January 1, 2011 - Happy New Year & We Have a Winner!

We have a winner for the 100,000 views contest. In fact, we have two winners! And since only four of you entered, I'm declaring every one of you a winner!

Tied for first place are:

Wendy - 100,000 points (she was the first entry to get 100%, and will get first choice of the prize items)

GrafixMuse - 100,000 points (she was the second entry to get 100%, and will chose after Wendy)

Second place goes to:
Robin - 80,000 points (missed #4, #9)

Third place goes to:
Daphne - 70,000 points (missed #2, #4, #5)

The prizes have been ordered, and should be here next week. I'll do a follow up blog at that time.

Wendy and GrafixMuse, will you please email me? You can find my email address by clicking on my profile in the side bar.

Robin and Daphne, I have your email addresses, and I'll be contacting you after I hear from the other two. You gals get the "leftovers" ;-)

Happy gardening in 2011!!

December 29, 2010 - My Town

I'm sure most of you are aware that I spend my winters in the small town of Bouse, Arizona. It's a tiny town, with about 600 permanent residents, a number that easily doubles with the influx of "snowbirds" in the winter months.

Bouse has no real claim to fame, other than being the home of Camp Bouse, a military training area for a short period during WWII. In the early 1900s, it was a railroad town serving the nearby mining town of Swansea. That mine shut down for good around 1937. The freight train still comes through the middle of town, usually around 4:15 in the morning, and gives four loud blasts of the whistle at the one and only crossing in town. Having lived with that for the past ten years, I seldom even hear it any more.

The tiny desert town of Bouse, AZ

Standing near the intersection and looking north up AZ Highway 72, which is our "Main Street" (Main Street actually runs east and west, and has no businesses on it other than the museum).

Here we're looking south from the intersection. That's it, folks. That's our downtown!

The A&C Mercantile, in the above photo, was the PX and Post Office for the military for a while during WWII. It was named A&C, because when it was built, the owner didn't know if it was legally in California or the Arizona Territory, so he played safe and named it after both Arizona and California. It's one of two small grocery/convenience stores in town.

The General Store is the other shopping spot in town. As with the A&C, everything is over priced, and just visited for emergency items. I made the mistake of purchasing a head of lettuce here one day, and it not only cost $2.75, I got just enough edible parts for one salad, and the rest of it went into the garbage. One more reason to grow my own!

Our local auto repair shop does quadruple duty as a feed store, propane supplier and egg farm. Most of the cars sitting out front have been there for years, but when the proprietor has the time, he does a good honest repair job for a reasonable price. He visits more than he repairs, but most of us have nothing better to do anyway.

We have two restaurants in town. The Coachman serves pretty good food at a decent price. Last week the Travel Channel had a TV crew there, filming an episode for I know not what....I'll have to keep my eyes open for a listing. Nick "The Greek" runs the place, and he's quite the colorful character. He talks a lot, but I can't understand half of what he says!

We don't go into the Country Kitchen any more, after a bad experience with both food and service a few years ago. Some people must like it, as it's still there.

You'll not find many "stick built" houses in Bouse. Most of the residences are either recreational vehicles or mobile homes. I'd say most of the mobile homes, like ours, are older models. Most have been well maintained, but there is always that one person in every town who manages to be the town slum, all on his own. I'm glad the person lives way on the other side of town. I don't know why the county can't condemn the place and bulldoze it down.....

It's unbelievable to me that someone could live like this in Bouse! There is a county code enforcer. I don't know what he does for a living ;-)

We do have a pretty school. We also have a new fire station, a small but nice library, a community center and a little museum.

This is one of the five bars in town, but I want you to notice the tower in the background. People were sitting in the bar one day, when they heard a loud noise. They said it sounded like a watermelon breaking against the pavement. It was actually some guys head hitting the ground after he'd climbed to the tower and jumped to his death.
Ouch! Have you ever noticed, the bars in small towns almost always outnumber all the rest of the retail establishments combined?

At least we have gorgeous sunrises and sunsets.

December 28, 2010 - There Has To Be a Better Way

My wireless reception has now deteriorated to "no signal", unless I prop the laptop right up to the bedroom window! Precarious, I know, but I'm desperate. I searched for a signal booster antenna in Parker, AZ and in Blythe, CA.......nada. I could order one on line, but I'd like to buy where I can return it if it doesn't work. And....do I want to spend money on something that will probably only be used another 6 weeks? I wish my son John were here, I'll bet he could build me one!

December 22, 2010 - Harvest Monday

This is going to be short and sweet, as I cannot get a WiFi signal from anywhere in the house except the bedroom, so I have the laptop on the bed and I'm on my knees trying to type! I'm getting a stiff neck already.

The harvest this past week was identical to the one last week, so I didn't bother to photograph it. Just baby lettuce, green onions and nice big radishes. All delicious.

I did use some of my home preserved food from the 2010 garden, mainly the last jar of diced tomatoes (I have more back home in WA) in a huge pot of taco soup, some frozen bell peppers and a fresh butternut squash. I'm down to the last three butternuts, and they are absolutely delicious!

Be sure to check out Daphne's Dandelions to see what others may have harvested this week.

December 25, 2010 - Celebrating 100,000 Views

To celebrate the 100,000th. view of my blog, which took place on Christmas morning, I have decided to hold a little contest. Following, you will find 10 questions, and 10,000 points will be awarded for each correct answer, for a total of 100,000 possible points. If there is a tie for the greatest number of points, a random drawing will be held to determine the winner. All answers can be found somewhere in my blogs. The prize will be an assortment of garden seeds for your 2011 vegetable garden.

To enter, just leave a comment to this post by midnight December 31, 2010. The winner will be chosen by highest total points. If there is a tie, a random drawing will be made to determine the winner.

1. Who is Annie?
2. How old is Granny?
3. What is Granny's real first name?
4. Where was Granny born?
5. Who is Alicyn, and when was she born?
6. What was the title of my very first post on Annie's Kitchen Garden?
7. How many pints of salsa did Granny can in 2010?
8. What usually happens on Mondays at Annie's Kitchen Garden?
9. Why does Granny have a "kennel garden"?
10. What is the name of Annie's brother?

Good luck!

***I've decided not to publish the comments until Jan. 1, because the very first person to enter got 10 out of 10 correct. Not that I think you'd copy her answers, but I really want you all to work for the prize, LOL! Check back here for the top scores.

Wendy - 100,000 points
GrafixMuse - 100,000 points
Robin - 80,000 points (missed #4, #9)
Daphne - 70,000 points (missed #2, #4, #5)

December 24, 2010 - Merry Christmas Everyone!

December 23, 2010 - Playing Catch Up Again!

The new internet connection was doing so well......for three whole days! Then everything just went kaput again, and I couldn't get hold of the kid who provides the service. Add to that, the library's system went down last week, and still hasn't been repaired! I finally saw my young friend out in his garage this afternoon, and he spent an hour or so tracking down the problem, so now I'm back in business........for now anyway. I'm not going to hold my breath.

Yesterday we had torrential rains, and our power was off for about five hours. We lit all our candles, and I played solitaire on the laptop until the battery died, then finally went to bed just after 8 pm. This town must have a ground fault problem, as we lose power during every rain, even just a sprinkling. Between no internet, no lights and no TV, I might just as well be living on a desert island!

So here I am, trying to play catch up once more. I had just caught up on blog reading, posting and commenting, and now I'm back to square one. I hope I can stay connected for a while, but just in case I don't make it back here......may all of you have a very happy holiday!

December 20, 2010 - Harvest Monday

The spinach is growing slowly. It's not the weather, which has been perfect, so I'm hoping it will take off as the days get longer. The radishes, which were mostly skinny roots a week ago, have started sizing up big time!

The mixed lettuces are still small, but giving us a surprisingly large once a week harvest. These will probably put on a lot of growth with longer days, at which time they'll need another thinning.

The middle garden isn't doing much, except for the green onions. I cut the flowers back after they froze, and it looks like they will survive. The basil is gone, of course. I replanted the chard, but this area isn't protected by netting, so seedlings have a way of disappearing as soon as they sprout.

See what I mean by the radishes sizing up? These were all from the side of the garden where I pulled the small ones last week, so I guess they do need to be thinned. I was quite sure I'd planted the seeds far enough apart that I wouldn't have to thin, but I guess not!

The lettuce and spinach greens are beautifully colored, and today I filled the large salad bowl with them. I won't need to be stingy with tonight's salad.

Monday's harvest.

Besides the fresh produce, I've used almost all of the home canned goods that I brought with me. I certainly underestimated how much we would use. The diced tomatoes, ketchup, barbecue sauce, pickles and peach jam are all gone now, and the tomato sauce and sweet relish are running low.

Be sure to visit Daphne's Dandelions to see what others have harvested this week.

December 19, 2010 - Here Today, Gone Tomorrow, Back Again

I had an entire evening of internet service before it all went kaput again. By bedtime Thursday night, I had published and answered all my comments, caught up with my email, and had read all but ninty-some blogs in my reader. Friday morning was great, with cup of coffee and the laptop, actually reading my email in the kitchen again. Then it was gone, as quickly as it had appeared.

This had always been a problem with connecting through the RV park, as they have had a wonky router from day one. It normally had to be reset several times a day, so I just had to wait it out. This time I waited, and waited and waited. I finally composed my blog off line. But......it never came back on. I began blaming the monstrosity next door (the one I blog about below). Could it be deflecting my wireless signal? After all, I can't connect if my aluminum mini-blinds are shut, so what could a giant metal structure do to it? I decided to put the laptop in the pickup, and drive around the neighborhood to check out reception in other spots. As I was leaving the driveway, I saw Kolby, the keeper of the service, leaving his house, so I rolled down the window and waved at him. He hollered "HI! The internet is down!". Well, that means losing it just as the roof went on the monstrosity was just a fluke. Kolby said he bought a new router, with a signal booster, and would work on installing it that afternoon.

This morning I once again have wireless internet service. Better than normal, as I'm actually sitting in the living room at my desk, where I could never before get reception. So.....let's get Friday's blog published, shall we?

December 17, 2010 -

I was rudely awakened at 6:45 this morning, by two men in a big truck, unloading building supplies in the alley, right outside my bedroom window. The neighbors were having a carport, or maybe I should call it a motor home port, built. This is a huge structure, people! When we bought our place seven years ago, there was just a small park model trailer behind us, and we had a pretty good view of the Plomosa Mountains to the west. The new buyers, lovely people and good friends, soon replaced the park model with a brand spanking new mobile home. Our view of the mountains became slightly diminished at that time, but even more so when they had a large garage built between their house and our shared alley. Now they've added the ginormous carport and......well, let a picture say a thousand words about our former mountain view.

So goes the view from my rocking chair. I didn't even open the back blinds today :-(

I'm thinking of projecting movies onto the side of the carport, and charging admission to park in our driveway. Of course, I'll be selling popcorn.

"Gampa like candy. Gamma like ME!"
So said Alicyn Paige Davis on 12/17/10

If that doesn't melt an old Granny's heart, nothing will.

December 16, 2010 - I'm Baaaack!

Back from the "drug run" to Mexico, and back..........hold on to your hats........ON LINE! Yes, the RV park across the street finally got their WiFi up and running, and it's only $10 a month now. Last year they had iffy internet connections and were charging $35. Today is my first day back on line, so I have a lot of catching up to do. I haven't even checked my Google Reader to see how many unread blogs I have. OMG, I just did. Not quite as bad as I thought, only 221 to get me caught up.

The Mexico trip went well. Marge, Alverna and I left at 6 a.m. yesterday morning, stopped for a quick McDonald's breakfast when we got to Yuma, and hit the border around 8:30.

Marge and Alverna entering Mexico.

No guns allowed. They already have more than they need down there [sarcasm].

Marge had a nine o'clock dental appointment, so Alverna and I spent the entire morning shopping for our medications and getting accosted by the many vendors who were trying to rip us off sell their wares. We stopped for coffee, and I gave in and purchased a purse from the nicest man. He wasn't pushy, but fun to dicker with on price. He started at $40, and I ended up paying $19 for it. That was five bucks more than one I bought a few years back, that was identical except for color, but I'm sure prices have gone up a bit since then and I love my old one.....except it's bright red, so doesn't get much use. I had to laugh when the man said it was kangaroo leather, and I kidded him as to why it kept saying "baaaaa-baaaaa".

You'd have to feel it to appreciate it. The leather is softer than a baby's bottom.

Alverna went on without me, to get her teeth cleaned. I didn't have an appointment to get my work done, as I'll be getting a bridge that will have to be made in a lab, and the lab will be closing for the holidays. I went ahead and made my appointment for January 3, assuming I wouldn't have a problem reentering the States, like I did on the last trip. While I was waiting for the girls to finish with their dental appointments, I sat and watched the guys with their spray cans, painting unbelievable intricate scenes on rocks, lamps, mailboxes, satellite antennas, and just about any surface that could hold a painting. I had quite a long wait, and the fumes were getting to me by the time Alverna returned, so we wandered around and begged to be accosted by more vendors. I really hate that aspect of being in Los Algadones. I refuse to buy anything from the really pushy ones.

I swear I was looking at the paintings. Yes I was. I didn't even notice that cute young hunk who was selling them.

Rocks, lanterns, vases, milk cans, mail boxes, satellite dishes, boxes.....if they can spray paint it, they will.

Masks protect the artists from the fumes from spray paint cans. Unfortunately, I had no mask, and it didn't take long to get me a bit high, LOL! I finally moved to a bench further away.

It's hard to believe such intricate paintings can come from a can of spray paint.

If you need dental work, glasses or prescription (or OTC) meds, Los Algadones is the place to go. Even though the vendors are annoying, the professionals are quite good at what they do....and really cheap compared to the same services in the States!

A typical vendor. The sidewalks are full of people selling jewelry, clothing, leather goods and food.

Around noon, the three of us finally got together for our exit from Mexico. Those around us in the line out were curious about my lack of passport, and laying odds I'd be detained by the border patrol. None of them had ever heard of an "enhanced driver's license", as not many states issue them. They are only good for land travel from Mexico or Canada, and serve the duel purpose as a license to drive. They are much cheaper and faster to obtain than a passport, and when I presented mine, it was scanned and I was immediately sent across the border and back into the good old US of A.

Quick as you could say "slot machine", we headed for the Quechan Casino, just a few miles down the highway. We were ready for a couple hours of fun and a good lunch. We each went our own way, and spent the next two hours playing slot machines. We had arranged to meet at two o'clock for lunch, but I got so engrossed with winning (for once) that I did keep them waiting for a bit. I made up for it by buying their lunch, which they appreciated. The losers. ;-)

The Quechan Casino.

After a nice buffet lunch, that put me back thirty bucks, we headed back to Yuma and "The Peanut Patch". It's a local tourist trap, with inflated prices on everything, but Alverna was determined to buy some fresh peanuts and natural peanut butter, and I had a yearning for some of their jalapeno peanut brittle. I got my brittle, and bought Mr. Granny a big bag of salted-in-the-shell peanuts, and we headed for home.

It always looks like spring in Yuma. I love the fields of lettuces, onions and cole crops.

It makes me wish it were spring in Washington, and that I was there planting my garden.

The sun was setting as we neared Bouse.

The day that had begun at six in the morning, ended at six in the evening.

Thanks to the lucky slot machine I found, I returned home with as much money as I'd left with. So I went into town today and spent it on groceries! Oh, I did buy myself a new crockpot to replace the one I broke last week, and a new wallet to go inside my new Mexican purse. And best of all, I spent $10 on internet service so that I can be here with all of you again!

It feels good to be back.

December 13, 2010 - Harvest Monday

YES! I do finally have a harvest, small as it may be, to brag about at Daphne's Dandelions Harvest Monday. It has been nearly two months since I planted the tiny AZ garden with mixed lettuces, spinach, radishes and green onions. Tonight I will have my first salad from this garden. There's not enough for two of us, but I'll let Mr. Granny have the radishes, and I'll eat the baby greens.

As it turned out, there were plenty of baby greens for each of us to have a salad. We had forgotten just how good those fresh lettuce and spinach leaves tasted. The radishes were mild, and the onions had a bit of bite, just as they should.

The winter boredome will be broken for a day this week, too. Wednesday I'll be heading for Mexico on my drug run. LOL, prescription drugs, that is. I need my synthroid fix, and my friend Marge will be getting a root canal. I also sent an email to my dentist, hoping I can get an appointment on such short notice.

Glorious, glorious weather here this past week. Records are being broken, with temperatures in the high 70s and expected to go over 80F today. We'll enjoy it while we can, as it's supposed to begin cooling off again next week. We've only had one week of miserable, cold, windy weather since we got here in October. By January, temperatures begin climbing again, so it might be a "short" winter this year. That wouldn't hurt my feelings a bit!

December 7, 2010 - Brain Hibernation

I've lost it. It's not only writer's block, it's total brain hibernation. Have you ever seen a time when I didn't have anything to say? Well, the time has come. Maybe I needed a bit of a blog break. The only thing I can think of to share with you today is........

I saw a package of four ears of corn in our local Safeway store, with a price of $4.99. That made me very proud that I grow most of our vegetables. I mean, a buck and a quarter for one ear of corn? Get real!

Merry Christmas to Me

My Christmas gift to myself.....the gift of caring.