the tire had a thorn in it -- surprise! The fellow at the shop took it out; looked for more; and then put in a new thicker tube. The trike should be good to go now. It works good for Forry to ride it while I walk around the park.

Our last stop was at Safeway to pick up groceries. Once again it was dark by the time we got back to the RV Park.