Friday, November 30, 2012

April 12, 1987 Sunday

Mark Jefferson was writing blog posts more than 20 years before the internet was invented.  He kept (and keeps) meticulous notes about each day's events and experiences.  Here are his verbatim actual journal notes (as rec'd this evening) from a Verde River trip we did a long time ago!  THANKS, Mark!

Adventures of April 12th on the Verde River
— A classic John Parsons trip — that guy has more fun watching other people's reactions to a little adventure (trauma?).

  There were 6 of us on the river, one of whom was no other than Gary Weesner — hadn't seen him in awhile. The other three were Bill, Ted & Jeff (I tell you this tax job has fried my memory. I can't remember anyone's name anymore.) The other was Ted's 12 year old son. It soon became apparent that I was not the novice on this trip. In fact, next to John, I was the expert. Ted and his son had never been on a river before.

  As soon as the boats were pumped up, we shoved off with barely a word of advice on technique from John. Gary was in a canoe with John, who was frantically trying to tell him all of the things he needed to know for the first rapidly approaching rapid.

  The rest of us were in our own "Cherokees" — these little inflatable kayaks. But they were open like canoes. They were worthless in the wind, but turned out to be fairly maneuverable.

  It was a crazy day with lots of mishaps. People flipping, going for swims, boats floating away and people almost drowning.

  The first was in "Pre Falls" — just above Verde Falls. We got out to have a look and I took some pictures while Ted and Bill made some runs. Ted ended up getting flipped at the bottom and caught in the keeper. He tumbled around a few times, and looked like he was drowning in there. I motioned to get Gary up with the throw rope. Finally Ted kicked free, and his boat floated on towards Verde Falls. I put down my camera and ran after it. Went in swimming and pulled the boat and oar back to shore.

  I aced the run and then we looked at Verde Falls. What a change from high water. John ran one boat through. Then I tried one. I made it over the Falls and then fell out of my boat on a rock below the Falls. My foot touched a rock and I sprung back into my boat.

John was laughing his ass off. He couldn't believe I'd survived the Falls since I'd been up on my knees instead of leaning back. He said I'd defied the laws of physics. No one else wanted to attempt the Falls, so I ran a 2nd boat through. This time I did a face plant into the river at the bottom of the Falls. John laughed and laughed. He said this is why he took novices down the river. It was too dull with all his competent paddling partners.

All of us incompetents made it much more adventuresome.

  He said later that a couple weeks ago they'd wrapped and sunk a boat and had to hike out.

  I told him this was a much needed break from doing taxes. I needed to get my mind off it. He said he imagined that taxes were the furthest thing from my mind as I was sailing over my boat into the river at the bottom of Verde Falls.

  I got beat up a little in my 2nd swim. I got my paddle and my hat but had to let the boat float away. Rocks pounded my legs and arms as I flailed to fight the current. Finally I swam ashore and waited for someone to pick me up.

  Ted went for a 2nd swim after lunch. That time he was too numb and sapped of energy and Gary had to throw him a rope to pull him out. I herded his boat into an eddy and we dumped all the water out.
  He was hurting, and when we came upon some fishermen, they agreed to give him a ride back to town. They deflated his boat while I ran back upstream along the bank to retrieve his Black Bag that Bill had rescued and then left behind on the shore.

  I'd imagined to get some exercise boating today, but I hadn't figured on the workout I was getting — boating, swimming, and running. John just smiled and said, "I know you're tough" when he left me behind shivering after a swim, to put on my wet suit and then catch up. He was in a hurry to get down the river.

We were only half way.

Jeff left his father and stayed with us. I led him through New Wave Rapid only to discover a long keeper at the bottom. I paddled swiftly around it, but Jeff went through broadside, oblivious. Needless to say, he flipped. His boat went under, and when it came up it shot straight up on end and cleared the water. They could see it well upstream. I fished Jeff and his boat out of the river.

  Bill got tired and had to switch with Gary, who was now in a kayak. Bill proved to be not as adept as Gary, and caused two upsets in the canoe. So John got his share of water as well. Only Gary made it through the day without swimming. We arrived at Verde Hot Springs as the sun was beginning to go down. I took the right fork and spent 10-15 minutes in the Hot Springs while the others continued on down to the take out. I had the place to myself. Ah. That warm water felt good, as I had a chill from being in and out of the river all day.

  The place was beautiful. This whole Verde River was.

What a shame that we had to rush through it so. It reminded me of our canoe trip last Fall. What a paradise and playground this Verde River is!!! Sometime I've got to spend more time here. There's just too much to do here in this world!!

  I had to ask John afterwards. Did he have fun? It seemed like he was worried all day, and hadn't had a moment's rest. Why was he doing this?

  He had 2 reasons. One was political. These people were the mayor and superintendent of schools. The people of influence of Camp Verde. He wanted them to get to know the river and be staunch defenders of it. Ted was the Supt. of Schools.

Reason 2. This was putting adventure back into the river. It was just too dull going down with competent paddlers. They aced every run, and nothing ever happened. Now every day is full of stories to bring home.

I had to smile. This all made sense.

What a great, unusual person John is. I'm so glad I know him.


VIVA Kirsty!

DF & LBRs know how much we care for Kirsty and her blog, Momedy.  In the blog post below, you have read our dry and boring post about our own blog statistics.  Well, get this:  if it wasn't for Kirsty, our blog production over the last three years wouldn't have been Jack Diddly!

It's all because of Kirsty that we have had the inspiration and motivation and STICK TO IT and keep posting through thick and thin.  Kirsty has helped us understand what it takes to be be a REAL Blogger.

To paraphrase Kirsty's approach to blogging it would be:  BLOG UP! (Think Lane Frost's signature "cowboy up" scene in the movie 8 Seconds). No matter what comes her way, Kirsty is right there and ready to meet the challenges mind-to-mind, eye-to-eye and hand-to-hand on her keyboard as Momedy tackles whatever it is.

Today, she posted up this photo of her Family on Facebook and I ripped the picture to put here on Live Simple Care Much.  Each and every one of the individuals in this photo are uniquely equipped to move forward successfully and happily on their own Positive Life Path because of Kirsty.  KIRSTY ROX!

THANK YOU, Kirsty, for being our Friend!  Clarence.

Blog statistics

This hasn't been the greatest year for blog posts here on Live Simple.  However, in November we managed to put up more posts than any other month so far this year.  With this post we will have published 34 of them.  The previous high month was May with 32 posts.  The other nine months averaged slightly less than 22 posts per month. Five of those nine months saw a bare minimum of 20 blog posts.

The Year 2010 saw an average of 53 posts per month and 2011 was 39 posts per month.  This year it's probably going to figure out to perhaps 22-23 posts per month, the lowest year of production yet.  However, it's not like we haven't been writing blog posts.  Quite the contrary.  On The Salmon Thang, we will have put up over 100 posts by the time the year ends.  We will have put an additional 40 posts on Geek Weather and probably another 40-50 misc. posts on various other blogs.

So, in terms of total posts, we're running right about the same number as last year 2011.  This is the first year we have put any energy into Facebook so that has diluted our blogging efforts somewhat as well.  We'll talk about Facebook in a minute.

Moving forward, how do we see our blogging taking shape for Year 2013?  We suspect our posts here on Live Simple will be lucky to average 30 per month.  It's highly likely that the average will only be slightly better than Year 2012.  Expect between 20-30 posts per month here in the coming year.

The Salmong Thang will probably run as many as 120 posts in the coming year--about ten per month.  That equates to roughly a two or three posts each week.  That's definitely "doable."  Geek Weather will probably only get 2-4 posts per month, more when active weather is happening and less during stable weather.   Mesquites Rule will get maybe a post a month if it's lucky.  Our shooting and hunting blogs will get some attention now and then but nothing much on a regular basis--only when the whim stirs.

All-in-all, Year 2013 will probably see a total blog output approaching but not exceeding 500 posts for the whole year, pretty much just like Years 2011 and 2012.  Currently on this blog, we have well over 1400 posts total and way, way over 30,000 page views since its beginning on 1/1/10.

Not surprisingly, blog readership here had fallen to the lowest level since the blog's inception nearly 3 years ago.  We generally get 12-14 unique visitors each day.  What that means is our Dear Friends and Loyal Blog Readers continue to constitute the core of our caring readers.  THANK YOU FOR READING!

OK, let's talk about Facebook for a little bit, shall we?  As you all well know, we aren't "Friends" of Facebook.  Yes, we have mellowed our attitude somewhat but continue to cast a sternly skeptical eye on Facebook. Mostly, it's a colossal waste of time and mostly irrelevant as well.

We've learned that our Facebook for the Salmon Thang proved to be a valuable promotional asset.  That's why we've logged over 27,000 page views this year.  Facebook for the Salmon effort will be reserved for "breaking news" kind of situations such as forest fires, floods or other fearsome events.

Our personal Facebook was started only a few weeks ago as a kind of experiment.  Mostly, we don't really see much purpose in being regular authors on Facebook so we're going to cut way back on the time spent there.  Interestingly, we have become captivated by Facebook as a viable stock investment.  Just for grins, we bought 10 shares at $21 and it's now hanging out at $27.  Big whoop.  We did have an order in to buy 90 shares at $23.00 but that day the price only got down to 23.05--we missed getting filled by five ticks.  Bear in mind 10 shares out of 2.2 BILLION shares outstanding is about as minuscule as is possible to get.  But it's fun and entertaining and doesn't put much money at risk.

Well, that about sums up our annual blog statistics.  As the last day of November is upon us, we can look forward into December and know that we will probably write yet another 20-30 blog posts but, at this point in the year, it won't do anything to change the overall averages.

Thanks for reading all this boring stuff.  Many Cheers, jp

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Full Moon Friends

The November full moon kinda fizzled tonight.  The sun set and then nothing happened.  Normally, the moon rises either in sync with the setting sun or shortly thereafter.  Not so tonight.  It didn't rise until nearly an hour after the sun set.  However, that didn't really matter as we had Marsha & Hugh here to swap stories, tell tall tales and generally regale each other with laughter, mirth and generalized merry making.  Believe me, Marsha and Hugh have PhD's in Merry Making and they really know how to get on a roll even if the moon wasn't cooperating.  No Moon?  NO problem!  At least we had a fine and fluffy campfire and there's a lot that a campfire can do to make up for a full moon fizzle.

THANKS, Marsha & Hugh for coming over for a full moon campfire and dinner tonight.  You made Wednesday, November 29th a Special Occasion!

Monday Hike

Susun joined Phyllis & Friends for another Monday outing over in Red Rock Country.  They made a great Six Pack of Hikers.  Clair (at left in top photo) took the bottom picture.  Now, in the bottom picture Courthouse Butte (or rock or whatever) was placed purposely in the background horizon of the five hikers.  Supposedly, there's a profile of a Native American dude made by the undulating, eroded top of Courthouse.  Lots of people talk about this profile and, for the life of me, I don't really "get it."
Do you?

Many Cheers, jp

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

A Sweet Thank You Note

Monday morning, we received this totally amazing and awesome email:

"John, Dex, and Jodi.  A long time ago, you took us down the river for free rides.  Tammy and I fell in love with the river at that time.  We always wanted kayaks, and now we have one.  We love the Verde.  If we had not gotten on it 15 years ago, or so, we would not have known.  The last 4 times we have been on it, it calls us back even stronger.  Thank you for all you do for the River.  Heather and Tammy."

It was such a shocking surprise to have this email suddenly spring up from the inbox.  As many DF & LBRs know, we spent 20 years trying to get people "on the water" of The Verde River so the river could speak to them and work its magic on their hearts and spirits.  We estimate we directly involved about 1,000 people with river trips and so forth in the 1990's alone.  Precious few ever said "thank you."  Dex and I could probably count the "thank you" notes we received on our fingers and have a few digits left over.

So, getting this email yesterday was both Happy and Humbling.  It brought a super sweet sense of satisfaction and a very deep, warm glow to my heart, as well as many special memories of those go-go days of the 1990's.

Over the years, I always said to the river crew, "We will never know how the river reaches out to the people we're involving, but we must assume and KNOW that, indeed, the river WILL speak to them in ways that only each of them can hear in their own way.  Let's just do our job and trust that the river will do its job, too."

To get this note so many years later really validates the trust that we put in the river to be able to reach out and touch people in a way that only The Verde River can do.  Thank You so much, Heather & Tammy (shown below in their new kayak on The Verde) for such a great gift!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Proud To Be Clarence

And so it seems that I am now Clarence from "It's A Wonderful Life!"  Yes, it's true.  I actually have a Dear Friend who will attest to this fact.  Frankly, there's really no doubt about it.  I am Clarence.

I really had no idea I was Clarence until Kirsty told me so a few years ago.  As time passed, I had to agree with her.  By and by the mantle of the role grew larger and much more credible.  What can I say?  It's totally OK.  I am at peace with it.  Thanks, Kirsty, your confidence in me means so much more than I have words to describe.  However, I am NOT 293 years old.  Sixty-five will have to do.

Many Cheers, Clarence

Wildlife, so far

There's plenty of wildlife here and only a little bit of it during Happy Hour and the evening campfire.  Last year was kind of bleak for the wildlife.  We didn't see certain species here at all.  This year it's better already.

So far, we've spotted two mature white tail does, two really huge javalina boars, roadrunners and a large covey of quail.  Last year the javalina and quail were totally absent.  There are the usual nocturnal raccoon tracks in the dust and there might be a roaming bobcat.

The NPS game camera captured a photo of a mountain lion last year and we've seen their scat out in the Old Field so we know they are out and about. We've only heard one coyote wailing at the night sky--that's rather unusual, normally they have a Holiday chorus going this time of year.

It's been a few years since we've seen elk out in the pasture.  There's a resident red-tail hawk that flies low over our straw house and it's always fun to see the bright red cardinals flitting in the mesquites.

Speaking of the Old Field, we borrowed Bill C.'s measuring wheel and spent Sunday morning out standing in our field being Type A about determining the distance of every little segment of the walking path.

Yes, we did go bowling, as promised.  We bowled ten games and that's about when our left arm felt like it was going to fall off.  It was aerobic bowling--we didn't sit down once--and we worked up one heck of a sweat. We averaged 126 per game with a high game of 157. We bowled 25 spares and 19 strikes in those ten games, which cost a whopping 80 cents each.  Luckily, one of the strikes came when the red pin was in the first position so we won a certificate good for two hours of free bowling (shoes included) anytime we want to use it.  The casino bowling alley was packed yesterday.  It was even more fun that I hoped it would be.

Susun is off early today--she arose at 6 am which doesn't happen very often.  She's first heading out for a hike with Phyllis & Friends, then having lunch with Gert and Beth and finally heading to Betty's Place to spend the night while the two of them hoot and hollar while they watch Dancing With The Stars.  She will return sometime tomorrow.

Meanwhile Little Yonni will greet a handyman who might tackle getting our south door shimmed plumb and square.  The door has been sitting here for a couple of years.  We might as well start using it one of these years.

Not much else is on tap for the day.  We've been making great strides getting rid of stuff that we have saved in plastic tubs for the past umpteen years. Yesterday, we trashed all the stuff we'd been saving since 2001 following our summer in the Dixie National Forest at Cowpuncher Guard Station near Escalante, Utah.  Why do we keep such stuff for so long?  Makes no sense but it's a fact of life.  Hopefully, by the end of the year, we will have trashed a lot more such stuff.

Well, that's really about all there is to report.  Have a great day & Many Cheers, jp

Sunday, November 25, 2012


Today we get to go bowling. Yea! Bowling is a rare treat for us.

We use the word "us" loosely here as it includes only ONE of us. The other part of "us" will have nothing to do with bowling, bowling alleys or bowling ambiance, such as it is.

We, however, the male half of "us" thoroughly enjoy bowling. We just don't get a chance to thoroughly enjoy it very often, if at all.

 DF & LBR's with a really good memory will recall we rediscovered our Big Lebowski Bowling Persona in April of 2011 in Lafayette, Indiana, when we were able to rent a half-priced lane for a full hour at the Market Square Bowling alley there. During our trip back to Lafayette last December-January, we didn't have a spare minute of time to revisit the bowling scene.

Luckily, one of the Idaho Falls alleys went out of business--probably because they didn't offer discount bowling--and the new owners promptly instituted half-price bowling every Sunday at Bowl-ero. We were able to enjoy this wonderful development a few times this summer. We pronounce the name of that place: "Bowl-a-roo."

We have no problem with solo bowling. This half of "us" thoroughly enjoys such a solitary pastime. Well, imagine our true delights and surprise when we discovered our nearby local casino is offering ALL DAY BOWLING for a mere $8. That's not a typo--that's eight dollars, including shoes! The other two alleys where we have been bowling charged $7.50 an HOUR for one lane, PLUS shoes. Now we get a whole lane for hours upon hours for next to nothing.

Trust us, we will bowl until our left arm drops off today. When we can finally no longer pick up the bowling ball, that's when we will call it quits and come home, only to eagerly await the next Sunday when, by that time, our left arm will be rehabilitated and ready for another all-day session of bowling.

One DF & LBR calls bowling our "secret vice." HA! It ain't secret if it's rolled out here for a surgical strike on the blog. Well, here is the link for the Cliff Castle Casino Bowling Alley:

And, for all you other hard core bowlers out there--we have put up the closing scene of The Big Lebowski on our Mesquites Rule blog.  Click here to see it.

Friday, November 23, 2012

2nd Try

Here's today's rendition of the walking track ou tin the National Monument.  Yesterday's "track interval" was one minute--today's was 15 seconds.  We will try to get it even a little bit better tomorrow using a 5 second data interval.  Anyway, the distance calc'd to be the same--.88 mile.
we have keyed eight photos to points along the track.  Today we realized we might be able to find a creative use for the dormant GoPro camera but using its time lapse function while circling The Old Field. (Click on the map key for a larger version.)
There are eight photos below and the GPS track map above has been "keyed" to show where those pictures were taken.  We walk clockwise (heading east) beginning from a point in front of our house.

 Above is Photo Point #1.  This is an area of really TALL grasses.  Since the NPS shut down irrigating the old pasture in the late 1980's, these grasses have taken over this area.  They are so thick they are almost like a jungle and have made it impossible to use this area for casual walking.  Now the NPS keeps them hacked back and keeps mulch on this wet area through the grasses.
 Here's Photo Point #2.  The grasses are a little shorter here due to the relative lack of water compared to the other area.  The view looks toward The Traditional Garden and the Well Picnic Area.
 Photo Point #3 shows the travertine outcrop indicated at Point #3a.  It's also NPS property on a bluff that provides a panoramic view of the National Monument.
 Photo Point #4 looks out into the Well Picnic Area.  The parking lot is on the far side of this shaded, irrigated oasis.
 At Photo Point #5, the track turns sharply south to traverse a transition zone between the stately trees of the picnic area into a mature mesquite bosque that is located beside the lush riparian zone of Beaver Creek.
 At Point Point #6 the track runs alongside the riparian area (left in photo) it isn't mulched because it doubles as NPS maintenance access for vehicles needing to get into the area.
 At Photo Point #7 we are looking north across The Old Field to our straw house.
Finally at Photo Point #8, we turn the corner along the west end of The Old Field heading back home.

Happy Thanksgiving!

(NOTE: I thought this post was put up yesterday--just noticed it was only in the "Draft" folder.  Oops!)

We've been thinking about our Dear Friends all day today--seeing images of Happy Faces sitting at tables, playing games in the yard, swapping tales on the patio, sharing stories and all those wonderful things people do on Thanksgiving Day.  We had a fine time at Joanne's Place today.  Norman Rockwell made a cameo appearance before moving on to all the other time-honored, classic gatherings he had to cover.

After returning back to 2nd Chance Ranch, we resolutely decided to try to walk off some of the feast we had just enjoyed.  This year we are Blessed and Very Thankful for a brand new "walking track" out on the National Monument.  They probably don't call it a walking track but that's what it amounts to.  Much it is is covered with mulch and it's quite a nice thing.  The graphic shows our first pass using the GPS to attempt to determine its distance and our speed, etc.

We will have to adjust the track function of the GPS to better capture the twists and turns of the walking track.  Anyway, this first attempt give a pretty good idea of how the track lays out around the pasture (now called The Old Field).

It's a .88 mile loop and our time on each lap was 16:45. Three laps wold be 2.64 miles and four laps would be 3.52 miles.  We'd like to think we can work up to an hour a day out there on the walking track to try to get back in shape.  We will post up some photos of the track and the various views from the track tomorrow.

That Friday

It's "that" Friday once again--a dubious highlight of the annual retail cycle.  We have to admit we once fell victim to Black Friday, kinda of like the Black Plague, only different.  We once actually stood in lines in the pitch black dark of the wee hours waiting wondrous deals.  Thankfully, those days are long gone.  There was nothing in the Black Friday ads that caught our attention or tweaked those dormant genes.  We haven't engaged in the bizarre Black Friday ritual in few years.

The worst episode of Black Friday insanity happened sometime back maybe ten years ago, plus or minus.  That's when digital camera makers started their steady march to higher megapixels and lower costs.  Back in those days, a 64 MEG card was considered a big deal.  We're not talking GIGS here, folks, we're talking MEGS.  I remember salivating over a deal at Target for a 3 megapixel camera for around $100  The 64 MEG cards were on special on Black Friday for more money then than you can buy a 4 GIG card at regular price today.  Anyway, we lined up at 3 am with the other idiots and were lucky enough to be third in line at that early hour.  By the time the doors opened there were roughly 300 people behind us.  We passed the hours by discussing the arcane behaviors each person used to get the best deal.  The consensus was that you needed to run like heck the minute the doors opened.  It was similar to an Oklahoma Land Rush event except with throwing elbows and doing body checks as we all raced each other to electronics.

Being a former guard in high school football I knew a little bit about throwing elbows and doing body checks.  Sometimes it helps to be a short, wide body kinda guy.  I was so happy to make it back to electronics at the head of the frenzied pack of foaming-at-the-mouth, wide-eyed shoppers.  I held my new little camera up like a trophy for winning the playoffs.  Today, of course, that camera is worth precisely nothing and wouldn't even elicit a yawn in a forlorn thrift store, let alone a dollar.

Looking back, I was a mere pawn of the USA retailing hype that Black Friday offered the best deals of the year.  Clearly, I had lost all my common sense and manners and decorum and politeness and I was willing to trip my fellow foot racers if I could have got the right angle on their legs.  In hind sight, it was like some primal ritual that we had been conned into by the Thanksgiving day newspaper ads.

It actually got a little worse in 2007 when we moved to Idaho Falls but at least I didn't get into a foot race with other people.

With the passing of each year, we spend less and less time even thinking of Black Friday ads.  This year is the very first year we have no plans to buy anything advertised in the Black Friday circulars.  Well, that's a small stretch of the truth, actually.  You see, Home Depot is selling Seattle Sports river runner dry bags for a mere $15 a two pack.  Since we plan to go to HD today anyway to buy some brick floor cleaner, we will at least check to see if there are any of those dry bags still in stock.  However, we definitely will NOT be lined up to race off to buy those dry bags because we have plenty of dry bags and don't really care if we buy them or not.

The last couple of days have been quite a lot of fun.  We haven't engaged in any grunt labor here at 2nd Chance Ranch.  On my birthday we went for our first walk around the pasture, went out to lunch at the Ranch House, took a drive out to Sacred Mountain, sat beside a tranquil Beaver Creek pool and enjoyed another very nice camp fire.

Yesterday was a fun morning puttering around doing little enjoyable things of no particular importance. Joanne's T-Day dinner was great and the afternoon quickly faded to black while each of us engaged ourselves in the minutia of daily snowbird life.  Lately, the afternoon temps have been in the low to mid-80's with not a breath of wind.  The NWS says the temps could get even higher today and tomorrow before dropping back to "only" 4-8 degrees above normal for a couple of days.  High temps are forecast again for next week but the December 7th-12 period might bring a decent chance of seasonal cooling to our dry, dusty, desert state.  Last summer's false hopes of an El Nino are just a distance memory.  It appears Arizona is firmly lodged back in its drought persona once again.  We'll take the weather whichever way it decides to wander.  There are pros and cons to any type of weather.  The big advantage of our evolving hot, dry season is that it's picture perfect for winter day hiking.

Speaking of walking, Susun's already taking on her Drill Sergeant persona and rallying me up for the "new regime," an 8 am march around the pasture.  So, I guess I gotta go git my walking stuff on.

Many Cheers, jp

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

After Photos

For once, we're actually getting photos posted as promised earlier today.  Usually we say we will post photos and never get around to it.  Anyway, 7 after photos are below.  By the way at 4 pm right now it's 83 degrees here.

We didn't quite get everything done as planned.  The chain sawing and the weed whacking really took a toll.  Luckily, the wheeled weed whacker died this afternoon.  Sometimes fate has a way of taking control of a difficult situation.  Whew!  Who know if and when the whacker will be fixed?  In the meantime, we're free of that onerous chore.

Many Cheers, jp

What next?

Today is perhaps our last true Grunt Day.  We truly hope to have everything back in order here by camp fire time.  It's going to take both of us working at least 6-7 hours to get everything done but at least it's a goal.

In addition to using the chain saw to cut off all the mesquite sucker roots, we need to knock down the silver leaf nightshades and misc. weeds.  We need to sand and oil the window sills, repair a loose shingle, tar coat the watershed roof, store the shutter retaining boards and probably a few other things that escape memory at the moment.

I took a break from landscape and homeowner maintenance the last couple of days, spending 7 hours Sunday to prepare for my first Montezuma Marksmen Monday Match.  Yesterday, I was involved in match-related duties from 7 am until 3 pm so that's another 8 hours.  The actual match itself only lasted 90 minutes.  There were six of us shooting: myself, Tom B., Gary W., Tony G., Al G. and Brad W.  The fastest total shooting time was a grand total of under 45 seconds and the slowest time about a minute.  So, this means I spent a total of 15 hours to facilitate less than one minute of shooting by each participant.  Such is the life of a shooting match director.   It's a lot of fun and well worth the effort.

This year we plan to stage matches only every other week so there's just two matches between now and the end of the year and only ten scheduled for the January through April period.  As much fun as it is, it's just too danged much work to do every week.

Tomorrow is my 65th birthday.  We don't have any plans yet but will try to do something interesting and memorable as tough as that challenge is here in Arizona.  HA!  If you are also a Facebook Friend, you may have wished me Happy Birthday on November 1st.  That's my "Facebook Birthday," as I care not to divulge my real birthday to the world-at-large on Facebook.  One of our Dear Friends Catherine B. thinks the whole month of your birthday should be a celebration so, heck, we started 20 days ago and have ten left to party.

Thursday we going to our neighbor Joanne's Place for Thanksgiving.  It should be a Norman Rockwell family Affair with maybe 40-60 people milling around eating traditional foods while children frolic in fall cottonwood leaves as they are wont to do.

Friday Goatherder is staging yet another Thanksgiving for Family & Friends at El Rancho de Chivitos.
Now, perhaps someone else will have a Thanksgiving on Saturday, Sunday and well... let's just keep this trend going until Christmas and New Year's, eh?

Susun is flying out to San Diego on 12-12-12 so we will be going to Mesa either the 10th or the 11th.  We have quite a backlog of stuff to do down there in the Phoenix metroplex.  Once we get all our semi-annual chores squared away, we sure hope to do more hiking together.  SO far, we haven't even be out in the Montezuma Well pasture for a spin around their new trail system.  Shame on us.

Well, that's about all the news there is to report today.  Many Cheers, jp

PS--We forgot one last thing--you might enjoy this post on Roger P.'s blog

Monday Hike

Susun's a busy hiker these days.  In addition to her Sunday Hike, she also participate in the Monday Hike organized by Dear Friend Phyllis W. Here's her group yesterday on the Munds Wagon Trail over off the Schnebly Hill Road above Sedona. Susun took the photo that's why she's not in the picture.


Yep, believe it or not, the temp cracked 80 here yesterday--quite a chance from last year's cool fall season.  Shortly after 3 pm, the temperature reached 81 before the late afternoon cooling began.  By the time our campfire rolled around, we were wearing warm jackets and hats again.

Susun's 1st Sunday Hike

Last Arizona Season, Susun dusted off her Promotional Personality and began selling the idea of a weekly Sunday hike to her girl friends. She really ginned up a lot of business for the Sunday hikes, so much so that her friends eagerly anticipated her return this season so the tradition could continue.

Susun wasted no time upon her arrival and began promoting a November 18th hike within minutes of our touchdown at 2nd Chance Ranch.  All the photos below are by Kate W who prefers to be on the "photographer side" of the camera.

The "Before" Photos

This is what it looked like when we drove up to our place after a wet monsoon summer that sent the weeds into overdrive.  We will post the "After" photos later today when we put the finishing touches on all our weed control.
 We always know it's going to be "bad."  The question will always be "Just HOW bad?"
 The tumbleweeds flourished this year because the monsoon season was wet enough to allow a second sprouting.
Luckily, the pre-emergent chemical we used worked in the areas we hoped it would.  We focused on saturating the area right in front of the house so we wouldn't have to hack our way through weeds to get to the door as has been the case in some past years.
 The south side of the house stayed somewhat clear and it was easy to unshutter the place..
 Likewise, we tried to use the pre-emergent chemical to preserve a semblance of a path to our ramada and camp fire area.  It wasn't as bad as it's been in past years.

 Meanwhile, the southern portion of our land was chock full of tumbleweeds.
 The roadside area was quite dense with all sorts of weeds.
It didn't take too long to knock back the nightshade plants between our sheds.

One week later

We arrived here at 2nd Chance Ranch a week ago today.  As usual, it's been a total blur since then.  This is the very first morning we've had time and energy to think about catching up on this blog.  This post includes nine photos from our trip.
 We waited most of the morning to depart Idaho Falls, leaving about 11 am.  It was cold and the highways were still somewhat messy from IF to Pocatello.  The Salt Lake was really dumped on.  We could see places that easily had a foot or more of snow--our Dear Friend Bryan said his place received 20 inches.
 Sunday night at the Painted Rocks campground in Yuba State Park was one of the colder nights we've experienced in a long time.  It was very cold--single digits and it took us both over an hour to warm up in our heated vehicles.
 There was surprisingly heavy snow much farther south that we expected.  This is Big Rock Candy Mountain just south of I-70 on the Sevier River.  The snow zone didn't end until well south of Panguitch.
 When we finally crested over the top of the North Kaibab Plateau, we enjoyed one of the signature views of Old Highway 89 looking out over the Vermilion Cliffs and Marble Canyon with Lees Ferry in the far, far distance.
 Speaking of far, far distance, the road between House Rock Valley and Cliff Dwellers is easily one of the straightest roads in this region.  The pavement stretches out like a piano wire.
 Monday night we used the Samurai to drive out a dirt road to the Badger Creek overlook above the Colorado River.
 The cozy comfort of Susan K's Place at Vermilion Cliffs is always such a welcome oasis.
 We never tire of the stirring scenery of the Vermilion Cliffs and Marble Canyon.
Naturally, we also had to visit Lees Ferry.  We feel it's against the law to drive across the Lees Ferry bridge without pausing to go down to the actual ferry site itself.  Here's Susun celebrating our return on the beach and alluvial rock bar below the Paria River confluence with the Colorado.