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. Continue reading »

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. Continue reading »

Pergola Update

PergolaOur house is rather on the small side – 900 square-feet. Which is fine; two people, two dogs and a cat don’t really need more than that. Our studio/workshop is 16’x24′, more than ample.

However, with cramped quarters itis easy to get cabin fever. Yes, cabin fever in AZ… with the heat (even a dry heat) it is easy to hibernate indoors during the summer months. Continue reading »

Purple Sage

purple sageMonsoon season is just about over – we might have a few more rain storms, but it is unlikely to be anything major.

Monsoon came in like a lamb, and then walloped the East Valley. We had enough rain to awaken the grass in the back yard out of dormancy. Over night the yard went from dirt to a lush green.

The purple sage in the front yard is in full blossom, and we are enjoying it while it lasts. In a few days the flowers will be gone and it will be a green bush once more.


Pergola in the worksYesterday I began phase one of the next big project in our back yard. The patio area is rather confined, so we decided to expand.

Liz and I rented a two-man auger from Home Depot, and Mike and I sunk six holes.The job took an hour – we spent more time picking up the equipment than actually digging the holes.

We sunk six 4×4 posts, and secured them each with a 60-pound sack of Quikcrete.  Next weekend, weather permitting I will add the cross-beams. This space will add quite a bit of usable living space for 10 months of the year.

H. Chapin antique wood planes

UNION FACTORY WARRANTED H. CHAPINLast night was another exciting night at the auction, although it is becoming apparent that the Snowbirds are returning to the valley and I doubt there will be many more fruitful evenings as buyers. As the birds return, they begin bidding everything up in price until it is not worthwhile.


But until there is standing room only we will give it our best shot.  Last night we picked up a Model A Ford rim – there were three that sold for $10 each. It will make a nice addition to our garden.

I picked up a Guinness bar clock for $5, which will eventually go up on the outside bar that I am planning to build. Continue reading »


Cottontail[edited 9/9/14]
We have a temporary houseguest – a baby cottontail courtesy of our cat.

I had doubts that he/she would survive the first hour, as it was hyperventilating after I chased the feline down and extracted him from her mouth.

There were no visible wounds, and the cat was carrying it by the scruff of the neck; rabbits will die from stress. Continue reading »

Blast from the Past

beer04This is an old one from the archives. Atlantic City Beer Festival, 2007 I think. It was near the end of Inferno Newspaper‘s seven-year run.

I showed my press credentials at the door, and Liz and I got in for free. And we got VIP treatment at the booths, with a lot of freebies.

Inferno started life as an underground arts newspaper, and evolved into a politcal/current events publication that raised eyebrows and ire.

I have toyed with the idea of starting a newspaper like Inferno in Apache Junction. The concept for the masthead is OUTSIDER. Distribution, and ad sales are the two main hitches in my plan. I don’t have the energy to be a sales person in addition to being artistic director and editor in chief. Not to mention, layout and graphics…

There are not too many things I miss about New Jersey, but the one thing I do miss is the sense of community that my artist and creative friends shared. Inferno was a project that was created out of a desire to share, and everyone contributed out of generosity, not out of greed.  Nobody got paid, and I laid out more money from my wallet than I ever got in return.  In the few years that I did end up in the black, I never did earn a return that was even close to minimum wage. I devoted at least 40 hours a week to the rag, and my best year rewarded me with $2,000, plus or minus…

So I have to wonder why I would even entertain the notion of doing it again.