Tuesday, July 31, 2007

How Green Was My ... Arizona?

Answer: very, very green. Our first monsoon season rain happened the 17th; it has rained every day since then, with wondrous results. Wahoo! Summer wildflowers are starting to open. Above, a fairy duster; below, a wild geranium. Later, all the DYCs will appear.

And here a blossoming wright silktassel. (I think -- that's what it looks like in my Shrubs & Trees of the SW Uplands.)

Seedlings everywhere. Above, the unusual 1st leaves of the ubiquitous wild morning glory and, below, a triumph of sorts -- a new 4 o'clock coming up where I want it!

Even more mushrooms...

And the plant I call a 5 o'clock. It's a member of the mirabella (4 o'clock) family whose flowers do not open until very late in the afternoon. This guy has a deep root and emerges from the ground only after the summer rains begin.

But most impressive of all -- the amount of ground covered by morning glory seedlings. They create that bright spot in my little wooded area above; they also have turned my hillside from brown and sere to achingly green.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Picture This -- and That

Forgive me for laziness, tiredness or simply being waterlogged from today's storm. I have no quirky pictures in mind, no clever comments, no unexpected historic tidbits. However, may I refer you elsewhere?

* The SIL has almost completed his 10-day trek from Flagstaff to his new home in Alaska, sending roadside pictures to our waiting computers here in Prescott. A moose baby. A huge buffalo. A chain-sawed sasquatch statue. To name a few. Dotter posted a batch here.

* I had a note from Edward Registrato about a new gallery at his web site -- pictures from Monument Valley. Nice stuff.

* Box Elder photographed a strange beach scene in Northern France -- the stakes that support a mussel harvesting operation.


Sunday, July 29, 2007

A Child's Eye View: Feet

The daughter bought a new digital camera the other day. What to do with the older model? Pass it along to her 5+ year old, of course. And so at a recent gathering of friends, the little one snapped a whole raft of pictures. Interesting how big and menacing grown-up people look from the perspective of a diminutive kid! (As a shorty myself, I have periodically climbed up a few inches to see how things appear to those taller than I...)

Then someone suggested that the GD take pictures of something lower down. Feet, for example. She proceeded to take pictures of every foot that was present. Here they are:

So what did I learn? That thongs are popular with the ladies in summer, of course. And not much in the way of heels.

And that men wear their trousers longer than women do. This is news to me. Too bad, too, since I'm sure that there was at least one pair of cowboy boots present but unseen.

However, an interesting collection of styles. And certainly a different perspective on a friendly gathering. The kid is not doing badly in the photo biz, either.

Friday, July 27, 2007

This Is the News That Was

We were picking up laundry at Moore's which sits on the alley behind Foolsewoode's SnapSnap shop over on South Montezuma. "What's that," the dotter said. I looked and immediately turned on the camera.

The what turned out to be the rear exterior wall of a nearby building literally wallpapered with old Prescott Courier aluminum litho plates. Circa 1963-4. I'm sure they've been there forever and a day, but this was the first time I realized what an historic treasure was sitting in front of me. The Barry above was, of course, Barry Goldwater, the 1964 GOP nominee for president.

His family was a Prescott family and, as I recall it, he announced his candidacy here in Prescott.

Unfortunately, I didn't have time to really read any of the plates; however, I couldn't miss the prices in the supermarket ads! How do you like that prime rib roast at 59 cents the pound? Or the washer/dryer combo at just $259? Ah, the good old days!

Thursday, July 26, 2007

It Is Wet. Very Wet.

I feel like I'm turning into a mushroom. It rained to beat the band earlier today; the air is soggy. Summer rains, yes. But what it's like right now, ugh! And there's no way to get a decent measure of how much water fell out of the sky unless you operate your own weather station.

The official measure is, of course, taken at the airport. Our airport enjoys a different, drier climate than the city, so I can't find out anything from that source, which said something like 1+ inches for July the last time I looked a day or so ago.

In contrast, our local paper, the Courier, said that we had received 4+ inches for the "season", presumably the current monsoon; they're likely to add another inch from today's downpour. I've no idea what part of town they get their numbers from.

In any event, Arizona is presently enjoying a respite from the recent heat and, more important, the drought. Even Phoenix. Top temps in the Valley of Death have been under 100 for a couple of days!

My world looks entirely different from two weeks ago. Example: all these mushrooms you see here. I haven't seen fungi like this in years.

But more important, there is a sudden greening everywhere you turn, even in the roadside gravels.

I'm quite sure that the forests are just as soaked and our worries about wildfire can be postponed for several months.

Here in town, wild morning glories are coming up all over the place; this despite the fact that they are thoroughly illegal. I took a chance and scattered poppy and other wildflower seed this evening. Hope that I haven't jinxed the rest of our rainy season!

Perhaps I should apologize to my readers from other parts of the world for carrying on about our current weather bonanza. But if you visit almost any other Southwestern blogger, believe me, you're in for a weather report.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Water Puzzle

There was Granite Creek at the Gurley Street Bridge, partially filled with water (tho it was still and there were a few sand bars upstream.) And there was the granddaughter, tempted. So, whatever she found on the bridge suitable for tossing into the stream, she tossed. Mainly very small sticks -- we weren't aware of any gravel or stones. Every toss produced not just an expanding central ring, but all sorts of auxiliary rings, usually more or less in a line. These smaller rings started almost immediately after impact. GD's mother & I are asking any engineers out there "how come?"

BTW, do take note that the creek, along with my yard and the whole town, is pleasantly wet. Thus far, we're having a proper rainy season.

Further Note: Today (Thursday) has turned into a really wet, wet one and the Natl. Weather Service radar isn't even showing most of the storms -- flash floods in Sedona, frinstance. All of which is a good reason to read this official article about the AZ monsoon.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

More Guests -- 2 Cats, 3 Turtles...

...1 dotter & 1 grandchild. SIL is already in Montana, on his way to the great frozen north; he's driven three of the 10 days he's scheduled, which will include a final four on the AlCan Highway. He's driving 1) for the adventure and 2) because of dawg (above). The ladies are flying with the cats (limit, one pet per passenger, per Alaska Airlines.) The turtles? FedEx. Honest.

So here's the sociable one of the two guest cats. Name, Wooly. Other cat, Piggy, is a very shy Siamese mutt who fast found a new hidey hole upon arrival at Chez GrannyJ.

The three turtles are represented by the three containers. If you peer closely into the open unit, you can see Frankie. The other two: Yurtle and Halley.

What else is happening with our full house? Well, GD is marking off the days til she sees Daddy again; and there's the map that is tracking his progress, day by day.

We also had a cool mom-&-little- one get-together with Singing Bird yesterday. A couple of parties are in the offing and, on Saturday, dotter's childhood buddy, the Niece from Memphis, arrives with her offspring. Full house. In spades. Early next week, my dotter & GD & cats fly to their new Alaska home, niece & her dotter attend the local Shakespeare Festival. And, of course, we will all spend some time with my Mom, (the girls' grandmother & great grandmother to the third generation.) Whew!

Monday, July 23, 2007

Great Big Beetle --and Other Recent Arthropods

Just one more beetle, coming to life with the rains? No, this guy was a good two inches long, from snout to the tip of his abdomen. I suspect he's one of the famous Big Bugs, after whom a local creek and high mesa were named.

I hate to mention where I found this critter -- he was quite at home beneath one of the guest towels in my bathroom.

My house also has wasps-- front porch and my grotto. They haven't bothered me particularly, thus far, so I leave them....

...and their homes alone.

An interesting hammock of a spider web I spotted out in the woods on the Crown King trip with my Sson. Note the several guy lines.

A much more interesting spider construction spotted this morning on the front porch. I presume that there are eggs somewhere inside all that webbing. Look closely up and to the left to see an ant that has been trapped. (Yes, purists, I am quite aware that I have strayed from the insect theme here and with the centipede.)

All of which reminds me of my decorative arthropods, which sit on the window ledge except when the smallest granddaughter shows up; they are favorite toys.

The lacewing (!) above and the grasshopper below were in the $1 bin at the grocery store -- imports from some third world country with a surplus of big hex nuts and labor.

This fine brass fly, on the other hand, is an old family heirloom. My father gave it to his sister when she went off to Antioch college back in the aught-20s; it so happened that her initials were B.U.G.

And there I was with daughter & granddaughter in the car (more later) when I spotted this gay tent covering the old governor's mansion at the Sharlot Hall Museum. Of course there was an insect connection -- termites, I presume, since the sign talks about extermination.

Link Note: While I'm on the subject of critters, have you heard about the 14 cyber squirrels arrested for crossing the border into Iran?
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