Thursday, April 29, 2010

More Around Town

Beginning in our own front yard.

Last Sunday we trimmed the palm tree (well Ron trimmed and I picked up,) and we discovered that a dove had nested on one of the fronds. Ron snapped a good picture of the babies while he was up on the ladder. The one on the left is facing away and the right one has his head toward the camera.

Today, just four days later, they're alert and watching us as we move around on the ground. Although it's really windy today and maybe they're just holding on for dear life.

There's a very creative artist around the corner who painted his fence to match his landscaping. Although the oranges are off the tree, they're still depicted on the fence. In the lower left he also added some quail to his barrel cactus.

In another area, he continued the theme and even ran over onto the neighbor's fence with a roadrunner. (Well, you know you can't control those roadrunners.)

This barrel cactus has flowers that are more green than yellow. Interesting.

But my favorite cactus flower in the neighborhood was this one.

These magnificent blooms were on a tiny cactus. I don't know what kind it is, but I plan to ask the owners.

I wonder if this guy is an escaped pet.

I took the next two pictures in early April. This is the beginning of the new crop of lemons. (Since we acquired the trees, we found that the peak month for citrus is February and you better pick it all by the end of March when the new ones start.) All our citrus trees have a lot (LOT!!!) of new fruit and all are about 1/2 inch.

Except these three lemons which are about 2 inches. What's up with that?

For those of you who inquired about the saguaros (alright, just Diana,) they are now coming into bloom. I guess they really appreciated all the rain we had in January, because they are unusually prolific this year.

As you can see they are just packed with flower buds.

But the blooms are still out of reach so I'm re-posting my pictures from last year when I dragged the 7-foot ladder down the street . . .

And took this close-up of one of the blossoms.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Finger Update

After six weeks of messing around taking antibiotics with little effect, last Friday we took Ron's finger to a hand specialist. Although I think the doctor would have continued the 'wait and see' attitude, Ron pushed for action and the doctor scheduled him for surgery today.

Here's the poor digit now. We can only hope they got all the bad stuff out.

While in there, the doctor said he would take a culture to check for both bacteria (which came back negative last time) and fungus which was suggested by our WIN friend Karen who had seen similar symptoms during her nursing in ER. Antibiotics do not cure fungal infections, so we really pushed the doctor to check for that. I think I saw some eye rolling and Ron saw the nurse wink at the doctor. We don't care as long as they do it.

But look! He's still smiling.

And here is what I think are the villains in this story.

Shortly before the beginning of this tragic saga, Ron trimmed these rose bushes. Rose thorns are known to transmit fungus. Ironically, I don't like roses and had threatened to cut them down which is why Ron did the trimming this year. Next year they're going!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

More Hikes

While waiting for Ron's finger to heal (more on that in the next post,) we had a couple more outings to see the desert in bloom.

One day we checked out McDowell Mountain Regional Park which is about 15 miles directly north of Mesa, but, because of a lack of bridges, it's about twice as far by road. Although the hiking trails would not be particularly interesting during most of the year, in the spring they turn into 'yellow brick roads.'

The majority of color was courtesy of the brittlebush which looks dead most of the year.

The creosote added to the profusion of yellow - such a happy color.

The wild heliotrope added some contrasting blue.

Most of the hike was along a ridge with nice 360 degree views.

Another day we went to Boyce Thompson Arboretum State Park, luckily not one of the Arizona state parks that are scheduled to close. The park has a forest of giant Red Gum Eucalyptus trees.

This was labeled as an Arizona Hedgehog, although I was convinced it was a claret cup.

These yucca were looking fine.

And here's one of the reasons why Ron and I are sneezing - Sweet Acacia.

They have an interesting way to keep visitors on the path.

We were too early to see this century plant in bloom.

They do a good job showcasing the native plants.

Look how the spots on this guy help with his camouflage.

I don't think this is a native desert plant, but look how gorgeous this gazania is.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

My Babies

I have this picture on my desktop and every time I open my computer it makes me smile. It was taken about 30 years ago by my father and the subjects are my darling daughters.

It's funny the things you remember. When I look at this picture I think about how Laura loved that brown dress and would have worn it every day if it had been clean. With her dark hair, I was always pushing her toward red, but he had her own opinion. On the other hand, Christy's criteria for the perfect dress was how well it twirled. Memories. . .

I can talk about them since they never read the blog. :-D

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Around Town

First of all, I know all of you are asking, "What the heck are you doing still in Mesa when it's hitting 90 degrees?" Well, the answer is Ron's finger.

Over a month ago, his finger mysteriously swelled up and turned red . . .

With an area of pealing skin. Since then he's been to the doctor five times, been on two different antibiotics, had an MRI and a CT scan. The doctor is baffled. It looks even worse now, but I didn't want to gross anybody out. Things might be looking up, though, at least it's starting to ooze. (Oops, gross, sorry)

Anyway, I thought I'd take some pictures of the local area. First, here is my cactus garden - planted with tiny cacti which will probably take ten years to grow appreciably.

But a couple of those tiny little cacti are blooming! This one was labeled 'red-headed Irishman'. I call her Jonetta.

And look at the size of the blooms on this tiny inch-tall cactus.

The ocatillo are in full leaf and flower instead of looking like dead sticks.

I always thought the flowers were red, but these are orange and yellow.

The century plants in front of my friendly neighborhood Walmart picked this year to impress me with their bloom.
Speaking of Walmart - the other day I was bummed because somebody was in MY parking spot. Then I thought, "MY parking spot??? I've definitely been here too long!"

Also the palo verde trees that usually look like this . . .

Have been transformed into things of beauty.

But my favorite is this gorgeous tree . . .

Covered with orchid-like blooms. Amazing, huh?

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Peralta Trail

Last week we hiked what is probably the most famous of the many trails in the Phoenix area - the Peralta Trail to Fremont Saddle. First of all, I have to say that whoever claimed this hike was only 2 miles each way must have been smoking something funny. But since that seems to be everybody, maybe it's the 1380 foot elevation change that did me in. Or it could even be the fact that I've gained weight which I discovered when I donned my hiking pants and they were a bit snug. Whatever the reason, I was exhausted at the end of the supposed 4 miles.

To reach the trailhead, take US 60 about 8 miles east of Apache Junction to Peralta Road. Turn north and, after a very dusty 7 miles, the road dead ends at the trailhead parking lot. (Ron refused to tailgate the car in front of us, so I can't show you the dust.)

Views of the cool rock formations begin right in the parking lot.

We picked a day that wasn't too hot, but this pool still looked refreshing. I like the saguaro pointing the way in the upper right of the picture.

Although the only masses of flowers were the poppies and lupine near the parking lot, there were a lot of different wildflowers along the trail. This one has tiny pale lavender flowers.

There were some nice patches of shade - this one even came with a seat.

I don't remember seeing a maroon cactus flower before. I think it's a hedge hog cactus.

Hey! Here's one I know - it's desert mallow.

As always, Ron couldn't resist a little trail maintenance.

We finally made it to the saddle where there's a nice view of Weaver's Needle. It doesn't really look like a needle to me, but what do I know?

I think this is some kind of penstemon. There were just a few of these near the top.

As we passed this rock, Ron noticed it looked like a dog. He's so imaginative.

I only saw one of this pretty daisy-type plant.

We saw a few of these guys, but only one who would pose for a picture.

Nearing the bottom, Ron still had the energy to climb up the back of this rock to peak through the arch.

I just had the energy for one last flower picture. These were only about pinhead size.