Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Begin Year 10. Post 2,444. 

So nine years later the adventure continues. I don't post as much as I used to, and I tend not to blather on and on about some things that I used to blather on and on about (mainly politics). Still, it is nice to be able to look back and see what I was thinking and doing over the last nine years. I post more pictures now.

Fewer people are reading blogs and the number of people on my blog list who are actually posting is still shrinking. Who knows what adventures I will experience next.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

The monsoon season is going strong.

On the drive north

Up in Flagstaff the rain has made Evan's garden go crazy.


His sunflowers were eaten by elk, but new ones appeared.


He got a lot of his seeds at Native Seed Search in Tucson. The native crops have unusual flowers.

A gourd.

We went over to feed Terry's cat and I found a little dragon.

Me and a dragon.

When I turned it over, it had a yellow tummy.


I put it down and it scampered away.


There were some echinacea flowers blooming nearby. I admired them.


Evan and I went to his favorite store, C. & L. Ranch. I stumbled across the baby poultry.


I found the ducks to be super adorable.


Outside in the parking lot they were having a ranch day and I patted the burro, which sounds naughty but isn't.


We went to my new favorite Mexican restaurant for lunch.

I can't remember the restaurant's name.

It was a nice weekend.

Me and Evan.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Let's make prickly pear jelly and syrup! First go out in your backyard (and Richard's backyard) and pick a bunch of prickly pears. Use a pair of tongs because the fruit have nasty spines on them.

Prickly pear fruit.

Wash them in your sink and make sure you throw out any that look damaged.


Put them in a large pot on the stove and slice up with a big knife. Turn the heat on and start to cook them, which helps break them down and extract juice. I use a potato masher to smash them up.

In the pot.

After they have cooked down, I put them in a blender to break them down further. The whole process is rather messy- my kitchen looked like a murder scene afterward.


Next is the most unpleasant part- straining them first through a metal strainer, and then through cloth (I had to use an old, clean pillowcase. This is particularly messy and time consuming.

Strainer and juice.

To make jelly I used this recipe. Start with three cups of juice and 1/2 cup of lemon juice. Bring to a boil and add two boxes of Certo. Boil one minute. Then add five cups sugar and boil it for two minutes. It thickens up nicely.

Jelly and jar lids.

The syrup is the same recipe, except no Certo.

Jelly and syrup.

I have another batch of syrup in the fridge to make another batch or two. The syrup can be used on pancakes or in margaritas. I plan on buying some tequila and make some drinks!

Patrick, Mark, and I journeyed north on Interstate 10 to attend pool volleyball at Richard's casa. The clouds looked threatening, but it would not rain much on us during the course of our games. There was a tiny hummingbird watching us once again.


My knowledge of birds has impressed everyone.

Many exciting games were played. I was on the losing team several times, despite my valiant efforts.


The guys.

I always look very bald while my hair is growing back out again.


I made Patrick K. try on my glasses. They make everyone look smarter.

Patrick K.

The other Patrick was having a lovely afternoon.

Patrick and moi.

Mark also had a nice time.

Today's excitement, making prickly pear syrup.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

I sent my Grandpa's banjo back to Arizona when I was in Michigan in May. Grandpa F. died in April 1972. He was 67, he died too young, but he had a small heart attack and didn't tell anyone and the second one killed him. Too many cigarettes and too much meat, potatoes, and gravy. Grandma used to say, "If I had known it was bad for him, I wouldn't have made it for supper." But the Home Economics classes back in the late 1920s were probably filled with lots of bad advice (just like Sex Education classes that focus on "Abstinence Only" are killing lots of kids today).


I assumed it was going to take a lot of work to fix the banjo, which had not been played in 40 years. But all it needed was a $5 bridge and a $5 set of strings. Evan bought me a tuner and finger picks and it was all set to go. I've been going through a little book, teaching myself things. Every few days something connects in my brain and I think, "Oh, that's easy!" Of course, knowing how to play 'Skip to my Lou" is not a major achievement. But I am taking baby steps.


Monday, July 16, 2012

On the way north I think of an article I am writing, I listen to modern pop music, I see the familiar landmarks. The drive is 4 1/2 hours one way but only 4 hours back, I guess the drive up the mountains, past the broken down semi trucks, just takes longer.

I arrived in Flagstaff and waited outside Bookman's. There are a lot of nice beards in Flagstaff, next time Jimbo comes to Arizona I will take him there. Evan arrives, and then Jim and George. We step into Burrito Fiesta and have a nice Mexican meal.

George enjoys his supper.

The monsoon rains have started and everything is green. Evan's garden is growing like crazy.

Evan's garden.

 The tomato plant I bought him is enormous.

Evan and I took George and Jim out to see prehistoric sites. I admired the pretty wildflowers.


Evan was enthusiastic.

Big tree.

We admired the rock art panels, but did not touch them because the oils on your hand can damage them.

Rock art. 

I think Jim and George enjoyed themselves, despite the sprinkles and the pokey vegetation.

George, Jim, and Evan.

As usual, I enjoyed the pretty flowers.


It started raining again, and no picnic could take place. So we went to Himalayan Grill and had delicious food.


That night, I made supper, George and I played tetherball, we threw the atlatl, I showed Jim and George how to play banjo, and we went for drinks in rainy downtown Flagstaff.

On the way back to Tucson, the clouds looked ominous.


The streets were flooding as I pulled off Interstate 10. The air is heavy with moisture this morning, it is summer time in Tucson.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

As someone pointed out, the Golden Eagles are actually juvenile Harris Hawks. I guess I just flunked Arizona Birds 101. This week, I glanced out of my office and saw an ostrich perching on the fence, looking at me.


I was sent north to Oro Valley to watch a water line being dug at a historic ranch site. It was hot and moist.

Safety first!

As I was eating lunch, a red-headed Bald Eagle perched on the branch next to me. You know how attractive redheads are.

Bald Eagle.

Sometimes I would look up and see the back side of the Catalina Mountains. Like some people I know, the backside of these mountains is better looking than the front sides.

The Catalina Mountains.

At Safeway, red plums were on sale for 99 cents a pound, probably because they were rapidly spoiling. I bought four pounds, a box of Certo, and a bag of sugar. At home I made delicious jam, perhaps at about the same price as you can purchase it, but I think it probably tastes better.

Red Plum jam and Peach jam.

Saturday, July 07, 2012

I made a chocolate cake with coconut frosting and a simple pizza with ricotta cheese, onion, yellow pepper, and cherry tomatoes. I traveled to Richard's house to play pool volleyball.
Here I am.

We heard these loud bird cries and looked up and saw four large birds, and then two more. They turned out to be Golden Eagles.

Four Golden Eagles.

It was very exciting to see these parents and fledgling eagles.

Mamma or Papa.

 We played lots of pool volleyball games and I pissed someone off after I yelled, "Get it!"

The guys.

It was a lovely afternoon but now my shoulder aches from over exertion.

My latest genealogy project is transcribing Pima County, Arizona coroner's jury inquest cases. The Territory of Arizona was established in 1863 and in 1864 the legislative council met for the first time and came up with the laws to govern the territory. The laws required that each of the four counties elect two coroners, who were to investigate unusual deaths. The Coroner records for Pima County appear to have been lost for the time period prior to 1881. I know that there were cases between 1871 and 1881, because I have read all of the newspapers from that timespan and transcribed the articles describing the deaths of individuals (that was the last major project I did).

So I am looking at the surviving files between 1882 and 1912, the year Arizona became a state. The records are split up into three different archives, and so far I have gone through three boxes at the Historical Society.

The cases I have transcribed so far include homicide, suicide, accidental death, and death by natural causes. Some of the cases are rather straight forward. Theodore Orosco died from heart failure in December 1902. John Frazier was run over by a train in January 1896 while he was at work at the train station in Tucson.

Others are heart-breaking. Louis Fazer cut his throat with a razor in March 1893 because he was too old to work and didn't have anyone to support. He left a suicide note that included "I mad up my Mind not go to the Poorhouse." Lola O'Sullivan was murdered by her husband, who used a large ax to beat and chop her head to a pulp in late October 1905. The following February, the skeletal remains of her husband, Humphrey O'Sullivan were found in the Tucson Mountains with a bullet hole in his right temple.

The saddest case- Jose Angel Miranda, an 8-year-old boy run over by a hay wagon in August 1910. THe guys driving the wagon didn't stop when he was run over, either because they didn't know it had happened or because they didn't care (it isn't clear). Jose's mother, Augustina Nevara, testified:

Q. Who first told you about it?
A. I didn’t expect that. I sent my little boy for some wood, but I was washing some clothes when a little girl came there and says there is your little boy dead.
Q. Then what did you do?
A. From there I went over and picked up my little boy and took him over to my house.
Q. How far was the little boy from your house?
A. He was not very far, just across the ditch.
Q. As far as across the street or from here to the court house?
A. About as far as from here to that fence over there? (Pointing to fence in back yard about 50 feet away)
Q. Could you see that he was dead when you found him?
A. Yes sir.
Q. Did you make any examination at all of the body?
A. Yes sir.
Q. What did you find if anything?
A. The little boy I picked him up and he had made water and done a job on himself. I took all the clothes off from the body.

It is hard for me to think of that poor woman finding her son dead like that.

When I am done, I'll be preparing a book on the cases. Few people know about the files, and the stories that they contain have mostly been forgotten.

Wednesday, July 04, 2012

It rained on the Fourth. Ray, Patrick, and I traveled to Pat and Rick's lovely house.

Ray and Homer, I am wearing my "Free Moustache Ride" t-shirt..

At first there was rain, and Patrick was one of the few people to dare climb in the pool.


I spent a lot of time gossiping with Roger. It was fun.

Afterward, Ray dropped me off and I sat in front of the computer and did some work on my latest genealogy project. Then I climbed on the guest house roof to watch the fireworks. They shot off a few and then an ambulance came. According to the news, one of the fireworks workers had some medical problem. After a while, they started again, and I took artsy pictures.

My Mexican neighbors are busy shooting off a lot of little fireworks. They are very patriotic. I wonder what all of the racist people in Arizona would think if they sat on the roof and watched what was going on.

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