Planting Trees

Thornless MesquiteSaturday morning we attended a free seminar, courtesy of SRP (Salt River Project), our local electrical utility.  SRP sponsors many programs, such as $3 per bulb discounts at major retailers for CFL and LED lightbulbs, and the free native tree give-away to Apache Junction residents at the seminar.

Every family was permitted to take up to three trees after attending a one-hour lecture on proper planting and care. Read more


American Flag, AZOn Saturday, Liz and drove to Oracle, AZ. Oracle is abut 30 miles from Tucson, and was one of the many old mining towns in Arizona.

The defunct American Flag, Az post office, now a historic landmark, was having a one-day cancellation of stamps.

The American Flag post office is believed to be the oldest existing Territorial post office in the state that is still standing.

20150926_143642The building began life as the home of Isaac Laurin, owner of the American Flag mine i n 1877. Through his efforts, the first post office was established in 1880.  The post office was decommissioned in 1890.

The building continued on as a residence on the American Flag Ranch, being rented until the 1970’s. It was placed on the National Register of Historic Buildings in 1979, and deeded to the Oracle Historical Society in 1999.

The Coronado MountainsIt has since been restored and operates as a museum. The post office was used by Buffalo Bill Cody, who lived in the area and invested heavily and unsuccessfully in various mining operations in Oracle.

The post office and property have a wonderful view of the Coronado Mountain range – seen in the distance from the corral. 195 miles due south and you are in Mexico.


Half a century and then some

Ken Richardson mini antler bone knifeAnother year – time does fly.It seems that only last week I was celebrating my 40th birthday at the Frosted Mug. Where the hell did fourteen years go?

My birthday this year will be low key. First of all, I worked all night and am dog-tired.

bottle openerLiz bought me a couple gifts. The knife is hand-crafted with a handle of antler and turquoise and polished brass, the filet blade is steel. The sheath is hand-tooled leather with bone accents – and the entire knife is less than 3 1/2″.

The other gift is a cast iron bottle opener.

My gift to my self is a new cell phone, a Samsung Galaxy that is to be delivered today via FedEx. So, even though I really could use a nap, I don’t dare.  The package requires a signature – so I have to remain awake until the FedEx guy gets here. I hope I am not his last stop!

Biblical Marriage and Kim Davis

You can hardly turn on the television news or talk shows, or read the newspaper without some story about Kim Davis and her “ordeal”. Conservatives are flocking to her defense for her heroic stand.  Liberals are upset at her defiance of the law, and gleefully pointing out the inconsistencies of her hypocrisy.

I am amused by the far-right taking up her cause, lauding her for flaunting the law and for refusing to perform her constitutional duties.  She is an elected official, and swore an oath to uphold the laws of the land.

Kim Davis if guilty of theft – of the theft of her taxpayer-funded salary from law-abiding citizens. She is being paid to perform her constitutional duties, and is not allowed to bring personal prejudice into the performance of her duties. Every week that she collects her paycheck and willfully neglects her duties, she is stealing.

As a bible believing Christian, she has a duty to obey the written word:

Romans 13:1-5 ESV

Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, for he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer. Therefore one must be in subjection, not only to avoid God’s wrath but also for the sake of conscience.

Titus 3:1 ESV

Remind them to be submissive to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good work,

1 Peter 2:13-17 ESV

Be subject for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether it be to the emperor as supreme, or to governors as sent by him to punish those who do evil and to praise those who do good. For this is the will of God, that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people. Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God. Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the emperor.

With these commands in mind, she really has no option but to resign her post and not fight the authorities – by fighting she is refusing to submit to the god-appointed authority of our government.  The bible is crystal clear – ALL governing authorities have been appointed by god, and a bible-believing Christian has no choice but to obey those authorities.

Now keep in mind, these scriptures were coined during a time of persecution of Christians by those same authorities.

The same right-wingnuts that are defending her refusal to carry out her constitutional duties are quick to denounce Obama for what they claim is the same offense. They will hold the president, the highest office in the land, accountable on dubious claims, but will embrace a woman that is in undeniable defiance of the law of the land.

Many have noted the hypocritical nature of her stance, as she is an adulterous and has divorced three times, thrice breaking her sacred vows before god and man, and then having an affair while married and conceiving children. Acknowledging such grievous sins, as a good christian she needs to submit to the punishment for her sins, as clearly outlined in scripture:

Exodus 20:14 “You shall not commit adultery.”

Deuteronomy 22:22 “If a man is found sleeping with another man’s wife, both the man who slept with her and the woman must die.”

Leviticus 20:10 “If a man commits adultery with another man’s wife–with the wife of his neighbor–both the adulterer and the adulteress must be put to death.”

She claims to have repented, but she is still living in an adulterous relationship, which would seem to prove that her repentance was merely lip-service.

She claims to stand up for biblical definitions of marriage – however, no such definition exists.  Biblical marriage includes polygamy, men having multiple concubines, the forced marriage of slaves to their owners and submission of wives to their husband’s demands.

If Kim Davis wants to live her life according to her cherry-picked commands, she is free to do so.  However, she has absolutely no right to force her personal beliefs on others – nowhere in the New Testament has Jesus or any of the writers of the many letters to the churches asked or allowed political defiance of followers.  The command is to love your neighbor as yourself and to love god with all your heart, mind, soul and strength. Believers are commanded to live their life as an example – and have no duty whatsoever in using legislation or law to force non-believers to adapt their lifestyle.

Kim Davis is a spiteful, pitiful example, and not to be adored as some sort of saint or figurehead, other than a figurehead in human frailty.  She is claiming the right to trample the rights of other citizens with her own self-righteous actions.

So, release her from jail, and allow other religious fanatics to extract justice; who is going to pick up the first stone?

Carl’s World Class Casa Style Chili

Superstition TrailI have won and placed in several chili cook-offs using a basic recipe. I tweak it a little now and then. I haven’t made a batch in half a decade – in my mid-40’s I developed an intolerance for beef. I would go into anaphylactic shock after eating anything containing beef. Not fun.

Living in the southwest, beef is a staple. Fortunately, there is a lot of grass-fed, organic beef available. Restaurants offer organic beef in their hamburgers. Organic ground beef and chuck is available at our local supermarket. Read more


jambalayaI love Cajun food. Every three weeks I am left fending for myself for a week, and Marie Callender’s pot pies are getting old. On the weekends I will cook up a batch of dirty rice, or Gumbo. Last weekend, my selection was Jambalaya – rice, Andouille sausage, shrimp and lots of Cajun spices.  Not likely the best choice for my arteries, but oh, so delicious!


storm damageAs I left for work the other evening, the wind began to kick up.  In the distance an unsurpassed light show entertained me on my drive. Not so much lighting streaks as bursts of light every few seconds, coming from all directions.

About five miles from home, as I merged onto the Loop 202, the wind gusts kicked in with a fury. Temporary road maintenance signs on flexible posts were bent horizontally, and my truck was buffeted by the intense gusts.

Pulling into my driveway the next morning, I was greeted by this sight.  After working all night, I had work to do before getting the chance to unwind and relax.

Back at the easel

desert sunset I have returned to the easel after a prolonged leave of absence.

My absence was due to a number of mitigating factors – working the night shift which was when I traditionally paint; a studio so full of clutter that I get distracted and claustrophobic; a multitude of projects around the house; sheer laziness and ennui.

With construction of the storage shed almost complete – I still have to install a window and shelves along one wall – I was able to de-clutter the studio. It is still a mess, but at least my work area is clean.

I wasn’t in the mood to rush into a complex work – so opted for a local scene. Loose brush strokes, heavy application of paint, and reckless abandonment.

Right to carry

right to carryArizona is one of three states that allows concealed carry of a handgun without a CCW (carrying a concealed weapon) permit. Alaska and Vermont also have such laws.

Arizona is the only populated state with such laws – Phoenix, AZ is the most populated state capital and the sixth most populous city in the country.

Arizona is a shall-issue state – if you meet the legal requirements and apply for a CCW, one will be issued.  But, a CCW is not required of any legal resident that desires to carry. Read more

Inexpensive lighting solution

cheap security lightingOur new shed has no electricity, and I didn’t feel like running a line to the new structure. It is, after all, a free-standing, non-permanent, unattached shed.

We didn’t want anything too overpowering – the shed is in a dark corner of the yard, but it is close to the living room window.  During the spring and fall, the insulated curtains are open to allow daylight in. I also didn’t want motion detection, because the only thing more annoying than bright lights shining in the window would be bright lights that continually turned on and off every time one of the animals wandered too close. Read more