Posts Tagged ‘Jo’s Monday Walk’

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!

(more…)

Today I can’t do a Monday walk. My heart is broken, broken because of the violence: the violence of a death and the violence of burning and looting.

I believe George Floyd’s life mattered and his death was criminal.

I believe all lives matter.

I believe peaceful protest is a right and should be exercised.

I believe looting and burning is stealing and is wrong. It is not protesting.

I believe violence is not the answer and is divisive rather than healing.

I believe not all black men are criminals and not all police are racist.

I believe we need to be outraged at the number of black people killed weekly by other black people in cities such as Chicago as much as we are outraged by this killing and others like it.

I believe racism isn’t confined to one race or country.

I believe we can and must do better than this.

I hope I can believe that light will emerge from all the dark surrounding it.

for Jo’s Monday Walk

As most of you already know, last week I left my canal walks, heading for The Riparian Preserve in Gilbert, Arizona. The City of Gilbert manages the seven recharge basins (lakes) to replicate wet and dry periods.

A riparian habitat or riparian zone is a type of wildlife habitat found along the banks of a river, stream, or other actively moving source of water such as a spring or waterfall. The term generally refers only to freshwater or mildly brackish habitats surrounded by vegetation and may include marshes, swamps, or bogs adjacent to rivers. The Spruce

Birds are the big draw for a large number of people. The many trails are also perfect for walking, jogging, biking, or even in some places, horseback riding. It’s also used for dog walking and fishing and…photography.

Even at 5 am, just before sunrise, everyone is out and about! There are lots of egrets rushing in all directions for juicy insects and perhaps some fish.

The duck family wasn’t too afraid of me and although Mama kept an eye on me, everyone else was busy eating and cleaning themselves.

(more…)

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.

(more…)

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!

(more…)

I had an idea that I’d take you on a grand walk through the Vosges via postcards this week but I’d forgotten that it’s pretty much impossible to get perfect shots of postcards. Their shiny surface frustrates all attempts at clariy. However, I soldiered on, but you can always pretend they’re slightly old postcards if you like. Although I have photos of this area, I thought the postcards would be fun for a change.

The Grand Ballon (great mountain) is the highest mountain the the Vosges and can be seen from miles around.

There are several lovely lakes in this area, good for recreation as well as just adding to the scenery.

From the Grand Ballon as well as from the Hohneck, the third highest mountain in the Vosges, where I’ve been twice, if the day is clear, you have a view of the Swiss Alps and possibly even Mont Blanc. As the movie title says, “On a clear day, you can see forever”, and what a view it is!

(more…)

Since not everyone can go out, let’s use the Beach Boys’ “In My Room” as inspiration for today’s walk. Afterwards I’ll make some tea and we can sit on the patio, although it might be quite warm.

Let’s walk into the bedroom, take a closer look, and hear some stories. Stories are especially good these days, don’t you think?

(more…)

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.

(more…)

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.

(more…)

Not far from us is the Lake Renwick Preserve, home to cormorants, egrets, herons, pelicans and more. During the breeding season, March 1 through mid-August, the preserve is only open for public programs and guided bird viewing so as not to interrupt or bother the birds. On a nice day, it’s a lovely walk. This day was several summers ago, but worth a revisit!

Tree swallow seems like a rather colorless name for this bright beauty.

© janet m. webb

The main nesting area looks more than a bit like something from “Pirates of the Caribbean.”

© janet m. webb
(more…)