Wednesday, May 28, 2008


The passion fruit vine is supposed to be a heat tolerant, fast grower hear in the desert. It does grow quickly, which is good, because the vine has been attacked twice by voracious caterpillars. A type of fritillary butterfly lays eggs on the leaves and before long...

The vine looks like this - or worse!

This is what the flower looks like when its not being eaten by hungry caterpillars.

Crazy Hair Day

Almost forgot I had this one on the camera. Erik's last day of school was crazy hair day.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Venus Flytrap

Probably one of the coolest plants around. Jakob insisted on getting this even though I told him they are hard to keep alive. We did some checking and found some interesting tidbits. They occur naturally only in a small area in North Carolina and are now endangered. They are commercially grown from rhyzomes so they are not harvested from nature. They tend to grow in poor soils so they 'eat' bugs to get needed nutrients. They go dormant from mid-November to mid-February.

We already 'fed' this one a tiny caterpillar and it should take from 5 - 12 days to digest and reopen. The exoskeleton should be all that's left.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Here's Looking At You

I couldn't pass this one up. I've done numerous cats in pencil - this is my first one in pen & ink.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Red-Naped Sapsucker

I thought at first it might be a ladder-backed woodpecker, but upon looking it up, it turns out it was a red-naped sapsucker. I hadn't seen a ladder-backed for many years now, but in retrospect I'm not sure I'd ever seen a red-naped sapsucker before. I would have added it to my life list if I kept one. I'm not much for anything that organized.

Car Wash

The boys were bored and decided they should wash the car. Not too bad for their first attempt. With temps at 100 starting now and probably going for the next 100 days or so, trying to keep cool tops our list of things to do.
Things start out semi-serious, and the boys try their best to do a good job.

It didn't take long for things to get a little crazy....

And of course, a LOT crazy.

So - know anyone with a dirty car? Lower prices than a car wash and lower quality, too!

Friday, May 16, 2008

How Stuff Works (Travel)

I've hit the 'Big Time' with my photo as one (number 11) of 143 shots depicting Phoenix. Not one of my photos, which would be nice, but one of me in my ranger garb. It was a set up shot back before our environmental education center went up. And NO, I'm not touching the petroglyphs - that would not be good!

OK, the first few photos were actually Phoenix, but as you go further, the photos are of cars, Harry Potter (Order of the Phoenix), and who knows what else. So not really very big-time. At least I'm toward the first few.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Old Floor

I was going to title this one New Floor, but that is yet to come. The floor has cracks that were offset and several 8" tiles were cracked before I pulled all of them up. In order to have 17" tiles without cracks in them, I needed to chunk away some of the offset. This left a nice big hole in the floor. I will fill it with concrete and then tile over. Hopefully, that will be the last of all the settling cracks I have to worry about. (Can anyone say "famous last words?")

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Happy Mothers' Day!

Gramma took us out to Red Robin for Mothers' Day. Normally we take her out, but this is what she wanted. Last time we went to Red Robin, Jakob was a little upset when his balloon sailed up into the sky once we got back to Gramma's house. Once we told him Grampa might enjoy his balloon, he was fine. He even prayed that Grampa could keep his balloon and play with it in heaven. He still talks about it.

Off to Air Force Academy

Our babysitter, Alison, is finishing Highschool and heading to Colorado to the Air Force Academy. She hopes to fly the F-22, but will take whatever they assign her to fly. We gave her this little drawing as a going away present.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Bass Today

We got a bass today! Wouldn't you know it, we forgot to bring the camera! I thought for sure that meant we would land a big carp. Bass was about 12 inches or so - nice, but not huge by any means.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Barrel Cactus

Our wildflowers tend to bloom early out here, then the hedgehog is usually the first cactus to bloom. Now the Saguaros are starting to bloom as well as others. This is a barrel cactus (barrel-shaped until it gets really, really tall (maybe at 3-400 years it will be 6 feet). Don't worry, I'll be getting a LOT of saguaro pictures.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

My Parks

OK, this is where I work....The foreground is Papago Park, where our maintenance yard and office are. The middle mountain is Camelback - kind of looks like a camel laying down (its head to your left). The background is Phoenix Mountains Preserve. All three are my areas, but I mainly work in Papago right now to handle reintroducing cactus and native plants into old, scarred areas of the park. Slow going, but I get to gatrher cacti and root them out then plant them. The trees and shrubs we order.

A Cat This Time

Those carp sure are strong!

Catch of the Day - Catfish

Another fish for Jakob! We keep hooking carp, but they keep breaking the line. Last one took the bobber away with him. That must have made him tired! I think we're on top of it, but if it happens again, we'll get higher test line.

Erik's Class

Here are the kids from Erik's school's 4th & 5th grade. We went on a field trip to Westworld for a horse show, which was more an encouragement for reading. It was entitled Black Beauty, from the book, which all the kids were to have read. There were probably around 3,500 kids there and they had a huge, covered arena (in the background of the picture) with plenty of seating. Unfortunately, it was too dark from my seat to try to get photos. I probably could have tried video, but I had a pole in the way and didn't think it proper to go stand in front of everybody. There was a lot of good riding and well-trained horses. It was a pretty decent program.
The picture above was done by stitching 3 photos together in a panorama. I've done landscapes like this before, but never people - especially people who tend to move a bunch.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Jake's First TWO Fish!!

Fish #1

Fish #2

I hooked the first fish and let Jakob take it in. We had barely got the first fish back into the water when the second one hit his line (with pizza crust for bait). A third one got away, but the kids we fished with before also got two bluegills and a couple got away from them, too. Needless to say Jake is very excited and if I thought he wanted to go fishing a lot before, well, I don't think I had a clue.