Wednesday, December 28, 2016


We had a wicked little storm come roaring through on Christmas Eve.   There were no paper luminaires lit and no Christmas caroling on the streets.  There were some indoor celebrations and a service in the clubhouse though.  I had Mitzy up to the dog park just as the storm ended and when I saw a rainbow starting, Mitzy and I sped home where I grabbed my little camera and zipped up to the clubhouse where there was some open area to see the rainbow better.  I grabbed several quick shots then the rainbow faded away before I was finished, but that's so often the way of it.
A bit later, as I sat at my computer editing the rainbow images, I noticed a sunset developing.  Thinking it might become interesting after the storm, I quickly dressed and grabbed my little camera and headed outside.  The street still had lots of water draining to the west so I was able to use the water to advantage with the sunset.  I enjoy these dramatic moments but they are often so fleeting that one usually doesn't get a chance to get decent photos.
We awoke to clouds again today and it is supposed to be like this until another storm comes through on the weekend.   We were fortunate to be able to have our Christmas dinner outside at Ken and Marie's.  We did utilize the propane patio heater.  Aileen and I did a turkey, gravy, roasted Brussels sprouts and cheesecake while Marie had potatoes, salads, desserts and more.   Of course there was way too much food so lots of leftovers.  We sat out til after dark and played two games of Hand and Foot.  The ladies were the big winners in the first and Ken and I managed to beat them in the second game.  Jim and Judy, friends from Grand Junction, are expected around New Years and will be renting through March so there will be lots more card games coming up.

On the highway between Florence and Coolidge, this dust storm was the prelude to the rain storm that arrived a few hours later on Christmas Eve.

This is looking down our street, Ocotillo, just after the storm

This is how Sophie spent her Christmas Day.  Of course that's how she spends every day.  And no, we didn't paint those pictures.  One of our neighbours was moving back north and was throwing them out so I got them for free.  I think she painted them during some classes in the park sort of based on the Bob Ross method of painting.

Mitzy bundled up on Christmas Day, again the normal way she spends her days.

For you northern readers, just to show you that we do get cool temperatures.  We had frost both the 26th and 27th mornings.

This is a Curved bill Thrasher.  I got this from about twelve feet away.   He is so yellow because the first rays of the sun illuminated him and the sun painted everything very yellow. 

These three shots are from my ATV ride yesterday on the south side of the Gila River.  With the Christmas holidays, the north side of the river is a madhouse with lots of ATVs and Jeeps from the Greater Phoenix area flooding the trails at this time every year

Thursday, December 22, 2016


I have been scanning old B&W negatives for several days which is why you will see a few of them down below in my photos.   The neighbours really get into decorating for the season down here and it is neat to walk or drive around at night to see their efforts.
I came down with a cold in the last couple of days so had to bow out of the happy hour last night.  It rained most of the night and several times today and we have had about 3/4 inch so far so there was no ATV ride today, not that I would have gone with my cold.
For those who celebrate, Merry Christmas!

We had seen the old Historic Florence Courthouse lit up one night when we were driving home after dark so I made a special effort the other night to capture it.  I took this image before it got dark.

This was shortly after the lights came on

After supper Aileen and I took a drive around Florence Gardens to look at their lights

This was a long exposure of the lights from the new electronic laser lights that are so popular this year

These two properties had a coordinated effort that was very effective

Taken December 20, this shows a bit of our fall colour out in the hills

This self portrait was taken back in the late 90s or early 2000s

I think in real estate jargon this would be referred to as the ability to use some sweat equity to improve your lot

Gently settling into its surroundings

Abandoned homestead in northern Oregon

These two images are of Ione Falls north of Nakusp, BC

Wednesday, December 14, 2016


We don't seem to be having much free time yet and we certainly aren't bored.  I went geocaching on Sunday on my bicycle and picked up 70 caches and some very sore butt and leg muscles.  I pedaled my bike over 32 kns (20 miles).   I ATVed Monday and Tuesday and plan to take Aileen out tomorrow since the forecast for Friday is not good.
When I got home Sunday afternoon, it was just in time to go to Ken and Marie's to play cards.  Since we had an odd number with the addition of a lady on her own named Jacquie, we played Sets.  Aileen stole the first game from Marie who had been leading and in the second, I stole it from Aileen so our house took both games.
I've been asked to help with the Caliente photo book this year by contributing some of my photos and to take specific photos of group.  Yesterday I took a picture of the prime rib cooking crew in the clubhouse then at our ATV potluck last night I took a big group shot of those attending our event.  I am to take photos at the church Sunday morning.
We cooked a turkey yesterday for the potluck using our electric roaster and today we did a batch of chicken drumettes in the roaster for the happy hour.  We will soon have more Colorado friends arriving and there will be more card games.

I spotted this Turkey Vulture over in Casa Grande one day.  I was amazed to have a couple drivers stop and ask me if that was an eagle!  Since the vulture is often portrayed as the scavenger in so many stories in the southwest, I thought most people would be very familiar with them.

He was perched on the top of a utility pole

This Curved Bill Thrasher was singing Mitzy and I a nice melody

While geocaching along the Florence-Kelvin Hwy on Sunday, I stopped to take some cactus photos.  I liked the contrast between these two Saguaro skeletons and the healthy specimens behind.

On Monday I went on the club ride over the mountain to Superior.  This is looking back out our way showing some of the country between Florence and Phoenix.

Once you get over on the Superior side of the mountain and down in the lower areas, the road is very rough and rocky

We took a break on a side trail

There were a dozen machines that made the ride

We had lunch at a Mexican restaurant in Superior

My group dropping down off the Little Spine on Tuesday

Partway through Box Canyon on Tuesday

I managed to spot this young Bighorn ram perched up on the ridge

After a while he moved along and posed for us

We have been going to rotating happy hours on Wednesdays with a few of the ATV group.  Since we don't have enough room at the motor home to host any type of event, I rented the Annex patio today.  I had to do a major cleanup as it hasn't been used for some time.  I hung a few Christmas lights to make it more festive.  The ladies had their own corner

And the guys had theirs

Wednesday, December 7, 2016


Life carries on here and we keep very busy.  One of our Colorado couples has arrived and we played cards the other evening.  We haven't missed a night at the hot tub and pool since arriving.  The renovations to the park model are nearly complete and our renters have arrived.  I have spent quite a few hours scanning old photos and negatives and now there will be many more hours spent editing them.  Some need more help than others.  I will likely be limiting my club rides to just Tuesday and taking Aileen and neighbours out on Fridays.  I have had a couple requests to take visitors out but nothing set up yet.  This year we have been joining a group of ATV club members at Wednesday happy hours and will be hosting next week.  Since there isn't enough room on our lot to host many people, we will be renting the patio at the annex.

I took the Tuesday riders out near South Butte this week

Looking beyond South Butte

Exploring a side trail, 87 year old Blue follows me

Not sure if this is a grasshopper or a katydid but I suspect it is a katydid.  It was sitting in the middle of an old road in the wide open desert on a cool day while I was geocaching.

A couple of doves catching the first sun one morning when Mitzy and I were on our walk in the desert

Not many wildflowers blooming at present but there are a few Brittlebush showing some welcome colour

Often on our morning walk, Mitzy and I come home through parts of Florence Gardens and there are lots of planted cactus for the birds to roost on.  This is a Curved  Bill Thrasher

These sparrows are utilizing some holes in a Saguaro

A remnant of high water a while ago along the Gila River

 I took my turn this past year going through Mom's photo albums and pulled out any photos that were of interest to my immediate family.  I brought those  with us this winter along with my photo scanner.  I thought I would share a few that may be of interest.  This photo is probably the first one of Aileen and I during out early courtship.  This is July or August of 1964.  We were 17 and 15.  

This is the summer of 1965 with my first new car, a 1965 Vauxhall Viva

Our official engagement Christmas Day 1965

And our wedding October 7, 1967.  We were 18 and 20.