Sunday, May 27, 2007

Camelback Mountain

Yesterday morning, Swede and I arose at the crack of dawn, 5:30, and made our way to Camelback Mountain to hike. Can you see from the picture above how Camelback got its name?

You can start at the head and work your way up the steep neck to the top of its hump on the Echo Canyon Trail. Or you can take the relatively relaxing hike up its backside on the Cholla Trail. The trails are named after the streets leading to the trail heads.

This home is directly across the street from the Cholla trail head. When the weather is not so hot, the people inside do actually use this space quite regularly. It's fun to spy and see what lifestyles of the rich and famous are up to.

This is a new sign, not usually up. We have mostly Africanized Bees in Phoenix, which are dangerous I hear. But, since a child, my Mother taught me that Bees will not harm you if you do not show fear or agression. So, I have always welcomed Bees to land on me to explore me as if I were a flower. It doesn't take them long to realize I am not made of pollen.

Speaking of Bees, my Aunt Ruth posted an entry titled "honeybees: colony collapse disorder," a read I highly recommend.

Early enough to catch the lawn mower.

Slowly making the incline, the golf course comes into full view.
We should have left at 4:30.
The sun has already risen and it is 90 already!

We like to stay hydrated. I forgot Roxi's bowl and
had to improvise with a plastic baggy.

Swede is already working up a sweat, and we aren't even pushing it! Usually, Swede wears these tiny little shorts and his headphones and runs all the way up the camel's back, over the hump and down it's neck to the other side! Then he runs back up. By the time I have only reached the top and make it back down the same side, Swede will have caught up with me! He's an animal!

Speaking of animals- we ran into this Iguana on the trail- a rare treat! Seconds after taking this shot,
he retreated into his 5-star hole in the rock.

Here is a view of the Phoenician, a five-star resort. We live in Tempe, slightly beyond the boulders on the far right. The little mountain to the left of those boulders is A Mountain,
just walking distance from our home.

A close-up for those of you who like to dream:)

Well, it's been awhile since I hiked, and my limbs are numb. I think this is as far as I will go today.
Want to make it down before it's too hot.

On our descent, I noticed a Rattle Snake peaking it's head out from around the shadow of a rock, right on the trail. I have been hiking in this desert for nearly seven years now, and stories is all I have ever known of Rattle Snakes. Today, I actually saw my very first!

We met a couple of neat people who were just as thrilled to see a Rattler on the trail: David Wagner and Robert Hansen.

From our brief interaction, Swede and I had the sneakiest suspicion that they had climbed Mount Everest. When we checked out their website, we noticed their motivational video "Reaching For New Heights," was all about working together, accountability, passion for excellence, creation of value, and changing the world by reaching for new heights- specifically the heights of Mount Everest! Did our new friends take this footage themselves?

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

A Nap Can Do Wonders

Yesterday, I decided to take a nap before going to my last pottery class at The Farm. I attribute that nap to the incredible amount of creative energy I unfurled.

(A piece Rachel made last week, another student in my class)

First of all, a friend in my class taught me how to use the close-up setting on my new little digital camera, releasing the inner photographer that lay dormant since the gift of this camera entered my life last Christmas. As Dave says, "It's amazing what reading the directions will do."

My instructor, James Pyper, has built his own kiln out of found objects and sand, something the desert has plenty of. As kind as he is, he gave me permission to do pottery with my Art class at New Samaritan, firing our work for half the price of the wood. What a swell guy:)

So, my class worked hard, and this is what they came up with.

(My apologies to any students whose pieces did not show up here- I took those pictures before I learned to use the close-up setting)

Once I used up most of the good lighting to take pictures of their work, I decided to see if this new close-up feature I had learned on my camera would work on flowers and other treasures around the farm, like James' old Ford crammed full of wood for the kiln.

So long Dave, Christine, Rachel and James.

I'm a born again photographer.

**** Please Note****
These are not FREE RANGE chicken.
I encourage you to find FREE RANGE eggs.

CAGE FREE is not the same as FREE RANGE.
They are still caged, just not in tiny compartments.

Mixed greens in their natural environment.

I love fuzzy wuzzies!

My dog, Roxi and I delighted for about an hour in taking pictures around the farm.

A Pecan Tree Grove.

Happy little pecan- perfectly delicious.

It's starting to get dark, as Roxi and I make our way back to the Artists' Studio, the little red cottage in the very back of this picture up above.

On our way back, we enter the enchanted nursery.

The darkness brings shapes to life.

A maiden, turned to stone, guards the gift shop.

But I am still able to sneak a peak.

Almost there, just past the Retreat.

We even slipped into the Art Gallery. Above is a piece by my teacher- the one that inspired my candle.

This mask is by another artist featuring his work at The Farm

And then, I had just enough time to return to pottery class and learn to use the wheel.

I cannot tell you the thrill of holding clay between your hands as it spins on the wheel. It's tactiley delicious.

I don't have pictures of any more of
my work, except for this necklace piece I made.
It is not quite finished yet.

Once my work is fired, I'll let you see it.