Friday, May 9

Desert Surprises

About 60 miles NW of Phoenix is the illustrious high desert town of Wickenburg. Henry Wickenburg discovered gold here at the Vulture Mine in 1863 and the boom was on.
For a brief, teasing moment in time it was actually a candidate for the Territorial Capital ~ but lost out to upstart Prescott.

Ever since then things have gone down hill for this dusty, forgotten little place only rock-hounds pass by on their way to even more dusty and obscure Quartsite.

After Anthem and especially during the big real estate boom, Wickenburg began enjoying tenuous status as a Phoenix suburb; housing was not only affordable, but the 10 acre spread accompanying the deal was too good to pass up for those who didn't mind the buzzard-circling commute.

This consummate cow-town was our destination for a quick get-away a few weeks ago. The band David plays in had a birthday bash gig for the wife of a plumber who makes the drive every day into Phoenix from their 11 acre ranchero about 20 minutes beyond Wickenburg city limits.

Some things are very predictable:
Young Barrel Cactus. Prickly Pear.
Sweeping vistas.
Other things presented a happy surprise:
Our State Tree in explosive full-bloom: Palo Verde
Garden knick-knacks and guardian angels like crazy...

The humble corn flower and a cool evening breeze flirting with the...
Other things were not anticipated and a most unhappy surprise:
(Later, after dark) This 7" specimen wields a super nasty bite. (Fortunately he refrained when he walked across another band-wife's foot. Feeling something big and creepy, she kicked it. I saw something land near my foot, and realized what it was in mid-scream. We tried to keep our feet up off the ground after that. It was so dark I only guessed where to aim the camera).

And best of all ~ a pebble path to a SIX Horse stall at sunset!

Not Quarter horses or Arabians (ho-hum) ~ but Paints! I was happy just to see them and to smell them.

Then the lady of the house said, "Oh, you must be the couple who is staying the night with us and going on a trail ride in the morning!" My heart sinking, I said no, that wasn't us - we had a room at a hotel in town, it must be someone else...
Surprise! David had something up his sleeve all along. Riders up! My mount is named "Breeze". She is sporting the silkiest main and tail after my loving touch with a couple of brushes. You can tell David is the more experienced rider. He is not clutching the saddle horn like I am. I grew up around horses, but not riding them. He spent every summer in St. Johns like a true Arizona cowboy; rolling out barbed wire fencing, bailing hay and galloping Uncle Ross' ill-tempered horses like the movies.

David had the camera. This was his view.

We went far and wide over open land under a blistering early morning sun. We saw bleached bones from coyote feasts, giant fearless Jackrabbits, and metropolis-proportioned ant colonies suitable for a '60's Sci-Fi radiation experiment gone horribly wrong.

Of course, the MUSIC the night before was a big hit.

For everyone.

Friday, May 2

A Jack Kind of Day

Today is sunny & beautiful. It is the kind of day that needs a little boy, some water, and a dog. Here is the little boy: Here is the dog:
And here is the water. Today is definitely a Jack Kind of Day. C'mon!

Today is a good day for pool time. See Jack in the water spouts! Hurry, Jack ~ catch the water in your cup.
Catch the water and pour it out again. You can do it!
Which water spout to choose? They are all beautiful. Jack is very focused. He is a boy thoroughly enjoying his fun, new spouty-pool.
This is an excellent time to have a drink. Look!
Look who is playing with Jack on a Jack Kind of Day! It is Auntie Asia. She is very clever. She is teaching Jack how to put a big, juicy grapefruit inside his cap. Jack is not confused. He knows a good splash weapon when he sees one. Splash, Jack!
Now Jack is confused. He thinks this fly is a bee. Can you see the fly? (It is to the right of Asia's fake henna tattoo she got in Mexico. ¡QuĂ© artistica!) The fly is Jack's friend. He crawls around so gently, so gently on Jack's little arm. When the fly flies away, Jack sweetly says "Bye-bye." Jack is polite.

LOOK! Oh my goodness - what is that? Jack runs to see. He is a curious boy.

It is a big, black carpenter bee! What fun! Wheee! There he goes, Jack!

No, now he is over there...! Jack is a genius. He can track a flying oddity with super-natural honing powers. See Jack's superior attention-locking gaze:
See Jack in point: He has tracked the bee to a hole in a grapefruit tree. Good work, boy!
Speaking of grapefruits ~ Ellie has stolen Jack's water bomb fruit. She will not let him get it. She runs so fast, so fast. She taunts poor Jack by dropping the grapefruit, then racing off with it as soon as he reaches for it. Run, Jack! Run, Ellie!

No worries. Jack has vast and resourceful cognitive skills. His problem-solving frontal lobe suggests a method by which he may easily achieve his purpose...

Jack's game is on top once again.

After a hugely successful picnic lunch, it is a good time for a bath. All clean! Jack is generous. He hugs Grandpa a million times. Maybe a hundred fifty twenty and a half million times.

Oh, Look! A favorite person is home from school. Hello, "Say-chell"! Kisses!

Good-bye, Ellie! Good-bye, Moe! What a fun time. What a fun day! A truly Jack Kind of Day.
Bye-bye, Jack.