Tuesday, March 3, 2015


My neighbor, Lori, tipped me to something special over at our nearby Home Depot store. It was way up near the roof over the garden section.

No, it wasn't the stuff in those big cardboard boxes.  It was what was ON one of those boxes. Take a closer look.

That's right. It's an owl. According to one of the store employees, he (or she - how the heck do you tell which is which, anyway) is part of a couple that has lived in the store for six years, ever since the store was built.

Each year the female gives birth to an owlet. Or two. They stay with the parents until the old folks have taught them to fly. Then they get kicked out to go find their own (Home Depot store) nesting place. The store employee said they even provide a birthing box for them.

But this year was special. The parents didn't have one baby.  Or two. They brought THREE little owls into the world.

 Actually, they're not so little.

So here they are, posing for their group portrait.

The store employe I spoke to said the threesome has been viewed by many, many store visitors. But the young owls seemed relatively unfazed by all the attention.

If I was the kind of guy who would say such a thing, I might say they don't give a hoot.

But, of course, I wouldn't say that.

Monday, March 2, 2015


I just drove past this crossing last week.  What a difference a little rain makes in Arizona.

(Video by the Verde Independent)

Sunday, March 1, 2015


It's pretty drippy out there today. The rain began sometime during the night and is expected to continue for most of today. But it's a gentle rain. This was the forerunner of it yesterday afternoon.

It looks pretty wild but it held off for us long enough to stop in at Beau Jack's birthday party last night.

He looks pretty good at 70, doesn't he? 

He proved to the crowd that he could still "cut a rug" with the best of 'em, too.

Just watching him dance tired me out.

So let's slow the tempo down a bit with three Texas singers performing a few years back.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Saturday Smiles

Apparently no one missed this week's Friday Funnies. Or if they did they were too polite to mention it to me. At any rate, in the excitement of my Thursday road trip, I forgot. So here, one time only, a day late, is this week's little dose of humor.

These next two must be brother and sister.

Thanks, contributors! Have a (continuing) great weekend, folks, and always remember to keep a smile on your face.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Road Trip

SWMBO and I went on a road trip yesterday.  We'd been talking for months about making a trip up to Williams, since "it's only 50 miles." Ah, old age and a faulty memory. I was remembering the distance from the north side of Prescott to Ash Fork, or the junction with Interstate 40. But it's 8 to 10 miles from our house over to join the highway north from Prescott and then another 15 miles from Ash Fork back east to Williams.  So that 50 mile jaunt turned out to be around 73 miles. But we got there.

These bronze sculptures mark the east entrance to Williams.  It's up in "tall pine" country or as a sign alongside the road noted "elk country." These, typically for me, were the only elk we saw.

One other thing I forgot about - the weather. The town sits at about 6,700 feet, nearly a couple of thousand higher than home and the temperature was in the low 40's and there were occasional snow flurries. Not a good day for ambling along the street visiting shops. And Williams has plenty of them, mostly devoted to the fact that it sits on a famous highway.

We spent quite a bit of time wandering through one huge business that must have had every known item of kitsch to remind the shopper that they were in Route 66, Harley Davidson and gun country. But we also visited a wonderful business devoted to Native American art and jewelry. The proprietor was very knowledgeable and solicitous, without putting "the sell" on us.

Then it was time for lunch.

The restaurant we selected was quiet and very tastefully decorated. It sort of gave me the feeling of being in a Dutch Master painting, not what I would have expected in a western town that is not only on Route 66 but also bills itself as "the Gateway to the Grand Canyon", about an hour to the north. I'm not sure which came first, the restaurant or the iconic bird it's named for.

Nevertheless the food and service was wonderful and the Bourbon Ale draught beer wasn't bad either. ☺

After lunch we decided to head east to the outskirts of Flagstaff and then take the highway down through Oak Creek Canyon to Sedona. On the way we encountered more snow as we climbed ever higher.

Yes, folks, that IS Arizona you're looking at . . not Michigan or Minnesota. But never fear. Dropping down through the canyon the temperature rose 10 degrees and the snow quickly disappeared as we entered the Red Rocks region.

(By the way, just to allay the fears of Nervous Nellies, SWMBO in the co-pilot's seat was the on-the-road photographer.)

World-famous Sedona was, as usual, hopping. It never ceases to amaze me that what was once a tiny isolated village has become a tourist mecca, 12 months a year. 

I spoke to one visitor who said he was from Pennsylvania. I asked him, good-naturedly,  "don't any of you tourists know it's February?"

He responded, "it's a lot better than the 17 degrees back home!"

He probably could have said "what are you talking about?", as I licked my ice cream cone. (It was delicious, by the way.)

But it was getting late in the day so we bid Sedona and the road a fond farewell.

An hour later we were back in our warm home. A good day.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Vandalism & Throwback Thursday

I, and most of northern Arizona, was without my usual Internet service for around 6 hours yesterday due to a fiber optic cable being cut by vandals.  They must have had a pretty good size cutter, too, because in the video I saw on television the cable looked to be about 8 inches or so in diameter. At any rate, much of my area had no telephone or Internet service, which also affected banks and quite a few stores that have digital card readers or cash registers or telephones. While my desktop computer was one of those affected I did have the Internet via my smartphone and, of course, I had phone service. But I hope they catch the bad guys. It does make us realize how dependent we are on technology in these modern days.

But enough about modern days.  Let's go back, back, back to the much simpler and sillier days of the 1980's and Christmas Eve in Guadalajara, Mexico, shall we?

Yes, it's SWMBO and your serious scribe at a holiday fiesta, along with perhaps a few too many margaritas.


Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Backyard Jungle

 I have a hedge plant in my backyard. It's very dense.

It's called a Red-Tip Photinia and properly growned and cultivated, it could resemble this.

But whoever developed my plot of land just let it grow as a tree.  A somewhat lazy tree, as you can see.

Actually, I rather like it. It seems to typify my attitude toward life these days. Relax. Rest. Take it easy.

But in amongst those leaves it's a more frantic time as new growth is put forth.

It looks a bit cannibalistic, don't you think?

Tendrils, groping, seeking the light. Letting nothing stand in their way.

This one looks like my face this morning. Needing a shave. Guess I'd better quit fooling around and get to it.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015


40 degrees outside. Sun is shining but it's a lying sun. It doesn't have any heat reaching the Earth. It's one of those winter suns that seems to shine brightly but leaves the air crystalline. I think it was warmer yesterday. I know the rain clouds blowing through left us with a moderately nice sunset. I have evidence.

Of course we're proud of our Arizona sunsets. But you know what? So is everyone else everywhere. Some places like Hawaii and along the California coast and, of course, on my beloved Pacific coast of Mexico, have nice ones every day.  Even without clouds the sight of the sun seemingly sinking into the ocean far away is a sight to behold. 

I can remember the first time we were at the beach in Mexico . . Mazatlan probably. We were having a drink at one of those beach bars when suddenly it got very quiet. The musicians stopped playing. The bartenders stopped mixing. The customers stopped drinking and talking. And everyone was staring out to sea. We turned and looked too. It was the sun, still blazing but sinking slowly . . well, no, actually rather quickly . . lower and lower into the sea.  Or so it seemed. The scientist in me knew it was the rotation of the earth and our spot in paradise turning gradually away from the sun. Anyway finally the sun blinked out. No, I didn't see the green flash of light that people say occurs. But it was quite a sight. And all over the beach people had gone silent as if in some chapel to mark this everyday end of the day.

Then everyone turned around and ordered another drink as the music and raucous conversation picked up again.

It was a nice moment.

The silent part, I mean.

One of those Mexican beach sunsets
Barra de Navidad, Jalisco
Sometime in the 1980's

Monday, February 23, 2015


I'm sure most of you will be happy to learn that my weather has changed.  The thermometer is riding in the 50's and it rained (lightly) last night and this morning. It wasn't enough to wake me. It came like Sandburg's fog.

The fog comes
on little cat feet.

It sits looking
over harbor and city
on silent haunches
and then moves on.

 Actually after the Oscars finally ended last night I slept better and longer than ever. But the rain left its tracks.

So I wore my gloves for my morning walk but made the mistake of wearing a big black cowboy hat instead of my Greek fisherman's cap. With the breeze blowing it was a struggle to keep it on.

But my al fresco visit was not without reward.  Our redbud tree is all budded out.

It's still pretty early but it won't be long (he said) before these many buds will turn into red blossoms.

And then they will disappear and the tree will be covered with green leaves providing a safe lurking space for the finches and other birds directly above our bird bath.

But right now they look nearly good enough to eat, don't they?

Sunday, February 22, 2015


As I told you yesterday, there are trees with white blossoms coming out too. They're not apple trees, though, but flowering cherry trees.

Regrettably it's all for show. No edible cherries appear on these showy specimens.  They're just bragging.

The blossoms are delicate, much more so when viewed close-up, rather than in those sprays seen from a distance.  But like the flowering plum blossoms I showed you yesterday, they are a Trojan Horse.  When I went on my walk this morning the temperature was in the low 50's and a brisk breeze left my bare hands cold and red. Oh I know what you're thinking, those of you in the snow and ice belts: "I could STAND some temperatures in the 50's!"

But here in the Banana Belt of Arizona, the 50's with a stiff breeze is downright frigid.  And the forecast says there's more on the way.

The weatherman says it won't get out of the 50's for at least the next ten days. And those clouds to the north are said to be bringing rain and snow to Flagstaff today. So bundle up, weather woosies, we're not out of the wintry woods yet.

Saturday, February 21, 2015


I always think the wild plum trees are rushing the season but here they are . . .

It's February but it looks like April.  SWMBO and I were talking about them yesterday and noting that the blossoms seem to come out all at once just overnight.  We agreed that they just seem to POP into life and color.

The branches fill with clusters of the beautiful flowers and all of the trees seem to bloom at once, as if on some secret signal.  There are flowering cherry trees full of snow white blossoms, too, but these with their radiant red and pink glory are my favorites.

We've been enjoying teasingly Spring weather while most of the rest of the country is still dealing with winter.  But we stand warned by experience.  Brief snow storms in late March are not unknown here.

But for now we'll enjoy sunny days and the clouds of plum blossoms.