Wishing for Weather – I Said Rain – not Snow!

Towards the end of our stay in Arizona, I saw a TV commercial that made me long for a rainy day. An off road vehicle was driving up a winding mountain road. A light rain was falling. I remembered how fresh the air could feel and how wonderful the forest could smell after a rain!  In contrast, Phoenix Arizona was dry desert heat that could possibly fry an egg on the hood of the neighbour’s car.

gnarled trees blue sky

A few days later, we were on our way back to Alberta. Our first stop was the Grand Canyon. We arrived late in the afternoon, and spent several hours walking along the rim taking pictures.

storm clouds

Dark clouds to both the east and west hinted that a storm was brewing. My rainy day was very near!

I woke the next morning (my birthday) to a steady drizzle. I marveled that The Car Guy was able to deliver such a great present on my birthday. As we drove back to the Grand Canyon, I got whiffs of fresh air and fragrant forest.

We parked the car, put on rain coats, and walked quickly over to the rim.  Surprise! The Canyon was, for all intents and purposes, gone… I was really glad I had got my vista pictures the previous day.

snow blizzard

There was no reason to stay at the Canyon, so we drove east along the rim road. The rain turned to snow. As we dropped in elevation, the snow became rain. Eventually the rain stopped for a while – then we drove through a heavy hail storm. Apparently my birthday present was a gift of all the weather I had NOT had in Arizona for several months!

snow pink flower

The QuipperyDays later in Alberta, we were greeted with an early blooming season thanks to a warm, dry spring. I threw caution to the wind, and did a rain dance…  We got snow.

This week’s WordPress Photo Challenge is Wish.

A rainy day – do you carry an umbrella? Do you put up the hood of your rain jacket? Do you just get wet, because, after all, rain won’t make you melt into the puddle.

Macro Photos – Vaguely Familiar Abstracts

Can you guess what these ‘abstract photos’ are – from the hints in the quotations below the photo?

Arizona golden barrel cactus

There was a rough stone age and a smooth stone age and a bronze age, and many years afterward a cut-glass age. In the cut-glass age, when young ladies had persuaded young men with long, curly mustaches to marry them, they sat down several months afterward and wrote thank-you notes for all sorts of cut-glass presents…
– F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Cut-Glass Bowl –

hood side vents

…we live on the edge of the abstract all the time. Look at something solid in the known world: an automobile. Separate the fender, the hood, the roof, lie them on the garage floor, walk around them. Let go of the urge to reassemble the car or to pronounce fender, hood, roof. Look at them as curve, line, form.
― Natalie Goldberg, Living Color: Painting, Writing, and the Bones of Seeing –

 Spruce Needles Snow

The pine stays green in winter… wisdom in hardship.
– Norman Douglas –

Spruce Sap

Deciding whether or not to trust a person is like deciding whether or not to climb a tree because you might get a wonderful view from the highest branch or you might simply get covered in sap and for this reason many people choose to spend their time alone and indoors where it is harder to get a splinter.
― Lemony Snicket, The Penultimate Peril –

Here are what the photos are:
The first is a close up look at a cut-glass bowl.
The second is the side of the hood of a 1934 Ford custom roadster – sold at Barrett-Jackson in 2016 for $60,500.
The third is a close up of spruce tree needles peeking out of the snow.
The last is a drop of spruce resin (sap).

This week’s WordPress Photo Challenge – Abstract

Bottlebrush Plant

One of the most prolific bushes in our Arizona yard is the Bottlebrush.

Arizona
Dwarf Bottlebrush – Callistemon viminalis Little John – around a firepit

Behind the bottlebrush is our Oleander hedge, also a prolific flower producer this time of year!

Arizona
Bottlebrush flower

Each bottlebrush bush produces an abundance of bright red blooms made up of masses of stamens with the pollen at the tip of each filament.

Arizona
Dwarf Bottlebrush – Callistemon viminalis Little John

Plant Profile
Common Name: Bottlebrush
Scientific Name: Callistemon
Hardiness: USA zones 8 through 11; can withstand low temperatures of 20-25 degrees F
Growth: evergreen shrub; full sun to partial shade
Blooms: red bottlebrush shape flowers

This week’s WordPress.com photo challenge is Prolific.

Your Dad Won’t Call an Exterminator – GEICO Spy (Video)

This post is for my children. It explains why their Dad doesn’t just call the pest control people…

GEICO’s recent commercial, “Spy – It’s What You Do,” features a Bond-style hero who is interrupted by a phone call from his mom. (Be sure to watch for the squirrels as they run around in mom’s yard)

Well the squirrels are back in the attic. Your dad won’t call an exterminator. He says its personal this time.
– Geico ‘Spy’s Mom’ Commercials at Mother Knows Best

At the Arizona House, The Car Guy is waging his own war on critters. Their attack on hearth and home is personal, and he is determined he will outwit them.

Roof tiles with steel wool ‘stuffing’

A dozen or so bats have made their home under the roof tiles on the back patio. The bats aren’t really the issue. The bat droppings on the patio and the island counter top are the problem.

The Car Guy’s  first plan of attack was to stuff steel wool into the holes. He waited until the bats went out at night, then inserted the steel wool and some bat repellent. But when the bats returned, they simply moved down the roof a few feet. Now The Car Guy has installed one of those electronic sound devices that interferes with their echolocation. He hopes this will encourage them to live and hunt elsewhere.

On the other side of the house, something has taken up residence under the paving stones at the front door.

Under the front door sill – digger at work

The Car Guy has not been successful in trapping the digger who is excavating there. Whatever the critter is, more gravel comes out than The Car Guy can stuff back in…

This time… it’s personal.
– Jaws, The Revenge, 1987 –

What pests have you encountered in or near your home? Were you successful in evicting them?

Half Moon and Sunrises

moon Mar 31 2016
The photo challenge this week is Half-Light. At sunrise this morning, the moon appeared to be Half too!

The sun does not abandon the moon to darkness.
― Brian A. McBride, Dominion –

sunrise moon Arizona

Same time, same sunrise, same moon (that tiny white dot near the top right of the photo.

The sky is that beautiful old parchment in which the sun and the moon keep their diary.
– Alfred Kreymborg –

sunrise clouds Arizona

In Alberta, these clouds would probably mean rain. Here in Arizona, at this time of the year, dark clouds are just dark clouds.

The latest authority among men of science says that little is known of the causes which balance the clouds in the air. They are formed of water, and water, however minutely divided or blown into bubbles, is always heavier than the air. And yet these flying fountains of all the rivers of earth, these armed and thundering legions of the storm, that beat down the forests with hail and bury the mountains in snow, and flood the plains with water, go floating over us at vast heights with all their mighty magazines when all our philosophy would require them to sink to the earth.
– Daniel March, “The Balancings of the Clouds,” Our Father’s House, or the Unwritten Word, 1869 –

sunrise Arizona

Without clouds, sunrises aren’t nearly so dramatic!

There are no rules of architecture for a castle in the clouds.
– G.K. Chesterton –

What common phrases do you think of when you hear the word ‘Half’?

This weeks WordPress Photo Challenge is Half-Light.

Local Libraries, Books and the Guerrilla Librarian

The QuipperyIn ‘The Alphabet and Good Intentions’ I explained the rather unique book filing system that our local librarians use. On occasion, this drives me to distraction – so last week I kind of refiled all the John Grisham’s. Now his books are in two locations instead of four.

I suppose I could ask to be a volunteer at this library, but I’ve met a few of the other volunteers, and they are not a very flexible group of women, (either in the way they run the library, or in their ability to reach to the top and bottom shelves – they are quite a bit older than me…).  I have decided I am much more suited to being a guerrilla librarian.

I found other references to just this kind of activity: “…Maxwell had also found a vocation of sorts, unpaid but satisfying, even addicting. He moved library books.” Though the author of this story isn’t stated, the blog post with the rest of the story is here, and it is quite fun:  Swiss Army Librarian.

Have you ever been a Guerrilla Librarian?

 

Our Library, The Alphabet and a Good Crafting Intention

Our ‘Snowbird’ Community has a small Library. The volunteer librarians have developed a book filing system that theoretically allows them to house the largest number of books. The books are sorted by subject, then by size, then alphabetically by author’s name. This means that book cases with shorter paperback books have one more shelf than the taller hard cover book cases.

The problem with this system becomes apparent when the users want to find books by a particular author. Books by Stephen King, for example, can be found in 6 different locations – non-fiction, science fiction, fiction paperback, fiction hard cover, mystery paperback, and mystery hard cover. On any given day, the whim of the volunteer who shelves the book will determine where the book is.  This means that two hard cover copies of a single book will invariably be shelved in two different places.

Now and then, whole shelves of books will simply disappear. I’m assuming there were multiple copies of some books, and they were  donated to another little library. But in a system like this, it would be very time consuming to find duplicates. Suspiciously though, most of the books by my favourite British authors have disappeared…

This library really is an interesting example of how logic and good intentions can have unintended consequences.

Logic is a large drawer, containing some useful instruments, and many more that are superfluous. A wise man will look into it for two purposes, to avail himself of those instruments that are really useful, and to admire the ingenuity with which those that are not so, are assorted and arranged.
– Charles Caleb Colton, Lacon –

 

527-rudolphcorksI can appreciate what can happen to good intentions. Last Christmas I was going to make a whole herd of Cork Rudolphs. Their little bodies and heads would be etched with the ‘alphabet soup‘ of the wine world. Each little ungulate would be a reminder of  those special events when the wine flowed freely.

After many attempts, much oddly bent wire, and a bit of blood letting, a single reindeer was produced. Wine corks firmly resist any attempt to poke wires into them…

YOUR TURN: How do you organize your library? Do you alphabetize anything besides books?

This week, the WordPress Photo Challenge is Alphabet

Trios, Triplet, Thirds – Photos of Three Things

Trio, triple, thirds say three.
As do triad, ternion and  trilogy,
Triptych, trine and trichotomy,
Triangle, treble and trinity.
– Margy –

This week’s WordPress Photo Challenge is Trio.  I had no problem finding photos to fit, as I often compose a shot to include three elements.

The idea of the number ‘3’ is also an important part of a photograph’s composition. The Rule of Thirds is perhaps not instinctive, nor obvious, yet it can make a dramatic difference in a photograph. Of course, rules are often broken. I was thinking Rule of Thirds when I cropped the following photos, but wasn’t that successful!

deep pink flower

Cactus blooms  – Arizona

Egret, great blue heron, black crowned night heron

Egret, Great Blue Heron and Black Crowned Night Heron – Sun Lakes Arizona

Cactus Arizona

Golden Barrel Cactus – Arizona

Alberta

Tall Grasses – my yard, Alberta, Canada

Carefree Arizona

Three word street sign – Carefree Arizona

brick building three arches

Building with Three arches – Jerome, Arizona

tree Alberta

Three spruce cones – my yard, Alberta, Canada

Before I was married I had three theories about raising children. Now I have three children and no theories.
– John Wilmot –

I suffer from entertaining anxiety… a fear that I can’t juggle the timing of three things alchemically transforming themselves in dangerously hot places.
– Dominique Browning –

People can be divided into three groups – those who make things happen, those who watch things happen and those who wonder what happened.
– John W. Newbern –

There are three kinds of men. The one that learns by reading. The few who learn by observation. The rest of them have to pee on the electric fence for themselves.
– Will Rogers –

The development of a new product is a three step process – first, an American firm announces an invention; second, the Russians claim they made the same discovery twently years ago; third, the Japanese start exporting it.
– Unknown –

There are three things I have learned never to discuss with people: religion, politics and the Great Pumpkin.
– Charles Schultz –

There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies and statistics.
– Mark Twain –

Three phrases that sum up Christmas are: Peace on Earth, Goodwill to Men, and Batteries not Included.
– Unknown –

This week’s WordPress Photo Challenge is: Trio.
Did you take part in this Photo Challenge?
Can you add any ‘three’ words to my poem at the top of the page?

Border between Hence and Thence – Fence and Border Photos

Boundary, n. In political geography, an imaginary line between two nations, separating the imaginary rights of one from the imaginary rights of another.
– Ambrose Bierce, The Devil’s Dictionary –

zig zag white linesArizona – Reflection of a fence – the boundary between wet and dry.

One time there was a picket fence
with space to gaze from hence to thence.
– Christian Morgenstern –

tree overlookRestraining fence at the Grand Canyon – when common sense isn’t enough…

Don’t ever take a fence down until you know why it was put up.
– Robert Frost –

reflection trees goldenArizona Sunset – the border between day and night.

I like that time is marked by each sunrise and sunset whether or not you actually see it.
– Catherine Opie –

This week’s WordPress.com Photo Challenge – Boundaries