Saturday, May 29, 2010

Activity in the Woodshop

We saw Joan Cichon’s car up at the woodshop the other morning so thought we’d stop in to say hello and see what kind of masterpiece she was working on this time.  I’ve posted Joanie’s works here before as she is known for her fine craftsmanship at the lathe creating wooden bowls.  It was fascinating to finally watch the master in action.  Wood chips were flying as she gently carved into the block of wood.woodshop (3) AND….here is the finished product Joanie gave us as a gift!  It’s amazing to think that this lovely bowl was just a chunk of solid wood a few hours ago.  Thank you, Joanie!!!
bowl, Joanie 002bowl, Joanie 001
As we were leaving the woodshop, we came upon Homer Burrous tinkering away at a project so stopped to see what he was up to.  WOW!!  Homer repairs and builds violins!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 
woodshop (5)He said he started reading about the craft several years ago and just likes to learn more as he goes along.  He started out doing repair work and is now crafting one of his own.  woodshop (6)
Take a close look at the photo below where he has written the measurements for the thickness of the wood to achieve the right sound quality.   woodshop (7)This next picture is the back side of the one he’s building….and check the curved strip of wood that will eventually hold the two pieces together.
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After writing the above paragraph about Homer’s violin hobby, I stopped by his house this morning to see if they had a sign outside announcing their last name.  It’s funny how we all know each other by first name but we hardly ever know a last name.  Anyway, I found Shirley and puppy Nisa at home and Shirley invited me in to see “more” violins.  OMG!  (for you non-computer geeks….OMG means OH MY GOSH!).  Homer was being very modest at our talk at the woodshop as he led me to believe he had a “few” violins he worked on.  He didn’t mention he had a plethora of them at his home workshop as well.  Shirley showed me the workshop where he has created quite a few instruments already and is working on a lot more.
Homer, violins 001Homer, violins 002
Homer, violins 005    He even completely built two banjos……and did the fine woodcarving on the handles!  Check out these photos! Homer, violins 003 Homer, violins 004
On my way out the door, I happened to notice some paintings on the wall and found out our master violin maker is also an artist.  Way to go, Homer!   Homer, violins 006 Thank you, Shirley, for the lovely tour of your home! 
Homer, violins 007
 Homer, violins 009

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Sam’s Club Cometh

I stopped in at Wal-Mart yesterday to pick up a couple items.  As I entered the door, there was a young lady at a table with a sign saying we could sign up for Sam’s Club memberships ($40) and receive a $20 gift certificate that could be used at either Sam’s Club or Wal-Mart.  I asked her if Sam’s Club was officially coming to town.  When and where???  Her answers:  Yes, they are planning to build in Casa Grande within the next 18 months “somewhere” near the mall.  That’s all the information she said she has at this time.  I haven’t seen any announcements on the Casa Grande construction website yet, but this should be pretty good evidence that we’ll soon have a mega discount store in town.  Yahoo!

****Uh Oh…..After posting this announcement, I received an email from a reader who said the Casa Grande City Council agenda for their upcoming meeting stated the discussion on Sam’s Club location has been tabled.  Someone…somewhere has postponed further progress.  Dang!


This morning at 8:30 we were treated to a delicious breakfast buffet up at the clubhouse all for the lowly price of $1 and it was great!  We had omelets, juice, and coffee….plus all were asked to bring donuts or fresh fruit or a favorite breakfast casserole.  Delicious food for all!!! 

Friday, May 21, 2010

First day of triple digits

It’s official……….May 21…………..first day of triple digits for the summer.  Here’s a photo from our patio.

housewatch 002

Save those aluminum tabs!

I used to scoff at the story that saving those little tabs from the top of soda and beer cans could really make a difference but today’s front page article in the Dispatch proved me wrong.  Soooo save those pop top rings this summer and bring them back to Palm Creek.  They have a collection can on the desk in the mail room so let’s put our recycling efforts to good use!


Thursday, May 20, 2010

Prickly Pear Experience

I’ve received comments from several readers regarding the white crud that can appear on prickly pear pads. (see previous posts for info)   A plant at one of our housewatch customers was heavily infested and we could see that it started to spread to a healthy plant in front of the house so we notified them and volunteered (at $20) to clear the plant of its parasitic pests.  We took the advice given by one of our readers, sprayed the plant with a mixture of water and dish detergent, let it sit for 15 minutes, and hosed it off.  We didn’t hear the little bugs coughing or swearing, but we could see the white stuff discoloring so knew something was at work.  As you can see from the photos below….it was a successful operation!  Thanks for your reader input to save this plant.
weeds 009 weeds 010 weeds 012 weeds 015 weeds 016 weeds 017 Don and I learned several lessons. 1)  Prickly pears may look harmless, but do not touch.  2) When stepping between a prickly pear and its neighboring century plant…..BEWARE!  Don’t brush against either plant!   3) The AZ sun gets hot fast these mornings so start early on any outdoor work.  4) Don’t volunteer to hose down any more plants cause it ain’t as easy as it looks.  Now that I’m back in my cool air conditioning and get to look at the pictures… was kinda fun.  I chalk it up to another Arizona experience. 

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Thank you Readers!

My last couple posts have brought response from readers.  Thank you!!  I love hearing from you…..and it keeps me motivated to write more.

Verna and Wayne Sheppard are traveling the country again this summer and saw the blog while in Danville, MO.  Verna was pleased to see her prickly pear displayed on the blog and sent me a close up of an ocotillo blossom.  What a dandy! It’s hard to get a photo of this plant because they’re sooooo tall.  Thanks, Verna. 

cactus in bloom 013 The pretty red plants with the delicate yellow centers I posted on 5-11 are called red yucca plants.  Thank you Dana McCormick.  You get a red star!  I’m sad to report that Dana and Tom have moved away from Palm Creek and bought a cute townhouse in Tubac AZ.  Dana will always be remembered for her vibrant and joyous yell of “BINGO” whenever she would win on Monday nights.  I love her enthusiasm!  We were also students together at a Spanish class here in the park a while back and played bingo in espanol as part of our numbers class.

I also heard from John Ericksen (1884 Oasis Dr).  He wrote all the way from Wisconsin regarding the “white stuff” posted on 5-13.  Here’s John’s message:  “That "white stuff" and the bugs that create it can be removed very easily.  Just put a little dish soap in a spray bottle, fill it with water, spray it on, let it sit for 15 minutes and hose it off.  Works wonders, and blesses you with a clean prickly pear.  What more could you want than a clean prickly pear?  -  By the way, do you know that the prickly pear fruit can be made into tasty jelly?”    John – when you return to sunny AZ, let’s get together for a happy hour with that jelly and crackers!

Will Updyke, our Palm Creek Maintenance Manager, has more info regarding the post about my trip to the landfill.  Palm Creek started the paper recycling program in April of 2008.  For the 9 months of ‘08, the residents gathered 27.5 tons (about 3 full truckloads) of discarded paper in the new dumpsters.

dumpster 0012009 collected 51.5 tons (about 10 truck loads)

Drum roll needed here:  So far in 2010 (in just 4 months) we’ve collected 40 tons.  Palm Creek ranks 13 out of 1,093 paper retriever accounts in the greater Phoenix area and 118 out of 21,320 accounts nationally.  This is only paper….and does not include cans, plastics, and corrugated boxes. CONGRATULATIONS to all Palm Creekers for your carbon footprint tenacity!!  You are definitely helping to save our landfills and recycle useable products….one paper at a time!  Your efforts make a difference!


Thursday, May 13, 2010

What’s that white stuff on the prickly pear cactus?

I’ve heard people talk about the white stuff that appears on a prickly pear cactus pad but never knew for sure what it was.  Some said a fungus that would kill the plant.  Others said it could be washed off….but I never heard about it being caused by an insect.  After a few clicks on Google and Bing, I found the answer!  Thought you readers may be interested so am posting it here.  Very interesting.  Click on each page so it gets large enough for you to read.
prickly pear 001prickly pear 002prickly pear 003

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Where have all the flowers gone?

What a great title for today’s post!  The front entrance looks so barren and different without all the flowers there to greet us.  Annuals just can’t survive the hot Arizona sun so it’s time to pull them up and haul them away.  flowers gone 012
Where do they go???? To the garbage gone 001And how do they get to the landfill from here? Answer:  My Hubby takes them there along with all the other trash our maintenance crews have loaded from the dumpsters.
flowers gone 002
flowers gone 003As top ace blog reporter, I begged to go along for the ride this morning.  Awesome!!   I’m betting this is an adventure not many of you readers have experienced.  Eat your heart out.
Upon arriving at the landfill, we stop on the scale to weigh the truck.  As we approach the dumping site, I am very surprised at how clean the whole area is kept.  The only garbage that is exposed is that which is brought in today.  As the trucks come in to dump, the big bulldozer is already covering and compacting it with fresh soil.  AND….that huge dozer is driven by a woman!  You GO girl!!
flowers gone 007
flowers gone 008
flowers gone 009
flowers gone 010

Unloading only takes a minute or two and then we go back to the scale to check out.  Don goes inside to retrieve the ticket showing the total weight we dumped.  Today’s load was 10,750 pounds and cost $161.40.  During full season, he makes at least 4 trips every week averaging around 12,000-14,000 pounds.  Do some quick math here and it calculates that in season it costs at least $750 per week just to dump the truck at the landfill.  That doesn’t include the cost of the man power to collect the trash and load the truck, nor the fuel and maintenance.  Whew!  Add all that to the daily operating budget and you get a new perspective on what it costs to run this resort.

Oh yes….I don’t want to forget another point of interest.  As clean as the landfill appeared, there is obviously trash on a windy day that blows around the area and neighboring lands.  The guys in the orange jumpsuits are at work on perimeter cleanup under close supervision of the Sheriff’s vehicle.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Ride along with me today

Good Morning from sunny Arizona!  We’re having a wonderful respite from any hot weather these last few days.  We were in the 90s for a while (which makes that swimming pool sooooo inviting in the afternoons….and I do soooooo enjoy being retired now so I can enjoy it)  but now we’re having a cold snap with temps in the 80s.  We’re supposed to have some gusty winds for the next two days but I think we can “suffer” through it.  In other words….it’s wonderful!!
Yesterday afternoon was so beautiful and quiet in the park.  I hopped in the golf cart and rode around to tour the homes of our housewatch customers.  I love to snap an occasional photo to send to them but had so much fun with the pics today that I thought I’d post them here for all to enjoy. 
Desert plants are awesome and so vastly different from what I was used to back in Wisconsin and Ohio.  This is also an exceptional year for blossoms since we had ample rain this winter.  I spotted this prickly pear cactus that looked so pretty against the green of the golf course behind it.  (found at Verna and Wayne Sheppard’s home)
vernaPhil & Julie Calef at Site #5 really enjoyed their new park model this season and have some fascinating plants in their yard.  The century plant is massive!
julie (5)  There is a prickly pear in the backyard with a distinct purple color.  Now with the yellow blossoms, it is really colorful.
julie julie (2) These spikey plants are very common (have no idea what they’re called) but when you take time to look closely, they have beautiful blossoms.  I took this picture in front of Gary & Gayle Petersen’s home at 1719.  Note the cute baby dove that just sat there and posed for the photo.
misc pics 013This close up shows the pretty blooms when they open.
 petersen (3)Speaking of doves….I took this photo for Jerry & Linda Dey at Site 1030 so they would know their golf cart is being protected?? by our feathered friends.misc pics 012 This cactus at 1059 belongs to Bob & Lucy Caldwell.  This is the second set of blossoms I’ve photographed on their plant this month.
CaldwellDoves are plentiful and make good subjects for photos.  They can find the strangest places for their nests.  I thought Bill & Gayl Benedict at site 1582 would enjoy seeing the addition to their light fixture.
1582Not all house reports are necessarily good news.  I had to call Doug and Louise Kant (site 1309) to inform them that a swarm of bees had taken up residence in a large urn they left on their front porch.  We called Wade Paupst from Sunstate Pest Control to eliminate the nest.  Wade is a great guy and responded to my call within the hour.  I highly recommend his service to anyone needing an exterminator or for regular spraying and pest control.  He donned his bee suit, sprayed the swarm, closed the opening to the urn, and moved it to a different location.  He explained that bees will still be seen in the area for a few days as many were out gathering pollen when he sprayed and will be returning looking for their home but without a nest to return to, they’ll soon depart.
I first called the park to report the bees but found out that if the bees are on the home owners property, it is the owner’s responsibility to get rid of them.  Thus Sunstate (Phone:  520-466-1977) was called into action.  Wade also does this service for Palm Creek whenever the park encounters a swarm on the golf course or on trees.  kant If you click on this photo, you can see the bees quite clearly….but I wasn’t going to get any closer!!!!!  Wade says that most honey bees in Arizona have been Africanized by aggressive bees so beekeepers won’t come to capture the swarms.  These swarms always leave the artificial hives so aren’t any use to beekeepers.
On another note:  Today I received an email from Ron & Loretta Savary.  They are full time RVers who stumbled across this blog and will be coming to Palm Creek for the first time next season.  They’ve reserved a spot at 536 on Lantana and look forward to their first visit.  Thank you, Ron & Loretta, for your nice email.  (hmmmm….wonder if I qualify for a commission on that reservation.  LOL)
Thus ends today’s post.  Just wanted to share my afternoon with you and let our customers know how much Don and I enjoy watching after your homes.  TaTa for now.

Thursday, May 06, 2010

More Tidbits

It appears that the generous rainfall we experienced this winter has brought out not only beautiful displays of flowers, but also annoying crops of weeds.  In the past, I’ve seen our landscape crews out with shovels and picks in hand to chop out the weeds from all the RV parking acreage.  This year that chore would be too overwhelming so someone has come up with a much wiser and more efficient method for weed control.  I like to post topics like this so our winter visitors see some of the behind the scenes activities it takes to keep our resort so beautiful. 

cinco 007


While out on a leisurely bike ride, I stopped back at Leroy and Barb Weaver’s home to check on their cactus blooms.  While chatting with Leroy, we got on the subject of all the talented people we have in the park.  He brought out a mosaic piece of artwork he received from a friend that resides here.  I hadn’t seen anything like this before so was duly impressed with the art form.  This is a replica of Leroy’s car I’m sure you’ve all seen cruising the streets of Palm Creek.  It is all done with individual pieces of glass/mosaic tile.  WOW.