Thursday, January 31, 2008

Finally, a robin!

My pyracantha berries have been waiting since fall: the bush remains quite loaded with food for the robins. But where have my customers been? Eric, of the Bird Barn, noted five or six weeks ago that he had not seen the local robins as yet. Nor had I. Not until two days ago, when one showed up next the fence. All this has me wondering -- have our robins decided to spend the winter with all the other snow birds down in the Valley of Death? Have we had a big die off? Where have they been? Anyone have info or ideas? Should I just harvest the berries and make jelly, forgetting the robins? But then at some point those berries are going to turn and I might be able to watch drunken late season robins stagger about before they sober up; that's what happens regularly in one friend's garden.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Meetings at the Smoki

These pictures were taken at a recent meeting of the local archeology society. Appropriately enough, the venue was the stone building auxiliary to the actual Smoki Museum of American Indian Art and Culture. According to the Smoki web site, designed to resemble an Indian pueblo, the Smoki Museum was built in 1935 of native stone and wood. It was constructed with labor provided by the Civilian Works Administration and the Smoki People.The Smoki People were a group of Prescott citizens organized in 1921 and dedicated to the perpetuation of American Indian ceremonies and dances. As late as 1990, the Smoki People held annual pageants at the Yavapai County Fairgrounds.

The meeting structure housed local Indian artifacts collected by the Smoki for a number of years before the current museum was built (you can find an exterior picture here ). Presumably it was built by members of the Smoki People, whose most famous member was Sen. Barry Goldwater. Today, the building is a popular place for gatherings of various civic organizations. Below, some views of the interior. Note: I have no pictures of the actual museum; photography was a no-no the time I visited it with a camera.

The lectern repeats the Smoki logo; the panel below IDs the location of the ladies' loo...

...while this group faces one as she leaves the actual facility. Certainly a reminder of what could happen to people who leave messes behind! And, no, I don't have the equivalent from the Men's.

The painting of the kachina (or katsina, the term used by many) hangs on a wall in the big room. The very local Prescott tradition of the Smoki came to an end with the many changes taking place in American society; in August, 1990, the Hopi and their supporters picketed in Downtown and at the Rodeo grounds outside the 70th Annual Smoki Ceremonial performance. They held signs that read "Preserve your own culture" and "Hopi religion not for sale." They talked peacefully with passers-by and people heading to see the show, says the museum site. That was the last year of ceremonies. Since that time, the museum has been operated by a non-profit organization. The Sharlot Hall Museum site tells the story of the Smoki briefly and lists most of the holdings as of the 90s.

Monday, January 28, 2008

California sent us water -- lots of it

Normally, the Lincoln Street creek crossing at Miller Valley is where the illegals gather daily to wait for job offers. But not yesterday. Those much publicized SoCal storms made it here Saturday night. By Sunday afternoon, the creeks that come together at Lincoln were roaring mountain streams
.Not really that deep, but a stream like this runs very fast and can sweep a car downstream before you know it. There have been at least two drivers drowned trying to cross the creek right here, during the time I've lived in Prescott.

Sson drove us up the White Spar to the Granite Creek crossing at Schoolhouse Gulch campground. Plenty of water here!

And here is the Park Avenue bridge across Aspen Creek, normally a trickle. More rain and possibly snow is promised for later this week. We should have a n absolutely gorgeous display of wild flowers down in the desert this February-March -- the rains have been almost perfect. Springtime in the mountains should be beautiful as well. Of course, there's also the much greater importance of this break in our long drought. BTW, 2007-8 were supposed to be La Nina years, i.e., very dry.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

West Gurley Empty

Workmen are finally finishing off this empty commercial building over on West Gurley across from the one-time Fry's supermarket; the parking lot and walkways were being finished when I was there last about two weeks ago. A pair of buddies and I have been following the fast -- and then slow -- development of this property for many, many months. Since no information has been posted at the site, we speculated that originally the structure had been contracted for by some sort of merchant who then backed out when the economy turned down. Now it looks as tho there will definitely be an occupant -- maybe we'll find out in the next couple of weeks. Business in the area should be picking up, now that the AZ Dept. of Economic Security has consolidated all its offices into the old Fry's premise. I still say it' s too bad that Trader Joes didn't take the location!

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Of jelly fish, beer and computers

It's not often I neglect the blog & I apologize. However, between the arrival of the Sson, this fershimult cold and the lack of my old, comfortable computer, I was worn down last night and couldn't have turned a coherent phrase if you had paid me!

However, I appear to be somewhat better, certainly for a brief report. First, I want everybody to admire that Tshirt above, with its myriad jelly fish and other coelenterates, front and back. Sson, as I've mentioned previously, is an ecologist, currently with the Natl. Park Service. His Ts reflect his career and he has an excellent collection.

Aside from cooking for the shut-in (tonight, curry ... tomorrow a.m. eggs plus sausage) and cleaning up the kitchen after himself, Sson brought something to drink in his suitcase.

Quite a nice head for a small glass of cola, isn't it? He has been brewing his own beer for several years now & I'd be happy to recommend his product if he ever took it out into the big wide world. It's been a good visit, but will over far too soon!

In the meantime, I'm glad that I do NOT have to write a nasty screed about Apple; no, the folks from Cuppertino are coming through with flying colors. Thanks to the ministrations of my good computer guy, the company has agreed to pick up the tab to repair the damage those capacitors did to my iMac. I don't know yet if any files on my hard drive can be rescued. However, I plan to award a super hero's cape to my CG who argued my case. It seems that my particular capacitors were but a few numbers off from the group that was included in the official recall, tho they suffered from the same problem. In the process of all this hoo-rah, I did discover from The Google that a great many PCs also used the same caps and suffered the same problem; in fact, Dell had one bad quarter a year or so ago as a direct result.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Ravens nest early

If I recall, by mid-February, the he and the she of a pair are sitting their nests. About three or four days ago, I espied a pair flitting about from Ponderosa pine to Ponderosa, talking in that low, intimate gurgley voice that ravens sometimes use. LH & I always called it saying sweet nothings.

In any event, one of the pair flew to the very top of a tall pine and proceded to posture, caw, and perhaps test the particular needles for suitability in a new nest.

After a short while, the bird decided it wanted to be elsewhere. While my camera was recording this picture, it had time to flee the scene. I've kept a lookout for this pair and, while they've been back once or twice, that's it. I had hoped that they might make a home that I could see out my big front windows, but that doesn't seem very likely.

Next, I may report on the saga of my iMac, the exploding capacitors, and my crashed hard drive.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

A wall of Indian symbols

Bear ... goat ... rabbit ... road runner ... turtle ... snake ... and a variety of anthropomorphs (humans) -- these are some of the American Indian symbols rendered in copper up on the lobby wall at Samaritan Village, where my mother is staying.

Here, just for the dotter who's still suffering short days up in Alaska -- another sun to brighten her life.

This fine lizard is also at home on the wall... are these katchina figures. I especially liked the grimace of the fellow on the right (below in close-up.)

And no pictures of Arizona animals would be complete without a prong-horn. Now, my daily duty done, I will retire to bed to pamper the dang-blasted cold I appear to have contracted.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Downtown for a change

Errands and a lunch date took me downtown for a short while today. A very pleasant change from my regular nursing home visits. And, of course, there were Sights to be photographed.
For example, 4th floor window washing -- in style -- at the oversized Gurley & McCormick condo building.

I notice that the final two condos are still to be sold. Wonder what they're priced at in the current down real estate market.

A stop at the Book Nook to pick up a book and say hello to the bookstore dog, Nicki in his collar.

Another stop at the Outfitter to buy some heavy-duty long johns for cold days at home.

The day was warm enough that there was one customer outside at Coffee Roasters.

At the bank, I discovered that they have one piece of native decor -- a metate -- in the midst of those steel and plastic cubicles. Actually, not in the midst -- it was on the floor in the foyer; the cubicles are inside.

And lunch. Good company -- The Singing Bird and her charming little girl. Noted that the Gurley Street Grill has declared "no illegals here" with an EVerify poster in the window.

So what did I buy? Bookwise, the middle volume of Neal Stephenson's System of the World. Long-john-wise, reasonably heavy-duty ski-type under garments, strictly for homebound use. Lunch-wise, more of that pot roast to die for at The Grill. A good day.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Toyland from Yesterday

A feature I always enjoyed at Las Fuentes was a display case where residents could share collections gathered over a lifetime. Items dating from the one-room schoolhouse ... old Christmas tree ornaments ... needlework projects ... classic dinnerware. Wonderful stuff. At Mom's new digs, there is a similar showcase. Currently, the subject is toys, most of them from the world before modern plastics.

Brightly painted sheet metal objects...

... including one of those tops that you spun by pumping a spindle up and down.

Two kinds of jacks; the upper sort were a bit light weight and scattered too far apart; the heavier kind (lower) spread nicely when thrown.

A truck and horse-drawn fire engine of heavy cast metal -- older than I am, though not the tank! Note the little wind-up vehicle.

Military items from different ages...

...more sheet metal work, though that truck looks to be plastic, as are the Pluto dogs.

FYI: Since I am currently without PhotoShop, I am not able to cut the size of my pictures down to 60-70K to load into the blog, using iPhoto. I haven't been too satisfied with the low-res pictures produced by my Canon, so I decided to try low-res (480 x 640) on the old Sony, which is only a 2.1 megapixel camera. As I suspected, the Sony does a much better job than my fancy 6 megapixel camera.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

A Pair of Cats

A translucent feline, kindly brought to me by neighbors from their Pacific Northwest sojourn. Originally it served as a wine bottle. Today it sits in my kitchen window to catch the morning light and glow.

The Max cat is not translucent in the morning sun -- except in outline, creating his very own cat aura.

Update: Here are two pictures that should have been in my previous post of most searched photos. Number one is of my favorite mysterious staircase.

Number two, above, is the fireplace in the Bank of America's cozy corner. The post compared local bank decor.

And here's an interesting conversation at the Virtual Jeep forum, discussing the back roads to Crown King, as well as the sights along the way. I should also mention that I discovered a Truly Nolen blog for franchisees of the exterminating service; Walking Prescott got a link.
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