January and February, 2013, Apache Junction, AZ
It is hard to believe that it is 2013 already – time sure does fly by when you are having fun. We are both enjoying our jobs and keeping very busy. Rex’s job with the Desert Dwellers Express has slowed now that the holidays are over but he has worked one day most weekends going to malls and street fairs. He has kept busy with his handyman job as there always seems to be someone who needs something repaired. We had a large number of RV’s arrive the first week in January and after driving through snow storms to get here a lot of them wanted their rigs washed which has kept him busy for several weeks.
We both help with a pancake breakfast in the park once a month where we serve pancakes, bacon, sausage, scrambled eggs, juice and coffee. Rex helps cook the sausage on an outside grill and Nancy helps cook the scrambled eggs. It is a great meal and we feed between 100 and 150 people at each meal. We have a lot of fun helping with the breakfast but do not like getting up to be in the kitchen by 6 am.
The school district here sponsors the Arizona Lecture Series at the local high school. There is a different lecture every Monday evening and we have attended a few of them. The first one was Teddy Roosevelt in Arizona. Joe Wiegand, a Theodor Roosevelt impersonator, gave a one-man show featuring stories of Teddy Roosevelt’s time in, and association with Arizona. He did a great job. We also attended a lecture on the Long Walk of the Navajo People. In 1864, the Navajo people were forced to walk over 450 miles to Fort Sumner in eastern New Mexico where they were imprisoned for four years. Another lecture was by Greg Scott who shared stories of Badger Clark, one of the best traditional cowboy poets. We also attended a talk on the 612 Squadron: The Air Force Station Time Forgot. The 612 Squadron of Ajo, Arizona was built to protect North American from Soviet aggression and was dismantled in 1995. Mary Estes is keeping the history of the station alive through oral histories from the firmer Airmen who have been stationed there during the Cold War. These talks were all very interesting and entertaining. We plan to attend more of these lectures in March.
One of our new neighbors, David, is a retired Master Chef from Edmonton, Alberta. David volunteered to prepare the Valentine’s Day dinner in the park. Rex was one of his four cooks and they spent many weeks preparing for the meal. The menu was: Carrot, sweet potato and ginger soup; chicken breast stuffed with a mushroom and shallot dressing with mushroom sauce; salad greens with green and red peppers and snow peas; chocolate brownie with raspberry sauce and almond cream. On Valentine’s Day we both helped serve the dinner – Rex served the chicken and sauce and Nancy helped serve the soup and dessert. We served 152 meals that evening in less than 1 hour. We had a great time helping and had many compliments on the great meal. Rex has decided he wants to learn more about gourmet cooking and David is very happy to share his expertise.
Nancy’s sister, Carol, flew from Colorado for a week visit. She stayed at Nancy’s parent’s house. Here she is in dad’s cactus garden.
Carol spent a couple of nights with us and joined us for our Friday morning Tai Chi class and our Friday hike. We hiked along the Arizona Trail by Superior, AZ. This large saguaro cactus with arms going every which way caught our eye.
We also saw a crested hedgehog cactus along the trail. We have seen crested saguaros before, but this is the first time we have ever seen a hedgehog cactus with a crest.
We enjoyed spending some time with Carol during her visit. The day after Carol left Nancy’s oldest sister, Kathy, flew in from Colorado for a week visit. Kathy also stayed with Nancy’s parents during her visit. We were able to take Kathy for a drive into the Superstition Mountains and have lunch at Tortilla Flats. She also spent an afternoon with us and enjoyed swimming in our pool and soaking in the hot tub. We enjoyed seeing Kathy again and were glad that she was able to visit us.
This winter has been cooler and windier than past winters. It will be nice with temperatures in the high 70’s for a few days and then we will get a storm come through and the temperature will drop to the 50’s and it rains. Then it will slowly warm up again for a short time before the next storm. It seems like it has been a cold winter - but it is all relative - we now think anything below 70 degrees is cool and anything below 60 is cold (when we lived in Colorado a 60 degree day in January was nice and warm!).
Snow and palm trees – just doesn’t seem right in the same picture!
That same night we got snow here in Apache Junction! Rex went outside about 9 pm to put our flowers in the shed as it was getting close to freezing and got a big surprise.
This is the first time we have had snow in Apache Junction since we started coming here in 2008. Long time residents in our park say they have never seen snow here in town. As we no longer own a snow shovel, Rex cleaned our driveway with a flat hoe. By the time we got up the next morning almost all the snow was gone.
This has been the coldest winter we have had here and we are looking forward to it getting warmer soon!