Wednesday, February 28, 2018

our last week in Tucson

In between living life we try to get out and see the area, perhaps do things we haven't done before.

SHE's here, guys, guys, Gramma Pamma's here to see me!

Of course we leave plenty of time to keep our pleasant routines.   Almost daily Lewis gets to go to Gramma Pamma's house to play games with her and that man.

he knows which pocket contains his treats...

She usually comes over to get him with her pockets "loaded", but sometimes she stays and talks with us before he gets to go over to her house.    He thinks she spends much too much time talking with us.

bla bla bla bla bla, he hears.....

 Most days we spend second cup outside in the sun while we let Lewis play his "the rug ate my fish" game.  A real favorite of his.

he kills the rug dead, it ate his fish

Dave also set aside a little time for a couple vehicle projects he's been wanting to do. 

Mr. David's Creative Solutions routes the WiFi Ranger wire through a light....

then adds an oil pan skid plate on Rocky's nether region

He did those jobs while Pam and I took a little excursion to  the Mini Time Machine, Museum of Miniatures.    I had read about it in Atlas Obscura and then when fellow blogger, Jodee went last year my interest was really piqued.   This is an interesting place housed in a purpose built facility in the north part of Tucson.

You enter this realm through an interesting door within a door, preparing you for the time and size warp within.

do you see the three doors?

Pam prepares to enter the correct one

Inside we were first treated to a temporary exhibit entitled "On Point" which was a collection of sculptures on the tips of lead pencils!

A fascinating project, each sculpture was so tiny we had to use the provided magnifying glasses to even see them.

making of pencil art

The rest of the museum is broken up into three galleries, History Gallery, Exploring the World, and the Enchanted Realm.    We allowed ourselves 2 hours to do the entire museum and were both brought back to reality when the PA announced that the museum was closing in 10 minutes and we didn't even get to the Enchanted Realm.   

I use a tiny flashlight to illuminate a funny vignette in front of the Georgian apartment house.....

it was little girl crying because her dog ripped the head off her dolly

my finger tip in front of a bathroom store complete with tiny embroidered towels.

I finally stopped trying to take photographs and just looked and looked deep into each exhibit.   So many tiny details to see.    We both noticed other people using small (of course.....) flashlights to search the darker recesses, so Pam went and secured two of them (after signing her life away).

We tried to race through the Enchanted Realm in the remaining 10 minutes, but decided that we would just need to return another time to do it justice.   And....I'm sure we missed things in the other Galleries so I'll look forward to another visit next year.

Monday Dave and I enjoyed a pleasant waterside picnic lunch in Madera Canyon, south of Tucson.   This area is a renowned birding area and the occasional home of a much sought after, seldom seen bird called the Elegant Trogon.    We muchly sought after it as we walked the creek side but we did not see it.    We had lots of other bird encounters (and one beautiful butterfly), however, and it is such a beautiful place to spend some time.

can you see Dave watching quietly?


nature's wood carvings

a new to us bird.....Acorn Woodpecker

Wood Thrush or is it a Hermit Thrush? 

black swallowtail

Instead of driving home the same way we came we decided to head off in the opposite direction on rt. 62, a graded dirt road that looked like it would take us through Box Canyon and connect with rt. 83 near Sonoita, then north toward home. 

heading into Box Canyon on our way home

We enjoyed our alternate route very much.   We wound through grasslands and then up along the edge of Box Canyon.   It must be something to see when the water is running and forming the numerous dry waterfalls and pour overs we passed.

I wonder if the water would run across the road if this fall was running?

looking back

Yesterday we spent the day running errands so we treated ourselves to a wonderful lunch of Cioppino and Pinot Noir at Vivace.   That soup always makes Dave smile!

Sunday, February 25, 2018

what we've been up to

It's been more than a week since my last post.   I don't know where the time goes but I know it goes by much too quickly. 

We've been busy living life and visiting with friends.    I've totally forgotten which days we did what now, the problem I have when I don't do more regular blogs.

We had a nice happy hour here at our site to welcome Gay and Joe and say good bye to Steve and MonaLiza.    Lewis shared his attention with everyone equally and proved to be a bit of a pest to everyone in turn.    We sat under the blossoming orange tree in our "yard" and as dusk fell we were treated to the sight of a Hummingbird Moth buzzing the blossoms.   I'd never even heard of one before, but Gay explained that they fool many inexperienced people because of their size and hummingbird type habits.    No pictures though, sorry.

lots of good food and conversation

After the evening chill chased everyone else away, Steve and MonaLiza came inside to finish their wine and Lewis continued his antics..    What a ham he is.

On one of our rainy days Dave and I drove down to Tubac for a good lunch at Elvira's. 

my favorite dining companion

As I think I've said before, Elvira's feels like a blend of New York City swank and Mexico folk art but it's menu is all Mexican.   I had a wonderful Mole and Dave enjoyed an interesting shrimp preparation.

One late afternoon we (the Banks and the Wrights) met Jodee and Bill at a local joint named Tiny's.   It is a legend in this area, with probably the best burger I've ever had.    Polar opposite of our Elvira's experience, but every bit as delicious.
Think dirt parking lot, cracked linoleum floors, mismatched chairs, sticky oilcloth covered tables, old rawhide pull on the "cowgirls" restroom and a roll of paper towels serving as napkins.   Pleasant, competent and no nonsense waitress who got our orders correct and in a timely fashion.   A line out the door by the time we were leaving.    No pictures, I'm really really bad with people pictures!

Jodee and Bill were only here for 3 days.    Jodee made delicious tacos al Pastor (guajillo rubbed pork and pineapple) with all the fixings for dinner one night and we (the Banks, the Wrights, the Taylors and the Gravels) ate and visited until the cold wind drove us home.   This is supposed to be the desert isn't it!

hi Tessa.....

Thursday, the 22nd, was Steve Lowe's birthday and he chose to spend it with Dave and I visiting some of Arizona's wineries, south of Tucson,  between Sonoita and Elgin.

Steve and MonaLiza follow us to Sonoita Vineyards

Arizona wine?   I had pretty low expectations but looked forward to spending the day with friends doing something different.     We had never been to this area of the state so didn't know what to expect.

Such a different landscape!   Rolling fields of waving yellow grass ringed with craggy mountains.    Homes here and there, antelope grazing, hawks flying.

"What you looking at.....never seen a pronghorn before?"

It was just beautiful and so peaceful.

 We visited four wineries, bought bottles at three, and enjoyed an alfresco lunch behind one of them, beside their vineyard in it's late winter phase.

purchase at Kief Joshua Winery

we only had two "tasting" glasses, so we all shared....
one of our tasting glasses

winter maintanence

At each place we were greeted warmly and were treated to knowledgeable conversation and obvious pride in their product.    At one (Kief Joshua) we were greeted a little more warmly than the others......and our departure was lamented.

she leaned soooo hard

and then there were three


 Friday, while Dave and John worked around, Pam and I went on a museum adventure of our own.   I'll tell you about it next.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

the week in review

We're experiencing a rare day in the desert.   Rain!     It's not unusual to have rain here in the monsoon season (summer time) but there isn't much precipitation in the winter.   It has been very dry with some fires beginning to show up in the hills south of us so this rain is very welcome.     It began to spit yesterday while we were at lunch (sonoran hot dogs) and running errands but started in earnest late in the day.   Rain all night and all day today.    Lewis is bored (and a bit damp).

He did have a fun day on Tuesday though.    We took him with us on a re-exploration of the area along Reddington Pass Road.    Last year we followed Jodee and Bill along this beautiful dirt road, but didn't take Lewis.   Then we only went as far as Race Track Tank before heading home, so Tuesday I had grand plans to drive it's unpaved length all the way to San Miguel.   Looked doable on the map so off we went.

sweet little nest

  We found the road conditions to have deteriorated since our last trip and it was slow going for the Jeep.   It took us about 3 hours to travel about 15 miles so we realized that we were not going to be able to finish the entire bad.

So instead we concentrated on enjoying what we were seeing, getting out for a few nice long walks with Lewis and some surprising wildlife sightings.

we ignored these warnings - don't judge.....

no signs warning us of huge bulls in the area however.....

my Merlin bird app tells me this is, once again, a Red Tail 

lots of birds taking advantage of this drying tank

a troop of 15 Coatimundi!!!!!!

feet off the ground speed!

So, in the spirit of giving you a picture of what we've been doing this week, in reverse, here is a picture of a lovely Happy Hour we enjoyed at MonaLiza and Steve's site last weekend....

Steve, MonaLiza, Mr. David, moi, Pam,
Laura, John and Kevin

Here's one more, we had such a pleasant time talking with old and new friends that Steve had to pull out the "fire pit" to chase away the night time chill.

Hope you all had a good Valentine's Day!