Monday, April 7, 2014

The new year is getting older and perhaps my hiatus from writing should come to an end.  I am not promising anything as far as how often I will write or what I plan to write about, only that I need to start writing again.

We had a momentus family event over the weekend and I wanted to post pictures for anyone who might be interested and for those who are anxiously awaiting said pics.  Our #2 daughter married her soul mate over the weekend and it was a joyous beautiful event.  Planning the wedding began the day they announced their engagement, eight months ago, and took many peoples' ideas, skills and work to bring to fruition.

The announcement:

                            Sara Ann Hedin
                             Trevor Royce Teague
                          cordially invite you to share
                                  in their happiness
                           as they unite in marriage

                             Saturday, April 5, 2014 
                            at Three in the afternoon 
                    at Kartchner Caverns State Park

     Reception to follow at Tombstone American Legion

About 60 people, family members and friends, attended the wedding at the Caverns.  It was held outside in the amphitheater, a fabulous natural venue, where we were surrounded by Arizona's great outdoors.  The weather cooperated with gentle breezes, fluffy clouds and just one small sprinkle of rain, adding good luck to the couple's traditional marriage vows.

The bride was attended by her sister, Shawna, as the matron of honor, her sister, Sandy, her good friend, Cassie, and her new stepdaughter, LeeAnn. Six year old niece, Eden, scattered rose petals down the aisle.

The groom also had three attendants. His twin brother, Travis, stood up as his Best Man, along with his uncle, Clyde, and his friend, Jim. Logan, Sara's six year old son, carried the rings on a purple and lace pillow.

Sara's Dad, Steve, escorted her and gave her into the hands of the pastor and her new husband. The ceremony lasted about 30 minutes and then about an hour was spent taking pictures by a professional photographer before everyone traveled to Tombstone for food and fun.

The Tombstone Legion Hall was decorated with cream tablecloths topped with lavender and burlap table runners.  There were rustic pails filled with white and lavender roses and carnations adorning each table along with candles and favor boxes filled with candy for the guests. A buffet was set up for all to enjoy.  Barbequed beef and pork, cole slaw, potato salad, baked beans and rolls made up the tasty menu.  

The Bride's cake had 3 layers of lemon cake with blueberry cream filling.  The Groom's cake was a rich dark chocolate.  The party lasted well passed 9 pm.  Then many guests visited the saloons in Tombstone or retired to local hotels.

The bride and groom will be taking their honeymoon trip in May to Alaska aboard one of Norwegian Cruise Lines elegant ships.

I would like to thank everyone who helped celebrate this wonderful occasion.  I also especially thank those who helped plan and make this wedding a great success.  It is up to the couple to make the marriage successful and I have no doubt, that with the Lord's help, it will be!  Congratulations and all the best to Sara and Trevor!

Monday, November 25, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!  I decided to wish you the best before this year instead of telling you what a great time we had after.  The picture is last year's table setting.  I'm sure this year's will be about the same.

We had our first real winter storm over the weekend.  It rained and rained.  It got cold but the frost did not come until this morning.  There is a sprinkling of snow on the very tip top of the mountains behind us.  The Whetstones seem to have missed out as they are not so tall.  The weatherperson said snow would only get down to about 7,000 ft.  

Willy completed his puppy class at Petsmart and got his graduation certificate.  He did ok but the dog is still a pup, just 6 months old, so he still needs lots of training and discipline.  He is scheduled to be relieved of his cajones on Dec. 4th.  I expect he will be a little easier to handle after that.

Buddy did a brave but very dangerous thing.  One morning about 2 Sundays ago, Buddy was going crazy barking and trying to get out of the yard, so I let him out.  He tore down to the bottom of our hill where there is a wash.  I could hear a horrible screaming, squealing noise.  It was truly horrible but I could not quite figure out what it was.  I saw Buddy's white shape down among the trees  and I could see that he was shaking something violently, a gray shape.  That was the source of the noise.  I figured Buddy finally caught one of the coyotes I often see and he was killing it.  Buddy returned to the yard after a time.  He seemed to be unscathed but had a smear of blood on his face.  Later that day, the men and grands took a walk down to the wash.  They found a dead javelina!  I was surprised as we have not seen javelina in the area until recently.  The one Buddy killed was only about half grown, not a full sized pig.  I am thankful for that because Buddy could have been seriously injured by a full sized pig or if a herd had ganged up on him.  I hope if there are more they will move on so that my big brave guardian dog will not feel that he has to kill another one.

I have been getting ready for Thanksgiving and finally gathered all the goodies for that.  I found sweet Hawaiian dinner rolls at Safeway this morning which completes the menu.  All the other goodies, the turkey, pies, veggies, etc. are either in the frig or being prepared by someone else.

I have also managed to complete my Christmas shopping before "Black Friday"!  Woohoo!  I hate going shopping after Thanksgiving!  So, all I have to do is wrap gifts and decorate the house.  I haven't decided if I will go green and gold this year, or silver and blue, or traditional red and green. I guess I will decide after I drag all the trinkets out.  I completed a dress for my one and only granddaughter to wear to her Christmas program at school this year.  I was very pleased with the result.  Now that I know the pattern, I plan on using it for her flower girl dress for our #2 daughter's wedding in April.

We have been having some fabulous Arizona sunsets lately too.  Enjoy, and may you have a filling and happy Turkey Day!  Don't forget it is THANKSGIVING DAY too!

Monday, November 4, 2013

I am loving the weather lately.  Cool, almost cold mornings, and warm afternoons full of blue sky and puffy white clouds.  Arizona continues to amaze and delight me.  I love it here.

Halloween has come and gone.  We enjoyed carving jack-o-lanterns, dressing up as zombies, ninjas and other creatures of the imagination, eating lots of candy and going to the grandkids' costume parades. 

We have been visited by a few wild creatures lately. A hawk landed on a stump in the west side pasture.  He took his time eating a critter he caught for breakfast and I was able to get a good picture of him. Then another morning, I saw 4 coyotes on the hill behind us.  They are serenading us at night, making the cats very nervous and the dogs especially watchful.  One of the wily creatures passed right by my chicken pen this morning.  Buddy was going ballistic which prompted me to go out and get a fleeting glimpse of him.  It pays to be aware and respond to Buddy's different barking signals.  Friday evening he was going crazy and wouldn't stop so I went out and discovered a nice sized rattler.  I hollered for my husband, who came out armed and dangerous.  Buddy followed my orders and left the snake alone, saving himself from getting bit.  Great dog!  It was the third snake we had to kill this year and I was surprised that there was one still out this late in the season.  We just always have to be cautious.  I was thankful that Willy had already gone to bed for the night.  He would've gotten bit as he is still a pup and does not yet follow orders so well, not to mention his bulldog heart, which propels him forward like a bull.  He would've gone right up and grabbed that snake and tried to shake it to death. He is learning and doing well in his puppy class at Petsmart on Saturdays.  He always seems so big to me, as he is still growing, but as you can see in the picture with Buddy, he is just a medium size.

Steve and I decided to take advantage of the great weather and a free Sunday and took a drive over to the eastern side of our state.  We left our house about 1130 and headed east on the I-10.  We took the exit to Dragoon and crossed over to Hwy.191.  At that junction, we turned south and stopped at Cochise Stronghold.  We took a short nature hike there and ate a light lunch.  It is beautiful there but it was still early so we decided to drive further south on 191 until we came to SR 181 going east again.  It is a beautiful drive through a flat plain punctuated by "sky Islands".  That is mountains popping up in the middle of the grassland.  We drove to Chiricahua National Monument, which is about 35 southeast of Wilcox, AZ.  WOW!  We were awestruck!  I did not know such a spectacular place was practically in our backyard!  There was a road through the monument that took us to a place called Massai Point.  It was like being on top of the world!  We could see all the way back to Cochise Stronghold in AZ, across to New Mexico further east and well into Mexico on the southern side.  I also discovered that the area was once volcanic and that a volcano blew its top there much like Crater Lake's Mt. Mazama in Oregon.  There are also great rock formations caused by the basin and range geological phenomenon.  We enjoyed it tremendously and hope to take the grandkids there soon.

I have many sewing projects going and am in the middle of Christmas shopping which I hope to get done before Thanksgiving!  Willy has two more puppy classes and then he will have to go through the right of passage of getting fixed.  I am not looking forward to that, but I think it will be better for everyone in the long run. 'Til next time...

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

The sky is crystal clear and blue.  The hot humid days of the monsoon have finally passed.  Mornings have been in the fifties or low sixty degrees.  This is the time of the year I love best in Arizona.  The days still get into the nineties but no more triple digit days! 

The summer was filled with doctor appointments.  I felt that I should get a "Well Woman"  check up because I hit my 6th decade yesterday.  So I had eye check ups and new glasses, dentist check-ups and a new crown on one of my molars, a mammogram and my first dreaded colonoscopy.  The big "C" was not as bad as I expected.  The cleansing part was not so fun but the procedure itself was painless.  I had a great doctor and she gave me all the pictures and removed 2 polyps.  She said I am fine, no cancer and to come back in 3 years.  The mammogram also turned out clean so, at glorious 60 years old, I have a clean bill of health.  I feel pretty good about that.  Now if I could just lose about 30 pounds! 

I started trying out a vegetarian diet after all my check-ups were completed.  I have been pretty amazed about it.  I thought I would miss meat and not be able to live without it.  I have discovered just the opposite!  I do not miss meat and I am not any more hungry than when I was eating meat.  The astonishing thing is that I actually feel better, have more energy and feel lighter, even if I am not!  I used to have a lot of pain in my knees and one of them was swollen all the time and bigger than the other knee.  Lately, I have noticed that my knees hurt less and the swelling has gone down so much that both knees are about the same now. 

I am back to working out on my tread-climber machine every day and working out with weights about 2 days a week.  I have lost about 5 pounds since I started.  Of course, the weight thing is still frustrating.  It always seems to be two steps forward, one step back.  I weigh myself every day.  That seems to be less frustrating for me because I see the fluctuations daily.  When I only weighed myself once a week, I got very frustrated because, if I gained, it seemed like a whole week had been wasted.  Weighing myself every day shows me that I gain or lose every day.  Often I can look back and say,"Ah-Ha!"  I ate too many chips yesterday!", or "Wow! Sticking to veggies really makes a difference!"  I only lost 2 pounds when I was doing my fast and cleanse for the colonoscopy.  So eating nothing and starving myself does not really work either.  Eating veggies and no meat does seem to work.  My mantra has become "No wheat, no white, no meat!" 

The chickens are giving us about half a dozen eggs a day now.  I don't eat them but Steve does and I give many away to family and friends.  I also cook some up for the dogs every day.

Willy has had all his shots now.  He and Buddy were also tested for heartworms.   They are both clear and have been put on preventative meds.  We had lots of rain this summer and, therefore, lots of mosquitoes.  Since an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, it was worth it to me to pay the vet and get the protection they needed to stay healthy.

I recently made some pillows and a fall table runner for one of my girls.  I have purchased fabric to make some new muumuus for myself.  We have a new Hobby Lobby store in Tucson now.  And much to my surprise, a Hobby Lobby also opened up in Sierra Vista.  Also, Sierra Vista got a new JoAnn's Fabric store, which I have yet to visit.  I am excited that I can go to Sierra Vista now instead of having to go to Tucson all the time.

On a sad note, my mother-in-law, Betty Hedin, passed away on Sept 28th.  She had been battling colon cancer for about 2 years. She was 83 years old.  We were told that if she had had a colonoscopy when she was 70, she probably would have avoided this cancer altogether.  That was a powerful incentive to me and the rest of the family to have the procedure done.  We will all miss Betty.  She was a cheerful, positive person who gave generously to others.  We are thankful that her pain and suffering have come to an end and one day we will all meet a gain in Heaven.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Willy has been in our family 3 weeks already!  Time flies when you are having fun!  The swallows on the porch rafters have fledged four new babies and, I am happy to say, they all four are flying around!  No cats got any of them this year!  Yeah!

We have finally started getting eggs from our chickens that we got way back in April.  My one and only black hen started and she is laying an egg a day.  One of the Rhode Island Reds is also laying.  Not that I can tell you which one exactly but I did get a picture of her in the nesting box.

Buddy got groomed and cleaned up very nicely.  It is a pleasure to run my hands through his soft white fur again.  Not that it will last very long.  With all the heat, Buddy digs holes in any mud that happens to be around from watering gardens or whatever and lays in the holes to cool off.  I don't expect him to be pretty for very long.  He and Willy seem to be getting along ok.  Although Buddy has been very tolerant, he has growled a couple of times or knocked Willy on his butt when he gets too rough.  Willy thinks Buddy is a bull I guess.  He tends to like to latch on to the thick fur on the front of Buddy's neck and not let go.  I have corrected him by grabbing him at the scruff of his neck and giving a shake when I think Buddy has had enough.  But Buddy is more effective with his own corrective measures, usually a growl and a big paw flattening Willy to the ground! Willy doesn't like that much and gets the message to lay off.

Buddy redeemed himself from the last disaster that ended the life of my little black rooster.  Yesterday morning I could not find Buddy when I went out to feed the alpacas.  Then I came around the front of the house and there was one of the Buff Orpington hens out in the yard.  Buddy was right on her, then he picked her up in his mouth!  Well, I thought she was a goner.  "Leave it! Buddy" I yelled at him.  He dropped her immediately and she scrambled back into the corner between the pen and the yard fence.  I was able to catch her then.  She did not have any holes in her or any blood draining anywhere.  She was wet with Buddy slobber and seemed in shock.  I took her in the house and clipped both her wings.  Then I took her back out to the pen and placed her inside the coop in one of the nesting boxes and prayed for the best.  Sure enough, later in the day she was moving around with the other hens, a bit slow, but all right non-the-less!  I gave Buddy a treat for doing his job of guarding the chickens.

I got Steve to take a picture of me with the two dogs.  Maybe you can get an idea of the size of Willy and Buddy.  I hope to take pictures of Willy as he grows and keep track of his progress.  He has his first Vet visit tomorrow.  He'll get puppy shots but will still need one more Parvo immunization before I will take him out in public.  His breeder said Parvo has been especially bad this year so I don't want to take any chances.

Buddy redeemed himself from the last disa

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

We are well into summer here.  The monsoon rains have turned everything green and the wild grasses are getting tall.  The humidity eased off a bit for a couple of days this week.  Today it is back and the clouds are piling up over the mountains.  I expect we will get more storms later today.

I got 2 new books this week from Amazon.  The first one is Sheepish by Catherine Friend.  The second is Navajo Shepherd and Weaver by Gladys A. Reichard, first published in 1936.  I ordered these with the wild idea that I might get some Navajo-Churro sheep to raise and shear.  Since some time has passed and my friends and family have declined to support this idea, I too have given up the idea of ever getting any more farm animals or livestock.  I will have to be content with my 3 alpacas, 17 chickens, 2 ducks, 2 cats and one huge white dog.  I will read the books though, as they look very interesting and reading will help keep the Alzheimer's at bay.

I did find a puppy in the Arizona Star Newspaper that I could not resist however.  I saw the ad and couldn't wait for Steve to get home.  I was afraid the pups would all be sold.  Fortunately for me, only one of the 2 pups that I was interested in had been sold.  The other one, a male, was still available.  So at 5 pm on Wednesday, July 24th, we drove into Tucson and met our pup.  We stopped at our daughter's house on the way home to show him off.  Then we had to stop for some dinner.  We finally got home about 8pm.  I expected to be up all night with the pup.  I was up all night but only about 2 hours was because of the pup.  He settled down fairly quickly in his new crate.  I, however, tossed and turned all night because of eating lousy food at 830 at night!  Yikes!

Our pup is a registered "Olde English Bulldogge."  It is a rare breed and fairly new.  A man in Pennsylvania in 1970 wanted to get back the old time bull baiting bulldog of the 1800's without the aggressive tendencies needed for bull-baiting, but with a personality of a companion dog and without the genetic problems of the modern English Bulldog.  Most modern English Bulldogs have to be delivered by Cesarian section because of their huge heads.  Our pup and his siblings, there were 11 of them, have smaller heads and can be born naturally.  The "Olde English Bulldogge" is a combination of English Bulldogs, Mastiff and a couple of other breeds.  Our pup will grow to about 16 inches tall at the shoulder and weigh about 50 pounds or more.  He is very mellow so far.  He does chew things but seems to be content to sit or lay at my feet while he's tearing things up.  He will chase a ball and bring it straight back to me, but he does not seem to be hyper active like most puppies tend to be.  I think he will be a great dog for us as we age.  But I tell you what!  It is almost like having a new baby in the house!  I have to watch him every second that he is not in his crate to prevent potty mishaps and chewing up the wrong things.  He has been good about learning to "go to bed", meaning going into his crate, and mostly going outside to potty.  But he is only 10 weeks old, so it will be awhile before the potty thing is conquered and I can trust him indoors.  I keep reminding myself that puppyhood is short and soon I will have another lazy companion who is content to sleep at my feet or follow me around all day!  It is going to be a long year!  But how could I resist that face?

Saturday, July 20, 2013

It has been a very busy summer.  On May 21 and 23, two of our grandchildren, Eden and Logan, graduated from kindergarten.  We are proud of both of them!  They will be big first graders this year.  Eden already started on July 15th and Logan will start on the 25th.

On May 28, my long time friend and I started our journey to visit a mutual friend who had just moved to New Mexico.  I was pretty excited about the trip because I had not been to New Mexico except to pass through.  We drove east on the I-10 to Las Cruces, and then north on I-25 to Albuquerque.  Our friend has a new place in the hill country between Albuquerque and Santa Fe.  It was absolutely beautiful.  It was good to see our friend again after 30 years.  She is a great hostess!  Thanks Chris! 

We started back toward home on May 30.  We had a pilgrimage to accomplish.  We stopped at the "Wild Spirit Wolf Sanctuary" in Candy Kitchen, NM.  We drove through some awesome country and arrived at the sanctuary in the late morning.  We took a tour with an excellent guide who told us the history of the sanctuary and each canine that is homed there.  Most of the animals are wolf-dog crosses, but there were also a few full blooded Arctic wolves.  I think the Arctic wolves were my favorites although some of the young wolf-dog pups were awful appealing too.  I think the work of the sanctuary is commendable but I would much rather see them stay in a natural environment.  It was a bitter-sweet visit.

My friend and I returned to Arizona through the Salt River Canyon in northern Arizona.  It is almost as spectacular as the Grand Canyon.  I took lots of pictures there even though we have been there many times.

In June, Steve and I took a drive up to Roosevelt Lake, northeast of Scottsdale, AZ.  We got to ride around and fish in a pontoon boat with friends and family.  The lake is man-made and in a deep canyon fed by the Salt River.  We saw several large bass swimming around but only caught 2 smaller ones.  I enjoyed being on a boat once again although actually getting between the dock and the boat was more challenging than I remember.  Old knees and soft muscles don't make for quick moves or easy balance!  LOL!

At the end of June, we loaded up all the grandkids and their moms and headed for Oregon to visit Steve's mom and family.  We took 2 cars and took 3 days to travel.  Mostly things were OK but the overnight stop in Stockton, CA turned out to be the motel from Hell!  We had traveled 12 hours that day.  The desk clerk put us on the first floor and the third floor facing the pool.  The pool was full of a crowd having a birthday party.  There were other questionable people around smoking questionable substances and drinking.  It turned out the desk clerk lied to me because Shawna went back and told her the first floor room was not acceptable.  Shawna managed to get a 3rd floor room closer to our room even though the clerk had told me there was absolutely nothing available!  Then the bedspreads had cigarette holes in them, there were holes in the walls and the ceilings.  The only ice maker on the facility was in another building across the parking lot on the second floor. Breakfast was supposed to be complimentary the next morning, but the room was so small and so crowded with the party goers from the night before that we just left and went to Denny's.  All the while, the desk clerk from the night before glared daggers at Shawna and me as if daring us to say anything at all!  Boy, were we glad to get out of there!

We had a nice visit with Steve's family.  It was good to see them all again.  Our niece had her first baby, a boy, the day we left. I made her a quilt with the dinosaur theme that she had picked for the baby's room.

The moms and grands left Oregon a few days before Steve and I.  They visited the Oregon-California coast and the giant redwoods.  They got home a day ahead of Steve and I.  Steve and I decided to drive back home via the 395 on the eastern side of the Sierra Nevada Mountains instead of going back the way we came on the I-5.  The traffic was much lighter as were the crowds in restaurants.  We drove through some of the tallest mountains in the lower 48.  I got to see the Owen's Valley and we stopped at the visitors' center at the foot of Mt. Whitney, the tallest mountain in the country outside of Alaska. 

So we get home in time for the first really bad monsoon thunderstorm of the season.  On July 2, a bolt of lightening struck so close to us that we about jumped out of our skins.  Then I saw a weird flickering orange glow just down the hill and in front of our pine trees.  It was a fire!  I was freaking out!  Steve grabbed a shovel and headed down the hill.  Fortunately, it was a single yucca plant.  Steve was able to knock it down and cover it with dirt.  I was so thankful that I saw it,(it was 930 at night) and that Steve was able to put it out by himself.  We had plenty of rain that night too.  Thank the Lord. 
Then on July 8, my little red dog, Penny, got bitten right between the eyes by a rattlesnake.  We lost her the following morning.  She was 16 years old. I will miss her.  She is buried in my rock garden in the front yard.

The chickens have not started laying eggs yet but I am hoping they will soon.  My garden produced some lettuce and tomatoes, a few peppers and turnips, but then was wiped out by one of our famous storms.  I will be ripping it out soon and may plant flowers instead.  

Til next time.....