Rake before you shake!

Thursday, December 13, at home in Arizona

When the crew and I left the full-time vagabonding life to set up a home base in a residential neighborhood in southern Arizona, I wandered about the newly purchased property and asked myself:

Am I gonna’ miss Arizona sunsets out in the desert?

Here’s the answer to that question:

Another eye-popping backyard sunset

(I did not alter this photo to make it more vivid. The only thing I did was crop it to improve composition.)

Quite regularly I question myself.

Am I happy?

Immediately I know: “Yes, I’m happy!”

Do I miss vagabonding?

The answer comes to me as I drive the Perfect Tow Vehicle on an errand and see a trailer like the Best Little Trailer being towed down the highway.  I feel no pangs of wish-that-were-me.  No wistfulness.  I’m happy for the person in the tow vehicle and I’m happy for where I am with my crew these days.

~ ~ ~

What do the boys and I do this Thursday in mid-December?

Roger lolls in the sunshine.

He’s really relaxed and enjoying the warmth.

Aah, that sun feels sooooo good.

Then along comes The Reginator!

A surprise attack!

It’s a struggle for territory!

Okay, bro  . . . You can have the bed.  I’m gonna’ go see what RVSue is doing . . .

I’m out by the pecan trees.

Most of the leaves have fallen, exposing the pecans, several of them peeking out of their husks.

I want to shake the tree to harvest the pecans.

(I ate all the pecans from the lower branches.)  What I’ve been doing is . . . I walk out to the tree with my nutcracker and an appetite and pick, crack, and eat on the spot.

This is the nutcracker I got from Amazon:  Heavy Duty Nut Cracker.  It fits in my coat pocket and is ideal for “drive-by” eating.

When I lived in Georgia I did some serious pecan harvesting.

The trees were bigger, more mature, and put forth a lot of nuts.  A handheld nutcracker wouldn’t do.  This is what I used: Nut Cracker Tool with 4 Picks, Wood Base & Handle.

I could set up this nutcracker, adjust it to the exact size of the pecans, crank the handle back, and crack several nuts, one right after another, like an assembly-line worker.  Very efficient.

I don’t know about you, but for me, cracking open and snacking on nuts is a holiday tradition (along with getting fat).

Anyway . . . 

To get back to shaking the tree . . .

If I shake the tree with all the leaves on the ground, I’ll have a heckuva time finding the nuts.

Rake before you shake!

Two large trash bags of leaves later, I’m hungry.

Pecans aren’t going to cut it . . .  I need a MEAL!

Besides, the crockpot must be done by now!

Okay, before all you foodies get too excited, all I did was cut up a breast of chicken and dump it into the crockpot with a can of Cream of Mushroom and a can of Cream of Chicken (low-salt).  Sometimes I use Cream of Celery.  You know, the standard crockpot recipe, comforting and warm over a pile of rice.   Leftovers for lunch tomorrow!

~ ~ ~

Friday, December 14

Raking pecan leaves in the side yard brings my attention to the mess in the back yard.  You know the grape vine entwined on the lattice around the patio?  Oh yeah, the vine is pretty in spring and summer, but it is pretty darn ugly in the fall and winter months.  The big leaves dry up and turn brown.  They’re starting to break loose to sail across the yard.

I’ve had my eye on cutting down that vine for some time now.

Sure, the grapes are tasty.  However, when a few grapes drop to the ground, the Arizona sun turns them into raisins, and then ever-scavenging Roger tries to snack on them, well, that’s not good.

Plus it makes the back door entry area very dark and I feel it creates an oppressive atmosphere.

Sorry, grapevine . . . .

My aggressive pruning may not kill the plant.  It has a strong root system.

With the vine gone, I remove some of the aging trellis.

Not all of it . . .  not yet.

You can see the posts need sanding and painting.  Another project!

~ ~ ~

That brings us to me inside in my recliner putting this post together.

Reggie and Roger are napping on the bed.

Tomorrow the weekend begins.  Dennis and Gilbert will be here for more work on the fence.  The fence project has expanded to completely enclose the back yard from view from any direction.  Wow.


If I’m gonna’ do something, I might as well do the whole dang thing, right?

It’s going to be great!

Already the boys and I are enjoying the difference the fence makes.



Dawn in NC suggests this item from Amazon for a Christmas gift:

WaterBOB Bathtub Emergency Water Storage Container, Drinking Water Storage, Hurricane Survival, BPA-Free (100 Gallon)

“One thing I’m getting for Christmas from my sister, from Amazon, is a WaterBOB emergency drinking water container. It’s basically a huge water bladder, 100 gallons, made of food grade plastic. It goes in your bathtub and you can fill it up. I want it in case of hurricanes, if I am sheltering in place.” — Dawn

~ ~ ~

Rover Ronda recommends . . .

Rubbermaid FreshWorks Produce Saver Food Storage Containers, 3-Piece Set

“My husband and I are amazed at how long these containers keep food fresh. We liked the Rubbermaid FreshWorks so much we bought more.” — Ronda

~ ~ ~

Geri from the Florida Panhandle recommends . . .

Gorilla Carts Garden Dump Cart with Steel Frame and 10-in. Pneumatic Tires, 600-Pound Capacity

“We bought a Gorilla Cart over a year ago and I love it!

“With my bad back, the cart helps me bring all the bagged groceries from the car to the RV. It helps me at the washing machine so I can empty all the wet clean clothes into the wagon and pull it easily over to our clothes line. The wagon helps me move my potted plants around the yard. I can take all the household garbage out to the dumpster in it, too.

“This cart can turn on a dime. It has a ‘dump truck’ feature where the wagon can lift up off the frame, much like the back of a dump truck lifts up to empty its load. That feature is wonderful for taking the yard trash, cuttings, branches etc. out to the road to be picked up twice weekly.

“I really love this wagon. It’s very manageable and easy to pull. It has been a Godsend!” — Geri

~ ~ ~

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RVSue and her canine crew is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.


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93 Responses to Rake before you shake!

  1. Ken Canada says:

    Hi Sue..
    Great fence…love your yard

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Ken! I love the yard, too! Great hearing from you. . . and CONGRATULATIONS ON BEING FIRST TODAY!

  2. Elaine Magliacane says:

    My childhood home in Georgia we had a huge mature pecan tree in our front yard, as did several of our neighbors (a grove turned into a subdivision no doubt). My Dad taught me to crack the pecans by hold two in my hand and squeezing hard. After I learned to do that I’ve never needed a nut cracker for a snack from our tree. Thanks for those memories, these days I have to buy my pecans already removed from their shells… and VERY expensive (well compared to free in your own yard). Love your backyard sunset photo…

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi Elaine!

      I’ll try your Dad’s two-pecan method. These little hands of mine might surprise me and be strong enough. Glad you enjoyed the sunset…

  3. Nora now in Dauphin Island AL says:

    Can’t believe I got to this s0 quickly!
    Happy pecan eating!!!

  4. RachelDLS says:

    I am so happy to see you enjoying your beautiful new home! 🙂 I was just wondering this morning if I was going to be able to keep up with all the projects that I’ve got going on in my tiny little world! Oh my! But one at a time, as I have energy, is just going to have to work! LOL

    By the way a good friend of mine gave me a name for my beautiful new kitty. Her name is Mouser! I think it’ll go really well together! Macha and Mouser! Now if I could just get the two of them to get along? Hey sometimes the girl wants the impossible! I think I am going to have to do a post showing just exactly how they are not getting along!

    I love what you’re doing at your place. Maybe I’ll have to share some more of the little projects that I’m doing in my little world! 🙂

    • Cat Lady, Baton Rouge, La says:

      Let them eat together from one large dish/bowl. Once they share food, they seem to get the idea that they’re now family. Works for my crew.

      • RachelDLS says:

        Hi Cat Lady! I wish that was an option. I let the kitty come into the camper, and take a few bites out of Macha’s Bowl. Unfortunately, the only thing I could do was hold onto Macha because she was scrambling and scratching and doing everything she could to get to the kitty. She wanted the kitty. She needed the kitty! She loved the kitty!! However it was not the right kind of love. They seem to bring out the wolf in her!
        By the way, I wasn’t actually holding Macha back to protect Mouser. Mouser knows how to take care of herself! I’m going to be doing a post soon on the bloodletting! Oh my!

        • Don in Okla says:

          Sure wish someone had a sure fire remedy for introducing another cat to the family. Someone dumped a big grey cat at my place and he is a real sweetheart around me but he really gives my other two cats fits when I’m not around. I have to put him in a nice pen on the patio when I bring the other two in for the night. He has a nice cat house with a heated bed and all but I’d like to have him join us in the house at night.
          Any ideas on how to make this happen?? (I had him neutered when he showed up.)

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Rachel! Macha and Mouser — how cute! 🙂

      I don’t have much experience introducing dogs and cats. With dogs and dogs, I just let them sort it out by themselves. One or the other will establish who is going to be top dog (or top cat). Good luck with your projects!

  5. ReneeG from Idaho says:

    Well, top ten! Whoo, Hoo!

  6. Dawn in NC says:

    What a beautiful sunset Sue! I’m glad you still get to view that from your new house! Like Roger, my cat Sammy loves to lounge in the sun! As soon as I open the blinds, she is looking for her Sunny spot. My favorite part of the weekends is the lazy mornings, when I can sit on the sofa in the sun, with a cat beside me. Absolute bliss!

  7. Kat in NYState (formerly Kat and Cookie Dog) says:

    Hi RVSue and crew. Just wanted to wish you a Merry Christmas! I am hoping to be on the road to AZ in a few days, so won’t have computer access much.

  8. Dawn in NC says:

    Oh, one more thing. I have a question for you retired folks out there. Do you even need to bother getting dressed for the day? I spend half the weekends in my pjs! I was wondering if retired folk did the same, or are they much more industrious than me (which wouldn’t be hard!LOL)

    • Linda in Minnesota says:

      Yoga pants and t-shirt work day or night. A bit dressier than pjs but just as comfortable. Plus my yoga pants have pockets to carry stuff like my phone during the day.

    • Elizabeth says:

      SHHHHHH….you are giving away our secrets…the answer is YES we do…if we do not need to go someplace…we have gotten us some “lounge wear”…and if it is really cold (like 17 or 21 degrees…or just freezing even) we even sleep in them too…hehe…lovely in some ways being old dear!!

    • Barbara (Nashville) says:

      Retired and usually wear sweat pants and shirt during the winter, shorts and t-shirt in summer unless I have to go somewhere. Nightie for sleeping.

    • Denise - Richmond VA says:

      Hi, Dawn,

      I am not retired, but on weekends when I don’t need to be out and about, I sometimes stay in my pjs. I’ll throw on a jacket or coat when I take Gracie pup out or walk down the driveway to the mailbox. If get dressed, I keep it simple: a pair of comfy, jeans and a top. No makeup or hair styling. I take a shower, put on some moisturizer, comb back my hair to air dry, and brush my teeth. I like giving my skin and hair a break from the weekday routine.

      The days of feeling that I had to be fully pulled together, even just to check my mail are in the rear view mirror. Feels good! 🙂

      Rock your pjs! Enjoy retirement – you earned it!! 🙂

  9. Pamela Campbell says:

    Hi, Sue –
    You are doing wonders to your yard and house. The neighbors will enjoy it, too.
    I think your thrift stores in the area are above average. Very nice selection.
    Pamelab In Houston for now.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Pamelab,

      Good to hear from you!

      Yeah, that’s kind of what I told the neighbor — “I’m doing you a service by putting up this fence.” 🙂

  10. Barbara (Nashville) says:

    Enjoyed the post. Glad your home gives you happiness and contentment. Reg must have been feeling ignored so he had to wake Roger. They are so funny. Speaking of which, guess I better get Angel out for her walk.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Barbara,

      Reggie and Roger are so bonded that I think that one misses the other if the other is asleep. I laugh to see them in our huge yard and there they are roaming around together, not more than 3 feet apart. I hope Angel is being a good girl for Santa… 🙂

  11. chas anderson says:

    No pecans here in PA but my property is full of hickory trees which produce prolific nuts in a green husk that dries and then exposes the nuts.The deer and turkeys love them.At times, I have counted 35 wild turkeys in a flock picking through the leaves for the nuts.We also have a den of bobcats in the caves on the rock cliffs below the house and they pick away at the turkeys in the winter.Every so often I stumble on a pile of turkey feathers.Nature doesn’t waste anything.

    Late snowbirding for me this year.Cannot leave until February.I am ready for sun as we are in a classic gray dreary stretch up here.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Nature is amazing, isn’t it, chas.

      The nuts feed the turkeys, the turkeys feed the bobcats, the bobcat poo is eaten by owls… and so it goes right down to bugs and worms and bacteria and….

      You have to wait until Feb.? I bet you’ll be chomping at the bit in Jan. 🙂

  12. Lauri C. says:

    Awesome sunset!!! Reminds me of so many beautiful images you’ve posted from your travels!

    Which brings me to….how do you organize your photos!? You always know exactly what your pictures are of….I’m hoping it isn’t JUST memory!!

    Do you “just” organize them in folders by camp? Or by date? Or both?i have over 30k images which organizing as an afterthought is laughable! But from this point forward I can at LEAST begin to set up a comprehensive system!

    Any suggestions??

    Always love your posts….even if they are local for a bit!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Lauri,

      I’m the worst person to ask about how to organize photos. I guess you could say my method is by date. Of course, I look at a date in the past and it doesn’t always help me pin down where we were then. Usually there’s at least one photo or several in that particular date’s batch the gives me a clue where we were.

      When I want to find a photo for, let’s say, “Cedar Pocket Campground,” I do an internet search for “RVSue + Cedar Pocket Campground.” That brings up the posts for when we camped there. Then I take take the date of those posts and find the photos in Picasa by the date they are filed under.

      See? Not very efficient. Good luck with your organizing!

  13. Elizabeth says:

    So lovely having nut trees…one place we had there was a little English Walnut tree in front…not only glorious shade in horrid hot summers, but in winter….all the leaves would shed in a very short period of time (1-2 days) and then we got nice sun inside the house when cold. And you know, we always had plenty of walnuts after a couple years of good watering, plus those fertilizer pegs you drive in the ground etc. Even sharing with the squirrels was no issue. I hope your pecan tree does well in the coming year too…maybe a bit more water could help too eh?
    I like your idea of the fence too, Sue…good fences make maybe not “good” neighbors but at least “better” neighbors eh? And quieter in many ways. Always enjoyed fenced back yards!! And the boys are so cute as always!!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Elizabeth,

      Ooh, walnuts…. How nice.

      Yes, I’ll be fertilizing the pecan trees in the spring. I caught a garden center sale at Walmart, when they were wanting to clear the shelves for Halloween and Christmas stuff. I stocked up on rose food and nut tree food.

      Another benefit of the privacy fence I realized last night as I turned off the light: No longer is our bedroom lit up by the neighbor’s outside light. Oh, happy me.

      I appreciate your regular commenting, Elizabeth. I don’t know if I ever told you that. Thank you. 🙂

      • Elizabeth says:

        I remember that you have had gardens etc, Sue…so I figured you maybe had a plan for increasing the health and yield of the pecan tree!! If pecans grow there…wouldn’t walnuts too? Just a thought… Glad you found fertilizer on sale too!!
        When we moved to the place with the walnut tree, the kids were given some little starts of evergreen trees of some sort…I just stuck them in the ground along the back fence and other than watering…and those tree stakes, I never thought a lot about them. But after a few years they simply TOOK OFF…grew like mad each year and if I had known that sooner, I would have planted enough we could not see the back yard neighbors at all. LOVED those evergreen trees too…but they must take some years to first build roots…and I do feel those fertilizer stakes also helped them.
        I am so glad your fence is already blocking the light that comes into your bedroom. We got a heavy light blockout shade for our bedroom as we live too close to a busy country crossroad, plus the landlords have a motion light on the house there…and it comes on a lot. Which I do not mind, if I don’t see it inside. Those drapes work great…and let me sleep in extra on days I want to sleep more. PLUS make it warmer in winter and cooler in summer. So there is always that solution too…and I got them someplace pretty cheap too. With the neighbor in the other side of the duplex liking to sometimes come peeping in our windows…I love those heavy drapes for that too. I think he is harmless but I intensely do not like it…especially when he is also totally not friendly at all.
        Thanks for your kind remark about my writing here, Sue! I enjoy coming here and for a time, forgetting what is going on in our real life for our little grandbabies here…the youngest only 5. Looks like the “powers that be” are going to let him have LOTS of opportunities for more abuse soon…so anyone who likes to pray, we sure appreciate prayers that somehow the wicked one will be stopped!!

    • Columbus Calvin says:

      I enjoyed walnuts as a young boy, but I don’t know anything about raising trees. We lived in places they grew along the road or in the woods.

      • Elizabeth says:

        Heh, we have never known much about raising food, nut trees, etc either Calvin…but we came across some of those little stakes for fertilizing trees and we had much success with them. Once the walnut tree grew so huge, we never bothered with fertilizing anymore…as the nuts grew so many in number…more than we could eat.

  14. Barbara from Camano island says:

    I like hearing that you had no pangs of envy when you saw someone pulling a Casita. Isn’t it nice to feel that kind of contentment when one has decided to move on to a new stage in life. It takes a big leap of faith. You must know yourself well.

    I am envious of those who are talking of leaving the cold for Arizona. There is really nothing but routine doctor appointments keeping me from doing the same. Well, that is not quite right. I guess I’m also not ready to take on such a big adventure. My nine weeks trip last summer was my “maiden voyage” and seems I’m reticent to do much more until next summer. Oh well, one step at a time.

    Love the pictures of the boys.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Barbara,

      If you don’t feel like travel at this point, there’s nothing wrong with that. Reticence can be an inner voice (or greater voice) telling you this is not something you should do at this time. That’s why I repeatedly ask myself the measure of my contentment or a better way to put it might be. . . I check my equilibrium. Am I off-center or am I “balanced” where I am now?

      You have the option to go or stay and you’re the one to figure out which is best for you right now. I’m pretty sure you know that already! 🙂

      • Barbara from Camano Island says:

        “The measure of my contentment.”‘ I like the way those words make me feel. I’m going to write them down some place where I can see them to remind myself to check in to see how my equilibrium is; am I feeling “balanced?” Thank you, Sue.

        • rvsueandcrew says:

          You’re welcome, Barbara. I did make it sound like my contentment is the most important purpose of my life… how shallow of me! Let’s say, that’s my secular version. I’m glad you can use it to check your balance (as opposed to balancing your checks). Have a great day! 🙂

  15. mary batt says:

    Hello Sue et al!

    I showed your sunset pix to my husband…His comment?

    “Hohhh…..WOW. !!! I said, “Yeah!” No words can speak to it!

    Wished I had seen that one! But thank you for the pix! It must have been utterly mind stopping!

    My experience Re: scanning myself for an affirmation on an action…been there like everyone else. The first time (after a big change), to check myself I asked myself, ‘Do I miss ******* ? mmm…some… Do I want to have it back…. mmm…no.’ Therefore you can miss something, but also not want it back. So I came up with this: Always stay honest with yourself to be your most centered best. I have used this with job change, moving, letting go of a dream, other stuff. Anyway……..

    We have 2 old pecan trees–guess we will go see if we can get a pecan. They are pretty tall and old, but we will see what we can get! The squirrels are sure to run us off!

    mary b

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Good advice on how “to be your most centered best!” I hope the squirrels left some pecans for you. The only squirrels we have are the two plastic ones from the thrift store.

      I enjoyed you and your husband’s reaction to the sunset. 🙂

  16. Denise - Richmond VA says:

    Hi, Sue,

    Thank you for sharing yet another spectacular Arizona sunset! So gorgeous! 💕
    I am glad that you found the perfect home that allows you to enjoy the color shows.

    When I see photos of Reggie and Roger so content in their home, I imagine that you are feeling the same way. Roger and Reggie were enjoying the warm sun. I “see” you lounging in your outdoor recliner, enjoying the sunny day, birdsong, the view of your private yard with the new fence, and occasionally glancing at the boys with love. It makes me heart smile to know that you are so happy. 🙂

    I wonder if you will have enough pecans to make a pie or small tart? Eating the nuts right off the tree reminds me of eating tomatoes or snow peas out of one’s garden. Is there anything better?! Are you thinking of planting a small garden in the Spring?

    Have a good weekend, Sue! I will be wrapping gifts, grocery shopping for Christmas dinner fixings, and making out Christmas cards. Sending you and your adorable boys lots of love and hugs from me and Gracie pup! xo 🙂

    Due to heavy cloud cover, I was not able to watch the meteor showers. However, today’s early morning sky made up for it. Bright pink intertwined with wavy gray clouds. Stunning! As I drove into work, I kept saying, “Wow! What a gorgeous sky! Look at that color! Thank you!” 🙂

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Denise,

      I imagine you doing all those Christmas-y things in your warm and sparkly home, maybe some carols playing, wonderful aromas coming out of your kitchen. You and Gracie pup in a scene painted by Norman Rockwell… 🙂

      Your gorgeous pink sky with gray clouds — Like opening a gift on Christmas morning, discovering it’s not what you wanted, but it turns out to be great, maybe even better! 🙂

      No, I won’t plant a vegetable garden for a couple reasons. With all this fencing around the property looking like a blank canvas, my focus will be on landscaping. Plus there is a long bed across the front of the porch that needs to be cleaned up and “redone,” and another long bed along the side of the house, and a short bed along the back! Those will keep me occupied! All of this is exciting for me because I’m learning about desert plants.

      Vegetable gardening in a desert environment would be a huge challenge for me. The ground is very hard which means building raised beds. (The side of the house bed could be for vegetables but I’m leery that soil may be full of artificial fertilizer residue from previous residents’ use. And I want it pretty.) Managing water and providing shade from the intense sun and so forth add more challenge. All that is time-consuming, too. There’s painting to be done, furniture to be refinished, and more! I may try veggies on a small scale with desert-happy plants like chili peppers. 🙂

      I could make a pie with the pecans but I’m not into baking these days. I love to snack on the pecans, right out of the shell.

      Have a wonderful weekend, Denise. Hugs to you and Gracie pup!

  17. Don in Okla. says:

    I can’t remember if you’ve spent a summer there yet. I’m interested in moving to AZ but was concerned about the heat. Having lived in the Okla Panhandle for years I am familiar with heat but now the winters are getting a little too cold to suit me. Also lived in Corpus Christi for 12 years and the winters were great but the summers were tough with the humidity.
    Any input on the heat in your area would be appreciated. Thank.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Don,

      You’ve given me a background from which to answer your question: You are familiar with heat and lived in a humid area during the summer.

      You’ve heard about the wonders of dry heat. True! Yes, the crew and I were here in southern AZ through the summer (bought the house in May). I was braced for terrible heat. I can honestly say it wasn’t bad at all.

      During the hottest portion of the summer when highs went to three-digits, we still were able to enjoy the porch in the mornings and late afternoons/evenings. In the middle of the day we stayed inside with the air conditioning.

      Remember the PTV doesn’t have a/c. Yet I was able to complete shopping and errands early in the day and, even during the hottest part of the day, I did drive places with the front windows down. I just didn’t go for a stroll once I got out of the PTV! I headed for a/c! 🙂

      It’s remarkable how, with dry air, you can find lower air temperature simply by going into shade. Sure, that happens somewhat in humid areas, but the difference in a dry area is striking.

      In Georgia summer heat and high humidity I spent a lot of time indoors. I was outside a lot more in Arizona heat and low humidity.

      Blogorinos: Do you have something to add about living in the heat of the Southwest?

      • LeeJ in Northern California says:

        I lived in New Mexico thirteen years, and where I live in California is pretty dry and hot in the summer. The key is doing early and late activities and being in the shade in the heat. I am often on my shaded front porch during the worse part of the heat, no problem if the air is moving and in the shade. And drink iced tea or lemon Aid!
        I remember visiting family near Houston in the summer, oh that was painful. It was so much easier in dry New Mexico!
        We use a evaporative cooler now, we can keep doors open for air flow and our house is typically 30 degrees cooler that outdoors and the cost is minimal compared to using air conditioner to cool.
        My friends that use ac are always impressed how comfortable my house is, often as cool as their homes at a fraction of the cost.
        I really think the key to staying cool is moving air and shade, both of which are easy to accomplish!
        Why not plan a trip south to give it a try?

      • Donna 'N Girls Chandler says:

        I leave for part of the summer, but I stay long enough to enjoy the slower pace of summer from our snowbird filled fall, winter and early spring. I’m thinking I might stay in the valley this summer, it’s been 4 years now I’ve been traveling all over. I love the monsoons, the smell of rain in the desert and restaurants and movies without long lines

      • Don in Okla. says:

        Thanks so much for the info and guidance. Living in the Ok Panhandle we were very familiar with the heat but like AZ, it is a dry heat and we often use evap. coolers for AC. And it often hits above 100 deg. quite often in the summer. In S TX, I don’t think the coast would have been populated nearly as much had refrig. air not been invented!!! The humidity is a real problem. And going from the Ohio cold to the TX heat and humidity was a real shocker for the system!! My home in Ohio didn’t even have AC. I used a huge exhaust fan in the ceiling to move the outside air thru the house and into the attic and out. Worked quite well most days.
        Anyway, I just need to make a road trip to AZ in the summer to check it out before I move there.
        Thanks again everyone for the help.

  18. EmilyO in southern NM says:

    I have a neighbor with a pecan tree that has flourished with the water from their washing machine (both wash and rinse water)! They ran a drain pipe out to the tree early this year and it is amazing the amount of pecans on the tree this year compared to last year. I am enjoying all the fruits of my neighbors pecan trees.

    I am learning how to use my left hand fingers due to my degenerated thumb joint. I can still use the thumb to some degree but my fingers are becoming the “experts” now.

    Wishing you Sue a very Merry Christmas season and the same greetings to all the readers. And for a Wonderful New Year.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Emily,

      I’m sorry about the problem you have with your thumb joint. That must be frustrating at times. I hope it isn’t painful.

      You’re probably aware of different tools available that are helpful for people with arthritis or other debilitating hand conditions. Don’t know if those aids apply to your situation though. Best wishes teaching your fingers to be “smart.” 🙂

      Thank you for the Christmas and New Year wishes. I hope the same for you and yours. Great hearing from you!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      I see this item in today’s Amazon orders report:

      Brix 70712/2 JarKey Original Easy Jar Key Opener, 2-Pack, Red

      Clever item… Maybe that was you who ordered it. I’m curious how well it works… The reviews are very positive.

      • EmilyO in southern NM says:

        No wasn’t me, but am interested in it and other things that popped up. Thanks.

        • rvsueandcrew says:


          • AR Rose says:

            That was me who ordered the jar openers. I already have one and it does really work. It is made for jars with ‘pop top’ lids, it does the popping and then the lid easily comes off. I, too, have thumb troubles so am glad it works so well. Ordered these, one for my daughter and one for the ‘soup kitchen’ I work in every week. Makes opening those cases of jars of sauce very easy.

            • rvsueandcrew says:

              It was you! Hi, AR Rose! Thanks for the order and for letting us know how you will use the jar openers and that they do work. I think I’ll use your comment as a product recommendation… a way for you and me to help others. 🙂

  19. MB Dillard says:

    Hi Sue,

    I’m glad you and the boys are so happy in your new home. Dreams change and following them keeps us young and engaged in life.

    Southern AZ is sounding pretty good after digging out of 15 inches of snow last Sunday/Monday. We don’t usually get snow this early. We don’t usually get over 6-8 inches at once. But….we did both this week. I hurt my back cleaning my uncle’s sidewalk, ramp and deck. A not so gentle reminder of the fact that I need more exercise. This is the first time in my life that I have had a “sit down” job. You don’t sit much teaching kindergarten or running a horse stable/farm. I am not in shape at all anymore. This was a good reminder that that needs to change….

    I’m in the process of tearing down some old barns in order to replace them with a new shed/garage. So, that’ll get me moving around. But can’t do much until the snow leaves. That yoga mat in the corner would probably do me more good stretched out on the floor with me on it though. 😉 If I had been doing those stretches, the back thing wouldn’t have happened. Oh well….hopefully it is a relatively harmless reminder to get off my butt! LOL!

    Still plotting and planning here. I have dreams to keep alive!
    Love from VA
    MB, Wyndy and Bella

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, MB,

      That does seem like a lot of snow this early in the year and in Virginia. I recall living in upstate NY as a youngster with people saying, “I wonder if we will have a white Christmas this year.”

      I’m sorry you wrenched your back. I join you in wishing it’s “a relatively harmless reminder.” Oh, exercise. I hear you! Same thing with me. This neighborhood isn’t conducive for taking walks. Seems almost everyone has a dog or two or three and a chorus of barks reaches a crescendo by the time I return home so I don’t take walks any more. I’ve noticed a loss of strength and flexibility, too. I suppose I could run along the fence. Hahaha!

      Good luck with that yoga mat and, as always, with your dreams!

  20. Mary Batt says:

    Dear All,

    HA! Over the years, I think ALOT of my planning happens on my many back burners without my input or awareness (ie unwittingly). So when I “decide” or get up to do or change something, it looks to others as spontaneous or impromptu (witless). Well…maybe it is. But the back burners pair well with the impetus!! For me!!! LOL

    BTW Sue, I ordered “Earths Children” series (Jane Auel) from Amazon by clicking on the Reader Recommendation blue print-hope you see the credit!

    Merry Christmas to all y’all!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      I saw your order, Mary. Thank you very much for thinking of us! 🙂 And Merry Christmas to you, too.

  21. weather says:

    It’s pretty rare for me to use what some might consider an irreverent expression, but when I saw the photo of your sunset I actually said “Holy mother of God!!!”. Arizona desert sunsets are so unlike anywhere else’s that unless one has seen them they might think you had altered the photo. Yesterday the lake here was an almost unbelievable sapphire blue, some spectacular things really do need to be seen to be believed.

    How nice for you to just go into your yard and have pecans there ready to be cracked and eaten. We had a hickory nut tree near my childhood home that produced tremendous amounts of nuts every autumn, but those are too hard for most nutcrackers to open. I would put them on a large rock and use a hammer to break them open. Snacking on nuts has always been a holiday tradition with me, too.

    That tradition was originally part of celebrating St. Nicholas Day, December 5th/6th in some European countries, because he had given nuts, fruit, candy and small toys as gifts for children of poor families. Back then children put their empty shoes by the fireplace at night, hoping to find small gifts in them in the morning. Then later combined winter celebrations became Christmas as we know it today, St. Nicholas was turned into Santa Claus/ Father Christmas, and children’s stockings hung by the fireplace held the same kinds of small gifts.

    Gee, I’m glad you cut down the grape vines, Sue. Changing anything thing that made an entry area dark with an oppressive atmosphere is a great way to improve a home. Making the entry areas to my home nicer is often the first change I make when I move in. It looks like it was a lot of work to cut all that you needed to. Did you to use a hand saw? I vaguely recall a conversation about a tree/vine trimmer/saw(?), if you have one I’d be interested to know what kind it is. A vine keeps trying to climb and grow around an evergreen tree in my yard, and nothing I have is an adequate tool to remove much of the vine.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, weather,

      Interesting about St. Nicholas Day traditions in Europe. My how Christmas has changed!

      I like that you agree with the decision to cut down the grape vine. What a difference it made. The easiest way to cut the vine was with long-handled loppers. That’s one of the first tools I bought for the house because they are very handy. Also they give a lot of leverage (strength) to someone without a lot of brawn to work with. I trimmed a lot of the mesquite trees with them. They handle branches and vines up to 3 inches in diameter approx.

      As for saws, I have a standard hack saw and also a regular wood saw, medium-sized. Nothing special. I used the wood saw to trim a couple large limbs on the mesquite. What a job that was. Dennis has offered to bring his chain saw and electric saw someday once I figure out what I want cut. The fence provides a lot of shade which means I don’t have to rely on the mesquite so much for a place to sit in the shade. 🙂

      Today Dennis and Gilbert are here working. I was also working this morning on improving the patio/back entry area which I’ll blog about sometime. The weather is brisk and overcast which I find motivating for getting things done outside (rather than sitting in the sun thinking about it!).

      Your lake is an endless source of pleasure and thanksgiving for you. I’m glad for you. 🙂

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      I call them long-handled loppers but you may find them easier in a search for “bypass loppers” or “anvil loppers.” Mine have a slight curve to the blades. I say they cut up to 3 inch diameter branches. That’s with me making more than one cut. I think they’re designed for 2 inch cuts.

    • weather says:

      The fence providing shade is a wonderful benefit I hadn’t thought of before. That will make your yard even more enjoyable and pleasant, especially during the warmest months. I imagine the prior residents of your place liked the shade and dark area the trellis and grape vines provided because that kept things a little cooler. You’ll have a more cheerful entry area and patio, shaded cooler areas and privacy-nice!! I’m very glad you decided to completely enclose your backyard, without doing that I think you wouldn’t feel assured that you really do have privacy when you’re out there. Making an incomplete enclosure would defeat the purpose of the whole investment and project.

      Thanks for letting me know that “bypass loppers” would make searching easier, it did. I saw some with handles that extend up to three feet long. That should make what I need to reach accessible. I noticed that the footing near the tree is treacherous now because of some snow and ice, and the vine is dormant for the season so not causing the tree any increasing problem . I’ll wait for the spring thaw to finish getting rid of the vine’s tendrils, and hopefully, most of it’s roots, too.

      • rvsueandcrew says:

        Hi, weather!

        I thought of you yesterday as I stood at my kitchen sink looking out the window, across the patio and through the opening that used to be blocked with lattice and grape vine. The big sky where the sunset spectaculars appear is now in view from my sink. How great is that? I thought, “weather would really appreciate this!” 🙂

        I have a plan. I’ll sand and paint the supports around the patio and enjoy the openness and the light that comes into the covered patio during the winter months. Since the patio is open to the west, I’ll find out in summer whether I still like having no lattice/vine. Then I’ll know whether to put up new lattice (probably not as much) or leave it open-air.

        To tell the truth, I haven’t been inclined to use my griddle on the patio because the lattice and vine gave me the feeling of dustiness, too closed in. When I griddle, I want the fresh, open air. 🙂

        All these decisions are part of the fun. Anyway… I enjoy telling you about my projects. Thanks for taking an interest. I also enjoy hearing about yours…like vine-trimming come springtime. 🙂

        • weather says:

          Your sunsets are so great, I’m thrilled that you can now see them from inside your kitchen! I’m glad, too, that now if you feel like griddling, you can enjoy doing it in fresh, open air. In case aside from a lattice as a way to make the patio cooler in summertime you want to explore other alternatives, I found a sun blocking patio curtain that let’s light, just far less heat, through. ASIN


          Just a thought, I know you like not having anything that makes the patio dark, and a lattice stays in place, while a curtain can be pulled back and left open whenever you choose.

  22. LeeJ in Northern California says:

    Beautiful photography as usual, Miss Sue.
    I’m about to go up to visit my son in Oregon next week, by my favorite mode of transportation, Amtrak! I think one of my favorite parts of this trip is early morning seeing the sun rise around mt Shasta. In winter the timing is pretty spot on, as long as the train is running on time, as it generally is. Sunrise over mt Shasta is spectacular to say the least….wish I could share it with you!
    For folks wanting to travel by train, did you know they have seating specifically for older folks that is downstairs? Coach seating is on the top level, easier to get to the amenities the train offers, but I love sitting downstairs, near the bathrooms and it is quieter at night. Getting out to the track the coast starlight is on is quite a hike in Sacramento, so Amtrak offers a ride on an electric tram to the train for seniors, from the beautiful station to trackside, a real plus if you are pulling your luggage. The seats on Amtrak are wide and no center armrests with plenty of legroom. There are leg rests so if I bring a pillow or neck rest thingie I can get very comfortable at night…ahh. Last trip, the train attendant took orders for coffee even, and brought it to us! The fare is low too…I don’t spend anymore than if is was putting gas in my truck.
    I’ve only used Amtrak on the west coast, and I love it!

    • Elizabeth says:

      Our only train trip down from Seattle to LA oh so many years ago…the train got STUCK in the snow someplace near Mt. Shasta (heh that was something else)…I so agree with you, it is a spectacular view in that area. Hubby and I also took one Fall trip by car into Northern CA from Seattle area once…and oh my, the Fall views were every so bit as nice as East Coast ones are!! A beautiful region!! Enjoy the ride!!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, LeeJ,

      I love your comment! You gave us info on the Amtrak experience that would be hard to find anywhere. Thank you! I felt like I was riding the rails with you. 🙂

  23. Pauline in Mississippi says:

    Your post made me smile. So glad you are happy…the boys are happy….the fence is almost done…the vine is gone and you are eating pecans. I am going to start making Christmas candy next week and couldn’t believe the price of pecans!!!! Jerold convinced me to “practice” a little and talked me into making some Rolo Pecan Pretzel candies. Ohhhhh…they were so good. Notice I said “were”. They are gone now. How did we do that??!!!!!
    Keep enjoying your life as an Arizona homeowner.
    Sending hugs to you, Reggie and Roger.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Pauline… Have I told you lately I love you? Well, I do!

      Rolo Pecan Pretzel candies… See? Jerold knows best! 🙂

      Keep enjoying your life as a Mississippi homeowner…

  24. Geri in the FL panhandle says:

    Not sure if it will help, but I have our 6 years on the road organized by state then by date! I did this after we got off the road! I wish I had started this from day 1! I must have 15 photo stick things too, full of photos to back that up too, just in case! 😂

    • Geri from the FL panhandle says:

      This comment should have gone under Laurie C.’s question and your response about organizing photos! No idea why it ended up down here! 😩

  25. Chey(WAcoast) says:

    Thanks for another great post, Sue. I am grateful for your talent and appreciate the care you put into your posts. Kinda like that post in your yard that you will sand down. There is a respect in that, and I’m honored.
    I’m going to learn the ukulele? I’ll be going through your link, help with the fence?

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      The ukelele! That’s great, Chey! Have fun learning and playing for yourself and others. 🙂

      What nice things you wrote to me… Thank you for appreciating my blog and for shopping Amazon from here. I’ll go pick out and designate “the boards that Chey bought.” Ha!

      Take care. 🙂

      • Diann in MT says:

        That is so funny, Sue!
        Just spending a lazy afternoon up here in Montana. It’s been unusually warm with afternoon temps in the high 40’s and low 50’s. Unsure of a white Christmas. Now, that is unusual!

        I am such a fan of tall backyard fences! When we moved here, we shortly put an eight foot wooden fence all around. The privacy is so peaceful and pleasant during the summer months while folks walk by on the street on their way to the little park and the Rosebud Creek that runs by down there.

        Your progress in you new surroundings is so uplifting. I go to your blog to read the wonderful comments, just about twice a week.

        God bless, Sue.

        • rvsueandcrew says:

          God bless you, too, Diann.

          Every time you mention Rosebud Creek or the camping available in that area I regret not fitting it into my travels. I know it’s lovely, so much of Montana is. 🙂

          Eight feet high… That’s privacy! I know what you mean about the “peaceful and pleasant” privacy one gains. We’re using and enjoying parts of the yard that we didn’t before the fence went up.

          I’m glad you’re having some warm temperatures and being lazy. 🙂

          New post is almost ready!

  26. az jim says:

    Detta and I want to wish you all a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. All things good for all of you.

  27. Barb in Florida says:

    Hi Everyone,

    Sorry for not commenting lately. Didn’t want to be a bummer at my “happy place”. Glad to be able to come here. Keeping up with Sue & crew and my fellow blogorinos helped.
    The photos, the hopes and dreams and how they change, the comments somehow fitting in with what was going on in my life. Little things (Sue painting her door the same color as mine 🙂 Big things (Sue’s new fence. My son & I did our own fence after Irma. Picket by picket all brought home in my car. Still have to redo the gates and are very interested to see how your guys do it) Very timely & a little of Sue’s serendipity spread to me. Wishing & praying a certain someone also shared in some of that Sue serendipity to land in a place that is perfect for her 😉

    Thanks for letting me think about you all and your lives when I’m here. Takes the stress down a bit. Seeing your life changes have kept me thinking forward. What will my life changes mean for me. Have lost quite a few people the last half of this year. Mom, in July, Daddy four weeks ago, a friend 3 days before Dad and last week, my best friend since kindergarten lost her Dad.

    Thanks for your blog, Sue! You’ve done such a good thing to give people a happy place to look at beautiful photos and share a bit of themselves. I still think back to when folks wanted to do a meet and greet or RVSue Day. Still think it would be fun to gather, but it’s just one of those dreams. We’re just so grateful.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      You’re welcome, Barbara, and good morning to you . . .

      It’s understandable not to be “chatty” while reeling from several losses of dear ones this year. You have my sympathies. The passing of one parent can give a terrible shock because it doesn’t seem right that they are gone after always “being there.” Then to have the other go also before one is over the passing of the first.

      Thank you for your message from the heart. It’s an honor (don’t know that’s the best word) that my blog gives you a distraction and helps with the stress.

      Readers tell me I have no idea the effect my blog has on many people. Part of that comes from blogorinos sharing their lives, from mundane to marvelous, through heartbreak, hopes, and hilarity… All of us together create what you sweetly call a “happy place.” That’s why I beg readers to become blogorinos!

      I’m sorry for your pain, Barbara. God bless you and restore a happy place in your heart again. Hugs. 🙂

    • Elizabeth says:

      So sorry to hear of all the loss of late, Barbara…it seems one of the hard spots we face in life alright. We have our struggles too…some days we manage better than others. Guess life is always a work in progress…trying to keep focused on the better things!! Hope your fence project will come together well too!! It is very dark and mostly rainy here…but I keep reminding myself that all this rain is why it stays mostly green here too…and THAT I do like!! Wishing you the best.

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