Posts Tagged ‘Arizona’

This may not be what you imagined when I mentioned “castle” in my title. This is a old new world castle, a cliff dwelling built by the Sinagua (without water) people and inhabited from the early 1100s to around 1425. Although it’s called Montezuma Castle, Montezuma was never here. The park isn’t large, but it is lovely and because of the trees, fairly shady, something always appreciated here.

Montezuma Castle was a cliff dwelling housing about 50 people. Residents of the apartment-style structure used long ladders to reach their high-rise homes. ~National Geographic

Until 1951, visitors to Montezuma Castle National Monument also used ladders to access the cliff dwelling. However, thousands of tourists trekking through the site began to wear down the delicate adobe structure. Ladders were removed and visitors can no longer directly access the castle. ~National Geographic

We’re at a higher elevation here than in the Phoenix area and you can tell that we’re also near water because of the trees and vegetation. The park is small but it’s a lovely walk even in the heat. Because it’s a national park, I was looking forward to using my Senior Pass to get us in for free, but because of COVID, there was no entrance fee. Nice of the park system!

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Although quite poisonous, oleanders of various colors decorate the Arizona landscape everywhere. Presenting as bushes or trees, depending upon how you prune or don’t prune, they make perfect “walls” to protect homes from view, create a boundary, or just provide shade. But keep them away from children and animals (or vice versa) and don’t burn the wood. The fumes are also bad for you.

What makes oleanders attractive is a combination of beauty and hardiness. They stand up well to heat and dry conditions and as we know from only two months experience, that makes them super stars in the desert landscape!

As I mentioned in a previous post, I visited Queen Creek Olive Mill for the first time during a visit some years ago, taking home a large container of mixed olives. That made it one of the first destinations I wanted to visit after we moved.

Of course that didn’t take into account the COVID-19 restrictions, but as there’s a store on the premises, it was classified as essential, although until last week, the eating part of the operation and coffee shop were closed. Besides olives in their “plain” form, you can choose from a variety of olive oils and olive products as well as items from other Arizona producers, including eggs, cheese, meat, flour, and much more. We fell in love with the homemade pasta as well as the olives, putting them permanently on my shopping list.

Sitting among the olive trees is a lovely way to enjoy lunch or coffee and when you’re in the desert, shade is always appreciated! Last week there were people enjoying the morning outside, but on this visit, this area was still closed.

You’ll find flowers as well as vegetables and herbs growing in profusion. Bees and butterflies are happy, but the birds are frustrated by the covering on top of the veggie section of the garden.

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Let’s start our walk this morning in the backyard where overnight our torch cactus has lit one glorious torch. I see that there are a multitude of small buds that will soon flower as well, but for now this bloom is alone.

What I see along the canal is about the same as on any other day: fish surfacing briefly for breakfast bugs, ducks, great-tailed grackles, and lots of mourning doves, the latter flushed out of the undergrowth by my approach. However, this is a day for singular sights: the torch bloom first and then on my way home via a new street, I notice a large fountain, a fountain evidently also serving as a shower for one of the most elusive birds since our move. Who knew getting clean could be so much fun? I was astonished to be able to capture this on my phone, but don’t worry, no R-rating here!

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I saw these on my walk this morning and was instantly enamored. Learning their name (aka peacock flowers, dwarf poincianas and red bird-of-paradise) only made me love them more.

By the way, it was a 17-lemon walk!!! I didn’t want to carry all those lemons for a several mile walk, so I hid the bag behind a nearby bougainvillea and picked them up on the way home. More lemonade tomorrow.

Happy Friday and have a wonderful weekend!

On this morning, the sun seemed to take a bite out of the top of the house across the street behind us. Let’s get moving before it gets up too high.

The first thing we see in the yard of the family next door.

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This is a type of yucca, but I never realized they got so big! To me it looks exactly like something Dr. Seuss would have invented. In fact, I think that I saw it on Mulberry Street!

If you were taking a walk with me on our new location in Gilbert, Arizona, we’d be out early, but the much-vaunted sun is up early as well.

Today we’re heading to the canal that carries precious water to the desert, with paths on either side for walking or biking. Take a look at this bottlebrush plant. Easy to see how it got its name.

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The new view

Posted: March 31, 2020 in Uncategorized
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Friday afternoon we arrived at our new rental house in Gilbert, Arizona after a whirlwind of packing due to a move date that we advanced by almost three weeks due to the coronavirus. We didn’t want to have a problem leaving, so we packed the van and the car, loaded up the cooler with meatloaf sandwiches, apples, and other goodies, added sanitizer to be used at the motels. and hit the road. Three days later, we were here. A day and a half after that, our worldly goods arrived and are now sitting in the house and garage.

Yesterday morning I went out for a walk in my new world. It’s not the woman-in-the-middle-of-nature that I enjoyed at the park. It’s very different. But there are lots of paved walking paths like this and being out early, I didn’t see many people. It felt good to be outside walking after so many days of sitting. The sun had just come up and the day was lovely. Here’s a bit of what I saw. Excursions farther away will have to wait for now and hopefully for not too long. Until then, I’ll enjoy what’s here and keep exploring in the area. You’re welcome to come along for the journey.

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