White Tank Mountains

White Tank Mountains
Sunrise on a Stormy Day

Monday, January 12, 2009

Let's Make Wine in 2009

Yes, well, now you know my latest craze.....winemaking. It all started last Summer when the grapes ripened. I just couldn't bear to think of one grape going to waste. What can you do with a huge bucket of grapes? You can make wine.

Who knows what kind they are! The identification tag was lost sixteen days after they were planted 4 years ago just like everything else around this place. It's either filed somewhere and will never be found until I don't need it anymore, or it's buried under the grape vines where it fell. Anyway, to get to the point, I had a heck of a time trying to decide on a recipe from the Internet but, once I did, proceeded with all the enthusiasm that only a completely clueless person can exude with words like must, carboy, fermentation, and hydrometer rattling around in my head.

The first step was to wash and seed all those grapes, which took me the greater part of 2 days, and then, following my recipe closely, place them into a big stainless steel vat, while congratulating myself on finally finding a use for something bought years ago and, until now, had sat unused under the cabinet in the laundry room.

Sterilization being touted as of utmost importance of every piece of equipment you use in winemaking, everything was scrubbed with soap and water and then doused with a mixture of Potassium Metabisulphite and bottled water. Feeling more like a chemist than a winemaker, the grapes were mixed together with Campden tablets and left to sit over night and then the yeast and sugar was added and enough bottled water to fill up the 3 gallon vat.

Lo and behold, the sugar and yeast did it's little trick and the whole shebang started to bubble and sizzle. No words can describe the thrill you feel with your first batch of homemade hooch, especially when it's from your own grapes. I don't even drink wine, and yet I was absolutely elated at the prospect of making it.

Somewhere along the way an hydrometer was bought although I had no clue how to use it, and the more I read about it, the more confused I became so, every once in a while ,I would draw a little wine out and test it and try to figure out what it all meant, to no avail. Please remember, I am a type A sales personality, Chemistry is the only subject that I almost failed in high school and college, and my disability to understand anything related to it is overshadowed only by my unwillingness to give a hoot.

In about seven days the bubbling and sizzling stopped and it was time to press out the juice. No press!!!! No money to spend on a press!!! So, after much rumination, I decided to use the lid from the next smaller vat which fit right down into the larger vat and made a perfect press if you applied a nice clean, sterilized bare foot to the top of it and shifted all your weight on to it. Voila, the resulting wine was strained into a 3 gal. carboy which I purchased from Better Bottles on the Internet, an airlock was applied and filled with sterile water and it was placed on the counter in the laundry room to age.

This is the hardest part, waiting: but a very necessary part, also. During the aging, the wine clears and all the little particles of grapes sink to the bottom and become something called lees which is what you don't want in your wine. After about 2 weeks you see the cloudy mixture you put in the carboy start to clear up and look like something you could actually drink. I didn't have a clue what it should taste like because I'm not a wine connoisseur or even close, so, at this point I'm thinking,"how am I going to know if it's wine or if it's vinegar".

Stay with me, there's a lot more to come. See you tomorrow.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Friday, January 4, 2008


Wow! It's been a while since we've talked. A lot has happened so I'll try to give you the short version.

April - I was supposed to have surgery on both shoulders but pre-op revealed a spot on my lung so had no choice but to opt for phsycial therapy. Thank you, God, for looking out for me. The spot appears to be nothing significant and my shoulders are almost as good as new.

May - Don had five by-pass open heart surgery and then a lung problem that proved to be worse than the surgery. June and July was pretty much taken up with just getting him back on his feet and strong enough to go back to work. Our Granddaughter, Randy, and her boyfriend, Adam, came in July to make sure grandpa was doing o.k. and Adam demonstrated his atheletic ability by riding all the horses on the place that hadn't been ridden before.

August is disgustingly hot in Phoenix but I had my granddaughter, Shelby, here to help with the animals and Don so we made it through that.

September 5 was the big day we were all waiting for. Catherine June, my great-granddaughter was born a healthy 6 lb. 7 oz. and 18" long. The most beautiful child ever and a delight to the whole family.

October, November, and December seemed to fly by. The most eventful thing that happened in those 3 months was sending Hope, the paint mare, to the trainer and getting to watch her progress. Also, did some ground work with Chica, the bay filly, and she's now ready for someone to ride her.

We're looking forward to a new year with lots of new challenges, and, hopefully, more time for blogging.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Maricopa County Fastest Growing in Nation

Please click on the link below to read this interesting story that appeared in Realty Times.

Monday, March 5, 2007

Septic Inspections

One great thing about being a Realtor is that things are never boring and you learn new things all the time. What I've learned lately is that homeowners who have septic tanks are at the mercy of septic tank inspectors, and you better pray that your guy is having a good day when he comes out to certify your septic, because the sale of your house is not going to close until he puts his stamp of approval on it.

Occasionally someone buys a house and never moves into it. It's a brand new, never lived in, house with a brand new, never used, septic. When the house was built, the County Inspector came out and inspected and approved it. Wouldn't you think that you could sell that house without having another inspection done on it. Not so! Anyway not in Maricopa County! The septic has to be inspected each time the house sells whether it has been lived in or not; and, if there are more than 6 inches of water in the bottom from all the plumbing being tested, it has to be pumped.

In order to do the inspection, the septic has to first be located, and the man hours of labor start when their feet hit the ground, so it is most helpful if you can be standing there and point to the location of the risers on your tank. County code says that the risers must be between 6" and 12" below surface, so that means, if you have filled extra dirt in over your tank and it measures 14" from ground level to the riser, it may not pass inspection or the inspector may require an additional riser be installed.

Count on a bill from $350 to $800+ and please know that there is not one thing the Realtor can do but comply with county regulations.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Stable Market In Clearwater Farms

The last post raised some questions in my mind about where the market is going in Clearwater Farms, so I did a little research.

From January 1, 2006 to December 31, 2006 there were 26 sales in this subdivision ranging in price from $340,000 to $881,000.

The average sales price was $531,438
The average asking price was $547,611
The average square footage of the home was 2529
The average price per square foot was $210.14
The average days on market was 91

At present time there are 4 sales pending closing, which I mentioned in my last post. Those sale prices are not available until after closing, and I will post the sale prices at a later date, but we do have the asking prices, and they are as follows:

The average asking price was $507,350
The average square footage of the home is 2124
The average asking price per square foot is $238.87
The average days on market is 211

Of the four sales that have closed in 2007, the averages are probably not a good comparison because of the one larger unusual property that had considerable more acreage, but the averages are as follows:

The average asking price was $801.975
The average sales price was $761,250
The average square footage of the home was 3143
The average price per square foot was $242,20
The average days on market was 58

After eliminating the bigger property the averages are as follows:

The average asking price was $602,633
The average sales price was $581,666
The average square footage of the home was 2591
The average price per square foot was $224.49
The average days on market was 51

When compared then to the 2006 sales prices, it shows a slight increase in the overall price, and a slight increase in the price per square foot, with a normal average days on the market.

Presently there are 17 homes on the market in Clearwater Farms ranging in prices from $425,000 to $782,888, and the averages are as follows:

The average asking price is $567,375
The average square footage of the home is 2492
The average price per square foot is $227.68
The average days on market is 111

Now that's a lot of numbers, and I expect they are all rattling around in your head, but what it really comes down to is that the prices are holding pretty firm here, but the average time on the market is increasing due to the slow down in the overall real estate market.

It is my hope that you will post questions or suggestions to this blog, and that it will eventually become a place for a community conversation.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Clearwater Farms 2007 Sold Properties

In this market, it's interesting to look at the properties that are selling in our neighborhood and the prices those properties are bringing. So far in 2007, there have been 4 properties in Clearwater that have sold and closed.

7335 N. 181st Ave. is a 3 bedroom, 2 bath, 2 1/2 car garage, 2150 sq. ft. home built in 1984 on 2 acres and it sold for $460,000. Asking price was $499,000. There were no horse facilities or other improvements mentioned. Closing date was 1/12/2007

6140 N. 185th Ave. is a 4 bedroom, 2 bath, 3 car garage, 2967 sq. ft. home built in 1997 on 2 acres and it sold for $605,000. Asking price was $609,000. No horse facilities or other improvements mentioned. Closing date was 1/31/2007

7207 N. 175th Ave. is a 4 bedroom, 3 bath, 2 1/2 car garage, 2657 sq. ft. home built in 1999 on 2 acres. It also has guest quarters, a barn, tack room, 9 to 15 miniature horse stalls, 4 large stalls, wash rack, round pen, covered tractor storage, workshop w/ac and 3 large pastures. It was priced at $699,900 and sold for $680,000 on 1/7/2007.

18009 W. Maryland Ave. is a 5 bedroom, 4.5 bath, 2 1/2 car garage, 4800 sq. ft. home, built in 1999 on 3 acres. It also has a gazebo, landscape system, corral, barn and path around property for horses or ATVs. This was quite an unusual "Gone With The Wind" type mansion and the asking price was $1,400,000. It sold on 1/31/2007 for $1,300,000.

There are also several homes that are Pending.

6728 N. 186th Ave. priced at $449,500
6627 N. 183rd Ave. priced at $450,000
6856 N. 186th Avve. priced at $499,900
7229 N. 173rd Ave. priced at $630,000

I will post the information and the selling price on these homes in a later post.

There are currently 17 homes on the market in Clearwater Farms ranging in price from $425,000 to $782,888.

Latte' and Bambi

Latte' and Bambi
Brother & Sister Born On Our Farm

Mario Orozco & Hope

Mario Orozco & Hope
Great Trainer & Great Paint Filly