Friday, May 31, 2019

Fairview Neighborhood

Two years ago or so, I was out prowling the historic neighborhoods for interesting houses to photograph.  It's one of my summer pastimes.  When it's too hot to be out walking, I ride around and take a few photos from the car.  This house is one I didn't post before.  It's an interesting little bungalow in the Fairview Neighborhood.

Thursday, May 30, 2019

Rum Cake

One of my favorite desserts to make is my gorgeous rum cake.  It's a yellow bundt cake flavored with rum and full of black walnuts and then soaked in a mixture of rum and sugar.  Have I made you hungry yet?  Black walnuts aren't easy to find so I order them from Amazon and then store them in the freezer.  You can tell from that little dish in the background that this one was made around the holidays.  However, I'll make this cake for pretty much any occasion.

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Spring Flowers

Hopefully, I'm enjoying the beautiful spring flowers of Italy right now so to celebrate that occasion, I thought I'd share some flowers for all of you today.  First up a gorgeous sunflower.  I can see why these flowers have "sun" in their name.

Some purple pansies.  Pansies always remind me of ladies bonnets. 

Some purple pea vine draped dramatically over a broken pillar.

And a perfect yellow rose!  

Nothing beats the beauty of flowers.

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

A Cactus You Can Hug

Every now and then when I take a walk at the Desert Botanical Garden, I stop in the gift shop to see what new things they have.  Back in April I found this huggable saguaro cactus.

Your kids can sleep with a cactus and they won't get a scratch on them!

Monday, May 27, 2019

A Peek Inside My Spice Cabinet

A few years ago, I discovered a company that specializes in spices...lots and lots of spices.  It's called Penzeys Spices and I've been shopping there ever since.  I believe they started out as a mail order business and opened stores after the success of that business.

I would say that 99% of the spices in my cabinet are from Penzeys.  I'm pretty much hooked on them.  

Sunday, May 26, 2019

Wildlife World

I haven't been out to Wildlife World in a very long time.  I need to make a point of going there again. It's located way out on the far west side of the Phoenix Metro Area in the town of Litchfield Park.  That makes it a bit of a day trip to go out there.  They have an excellent selection of animals like this handsome green parrot.

They have a few big cats to admire from afar.

Some zebras relaxing in the sun.

And one of my favorites, the meerkats.  They look like such rascals.

I have a new post on Sharon's Sojourns today.  Let's go Surfin'. 

Saturday, May 25, 2019

Fitting House for the Southwest

Here is another house that looks perfectly suited to its southwestern desert environment.  I love those wonderful doors.

The dramatic desert landscaping is quite attractive too!  I found this one in Paradise Valley.

Friday, May 24, 2019


Every time I hear the word "poppies" spoken all by itself, I can't help but think of The Wizard of Oz.

I don't think these particular poppies have any sinister qualities to them.  I found these in a garden in Scottsdale.  They were growing right next to a royal blue ceramic vase so I framed this orange poppy with the blue background.

The poppies themselves, were very bright and eye catching.  Poppies are a very cheerful flower.  They look very delicate and almost like they were made of tissue paper.

Thursday, May 23, 2019

Theater of the Wind

I found this sculpture called "Theater of the Wind" near the Tempe Town Lake and on the grounds of the State Farm Insurance Headquarters.  The sculptor is Ilan Averbuch.  It's constructed from recycled granite curbstone and weathering steel.  It's designed to look like a boat emerging from a large frame. The boat consists of seats from which a viewer can see the lake through the frame.

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Historic House in Tempe

I used to live and work in the city of Tempe way back in the 80's and I used to pass by this house quite often.  At that time, I believe someone was still living there.  Now it has been declared a historic sight by the city.  This Queen Anne style house was built by Niels Petersen, a Danish immigrant who homesteaded the land a built this beautiful home in 1892.

It's a lovely reminder of a bygone era.

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Tulips & An Evening Flight

William of Ottawa Daily Photo has been posting some terrific photos of all the tulips in his beautiful city, so I thought I'd post my own tulip photo.  Tulips don't grow so well in this desert environment so I only get to see them when they are in a vase!  I thought this arrangement was quite attractive.

Later this evening I'll be hopping on a jet plane and heading toward Europe.  After a short change of planes in London, I'm of to Milan Italy.  I'll be back the first week of June.  During that time I might be unavailable to comment on your sites, so don't think I've forgotten about you all.  I will have posts scheduled while I'm gone.  I dug into my archives and came up with some photos to keep the blog occupied while I'm away.

Monday, May 20, 2019

This Way to the Guacamole

A little over ten years ago, I posted a photo of the front of Macayo's restaurant on Central Avenue.  It's a Mexican restaurant  with the facade of an Aztec Temple.  The restaurant has been around for a very long time in that same location I Photographed back in 2008.  Two years ago, they had to move. The land was purchased to make way for a huge apartment complex.  The restaurant moved just a few blocks down the street to a smaller location.  I found this mural on the back side of the restaurant.

When I went inside, I saw another, more colorful mural on the wall inside.  

To see more murals, click here.

Sunday, May 19, 2019

Back Lighting

I love the way this cholla cactus looks when it's lit from behind.  Those millions of tiny needles look like a halo over the cactus.

The same lighting works on this tall, thin cactus too!

I have a new post on Sharon's Sojourns today.  Take a peek at what Wickenburg Arizona was like in the early days.

Saturday, May 18, 2019

Grand Entrance

The last time I was at Kierland Commons shopping center in north Scottsdale, I saw this new store called Royal Fine Art.  I didn't go in but I snapped a photo of the grand entrance they've created.  I figured I could look at their web site and get a little more information.  The only problem is, I can't find a web site for them.  I find a "Yelp" entry with no comments and a listing on the shopping center's web site, but no specific web site for them.  Now I'm really curious.  I might have to step inside the next time I'm there.

Friday, May 17, 2019

Century Plants

The Century Plant is an agave that is ubiquitous to the desert southwest. The plant gets it's name from that fact that it is slow to bloom and only blooms at the end of it's life.  However, once it blooms, it produces small plants that will grow into new agave plants.

When it blooms, it sends up a tall stalk topped with blooms.  Sometimes they can be 25 to 30 feet tall.

The one in the top photo  was bent over.  I haven't seen that happen before unless there is something stunting it's growth.

The blooms start out looking like this.

Then they turn an orange color at the tips.

And, finally they open up to these yellow blooms.

They really are a stately looking plant and interesting to watch as the blooms progress!

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Return Trip to See the Blooms

Two Sundays ago when I went walking at the Desert Botanical Garden, I noticed buds on two of my favorite night-blooming cactus.  I knew they were going to bloom either that night or the next night.

Monday morning, off I went to see if they had bloomed.  They hadn't yet.  So, on Tuesday morning, I once again headed that way and there they were, bursting with beauty.  You can see some buds that haven't opened yet in the top photo.  Several years ago I was there when they all bloomed at once which was a spectacular sight.  You can see it here.

This other cactus had also bloomed and I was surprised to see these brilliant pink blooms.  This cactus usually has deep red blossoms.

Whatever the color, they are always a joy to see!

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Two Vehicles

Two different vehicles caught my eye on the very same day.  Above is a Volkswagen mini-bus sitting in front of the Volkswagen repair shop with a cute sign inviting me to buy it and drive to Woodstock.  I didn't go to Woodstock back in the 60's but, I think I'll pass the opportunity once again.

The second car looked like it was watching me as I took a walk.  My what big eyes you have little red car!

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Not in Arizona

I got back late Sunday night from a fabulous weekend in Oregon in the beautiful Willamette Valley wine country.  My good friend Julie has memberships at two outstanding wineries in the valley and she used some of her points from Domaine Serene Winery to host a group of friends at a place the winery calls "The Bunkhouse".  With a name like that, we weren't quite sure where we would be staying but upon arrival, we were all pretty astounded by the beauty of the place.  Above is the view from the patio looking up toward the winery.

Above is the "bunkhouse" where we stayed.  It turned out to be a fabulous place to stay with first class amenities.  There were 8 of us all together and we had a wonderful time enjoying one wine tasting, one gourmet dinner and one very special lunch that was paired with some of their very best wines.  The food was fabulous.

To the left is our group just before dinner at the winery.

On Sunday we had a tasting lunch at the other winery that Julie is a member of.  I've had a tasting at this winery before a year ago but this was a whole new experience at a different location.  This new place had a gorgeous garden full of all kinds of blooming plants.  Above is a branch on a dogwood tree and to the left is a shot through the garden.

It was a truly wonderful weekend.

I'll post more about the fabulous places we enjoyed on my travel site probably next month.

Monday, May 13, 2019

Crawling Tree

This old mesquite tree appears to be crawling across this yard.  I've seen two or three trees like this around town.  I don't know why they have grown this way but, they spread out and cover a large area.  In this case, it pretty much hides the house behind it.

Sunday, May 12, 2019

White on White

I drove by this home in Paradise Valley and was surprised to see the entire front yard covered in white rose bushes.  They covered the whole front yard and were blooming like crazy.  I wonder if the white rose has some significance to this family.

I have a new post on Sharon's Sojourns today.  I made my annual spring drive to Wickenburg Arizona.

Saturday, May 11, 2019

Wilting in the Midday Heat

I saw the big blooms on this Argentinian Giant cactus by the side of the street so I pulled over to get some photos.  However it was already around 1:00 PM and the heat of the day was starting to "melt" the blooms.

These are night blooming cactus so the blooms open up after sun down but as the following day heats up they start to wilt giving them a melted look.

They are such stunning flowers to only last for one day!