Thursday, March 31, 2022

Apple Blossoms, Lavender & a Barrel of Citrus


Here are three more photos from the garden tour a few weeks ago.  I mentioned that the house with all the land had a small orchard.  The apple trees were blooming at that time.  

At that same house, the herb garden had quite a lot of lavender blooming.  In fact, they seemed to use lavender to frame the four corners of the herb bed. 

This was the place that had the very nice potting shed and this little wheel barrel was sitting as a centerpiece on the work table.  It makes a very appealing display.  

Wednesday, March 30, 2022

Homes for the Birds and the Bugs


I took these photos three weeks ago when I went on those private garden tours.  The above photo is of a couple of houses for garden insects.   

These two photos show birdhouses that are very unique.  I'd put them in the  'luxury' category.  

Pretty fancy accommodations for both the birds and the bees.

Tuesday, March 29, 2022

The Evolution of a Garden Bench


The last time I was at the Desert Botanical Garden, I took a photo of this small, semi-circle bench that is found on the Center for Desert Living trail where the herbs and vegetables grow.  I wanted to see if the wide angle lens on my iPhone would capture the whole thing.  

When I got home and sorted out the photos, I realized that I had taken other photos of this spot before so I started looking for the older photos.  I took this one in 2017.  All that growth around the entrance to bench kept it pretty well hidden to the point where I'm guessing many visitors never noticed that it was there.

Two years ago, they cleared out some of that growth so the entrance was a little more obvious.  However, as long as I've been going to the garden, I've never seen anyone taking advantage of this little resting spot.

These last two photos were taken in 2012 when this bench area was created.  As you can see it was long before they had even planted anything in the center pot.  I do recall that shortly after this they planted a skyflower bush in the center.  I remember taking photos of the blooms.  However, that bush got so large that it sort of took over the space.  I think that's why they replaced it with the cactus garden we see today.

Monday, March 28, 2022

On the Other Side


I found this old photo in my files and thought I had already posted this photo years ago but upon investigation I found that I posted a photo of the other side back in 2012.

This two-sided sign/mural used to stand in front of an old 1940's or 50's era motel.  At the time I posted the first photo, the place had been turned into apartments.  Now, sadly this sign in gone.  Well the large brick frame is still there but the mural has been painted over all one rather sad-looking color.  What a shame.  The murals have a lot of character and certainly added a lot to the aesthetics of the place.

Taking part in Monday Murals.

Sunday, March 27, 2022

Drawn to the Red


Just like a hummingbird or a bee, I'm drawn to the bright red of a flower in full bloom.  It's been about three months since I've seen the hibiscus plants around my place blooming.  I was happy to see this one.

I even went in for a close-up!

I have a new post on Sharon's Sojourns today.  I have some of my favorite photos from trips around the U.S. 

Saturday, March 26, 2022

Random Sightings


Today I have another series of random and unrelated sightings from the last two weeks.  First up is a pizza place in north Phoenix.  This place used to have all yellow umbrellas on their patio but now they have the colors of the Ukrainian flag.  Good for them!

Here is another moonrise shot that I took last Saturday on the night of that party with all the dogs that I wrote about earlier this week.  The house I was at had a lovely view of the mountains and one of the guests spotted the full moon making an appearance over the top.  We all went out on the patio to watch it and a few of us got our phones out for a photo.  

The next is a billboard I saw for the "Tattoed Realtor".  I wonder which came first the tattoos or the real estate license.  I'm guessing the tattoos.  

I'll end this post with another delicious dessert!  I found this beauty in the same bakery where I sometimes find those decorative fruit tarts that I've pictured before.  On this occasion I believe this is a cheesecake instead of a fruit tart.  It was very tempting but I decided a photo had less calories.  I do wonder if it tasted as good as it looked.  

Friday, March 25, 2022

Grackle the Thief


I stopped at the shopping center last week to pick something up and on my way back to my car I saw this grackle steal a dog biscuit from a bowl in front of one of the shops and fly it over the the fountain.  I grabbed my iPhone and started taking photos.

He kept turning it over in the water as though he was trying to soften it up a bit.  Besides being scavengers, grackles appear to be pretty smart too.

Thursday, March 24, 2022

I'll Have the Soup!


Every now and then I'll post about a great burger or delicious gourmet meal I attended.  Today I'm posting about a delicious soup that I made.  

I received Ina Gartin's recipe book "Modern Comfort Food" as a gift last year and I've tried several of the recipes but this one has to be my favorite.

It's called Chicken Pot Pie Soup and I love it.  I just made it again this week and decided I should tell you all about it.

I added the link to the recipe above.  It is definitely what I'd call comfort food.  


Wednesday, March 23, 2022

Party Dogs!


I went to a party Saturday evening at the home of a couple of dedicated dog lovers.  They have three very cute furry "kids" who were excited to have a house full of guests.  

This cutie is Abbey.  

This is Molly.  I love her natural 'black eye'.  

And this fuzzy little fellow is Harry. 

Harry took a seat at the head of the table, looking very much like the chairman of the board trying to call the meeting to order.

And, this young lass was a guest at the party.  Her name is Clementine and she was having fun socializing with both the other dogs and the humans.  

It was a great party with good friends and good food and all these dogs just added to the fun.  

Tuesday, March 22, 2022

Full Moon Rising


I was at my friends Julie and Dave's house last Thursday celebrating St. Patrick's Day when we saw the full moon rising in the east over the mountain.  I snapped this shot with my iPhone and was surprised at how well it turned out.

My camera was in my car so I ran out to get it and took this shot using the "moon" setting.  It made the sky and foreground much darker but the detail of the moon was better.

I zoomed in on just the moon and got an even better shot of it.  I was surprised at how long it stayed the yellow color.  When I ran to get my camera, I figured by the time I was back in position it would have slipped from yellow to white but it didn't.  I'm sure it has something to do with the dust and pollution in the atmosphere.  

Monday, March 21, 2022

Revisiting Two Places


Last Friday before the symphony, my friends and I had dinner at this great place called Oven and Vine.  I had recently seen a review of this restaurant and it tempted me to try it.  Then I discovered that it was located in a building I had photographed before many years ago.  But, I had forgotten the story behind it until I found my previous post.  At that time there was some debate as to whether it would become a restaurant or not.  I'm not sure if the current restaurant was the one being considered back then but at least I know that a restaurant made it here.  And, it's doing very well in spite of the pandemic.  That's probably because most of the dining is outside and the food is very good.  

After the symphony, my friends and I walked over to the Renaissance Hotel for a cocktail.  That's where I got to see one of my favorite sculptures again.  I posted about this sculpture that was made especially for the hotel back in 2017.  

Sunday, March 20, 2022

Music's Master Architects


I went to a performance of the Phoenix Symphony Friday evening and found myself totally immersed in the music.  I love classical music anyway but there was something very moving about this particular performance.  The first piece was a new piece by Valerie Coleman who has been named one of the top 35 Women Composers.  After that we heard Beethoven's Concerto No. 5 played with Stewart Goodyear at the keyboards.  His nimble fingers criss-crossed the keyboard many times but I have to admit that his posture was making my neck and back hurt just watching him.  (Just watch the first 20 seconds on the link above and you will see what I mean.) I snapped the above photo while we were waiting for him to enter the stage.

But the music that really got to me was Shostakovich's Symphony No. 5.  The schedule of performances and the pieces were all selected long before there was a war in Ukraine and since Shostakovich was a Russian composer, the orchestra played the Ukrainian National Anthem before beginning the symphony.  The anthem is a beautiful piece if you haven't heard it.

Shostakovich had his own troubles with the tightly controlled Stalin regime and his symphony did such a good job of conveying that balance between what the artist wanted to write and what the state made him write.

I really felt the emotion of the music.  A little over a year ago, I read the book "A Gentleman in Moscow".  It was an excellent book and the images it conveyed have stuck with me.  Shostakovich's Symphony No. 5 conveyed exactly those same images.  It could easily be the theme music for that novel.  

Saturday, March 19, 2022

Funny Faces


I took a quick stroll through the Desert Botanical Garden gift shop before I left last Monday and while I was there I snapped a few photos of some interesting faces I spotted.  This fellow has a startled look.

He was on the cover of a kid's book called "There Was a Coyote Who Swallowed a Flea".  Yes, that would be startling and probably not that good for the flea either.

Next I saw this cute little frog-like character.  He's a cheery looking green fellow.

This attractive owl also caught my eye.  He's made up of pine cones, bark and feathers. 

I didn't buy anything but a stroll through the shop is always entertaining.  

Friday, March 18, 2022

Playing with the Moon


When I went for my walk at the Desert Botanical Garden, I noticed that an almost full moon was shining in the afternoon sky.  I decided to see if I could get some interesting shots.  This one between two saguaro.

Here is one with the moon above one of the saguaro arms.  

Here is one through the glass arms of one of the Chihuly sculptures.  

Finally, I just zoomed in on the moon all by itself.  I haven't played with moon shots in quite a while.  That was fun!

Thursday, March 17, 2022

Happy St. Patrick's Day!


I have a strange craving for corned beef and cabbage!  It must be St. Patrick's Day!  

Have fun celebrating the Irish today!

Wednesday, March 16, 2022

Butterflies Are Back


I hadn't been to the Desert Botanical Garden for several weeks so on Monday afternoon, I decided I should take a walk there.  I was hoping that a Monday between 3:30 and 4:00 would be a quieter time but with the Chihuly exhibit still going on, it was still pretty busy.  

I saw that the butterfly pavilion was open so I decided to walk through.  This giant swallowtail was the only one of his kind that I saw.

But, there were plenty of these zebra longings.  They were definitely the dominate butterfly in the pavilion.  

I did see a few white peacocks fluttering around.  I didn't stay in the pavilion very long.  I wanted to get on with my walk.  

Tuesday, March 15, 2022

Retro Entertainment


I met a group of friends on Sunday for brunch at a new restaurant called Valentine.  

It was great to be with friends again.  There was at least one person in our party who I hadn't seen in person in over two years.  

The new restaurant was a fun place to meet.  It was combined with an antique store.  Good food and antique browsing....what a great combination of entertainment.  

As we were leaving, the owner asked if we wanted to see the bar at the back of the building.  the bar is only open in the evenings and it has a very retro vibe.  The DJ station complete with turntables and lots of LP's was a surprise.  I think I need to experience this night spot.  I haven't heard music from a turntable in ages.

Monday, March 14, 2022

Between Innocence and Knowing


This mural conveys a child-like innocence.  It's called 'Between Innocence and Knowing' and was created by Beatrice Moore.  (I've also seen it called 'Between Innocence and Understanding' so I'm not sure which is the correct title.)  Beatrice Moore is a well known artist and historic preservation advocate.  This mural was painted on the side of her former shop called Kooky Crafts.  Those soft pastel colors also seem to resonate innocence.  

Taking part in Monday Murals.  

Sunday, March 13, 2022

Mountainside Homes


I mentioned yesterday that the second house on the garden tour was located in a mountainous spot in Paradise Valley.  Driving in that neighborhood, we caught glimpses of other hillside houses.  

As I said yesterday, I hadn't explored much on this side of the mountain so it was fun seeing places I had not photographed before.  

I'm sure living in this environment has it's ups and downs (pun intended).  The views must be great but I'm sure that deliveries can be be a problem along with many other things that I'm glad I don't have to contend with.  But, I am happy that I can drive around here and admire the houses.

I have a new post on Sharon's Sojourns today.  I have highlights from Italy.