Saturday, April 25, 2009

Turtle Races

Only 22 corporate sponsors for the little big turtle race.

The leaders proudly wearing their sponsor nametags.
Almost a 1 in 7 chance of getting a beautiful trophy to display.

Over 3,000 turtles for the big little turtle race. So not great chances to win one of the 51 prizes, but a LOT more fun to watch. The first 50 turtles plus the last 'lazy' turtle win something.
About 1/2 way they are already stretched out
Most of the turtles assume a 'social' appearance not really knowing or caring there is a race going on.

Erik had his friend Daniel out and they enjoyed the day

Dad even tried the lily pads. Here I am getting a nice rope burn on my arms.

Jake did really well going down nearly every slide there was including the 'toilet bowl' as he called The Cauldron. Unfortunately his meds make his skin a lot more sensative to UV rays, so he got a bad rash/sunburn under his shirt and on his legs. Good that it happened before the UV index gets real bad. We'll be ordering some UV shirts for him, or he will have a tough summer.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Santa Rita

Purple Prickly Pear, or Santa Rita. I'm sure there are a good number of varieties of this. I know I have seen several. The flowers were wide open and begging for someone to take pictures of them.

And the close up

Tuesday, April 14, 2009


There are quite a variety of penstemon out there and all will do fairly well out here in a landscaped setting, the only native here is the Perry's penstemon. (I think there is another desert native, but not found in our neck of the desert). In fact, perhaps because of the large leaves, you don't find many truly wild penstemon around.
Close up...a real hummingbird attraction.


'You mean the flower lupine?' Sorry couldn't resist a bit of Monty Python humor. If you haven't seen it, you woldn't get it, but a very funny skit.

Anyhow, the flower lupine. Or Coulter's Lupine, if you prefer to be more exact. Grows very small unless well watered or in a nice shady spot (and fairly-well watered). Close up...a very interesting shape.
And ones well-watered. In the foreground are seed pods growing along the stems. The seeds look like pebbles; a good means of survival, I would think.

Tobacco - Desert Style (2)

Yes, two varieties of tobacco grow in the desert. This one is the Desert Tobacco. It is much more of a low-lying shrub than the Tree Tobacco. The stems and leaves have nettles for protection.
Here are a bunch of flowers on slender stems.
A close up...

And here are a couple of beetle larvae that seemed to be all over this plant. I don't know what they will become.

Tobacco - Desert Style (1)

Not a big fan of tobacco, but it is an interesting plant. The natives used these plants for smoking and incense. Like any tobacco plant they are somewhat poisonous.

Tree Tobacco can begin to look like a tree and I've seen them well over 6' tall. In fact this one is probably over 8' tall in this wash. Not really much of a tree, just tall like a young tree. Certainly more tree-like than shrub-like, I guess.

Here is a cluster of the tubular flowers

A close up...

Here are some of the leaves. You can see one dead and drying on the plant while another is on its way there.

Speaking of Roses...

Took these a little while back with the boys. I don't think I blogged them. I did put them on facebook recently. I don't know the names for the various varieties shown here, but if anyone is interested, just let me know and I can see if I can figure it out.

I wouldn't be too surprised if one or two of these make into a stippled drawing...

Tiny Rose

Jake got a small rose bush for Karen for Valentine's Day and it is not only hanging in there, it is starting to blossom. This one is only slightly larger than my thumbnail.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Happy Easter!!

We just got back from celebrating Easter (a day early) with Gramma, and she gave us some pictures from her birthday. I think I grabbed my camera case, but not my camera that day.
Anyhow, thanks to Erik for supplying the donuts and sharing them so willingly.
We decided cake was probably not in our best interest and got creative with some candles instead.
Erik, Gramma, Jake

And, no, we haven't forgotten that Easter is all about the greatest gift - the grace of God, the sacrafice of Jesus who took on our sins and accepted our punishment for those sins when He died for each and every one of us. All we have to do is accept that gift! And of course, the wonderful news that He is risen and alive today and has sent His Spirit to live within us (when we accept His gift)!!
Happy Easter, indeed!!!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Black-crowned Night Heron

This guy sat patiently while I did my best to steady the camera in the dying light of day. Of course, not knowing what I was up to it kept an eye on me. The one decent shot I got doesn't show the two long plumes extending from the head.

When it did turn its head, I was unprepared and tried to get a quick shot. You can see how long the plumes are, but that's about it. Hopefully, I will have another chance with this one.

Double-crested Cormorant

I saw another cormorant yesterday, this was definitely an adult. Here he is in the classic pose of drying his wings.
Here are a few mallards gliding by to give an idea of relative size. The cormorant put his wings down as I approached and then put them out again while keeping a wary eye on me the whole time.
I finally got too close for comfort and he started running across the water to take off, only to land in the water and take up his wing-drying pose on the other side.

Sunday, April 5, 2009


We went to the Chandler Fashion Mall this weekend to check out (and help out with) the Lego event building a large-scale model of a pirate. How large? When finished it was supposed to be 8 feet tall. We never got to see it completed; they tore it down within a couple hours of completing it to ship the pieces to another Lego store. This was as far as we got to see it built.The boys enjoyed making large-scale bricks. The scale model used to build the large model was 1/4 the size of the finished model, so each brick had to be 4 times larger than a typical Lego brick. What fun! Erik worked on bricks for the face. So much of the model is black, Jake spent time on those tables when he wasn't socializing.
Their were volunteers from the Arizona Lego-Builders Association and a master builder to oversee the project. They had some fun things going on to keep spirits up.

There were some races to see who could build the fastest 4x brick. I tried my hand (literally) against a speedy volunteer in a piratey one-handed build. I lost (Arrrgh). They gave away some Lego things and Erik won a Lego bank by guessing that the master builder was thinking of a dragon named - "Puff." He got a little hint from me and more than a little push from me to even raise his hand and suggest it. He gave the bank to Jake.

After being there for quite some time, one of the volunteers challenged Erik to build a ball instead of a brick. Here he is with Dan, the master builder, oohing and ahhing over the ball. Dan was a real character and all the kids enjoyed him.

I would imagine this job ranking right up there with Park Ranger.

Cormorant Visitor(s)

Last week I took about 6 shots - each progressively closer - of two cormorants at Papago Park. I looked on-line later in the evening to find that it appeared to have been a juvenile double-crested and a neotropic, once considered somewhat rare in Arizona and first spotted/reported about 1980. Lucky me. I went out to the truck to check out my photos, and the screen comes up "No card in camera" meaning I took 6 shots and got none. Oh, well. I'm back to work a new schedule starting Monday, so I'll try to find them again.

For those wondering what cormorants are - they are diving birds. They often sit on rocks or branches after eating and spread their wings out to dry.