Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Morning walk in wash~Nature Notes~122211

This morning was bright and clear and I headed out for a morning walk.  Hubby and I are staying at the Desert Ridge Canyon Villas, in Scottsdale, AZ.  I love to walk here whenever we stay here and I often walk through the wash which runs alongside their golf course.  Hehehehe!  I can hide from the gardeners in the morning and from the early-morning golfers.  They don't even know I'm there!  And, I get to see quail, roadrunners, cottontails, and morning doves.  This morning, the wash was full of wet smells from the 2 days of rain previously.  I'm glad I was able to get out and enjoy this walk.  Here are some photos I took this morning.  Nature Notes for December 22, 2011. To visit Nature Notes, please go to:

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Museum church~Whimsical Windows, Delirious Doors~122011

This little church is at the Superstition Mountains museum, which offers a spectacular view of the mountains from the top of the mountain above the museum.  It was dark and cloudy, but you can still see the window above the door.  It is a very nice little museum, with a lot of information, and it's right down the road from the Lost Dutchman State Park.  Whimsical Windows and Delirious Doors for December 20, 2011.  To visit WW and DD, please go to this link:

Monday, December 19, 2011

Clouds on the Superstition Mountains~Our World Tuesday~122011

I've always wanted to photograph the Supersition Mountains with snow on them.  There wasn't snow today, but there were low clouds around them, which was almost as good.  We arrived mid-afternoon, but it was so dark and overcast that there wasn't any sun on the mountains.  So, I focused on the clouds instead! Our World Tuesday for December 20, 2011.  To visit OWTuesday, please go to:

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Protecting the crops~Nature Notes~120911

The Coachella Valley, California's second largest agricultural valley, has had hard freezes all this week.  My school is out by some of the largest fields near Coachella and this morning, I took my camera with me to photograph the smudge pots.  Only they weren't smudge pots.  I remember a couple of years ago, when we had a few days of hard frosts.  The growers were burning bales of hay.  I'm not sure what they were burning this morning.  It looked like piles of hay or straw.  All I do know is that the lower end of the valley was full of smoke and after driving by, my car, my hair, and my clothes were full of smoke, too!  According to the local news, their entire crop of bell peppers has been lost because they froze on the inside and turned to mush.  There were fields and fields of table grapes and artichokes, which have both survived, at least, for now.  Fields of onions appear to be okay, but the peppers are gone.  Nature Notes for December 9, 2011. To visit Nature Notes, please go to:

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


Those yellow things are a cluster of dates.  We don't see many of those in town, except at our local college and these two palm trees at our local park.  All the other trees are trimmed and dateless.  So, I was surprised to see these at our civic center park the other day.  They will ripen and be harvested about January.  Soon, they will be covered with brown paper to protect them from the birds. 

Monday, November 21, 2011

What in the world??? Mellow Yellow Monday~112111

Anybody want to guess what these are?  Answer tomorrow!  Mellow Yellow Monday for November 21, 2011.  To visit MYMonday, please go to:

Sunday, November 13, 2011

desert sunset~Sunday stills Challenge~111311

This week's challenge was to focus on one subject and then post a "bad" and "good" photo of it.  Or, good and better?  Anyway, the top photo was taken in Scottsdale, at the Desert Ridge Villas one afternoon in August.  I waited a few minutes and then took the bottom one.  What a difference a few minutes can make, right?  Same camera, same spot, but different light.  Sunday Stills Challenge for November 13, 2011. To visit SSC, please go to:

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Desert morning ~SkyWatch Friday ~102811

Sunrises like this make it worthwhile to wake up early once in a while!  SkyWatch Friday for October 28, 2011.  To see SWF, please go to:

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Monument Valley~Sunday Stills Challenge~102311

Monument Valley is one of hubby's favorite places and whenever we are in Arizona, off we go!  All of our cars have made the journey down its bumpy road, except the X-Terra and I'm sure she'll get to do it someday.  Its rock formations can be seen in many movies, including several John Wayne ones.  Hubby loves to stand out at Ford Point and take photos.  I, of course, am more interested in the Navajo horses!  Anyway, that's my take for this week's challenge, rocks and rock formations.  Arizona has many beautiful rock formations, including those at Canyon de Chelly and the Grand Canyon, as well as Monument Valley, so it was hard to choose!  Sunday Stills Challenge for October 23, 2011. To stop by and see all the other participants in Sunday Stills, please go to:

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Desert sunrise~SkyWatch Friday~100811

I didn't have far to look for this sunrise.  One morning, when I awoke at 3:30 a.m. bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, I got all my morning chores done and peeked outside to view the sunrise.  And, what a beauty it was!  This was the morning that the first of two storms moved through the Coachella Valley.  I just went out into my driveway, looked to the east, and saw this beautiful palate of colors!  What a way to start the day!  SkyWatch Friday for October 8, 2011. To visit Skywatch Friday, please go to:

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Mexican Bird of Paradise and bee~Garden Bloggers Bloom Day~091511

The Mexican bird of paradise shrubs have been absolutely delightful this summer in the desert southwest.  Their color has accented many a desert garden.  I don't have this variety.  I have the pure yellow one, but I did plant one of these multi-colored ones in my front yard.  I found this one over in Arizona, at the Desert Ridge Villas one morning as I was out for my morning walk.  GBBD for September 15, 2011.  To visit GBBD, please go to:
 And, yes, these are STILL blooming here in our desert!

Friday, September 2, 2011

Joshua Trees and sky~SkyWatch Friday~090211

It had just rained Sunday when we drove up to Joshua Tree National Park for the afternoon.  But, everything was clean and fresh and COOL!  It was a wonderful afternoon to visit the park as there weren't many cars on the main road.  We nearly had the park to ourselves!  SkyWatch Friday for September 2, 2011.  Here's the link:

Sunday, August 28, 2011

"pests"~Sunday stills Challenge~082811

Here in the desert southwest, we have a LOT of pests!  Some are animal, but most of them are plants.  And, the peskiest ones are in the cactus family.  Believe me, you do NOT want to run into a cholla cactus (which I didn't even add here!)  Just looking out my front window, my bougenvilla has awful thorns.  I have two mesquite tree with wicked thorns.  And, our acacia trees...sigh...let's just NOT go there!  I found all of the following at the Palm Desert visitor's center (the old building...they have moved to a new one.) (WHAT kind of visitor center is surrounded by vicious cacti?)  So, BEWARE!!!!!!  While the desert has animals that crawl, fly, sting, and strike, it also has plants that can getcha' too!  OUCH!!!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

What are YOU looking at?~SOOC Sunday~082811

This is the squirrel who lived up at the cabins on the Mogollon Rim.  I believe it was a female.  She tempted fate when she was out looking for food a couple of afternoons and the Cooper's hawks were up in a nearby tree.  Apparently she didn't like me looking at her!  SOOC Sunday for August 28, 2011. I took this photo out of the living room window as I didn't wish to go outside and scare her off. To visit SOOC Sunday, please go to:

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Osprey~SkyWatch Friday ~ 082611

The day we drove out to Black Canyon Lake, we arrived to hear the screeching of a young osprey.  The nest was in the top of a tree overlooking the lake.  The young osprey was extremely loud ( apparently wishing to have a meal...) A heron flew over the nest and one of the parents took off after it and chased it away from the nest.  SkyWatch Friday for August 26, 2011. To see SkyWatch Friday, please go to:

Monday, August 22, 2011

First sunset and first morning at the cabin

The first evening I walked down to Highway 260 to see the sunset.  The sun was setting over the little western town across the road (see top photo).  The next morning, I eagerly awoke to see my first sunrise up on the rim.

The Cabin~Part 2

We rented a cabin in Overgaard, Arizona, which is up on the rim, for 3 nights.  The 4th night was free.  We'd found these cabins back in 2000 when we stayed at another cabin in Forest Lakes for a whole week.  At that time, we noticed that thunderstorms developed every afternoon.  It cooled down and started raining during August and hubby and I wanted to get out of our desert heat and head for the high mountains.  We had been up here over Memorial Day and put a deposit down on one of the cabins which was the furthest back from Highway 260.  It was called the "Coffee Plantation" and was decorated with aspen wood on the inside.  It had a back porch and 2 bedrooms.  There's a lot of street noise along Highway 260 and I'm a light sleeper, but the back of this cabin faced away from the highway.  We ended up staying one more night, instead of driving back to Scottsdale for our final night, so we stayed for 5 nights.  We did our shopping at Whole Foods and AJ's, down in Scottsdale and brought some steaks up with us.  The guy at the check-in said elk came down the wash behind the cabin, but we never saw any.  (I think that was @#$%%^&$!) We did discover a family of Cooper's hawks in the trees behind the cabin and we both watched them all week.  I also heard an owl the first morning we were there, but never saw it.  We were prohibited from walking across the wash as there were "NO TRESPASSING" signs all around the houses behind the cabins.  Some of the other cabins are privately owned, but the majority are rented out during the year.  If you want to read more about these cabins, here's the link:

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Payson, Arizona ~Arizona trip~ Part 1

I've decided to do some posts here about our Arizona trip, even though we were up in the mountains of central and eastern Arizona.  While that area isn't desert, it IS part of the desert southwest.  Hubby and I spent 6 days up on the Mogollon Rim.  For those of you not familiar with Arizona, the Mogollon Rim is in Arizona's "high" country.  No saguaros there, nope!  This area was once below sea level and if you go hiking, you can find fossils of shellfish!  Now, it sits over 7,000 feet and looks out onto ponderosa forests.  This is the area of the White Mountain Apache.  They still have land in this area and, if you see it, you can understand why they fought so hard to keep it.  I admire them for that.  It IS beautiful land, from the pinyons to the ponderosa forests, to the grassy plateaus.  We some some beautiful lakes and forests here.  We also saw complete devastation from the 2002 Rodeo-Chedisky fire and this summer's Wallow fire.  But, enough depressing talk!  We began our journey to "the rim" from Scottsdale, where we spent 3 nights.  We drove out Highway 87, past Fort McDowell, past the Bush Highway, to Payson.  That was about a 2 hour drive.  Payson sits at the base of highway 260, which runs along the top of the rim.  There are many campgrounds along this highway and several ranger stations.  We like to stop at this one, which is outside Payson, about 10 miles.  It has a wonderful view of the rim and we stop here each trip.  There was a Bloodhound inside the station when we arrived.  He was pathetically thin and dehydrated.  Turns out, hubby had a bloodhound as a child, and went right over to him.  Apparently he got loose from his owners while they were camping.  The rangers called the number on his tag (yes, he had a tag), but there was no answer.  He must have been loose, they assumed, for over a WEEK!  The poor thing was skin and bones and the bottoms of his feet were raw.  How he survived out there for over a week (with bears and mountain lions) was beyond their belief.  They were going to give him some water and take him to a vet for a thorough exam.  Poor thing!!!  From the ranger station, we continued our climb up the rim highway.  One reason we so enjoy going to this part of Arizona is that, in August, it has daily thunderstorms.  It can be clear in the morning, but usually by 1:00 or 2:00 p.m., the thunderheads have built up and BOOM! The lightning and thunder starts.  ... to be continued