Ron & Elena's 2007-2010 Travels travel blog

The cute little verdin are about as much fun to watch as...

The males and females look almost identical. Both have a yellow head...

...and a small dark-red patch on their "shoulder".

Here you can see him holding his beak open as much as...

Our delicious dinner. Chicken, sweet potatoes, cranberries, and broccoli salad.

(Ron Writing) The weather was really beautiful today and I’d about run out of excuses for not washing the trailer. So I tackled that job and got a good start on it. I’ll hopefully finish tomorrow but then I need to go over the whole exterior with a cleaner-wax again. Progress is slowed by stopping to talk to the many friendly neighbors that stop by!

The past few days when it was kind of cold or rainy to be working outdoors I’ve been transferring more music CDs from disc to computer. When we started full-timing we only took about half of our collection along. We recently got the others out of storage and once I transfer the music to the computer, we’ll put all the CDs in storage so we don’t have them taking up space in the trailer.

Awhile back I experimented with playing our own recorded music in the truck (or in the house) using the built-in music feature on our Garmin GPS. The GPS accepts the small SDHC memory cards used in many cameras etc. that are about the size of a postage stamp. Each 4 GB memory card can hold about 1,000 tracks or roughly 80 CDs. This means I’ll be able to get all of our CDs (around 200) on three of these little chips. The GPS allows you to select music much like an iPod and then using its built-in FM transmitter it transmits the music to our FM radio on a frequency that’s not being used in the area. When the GPS gives us navigation directions it just interrupts the music and “speaks” over the same FM data path. It works very nice and is so much handier than shuffling CDs in and out of the CD changer in the truck or house.

On Sunday afternoon we attended a Christmas Cantata in the Activity Center. About 25 singers from 9 churches in the Congress/Yarnell area presented a very good program. Right after the cantata we had ice cream social.

Yesterday we had an appointment with our new doctor in Wickenburg. When we first started full-timing we looked for a doctor in Prescott, AZ near where my sister lives thinking that we’d probably get to that area at least once a year in the winter and could get our physicals and other routine medical needs taken care of there. At that time we found it very difficult to find a primary care physician accepting new patients. We did find one but neither of us were happy with him. We both have a much better feeling about our new doctor in Wickenburg.

We’re still having fun watching the hummingbirds at the feeder right outside our window but I have yet to get a decent photo of them. A few days ago a very small and beautiful little bird called a Verdin started feeding from the hummingbird feeder. He soon told several of his buddies about the feeder and now we see them quite regularly. The hummingbirds try to chase the verdin away but the verdin just ignores them. It’s interesting to see how the verdin has figured out how to get drops of nectar out of the small feeding hole. He holds his beak open as much as possible, pokes it into the hole, and as he withdraws his slightly opened beak, a single drop of nectar comes out right at the end of his beak. Then he kind of tilts his head back and closes his beak. It has a hard time perching on the feeder while doing this but he has learned that it’s possible if he gets one or two of his little claws on the little plastic flower by the feeding hole.

(Elena Writing) I was such a busy beaver today that I didn't even set foot outside at all! I baked my favorite lemon bread and also a new recipe for "Lemon Yogurt Bread". The yogurt bread tasted good with only 3T oil (no other fat ) but I would tweak the recipe quite a bit for more lemon taste and even reduce the oil by another tablespoon. We found the fresh lemons while we were out walking a few days ago. One of the residents here had more than they could use and had set two buckets of lemons by the curb so anyone could help themselves!

I prepared an early mid-afternoon dinner testing another recipe, Oven Fried Chili Chicken. The recipe called for crushed corn flakes but I substituted Panko (Japanese breadcrumbs). The skinless chicken tasted great with "kick" from couple teaspoons of chipotle chili powder and the Panko gave the chicken a good crunch.

The other day I tested recipes for Turkey Meatloaf and Cauliflower Mashed Potatoes. You wouldn't have thought you were eating cauliflower, a low carb veggie. They both tasted great and are keepers indeed. Tomorrow is another day that Ron will be spending outside since I need as much space as possible to continue testing more recipes. The "test kitchen" has been busy and it's been fun!

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