Tuesday, October 30, 2007

On October Thirty One.....

When the sun goes to rest,
That's the night of Halloween ,
When fun is at it's best....
Hope you have....

Sunday, October 28, 2007

A Black Bear Story

I leaped (read crept here, I haven't actually leaped in years) out of bed in high good humor this morning, a minor miracle as I've been sunk in the slough of despond for a couple of days. The girls have all gone home. After a week of sweet voices, communal cooking and cookie baking, deep bedtime conversations, excursions to the zoo and museums, teasing about boys, primping before mirrors, giggling into the small hours of the night, etc. the old house is quiet, very, very quiet ..baahhh..

The good news is that both my son and daughter-in-law both got their elk so the freezer will be full.
A friend called me last night and she had this story to tell:

Her sister Anne lives at Lake Tahoe, a beautiful mountain community that spans the border of California and Nevada. A couple of nights ago, Ann was alone in the house when she heard noises downstairs. She crept down to see a black bear at the refrigerator. He had both the refrigerator and freezer doors open and was happily eating everything he could find.

Panicked, she called 911 and was told that game and fish would have to be advised before officers would be dispatched to assist her. Eventually, she heard approaching sirens. So did the bear. Fully Alerted, he beat a hasty retreat and was not to be found anywhere outside.
They found that he'd forced the kitchen door for entry. The officers pointed out a bank of windows in the kitchen that look out on a forested area and aren't curtained. They told her that the black bears in Tahoe know about refrigerators, and if they can look through a window and see one, they come on in to investigate the contents. They helped her secure the broken door, and she cleaned up before returning to bed.
A few hours later, she was again awakened by noises emanating from the kitchen. Creeping down, she saw the same bear. This time, he was going through the cupboards eating away and happily washing his meal down with juice, honey and syrup. Another phone call.. This time the officers came right over, stealthily omitting sirens. As soon as the vehicles drove in, the bear left. Again, he was not to be found.
Apparently, the bears in Tahoe have found an easy way to prepare for winter! People in Tahoe have formed a bear league to help people live in harmony with the bears, and one of the things residents need to do is make sure the crawl space under their homes is secured as bears have demonstrated that crawl space makes a fine winter den. Talk about tippy-toeing around all winter! Shhhh don't wake the bear!
If you go hiking or camping, it's wise to know what to do to avoid confrontation with bears. I found lots of online advice.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

A walk in the Park

I had thought to post some little something more often while the girls are here, but as at chronicling everyday life, I've proven a failure. I did remember the camera when we took our lunch to Granite Street Park. The girls took the pictures.

Old Cottonwood trees like these grow along rivers and streams throughout Arizona, but the worsening Southwestern drought is causing the death of many of these shallow rooted trees. Although I am not in favor of lawns here because it takes a great deal of water to keep that grass green, I am glad to see these old trees flourishing where they have traditionally grown. When rainfall was heavy, the creek once flooded into this area providing water for these trees. Now, I'm sure that deprived of the water that keeps the grass green, they would die out.

Some girls like to be photographed and some don't!

A few specimen trees are planted among the native Cottonwoods.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

New Resident

Thank you all for the kind comments to my last post. We are feeling fine, and the car didn't suffer any structural damage. So we are mainly very grateful.
The girls are great fun and they are growing up now so they can do about anything I can bring myself to ask them to do. I hate to put them to too much work though!

I think we can consider this guy a permanent resident, at least until we find his owner.. He's moved himself into the back with the chickens and chicken food. No fool he... Still, he remains reclusive and elusive. It took Mu, the stealth photographer to catch him peeking over this fallen branch at the edge of E.s meadow. Despite his flamboyant coloring, he manages to blend in well with his surroundings! If you click on the pic you can see his markings in more detail.
It's still a thrill to look out and see him pacing about in a rather dignified pursuit of grasshoppers.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Another Butterfly Picture

I've been having a hard time finding any computer time!

Wednesday we were in a little chain reaction automobile accident. We are fine, but it was a hassle, and all the details of dealing with the insurance company etc. seem to take a lot of phone time. It was a hit and run accident as the young Hispanic driver who plowed into the car behind ours fled the scene.

This morning we met our son (the Christopher Robin of our family) and his family for an early breakfast and brought his girls, two of my Graddaughters, home to stay for a week to ten days while their parents go elk hunting.

I'm going to try to post a little, at least some pictures, over this period, so don't give up on me!

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Blogging for the Environment

Katie at Cosmos alerted me to today, October 15, 2007, being designated as Blogging for the environment day. I'm participating by listing a few things that we do here at the One Acre Wood.

Eeyore has a complex drip irrigation system for watering all our little gardens here on one acre. He started with his tiny 'meadow' where he nurtures native plants as well as some non-native plants, and has branched out to include our renter Tiggers and my gardens as well as the plants in my Mom's yard.

He's been working on this system for some years with parts of it being on timers and parts manually turned on and off. By allotting 30 minutes of a small amount of water once or twice a week to the different areas, we can enjoy some gardening in the high desert without using excessive water.

E. has also directed some of the rainwater from the gutters on our roof into an ancient, underground cistern that was here on the property. He has directed other gutters into barrels to use for plant watering.

The third thing we do is to shred every bit of waste paper that comes into the house. This includes junk mail, old grocery store receipts, those annoying covers they put on magazines etc.

The first way we use this paper isn't practical for everybody, but it may strike an inventive chord of your own. I've occasionally mentioned our potbellied pigs, as well as our chickens. Both the potbellies and the chickens bed down in shredded paper rather than straw! This has been a boon to our female pig, Suki, as she seems to be allergic to straw.

When the pig and chicken houses are cleaned, the paper goes into the compost. Excess paper also gets tilled into the compost where mixed with leaves, pine needles and manure, it makes excellent compost for our plants. In this way, we turn many pounds of paper into fertile soil.

These are some of the things we are doing in an effort to preserve the environment. I also catch cold water that runs from the hot water tap prior to its heating up, to use as water for my house plants. I'm hoping to glean some ideas from other bloggers to incorporate into my daily routine.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

A Peacock Pays a Visit

Eeyore has built a new bird feeder that has been attracting a variety of birds we don't usually see at our feeders as well as our usual variety. I've been keeping an eye on it, and trying to find time to lurk inside the open window for a photo op. Yesterday, I glanced out and was thrilled to see this bird of a very different feather indeed, wandering about the yard.

A camera shy fellow, he hung about for awhile investigating various aspects of the old place before wandering off.

I've heard peacocks calling in the neighborhood and he wandered off in the same general direction as the sound seems to originate, so I hope he found his way back home. I don't know anything about peafowl, but his tail looks short to me, so I think he may be a young male.
He was a colorful surprise on a quiet autumn day.

Friday, October 12, 2007

On Advertising

I've been interested in the psychology of advertising since I heard on the radio, at about age twenty, the ploy the tuna industry used to sell canned tuna. Since canned salmon had been around for awhile before canned tuna hit the shelves, the tuna was met with indifference and sales were slow. They picked up dramatically when tuna was advertised as guaranteed not to turn red in the can!

Some pretty artwork went into advertisements and labels for products in the past..

Citrus producers on both coasts competed for consumer confidence..

I can actually remember cans of vegetables on the shelf bearing this label....

I love this precursor to the Marlborough Man even if tobacco is bad for you!

And who among us oldsters can forget the Burma Shave signs along the major highways. They were rhymes with each line on a separate sign so you read them easily as you drove past. Some advertised the shaving cream and some preached safety, but all were an amusing distraction from the boredom of a long automobile trip.
Some examples:
Car in ditch
Driver in tree
The moon was full
And so was he.
Burma Shave
Speed was high
Weather was not
Tires were thin
X marks the spot
Berma Shave
At intersections
Look each way
A harp sounds nice
But it's hard to play
Burma Shave
I remember this one well. It was somewhere between Ashfork and Kingman on old route 66.
Around the curve
It's a beautiful car
Wasn't it?
Burma Shave
There are many more of these old Burma Shave poems here.
I guess all we can do in our lives is beware of the slick advertisements and be aware that not turning red in the can does not necessarily equate with a superior product.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Blown away Pelican

A wonderful bird is the pelican,
His mouth can hold more than his belly can,
He can hold in his beak,Enough food for a week.
I'm damned if I know how the hell he can!
Dixon Lanier Merritt (1879-1972),
a Southern US newspaper editor and president of the American Press Humorists Association.
Sometimes birds get caught in a storm and are literally blown away from home. This lonely looking Pelican settled down at Pleasant Lake just North of Phoenix, after he found himself an Arizona rather than a California bird. There are fish in the lake so he won't starve, but he's far from birds of his feather.
We sometimes have Sea Gulls blown into our Prescott Lakes, but I don't remember a Pelican. I don't believe anybody makes any effort to catch these birds and take them home. They have to do, as we all must do, when something unexpected happens in our lives that diverts us from our planned course. They have to manage the best way they can.
I, like many others, thought Ogdan Nash wrote the poem above, but according to several sites I visited it was Dixon Lanier Merritt.

Sunday, October 7, 2007


Here's my tribute to the English cottage garden! Each year I get a four inch pot of Foxglove and put it in a larger pot. I usually get one or two nice stalks like this. This year there were several white stalks blooming and then at the last moment, this pretty pink blossom shot up. I'm thinking of trying to winter it over inside to set out in the ground next spring.

Don't laugh! It is just such microcosms that make up the One Acre Wood!

Ex-shammickite at the Rook's Nest posted about a serendipitous occurrence, then I found another!

Granny J at Walking Prescott posted about the Yavapai County Cowbells annual quilt raffle. I was reminded that my Dad won a lovely quilt raffled off by the Cowbells. It featured blocks of embroidered flowers, one for each month of the year. It was bordered by a pink much the color of the Foxglove and I was allowed to use it as a bedspread when I was a teen.

When I went to visit Joni at My Piece of Heaven, I found that she has made a very similar quilt. In fact, the embroidery patterns could be the same as the patterns used in the quilt my Dad won in about 1950. She gives a link for a site where one can go to download the patterns and see her lovely finished quilt.

Katie at Cosmos has alerted me to the fact that Monday October 15, bloggers all over the world are encouraged to post regarding the environment.

Katie says, ' The idea is to inspire thousands of bloggers to publish a post on that day about an issue of their choice pertaining to the environment.'

She goes on to quote the blog behind the idea:

The best way to participate is to post on your blog something that relates to the environment. Your post can be about anything to do with the environment. So you could write a post which is offtopic for your blog OR relate the environment back to your topic in some way.

For example, if you had a blog about programming and technology, you could write about applications used for the environment, how to make your office more sustainable, how to stop wasting paper, why technology will save the environment, or just write about an environmental issue which has nothing to do with programming!

As another example, if you wrote about restaurants, you could write about kitchen practices that make for a more environmentally friendly workplace, food packaging, produce made from sustainable farming or any of a multitude of topics.”

I'm planning to participate.

Friday, October 5, 2007

Of Bulls and Clover

We were driving through the tiny community of Kirkland, about half an hours drive
West of Prescott when I these beautiful Brahman Bulls, or Brahma Bulls, as cowboys and rodeo folk usually call them, placidly grazing on early spring grass. A click will give you a sense of their power and lovely smooth coats. These are the same breed as the sacred cows of India, and you can read about them here.
I don't know if these guys are rodeo bulls, or not. It's more likely they're waiting to meet some nice lady cattle.

The same day we saw this nice patch of Owl's Clover. A member of the snapdragon family, Owl's Clover, like Paintbrush, is parasitic, living off surrounding grasses. This is probably Orhtocarpus luteus. It's a joyous pink and if we have a wet enough winter and early spring, lavishly spreads a brilliance of color across the western prairies.
Apparently, no one knows just why it's called Owl's Clover. That lore has evaporated into the mists of time, like so much of both history and legend.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Books vs Computers

I learned to read at age three. The book was, Gone is Gone, or The Man Who Wanted To Do Housework by Wanda Gag. It's a Bohemian folk tale of a silly man who thought his wife had the easier role in the marriage and decided to trade for a day. Well, of course he had a terrible, even a disastrous time and we were all glad that baby Kindli came out of the day alive. I loved that book, demanded it be read repeatedly, and possibly memorized rather than read it. Now, it must be viewed as terribly un-pc as are the early Barenstain Bear books where Papa is portrayed as a bit of a buffoon. Both Wanda Gag's book and the Barenstain Bear books were funny on several different levels so adults could join children in a chuckle or two.

For a couple of years, I directed a children's library program in a smallish community, and had to dream up Saturday morning projects that would appeal to children aged 3 to 12. I soon found that the Library-lady-reads-a-book-or-two half hour that always ended our three hour session was most successful when it included a Barenstain Bear Book. I soon saw that elements of humor in the books held the attention of, and drew a laugh from the youngest child to the eldest. That was in the early eighties.

Sometime in the nineties, the Barenstains came under fire for disrespecting daddies and their newer books, to me, seem pallid little moral missives. Did the early books cause children to disrespect daddies? I think even the smallest children can tell a silly book-bear daddy from their own fathers. At least mine could. They have loved and respected their Dad even if I did read those stories to them at an early age, and they read them to themselves later on.

Huh! another rant! I actually meant to show you part of the Prescott Public Library remodel. This is the comfortable children's reading area.

But where, you may ask are the children? I found some here...

And as for the adults...observe the empty stacks in the background, and the wonderful varying ages of those using the computers..

I read something the other day about publishers thinking that soon people will be ready to give up the printed page altogether. This evidence to the contrary, I hope not!

Monday, October 1, 2007

A trip to Granite Basin

At the same time my instincts toward domestic engineering overcome me in the fall, Eeyore seems to wax nostalgic. Each year we make a pilgrimage to Granite Basin Lake (about a twenty minute drive, but a pilgrimage nonetheless) where he rambles about just soaking up the vibes and reliving his childhood.
His father often took E. to Granite Basin on summer evenings where they would fish away the magical twilight hours, returning home well after dark with Blue Gill and Catfish for supper. Unless too much water was running over the top of the dam to make sitting there too wet for comfort, that was their favorite spot. Now of course, there is not only a railing across the dam, but access to the dam has been completely fenced off.

The water level is at an all time low here, and a few waterfowl are gathered
in a depressed looking group on a muddy bank across the lake
For me, it reinforces the knowledge that, no matter how great the summer rains seem, they are still quite meager when compared to the rainfall in the past. We all need to be aware of our personal water usage and to urge our public officials to consider the welfare of our children, grandchildren and great grandchildren before giving permission to developers to pump water straight from the aquifer to keep lawns or golf courses green for "only five years" until they have enough effluent to do the job. When we moved to the One Acre Wood almost 25 years ago, our renter was carefully hoarding any cold water that ran from the tap before hot water ran out. I do that now and use the water for my house plants. Oh dear! A rant! Ahemmm..
A couple of years ago, Granite Basin looked much better, although water was far from spilling over the dam. Clicking on these gives you a better feel for this magical place.

In her book One Last Frontier, local resident and author Pat Savage tells that this basin was a natural catch point and there was a little lake here prior to the dam being built. She said that in the fall, several different tribes of Native Americans gathered here to feast, trade, and socialize. I pulled her book from the shelf, but I can't quickly or easily find that reference. I'm pretty sure I remember it correctly though. There is still an abundance of wild grape vine here and in years past, both E.s family and mine came here to harvest the fruit. I would think that would have been a draw for the different tribes. Anyway, it's a lovely idea isn't it?