The Desert Botanical Garden

Chihuly SculptureI visited the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix, AZ this past week for the first time. My old friend Gerry Moore from Millville dropped by for a short visit, and he had wanted to make sure this was on our list of destinations.

Admission is not cheap – $22 per ticket; however, Liz was able to pick up a pair of complimentary tickets courtesy of our local public library.

I had a difficult time paring down the images for this gallery, as I took close to a hundred pictures. Of course, I had to use the Chihuly sculpture that graces the entrance. For the gallery I selected images that are a bit different from the cacti I can photograph all day long in the local desert. Read more

The Hieroglyphic Trail

The Hieroglyphic Trail in Tonto National Forest is a great hike if you want a nice workout and don;t have all day.

This past Sunday Gerry Moore and I took the hike. It is convenient because the trailhead is only fifteen minutes from my house. It is basically a two hour hike, round-trip, plus whatever time you want to spend enjoying the wilderness.

Misnamed, the writing on the rock walls are petroglyphs (pictures in rock) and not hieroglyphics, which are actually a language. The glyphs date back 800 to 1200 years, and were left by the Hohokem tribe when they resided in this area. Historians disagree on their meaning – records of hunts? Efforts of the medicine men to teach the origin of the world to young Hohokem? Maybe just grafitti by bored Hohokem teens? Read more

Chilling in style

Chilling in styleFriday evening we chilled on the patio. The uncharacteristic rainfall the day before cooled the temperatures quite a bit – the upside is enjoyable weather, the downside is a damp ground that has yet to dry, and mosquitos.

But there is nothing like a bottle of fine single malt and a Cohibas to help one relax. IMO, one is hard-pressed to find a finer, more consistent cigar than a Cohiba.


Old friends

tarantulaGerry Moore is over for a visit this weekend. It is good to see old friends.

We took a drive to the Superstitions this afternoon, to Tonto National Forest. I decided to take him to First Water, since it is fairly easy and close to home.  With the recent rains, many of the roads have been washed away. I didn’t want to take too many chances with his rental car… Read more

NOT a Mirage…

rain in the Sonoran DesertWTF? Monsoon is long gone, and yet we continue to get precipitation in copious quantities in the Sonoran Desert!

Not that I am complaining – Arizona has been in drought for many years now. Ironically enough, these latest deluges formed off of the California coast, and yet Cali has been bypassed each time. The storms roll in over Baja and the Gulf of California, through Mexico and then cross our border. At least this is an influx from Mexico that we can all enjoy – well, those that have not endured flood after flood. Read more

A cowboy needs a horse…

Liz and I on horsebackLiz and I on horseback, in the shadow of the Superstitions.

Yesterday, Liz and I hired OK Corral Stables in Apache Junction for a two hour ride in the Sonoran Desert. Neither one of us had been on horseback in over 30 years. I had never been on a horse on uneven, rocky terrain – my experience was riding a retired race horse on an oval dirt track.

OK Corral in Apache Junction, AZOK Corral is a family-owned venture five miles down the road. The sons are involved in the Animal Planet series “Ice Cold Gold” where they are mining gold in Greenland. They run a gold mine in AJ, so they have experience. Josh booked our ride and helped saddle the horses, and he adjusted my stirrups prior to my ride. Helluva nice guy. Read more

Armenia Fest

Kotayk BeerLiz, Mike and I hit the Armenia Festival at St. Apkar Armenian Church in Scottsdale today.

Next year will be the 100th year anniversary of the Turkish/Ottoman led holocaust of Armenians. Turkey still denies it happened. Many of our previous presidents have promised to make this an issue, to call Turkey out and demand that they admit to historical wrongs – every one of these presidents has lied. As long as Turkey remains a strong ally, allowing us to have military bases there, we will allow the country to deny this atrocity – 25% of the Armenian population was eradicated in ethnic cleansing.

It was this systematic murder and torture of a race that convinced Hitler that he could get away with the eradication of Jews and Poles. Read more


pergola If the studio was “Project 2013″, the the pergola is “Project 2014″. Hopefully we will be able to add a storage shed in 2015.

The pergola took precedence over the shed, as our house is very small, especially when compared with the behemoth in New Jersey.

We downgraded from three bedrooms, two living rooms, a dining room, a cavernous kitchen, a sun room, a laundry room and two baths with a jacuzzi to one living room, a kitchen, one bath and one and a half bedrooms (you would have to see it to understand what I mean…) Read more

Finish line

Pergola completedWhew! Complete – well, almost. I have the soffet on the house side to install – not that anybody would see it – but it will add eight more inches of protection from the afternoon sun as it sets in the west and peeks over the roof of the house.

The blinds are really inexpensive ones from The Home Depot – plastic made to look like bamboo. The 120″ one cost something like $28. We could have gone for the exensive bamboo ones, but the desert sun would rot the cords on those as quickly as it will these, and both serve the purpose of blocking the sun. The pergola is really comfortable amd even more so that Fall has arrived and our temps are only in the 90’s.

Last Saturday, the day I had planned to use to place the finishing touches on the project, gave us weather that caused a change in plans. A major Pacific Coast storm front managed to invade the Sonoran Desert, covering the East Valley in a deluge of much needed precipitation.

The video is not all that exciting – unless you live in an aread deprived of this sort of weather event.  It rained from early afternoon throughout the evening, and the ground is still saturated. Overnight, grass sprung up in the back yard, and I have to mow every two or three days now. Read more

I have a Fetish

Zuni FetishNo, it is not a phallic symbol.  It is a rattle snake fetish. A Zuni fetish to be exact, carved by an artist from a well-known Zuni family.

Zuni fetishes are small figurines carved from stone, representing animals with healing and protective powers.

Zuni mythology divides the earth into six sides – the east, west, north and south, as well as up and down. Each direction is represented by color and an animal. Each animal has a personality, and purpose. Some give health, others luck in the hunt, others a fertile harvest. White is the color for up, while black is the color for down, not that down is considered evil as we generally understand it. Read more