Friday, February 29, 2008

3 days of spring...

...and over 300 images. Yikes! I'm busy trying to rebuild my inventory so that I can be a slacker every now and then! Suffice it to say I've challenged my walking muscles now that we've had a taste of spring. Too tired to think words, but here are a few of the more interesting sights I've seen along the way.

A bent oak tree, courtesy of the electric utility, which cut off the upright bole to protect its lines.

My favorite large ant nest aboil with residents suddenly warmed out of winter lethargy.

A pothole puddle left from our last storm plus the dead traffic cone that obviously wasn't sufficient warning.

An alleyway dwelling....

Sycamore limbs outlined by a bright sun.

A steel wool rosette in the neighborhood grocery store.

And the wonderfull old, old windmill at the Sharlot Hall museum. Enjoy. I did!

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Prescott by zoom

To readers from far away, here are views of downtown Prescott; to local readers, your chance to get a hillside view of our town so you can pick out all the details. Obviously the place to start: the Courthouse, with the city parking garage in the foreground and Union Street going up the hill on the other side.

Gurley Street, from the McCormick Street condo building (left foreground) all the way to the Hassayampa Hotel. including even a few Victorians at the very top. Plus the old Masonic building on Cortez peeking over the other buildings.

Compressed buildings over on Godwin Street, starting at the corner of Montezuma and looking east, including the post office, City Hall and the Chamber of Commerce.

Yavapai College buildings are at the very top of this view; the red brick structures are the Fine Arts Assn. building and the former movie house converted into offices for the Social Security Administration.

Here you can look all the way from Albertson's and the old Depot to the many white buildings of the VA hospital complex and up to the top of our local volcano, Glassford Hill.

A hillside full of houses.

The hillside scar that always accompanies a new building...

Though only a Big Box (Lowe's) would make a scar like this one! In the foreground, the balconies of the old Head Hotel show, as well as a major antenna tower.

McMansions near the Senator Highway, which leads into the forest south of town. As you can see, our downtown is very compact -- and full of trees, which, at this season, are barren and gray. The gray green foliage you see in many of the pictures is primarily scrub oak and juniper. Pictures, using the extreme zoom lens setting, were taken from a nearby hillside on the west side of town. When I got back to the house, a hungry robin was on a juniper, gobbling down the berries. The only picture I was able to get showed the tip of its tail and its beak. Ah, well. Win some, lose some.

Linkages: Some splendid pictures of remnants from days past by friend Bobbi (all local, by the way); Firefly Forest who takes wonderful nature pictures has just posted desert-in-bloom pix from down Picacho Peak way. And if you're looking for something strange, I give you the World Dream Bank. Speaking of dreams: if you happen to have a spare $5 mil, you might want to buy the acreage at the top of Mt. Tritle; it's on the market, according to Prescott Style. Tritle is the middle peak of the three highest mountains due south of town.

Prescott necessity: good drainage

After all that moisture we've had the past few weeks, the local hills have sprung leaks. Here's a minor stream I saw on Beach Street two days ago; I've seen similar little water courses on several streets running downhill toward Granite Creek.

A Japanese-style water course in stone helps prevent erosion of the hillside here. Many years ago when my LH and I were looking at houses in Prescott, we noticed that structures on Park Avenue often had a small stream running through the basement (if they had one). I suppose had we been looking in the dry season, we wouldn't have been aware of this!

Pictured: a rather small drainage pipe (under 6" in diameter) at the edge of one hillside property hereabouts.

A larger tube (12") runs under the drive of another house.

Now we're getting into more serious drainage! This paved water course down the bluff takes rain and melt water away from the upper level parking lot at a former church on West Gurley Street.

Grand finale: a 3-4 foot conduit under the road as you leave the south end of Lynx Lake; it drains a hillside into upper Lynx Creek.

Excuses, Excuses: Last night, I had these pictures PhotoShopped and was about to begin posting when, OOPS! my modem called it quits. Had to call in my guru this AM to fix things -- the easy way, using a cable rather than the wireless option.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

For the birds!

I had gathered critter pictures of all sorts for tonight's post; lo and behold, there were enough bird pictures alone. Let's start out at Lynx Lake again, with my youngsters, both of whom had cameras working. The south end of the lake is where the water birds have learned to expect their rations from us suckers. But with all that ice, how do they handle things? The crowd hangs out at a hole in the ice, way off. As soon as likely marks show up, a parade of birds forms up, heading toward the shore.

As the drakes and their ladies near their benefactors, they leave these curious trails in the ice.

The wrong move and they take to the air. Thanks, sson, for this great shot!

In the meantime, a little Oregon juncos steps out on the ice to get his share of goodies.

The juncos tend to hide in the nearby trees and shrubs.

And here's the prize picture from the outing -- a nuthatch hanging upside down either to get a drink of water or perhaps to catch a juicy critter in the mud. If you ever see a small bird climbing down a tree trunk headfirst, you can be sure it's a nuthatch; it's our only bird that does such a trick. Mud? Water? Yes, there was a small margin that was melted at the lake's edge.

Elsewhere at the lake, this raven played hide and seek with the sson, who finally got a nice shot of Roscoe taking off.

GrannyJ finally got her own bird shot a couple of days ago. A fleet of sparrows was around and about; this pair sat still long enough for me to take their portrait.

Linkage: Earlier today, I received one of those email posts with a bunch of wonderful pictures attached. This particular lot consisted of fabulous paper cut-outs done by one or more artists. Of course, I passed the email on to friends, receiving a grump from my dotter in return. Not directed at me specifically, but at the very bad habit people have of harvesting pictures from web sites, then passing them along without any credit whatsoever, jumping copyright protection in the process. Bless her, she passed along the website for artist Peter Callesen who actually created the cut-outs. Do visit the site; he's done some remarkable work.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Patterns on water

Send a rushing stream down a steep spillway; one of the results is a beautiful set of bubbles and of foam. These are pictures the dotter took on our day out Lynx Lake way; she had my camera and I must say she knows just the sorts of pictures that grab me! Note sson also at work.

The bottom of the falls: here's where the bubbles build up.

And foamier patterns made by eddies accumulate in a backwater.

Wonderful bubble baubles.

I really dig the patterns made by the swirling foam.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Big day in Ash Fork

Ashfork is classic small town Arizona -- hanging in there despite a life of boom and bust. The railroad -- big and then rerouted. Its main street fabled US Highway 66 -- bypassed by the interstate. And, currently, a possible slow-down in its current employment mainstay, flagstone, thanks to Arizona's real estate bust. Nonetheless, a local development association has a few plans up its sleeves.

However, today was a big day in this small town just north of I40. A local boy who made good as Arizona's official historian was in town to sign copies of his just published Images of America: Ash Fork. The sponsor, the local historical society, was overwhelmed with the number of people who turned out for the event at the local museum.

Here's a first look at the line of folks waiting to get their copies of the book autographed.

And here's the author, Marshall Trimble, who lived in Ash Fork from 1947 to 1955. Those were my formative years, and many of the stories in this work are gathered from a youngster's personal experiences and observations, he writes in the introduction. He arrived early to begin signing books at 1 p.m.; the original schedule included a talk by Trimble after the signing.

A splendid array of homemade goodies awaited people who finally got through the long line.

Later: the line is still long.

It was thanks to Georgene that I was able to photograph this event; here she talks politics with local residents. Note line in the background.

Since the author was still busy signing books, local talent entertained the audience in the small seating area.

With a long drive ahead, at 4;30 we gave up waiting for the program. Though the line was beginning to dwindle, Trimble was still signing books! BTW, this small town museum holds many fascinating relics of the Arizona past -- coming soon, a sampling.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Bicycles built for Prescott?

Certainly this fat-tired mountain bike is. Even features the bike equivalent of a bumper sticker, boasting "Green/Wild". There are a fair number of dedicated bicycle riders in town and probably as many, if not more, to be found out in the forest.

Amongst my rescued pictures from last fall is this recumbent model. I'm sure I did have a picture of a chap riding such a machine, but it wasn't among the October-December group of pix I managed to save to DVD. My bro wondered just how well riders of recumbents can see the road from their position down so low.

Above, possibly day-trippers, more likely campers prepared for several days of mountain biking. The campers below certainly are.

This is an unusual arrangement. The rider is an advocacy leader; the rider, her daughter; I've seen the pair wheeling around town on several occasions. One Street is the international organization headed up by Sue Knaup, with an ultimate goal of bicycling as "a solution for climate change, health crises, oil wars and deadly street designs that threaten people around the world." A mighty big agenda for two wheels, I'd say!

Another famous local bike rider -- Derek, who has checked out probably every trail in the region on his bicycle, recording the results at the Sharlot Hall website. (BTW, for long-distance travel, he has only a motorcycle.)

At this stage of my life, I fear that my only bicycling would necessarily be aboard a motorized vehicle such as this! Not at all like Avus, for example, who biked a good 48 miles through the English countryside one day on his vintage Raleigh.
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