Tuesday, February 26, 2013


We're getting dangerously near our internet use limit, so this is probably the last post you'll see until Monday.

Today we took the dogs and had a  lovely afternoon walking along the Salt River.   Some of us walked along the river, one of us walked IN the river, one of us played drop and catch with a green ball the entire afternoon.   I'll let you figure out which was which.

I think I can answer emails, just not post pictures and publish the blog, so keep in touch?

Monday, February 25, 2013


After the races yesterday, it took us a long time to warm up.  I snuggled down on the couch to watch the Oscars.  I had company.   I guess she was cold too.

just me and Sasha

nice and cozy under the blanket, she didn't want to watch the Oscars anyway

smile for the camera  sweetie

Pam, what do you think about this Saguaro -  is it trying to become a crested"????    Gotta love the variations of shape in these giant Saguaros.  No two are the same.

Most of today was a BCA day.  We finally got our act together and trimmed Lewis' face.  You wouldn't think it was such a big job, and it isn't.   Just a lot of rigamarole and I always end up covered in little black itchy hairs, no matter what I do  (niece Lisa, you know what I mean!).  It was worth it though, I can see his sweet expression now and its done for another 3 or 4 weeks.

 We ended the day by grilling some Prime tenderloin steaks (who's ever lucky enough to find Prime meat at a grocery store?) and put them on a bed of arugula dressed with white truffle oil and shaved Parmesan Reggiano.   Grilled asparagus and fresh fruit tarts rounded out the meal and we're all full and happy.

Sunday, February 24, 2013


Arizona National Drag Races or Daytona 500....Hmmmm

To Dave, watching the Daytona 500 NASCAR race on TV signals the return of Spring.  He's never missed it - he loves NASCAR and he loves Springtime.   So you can imagine how shocked he was to find out that he had purchased tickets (on-line) for us to attend the Arizona National Drag Races at Firebird Raceway on Daytona  day.....thats what happens when you plan too far ahead!     I suggested we try to sell the drag tickets at the track and continue the springtime tradition, but he's a new man.....he takes life as it comes now (he tells me).  So drag races it was.

Today was forecast to be cool, sunny and windy so we dressed in layers fully expecting to peel those layers off as the sun strengthened.

great bleacher seats right on the end., brilliant Arizona sunshine,  strong, hot coffee and very stale churros .

a "fresh" breeze kept the flags busy
Well, it was sunny, cool and windy alright.    Steady wind of 25 mph, gusts to 40 mph and 53 degrees!
Our wonderful seats afforded us perfect views of the competitors as they did their burnouts, staged and then made their runs.  They also turned us into unobstructed targets for the relentless, bone chilling wind.   The sun was helpless to warm us.   As the morning wore on, more people came and we hoped that the warmth of combined bodies would help cut the cold, "hoped" being the operant word.

the sunny quarter mile

John Force's funny car getting ready

Tony Schumacher's top fuel dragster burnout
Turns out Dave didn't have to miss watching the Daytona 500 race on TV today after all.    Three hours sitting on cold aluminum bleachers in the frigid sun and numbing wind and we fled Firebird Raceway for our lovely warm Beluga and her HD TVs.   Dave sat in the sun and watched the last half of his Springtime tradition - all's well that ends well, right?

Saturday, February 23, 2013


Well, Dave didn't catch the mistake in yesterday's blog....thats why I read it to him before I post it.

Yesterday's blog was FRIDAY, not THURSDAY.....Oh Dave, pay attention.

So, it is Saturday and  really, truly a BC day.  I was feeling off my game and so after doing a few errands, I camped out on the couch while Dave took care of a few little things he wanted to do around Beluga.  
Should have gone to the Horse Show again to see the cutting horses, should have gone to the Lost Dutchman Days Rodeo, should have mailed important information to the accountant for tax time, etc., etc., etc., but didn't do any of those things.

Arizona National Drag races tomorrow......

Friday, February 22, 2013


Today's bird feeder update  -  Gila Woodpecker, Gilded Flicker and Lesser Goldfinches.

Mr. Gila Woodpecker drinking the Hummingbird's breakfast

Gilded Flicker using his tail to hold on 
Friday is Farmer's Market day in Mesa, so that is where we headed this morning, after second cup.
All I can say about the Mesa Farmer's Market is that I guess we've been spoiled by San Diego's markets and especially by Eugene's fabulous Saturday Market......

After a very quick walk through the Mesa Market, we pointed the jeep towards Apache Junction to get our mail delivery.   On the way we stopped at our new favorite grocery store, AJ's Fine Foods, for a nice lunch outside in the warm sun.     Yay!   The mail arrived so we were free to start up through the Superstition Mountains on the Apache Trail.

yesterday's snow has almost completely melted but the mountains are just as beautiful

shades of green

 It was fairly late in the day by this point, so we only drove the paved section as far as Canyon Lake.   It was another jiggy road for Dave....but not too scary for me.   After Canyon Lake the road becomes dirt and gravel and after the last few days of snow and rain Dave wasn't too crazy about trying it this late in the day.

can you see the two story tour boat in the center of this picture?
it gives you some idea of how high the cliffs surrounding the lake are

lots of riders out today

an errant shot by Chief Thunderthud perhaps?

another beautiful end to a very pleasant day

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Thursday - BCA

The only exciting thing that happened today was the discovery of a new to us bird.....actually two new birds.   No pictures of the Gilded Flicker that sat outside Beluga, but a couple of the bright, noisy and colorful Peach Faced Lovebirds zooming around from feeder to feeder.

It was quite cool and cloudy this morning and we thought we'd just stay in and take care of some domestic duties.  After our morning routine I put chicken and mushrooms in the crockpot, talked with Robin on the phone and took doggies for a walk in the desert.  Thats where we discovered 5 or 6 lovebirds squawking in the ocotillo.    Later we broke camp, visited the dump station and set back up at our site, vacuumed and had dinner.    I told you it was a boring couple alert day!  

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Wednesday and a little Tuesday

So....the answer to Monday's question is - the dead skin of a Saguaro.

The horse show yesterday was about more than those beautiful Arabian horses.  Two large tents held jewelry, paintings, sculptures, clothing, leather goods, and anything a horseman might possibly be interested in.   A western horseman, that is....

holsters for any size gun.
Dave had a "Roy Rodgers" moment...

And, in addition to beautiful, spirited horses and glittery people, there were plenty of dogs.


this little Boston had on tooled leather chaps.
(bad picture, sorry.  I had the camera on the wrong setting a few times....)

this lady just sat there holding her man's hand 

two quiet Jack Russells

The barns were as over the top as everything else, including the food offerings....

horse show food?  Not on your life...this show offered lobster rolls!

Now, the reason my new jeans have now become "around the house" jeans.    Dave and I were sitting in low bleachers at the end of the reining arena watching the individual horses and riders do their patterns.   It was time for the Costume class to start in the indoor arena so we left the bleachers and started across the show grounds.

All of a sudden, from along side the reining ring, a large chestnut gelding came running blindly toward us, without a rider and with his saddle under his belly.   He was in a blind panic trying to either rid himself of the "monster" under him or to run away from it.   We were rooted to the spot, not knowing which way he would run, which way we should run to avoid being trampled.  He turned and tried to get into the reining arena, through a spot that was much to small for him to fit.   He wedged himself between the rail and the bleachers we had just left and struggled mightily to get free.  I was sure he would puncture his stomach or break a leg, but he managed to get free to continue his frenzied run.  We  ducked behind a small tractor as he dodged at us, ripping my pant leg in the process.   He wheeled,  ran up the hill and tried to get into the door of the show office where people were able to finally grab him and hold him still enough so a man could untangle the saddle, his bridle reins and his leg wraps.   It was the cowboy I had photographed sliding to a stop on his white Arabian!

The horse was favoring one hind leg and we were sure he had broken it, but as he was led away, he appeared to be walking soundly on all fours.    Way too much excitement for me!     I opened the front curtains to this view.

We hung around this morning, drinking our second cup inside and talking about what we wanted to do on this rainy day.   Around lunch time we left Beluga and headed to Ted's for lunch.

snow on the Superstition Mountains

leaden skies

It had rained here in the park all morning, but we were surprised to see what the storm had brought to other areas!   The only snow we saw were on the Superstition Mountains, but evidently even downtown Phoenix got measurable snow and hail!   Lucky us.  Nina and Paul, in Tucson, posted pictures of a pretty healthy snowfall there also.  Whats the deal?

Those of you having any Buffalo connections know about Ted's.  It has one branch out of that area and it is here in Tempe, Arizona.   Dave and I have eaten Sahlen's hot dogs at their western New York restaurants all our lives.   They are our favorite's, and Dave especially loves their foot long dogs with onions, ketchup, Webers mustard and dill pickle.   This Tempe location is "decorated" (I use the term loosely) exactly as the ones back home.  The hot dogs are the same, the condiments the same, the fries the same and they even use the same brand of charcoal!

see our jeep's reflection in the window?

squeezing the last bit of ketchup on the last bite of hotdog

The weather started closing in again, so we decided to go back to Beluga, turn up the heat and enjoy being inside.   No sunset pictures tonight.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Tuesday - if you aren't interested in horse pictures, skip this post!

Rainy, windy weather is on its way, so today we spent the day outdoors at the Scottsdale Arabian Horse Show.  A highlight of the Phoenix area for me.   This show has been around for a long time, first held here in 1955 with only 50 horses.   Today it gathers over 2400 Arabians and half/Arabs from around the world.

The Scottsdale Arabian Horse show is a showcase for this flashy, versatile and totally over the top breed.  Owner's are every bit as over the top and flashy as their horses, but they are not just rhinestones and silver.   They are fiercely proud of their magnificent horses and all they can do.

I'm unhappy with the photographs I was able to take.  I don't seem to be able to capture movement in the ring, and movement is one of the insanely beautiful things about these desert horses.   So, what follows are the best of the lot.

Arabians are shown in conformation classes where they are judged on their beauty alone.

beautiful bay gelding

this fractious yearling was as high as a kite as he entered the ring

a glossed up yearling colt exhibiting the "flehmen" response
is a lady near?

beautiful yearling colt head
They are shown in a variety of under saddle classes using different types of English saddles as well as Western saddles.
a stallion entering the ring in a Park Saddle class

this grey is showing off his sliding stop in a Western reining class.  These classes test the skills needed on the ranch, handling cattle
(more on this rider, later)

western pleasure turn out.  note the silver saddle and rhinestone outfit...

Hunt seat pleasure class

a nice collected walk

a grateful pat for a job well done in the  Women's Side Saddle class

Arabians are also shown in different types of harness classes, from roadsters (racing) to fine harness (below)

And one of the big crowd pleasers, the Arab Costume Under Saddle class.  The riders in this class owned the horses they showed and many of them hand made the spectacular costumes they both wore.

We spent the entire day moving from the indoor arena, the outdoor conformation ring, the reining arena, the food court, the spectacular barns and then back again.    I'll finish this post tomorrow with a few pictures from the show that were NOT of horses and tell you about a scary moment at the reining arena that resulted in a tear in my brand new jeans.....