Thursday, December 27, 2012

A belated Merry Christmas to y'all!
We had the Christmas potluck of the campground a couple of days before Christmas. With 50 people attending we had a great turnout and an enormous amount of delicious food!
There was ham and turkey provided by the park and cooked by friends of Ray and Linda so we really didn't have much to do this time other than setting up the tables. The trees were already up since the beginning of December so we just added some table decorations and we were done.
Everybody had a great time although I ate too much again and was uncomfortable all night because of it. It's just soooo hard to know when to stop and than when you thought you did good this time they bring out the deserts....!

The owners of the park surprised us with a nice Christmas present in the form of this box with assorted goodies (olives, cheese and crackers, nuts and cookies, etc. ). Very nice!

On Christmas day we had to watch the park since Ray and Linda were visiting family in L.A.
The office was closed but we just had to be there in case of emergencies.
We had a very relaxed day that we spent mostly indoors since it was freezing cold outside.
We only ventured out for a brisk walk with Sadie in the afternoon when things had warmed up a little but were happy to get back in for some hot (and spiked-up) eggnog!

But not before finally getting a shot from a bird that until now had managed to literary outrun me every time I tried to snap a picture of him (or her)!
The elusive Roadrunner !

They're all over the place around here but like I said, they move fast or I forget to bring my camera when I go out for a walk.
They're such interesting, almost prehistoric looking animals don't you think?

A fast running long legged bird in the cuckoo family also known as chaparral cock, ground cuckoo, and snake killer.
It can run at speeds of up to 20 miles per hour (32 km/h). Cases where roadrunners have run as fast as 26 miles per hour (42 km/h) have been reported. This is the fastest running speed ever clocked for flying birds!
The name "roadrunner" comes from the bird's habit of racing down roads in front of moving vehicles and then darting to safety in the brush.
The Greater Roadrunner is the basis of the cartoon character Road Runner, in which the bird uses his speed and cunning to outmaneuver his antagonist, Wile E. Coyote.

Beep beep.....! 
And since I'm at the topic here a few more:
The left one is a Blue-grey Gnatcatcher, a cute little fella that you'll see flicking it's tale actually sideways instead of up and down or straight up when he feels you're invading his territory. Something I obviously was guilty of! (giving you 'the tail' instead of 'the finger'?:)
The one on the right is a Say's Phoebe, a bird in the flycatcher family. Between the flycatchers and the gnatcatchers we shouldn't have too many bugs flying around here:)
I always get a chuckle out of my bird book's description of a birds 'voice'. According to one this Phoebe's song is a fast whistled pit-tsear and according to another one it's definitely a falling peeur :)
Cotton tails we have too! These also don't want to 'pose' for me, biggest problem is Sadie who still, after all these years, thinks she will someday catch one of them.
This is the best I could do so far ..
OK, I'll leave you with this link of a very funny but informative video I found when reading the dutch newspaper, the Telegraaf, the other day.
People ask me very often if it is 'The Netherlands' or 'Holland', where I'm from.
Well, here's the answer in case you want to know, I couldn't have possibly explained it any better :)
I have to admit, I didn't know half of it myself.....!
Better pay close attention though, this guy is very fast.


Saturday, December 22, 2012

After a rather boring week of nothing much going on we decided to drive to Lake Havasu, about 45 minutes south of us, for a look at what was supposed to be a fabulous display of Christmas lights at the London Bridge (trying for that 'Christmas Spirit' again).
We'd been to Lake Havasu a couple of years ago while visiting James brother who owned a house there so we were somewhat familiar with the area.
It's a big snowbird destination and because of the lake, despite the high temperatures, also a very busy summer vacationing place, a 'hot spot' for the young and reckless to boat, water ski and party (think 'spring brake').
But now, in winter, it belongs to the retired crowd who's 'wildest' behavior consists of reeling in a big fish or go crazy at playing bingo :)

This bridge is actually the real relocated 1831 London Bridge that spanned the River Thames in London, England until it was dismantled in 1967. It was bought by Robert P. McCulloch from the City of London for $2.500.00 and transported, all granite blocks numbered, to America, to construct the present bridge in Lake Havasu City, a planned community he established in 1964 on the shore of Lake Havasu. The bridge was completed in 1971 (along with a canal), and links a peninsula, turned into an island in the lake, with the main part of Lake Havasu City.

There's a small 'english village' style shopping area build under one end of the bridge and although it might have been rather cute once upon a time most of the shops are out of business now which makes it look rather run down.
We strolled along the water's edge and through the 2 souvenir shops that are left and than hurried to grab a bite to eat at Chillies before returning at dark for the Christmas Lights.
There was a hard wind blowing and it was freezing cold!

The bridge was nicely lit up with Christmas trees and wreaths.

And yes, this actually is the bridge from the nursery rhyme/song 'London bridge is falling down' although it is only the latest bridge in a line of 4 or 5 who were build at the same spot over the Thames in about 2000 years. 

The 500.000 lights that light up one small part of the village provided a little light show, changing colors at the tune of Christmas carols.

Cute, but in itself not really worth the drive down here I'm afraid. At least we got a nice drive and dinner out of it and it got us 'out of the house' for a while.

Other than that we've not done very much as I said. We played golf a couple of times but it has been very cold and windy lately (at night it gets close to freezing, around 30F!) so we're not going as often as when we just arrived.

Oh, and guess what? They're right! Wouldn't you know it? He is not dead, he lives........!


This is 'the Elvis house', one of the houses along the golf course. Funny!



Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Not a very sharp picture but I wanted to show you my Christmas tree and this is the only one that came out decent. I guess it's the window, or rather the light, behind us that's causing the problem.

Aren't we a cozy bunch? We're all gathered for 'coffee time', I just baked some speculaas and I'm knitting the socks that I'm already knitting for over a year now :)

The weather has gotten a little 'nippy' in the nights and mornings which helps a little to get in the Christmas spirit here in Arizona.
We went to the Avi Casino one evening to sing some carols and watch the 'tree lighting ceremony' there.

These local High School students sang a few funny songs at the entrance of the casino where the tree was lit and the whole choir sang (surprisingly well!)  in the ballroom a little later.
There were cookies, hot cider and hot chocolate but unfortunately not too many people although the casino was filled with a big gambling crowd. Weird.
On our way out James took a bite out of this beautiful gingerbread house (just kiddin'), made by the casino's pastry chef.


As I mentioned, I baked some 'speculaas' for St. Nicolas evening, the 5th of December. No presents this time, I know, it's slipping away I'm afraid...(keeping up the tradition, I mean)...

I was out of the typical spices you use for this type of cookie so I sort of made my own (a mix of 5-spice, allspice, cinnamon and ginger). They came out delicious if I say so myself!  Aahhhh, the smells........they bring back memories....
Off course there's no way I can ever reproduce them again, having used 'a little bit' of this and 'a pinch' of that :(

Here at the Moon River Resort we decorated the rec room and the office. There's a snow man at the front door. Makes me wish for snow....... just for a few days....!

Some people made ingenious use of the front stabilizer of their fifth wheel which off course as you know is a tripod. Turns out it makes the perfect Christmas Tree! What a fun idea!
Since we have a skirt that covers the tripod that wouldn't work for us but I attached a string of lights on the awning. Works for us!
Funny to have Christmas lights up, the door open and patio furniture out at the same time!
And another beautiful sunset for the end of this blog......



Sunday, December 2, 2012

Phew! I think I finally got this post up and running!
I know, I always have an excuse for being late so this time I'm blaming the ultra, ultra (did I mention ultra), crawling speed of our WiFi here at the campsite and second I'll blame Blogger for letting me know that "Oops, it looks like you're out of your 1GB storage (for my pics in Picasa), please go to our website and buy some more"! Great! Like I want to buy anything !?
After a lot of googling and research I found out that if I signed up for a (free) Google Plus account I had a lot more storage so that's what I ended up doing.
Anywho, I'm back!
Let's see, what happened in the mean time? Oh, I guess 'Fall' sort of happened, even here in sunny Arizona!
It's definitely getting cooler, especially at night, which brought out some nice fall colours along the path that weaves around the campsite where I walk Sadie every day:


It's very dry though. So far we have not seen any rain here and if you look closely at the soil you see things like this:
Amazing, the resilience of these desert plants!
We had a Thanksgiving potluck     at the campground for all workers and guests together.
My job was to decorate the rec room and set up the tables and James oversaw the food sign-up list.
The owners provided the Turkey and the rest was brought in by the rest of us. As usual at these type of get-together's we ended up with an enormous amount of food!
We had a great turnout, about 40 people, and in the end we were all stuffed, as you should be at Thanksgiving!
Guess who forgot to bring a camera?
So, no pictures of that event but I did take some of our own Thanksgiving. We had lobster (hey, it was on sale!) and left over pumpkin pie from the potluck. Easy!

Merlin ate way too much and had to sleep it off....  
(I can't believe I ate the whole thing)...

Off course we also watched the Macy's Thanksgiving parade. Or actually I just have it running in the background (too many bands/noise) but I need to see the Big Guy arrive at the end before I'll allow myself to gear up for Christmas!

                                                  The one and only...!
Instead of watching the Eukanuba dog show afterwards we went golfing that afternoon. 
I guess I've not mentioned yet that James found a payed job, did I?
Well, he went out looking for work one day at around 9am and was back at 10.30, looking all smug and saying something like: "Hey hon, is there any coffee left, and oh.... by the way, I have a job at this golf course and we can play unlimited free golf "!

Needles to say he's really good at talking himself into (almost)anything!
This is the golf course he works at, in maintenance by the way, called Desert Lakes. It's only 5 minutes from us. How convenient!

In my free time from cleaning the restrooms (piece of cake) and cleaning some rental units (Lots of "elbow-grease") I've been working on my hand picked cotton!
This is so much fun!
In the pics below you can see on the top left the cotton fiber that comes from one 'boll'. The dark smudges are seeds. One boll can hold as many as 26!  The bottom left shows one such seed with the cotton that's attached to it and the picture on the right shows each seed after I fluffed up the cotton with a little hand brush. (I use a small dog brush for that)

Than I spun it straight 'from the seed' as this is called. How about that? I made my own cotton yarn! Isn't that the coolest thing you ever saw?
I know, to each his own, but come is quite amazing, no..?


                                    This is what's left. A slightly fuzzy seed.

If I use hand cards (big brushes) I can also make some rollags (made from cotton they're called 'puni's') and spin from those but I didn't make a picture of them so I'll safe that for next time.

OK, what's left for this time around are some pictures of the amazing sunsets we have around here and one of the moon in 'Moon River'.......


(Nope, no photo shopping any of these colours!)

                     (I see.. a bad... moon... rising........)



Tuesday, November 13, 2012

What a difference a week makes!
At the time of my last post we had beautiful weather, around 82F after which it got real hot for about a week, somewhere around 92F(31C)! I actually had the air conditioning running in the afternoons, something we very seldom do. 
And now we're having a cold spell at only 60F(15C)!
Last night it was very cold, 33F(1C), we had the heather on standby and I put some extra blankets on. Brrr! This morning I put my flannel sheets back on :-)
What makes it really chilly is a hard wind blowing from the north and everything is flying that's not anchored down.
Oh well, I guess it's better than the snow they had in the higher elevations. Yep, even in Arizona it snows. I'm happy we made sure we choose a lower elevation for this winter.
Last week, when it was still nice and warm, we visited the little town of Oatman, just 13 miles from here.
It's on the old Highway Route 66, something they're fiercely proud of here in Arizona.
It's an old (gold)mining town that has managed to stay on the map as a tourist attraction for people coming to the gambling towns of Laughlin and Bullhead city.
After a few other names, Oatman was named in the posthumous honor of Olive Oatman, a young Illinois girl who was kidnapped by (presumably) Yavapai Indians and forced to work as a slave. She was later traded to Mohave Indians who adopted her as a daughter and had her face tattooed in the custom of the tribe. She was released in 1855 near the current site of the town.
 Wild burros freely roam the town and can be hand-fed carrots and "burro chow," both readily available in practically every store in town. Though normally gentle, the burros are in fact wild and signs posted throughout Oatman advise visitors to exercise caution. 
They can be very 'pushy'!
In place of the horses of the old days the town now tends to draw a wide variety of Motorcycle Clubs and Old timer car clubs because of it's location on Route 66.
It certainly is very picturesque.
The babies wear stickers on their foreheads with the warning not to feed them. The only thing they need is their mommas milk and they can choke in the carrots!

Several times a day in front of the Old Oatman Hotel the Ghost Riders Gunfighters perform western shootouts.
Like most of them we've seen in these little western towns it's rather corny but it's something to do and see....
The actors are not paid and just do it for the love of the show. They take donations for a local children's charity at the end of each show. 
The Oatman Hotel, by the way, had it's one night of fame for the fact that Clark Gable and Carole Lombard spent a honeymoon night here, after marrying in Kingman, in 1939.
It apparently is also hunted regularly by a poltergeist named Oatie, an old Irish miner who drank himself to death.
The Sidewalks of the town are wooden and most of the buildings are as they were built.  Some of the town residence and store owners dress in western clothes and do their best to help create the early days.   

The town has to make a living, so there are a lot of businesses in the one main street selling pretty cheesy souvenirs and such.
All in all I guess you can call it a tourist trap....but it's a charming one, the old buildings give it that old-time western feeling and the locals are very friendly. 

The bar in the Oatman hotel is decorated with thousands of dollar bills pasted on the walls and ceiling.
Apparently this started in the old days when miners came to the bar after work and left some signed dollar bills stapled on the wall for future drinks. The paper bills would deteriorate very fast in the humid and hot working conditions underground if they kept them in their pockets.
Nowadays tourists add to them every day and sign the dollar bills with their name and date. It's estimated there's about $60.000 on these walls right now! 
                                                               This local country and western singer was actually very good!
We came up through the mountains on the south side of the village but have heard since that the stretch of road coming from Kingman on the north side is particular spectacular as it winds it's way through the hills.
I guess we have to go back to drive 'the other side' next time!
Back on the ranch James worked a little on his suntan. Off course he fell asleep but luckily ended up in the shade and didn't burn too badly... 
The water of the pool turns out not to be heated by the way, which is fine in the summer but I stuck one toe in there and it about froze off!  Darn!
We just assumed it was heated......oh well, one more question we have to add to the list if we shop around for future workamping jobs. You have to cover all your bases...
We found a very cheap golf course within 5 minutes down the road from us. It's just a nine hole par 3 course, pretty rough around the edges but just perfect for the way we play :)
A great way to end the day!

Oh, that's right, I was going to talk about the work we're doing here. I guess it has to wait for next time. It seems we're not doing too much of it anyway....