Week fifteen @ BTA

Sunday February 27th, 2022

Sunday morning and it’s just a few moments after five o’clock, and already Mr. Sam is curled up on my lap after his morning treats, and I’m waiting for something inspirational to hit me so that I can get it typed into the opening line of this weeks blog. And to be honest, I got nothing this morning, there are so many things on the go right now in our world, and it’s kind of like a big game of Tetris and there is still one block that could cause this whole plan to fall apart. Just like right now Miss Laurie has just woken and Mr. Sam has left my lap for a snack and then he is headed to the bedroom, so my lap time is over.

Wordle has become a bit of an annoyance in my life, I’ve always enjoyed puzzles, and this one was started during the pandemic, and while I was waiting for something inspirational to strike me this morning, I knocked off today’s puzzle and still nothing inspirational. Wordle is a guessing game where you try to guess the five letter word, so you have to pick the starting word, which can be any five letter word. But then there is a lot of thought that goes into that opening word, which letters combined to have the best chance of matching some letters in todays word. With 26 letters in the alphabet and only 6 chances to guess the correct word you have to choose carefully.

🟩⬜🟨🟨⬜ TEACH
🟩🟩🟩⬜⬜ TACKY
🟩🟩🟩⬜⬜ TACOS
🟩🟩🟩🟩🟩 TACIT

For the those of you that haven’t played this game, congratulations on avoiding the latest craze and the most recent thing to give people something to complain about, as the most recent curflufal is because of Wordle’s use of a letter twice in a word, which has everyone calling foul. As you can see today’s Wordle word had a double letter, and now you know one of my favourite starting words.

So as we are enjoying a cup of coffee with a wee touch of Irish Cream while watching Sunday Morning with Willie Geist, and I’m getting a start on this weeks blog. This mornings sunrise is starting to look like it could be spectacular as there are some unusual Arizona clouds this morning, it’s not photo worthy yet but I will add a photo if it becomes photo worthy.

This mornings sunrise

So this could be our last working Sunday morning, we will have to wait and see what the new schedule brings our way, our time at the arboretum is down to 70 days as of today, leaving me looking ahead with a little sadness, our time here has been amazing, and if anything this will be a wake up call to keep us exploring the arboretum everyday till we head out on May 1st.

Well today was busy to say the least, I was averaging over a visitor a minute until Laurie spelled me off so I could go and water the sale plants and that task took forever because of such low water pressure today. Today will be a high attendance day, that is for sure, and we were glade to escape the booth at noon. Back to the coach for a HCT (Ham, Cheese & Tomato) sandwich, that just doesn’t roll off the tongue the same way a BLT does it, but the sandwich was very tasty.

Not sure what exactly will be happening this afternoon, but I am pretty sure it will involve cocktails, and relaxing time in the sunshine. So six hours later and that was pretty much how the afternoon unfolded, beverage’s, snacks, more beverages, and people dropping by has become customary on our patio on Sunday afternoons, and as I look back at the afternoon and evening from the next morning, I’m thinking we missed dinner, as the last visitor left at about 8:30. So this Sunday is coming to an end just a couple of YouTube videos before turning in for the night, and still no real inspirational message.

Monday and Mr. Sam is on my lap after his treats this morning, while I check emails and knock of today’s Wordle, there are a few scattered clouds in this mornings sky, it seems that we are in line for a winter storm here in Arizona. The “SNOW” word has been mentioned on some of the weather reports for our area, if it happens I’ll post a photo, but I wouldn’t hold my breath, but it could be a bit of a crazy week weather wise. But there is still warm weather being forecast for the upcoming weekend.

As the weather is looking to deteriorate later this week, I’m thinking some time in the arboretum today would be nice, but it is also a holiday today (Presidents Day) so the arboretum could be crazy busy, so maybe a small walk early this morning and again later this afternoon might be the plan. So Miss Laurie and I headed to the arboretum for a stroll through the park, lots of birds this morning and such a peaceful walk, we thought it would have been busier first thing, but we’re thrilled to find it very quiet, I just captured a couple of photos from this mornings walk.

Breakfast this morning was panetone sliced thin enough to be made into French toast, and with a coffee blessed with a little Irish cream, a great start for a Monday. I got back up on to the coach roof to install the new vent covers, I also realize that the skylight that I had ordered is going to be more complex than I had initially expected, so some more research on this repair is needed and I will reveal more on that topic later.

We had planned to try some new green chili sausages with Tom & Kathleen on Sunday evening for dinner, but as things unfolded that just didn’t happen, so for lunch today we enjoyed trying these sausages for lunch today with the Andersons. These were sausages that we had purchased at the “Pork Shop” and we did enjoy the flavour added by the green chilies, and while having some heat they were still mild enough to be very tasty.

After lunch I finished my work on the coach roof for today, and positioned everything to prepare for the higher winds that are forecast for this afternoon. I wandered up to the visitor centre to check on this weeks schedule, which will be the same this week but might change for next month, I was also told that there would be a truckload of plants arriving tomorrow and they could use some help to unload it as it was a major shipment. I agreed to assist with the unload tomorrow and headed back to the coach.

As we enjoyed some Monday afternoon sunshine, Mr. Sam on my lap on the antigravity chair as I worked on locating some more items for the skylight repair on the coach, knowing that it could be our only day to enjoy the sunshine this week.

Miss Laurie made a stir fry with chicken for dinner, and after the news we caught up on a couple of YouTube videos before watching the most recent episode of 1883, before turning in for the evening.

Tuesday and I’m up before six o’clock again, Mr Sam was thrilled as that meant early treats for him, and again my repayment was some Mr. Sam lap time as I checked emails, then guessed the Wordle word of the day on my second guess, most likely more good luck than good planning on my part, now I’m trying make sense of this weeks blog notes, which right now are just some scattered thoughts like little notes on scraps of paper that I had already gathered. It is becoming very obvious that my mind seems to be a scary place to visit or explore. But I will try to put something together out of all these scattered thoughts.

So on today agenda at this point, is a quick check of the roof in preparation for the rain tomorrow, then help unload a truckload of sale plants, then Ray & Karen are scheduled to be visiting about lunch time for a walk in the arboretum, and then lunch at the smokehouse with both Ray & Karen and Tom & Kathleen. This mornings breakfast was a green chili omelet, with toast, Miss Laurie mixes it up everyday, so breakfast this morning had a little attitude and a cup of fresh perked coffee with a splash of Irish cream, its hard to beat.

I headed up to the visitor centre around 9:30 to help with the first of many trucks that will be delivering plants in the next couple of weeks. All the empty tables will be filled for the plant sale, and we made a good run at filling a few tables today after unloading this tractor trailer, with much of the staff there lending a hand to make it as quick and easy as possible. Every plant had to be moved by hand, some of the future trucks will have the plants on wheeled racks that can be unloaded with a power tailgate, but none of those luxuries today.

I got back to the coach by 11:45 with just enough time for a quick shower before the arrival of the Savino’s, it is a cooler day, but we are still getting sunny intervals between the clouds, so a bit of an unusual day for Arizona. We had planned a late lunch/early dinner at the Silver King Smokehouse, we had planned on hooking up with the Anderson’s for lunch as well, a couple of reasons besides enjoying everyone’s company. The Savino’s are planning an Alaskan trip and the Andersons had done that trip recently, and the Andersons have been full time RV’s almost twice as long as both the Savino’s and ourselves, so there is always lots to be learnt from experience.

Ok first things first, the brisket was excellent, the ribs were very meaty, and the smoked turkey was tender and moist at the Silver King Smokehouse & Saloon in Superior, we had failed to get any of the barbecue on last visit, and that’s why we have returned so quickly to sample these smoked meats that everyone has been craving about. Besides the great smoked meats, it was good to see Kathleen and Karen exchanging information and ideas not only about Alaska but many of the northwestern states that they visited or where they hope to soon explore. You learn quickly in this lifestyle that talking with people that have “been there done that” can save you costly mistakes as well as hours of research weeding through so much of the garbage on the internet. The day could only be described as a success, having spent the afternoon with Ray & Karen and them meeting Tom & Kathleen who have proven to be a wealth of information and helpful as time goes on.

Because of the rain that was forecast for the overnight, I put away our patio chairs and most of the things from the patio away. No need for dinner tonight, as we are still full from that barbecue at lunch, just some snacks as we take in the news, as well as the forecast for the upcoming winter storm before catching up on a couple of YouTubers, and then watching the first couple episodes of “The Marvelous Mrs. Mazel” which is in its fourth season now and always entertaining.

Wednesday morning and we are still waiting for the “WINTER” storm to hit our area of Arizona, it was originally forecast to give us a rain event overnight, but at 7:00 am we have received nothing, so the revised forecast is now calling for rain/snow for late this afternoon, I have put the patio chairs away so we may not get any rain, but either way it is a cold overcast start to the day. This is what makes Arizona such a unique state, with snow ploughs trying to keep I-40 open for travel, as the area around Flagstaff is getting an actual real snow storm, and there is a section of the interstate I-40 highway that is closed right now.

It was a six o’clock when Mr. Sam received his treats and had just settled onto my lap when Miss Laurie woke, cutting my cuddle time down to almost nothing. Mr. Sam has retired to the bedroom for a big nap on the big bed, so most likely won’t see him until around ten, which actually sounds like a good time to rise.

Toasted bacon sandwiches for breakfast this morning, one of my favourites, actually anything with bacon is good, so after a couple of cups of coffee, we decided that we should go for a walk in the arboretum before the rain started, and we did wander around a little bit, but it was cold and quite breezy, so it was a short walk. And on the way back to the coach, Miss Laurie got asked to help unload a truck load of cactus and succulents, and not wanting me to miss out on the fun, she offered my services as well. It was just a partial truck load and many hands made the work light, so it was only around a half an hour of actual unloading after a half an hour of waiting for the truck.

We just made it back to the coach when the rain started, and while not a heavy rain it was fairly steady, a small chuqutery for lunch and I decided to get the bedroom television switched over to our America streaming service and as it was downloading the apps we noticed a few snow flakes floating by the window. And by 2:30 we were in a full blown winter storm Arizona style, enough snow to accumulate on the plant life and with the temperature dropping to 36°F (2°C) it should stick around long enough to allow a couple of photos a little latter.

A snowy afternoon in Arizona

Not you average Arizona afternoon, but one that will be a topic of conversation for a few weeks to come, so here is the deal, it’s all about elevation, and while the snow was supposed to hit from 3000 feet of elevation and up, we are at 2400 feet and we’re just lucky enough to get snow. Lots of staff members out and about taking videos, and photos, as snow at this elevation is not real common, and may only happen every few years.

This afternoon was more of a hibernate in the coach and stay warm kind of afternoon, and while I did venture out for a couple of photos, the sky is so overcast that I couldn’t see the mountains beside us, and as I look at the future radar forecast it look like we could be on the edge of the rain/snow mix line for three or four hours yet, a good evening for the spaghetti that Miss Laurie has cooking in the slow cooker, and if this keeps up I may have to find some pants to wear, jus’saying.

Spaghetti always a good cold weather comfort food and was tonight’s dinner, followed by some YouTube videos, and a new series on Prime Video “Coyote” while not an outstanding series, it has been a reasonably good watch, all about the Mexican border a retired border control officer. Then I snuggled into bed with the mattress warmer turned on, to keep me warm and toasty.

Thursday morning and I woke to the sound of the coach boiler running, which meant that the coach basement thermostat must have triggered it to fire up, that was about 6:30 and Mr. Sam was on a mission to get us up. I believe his efforts were two fold first he wanted his morning treats and he also wanted my warm spot on the bed for his nap, it was cold in the coach this morning at only 52°F (10°C), and that was with the electric space heater on all night. By 7:25 the sun was hitting the side of the coach and we are starting to feel the warmth of that Arizona sunshine.

A glance at our weather app shows much colder temperatures than what had been forecast, and certainly is colder that what we were expecting. The cloud cover is gone and now the mountains that surround our spot here in Arizona are all now snow covered and are now being lit by the morning sunshine.

Beautiful would be like an understatement, but as I learnt years ago that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and I wonder what will be the price of the beauty, and will be offset by damaged succulents in the Arboretum.

It has been entertaining this morning watching the locals trying to clear a heavy frost off of vehicle windows, ice scrapers and snow brushes are not normally required equipment here in Arizona’s low lands. Another thing we have noticed travelling around the States are how each State describes their areas differently. Because the largest population is in the Phoenix area we get all their terms. High country is basically the north Arizona area above 4000 feet, east and west valleys are the areas either side of Phoenix it self, low lands are the areas above the valleys but under that 4000 foot level, then the Colorado River valley which is the western edge of the State and always gets very strong winds from the north.

So Miss Laurie wants to try and gather more Apache tears today, her theory is that after a rain they will be easier to find, and my thinking was to go to the caves where everyone else is mining for them. Either way she is trying to decide if the weather is going to cooperate, my thoughts are that if the sun is out it will be more than warm enough, but it will be her choice. Coffee, fried eggs and toast, and the decision has been made, we are heading out for more Apache tears at eleven o’clock, the hike up the Perlite Road was just as long of grade as I remembered and we found the caves where everyone mines for the tears, it was quite a large area, but I picked my little spot and proceeded to mine for tears. I found patience was a virtue and I was able to extract a number of large tears without ever leaving the one area, I now know what tools would make the process quicker and easier, so maybe next time.

The day was sunny and seemed warm enough, and shortly after three o’clock we headed back down the trail to find the truck and make it back to the coach just before the entrance gate closed at four o’clock. As we made our way back we noticed that most of the snow covered peaks of the morning were now just peaks the snow was gone just as fast as it came. I had been feeling achy all day, just not my normal self so on our return I tried the community shower so I could soak in the hot water for some relief, and then just settled into my recliner for the evening. Some television before settling for the night, another cold evening made bearable by our mattress warmer

Friday and I’m up way too early, 3;30 and I’m just awake for some reason and couldn’t get back to sleep, and today’s Wordle will have a lot of people cranked up today, with two letters being used twice, the inhumanity of it all, it wasn’t until my third guess that I got one letter, but I managed to guess the word on my fifth attempt, I hope this is not an indication of the day to come. Today is an nine hour day, a sunny but maybe a little bit of a cool start for an Arizona days, but I have given up on trying to forecast how busy we will be or not be.

Coffee and cereal this morning, and catch up on who the Russian Dictator has bombed and killed today, it seems like it’s about time to isolate him and his Chinese friends, which again brings to light our dependence on Chinese imports, and as much as the Americans talk about buying American, they are crippled when that offshore pipeline meant empty shelves, why are we buying groceries supplied by China?

View from admissions booth

Wow that almost turned into a rant, and this early on a Friday morning, sorry about that. today is going to be a long day, we are having a members twilight evening at the park, so the Arboretum will be cleared of visitors and then we reopen for members and their guests who must be accompanied by a member. So what that means is we are on shift till five o’clock instead of four o’clock, not a big deal but still an extra hour on the end of an eight hour day, and while we think these events are wonderful, and makes a great membership perk. The downside is that there is little to no communication between departments, so when we were asked what was being planned for the evening we had no answers, just one more growing pain to get resolved.

After arriving back at the coach close to 5:30, and Miss Laurie is preparing spagetti leftovers for tonight’s dinner, tonight will be feet up till bed time, the news. the shark tank for Laurie, while I plug away on the blog, it seems to have been a hectic week, with some crazy weather thrown into the mix.

Saturday and Mr. Sam met me in the hallway at 5:45 this morning to guide me to the galley where his treats are stored, after which I was allowed to continue my original task. A few moments latter I was awarded with some ever valuable lap time with Mr. Sam, another cold morning in the desert but not a cloud in the sky as dawn breaks. Today’s Wordle gave me a little issue but I managed to get it on the fifth attempt, and as we start at 8 o’clock this morning, no time left to work on this weeks blog before work. It’s a few minutes after nine and I’m busy typing on my phone between visitors as I man the admissions booth, hoping to get caught up before tonignt.

My method of trying to put together the weekly blog is to add key items to each day as it happens and depending on what is happening on that day the entry could be as short as one word, or a couple of complete paragraphs, then at days end or the next morning I attempt to make it readable. Some days and weeks that works better than others, and this week seems to be falling into the other category. But I have committed to publish this blog by midnight so I figured I better get to work, and it is not busy yet so I’m making good progress.

Then we got slammed, lots of visitors, lots of projects to complete in preparation for the plant sale, which is less than two weeks away, plants being moved, priced, and moved again, and then the watering that it takes everyday over two hours today alone, and that was after watering yesterday as well. It’s dry here in Arizona, and potted plants sitting in the sun and the low humidity, it’s amazing how they dry out so fast, I will be whooped tonight when we get back to the coach. So we now have our new work schedule, Starting in March we will work 24 hours a week, Friday, Saturday & Sunday, each day from 8 am to 4 pm, they just think we handle stress of the busy times better, and it was just four hours more a week so its no big deal.

Tonight’s dinner was whisky cherry smoked sausage, some more from the Pork Shop, with fried rice, very tasty, mild heat, with big chunks of cherry, excellent smoke flavour, and worth a do over, we were both pretty well beat tonight so catching up on the latest on Russian war, followed by a couple of YouTube videos before the latest two episodes of The Marvelous Mrs. Mazel. Miss Laurie has headed off to bed and I’m finishing off this blog, and as I look back on the week I’m still looking for something inspirational, maybe for next week at this point.

Stay safe & warm. Spring is only 22 days away.

Blog 406

Day 1608

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