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

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Ocotillo thorns~SOOC Sunday~081411

I love investigating desert plants, from agave to ocotillo, to desert lavendar, to palo verdes and saguaros.  Did you know most desert plants, like this ocotillo, DO have thorns or stickers?  One time, while visiting near the Superstition Mountains, hubby and I went for a walk through their cactus garden.  There is a lot of cholla there and I looked down at one cholla and to my horror, saw a young mockingbird impaled on it!  OUCH!  So, even desert birds have to be cautious around desert plants.  I know that some people walk out into the desert with shorts and flip flops...I NEVER do!  I always wear my hiking boots, socks, and long pants (recently, however, I have been wearing my hiking boots, socks, and capris).  There are just too many sharp, pointy things in the desert for me!  This is SOOC, for Sunday, August 14, 2011.  To visit SOOC Sunday, please go to:

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Cactus closeup~Sunday Stills Challenge~0811411

Hubby is "allowing" me to use his Canon  (EOS Rebel T2i) camera this weekend.  As we drove down the Salt River road, the Bush Highway, we stopped along the way to take some photos.  I saw this cactus and stopped to photograph it while hubby wandered down the road.  Using a Canon camera is a real mind-shift for me, as I have a Nikon.  So, we'll see what happens over the next week as I learn to use a Canon!  I still have my Nikon and will NEVER give her up, but this one is completely different and I'm on a learning curve!  Sunday Stills Challenge for August 14, 2011.

Sunrise, same spot

Sunrise, same spot at Desert Ridge Villas, in Scottsdale, Arizona, about two weeks later.  We awoke at 4:40 a.m. this morning to a thunderstorm.  We turned off all the lights and just watched nature's show.  Once it was light, I headed out for my morning walk and this is what I saw.  It was still sprinkling and later I saw a rainbow.  Actually, there was a double one, which I didn't see, but my camera captured.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

"D" is for dawn~ABC Wednesday~081011

An Arizona dawn, taken in Scottsdale.  I like to get up early and go for a morning walk and see rabbits, quail, and cactus wrens.  ABC Wednesday for August 10, 2011.  To visit ABC Wednesday, please go to:

Sunday, August 7, 2011

"Water"~Community Photo challenge 080711

"Water"~Mono Lake, CA one June afternoon this year.  Mono Lake is such an interesting environment, especially in the late afternoon with shadows and reflections.  Every time we go to the Sierra, we stop by Mono Lake.  Community Photo Challenge for August, 2011. To see other participants, please go to:

"Vanishing Point"~Community Photo Challenge 080711

This is the walkway at the south tufa at Mono Lake, CA.  We arrived late one cloudy afternoon in June of this year. We weren't sure what kind of sunset we'd see and were pleased to see a beautiful, orange one later in the day.  "Vanishing Point" for Community Photo Challenge, August 2011. To see this challenge, please go to:

"Sunrise"~Sunday stills Challenge 080711

Sunrise today at the Desert Springs Marriott in Palm Desert, CA, out by the flamingo lake.  Sunday Stills Challenge for August 8, 2011.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

And the skies opened up~SkyWatch Friday~080511

This was an afternoon thunderstorm up in our local mountains this week.  The desert floor got some sprinkles a couple of times, but not the amount of rain that our mountains did.  We've had afternoon thunderstorms for several days.  I always enjoy these afternoon storms and I frequently drive up into the mountains to just sit and observe and listen.  Those are the Santa Rosa mountains and this is up in the pinyon forest.  SkyWatch Friday for August 5, 2011. To visit SkyWatch Friday, please go to:

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

"C" is for clouds~ABC Wednesday~080311

We've had 4 days of thunderstorms here lately. They are coming up from Mexico and it's monsoon season.  I took a drive up into our local mountains yesterday during the storm.  It was POURING and there was lightning and thunder. We had another desert thunderstorm this afternoon and then it should be clear for several days.  "C" is for clouds...ABC Wednesday, August 2, 2011.  To visit ABC Wednesday, please visit: