Monday, January 26, 2009

Random Ramblings from Benson

We’ve been having some stormy weather here in the Arizona desert! We don’t get much winter rain (but oh! those summer monsoons!), so every little rainstorm is a pleasure … except if we are pumping propane during one of them.

Last week’s storm hit on Wednesday with some light rain, which continued for propane on Thursday morning. It was intermittent, and so was the propane business, so some of the time we outside guys could retreat to an awning for protection. Suzy, of course, was snug in her cashier booth with the heater running. With the slow business she even got some reading done (current book: Sandra Brown’s “Chill Factor”).

It was interesting to watch the runoff of the storm. At the east end of the park, just behind the propane station, there is a gully (locally called a “wash”) that has been partially strengthened along the sides to prevent erosion. The runoff from most of the park is directed down a central roadway, then diverted to flow across in front of our propane station, down beside the cashier booth and into the wash. The front three roads of the park channel their runoff around the park office and into the wash. The part of the park where our site is, the newer section, sends all its runoff down our street and directly into the wash. With a heavy storm, the roads would be a delight to children who like to wade, and local fishermen are watching the river in the wash to see if any trout show up. (That part is an exaggeration!)

The really neat storm came in Thursday evening, splashed around on Friday morning, and gave us some beautifully threatening skies Friday evening. We got some good pictures.

Also Friday evening, the Cactus Wrens (that’s all of leaseholders plus the current visitors) held a Mexican dinner in the clubhouse. Several ladies and a few gentlemen shopped for the makings and prepared dinner; 160 of us ate the dinner, which included chips and salsa, a chicken enchilada casserole, chile relleno, and a do-it-yourself burrito. For the burrito, we could choose corn or flour tortilla, filled with a black bean mash, then move to a central table where shredded cheese, onion, salsa, green chilies and sour cream awaited. The dinner cost $6 per plate. For the thirsty, margaritas were offered for $1, and the sweet tooth was satisfied from a dessert table, also $1 each. Suzy had lemon meringue pie (her favorite dessert of all time) and I had key lime pie decorated with a pansy, which I ate along with the pie.

Saturday the Cactus Wrens held a baked goods and food auction, with cakes, pies, cookies, and main dishes donated by any and all who would. They were auctioned off to the highest bidder. We didn’t attend, but we understand that a good pecan pie could be bid up as high as $30. A lady we know took $20 with her and couldn’t buy anything she had her eye set on!

This Thursday is “Ladies’ Night Out.” The ladies are invited to an evening of food, fun and entertainment without the guys. Cost is $7, and Suzy is planning to go.

There are so many activities here at the SKP Saguaro Co-op it would be hard to try to attend them all. A week ago we went to an omelet breakfast: a man from Tucson puts them on, bringing his own equipment and his own eggs and other ingredients. He had eight cookers going on one table, and he cooked omelets TO ORDER, with our choice of any or all from at least ten items such as cheese, olives, ham, bacon, sausage, onions, you name it. That was a popular occasion, although the omelets were definitely mass production.

On many Fridays there is a Friday Fish Fry, temporarily interrupted when the big freezer in the Club House died on Christmas Day. No one was aware of it until the many half gallons of ice cream were found oozing across the floor!

There are Saturday night musicals, Sunday jam sessions, sing-alongs, shows, often featuring local talent, some quite well known. There was a Polar Bear Party, which we were planning to attend until we thought about what it was. A “Polar Bear” is a cocktail made from vodka, Kahlua and ice cream. Sounds delicious, but we passed because of the sugar content.

There was a blood drive, but we passed on that because I had just recently donated at the Elks Club. Every Saturday there is coffee and donuts in the Club House, and on Tuesday and Thursday it’s coffee only – but it’s 7:00 in the morning, and that’s a little early for your humble reporters. Well, there’s Social Hour most afternoons, bingo on Tuesdays, Bunco on two days a month, line dancing twice a week, blood pressure clinic every Monday morning, aerobics three days a week, pickle ball, bocce ball, beading classes, computer club, 4X4 trail runs, wood carving, quilting, landscaping, poker (every night), bridge, pinochle, Mahjongg. There’s Ladies Poker on Fridays, Tripoli on Sundays.


In the meantime, we are trans- planting our cactus and succulents,

(Suzy is giving them a little water -- not too much, because native plants here aren't used to water!)

(and a little rock border)

remodeling our casita, (here taking down the old ceiling light)

(putting up the fan assembly)

(trying to figure out what those instructions mean)

(that part is done!)

(bringing power over to the new track lighting)

(had to destroy the wall in install a dimmer switch for the track lighting!)

(adding bracing for the new wallboard)

(there's the new wallboard)

(the lights are in and working!)

and trying to find time to prepare these blogs for your reading pleasure. A wonderful life … Our Life on Wheels!

But first! Suzy tells me I have a huge cavern in my mind, filled with teeny-tiny pieces of lint, and once in a while, a piece of lint attaches to a nerve center. When that happens, I blurt out whatever that piece of lint tells me. Tonight I blurted out "Shredded Ralston." Do you remember Shredded Ralston? I do! I used to eat that cereal as a child. It is actually the forerunner of today's Wheat Chex Cereal. It was related, back then, to the Ralston Company that also produced RyeKrisp. Give it a try, go to Google and search for Shredded Ralston. I found a 1943 ad offered for sale for $6.50, in good condition. Did I buy it? Heavens, no! My lint cabinet memory is all that I need! Do you have lint? Give me a word and I'll probably find a song or a poem or a food product to match!

Now, thanks for visiting us. I'll report more lint as it occurs during ... Our Life on Wheels.


  1. Nice work Jerry! Bet all the extra light is nice when working on your blog. Of course, now we will have to stop in and check out the "new and improved" casita!

  2. GOOD TO SEE YOUR KEEPING BUSY!!! Those plants grow like CRAZY! Soon they will overcome you. We planted a BUNCH 7 years ago when we bought our lot. Been tearing it out ever since.....
    Stay away from the deserts!!! They are BAD 4 U.
    Nice Post!!

  3. Good job on all of the projects! The lighting looks really good. That's one of the projects that Adam and I are discussing for our bedroom. It is just way too dark in there, and while we don't always mind that, we would like a few more options than lights out or dimly lit!

    You guys had commented on how busy I am...holy smokes you guys have a ton to do there!!!! I think that is so great that they offer so much to do! Have fun you social butterflies!

    Love you,


  4. Boy, I must be getting old! I was worn just reading all the activities and work you two have been doing lately!

    The casita looks great and loved the storm pictures.

    see you soon,
    Joy and Phil

  5. The casita is coming along nicely! No wonder your knee hurts, Dad! I can't wait to see your place next year for your big celebration.

    You have very interesting lint.

    Love you!


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