Arizona, Day One

As is tradition, my Mom and I went to Arizona this past week, to get some sun, and enjoy some time together.  We only went to Phoenix this time, and had very limited time.  We still managed to have a great time, and see lots of great stuff!

On the way to Phoenix, we stopped off for a picnic lunch at Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument.


Sunset Crater is always a favorite, because of the lunch company at the visitor center picnic area…lots of Steller’s Jays.  They weren’t quite as cooperative as they have been in previous years, so I didn’t get as many decent photos.  I did get a few.  My favorite part about Steller’s Jays is their crests.  I love that little point on top of their heads!




I’ll be posting photos from the other two days from our vacation shortly!  Please stay tuned…

Happy January!

It’s almost the end of another month, guys.  I can’t believe how time has just FLOWN by this winter!  I’m kind of glad, because I hate winter.  However, I had a month off (thanks, Susan!), and feel like I haven’t done nearly all the things I was hoping to do with it.

First things first: 

Happy Blogiversary, Cactus Kate ‘Blog!

My ‘blog turned 6 years old on January 20.  Thanks, everyone who actually follows me, and comes and reads and comments on my ‘blog!


The weather in Moab has been slightly less than desirable, although it’s not the worst winter I’ve seen.  There is still snow in our yard from before Thanksgiving.  UGH.  I haven’t gotten out for any serious birding, or hiking.

Bird-wise, there has been a (yes, just one) Snow Goose in Moab, hanging around with the plethora of Canada Geese we always have in the winter.  He’s very distinct (bright white – sticks out like a sore thumb), but he doesn’t seem to notice he’s different.  This is not the first Snow Goose I’ve ever seen, but it’s certainly the first one I’ve seen in Moab.  Here he is, spending times with his bros, and by himself.

Snow_goose_and_Canada_goose_1-26-14_1.1_Moab Snow_goose_1-26-14_1.1_Moab

We went to SoCal for a week, so that Rich could meet with some clients, and so I could thaw out for a bit.  It was 85°F or warmer every day, and gorgeous.  I was happy to get out of Moab for a few days.  I didn’t really have too much time to visit people, or go places on my own, since we only had one car there, and Rich needed it.  Robyn did come down and pick me up and take me to her house for one day, which was nice of her.

The rest of the time, I mostly stayed at my brother-in-law’s house.  I walked around the area and took photos of people’s yards and plants.  It’s always amazing to me that southern California isn’t that far from Moab, but the climate is like another world.  It’s always so lush – even in mid-January.

Palms_1.1 Palms_2.1

Of course, the desert plants thrive there, too.


I took lots of photos of the Gazanias in their backyard, along with the ubiquitous bees.  This happy bee had been rolling around in the flowers, as evidenced by the pollen that he’s absolutely covered in.


I didn’t see any new birds while I was there, but I did get to hang out with some Black Phoebes, and a female Bushtit (yes, that’s what she’s really called).

Black_phoebe_1.1 Black_phoebe_2.1 bushtit_1.1

Rich and I did manage to go to Montebello to eat lunch at Sergio’s Tacos the last day we were in SoCal.  I love that place SOOOO much!  (Sergio’s, not Montebello).  That’s my lunch – 4 asada tacos, and one taco al pastor.  YUM!


It was a nice trip, but as always, it’s nice to be home again.

Since we got home, I’ve been cooking a lot, trying to enjoy the last few days that I can cook dinner, before I have to narrow that down to 2 days a week again.  I go back to work this Sunday, Feb. 2.  One of the new things I’ve made was labneh makbus.  I’ve made labneh before (see HERE), and it’s always good.  The makbus are little balls made out of the labneh, and stored in oil.  I made some in plain olive oil, which are supposed to be good for months, stored at room temperature, and I made some with fresh garlic and herbs and spices in olive oil.  That one is supposed to be stored in the refrigerator.  They are delicious!  Here’s a picture of some of the ones with the herbs.


Skeletor wishes you a premature ‘Happy Valentine’s Day’!


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