Monday, June 30, 2014


One year ago today, on June 30th, 2013, a wildfire near Yarnell, Arizona, took the lives of 19 members of a firefighting team from the Prescott area - the Granite Mountain Hot Shot Crew.

No one has forgotten.  Today in front of the Prescott Valley Municipal Building, flags fly in the breeze in memory of the young men who died together.

Boots rest at the base of 19 of the flagpoles and at one more.  One of the hot shots was deployed as a lookout and survived.

The battle with the Yarnell Fire was terribly bungled by perhaps several agencies.  There is blame enough to go around.  But today is a day to remember the victims.  In memorium.

Saturday, June 28, 2014


This Saturday begins with a couple of fuzzy pictures of one of the hummingbirds that have taken over our back patio (and its two feeders.)

Those rascals are not easy to photograph, given the speed of their movements.

Next - - - I swear this will be the last photograph I post of rabbits. How could I top six at once in my neighbor's grassy back yard.

You may doubt my count but there's one over against the wall in the upper right.  You can just barely make him out.  I couldn't believe this.  It resembled a scene from Peter Cottontail or Watership Down.

Meantime inside the house, our cats Muggles and Blackwell, have grown totally bored with watching the rabbits.  They both would rather have a nap.

"..and please, if you would, stop flashing that camera in my face!"

Friday, June 27, 2014


It must have been a dour week.  I only have a few funnies for you today.

Ah, yes, those were the days.

This next one was probably my favorite.

Of course, I do have one with a cat, as usual.

That's all, folks.  Have a f-f-f-f-f-antastic weekend!

(Oh, and thanks to all of my contributors, whether you knew you were doing it or not.)

Thursday, June 26, 2014


Clowning around at a rest stop during a trip from Indianapolis to Cincinnati where the Lenny Wilson Trio had a recording session. Probably around 1970.

I'm in the middle.  My buddy Orly Knutson is on the left.  He's retired now after a 50 year career as a radio disc jockey in North Dakota, Indianapolis and Minneapolis.  He was known as The Happy Norwegian on the air.  

At one time or another he'd be asked "Is Orly Knutson your real name?"

His stock answer "If I was going to pick a name, do you think that would be it?"

On the right is Dave Morgan.  He was the drummer and occasional vocalist with the trio.  I see that he's gone on to a successful career as a drummer, vibraphonist and vocalist.

Orly was a drummer, too, but he and I were just along for the ride on this trip.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014


I really need to get out more.

Sunday, June 22, 2014


When I first heard Charlie Mingus in college, I thought "that's crazy."  Not crazy, like hip.  Just bizarre and insane.  But I grew to love his music.  

Years later I learned he was a native of Nogales, Arizona, on the Mexican border.  I have no idea where he came up with this music, living down there.

But I'm glad he did.

Saturday, June 21, 2014


The other night on my back patio . . .

. . . pineapple, lemon, corn on the cob, onion, peppers, zucchini, ready for the grill . . .

. . . joining some chicken breasts . . .

. . . and the heat is on . . .

. . . nearly done now as my stomach growls can be heard through the neighborhood.

It was delicious.  And, by the way, if you've never tried grilled pineapple you've missed one of the true culinary pleasures of life.

Bon app├ętit!

Friday, June 20, 2014


Oh, yes I did!  You all thought I wouldn't remember what day it was, didn't you?  Well I did.  So there.

Sometimes it's the smallest things in life that can drive you CRAZY! Know what I mean?

But we've discovered a way to make her feel better.

Here's one just for my step-daughter, the BRD, who seems to relate to these.

That may have stemmed from the "good old days".

Ah well, you can always count on the feline species to keep you amused.  Well.  Me, anyway.

Meanwhile, in the other room . . .

What's that?  You're not laughing yet?  Well . . .

Okay, that's it folks.  Unlike my friend above, keep smiling and have a wonderful weekend.

Thursday, June 19, 2014


California - the 1970's
Former South Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Cao Ky
Madame Ky
and me

Wednesday, June 18, 2014


The finches have fled.  Well not fled, exactly, but they've abandoned their nest and their young.  Or fledged them though Judy doesn't think the babies had enough time to fledge.  But she had noticed over the past few days that the mama finch had stopped coming to the nest. Finally yesterday I got a ladder out for her and she climbed up to find a very neat but empty nest.  We hadn't seen any babies on the ground or seen any alarmed activity by the parents but then we've had other things to do than watch the finches.  At any rate, Judy took the nest down and disposed of it and cleaned off the pillar with a hose.  We'll see if they return to the same spot to create another nest.

They still visit the bird bath in the back yard frequently though we have yet to see one actually bathe.  But they like the water to drink, as do the Mountain Jays that visit from time to time.

Oh, and we did have a snake visitor the other day.  The cats spotted it first as it came out of the front yard and into the street, when Judy spotted it.  I went outside to take a look.  He looked like a rattlesnake but when I got fairly close I could not see any rattles and he didn't threaten.  Later I found one like him via The Google and decided it was a Long Nosed Snake, non-venomous.  Here's the one I found on the web.

Ours was very similar.  When I went out a few minutes later to get a photo of him he had crossed the street and disappeared.

The Google says they feed on lizards and amphibians.  Nothing about baby birds who have fallen from their nest and are helpless on the ground.  So we can forget about that, I think.

The bunnies are still around in the evening.

Last night we had two in the yard at once and then I caught a glimpse of a couple more running in the street out back.  We don't have any garden plants so they're harmless to us and fun to watch. And it gives Judy something else to put water out for.

The wind is quieter today but seems to be indicating a desire to kick up once again.

Such is life in MY little Wild Kingdom.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014


The f***ing wind is blowing.  



It's been blowing like this for days.

Gusting up to 30 miles per hour.

The trees are whipped around constantly.

Prescott Valley is known for its spring winds.  But this, for crying out loud, is the middle of June!  When is it going to stop?

Awhile ago, Judy said the front porch is a mess of leaves.  She wants to go out and sweep it off.  But the damnable wind keeps blowing and more and more leaves keep falling.

We were out this morning and heard a woman in an office say "all the trash from my neighbor's yard is now over in mine."

When the wind blows like this I am often reminded of a line from Slouching Towards Bethlehem, a collection of short stories from decades ago by Joan Didion.  She was writing in one of the stories about the Santa Ana winds of Southern California.  She wrote something like, when the Santa Anas are blowing, the housewife cleaning up the kitchen after dinner idly runs her thumb along the edge of a butcher knife while absently studying her husband's jugular vein.

Those, my friends, are some evil winds.

Here in Arizona, just like in California, year after year of drought have the forests and the brushlands bone dry and only one spark can set off a conflagration.

Another fire was burning yesterday in once-beautiful Oak Creek Canyon, much of which was charred only a couple of weeks ago by a fire that lasted for days.

Several other fires have been reported around the state.  News reports say the entire state is in high fire danger.

And the f***ing wind is blowing.

Monday, June 16, 2014


The latter part of last week was set aside for Prescott Valley Days in my town.

A carnival was set up with lunch-defying rides.  Unfortunately I visited about noon on Saturday and it apparently was too hot to open up.

So I ventured inside Tim's Toyota Center to see what was going on. Not much, as it turned out.  This group of "synchronized walkers" was pacing back and forth as Alan Jackson's "Proud to Be An American" blared forth from a loudspeaker.

In the hallways a quilting display was the main attraction.

There was even one dedicated to Jimmy Buffett.

Apparently quilters are getting younger.

A model train display had been advertised but it consisted of just two small tables with trains going around oval tracks.  I couldn't bring myself to photograph them.

There had been a parade earlier in the day but I had missed it.

A number of booths were operating, selling metal cactuses and javelinas, for example.

Don't think I'd want a herd of these in my front yard.

Or these -  inflatable Japanese dolls.

The best part of the celebration for me?  Plenty of fried food!

Or you could opt for what the vendor was calling Barbecue on a Stick.

It looked like the Indonesian Satay my wife fixes every once in awhile. But who am I to argue.

P-V Days!  Come one, come all!

Sunday, June 15, 2014


I can't remember ever calling him "father".  He was always "Dad" to me and my brother.

He was my single father, as they're known these days, from the time my mother died when I was 13.

He worried a lot about that and whether he was doing a good enough job.  I was a mischievous kid and got into my share of trouble, though my scrapes were nothing compared to what kids do today.

He was a good Dad and I was lucky enough to have the chance to tell him that more than once.  And I was able to dig down beneath my North Dakota crust and tell him I loved him.

Franklin Berry Taylor

Saturday, June 14, 2014


Time to update life around the yards outside our home.

SWMBO had been referring to this as a holly bush, mainly because of the leaves.

But, having never seen a holly bush with blue berries before I did some searching on The Google.  I found one just like it and it is a Mahonia Aquifolium, otherwise known as an Oregon Grape.

The grapes are edible, though very tart.  I think we'll leave them as ornamentals.

By the way, the word "aquifolium" in the name means "holly-leaved", so I guess SWMBO wasn't that far off.

Now about our finches.  You may remember a couple built a nest atop a column under our front porch.  We've been keeping an eye on them and I'm happy to report there are four new babies.

Our view of the nest from our front window.

Somewhat closer.  Those are all chicks in that nest.

You can't really make them out but they are there.

And hungry.  Always hungry.

The eggs were hatched one day apart and we believe they hatched at about the same rate.  The baby with his mouth wide open, waiting for mother to return, is the oldest, we believe.

And no, we haven't named them.

Here's a short video of mom feeding her brood.  Just as she flies off, you can see several heads pop up, looking for more.  Unfortunately I wasn't expecting that so I turned the camera off just as they popped up.

Meanwhile in the back yard, our bird bath is loved by the finches. And a couple of Mountain Jays have also discovered it.

We also have bunnies.  Desert Cottontails is what they're called. One or two at a time come in to graze the weeds in the back yard.  Judy has put some carrot chunks out a couple of times and they love the treats.

Then she said "I think I need to put out a water dish for them."

I said "Oh, c'mon, they won't use it.  The Google says they get their water from the plants they eat."

So, who won that argument?

I don't call her SWMBO (She Who Must Be Obeyed) for nuthin', folks.

Friday, June 13, 2014


Oh, yes, the lovely kitties.

Just forget that today is Friday the 13th and have a wonderful weekend.  And keep a smile on your face.