mothers day

Sunday, May 22, 2016

My Mountain Home

I love waking up in our little home (trailer) here in the mountains of Idaho.  It is soooo beautiful and peaceful.  Every morning we wake up to the music of birds chirping in the trees just outside of our windows.

I open the blinds by my bed and can look out and see the mother bird making a nest in the cute red and silver wooden old-fashioned trailer birdhouse that I got down in Quartzsite this last winter.  

At first I was worried that she would go find another house because she kept picking up long skinny sticks – about seven inches long! – and trying to push them thru the little opening.   I even broke up a bunch of small twigs and tossed them on the ground under the trailer and told her to try these!  She ignored me!  Finally though she figured it out.  The pile of twigs I offered are still lying on the ground but I see her going in and out with twigs of her own that she pulls and pushes until she finally gets them into her new little house.  If you look closely you can see the beginnings of a nest inside the trailer.
  Looking at her markings I am thinking that she is the mate of the Lazuli bunting that is constantly feeding at my nearby birdfeeder.  We also have stellar jays, chickadees, mourning doves, quail, mountain bluebirds, grosbeaks and so on and so on.  I saw a beautiful yellow and black bird fly thru the trees this morning and I wasn’t sure if it was a meadow lark or a grosbeak or what.   It seemed smaller than either bird and I haven’t heard a meadow lark sing.

I can also see the squirrel feeder hanging on the fence by another tree from my window - we have a cute little squirrel that has returned from last year.  I call him Mini.  Mini loves the pieces of corn that I have mixed in to the feed but does NOT like the black sunflower seeds.  We have a new squirrel this year – almost twice the size of Mini.  Mini sends Old Yeller running when Mini is hungry!  I call this big one Old Yeller because his fur has a definite yellow cast to it.   However, when I got home and got on good internet, I tried to figure out the different breeds.  There is a perfect picture of Old Yeller calling it a red squirrel(!), but the information says there is only ONE tree breed of tree squirrels in Idaho and that is the red squirrel.  I know for a fact that mini (and many of his brothers and sisters) lives in the big pinion pines all over our mountain …so that would make THEM red squirrels too…but mini looks so different than Old Yeller.   I don’t know!!!  

Anyway, Old Yeller throws all of the corn out onto the ground!  He does NOT like the corn.   Oh well, when the Steller jays come around they certainly like the corn so it doesn’t stay on the ground long!  Then they fly up to the feeder and go after whatever is available there.  They aren’t at all fussy.

There is a definite hierarchy as to who is ‘top dog’ at the feeder.  The little buntings like to fly right inside of the feeder, and we often see quail fly up and perch on the porch and enjoy a treat...that is,  until the Stellar Jays chase them off.  Then Old Yeller will come along and chase the Steller Jays away and take over the feeder. but then here comes Mini a-yelling and a-chattering and Old Yeller takes off in a flash and then Mini is king of the roost.  It’s hilarious to watch.

Every day we are getting more and more hummingbirds here on the mountain.  (I call them mini-pigs with wings!)  I have seven hummingbird feeders out and by mid summer I will be filling them two or three times a week!   We have a little feeder right on our window by our kitchen table, and many times we are entertained as we eat, watching these beautiful creatures fly up to the feeder and eat.   We see mostly broad tailed hummingbirds and a few calliope and Rufus hummers also.  They are so beautiful.  It’s always fun to sit and watch them fight over the feeders. 
  I will be out sitting on the deck and all of a sudden I feel like I’ve been dive bombed as one male hummer is chasing another male hummer away from the feeders and right past my ear!  It’s also fun to watch as this same tough guy sits on a tree branch three feet away from one of the feeders just waiting for another hummingbird to DARE come near its feeder! 

I’ve been working hard in my hillside garden this spring and its looking beautiful.   The different ground covers that I’ve planted in the past are filling in many of the areas that need it and I’ve got my pots and  containers, all filled with colorful annual plants.

I still have my two sections - right in front of the trailer is more organized and planned and the rest of the area is more natural – lots of wild strawberries and other native plants.  I repainted my metal rooster and hen that I bought in Mexico a couple of years ago and set them out on the natural hillside.  
I did plant some dahlia seeds in one area this spring and I hope they will grow and add color this summer.  The beautiful yucca plants at the far end of the hillside that Del and Susan planted some years ago were damaged with this years’ rains as it washed piles of sand down on top of them.  I dug out what I could and hope they survive.

The area along the fence on the other side of the trailer is filled with brightly colored pots full of colorful fake flowers, birdfeeders and a squirrel feeder.

I have one more small flower garden that I have been fighting with for several years as it was always full of roots no matter how much I dug it out.   Finally this year I dug EVERY bit of dirt out four inches deep and laid down visqueen and then refilled it with GOOD dirt and planted it with flowers and bishops weed.   I’ll enjoy the color of the flowers this summer but I’m looking forward to having the whole area fill up with the bishops weed in the next year or two.  It will then look good without a lot of work or expense.  Ed 'installed' my black fence for me!

A neighbor on the mountain gave me some cherry tomato plants and I got them transplanted in-between the rain storms that hit the last couple of days we were up on the mountain.   Now we will be able to  enjoy yummy cherry tomatoes later on this summer. (If the wild turkeys don't eat them first!)

Last but not least is my turtle that I also bought in Mexico about 4 years ago.   Each year I re-paint him and then spray him down with lots of clear polyurethane spray paint to seal it against water damage.  
He is still as cute and bright as the day I bought him!

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Our first week of 2014

Actually I will start this blog with the last few days of 2013.  We left home on Saturday, December 28 and headed South to Cedar City, Utah.  We left behind the ice and snow that had plagued us for several weeks.  It was actually 19 degree F when we pulled out of our driveway on Saturday morning and South.

We stopped in Beaver on our way through and visited with Ed's youngest Brother Kevin at Kevin's Conoco for 15 minutes and then headed over to the Beaver Creamery which another brother manages to pick up a five pound block of their delicious NEW cheese which is milder than mild.  YUMMY.  We also bought a few bags of cheese curd to keep us going down here in Arizona.  

We made it to Cedar City about 3:30 PM to spend the night with a college roommate from almost too long ago to remember! <3  Linda and Don welcomed us with open arms and we visited with each other way into the late hours.  A delicious dinner and breakfast the next morning made us feel very spoiled.
Sunday found us at an old school buddy's home in St George for a couple of hours and then on the Veyo to visit a sweet Aunt of mine.  Both Richard and then Aunt Annette made us feel very welcome.

We loved the warm 45 degrees in Beaver, then Cedar and then St George.  (We hope the palm trees survive the cold winter that they have suffered through in St George this year.)

Mesquite was a balmy 54....NICE!

Monday morning we got on the road by 8 am Nevada time.  We pulled into Quartzsite about 3:20 that afternoon - to 65 degrees!!  That is why we go to Arizona every winter.  

Our Home Away From Home

We got a ROYAL WELCOME from all of our friends that were already down here.  We enjoyed a lovely campfire at  Ed and Jo's that night with Del and Susan and Patty and Gary from our camp up in Idaho showing up at the campfire also!

Tuesday nite was the New Year's Eve party.  We had spent the day setting up camp, laying out the carpets and staking them down.  Rearranging the inside of the trailer.  The party was fun and at 10 pm we watched the ball drop in New York City at which time the music was turned off and the TV turned off and we started cleaning up because out here in the desert on BLM land we are not allowed to have generators and sound systems going after 10pm.  We got back to the trailer and took a couple of pictures  - one of me that turned out great and one of Ed that was very blurry!!!  Then we hit the sack as it had been a very busy day.

New Years Day itself was rather quiet - Ed and I got the tent set sits behind the trailer and we store the stuff we are not using in it.  Boxes that hold lights, extra food, the warm clothes we use for four wheeling on cooler days etc. Ed and Jo invited us to go out to dinner at the Grubsteak (they have wonderful wonderful fish).   Edward had invited Larry and Kitty and Lee all over for a campfire that evening while I had accepted the dinner invitation so we went to eat at five and Larry and Kitty and Lee AND Ed and Jo all showed up for a campfire about 7.  The skies were clear, there was no wind, the weather was warm and the friendship was wonderful around that campfire!!

Our Cute Lamp in the front yard

Thursday we headed out with friends on our first ATV ride of the new year. Fun fun day - we got back at 2pm- early enough that I could take a shower and get ready to meet all of our friends at the tent at 4. 

Four Wheeling DOWN the hill

Friday was a quieter day - Ed went to help some friends empty their black and gray water from their trailer and go dump it while I scrubbed and cleaned the trailer.  I vacuumed and mopped and waxed the floors, washed the windows and  simply scrubbed and cleaned corners of the trailer that I hadn't felt like cleaning in September and October when I should have!  

We headed into town finally about noon to go to the post office for our post office box so we could have our mail forwarded.  We hit the grocery store and the dollar store for various items and headed back to the trailer out in the desert. 

We had invited Larry and Kitty and also Lee for dinner.  So I spent the rest of the afternoon cutting and chopping and mixing and stirring and baking and frying dinner.  We served them our delicious elk steaks (all except Lee who is a vegetarian.)  I really worked hard on this meal because Kitty and Larry have hosted us in their home many times down in Hurricane and I wanted to say thanks to them for their love and kindness.

Our Front Yard

This morning I woke up just wanting to laze the day away.  We have been awfully busy all week. But as I looked at my overflowing kitchen I decided I needed to have Ed and Jo from Washington State over for dinner tonight so as to help with all the leftovers.  We had a great time - Our friend Ed wasn't sure he even wanted to TRY the elk as he had never eaten elk before and thought it would be like venison.  He kept calling it beef before he tasted it.  He LOVED it.  Then after the dishes were done and dried and put away we headed over to their trailer for a continuation of our conversation around the fire.  

 Right now, Edward is watching TV and I am typing on the computer.  Tomorrow we will go to church in the morning.  This is our life in the desert....friends, four wheeling, firesides, and eating!  

Monday morning I hopped in Razr and with our dirty clothes and headed into Quartzsite to do laundry.  First I stopped at Gem World  - my favorite place in town to buy beads!!  Dangerous store.  Here are a few necklaces that I have already made from the beads I bought on Monday:

Deep Forest Necklace and Earring Set

Lariet in Blue Necklace and Earring Set

Lariet in Red Necklace and Earring Set

Gilded Pearls Necklace and Earring Set

Blue  Ice Necklace and Earring Set

I still have several more new beads to turn into somthing beautiful.   Five new necklaces  in 
2 1/2 days!!  My creative juices are going like mad.  :-D 

We now have our solar lamps out lining our driveway and my cute red ladybird wind flower set up .  We had a couple of days where the wind was blowing cold but today was  much better .  Its been cold at night (down to 32 at 7am) but warming up to the high 60's each day  We miss our family but we are loving the warmth!

Our closest neighbors, Ed and Jo across the way and Brian and Wanda way off to the right


Wednesday, June 12, 2013

kitchen cabinets

I want to replace my Formica countertops with granite. I was told a year ago that it would be about $1000 to do all of it.  I want to replace my Formica countertops with granite.   I was told a year ago that it would be about for me.
I do want granite – I am not sure right now what colors – I think I would rather have something like river white or a lighter color although I won’t rule out black altogether.  I have light toned cabinets and I am planning on redoing my floors in wood so I could handle a dark counter top if I choose a light wood. 
Anyway - My kitchen area is somewhat small – so you might be able to give me a better price on a ‘leftover’ piece of granite.  The main counter runs a total of 10’10”.  This measurement includes the one inch thick backsplash---giving me a one inch overhang.  The counter is 25” deep except for the corner area which is a total of 38” deep.  On the other side of the stove there is a small area that is 25” deep and only 15” wide.
I have attached pictures of the countertops.  I would also like to replace my sink with either a good quality stainless steel or good quality porcelain (not the fake stuff) in off white with one large and one small sink.

Sunday, April 7, 2013


Colon, Panama
February 14 2013

Because they don't have the new canal finished our cruise ship was too big to be able to transverse the canal.  Our Cruise left the port at Fort Lauderdale and returned to the same port.  We were on the Atlantic Ocean for  the full cruise.  

However, the morning of Valentines Day we were up and off the ship at 7am (yes...for you doubters, I did get up in time to shower, dress, get my makeup and hair fixed, have a full Breakfast and then head down to exit the ship by 7 am (That's FIVE AM to you Utahns!!!)

They loaded us on busses (I think there were 14 busloads of people heading out to go through the Panama canal from our ship that morning!)  and off we went to the opposite side of Panama - the Pacific Ocean!!!!

We learned an awfully lot about Panama on the hour long drive across country - especially about how much Panama received from the United States when we turned our whole system over to Panama itself.  We offloaded at a beautiful little boat dock area with lots and lots of sailboats moored and got onto some large ferries.

This is one street downtown Colon.

They drove us to a pretty little bay where they loaded us up on some ferry boats.  It was amazing how many little 'islands' were created with the dirt dug out of the canal area.  Some 283 million tons!!
This is the pilot that they brought out to our ferry to pilot us through the canal.  After waiting around for an hour we were so excited to see him clambor on board    Every  boat/ferry/ship that goes through the canal has to have an authorized panama canal pilot guide them through.
That's Panama City in the distance
One of several big bridges we went under.  The large equipment on the right is a large dredging machine to help keep the canal cleared out
After another hour or two we are finally heading up to the canal
Heading in!
To think this was FINISHED IN 1914!

Our ferries seem so small even though each one carried about 200 people!

tying us down (I guess in case the huge doors opened when the shouldn't and they don't want us being washed away!)
They tied two of the ferries next to each other -
Looking back at our side of the ferry.  Thank heavens we weren't up on top - eight hours of sun would have had us broiled!
There was so much extra room on our side and the ship on the other side filled the lock from stem to stern - it was a Greek Tanker that was built just FOR the canal - these ships have TWO feet clearance on each side of the ship!
We are almost to the top can see the tracks for the 'mules' that keep the huge ships centered so they don't hit the sides of the lock.  Each boat travels through the lock under its own power.
Heading into the second part of the first lock.  On the Pacific side of the canal there are two locks but the first one has two sections.  The two locks raise the ships up a total of 85 feet.  Sea Level is sea level - so the Atlantic and Pacific are at the same level.  However the tides in the Pacific Ocean are up to 20 feet higher.  The French started building the canal first and were trying to duplicate what they did in building the Suez Canal - just a BIG ditch.  In come the American's and their engineer's come up with the lock system!  Voila!
These cement walls are almost 110 years old.
another gorgeous bridge!
Huge cables holding it up
Following our Greek ship again
Heading into the second lock

They are building a new canal to the West of this larger ships can go through the locks.  I am so glad we went through this was fascinating!
watch tower over the locks
gates - it takes 1.8 minutes for these gates to totally close.  Once they are closed it only takes 8 minutes to raise or lower the level of the water so the gates can open again...12 minutes total!
Noriega's prison.  Didn't look real high security!     We also got to see a brief flash of the Panama Temple - I saw a flash of white and said "look Ed"....He took a FAST picture and lo and behold, when we opened the pictures up on our computer and zoomed in - you could just barely see the angel moroni on the top!
old cement walls!!!  After we went through the second lock we entered into a big lake - we were about half way through the whole canal...a good 8 hours after we got on the ferry.  they unloaded us at a small town on the canal.  It would have taken another 3-4 hours to go all the way through the canal and we got back to our ship about an hour after it was supposed to leave as it was.  It was a long long day but definitely worth it - check that one off of my bucket list!