Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Work begins on the cart shed. . .

We spoke with a builder here in the park about getting a golf cart shed erected. Mom and Dad have a golf cart and they keep it in the shed on our (formerly their) lot. We will be removing our shed next year and building a Texas room, so they will lose their cart shed. So we are erecting one on our double lot and it will include a workbench for Terry to tinker with whatever he likes to tinker with. Terry wanted to put down a two inch concrete cap to set up off the pad in order to keep it dry and to deter termites which can be a problem down here.

Terry called Oscar on Monday morning and he came by yesterday to tell us when he would do the job. It was a very small job as concrete goes and he said they would be here Thursday morning. Today we had to take Neal to the vet, and when we got back, Oscar's guys had already started. Wow! A day early. They formed it up this morning and came back this afternoon to pour the concrete. Oscar had several small jobs to do so he ordered concrete in one larger load and spread his men out to do all the jobs. Oscar is the man who is responsible for most of the concrete in the Martin ranches. He got together early with the developer. He is quick, efficient, and knows concrete. I took this picture of Oscar while they were waiting on the concrete. Hah. I'm sure he was tired, because he gets up and on the job early and worked past 6:00 this evening. A lot of people have cause to complain about the Texican workers they hire here in the valley. But I must say that everyone we have hired has been here on time or early, worked long days, and finished on time. Hopefully we can now get the cart shed erected and then next year we will concentrate on the Texas room.

Our white Scottie, Neal, has been having some digestion problems. Neal is our special needs Scottie and never complains, but we know he hasn't been feeling well. He isn't eating and has lost a couple pounds and we have tried numerous things to get him to eat. We decided we can no longer treat this problem ourselves so we took him to see a vet today. We weren't really impressed with the veterinary clinic he visited last year for the rock removal, so we found another. This doctor was very interested in helping and ran some bloodwork. Neal really has nothing wrong that shows up, but his stool showed no signs of any bacteria at all. No bad and no good bacteria. Since good bacteria is essential for good digestion, the vet suggested we add some fiber to his diet and also some enzymes to aid digestion. Well, he has not been eating well, but he ate the canned dog food the vet sent home. I hope it helps. We never change his food because that doesn't set well with him either. He is too much a creature of habit. Having autistic traits, he doesn't handle change well. Hopefully this will help him and we may just need to change to a senior dog food for him.

Tomorrow we are meeting some friends for lunch at BJ's Brewhouse, then Friday we are meeting other friends at Rudy's BBQ. Yum yum. Let it never be said that Winter Texans go hungry! Hah!

Till next time. . .


Thursday, January 21, 2010

Another one bites the dust. . .

Here in our park, Restful Valley, we pay a small assessment every year to pay for the upkeep and management of our park hall. Our park is owned by the residents and we own our lots and everything on them, so it is important to do what we can to keep our assessments low. So every winter, we hold park dinners with the proceeds going into the fund from which to pay the park expenses. These are known as "street dinners" because the residents of each street host a different dinner. These start in January. We already had a "potato bake" and "ham ball" dinner which was kind of like a large meatball made with ham, sausage, etc. It was very good. Yesterday was our "pork loin dinner" put on by the Birch Street gang, which includes us.

The day started at 8 a.m. with everyone going to the hall with their potato peelers. We peeled, cut and washed the potatoes, then put them in pots to start cooking later. We arrived at 8 a.m. and by 8:05 we were done peeling. Yes, that's right. Amazing, isn't it? But with 15 or so peelers, it doesn't take long and the potatoes are huge. Actually, there are always early risers who go in much earlier and start, but we aren't asked to be there before 8. So it works very well. By 8:40, all the potatoes were washed and in pots. While we were doing that, others were removing the packaging from around loins and washing them. Then they placed them on foil and put a can of mushroom soup on the meat, an envelope of dry onion soup mix, and rosemary. Then they were placed three to a tray and put into the refrigerator. There were 26 of them. The next event started at 1 p.m. I peeked in from time to time in the morning just to make sure Shirley didn't need any help, but the only thing there was to do was turn the potato pots on at 10 a.m.

Back at 1 p.m., we set up to mash potatoes. Three of us stood at the island mashing potatoes in large bowls. Someone was cutting the butter and cream cheese to go into the potatoes and we added a little sour cream and milk as well. Another masher stood at the counter. An hour later, all the potatoes were mashed and put into large roasters to keep warm. Dishes were already washed and put up. The ovens had been preheated and the loins were put into the ovens to bake for 2 1/2 hours. The corn and green beans were put into the roasters and turned on warm, so at 2 p.m. we came back home and put our feet up for an hour before heading back at 3 p.m.

At 3 p.m. we walked back and things really started happening fast. We had sold 410 tickets, 10 more than we shoot for, but we usually have a few no-shows. Not so today. We are always ready about 15 minutes early because when we arrived back at 3 p.m. there were already people waiting for the serving to start. The dinners are THAT good. At 3:45 we started serving. People got a nice portion of roast pork loin, mashed potatoes with pork gravy, green beans with bacon or corn, fresh baked roll/butter, cranberries or applesauce, cake for dessert, coffee and/or iced tea. The line was steady with just a few lulls in activity. . . just enough to restock the rolls or butter, etc. I did several jobs, starting with the dishes. Since we had three doing dishes and the roll server was late, I switched to passing out the rolls and butter. Alein arrived late because her husband was sick and she dropped her cake outside the motorhome on the way over. But there was cake left over, so that didn't matter and we worked together the rest of our shift.

Serving hours were 4-6, but at 5:30 everything was quiet, so Terry and I headed back to the motorhome to feed Neal. Mom and Dad had eaten at the hall earlier and Mom was there at the motorhome with Neal. We rested for a few minutes and I headed back up to the hall.

I don't think we served anymore people after I got back there, so we continued with the cleanup which had been on-going all day long. Everyone pitched in, no one balked at any job, and at 7 p.m. we turn off the lights and walked out. It had been a long, busy day, but not too stressful, except perhaps for Shirley who was the leader of the pack. But with everyone pitching in, the dinner was a great success and everyone enjoyed their meal. And we are done for another year. Now we can sit back and enjoy the other street dinners. We have a spaghetti dinner and a chicken dinner coming up yet.

Yesterday hit 87* in the valley. I think it is safe to assume spring is on the way and the cold temperatures are behind us. Today will be a day to relax and enjoy the sunshine.

Till next time. . .


Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Newest Member of the Family

Meet Diesel, our new granddog. He lives in Florida. Brandon and his girlfriend Megan are adopting Diesel, a rescue from the animal shelter who is being fostered by the same family who fostered Jax. He isn't home yet as he is scheduled for neutering February 1 and they want to wait until after that. But he will join Jax in a couple weeks!

Till next time. . .


Monday, January 18, 2010

Baby, the wind must blow. . .

But at least no rain is falling. Ah, yes, springtime in the valley. The colder temps appear to be history now, although we aren't yet hot. But mid 70's are just great anytime. Saturday and Sunday were both beautiful days, but the breeze was a little cool. Today is a bit warmer and a bit windier. Winds today are 26 mph gusting to 32 mph. A little more than is normal for the valley, but the sunshine makes up for it. It is really bright outside. With being under cover now and using our sunscreens on the front of the motorhome, we aren't using air conditioning yet. The air is cool and we keep the door open and if necessary, a vent fan running to pull in that cool air. So nice and comfortable.

Terry got our bikes out and washed them down, so they are ready for the first trip out. Yes, can you believe that? We just haven't had warm enough days for us to get out on them. But hopefully that is all past.

We have friends out in Quartzsite and they were supposed to get blasted by multiple storms this week. . . lots of rain forecast and thunderstorms. Lots of snow is forecast for the upper elevations in Arizona. We are anxious to see how this all plays out. Hopefully they won't fare too badly.

We are working on getting some insulation up over our air conditioners on the motorhome. The new canopy makes the noise from the AC units echo out and it is quite loud. No one has complained, but we are trying to effect a solution so it won't be annoying to anyone.

Now that the weather is a bit better, we will be trying to talk with some builders about getting our Texas room and the cart shed built. Would like to get at least one done this year yet.

Till next time. . .


Monday, January 11, 2010

Another day in Paradise!

We have been in a deep freeze for the last couple weeks. Well, not like the rest of the nation, but certainly cold for south Texas. We've had some rain to go with the cold and most everybody here doesn't get out except to go to church or the grocery. We have been guilty of the same, just staying in and staying warm.

We are entering into the month of park dinners here at Restful Valley. Each street holds a dinner and sells tickets. The dinners are all different and are very good. The dinners all cost $6. The money we raise from each dinner goes to the park to offset the assessments we pay every year. The assessments pay for the hall and the upkeep of that and the pool, etc. As it is, we pay $200 a year which is very cheap as far as what most parks charge down here.

Last week was the first. It was the ham ball dinner. They are large meat balls made of ham, sausage, etc., and made with a tomato based gravy. Hmmmmm. Very tasty. They were served with scalloped potatoes, green beans, roll and dessert along with coffee and iced tea. The next dinner is our street dinner. It is roast pork loin with gravy, mashed potatoes, corn or beans, roll, and dessert. We will go over at 8 a.m. to peel potatoes, then later to mash them and get the loins ready. Then back to start serving by 4 p.m.

Other dinners are roast chicken breast and spaghetti with meat sauce. We also had a baked potato dinner where we had large potatoes with all the fixings. Hmmmmm. I am getting hungry as I write this.

The dinners are indeed special because the residents of the streets put them on and everyone is expected to participate. It puts you together with people that you may not have taken the time to meet and you are able to make new friendships and get to know people a lot better.

The weather, ah, yes, the weather. Hopefully the bitterly cold weather we have been experiencing is over and we are going to start warming up a bit in true Texas fashion. We are anxious to get out and start working again on our lot, hopefully adding a cart garage before we leave this spring. Terry did manage to get our outside spotlight wired so now we have more light under our canopy.

Till next time. . .