Another Arizona Bird

I had it all planned, I was going to post about another special raptor I saw in Arizona and thought for sure I had great photos of it, but I don’t! I’m so bummed!

But don’t be sad, I have a great little birdie that we saw. We were in Boyce Thompson Arboretum hiking along the high trail seeing wonderful views such as this photo taken by my Mom:


And seeing roots slowly breaking boulders apart:

AZ-2007-03-20thru29 399

When my Mom’s cell phone rang. It was my older brother, so I sat on a rock and observed everything around me. All of a sudden Mom pointed and I saw a bird on the rock face. I kept watching it and it came closer and I saw the white on its wings. Not a bird I recognize!

AZ-2007-03-20thru29 407

Then it showed me it’s pretty underside – I love its fuzzy hiney:

AZ-2007-03-20thru29 408 crop

And finally it’s front:

AZ-2007-03-20thru29 409 crop

So even though my photos aren’t that great, I could id it as a Painted Redstart or “Painted Whitestart” (Myioborus pictus), in the Wood Warbler family. It’s habitat is Pine-Oak woodlands, of which Boyce Thompson Arboretum has many species. It’s range is central and southeast Arizona from March to September. And despite its name, it isn’t related to the American Redstart.

Definitely a lifer for me! Yay for my brother calling so I could stop and watch this bird for a few minutes.


Why I Can’t Stand Slackers

My younger brother calls me at least once a week since my Dad passed on, and per usual, we tell stories to one another about everything, but especially about my Dad – things one or the other of us didn’t know, or just funny things we both know about but we tell them to get each other laughing.

There is one of many stories I didn’t know about and has been on my mind quite a bit lately as I observe certain behaviors among my fellow, um, workers (I really want to call some of them slackers). To give you some background, my Dad was born and grew up during the depression & WWII, and he knew what it was like to wear shoes until there was nothing left of them, and how to work and be appreciative for little money, among many other things. Here’s a page out of my Dad’s ledger he kept when he was 12 years old, during WWII.  I’m not sure what he was doing at this age for someone in Feb. – maybe shoveling snow.  I know he said he used to mow grass when he was young.


So the story is, my Dad, my Mom and my younger brother were in the car somewhere, when a street guy came up to my Dad’s side of the car and asked him for some money. Across the street was a McDonald’s with a help wanted sign in their window. My Dad said to the guy, “if you need money, the McDonald’s over there is hiring.”

How awesome is this?

Both of my parents were/are very hardworking people, and they instilled that within us, oh, I could tell you some stories – and as a result of this training, slackers really frost my hiney. Along with people who hang out at traffic signals with large signs in their hands expecting me to hand over my hard-earned money. That is not to say that I don’t do things for needy people, like knitting hats and gloves and scarves, because I don’t like the thought of anyone being cold, and etc.

But now I know what to say to anyone who asks me for a hand-out – “go get a job at McDonald’s.”


Ruth at Body, Soul and Spirit just did a post on fishing wherein she quoted “there are two types of fisherman – those who fish for sport and those who fish for fish.” I’m actually the former, I fish for the sport of it, to hang out with my friends, or I used to do it to hang out with my Dad.

So one time we were at a family reunion in Manistee on Lake Michigan, and my male cousins, uncles and Dad wanted to go fishing and my Dad wanted me to come along. Yay! I was all for that! So we rented a man with his fishing boat for a day and headed for a deep part of the lake. I was intrigued with the equipment this guy had wherein he could see where the fish were – kind of cheating, right?

We took turns whenever a fish was hooked on a pole. My cousins and my uncle all went first. My one cousin got a trout, and the other guys lost their fish. My Dad, being the gentleman he was, let me go before him. A pole indicated a fish on the line and I got all nervous on the inside, but I got up there and followed fish man’s instructions and my Dad’s instructions and didn’t listen to all of the other advice everyone else was trying to give me. I had a big, heavy fighter on the line. And it had to be tough and circle underneath the boat to the other side. So here I am slowly, carefully, taking what seemed like forever, reeling in this big, heavy, fighting fish:


As soon as you can stop laughing at the big hat (I borrowed it), the big sunglasses and the big shoulder pads, and whatever other icky style thing I had going on, I’ll continue my story. . . hey, all of that stuff was “in style” at one time!

The fish put up a big fight, but I continued to be very slow and methodical even though I was getting very tired (and everyone was offering to take over for me – uh huh, I don’t think so!) and I eventually, after what seemed like forever, WON!! And here’s part of the big salmon I reeled in, along with the fish man (not my Dad) taking the hook out of it’s mouth:


Unfortunately my Dad didn’t capture the whole fish on film, but it was about 36″ long. Fortunately, fish man also gutted it for me (blech!!!!). All I had to do is cut it all up, which took f-o-r-e-v-e-r.

It fed us all for dinner that night (hmmm, probably about 30 of us), and my parents and I both took it home and put it in our respective freezers and had it all winter long. Oh, and all of my male relatives were so pissed off at me they wouldn’t talk to me, but my Dad was very proud and said “that’s my girl!” even when it was brought up years later.

This is my big life-time fishing story. Thanks Ruth, for reminding me of this wonderful day I had with my Dad!

I really do just do it for the sport of it. Which reminds me, I need to get a new license. So I can just hang out by the lake or wherever I want to go and hopefully not lose any lures to the lake.

Cats! and etc.

Dogs Have Masters. Cats Have Staff.
Quoted by Rush Limbaugh
on the Rush Limbaugh Show

My Mom read this to me over the phone out of the blue and I burst out laughing!! And now my role with respect to “The Cat” has been defined. I used to be the substitute part time staff when my Dad was alive. Now I’m the secondary part time staff, and substitute primary part time staff when my Mom is out of town.

My job is to massage and comb her when I visit my Mom:

Have you ever tried to photograph and comb a wiggly cat all at the same time? It’s NOT easy!

While I’m massaging and combing her, she has to have a bite to eat in the middle of it all:


I figured this was a good time to try to capture a close-up of her sweet, little face.

My job, however, does not include removing the little presents she leaves for her primary part time staff member!


By the way, this mouse ended up being flung outside for the red tailed hawk that has been hanging around my Mom’s home!

2007-08-19 DSC01883 crop

Even though I’m just the secondary part time staff, I still love this little kitty, even with her typical cattitude!

Here’s another cool wasp or hornet that I saw on a hosta:

DSC01944 crop

Here it is going into the hosta:

DSC01945 crop

It’s kind of making my skin crawl to think I’ve been getting close to these guys to capture these photos.

This following guy is in one of my Mom’s porch windows:

DSC01972 crop

I planted this cool blue-purple flower from seed in the spring, but I don’t remember the name of it.


Any ids for the insects or flower will be greatly appreciated!!


My work friend Kitty gave me these six beautiful tomatoes from her garden!


So I was thinking this morning what I was going to make with them, and boing! The answers came into my brain! Salsa (garlicky, not peppery):


Hmmm, I made it a little runny (I like it chunkier) but hey, I haven’t made it in a year! It is still good!

And a huge bowl of Tabouleh!


Hmmm, this looks a little runny, but I followed the recipe to the letter!

And here they are together for my small supper since I wasn’t that hungry (it’s too hot to be hungry):


Believe it or not, I only ate half of everything here, because, let me tell you, Tabouleh and Salsa flavors do not mix well in my mouth. Lesson learned for next time! Salsa for lunch, Tabouleh with dinner!  I calmed my mouth down by having a frozen mango bar.

As a side note, when I was out picking my spearmint for the Tabouleh, it was kind of scary because there were all sorts of flying pollinators all over the mints in my mint garden. I finally found some stalks that weren’t occupied. Out of the corner of my eye I spied some bluish-black airplane wings on an interesting pollinator. Of course I went out without my camera, so I went to get it and then had to wait for it to come back out towards the front of the patch so I could capture it:


What is with that large butt? I’m too lazy to look it up right now.

Anyway, back to tomatoes. What do you make out of your fresh tomatoes?

Charles Chips

I forgot to mention, another thing Sarah and I did last Saturday before we went to Plainville Restaurant was to stop at Cracker Barrel to do some window shopping. Part of going into the store there is like going back in time. I was standing in front of the Charles Chips tins and bags of chips and pretzels and cookies when Sarah, who is 29, said “remember when those were delivered to our homes?” I sure do!!


This photo was shamelessly, ahem, borrowed from eBay, even though my Mom still has the original tin we used.

My Mom used to buy two bags of potato chips a week since my older brother was a real potato chip connoisseur – and he still is. My Mom said these were the best potato chips around.

Sarah said her Mom had potato chips and pretzels delivered to her home.

How about you, do you remember Charles Chips being delivered at home?

Where Does Time Go?

Okay, I want to know, where did this week go? Between work, working out (okay, I only went to the gym once so far, but I have a good reason for that) and being involved in a very good book right now that I can’t put down at night to go to sleep, this week has totally zoomed right by! And I’m sorry I haven’t posted.

I’ve been missing my Dad really bad this week. Why does it come in spurts like this? I don’t know. Maybe because I went to the OHA Museum last Saturday with Sarah (who will be on her way to Manchester, England for a year to get her Masters Degree in History, so I wanted to say goodbye to her) and going to the museum was something my Dad and I did together several times (and remember my Gambrinus Brew Fest post?). And the memories came flooding back. And it was tough. Little does Sarah know, she got me through it, with her quiet strength, just by being herself. She is one awesome friend. And I should probably tell her, you think?

My Dad and I loved this old locomotive bell which was attached to a Niagara Series 6000 locomotive when the trains ran through the middle of downtown Syracuse. We were always too shy about making it ring. But you know what, I made it ring for my Dad, kind of quiet, not as loud as it could get.

2007-08-18 OHA DSC01544 crop

Note to my Flickr friends, even though I took these photos, I’m not making them for friends to enlarge because I’m the OHA webmaster and I did take these photos with the intention of using them on their website. Sorry!

And we always discussed Guntner’s chain, used as a surveying device in the old days when surveying property. You may have seen old deeds that say the north side measures “x number of chains,” well, these are some of those chains.

2007-08-18 OHA DSC01529

And the Erie Canal canalboat:

2007-08-18 OHA DSC01526 crop

And the velocipede and how uncomfortable it must have been to ride on it. Sarah and I investigated it and there was horsehair under the seat. And steel wheels. Ouch for sure!

2007-08-18 OHA DSC01524

These human hair wreaths always intrigued us:

2007-08-18 OHA DSC01506 crop

And as we made our way into the industries of Syracuse, we saw several brands of typewriters since Syracuse was known as the typewriter city, and I just had to take this one because of its’ name! Even though Mon@rch says they spelled Monarch wrong!

2007-08-18 OHA DSC01585 crop

I forgot about the Marsellus Casket exhibition. I had to totally skip by it. Even though there is a cool wood id test, nope, couldn’t look at caskets, had enough of caskets for quite a while. I took many more photos as there are many more interesting things in this museum, but these are a few of the highlights.

Then we went into the Crouse Hospital temporary exhibition, which was fantastic! To see more about this exhibition, please click here where there are a few of the many photos I took at the bottom of the page.

2007-08-18 OHA-Crouse-ent

Sarah and I had some time to wait between the closing of the museum and our time to meet Mike, so we walked the streets of Syracuse. Where I took tons of photos which I’ll save for another post.

The restaurant we went to meet Mike and to eat is one of my all time favorites. I’ve been going to this restaurant since, well, for a long time, first with my Aunt Ruth (the one that passed away 11 years ago this month).  We used to go there every Thursday night when I was young. It is the Plainville Farms Restaurant & Bakery on Route 11 in Cicero.

2007-08-18 DSC01773 crop

The turkeys are raised free range and natural and it is the tenderest, tastiest turkey you could about ever find (at least that’s what I remember). I now go there for all of the fresh veggies – real mashed potatoes, hubbard squash, corn, green and yellow beans, and etc., and cranberry sauce, and salads, and soups and desserts, all on the buffets.

And here’s Tom the Turkey on the back of the horse:

2007-08-18 DSC01774

Who happily greets the many guests that go to this restaurant every day! I started out sad about my Dad, and ended up having a great day with wonderful friends!

Sonnenberg Gardens

Yesterday we went to Sonnenberg Gardens in Canandaigua. For my long time readers, you may remember my Sonnenberg Gardens post from last year, wherein I said it is now a NY State Park, and they’re working to fix it up, slow but sure, after years of it having gone downhill.

One of the first things we saw was a turtle basking in the sunshine on a rock. Did a get a photo before he knew I was interested in him? No.

The next thing we spotted were the ducks while we were eating lunch. They were bathing themselves like mad, and then settled down for a nice long afternoon siesta.

2007-08-19 Sonnenberg Gardens DSC01823 crop

It looks like this one was naughty because it is separated from the rest sleeping on a hard rock instead of the relatively soft grass.

2007-08-19 Sonnenberg Gardens DSC01824 crop

After we were done eating, I saw this dragonfly.

2007-08-19 Sonnenberg Gardens DSC01777 crop

Then we saw these frogs, who thought they were hiding from us. It took me a while to find them but I knew they were there somewhere.

2007-08-19 Sonnenberg Gardens DSC01819 crop

We then went to the trial gardens and saw these gorgeous cosmos:

2007-08-19 Sonnenberg Gardens DSC01783

These vivid morning glories were along the fences:

2007-08-19 Sonnenberg Gardens DSC01790

There are signs like these now. Even though the sky looks evil in this picture, it was perfect day.

2007-08-19 Sonnenberg Gardens DSC01789

We went inside the conservatory:

2007-08-19 Sonnenberg Gardens DSC01797

And one of the first things we saw, besides the plants, are the fish, which made me think of Mary right away! This is the first place we noticed the water level was half of what it normally is, and the fountains and waterfalls all over the gardens were shut off.

2007-08-19 Sonnenberg Gardens DSC01798

Water for the City of Canandaigua comes from Canandaigua Lake, and since we haven’t had much rain this summer, maybe there is a water restriction there. I don’t know for sure.

In the cactus part we saw this cactus with some really cool flowers:

2007-08-19 Sonnenberg Gardens DSC01806

I’m skipping ahead now, to the part that we noticed they have been working on. They’ve cleaned up this statue and the area around her and in front of her,

2007-08-19 Sonnenberg Gardens DSC01833

And these guys in front of the woman statue:

2007-08-19 Sonnenberg Gardens DSC01832

You can see on the end of the “bench” how black these used to be:

2007-08-19 Sonnenberg Gardens DSC01837

The floor is totally gorgeous:

2007-08-19 Sonnenberg Gardens DSC01836

And they’re laying a new marble walk in front of the statue and along the side going towards the house.

2007-08-19 Sonnenberg Gardens DSC01838

I turned around and saw they’ve cleaned up the steps to the house, and saw the pile of marble waiting to be laid down:

2007-08-19 Sonnenberg Gardens DSC01840

Next we went to the rose garden. I love the color of this rose called ‘Singing in the Rain’

2007-08-19 Sonnenberg Gardens DSC01843

Here’s part of the aviary complex where they used to keep 891 birds representing 246 species. This particular building is meant to look like a small castle.

2007-08-19 Sonnenberg Gardens DSC01867

This is the first time we’ve been able to go into the ice house:

2007-08-19 Sonnenberg Gardens DSC01866

Where we saw carriages:

2007-08-19 Sonnenberg Gardens DSC01864

2007-08-19 Sonnenberg Gardens DSC01865

Imagine being socked into this pony cart. Maybe I’ll explain how this pony cart works in another post.

2007-08-19 Sonnenberg Gardens DSC01863

Here’s part of the carriage house, where the carriages used to be stored,

2007-08-19 Sonnenberg Gardens DSC01868

Here are the leaves of the Fern Leaf Beech (Fagus salvatica ‘Asplenifolia’). I love this tree. But there aren’t too many trees I don’t love.

2007-08-19 Sonnenberg Gardens DSC01875

And here’s the bipinnately compound leaf of the Kentucky Coffee Tree (Gymnocladus dioicus). My Mom is holding the leaf in the middle so I could photograph it:

2007-08-19 Sonnenberg Gardens DSC01877

I remember using this leaf in my plant collection for one of my classes and I had a hard time fitting it all onto a standard sized piece of mounting paper.

The trees still have issues at Sonnenberg, but I found out they’re working on them. Yay! I hope it’s not to late to save some of the old beauties there.

2007-08-19 Sonnenberg Gardens DSC01814

My Mom standing next to a Purple Beech (Fagus sylvatica ‘purpurea’) so you can see just how huge the trunk is!

Best-Selling Author As My Guest, Coming Soon!

The Tale of Hawthorn House, the fourth in the Beatrix Potter series by best-selling author Susan Wittig Albert, is due out September 4th.


In lieu of a second book tour this year, Susan is doing a blog tour in October. And I am honored that she’ll be using my blog on her tour! Look for a post by Susan here then. In the meantime, you’ll want to be sure to read The Tale of Hawthorn House and also Spanish Dagger, which is the latest in her China Bayles series of mystery books.


You’ve seen me mention Susan’s books before, when I mentioned her China Bayles’ Book of Days here.


She also was one of the editors of What Wildness Is This which you saw me mention here.


Susan also has written a book Writing From Life: Telling Your Soul’s Inner Story. I know I’m just listing some of her many books here, but I highly recommend all of her books.


While searching around her websites as I was putting this post together, I just discovered another book by Susan, Starting Points, Weekly Prompts for Women With Stories to Tell, which I’ll be downloading soon – ohhh, my first ebook!


Susan, along with her husband Bill, also wrote the Robin Paige Victorian-Edwardian mystery series, with Death on the Lizard being the 12th and last in this series. I was very sad to see this series end!


I could go on and on about Susan’s background, because I’ve known her for many years. Susan has been very kind to me, even to the point of recently sending me one of our favorite books from her library, The Harvester, by Gene Stratton-Porter. As an aside, if you don’t know about Gene Stratton-Porter, you must find out about her! Here’s another Gene Stratton-Porter site at the Friends of the Limberlost.

You’ll want to visit Susan’s websites, The Cottage Tales of Beatrix Potter, and Mystery Partners. Susan has had a great influence on my working on enjoying the place where I live, instead of pining for the place I’d rather live in (even though I still would like to get back to living in the country and the woods). I have also been reading Susan’s blog Lifescapes for years. Stay tuned for Susan’s post coming soon!

Buying Local

So, the big move I see all over the place is to buy local. Which to me is no big deal because I’ve been buying local ever since I moved out on my own. Farmers’ Markets are some of my favorite places to hang out and to buy what local people are growing and making, etc. But there’s a couple of local items that I just found recently that I *have* to rave about.

1.  Mountain Rise Granola Chunky Cocoa made by Mountain Rise Organics, Inc. Do I have your attention with the cocoa part there? This is the most yummiest granola I’ve ever eaten. And it’s organic and vegan for those that care, and just plain yummy for those that don’t care. I have a few chunks every day – for me it’s very filling. I know it’s expensive, but it is soooo good.

2.  17th Century Suds shampoo from 17th Century Suds. Mom and I saw this at the GreenStar Coop in Ithaca last Saturday (it’s always fun to look around and see what’s new and what’s local). This shampoo smells so good (to me) and I can say this is the only shampoo I’ve ever used five days straight ever, and I’m sure I’ll continue to use it. It doesn’t leave that icky residue that other shampoos leave, it doesn’t leave my hair flat, or too puffy, it’s just right. So I’ll keep using it!

Oh, and while thinking of the local farmers’ market, there is a local chef that makes hot cookies and brings them to Saturday’s market! Hot as in cayenne pepper hot! Oh Jim, yoo hoo, I could use some more of those cookies! I know, I know, I can go myself!

I also love the marvelous whoopie pies that the local Amish ladies bring to the market. My favorite are chocolate with white frosting. I haven’t had the cookies or whoopie pies in a couple of years, but they sure are good!

Because I’m not in the mood to set up photos of the first two products, and because I don’t like to make a photoless blog post, here’s another photo from Cornell Plantations. And I’m not in the mood to figure out what this flower is. I have two big, juicy books waiting for me that I just picked up from the library!

2007-08-11 DSC01383

What are some of your favorite local products?

Previous Older Entries