Tuesday, July 31, 2012

The Canadians come to Arizona!

My cousin and her family flew all the way from their farm in Quebec, Canada to come and see us this week. Yes, they traveled to Phoenix in July. Crazy, I know. Who comes to visit the inferno at its hottest???

Since they took the time to fly across North America, I felt that it was my duty to take them around our great state and show them the sights.  We dubbed the trip, "Tour-de-Arizona" and logged nearly 1,000 road miles to show them Arizona's diverse landscape.

While down in Phoenix, we stayed submerged in water as much as possible because the key to surviving temps of 111 degrees Fahrenheit ( that's about 44 degrees Celsius for my Canadian peeps)  is to stay wet.  My dad made us a feast of smoked primerib, and  pork ribs, and we partied in the air conditioned house. 

The next morning, we were off on our tour of the high country.  We drove through Flagstaff and up to see one of the seven wonders of the world: The Grand Canyon.  It was spectacular! 

Here's a self portrait at the edge of a cliff. I'm thinking to myself, "Don't step back, don't step back, don't step back."

Here's a picture of my family pretending to be happy about having their picture taken when they'd rather just look at the Grand Canyon.

Here's a stranger from a foreign land who was swinging his tripod and video camera in a circle to get a panoramic view of the canyon, and subsequently forcing my children to "duck and cover" for their safety.

Did I mention that the canyon was filled with folks from foreign lands who spoke exotic languages and wore European shoes? It's a real melting pot of tourism.

Here's a picture of my daughter "Photo-bombing" the cousins pic. She thinks she's soooo funny.

Here I am saving a teeny tiny man from falling off of the edge.

Here's a picture of the sign above the toilets at the Grand Canyon. I'm pretty sure that if you drink water from a toilet, you're going to have issues whether it's "reclaimed wastewater" or not. Just my opinion, though. I don't know about other countries, but here in America, drinking water from the toilet is definitely frowned upon. 

Here's a woman standing in a thunderstorm with lightning striking all around and her umbrella being blown backward, acting as a lightning rod. Not the smartest choice.  It rained for a few hours that afternoon, putting a damper on the canyon sight-seeing.

After the Canyon, we drove through another storm to get to the Indian Trading Post in Cameron. The Canadians experienced their first dust storm, or Haboob...as we call it. I didn't get a picture of it, but there was a wall of dust approaching us like a freight train.  Arizona's finest weather.

Then, we drove through Winslow, Holbrook, and off to the White Mountains.  We took them near the New Mexico border to experience authentic Hatch Green Chili, Chili Rellenos, and Mexican food.  I'm afraid they weren't a fan of the spicy stuff.

We went to Western Drug, visited Sunrise Ski Resort, toured Greer, and showed them the damage done by the Wallow Fire.

After an exhasuting car ride, we relaxed and ordered some pizza. They taught us how to play a Canadian card game called Euchre, and I'm pretty sure that I'm terrible at it.  

After a good night's sleep, they traveled through the Salt River Canyon, saw the copper mines in Globe and Superior, and then it was off to Maricopa to tour an Arizona dairy farm.  

We enjoyed every second spent with our Canadian family.

It was a whirl-wind trip, eh?


Monday, July 30, 2012

The Grandest Of Canyons!

Placing my toes at the edge of this vast and rugged canyon awakened senses dulled by the monotony of ordinary life.  Its depth, and detail, and breadth induces butterflies in the stomach. One can't help but breath deeper with eyes wide open in a feeble attempt to take in all of its splendor.

.....either that, or I was overwhelmed with absolute terror at the thought of plunging to my death over its sheer walls and mile long depths. Haha!!! Regardless, our visit to the Grand Canyon was a trip to remember!

More Details to come,


Monday, July 23, 2012

Phoenix in July For the Sake of the Family

I've been scarce around here because we've had family in town, and I've been too busy enjoying my time with them to click the computer keys. My sister-in-law and her family flew in from Chicago and we all left the 72ยบ  pristine mountain air to go down to Hades Phoenix where the sweltering heat radiates from the concrete, and the sweating never stops. Ever.

While in Phoenix....

-My in-laws treated us all to a Diamondbacks game. So fun! We won 13-8 and saw fireworks afterward.

-We lived at the hotel swimming pool and let the cousins swim the day away.

-We got severely sunburned but wouldn't admit it so we called it a "base tan".

-We huddled around the air conditioner.

-We changed rooms because the air conditioner broke down. It couldn't handle our demands.  "You can't HANDLE the heat!"

-We drank Strawberry Island Breezes from Sonic. I highly recommend them. They are worth the brain freeze that might occur if you consume them too quickly!

-We shopped at the mall! (Totally lame to those of you who have one close, but like water to a thirsty man for those of us who don't.)

-For the first time ever, I was professionally fitted for new undergarments, and now realize that I have been buying the wrong sized bra for half a decade! That's a whole lot of ill-fitting bras, ladies! (Now that I've shared this personal information on the web, I can never ever run for president or it will be used against me in my opponent's campaign.)

-We ate at restaurants we don't have up here...Red Robin, Cafe Rio, Texas Roadhouse, Dunkin Donuts... (Every restaurant we ate at represents one meal that I didn't have to do the dishes after. That is a vacation in itself.)

-We were interviewed by the police for a crime that took place two doors down from our hotel room, and the kids got police badge stickers for our "Cooperation". Nine policemen at our hotel dusting for fingerprints and removing "evidence" from two doors down = Totally Creepy. I don't know what the crime really was, but I have a great imagination.....

-We stayed up late watching shows on TV because we don't have them at home. My kids got a real education watching " Hillbilly Handfishing". (We only let our children watch the "highest quality" shows at hotels. Wink, Wink.)

-We went to Costco to eat the samples to stock up on things we can't buy in bulk around here, namely Charmin Toilet Paper, and Ranier Cherries.

-We enjoyed every scorchingly hot moment of the weekend with our family!


Monday, July 16, 2012

The Date That Almost Didn't Happen

We shipped the kids off to "Cousins Camp" at Pop Pop and Grandma's house yesterday after church.

No Kids = Date Night!

We leisurely drove back home and had lovely conversation about retirement, team roping and castrating bulls...in that order.  No interruptions. No refereeing fights in the back seat, and we didn't have to answer the question "Why?" even one time.  It felt totally weird.

When we got home, it began to rain hard.  I mean it was a real gully washer, or as they say in Texas, it was a real toad strangler!  While we waited for the rain to let up, we got ready to go out to a nice dinner.  I curled my hair, put on mascara, and wore my nicest boots.

We hopped in the truck and went to feed the critters on our way to dinner.

From here, things went south.

As we walked up to the hogs, being careful not to get our clean pants all muddy, we were appalled to find their entire pen was flooded.  There was nowhere for them to lay down and the whole thing had standing water in it.

The air hissed out of my lungs.  I cringed inwardly, and closed my eyes.

No matter how hard we try, SOMETHING always happens when we want to go on a date!

People who raise livestock will understand what I'm talking about.  If we have some place to be, something will calve, break down a fence, get into the neighbor's pasture, get sick, or some sort of natural disaster will take place.

It's similar to the well known truth that kids never get sick or injured during doctors' business hours, only it's the livestock version.

My husband gave me the look. (You know that look, don't you?)

 I said, "well, lets go home and change."

Upon our arrival, I took off my nice leather boots, and exchanged them for my rubber irrigation boots. I threw my curled hair up in a ponytail and put on a rain slicker.  My defeated husband did the same.  We grabbed some shovels and mechanically put our supplies in the back of the truck without a word.

While we were knee high in muddy water and pig poop, we were receiving these pictures on our phone of our kids living the life of leisure:

They attended tea parties and camp-outs with cousins while mom and dad worked in the driving rain.

Conversation was tense in the pig pen.  There were few words spoken, and most of them were in the form of orders.  We dug draining trenches, hauled in sand, shoveled mud, and all the while, it was raining and lightning was cracking around us.

Isn't that a romantic date?

When the pigs finally had a dry shelter, we loaded up our tools and got back in the truck. 

It was now 7:00pm.

My husband looked over at me, and said, "Do you want to just go to dinner with our irrigation boots on?"



I suggested that we just go through a drive-thru, but in the end, we went home and changed boots.  The curl was no longer in my wet hair, but we went out to the restaurant anyway, and had a lovely late-night dinner none the less.

We didn't get to catch a flick, but who needs a movie when your real life is this exciting?!? Just kidding.

This morning, Hank and Beulah came to greet me, no worse for the wear. And by the look on their faces, I'd say they don't mind the mud one bit! Dare I say that they are actually enjoying a spa day with a mud bath.  Their pen is already starting to dry very well, and we averted yet another crisis around here.

Once again, this quote seems to sum up the day:

" for I know the joys and discomforts of agricultural life and hold an inborn fondness for those associations which, even in hours of discouragement I cannot deny." -FFA Creed


Ya, that quote is a bunch of hog wash! Get it...hog wash?

(Is this thing on...?)

Hogs and kisses,


Friday, July 13, 2012

A Friday Chuckle...Because Everyone Needs One

Here are just a couple of things that I've noticed in my part of the world that made me chuckle, and I happened to have my iPhone handy to document them for your viewing pleasure.

It's been really dry around here, and this sign is posted in front of a business in town.

I saw this while driving down the road in Winslow....as in, ♪♫ Standing on the corner in Winslow Arizona, such a fine sight to see...♪♫

Here's a close-up.  Yes, here in the wild west folks still ride their horses to the saloon. No joke.  

Whiskey for the men, beer for the horses. 

Thank the Lord it's finally Friday! WoooHoooo!


Thursday, July 12, 2012

Chicken Neuroses and Other Stuff

Stick a fork in 'er! Baseball season is FINALLY over.

[Insert me doing the Happy Dance.]

Three weeks of our family going in separate directions for ball games, daily 3 hour practices,  long tournaments two hours away, and getting home at midnight...all done.

Now is the time that summer really begins for us.

Free. At. Last.

Now the kids have time to explore, be creative, run through the sprinklers, build things, practice their roping, exercise their pigs, and most importantly....

They have time to ride, ride, ride!

With much angst, we let Hank and Beulah out of their pig pen to start their exercise routine, yesterday.  We were afraid they'd bolt and head straight for the road.  Turns out, we had nothing to worry about. Those pigs are about as lazy as they come. The only thing they wanted to do was walk back to their pen...at a snail's pace.

In other news, I feel compelled to discuss the subject of chicken neuroses.  First of all, are chickens capable of having a neurosis? After all, their brains are the size of a pea.

If it IS possible, then one of my chickens has a classic case.

Our hen, Oreo, roams the yard freely all day.  We leave the back door open when the weather is nice, and every single morning, Oreo walks into the kitchen, pecks at an antique wood stove in the corner, and then walks back outside.  Every. Single. Morning.

We used to freak out and the kids would scream, "Chicken in the house! Chicken in the house!".  But after 4 months of this happening, no one even bats an eyeball anymore.  Oreo does her pecking thing in the corner and promptly leaves.  She's never pooped in the house, and never explored any other areas of the kitchen.

Bizarre behavior. Compulsive behavior. Obsessive behavior. I'm not sure what to make of it. She also still lays a green egg every day under the porch, but that's beside the point.  I think Oreo is a very peculiar creature.

We really need a screen door, don't we?

Thanks for listening. I really needed to talk through that.

Off to enjoy our summer,


Friday, July 6, 2012

Embarrassing Moment #234578

Like all mountain folks, we have an old carved wooden bear on our front porch to greet visitors as they walk to the front door. No big deal.

I've walked past the bear a million times, but this time something caught my attention. Out of the corner of my eye I saw some objects in the bear's paw.

Imagine my shock and horror when I discovered that our "Welcome Bear" was holding sticks with a bunch of  dead grasshoppers skewered through them!

It looked like our bear was having a grasshopper shish kabob dinner.

It looked like he was making grasshopper Smores over the campfire.

It looked like someone sick and twisted lived at our house.

When interrogating my sweet and innocent looking children about the matter, I was appalled to find out that they all played a roll in this grasshopper "death on a stick" incident! Grasshoppers are true enemies, and they do eat our flowers and garden, but these trophies of  pest conquering are a bit over the top!  

Maybe they act as a stern warning to other grasshoppers in the area...Stay Away or this will happen to YOU!

What's even worse is that we recently put our house up for sale and we've had 14 groups of strangers come to look through it.  

I don't know how long these insects have been displayed on our front porch, but there's a possibility that....

50 total strangers have been greeted at the front door by dead grasshoppers on a stick.

Talk about embarrassment.  

What does this say about us?
What do people think when they see this? 
Would you buy a house with a barbaric display of this nature?

I'm hoping that some day we will all be able to laugh about this, but for now, we've put a moratorium on Grasshopper death by the stake.

Hoping to forget about this incident real soon,


Thursday, July 5, 2012

4th of July Fun

Say, "Cheese Ball!"

We had a very unusual 4th of July this year. Temperatures were in the low 60's for most of the day, and it rained, and rained, and rained all afternoon and night.

Thankfully, the rain held off until after the parade was over.  The girls were looking festive as usual.

Here, they're putting on the charm so passers by would throw them lots of loot.

We had the usual small town floats...

As well as a few remarkable ones.

This float was my favorite! It has moving parts, which is pretty fancy for a little parade.

Afterward, we had a BBQ at Pop Pop and Grandma's house.

 Grandma taught the girls how to make cherry earrings the way she did as a kid.

When our bellies were full, we changed into pants and sweaters and headed out to the 100th annual Springerville Rodeo. Yes, it's been going on as long as Arizona has been a state. It was extra large this year, and the grandstands were packed!

Thank goodness the grandstands were also covered, and had wooden bleachers because the rain and lightning started shortly after the rodeo began, and you wouldn't catch me hanging around in metal bleachers! 

In addition to the usual riding events, this rodeo has a mix of ranch rodeo events, and some rather comical events that you won't see at a normal rodeo. For instance, the "pick-up" event involves racing on horseback down the arena, loading the horse into the back of a truck, and driving the pick-up down to the other end of the arena. People were bucked off, horses were crazy, and it was worth the price of admission.

After this shot, it started pouring, and the arena was a total mud hole which made for massive wrecks all around. Not one bull rider covered his bull.  We've been to two rodeos this week, and both have had tons of bull riders, and no one's made it to the timer. It was an entertaining rodeo, none the less.

Fireworks were canceled last night because of the lightning, rain, and cloud cover. They've re-scheduled them for Saturday.

Despite the set-backs, I didn't hear any complaints about the weather. We are so thankful for the rain!