Walter and Sara on the road to who knows where


We were under construction for the entire month of July. Issues with the supply chain slowed things down a bit here and there, though there weren’t any serious problems. The inside is now finished (except for a missing bi-fold door for the closet with the washer and dryer) and we’ve started to order and receive some of our furniture. We’ve also moved into the shed (which is now dubbed the storage room since it is so un-shed-like).

On July 1st, this is what the construction project looked like from the golf course side of the house.

Park Model Addition

And this is what it looked like on July 31st. We’re still waiting on the deck which hopefully will go in the first week of August.

FInished Park Model addition

Here’s what the street side looked like on July 1st.

Carport construction

And this is what it looked like on July 31st. We’re still waiting for the fancy glass that goes in the front door. And no one knows how long it will be before the stairs have railings.

Finished carport

Here’s the inside ready for us to move in!

Inside of addition

The washer and dryer (which are on order) will go in the closet right behind the open front door.

Here’s a view out the windows (while the floor was still in progress).  

Inside addition

For those who want to see every step of the construction process, you can read all about it here.

July 3rd we had a marvelous sunset with pink to the northeast (can you see the full moon in the break between the clouds?).

Sunset and full moon

And pretty pink clouds reflected in the lake to the south.

Sunset reflected in lake

Here you can see the moon reflected in the lake—if you look carefully.

Sunset and full moon

A little later I caught a very clear reflection of the full moon in the lake.

Full moon reflected in lake

On 4th of July, the community had their big golf cart parade complete with lots of flags.

Golfcart with flags

And more flags

Golfcart with flags

And a really big flag

golfcart and BIG flag

While there was no drill team this year, there were lots and lots of golf cards and a couple of bicycles bringing up the rear.

It was a pleasant day so in the afternoon, Walter and I took a walk around the lake. And for the first time, we actually saw the bullfrog that we hear most evenings.     


On the other side of the lake, we spied some eyes under a rocky ledge.


Back on the 20th of May, I planted some Red Sails lettuce seed. This is what the plants looked like 6 weeks later.   


That evening I caught the full moon rising over the lake.

Full moon reflected in lake

July 5th my first pieces of the season came out of the kiln at the Juniper Ridge Resort Pottery Club. I’d made a mini-luminaria to demonstrate an idea for a class I may give at the end of the summer. It’s a play on a design I used in both a full-sized and a half-sized luminaria this past spring.

small luminaria

This ‘shell box’ didn’t come out quite as I planned because the glaze pooled in the texture more than I expected.

Shell box

It has shells for feet which I thought was really fun.

shell box

Late that afternoon, the lake was really still again and we had white puffy clouds both above and reflected below.

Still lake

Thursday July 9th, it was HOT (in the 90’s) so we took a drive up into the White Mountains to the south of us, to Lee Valley Reservoir. It’s a lovely little lake at about 9,000 feet.

Lee Valley Reservoir

There were lots of flowers sprinkled here and there, including this Mat Penstemon (Penstemon oliganthus).

Mat Penstemon (Penstemon oliganthus)

And this Beautiful Fleabane (Erigeron formosissimus).

Beautiful Fleabane (Erigeron formosissimus)

We hiked down the path on the left and Walter found a nice place to sit (on a log) and I continued on along the trail looking for flowers.

There was Wooly Cinquefoil (Potentilla hippiana).

Wooly Cinquefoil (Potentilla hippiana)

And Yarrow (Achillea millefolium).

Yarrow (Achillea millefolium)

This little Harris Antelope Ground-Squirrel looks like his cheeks are full but it’s just an illusion of his coloring—those are his shoulders.

Antelope Ground-Squirrel

I found some Coast Goldenrod (Solidago spathulate). And yes, we're not on the coast, but don't tell the goldenrod that.

Coast Goldenrod (Solidago spathulate)

And some sweet little Fendler's Sandwort (Eremogone fendleri).  

Fendler's Sandwort (Eremogone fendleri)

It was wetter as I continued south along the lakeshore and I found a lot of Harebells (Campanula rotundifolia).

Harebells (Campanula rotundifolia)

And there were patches of Stiff Blue-eyed Grass (Sisyrinchium demissum) too.

Stiff Blue-eyed Grass (Sisyrinchium demissum)

There were lots of fleabane too, including Eaton's Fleabane (Erigeron eatonii).

Eaton's Fleabane (Erigeron eatonii)

There was a large orange butterfly resting on some Chaparral Fleabane (Erigeron oreophilus).

Chaparral Fleabane (Erigeron oreophilus)

I turned around a this point and took a photo of the lake from the southern end.

Lee Valley Reservoir

As I made my way back up the shoreline I found a lot of Navajo Tea (Thelesperma subnudum).  

Navajo Tea (Thelesperma subnudum)

The big white puffy clouds were so pretty, I had to stop and take photos of them.

Lee Valley Reservoir

It was a lovely day.  

Lee Valley Reservoir

And there were lots of folks out on the lake. These pedal boats were inflatable, I think.

Pedal boats

One of the things that’s very popular here at Juniper Ridge Resort is painting barn quilts to hang on your house or shed. So I took the barn quilt class in July as a way to get away from the construction noise for a few days.

It turns out that the standard thing is to paint a different pattern on each side of a primed 2’ x 2’ board. So I did this Mariners Compass on side 1.  

Mariners Compass Barn Quilt

And this pattern called Carolina Lilies on side 2.

Carolina Lilies Barn Quilt

The plan is to hang it on the end of the house above the window on the shed. I’ll try to switch the sides once a summer but if I get lazy, I can always alternate years since the plan is to bring it in for the winter.

Monday July 13th, we had a very interesting sunset.


The next night the sunset was to the southeast.


On July 15th, I had another box come out of the kiln. I call this one, the red circle box.

Red Circle Box

Thursday July 16th, we had cool weather and scattered showers so instead of going up in elevation for our outing we went down in elevation (and about an hour north) to Petrified Forest National Park.

We went in via the southern entrance which takes you through some nice badlands to start.  

Petrified Forest National Park

We stopped at the Crystal Forest Trail, a really nice trail with LOTS of petrified wood. But first you get to see this nifty formation along the road.

Petrified Forest National Park

The amazing thing about the Petrified Forest is the fact that there are these huge petrified logs just lying out along the trails.

Some have petrified bark.

Petrified log

Others show you wonderful colors in the inner heart wood of the tree.

Petrified log

Some of the big logs have broken into chunks like they’ve been cut up by a woodsman.

Petrified logs

And this one I swear looks like it has petrified moss on its bark.

Petrified log

There weren’t a lot of flowers (it’s been pretty darned hot down at this elevation so far this summer) but I did spy some Rock Goldenrod (Petradoria pumila).   

Rock Goldenrod (Petradoria pumila)

We drove on, stopping at the Jasper Forest Overlook where a number of ravens we hanging out in the parking lot.


Here’s the view from the Jasper Forest Overlook.

Jasper Forest Overlook

There are petrified logs cascading down the hillsides.

Petrified logs

There’s a loop road that takes you out onto Blue Mesa where there are great views of the badlands stretching out towards the Painted Desert.

Blue Mesa

There’s a great trail that takes you down into the badlands. I hiked it 2 years ago, the last time we were here.

Blue Mesa

We returned to the main highway and passed the formations called The Teepees.

The Teepees

The northern half of the park takes you through the Painted Desert.

Painted Desert

It looks different each time we visit.

Painted Desert

We stopped for lunch and had this for our view.

Painted Desert

Saturday July 18th, Mother Nature put on another show.


We had rain off and on that week, though in the end we only got about ¾”—it sure seemed like a lot here in the desert.

July 20th, I picked my first head of lettuce—2 months from seed to table. It’s not huge but it’s home grown!          

Red Sails Lettuce

That evening, our neighbors were out fishing in the lake from their patio and caught the big bass. I say ‘the bass’ because folks say there’s one big bass that people catch over and over again. And given that they said that his mouth was really scared up, I guess they’re right. Needless to say, the lake is catch and release.

Steve Sharon Bass

Wednesday July 22nd, we had pink clouds reflected in the lake.

Pink Clouds in lake

On July 26th, my second attempt at a set of petroglyph tiles (done with black underglaze on red clay) came out of the kiln. The first batch were gray (the brown/black underglaze reacted with the clay to make gray). But this set looks great. These are a set of 5 big tiles.

Pottery Petroglyphs

They’ll be added to some 2” tiles that I made last year. They will all be mounted on a 30” piece of wood as a ‘wall totem’ to hang by our new front door.

Pottery Petroglyphs

On my way back from the studio, I stopped and took photos of the ‘back yard’ of one of the neighbors down at the south end of the lake.

Now THAT’S a pretty shed, don’t you think?     

Shed with blue doors

And they’ve put a lot of energy into their flowers too.

Flower beds

As I walked back up the gravel path along the lake I spied a pair of bunnies sitting near my hose.


In fact, there were three of them—one over next door in amongst the hollyhocks.

They disappeared for a while and then one of them reappeared as we were sitting on the deck enjoying the view.   

One bunny

Then another one appeared.

Two bunnies

Followed by a third.

Three bunnies

For a while they were in a major standoff.

3 bunnies

And they played chase and leapt over one another putting a great show.

3 bunnies

And then a female snuck up through the rocks and hunkered down in the grass so the others wouldn’t see her.

4 bunnies

Tuesday July 28th, we had yet another glorious sunset.


The lake was starting to get murky (time to add the algaecide that makes it turquoise) and the big carp who live in the lake were starting to cruise along the surface.


They are BIG fish.


On July 29th, our contractor finished putting our flooring in the addition and then power washed the floor in the shed so that it was all ready for us to move in. Yippee.

Finished construction

Of course we didn’t have much of anything to move into it, but it was still really exciting. It echoes something terrible, but each thing we add reduces the sound. We have a rug due any day now (it arrived late in the day on Monday) and that plus a couch should dampen the echo. The washer and dryer are due for delivery on August 15th (God willing and the creek don’t rise). When they arrive I’ll certainly do a happy dance.

It was 95 degrees on Thursday July 30th, so after stopping at Home Depot to buy shelving for the storage room (aka the shed) we drove UP into the mountains again to Lee Valley Reservoir. This time we remembered to bring our deck chairs so we took up residence along the lakeshore where it was breezy and 78 degrees.         

Lee Valley Reservoir

Not a bad view for a picnic lunch. There were people sitting here and there in the shade and few hiking on the trail around the lake but there was no one out on the water this time.

Lee Valley Reservoir

That evening I caught the almost full moon reflected in the lake.

Full moon reflected in lake

We’ve had two cases of Covid-19 diagnosed here at Juniper Ridge. They’ve been self-quarantining since they got sick and their test results finally came back (it takes over 10 days to get results here in Arizona) so while their names were not made public the fact that we have two cases was. Of course at this point they are past the quarantine point and if we are very lucky no one else will have gotten it from them. They did contact tracing and we were notified that on of them had come into the pottery studio nearly 2 weeks ago for about 5 minutes to pick up one of their pieces. We all wear masks and are usually at least 6 feet apart so the risk was very low, thank goodness. But now there is a heightened awareness about the need for masks which is very welcome.

In town, more and more people are wearing masks. Last week there was only one person without a mask on at the grocery store and everyone at the Home Depot had a mask. Cases are starting to drop (but not very fast) here in Arizona so while we are by no means out of the woods things are not continuing to get worse. The governor is threatening school districts with a 5% loss of funding if they don’t open for in person classes and in some places that is a huge issue because infection rates are still very high.

Our focus for August will be on getting the addition furnished and settling in. I’m sitting in my new desk chair at my desk overlooking our great view as I write (the photo only captures part of it). We are very pleased with the results.   

Lake view from window