Archive for Personal Shit

Phoenix Cajun Festival

Yesterday was a perfect Arizona day, not a cloud in the sky, a constant breeze, and not so hot that you fried your brains.

Zach DeputyLiz and I went to the Phoenix Cajun Festival to see Big Bad Voodoo Daddy. Boasting the original line-up that has not changed since 1989, they had the arena swinging.

Sponsored by Abita Beer, Abita had a full line of brews on tap. Cajun food in the food courts, even a cigar vendor. The day started off with the Bad Cactus Brass Band controlling the stage for three hours. Zach Deputy followed with a two-hour set with no break.

After his gig, Zach hung around the arena and freely chatted with the audience. He mingled around the arena and did not hole up in the VIP section, to his credit.

Today I made a large batch of salsa.  We are having a pot luck at work tonight, and I was volunteered to bring my home-made salsa and chips. Now I will relax for the remainder of the afternoon, before an evening nap, and then off to work for another week of the grind.

Nothing new here

ringneck turtle doveThere is not a lot new here in Arizona. I work, sleep, and work again.

I have updated a couple of websites – and will post particulars soon.

My friend visits daily, and she persists on being a nuisance until I feed her. Her mate still will not eat from my hand, but she will tolerate me rubbing her feathers with a finger for a few seconds in exchange for a kibble.

Saguaro bloomThe Saguaros are beginning to blossom, a little early this year. The white flowers bloom at night, and generally do not last more than a couple of days.

Last month we had a week with record high temperatures, after a rare winter snow on New Year’s Day and a higher than normal amount of precipitation. Read more

Prickly Pear in blossom

prickly pear blossomThe Purple Prickly Pear cactus in front of our studio is in full blossom this week. The flowers last a couple of days, providing a very brief splash of color in the desert.

The petals make a very interesting addition to a salad, as almost all of the prickly pear cactus is edible in one form or another.

The flowers will soon disappear, giving way to fruit. By summer, the fruit will be bright red and ready for the picking. The pads can be harvested any time of year for nopalitas. They are delicious in a cold salad, or cooked in an omelette. Read more

Bougainvillea

BougainvilleaTwo years ago we planted a Bougainvillea by the studio. I am maintainign the position that Liz’s brown thumb killed it.

We are trying again, and she promises to keep her hands – and watering pot – off of it.

This test will determine whether her overzealous watering killed it, and whether my plan of neglect will be successful.

No flowers for Algernon

desert poppiesAs is all too often the case, my timing was off.

Today, Liz and I drove out to Globe and Miami, AZ – two old mining towns that are due east of Apache Junction. Miami’s major attraction is a Walmart Supercenter and a grocery store. Globe has a hanging tree in their downtown.

the hanging treeMy main purpose of the drive was to hopefully catch some of the desert spring flowers. The fields leading up to the mountains are blanketed with desert poppies, carpeted in bright yellows and oranges. Clusters of lupines add purple to the landscape; but we arrived too late.

We explored the downtown business districts of both Globe and Miami. They are quaint little downtowns with tons of potential. The buildings have unique architecture, and the towns are doing their best to evoke a sense of civic pride and to offer attractions for tourists.  There are art galleries (none were open) and antique shops in both towns. And if you are a local, there are plenty of watering holes. Unfortunately, since this was a day trip, we had no chance to pay a visit to any.

Globe’s main attraction was a lynching treGlobee in the middle of their down town. I have to imagine the guest of honor was very short, or they used another tree. The lynching is described as very orderly – which is good.  I prefer orderly lynchings.

We stopped at Guayo’s El Rey cafe, a Mexican resaurant that is considered one of the best around the Valley.  I did have a Dos Equis with my enchiladas. For a small town, the place was packed for lunch, and most of the patrons were locals.  Lunch definitely made up for my disappointment at missing the spring bloom this year. There is a one week window of opportunity – hopefully next year my timing will be better.

All is not lost – the century plants (agave cactus) are getting ready to bloom, and I will be in the desert every weekend to hopefully get some good shots.  And of course, in June and July the saguaro and prickly pear will be in full blossom.

Eating out of my hand

eating from my handThe ringneck turtle doves are not community oriented. Monogamous, ringneck doves mate for life, and can live for up to thirty years.

The pair of doves that seems to have adopted me is very territorial, driving all other ringneck doves off of the property.

The male and female spend an equal amount of time haunting me when I am relaxing on the patio. They keep their distance when Liz is out and about.

These birds have been domesticated for thousands of years, and this feral pair has become more and more familiar with me. If I am on the laptop and ignoring them, the female will grow impatient and perch on the top of the screen staring at me.

I knew it would be a matter of time before I had them eating out of my hands, and yesterday it happened. She is still a tad shy, and I imagine it will be some time before I have them perching on my finger.

While they are extremely aggressive towards other ringneck doves, they will totally ignore ground doves, and don’t pay much attention to the mourning doves.

Not native to the area, these families of doves have most likely originated as descendants of domesticated escapees from California. The arid climate of the Sonoran desert seems to particularly suit them.

Renaissance Festival

Tartanic chic We did the Renaissance Festival today. It is one of the high points of our year, an annual excursion. As always, we grabbed a cold beer before heading to the Falconer’s Field to enjoy Tartanic – otherwise known as “Men Without Pants”.

After that we relaxed at Pan’s Oasis – the show was a lot less creepy than it has been in previous years.  The Washing Wenches followed with an extremely bawdy and NSFW show. Read more

Tired

tireSometimes you’re the windshield, sometimes you’re the bug…

I have been the bug for too long now.  Every time I see some blue sky looming up ahead – smack! – into that curved sheet of tempered glass.

I have been driving on borrowed time for years – replacing shitty beat up tires with shitty beat up tires with a little more tread and a little less dry rot.

My federal income tax refund this year bought me four brand new tires for the truck. Hell, with that money I was a spendthrift, and also bought myself three new pairs of jeans and two pairs of shoes.

On my way to work the other night, on the Loop 202, I noticed the truck was handling a bit funny – and not in the haha sense. As I pulled into the parking lot at work, the tire released all of its pent up pressure!

I have been driving on shitty duel Yuls (get it? Yul Brenner?  Bald? haha!) for three years without incident. Two weeks with new tread and I run over a screw that punctured the new tire but good.

Fortunately I did something I rarely do – I purchased the road hazard replacement guarantee for the tires. The cost was $10 per – or $40 for the set. I don’t buy those warranties because the cost of a tire repair is $15, and unless you are expecting to get four punctured tires in the next few years, you lose and the tire company wins.

For some reason I opted for the warranty rather than a fourth pair of jeans. Today I got a flat tire replaced for free.The warranty was extended to the new tire. Perhaps it is because St Patty’s day is around the corner – shall we call it the luck of the Irish?

Apache Junction Lost Dutchman Days

Bare backYesterday, Liz, Mike and I attended the 51st annual Lost Dutchman Days festival. The event has been around longer than Apache Junction has been incorporated -AJ was incorporated as a city in 1978.

AJ has a population of around 34,000, and amasses 34 square miles. The population grows three-fold from October through May when the snowbirds migrate from colder climates.

Apache Junction has no city property tax. While taxes are levied for the board of education and fire district, as well as Pinal County, the city is funded by sales tax.  This consumption-based tax system is the fairest, in my humble opinion. Those that have, pay.  Those that do not have, are not forced to spend what little they have. Read more

First Water Creek and the old corral

hike routeWe took a short hike this weekend. It was less than 2 1/2 miles, an hour and a half.  After several 8-mile hikes, this one seemed rather short.

We decided to revisit the abandoned corral, and then hit the Second Water trail, follow the First Water Creek to Great Enchantment Trail and back to the trailhead. Read more