I wasn’t going to get into the election because I don’t want to alienate anyone…but I changed my mind plus these are all the photos I have right now.
Both of these murals were done by local muralist Angel Diaz about voting against Maricopa County’s long-time, attention-grabbing, controversial Sheriff, Joe Arpaio. His opponent is ahead in the polls right now. Do you see the additional hidden message in the top mural? I didn’t notice it when I was there but see it now.
I know tensions are running high on both sides so I won’t say much here. We voted early and dropped our ballots off at an early polling location a couple weeks ago.
The Arizona Democratic Party has a sense of humor…
And they really had a taco truck there.
You can probably guess who I’m voting for…
At any rate, it will all be over in a couple days and we can get back to just the normal scary stuff like creepy clowns.
That’s my backyard..okay, not really. It’s a little greenbelt area not too far from where I live; I think it really belongs to some office complexes but it’s like a little park…that no one goes to.
It’s got some mature mesquite trees and I like their twisty limbs.
I’ve written about this place before, years ago (1 and 2). A lot of the trees have been cut way back since then but they’re still hanging in there.
Meanwhile, back at the old ranch (home) a couple miles away, the birds are still loving our mesquite tree, not nearly as big as the ones above.
Anna’s Hummingbird, males
See the 2 little tail feathers on this one? I don’t know if they’re growing in or if he lost part of his tail feathers somehow.
And here is a Dove of Peace, what we need right now:
Great-tailed Grackle, female
Great-tailed Grackle, male
Abert’s Towhee, juvenile
Curve-billed Thrasher, juvenile
The poor birds walk around with their bills open all the time because of the unrelenting heat.
But that’s not the only reason it’s a long hot summer…
Summertime is for a lot of things…even reading, right? Whether it’s because you live in steamy hot Phoenix where reading is one of the few things you can do or you enjoy reading on a nice sandy beach or poolside, it’s a fun pastime. So I went on a self-guided tour of 5 Little Free Libraries the other day. None of these are in my immediate neighborhood but they are in my general area, central Phoenix. This was my favorite; it was gorgeous with mosaic tile on it. The whole yard was full of beautiful artistic touches…I wish I knew the owners and could be friends with them!
And it looks like they like birds!
And cats! We need to be friends!!!
This one was also very pretty, matching their house. It’s such a nice thing to do, I think, to promote literacy and build community by maintaining one of these libraries. It’s a great way to get to know your neighbors.
This library also matched the vivid blue trim on their house. This particular one seemed to be mostly full of children’s books.
I like how there is a little bench by the next one so you can peruse before you choose your book. Very welcoming.
Do you have any in your neighborhood? Would you like one? I definitely want one but we have sprinklers in our yard that would damage it fairly soon, I think, so I’m trying to figure out how we could get around that. This is the one I would like from the Little Free Library website: the Urban Reader. It’s also one of the cheaper ones they have and it’s made of stucco so I’m thinking it might be more durable. Then you fill it with some books and become the “steward” of your library. You can register it on their website so that it shows up on the map and you’re in business! (You don’t have to use their libraries if you prefer to build or make one yourself. I’m considering making a portable one out of a wooden crate with wheels so I can bring it in at night.)
Here’s the 5th library I saw but this one seems a little weather-beaten and it apparently is not a registered Little Free Library. It still had some good books in it and serves the same purpose.
No little free libraries around you? Everyone but me probably knew this already but most public libraries now have e-books you can download to your various e-readers for FREE! All these years I’ve been helping Amazon grow when I could have gotten a lot of them for nothing. The only drawback is you (at least in the case of the Phoenix Public Library) only have 2 weeks before the book disappears from your device but sometimes you can renew. If the book is really good, 2 weeks is more than enough time to finish it.
The book above (that I paid for) is one of my 2 favorite books I’ve read so far this summer. The other is this one, by a local Phoenix journalist and author (that I also paid for, in hardback):
Check ’em out!
Edit: Phoenix New Times used some of the photos from this blog post on their blog!
Burrowing Owls, that’s who. Burrowing owls are small (9 inch tall), day-active birds that live in the abandoned burrows of ground squirrels and other mammals. They are highly social and eat primarily insects and mice. Once common in the Phoenix valley, these birds are disappearing rapidly due to development. Oftentimes, developers are not even aware that there are burrows and they excavate over them. Fortunately, the birds can be trapped and successfully relocated to safe sites; however, these sites are becoming increasingly rare (Downtown Owls).
The City of Phoenix, along with Wild at Heart and Audubon Arizona (funded by Toyota TogetherGreen) have been relocating these displaced owls for the last couple of years in the Rio Salado Restoration Habitat Area. Volunteers build burrows out of PVC pipes and 5 gallon buckets for them, and they are gradually re-introduced into their new burrows.
We went to see the owls this weekend with our friend, Lawrence Polk, Parks Special Operations Supervisor, for the City of Phoenix, and we got a guided tour of the burrows, which are on a bluff overlooking the Salt River. Each burrow is covered over with rocks to protect it and has a perching post outside.
The birds are not very shy but you are not supposed to get within 15 feet of them. The burrowing owl is federally protected by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act in the United States, Canada and Mexico. Burrowing Owls are listed as Endangered in Canada and Threatened in Mexico. In Arizona, they are considered a Species of Concern.
They are always on the lookout for any possible danger. I thought maybe the hawk, above, was scoping out the owls but, later, when I looked at my photos, I realized it was a Turkey Vulture, looking for carrion, so the owls weren’t in danger from him.
We saw several of the owls and I took about 150 photos but they all kind of look about the same, I noticed, so I won’t show you all of them.
There are a few other locations in the area where new habitats for the owls are being built, including Zanjero Park in Gilbert.
This is my 3rd year participating in Kat Sloma’s Liberate Your Art Postcard Swap. After all the postcards are sent out to the 200+ artists/recipients, it’s time for the Blog Hop!
This is the card I sent (seen above with other postcards I had made by moo.com):
And, here are the cards I received in the order I received them, below. In previous years, I scanned the cards for my blog but this year I attempted to photograph them in complementary settings, which is what we were supposed to do. (Click photos to see the true beauty of the postcards.)
From Linda Yeatman.
From Adrienne Mason.
From Leslie A.
From Stacie Bebber.
From Cathy Brashear.
From Kat Sloma, the organizer of this annual postal and online event.
And…from a sideswap I did with Deanie Houghtaling, who I “met” through this event last year and found out she lives about a mile from me and then who I met in person a few months ago. Deanie shares my love of cats and photography and we need to go out shooting together soon…or at least back out to dinner.
There was also a Facebook group for this event (and an Instagram one, too) where people posted cards as they got them so we could all see a lot of the cards.
So…you can check them out, too, by looking at the blogs of the other participants. And you should join in next year, it’s really fun! Thanks, everyone, and thanks, Kat, for all of your hard work.
Here’s the link to the participating blogs: