Thursday, April 12, 2012

NEW Blogs!!

OK, OK, back in business?  Google quickly ended my second attempt, so I had to use a new account.  Let's see how this one works.  The first is up and running.  I will put up some of our summer stuff as soon as I get time.

I made two NEW blogs:

azgronseths.blogspot.com for family news and pictures.

azgronsethnature.blogspot.com for a variety of photos I tend to take when out and about.

I suppose I should add another one for photos that don't fit into either of the above, but I'll stop here for now.  This will be my last post on THIS blog, so just click one of the links to get to the newer blog.

Saturday, March 31, 2012

out of storage space?

I just got hit up to purchase stoarage space from Google to hold more photos.  Maybe I should start up another blog and thumb my nose at Google, instead.



Thursday, March 22, 2012

Las Vegas - Circus Circus

We decided to try our luck staying at Circus Circus Hotel/Casino.  I should have gone back out later and taken a night shot of this sign all lit up.

Out our window (31st Floor) the floor fun park is visible (see last shot). Windows were heavily spotted with dust drops, but the rooms were clean.  This tower is non-smoking, but the main floor is pretty steeped in smoke.  Some of the newer casinos seem to have better ventilation, but this one - even with fewer people seeming to be smoking - has poor ventilation.

Woke up to a nice view of the mountains at sunrise.

An off-strip casino is in the foreground.  The distant mountains look nice with the shadows.

If I hadn't looked out again a few minutes later, I would have missed the colors coming out.

This is the tower we stayed in. We were about 4 floors from the top.  This view is from just outside the pool.  Big pool, but it was still kind of crowded, and I don't think the hotel was very booked up.

This shows the world's largest indoor roller coaster zooming down the track.  The Circus Circus lights on the tower can be seen through the glass dome.  They have Midway games, circus acts and rides all indoors.

Hoover Dam

From Arizona, the only way to get to the Hoover Dam is by crossing this huge, arched bridge.  You hardly notice the crossing until coming down to the dam on the Nevada side.


Of course, the dam is huge. We weren't sure, but you may drive over the dam to the Arizona side and park over there for free.  They moved the tour start, however and it is a bit of a walk back across.

We paid to park in a big parking garage, and from the pictures of Karen and the boys, you would think we were the only ones.  Believe me, there were LARGE numbers of people parking here.

And large numbers of people doing the short tour. Below are the generators turned by water drawn from Lake Mead. I should sya these are the upper generators.  There are more nearer to river level in case the water levels should ever drop so low that these wouldn't have enough water power to turn.

Even though the dam was built starting in 1931, they knew it would be a tourist attraction and this overlook floor was laid in imported marble and the design below was commissioned to symbolize water flowing through the turbines.


Outside the main level Erik and Jake lean against a rail and the whole dam is shown.  The angle makes the dam look short.

The car to the far left better shows how big this dam really is.

And closer still, the people on the dam in this close up also show how huge this thing is.

Here is one of the original cranes used to move equipment and supplies down to the river level.  Just below the bridge, you can see a 6" cable extending from the crane across the river.

This close up shows the set up a little better.

The dam and the bridge are both impressive and worth a drive down for a look.  The tour is very interesting and well worth the price.  If it will be your only time there, I would highly recommend the long tour.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Jake & Riley

Someone REALLY wants a dog!

Our friend Marta has a dog she is letting Jake run on an obstacle course. They are getting pretty good. Still a few gestures and commands to work out, but overall well done, Jake!
video


Friday, March 9, 2012

Arizona 'Cheeseweed' Mallow

Had to look this one up. I figured from the leaf it was some type of mallow.
The flowers have already dropped the petals and the fruit is developing.

 I guess the seed pods resemble a cheese wheel, hence the name.
The leaves are edible, but sometimes absorb nitrates from the ground and may not be so good for you.



Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Peppergrass

Another easily overlooked 'weed' out here is the peppergrass.  The leaveas are actually the seed pods.  I never paid attention enough to know that.  They are very small plants, and as you can guess the flowers are very tiny.


Here is one next to the Heron Bill Filaree, which is a very small flower.

Here's a close up of these very tiny flowers and all the seed pods.

A real close look at how the seed pods are growing right out from the flowers.
These may look nettly, but are edible.  I could imagine using them to help season whatever else I might have to eat a hundred years or more ago.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Stork Bill Filaree

Commonly called Stork Bill or Heron Bill because of the seed pod. This is a tiny flower, easily overlooked. You can see some of the long seed pods developing.

This is probably often considered a weed rather than a wildflower. 

When the pods dry up they curl up like a corkscrew, wind and rain help drive the seed into the ground.

One more shot of the flowers.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

'Popcorn' Flower

Another type of 'popcorn' flower.  This one is much more along the line of the fiddleneck with the curved stem and flowers all in a row.
Side view 

Here's this 'popcorn' flower out of focus and another interesting tiny flower next to it called a stickle leaf.
 The flower is blurry, but the stickle leaves are easier to see.


Here's the other 'popcorn' flower.  Note the long leaves and long stems and open structure as opposed to the smaller bunch in the one above.

Globemallow

Globemallow are beginning to bloom, so I thought I would try to catch some.
 Each flower is cup-shaped. The color here is orange, but I have seen them run from reddish to blue-ish and also very light pink - nearly white.
 The inside of this one has three white pieces sticking up. I haven't seen that in others. Of course, it could be insect eggs or even tiny larvae.
 This shot shows the shape pretty well.
 And the leaves appear to be nettly in this shot, but really they are more what I would call wooly.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Flower & Seed

I don't know the name of this tiny, nettly flower other than to call it a 'popcorn' flower. (I could look it up, I suppose). They are very small and even in large numbers are easily overlooked.
 Tight cropping shows the nettles are sometimes bigger than the flower itself.

This cattail seed head was well over one foot long. I broke it open a little bit.  

Coulter's Lupine blooming at Echo Canyon.
Closer up...

Brittle bush looks like it is growing on the rock.
Closer up you can see the large crack they are growing in.
And a closer shot of the flowers.  Related to the sunflower, each flower head has numerous flowers on it.

Seed of the desert broom all ready to fly off to start new brooms.

Chuparosa bush is often visited by hummingbirds, but this one only had bees buzzing around.


Greythorn fruit beginning to ripen.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Got Wings?

The following are two sets of pictures from Camelback Mountain on days I didn't bring my camera. I took these with my phone.

With this title I figured I could kill two birds with one stone - so to speak.

The 'Camelback Chicken' has been around for quite some time now. 
 Obviously a pet chicken gone wild. It is rumored to have been a Firehouse pet that hooked a ride on a truck and escaped.  It is well fed. Daily.

PLUS....

Red Bull gives you wiiiiiings!
Thanks to the Red Bull Girls I had my first Red Bull today and got my wings.