Albania Uncategorized

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone; I hope you had your favorite kind of holiday!

Yesterday I had a doctor’s appointment. The whole office staff came into the exam room and sang Happy Birthday, and Dr. Matt gave me a beautiful little mason jar bouquet of flowers, two jars of his wife’s homemade sugar-free jam and a really sweet card! It was all I could do to keep from crying….I swear, he’s the kindest man I’ve ever known. (My birthday is Saturday)

Plans for Albania are progressing. I’m getting more & more excited, but also sad. I know I’ll be fine but just thinking about the Goodbyes makes me cry!

I have reserved an Airbnb in Tirana, the capital, for the first three nights. I’ll need time to recover from the flights and the 8 hour time change, plus get a new phone sim card and calling plan, and exchange some money. The Airbnb owner is going to pick me up at the airport.

I have also reserved an Airbnb apartment for $335 a month for March 26 – May 1. This will give me time to find a long term apartment. This is the place I rented:

I had some inexpensive sea view apartments bookmarked and when I checked on them, two were already rented for my time period, two turned out to be in the old Communist block buildings with no heat, and one was a third floor walkup! (It pays to read every word in the descriptions!)

So that only left a few of the cheaper ones and I felt I’d better jump on board. I had to pay the first 30 days up front and there’s no refunds for cancellations!

Oh and I changed destinations! I’ve decided to head to Durres, not Vlore. Durres is bigger, not a plus in some ways. I’m so not a Big City girl, but both cities were bigger than I’d like so it probably isn’t much different. The population is around 120,000 and Vlore has 80,000. It’s only 30 minutes from Tirana, the capital, so probably has a better array of goods and services and better healthcare, with more English-speaking doctors. Vlore is about 2.5 hours from Tirana. The summers in Durres are not quite as hot. I read that the temperatures there are rarely colder than 31° or hotter than 91°. Summers are hot and muggy and winters are wet but not terribly cold, and even in summer the temps drop to around 65° at night. The increased humidity will be something I’ll have to get used to! The annual rainfall is about the same as it was in Asheville, NC when I lived there. (42″)

I had to apply for a new passport because all I have now is a Passport Card, which has limited benefits and is of no use for going to Europe. I picked up the application and got my passport photos (ugh, they look just like me!) Then I had to make a $35 appointment at the post office to turn it all in. That’s a new one, I didn’t have to do that the last time I applied. I went for my appointment and was really mad that she kept stopping to wait on other customers! What the heck was the $35 for, if not to get exclusive attention?? If I’d gone in there with a bunch of packages to ship, she would not have waited in other customers while working in my stuff! Grrrrr.

I’ve been looking at ads for long term rental apartments in Durres. I really want to have a sea view! Here’s one I found, can you believe the price??! I sure hope there will be places like this available once I get there! (And yes, it has heat, air conditioning and an elevator!).

I decided to buy myself an early birthday present. I wanted one of those really lightweight four wheeled “spinner” suitcases. I had saved an $89 one in Amazon but when I went to order it, it had gone up to $129! And most of them were around that price. Then I found an American Tourister on a Black Friday sale at JC Penney for $109, so I ordered it for store pickup. Yay. About a week later I went to the St. Vincent thrift shop, and they had one there for $10! So I grabbed it, stopped off at JC Penney and cancelled my order, and went home happy. When I opened it at home, there was a nice jacket, skirt and some books inside! I was going to take that stuff back but a friend fell in love with the jacket and gave $20 for it. So I took back the books, skirt and the $20 and the woman was quite shocked, but very happy! I looked up the suitcase brand and was amazed to find out it cost $280 and is made of polycarbonate which is much stronger than the usual ABS suitcases. Happy Dance! And now I can stash stuff I want to take with me right in there. I’ve been making lists ….I love lists! So far I have 73 items I want to take, and that does not include any clothes. Hmmm. And I’m only taking the one 28″ checked bag, a backpack carry-on and the personal under-seat item, a smallish day pack. So we’ll see how that goes! I may have to do some extreme paring down. The checked bag also can’t weigh more than 51#.


Fall Already!

Well I guess it’s officially Fall, or is it winter? Last night we had our first snowfall, just a light dusting but it came with 65 mph wind gusts (40 mph sustained) so it was memorable. My little house was really shuddering in the wind blasts! Tonight’s low is going to be only 24. I’m ready for winter though, I bought two nice coats at thrift shops for $2.50 each, and I’m already armed with my snow shovel and snow boots. Uggggh!

Sorry there’s been such a lull between posts. I actually thought about not doing the blog anymore since it’s so difficult for me to figure WordPress out, but friends say they miss it. So I’ll try to do better. We had extremely hot temperatures in June, near 100, but the rest of the summer was not too bad. In mid-July we had some torrential rains, one 4″ in 2.5 hours and two days later, 2″ in one hour. These rains caused big lakes to form, unfortunately, right across some of our roads. The largest one was chest-high when a neighbor walked along the road through it! These are not your usual mudpuddles after a rain, in fact they are STILL HERE three months later! We are still having to take a long detour up & over a nearby mountain, which I’m thoroughly tired of doing. When we get snow in earnest, most of us will not be able to get up those long hills. The big lake is still waist-deep for about 100′ of the main road heading to the pavement, and apparently the county has no good ideas for getting rid of it. Condensation is very slow on that big a body of water!

Two of the lakes, 3 months later!

After the big rains everything turned green and beautiful! There were volunteer sunflowers, Morning Glorys, Amaranth, Purslane, and all manner of other little weeds and flowers. Then it got dry again and all those darn things turned into stickers and pickers, including the dreaded Goat Heads. Oh my, they are evil! Little tiny 1/4″ instruments of hell, which I regularly step on in my bare feet. They come in stuck to the soles of my shoes, and even though I try to wipe by feet and take my shoes off at the door, they still find their way in. I’ve never stepped on a Lego but folks say these are worse! So now I’m trying to pull all the weeds up out of the yard. Here’s a photo of a Goat Head, greatly enlarged.

The Big Flood washed away most of the gravel from my driveway and left big ruts. Mike came from California to help do some ditching and we (he) laid 73 bags of mulch down to try and divert the water. It’s streaming down from the 4 lots above me, all on a slight slope. The mulch was a lot easier than filling sandbags, though not as effective. There’s still some leakage but not as bad as it was, plus I think the torrential rains are done for this year. I’m reluctant to replace the gravel in the driveway though! Mike’s recent thought is to build a berm above the bags to divert the water from ever getting to my property. (Sounds like an awful lot of work!)

Mike and the mulch

I’ve been feeling great but still having medical tests anyway. Ain’t that the way! But hey, it could be a lot worse, I could feel bad too! My new brain MRI is tomorrow. I think the tumor must have grown in the two years since the first MRI, as my speech is bad most all of the time now. I can’t say S, R or L. I sound like a toddler, or perhaps dim in the brain. A woman at a thrift shop a couple weeks clearly thought I was “slow”, as she spoke loudly and enunciated each word clearly, like people do when they encounter foreigners or the deaf. As though talking louder will help them understand! I’m also wearing a heart monitor for a couple weeks but I’m almost positive it’s not going to turn up anything ugly. I’ve had echocardiograms, leg ultrasounds, and an unsuccessful MRI lately. And yet for the most part, they’re finding nothing really wrong. Except for the brain tumor, that’s obviously still hanging around feeling frisky!

Mike and Raquel were just here for a week. Boy we got a lot of good projects done while they were here! Last time he was here, we got the 6 volt battery bank set up with the big 250 watt solar panel, and that’s been running the fridge electronics all summer……all 100 watts a day! This time we put the electrical cables through the house wall and hooked up a 600 watt inverter, so I can now run small appliances like a crock pot, vacuum, etc. Nothing over 500 watts though, no hair dryers or air fryers! Still, a huge improvement! He installed a new small 55 amp AGM battery in my camper to run lights and the roof vent fan, and had problems with that because apparently they switched the positive & negative leads in the factory! Black was Positive!! It took a little while and some blown fuses to figure that out. He took the door threshold out and put it back where it belongs and installed door sweeps inside and out, hoping to keep water from flooding when it rains and runs down the door. It got tested last night and was much better than before, but I still had water coming in under the door. It’s very frustrating, I don’t know HOW it’s getting in! He put more tape on my camper bubble window that leaks, even though we can’t find where it’s getting in! That helped but also did not solve the problem. These leaks are so frustrating! We stacked cement blocks up 3 high and set the new 250 gallon water tank up, and covered both tanks with silver tarps to keep the sunlight off (it lets algae grow!). The nice thing is, filling both tanks costs the same as one tank! It’s $30 for up to 500 gallons of water. I think there were a few more projects finished but I can’t remember them. Anyway he really accomplished a lot this trip! Poor Raquel spent most of her time at the library, taking on-line classes and/or studying. Here’s a beautiful sunrise photo they took from their campsite.


Camping & Stuff

Well it’s been awhile since I blogged, and I’m sorry. It’s just become a huge pain in the butt! The new WordPress is so difficult to navigate, I just hate it. For instance, I can’t figure out how to change the font size. Shouldn’t that be pretty basic? Well I’m sure it’s there SOMEWHERE……

I finally got to go camping! My camping buddy from NC, Jeanne, and her sister Joanne, met me at McHood Park near Winslow. We had other plans but the weather got too warm, so that was a second choice. Not a bad one, as it turned out, though the last time I was there it was free. This year it’s $15 a night for bare-bones camping, no power but they did have fire rings, picnic tables and a shower in the restroom. There was hardly anyone there so we both got lakefront sites and had a good time watching the many ducks. Well not ducks, some kind of waterbird though. I’m hopeless at bird identification!

View from my campsite

It’s only 1.5 hour drive from home and on the way there, twice Roxie started making crazy thumping and crashing around in her crate. Then when we arrived, she was absolutely manic….running flat-out for about 20 minutes! I took her to the road and let her run in circles around me on the flexi-lead. I didn’t know what it was, but I didn’t like it….she’s NEVER behaved that way before. The truth emerged at around 4 a.m. when she started thrashing around in the camper with a huge grand mal seizure. Then I realized that’s what was going on in her crate the day before, too. And the running must have had something to do with it, she must have felt strange or something. I just held her til morning, then we took her to the local vet and had her euthanized. She was one month short of her 14th birthday. Up to this point she’d been completely healthy, though plainly losing her cognitive skills. She’d forgotten how to go up & down the two little steps to the house, and twice she wandered off and got a little lost! The vet noticed her pupils were different size, and thought she probably had a brain tumor. Farewell, Princess Roxie.

So….brain tumor! That strikes an ugly chord. My brain tumor has been causing speech problems for quite a long time but at no time did I ever think that it might cause more problems than that! My doc had asked me how long it’d been since the last brain MRI (18 months) and he asked me if I wanted to have another and I said no, not unless my speech got so bad that people couldn’t understand me. Hah. Never did I think that it might cause really bad stuff like blinding headaches, dizziness, balance problems or seizures!! I know, DUHHH!!

So we camped for a week there and I was glad to have people around to distract me. We went to Petrified Forest and Painted Desert Nat. Parks and hiked a couple of the trails, went to Homolovi Ruins State Park and hiked a trail (thought that place was really ho-hum), and of course visited the Standing on the Corner guy in downtown Winslow.

I was home for one day when my friends Mike and Raquel arrived from California.

Mike and Raquel

After 3 1/2 years here, I finally got rid of the ugly piles of junk along the driveway that came with the property!!! I’ve hated that stuff the whole time I’ve been here but didn’t have a way to get rid of it. This time I bit the bullet and rented a big U-Haul trailer ($53 for 6 hours!!) and we all helped load it with old pallets, tree stumps, plus the remains of an old 60’s travel trailer that the previous owner tore down. She PROMISED she would come back and clean it up, hahaha. “Trust me”, she said. So we hauled all that crap to the dump ($40 dump fee) and the yard now looks so good! But bare. I wish I could find some kind of flowers that the rodents don’t like! The only thing so far they avoid is a Russian Sage. I guess I should get more of those.

I’m growing some geraniums from seed but I’m not sure whether or not they’ll be tasty to the rodents or not. I had a nice geranium that a friend sent me that made it through the summer, but I also did a lot to protect it, just in case. I even took it with me camping so I could water it regularly, but it got too cold in the car. I ended up with a little tiny branch that broke off and didn’t freeze, which I accidentally left in Mesa when I was dogsitting. She sent me a photo of it a week or so later and it had burst into bloom, so I guess it likes it there a whole lot more than here. Or camping.

Mike built a nice work table for their campsite, using wood from the scrap pile.

The scrap pile is now gone and it’s going to be a really great place for the patio table & chairs, but first I have to level it out. It slopes about 5″. It’s nice and shady there all afternoon! While they were here we also went out and about to a couple reservoirs near Greer, and had a picnic in a gorgeous campsite in the national forest near there. I was shocked that it was at 9200′ elevation! It might be a good getaway place if it gets too hot here this summer, it’s less than 2 hours from home and only about 10 miles from the grocery stores in Springerville. We also went to Petrified Forest and Painted Desert, as I can get them in free with my Geezer Pass.

After they left was when the loss of Roxie really hit me. She was my last pet, as I just can’t afford veterinary care. It would be irresponsible of me to get another pet. I’ve had a dog, cats, or both ever since I moved away from my parents’ house when I was 20! It’s hard to accept that I’m going to be alone now for the rest of my life. I keep forgetting she’s gone… many times I say “I’ll be right back” when I go out the door, and worry when I’m in a store and it’s hot outside in the car. We were together pretty much 24/7. I just found out that it’s illegal to leave an animal in a car in AZ, no matter how cool it is! Oops. When it was really hot I’d leave her home, but she truly hated not being with me. So….the end of an era for sure.

I’ve started walking around the block most every morning. It’s just over a mile, and soooo boring!! But I really don’t do much for exercise, so I try to force myself to go. Luckily it’s usually pretty cool here overnight, even in summer. It wouldn’t be so bad if I didn’t have to do so much to get ready, if only I could just walk out the door and go. But first I have to get properly dressed (bra) and strap on the knee braces, socks and shoes, etc.

I have been digging up rocks though, that’s my version of strangth training, LOL! About half of my property is chock-full of rocks, and they encroach into the driveway and yard. The darn things are like icebergs, only a little bit sticks up out of the ground so I think it’s going to be easy, but the farther down I dig, the bigger they get. I got two out yesterday that were so big I couldn’t pick them up, I had to flop/roll them away! I bought a little blackberry seedling and it took me five tries to be able to dig a hole big enough to plant it this morning, I kept running into big rocks 4″ down! But I finally got ‘er done.

I got the hummingbird feeder up and hope I can keep it going this summer. Last year the ants were so bad, I had to give up. Now I have little “moats” that hang above the feeders so the ants can’t get to them. Within a couple hours of putting it up I had hummingbirds, and a couple days later I had some kind of orioles and warblers, very pretty! I’m dismal at bird identification, sorry. The photos I took are awful too, because the phone’s zoom is crappy and they were taken through the screened window. I’m not even going to try and post them, they’re embarrassingly bad.


VACAY Finally!

After EIGHT delays and postponements, I finally got to go on my first vacation in more than three years! Unfortunately, it broke down from 23 days to only 9 but hey, at least I got to go somewhere!! I actually had the camper all packed to go once but had to come home, unpack and wait a few more days until repairs could be made to the camper lights. Those cost $39 for parts and $240 for labor! (Ain’t that the way!)

I met my NC camping buddy Jeanne and her sister Joanne in Cottonwood, AZ (just south of Sedona). Jeanne moved here to AZ a year ago and this is the first time we’ve gotten to camp together again! We “boondocked” on national forest land about halfway between Cottonwood and Sedona and drove to Dead Horse Ranch State Park every day to attend the “doings” at an A-Frame Campers rally there.

Every morning the hot air balloons came sailing over our campsite from Sedona, and a couple of the days, they landed there! Pretty cool.

We volunteered to work the coffee tent at the rally from 8-10 a.m. on the coldest morning, 22 degrees! They’d pre-loaded the coffeemakers with water the night before and it was all frozen solid!

They held a doggy costume contest and offered a box full of loaner costumes. I found a unicorn costume that fit Roxie so she went as a very rare “Havanese Horn-Dog” and won second place! We got a really nice quilted mat that’s way too nice to put on the floor, a doggy bowl and a really cute stuffed bunny that I appropriated for my own bed. Roxie’s not much for toys anyway, I tell myself in justification for stealing her prize.

I thought I had everything all set here at home but while the heater kept things from freezing just fine, the refrigerator didn’t hold up. Something wonky about the electrical connection from the 12V battery to the fridge. So I had to throw away about $40 worth of organic meats, etc. That may be the only time I’m ever going to be thankful my freezer is so small!  The fridge also stopped this week again and I could not get it going so had to resort to powering it off the little Jackery solar generator again, thank goodness for that handy gadget! I believe it’s a problem with the cheapie solar charge controller so I’ve ordered a slightly more expensive Renogy one that I hope will be more reliable, and will solve the problem. If that’s not it, I’m stumped.

While in Sedona we tried to go rockhounding to two different sites nearby but had no luck finding either one. One led to a really treacherous tiny dirt track up a mountain, barely one lane wide and with hairpin turns so tight, we couldn’t make them in one go and had to back up and reposition in order to get around the turns!

I hiked the two mile Fay Canyon Trail in Sedona with Jeanne, and made it with no problem! That’s the farthest I’ve hiked in many years. My knees felt fine afterward but I did have some muscle aches the next few days. I wish I had someone to hike with here at home!

Another exciting thing we did was to visit Prescott and…..Costco! My first visit to a Costco, though I’ve been to Sams’ Club a few times. I ended up spending $155 on “great buys”! And don’t regret it a bit.  We wandered around cute downtown Prescott and managed to lose the car, so that was quite a bit of extra walking!

While on vacay I had pre-determined to blow my diet on pizza and ice cream. We got pizza from Pizzeria Bocce which is rated as one ot the top ten restaurants in AZ! I don’t know if it was the best pizza I’ve ever had (County Inn in Pine has that honor) but it was very good and it didn’t make me gain any weight. I totally blew the ice cream spurge and am still kicking myself about it. We went to Rocky Rd in Sedona and I got distracted by the one flavor of low sugar ice cream they offered…..chocolate chip. I got a tiny cup of that (for almost $5!!!) and it was a huge disappointment. I wanted a GOOD flavor like the ooey-gooey salted caramel that Jeanne got! I would never order chocolate chip!  Sigh. Next time I get ready for a splurge, I’m just gonna go for it.

I had more photos but I’ve tried with my Chromebook and the cellphone and I can’t get them to load. Sorry but I give up! The new WordPress has finally defeated me.


Finally, a porch!

Still not quite done yet, but I’m so excited about how the new porch looks so far! I need to finish the top rail (ran out of 1×4) and to be honest, it’s only painted on the front side, everything else is still raw wood! I also need to do the flooring, the plywood here is just temporary. Once I get the floor done I can build the side railings.

I’ve been storing a cute old chair that I got for $5 at a thrift shop. I’m trying to decide if I should leave it that color, or paint it pink. I don’t want TOO much pink! In spring I’ll try planting some flowers in a big bowl on the seat, see if the mice will allow them to grow.



Hello everyone, sorry I’ve been too lazy to write lately. If it’s any consolation, I DO feel guilty!

I have lots of good news this time! I guess I was whiny last time so a group of my old dog show friends sent money to buy the heater I wanted. WOW!!  I rushed down to the propane place where they’ve had 2 or 3 of those heaters sitting next to the door since last winter. Every time I went in there it reminded me how much I wanted one. Well naturally when I got there, they had been sold!! And they said there was some problem with the manufacturer and they wouldn’t be getting any more until February!

Theirs were priced at $299, obviously last year’s price because last I looked they were $329 on Amazon, but now they’re $479!!! I searched around and found a seller that “only” wanted $389. With tax, $412. Cringe! Then another $40 for the stand. And this part is really crazy…$160 for the piping & hose, and that’s using a regulator I already had!!  Would have been over $200 otherwise. I can’t figure out why this stuff is so expensive, but I know they’re not price-gouging because the same dual regulator they sell for $49 is priced at $48 on Amazon. Sigh.. But hey, I’ve got HEAT!!!  Wonderful, cozy, reliable heat, with a thermostat! It’s a great little heater. THANK YOU, everyone who donated money! You improved my life immensely! 

I’ve got it set up for two propane tanks outside, through the house wall to two interior outlets, one for the heater and one for the new cooktop that’s not hooked up yet. (Need the new countertop before I can install it). It’s good to get one of the propane tanks out of my tiny kitchen! I still have a 20# tank inside that goes to the little stove I’m using right now, it is high pressure so can’t be run through a regulator.

I also have LIGHT!! My little inflatable solar Luci Lights are fine for spot lighting but really crappy for general lighting, plus it’s a very harsh white light. I bought an $8 clamp-on work light with the big round reflector shade, cut off the plug and wired on a cigarette lighter plug, popped in a 3 watt 12 volt LED light bulb, and now I have lovely light over the whole house! (It’s plugged in to my handy little Jackery solar generator)

I’m feeling really good right now. A blog reader commented that she had the very same kind of neuropathy as mine, same place even, and that it faded away after 4 months. Well that’s what happened to me too!! It’s almost entirely gone so thanks to those of you who were praying!  I went ahead and had the EMG Electromyelogram test a couple weeks ago. Boy, that’s certainly unpleasant!! Part of the test involves mild electric shock to nerves but the other part involves getting stuck with needles, and it felt like he jabbed them in there about a foot deep!! It showed impingement of 2 nerves in the back that leads to that area. It also strangely showed moderate carpal tunnel in my right wrist, but I’ve never had any pain there! Of course now that I know that, it’s starting to go numb at times, LOL. 

My doctor told me to try yoga and I laughed. My knees don’t hurt at all but they would not appreciate me getting up & down off the floor! Then I saw an advertisement for a video of “chair yoga”, that sounded great!! I almost pushed the BUY button before I remembered…I don’t have a chair!! 

On Friday the 13th my doctor’s nurse and her family came over to get some firewood, I had 4 big cedar trees down that had branches spread all over a big area and it all looked very untidy. Unfortunately he decided that most of the wood was too old but he did get about ½ a pickup load. He dug a big fire pit and we all collected up the smaller branches and threw them on the fire. One time I passed by the fire and thought “Wow, that fire is pretty hot”! It wasn’t til later that I discovered my hair had gotten burned, the whole front of my head plus both eyebrows! No skin burns though. That evening I couldn’t figure out why my hair felt so strange. I thought it was from being outside & blown around but then I felt my eyebrows and knew. UGH! That first night I could make my hair stand up like Martin Short without any Product, just with my hands!! SO attractive!! I was able to pull most of the little frizzly end bits off my eyebrows so they don’t look too bad, but if I trimmed my hair to get rid of the frizzies, I’d only have ½” length left. And my hair is too fine and thin for that, it would not be a good look. I slathered it with coconut oil and then when I washed it, a lot of little frizzly ends came off. There’s a lot still there but I can live with it for a month or so til I can cut them off.

Word in the neighborhood is that a cougar jumped over someone’s fence and tore up their dog! And pretty near by, too. That’s pretty scary! About 25 miles away a cougar killed an alpaca. I’m assuming it was not the same cougar, though I don’t know what their range is.

I just had the most wonderful visitors! My friends from Ecuador, Mike & Raquel. Mike was my Spanish teacher. They moved back to the U.S. a few years after I did. Originally they were going to just stay two nights but it ended up being 5 days!! They have 3 big dogs so it was great that they could run loose here and not bother anyone with their barking. The dogs were very rude to Roxie but they didn’t hurt her. 

Mike & Raquel’s dogs, Calle, Sadie & Gary

Mike helped me do all kinds of things here! (And by that I mean he did them while I watched). The big project was to get the post holders for my front porch cemented in place. They had to be in precisely the right place so the porch roof will line up with the posts. He even put some rebar in the holes to help hold the post holders plus big auger tiedowns for the house & porch.

He also jacked up my camper, put it on blocks and removed the wheels so we could take them to Walmart and get new tires installed, then mounted the wheels back on. He noticed a wheel hub was loose and fixed that too! I never would have even noticed that. And he helped me put the new propane lines through the house wall, and other smaller projects. I never wanted them to leave! They said they loved it here and are coming back soon.

One day they helped me drop my car off in town for servicing (it was an all day job) and when we went back to pick it up, we were early so we drove around a bit. We stopped at Pinetop Brewing Company and had a snack and a beer. I had about ½ a beer….CARBS!! And that morning I’d made sourdough pancakes and ate one, beer and pancake the same day! I was really worried about stepping on the scale the next morning but I’d actually lost weight, and was at my lowest so far….129#!  I lost 3# while they were here, I guess because I was more active. I like it! I think 129# sounds infinitely skinnier than 130#, don’t you? 

I am very excited to finally be going on a vacation in a few weeks, with old camping buddies Jeanne, Joanne (both from Phoenix area) and Deb from Pahrump! Can’t wait! We’re not going far, just to the other side of AZ. But it’ll be the first time in three years that I’ve gone anywhere!

I saw a cute sign the other day, it said “YOU ARE WHAT YOU EAT….don’t be cheap and easy!”  

Arizona Uncategorized

First Snow?

Yikes, I’m not ready for snow yet! But the forecast calls for snow on Monday and Tuesday. They don’t say if there’s to be any accumulation. We are having a huge dip in the temperatures starting Sunday….high 50, low 22-28 for the next few days! And I still don’t have heat. (Come on, Stimulus!!!) I’ll be a popsicle in the mornings! Last year we had our first snow on October 6, so we did get a bonus few weeks of really fine weather.

Roxie is not spending any time under the house any more, she’s mostly in the house in her little bed. I think she’s starting to feel her age (13).

I mentioned a couple posts ago that I thought I might have Shingles. Yeah…no. After a couple miserable weeks waiting for the homeopathic to make it go away, I went to my doctor and got the shingles anti-viral meds. I took them for 10 days and it didn’t make a bit of difference, so it’s not shingles, even though the symptoms are exactly the same except no rash and no itching. But that area on my side and under my bra line is incredibly sensitive, constantly burns like fire and then there are terrible stabbing pains from time to time. I read that Shingles can cause “pins and needles” sensation. No, this is more like sabers and swords! It’s something called Idiopathic Neuropathy, which simply means they don’t know WHAT the heck is causing it. It’s been nearly 3 months now and I’m soooo tired of it! Earlier this week we tried Lidocaine injections, in case it was an entrapped nerve. I did get 5 hours of numbness which was heavenly, but it was not a permanent fix. I cried and cried. Now I’ve been referred to a doctor who does EMG testing (Electromyography). It sends electric current through the nerves to see if there are blockages or damage. If so, it could take surgery to resolve it. A friend got Shingles a couple weeks ago, started taking the anti-viral and started feeling much better right away. I tried not to hate her. I’ll bet I’m the only person on earth who WISHES she had Shingles!! The homeopathic is the only thing that even touches the pain, and it’s very expensive…$16 for one ounce! So I try to only use it at night so I can sleep a bit.

I know I’m constantly complaining about critters eating anything green around here. But I never thought they’d eat a cactus!! Pretty sad when I can’t even keep a cactus from getting eaten! All hope is lost for a garden.

I have a large packrat nest under my 275 gallon water tank. I looked the other day and there are some clothespins, sponges and other doodads I’ve left outside. I stole back the clothespins.

Last week I washed a third of my car! (Just one side) Since I don’t have running water, I used a small amount of water in a pot to wash, and rinsed it by tossing little 5 oz. Dixie cups of clean water at it. I got tired after that one side and never got back to it, but boy, that one side looks really good! I am SO not a car-washer….that’s the first time I’ve done it in three years. Maybe I’ll get up the energy to wash the other side soon. Then again, maybe not.

I have not been able to go camping yet. I’m very disappointed but some unexpected expenses came up so I didn’t have money to spend on extra gas. But I’m planning a good trip in late November or early December, unexpected expenses notwithstanding! Not far, just barely inside Nevada (camping on Lake Mojave) and then down to Parker (The Desert Bar!) and camping on the Colorado River in Ehrenberg, AZ. I hope it’s not too cold by then but those areas are much warmer than here.


FALL! Or Maybe not.

Well I thought Fall was here but I think I was mistaken. We had a few days of gloriously cool temperatures in the 70’s and darned cold nights ranging from 38-42 degrees! The only heater I have right now that’s operative is a little Coleman SportCat that’s only 1500 btu’s. It barely makes a dent in the cold but I guess it’s better than nothing. Then the hot weather returned. It’s back in the mid to high 80’s for at least the next week or so! Sheesh. I’m so done with summer!

My Russian neighbor has sold her house and is moving back to the Ukraine once they let Americans in. In the meantime she’s staying with some of her husband’s relatives in Phoenix. When she left she brought me some presents. She pronounced it preSENTS, like presenting an award, LOL. That’s one reason I have so much trouble understanding her. Most of the time I’d just nod and smile. Anyway, she gave me some very nice cacti along with some that were not so nice. One of them is a plastic froggy scarecrow with small cactus. ?? Honestly, as soon as I’m sure she’s gone, the frog gets it. She also gave me a straw scarecrow door decoration. Way too cutesie for my taste, besides I just love the little red heart on the door.

Last week the Food Bank gave away pieces of grocery store birthday cake. Nothing would tempt me more!! Then I noticed it was a rainbow cake, with garish colors…..phew! It was much easier for me to reject cake with carcinogenic food coloring all over it. And thank goodness there’s wasn’t a big fat icing rose on top or I may have had to gobble that up. As it is, I reluctantly threw it in the trash. Sigh.

OH I’m done losing weight! In fact I’ve gone a little beyond where I was aiming and my doctor told me I was too skinny! I don’t know about THAT but now I have to figure out how to hold onto the weight loss and not gain it back. That’s way harder than losing it in the first place. Here’s the new me.

I have started adding some previously “forbidden” foods back in but slowly. I had a consultation with my doctor’s wife who is an Integrative Nutritionist and she suggested a modified Paleo diet instead of the strict Keto. Paleo still restricts grains, gluten, dairy and sugar but does allow more leeway in the fruits and vegetables. I had half of a small sweet potato the other day….heaven! I’ve been adding more fruits every few days too, and then I wait 3 or 4 days to make sure it’s not causing any problems. I tried making chili with kidney beans, that was a big mistake! I ate it for both lunch and dinner one day and the next morning I’d gained 6#!! So the last two servings, I dug out all the beans and threw them on the compost pile. I’ve now taken off those extra 6# but it sure was scary. I guess it’s going to be a gradual process of learning what I can safely eat and what I can’t. I do eat some organic cheese and heavy cream in my coffee and that seems to be OK.

I have two bell pepper plants and two tomato plants left. I’m starting to get some fruits off them but they are much smaller than they’re supposed to be. My local Facebook gardening group mentioned that’s a “thing” this year, along with unusually high levels of rodent damage, much smaller fruits and veggies. My Rutgers tomatoes are more like cherry tomato size, and the mini peppers are WAY mini, less than an inch around.

I bought a $5 Purple Robe Locust tree about 2 1/2′ tall, and it took 6 tries before I was able to dig a hole big enough! (Rocks everywhere!) But I finally got it into the ground and two days later I found it cut off about 6″ up the trunk. I thought it would be safe because it has thorns! I see it is putting out some new leaves but even if I am able to protect it now, I’ve lost a whole year’s growth. I’ll be long dead before this thing ever grows big enough to shade the house! I also got a small Russian Sage and planted it in the garden near the cactus, and it’s surviving and even putting out pretty purple flowers! Turns out it’s toxic to critters, yay! It looks a lot like lavender but doesn’t smell as strong. I think lavender will also grow here without being eaten, but it’s so expensive I haven’t tried. I might try growing some from seeds next spring.

The little stripey lizards have had babies. Too cute! Their bodies are about an inch long, with tails twice that. And boy, are they fast!! I haven’t been able to get a photo of any of them, adults or babies, yet.

I’m hoping to start camping again next month! Just a little mini-tour around S.E. Arizona. The camper has been sitting here for three years!! Hard to believe. I’ve been going out there every day trying to sort things out and figure out where to put all the stuff I’ve got stored in there. When I moved into the house I neglected to remove everything from the camper fridge (which has not worked for several years)…..ewww. Big mess. I’ve gotten everything out now but there are some icky unidentifiable blogs of “stuff” on the bottom, yucko! Every day I open the door and look and just shut it again but one of these days I’ll tackle it. It’ll be good for storing dry foods once I get the ick out and use baking soda to remove the stink.

I wanted to send out a huge THANK YOU to the folks who have donated via my PayPalMe link! Even a little is a lot, and is very much appreciated. I always send a private Thank You email via PayPal but just found out recently that apparently they are not going through. I was very embarrassed when a friend had to ask if I got her money, and I know I sent her the email! So if I seem ungrateful, I’m really quite the opposite…..just have been using the wrong medium to send thank you emails.


Hot Hot Hot!

All is well here, just WAY too hot. I got a cigarette lighter plug doubler for the little solar generator so now I can run a fan and the fridge at the same time but it doesn’t change the fact that the temperature in here is in the 90’s. And the weather forecast still keeps saying low to mid 90’s, right up through the next 8 days! The average temp for right now is only 82. I want 82, I’d probably have to wear long sleeves if it was that cool!!  It’s 93 in here right now and I’m sitting around in underpants and a big tee shirt with the arms cut off. If someone comes I’ll have to hurry and put my shorts on! 

I cut up some 90% shade cloth and put it over two of the windows. It really does help keep the sun’s heat out, but it also makes it very dark in here. And ugly on the outside. Still, I guess it’s worth it.


I got out an old propane camp stove that’s probably 40 years old and fixed it! I can hardly believe I’ve hauled this old thing around with me in all my travels. I’m pretty amazed. It wouldn’t ever keep a low flame, if I adjusted the flame down it would immediately go right back to roaring hot. I found a YouTube video on that problem and was able to remove the knobs and spindles, clean them and now it works great! It still runs way hotter than my little stove in the house and I burned a pot of fresh green beans already (and I NEVER burn anything!) but I just have to keep a close eye on it. It’s been a real game-changer….now I do all the cooking outside and the house stays a good 5 degrees cooler, especially in the mornings. It usually stays below 80 degrees until about noon, then the sun starts hitting the front of the house and it heats up quickly.

A couple days a week we get afternoon thunderstorms that cool everything off but it’s not enough. We are supposed to be in Monsoon season and gets rains daily. We are having a terrible Monsoon season for two years in a row, even though it was supposed to be a good one because of la Nina weather patterns. Huh. Shows how much THEY know. We are back in drought conditions again!! I am so afraid I’m going to lose more of my shady Cedar trees.

I have pretty much given up on getting any kind of tomato crop, but the bell peppers are doing good. Apparently tomatoes are much more tasty to rodents than pepper plants. I had a small San Marzano tomato ripening and then it got eaten. Even the plants on the patio table are getting slaughtered, and it seems impossible that mice or any other kind of rodents could get up there! The legs come up into the middle of the table top, a good 1.5′ from the edge!! And it seems strange that they saw off a branch but don’t really eat any of the leaves. I had no idea we had squirrels and chipmunks here but I saw one of each the other day. Too many rodents!! 

The hydroponic tomato is getting top-heavy and wants to keel over all the time, I’ve got it kind of propped up with sticks but if it’s windy, they don’t work well. It’s looking really stressed and every morning it’s wilted. The nutrient solution goes down almost 2″ a day, I guess it is drinking it?? Or perhaps it’s dehydrating that fast in this low humidity.
I think next year I’ll do some bell peppers and that’s all. I’ll have to buy tomatoes, not try to grow them. I get too attached. The funny thing is, I don’t even like raw tomatoes, only canned tomatoes!! And my few plants were never going to give me enough to do any canning with. So I’ve really wasted a bunch of money on them.

I’m in a Facebook gardening group for this area and a number of long-time gardeners are giving up, due to the drought and the rodent problems. One of the reasons I wanted to buy property and settle down was that I wanted a garden! Boy THAT was a bad idea. 

I think I have Shingles!! Just starting. That’s the only thing I can figure out, anyway. I have a patch about 3×5″ on my side that burns like fire, but it looks perfectly normal. I couldn’t sleep so I got up and Googled it and Shingles was one thing that came up. It said in the early days there isn’t a rash. I have had the homeopathic Singles remedy on hand for at least 10 years, just in case.  It really does help a lot, so maybe that’s what it is. A friend had full-blown shingles with the rash and everything, and the homeopathic made it go away in 3 days. No pharmaceutical would give results like that!  I have a Dr. appt on Monday so we’ll see how it is by then. Hopefully all gone.

Not much else going on here. Roxie is now spending 99% of the daylight hours under the house. Every once in a while she comes out behind the house and barks for me to come and get her; I think she gets lost!! She drinks some water, then wants to go right back out. I wish *I* could fit under the house too!



Little Bitty Living

Oh boy. I have totally messed up my blog setup!! I’m letting this one go with minimal content and I’ll have to play around with it to try and get everything else back. Aaargh! All I was trying to do was find a way to put a house photo up at the top……

Hello everyone! Happy Height of Summer. I’m ready to be done with the temps in the 90’s but the good news is, Monsoon Season is finally here! I think. Last week we got thunderstorms (with or without rain) every afternoon. They cool everything off considerably, what a relief! I’ve never been a real big fan of rain but boy, this rain is welcome! And I’m sure my plants and trees really appreciate it too. This week, no rain. Drat! 

If it’s 94 outside, it’ll be 94 or 95 degrees inside the house. It’s pretty awful. I’m back to buying XL tee shirts at the thrift stores so I can cut the sleeves off and have lots of room for air to circulate! The size Mediums fit too close to my body. Of course I only wear the big ones around the house, not out in public.

I’ve hung up some 90% heat shade material over two of the front windows. It really does help with the amount of heat coming into the house, but it also makes it dark as a cave. I guess it’s worth it.

While moving some cement blocks around I discovered this darling little nest of blue eggs. I figured it was the little stripey lizards. I put a board over them. 

Then when I moved another block, there was two more eggs. They really needed to be moved, so I thought I’d just put them into the other nest. As soon as I picked one up I knew…..they’re not eggs at all, they’re juniper berries!! I don’t know why the lizards were saving them.

My veggie garden…..oh my. Critters got to the carrot tops, so I pulled those. I still have 6 or 7 carrots continuing to grow. The carrot containers gets put on the car hood every night. So far they’ve been safe there.

My little vegetable plants are all finally thriving! They all have baby fruits (so cute!) and I believe I’ve figured out how to protect them from critters. Most everything gets moved to the workbench every night and then back out into the sunny yard every morning. The one bell pepper plant is in a 5 gallon bucket that’s too heavy for me to move, so I made a cage of ¼” hardware cloth and every night I put a 30 gallon garbage bag over that and tie the bottom tightly to the bucket. So far so good with that. Of course any self-respecting mouse could eat right through that flimsy plastic bag, but I guess they don’t know that. 

I keep seeing baby praying mantises on the vegetable plants. They’re great for insect control! I saw one eating a house fly the other day, and I know they really like aphids too. They also eat beneficial insects like bees too, but I appreciate them taking care of my plants.

The big news…..I have refrigeration!! I’m using the Jackery 240 solar generator to power the electronics, and a friend helped me do the wiring, hook up the propane regulator & tanks and run the solar panel wires in. (OK, by that I mean he did it and I watched) I can’t tell you what a luxury it is to be able access my food right from inside the house!! WOW! I’m still not used to it. Several times in the past week I’ve thought about starting lunch or dinner and I memorize the list of what I need and head outside. Then I want to do a Happy Dance when I realize I don’t have to! 

I saw a bunch of Black-Eyed Susans along the roadside the other day and wanted some. I’m not sure if it’s legal to steal wildflowers from the roadside…?? But I was in a hurry to go grab some before anyone else came along. So I got some scissors out and went and cut 5 flowers, then quickly back to the car. (I’d say “ran” but my knees still aren’t THAT good) Then I found out, their stems are super-sticky and the flowers were full of ants, and even a small spider! EEEK!

I took them back outside and tried to bash all the live stuff off them. I had some alcohol wipes in the car and it didn’t even make a dent in that sticky junk on my hands. Nice. I’ll have to say, I really did enjoy seeing their cheery little faces once I debugged them and got my hands clean again. Until they started to shed pollen all over the place. It stains white melamine countertops, by the way. Hmmm. 

There’s repaving work on the only road to town, and very long waits to share the one-lane road. At first they tried doing the work at night but they had to quit because in the first week, they had three elk / vehicle accidents! 

The diet is still going well, though progress is slow. I was thinking about that today, I’ve never been on a diet for 19 months straight! I guess I really did make it a lifestyle change and not just a temporary diet. I think always before this, I was anxious to get to “the end of the diet” so I could start eating forbidden foods again. It’s not like that this time. Very odd! I honestly have no cravings for junk food, processed foods or sugar. I do use natural sweeteners like Monk Fruit and Stevia, so I still get some sweet taste. I read a book that was talking about a great hamburger and I suddenly wanted a cheeseburger in the worst way, but I found out that it was just as good to eat a cheeseburger dipped in unsweetened ketchup, mustard and dill relish and no bun. I tried to use a lettuce leaf as a bun but it was way too messy. I really thought as soon as I had a freezer I’d want to have some ice cream but even the “keto” ice cream has too many carbs and you only get to eat ⅕ of the pint! Not worth it, I decided.

Yesterday I thought I lost Roxie! I’ve been letting her go out on her own for the past month or so. I usually go out with her or watch from the doorway but yesterday I just plumb forgot she was outside. When I realized she wasn’t in the house, I went out and called and whistled and looked all around, no Roxie anywhere. I got in the car and went up the road a ways, no Roxie. I came back and looked all around again, and happened to think of looking under the house. There she was sound asleep, in a big hawg wallow she’d dug for herself. She’s always loved digging. I had to poke her with a stick to get her attention, and bribe her with food to come out. (She’s pretty much stone deaf now at age 13) Great, now she’ll be headed under the house all the time…..and getting filthy, oh how fun!

Arizona DIY Micro House DIY Tiny House Uncategorized

Happy Place

Hello everyone!  I thought I’d try to write more often so my blog posts don’t turn out to be giant long tomes. 

I had a great week! It was cooler for several days, which in turn makes me a much more cheerful person. I just HATE heat. This week it’s back to the 90’s though. I’m trying to get some work done in the very early morning, between 6 & 8 a.m. I’ve started to work on the front porch. It will make the house look so much cuter, and more importantly, it’ll shade the whole front of the house from the sun, and should keep the house much cooler. I borrowed a posthole digger to set 4×4 posts to support the porch floor and roof, and right away ran into problems. It’s rocky here. I ran into a big rock only 3” down. I poked around and it didn’t seem as though I could get around it, and it’s too big to dig out. So now I have to go in a different direction, maybe dig as big a hole as I can, working around this rock, and then fill the cavity with cement and set in a metal post holder into the cement. I’m thinking if I clean off the top of the rock really good, the cement will bond with it and make it all a huge anchor. I have to anchor the porch really well or the high winds here will come in under the roof and blow the whole thing away. So that’s where it stands now, I have to go get the post holders and some cement. Cement is a bit of a problem because I can’t lift the 60-80# bags, I’ll have to leave it in the back of the car and scoop out of the bag until it’s at least half gone. I think that’ll work.

I made a cheapie $4 birdbath, using an old tomato cage and two 12” plastic pot saucers. (two because they’re really flimsy) The 12” size fits into the top of the tomato cage perfectly! I think I need to paint the bottom of the saucer though so the birds can see it better.

I also made a little oasis for the cute little stripey lizards that abound here. There are at least two that live under my steps and every time I step outside, they run like crazy (scaring the crap out of me every time!). I got this idea when I was getting water from my big tank and saw a lizard right there, so I dripped a little near him and he ran right over and got a drink! 

I accidentally left the water spigot on a teeny bit the other day and the next morning there was a huge puddle of precious water on the ground! Now my 275 gallon water tank is less than half full. The previous two years I only used one tank per year but this on is only going to last about 3 months, what with me wasting so much, and using so much to water the plants.

I continue to lose plants to some evil critter. I bought some plastic mesh baskets at Dollar Tree that I’m now using to cover the smaller ones at night, and some of the smaller potted ones I can move to the workbench every night and put them back out in the sun every morning. So far that’s working but when the plants get too big for the baskets, I’ll have to try and think of something else. Cages made of ¼” hardware cloth would work but would make it hard to harvest any tomatoes or peppers (assuming they actually get to that point).

I managed to replace my shredded tarp over the camper a couple days ago. It’s hard to do that by myself. I had just had the thought that I should carry my cellphone on me if I’m working on ladders when I was up on top of the stepladder stretching a really fat bungee cord from the camper over to the 4×4 post and somehow I lost my grip on it. Pow! Right in the kisser! Oh boy, did that hurt! I finished the job and then went right in and put arnica gel on it. It was really swollen with a big blister on the outside of my upper lip and a cut on the inside. I looked like Botox Gone Really Wrong. I thought, thank God everybody’s wearing masks these days! But that arnica stuff is amazing….by the next morning, I just had a small dark red spot in the center of my upper lip, not even noticable. The cut on the inside is taking a little longer to heal but it’s way better than I thought it would be when it first happened. 

I’ve been trying to get Roxie groomed, a little bit each day. She hates it and it’s a gigantic fight every day, usually ending because I’m afraid she’ll have a heart attack or something. After all, she is 13 years old now. Yesterday I decided to sit on the floor with her instead of trying to do it on my lap. With my wonky knees, I have always had a lot of trouble getting down to floor level, and even more trouble and pain getting up. Well I got down there, worked on her for awhile, and then got up on my knees to get up. IT DIDN’T HURT! I even tried crawling a little bit, and it still didn’t hurt! I haven’t been able to crawl without intense pain since 2001 when I originally tore the meniscus!  Wow. So I consider my knees fully fixed! At least for now. I owe it all to my wonderful doc, with his Traumeel injections, PRP and wearing the knee braces. 

I realized yesterday afternoon that right here and now, I was completely content and happy! I wonder how many people can say that. I’ve taken a more relaxed stance on getting the house finished. I’m done with stressing out about having the money to do anything. Yeah, it’d be great to have power to the house and refrigeration, but aside from that I’m find with living in the house as it is. I have no urgent need to have finished walls or floors. I’m not going to feel guilty about what I can and can’t get accomplished. After all, I’m retired.  I have no pain, I have energy and I just feel really good right now.  !!!  I guess I’ve found my Happy Place.

I’ve changed some things (I think!) about the type size so I hope you can read it easier. Please someone who was having trouble before, let me know if this has helped!




Arizona Uncategorized

Disasters and Discoveries

I had an interesting week…….my precious tomato plants are being devoured by SOMETHING, I don’t know what! It happens at night. They are all in large plastic buckets, around 5 gallon size. I figured that would be tall enough and slippery enough to keep the mice and rabbits out, but now I’m not so sure. Strange that they waited til the plants were over a foot tall to start munching them! I thought perhaps it was deer but I set up a solar motion light yesterday and two more tomato plants got mostly eaten. I think a bright sudden light would scare deer away. And I’ve never seen a deer here (though the neighbors have). So it’s all a big mystery but I’m heartbroken over the plants I raised from seeds, babied and watered so diligently. So far they’ve left the bell pepper plants alone but maybe after the tomatoes are all gone….OH! They ARE all gone, except for one little stub, and one that’s never been transplanted yet.
I am trying to salvage one of them that’s still about 7” tall and has a baby tomato. I put it up on the workbench outside. I am not sure whether or not the critters can get up there, but it’s worth a try. I don’t have any other nice tall places for it except the glass patio table; I raised all the seedlings there and nothing has ever been bothered. But I don’t think that table will take the weight of 5 gallons of dirt.
Yesterday I bought some small plastic mesh wastebaskets at Dollar Tree that I’m going to use to cover the smaller plants at night. Once they get too big for the baskets though, I’ll have to think of something else.
Oh I just had a brilliant idea! Maybe. I sprayed the sides of the buckets with WD-40. I think that will make them really slippery so they can’t be climbed?? Time will tell, but I thought it was worth a try. I think Pledge would work well too, but since I don’t have furniture, I don’t have any Pledge. Maybe silicone spray too?
My hydroponic tomatoes were the first to go. They were doing so well, had several baby tomatoes and everything. One day they just started wilting. I changed their nutrient solution but by the 3rd day, one plant’s leaves were all crispy. I’m holding my breath on the other one but it’s leaves are very droopy.
I got three Chocolate Mint plants from the neighbor. You can’t kill those things, right? They take over the whole garden, right? Yeah…well….they died, even though I watered them 3x a day! It’s so hard to garden in the desert, the ground and low humidity just dessicates everything so fast! All the flowers in the flower garden died too. I give up on planting stuff in the ground!!
So that’s my sad gardening stories.
Thank goodness I still have the little geranium plant that a friend sent me from Amazon, it looked pretty sad when it arrived, after delivery delays. But now it’s feeling great and blooming like crazy!! It’s so nice to have SOME color!
Another success is that I’ve been growing sweet tomato slips, and they are doing really good. I happened to have an old organic sweet potato that had shoots, so it started from there. It grew like Jack’s beanstalk, inches every day!! So now I’ve taken some shoots off it and they are also growing roots. I think I’ll try putting them in the really big pot, if the WD-40 spray works. Not that I eat sweet potatoes right now, but I think the vines are really pretty.
Last week I was driving to town and turned on the A/C. The vent between the blower motor and the cabin air filter are clogged with mouse nests that I can’t get out (I tried last summer too) but it still puts out slightly cool air. When I turned on the fan, I heard Clunk Clunk, Crunch Crunch and then a cloud of…..mouse hair?…..came shooting out of the vents, right at my face! EWWW!! I turned it off real quickly but….well, just EWWW. With the low humidity, it never did get terribly stinky but I tried turning it on yesterday (I shut the vents first) and it does smell a little funky.
At a thrift shop I found a little $2 DC fan that plug into the accessory thingy in the car, and I can aim it right at my face. It’s been in the low 90’s here for a week or so, and only two of my car windows are operational so it’s pretty hot driving.
Also pretty hot is my house! By afternoon, the inside temp is as high or higher than the outside temp, even with all the windows and drapes closed. It’s so miserable! The high inside so far was 94.6 degrees…pretty unbearable, but I have to bear it. I feel as though I should move back into the camper, as it has a powerful roof vent fan that would make a big difference. But it’s so depressing to think of going backwards! I love living in my little house, and I guess I’d rather suffer the heat than move out. (How many more days of summer???) A friend did a huge thing, she ordered from Amazon a solar pure sine wave generator and a special 100 watt folding solar panel!! It’s totally silent except for a very quiet fan, and it allows me to recharge all my kindles, laptop, phone inside the house instead of down at the camper, plus it runs a 10” battery fan! The big fan is so much better than the little 5” battery fan I was using. The wind doesn’t make any difference to the heat in here but it feels good. I just got more SS money and ordered the cords from Amazon so I can charge it from the solar panel, and run the fridge off it !!! Of course they’re taking 3 weeks to get here….sigh. Amazon sure isn’t what it used to be. Right now I’m recharging the generator from the inverter in the camper.
I don’t remember if I told you that some folks that have an organic produce farm near me decided that they’d like to use their Stimulus money to help others. The woman saw a photo of my little house and it resonated with her, something about the little heart on the door reminded her of her mom who’s passed away. So she said they wanted to get my solar system set up for the house! She is friends with the solar company guy in Taylor, and they came out and looked at the 245 watt solar panel that I have, and he said he knew just what he wanted to do. He said he’d mount the solar panel on the roof. I guess that’s OK but it sure might be a stinker to get up there to clean it! Since there’s no rain to speak of here, it’ll get pretty dusty. Anyway I don’t know what else he had in mind but I still need batteries and a charge controller. He said he could bring an insulated, weatherproof box with hinged lid that could go at the back of the house for the batteries, charge controller and the 600 watt pure sine wave inverter that I ordered when I heard they were doing this. Apparently the solar guy was providing the components at his cost, and was going to donate the labor. Well I’m afraid that deal was another of those promises that don’t actually materialize, as I haven’t heard a thing for about 6 weeks. If I had that, I could make a little evaporative cooler that should make a big difference in the heat in here. It requires power to run a fan and a small water pump. I haven’t 100% given up yet, but I have a sad history of waiting and waiting and waiting for these empty “promises” to come true. It doesn’t really matter, I can’t buy the stuff myself so it’s not like I can DO anything if they don’t come through. I do wish I hadn’t spent $100 on that inverter though, I sure wouldn’t have done that if I’d thought there was a chance it wasn’t going to happen. Oh well, live and learn! I need to stop believing what people promise. But that makes Sharon’s gift that much more precious, as it WILL run the fridge, once I get all the stuff together. And get someone to help hook it up too. I’m not sure how the wiring goes.
We had 3 days of really high winds, 40 mph+. That’s what made the AZ fires grow so quickly, I’m sure. It shredded another tarp on the camper roof. The roof skylight has a couple leaks so if it ever DOES rain, I need it covered. I can’t reach the places that need new caulking. I think that’s the 4th tarp shredded since last fall. BTW I am at least 100 miles from any of the fires, I’m safe.
I got some good news on the health insurance front, I qualified for a Plan G Medicare Supplement Plan! I didn’t think I would, with a brain tumor and old stroke. It’s going to cost $66 more than I now pay for my Advantage Plan ($166 plus Medicare) so that’s going to be really hard to come up with, but if anything big ever comes up again, it’ll be paid 100%. Given my age, I’m assuming that things will come up no matter how healthy my diet. Starting next month I’ll be spending 21% of my income on health insurance. It’ll leave me with $265 a week to live on, Eeeek! That’s gonna be difficult.
I think I have finally figured out why my weight loss had stalled. I have always done Clean Lazy Keto. Clean keto is without processed foods & processed meats, fast food, etc. Lazy Keto is when you don’t keep track of the macros for protein, fat and carbs. It worked just fine for most of the weight loss but as you get closer to the goal and there’s less fat to lose, then you have to work harder to get the weight off. I think that’s true of any diet. It seemed like such a hassle to look up all those macros for everything I cook! It’s not like I can just get the info off a package, since I don’t eat processed or packaged foods. But the other day I started a spreadsheet, looked up the values for everything I normally eat, and started keeping track. What a revelation! It turns out I was eating way too many carbs and protein. I also saw a video by Dr. Nick Zyrowski about drinking apple cider vinegar to help stalled weight loss. You drink 2 tbsp. ACV with 1 tbsp. Lemon juice, some sweetener and 10 oz of cold water before every meal. UGH. It’s not quite pukey, but I have to hold my breath and just drink it fast. The lemon juice does help, and it helps to have it really ice cold. So I changed things around and in the past week or so I’ve lost another 4#! WOW! That’s pretty impressive….it took 4 months to take off the 10# before that! I hope I can hold onto it and not have it start bouncing those old 4# up and down again. I now weigh 134#. I’ve decided to aim for 100# loss, that would be 127#. Boy I haven’t been that skinny since high school! After that I don’t know what the heck I’ll do, as I’m scared spitless to stop this diet. I’ve never been able to maintain weight loss before, and I desperately want to this time.
I’ve been amazed, feeling all the bones that used to not be there! I now have hipbones, collarbones, ribs…! Unfortunately I still don’t have any cheekbones. I guess that’s a lost cause.

I had some photos to add but as you can see, they’re not here. I tried three times and could not get them to come over to the laptop from the phone. Sorry.

I had aa

Arizona DIY Micro House DIY Tiny House Micro House Uncategorized

Gardening Time

Hello everyone! I’m making great strides in the garden but not so much in the house. Gardening is a good excuse for me to NOT attempt to do the things that I find scary or hard. I’ve got hydroponic Rutgers tomatoes that I grew from seed, now they are in ½ gallon jars with roots 18” long! But they’re starting to fade. I’ve changed their nutrient water and am hoping for the best. They have blossoms!  The hydroponic ones are huge compared to the ones in little pots of dirt so I hope they live.

Lots of roots! 

These two plants are the same age! 

I’ve also got several organic bell pepper plants in pots and 5 gallon buckets and have planted organic green beans and some cosmos, marigold and vinca flower seeds. Pots everywhere! I hope being in fairly large/tall pots mean the mice, rabbits & packrats won’t be able to get them. I planted some pretty petunias in one small garden with snapdragons and the petunias got eaten right down to the ground. My other garden with zinnias in it has not been touched.  There are some clusters of really cute tiny white daisy-type flowers growing wild so I dug some up, thinking they obviously were not attractive to mice. They had a taproots and are not very happy today (the day after transplanting). I hope they revive, as they’d be nice perennials, assuming they don’t take over the whole garden! 

Container garden


Before the petunias disappeared

Here’s my little bitty bicycle planter, isn’t it the cutest?! I bought it for $4 at a thrift shop two years ago and have been storing it ever since. I love that it’s still got the training wheels, handlebar streamers and a bell! It’s got petunias that are doing fine, I guess because the critters can’t climb up there. It sure is heartbreaking when stuff gets decimated like that, especially since I really HATE getting my hands dirty. That dirt under my fingernails, ugh!! 



The Face Flies are back. I’m sure they have a REAL name but that’s what I call them. They get right up in my eyes & nose in a cloud, trying to suck the moisture. UGH! They don’t bite but they sure are annoying, especially when they get between my eyes and my glasses. 

And my big Snaky is back too. We both scared the crap out of each other last week when I was heading to the camper and he was slithering out from underneath it!  He’s about 5′ long. He’s marked like a rattler but is harmless.


I’ve made a startling discovery. I’m COLD! I never used to be cold. It had to be below 65 degrees in order for me to sleep, and when everyone else was wearing sweatshirts and jackets, I was comfortable in a tee shirt. And I suffered horribly in summertime temperatures. Well all that’s changed! The other night I was FREEZING with two blankets on the bed, so I got up and turned on the heater. When I climbed back up into bed I looked at the thermometer and it was 72 degrees! I guess that’s the price for losing all that nice insulating body fat. I hope this means I won’t be as sensitive to the summer’s heat. NOTE: Two days later it’s 90 degrees and I’m plenty hot, so I guess it doesn’t work that way. 

90# lost as of today. I’m 137#!!  I’m thinking about just keeping on and get down to 127#, that would be 100 pounds lost! Amazing. But I think it’ll be way too skinny for me. I guess that would be about a size 6. And I’m tired of buying new (thrift store) clothes all the time. Plus it would probably mean a zillion more wrinkles in my face. It’s really awful, all the loose skin and wrinkles. I even have wrinkles on my ankles!! 

I had some visitors from Phoenix last week, my old camping buddies Jeanne & Joanne, and Joanne’s two adult Grands! They camped in a beautiful dispersed site in the national forest only about 5 miles from Show Low. I wish I’d known about those campsites when I was here looking for land. They got here on Monday and on Tuesday we went for a two mile hike!! That’s farther than I’ve hiked since 2001. And nothing hurt!  We used hiking poles, I guess that makes a difference though it doesn’t FEEL like it does.  I am so ready to go camping myself, but the camper isn’t. It needs new tires. I thought I’d get tires with the Stimulus money but that was the fastest spending spree ever! I had a long list of “wants” so of course it didn’t stretch far enough. I did get a new (refurbished) propane stovetop though, it’s only 12” wide compared to my present stove’s 25”. (Has front & back burners) When you only have less than 6’ of countertop space, that extra 13” will make a huge difference. I’ll keep the present stove/oven in the cabinet underneath the counter and just bring it out when I need to use the oven. 

R to L: Jeanne, me, Joanne

I’m hoping to go on a mini road trip in the Fall, maybe late October or early November, to visit Deb in Pahrump, NV and go to Valley of Fire State Park & Death Valley.  Since I don’t have thermostatic heat in the house, I’ll have to go before the freezing temperatures hit so everything in the house doesn’t freeze. Keeping my fingers crossed that gas prices will stay low and I can save up some gas money. 

I’ve figured out how to “fix” the refrigerator being up too high, without spending any money. I just need to remove the piece of siding that’s got the present vents in it, cut about 10” off the bottom, reinstall the siding lower and put the cut-off piece on top! Easy-Peasy, only it isn’t. I started to remove the screws holding the siding on the other day and it’s difficult where I’ve used silicone caulk to cover the holes where the screws went in (prep for painting, which I never got done in back). It’s really hard to get that caulk out of the screw heads. But I still think it’s possible. That’s one of the jobs I’m avoiding. I’ll have to get help lifting down the siding panel, but I could have most of the screws out in advance…….

I’ve been very upset this week, because I lost two pairs of shorts. There’s just not that many places to put things around here, so it was really puzzling and quite scary. I looked everywhere about ten times! I even looked in the unused refrigerator and the pressure cooker, just in case my brain tumor was getting frisky or I was starting to get demented. Thank GOD I didn’t find them there!! After three days of stressing over these lost shorts, I woke up in the middle of the night and remembered a place I hadn’t looked yet…..a box under the camper bed for out of season clothes. Voila!! Boy was I relieved; I’m NOT CRAZY!  (Well I guess it was kinda crazy to put them there, but hey, at least they were in a reasonable place, not in the refrigerator or pressure cooker)  

I found some real goodies in 3 boxes that Jeanne and Patricia had stored for me for 5 years! It was like Christmas, opening those boxes. One is my cute fairy door that friend Tam gave me. I love it!


Also in one of those boxes was this fabric, which I also really love. I can’t figure out what to do with it though, it’s only one yard. I wish I had enough for curtains. Funny to think that I must have had this color scheme in my mind as long as 5 years ago!



Someone requested photos of my land and views, so here they are. Except for looking over the valley, everywhere else looks about the same. Lots of cedar trees, small and large. And lots of rocks in about 2/3 of the acreage. (1.05 acres, 150′ x 600′)




Spring or Summer, you choose.

Hello again everyone. I hope you’re all surviving the Social Distancing thing, and staying healthy. Don’t you hate how you can’t tell if anyone is smiling when they’re wearing a mask? Oh yeah, you can tell if their eyes are crinkly but that’s no good. My cousin made a darling smiley mask and I wanted one, so I made a no-sew one. My mouth is a little bit crooked but I like it, even though it’s not as good as hers. I’ve been staying home as much as possible, though we are having a heat wave with temps in the 80’s, so I need to go buy ice every 3 days again. I had hoped to have the refrigerator up and running by the time it got hot. The average temps for right now are only supposed to be in the low 70’s! And I was also caught on the hop without ANY summer clothes! Well I do have a couple pairs of shorts but they’re “for good”, not for schlepping around the house. I found one tank top in size XXL which keeps trying to fall off me, and I broke down and paid full retail price for a pair of $4 shorts at Family Dollar. So now I have exactly one piece of clothing that didn’t come from a thrift shop! I’m hoping I can hold out til my favorite thrift shop opens back up; on Wednesdays you can fill a kitchen-size trash bag full of clothes for $1.50! On the other days it’s $3.00. I think I’m going to have to undo what I’ve done with the refrigerator. It’s just way too high up off the floor. I don’t think I can live with it. I can pay another $37 and get an additional wall vent to go under the existing one, and move the fridge down about 16” lower. That’s a lot lower than I’d like, but I think it’d be more acceptable than having the darn thing too high. That would still leave me with space for a 12” high drawer underneath it. I’m thinking if I could find someone with a bottle jack, I could support the fridge where it is while I reposition the supports, then lower it down without having to remove the closet wall and lift the refrigerator down, then back up onto the new base. It SOUNDS like it should work, anyway.
I’ve been babying my hydroponic lettuce and celery but at the first sign of 80 degree temps, they pretty much all bit the dust. I think I would have gotten an edible crop if only the weather hadn’t ramped up so quickly. Somehow we skipped the 70’s and zoomed straight to the 80’s, and it looks like they’re here to stay. It’s supposed to be 88 by Wednesday! The spinach is struggling, I keep it in the back of the house where it’s shady almost all day long. I do have some promising Rutgers tomato plants that I started from seed, two in half gallon hydroponic jars and three more in dirt. I have some organic San Marzano tomato seedlings coming along, and some bell peppers. I’m going to try planting them in a huge tub I found along the side of the road after one of our big windy days, and some 5 gallon buckets. I’m hoping the sides will be too high for the rodents to climb. I planted a bunch of mini carrot seeds in a large planter but only one came up. So I guess my carrot garden will be exactly that….one carrot!
I took a pickaxe and loosened up the soil for a flower garden, and hauled the top 3” of dirt out and dug in some Home Depot garden soil. The yucca plants in he middle were growing wild there. I lined the outside with Good Rocks that I collected the whole 3 years I was on the road. I carried over 100# of pounds of rocks in my car for all that time! And I couldn’t believe it, there weren’t enough Good Rocks to go all the way around! I had to fill in with the ugly gray cinder rocks that are laying all over the place here. I may not be able to keep that garden going though, unless we have a pretty good monsoon season, it’ll probably take too much of my water supply to keep them happy. With it being so dry here, the plants dry out horribly fast. In another spot up against the house I dug up a small bed and will scatter some Nasturtium seeds. I read that they thrive on poor soil and abuse! They sound perfect. I lined the outside of the flower spot with all the Good Rocks I picked up in my travels and hauled around in my car for 3+ years, and I couldn’t believe it, there weren’t enough of them!
I had to fill in with the ugly gray cinder rocks from the property.
A friend I’ve never met but I feel close to, sent me a lovely geranium from Amazon! I did not know Amazon sold live plants, did you? It got delayed in transit so the flower was dead but the plant looks amazingly OK and has lots of other buds on it. I needed some color in my life! Update… it’s losing a couple leaves every day so may not make it.
I’ve been pretty happy with how the house is handling the heat. Even though the gable ends don’t have any insulation yet, the house is staying comfortably cool. I kinda missed the boat on doing that insulation; I intended to get it done before hot weather hit, but I forgot about the windy season. There’s no way I can work with 4×8 sheets of foam in 30 mph winds! Duhhh.
I finally had my cardiology appointment after several delays. Just as I thought, it was all a storm in a teacup. I have some slight valve leakage that’s pretty common for my age, but the heart function is good. He said I don’t need to go back. Yay, I think that’s IT for the specialists!! I am having more trouble with my speech; the slurring comes and goes pretty often but sometimes only lasts for 5-10 minutes. It is what it is, there’s nothing that can be done about it at this point. It would have to get a whole lot worse before I’d ever think about having brain surgery.
I’m still wrestling with the last few pounds I want to take off. It’s been over three months now that I’m bouncing 4 pounds up & down, over and over. I guess I’m OK with it but I’d like to quit doing this super-strict diet and relax a bit once in a while, and I just can’t understand why I’m struggling so much with the final few pounds when I haven’t changed my diet at all. I’m ready for some toast, or a baked potato, or popcorn! Well I apologize if no photos show up. I’ve been fighting with this issue for 4 days…tried both with the laptop and the phone app. I give up.


Even *I* Am Bored!

I feel like I should have blogged sooner…sorry. I’ve had super limited internet for the past 6 weeks; due to a series of stupid problems. I’ve been using mostly the TracFone data which costs $10 a gb! I’ve also tried the library, but since it’s closed, the signal is really weak and slow when I’m sitting in the car trying to use it. I finally had to purchase a new phone and new internet plan. 

In the midst of Social Distancing, I find it amusing that my life hasn’t changed much at all. As an introvert, I pretty much live Socially Distant all the time! Still I feel bored right now, and wishing I had TV to watch. I guess it’s because I CAN’T go anywhere instead of just not wanting to. Am I the only one whose house is spotless these days?!  This is a long post but maybe y’all are so bored, it’ll be entertaining.

Here’s the view from my front door. Pretty nice, eh? Well except for the junk. It’s the LONG-RANGE view I was referring to, LOL!

door view


I was very worried for the first couple weeks of virus hysteria, as I was out of money and couldn’t join in the buying frenzy. I finally made it to Walmart’s Senior hour (6 a.m.) on Tuesday and even though there wasn’t much to buy, I feel better about having something on hand. I haven’t eaten processed food for over a year so I didn’t have any non-perishable foods!  I managed to spend $80 on what I consider to be “crap” food that I hope I won’t have to eat. My biggest worry now is that too many truckers will get sick and the supply chain will fail, and I’ll run out of food. I think I’ve got about a month’s worth right now, though I’d be real short on protein and would have to eat rice and beans; yuck. I have about 120 gallons of water and 100# of propane. 

I’ve been nurturing a new sourdough starter for about three months and have just started to make bread again! What a joy! I love to make bread and I love to feed people. I’ve been giving it away but now I wonder if anyone will want bread that someone else has touched, even though I made sure to wash my hands thoroughly every time I handled the dough or bread. I still don’t eat bread at present but I bought some more flour in case I’m forced to go back to eating bread. I miss it and won’t mind too much if that happens, though if I start gaining weight I’ll be REALLY mad.  (85# lost so far and still going) I finally passed the top end of the “normal” range. I was within a couple pounds of it for two months, always thinking it was gonna happen any day. 

I’ve also started my hydroponic lettuce again, I have two plantings of seedlings, one week apart. Romaine and some kind of leaf lettuce, plus I’ve started some bell pepper and tomato seeds. I’d really rather get pepper and tomato starts but in case I don’t get out to get any, maybe I can grow some from seeds. I’ve not had any luck getting pepper seeds to germinate, so we’ll see. The lettuces are happy little things that sprout right up in only about two days, and right away start turning their little faces towards the sun. So cute! Because it’s the windy season, I’ve had to rig up a clear plastic windbreak so they can be outside on my patio table. I’m hoping the nasty lettuce-eating critters won’t be able to climb up the metal legs of the table and murder my babies like last year, when they were just placed out on the ground. I cut the ends off some organic celery and romaine and put them in water too (changing the water daily) and they are already pushing up new growth.  Here’s the windbreak and plants:

Plant Table

I’ve been doing some projects that I already have materials for. I’ve had a small bookcase from Wal-Mart for awhile and was reluctant to assemble it because I thought it would be a huge hassle but I finally did it, and it was easy and it fits the area next to the door perfectly! Now I can have undies & socks in little bins and don’t have to shuffle boxes around to get to them. 


A couple weeks ago I got a friend to help me move the refrigerator into place! I made a huge mistake on the outside vent placement though and the fridge is up too high off the floor. When the freezer door is open, I have to stand on a footstool to see what’s in it! And it looks stupid, that’s the worst thing. But it’s not fixable; the bottom of the fridge needs to line up with the bottom of that vent in order to service and get at the fridge controls from the back. Sigh. My first real major blooper.  I’m sure it won’t be the last. I really hate that RV refrigerators aren’t magnetic. How the heck are you supposed to plaster the front with magnets?? Here’s my first refrigerator art, entitled “Out on a limb”. 



I’d been using the fridge as an ice chest but when the order came for staying home, I moved everything to an ice chest on the back-side of the house., where it’s always shady. Out there, a block of ice will last 5-6 days but the fridge in the house, only 2-3 days. One of these days I’ll get batteries and be able to get the fridge hooked up to propane! Boy that’ll be great, to not have to use ice and deal with melted icewater all the time. And have a freezer!! That would really be helpful right now, when I can’t just go get more meat & perishables every 4-5 days. That’s one of the first things I’ll do if I get the stimulus money, IF the RV parts store and the gulf cart store are open. Somehow I doubt I’ll be able to get the batteries. 

Because the fridge is now in place, I also have…..a CLOSET!!! Wow. I need to put something up as a closet rod, then I could have most of my clothes in one building.  

I put up a crude little shelf in front of one of the windows so the lettuces can see out.

Eventually I’ll have shelves lining the inside of both sides of the closet, between the studs. Today I made one shelf with a backer bar (since I don’t have a wall on that side of the closet yet) for my bedside table stuff…glasses holder, flashlight, thermometer, water bottle. On the other closet wall I’ve done two shelves for canned goods. 


I was given a little round handicap shower chair that I’m not using since my shower isn’t operative yet. I’ve extended the legs to their full height and it’s a perfect little table for one! Eventually I’ll have a drop-down table between the living room chairs but first I have to do the wall finish. So……possibly never! 


I really love my bedroom/living room setup. During the day, the bed is folded up against the wall, a homemade Murphy bed. That reveals two comfy chairs and a storage hassock that acts as a table & footstool. At night, the bed gets lowered down over the top of the chairs and it’s just a short two steps up to the bed! It’s working out really great. And it’s not dangerously high; if I sit on the edge of the bed and put my feet down, they are not much more than a foot from the floor. So I can easily just step onto the bottom step of the little stepladder. 

I put together these really cute solar mason jar lights and I love them! They cast an amazing amount of light onto the walkway at night! It was a cheap kit from Amazon containing 6 jar lids with solar panels on the top, connected to a small amount of fairy lights. I got 6 shepherd’s crooks at Dollar Tree and they’re perfect! Love love love them. And they actually cast enough light to see where to walk! I had a photo of them lit up at night but it’s on the old phone and I don’t have any way of retrieving it anymore. One of these days I’ll have a real walkway instead of old pieces of plywood.



A couple weeks ago I noticed that one of those sheets of plywood walkway was sticking up on both ends so I cleverly just flipped it over. Voila, all fixed! Then I walked on it and found out why it had been placed that way…….took two steps, got a nail in each foot! That plywood is full of small ringed flooring nails!! They barely penetrated but I thought I’d better go get a tetanus shot. Good thing I’m so much lighter now, if I’d been at my former weight I’d probably still be stuck standing on that plywood! 

I’m hungry for some flowers. If not for the new travel rules, I’d have gone to Lowes and gotten me something pretty. Now I have to be content to watch my cute baby lettuces grow. 

A camping friend, Patricia Parker, sent me this amazing painting of my house!! Isn’t it the cutest? I treasure it! 


I went over and met my new neighbor last week. I’ve been hearing the tap tap tap of his hammer for several days. He was up on his roof so we kept a good distance. He’s an older gent from Wisconsin who’s building an 8×8 shack to live in. Seems nice but doesn’t appear to have any knowledge of building. It’s foundation is several stacks of small 2×4 pieces! It’s all 2×4’s….walls, roof and floor. I’m thinking a 2×4 doesn’t actually have a span of 8’ as a floor joist but I’m not sure. He’s going to have a leaky roof for sure but I didn’t tell him that. I’ll be really surprised if our high winds don’t blow it off the “foundation” soon too. Oh well, at least it’s small and will be easy to fix. UPDATE: I went past there yesterday and the entire structure is gone! Apparently he has dismantled it and hauled everything away, or else it blew away. Huh! 

Another mystery is the mouse situation here. I have a 5 gallon bucket partially filled with water pretty close to the outside house wall, and in the past week, 22 mice have committed suicide by drowning! I wish I had a critter-cam to see how the heck they’re getting in there. Swan diving off the roof? Somehow climbing up the house wall and jumping?? And WHY?! There must be zillions of the darn things around here. Every morning there are 1-4 dead mice in the bucket. Last night when I walked Roxie, there was one dead and one still alive. There was only a couple inches of water in the bucket and the poor thing was standing up on his hind legs to keep his cute little face out of the water. So of course I had to get him out of there. I thought about doing some teeny-tiny artificial respiration but decided not. He didn’t make it. And now you know why I had to stop going fishing. Too much empathy for the suffering of other creatures. And yes, fish DO feel pain!! They put an irritant on their lips and the fish kept rubbing their lips on the sand in the bottom of the tank. But I’m still going to keep the bucket there; I put more water in it so they won’t have to suffer for so long. 

I hope everyone is being good and staying home as much as possible! Stay healthy, y’all!


Arizona DIY Micro House DIY Tiny House Micro House Off-grid living Owner Built Tiny House Tiny Homes Tiny House Uncategorized

Just Hanging Out

Lately a lot of friends have been asking if I’m OK so I guess that must mean I’m way overdue for a new blog post! I don’t really have much to report; I’ve been terribly lazy lately. I’m just enjoying my life in a real house! 

I did recently do some clearing in the front yard. I had two small, very scraggly trees near the house and they weren’t actually throwing shade on anything, so I cut them down. I carefully saved the cute plants that were growing at the base of the larger one. I’m not sure what they are, some kind of century plant or aloe.

Original yard
Original Yard

That opened up the front yard and made it a LOT bigger, and made this interesting tree more of a focal point I guess. I like how the branches go out horizontally, though parts of it are dead and need trimming.  Maybe some day I’ll feel brave enough to get up on a ladder wielding the sawz-all. Every time I go out the door now and see the new yard I go “WHOA”! I like it.

New expanded yard

I’m really looking forward to planting some flowers this spring but I really need to build the porch first, so I know where to put the beds. I’m going to try and work on that as soon as the ground quits freezing at night. I have to dig two 3’ deep post holes and I’m not sure I can do that, but I’ll try. It’s awfully rocky here so I’m skeptical about being able to actually dig a hole exactly where I need it. If that doesn’t work I’ll have to use those pre-formed cement pier things, but I wanted to get the porch posts into the ground to be more resistant to our 60-80 mph winds. I think I have all the materials I need to build the porch and I think it’ll really make the house lots cuter, if that’s even possible. (I sure do love my little bitty house!) 

So… of this morning, I’m only about 1 pound away from a Normal weight (145) for my height!! I’m not counting any chickens as yet, because a couple weeks ago for no reason at all, I started gaining weight and I gained 9# in 12 days, without changing my diet one bit!! I was freaking out and I still don’t know what the deal was, but I was able to turn it around, thank goodness. When that happened, I was only 1# from normal weight. I’m thinking to try and go down an additional 10# or so, because surely as soon as I eat one mouthful of carby carbs, I’ll gain some back. I don’t know what I’ll transition to from Keto, or if I can maybe still do Keto with occasional forays into the land of carbs. It’s been 13 months since I’ve had anything with sugar or any kind of sweetener at all (besides monk fruit extract, which has zero carbs and doesn’t affect glucose levels). I’m jonesing for some ice cream, I think even the Keto ice cream would be great! And popcorn, a baked potato…..ooooh, a piece of toast!!  Yeah. I’m definitely ready for some cheating, but not until I’ve lost all the weight plus a little extra. Hopefully I won’t go hawg-wild and run amok. 

Here’s a photo of the Fat Me, and I probably weighed 10# more than this when I started the diet. And Skinny Me, taken a few days ago. I went from size 22-24 to size 8-10! I won’t lie, it was very hard work. There’s no Magic Bullet. I didn’t cheat a single time; I didn’t eat any of those processed Keto-friendly snacks like disgusting pork rinds, or even anything that had fake sweeteners in it. The only processed foods I eat are salad dressings (I tried to make my own but didn’t like them.)  I can take weight off, but the hard part for me is keeping it off. I always say “never again” but so far I’ve always failed at that.


I know a lot of people think Keto is terrible for cholesterol because it’s high fat, but actually it’s not, and it doesn’t have to be high fat, or “bad” fats. I usually eat lean meats but add good fats like olive oil on salads, and I cook with avocado oil or organic ghee (clarified butter). The fat is for satiety. If you’re not hungry between meals, you don’t need to eat a lot of fat. I just had a cholesterol test and my total cholesterol stayed about the same; right at 200 but HDL went from 79 to a whopping 103!  Triglycerides went down from 103 to 52; LDL stayed the same, 93. The ratio of HDL to Total Cholesterol is supposed to be under 4.5 and mine is 2.0. So no worries! 

I’ve been wearing a heart monitor for 28 days; got 2 more to go and I can’t WAIT to get rid of the thing! The sensor is stuck to my chest with super-glue; I swear. I have to peel it off and recharge it every 5 days and it seems like it takes 3 or 4 layers of skin with it every time. Then when I apply a new patch, I first have to scrub the skin with one of those rough scrubbies like you do dishes with!! More skin gone, and it always goes back on the same spot.  It’s getting pretty irritated under those patches. But hey, it could be worse; it could have been summertime and I’d have a weird oval-shaped white patch in my tan. I also had an echocardiogram and haven’t gotten the results back from that yet. I’m not too worried about either heart test; I really feel like there’s nothing wrong there. I really think these tests are sort of a “CYA” thing for my doc. I feel perfectly fine, honest! 

My tailbone has been really hurting a lot lately though. I think I broke it as a kid while ice skating on Gillett’s pond and I figured it had developed arthritis. I got it x-rayed and they said there wasn’t anything wrong with it, but that there was “moderate” deterioration in my lumbar region. I knew about that; that only hurts if I’m doing something that requires much bending. Building the house foundation and subfloor was really hard; I could only work on it for 10-15 minutes, then had to go lay flat for 30 minutes to recuperate.  So…there’s nothing wrong with my butt. Does that mean it’s all in my head? And does that make me a hypochondriac butt-head??? (Asking for a friend)

I had to back out of a camping trip for the end of this month that I was really looking forward to, but I just couldn’t justify paying $110 for new camper tires and $60 in extra gas when I have so much other debt. You know the good and bad angels that sit on your shoulders? The Good Angel won out in the end. She’d been yelling at me the whole time, saying “Are you NUTS?! You can’t afford this!”  She yelled a bit louder than the Bad Angel who kept saying “But we really wanna go!!” Oh well. I still plan to meet up with friends at Mesa Verde at the end of May, no matter what else happens. 

Here’s the view out my front door…it’s hard to see in this small photo but I have some great long-range views out over the little valley.


So that’s about it for me lately…..nothing very exciting, but I sure am loving my little house. It’s been super easy to heat with the 4,000 BTU Buddy heater; in fact unless it’s under 30 degrees at night it’s TOO easy! I have to keep getting up and turning it off, then getting up and turning it back on a few hours later. If it’s a sunny day (and it usually is), I can open the drapes and turn the heat off by about 10 a.m., even on cold days.

Stay safe and healthy, everyone!