Thursday, July 31, 2008

Volunteering to Cool Off!

Francie, my daughter's Dachshund.
She has two other Dachshunds, plus a wolf mixed breed with pale blue eyes.

Another mini staycation--I am house and dog sitting in the somewhat cooler Prescott Valley for the next 10 days. The temperature here today was 98 degrees, as opposed to the 114 down in the valley! I brought my camera but was disappointed when I found out the home owner's computer wouldn't accept my camera card! I didn't think to take along the camera's USB cable, so I've posted a photo I had stored in drafts.

I will be going home for a day for a birthday party, and hopefully, I will have my camera set up and ready when I return, so that I can get photos of Shelby, an Australian Shepard and lab mix who is 19 years old, as well as the abundant wild life. The home owner's backs up to an unfenced wash that allows javelina, rabbits, etc. to come and go at will. Shelby is somewhat blind and deaf, but still takes a nightly walk, has only lost 2 back teeth, so her appetite is good.

So far it has been a very easy job! Sat will be a busy day attending a combined birthday party for three in my family! I won't feel like driving back up after eating a gourmet dinner at my daughter's home and at least 3 homemade deserts! On Monday I plan to start my 84th diet! Wish me luck! Actually I need more than luck. I need a kick in the butt!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Random Things About Me

Vapor trails over the lake

I am taking Aiyana's advice and I'm doing the 6 random things about myself meme. Here goes:

My very first paying job was in the late 1960s at an AT&T manufacturing plant.
After about 3 years of doing a "woman's job" and seeing the men making more money with less seniority, my sister started fighting for the rights of women to work at the traditional "men's jobs". Of course, I joined in the fight. We won, and I became the first female forklift driver at the plant. I had to prove myself and I became the best driver. It wasn't easy, and the guys didn't like it, but I was working to make money, not to please a bunch of MSPs! It was a different world then. Nowadays, if women had to put up with the stuff that those guys dished out back in the day, they'd be rich from suing for sexual harrassment!

Later, after a time at home, I saw an ad in the paper under "Men Wanted" for a job. Can you believe that ad was legal back then?
I applied and convinced the manager I was as good a worker as any man, and he hired me as the first woman cabinet maker at a mobile home manufacturing plant. Of course, this was also a fight. After proving I could do the job and do it well, they opened all the jobs to women!

I volunteered for 7 years as a rescue unit worker
. The unit was a small van, and all you needed to volunteer was a First Aid Card. Before that the only rescue vehicle was the local hearse--the funeral director would pick up patients and deliver them either to the hospital or morgue! Talk about a scary times! We covered hundreds of miles and if the accident was 250 miles from Phoenix, the closest hospital would be in California. This was the early 1970s. Finally, after about a year we finally got a state-of-the-art ambulance and I received EMT training and certification. During that time I delivered 7 babies. Two were home births, one in a doctor's office and 4 in the ambulance. I loved every minute of it. I then became Head Dispatcher for police, fire and rescue. I loved living on the edge and knowing about everything going on in our small town! I went to the Police Academy and became a Certified Police Officer. I was in the thick of it all. I did all three at the same time.

I've fulfilled two of my childhood dreams.
As a child living in a rural farm area devoid of entertainment, once a week we would go to the train depot to watch the passenger trains passing through. The dining cars were my favorite. As they would pass by, passengers would wave to us. I dreamed of doing that someday. Some 45 years later, I sat in a dining car on the Starlight Express going to Canada to watch Phantom of the Opera. I waved to all the people at the crossings and remembered that little girl that was me many years before. Another childhood dream was to go to Switzerland, and I went twice. My first trip was filled with unbelievable coincidences that are mind boggling. That's another story for another day....

A dream not fulfilled and hoping to someday
is to have a tree house. Not the kid kind, the kind one lives in. I always look for the perfect tree no matter where I go. There are really not many suitable trees in AZ. The best I've found so far are in Oregon! Someday.... It has to be soon though, as I won't be able to climb in a few years, I'm afraid. But, I am keeping up with my leg presses, waiting for that perfect tree!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Desperation-Sparse Pickings

There is a silver lining just around the corner. That will be when fall starts and the temperature drops. The silver lining for me is found with the true pleasures of working the garden soil and planting new plants. Fall can be viewed only as a blessing in our desert!

Remember the beautiful gazania? Well, this too bit the dust! I have had this one a couple years. Since they are considered annuals, maybe it was time.

Ok, I am desperate to find something to blog about! The Orange Jubilee plant that turned yellow has dropped most of its flowers. Not sure if this is a common occurrence for this time of the year or if it is just stress from the heat. This is my first try on this one.

Tephrocactus articulatus var. papyracanthus has whitish spines 1 to 4 inches long, similar to raffia fibers. It hasn't bloomed yet so I'm not sure about the flowers.

Tephrocactus articulatus var. syringacanthus has never bloomed. It has spines that are longer and darker than the papyracanthus variety. I like this one the best. There are about seven varieties of Tephrocactus articulatus. I would like to have one of each. When I got this, I was told this one was somewhat rare.

Golden barrel is at its brightest color, and I'm not sure why. The full sun beats down on it all day! They can sunburn with that much exposure. You can see just a tiny bit of sunburn on the edges of the ribs. I have 4 of them that do well in my garden!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Glad To Be Home--Sort Of

Coming home from a great camping trip and finding my Mammillaria in full bloom was quite a treat. Usually all the flowers don't bloom at once, but when they do, the cactus looks like its wearing flower wreaths to celebrate the rain that fell when I was gone.

While picking wild blackberries for a cobbler, we found three small pine trees full of baby lady bugs! I bet those pine trees don't have aphids with all the lady bugs, but then, maybe that's why the ladybugs are there--to eat aphids!

They were tiny--they may have been babies. I'm not sure how long they stay on the trees like this.

We camped at Knoll Lake on the spectacular Mogollon Rim, pronounced "MUG-ee-own." The views there are magnificent! The elevation is 7400. Lots of people don't realize that a good part of the State of Arizona is high country--not just the desert. This place is about 3hours from my house.

It is such a relief to get out of the heat by mid -summer, and up at Knoll Lake the temperatures are 30 to 40 degrees lower during the daytime than down on the desert floor.

We fished for trout, played cards, picked berries, explored back roads, saw elk and deer , had a bonfire for s'mores, played horseshoes, read a book , took naps, long walks, enjoyed the rain. We were ready to come home, though--with only one cold shower in 7 days. We almost forgot about the miserable heat that was waiting for us until we hit the lower elevations. But, jumping in the shower once home made up--sort of--for the terrible heat.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

The Things Handed Down

This wine barrel was made by my grandfather at the turn of the twentieth century. He emigrated from Switzerland. In Switzerland he was a cooper, or wine barrel maker. My daughter likes to decorate with rustic old stuff, so she put this vignette together for a corner in her family room.

My husband made the stools from antique milk cans and tractor seats that came from the farm my grandfather homesteaded here in Arizona. The wood top is Georgia Pine from an old bowling alley that was torn down in the state of Georgia. It belonged to my son-in-law, who hauled it around for 30 years, knowing it had a special purpose.

By the time anyone reads this, I will be in Arizona cool country camping out with my family. I used the Blogger scheduler feature for the first time! Hope to get some good photos from my trip.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

New Plant--Great Blooms!

I don't have a thing blooming in the garden and I don't have much else to post about. We went to Lowe's see if there were any plants that might make it in this heat. Most of the plants there were just as stressed as mine. This pink-flowered Echeveria in full bloom caught my eye and I couldn't wait to get it home! The only info on the plant said it would do well in full sun. I'm sure they didn't mean the Arizona sun! I am going to keep it inside until the temps go down. Afterwards it should do well on my east patio.

We are getting ready for a camping trip to cool Arizona country--just in time to get out of the heat! One thing about Arizona, we have all kinds of climates here, depending on the elevation, and to get to high country only takes a couple of hours. The temperatures will be at least 25 degrees cooler than the desert in the daytime, and probably 40-50 degrees cooler at night. Hopefully the monsoon will bring enough rain to green the desert while we are gone. (No chance for a cool spell though, we're in for high heat for another two months at least. After being in the cool pines, it will be hard to come home to the dry hot desert!

Friday, July 4, 2008

Happy Birthday America

Happy Birthday America!! We had early fireworks at the lake tonight. A few other places in the area also had fireworks. We had the best seat in the house- our upper deck! I haven't been up on the deck for about 6 months. I couldn't see to set my camera in the dark , so this is what I captured. I think they are pretty neat! Click on any of the photos and see the details. Even though they are out of focus, they make for an interesting look.