Sunday, December 28, 2008

In The Saddle Back Again

Today was a perfect Arizona winter day--57 degrees and clear, clean air. We decided to go four-wheeling in the beautiful Sonoran Desert, one of my top three favorite things to do! We decided to go fifty miles west from my house to Saddleback Mountain. Two mountain masses form the saddle, and there are canyons and gulches between them.

The smoke in the photo is actually steam coming from the Palo Verde Nuclear Plant. Palo Verde is the largest nuclear plant in the USA. It employs about 2,500 people.

Back side of saddle mountain

Rugged, towering cliffs and rock spires make for spectacular scenery. We saw mule deer, rabbits, and a few red-tailed hawks. I aways look for desert tortoises but so far have never found one! The Indian wheat, other grasses and wildflowers are abundant. After the recent rains the desert has turned green and I wanted to see how many wildflowers we could look forward to seeing in February, that is, if we get at least one more rain.

There are plenty of healthy Saguaro cactus in the area.

Taking photos at high noon makes for a poor photos that have washed-out color...I wish they would have shown the greening as it really is. It is breathtakingly beautiful for us Desert Rats!

This is an unusual twin headed Barrel cactus. I guess a wood pecker wanted a back door as this one pecked a hole all the way through.

We had a great time--only once did I have to get out of the truck while Hubby went practically sideways down a cliff! It's more fun to stand on the sidelines watching him tempt fate--I'm a little too chicken-hearted to stay in the truck! This was a wonderful end to a wonderful Christmas weekend.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008



Monday, December 22, 2008

Garden Gab

Today's sunrise.

My son brought over another plate of ripe figs!! We thought that the last bag he gave me would be the end of them for the season, but as you can see, they are still going strong. He had two other pickings after the last batch he gave me. This is a great Christmas gift!!

JOY TO THE WORLD!! Another stained glass piece that my friend made. I love the colors, and I think I will keep it up all year!

The Nasturtiums are looking good-- they will bloom later in January. This is the pot my squirrel visitor napped in before running through the neighborhood.

Froggies enjoy the sun as much as I do. White geraniums and Lobelia are filling out.

Do you think I will get any more ripe tomatoes? The bush is loaded with dozens of little tomatoes and it has a lot of blooms on the top.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

A Good Soaking is Good

After two days of rain the sun is out and hopefully will dry out all the potted cactus!

The pine cone cactus is so full of rain that it is drooping from the weight! Sorta like me...

The wild flowers love the rain and if it continues into January, we might have a large crop this year in the desert. I hope my wildflowers will be contained to this area, but my sister told me to quit dreaming! I might have a lot of dead flowers to pull up this summer! Is it to much to ask that I could be right just this once--after all, they are all walled in......

After a day of being soaked, I placed all the potted cactus under the bench trying to prevent water death! The rain was pleasant, slow and soaking, and much needed. Winter rains are nice. We love it when it rains here, but after two days without the sun, we start feeling constricted! The first day of rain and first day after brings such a pleasurable calm and such clean air. A blessing descending to earth! The effect is dramatic. Moods brighten and creativity surges, and the desert greens quickly. It's a beautiful winter desert day.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Sunset Season

Sometimes I think this is the best time of the year for gorgeous sunsets, even more than during the Monsoon season in summer. This one occurred last evening as I had dinner at my daughter's. It doesn't get any better than this!

I haven't had a Christmas tree for over 26 years now, but each year after Christmas I've always purchased lots of decorations and stored them in the garage, filling over four floor-to-ceiling closets! I guess I figured maybe the next year I would get a tree.

Then, a few years ago I decided to simplify my life and declutter. I started in the garage and gave away all my best pieces to my daughters and I donated the rest. My sister did the same, and boy did the kids luck out! She had a ton of really nice stuff. They can decorate their homes each year with a different theme! When my sis visits, she always comments about how nice the decorations are, and says things like, "That's a great piece. It looks like something I would buy if I still decorated." The funny thing is, it was something she did buy, gave away, and forgot about! When that happens you know you had too much stuff.

I always help my daughter's decorate their homes and trees, so I do get my decorating fix! I'm not sure if I will buy more this year. Probably not, but I never know if the urge will hit when I see all the after Christmas sales.

Thursday, December 4, 2008


looking out my front door this evening......

See the decending sun,
Scatt'ring his beams about him as he sinks,
And gilding heaven above, and seas beneath,
With paint no mortal pencil can express.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

A Nod To Some Blog Friends

I have been busy in the past two weeks. Thanks to blogs I've visited, I have tried a few things that I knew I could create without expending too much energy! I've painted rocks in the past, so tried doing a few last week. Forgot which blog inspired this project. Here are a few more of my creations.

I guess I like doing bugs. I seem to do a lot of them. All are friendly, and they don't disturb any plants.

This one is kind of cock-eyed, but that's what makes him cute!

Turr Tull will have a companion when he comes out of hibernation next May-June.

Julie at A Succulent Life inspired me to try and grow a bonsai--I think I need to trim off the bottom stems and lower the top. (just did, and then the battery died in my camera. I'll get new photos to add later.) Hopefully it will look as good as hers eventually! Thanks, Julie!

My daughter's newly painted block wall got me into a colorful mood. I have had a small table with a two-chair set for over 20 years, and decided to brighten them up from the original white. One more coat on each piece and back they go into the fairy hideaway.

Aiyana at Water When Dry had a great idea of where to hang her extra wind chimes and sun catchers. She hangs them on a tall planter. Since I have an abundance of chimes and sun catchers stored in boxes, I'm going through them and will hang them up like I've done here. I might need another planter, I have so many! Thanks Aiyana, a perfect fix!

Claude at Random Rants and Prickly Plants saved my beloved sweet peas with his suggestion of sprinkling garlic around the plants and then watering it in to get rid of the no-see-ums. Yeah!! It worked! Grandmothers always know best! Thanks for the tip, Claude!


Just filled up my car--$17!! Just a short while ago it cost me $35! My daughter filled up for $35, and before it was $75! Too bad the media doesn't talk about the positives. This has to help the economy--I spent the money I saved on gas, and I'm sure everyone else will too! However, gas is NOT CHEAP at $1.79. People think that's cheap, and it is compared to $4 a gallon, but we shouldn't say it's cheap. Be sure and keep an eye on any plan to add more Federal tax on gas. I'm afraid that's coming next--just to control our usage and drive people to buy hybrids.