Saturday, October 31, 2009

Four visiting raptors (plus a raven)

Thanks, Dagny! Your email reminded me that once again, the raptors would be visiting Jay's Bird Barn. Today, from 11 to 2 p.m. Which turned out to be the big 6th anniversary party for the birding and nature store over near the Willow Creek Safeway.

There was quite a crowd. Plenty of food.

And a pair, big and small, of fine hoedown fiddlers. That was outdoors.

Once inside, I headed for the visiting raptors. Their caretaker (right, above) explains that the birds are rescue creatures that would never survive if freed. Present on this occasion:

A night heron (above). Below, a great horned owl (seated above a picture of another great horned owl.)

A Harris hawk (above) and (below) a goshawk, who didn't appreciate the crowd one little bit.

A closer view of the goshawk and (below) a raven.

Jay's has everything needed by the avid birder, or folks who simply provide food and/or housing for their neighborhood birds. Those gourds, for example, are a cut above yesterday's kitschy bird houses, don't you think?

Nature flags, a fine assortment of critter Tshirts, tschotkes (below), plus a really excellent collection of field manuals for the Prescott, Northern Arizona and Sonoran desert areas are also available at the store. Not to mention jigsaw puzzles and binoculars, among other items.

The big question: why the African clothing worn by the fiddler or this throw that features African critters and patterns. It turns out that Eric Moore, owner of Jay's, has just returned from a big birding tour of southern Africa. You can read all about it over at The Courier.

OK, a Halloween Link or Two: In reality, I'm just showing off the family. First, the pink granddotter rock star. Second, the most excellent gingerbread house, made by OmegaDad, a true artiste.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Would a self-respecting bird...

...make its home in one of these kitschy items? Actually, I doubt that a smart bird would concern her/himself about whether or not the potential house met our standards of good taste. More important matters -- water proof? warm? roomy? Safe from marauders?

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Recycled decor

The present incarnation of Waffles & More is in a former Mexican restaurant, which is fine by me. Not only are the breakfasts yummy (and the specials are cheap), but the place is light and airy. Even taking into account the big murals of our two iconic mountains (Granite, above, and Thumb Butte, below).

I like the live plants and the painted plants as well.

Especially those huge sunflowers.

Other folk style, food related wall paintings add to the flavor of the restaurant. All topped off by the growing collection of kid's coloring sheets at the check-out counter.

The coffee cups? All in the back room, where my friends and I had our weekly breakfast this morning.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Old 89A -- bridge, dam, ditch, gauge

I'm still not used to the idea of an SR89A with four lanes of traffic. Nor an on-ramp to a straight-away rather than a curve through rocks in the Dells to cross Granite Creek. In all the years that I've known Prescott, this pretty approach to the bridge is an essential start to the trip to Jerome. In case you've already forgotten, you take a right off SR89 at the Pinon Pines biker bar.

Drive a short distance and there's the old bridge, thoroughly blocked off by both a gate and a precast barrier.

Apparently the old-style railings (above) were sufficiently rotted on one side that they were replaced by more of those dreadful precast barriers (below). I could moan and groan about those barriers for as long as you'd listen; reason? They completely block off the view of any stream that one might be crossing on a bridge. In a dry state like Arizona, a glimpse of water in nature is to be savored, not censored.

Here is one such view (above) from the bridge, looking south toward the Dells. Looking to the north (below), one sees the dam, the gauge and the works controlling the old Chino Valley irrigation ditch.

As my neighbor and I walked toward the dam, I caught this view of the bridge, looking south. Note how un-bridgelike those dang precast barriers make the structure look.

The one shiny new gizmo among this collection of yesterday's engineering is a stream flow gauge operated by the USGS (above), which goes into action if we have flood waters. Below, you can see the start of the Chino Valley ditch which carried water from Granite Creek to farms to the north beginning in 1915. (It probably is already forgotten by many local folk that Watson and Willow Lakes were finally bought by the City of Prescott from the Chino Valley Irrigation District as recently as 1998.)

And, just for the record, a picture of GrannyJ photographing the fallen leaves floating on the still waters of the dammed creek.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

A flume & Bass Lake

Today, my neighbor, the contract archeologist, took me on a tour of Prescott's recent past. The highlight, a tour of what's happened to Old 89A. However, that post not only requires a lot of pictures, PhotoShop time and simply mulling things over, it probably also will have to be done in two or three parts! However, on this same outing. I got a close look at a small feature that's puzzled me for many a year.

Shortly after one crosses Willow Creek, driving north on SR89 through the Dells, you might notice on the left a line of rusted tanks or troughs. Actually, it is the remains of a flume. When we first moved to Prescott in the early 80s, the line of the flume was intact, unlike the broken mess I photographed today.

My neighbor had prepared a report on the remains. The flume acquired water from a dam on Willow Creek near where the old Garden of the Gods was later located. Sometime around 1907 or thereabouts. The water served two purposes: an orchard on the other side of the road (SR 89) and a sometimes fishing spot, Bass Lake, located in a low flat between the flume and the rocks to the back of the pictures above and below. When water was not needed at the orchard, it was diverted to the lake.

Here, some of the timbers that held up the aqueduct. One important fact I didn't find out: the date when this waterworks was shut down.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Comic relief

Here's what I saw when I entered the MD's office this morning for a check-up. Right in front of the window where the receptionist sits. Unless something really new and terrific comes along to outclass such excellent and fitting Halloween decor, consider this is my contribution to the holiday celebration.

Of course, I had more in mind when I planned this post. Three comic strips I've clipped which were particularly poignant. Number one, above, takes me all the way back to my childhood and then to my own motherhood. Long, long ago in the far beyond, my mom made a point of declaring that all store bought witch or princess costumes only proved that the wearers (or certainly their mothers) lacked imagination. She managed to convince me, though I had a hard time convincing the dotter that a fine Cat in the Hat outfit that I made from cast off grey sweaters plus a big stovepipe hat fashioned from a kraft paper grocery bag, painted in those famous red & white stripes, beat all hell out of outfits from the store. Of course, back in those days, All Hallow's Eve had not become a big national holiday worthy of huge temporary shops dedicated to ghosts, goblins and even costumes for Rover. I wonder if anybody bothers to dream up a one-off costume these days; so many themes have already been coopted by the Halloween industry.

You've probably noted that I have a habit of treating The Google in the style of a modern oracle. I felt absolutely vindicated when I caught this bit in the Arizona Republic a couple of days ago. Repeat after me, ALL PRAISE TO THE GOOGLE.

Finally a memorial to my dear, late cat, Max, who, like Fuzzy, was likely to suddenly march up and bite, without warning or reason. I still miss Max very much; he never returned home.

Note: I realize that I have jumped copyright on these cartoons and hope that the owners will be kind enough to consider this post the equivalent of inviting my friends to see the clippings that I post on my refrigerator.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

A reading matter

Interesting line-up of magazine reading over at New Frontiers. Definitely there to appeal to women. Upscale women with the mind-set that goes with shopping at New Frontiers -- Mothering ... Vegetarian ... Get Fresh. However, I'm somewhat surprised by O, which is certainly a lot more mainstream, as well as a major on the mag racks at the big supermarket chains. Since I'm more likely to read Analog or Atlantic, I don't really have an opinion here, just plain old fashioned curiosity.
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