Thursday, September 27, 2012

One Amazing Hole

Get your motor runnin'
Part of this new meagerly funded lifestyle is finding entertainment without spending too much. Motorcycling is part of our fun. Trouble is, motorcycles require upkeep like all other vehicles. We've been grounded for a couple of months because we needed a tire. I finally got the dollars, we got the tire and headed out yesterday to the Grand Canyon for lunch. Looked up the restaurant inside the south rim entrance and saw too many dollar signs so we decided we'd eat in the little village outside the entrance.

Before getting to pine country
Looking over Frank's shoulder
The drive up was gorgeous. The low 60's are cold for me to be on a bike, but with leathers and a turtle neck it was comfortable - except for my face. I forgot a scarf and wore my half helmet. The sky was full of popcorn clouds and as long they didn't pop over the sun, I was warm enough. Beautiful day. We headed north and turned east at Ashfork and north again at Williams. There are red, purple and yellow wildflowers blooming amongst the evergreens. Beautiful.

Still outside the park
Our choices for lunch were pizza, Mexican food and steak. Steak for lunch is a bit much. We'd had Mexican food ala Christie the night before. We ended up at Canyon Pizza because they had a patio. And because pizza can be cheap. We ordered a margarita pizza and sat in the sun on the patio. The bar next door had Radio Margaritaville playing. What a perfect lunchtime setting. And the pizza was phenomenal.

We walked across the street to get our pass into the park. We scored another great deal. With Frank's age status (and it is status now adays!) we paid $10 for a lifetime pass. Not only does it get us into the Grand Canyon forever but into all Federal and national parks and sites. So cool!!

Frank the photographer
Leathers kept me warm
The short drive into the park was even more beautiful. We saw a female elk and a swooping brown hawk. We stopped at the first lookout which is also the visitor center. We didn't bother with the center this time. Our purpose was to eat lunch and get a glimpse of the canyon. Although there were lots of tourists there, it was relatively slow for the canyon. We met a couple from Brazil who rented a Harley in Chicago and were on a twenty-three day ride to San Bernadino. Oughda! They invited us to come to Brazilia in July to attend a huge motorcycle rally and party. If only...

This displays the native tribes of the area
A pretty awesome hole in the ground
The ride back was warmer so my face didn't freeze. And we got home in time for another great Christie creation. All and all, a great day on a dime.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Good News/Abundance-Bad News/A Flood

Christie geared to fight allergies in the garden
Harvesting continues. With lots of sneezes and wheezing. Neither Christie or I were bothered during the typical spring allergy season that plagued us in Phoenix. But August and September have been miserable if we work too long in the garden. I've started taking allergy meds again,  but Christie can't because of her motherly state. She gears up but still can't last too long. We're seeing the last of the peppers and tomatoes, yet they just keep coming! We still have potatoes and musk mellon. And some carrots. Always forget about them because they can stay in the ground for a while.

We're canning more and freezing less. The freezers are topped out. We sat on the corner out on the main street for a couple of hours a weekend ago - made a big $3. Won't do that again. We gave some of our overflow to a farmers market in Scottsdale and made considerably more. Was even sweeter because we didn't have to man the booth. Maybe next season we'll designate some of our crops just for the valley market. We've also given bags to the food shelter. They loved that.

Xena is fearless
A couple of nights ago we had a thunder storm. Not abnormal but Lance and Christie were gone so poor Gabby felt really insecure. Gabby always shakes when she hears thunder. Christie is her security during those rough times. Between her shaking and drooling, I felt sorry for her but she was inconsolable. Rusty used to pant and fret. Now he just follows me around to keep me within sight. Xena could care less. Nothing shakes Xena.

This morning I woke up to a flooded laundry room spilling over into my bathroom and kitchen. You're not going to believe me, but the washer turned itself on. Actually, I forgot to close the lid. Not usually a problem because it shuts off and sits there. And I'm sure it did because some time in the night or early morning I got up to use the bathroom, and there was no water under my feet. But at 6:00 this morning there was, and it was still running. It had to have turned on or overrode the auto shut off some time in the wee hours. What a mess. Sure hope there's no damage where it ran into the floor vent.

Lance and Christie are on the first part of their mini-honeymoon staying two nights in Laughlin. Hope their having fun - and it's not so bad having the house to ourselves either!

Friday, September 14, 2012

I'm Guilted, Xena Knows No Guilt

Rusty with his new toy
I ended my last blog with a promise of better news this time from the farm, retirement and writing. I actually said next week, but I didn't make that deadline. I've never had a bug hang on so long. Now, at last, the only thing I'm left with are allergies.

The birds scored this one

Farm news: Although we're inundated with tomatoes and peppers, much of the other crops are about done. Our freezers are nearly full. We have to add a top shelf to the pantry. Frank has put up jars of pickles and relish with still more to do. He's also started on the pears. Christie got all the red delicious apples turned into sauce or pie filling. We had to get them all off the tree because the birds were feasting. And we have jars of tomatoes, tomato sauce and tomato soup. But there will be more. I even jarred some tomatoes one day. I prefer to stay out of the kitchen but my guilt wouldn't let me leave Christie with that much to do, even though she loves to cook. She's made sun dried tomatoes in the oven. Delicious. I  harvested the balance of the onions, leeks and radishes today. We've given several bags of patty pan squash and okra to the local food bank. This weekend we're giving some of our harvest to a Farmer's Market on consignment. May as well see if we can make a few bucks with our lovely bounty.

Retirement: I'm not actually retired but we're calling it retired since Frank has achieved that status. And we're living on lowly retirement income supplemented with my writing royalties. Frank is wondering if he really is retired. Working the farm, keeping up the house and all that goes with it - not much time for the front porch rocker. And right now with all the crops coming in, none us of are twiddling our thumbs. Lance is now calling his dad Pickle. He's getting pretty good at canning pickles and relish.

In an effort to conserve money, I have my hair done at the beauty college in Prescott. Yesterday was my second visit and this time I did the whole banana with color and cut. OH. MY. GOSH. I was in the chair an hour before poor Sara could begin. Every step has to be approved by an instructor. So after Sara and I decided what colors to do my measly twelve foils, it took her an hour to convince two instructors what she wanted to do would work. I just about got out of the chair and said forget it. But I felt so sorry for her. She's a cutie and says things like "how's that look, Mama?" She calls everyone Mama when she's being cocky. My time is the price I pay for keeping the cost down on my hair. She did a good job and $36 sure beats $150.

Xena considering Rusty's new toy
Another way to save money - the used everything store in Chino Valley has stuffed toys for fifty cents. Xena tears up all toys so I quit buying Rusty new ones. He used to have a whole basket but he's down to one. We hide it from Xena. Now we can replace toys without breaking the bank. We found one that laughs like a baby. We bought Xena some without a noise maker. I think she feels slighted. Digging out the noise maker is what gives her joy.

And Writing: My agent is out of town until the 17th which is my deadline for getting the revised book one in the series and the two synopses for books two and three to her. And I'm already done! Or at least I think I am. I'll read over them several more times. Tomorrow I get back on my regular writing schedule. The wedding, the illness and now the overwhelming harvest have had me all out of whack. I'm excited to get going on book two. I thought I had the first three chapters of book two written but now book two is book three. So tomorrow I start on the real book two. My titles are The Art of Love and Murder, Southwest of Love and Murder, and The Legacy of Love and Murder. I'm stoked.