Homesteading and becoming a Reptile

The more time I spend in Arizona, the more I like it. It’s a fascinating state offering diversity and extremes.  The landscape ranges from stunning red rock country to unique hills filled with cactus to dense forests of tall pine trees.  In the morning, I can enjoy a cup of coffee in delightful 70 degree sunny weather in Phoenix and a couple of hours up the road I can go snow skiing in Flagstaff (that’s if I was into snow skiing).

Grand Canyon

Me at the south rim of the Grand Canyon 5/6/17

This kind of diversity can catch visitors by surprise and quite often does.  A few years ago, we visited the south rim of the Grand Canyon the first week of November.  The north rim had already closed for the season.  We were well prepared for whatever weather Mother Nature had in mind, and I was actually hoping for snow.  By mid October, all the campgrounds located outside of the national park are usually closed for the season.

Grand Canyon

south rim of the Grand Canyon – May 6, 2017

We set up camp at the only campground open year round offering hook ups; Trailer Village.  With the overnight temps expected to dip into the twenties, we connected the electric only.  The next morning as Al and I were ready to head on over to the rim for sightseeing, we chuckled as numerous RVer’s were struggling unsuccessfully with their water hose connections.  Yeah folks, when the overnight low hits 20 degrees Fahrenheit, you can expect things like waterline’s to freeze up.

Saguaro Cactus

Saguaro Cactus are only found in certain parts of Arizona

When we arrived at the visitor center, we glanced at a couple of tour buses that had just pulled up.  The moment the tourists disembarked in their summer attire, they were assaulted by the winter weather. We noticed the shock, disbelief and discomfort on their faces.  While Al and I stood there comfy in our winter garb, we wondered if anyone bothered enlightening these European tourists.

Several months ago, I made mention to a friend back in Illinois that Al and I decided to spend most of the year in the state of Arizona, including summer.  My friend questioned our logic and wondered why we would stick around Arizona in 110 degree weather.

And just like those tourists at the Grand Canyon, my friend had no clue about the elevation changes in this state.  Let’s face it, Illinois is pretty flat.  You want colder weather, you drive north.  You want warmer weather, you drive south.  Easy peasy, huh!  But it’s not so easy in the west.  It’s all about elevation and has nothing to do with north or south.

reptile, lizard

This lizard and I both like sunny warm weather. Does that make us both reptiles?

A little over a week ago, the temps in Phoenix were nearing that three digit mark.  That was our cue that it was time for us to head to the hills.  Our one hour plus drive took us from Phoenix’s elevation of 1,100 feet to Prescott Valley’s 5,200 feet, and the temperature dropped more than twenty degrees…. brrrr.  Al and I were cold.  Had our time in the valley of the sun turned us into reptiles?  Anything less than 70 degrees and we were donning sweatshirts!

Prescott RV Parks

Our home for the next few months!

Since we’ll be staying in Prescott Valley at least a couple of months, I decided to do a little homesteading and plant a garden.

I haven’t done any digging in the dirt since we went full-time in the RV four years ago. I purchased three planters, a bag of dirt, and a bunch of plants;  parsley, rosemary, thyme, cilantro, chives, and tomatoes.

I think I’d be dating myself if I said I was humming a Simon and Garfunkel song while planting my garden ….

It felt wonderful to do a little gardening and even though I’ve never been the best gardener, I’ve always found the activity enjoyable.  That said, Al and our two children have made bets on how long I’ll be able to keep these plants alive. Who needs fantasy football when you can bet on mom and her green thumb or lack thereof 😄

RV gardens

me planting my garden

So our first week in Prescott was a busy and fun one which included a day trip to the Grand Canyon for a picnic lunch.  Fun planting my little garden.  Hiking at one of my favorite locations – Watson Lake.  And trying to stay warm as a cold front accompanied by a record rainfall blew through the area.

Watson Lake

I love hiking at Watson Lake

reflection Watson Lake

Reflections at Watson Lake

I have a few more entertaining things planned for the month of May.  Let’s hope Mother Nature is agreeable and she won’t make me bundle up …. even more!

SONGMICS 7 Piece Garden Tool Set Includes Garden Tote and 6 Hand Tools W/ Heavy Duty Cast-aluminum Heads Ergonomic Handles UGGB31L

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73 thoughts on “Homesteading and becoming a Reptile

  1. Pingback: When Cold water is Hot | Live Laugh RV

  2. The reflections at Watson Lake is a stunning photo. From the sounds of things, it does sound that you might be picking up the some of the characteristics of a reptile. If I see a photo of you sprawled out on a rock….well maybe. 😀

  3. You just gave me a great idea! So I bought some herb plants and make our tiny yard a bit homey 🙂 I do missed our planned photography trek out there in Prescott 😦 I could have learned a lot from you. I will just content myself with your gorgeous pictures and pretend we are parked near Watson Lake 🙂

    • Yes, I’m missing our rendezvous this year but there’s always next summer. I’m still hoping you might be able to join us at Lake Powell in September but I understand it’s ‘one step at a time’. I love my little garden and have been using the cilantro and thyme at every opportunity. I hope I get a bunch of tomatoes later this summer. Talk soon!

  4. I love these photos. Arizona is absolutely beautiful. My favorite has been the Horsebend. You can literally take the best photos there. I love reading your experiences around the world. If you’re ever in Southern California, you should check out my blog for ideas.

    • It’s been a while since I last visited southern CA thus I will definitely check out your blog for ideas. Right now I’m trying to explore as much of Arizona as I can. There’s so many amazing sights to see.

  5. Wonderful tour of your current life! Very nice photos of you in different poses.
    I like the “South Rim – Grand Canyon” shot a lot, but “Reflections at Watson Lake” is gorgeous!!
    Happy gardening – my wife can relate to that – she’s always planting stuff, even though we now live in a townhouse. Right now we have several trays of seedlings sprouting by the south-facing bay window in our master bedroom which also now has a bit of an earthy aroma to it. haha … but no lizards are hanging about like you land.

    • I’ve always had a huge yard and loved perennial gardening. So when we moved into the RV gardening was something I missed in the beginning. My little planters are fun and I’m enjoying the herbs, but I no longer miss a big yard. Why would I when I’m surrounded by beauty like the Grand Canyon and Watson Lake …. a charmed life!

      • I’ve never been there – now I am very interested! I’ll have to convince my wife. What time of year is the least hottest? Least busiest? Recommended accomodations – nothing fancy – in fact my wife still likes tenting, not me.

        • The Grand Canyon? Summer is the busiest and warmest. September is a great month as is May. The town of Williams which is an hour away from the canyon has some affordable lodging options, but I would splurge and stay at a resort AT the rim.

    • Thanks! I’m hoping to get back to the south rim a few times this summer. I’ll be sure and check out your post for potential ideas 😊

  6. So true regarding what you said about elevation (and I might add, lack of humidity). I’ve only lived in/traveled in the western states for a few years but boy did I learn fast! Beautiful shots of the lake, btw. And I hope you enjoy your garden!!

    • Yes, that elevation and lack of humidity can take some getting used to and now I love both. I’m hoping my tomato plants do well. Home grown tomatoes are the best. Although I’m enjoying the Prescott area, I can see myself getting antsy to travel. Should be an interesting summer!

  7. Loved that reflections photo of Watson Lake! If you haven’t been there, Ajo is a lovely little town South of Phoenix, with a very Spanish flavor and an old Copper Mine. We stayed just 12 miles South of Ajo at Hickiwan Trails RV Park in 2009 for almost 2 months..Lots to do around that area..Cabreza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge, Organ Pipe National Monument,and the Barry Goldwater Air Force Range ..(They had planes in the air all over the place). Not to mention the beautiful Sonoran Desert for walks to find the Rose Chalcedony stones..they make jewelry out of them)…I loved that area!!

    • So many interesting and fun things to see and do in Arizona. So much more than I ever thought. We take visits with our children into consideration regarding our travels and where abouts. If not for them, I’d think we’d be in perpetual motion 😉

    • I can’t seem to get enough of Watson Lake. We’re working up our hiking to hike around the whole lake. Should take about 3-4 hours depending on those photo stops. That camera always seems to slow me down 😄

  8. I hear you about 70 degrees and sweatshirts! This is our second summer here and I’m acclimating – 90 degrees is now just right, ha, ha! Thanks for sharing all your Arizona discoveries – we’re looking for an elevation change when the temps hit 110+.

    • Isn’t it interesting how 90 degrees is actually fine? We don’t even turn on our A/C until it gets close to 90. But that furnace is getting popped on at 65 😄 I think we’ll stay in the valley longer next year. We’re not digging the cool temps in Prescott and get wait for it to warm up….. but not 3 digit warm!

  9. In our years of fulltiming, Arizona is the state we have spent the most time. It has so much to offer.
    It was great meeting you both last night. Hope our paths cross again!

      • Haha…. I think I figured it our when you said ‘last night’. We really enjoyed meeting you guys as well and I’m sure our paths will cross again considering AZ seems to be our stomping grounds. There’s so much diversity and interesting places to explore in AZ that’ll it’ll take awhile before boredom sets in … if ever.

  10. Nice shots. Do you use a circular polarizer filter on your camera? My skies always wash out unless I focus on part or all of the sky, in which case then my landscape is darker. Perpetual camera novice here.

    • Thank you and yes, I’ve been known to use a polarizer, but I didn’t in any of these shots. I was able to do a little correcting in Lightroom that made a nice difference. The more I use LR, the more comfortable I am with the program. That said, being a LR newbie, I bet I only use 10% of the program = novice 😉

  11. Watson Lake is gorgeous! I like the screening at your campsite, it affords you a little privacy. I wonder if the Trailer Village campers ever heard of a heated water hose? It’s been a lifesaver for us a time or two.

    • Yes, Watson Lake is beautiful. So many of the RV’s at the Grand Canyon are rentals and thus wouldn’t have a heated hose. Gosh, we don’t even have one. We figure, if it’s that cold we need to move 😆

  12. Yes Arizona is very, very diverse! I have 3 places to go less than a 4 hour drive where I can be in low-mid 60’s in June-August. I plan to RV across all of the USA, Canada and Mexico but I think I’ll spend most of my later years back in Arizona.

    • Yep, I think that’s what I like so much about AZ – there’s so many unique places within an easy drive. Although there’s a few places back east we wouldn’t mind seeing, our hearts belong in the west. It’ll be fun following your journey.

  13. I predict that when and if you guys every settle down it will be in Arizona. Between your love for the area and your kids it seems like destiny. I have heard that song before but never read listened to it. Very weird lyrics! Favorite picture……Reflections at Watson Lake….stunning!

    • Yeah, we’d like to find a picturesque slice of land similar to your SD piece, but not sure exactly where we’d like it. AZ does have a lot of options. We’ll just have to see if our pocketbook matches my taste 😉

  14. I love your tone of voice in this post! There ARE places that just fit a person better than others.
    Funny, that S&G song goes through my mind a lot — it’s one song I find particularly calming. But as for digging in the ground — here we pretty much have to water the ground if we want to dig into it. And after several months of dry, there are growing cracks in the earth. Need water.

    • Yep, you’re not in the Midwest anymore. Growing things in TX will be a new experience for you. There’s pros and cons to every place we visit, but once the pros outweigh the cons, it’ll become a place we’ll consider for a home base. Our search continues!

  15. Gorgeous photos at Watson Lake! With so many writing about Prescott this year, Terry and I have decided it is time to make a return trip. Good luck with your gardening, something I love to do.

    • I’m enjoying the hiking around here immensely and it was fun doing a little planting. I recall your love of gardening. We met up with Gayle and Jim yesterday and your name may have been mentioned a time or two …. in an endearing manner, of course 😊

  16. Oh my gosh. That first photo of you and the GC is absolutely gorgeous! I would frame that one.
    We have other friends that are staying a few months in the Prescott Valley area. Good beautiful choice.
    I missed having a garden when we were full timing also. Hahahaha…I am going to place my bet on you Ingrid. I think you have a green thumb!

    • Me standing on the edge at the GC did not make hubby happy and the minute he snapped that photo he wanted me back on the paved trail. Nice to be loved! Our first week in Prescott was a tad to cool for us but it’s warming nicely and we’re looking forward to spending the summer here.

  17. I am so with you on the 70 degree thing. That’s the one reason we decided Wyoming was not going to work for relocating the shop. Where in Prescott Valley are you staying, looks like a nice spot. Are you going to look at buying a place in that area, it is a nice place for sure.

    • We’re staying at the Fairgrounds RV Park – nothing special, but it’ll give us a good idea on how we feel about the area. So far, the properties I like …. well, let’s just say Champagne taste, and a beer pocketbook 😄

  18. Your photos of Watson Lake are gorgeous! Looks like your summer is off to a wonderful beginning—staying put in a beautiful place with lots of varied adventures sounds lovely.

    • As much as I had grand travel plans for this summer, we do have a few things requiring our attention (storage unit issues for one). Thus, Prescott will make a great spot to park for awhile as we tend to biz.

    • I’ve been perusing your site on the hikes in the area and I can’t wait to explore around Willow Lake and Granite Dells. Beautiful area!

  19. Ok I going to date myself. Before I could read your next paragraph in was humming right along with Simon and Garfunkel myself!! Love your garden and you will enjoy cooking with those herbs. I put my money on you!!
    Watson Lake is beautiful and it would be a favorite of mine as well.
    Like your new digs for a few months!!

    http://www.freedom2roll.blogspot.com

    • The Prescott location is ideal for us. It keeps us an easy one hour drive away from our children without enduring the summer heat of Phoenix. I’m trying to hike at Watson Lake at every opportunity. It’s so pretty. Hope my plants continue to thrive!

  20. We haven’t had a chance to spend time in Arizona since going full-timing last year. I’m learning tips and places to go in the future through your blogs. So thanks and keep them coming, Ingrid.

    • I think you’ll really enjoy meandering around the state with your RV. So many places to boondock and the hiking opportunities are endless and then of course, there’s never a shortage of photo-ops 😊

  21. You are giving the plants a great start by using MiracleGro, Ingrid. We planted tomatoes using it in pots last year in Michigan and ended up with a bumper crop!

    • When I plan our visits back to IL, I usually pick August because my dad’s garden is in full production mode. I miss those home grown tomatoes so I’m hoping I have success with these plants.

  22. We are good examples of reptiles as well. We drove across the country to spend winter in Nortern California and it was very disappointing what with the record rain fall and cold temps they have had. And, the day before the nice weather arrived, we flew east to Massachusetts where it has been in the fifties since! This winter is dragging! Who would have guessed we’d need to wear three layers and a wool hat in May? Summer, please! I think for next winter we need an RV and drive south whenever we are cold. 🙂

    • Brrr…. so sorry to hear the weather has been less than agreeable. Al and I had trouble feeling warm even though it wasn’t that cold. Guess we just aren’t used to the cold weather anymore. I vote for that RV … we’ll need to rendezvous 😉

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