All posts by Joyce

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year…..

We traveled down to the valley for first work then pleasure.

First stop Discount Tire.

Nothing like a pretty pair of new shoes. Mikaila turned 17. Couldn’t be more proud of her. We celebrated a late birthday dinner at one of Mika’s favorite places Kona Grill.

Looks like our second annual Foot Golf tradition continues. Only this time Marty was there to steal the crown from Marcus. I see a trophy in the making to pass around.

Our baby boy Tanner only wanted his one front tooth for Christmas. Instead he has a second loose one.

When you’re with the ones you love for the holidays they are always special.

Especially planning silly games.

What could be more fun than buying a new toy for Christmas.

The only other thing that could be more fun is bringing your grandson Trey to pick it up and watching him trying everything on the sales floor. Told him with hard work he could buy one when he gets bigger.

The only thing that could burst his bubble is that sticker that said you have to be 16 to drive the new razor. lol.

Christmas Day we traveled back to Pie Town and spent a nice evening with our friends.

With a new dusting of snow it was time to break in the razor. Cold but total fun.

So far our life in a Pie Town has been a little snow then it melts but this winter storm was so pretty. Jamie, Marcus and Mika came up Saturday after Christmas and they were welcomed with 4″ of fresh snow.

With lots of snow comes lots of work.

Cleaning of solar panels. Love how the snow frosts the trees. Makes icicles!

Beautiful frost!

Playing in the snow brought back memories when I was a very little girl back in Illinois.

Can’t thank our old neighbor Ron for giving me his winter onesies! It sure came in handy during this very cold snap.

Mikaila had to try out the club house.

And she tried out the boys ramp.

Sparky loved riding the tube.

Us girls were always ready to take the razor out in the bitter cold.

When not playing in the snow we made cupcakes and played cards.

The snow was so dry making a snow woman was on a small scale. We sprayed water on it as we pressed. Let’s just say our fingers got tired from squirting.

What a better way to roll. A load of wood and Mikaila riding on the back pulling Sparky in the tube. Fun and work all wrapped up together.

The kids left for home New Year’s Day and in a snow storm. They drove slow and got home safely. Then we get a visitor looking for food. Damn no food!

It was a cold new year but with wood stoves burning it was nice.

Jamie bought Kansas a bone 7 years ago. Here she is not even one.

And here she is now. She loves her big bones.

We went for a walk today. Kansas loves the snow. We could hardly see where the trails were. And walking in 6- 8″ of snow was worst than walking in sand. Huffing and puffing we cut our walk short. 2019 so far has brought 8″ of fresh snow. Now it needs to just melt and fill our tanks.

Seeing the shop surrounded by snow was just so cool.

The poor gator got kicked out of the shop till Martin can get his lift put together. Was amazed at the size of this one.

We are looking forward to a healthy and happy new year. And our resolution is to finish the house. I’m off in February and really looking forward to helping Martin cross things off the list.

Till next time….


Happy Holidays…

Since we got a planter bed working we needed an overflow exit for the gray water. Frank came over to help Martin by digging a trench. The easy way……with a back hoe.

Just a few scoops and it was done. As you can see the supervisor approved and left to go take a nap.

With the trench dug Martin laid the pipe then covered up the trench.

Another bite out of our huge ass elephant.

While Martin worked in the trenches I created pretty things.

Baking up here is always challenging. I found a recipe for high altitude molasses cookies.

So thought I would try them. They were just like Martin’s mother’s recipe without any changes. Finally a taste of home.

Our neighbor, Frank, went hunting and shot his elk. With pride the elk meat hung high in his shop ready for processing. But with sadness here lies her head lifeless.

Our babies come here for a pit stop. Water, Hay and this day was a special treat. Carrots!!!!

Martin’s car lift arrived. This 2 ton hunk of metal was pulled out of the back of the truck with our little piece of shit tractor. It only took a few screams by me and almost jumping off the tractor to get it off.

The sun rises are just so breathe taking. My cousin Alice passed away with brain cancer the night before so this sunrise is just for her.

Martin closed up a bunch of holes with cardboard for a temporary fix this winter. What a difference. The house stays at 50 degrees at night even when it’s 8-17 degrees outside.

Last week we had to go shopping. Just happen to notice Basha had honey crisp apples for $.97 per pound. What a deal. So we bought a box. Yep so in the middle of working and building I decided to throw in some canning.

Homemade applesauce with cinnamon and nutmeg. And of course chunky bits.

With all my apple peels the elk got a treat on this day.

Martin ordered some pipe to make handles for the boys tree house.

With my deadlines all shipped out we tackled the green house planter beds.

Hard dirt needs a power hammer drill. Such a life saver and time saver!

The dirt was so hard we couldn’t use the normal concrete stakes. When we built the house we had to use the tractor to pull them up. Well we can’t fit the tractor through the door so we Red neck engineered unistrut and wooden spacers. What a pain but it worked. This just how you have to do it when you do it in the woods!

With two planter beds framed we decided this wouldn’t take very long to pour concrete. So we went to the PEI trailer and pulled out the old electric cement mixer. Ok folks this mixer we bought when we landscaped our back yard when we moved to Arizona. So that mixer is over 20 years old. It sat in a cargo container at Mandarin house tucked in the back.

We felt like gambling. Will it run? We do have a gas powered one we used to build this house but it is a pain in the ass.

Well the old lady ran. Just needed a little jiggle with the wiring. She mixed 17-80 pound bags no problem.

Martin mixed while I hauled.

In no time we were done. Tired, sore and dirty. Now we sit clean and high on Advil! Good thing we didn’t wait to start building our home cause the older we get the slower we get.

Martin and I wish all our family and friends a wonderful holiday season.

Till next time…..


Happy Thanksgiving 2018…..

The feast was prepared and the guests arrived.

The Treat Family along with neighbors Victoria and John and our neighbors for life Frank and Lizanne.

With our bellies full we ended the evening playing pass the pigs. Always funy to have good friends, family and good food come together.

Friday Martin and Marty hung my new blinds in the green house. In the winter the sun is so low it blinds me while sewing so this will help a great deal.

While the boys were busy us girls stained some trim wood.

The little boys helped to move Grammies plants.

We cleaned out the green house to give our friends the red carpet treatment.

And to prepare for planter beds within the green house.

The little boys wanted to build a ramp so Papa and Daddy helped them create fun.

Wahoooo what fun!

Tanner felt it needed a little bit more off right there.

As the afternoon passed it was half naked riding time.

Yep only 48 degrees and two half naked kids having a ball.

The best thing about Turkey dinner is left over turkey sandwiches.

Saturday morning Martin and Marty went to finish up at a neighbors house so us kids decided to build a tree house. That’s right folks! You heard it here first.

We went to the bone yard and started grabbing wood. Which ever was long enough.

Then a plan was made.

Limbs were trimmed.

More limbs were removed and the first boards were put up.

Then we needed a post. So when you don’t have a 4 x 4 you make one.

Trey screwed the 2 x 4’s together. And that’s how you make a post!

Luckily the big boys finished at the neighbors house and pitched in with their big boys tools.

Ready for the floor.

Somebody is watching closely.

Trey is always ready to help.

Lots of screws to make it safe.

Now for a ladder. We found one already built in the bone yard. The backside of a pallet.

Just a few more screws.

Ready for that first test climb.

The big boys hard at work.

What’s a tree house without a sign? Not an official tree house that’s what.

Just a few tin pieces for safety.

Thankful for the big boys finishing touches.

Nothing more fun than family and building things.

Little Red was bought from a neighbor 16 years ago. I would take Mikaila around the neighborhood when she was just a baby on Red to see the horses and the peacocks. Red was a pit bike at the Giant scale racing. And she was camp bike at the dunes and many miles put on her in our back yard.

Now she needs some TLC and a new key. I see another project in Martins future.

You know the one thing we can always count on for lots of laughs are these three cousins.

Molly, Gracie and Kansas could be found chasing bunnies and sniffing out critters in the bone yard or sun bathing.

We were ready for showers and the ASU vs Arizona game. Now we sit all clean and enjoying the game. After days of cooking we are ready for a steak at Datil. It’s an evening out!

We hope all our friends and family had a great Turkey Day.

Till next time…….


Estimated date of use….

Over the weekend we finished grouting.

Mix, press, wipe, clean and repeat.

Mix and stick some more.

Wipe and clean.

Up and down. Painful knees.

Still going.

Wipe and clean. Almost done.

Martin will be sealing the shower today which means tomorrow we can finally shower inside. November 20th!!!! It has been 16 months since we moved in and this is another HUGE milestone in the building process.

Our babies crack us up almost everyday.

Kitty was really into You Tube thanks to Martin.

Also catching Gophers and Mice. This Gopher died with a little help from a hoe. Kitty wanted to play with it but Mom said we don’t got time for that now.

Love my new automatic rhinestone machine.

I was able to embroider the logo then Martin programmed the machine. One quick press and it was done.

The kids are coming up for Thanksgiving. Not sure how much longer it will take to cook the Turkey up here at elevation so it will be an experiment!

Everyone have a safe holiday season and gobble gobble!

Till next time…..


Well it’s so nice to have the weekends with my hubby….

Last weekend our plan was concentrate on the shower. We have the kids coming up soon and praying for a white turkey day. So it would be nice to shower inside.

One by one we cut, pair, tape then stick. I’ve lost count as to how many bottles we have done so far.

While the mortar is drying I go up to the shop to help Martin. His goal was to get 4 panels up. My goal half.

We put up 11 out of 20. I have a whip app on my phone. Good thing I didn’t have to use it.

No more pole dancing for me!

Kitty is always bringing us presents.

Halloween here was so cute. Because the homes are so far apart the kids come into town to join in on hay ride trick or treating.

First thing first dinner at Penny and Jays. Beef Stew!

Then we hop aboard the Stool Bus hay ride. Our dear friends Frank and Lizanne joined in on the fun.

The kids jumped off the trailers with such excitement to obtain their tasty treats from the local businesses.

Jay and Penny are at the helm. The whole idea of the Stool Bus is a must see. You will get a good giggle. One of the kids pictured on the bus is named Corny!

This weekend we did more bottles.

Martin went up to wire up his panels while I played with my art.

Clear rose bottom bottle paired with a blue wine bottle gives this effect. Love, love, love! Our bottles come from family and friends from California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas. All these people graciously drink, store and haul bottles to us.

This is how I roll cutting bottles! Safety first!

Once cut you gotta mate them. I have mated soooooo many bottles!

I’ve seen these little sheds along the road. Always wondered what they are for. Well I finally found out. It’s a bus stop! That’s right a bus stop. But up here the children are not safe from wolves or coyotes so they built these so the kids have a safe place to go if the wild life becomes aggressive!

Today is Monday. Two courses done. One before work and one after work. Martin cut more bottles today for me. Our goal is two courses a day. Then grouting over the weekend. Fingers crossed!!!!!

Till next time……


What a wonderful weekend…

Last weekend we were traveling and spending time with great friends.

A little Texas hold em’ time.

Kevin, Paula, Tina and Robert. Bestest of friends for life.

And family.

We always make time for Martin’s parents and his Aunt and Uncle.

This weekend we got stuff done. Even cut more bottles.

Hopefully soon we will be able to shower indoors. Until then we continue to enjoy our outdoor wonderland.

Kansas is such a little poop. As I walk the trail towards her. She watches me. As soon as I take my camera out to take her picture she turns her head like to say, ” not today!”

The best thing about the weekend is that us two really do enjoy doing projects together. Today is Monday and I’m back to work and Martin is up cutting his poles down to size. I miss him already.

Looking forward to the weekend.

Till next time….


Dig, dig, dig….

Today Martin and I had a pole goal.

One down 9 to go. Martin has 4 solar panels leaning against the shop to provide power to his shop.

Number two in!

More digging needed!

4 out of 10 check. Now it’s lunch time.

After lunch we were digging some more holes and noticed we had an audience. Mr. Grasshopper gave us his permission to use his photo on bugbook!

As Martin digs the shadow ghost supervises. Booooo

This was my job. Plumleveler!

And before you know it we were all done. 26 of 50 pound bags of concrete were used.

The planter bed is moving along. More house plants and some rocks are a nice addition.

We took a trip to AZ to watch the grandchildren play sports. Mikaila had her senior night for volleyball.

We just can’t believe this little girl is finishing up her senior year of high school.

It’s baseball time!

Trey played in a tournament and we were able to watch two games.

Sparky was ready for Halloween! Just about two weeks early.

Trey and Tanner made stickers during an art project so Grammie and Papa are sporting stickers on the backs of our phones. No better place!

Kansas had a great time with her cousins.

Kansas is such a lover. As we travel she will lay her head on our shoulders. I really think she just making sure Martin is going the right way!

Till next time…..


Step by step….

With the cold weather upon us it’s SOUP time! Homemade chicken and turkey noodle.

We had our first fire of the season.

And my first homemade bread of the season. Cooking at altitude is a challenge. But I’m up for the fight.

While I was busy working Martin surprised me with my new holder for tissue paper. I have always kept it under my cutting table and always a pain to get some out. Now it just takes and quick pinch and off it comes.

After rock came a layer of sand and then a layer of top soil. The gray water system is now ready to use.

The water goes in and then just at the right level the pump pumps it to the next planter bed. But wait no next planter bed. So for now it is being pumped outside. But the concept is working!!!!!

And here is the beginning of the garden. One clementine tree. Two thyme herb plants and one banana tree. And yes I even used bottles as art! Wait till you see the water feature!!! Stay tuned!!!!

Kansas discovered her first tarantula. It is the season!

We ate up the soup so it was time for beef stew. Yummy for the tummy!

My pretty stove in my office just didn’t heat up the space enough so Martin found the barrel kit online. It is perfect. Really warms up the space.

Two boys hard at work. Frank came over to help dig holes for Martin’s solar system for the shop.

You know what is so funny? Is kitty loves her snack daddy. She lays on his legs at night and here this morning she crawled up on his lap for a nap. She even follows him into the shop. After spending a cold night locked up in the shop, Martin now has to make sure his little fur baby is safely outside.

We head out tomorrow for a trip to AZ and California. Family time, friend time and a little work time.

Till next time…..


One SUPER big deal….

We pick up the local paper and found Tanners picture amongst the Pie Festival pictures.

This weekend is the second annual Star Party here in our subdivision. Saw Saturn for the first time through a telescope. I have been told that I experienced an eye-gasm. Well I think they are right cause we are going back tonight to try to find Uranus. We are on a mission.

Martin and I created a glow in the dark transfer just for the occasion.

We also printed t shirts for the local schools cross country run.

This Saturday afternoon was so productive. We moved the generator to its new home at the shop. And moved the propane tank. Then we proceeded to clean up Martins shop. And…………..wait for it………wait for it.

Finally our motorhome is safe in her new space in Martins shop. Now finally I can get her cleaned up and put all back together. Nicer space for when company comes to visit. She needs some repairs in the future.

Sunday we are planning to layout the posts for solar array for the shop. Secure the lining in the gray water planter. It’s suppose to rain so a request for oatmeal raisin cookies has been placed.

Till next time…..


Little by little…

While I was finishing up my projects Martin worked in his shop.

He built shelves.

Installed parts of his old solar system which he bought in 2009.

This unit was suppose to run the house. But since I decided to continue to work and bring all my equipment Martin upgraded the house to a bigger and more efficient system.

He just needed batteries for this system. Plenty of power to run his tools and the new old fridge our lovely neighbors gave to us. Perfect little fridge for water, gator aid and beer. Thank you Frank and Lizanne.

Got up from relaxing on the sofa stepped into one boot, ah crap wrong foot, oh well just gotta walk to the bedroom. I felt like a two year old giggling down the hall.

Snack Daddy is always making sure the children get their treats.

Here at Top of the World is the second annual star party this weekend. Tom asked us to create hats and shirts for him. So happy to be able to help the locals and make a few extra bucks.

I took two days off after a very long summer season. Martin and I started lining the grave yard. Adjusting the pond liner was piece of cake.

Next step was big ass rocks to line the bottom. Wheel barrow by wheel barrow we loaded it up.

Then we built the bucket that the gray water will seep into to be pumped out.


Then river rock. Again load by load!

Still more to haul on another day.

On the other side of the window wall I located the pipe for Martin and dug it out

Love having the laser cutter cause Martin was able to design, draw and cut this stabilizer for the pump so it will not fall over in the bucket. He’s so smart!

It was so nice and cool out today I decided to jump on the tractor and drag the trails. It felt so good to be outside.

The gray water progress is a big step in the build. Cause no sense finishing the shower inside till the system is up and running.

Till next time….