Thursday, February 28, 2013

Spring is Coming?

We did see some evidence that Spring is coming during our rambles through the Water Park in that there were a few flowers blooming. I'm not sure that I should count this Bottle Bush as one of them as I have seen an occasional plant in bloom all winter --

I do not know what this delicate little flower is --

Its blooms are petite and hard to spot in this type of sprawling shrub...

We spotted several of these Desert Globe Mallow just beginning to bloom. There will be lots of them in just a little well as we saw many bud-loaded plants along the trail.

This Jojoba Bush is one of the few shrubs in that park that is actually labelled --

Again, very petite little flowers. It may be that Mother Nature prefers to tiptoe into the blooming season...

Our friend Juni couldn't quite believe that we had never been to a Buffalo Hot Wings, so we made arrangements to go out this evening and remedy that. We had a good meal (though ours had the "mild" sauce) and even better fellowship. Afterwards, we sent back to their RV so that we could get a doggy fix with Tika, Izzie and Cassie.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Finally -- The Water Ranch

It was warm and sunshiny today. It wasn't raining, the wind wasn't blowing. It was not a school holiday. It was a perfect day to finally go back to the Water Ranch.

The park is part of the City of Gilbert, Arizona's water reclamation project. There are at least five ponds scatter throughout the property. We saw some gorgeous Mallard Ducks. Their green heads were so brilliant in the sunlight, they were almost purple looking.

This is a Ring-Necked duck. You can see the front part of the brown ring around its neck, but the dark ring around its beak is easier to see.

The later in the afternoon it got, the more of these came hopping out of the underbrush --

We saw this cormorant swimming along the edge of one of the ponds --

While this osprey perched above it all watching for a chance to grab dinner --

Can you spot this little green hummingbird perched inside the shrub? We think it could be an Anna's.

A Great Blue Heron --

A Great Egret --

Another Double-Crested Cormorant drying its wings --

A flock of Northern Shoveler Ducks feeding by pushing their spatula bills through the water to strain out food --

On the other side of the pond, a Snowy Egret reflected in the water --

We also saw White-Crowned Sparrows, Abert's Towhees, Canadian Geese, Mourning Doves, Long-billed Dowitchers, Least Sandpipers, Black-Necked Stilts, Killdeer, American Coots as well as several shore birds that were too far away for positive identification. It was a good day for spotting birds!

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Odds and Ends

I sat down this morning and put a package together of all of the tax stuff I've been gathering up for our accountant. I emailed the ranch Quicken files to Cleon's office as well. Then Forry took my envelope of stuff over to the Valle del Oro Post Office and got it sent off by Priority Mail. So now that task is done -- much earlier than usual too!

Forry stopped by Juni and Tom's on his way back from the Post Office. We had shared with them an article in the Arizona Republic in their Restaurant Gems column about a restaurant in downtown Phoenix that featured fry bread and Indian Tacos. It had received a James Beard "American Classic" designation. The decision was made to check it out for dinner this evening.

The Fry Bread House is another very small (less than a dozen tables and booths) gem. We each had a variety of tacos with everything from ground beef to chorizo, beans or green chiles. We are used to fry bread tacos served flat with all the accompaniments on top, these were folded like a taco --

Of course, we did have to share one of their dessert fry breads covered with cinnamon and sugar!

Monday, February 25, 2013


It was another chilly morning, but the sun was out, so the day was really quite pleasant. We had the windows and the door open most of the afternoon.

I did have a chance to get my little Valentine rose bush re-potted in the new pot we bought at Lowe's last week. There's quite a bit of new growth on it. I hope I didn't shock it with the transplant...


We checked our mail box, then went over to the post office and picked up a Priority Mail Tyvex Mailing Envelope that I can use to send our tax stuff to our accountant's office.

From there it was over to the freeway via Ellsworth Road to Safeway to pick up groceries. It seems like we are always out of orange juice, milk and bread. They had a sale on diced tomatoes, so I picked up half a dozen cans of those as well. I added oranges, bananas and blueberries. Forry added several bags of popped popcorn and kettle corn -- gotta have snacking stuff.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

An Afternoon at the Finals

We spent yesterday afternoon and evening at the Scottsdale Arabian Horse Show at the WestWorld complex.

This is the huge tent that the 80+ vendors are housed in. You go through this tent past all the vendors to enter the main arena, the Ford Equidome --

A quick picture of The Recycled Spoon, the booth of our friends Dennis and Colleen (the goldish orange and blue vests are actually in the booth behind them). I wandered around and actually found an interesting (I hope!) present for our granddaughter's August birthday. We visited with our friends for a bit and bought another ring for our friend Juni's daughter, then went to see the horse show finals.

I'll make my apologies ahead of time. The reserved seat tickets were all sold out so we had to seek vantage points wherever we could. Most of these pictures are take from a LONG way away! This is an English Pleasure Hunter class. I must admit, I really do not like the wrapped tails! (This would be fox-hunting attire...)

This is another English Pleasure class with the riders in frock coats --

Look at the tails on these Arabians! (As they leave the ring, a handler immediately comes up behind them and ties the tail up in a loose knot...)

This lady is riding in a Western Sidesaddle class. What an uncomfortable looking way to ride to my contemporary eyes!

This class of Half-Arabian/Anglo-Arabian Park Horses was a real crowd-pleaser --

These horses do strut their stuff --

They push off from the rear, which gives the very high front action --

Beautiful animals! This is the only class that seemed to work up a sweat...

There were four entries in this Pleasure Driving Championship class.

The horses are pulling these little two-wheeled carts. Someone behind us remarked that these tend to be very dangerous and unstable rigs...

This is a portion of the Championship Hunter Pleasure class --

Another crowd favorite that I had been anxious to see. This is the Liberty class. The horse is turned loose for two minutes to show its stuff to music --

The handles have long rods with ribbons on the ends to guide and encourage the horse as it flies around the ring --

Once the music stops, the handler and the assistant have another two minutes to catch and re-halter the horse --

Talk about grace and beauty!


This horse and ride won Reserve Champion in the Western Pleasure class --

I had been looking forward to this class which was the Arabian Mounted Native Costume Championship --

Glitter, tassels and bling --


The champion!

Not sure how she got out of order, but another Ladies Western Sidesaddle entrant --

The last class we watched (that I didn't get any pictures of) was a class of yearling fillies. They billed it as "Stallion Auction Championship Classic Yearling Fillies." There were nine young fillies led in a halter for judging. The Champion received a $40,000 prize while the Reserve Champion took home $20,000 and each of the others $6800. There was no real explanation from the announcer about the connection with a Stallion Auction and no one around us seemed to know either. They were gorgeous young creatures, but sure wish I knew the rest of the story...

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Wait For Tomorrow...

It's very late here -- after midnight.

We spent the afternoon and evening at the National Arabian Horse Show over in WestWorld in
Scottsdale. We had a great time and I took a lot of pictures of beautiful horses.

I'll show you some of them tomorrow when I might be able to keep my eyes open... :-)

Friday, February 22, 2013

TGIF! -- Really?

Once again, the week has wound itself around to Friday. Though for retired folks, it really doesn't make a whole lot of difference. In fact, many times we don't even know for sure what day of the week it is. The only day we really keep track of is Sunday.

I spent a good share of the day doing laundry. My little Splendide washer/dryer did a week's worth of clothes in three loads. Once again, Auntie Violet looks like a laundry. I only run the dryer for about twenty minutes, then hang the clothes up to finish drying. That way I don't usually have to iron anything.

Towards late afternoon we made a trip to Lowes to look for a slightly bigger pot to transplant the little miniature rose bush Forry gave me for my birthday into. We found a nice pottery pot and bought the smallest bag of potting soil we could find. It's still way more than we need...

We had a nice sunshiny day today, but it is still a bit on the chilly side. The Mariners played the Padres this afternoon for the first day of Cactus League play. Unfortunately, they didn't this first game -- I'm not sure that's a good omen or a bad one. Some of the sports writers seem to think it's like dress rehearsal for a play -- that a bad rehearsal means a great Opening Night. Let's hope they are right!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

A Chilly Chili Thursday

We could hear melting snow dripping off of Auntie Violet's roof most of the night last night. This morning there was no trace of last night's snow. But it was chilly, very chilly. There were clouds of various shapes and colors floating around all day. Some of them were dark and looked like rain, but we didn't get anymore of that today either.

I read in this morning's Arizona Republic that last night's snow was the first measurable snow in Phoenix/Mesa since 1990! Evidently skiffs of snow are not that unusual, but it's been a lot of years since there has been enough to actually measure.

The Mariners actually were able to practice outside today. Their Facebook page had pictures of them doing their exercises on the field under some ominous looking clouds. Tomorrow is Opening Day for the Cactus League Spring Training games. Hopefully, it will warm up enough next week for us to go and enjoy some games.

Our friend Juni stopped by with a container of chili for our dinner tonight. She's doing a very good job of spoiling us! Tom said they thought it was pretty bland and not at all spicy, but it did have a bit of a bite to it. It was very good with soda crackers.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Crazy Weather -- SNOW!!!

They predicted rain for this morning, and for once, the weather forecaster was right on. It started to rain just as we were eating breakfast and it just poured! The water was running down the street just like a miniature river. It's sort of funny in a way. This is the desert, but it actually gets more rainfall (>10 inches per year) then we do at our ranch in eastern Washington where we average 7-9 inches per year.

We spent most of the day in the RV where it was warm and dry. I worked on the books and played a few games of Words With Friends, while Forry worked on his Sudoku puzzles. We had gotten in contact with our friends Colleen and Dennis who are midway through their stint of vending at the Arabian Horse Show and planned to meet them about 7 PM at Waldo's BBQ.

When I started to go out the door of the RV, something looked very strange when I looked out at the lawn chairs --

The last set of clouds that had come through dumped snow!

It actually left about a half inch of the slushy stuff on the windshield...

This is NOT right! It's supposed to be warm here with sunshine!

Even the Mariners had to  practice inside today. ;-(