Finally…after months of canceled trips because of work, school schedules, that stinking Flu, doctor visits, snow storm warnings and road closures, we finally made it up to our little red house in the valley.
Every time we take this trip up north to check on things, we wonder about what we are going to drive into with everything closed down over the winter months.
Once again we were very happy and relieved to see that everything was how we left the place in the fall.
I always worry about critters moving in. Turns out we only had two visitors that were hanging out in the back bedroom’s bed. A couple of lizards were under the sheet. I would have never known if it hadn’t been for Alley cat and her meowing like crazy. So I pulled back the sheet and sure enough there were live creatures in that bed. We caught them and released them outside. Lizards are kind of cool to me, so this didn’t bother me.
I spent the rest of the day cleaning like crazy. The beds needed new sheets and everything had to be wiped down and dusted plus vacuumed. All the pillows and blankets came out of storage. One year I forgot to store and protect our bedding and a beautiful hand stitched quilt of mine was chewed up by a winter visitor. In the country those little mice find a way in no matter what, so I have resorted to packing everything instead of bubble wrapping the whole house.
In the bathroom I noticed we had left a tube of toothpaste out, so somewhere out there in the woods a little country mouse has the cleanest teeth ever…little booger, it sure made a mess in our bathroom.
After getting our beds all taken care of we went to go check on our neighbors, we hadn’t seen them in a few months and I also hadn’t heard from anyone in town for a month. My husband and I were starting to wonder what we were driving into, like a twilight zone where everyone was gone, or that movie “Night of the Comet”.
When I got to our neighbors Saloon, I peeked in and saw that no one was there. It looked like a poker game was in progress, plus snacks out everywhere. There was life here at some point but where is everyone I wondered. Remembering how I was teasing my husband about zombie monkeys taking over on our drive up I turned to him with wide eyes and said “ There is no one there, I mean no one” he laughed and said they were all up at the old Hoghland country store museum.
Sure enough that’s where they all were. It is a pretty cool place to explore but you can only visit the store by appointments only. At least it is open now, it was closed to the public for decades until Robin and Karla bought it and worked their magic and remolded and cleaned up the place.
That night back at the little red house when my family was asleep I ended up waking up because of a rooster crowing at 3am. I was wide-awake. I couldn’t believe there was a rooster somewhere out there crowing like crazy at 3am, crazy bird. In the city we are not allowed to have roosters. At least this country rooster was better than helicopters and sirens that our city neighborhood wakes me up with.
This rooster took me back to when my Nana’s rooster did this, crowing at odd times, keeping everyone up. My dad being a roofer needed his sleep, so that rooster did not last long. My dad decided it made a better meal then a rooster I guess. I didn’t eat it, especially after watching the whole process of killing a chicken. I just don’t have it in me. So instead of thinking of Rooster tacos that first night back, I went to our bookshelves to find a book to read at 3am. I got so involved that I wish I didn’t leave that book up there when we drove back to the city. I can’t believe I forgot that book. Oh well, I have something to look forward to when we return.
Next morning was my son’s birthday, so I made pancakes and my husband decorated a cake for later. Around the evening time we headed over to our neighbors for pizza. My kids were very happy to hear that the town now had pizza. Our friend Aldo, another neighbor down the street that owns a vineyard is now making pizza. He is an Italian man and him and my husband have spent many hours talking about Italian things and cooking, which I have learned that all Italians love…talking and cooking and sometimes at the same time. Aldo was very happy cooking away in his giant kitchen of his and I just love seeing people happy doing what they love doing.
I also noticed Aldo has added some little gift items to his vineyard. It is nice to have another place to shop at up there. I’m a big fan of artists and handmade items. Thank you Robin and Karla for the pizza dinner by the way, so nice spending the Deej’s birthday with you guys. The pizza was delicious.
Had a good night’s sleep that night. Not sure where that rooster went, hope no one ate him. I tend to get very attached to things early on and hard. The next morning we stopped off around Potato Butte to get some more senior portrait photos of my son. I would like to attempt climbing Potato Butte someday, but not this trip. There are ruins up at the top that natives built thousands of years ago that are still standing.
It was here that I discovered that I lost my little wooden cross I wear that was made from olive trees from Jerusalem.
You can imagine how upset I was but looking all over that area and those boulders. I just could not find it. My husband said “ Someone else must need it more, so hopefully they will be walking up here and find it” which made me feel a little better but after years of wearing it I almost felt naked. We all have one as a family that we all wear.
After a session of photos we were able to stop off at the Pleasant Valley Museum as well.
Although not open to the public yet, they allowed me in to get some photos while they were cleaning and getting ready to set up for the year. Thank you ladies for allowing me that visit while you did your spring-cleaning. Wish I could have stayed that week for the big rummage sale you guys were having.
There is a ton of history up in that tiny little town. Arizona had a hard time becoming a state because of a war that started up there that left around 50 people dead. Back in the 1800’s that was a pretty big deal. It was a cruel war and it all started over sheep and cattle, so they say. Just another reason why we should all learn to get along with our neighbors, because jealousy, envy and hate are wicked things to carry around with oneself.
Since visiting the town museum I decided to look into the history of our little red house. There’s a date in front of it that says 1945. When I think about that time from the past I remember all those history lessons and know that was a time of war for our world, wonder what it was like in that little town back them. Looks like I have another project on my hands to add to my already long list of projects. I think it would be nice to know the history of our little country home.
Early that morning while we were packing up for our return trip back to the city we couldn’t find Alley cat anywhere. It reminded us of the time she got out once. When I woke up that morning a couple years ago I saw the screen door open and she was gone. We tried calling her over and over but she was nowhere in site so we thought we lost her. There are all kinds of wild animals out there and she is a little naïve white cat that is just too friendly. Once we stopped calling her, suddenly she appeared out in the back field, way, way out there. My daughter saw Alley bouncing back home. She ran into the house, went to her cat box and after she was done using it she ran back to the now closed door and looked up at me like “Why did you close that, I want back out” It was so funny to think she had the whole town up there to use as her potty box yet that was the only thing that brought her back to the house, she had to go to the bathroom.
So once again we couldn’t find Alley but we knew the doors had all been closed so we figured she just found a really good hiding place (she hates traveling) and sure enough behind this big pile of pillows was….
Tiny little Alley cat. We let her be while we packed, then packed her up in her little carrying case and off we went. This is what happens when your cat is extra small, they find the best hiding spots.
This was a really short trip to our little red house, I wish we could have stayed longer but we had to get back to the city. I will miss exploring the woods some more and I can’t wait to come back and have a country picnic by the creek. Until then, hope you all get a chance to do some exploring in your part of the world. Remember picnics are great inside too, just in case it is raining in your part of the world. Happy exploring everyone.
Update on my little wooden cross. As soon as we got back to the city with our modern conveniences like computers and phones, my husband ordered me a new wooden cross. It came in the mail a few days later. Then Alley cat, which loves them, started chewing on it and the little heart broke (she did the same thing with the other one) I just glued it back together, so it really is like the original one now, chew marks and all. I am happy it is all back to normal now, let’s hope someone finds the lost one and it puts a smile on their face.