Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Pic-of-the-Week for July 6, 2017

Wow!  What a busy week of June 25th!  The weather got hotter, and we decide to try to head North as soon as we could.  We wanted to be North of the border by the morning of the 3rd of July so we could get replacement tires for the car trailer.  We think the ones on the trailer have been recalled.  Ben put in long days working to get everything ready so we could leave by Friday the 30th
Also, Ben was still trying to get as much done on the Willys Jeep as he could.  Then on June 26th the fellow welding the Jeep’s gas tank back together after getting the inside of the tank sand blasted gave Ben a call asking if he could come in about 1 hour, to the welding shop, to help put the tank back in the Jeep.  Well, a lot can go wrong in 1 hour.  He started to patch 2 leaks, and the tank BLEW UP!  He was a lucky guy that he was not hurt worse than he was!  So much for having the Jeep running by the time we left.  Now it needs a new gas tank manufactured.

As we probably mentioned in an earlier blog, we installed some new windows and window frames in our house a few weeks ago.  The changed windows are different from the old ones, so Ben had to modify the shutters for those windows and one sliding glass door.  More hard work on hot days.
 [He thinks I had time to take pictures of us hauling these shutters back and forth to make sure they fit proper.  Hah!  Instead, here's a picture of Eleanor helping him to  fill in the bolt holes.  She handed him the bolts and washers for each hole...very helpful! ]

We finally left Buena Vista on Friday, the 30th of June as planned.  Our friend and house cleaner is house sitting for us this summer and taking care of Sam and Zoey.  This will be a different summer for us as we will be “dog-less”.  [In this photo we are just ready to leave, and they said, "Wait a minute....we're not in the truck!  Where are our beds?"]

We did have what we thought was a slow leak in one trailer tire, so we filled the tire with air before we left home, and by the time we arrived in La Paz (a 1 ½ hour trip), we had lost about ½ the air pressure.  Ben knew that would never do on our trip, so we stopped at a tire shop and had them check the tire for the leak.  We discovered a nail in the tire, which was fixed in about 20 minutes for about $6.00 US Dollars, and we were on our way with no detectable leak the rest of our trip. 

We arrived back in Bend on the 4th of July.  A 5 day, 2000-mile trip.  That is pushing it for us.  Harriet is making Ben promise to take her to a newly discovered hotel in San Ignacio on the return trip this fall. 

A few details on the trip……
First night stayed at the El Moro Hotel in Santa Rosalia.  We checked in and then took a taxi to the heart of the town to a wonderful seafood restaurant.  [This is a picture our friend George took of the hotel with his drone when he and Ben went north in early May.]

Second night at Hotel El Jardine in San Quintin.  It looks like a hotel set in a beautiful park setting.  Nice rooms and nice restaurant as part of the hotel area.

The 3rd night at Victorville, CA.  The most notable thing that day (Sunday, part of the 4th of July weekend), was the extremely long auto line at customs, plus once we crossed, we had to walk back to Mexican Immigration and get our exit documentation since Ben may need to fly down if a hurricane is headed to our area this summer. 

The 4th night was in Reno, NV visiting with Mike and Mary, good friends from Los Barriles.  Always an enjoyable evening with great hosts!

The 5th evening was back home to our home away from home in Bend, OR.  5 long driving days.  
 [View from the living room window at Ken and Bea's house (Ben's brother) of the Three Sisters.]

Are you are wondering why we took the car trailer with us to Oregon?  Well, about 2 days before we were to leave for Oregon, we got word that a longtime friend of the Purkey Family decided that she wanted to sell her 1930 Model A Ford Roadster with a Rumble Seat to us.  This was a topic that had been discussed with her quite a while ago, and we thought that she had decided against selling.  It came as a REAL surprise when we got the word that she was going to sell it to us.  Now Ben will have two vehicle projects to work on when we return to Mexico in the fall.  This could keep Ben busy this summer also.  [Once it's all pretty and running good, I'm claiming this one! - HP]  

That is about it for this Pic-of-the-Week.  We hope you enjoyed the attached photos!  [I will start a July 2017 album soon.  Not much in it yet!  HP]

Ben, & Harriet without Sam and Zoey 

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Pic-of-the-Week for June 20, 2017

Hola Amigos,

Yes, we are still in Mexico....enjoying the quiet!!!  This cactus flower bloomed in the quiet of the night last week while we were sleeping.  It only blooms at night, and only one night, so you've got to watch them closely so you know which morning to get up early to see it still in bloom!

The grand kids are gone, and peace and quiet has returned to our home.  We love 'em to pieces, but they sure make life interesting, sometimes more interesting than we can imagine.  Anyhow, we all survived, and had some great times and hopefully made some great memories for them all.  

We all enjoyed going out to eat, and the kids appreciated their chocolate milk in tall cool glasses!  With straws, of course, so you could also blow bubbles and get into trouble with Mom.

And sometimes we had little accidents, so had to have a pretty pink ice pack wrapped in a soft towel to put on our heads.  (Let me see that picture, Grandma...see if I'm looking sufficiently hurt, but still pretty!)  

Anyhow, they are now in California, and will be migrating to Illinois soon to spend the rest of the summer there.

Ryan is getting ready to head back to Shanghai, China.  He seems quite content there, and has become quite the continent hopper! 

We will probably leave for Oregon next week sometime.  The Jeep is not driveable right now, (no gas tank yet, and a fix to re-position the radiator needs further modification), but Ben is hoping to be able to get it ready for body work and paint before we leave (he'd like that done by our reliable body-man Caliman this summer).  We'll see!  Also, the 2001 white truck is in the shop.  The electronic accelerator is not working, so the shop ordered the needed part from Arizona.  Time for the part to arrive?  7 to 10 days, business days, probably.  That makes it maybe this Saturday, but probably early next week....we hope!  We put in some new windows in the house, and now our old hurricane shutters will not fit properly, so Ben went to La Paz today to get plywood to modify the necessary shutters.  He's also been going around cleaning out all the "bee goop" in many of the anchor holes, and putting in the bolts to keep the bees out!  

I did some closet cleaning today, and discovered that termites had done a number on some of my picture files; nice cardboard boxes that were quite tasty to those nasty termites, and many of the pictures were ruined, too.  (SAD FACE).  I did find a nice picture that I haven't seen in a long time of me and my three sisters, and it was in good shape.  This was probably about 1998, back when we were all much younger!  Sister Alice has been gone since January 2004, so it was nice to see her typically smiling face.  

I have finished my latest quilt (or at least as far as I can go), and it is ready to haul up to Oregon and mail to my friends who will put on the backing, insert the batting, and quilt it for me.  It has been a fun project, and I enjoyed working in all the bright colors.  I'll put on the binding after I get the quilted blanket back from  This is obviously one for Ben, since it's his antique car featured on it. 

We hope to see many of you this summer.  Let us know if you want us to visit, and we'll put you on our list of "places to go and people to see"!  

This will probably be the last Pic-of-the-Week from Baja this spring (Happy first day of summer manana!)  You'll have to rely on Ben for news of our summer fun.

More pictures in our June 2017 album.

Until the next time (who knows when?)
Harriet, Ben, Sam & Zoey 

Thursday, June 8, 2017

PIc-of-the-Week for June 8, 2017

Hola Amigos,

Yes, I missed Tuesday.... and Wednesday!  Somehow, with three active grand-kids visiting here, time just gets away from me.  We have been having a very busy time, and we're hoping that Ben will survive the chaos and noise that he's not used to.  I believe the kids are having a great time.  They have a BIG wading pool,

 a sand box, and lots of books and toys to keep them busy here at the house, as well as two dogs to pet and pet and pet and get kisses from and pet and pet and pet some more!!  The dogs are actually pretty tolerant, and I've told them to stay away from Zoey or we'll get wet spots on the floor, so they're pretty good about that.  Sam has nipped Eleanor when she persist on being in his face.  She doesn't seem to get the message to back off until he's nipped her pretty little nose!  (Everyone has survived!)  Those of you following my Facebook page have seen many of these photos, but for those of you just getting this bi-weekly letter, these will be new.

Of course, one of the more exciting things to do down here is feed our local burros.  Eleanor called the "beeros"!  She and Grandpa gave each of the burros a couple gumdrops, which are much appreciated (by the burros!)  

The kids got to go swimming with their Uncle Ryan.  He took them out into the "deep" water, and they had a grand time; especially David, and he can hold his breath and dive underwater and paddle like crazy.  And Eleanor loved being held out there by strong Uncle.  And the water is feeling pretty good and warm, and no little stinging jellyfish....yet!  Last night their Mom and I took them swimming after dinner, and I've got to say, the water was a wonderful temperature and it was very enjoyable.  

Eleanor has become Grandpa's helper.  He is cleaning out the bee goop from our hurricane shutter holes, and putting in the shutter bolts.  She insists on knowing what he is doing, and then she helps.  She hands him the bolts one at a time (with a washer) and he puts them in (after cleaning out the holes).  

We've also taken a ride in Grandpa's seatbelts, no carseats, no windows!!!  And everyone survived.  We took a ride to El Viejo and had a nice taco lunch, and the kids really loved the fresh air and no restrictions!  In fact, Eleanor was very disappointed when for the next ride we had to take the pickup with the car seats.  :-(   Check out our June 2017 album for a video and other pics of the ride in an antique car.  

We've also been working on cleaning out the freezer.  Although the kids, except for Aaron, don't eat much, we are managing to get rid of quite a bit of stuff.  (It helps that we have two more adults here to help us eat!)  That is nice before we leave for the summer, as we'd like to shut down at least one of our 3 fridges!! 

The troops are leaving on next Tuesday to meet up with Tim (their husband and Dad) and spend some time traveling and visiting friends in the US.   We will be starting to wrap things up here and getting ready to travel to the US ourselves.  Since we drive, we're not sure when we're leaving... it will depend on the weather (getting too hot!) and our task list.  Ben has some unfinished projects he needs to track and figure out what to do with, like the boat, and the Jeep (which will be runable but not perfect).   And then there's the tires on the car trailer, which need replacing (3 years ago these were brand new...remember our broken u-bolt in the middle of Baja on that trailer?  Those memories are coming up on Facebook right now!)  Ben did some research and found out those tires, one of which is going bad, were manufactured in China and had a recall.  That may be why the tire guy in El Rosario had them available for a decent price!?!  Anyhow, he called and found out that Les Schwab (tire store in Oregon) will replace them at no cost.  So we'll take two or so at a time up to the states and swap them out.  (What you call a "long range" project, in more ways than one!)

OK...If I'm ever going to get this out, I'd better do it now.  Like I said, more pics in the June 2017 album.  

I'll leave you with a cactus flower blooming in our courtyard.  It is getting tighter now, so it is evidently a night-blooming cactus.  I managed to spot it before it closed completely.

Hasta la proxima vez,
Tus amigos en Baja,
Harriet, Ben, Sam, Zoey, Rebecca, David, Aaron, Eleanor and Ryan!!!  

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Pic-of-the-Week for May 23, 2017

Hola Amigos,

Welcome to another POTW from sunny Baja.  Ben returned home on Sunday afternoon with his new toy, and has already been "playing" with it yesterday!  The carburetor definitely needs work.  It's hard to start, and hard to keep it going.  It was a trick getting it off the trailer!  But he succeeded, with George's help, and has it parked in the carport in the shade. He and our friends George and Carolyn helped yesterday to get the little black cab off of it.  We certainly don't need that cab here in Baja!

It took most of the afternoon unbolting bolts, unscrewing screws, cutting a breaking a few bolts and screws, disconnecting wires, removing seats, and crawling underneath with the proper tools; then some muscle power to get the thing off, but we got 'er done!  

Ben wants to have a roll bar cage built for it, and then we'll have a cloth top attached to the roll bars for some shade.  We'd also like a bit more comfortable seats, and the gas tank needs to be modified a bit (or maybe a lot!)  Anyhow, should be an interesting project.  It would be nice to use it this season, but hemay not get that far.  We'll see!  Won't I look cute boppin' to town in this to go grocery shopping or lunch with friends?  ;-) 

Ben is thankful that they had an uneventful trip coming back here to Baja.  No problems along the way, and he even found a nice new hotel in San Ignacio that he'd like to visit again when we travel north.  Hopefully, that will work out for us.

I don't usually get up for sunrises, but I noticed the pink glow in my bedroom windows one day last week, and just had to get up and take some pictures.  I took and few with my phone camera from the veranda just outside the bedroom door, then I had to grab the good camera and head upstairs for some more photos.  Wow!  It was gorgeous!

In preparation for grand-kids visiting soon, I moved some sand from an old sand pile (left over from some construction project) to an area under the Neem tree where it is shady most of the day.  I think they will like this!  And yes, I'm willing to move more sand if needed, but they might also like to play in the little mound of sand that's left and flatten it out for us!  Or, we can just go to the beach!  Plenty of sand there!

Ryan and Rebecca and David, Aaron and Eleanor will all be arriving on Saturday; Ryan in just a bit later flight.  Rebecca and kids are flying from the Middle East today to Chicago (to Tim's parents) where they'll catch their breath, and then fly down here on Saturday.  We sure are looking forward to having them here.  Their Grandpa Purkey even bought them a very nice looking inflatable wading pool, so if the weather starts heating up while they're here, they'll have a nice place in which to cool off.  They'll be here until the 13th of June.  (You can be sure the next POTW will have lots of pictures of cute kids!)  In preparation, here's a recent one from their vacation to Jordan in April.

I finished the main part of the latest quilt project, and Ben bought some fabric for finishing the border while he was in Oregon, so I hope to get that done very soon.  I made this one for Ben; I had the center piece printed a couple summers ago, and finally got around to using it in a special quilt for Ben.  I think it turned out pretty neat!  What do you think?  (Projects like this keep me out of trouble!)

George has a drone he's been flying around, and when I get my hands on his photos, I'll add some to the May 2017 album.  He flys it from our roof deck to out a mile over the water.  Today he found a bunch of Manta Rays and a turtle.  Very cool watching those videos!

Hasta la proxima vez (if I have time!)
Tus amigos en Baja

Harriet, Ben, Sam & Zoey  

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Pic-of-the-Week for May 9, 2017

Hola Amigos!  

It's May!  Hooray!  My favorite month in Baja.  Lovely warm weather, but not too hot, and the water is warming, flowers are blooming, and the days are longer. Wonderful temps for dining al fresco on the veranda and bird watching (and lizard spotting).  I also celebrated another birthday, and tomorrow is Ryan's birthday!  Tomorrow is Mexico Mother's Day, so I guess I'll celebrate that, too, although I am here alone with my doggies.  

Ben is on his way to Oregon (probably nearing the California/Oregon border as I type this) to pick up his '56 Jeep, and no, I don't have any pictures of it!  He downloaded some to his computer, but didn't share with me.  He's got his friend George S. riding up with him, and George and his wife Carolyn will ride back down here when he gets the Jeep loaded and some things bought that are on his list.  He'll also be stopping in Bend to pick up some other items that we've ordered online.  He's made a rushed trip up, but hopes to make a more leisurely trip back down and give George and Carolyn time to enjoy the beauties of Baja.  George has a very nice drone that he brought with him, and he flew it around our house and out over the Sea of Cortez the first day he was here.  He showed me a bit of footage, but hadn't edited it yet.  I'm looking forward to seeing it and sharing it with you all when he's perfected it!  He's also wanting to stop several places along the trip back to run the drone as well.  Should be fun! They hope to be back here by the 20th.  

In the meantime, I'm sewing like crazy and getting a few things accomplished here on the home front.  I've planted a small crop of green beans that I hope will be producing when Rebecca and the grandkids are here, but I'm having some issues with the critters biting off leaves (lizards?  birds?), and some crazy all-night long west winds that we've been having drying up a lot of the leaves that are left.  Needless to say, the late-season bean crop is struggling.  I'm also trying to keep the sunflower seed bird feeder full; I can't believe how fast the birds go through that!  

And on several evenings, friends have invited me out for dinner.  That's always nice to be remembered!  Thank you Sandy and Debi, and Alexandra!  Perla (our Mexican house guest who is a waitress at La Playa) also asked me out last night for the Monday night Salsa music by a Cuban duo who are regulars there.  I politely declined, because I don't like driving in the dark at night.  Then later, Alexandra called and invited me, so I figured it must be "meant to be".  I had a great time and enjoyed the music very much.  (And someone else drove!)

Before Ben left, we had several windows replaced in our house, including our bedroom sliding glass door (which now has a much better lock AND handles on both sides so you can actually open and close it easily).  It reminded me of when the originals went in 15 years ago.  Windows here aren't "standard" sizes.  They measure the opening, then make the frames to fit.  It works well!  Here, they are removing an old frame.  The new frames are much more substantial, and seal and slide much better.

Our friend John Hirons visited with his friend Sue recently.  He flew his Cessna 185 down, landing at Punta Pescadero, after various other stops in Baja and mainland.  He also landed at his favorite Baja places on his way north.  What a great way to see Baja!

Sam and Zoey are living the dog's life here.  Not much to do but lie around looking cute!  Sam was a bit worried when Ben packed up a suitcase and loaded the pickup.  He kept a close eye on things and said "I see you haven't packed my bed or food, but I'm ready to go whenever you are!"  He was quite a bit relieved when I stayed home with him this time!  (But he keeps a close eye on me at all times!)  Except when he's sleeping!

 Like I said, flowers are blooming.  This one has a few buds year round, but it really bursts into flowers in May!  This is one of my Desert Roses, or Adenium.

I've started a 2017 May album with a few other pictures.  

I should make Ben write the next POTW, since he's the traveler in the family, but I don't think he's stopped to take any pictures (typical!!)  He was going to take our nice big camera, but it's still here.  I'll have to count on George and his drone, I guess!  

Hasta la proxima vez,
Tu amigos en Baja,
Harriet, Sam & Zoey  (and Ben in spirit, somewhere on Hwy 395)

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Pic-of-the-Week for April 25, 2017

Hola Amigos,

I'm sitting here at my new sewing table in my bedroom working on my lap top because Dalia is cleaning house for me, and since the floors in here are done, she's working out in our family room/kitchen.  (I'm trying my hardest to stay out of her way!)  It's not too bad.... the door is wide open, nice breezes blowing in, birds singing, and look at this view!

Yes, I got started late today.  Ben came home from his quick trip to Oregon to buy another new toy.... a 1956 Jeep.  I guess I told you about it in the last POTW, but he brought home a cold with him, and generously gave it to me.  I was coughing and nose dripping by Saturday, so got to the doctor on Monday and have antibiotics and cough medicine and fever reducer.  I am feeling better, but not up to par quite yet.  Unfortunately, while we were sick we had company!  Ben's brother Greg and his wife Cherlenne and daughter Georgina were here, (flew in on the same flight as Ben) and we didn't get the chance to take them anywhere or do anything special, other than eat out a lot!  (We're really good at that!)

Georgina is almost 3; her birthday is this Friday.  She's a real sweety, but unfortunately, she caught a cough and cold, too.  Greg and Cherlenne were impressed that the doctor visit and medications all totaled only $300 pesos (less than $15US), since children visits at the clinic are free.  

Next time, we'll owe them some more fun!

My quilt is coming along nicely.  I'm making  25 blocks  and I only have 5 more to go.  Just haven't felt much like sewing these last few days.  It looks like it's going to be another colorful quilt!  I do love bright colors!  

I've been trying to get some green beans to grow for when daughter Rebecca and her children are here at the end of May.  Something has been very hard on them, biting or knocking of the leaves.  I've got some growing, so I hope they continue and will produce something.  

Bad news for burros in the neighborhood.  The black mama and her yearling were hit by a semi-truck on Hwy 1 about a week ago and killed.  Her baby survived, and has been taken to a vet somewhere.  

That's it for this week.  I do have an April 2017 album if you want to look at a few more pics.  

Hasta la proxima vez,
Harriet, Ben, Sam & Zoey

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Pic-of-the-Week for April 11, 2017

Hola Amigos,

Another two weeks have gone by lickety-split!  We have been keeping very busy; Ben always has multiple projects going on, usually helping someone get something done, which is always an adventure here in Mexico.  Tomorrow, he's off to do something for himself!  He's flying up to Oregon to purchase an old Jeep, which he hopes to bring down here in May (another quick trip up and back).  Once the deed is done, we'll have stories to tell, I'm sure, but I can tell you this much so far...  The Jeep is located in St. Helens, Oregon, which is northwest of Portland.  The owner is located in upper New York State.  The buyer (Ben) is in Mexico.  We sent friends from Portland to check it out for us, and we are to trying to figure out all the logistics!  Phew.  He'll be glad to get back dealing with contractors and driveways and house-cleaning and repairing issues!  Oh yes, Greg:  He's flying back to Baja on the same flight as you and your family!  

In the mean time, my dogs and I will be walking the beach and checking for fun things to pick up.  (I found a $50 peso bill in the sand yesterday!)  

My latest project is another quilt top.  I hope to get it done in a couple weeks to give to my friend June, who delayed their trip back to Oregon by a month.  We'll see how ambitious I am (Hope to get to it today!) and how many squares I can complete.  I did this one without a pattern, so had to do a bit of trial and error first, but it's turning out pretty nice, I think.  Finished block size is 10".  I want to use the black polka-dot for flashing (strips between the blocks) with colorful squares of fabric at each intersection.  Should be fun!  

   Our daughter and her family got to take a spring break trip to Jordan last week, and they took the kids to places Ben and I got to go in 2009 (before any of the kids were born).  Petra, Jerash (ancient Roman city); they saw some amazing things.  Made me wish I was with them!   This is the Treasury Building at Petra.

David (the 7 year old) was excited to be able to read "Philadelphia" on some mosaic tiles they saw.  Of course, it was written in Greek!  

And a minor Mexican miracle this week... Chuyito, who is repairing our boat, found some used 15.5" tires that fit the '73 pickup!  Wow!   Here's a guy from a local tire shop getting ready to jack up the truck.    You can see Ben's and Chuyito's shadows to the left as they watch (it was a HOT day!)  The boat is close to done.  It needs a part Greg is bringing down, and we're getting the name re-done on the sides, and putting it on the back as well (as Mexican law requires), and Chuyito will be polishing it and doing bottom paint.  Soon!!!  (Mexican time!)  

We're eating meals on the veranda more often as the weather warms up, and the other day I spotted a male and female Phyrroloxia.  They look like Cardinals, and I guess are part of the same family of birds.  I really like their long tails and sharp top knots!  And they do love the sunflower seeds we put out!  

Easter Sunday is coming up, and this year is the first time since we've been here that it won't be a sunrise service on the beach.  As we all age, it's with a sigh of relief that we don't have to be up before the roosters to set up sound equipment on the beach.  And that's a good thing too, since Ben decided to be gone this Sunday.  Yikes!  (He runs the sound equipment at church, but we've got excellent help!)  Regardless, we wish you a joyous celebration of the resurrection!  He is risen!  (Here's an Easter morning shot from several years ago).

Hasta la proxima vez,
Tus amigos de Mexico,
Harriet, Ben, Sam & Zoey