Thursday, July 30, 2009

Ups and Downs...

This morning's sunrise. All my mornings start off with a beautiful sunrise, and for this I am thankful.

After my healthy
Masculana hugeinimus 'Horny' cactus became limp and all dried up, it reinforced my belief that I'm not a suitable caretaker for these intimidating desert dwellers! I was ready to ship all my remaining living cacti and succulents off to Claude and Julie! Then......

I was presented with this breathtakingly display! Sunrise, cacti blooms and air conditioning-- what more could I need?

Sorry guys, I'll just keep them around a while longer!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Animal Sights

A few days ago my spouse and I took a drive down the road, just to have the air conditioner blasting in our faces. About three miles from my house we saw that one of the farms along the way has a herd of Buffalo. We don't see Buffalo very often, although they are not that much of rarity. I'm not sure if it's for the novelty or if it's for the Buffalo meat.

A puny wire fence doesn't look strong enough to keep this animal contained. The pipe fencing in the photo below seemed safer, but there are warning signs posted saying to keep a safe distance away. I spotted a Buffalo calf under the shade of a large tree, but couldn't get close enough to take a photo.


This humble beast seems to quietly accept his burden of having to bear the heat with his thick shaggy coat. Not me--I protest loudly and often!

In a field next to the Buffalo is a herd of quarter horses, that didn't seem at all bothered by the 110 degree heat. Maybe it does one good to be somewhat parched by the heat, but I am not interesting in trying it!

Sunday, July 26, 2009


In stillness there is fullness, in fullness there is nothingness- in nothingness there are all things.

Quaker saying

The water on the lake was very calm this morning, as there was no breeze at all. This gave the lake a mirror quality, helped along by overcast skies.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Magic Rain!

Remember my road kill cactus that bit the dust? Well, a funny thing happened after a day of roaring winds,

a few broken pots, and 0.50 inches of rain,

Road Kill came back to the living! Our Arizona desert rain is magic! It lifts everyone's spirits and quickly brings life back into the desert! It will be short lived though--

I'll be complaining in a few days of the humidity!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Droopy and Dry--Plants and People!

This is what people in my part of the country feel like--droopy and dried out!!! This is the last of the zucchini--it sure was good while it lasted!

This plant came up in May and I have waited for a flower or vegetable to identify it but not even a runner has appeared. Anyone have a idea what this is? Someone who visited suggested Cantaloupe.

I have one zinnia plant left. It is in full sun and doing well while all the others have burnt to a crisp!

A close-by field of fresh cut Alfalfa ready for baling rivals the fragrance of the wonderful desert rain! Alfalfa flowers are a beautiful lilac color and also have the most delicious scent. When Alfalfa fields are in flower and a breeze is blowing, it is beautiful and looks like waves of lilac.

Rows of cotton thrive in our heat. Two types of cotton are grown in Arizona, Upland Cotton and American Pima Cotton. Upland cotton is a shorter staple, or length cotton than Pima, which has an extra long length. Pima cotton produces a more finely woven cotton fabric. This is Pima Cotton, at least I think it is.

I picked a couple rows of cotton as a child. At three cents a pound, picking two rows didn't amount to enough to get a ticket to the Saturday afternoon matinee, and in those days, tickets were only 10 cents for kids under twelve. Never tried it again! However, I did envy the regular cotton pickers' abilities. They could pick a sack of cotton in no time. My uncle or a hired foreman would stand in the cotton trailer to make sure the sack that was dumped didn't contain any rocks or bolls. That was a favorite trick of some of the pickers to up their sack weight.

My Orange Jubilee is still blooming and attracting plenty of bees and wasps. Thank goodness for Orange Jubilee for adding some colorful flowers to my droopy garden.

Vincas that love our hot Arizona sun! I plant these each June and they will last until I am ready for fall planting. Not much longer, I tell myself...but three months can feel like a lifetime in this weather! I just wish time would speed up in summer and slow down in the fall and spring. Winter can stay about the length it is because it is so mild here.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

The Story of Whitney and Hot Checks

I don't have any of my many dolls from childhood. When I was 9 years old a house fire destroyed everything. I loved my dolls, and I longed for a real live baby doll! My mother said that you had to have a heart to live, and my dolls didn't have one, so they could never come alive. I started praying often and hard for each one to be given a heart. I was about 4-5 years old then. Later, when we lost everything, I didn't get any new dolls. I just thought I had been through too much to play with dolls. However, years later I felt my childhood prayers were answered when my three children were born.

But this story is about Whitney. She is now 25 years old. She belongs to my first-born grand daughter, and for years, they were inseparable. At 15 months old, my grand daughter, in a stroller while we were shopping, spotted the doll in a box on the shelf and just begged to hold it. I handed the box to her and she ripped it open before we could stop her! She pulled the doll out, raised her own little shirt and started pretend-nursing her! I picked up the ripped box and my heart sank--the price tag said $35.00! Who had $35.00 to spare in the early 80's? Not us!! Not me! We didn't have credit cards then and I just couldn't take her "baby" away, so I wrote a "hot check" for her.

This is how it worked back then. We'd drive 35 miles to Phoenix, buy whatever, and write a check. You had about 5-7 days to get the money to cover the check and deposit it in the bank. Check floating is what we called it. By then it would be payday, and the money would be in the bank before the check would clear. It is the same scheme that's used today--robbing Peter to pay Paul, but now credit cards are juggled to pay the payments on other credit cards. Neither is a good practice, but this kept us in much needed groceries near the end of the pay cycle, as well as to cover any other emergency that came up. Unlike today, you just needed to make sure you never exceeded your pay check. That worked for years until new technology and credit cards became readily available. Now, people don't bother worrying about whether the paycheck will cover any outstanding checks, they just pay by the month! But I digress....

Whitney is the size of a newborn. She looks real, and for years Whitney caused us plenty of embarrassing moments. People would stop and tell us we should be ashamed for holding her wrong, or they admonished us for not properly propping her up in the shopping cart seat. The most eventful was at a parking lot where people were screaming that a baby was left in the car in a car seat. We ran over and tried to explain it was just a doll but someone had already called the police. The policeman told us not to ever leave her in the car seat alone, as she was so lifelike that he would have broken the window to save her from sure suffocation in the blistering heat.

Whitney was retired eight years ago. My grand daughter at age 16 had a tear in her eye when she placed her in my doll room. The outfit she has on is the outfit my last-born grand daughter wore coming home from the hospital when she was born. I think every family member has a "Whitney" story to tell. I know our Whitney is a big part of our family past, and as it is with kids and grand kids, adds an added layer of richness to our memories.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Teeming With Birds....

My small back yard is teeming with birds! The sprinklers turn on and they sit on the view fence waiting for the spray to stop so they can fly back into the wet grass. With temperatures of 107+ today, and 116 predicted for the weekend, my back yard has become a bird sanctuary.

This little guy is eating the Elephant's Food plant. After getting his fill here, he flies to the tomato plant.


Mammillaria grahamii

My cactus plants are producing puny flowers. I totally understand -I too am wilting in this hot weather! Time to take another road trip, but not sure if it's worth it--the" cool" country is hitting the 90's! Guess I'll stay home and pray my 18+ year old air conditioner will make it through another hot summer!

Don't remember the name of this one.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Connections To The Past

My Grandmother's dish cabinet stayed in the same spot in her dinning room for over 77 years. I acquired it after my uncles death in 1993.

The paper shelf liners were changed each month. We were paid fifty cents to dust and change the shelf papers. Another monthly chore was to clean the pantry. We had to organize the food and stuff and clean each shelf. I loved this job. The high top shelf was poorly lit and somewhat scary, but I loved dusting all the odds and ends that hadn't been used for years.

I would polish the wood till it gleamed. I love the smell of this Old English polish, which brings memories of past comforts and pleasures. I sometimes polish the cabinet just to have the fragrance in my home.

This ceramic frog was a gift from my Grandmother's only daughter, my aunt. It's from the 1940s, or maybe the early 1950s.

The wine carafe and the blue pitcher were saved from the Great 1907 San Francisco fire. They were living in the area at the time. The carafe had two wine classes were broken long ago. The carafe was the gift I chose from the cabinet as my wedding gift.

I'm not sure of the age of this iridescent, paper thin shell planter. It always sat near the coo coo clock on a high shelf. I love being surrounded by all my Grandmother's things. It is the connection to my family and my childhood. In today's world filled with swift changes and not knowing what lies ahead, it is important not to lose touch with the past that made us what we are. That is the key to real and lasting changes.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

On The Road Again

We headed north to Flagstaff for a weekend of camping with my daughter and and son-in-law this past week. The beautiful red rock formations get their red coloring from a form of iron oxide that coats grains of quartz.

Taking a side trip to Jerome for lunch, we hiked up to the Haunted Hamburger for the best view and burger in the state! We stopped at the Nellie Bly Kaleidoscope Shop and I purchased yet another kaleidoscope! I started a collection for my first-born grandson when he was three, and have added one for each Christmas and birthday. His 26th birthday is coming up soon and he has an extraordinary collection!

Meandering on a steep bumpy dirt road, we passed a small pond and meadow where a generous FRIEND had set up camp for us! We were surrounded by the Fremont, Humphrey and Agassiz mountains.

The sight of the majestic ponderosa pines and quaking aspens left us breathless. This campground, Lockett Meadow, is only three hours from our home! We will take advantage of this outstanding discovery often!

Watching the striking aspens leaves quaking in the wind had me mesmerized.

We were comfy in the pop-up--the chairs were set up, wood cut and stacked for us, we could hardly wait for the bonfire !

As we explored the area we spotted a lone five-point bull elk feeding at the edge of the forest. Four muletail does came into the meadow that evening, and we saw three prong- horned antelope on the road. I couldn't get any of them to stand still while I focused the camera! Beautiful blue jay's, red robins and other birds that I can't identify were everywhere! One of the birds sang all through the night!

I guess it's never to late in life to have someone declare their love in the form of initial carvings! I think this was the first for me!

This lone clump of flowers attracted hoards of butterflies. As I tried to get closer to focus the camera, they scattered! I couldn't scare off the beetles, bees, flies, and this one butterfly. It must have been the best pollen in Arizona!

All in all it was the 'best of everything' weekend!