Treasures from my week

hedgehog with bright red blooms
Hedgehog cactus in bloom in a pot in our backyard.

I was surprised to see cacti in bloom in our yard. I didn’t think August would be the time for such beauty in the desert. Maybe it’s the rain we’ve had? I’m learning that in the Sonoran Desert, plants bloom throughout the year.

white bloom on cactus
This blossom is right outside our front door. It’s the first thing I saw on my morning walk.
white flower on cactus
hill in the sun during a rainstorm
We walked extra early because a rainstorm was headed our way. I loved how the hillside was touched with sunlight. It did rain on the way home, but it felt great.

Yesterday, one of my neighbors went with me to a framing store. She’s a watercolor artist. One day when she was at our house, she said I needed to reframe a painting.

“But that’s the original frame,” I said.

“That’s okay. A new frame will brighten up the painting. Right now the frame cuts off the painting and makes it look dark.”

I invited her to accompany me to the framing store. She obviously has better knowledge in frames than me.

Lawrence Hinkley oil painting
This is the original frame. The painting is by Lawrence Hinkley, who was married to my husband’s great aunt.
Lawrence Hinkley painting.
Here is the same painting without the frame in the framing store. I can’t wait to get it back with its new look. It’s definitely brighter, don’t you think?

We received the painting from my husband’s grandfather before he passed away. I have treasured it and thought it would be sacrilegious to reframe it.

I did a google search of the artist Lawrence Hinckley and found out lots of interesting things. He was born in 1900 in Fillmore, California. He created a studio called “The Artists Barn” that attracted internationally renowned artists and visitors. Hinkley also worked in ceramics and made an elephant piggy bank named Fundo for a women’s Republican group in Santa Barbara.

From a news article I found online from the Fillmore Gazette:

As Mildred Hinckley in her book “The Artists Barn”, “The result was a cuddly little elephant about six inches long and half as high, with a tummy fat enough to hold a lot of dimes and quarters. His name was “Fundo”…On his white back was printed in red and blue, “Peace, Prosperity, and G.O.P.” Production of Fundo had just started then President Eisenhower suffered a heart attack. The Club requested that Fundo be sent to the President in the hospital. Lawrence personally decorated on, adding the usual inscription “For Ike” and “Get Well Soon.” I wrapped Ike’s Fundo and mailed it to the hospital.

Mildred went on to write, “On the morning of November 11, Lawrence was downtown and stopped in a café for a cup of coffee….When he opened the Los Angeles Examiner and started reading the lead story under a double column headline he nearly spilled his drink. It read in part, ” …… all during his illness, it was revealed, [President Eisenhower] has been persuading visitors to his eighth-floor hospital room to put something into his personally sponsored kitty, an elephant made of crockery with a slot for the deposit of money…..”

http://www.fillmoregazette.com/front-page/meet-artist-lawrence-hinckley

My husband told me that Hinckley also worked for Disney and painted some of the backgrounds of the classic movies. During World War II, he worked for Douglas Aircraft on technical drawings and charts.

I feel like I’ve discovered treasures including the history of my husband’s artist relative and the blossoming cacti.

Have a great weekend!

What treasures or small pleasures have you enjoyed this week?

What about that weather?

Sunset after a storm in the Arizona desert
Sunset last night after a huge storm.

I got back home from running errands right before the storm hit. My phone gave that loud alarm with a flash flood warning stating to shelter in place, that it was a matter of life and death. For hours the rain poured and the thunder was constant. It was exciting but the noise level was exhausting.

Sunset views.
When the rain began, while there was still visibility.
Sunset view
The view from our driveway after the storm passed.

After the storm, we had a beautiful sunset. Today the rain should be here at 11 a.m. and last until the sun goes down again. I guess this is the Monsoon season I’ve heard so much about.

Have a great weekend everyone!

What are your plans for the weekend? Are you having any unusual weather?

Who knew “Little Hollywood” is in Utah?

Kanab Utah Little Hollywood sign.
The Little Hollywood sign in Kanab, Utah.

As soon as we crossed the border to Utah, a loud crack hit the windshield right at my head.
“Welcome to Utah,” Siri announced from Apple maps. Large trucks barreled by us throwing up rocks in their path.

Last time we drove home from Utah our windshield got cracked due to big trucks. We’re two for two on Utah and windshields.

We left our Sonoran desert, crossed the green forest of Flagstaff, passed by the Grand Canyon’s south and north rims across Navajo Country to Lake Powell. Once in Utah (with the cracked windshield) we drove the final one hour leg of the journey to Kanab, Utah to spend the night.

It was an adorable town of 4,998 people filled with mom and pop motels where you pull your car up to the room’s front door. The woman at the motel desk told us the town’s best restaurant was next door, “The Rocking V Cafe.” Dinner was both delicious and affordable.

Rocking V Cafe in Kanab Utah
The Rocking V Cafe at the end of the block.

We walked around town and discovered why Kanab is known as “Little Hollywood.” My husband said, “This looks like where Westerns were filmed.”

Plaque in Kanab for the Lone Ranger.
Along our walk we noticed many plaques like The Lone Ranger one above. My brother and I used to play The Lone Ranger and Tonto when we were kids. I was always Tonto of course. It was in the 1960s, so we must have been watching reruns.
Randolph Scott plaque in Kanab.
Another one of the many plaques honoring the celebrities who made movies in Kanab.
Residential street in Kanab with red rocks.
A view of a residential street in Kanab. The town was friendly, safe and I felt like I time warped to the 1960s.
Church bells in the morning in Kanab.

What sights traveling have you enjoyed? What things were new to you?

What other joys of road trips — besides cracked windshields — have you experienced?

A few sights around the neighborhood

white blooms of a yucca
Yucca in bloom by our park.

I never grow tired of the desert sights. It’s such a different desert than the manicured lawns, hedges and golf courses of Palm Springs — yet it’s technically the same desert. The Sonoran Desert.

hatched quail eggs
My husband spotted these quail eggs in a planter under a bush. Talk about an effective nest. Now we know where the babies came from.

planter with quail eggs
This is the planter where the quail made a nest! It’s in the side yard right outside where the trash bins are stored.
I’ve been watching this century plant grow.
century plant ready to bloom.
A few weeks later. It’s grown so fast, you can stand still for a few minutes it seems like you can watch it grow.
I wonder if it will bloom?
Sunset in the Desert.
Sunset view with ocotillo.

Have a great weekend! Thanks for stopping by. What are your plans for the weekend?

Benefits of early morning walks

javelina in a neighbor's yard
Javelina

One of the benefits of walking at dawn is the wildlife we get to see. This morning it was this herd of Javelina in front of a neighbor’s house. I texted the photo to the neighbors to show them the shenanigans going on in their driveway while they were sleeping.

What is a javelina you might ask?

Javelina (Tayassu tajacu) also known as collared peccary, are medium-sized animals that look similar to a wild boar. They have mainly short coarse salt and pepper colored hair, short legs, and a pig-like nose. The hair around the neck/shoulder area is lighter in color giving it the look of a collar. Javelina have long, sharp canine teeth which protrude from the jaws about an inch.

One major adaptation for survival is the fact that javelina live in large family groups. The average group size is 10 or less, but a few herds have known to number up to 53 animals. Each group defends a territory which includes their sleeping and feeding areas. They communicate with their own family group and other groups using sounds and smells.

Javelina live in desert washes, saguaro and palo verde forests, oak woodlands, and grasslands with mixed shrubs and cacti.

They can be found in the deserts of southwest Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, southward through Mexico and Central America and into northern Argentina.

https://desertmuseum.org/kids/oz/long-fact-sheets/Javelina.php

Other creatures we have seen are tiny baby bunnies, quail families, coyotes and mule deer.

mule deer in the street
Mule deer that crossed the street at dawn.

We are going adventuring in the area this weekend and I’ll write about that next week.

Have you seen javelina before? What plans do you have for the weekend?

It’s wild!

bobcat
I’ve spotted the bobcat at our house two days in a row. I watched him leap over our fence and also walk along our windows on our patio like he owns the place.

When the bobcat arrives our yard is deathly silent. Gone are the squawks of the quail and woodpecker. The bees stop buzzing and the beautiful song of a cardinal is nowhere to be heard.

Normally our backyard is alive with sounds. I’ve spotted baby quails when I’m walking around the neighborhood. I put out seed on the ground outside the casita this week. I was thrilled when a family of quail visited our yard! They are the tiniest, cutest little things. The babies follow mom and dad in a line.

Here’s a video of the quail family eating the birdseed.

Mom and dad with seven or eight babies.

Another joyful sight was a cardinal who is enjoying the seed I put out. He is so gorgeous and his song is beautiful, too.

Our beautiful scarlet cardinal.

I had stopped feeding the birds last year because a hawk flew into a window with a plump quail in its beak. The window was broken and it scared me to death. I got a bill for $600 to replace the double-paned window. The quail and hawk survived, though.

But I’m back to putting out seed a year later. I hope I don’t have a repeat of the hawk incident. I’m enjoying the bird and bobcat watching. It’s truly wild!

Do you enjoy bird watching where you live? What types of birds do you have?

What type of wildlife do you have?

What, me worry?

saguaro in the Sonoran Desert
Saguaro in front of a neighbor’s yard.

It’s snake season. And I’m not happy about it.

I am terribly frightened of snakes. I saw one the other morning at our park while on our walk.

A neighbor texted to tell me that another neighbor found a rattlesnake in her garage. Her husband trapped it in a garbage can and released it five miles away. I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t feel comfortable driving with a rattlesnake in my car — garbage can or not.

Then last week while we were walking, a neighbor warned us about a huge rattlesnake a few blocks away from where we were headed.

“I’m done!” I said and turned my back and walked back to the house.

Every time I step outside, I take a careful look around. No more walking while looking at my phone. My eyes are peeled. In fact, I’m not spending much time outside anymore.

I googled rattlesnake bites in AZ. This is what I found:

Joe Hymes at the Phoenix Herpetological Sanctuary in north Scottsdale said that with temperatures warming up, this is the time of year that they receive the most calls about snakes.

He told AZ Family, “Most of the time, they are just soaking up the sun, but if you give them space, they will leave you alone.”

Snakes generally hide in cool, damp places.

Hymes explained, “Anywhere [snakes] will not feel overly exposed. They’ll hide under things — bushes, flower pots, raised sheds in the backyard, behind A/C units, behind pool pumps where moisture might condense. Those are all prime rattlesnake hiding spots.”

https://www.iheart.com/content/2021-04-05-its-snake-season-in-arizona-heres-what-to-do-if-you-see-a-venomous-snake/

You know what? Reading that did not make me feel a bit better.

A childhood friend of mine lives in San Diego and was bitten while talking a walk on his lunch hour last week. He said the snake bit him in the calf from behind. He never saw it. He was hospitalized for four days and had one of the worst reactions to a rattlesnake bite the hospital had ever seen.

In Palm Springs, we had rattlesnakes but we saw them on the hiking trails in the surrounding hills, not downtown where we lived.

Do you think my worry about snakes is warranted? Do you have anything you’re afraid of? What the most dangerous thing in your area?