Sunday, May 31, 2009

End of May neighborhood walk

And so I set out on another short neighborhood walk. Good reasons this time: first, to see what the unusual, slightly damp weather has wrought amongst the plants and, second, to take a look at progress on the old house that was gutted, then sat for several weeks with nothing happening. I did get a chance to talk to one of the owners who explained that the venerable structure had always been in her family. At last, the new addition is moving along expeditiously and should at least double the size of the building.

A discovery which had been in front of my nose all along -- another old brick structure with bolts, tho these might have to do with holding the garage roof up. Further along this alley: a basket of artificial flowers adorning a utility pole.

Which is not to deprecate green, growing things, which, having received more May water than they were expecting, have responded with gusto. Here, a volunteer hollyhock on the alley, with buds ready to burst into flower.

The wild four o'clock along the alley are lush with blossoms -- very early. But much, much earlier is the lone aster below. Poor thing must think that it is August, which is when asters are scheduled. (Even my wild asters that get regular watering wait until the proper time of year to produce flowers.)

This neat little garden belongs to one of the little cottages that fronts on the alley.

The neighborhood vines are thoroughly greened out and looking for new territory to climb and conquer. The grape (above) has, to my knowledge, never set fruit, though it blooms every year. On the other hand, a Virginia creeper (below) is about to flower; this vine always sets those big dark berries that consist entirely of one big seed.

More vines: in this case, wisteria, with one lone panicle, tho if you look closely below, you'll see that the expanding vine is ready to grab any unwary passers-by.

Yet one more vine: honeysuckle. Unfortunately, it is still not possible to capture the fragrance electronically. Surely the bright boys and girls of Silicon Valley should be able to remedy this shortcoming Real Soon Now.

On Park Avenue, there stands a small tree, possibly a locust. Today I realized that this was not a single tree but five or six twined about one another. Strange! And, below, my final botanical note of the day: the Spanish broom is abloom and quite thoroughly covered with brilliant yellow pea-type flowers. Quite as fragrant as the honeysuckle, but headier.

I close with trees of a mineral sort: manganese "trees" on a small slab of granite that I've seen many times but never Seen.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Bolted together

A sight I saw frquently in Chicago: old masonry buildings with bolts sticking out. Obviously recent additions, purpose to reinforce the structural integrity of the walls. The side of the historic Hotel Vendome is also bolted (above); it's a view I caught while having coffee at Cuppers one morning.

But one does do a double take when spotting the same sort of bolts pounded into a hillside cut, in this case over at the Peridot parking lot. No, I don't think the idea is that a few bolts will hold up a mountainside. However, the basalt looks to be pretty crumbly at this location, and the bolts presumably hold the chain link fencing in place to prevent rocks tumbling down into the drive and parking lot.

Plant Carnival: I submitted my post showing a collection of leaves to the monthly Berry-Go-Round botanical interest blog carnival and, lo and behold, was featured, complete to one of the pictures. Do pay a visit!

Friday, May 29, 2009

Yearly Vet Visit

Once a year, Max cat is subject to the indignity of a visit to the vet. First step is to lure him into the cardboard cat carrier. Hah! First step is to catch him, because friend Sam has shown up and cat does not know him well. Then the cat carrier, then the car -- and, as above, unloading the load.

We go in through the cat entrance, into the cat waiting room.

In the examination room. Once Max had been pulled out of my sweater sleeve, where he was hiding from monsters, he got loving attention from the vet and her assistant. It was all over quickly: eyes, teeth, tummy, ears, temperature, rabies shot, feline leukemia shot. Back into the cardboard cat carrier and home again, with many thanks to friend Sam. Local tidbit: ours is not a climate conduce to flea problems, per the vet. Thank the dryness.

FYI: This is a bad shot I took when Max was trying out for Dunecat; he didn't make it because he does NOT control the spice.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Lynx Lake breakfast #2

The Thursday morning breakfast crew went back to the Lynx Lake Restaurant this morning. Glad that we did, too -- I was able to reshoot a pair of pictures.

One retake was the mounted bobcat in the act of catching prey. The javelina and deer from the previous visit were acceptable...

...but the ghostly buck, light by a window below, is today's image.

The mounted trophies -- and this elaborate hearth -- emphasize that the restaurant is operated by a couple from Germany, as does the whatnot cabinet below. I've got a date set up for a German dinner next weekend. As a Chicagoan, I've missed food with a mittel Europa flavor here in the west, where the exotic comes from Asia and Mexican food is mainstream..

However, the big news is that the restaurant's humming bird feeders are now filled with sugar water and customers are showing up. I could sit by the window all morning just watching those ferocious little birds. There were no battles this morning; the reason, I was told, is that the feistiest species hasn't arrived back from the south as yet.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009


Strange, what is left behind; just as strange, where. This Ford hubcap parted company with its truck somewhere down by the Skull Valley Wash. Looks to me like one of those automotive parts that can get pricey when you have to replae it.

I don't know how many years this long forgotten basketball hoop set-up has languished in a locked, fenced-in area at Lincoln School. It's not as if it were awaiting repair or needed; the school has several up-to-date basketball hoops that are played everyday.

Huh? One look beyond the fence makes it quite evident that these folks enjoy collecting Stuff. So just why did they turn their backson this Moderne bedstead?

And here a sight down in the high desert between I17 and the Bradshaws. I find it quite amazing how many pieces of cars are shed along the way between here and there.

More Cool Reading/Viewing: From Alaska, baby moose twins ... from Fox News, all about the UFO whose crewmen nobly sacrificed themselves to save earth from the deadly meteor which still managed to mow down 80 million trees in the Russian Tunguska event. Interesting old Prescott pictures (b&w) at Arizona Towns, including an arch over the White Spar where it crosses Granite Creek -- anybody out there recall that arch?

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Glass baubles

Factoid: there are reputed to be 20,000 collectors of glass paperweights. On those few occasions that I see a small collection, I'm inclined to make it 20,001. They are such pretty things! I don't recall which antiquery here in town offered these for sale, but they were around last summer. And, yes, Wikipedia has an article on the subject. Of course.

Different glass baubles: these special painted Christmas tree lights I came across in a classroom at Prescott College. I wouldn't mind owning the set about December 20 or thereabouts. Glass can be a magical substance. Little wonder that colorful glass beads were such a hit with tribesmen in the days of exploration.

Good Linking: The dotter nearly had herself a thunderstorm, which apparently is something of a rarity in Alaska; she muses on thumderstorms here and there. In the meanwhile, over in France, Boxelder stayed at a wonderful B&B where the grounds included a strange assortment of cast-off gravestones and other curious churchly stones.

Monday, May 25, 2009

The annual Watters visit

When my neighbor invited me into her pickup truck for a big plant spree at Watters, you can be sure I jumped at the chance. Yes, I had already bought several 6-packs of annuals at KMart. But, though Watters is pricey, it's beautiful, fascinating, tempting -- and, yes, I always spend more there than at Sears' ailing Big Box.

What's hot this recession year? The veggie department was the headliner as soon as we stepped out of the truck. A huge variety of big, ready to bear tomatoes, plus a scattering of other popular items. I bought a small container of strawberries to fill the holes left remaining in my big strawberry pot, which I've decided to devote to berries for a change. Also up front: a fine selection of herbs, if that's your schtick.

Perennials are completely covered -- no problem of frying under the hot June sun; annuals are at the back of the lot, presided over by two gigantic butterflies. Both sheds were pleasantly cool, thanks to a breeze today.

Flowers, all sorts of flowers. I'll start with two on my taboo list. Unfortunate, but French marigolds (above) are a favorite food for grasshoppers. I bought red and purple petunias last week at KMart; the snails absolutely stripped the reds and are now considering the purples.

Don't know the specs on the white-tipped red number above; the yellow guys are gazanias, an annual which will sometimes over-winter here in Prescott.

A semi-double rose, somewhat like those wonderful Austrian coppers at the Sharlot Hall museum rose garden. Below, the hanging basket department. Twenty-five bucks a pop, but they sure would look beautiful along our streets downtown. If a small Alaska town can afford hanging flower baskets, why can't Prescott?

Handsome ornamental grasses are among the less common goodies to be found at Watters... well as the occasional palm or big, beautiful pot. Wish I could afford those!

One major feature not for sale -- the H.U.G.E cottonwood in front of the annual greenhouse. Those succulents above are not hens-n-chickens; no, those are 5-gallon containers sitting in front of a trunk that must be a good 5 feet in diameter. It is next to impossible to get a proper image that demonstrates just how wide the canopy of this venerable giant. It definitely spreads beyond the 48 or 60 foot span of the greenhouse!

The back room at Watters -- I'd never seen where they store the junk and gear needed to keep the customer areas beautiful, but the gate was open for a change. Even this part of the nursery is tidy, however.

In case you were wondering what I dropped roughly 50 bucks on, here are two, both natives. Above, desert marigold, usually found at 2500-4000 ft. elevation, and, below, wild zinnia, which grows on a couple of small buttes near SR 89A, just before the highway enters the mountain headed up to Jerome. Also in my cart: a well rooted blue flax, an unusual yellow-orange gallardia, a small pot of portulacas plus the above-mentioned strawberries. Tomorrow I make holes in the ground and fill more pots.

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