Sunday, January 13, 2019

Time Does Fly


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It was my intention to blog more often after we got to McDowell Mountain but we’ve had so much going on I just haven’t found the time. I must admit it’s been a nice break, and I’m finding it hard to get motivated to do this post, but I want to document our time here so here goes.

It was cold and rainy over the New Years holiday and the park asked everyone to let their faucets drip, as temps dropped into the upper 20s. We had a nice stalagmite the next morning, and it didn’t melt the entire day.

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Managed to get in a cold and dreary New Years Eve hike before the rain.

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Following the rain the mountains were covered with snow for a couple days.

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We’ve been out biking the trails on the warmer days. The Pemberton trail picnic shelter skeleton is sporting a new outfit.

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A local bike shop installed a pump, tools, and a mailbox containing tire tubes. The note says if you need a tube just bring one back to replace it, or stop by the shop in Fountain Hills and buy one, which they will replace for you. Nice service.

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Due to other obligations I’ve only been able to join the Friday Fitness Hike group once so far, 9 miles on and off trails through McDowell Mountain Park. It was a beautiful clear day but only in the mid-30s when we started at 8 AM, too cold and early for Jim.

Part of our hike went through an interesting wash where we came upon three owls that kept flying ahead of us.

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I managed to get a bad photo of one before it flew away. We think they were long-eared owls. If you want to hear a fascinating story about owls listen to the first 10 minutes or so of this podcast although the entire show is worth a listen. Animal Instincts.

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There are some remnants of an old ranch, and we came upon what must have been where they dumped their trash. Amazingly none of the jars were broken.

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With winter rains being plentiful there was quite a bit of water in this tank, which the wildlife must appreciate.

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We do all of our annual medical checks at the Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale, which has kept us busy over the past couple weeks. Jim also saw an orthopedist about his knee pain and is now going to physical therapy twice a week for the next month. So far it seems to be helping, and the good thing is the doctor told him there was no need to stop hiking, biking and playing pickleball.

The following are just random cactus photos. Barrel cactus.

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Teddy bear cholla.

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My favorite, the saguaro. I find them so fascinating I end up taking photos of the same ones every time we’re here. Each one is unique.

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Last week we met our friend Debbie in Chandler at the Phoenix Premium Outlet Mall. Jim has been looking for a replacement wind breaker jacket for a couple years now but had no luck. We did buy a couple things at the Columbia Outlet since they had a good sale going on. After our shopping spree we stopped for lunch at Mellow Mushroom Pizza, one of our favorites.

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We’ve also been filling in at Fearless Kitty two or three times a week. I really miss having cats so this is a great way to enjoy some kitty time without the responsibility of ownership. My favorite is Marius, on the lower left. He was a stray found in Fountain Hills last year and tested positive for feline leukemia. He isn’t sick but it weakens the immune system and can be contagious to other cats so he has to be kept in a room by himself, or with other feline leukemia positive cats, of which there are no others at the shelter. I hope someone will come along and adopt him since he’s such a sweetie.

For you cat lovers out there, here is a link to the webcam where you can spy on the cats in the big adoption room and maybe see a volunteer at work. https://www.maddiesfund.org/maddiecam-fearless-kitty-rescue.htm

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We can still see ourselves living in this area some day, so we checked out a new apartment complex in downtown Fountain Hills, right across from Fearless Kitty. It’s a great location but the apartments just didn’t do it for us. We also plan to look at some condos this week but most likely will not do anything, as usual. One of these days…

Sunday, December 23, 2018

Tis the Season


We are alive and well and back at McDowell Mountain in Fountain Hills, AZ. After seven weeks at Jojoba Hills it was time for a change of scenery and activities. Our last month there was spent playing pickleball, ping pong, walking, working out, and hanging out with Terry and LuAnn after they returned from the mid-west, including a couple visits to our favorite, Garage Brewing in Temecula.

Views from the hills of Jojoba.

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The four of us volunteered to paint some more sheds for the park like we did in the spring. It’s more fun with a group, although I think the women did most of the work Winking smile

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We never did see the bobcats again although Terry and LuAnn saw one on their patio a couple mornings so we know they were around. This roadrunner came by several times while we were out in the yard.

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And I had to make nectar frequently to keep up with the hummingbirds.

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Jim found this hawk in one of our trees scoping out his next meal.

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If it wasn’t for the leaves and spiny balls dropping from our liquid amber (sweetgum) trees, our lot would require very little maintenance. Luckily they only fall off once a year. The succulent garden is doing well with just occasional watering and minimal pruning, which I don’t mind doing.

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We don’t ever want a yard again that requires more work than this. Had we not spent so much money trying to keep grass looking good at our home in Florida for so many years we probably could have retired ten years sooner.

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Last Wednesday we set out for Quartzsite, where we spent the night off Dome Rock Road. There were only a few people around but things will ratchet up next month. We like being there at the quiet times.

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Had just enough time for a nice walk before the sun went down. Always love being back in saguaro country. During our walk a jeep came by and a man asked if we had seen a blue truck camper parked anywhere. He was a US Marshall/bounty hunter. He told us the Rubber Tramp Rendezvous, which will be getting started in Quartzsite soon, is a great place to find people he’s looking for. Last year at the RTR he picked up 11 felons, and other bounty hunters picked up more. Interesting guy to talk to.

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On Thursday we arrived back at one of our favorite places, McDowell Mountain Park.

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This dead saguaro reminds me of Mardi Gras beads.

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Got up early enough to see the full moon just before it disappeared behind the mountains.

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A few minutes later came this sunrise on the other side.

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We’ve gotten off to a busy start, with Jim having the first of several annual doctor appointments, getting in a couple of bike rides, and working our first shift at Fearless Kitty Rescue. They are always short handed over the holidays so we’re happy to help out.

Check out some of these cute faces. We have lots of new names to learn.

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We’ll be taking care of cats again on Christmas morning, followed by dinner with the park volunteers and friends in the afternoon. Wishing our family, friends, and blog readers a wonderful holiday season!

Friday, November 23, 2018

Settled In


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We’ve been back at Jojoba Hills for three weeks now, and although we’ve been busy there hasn’t been much going on that is blog worthy. We managed to get the car and Lazy Daze washed and polished, and cleaned the inside of both, which were filthy after being in blowing dust in Virgin and Yuma. We’ve also done some RV maintenance, like flushing the hot water heater and restringing a couple window blinds. We’ve also ordered a bunch of stuff from Amazon. It’s so nice to have a place to get things delivered, which is always a challenge on the road. We also got new batteries in the golf cart we acquired with the lot. Before we left for the summer it would barely get up a hill but we didn’t want to replace the batteries and then let it sit for 4 or 5 months. It’s now running great with the new batteries. We didn’t think we would make much use of a golf cart but it’s handy for running up to the laundry, showers, etc.

Jim has been working out at EOS Fitness in Temecula a few times a week since he doesn’t care for the exercise room here, which is small and lacking in equipment. It’s free for him with Silver Sneakers and is a beautiful, huge new gym. His knees are really bothering him playing pickleball so he’s laying off for a while. I’ve been playing quite a bit and feel like I’m finally getting a little better, but it’s fun no matter how badly I play. We are still playing ping pong 2-3 nights a week. It’s really popular, with usually at least 15-20 or more people showing up. They bought a new table recently which gives us four, so with playing doubles nobody has to wait very long between games.

Part of being a member here is that you are expected to volunteer, so I’m back working with the Landscape Committee and Jim is doing meter reading. We are both helping clean the fitness room once a month and Jim and another member replaced the TV in that room last week. You can get involved in as little or as much as you want and nobody really pressures you but it’s amazing what gets done around here with all the members helping to keep the place running and looking good. I’ve been doing Zumba once a week and decided to try the yoga class the other day. Not sure it’s my thing, but I may give it another shot before I give up.

One day we went on a group hike, which turned out to be only 5 of us. Did a trail we hadn’t hiked before near Julian, the Upper Santa Ysabel Creek trail. It was a good 7.5 mile loop with about 1,000’ of climbing, and would be more scenic with some rain to green things up a bit. After spending time in the red rocks of southern Utah last month, the scenery here is a little lacking in color.

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We saw neither one of these.

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But saw many of these.

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Jim, Nancy, Jean, and one of our bovine buddies.

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John, Jim, me and Nancy.

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Saw a flock of wild turkeys as we were leaving. Hope they survived Thanksgiving.

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Our lot looked surprisingly good when we returned. Of course there is a timer on the sprinkler so the plants get watered, but other than the succulent garden it is mostly gravel, so there isn’t much that needs to be done. The leaves on our liquid amber tree were green when we got back, but their autumn colors have been coming out over the past couple weeks. We’re hoping when they fall off we will get a big windstorm that will blow them all to our neighbors. Just kidding Terry and LuAnn. Smile

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The oranges on Terry and LuAnn’s trees are actually turning orange.

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Ours are a different type, and are still very green although the same size. Fruit trees are no longer allowed to be planted in the park due to the fact that they require so much water.

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The weather has been great, mostly highs in the upper 60s and 70s with clear skies, but we woke up yesterday to light rain, which is very much needed here in southern California. We took a little hike on the trails behind the park late yesterday afternoon and as we were coming back I spotted what looked like a cat crossing the road in front of us. As we watched we realized it was a bobcat kitten, and soon 3 more kittens, then the mother, strolled across into a site.

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We only had our phones so the photos aren’t great, but it was fun watching them. Mom brought up the rear.

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They’ve been spotted wandering all over the park.

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That’s about all that’s going on in our world. We’ll be here for another month doing much of the same, so posts will likely be few and far between unless something exciting happens.