Photo Friday (Veteran’s Day)

I know when you hear “Veteran’s Day”  you expect photos of flags, parades or Veterans.  But we celebrate Veteran’s Day by going hiking at Madera Canyon.  Since my husband and I are both veterans we feel we can celebrate however we want.  And for me the freedom to go find a taste of autumn is what makes me happy.  There is not a day that goes by that I don’t remember the sacrifices so many have made for me to have the freedoms that I do.  My heart is filled with all those who served, voluntarily and involuntarily over the course of the years.  A hike may not be a traditional way to honor those who served but it is my way.

IMG_8300We hiked the Carrie Nation trail.  Only three miles but a steep, rocky climb. We got to scuff through leaves!

IMG_8293Nice and chilly and we found some beautiful color.

IMG_8316Another part of the tradition is hot cocoa and cookies at the end of our hike.  Always the same cookie, oatmeal with reese’s pieces, more fall color!

IMG_8310Okay, here is a picture of a veteran!  I am always curious as to what bloggers look like and if they have a picture how current it is…so here I am!  (Photo taken by my guy down below.)

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Photo Friday

My favorite outside Halloween decoration is to gather leaves and scatter them by the front door and along the walkway for the kids to scuff through. I always get a few comments about the leaves.  Most people are baffled about where they came from in a yard filled with nothing but cacti!

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This year I gathered them up at Mt. Lemmon the week before Halloween and was lucky enough to catch the trees in a golden glory.  No words necessary.

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And finally, floating candles that looked very cool in the dark.

 

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Camping Autumn Joy List: Photo Friday Style

Last weekend we went camping at Chiricahua National Monument near Willcox, AZ.  Pure bliss!

On the way down we stopped at Apple Annie’s and picked pumpkins and did the corn maze.  A very muddy corn maze but we enjoyed it anyway.

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IMG_8185Pumpkin checkers!

IMG_8217We found some fall color on our hike to Far Away Ranch. The weather was perfect, not hot, not too chilly.

Far Away Ranch has a great history filled with strong women.  The fireplace was made from stones taken from a monument to President Garfield that was falling down.  The names were chiseled by Buffalo Soldiers stationed there before Far Away Ranch became Far Away Ranch.

We had a wonderful tour of the house led by Ranger Anne.

IMG_8235In the afternoon we hiked to the top of Sugar Loaf Mountain.  This is an old fire lookout tower and proof that we went all the way to the top.

IMG_8248At one point we actually hiked through the mountain!

IMG_8228I would have thought it was too cold for the snakes to be out, especially in the shade, but apparently not.  This is a black tailed rattlesnake I believe, right near the beginning of the trail. Luckily other hikers gave us a heads up preventing any heart attacks.

IMG_8250Still there on the trip back, we had marked his spot with a small rock cairn so as to not get caught unawares.

IMG_8191There are no fire pits at Bonita Canyon Campground so we brought our own, perfectly legal.  The rangers will let you have a small fire in the grill (if there are no fire restrictions of course!)  This was much nicer and we cooked hot dogs and s’mores the first night. It was perfect sitting around the fire weather.

Okay, while seeing the snake on the hike and a skunk (which I did not take pictures of) one night near our campsite (when I was sitting alone by the fire!) did not exactly bring me joy it was still cool (you know, afterwards).  But this guy brought a smile to my face:

IMG_8200The mom had already crossed the road and then I came along and the fawn stopped and I stopped and I told him to go ahead.  I could see the mama deer anxiously looking back and after a moments hesitation the baby deer bounded across the road and caught up to his mama.  We saw a lot of deer, they know they are safe in the National Park area during hunting season.

Photo Friday: How Many….

…leaf garlands does it take to make a house look autumnal in the desert southwest?

Let’s start with the kitchen, one above each window and two under the cabinets.

Two in the family room.

IMG_8114One in the dining room.

IMG_8125One at the top of my bedroom closet.

IMG_8119And two in the upstairs hallway overlooking the living/dining room.

And one in front of my south facing office window that would be really hard to take a picture of.  That makes a grand total of eleven.  So the answer is it takes eleven leaf garlands to bring autumn to the southwest.

 

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Photo Friday: It Felt Like September

My son is now going to a private school that observes Jewish, Christian and the traditional secular holidays so he was off on Monday for Rosh Hashanah.  In fact the entire month of September he has one day off each week!  With new computer time rules (which are working!) I find it is best to “help” him find things to do if he has a lot of free time.  On Labor Day we went fruit picking at Apple Annie’s.  This Monday we went hiking up at Mt. Lemmon.

IMG_8094Some early fall color starting.

We began with lunch at Viv’s Cafe because it is good to start a hike with a full stomach.  Then up, up, up the mountain we went.  The temperature dropped from 100° to a delicious 72°.

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We decided to try a new trail and I was hoping to do a loop but after a long time of climbing uphill and unsure of exactly how much further we still had to go we decided to simply turn around.  The hike back down was sheer perfection.  Blue skies, a few clouds and oddly, some rumbles of thunder in the distance made the perfect autumnal hiking ambience.  The path was shaded with dappled patches which I absolutely love!

IMG_8101The rain cloud.

IMG_8100A stop at a scenic overlook on the way home. I believe that is the San Pedro Valley.

Driving back down the mountain we could smell rain and observed some wet stretches of road way but no rain fell on us.  We decided to stop at DQ for ice cream which ended up being our dinner and came home to collapse on the couch and watch “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban”.

IMG_8105Dinner!

IMG_8097A dried up plant that screams autumn to me.

Best Monday in a really long time.

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Photo Friday

This week’s theme is Around the Yard:

IMG_8063Yes, that is 104° F at 4:30p in the afternoon (the clock is off, the hour hand is stuck).

IMG_8065Spiderweb.  It seems our spiders are getting ready for Halloween a tad early as the yard is festooned. This is one on my lemon tree.

IMG_8068Can you see all the oranges?  Of course not, they are still green.

IMG_8070Five lemons in one shot, not bad.

IMG_8064And one from the pool.  This is the 5th mouse we’ve pulled out this month.  Seems we have the world’s largest mouse trap, ew.

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Photo Friday

Monsoon season is in full swing here in the desert southwest.  We haven’t been getting much rain but lots of clouds and rumbles of thunder.  This week I tried to find interesting cloud formations.

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I don’t ever remember seeing clouds with holes before moving here.

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You can see the rain in the clouds.

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Sunset storm clouds.

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A little rainbow playing hide and seek.

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I took this on the way home from school pickup. Just a massive cloud slowly sailing along.

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I thought a black and white would be interesting for a change.  Almost looks like the cactus is giving the sky ‘the finger’ (probably because no rain is falling :)).

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Photo Friday

My son started school this week and last week we ticked off one more summer bucket list item:  make pasta from scratch.  Turns out it is harder and more time consuming to make pasta than we imagined.  So here are pictures of what a real person’s kitchen looks like while making pasta.  (As opposed to say a food blogger who would have glorious photos with nary a stray pile of flour.)

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Pasta dough rolled out and waiting to be cut.  Notice how it is nowhere near a rectangular shape?  Apparently I can only roll out round.

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The big picture.

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I found a tip on-line that said you can turn all those uneven edge bits into pasta for soup. Done!

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Stacks of drying pasta in my momentarily Italian kitchen!

My son ate the bowtie pasta for dinner and we froze the rest. I have a feeling this will be my one and only pasta bucket list item.

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Photo Friday

I am very thankful we went to Yosemite last year.  Who knows what the future holds for such a beautiful park in such a fire endangered area.  Here are some photos from last year. I tried to include snow and water to help cool things off.  Seems it is overly hot in many places.  We are running a good 5 to 10 degrees above average these days which is keeping me rather grumpy.  I try and swim most evenings after the shade has creeped over the pool and the air temperature is around 104° and the water temperature 92°.  I feel like I should just take a bar of soap with me and have a bath after my swim 🙂 . At least the water feels good on my “frozen shoulder”.

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A little water.
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A little snow.
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A little snow and water.
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Do you see those crazy people, I mean climbers clinging to Half Dome?

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Photo Friday: July

I took a bit of a sabbatical from the blog in July but that doesn’t mean I didn’t take any photos.  So without further ado…

 

4th of July, fireworks on base and red, white and blue glow sticks a big hit.

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Camping in the White Mountains, wonderfully cool among the aspens.

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This is pretty much what the sky looked like the whole week we were there: patches of blue surrounded by white clouds, dark clouds and rain falling somewhere.  The rain wasn’t continuous but it was fairly plentiful.  Sadly campfires weren’t allowed which seemed rather silly with all the rain.

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An easy summer fun project:  graham cracker houses with waffle cone trees. The key is to make the powdered sugar icing (ie glue) super thick.

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We finished the month apple and peach picking in Willcox at Apple Annie’s. It was meltingly hot and we were happy to come home and jump in the pool.
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How cute is “Sweet Bippy” ?

 

 

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