Family

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Industriousness

I have been busy lately.  Between the traveling, working, and everything else going on, I haven’t had time to ‘blog!

Rich and I went to southern California for a family gathering.  Rich hadn’t seen his sisters in several years, and Rich’s dad is not doing too well health-wise, so it was a good thing we went.  It was nice to see everyone.  Rich and I had a good time visiting, eating tacos y burritos, and just being away from Moab for a while.  Chris was in school, so he wasn’t able to come with us.  It was kind of a bummer, but I think he enjoys visiting my parents when we are gone.  Here are some photos from the family gathering:

Whole_family_1 Lola_Annecy_Aaron_Ronan_Patrick_Charlie_John_1 Charlie_Cathy_Rich_Karen_Patrick_4.1_BEST

I got out all our polymer clay and paints recently, and cluttered our kitchen table with them.  For some reason, amid all the other things going on, I have been in the mood to make stuff.  I have a number of gourds sitting around, awaiting inspiration.  My recent project, though, has been to paint a pelican skull I found on a beach.  I have been looking at it (sitting atop my clothes dryer) for several years now, trying to make time for it.  I finally found time, and it is now almost finished.  I need to find a nice piece of wood to mount it when it is done, so I can hang it and admire it.  I wish I had taken ‘before’ photos, but I didn’t.  I have a few ‘in progress’ photos, though…

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It’s harvest time in my garden right now.  My garden was incredibly sad this year.  My sage plants are the only things that actually really produced anything this season.  I did get lots of tomatoes out of my patio tomato bush, but technically that’s in a pot, not in the garden.  I got one (that’s right, ONE) jalapeño chile.  My thyme looks very sad, and hasn’t really done anything since last year.  I didn’t get a single gourd, and got only one cucumber.  The sage plants, though…they have been producers.  Here is one of about 5 pans like this that I have harvested so far – and there is much, MUCH more.

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Moab’s fall tourist season is starting again.  Town is getting a little busier now, and I am working more.  The extra hours and money are nice, but as with every year – I look forward to the end of the season.

Speaking of industry – I can’t think of too many things MORE industrious than these paper wasps.  They have been busy all summer creating or gluing or regurgitating or whatever it is they do to produce their own brand of paper.  This wasp nest is located just above my garden.  They dive-bomb me every day when I water.  As for the size of the nest…a regulation basketball would fit nicely inside.

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Thanks for visiting, and for bearing with me in this slight lapse in blogging.

A Visit to Phoenix

Last week, I went to Phoenix with my mom. We have been planning this for a long time, and it was a GREAT trip. We went to Desert Botanical Gardens, Boyce Thompson Arboretum, and Phoenix Zoo. Additionally, we went to meet a lady who is a member of the cactus & succulent plant forum I belong to online. She has a beautiful yard, many wonderful plants, and she was very sweet.

As always, the photos are all clickable thumbnails.

Day 1: We drove to Phoenix from Moab. On the way, we stopped at Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument. The monument wasn’t too impressive, but at the visitor center, we saw a red-backed dark-eyed junco (which neither of us had seen before), and lots of very brave Steller’s Jays. I got some good photos of both.

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red-backed_dark-eyed_junco_3 Stellers_jay_6

Day 2: Desert Botanical Gardens. It was nice. It’s located in Papago Park in Tempe, AZ. The plants there were really nice, though I must say they weren’t labeled as well as I had hoped they would be. The OCD part of me says things should be properly identified. He he he. In any case, the plants were displayed really nicely. They had many trails with different points of interest, such as ‘peoples and plants of the Sonoran desert’, and ‘peoples and plants of the Chihuahuan desert’. There were also many animals around which were not part of the displays…they were just wildlife, visiting the gardens. There were Gila woodpeckers, curve-billed thrashers, little ground squirrels, doves, cactus wrens, and many others. It really was a nice place.

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We went to the Phoenix Zoo just after leaving DBG (it’s right next door). It was a cute little zoo. This was the 4th zoo I have been to in the USA (I’ve also been to Los Angeles Zoo, Philadelphia Zoo, and Hogle Zoo in Salt Lake City). This zoo, I think couldn’t display a lot of the things other zoos can due to the heat. There were no polar bears, no penguins, etc. There were LOTS of African animals, though. I was more than a little disappointed with their reptile and amphibian displays. It was hardly worth having a whole building dedicated to 4 reptiles and 6 amphibians (this is not much of an exaggeration). I really did like the zoo, though. I took lots of photos of the cute African river otters, and the flamingos (flamingos look like aliens! They have weird pale-yellow eyes!).

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Day 3: Boyce Thompson Arboretum. To get to BTA, which is near Superior, AZ, we had to drive just about an hour east of Phoenix. It was interesting to see the area. The arboretum itself was great. It was really well laid out, and **all the plants were labeled, most of them correctly!** We did all the little nature trails, including the long one around the back of the area. We saw many really beautiful plants, birds, etc. I saw my first desert Mariposa Lily. It looks just like a Sego Lily (which is the Utah state flower), only instead of Sego-Lily-white, the Mariposa was BRIGHT orange! It was beautiful, and it stood out like a sore thumb against the landscape. There were only 2. BTA had a Great Eucalyptus tree exhibit. They were nice trees!

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Gimlet_eucalyptus_1 Agave_salmiana_Katie

On the way back to Phoenix, we stopped off in Mesa to visit a fellow cactus & succulent forum member’s house and garden. It’s always unbelievable and nice to see what grows in climates nicer than Moab has. She has a great iron-work shade house in her back yard. It was really impressive. Also, her whole yard is planted with Aloes and Agaves. I was happy for her hospitality…not to mention, she sent me home with about 10 plants, which went above and beyond the call of generosity!

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For the meals, we had done our research, and chose the restaurants we went to ahead of time. The first night, we went to the Olive Garden – always a favorite. I had Tuscan garlic chicken, and a glass of Chardonnay (I don’t remember the brand, but the O.G. got RID of my standby – Yellow Tail). It was a lovely dinner. The second night, we went to Kona Grill, which was a contemporary restaurant with a sushi bar, foo-foo drinks, and yummy seafood. I had a spicy tuna roll as an appetizer, and pan-seared ahi tuna (cooked RARE, of course) with a sweet & spicy chile glaze. My mom had lemongrass crusted halibut. The food was amazing! Really. On our third night, we went to Cafe Istanbul, and had super-yummy Middle Eastern food. We had yogurt cheese dip with tomatoes, cucumbers, and olives for an appetizer. For the main course, I had Gyros (I hadn’t realized they would be do-it-yourself and not already assembled, but they were DIVINE), and my mom had lamb shish-kabobs. The food really was excellent. I think we chose very well! Cafe Istanbul really inspired me to find some middle-eastern recipes to try at home…particularly the yogurt sauces. MMMMMM!

This trip was really great. I really like spending time with my mom, and the weather was perfect. What more could you ask for out of a short trip?

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