Friday, April 28, 2017

Men at Work


I spied three big broom lifts near a local office building so I drove in for a closer look.  They were working on the windows of the building and I'm not sure if it was just a wash job or something bigger.


They had an awful lot of things up there in the bucket with them.  By the way, that guy on the left has some kind of blue cloth over his head.  He's not really a "blue-man".


What I found really interesting were these covers on the tires of the lift.  I've never seen anything like them before and I'm not exactly sure what they are for.  Maybe it's just to keep the tires from leaving marks on the pavement.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

National Tell A Story Day

Today is National Tell a Story Day (among several other "national day" designations) so I thought I'd take this opportunity to tell you a story.  It's a story with pictures about Casper the Cactus Wren!


Casper was a very resourceful little cactus wren with innovative ideas in the field of nest building.  When he set out on the task of building the perfect nest, he found the ideal location in the arms of a tall and strong cactus.  Now all he needed were some unique and durable building materials to frame his dream home.


Soaring above the desert setting, imagine Casper's excitement when he noticed an old gardener's cart lined with a frayed and tattered carpet.  Surely those loose threads from that carpet would not only create a solid home but a luxurious one at that.


With confidence and grit, Casper began gathering what was needed.  He tugged and pulled on those frazzled pieces of thread until his muscles ached, but he couldn't seem to pry them loose.  However, Casper was not deterred, he was determined to get what he wanted.


"Maybe if I pull from another direction" thought Casper.  So he pulled with all his might until he nearly slipped off the side of the cart.


"Maybe some swift jerking actions will do the trick" thought Casper.  So he pulled with such rapid motion that he started to feel a bit dizzy.


"Whew" he thought.  "This is much harder than I thought it would be."


Casper gave it one last, powerful yank, but those threads were just not going to break free.


Casper came to the realization that carpet thread was just not going to work out as nest building material.  He would have to go back to the tried and true construction stock.


When all his work was finally done, Casper took time to relax and admire his work.  His new home was solid and comforting and fit perfectly into the neighborhood.  It was his very own Home Sweet Home.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Copper Flag


Recently I noticed a shiny artwork in front of a corporate office building.  I'm not sure if it's a new piece or if I just hadn't noticed it before but, it caught my eye this time.  The building is called Missouri Falls probably because it's located on 7th Street and Missouri.



From across the street it appeared to be a giant copper flag waving in the breeze.

































So, I went across the street to take a closer look.  Not only is it a sculpture but it's a fountain too with water running down through that crease on the left side and into a pool below.

I couldn't find any artist's name associated with it.  Too bad, it's quite attractive.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Frida and Diego


Last Friday I went to the Heard Museum to see the new exhibit Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera.  I'm going to make a point to go back sometime this summer after the winter visitors have gone because it was extremely crowded and I think I missed a lot because of that.  I patiently waited for a break in the crowds to snap this photo of some of Frida's clothes.  I heard a guide say that she wore a lot of loose and boxy tops to hide the cast she had to wear under her clothes because of her back injury.



They had quite a few original works of art from both Frida and Diego.  I liked this one titled "Diego on my Mind" from 1943.































And then I saw this photograph of Frida working on that same (or a similar) painting with Diego looking on.































Among the works of Diego Rivera was this painting that almost everyone will recognize.  It has been reprinted numerous times.

I'll go back later this summer and spend more time looking at all the pieces on display.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Remains of the Day



I went to the garden yesterday for a morning walk and arrived a little after 6:00 AM thinking the summer hours had started.  They hadn't.  The summer hours don't start until the first of May.  So I hung around until 7:00 and was one of the first to go in.  It was members only from 7:00 to 8:00 so it was quite peaceful.

There had been a big event at the garden the night before and they did an excellent job of cleaning up except for this one wine glass I spotted.  The funny thing was that I was there for nearly two hours and this glass was still in the exact same spot when I left.









I got to see my first night bloom of the season.  Some of the night blooming cactus have already bloomed and I missed them but I caught this one before it started to wilt.


I also admired this pretty cornflower.  It's getting to be that time of year when garden walks are best early in the morning before it gets too hot.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Impulsion


I was looking through my photos for something to post today and found this photo of a sculpture located at the Westworld Equestrian Center in north Scottsdale.  Westworld is an event venue that was built for equestrian events but has evolved into a much bigger event space.  This sculpture was commissioned by the City of Scottsdale and was created by local artist Jeff Zischke.  It stands 20 feet tall and is made entirely of stainless steel tubing.  The artist named the piece "Impulsion" and said it emphasizes the "beauty, power and nobility" of the horse. 

I have a new post on Sharon's Sojourns today.  I'm visiting a city with a strange name.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Earth Day!


Today is Earth Day so it's the perfect time to enjoy what nature has provided for us.  I thought my view of beautiful Camelback Mountain was a perfect way for me to praise the bounty of the earth.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Is it an Alien Plant?


I saw this king sago palm planted in a very large container at the front door of a store at Biltmore Fashion Park Shopping Center.  I've never seen one sprout a cone like that before so it was looking a bit alien to me.  I had to do some Googling to find out what it was.  That is certainly quite a large bloom or cone or whatever it's called.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Back Down to Earth


After a week of touring the gardens of all those luxury homes, I thought it would be good to come back down to earth with something a little more humble.  I found this home in the Coronado Historic District.  I don't think a landscaper designed this yard.  I think it's strictly a creation of the homeowner.  It might look a little jumbled to the passer-by but, I bet everything in that yard is important to someone.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

The Last House on the Tour


The last house on the home tour was even further out than the one I featured yesterday and the day before.  It was six miles further out and was right near the city of Scottsdale's border with the town of Carefree.  And, it was located in a special gated community that hasn't yet been built out so the houses were far apart.  We took so many turns on the road to get here we were worried about finding our way out.  This house was built in a U-shape with the pool area in the center at the back of the house.


The front featured a nice courtyard with some great tile work around the front door.


There was also a beautiful tiled fountain to one side.


I liked some of the little decorator items that were scattered around the property.


One of the attendants at the house asked it I had a telephoto on my camera.  I told her yes and she pointed far out into the desert and asked if I could zoom in on a bird that was sitting on top of a saguaro cactus.  I did and we determined that it was a hawk of some kind. 


 This photo is the heavily cropped version of my zoomed photo.  This bird was way out there.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Desert Landscape


The house I featured yesterday had some wonderful desert landscape features like this rocky area full of desert plants.  You can even see the yellow blooms on those prickly pear cactus.


The owners had a lot of small bottle brush plants located around the grounds and their bristly, red blooms were very eye catching.


They also had plenty of shapely agave plants to admire.


The pool had a very natural look with lots of rock features.  This in-the-water seating area was a nice touch.


I even spotted a rather large and very colorful frog hiding among the rocks and plants.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Back to the Home Tour


I think this next house on the home tour I started featuring last week had my favorite landscape.  However, it was way to far away from the center of the city to suit me.  I hate to think about that drive into the city every day.  We entered this home down a long stone paved driveway.


Off to one side of the front of the house was this pretty sitting area.  I guess this might be a good place to unwind after a long drive from the city in very heavy traffic.


In the back of the house were two more sitting areas.  This one under the cover of a patio roof is all set up for conversations with guests.


This sitting area was a little further out in the yard where one could take in the views (on a clear day) and enjoy a roaring fire on those chilly winter days.


But, I think what I liked the most was the great desert landscape.  This place has it's own mini botanical garden right on site.  I have a few more pictures from this house tomorrow.  Clearly I liked this one best and if they could shrink it's size down and plop into the city center, I'd love it.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Happy Easter!



I was out at the Kierland Commons Shopping Center last weekend and I saw these green Easter bunnies decorating the street scene.






























They came in all shapes and sizes and they were all decorated with flowers.  What cute Easter touch!

I have a new post on Sharon's Sojourns today.  Where can you find over 400 bridges in one city?

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Heading My Way


Is it the Easter Bunny?

If it is, he's hidden all those colorful eggs already.  

Friday, April 14, 2017

First Up then Down



The next house we visited on the Phoenix Home and Garden tour required us to go up a bit into the McDowell Mountain foothills.


Then once we got there we had to go down a rather steep driveway (you can see the edge of it to the middle right of this photo) to get to the entrance.


After we arrived at the base of the driveway, we went through the arched entrance to a rather splendid courtyard complete with a fountain.  This was another rather large house this one in a Spanish style.


The pool area had some pretty spectacular views over the valley below.  They would have been even more spectacular if it hadn't been such an overcast day.  It looks like you could swim to the edge of this pool and stop to admire the view before returning.  Very nice.