Posts Tagged ‘palo verdes’

Dearly Departed

April 5, 2017

No, they’re not dead, just gone.  “My” baby doves got so big Mom couldn’t fit in the “nest” (a small pile of twigs) any more, but stopped by occasionally to give them some pigeon milk.  That was something I didn’t know about previously.  According to Wikipedia:

Crop milk is a secretion from the lining of the crop of parent birds that is regurgitated to young birds. It is found among all pigeons and doves where it is referred to as pigeon milk…

Then I didn’t see them in their nest, so I went out to trim some bushes outside the window of my breakfast room (which I am using for an office), and they were sitting on the windowsill, across the narrow side yard from their nest.  But I had upset them, so they flew away.  They returned in the evening twice to the wall outside the kitchen, but I think Mom had decided that they could be on their own, so they’re gone.

A week ago it was so windy that people with respiratory problems, old people, and young children were asked to stay indoors and refrain from exercise.  I heard that on the news as I was driving to the Y to exercise.  The mountains were almost obscured, but I still loved looking at them.

The soil is pretty sandy here, which is maybe why the cactus grow so large.  Here are three on my street, on the walk to the mailboxes.  The biggest yucca and century plant I have ever seen, up to the house eves!  And a plump and happy saguaro.

Spring has hit Tucson with a splash of yellow.  It started with the brittlebush and desert marigolds at the side of the roads (with  an occasional slash of red or pink penstemon), then on to the palo verdes, heavy with flowers (with intermittent stripes of gaudy magenta bougainvillea – this in my back yard, the same color as all of the bougainvilleas in my subdivision).

I stopped in a parking lot yesterday to take these photos with my phone, but the wind was blowing pretty hard, so they look “painterly”.  The blooms started in the washes, and have been climbing up to the higher elevations.  Beautiful along La Cañada and La Cholla, and River Road especially!  Oro Valley is a bit higher than Tucson, so my three palo verdes are still covered with buds.

Seen Today

A quail couple, apparently looking for a suitable place to nest, he on the fence, alert for predators, but giving his mate helpful suggestions, she checking out the purple Mexican petunia in the backyard.  (These beautiful flowers only last one day.)

A bulky guy with blond hair past his shoulders, in shorts, shirt tied about his waist, walking along the road.  (It was cool this morning, and I was wearing a sweater!)

The area behind the fenced-in part of the back yard is riddled with holes.  Saw the first round-tailed ground squirrel today, but he didn’t stick around for a photo op.

Sculptor Ira Weisenfeld’s Boat in a Tree, on Wetmore.  Must take my own photo of it.  This from the sculptor’s website,

Ubiquitous clutches of cyclists in colorful lycra.

At a light, a taxi-yellow sports car in front of one of the palo verdes overladen with yellow.  I was turning, and couldn’t stop for a photo.

A roadrunner skittering along the outside of the fence.  There are now many lizards in the yard, a few zebra-tailed lizards recently (this photo from Wikipedia), so I was surprised he didn’t want to venture in.  Maybe the 18″ of chicken wire wrapped around the base of the wrought iron fence deterred him, although he could have jumped over.

A hawk sitting on a power line, watching the traffic on La Cholla go by.  Looked like the hawk on the cover of the book I recently finished, H Is For Hawk, by Helen Macdonald.

Tucson Art

June 10, 2015

Last Saturday went to two art events.  First, to the Davis Dominguez Gallery1 for a reception for Small Things Considered.  Great show – you must see it (May 7-June 27)!  These are just a few of the over 80 artists represented.

Below, a cunningly framed photographic print by Regina Heitzer-Momaday and the next by Carrie Seid,  silk stretched over copper, which she bends into curves. Her description (emphasis mine) follows:

The pieces are constructed using a hardwood base, cut and formed sheet metals (copper, brass and aluminum), and silk. The metal forms an understructure which supports a stretched layer of silk. Modulated color (in the form of under-painting or dyed silk) is sometimes used to enhance depth, structure and dimension. The additional step of oiling the fabric “skin” creates various degrees of translucence, allowing the outer layer to be visually penetrable – a watercolor rendered in three dimensions.

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art & birds 011A marvelous dish of clay by Gary Benna.  (You must click on it to see the detail of the bodies in the center.)  Oil on paper by Danielle Neibling.

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My absolute favorite, Golden Doves on Cholla Ribs by Thomas Kerrigan, done in clay!  And this bronze jackrabbit by Mark Rossi. You may have seen his javelina in the entry to the Desert Museum.

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One of my favorite artists, Gail Marcus Orlen, has done this oil (which includes the bird), and one of our CAS members, Barbara Jo, has created More Filipinos Than Fish (photographed in front of handwoven linen by another CAS member, Claire Campbell Park; both women taught at Pima).

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An oil by another CAS member, Moira Geoffrion, from a photo which she took when we were in Venice, and cast glass by Katja Fritzsche, whose studio we (CAS) had recently visited2.

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Another piece of art that I wish I could afford, this Nest by Phil Lichtenhan in metal with ceramic eggs.

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After that reception a few of us went to the Raices Taller 222 dance 011gallery for a dance performance by ZUZI! Dance4 to conclude the Mujeres, Mujeres, Mujeres exhibit. A snippet from their website:

The Guerrilla Girls5, a women’s artist coalition, has discovered that only 3% of the artists in the Metropolitan Museum’s modern art sections are women and that 90% of the solo exhibitions were of work by white male artists.3

dance 056dance 007The gallery was small, so we squished against the walls to allow the dancers room.  This woman’s tats were distinctive.

Crazy Weather

Tucson has had unusual weather this June.  May was beautiful, with high temperatures 78°-83°, then you blinked, and while your eyes were closed, it was 93°, and when the blink was finished, in June, it was 103°.  Reminded me a a young child playing hopscotch, jumping over the squares with stones in them.  Last week we got a bit of rain and the temperatures abated slightly (to the 90’s).  Night before last another splatter of rain (if you scratch the dirt, you can see the dampness is flycatcher 009only 1/8” thick) and it has “cooled” to the high 80’s.

A month and a half ago the palo verdes had bloomed6.  With this unusual rain they’re blooming again.  And my agapanthus look great.

flycatcher 001Mating Season

Birds crash into my windows at this time of the year because their brains aren’t fully functional during mating season.  And I have a flycatcher who has been attacking his reflection in the window for a few days.  Same reason.



Earth Day

April 22, 2015

Earth Day is an annual event, celebrated on April 22, on which day events worldwide are held to demonstrate support for environmental protection. It was first celebrated in 1970, and is now coordinated globally by the Earth Day Network, and celebrated in more than 192 countries each year.

earth dayIf you want to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first create the universe.  -Carl Sagan.

I shall celebrate Earth Day by looking at flowers, contemplating national parks, and appreciating the wild animals around me.

The desert continues to bloom beautifully.  The brittlebush which edge the roads are finished with their yellow blossoms, but the palo verdes have taken over.  The Desert Museum palo verde that I have in front is a dud.  Don’t buy one!  Here are the palo verdes down the street:

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But even though my palo verde is a dud, the blackfoot daisies, yellow lantana, and aloes are blooming attractively out front.

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Today I braked for a roadrunner; yesterday it was quail.  Neither bird likes to fly.  The roadrunner loped across the road; the quail skittered.  And there was a coyote checking out my yard outside the fence this morning.  Have not seen any bobcats, deer, or javelina recently.

The White House blog is following Earth Day: This morning, the President is heading to the Florida Everglades along with Bill Nye the Science Guy and Interior Secretary Sally Jewell.


John Muir’s birthday was yesterday.  I remember “meeting” him.  We had taken the kids to Yosemite many years ago, and the theater there had a one-man show, an actor playing John Muir.  Excellent.  But even better was the same actor, in character, giving Yosemite tours during the day, pointing out spots “he” liked, talking about “his” cabin and the rattlesnake which lived under it.  Marvelous!

The naturalist John Muir is so closely associated with Yosemite National Park—after all, he helped draw up its proposed boundaries in 1889, wrote the magazine articles that led to its creation in 1890 and co-founded the Sierra Club in 1892 to protect it…1

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May 11, 2014

yellow 002Our month of palo verde blooms is waning.  First the blue palo verdes blossomed, followed by the foothills palo verdes.  Now the Mexican palo verdes (which grown fast and have the long leaves, shown on the right) are flourishing.  Finally the Desert Museum palo verdes, which are in front of my house and next to the living room, flower.
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These photos from my deck, kitchen window, and living room.yellow 005

Wax on, wax off…

For my final project in my Lost Wax art class I’ve done a few items.

In bronze, two sea shells (one of which didn’t come out, I think because the toothpick I was using for a vent came loose) and a tiny barrel cactus. (I took a lot of time clipping off all of the needles, as they would have hindered molding.)

The three items I first cast in alginate, as the eggs had been done. Then took out the cactus (which I neglected to plant right away and as I had washed all of the dirt from its roots, it died when I finally got it in the ground) and the shells.

Poured wax into the mold. After it had partially hardened I poured some of it out of the cactus mold so that the final bronze would be hollow.

Next took the hardened wax out of the alginate mold, and did the nine-step silicone shell. (See previous blog for details1.)

After a full day of drying, the bottom of the cup has to be scored so that the portion of the ceramic shell at the bottom will fall out when the shell is put in the kiln, so that the wax may melt out at 1600°F.

Finally, the burn out of the wax and in the next class, two days later, the pouring of the bronze. After an hour of cooling, the shells can be dripped in water to further cool. the chipping off of the shell. This went a lot faster than it had with the egg crate.

Grinding off the base of the gate took the longest.

bronze 002bronze 008Then did a green patina on the cactus. (Actually the instructor did it for me, heating the bronze with an acetylene air torch, spraying it with cupric nitrate, wearing a leather apron and a very serious chemical filter face mask, as the gas is rather bad.)

Considered a hazardous substance according to OSHA 29 CFR 1910.1200.
Contact with combustible material may cause fire.
Harmful if swallowed.
Causes burns.
Risk of serious damage to eyes.
Toxic to aquatic organisms.

lost wax 005Buffed up the remaining shell, rather hard to do as it’s only 1¼” long.

In aluminum I cast Olivia, famous in children’s books by Ian Falconer, a pig with an attitude. (See my comment on the book in a previous blog.2) In one section of Olivia and the Fairy Princesses she dons a tube of material and replicates Martha Graham’s famous solo, Lamentation.3

Created her first in wax, then the ceramic shell, the burn out and the pouring in of aluminum (made from melted engine blocks which had been donated).

Poor Olivia had an unexplained hole in one arm and one in her butt, which the instructor welded a few drops of aluminum onto. (My welding skills had deteriorated significantly since I had a welding class almost 50 years ago).  So I had to file down these drops, and I also tried to improve her rough complexion (neither the wax that we use nor the metals are pure, and tiny holes and bumps will show up everywhere).

lost wax 010I started with a grinder on a pneumatic, pedal-driven tool (can’t forget to first use the tool oil – which I end up getting on my jeans), then a hand-held grinder with solid carbide burrs.  Finally a grinding stone, an attachment on my Dremel (shown here).

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Note: my son-in-law had gotten a Dremel kit from his grandfather and re-gifted it to me back when I was doing wood projects. Have gotten a lot of use out of it in this class.

Friday I spray-painted her.  Typed this as I waited for each coat to dry. Impatient!  We have to present our finished projects in Monday’s class and I preferred not to go Saturday for another open lab. (To use their spray paints and spraying booth.)  Finished painting at home.


May Day

may day 001may day 004A friend from South Carolina commented on the May Day party that I had had there.  Still carrying on the tradition.  This year two artist friends made their own vases!  The one on the left by Moira:
The one on the right by Shirley:



May 19, 2013

Seen last week: a couple walking two dogs, one a tiny thing, the other a shaved St Bernard.  (No doubt his summer haircut.)  Also, a Yarrow Spiny Lizard on a rock as I was in my driveway.  Probably the one who peeks in my kitchen window, or his brother.  (This first ref shows the whole lizard1, the second the blue under his chin2.)  No time for a photo as I was on my way to work, but google Yarrow Spiny Lizard and you get dozens of them on rocks, warming up for the day.

palo verdebloomin' 001prickley pear2Photo of my next-door-neighbor’s palo verde as mine aren’t in full bloom yet, Mexican primrose and, of course, prickly pear.  Cactus flowers are so easy!  Love the painterly quality of this cholla.



twin tempsAnother advantage of cats: they kill scorpions.  My cat had been chasing something around the skirt of the bedside table the other night, but I figured it was some insect, and didn’t check.  Today when I took the skirt off to wash it, there was a very large (3″ with its tail stretched out) scorpion, quite dead.

Twin Falls. Idaho

I’m taking off tomorrow to visit my grandkids in Twin Falls for a week.  My daughter sent me the weather forecast.  And Tucson is slated to reach 100° by Tuesday.



April 10, 2011

It rained here in Tucson all day yesterday. April showers bring May flowers, but I don’t remember The Desert getting April rain before.  The NY Times reported that The Drought Is Over (At Least for C.E.O.’s).  More about that below.

This morning the fog was so thick I could hardly see my backyard fence. Three rabbits cavorted in the yard and nibbled on my wildflowers. Then the fog rained. Is fog just clouds tangled in the underbrush?

Fog seems to shroud Republican brains too. They want to reduce the deficit, but give tax breaks to millionaires. That’s not people who have millions in savings, that people who “earn” over a million a year. Go figure.

Today the NY Times reported:

The median pay for top executives at 200 major companies was $9.6 million last year. That was a 12% increase over 2009…

How many of you are making 12% more than you did two years ago?

To get personal, I and over 150 others at the SC site were laid off by Fluor two years ago.  (From the Web re 2009: 500 Fluor Corporation employees in Sugar Land could find themselves unemployed. Fluor Corp. will lay off about 350 of its 2,000 workers in Southern California.)

Chairman & Chief Executive Officer FLUOR CORP: In 2009, Alan L. Boeckmann received $10,006,619 in total compensation. By comparison, the average worker made $32,048 in 2009. Alan L. Boeckmann made 312 times the average worker’s pay.

Back to those 200 major companies. If each of those execs gave up 50% of their income, that would be $4,800,000 each, for 200 companies, totaling $960,000,000, almost a billion dollars. That might help our debt.

Or – my gosh – we might not have to lay off more firefighters and policemen and teachers… Or cut Head Start or health care for the poor.

The median household income in the United States is $46,326.

So if you divide $9.6M by $46K, for one exec you could employ 208 people, and as that median executive pay is for the 200 major companies, then only 41,740 people would be employed. So why quibble, eh? After all,

In the fourth quarter, profits at American businesses were up an astounding 29.2 percent, the fastest growth in more than 60 years.

in part because they’re not hiring back all of those laid-off workers. “What’s good for [the company] is good for the country!” (paraphrasing Charles Erwin Wilson, GM president, in 1953.)  Hasn’t the US always been the land of robber-barons?

But why stop at the top 200 companies? What if all people “earning” a million or more “give” the government half of their 2010 earnings? Ah, dream on. I guess it’s my brain that’s fogged.


The desert has been blooming, mostly yellow blossoms on the creosote, yellow flowers on the palo verdes (photographed along Anklam, not yet to the higher elevations where I live), Tucson’s forsythia.

Hiked a trail behind the Marriott Friday with a friend.  Tamarisk and ocotillo  (shown here) in bloom.  A bit too windy, but a great 1 1/2 hour loop.


Last night went to a friend’s party for glass artists Cindell and Roger Dale (formerly of Tucson) where they talked and showed slides about creating their works, and today the owners of Plants for the Southwest ( had an open house for the show and sale.  Friend Nancy bought this lovely piece.  With a cat and three very young grandchildren, I hesitated making a purchase this time around.

Highs and Lows

March 19, 2010

Yesterday the temperature went up to 85° and I had to turn the AC on in my car. Supposed to be 15° cooler today with an overcast sky, after I turned off the heat downstairs in my house and turned on the AC upstairs. Will no doubt be bouncing back and forth for a few weeks. The Rillitto River was running up to Campbell, partly from all of the rains that we’ve had, but mostly from snow melt. The surrounding mountain peaks are still snow-capped, but not for long with these warm temperatures. We may get a bit more rain today.

My lone rabbit is nibbling away at my weeds; just wish he’d stay away from my wildflowers. He fascinates my cat; yesterday I caught her before she (maybe) pounced on him in my rosemary. Whoops – either he’s dashing quickly in circles outside my fence or I’ve just seen a second bunny. Hope for him it’s the opposite sex. Noticed that the side of the road is abloom in desert marigold and brittlebush, not devoured because rabbits would not eat that close to cars zipping by.

My feathery cassia is blooming beautifully, although not as solid in the section that I had trimmed the most, and the three in the shade haven’t made it yet. Yellow buds are appearing on the creosote but the palo verdes haven’t started so far. Whatever is causing sneezing everywhere is doing fine, however. Positives and negatives of Spring.

Existential angst. That’s what my shrink says is causing my lassitude. And you’re right, I have lost more weight, another four pounds. Sixteen pounds down from my “fat” and happy high, but sixteen pounds over my fighting weight in college (first time around). Lousy way to lose it though, existential angst. I think that the Amazon will click me out of it, although not too sure about the food there…