Sunday, June 30, 2024

Auto Hikes and Monsoon Skies

Corona de Tucson

June 30, 2024

Sunset photo taken from the cart path behind our home...

Joe and I enjoyed a quiet week around the oasis.  Sunday, Sally had an appointment for a summer cut and pedicure.  it was a 4:00 appointment time and we ran into a storm on the way...tis the season and we are not complaining !

Joe and I do not like the shorter cut, but Sally loves it and as much as she doesn't like going to the groomers, it's just easier for her and us.  Monday, was dentist day for Joe...he had a root canal and a temporary cap put on and that was the last of the appointments for the week.   

This time of year, auto hikes and adventures go hand in hand.  It's nice being surrounded by beautiful nature and not sweltering at the same time.  We had errands to run...the library, Petco, groceries, etc. so we decided on a drive close to home and close to places we had to go to.  I wanted to see the saguaro with all it's gorgeous red fruit so we headed for Saguaro NP - East to do the loop drive. 


Pictures from the jeep don't really show how glamorous the saguaro are dressed in red fruit, but there were a lot of ooohs and aaahs as we slowly made our way on the loop.   


We only saw a couple of other vehicles so it was easy to get out and walk some too. 

Saguaro fruit ripens in the summer and provides moisture and nutrition to animals and insects.  I read that there is an average of 150 fruit pods per saguaro making it a veritable fast food drive-in for insects, birds, bats, coyotes, and other mammals.  For centuries people also depended on the saguaro fruit in the hot, dry desert as a food source as well.  When the fruit ripens, it splits open showing the juicy red pulp and small black seeds...up to 2000 small black seeds per pod !  I have not tasted the saguaro fruit, but read that it is very sweet and the seeds, which are high in protein and fats, have a nutlike flavor.  

Nesting White-winged Dove in the Sonoran Desert are a major pollinator for the saguaro blooms enjoying the nectar and pollen.  And when the fruit splits open, they feast on the seeds and pulp from the fruit. 


On Saturday, we headed up Catalina Highway for another adventure.  

Our destination was Rose Canyon Lake.  At about 7 acres, this lake sits at 7000 feet tucked away in a stand of ponderosa pines on the slopes of of the Catalina Mountains.  There is a paved road thru the Rose Canyon Campground that leads to a small parking area (with bathroom facilities and a small store with ice cream, ice, fishing supplies and camping supplies).  The lake and campground are maintained by the Forest Service and we paid an $11.00 fee for day use activities.  Tall trees and rocky slopes line the shore and a trail (Rose Canyon Lake Trail #37) traverses the waters edge and provides access to the water for fishing.  

The narrow two-way road thru the campground (tents only) and picnic areas...  

Rose Canyon Lake...the right side of the lake has a paved walk (wheelchair accessible and the left side is a packed dirt trail. 

Serious fishermen...the small lake is well stocked at all times with rainbow trout, catfish, carp, crappie, and walleye. A permit is required for bank fishing, casting, and fly fishing.

It was a nice walk...overcast skies, a slight breeze, 82 degrees and the wonderful scent of pine trees! 

Back at the oasis,  we are loving our monsoon storms and skies.  We have had a couple of storms and a couple of teasers this week.  It rained during the night  and as I write this post, we are under a flash flood advisory for this afternoon.  

Summertime mornings are the best ever and I look forward to our early walks !

We aren't the only early birds...

Summertime sunsets are also the best ever and I look forward to those walks too !

No editing needed on any of these photos !  


My idea for keeping the birds out of my pots did not work...

so the pots have been replanted...fingers crossed !

A new to me plant...Gaura and it takes full sun. 

We found an egg on the metal plant shelf that is on the patio...we are pretty sure it is a mourning dove as a pair of them made several trips to the shelf one afternoon.  After laying the egg, they did not return.  Joe carefully moved the nest...although not much of a nest...and the egg to a nearby spot.  The egg didn't last long.

This very cute juvenile male cardinal put a smile on our faces...great entertainment with morning coffee.

We squeeze in walks with Sally when we can...

and spend lots of time in the mornings and late afternoons on the patio.

This morning as I was walking thru our bedroom with an arm full of sheets that I was taking to the washer, the puppies photos and my cross-stitch caught my eye in the early morning light.  Sure brought a tear or two or three to my eye.  We love our time with Sally, and at the same time, we sure do miss Wrecks, Dover and Jack.

We flip the calendar tomorrow...I can hardly believe it is July already and 2024 is half gone.   In case I don't post again, Happy Fourth of July.

Until next time,

Catalina Highway

The sunset glow behind our home...


Oh, I almost forgot...isn't the Desert Willow tree so pretty with its blooms?  These two little trees we paid $15.00 for (from Tucson Electric) are growing fast...


Saturday, June 22, 2024

It's Summer !

Corona de Tucson

June 21, 2024 

Yep...hazy, lazy, crazy days of summer have officially begun and I am loving it !  

The Northern Hemisphere's summer solstice typically falls between June 20 to June 22.  This years solstice occurred on June 20 and is the earliest solstice in 228 last occurred on June 20, 1796.  

On Saturday, we met Jamie and Andra in town.  We strolled thru Gather and the other warehouse shops in the Lost Barrio neighborhood.  Gather is such a fun place to is always "dressed up" in the season and this month's market was very patriotic.  

And it turned out to be a lucky day.  For quite sometime, I have been looking for a table to replace the one between two chairs in the living area.  It's funny how the eye can just spot something and you have a really good idea "this is it".  I had not even considered round, and thought I "needed" a rectangle table with drawers.  But, this vintage table made by Jaycee Furniture in England is perfect.    


Afterwards, the four of us enjoyed lunch at Barrio Brewing...Joe and I devoured yummy Pub Fried Fish Tacos with slaw, Pico de Gallo (a fancy way to say salsa), and topped with habanero cream sauce served with beans and corn chips.  

Monday I had a mammogram and Tuesday Joe had an appointment at the eye doctor.  Dr. McColgin was pleased with Joe's progress...she removed the lens and says the cornea is healed.  She did leave the plugs in the upper and lower openings that drain fluid from the eye so his tears can continue to provide the enzymes that help prevent infections.  He returns in a month.  His eye is red and vision is about what Joe expected and he says the procedure was worth the time and discomfort.  And as we often say around here, "One day at a time." seems to sum it all up.     

Thursday, we were up early and headed north to Oracle.  I had made a reservation at Life Under the Oaks Lavender Farm.  We visited this beautiful farm last year and had such a nice walk and picnic brunch that we went back again.  I am so glad we did...sometimes when revisiting a fun place it doesnt have the charm that it did on the first visit.  Not the case here.  

The weather was so nice...sunny with a calm breeze and cool temps compared to home.  The flowers were so pretty...snapdragons, wisteria and yucca not to mention the wonderful lavender and its delightful fragrance.  We enjoy the walk with whimsical "art" hidden in the nooks and crannies and hanging from the trees.  And the yummy breakfast croissant, breakfast potatoes, lavender scone and lemonade was so yummy sitting in the shade under the old, gigantic oak trees.     

The newly built barn is home to a horse, a donkey, a goat and a sheep.

Snapdragons in all colors along the walk...these were my favorite! 

Wisteria blooms remind me of Georgia.  I was a charter member of the LaGrange College Wisteria Garden Club...

The lavender smelled heavenly and was so pretty swaying in the breeze. 

Chandeliers in trees...

Tree fairies...

Benches, swings, and gliders and tubs of flowers, butterflies, and secret hiding places under mushrooms make for enjoyable "sit and take it all in" spots throughout the farm. 

A nibble a day....

Yummy fun under the oaks...

And the lavender quaint and pretty with a nice variety of All-Natural lavender products... 

Back at the oasis, we were up at daybreak and enjoying the early morning cool air. 

A pretty sunrise...

We met our goal of 10+ miles this week...

Sally helps with backyard chores after her morning walk...

Some of the birds are teaching/learning life lessons.

I couldn't believe my eyes Monday morning as a mama quail and her babies came thru the fence into our yard.  Nature is so amazing...what a good mama she is with her tiny little babies...we counted at least 12 of them.  She led them to the corner, gathered them all up and they slept there.  Some of the photos are fuzzy...but the sequence tells the sweetest story.  All the while, daddy quail was standing on the concrete column keeping a watchful eye for danger.  

This year I have been experimenting with flowers and what works best.  So far, all is good except for one plant that the birds have enjoyed more than we have.   Even with all the sticks, the tiny little lesser goldfinch and sparrows have managed to eat just about all there is to eat in this pot.  

Thursday, we had a teaser...lots of clouds, the smell of rain, lightening in the distance, but only a few drops at our house.  

However, yesterday was a glorious rained !  It didn't just rain, we had a beautiful monsoon storm complete with winds, thunder and lightening and a downpour that lasted for several hours.  I found myself walking from window to window and out to the patio it was so wonderful.  The temps dropped about 20 degrees.  

A beautiful sunrise to start the day with overcast skies most of the morning.

Mid afternoon before the storm...

That's a wrap for now, but I will close with a few more favorite photos from the week...

Until next time,