Back to the stix and brix!

As you may recall, amidst this pandemic we rented a house in Wickenburg, Arizona to confirm this is where we would exit from our nomadic lifestyle.  Halfway through our lease and after living in this little town of about 10,000 people, we realized it was where we wanted to settle down.  We checked out several homes for sale in the area to do a comparison, but the rental won us over.  It’s hard to explain, but the moment we entered this house on April 17th it gave us good vibes and grabbed us right away.  Renting our future home gave us an edge and solidified our initial impressions.  It’s small but spacious, just right for the two of us.

So what have we been up to during the ongoing home-buying process?

You know what they say – location, location, location. And that’s what made us fall in love with this place! The housing development is surrounded by vast state land that gives us access to many miles of hiking trails. Our house backs up to a large acreage buffer that met Steve’s dream property size. Although we own only 2.3 acres, the house sits on the edge of 26 acres owned by the folks who sold us the house, and they won’t be allowing any other development on the property around us. Perfect!

We love the desert animals that roam around and sometimes pay us a visit. Although we’re a little further away from town than we wanted to be (about 8 miles), the plus is that we have a very dark sky at night with minimal light pollution. It feels like living in the boonies, and we’re even shopping for a telescope to zoom in on the moon and planets!

Our living room window has become my private bird blind

Springtime breezed by, and as the pandemic raged we embraced the toasty summer in Wickenburg. Since June our temps have been in the triple digits, but being inside with the air conditioning keeping us cool is working out just fine. We’ve quickly adapted to living in a desert environment, walking or hiking at sunrise for a couple of hours followed by doing our outdoor chores before the heat sets in. Then we do our shopping or indoor tasks until the evening. We usually take a “power nap” in the afternoons, which we’ve never done before!

That rising sun gets hot by 7AM

We alternate walks around the neighborhood with hikes in the adjoining vast desert playground

Steve began accumulating “toys” right away, things he couldn’t own during our 8 years in Betsy. And speaking of Betsy, she’s still on the market looking for that one buyer, but I digress. He spends his time tinkering with the car and completing chores around the house:

Our “wild” neighbors occasionally come by for a drink or to just take shelter in the shade for a while. During springtime, the migratory birds visited, while the locals continually delight us with their antics. The rabbits are cute but they chew on some of our plants, while our slithery friends have been scaring the heck out of me:

Our feathered friends have been keeping my camera busy, especially during spring migration:

Just a few of the many species that are running up our birdseed bill!

My new favorites this summer are the Gambel’s Quails. We began noticing several family groups foraging in our backyard during the mornings and afternoons, and we literally watched the broods grow from tiny little chicks to teenagers. They’re so fun and delightful to watch that Steve even gets excited when they stop for a drink:

Scurrying through the yard

Mom patiently waits while the little ones belly up to the bar

I’m so thirsty!Unchanged:

I have tons of pics of these cute little guys quenching their thirst

Steve pitched in and became friends with our neighbor’s horses while they were on vacation:

One day he untangled a garden snake from a neighbor’s garden netting. He wouldn’t have done it for a rattlesnake, but he felt so sorry for this snake that I couldn’t stop him. So if you can stomach it, watch this little video on how he saved a snake:

Steve lived on well water and septic systems for years, but the laws and inspections here add some complexity when buying a house. Thankfully, the septic inspection showed that you-know-what was running downhill as expected, and lab results of our water confirmed we have a great well.

Once all inspections were completed and we were confident that we’d own the house we got busy with some serious yard work. I got to play with some new tools!

We had it all hauled away, but there’s more where it came from

Arizona sunrises and sunsets have always stopped us in our tracks, and now we have the best seat in the house to marvel at their beautiful appearance:

One morning we woke up to a red rainbow!

As the early riser, Steve begins many days with gorgeous sunrises

A stormy-looking sunset, but our monsoon rains have yet to come

Living on the road for 8 years was amazing, but we’ve found our little piece of heaven in the Sonoran desert. Happily, our transition from RV life to a fixed home was smooth as butter, and now I can buy anything I want with no weight limits to worry about 🙂

We’re adapting and starting a new page in our life as homeowners, and we’ll take whatever the “new normal” may bring us:

Mask up, Arizona!

After signing the many dotted lines and passing all inspections, we put up our stake in the desert sand and call it home.

And just a couple of days ago we officially became Arizona residents!


  1. I check your site every morning and I was so happy to see this post! Let me be the first (on the blog at least) to congratulate you both! It’s a sweet place and seems to tick all the boxes for you both. I think we’ll be getting back on the road again by end of October so we’ll be sure to give you a call when we’re in the area! Can’t wait to see you again.
    I LOVE the baby quail pictures, you’ve captured their little personalities perfectly! I know that Steve is enjoying all the work owning a home entails, how are you fairing though? That landscaping work looks tough! Again, congratulations.

    • We are so excited and grateful that the landlord sold the house to us, after hearing from our neighbors that he is controlling the area and won’t sell the house. I think he was won over by my charm. The clean up around the house is a big job, and so far I am enjoying it. But it has been so hot that we will continue the clean up in fall and when the snakes are gone.
      The comings and goings of the chicks are delightful. That picture of them drinking water garnered 710 likes on the FB group Birding Arizona, a first for me!
      We look forward to your visit in Fall, and who knows you may like the area we are in 🙂

  2. Beautifully assembled post ML that gives us insights into why your choice of house fits so well into your lifestyle. So very glad you and Steve have found your slice of heaven. We’ll miss seeing you on the road but knowing we can stop by if/when we’re back in your area sounds good to me.

    • Thanks TBG, this time you have to linger around Wickenburg 🙂 We are glad it worked out for us and the landlord. The process was so smooth that closing was done a week early.

    • That’s great news that you were able to buy the rental house since you liked it so much! It looks lovely, but Jim would not be happy with all the yard work involved with that much property. I laughed about your 110 degree comment. At least the low humidity makes it somewhat tolerable, especially early in the mornings. Have fun making the house and yard your own, and we hope to come and visit one day!

  3. Congratulations on your new home – we are so happy for you! You absolutely did find a slice of (expansive) Heaven and were smart to scoop it up! Makes us really miss our 20+ years in the Sonoran Desert. Arizona is very lucky to have such a great couple within its borders. You already look like native Desert Rats (those who live in, appreciate and love the purity). Big hugs, Len and Carla B.

    • Hello there Carla, Great to hear from you. Yes we have become Desert Rats 🙂 after spending many winters here in AZ we fell in love with the Southwest.

  4. Wishing you many, many happy years in your desert oasis! Enjoy what you’ve worked so hard to achieve!

  5. We’re so happy for you. :-)) How great that you found your perfect spot to settle down after checking out the entire country. Lots of hiking, birds and other wildlife, dark night skies, and gorgeous sunsets…it doesn’t get any better!

    The baby quail are adorable. How fun that you have your own bird blind—you can birdwatch and photograph to your heart’s content while drinking coffee in your pj’s! And Steve has room for all of his projects! Enjoy settling in and making it ‘yours.’ Just be careful with that chainsaw and all of those prickly plants, lol. We can’t wait to visit you! OXOX

    • We are looking forward to your visit next year! Now you have a great reason to drive through Highway 93 on your way north. These birds and other visitors are distracting me from my chores.

  6. Congratulations on your new home! So exciting for you and Steve. Thank you for posting an update as I’ve been wondering about you.

    We’ve been full time for 2.5 years now, and don’t see an end in site for us. This pandemic has definitely made me wonder if we should get a home base. But for now, we will continue to drive on down the road.

    • Thank you Tami, Well, there are still more years of RVng ahead of you 🙂 so many places to explore. With an RV at least you have the ability to really stay away from people.

  7. I love, love the baby quails and Joe says great job Steve for saving the garden snake (He had snake pets like that one growing up.). Congratulations on your new dream home! It’s perfect! Gay

    • The chicks are delightful to watch as they scurry along and follow mom and dad. I prefer them from other birds as they are self-sufficient and not demanding like the other birds.
      We really felt bad looking at the tangled snake, we would have left it if it was a rattler.

  8. Congratulations on the new home and transition to a more permanent lifestyle. We’ll be following in your footsteps near Casa Grande at Robson Ranch community. Home will be completed in Oct. Looks like paradise for sure. Glad you found your happy place.

  9. So happy that you guys were able to secure your piece of paradise! You look like you’re really making it your own, too. I love all the birdie photos. Those babies getting drinks are adorable. Good job on saving that snake. ML, why didn’t you hold it while Steve cut the netting? 😀 We can’t wait to visit you in your beautiful home!

    • Thank You Joodie. It was obvious but I was using tongs to hold down the snake. I was too scared actually. We are slowly making it our own but we take a pause from landscaping for it is too hot to do work after our work.
      Now you have a real good reason to pass through here either on your way to or back from Alaska!

  10. Congrats! We are looking forward our visit when things calm down. You guys will be in great yard work shape, especially after it cools down. Let us know if your heading up to Prescott.

    • I know, after three days of cutting and dragging debri, my upper body was sore! There is more of it once it cools down. Too hot and snakes abound.

  11. Fantastic news! I love your new home and all the creatures that visit you. I’ve been thinking about leaving the bay area a moving to a rural area. I need to take another road trip and find the perfect location. I love Arizona, Colorado, Canada and Costa Rica. Hopefully after the pandemic is over we can find a new home too. Enjoy your fun morning walks. I love all your beautiful photos.

  12. Congratulations on your new home. Your posts over the past 4 years have been enjoyable to read. And you take great pictures! Wishing you both good health.

  13. Congratulations on your new home. I am impressed at all the things you have already done to make it yours. We continue to enjoy your great photos especially of the quail.

  14. Love your desert home!! I really wanted an adobe but it wasn’t meant to be for us. Those baby quail pics are precious. Congrats on finding your dream spot.

  15. You two really have had perfect timing with all of this – from your years of travel, to finding a great spot to settle down just as the pandemic made life difficult for full timers, to finding a great house to rent and then buy. I’m glad it has all worked out so well. You guys look relaxed and happy and pretty soon, the weather will be just perfect there. Love the sunsets and bird photos!

    • Yup, you got that right. Who knew! When you are planning your winter sojourn, and choose AZ, be sure to come and visit. Hopefully, by then Covid19 is already contained 🙂 We are definitely desert rats, we now shrugged off if it is 110 outside!

  16. So great to see an update! Looks like a gorgeous place to call home. Love the wildlife photos, and that snake untangling was quite the undertaking!

  17. I think you scored. Of course I’m just a little biased having wintered in Yarnell so many years. Love your bird watching window.

  18. Congratulations! I’m so happy you two found something that seems perfect … meant to be. Great pics as usual but especially love those baby quail images. Hope to visit you guys again this fall and see all the changes as you make the place your own 😀

  19. It’s so great that you found your new home quickly, too. It’s amazing how things just fall into place sometimes. I can hear the excitement and contentment in your narrative. So happy for both of you that you are so enjoying your place. I love your living room windows. What a perfect bird blind. The baby quail are so darn cute. We’ve enjoyed watching many families come down our hill as the neighbor feeds the birds every morning. The quail come in droves. Boy, dad doesn’t wait at all for the teeny tiny babies as they stumble over the rocks on our hill. Your photos of the family all lined up around your water dish as just too adorable. I keep going back for another look. That was so kind of you, Steve, to save that poor snake. Great job! Wonderful filming, ML! Way too much yard work! I definitely don’t and have never enjoyed working in the yard. You, however, look like you are having a blast. That chainsaw looks mighty dangerous!! Haha! Enjoy making the new house your home. Thanks for sharing!

    • I have not done that much yardwork before so it was a novelty using those tools. Once it cools off we will continue to clear up our backyard and once the snakes go on hibernation. Steve was brave enough to help the snake, we were glad it was not the rattler. And I thought I can put away my camera but boy those chicks are too precious. They seem to come on schedule morning and afternoon.
      I sure hope you have plans of taking your MH back to AZ so you can visit us!

  20. Congratulations!!! So glad it all worked out for you guys, can’t wait to visit. Loved the baby quails, we’ve enjoyed watching the birds and squirrels babies grow up here in IL. See you next winter.

  21. Congratulations on becoming residents and finding a stix & brix that spoke to you. It sure sounds like you’re extremely happy with your decision to settle there. I love seeing the photos of the wildlife that visits you … except for the snake, of course 😉

    • Thank you Erin. Yes, we do love our little home. It seems it was waiting for us. It was a rental for five years until we came along, the “right people” to become neighbors with the landlord. The birds and the wildlife are a bonus, and yes ,except for the snakes that come by. The rattler is now underground, it looked too comfy in our yard.

  22. Great pictures! =)

    Ben Joyce, CFP®, CIMA®
    Vice President – Investment Officer
    Fundamental Choice Portfolio Manager
    CA Insurance License # 0C66872
    360.714.2765, direct

  23. Congratulations on finding just a beautiful spot. I love everything but the triple digit temps! The quail and rabbits are so cool, I could watch them all day!

  24. Congratulations and may God continue to bless your home weather it has wheels or not!

  25. Looks like a comfortable place to settle down and call home. Loved the quail pics and sunrises and sunsets. It’s hard to beat those AZ colors in the morning and evening. Sometimes it looks like a fire along the horizon. Many happy wishes for you guys as you embark on this new chapter.

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