Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Classic Desert

I caught this one just at the right time on a trail in the Phoenix Mountains Preserve off 40th Street.  Almost looks like desert pavement (where wind and water erosion have carried off soil leaving only rocks in a sort of pavement appearance), but it is more likely effects from years of off-road abuse before this became a preserve.

Sacred Datura

At least that is how I know this one.  Could be a simple datura without anything sacred to anyone. According to Wikipedia:

Datura belongs to the classic "witches' weeds," along with deadly nightshade, henbane, and mandrake. Most parts of the plants contain toxic hallucinogens, and datura has a long history of use for causing delirious states and death. It was well known as an essential ingredient of love potions and witches' brews.

Datura is supposed to be from South America, but I think this one is a Sonoran Desert native.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Morning Bloom

Saw this one this morning just glowing.

 This is the more familiar front view.

Quite a large flower. 

Of course, I am never the only one to enjoy the view. Here is a crop of a tiny fly - probably not enjoying the view so much as the juice.

Saturday, May 21, 2011


Small-time festival for the Mesa Public Schools.  We got there before the crowds so the whole crew of carnies were able to take their picture with Jake.

It was the first of what may become an annual event, so maybe our chances of winning something in the Chinese auction are better than they will be in the future.  Will let you know if we win anything!

 Jake won a free brownie, so we headed off to Chick-Fil-A for lunch and happened upon their mascot.
Ironic that the restaurant is right next to an In & Out?

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Saguaro Blooms

They started blooming in April already. I thought that seemed awfully early, but there are still a good number of saguaros beginning to bloom now.  That is much more 'normal' for saguaros.  The fruit ripens in mid- to late-June when it is nice and hot to go around trying to nudge them off their tall perches (to make saguaro jam).

A bunch of tiny flies hovering in the upper left corner:

Caught a small one blooming, so I stood on the tailgate and reached over to get a shot or two. Caught the unopen bloom here: 

Here are three nice ones: 

 In case you didn't catch the tiny bee in the flower, here's a tight crop of it:

I wish I had better lenses as most saguaros are rather tall and getting good flower pictures is never easy.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Barrel Flowers

Sometimes barrel cacti have nice rings of flowers and other times they have two or three.
Here's a half circle:

 Here's just a couple:

 And one - somewhat close up:

Wise Men?

A stretch, OK, as in 'The wise man built his house upon the rock.'
Two large houses in a kind of art-deco style.  These are seen along the entrance to Camelback Mtn.  There are many, many homes built in the slopes at the base of Camelback. Some newer ones are gigantic. 

Weird Hair Day

Spirit week at Erik's school and Thursday was crazy hair day.  Erik said he would rather wear his spirit t-shirt and not do anything to his hair. 

Apparently, some girl was able to convince him (and several other boys from the looks of things when I picked him up) to let her crazy his hair up.

This is how he looked:

They were on pretty tight! We cut the tiny rubber bands without too much fuss, then he showered to try to get his hair back to normal.

New Glasses

Very delinquent in getting pictures posted...Jake got his new glasses about a week and a half ago. He wasn't to crazy about posing for a picture, but he does like them.
They change with the light, so they look like sunglasses outside. He claims an improvement and has no problems wearing them.