Good morning Raine and thank you so much for having me as a guest today. I thought I would talk about my “real life” story. I like to call it a City Girl’s Trip Down Reality Lane.
My husband and I were looking forward to our retirement. We envisioned a
ranch someplace cooler than our home town of Phoenix, Arizona.
Our list of requirements was short: cooler than the desert, water availability, and
some flat land on which to build. Three years later we found a fifty-four acre parcel in
Mohave County in Arizona. The Big Sandy Aquifer would provide plenty of ground
water, and living in the foothills of the Hualapai Mountains, the temperature would be
cooler than Phoenix.
The downsides were few, but one was huge for a city girl. It would cost over
$100,000 to run electricity to our property. A girl does need to blow dry her hair! My
husband, Jim, explained we would put in solar and use a generator. What? Solar?
We had eight years before our dream of retirement would come true. Jim had a
seasonal job which allowed him the freedom to come up in the winters and start building
our dream home.
First, we drilled a well and had our septic system installed. I learned about perk
tests, leach fields, and how to witch for ground water! Next, Jim faced the challenge of
designing our home. This would be the source of many disagreements, some of which
included: how the home should be laid out, and how big my bathroom, closet, and
bedroom should be. Jim is an all function kind of guy and he refers to me as all form or
FOO FOO. Eventually we came up with a 1500 sq. ft. adobe style home of block
construction. It’s a one bedroom, two bath, kitchen, and large living room area.
The final job was setting up an “off the grid” electric system that produced
enough energy to make me, I mean us, happy. At this point, our system is complete with
a 900 watt solar panel, a 2500 watt inverter, a load controller and two air-x, 400 watt
windmills, and a shed full of batteries, enough for 24/7 power.
Then Big Bertha became a member of our family. She is a Chinese
diesel generator. I love Big Bertha as she will run any and all of my everyday needs,
such as blow dryers, curling irons, the evaporative cooler, and a wall air conditioner.
There are endless projects here and so many things to do and learn. We have
neighbors that will be life long friends. There are miles of dirt roads to be explored and I
look forward to checking out every one.
So in closing, I am not quite at Hillbilly status yet, though my children would disagree…….but I’m working on it!
My name is Penny Estelle and I was an elementary school secretary for 21 years. I heard every excuse and story in the book when kids would be sent to the principal. I promised myself when I retired I would write stories about kids and that is just what I am doing.
I am retired with my wonderful husband and we live on a fifty-four acre ranch in Arizona. We live on solar and wind. I am the “greenest” person I know, even if I don’t want to be!
We do a lot of exploring and four-wheeling and I visit my seven grandkids as much as I possibly can!
Please take a minute and visit me @
@pennystales – twitter
Ten year old Andy Thompson, disobeys him mother, and sneaks inside the basement of an old house that is to be demolished the very next day. He discovers a long, skinny box with an old wooden stick inside. For a split second, the stick starts to glow, then stops, as quickly as it started.
Andy is so intent on getting this stick to glow again, he doesn’t realize he has visitors. The Crew brothers, ten year old Danny and his twelve year old brother, Jason, the new school bully, have found their way into the basement.
Jason wants that stick. A fight ensues and all three lives are turned upside down. The only person who can make things right, lives on top of Devil’s Mountain. The question is will they survive the dangers along the way?
“Jason, stop it!” Danny shouted. “You’re acting like a big dumb toad!”
“Yeah. . . you’re . . . acting. . . like . . . a. . . .toad!” Andy gasped between each word.
The stick exploded into a flash of light and then the fight was over. Andy jumped up, trying to fill his lungs with air. What happened? Danny came running over to where Andy stood. “Where’s Jason?” Andy couldn’t answer because he couldn’t catch his breath. Danny yelled, “Jason, where are you? Quit messing around!”
His chest still heaving, Andy stammered, “I don’t know. I . . . don’t know what just happened.”
They both looked to the floor. Under one of the boxes was what looked like a pair of pants. “Jason!” Danny hurried to lift the box. No Jason — just his pants. Lying close by were his nice Nike shoes, socks and a short distance away was his shirt. “What did you do?” he yelled at Andy.
“Nothing! I didn’t do anything! I . . . don’t know!” Andy had no answers.
Danny tried again. “Jason,” he screamed his name. “Where are you?”
The shirt on the floor moved, just barely. Both boys jumped back, watching and not daring to breathe.