Thursday, March 25, 2010

Rain brings rainbows

If you want to see a rainbow, you’ll have to put up with the rain.

(photo taken by Carol Rayburn)

We had more rain in early March – lots of it – and some small hail. My gift was two pleasures from the rain – hearing the rain on Jeremiah’s roof and a glorious double rainbow. The desert is greener than I recall it ever being and the wildflowers are popping out. I’m reminded of this quote about pets and simple moments:

We can learn so much by observing the way our pets rejoice in life’s simplest moments. For a dog, every morning is Christmas morning. Every walk is the best walk; every meal is the best meal. Take time every day to celebrate the many gifts that are hidden in the ordinary events with your life.

–Cesar Millan, The Dog Whisperer

A lot of bird-watching going on

I sure enjoy my window birdseed feeder because it gives me practically a nose-to-nose view. My windows are tinted enough that the birds don’t see either me or Cat. I’ve been able to really study each bird that comes for the free food. It’s been interesting to note the ‘pecking order’ of the birds. My most frequent visitors are House Finches – usually one at a time, although the feeder will accommodate two quite well. Once a Finch gets in the feeder, the bird spends more time keeping other finches out than eating. However, when a Cactus Wren, Thrasher, Towhee, Gila Woodpecker, Flicker or Cardinal comes, the Finches fly off and don’t return until the larger birds leave. The only large bird that will tolerate a Finch being in the feeder is the Cardinal. Sparrows, Dove and Quail are content to clean up seeds that land on the ground below the feeder.

My latest bird visitor is the carnivorous Road Runner – he/she has discovered the Anderson “bird cafeteria” and watches for opportunities to snag a bird for its meal!

A Curved-bill Thrasher caught my eye recently. As he left the window feeder, the bird joined two other thrashers that were on the ground. Hmmm! Three Thrashers together? Then I noticed the two birds on the ground were opening their beaks, waiting for food! I quietly crept outside with a camera and captured this photo.

I also have a friendly Desert Cottontail. He/she hangs around outside, waiting for me to come out to fill the bird feeders. The rabbit comes really close to me and gets the reward he is waiting for – a scoop of chicken scratch and sunflower seeds.

Life here at Cave Creek Regional Park hums along. The campground has full for quite a few weeks, with some campers having to wait for regular sites to become vacant. But there are plenty of things to break from routine. Our warm weather – days in the 70s and 80s has brought out the snakes, both on the hiking trails, in the campgrounds and on the Visitor/Nature Center back patio. (One ‘greeted’ Linda and Bob in their campsite.)

The wildflowers are coming out – more each day. And this is bringing even more park visitors. Lots of folks are in town for Spring Training baseball games and many of them have been out to the park

Sister Linda visits

My sister Linda and her husband Bob added Arizona to their spring travel plans. Their first stop following a Good Sam RV Rally in Laughlin was Prescott Valley. They arrived in their Winnebago motor home on a Saturday afternoon, I arrived there Sunday evening. After a couple days, Linda and Bob joined me at Cave Creek Park, and then they left to visit other family members in the Phoenix area. In all we enjoyed time with siblings Elaine, Susan, Alice and Ed; nephews KC and Tom. I was disappointed not to see my sister Margie and niece Jenny.

One of the days Linda was here, we ‘took a trip down memory lane’ by visiting the town where we grew up – Glendale. It had been about 50 years since we had been there! Somehow we thought we would recognize the downtown area – but of course, we didn’t. The downtown area has become an antique-lovers haven. We had lunch at Lenny’s Café, finding numerous “best” citations framed on the wall – one boasted of “best burgers”. However, the actual burgers we were served did not live up to the bragging.

We had hoped to drive by the church we attended – 6th Avenue Bible Church – but upon consulting a town map, we could not find a 6th Avenue. Then we learned that the town had changed street names. Feeling disappointed, we drove down a random street to leave town. Now what do you suppose would be the odds of randomly picking the very street we were looking for? Yep – it was the street, now named Glen Avenue. Of course we pulled over and took photos. It is now the World Mission Society Church of God.

Last stop on this memory lane trip was to the house where we spent most of growing up years. A three-bedroom, one bathroom house for our family of 10! Yes, it was a tight fit. I had been warned that the house would appear different – and that was an understatement. We had a Bermuda grass front lawn, no fences at all with three palm trees in one side yard and a carport/driveway on the other side. When we lived there the house was totally visible from the street. Not so, today as you can tell from this photo.

While I was out taking photos from the street, a man appeared and walked toward me. I walked toward him, identifying myself as Carol Anderson and that I had grown up in this house. He smiled and said that his parents had bought the house from my parents! Because of all the plants I could not even see the house, and it was obvious that the palm trees (which would have been very tall by now) were missing and that the driveway had been moved to the other side.

Our other stop while we were out was a visit with Aunt Marian, our mother’s sister. We had called her from the car to let her know we were coming, but she could not understand who we were because her recent cold had settled in her ears, making her rather hard of hearing. After three attempts, she said, “I’m not sure who you are, but do come for a visit!” So, she knew someone was coming, but not who. We had a lovely visit – she is alert and has all her marbles! What a precious gift to visit with her.

A visit from Larry Flinn

The week with Linda and Bob was busy, but not too busy to make time for an evening visit with Albuquerque friend Larry Flinn. This delightful guy was in town for some work-related training followed by a drive to White Sands National Monument (in New Mexico) to participate in the re-enactment of the Bataan Death March (a 26-plus mile run or walk event). Fortunately, he was not too busy learning and walking in the evenings to make time for me. We had a delicious dinner and a great time visiting. I’ve since heard from Larry – while he used to run in this event, he’s changed to being a walker. He said he finished in 7 hours and 10 minutes.

Geo-caching with Carol Rayburn and Sandi Koch

Yippee! Both Carol Rayburn (fellow volunteer and RVing friend) had a day off from park work and I was invited to join Carol and her friend Sandi on a geo-caching outing to Sedona. First we stopped and did the tourist thing at the main Red Rock Visitor Center and then at various shops and galleries. Then off to find geo caches. In all we found four of them. When found, a “goofy” and “cheesy” smile, along with a “thumbs’ up” pose is required! So, here we are – three pictures fulfilling the duty.