Walter and Sara on the road to who knows where


Well, issues with the supply chains have finally caught up with us. Trex decking is backordered until who knows when. So we still have temporary decks on the front and back of our new addition. And the couch we ordered in July (and was supposed to be delivered on August 24th) is still in China and is not due until mid-October now. But aside from that things are going great.

We’ve managed to get the addition furnished with desks, chairs and a file cabinet/drawer combo (all which we got to assemble).

New office space

And as you can see, we have a great view from our desks! We also have installed 2” white faux blinds since the angle of the sun is rapidly changing and we get sun on our desk tops in the morning now even with the overhang on the deck.

We got a rug, coffee table, TV console and end tables for the ‘living room’ area (we got to assemble those too).

Here’s an end table before it got assembled. Thank goodness the carpet came first. It made crawling around on the floor so much easier.

Unassembled end table

The couch goes in here when it finally arrives. This was before Walter installed the TV which sits on the TV console.

Living room furniture

We set up a ‘music room’ with chairs, music stands, an end table and carpets to help reduce the echo.

Music area with carpets

The washer and dryer actually came as scheduled on Aug. 15th. We’re still waiting on the bi-fold doors that will hide it but I’ve been in heaven being able to do laundry at home rather than having to tote it to the laundromat every week.

Stacked washer and dryer

We’ve also gotten the storeroom (aka the shed and sometimes ‘the garage’) set up with metal shelving and a work bench (lots of assembly required).

Storage shelves and work bench

They’ve been attached to the wall and loaded up with tools and all the stuff that used to live in the back of the truck. So the storeroom is very utile now.

Heading to the store, you never know what will be backordered. Lowe’s was out of waste baskets the other day and I got the last two at Ace Hardware a few days later.

With construction at a standstill, I’ve been able to concentrate a bit more on my time in the pottery studio.

I’ve done a series of 3 heart boxes.

A red and white one

Red heart box

A white and black one

White and black heart box

And a black and white one.

Black and white heart box

I also took a class in making fun whimsical quail and papa quail came out wonderfully.

Pottery quail

This past week I’ve made mama quail (next size down) and 3 baby quail (even smaller). I’m looking forward to having them in our yard in Sahuarita this winter.

The big win was the completion of a very complex little box with glass melted on the top. You do not want to know how long it took to make all those little pearls and get them to stick in place!   

Pearl box

Each side is different.

Pearl box

The fun thing is that I put emerald green glaze under the piece of glass before it was fired. The glass melted and filled the area perfectly (whew) but something in the glass reacted with the glaze and turned it turquoise!

Two more boxes (which I had thought would be the last in the series but…) came out of the kiln late in the month.

One is a Blue Lotus box which came out quite well.

Blue Lotus Box

The lotuses were sgraffitoed into King’s Blue underglaze. I used the same underglaze on the lotus on the top.

Blue Lotus box top

This last box didn’t turn out as intended (the life of a potter) but it’s still interesting. We had a new satin clear glaze and I put too many coats on and it clouded up—making for a foggy day at the ocean.

Foggy wave box Foggy wave box
The wave’s were sgraffitoed into Lake Blue underglaze and the sky above them was supposed to be Kings Blue (as in the Blue Lotus box). Better luck next time.

The pottery studio is still open and we’re all making things like crazy. If the weather holds (i.e. we don’t have a hard freeze) it will stay open well into October. And given how hot it’s been here in Arizona, I think we’ll be safe.

I’ve been invited to be a Monitor next year in the studio. That entails staffing the studio one morning a week (9:30 to 12:00) and teaching 3 or 4 two-hour classes across the summer. It’s a big honor especially since I’ve only been active for 2 summers. But I’m friendly and helpful and am able to help most newbies figure out how to get out of the messes we all get into, so I got the job.

It’s been very hot here in Arizona even up here in the mountains. We’ve had very little rain (which is what usually cools things off during the monsoon season) and as a result have had many days in the high 80’s and low 90’s this month. Thank goodness for air conditioning and the fact that it does still cool off here in the evenings.

There have been fires off and on all month too. Some have closed major routes down to Phoenix and Tucson but at the moment all are well contained and the roads are all open again.

Smoke makes for good sunsets though, witness this lovely one back on August 1st to the southwest.


And this one on August 4th to the west.


We’ve continued to be Gate Hosts once a week and at the end of our stint on August 4th, Walter noticed that someone had made an X in the sky right over Juniper Ridge. Someone knows where it’s at!

JRR gate house

August 6th we took a drive to get out of the heat. We spied elk out on Penrod Road (which runs parallel to White Mountain Blvd, the main drag in Show Low).

Elk on Penrod Rd

They are clearly habituated to humans.   
Elk on Penrod Rd

We took Porter Mountain Rd out across the countryside where Prairie Sunflowers (Helianthus petiolaris) line the roadsides.  

Prairie Sunflowers (Helianthus petiolaris)

Prairie Sunflowers (Helianthus petiolaris) Prairie Sunflowers (Helianthus petiolaris)
Friday August 7th, Walter looked out the front door and saw a tarantula down at the bottom of the stairs!

He was a big guy and we decided he was a guard tarantula.


However we discovered the next morning that he was dead. Clearly we didn’t really need a guard or a pet tarantula but it still was sad to lose him so soon.

Saturday August 8th, things got real still late in the afternoon and we got clouds reflected in the lake.  

Clouds reflected in lake

And then at sunset it was raining off to the west which made for a very interesting effect.


The next night we had yet another pretty sunset.


August 12th we had showers followed by a lovely rainbow.   


Thursday August 13th, we took the drive out to Los Burros Campground (one we did last summer) for a picnic lunch.

There was plenty of Velvety Goldenrod (Solidago velutina) in bloom along the way.

Velvety Goldenrod

But Los Burros was closed when we got there, complete with barriers across the road. We stopped to read the signs and I took a picture of the sky and the ponderosas.

Los Burros CG entry

We drove on and had lunch at the trailhead for the Los Burros Trail.  

Los Burros Trail map

We had a nice view.

Ponderosa Pines

And the clouds gave us some shade from time to time.

Ponderosa Pines

We completed our drive along CR-52.


August 21st, we drove to Heber-Overgaard and took the back road to Black Canyon Lake. This is a decent dirt road that takes you through an area that was once filled with homesteads which are now all gone. There were flowers including Prickly Poppies (Argemone polyanthemos).

Prickly Poppies (Argemone polyanthemos)

Prairie Sunflowers (Helianthus petiolaris) which are still blooming in abundance along our roads now well into September.

Prairie Sunflowers (Helianthus petiolaris)

And New Mexico Fleabane (Erigeron divergens).

New Mexico Fleabane (Erigeron divergens)

The road winds through stands of Ponderosa Pines.

Black Canyon Rd

There were huge swathes of Slender Goldenweed (Xanthisma gracile) growing in the open areas between the trees.  

Slender Goldenweed (Xanthisma gracile)

And in the meadows too.

Slender Goldenweed (Xanthisma gracile)

And scattered in amongst the goldenweed there were Rocky Mountain Bee Plant (Peritoma serrulata).

Rocky Mountain Bee Plant (Peritoma serrulata)

There were horses which folks say are wild horses along the way.


They are clearly happy and healthy.


This is Forest Service land and there are canyons called Wildhorse this and that so they may actually be wild or at least feral horses.

It was sprinkling lightly when we arrived at Black Canyon Lake but that didn’t stop me or the folks out fishing on the shore from being out in it.   

Black Canyon Lake

There were a few flowers in bloom including Pineywoods Geranium (Geranium caespitosum).

Pineywoods Geranium (Geranium caespitosum)

There’s a trailhead near the boat launch.


And there were kayakers out on the lake.


Here’s the view up lake from the float next to the boat launch.   

Black Canyon Lake

On my way back to the truck (and lunch) I saw Chaparral Fleabane (Erigeron oreophilus). My lord, there are lots of different fleabanes growing here in the mountains.

Chaparral Fleabane (Erigeron oreophilus)

There was lots of Nuttall's Linanthus (Leptosiphon nuttallii).

Nuttall's Linanthus (Leptosiphon nuttallii)

And some Plains Beebalm (Monarda pectinata).

Plains Beebalm (Monarda pectinata)

Out on the shore across the lake there was a Great Blue Heron with his back to us. He finally got tired of the kids across the lake making noise as they fished and flew away.

Great Blue Heron

August 28th, it was 88 degrees at Juniper Ridge when we set out for an outing to Big Lake, which is south in the White Mountains at 9,000 feet.

By the time we got to the turn off of Hwy 260 onto Hwy 273, it was raining lightly and only 55 degrees! It was dark and gloomy ahead but we decided we’d go on anyway.

The rain let up a little bit as we approached Big Lake and I took this photo from a turn out where the temperature was 50 degrees.
 Big Lake AZ

There are lots of campgrounds around this lake and there are even showers near the dump station. But on a cold, wet, windy day they were mostly empty. I found some Harebells (Campanula rotundifolia) blooming in the grass.

Harebells (Campanula rotundifolia)

And we spied a deer near the entry of one of the campgrounds. Her fawns crossed the road in front of us.


And then decided it was too scary and headed back into the woods. She followed them but stopped where I could still take her picture.

Mule deer

We drove all the paved roads near the lake and then turned back looking for a likely place for lunch. I stopped at an overlook for another rainy view of the lake.

Big Lake AZ

There were Oxeye Daisies (Leucanthemum vulgare) in bloom.   

 Oxeye Daisies (Leucanthemum vulgare)

And behind them little pink flowers that turned out to be Southwest Cosmos (Cosmos parviflorus). They look just like garden cosmos but are only the size of a dime (if that big).  

Southwest Cosmos (Cosmos parviflorus)

We ended up at Crescent Lake (just north of Big Lake) where there’s a nice parking lot (and bathroom) and a view of the lake complete with ducks—gadwalls to be precise.


Here’s our view of Crescent Lake once the rain stopped.

Crescent Lake AZ

The rain stopped for a while after lunch and I went out for a little walk to take photos of the flowers. I was fine in my t-shirt and sandals until I turned back straight into the wind. Brrrrr.

There was some Ragleaf Bahia (Amauriopsis dissecta). Last year we saw acres and acres of these in bloom at lower elevations but there haven’t been many this year—too dry I guess.  

Ragleaf Bahia (Amauriopsis dissecta)

Panicled Aster (Symphyotrichum lanceolatum).

Panicled Aster (Symphyotrichum lanceolatum).

Skyrocket (Ipomopsis aggregate)

Skyrocket (Ipomopsis aggregate)

MacDougal Verbena (Verbena macdougalii)

MacDougal Verbena (Verbena macdougalii)

Scarlet Penstemon (Penstemon barbatus)   

Scarlet Penstemon (Penstemon barbatus)

Juniper Globemallow (Sphaeralcea digitata)

Juniper Globemallow (Sphaeralcea digitata)

Purple Locoweed (Oxytropis lambertii)

Purple Locoweed (Oxytropis lambertii)

And this sweet little white flower that I haven’t been able to identify. Who knows, it might be a white version of the Southwest Cosmos.

Unknown flower

On the morning of August 29th, we woke up to Canada Geese out on the 15th green. They were here back in March and April but folks tell us that they’ve arrived about 3 weeks early this year for their winter sojourn on the golf course.

Canada Geese

This looks like mom and dad and two juveniles to us.

Canada Geese

They spent some time nipping at the grass and then took a cruise in the lake.

Canada Geese  

They covered the perimeter.
Canada Geese

And then returned for another snack on the grass. They don’t come every day and there are other parts of the flock visiting the fairways and greens all over the park. The golfers don’t enjoy having to avoid the goose poop. But all of us bird watchers enjoy them when they show up.

August 31st, we had a pretty pink sunset.


And then the nearly full moon rose out of the clouds and was reflected in the still lake.

Full moon reflected

A little while later I caught it again before it headed back into the clouds.

Full moon reflected