Friday, April 1, 2016

There are No April Showers

Spring has sprung.  The days are very warm, but the nights are still nice and cool.  I'll take it.  If it would only stay this way all year.  

April showers bring may flowers.  Unless you live in the desert.  We haven't had rain in forever.  I can't remember the last time it rained, actually.  But life goes on and the birds come back and plants still bloom.

My yard has been blooming for weeks.  The citrus trees have bloomed and dropped their flowers already.  Likewise with the creosote.  Right now, the cactus are sprouting pink flowers.  And the bees and hummingbirds are in heaven. 

This little dude loves my mesquite trees.  He and his buddies zoom around them all afternoon.  I think they offer safety and camouflage.  He sat for quite a while and preened. 

My pencil cactus has started to bloom vibrant pink flowers. 

My yard is very popular with a nearby hive of bees.  They stop for water daily at my koi ponds, and pollinate every plant.  They could case less about my presence.  I've cleaned the koi ponds while they drink and have trimmed bushes next to the orange tree they were fervently pollinating. 

They are always welcome in my yard.  I'm more than happy to have a healthy hive nearby, even if they photobomb my flower shots. 

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Old Haunt: Reynold's Creek Camping

I had a horrible and stressful week at work.  Mike looked over to me and asked "Do you want to go camping this weekend?"  It was a no brainer.  One night away, in the woods with friends.  We convinced our adventure friends last minute to come with us and started out Friday morning.

Destination? Reynolds Creek in Tonto National Forest. This is our third or fourth time here, and it will continue to be the best spot close to home.  And we finally got the spot we've been trying to get every other time: low, away from the road and close to the creek.  Straight out of the FJ, Mandy pointed this guy out.  He was long dead, but at least our campsite came with instant love.

We set up camp.  Or they set up camp and I wandered off to check out the little waterfalls in the creek.  Afterwards, the boys wanted to lounge, so Mandy and I took the dogs and walked up the road to where the creek crosses it. 

Lizard Splotch Rock

Rommel dove right into the deep spot and swam til he shivered.  Elly thought it stupid to get more than her toes wet. 

After walking back, we lounged.  And lounged some more. 

Mike set up the hammock.  Elly got first crack at laying in it with him.  Then it was my turn. 

Not long after, dinner was made and consumed.  Cold air came down the cut in the mountain and chilled us.  The fires were lit, dominos and cards came out and cocoa was a must.  The cold air finally chased us all in our respective adventure rigs until morning.

I woke first and walked the dogs up the road. We met a couple with their young daughter, played in the creek and walked back to camp to rustle Mike up.  Mama needed coffee. 

Elly was not feeling the camera this morning.  So you're stuck with handsome here.

After a lazy breakfast and dishes, we broke down camp and unfortunately headed out.  The worst part of the weekend was leaving.

It had been far too long since we went camping.  The teardrop will be snuggled up next to to the Chevelle until June.  Then COLORADO!

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Making of a time lapse sunset

I have a confession.  I am addicted to time lapse movies.  I find them extremely relaxing.  I finally bought an inexpensive multi-function timer remote and have been fortunate to have some good sunsets to play around with.  

What little reading I have done on time lapse (confession two: I tend to do minimal research and learn on the fly), you need to take a million photographs.  For instance, I took 360 pictures at 24 fps and ended up with a 15 second video.  I kinda rushed through the photo process, having little prep time but at least managed to find the right manual settings to capture the colors we were blessed with the other evening. 

This sunburst didn't make it into the video, but was captured while finding the right location.

After dumping my photos onto my laptop, I purchased Quicktime Pro to make my video.  The bummer about Quicktime Pro is I can't seem to add music and my Windows laptop doesn't have any other editing program.  Oh well, I think a silent movie has its own charm.  What is disappointing is when uploaded to Instagram, the quality looks like garbage.  Not sure if it is something I am doing incorrectly, or if it is Instagram.  Youtube seemed to do a better job at the upload.  I'm excited for this new technique and hope to make some interesting and fun videos on our camping excursions.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

My Backyard Rocks! (See what I did there?)

Sometimes you need to take the opportunity to fly in the face of convention and ignore the Super Bowl.

Walks, and "borrowing" the neighbors rock hill are a better use of time.

A few days later we explored a larger hill further north.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Homestead Adventure

Wayward and distant adventures have been far and few between.  Life, work and responsibility has certainly gotten in the way.  And this winter has been much colder than those past, so our adventures consist of our daily walks. 

This winter has boasted more frequent rain storms than those past, so at least our daily jaunts down the road have yielded some incredible sunsets.

And we were greeted with a light rainbow one morning.  (It is to the left of the saguaro)

Once the nights are consistently above freezing in our camping spots, I'm hoping to drag the Adventure Husband away from his project car to get out - get away and most importantly get some forest time in. 

Until then, this will do.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Bringing life back to the dead

For a while, I had it in my head that I wanted to paint skulls.  Morbid? Nah.  The desert is full of dead things.  So I put the hubby on a mission: bring me home cow skulls. 

Elly was super excited that dad brought home jerky.  I picked one with sheaths, pulled them off and soaked the skull in a bleach/water solution for a week.  Tutorials online suggest using a peroxide mixture but bleach was easier to procure.  Besides, I knew I was going to basecoat the skulls an off white as opposed to stay with the bare bone color.  The sheaths got a few good coats of clear coat.

Next: tape, newspaper and paint.  I chose a dark turquoise spray paint.

Pulled the paint off and was thrilled until I (unsurprisingly) noticed that there was bleed through onto the white.  I thought my solution would be to tape off and paint a line of copper color (acrylic) to cover it.  Except that bled through too.  I ended up having to free hand anyway. 

It was rough watching me paint.

I stripped some copper wire out of scrap wiring from an old project and the hubby and I wrapped it around the horns.  Another quick coat of clear and wham! I LOVE IT!

I'm already soaking another skull.  I plan on hanging them under my covered patio.  Until the next one....

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Flagstaff/Sedona Camping

I finally convinced my good buddy Jeff to take a bunch of us canyoneering and repelling.  We mustered up a good group of cohorts and headed off to the Flagstaff area for the weekend.  We set up camp, had a good meal and great conversation and enjoyed perfect weather.

And then I got altitude sickness. 

Everyone (but Mike because he's afraid of heights) took off to Illusions Canyon at first light and I went back to sleep.  Hours later, still fighting nauseua I woke and Mike and I enjoyed the afternoon just playing in the woods with the dogs. Even with the sickness, I still needed a weekend away to commune with the trees. 

The crew was late, and I got worried, but they were fine.  Exhausted, beat up, but fine.  The canyon proved harder and more advanced than originally thought, but Jeff said everyone did amazing.  Unfortunately, it'd be a bit of a lie for me to put up photos of their adventure, I'll have to pressure Mandy to do a write up.

But stay tuned, because I'm already hitting Jeff up for take two, so I can go.