Photo Friday: Outdoors

Yup, still in the 90’s here but that is not keeping me from pretending it feels like autumn. Last week I escaped up the mountain and found some cool air!

The clouds were flying across the sky.
The mix of clouds and sun lent to the autumnal feel.
My view while enjoying a picnic lunch.

This week we headed to Willcox, AZ to do the corn maze and pick pumpkins and apples. The sun was pretty warm but the air felt cool and there was a breeze making it feel quite lovely in the shade.

Apples but no leaves, how weird is that?
Now that it is October how about a “spooky” flowers photo?

Keep your focus!

Photo Friday: Rose Canyon Lake

The heat here has been sickening, we are still hitting triple digits and it’s been rather humid with rain many afternoons. I promised myself I would find a day to take a picnic up the mountain and spend some time in a cooler climate. (I am increasingly homesick for autumn, seems to get worse every year.)

So yesterday I headed up to Rose Canyon Lake. It took until 5000′ to get below 90°. The lake is around 7000′ and the temperature was a pleasant 77°. It was a little warm in the sun but the area is well treed so there was plenty of shade.

I wanted to take some different photos. I need to learn how to be more unique with my compositions. I fear I have a long way to go. I really want a macro lens and try some abstract stuff.

From the South end of the lake looking North.
The South end.
A dam on the South end, I walked across it and am happy I didn’t fall off!
Saw this interesting bit on the dry end of the North side.
Pinecones mean autumn!
I took more pictures of rocks on the drive home. This looks medieval to me!

Keep Your Focus!

Photo Friday: Navajo Bridge

In mid-July we took our vacation to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. It turned out to be one of those lovely, low key, relaxing vacations. The touristy accessible area of the North Rim is compact. Quick and easy to explore. We had two absolutely wonderful picnic lunches at different spots. We went to all the scenic vistas and did one four mile hike. We spent a lot of time just enjoying being outdoors. Lots of campfires and watching for the stars to come into view, game playing at the picnic table and gentle meandering strolls.

Pedestrian Navajo Bridge. I really liked that there were two bridges, one for people and one for cars.

On the way home we stopped at Navajo Bridge which crosses the Colorado River at the East end of the Grand Canyon. Before the bridge was built in the 1930’s people were ferried across the river by a Mormon family that lived there. Today there is a visitor center, gift shop and restrooms. There is also a picnic/rest area that is much the same as it was in the 30’s. I loved knowing that I was seeing pretty much the same sight as people in the 30’s!

Picnic area. There is a fireplace in the lower left corner that I didn’t get a photo of.
Turkey Vultures under the car bridge.
Colorado River, as always a pretty shade of green.

Keep Your Focus!

May Madness: Mum (And Photo Friday!)

As in chrysanthemum, not a British Mom!

In the four seasons world every fall I would put a mum and a pumpkin somewhere near my front door. And every spring I would throw the long dead mum away.

The first year I lived here in the desert southwest I continued the tradition only to have javelinas munch my chrysanthemum down to nothing and roll my pumpkin down the street until they broke it open and then ate it. We watched them do it. I was very sad.

I bought a second chrysanthemum and sadder but wiser put it safely in the backyard. And eight years later I still have the same plant! It blooms two or three times a year.

Look at all those buds!

In the heat of the summer I keep it fully in the shade and in September I pop it back into the morning sun. During the winter it gets full sun. If there is a freeze I tuck it under the patio and drape a towel over it.

Once it blooms I leave the dead stalks until the new growth underneath gets well established. I figure the stalks provide some protection from the sun in the summer and the cold in the winter.

I have been watching my plant for a few weeks now, waiting for a nice amount of blooms to open for a photo Friday shoot.

Til tomorrow…

May Madness: Mission

My mission today was to do a photo Friday post. I have been taking an on-line nature photography course and picking up some great tips. And this morning serendipity struck! I found a spider (I believe a Wolf Spider) trapped in my dog’s food dish. And we have had two javelinas foraging through the neighborhood the last few mornings.

Javelinas can be dangerous so I try and keep my distance. I saw them up the street when I was returning from school drop off this morning. I planned on washing my car, taking advantage of a cloudy morning. Just in case I grabbed my camera and put my zoom lens on. Sure enough, a few minutes later they came down the street and went into the wash next to my house. Another neighbor came out with his son to look at them, from safely across the street.

I went to the middle of the yard and snapped a few quick pics. And then one of them heard the shutter clicking and I slowly backed away. (But not too slowly!) As they worked their way down the wash I was able to go in my backyard and take their picture from behind the safety of our 5′ cinderblock fence.

Wolf spider, did he think they were real flowers in the bowl?
Don’t call me pig! Javelinas are actually related to the elephant family.

Til tomorrow…

Good Things Thursday: Travel Edition (And an early Photo Friday post!)

Our spring break trip to Santa fe was pretty low key. In truth we slept a lot. My son was in a growth spurt, spouse had a cold and I was my normal hormonally unstable self. We went to bed early and got up late most days. Halfway through the trip I realized I was okay with a trip that involved a lot of resting, especially since I had been to Santa Fe before. I thought about all the traveling and wonderful adventures I have had in the past and how it would make a great “Good Things” travel edition list. And then I decided it really need a few photos and it was so hard to narrow down so it is also like a Photo Friday post. So here we go:

  • I have been to 48 of our 50 states. Only North Dakota and Mississippi left.
  • Countries: Canada, South Korea, Oman, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, France, England, Egypt and of course the United States. ( I decided not to count airports in Ireland, Spain and Japan.)
Saudia Arabia, 2002

  • I have eaten lobster and blueberry pie in Maine, she-crab soup in Baltimore, deep dish pizza in Chicago and steaks cooked over an open wood fire in the south of France.
  • I have been white water rafting, sky diving and zip lining.
Hard to believe I am free-falling in this shot!

From my first trip to Santa Fe, 1997.
  • I drove the entire Going-to-the-Sun Road through Glacier National Park one fourth of July weekend. In a convertible with the top down and the heat on no less.
  • I have seen Mt. Rushmore, the Grand Canyon, Niagara Falls, Yosemite National Park and “Old Faithful” erupt at Yellowstone.
Mt. Rushmore, 1995
  • Let’s not forget the sequoias and giant redwood trees in California
  • I’ve dipped a toe in the Atlantic, Pacific, Gulf of Mexico and Lake Ontario.
This would be the Pacific Ocean
  • I have been to professional baseball, football, basketball and hockey games and a few Nascar races.
  • I have been to a Broadway show in NYC (Rent).
  • I have ridden the Polar Express to the “North Pole”.
  • I have strolled through the Tate Modern in London, the Georgia O’Keefe museum in Santa Fe, the recreated home of Zane Grey and the CM Russell museum in Great Falls.
  • I have ridden the rides at Disney Land, Disney World, Worlds of Fun (Kansas City) and Hershey Park.
Disney Land for my birthday, 2015
  • I spent Christmas in England one year.
  • I’ve ridden Amtrak from Chicago to Tucson.
  • I have been to the DMZ (de-militarized zone) between North and South Korea (Panmunjom) and even into some of the tunnels dug during the war. (Those guys were short!)
  • I have seen the pyramids and Sphinx in Egypt.
The Sphinx seems kind of tiny next to the Pyramids.
  • I have been to the site of the western most battle of the Civil War, Picacho Peak, AZ.
I had no idea the Civil War was fought this far west!

This list is not all inclusive, more of a highlights reel. I still have a few places I want to visit and things I want to do. But I will save that for another post.

Keep your focus!

Santa Fe (Photo Friday)

For Spring Break most people go looking for warmth after a long, cold winter. Not me of course. I go looking for one last blast of cool before settling into a desert summer. This year we went to Santa Fe and it was chilly and sometimes sunny and sometimes spritzy with rain. I loved it.

I don’t think a giant metal dog needs any words!

Veteran’s cemetery.
if you looked in the other direction there was blue sky
During our hike slightly up in the mountains we had thunder, sunshine and light snow, at one point all at the same time! Crazy wonderful.

It was a very laid back vacation with not much planned but we did go see Meow-Wolf. I have to say it was quite the unique experience and despite the crowds I am glad we went.

From the much hyped Meow-Wolf
Meow – Wolf
Meow -Wolf

Keep your focus!