Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Hiking Breaks

On Tuesdays, we take a break from our usual routine and go hiking with the group at Park Place RV Park where we were parked for a month. They're a nice group of people although the hikes are more like walks, but it's some exercise and gets us out in the fresh air.

There were 29 healthy hikers last week when we started up the first hill. (At the end of the day, there were 27 healthy hikers and two who were involved in a tumble down the hill.)

This hike was over rolling hills with nice views of the surrounding hills and the confluence of the Verdi and Salt rivers below.

Ron was interested in the bones of this deceased saguaro. He wondered if it was a 'crested' one because of the odd configuration at the top right. A crested saguaro has a fan-shaped section which is fairly unusual.

Diana has a good picture of a crested saguaro here.

It still strikes me as ironic that the cactus with all those wicked looking spines has such beautiful flowers. We were lucky to see several different species in flower. I believe this is a hedgehog cactus.

The next two are a variety of cholla cactus.

Isn't this one especially gorgeous?

Yesterday we hiked (or walked) down along the river. When I saw all these hikers relaxing during the lunch break, I had an overwhelming urge to shout, "Snake!" and see what happened. Sometimes I wonder about myself.

No, I didn't see these in the desert. They seem to be native to Trader Joes.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Gate Tale

After getting quotes from several people to redo our 'too small' RV gates, Ron decided he could handle this himself. It didn't hurt that the neighbor two doors down has welding equipment and offered to help.

First Ron bought and painted 4" square iron posts and dug really deep holes to set them in.

It might have gone faster if he hadn't used a soup ladle. (Seriously, he used a post hole digger. The ladle was just for the finishing touches at the bottom.)

He measured and leveled and braced the posts in place and put 2 1/2 bags of concrete in one hole where he had run into foundation for the wall. He was thinking he could return some of the 5 1/2 bags he had left, but used all of it in the second hole. That post will be there 100 years from now.

He even raked the stones away and did some regrading of the area. (I did help some with that.)

Then Charlie stepped in and welded a new section on each gate half. He did it so quickly I didn't get a picture, but Ron looks pleased.

Next was the painting. We bought two cans - one for each gate - then had to go back for four more.

Then the original boards went back on. I know Ron likes a good puzzle, so I was surprised that he had numbered them when he removed them. That could have been fun finding which board went in each spot. Although you can't really see it in these pictures, the bars are not evenly spaced.

Finally he cut and mounted five new boards in the added sections. Just as a comparison, here's the original gate.

And here's the new and improved 30" wider gate. We figure those new boards will blend right in after one 120 degree summer in Arizona.

Please notice the most amazing thing. In every picture, Ron is smiling! The guy is really having fun with this. As you can see, all I do is take pictures.

Sunday, March 22, 2009


Okay, here comes the stuff that only our good friends and relatives will find even remotely interesting, but I'm posting it anyway.

Our first room is finished! I'm not sure what's the significance that it's the bathroom.

It's complete with a new cute light. I'm trying to sell the original bathroom lights on craigslist and not having any success. I have them listed at $5. I think I'm going to drop the price to free and see what happens.

The painting is finished and the carpeting is installed. This is the view from the AZ room through the opening where the sliding glass door (which I did sell on craigslist) used to be. We're really happy with the way that turned out.

And Ron finished the pass-through from the kitchen into the AZ room. Doesn't it look nice?

We even have some furniture - some from a consignment store, some from craigslist and end tables on loan from Brenda. Note the his and her recliners.

Today our good friend Sally came over to see the house (and us) and I dragged her off to the Mesa Swap Meet (a misnomer since I think the only thing they'll accept as a swap is money.) We did what women do - encouraged each other to buy.

I didn't need much encouragement to take this home. Ron cheerfully hung it next to the front door.

I suppose this is a little crazy, but I thought this guy needed to be in my baby cactus garden. Doesn't he look happy? Sally asked what I was going to name him and I said I don't do that. She asked, "Greeny?" Not only does she read my blog, she even remembers what I write!

She wouldn't buy the gorgeous wall hanging I was pushing on her. But, Sally, let me know if you want me to go back and get it. :-)

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

First Visitor

We're still working hard. I thought I'd post a picture of me actually doing something. This is my job, spraying anything that dares to pop up in our pristine stones. Who knew that vinegar would kill plants? But I do smell like a salad when I'm done.

We had our first house visitor this past week. Ron's granddaughter Shannon is doing a school project to learn about geography and different places. She sent her little friend Stripey on a journey to visit all the relatives. (Stripey is a zebra. That reminds me of when I was little and we raised parakeets, all of whom were named Greeny.) Anyway we wrote in Stripey's journal and took pictures of his adventures in this foreign environment. It was fun, but I'm afraid we didn't do any sightseeing with him. Since we've been homeowners, we're hardly any fun any more.

Here Ron put him to work touching up the wall around the new counter top.

This was Ron's idea too. Stripey rode up in the fruit picker. He just had to watch out for falling oranges.

He's just a little zebra and you have to watch him constantly or he gets into trouble. Here he learned the hard way that everything in the desert has thorns.

Stripey left today and headed for Omaha. I hope he doesn't get cold.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

The Fun Begins

Here are some 'before' and 'during' pictures of the house. I have been told that being tired is no excuse for not updating the blog.

First remember that RV gate that was too narrow for the RV?

No problem for Ron and our neighbor Joe with the 14 pound sledge hammer.

The first thing to go was this cabinet with the lovely orange counter top in the Arizona room (that's like a Florida room, only in Arizona.)

And we also wanted to replace the yellow counter top in the kitchen.

Of course while the counter top was out, we decided to get a new sink - nice huh? And decided to take out the window and make it a pass-thru between the kitchen and Arizona room. It's a slippery slope. Here the counter top and sink are in and the pass-thru is in progress.

This is looking from the living room into the dining room and the sliding glass doors to the AZ room. Inspired by Bertie's house, we decided to remove the door so the rooms will flow together.

Also an 'in progress' picture.

Then I said, "Well, you know, I'd like to update the bathroom lights too." (I told you it was a slippery slope.)

So Ron calmly took down the lights before the painter came.

I confess that I am not a handy person. The house that I lived in for 23 years, I never fixed up until I was moving out when I hired a handy man. But I thought, "How hard can it be to spray paint the blades of a ceiling fan?" I took one of the blades outside and hit it with a blast of paint. It immediately began to run down the blade, so to stop it I tried to wipe it with a paper towel. I was informed this was incorrect. Lost that job.

I decided the only thing I have some experience with is gardening. So I climbed up the six foot ladder and trimmed the four fruit trees - two orange, one grapefruit, and one lemon. Ron snapped this of me in action. Going up and down the ladder was the worst part. While trimming, I just didn't look down. I think I did a pretty good job.

The real challenge was the lemon tree. As the song says, it's pretty and smells sweet, but they neglected to mention the two inch thorns! Ouch!

(If you look closely, you can see the remains of white paint that I couldn't wash off. But I thought it made me look like I was working hard anyway.)

Thursday, March 5, 2009

New House

I was shocked today when I noticed that my last post was February 12th. Where has the time gone? We closed on our new house in Mesa on the 13th - yes, that was Friday the 13th. It's a good thing we're not superstitious. Since then, we've been constantly busy - who's idea was this anyway?

Here's Ron opening the multiple locks on the front door for the first time. I tried to get him to carry me across the threshold, but he had some lame 'bad back' excuse.

He realized he hadn't checked out the attic yet, so he borrowed the neighbor's ladder and up he went. What's up there anyway?

Oh, of course, the TV antenna. How tidy.

More later. . .