Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Arizona Monsoons

Today we welcome new followers: Traveler, Box Canyon Blogger and RV Travelers in Search of Adventures.  We're happy to have you aboard but I doubt this blog will be about RV lifestyle any more, at least for the present. Maybe I should blog about moving out of an RV and into a house. Well, there isn't much furniture to move, none to be precise, just the minimal belongings we carried with us. It's a lot like moving into your very first place when you finished college or moved out of your parents house. Although we miss some of our old things it's fun to start fresh and fill the house a little at a time. We enjoy scouring thrift stores, estate sales, Craig's list and yard sales which seems to fill all our spare time. We've splurged on a couple new purchases but for the most part we've furnished about half the house with used things as well as a few pieces I built. I'll post some photos if anyone is interested.

I really wanted to blog about the monsoons today. This photo illustrates how the Catalinas look much of the time lately, in sharp contrast to the usual bright sunny blue skies throughout the rest of the year. Having only spent winters in Southern Arizona we are amazed how humid and rainy it is here. The humidity and clouds seem to keep the temperatures lower however, which is a benefit.  Whereas most of June was around 100 degrees everyday, most of July has been between 85 and 90 degrees, unless it's actually raining when the temperature will plummet 25 degrees in a matter of minutes. And, everything is really green, especially all the brown dry grass you see here in the wintertime.

There must be about 30 of these barrel cacti on our property and they're all blooming for the second time.  We went to a plant sale at The Tohono Chul Park yesterday and learned that they blossom 3 times a year and have an edible fruit.

Look at all the fruit on this amazing Prickly Pear cactus.

The pool passed the pre-gunite inspection today so we hope to get the shotcrete in tomorrow if it doesn't rain. This will be a relief as I've had to shovel mud out of the hole 3 times due to the rain storms. The privacy wall is now done, complete with the stucco finish.  Now I have to paint the whole thing.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Today's Wildlife

Just when we thought we had seen all the wildlife the Catalina foothills has to offer a new species was pointed out to me by the steel workers after they arrived at 6:30 this morning.  When they pointed towards a tree and in their best English said "beast" I wasn't sure what I would see.  I have no way of knowing whether these are Africanized bees or not though they seemed very calm.  They made me miss my bee keeping days; at one time I kept 9 hives. Maybe I'll start up a couple colonies; Arizona is supposed to be a good place to keep bees.

The pool construction moves forward again. Today they're laying the web of re-bar required to give the gunite the reinforcement needed to support the weight of all the water. The next subcontractor will be the electrician followed by an inspection by the county, then comes the gunite. Better start shopping for a bathing suit.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

No Longer Gypsies

Yesterday we sold our coach after 8 weeks of advertising, answering phone calls and showing the rig to about 2 dozen people. I've sold 3 houses, numerous cars and several boats but this was the hardest sale of my life.  There are just so many RVs for sale out there it is simply a buyer's market and shoppers can afford to be very very fussy. As my real estate agent says however "there's a lid for every pot" and the right person showed up yesterday. Now that we've become Tucsonians it hardly seems right to have our blog named The Gypsy Life Journal, but we'll keep the name for now. We've looked at a number of 32' class As at the RV shows and think this might be the right size for non full-time travel. For now the construction and remodeling here at our new digs offers a great deal of excitement and we don't miss fulltiming. When we got up this morning we both felt like we had lost something we loved but it just wouldn't be practical to keep the RV here in the desert. To keep an RV parked here you really need a shelter to keep the sun off it and the pack rats out.  It the short term I've kept lights under it every night to keep the pack rats away but they can be very persistent. I had a small debris pile here from the demo I did for the new French doors. After just one week I overturned some scrap plywood in the pile and found a hoard of Mesquite beans and Cholla cactus; a pack rat nest!  Everyone here in our neighborhood parks their car with either the hood open and or a light underneath. Just one of the many ways how life is so different here in the desert.  We love it here!

We will miss you!
A desert pack rat.  Another reason to try to keep the population down is that they dig tunnels all over your yard.  The tunnels themselves are harmless but are often used as shelter by rattlesnakes. 

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Busy Day Today

Long, long ago while still in high school my first job was in retail sales as a kitchen designer. It was very common to have a quiet boring day when all of a sudden the showroom would fill with customers and the sales staff and myself would be running around like chickens with our heads cut off. 15 years later I had a marketing job that involved telephone sales.  Again, hours of  quiet boredom would pass when all of a sudden the phones would ring and there weren't enough sales people to take all the calls.  Contracting is the same way.  For days it seems like you can't get a sub on your job site  when all of a sudden they all show up at once.  Today we have the masons and plumbing crew all stepping over each other; we are making progress in leaps and bounds.  This in itself isn't overwhelming but I also have a buyer arriving for the motor home. This could turn out to be a great day on all fronts. Here are a few wildlife photos from my living room, gotta run for now, construction management and an RV shopper are calling to me.


Monday, July 23, 2012

We're Back!

Back in March when this blog site crashed my blogging came to a screeching halt. So much has happened since that time I don't know where to start.  First off I will have to learn how to use a new, revised Google blogger that looks totally unfamiliar to me. Secondly, this blog has a new address,so if you have this blog bookmarked or in your blog list you'll have to change the address.

Where do I start?  Well, we bought a house and now live in Tucson.  Actually we're in Catalina though our mailing address is Tucson.  For those of you who have camped at Catalina State Park we are just 10 miles north of there. I may as well start with what's happening today.  This morning for the first time two young Bob Cats came wandering through our yard. We are no longer surprised by anything we see as some kind of wildlife is always passing through.

Yesterday it was a herd of about 8 Javalinas that walked down our driveway. Look close at the bottom photo where there's a baby Javalina staying very close to his Mum.  All these photos were taken right from my living room.

Over the next few blogs I'll post more photos of the wildlife here in Catalina. I'll also put some photos of the house up. The new header photo is the view from our kitchen window BTW. Today we have Mexican masons putting up a wall for the pool I'm putting in.  These guys are great masons and hard workers, but it's been tough communicating with them as the boss only speaks Spanish.  The young fellow is bilingual and acts as our translator however so things are turning out just fine. I've also used Google to translate all the notations on my CAD drawings to Spanish.  They are pleased to have good drawings and the simple sketches I provide them.  They also do business differently from my American subcontractors like the plumber, excavator and Gunite installer.  Everything is on a handshake and cash basis; no contract with these amigos.

Here they are putting the scratch coat on the arch they built this morning. Today they shared some Mexican food with me and I provided the Cervezs. All is good!