Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Geo Chaching

In case you haven't heard of it, Geo caching is like a treasure hunt. You can look up the locations on their website. People hide boxes with little trinkets all over the world. You then use a GPS unit and enter the latitude an longitude coordinates from the website. My sister sent the boys a special Geo Coin, that can be tracked by computer. So we left the coin in a box in CV with a note, hoping that it will make its way back to Anchorage. Great way to explore!!! This is the Summer Solstice coin that Cathy sent the boys. We left it in a cache pretty close to our house.
The flip side... Someone had left a travel bug in the CV cache, so we took that, and put it in a cache in Sedona. The travel bugs can also be tracked on the website.

After parking the car on the side of the road, we hiked to the cache, with help from Louetta, our trusty GPS unit.

Found it!!! Just some junky little items that people leave in the boxes. We found a Chicago Wolves button, that we will move to our next cache! If you're interested in doing some geo caching, check out their website.. www.geocaching.com

Unexpected Visitors

Yeah, yeah, yeah, another picture at Cathedral Rock, but It's one of my favorite places in Sedona, and makes such a nice background for pics with friends! I ran into Karyn and Carl this weekend, while doing an art fair in Sedona. They had no idea we had moved here, it was a total chance encounter. I worked with Karyn years ago at Mindscape Gallery, in Evanston, and hadn't seen them in at least ten years. The whole day worked out well. They were going to Cathedral Rock anyway, and I was taking the boys geocaching(next post) right near by, so we were able to get a nice hike in and catch up a little on life's events. So, after this picture, we hiked over the creek and through the woods, to the 'back side of the rock, and climbed almost all the way up.
LOVE this prickly pear pad!

View from the other side.....

This is the picture Carl was taking.

This is the top of the spires in the middle of the first picture. We didn't go all the way up this time, as we were pressed for time. October is the perfect month for hiking, so I'll be going all the way to the top real soon!!

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Pricly Pear Fruit Jam

Our neighbors have a TON of prickly pear plants lining their front yard. I thought it would be fun to try and make some jam with the fruits. I took the boys over last Sunday to pick a peck. These are five gallon buckets, each about half full. You couldn't even tell we had picked any off their plants when we were through. Very prolific!
Cleaning and cutting up the fruit was A LOT more work than I had anticipated. Our first attempt, we were wearing heavy gloves, slicing the fruits open, and scooping out, first the seeds(to scrap), then the fruit pulp out of the skin. Two hours later, we had enough for a batch that we ended up burning. Back to the drawing board!

I had done a little reading up on the prickly pear fruit cleaning, and read that you could first burn them to get rid of the hairy prickles. So, we put them in the forge for a few seconds, holding them with tongs, and rolling them slightly. Perfect, and WAY quicker!! Now we could cut off the ends, score the skin, and peel it off. Then slice lengthwise and remove all the seeds. About 60 fruits ended up with a four jar batch of jam.

After the fruit was all cleaned and ready, we put it in the blender to make it nice and smooth. Sugar, lemon juice and rind, and a little grated ginger, and into the pot to cook for at least an hour. Doug is quite the little chef, and was really excited when our second batch turned out good.
We still have a ton of fruits left, so we can make prickly pear smoothies, pancakes, oatmeal, and maybe some more jam! Don't know how long they'll keep, so I think we'll clean and blend, then freeze. We might try to make some dye with all the seed stuff and peels. I'm looking into that ;-) Prickly pear tie dyes!

Turned out pretty tasty!!! A little too lemony for Max's taste, but I thought it was awesome over some Haagen Dasz 5 Ginger ice cream ;-) I probably could have cooked it down a little longer to thicken more, but I was paranoid of the burning. A few more batches, and I should have it down :-)

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Red Rock Crossing with BOYS

Yesterday, we went to another well travelled spot in Sedona, Red Rock Crossing at Crescent Moon Ranch, or as i like to call it, Cathedral Rock. I did not photograph Cathedral Rock yesterday, we were a little farther down the path, so we had a side view. Lots of crazy boy energy yesterday, since I had four of them with me. This was actually towards the end of our day, in between rope swinging. The boys found the cat tails quite entertaining, in a few different ways. After they held them in various perverted positions, they proceeded to shred them and throw the fuzz in the water. Doug referred to this as 'pollinating'.

When I wasn't throwing the rope to people, i was chilling on this nice rock in the water, snapping pics, and enjoying the sunshine, nice breeze, and fabulous view :-)

Fun at the rope swing! We spent most of the day here, but took a couple snack breaks and some little hikes. There used to be another rope swing in the woods upstream a little, but there was just a broken rope yesterday...:-(

I'm still playing with the new camera. I had it on sport mode here.

Doug had some good air!

They climbed up this rock face for a little out of the water time.

Lifeguard poses...

Rick found a little dead trout that they named Hank, and had a little fun with. Hank was good for at least 40 minutes of pure entertainment.

On our way back throught the woods to the car, Max caught Jorge, who was also a great source of entertainment before we said goodbye, and left him in his woodsy home by the creek.

Jorge was very accomodating when the boys wanted him as living jewelry.

Another great field trip in AZ in the books!

Last week, we took a little field trip to Slide Rock State Park, in Oak Creek Canyon. Yes, it's touristy and crowded, but the cityfolk in us doesn't mind that once in awhile :-) We took a short hike upstream, and there was noone around :-) You have to get there on the early side, or the parking lot fills up. the day we went it was cloudy, adn rained a little, so we spent most of the day out of the water.
Takin a litlle hike, and searching for lizards.

Found this old house...

Good lizard catching here.

We found this little secret spot with ripe blackberries! My lens was wet, but I thought the shot looked cool.

This century plant looks like it had tipped over before blooming, but the flower stalk is reaching for the sky anyway.

Nice view on the way back to the car. Dairy Queen for lunch on the way home made for a fab summer day!


A couple weeks ago, our long time friend Andy came up for lunch and a quick dip in the pool. It was great to see him, and another friend's daughter Amanda. They came up from Tucson that day.....No time for cathedral rock, where I usually photograph visitors ;-) Kid Chileen's Bad Ass BBQ, in Black Canyon City. YUM

A little dip in the pool. My friend Mary came up from Phoenix that day too, for a mini reunion.


Once in awhile, we take the boys up to Williams, the last town on Route 66 to be bypassed by Interstate 40. Ther's an indoor skatepark up there, so they go there, and Eric and I explore the small town a bit. Next time, we might venture out and take a hike somewhere. Ther's only so many souvenier shops to see there... Bill Williams, a mountain man who settled in the area sometime mid 19th century, I'm a bad retainer of info, but maybe you can read the placque if you click on the photo....
Look at that sky!

We haven't eaten here, but I liked the cow...

We did have breakfast here one day before the skate park. Good pancakes!

The three amigos...


Met some friends up there one day...conected through, you guessed it, Facebook :-)

Playing with my new camera on the way home....you can see the train passing the other way here.

Night time on the highway. There was an awesome lightning storm, but I couldn't capture any on 'film'.

I took a ton of these pics. I think they're the coolest. Light and movement......