Get Your Kicks

One of the original U.S. Highways, Route 66 was established on November 11, 1926—with road signs erected the following year. The highway, which became one of the most famous roads in America, originally ran from Chicago, Illinois, through Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and California, before ending at Los Angeles, covering a total of 2,448 miles (3,940 km).

It was officially removed from the United States Highway System on June 27, 1985 after it had been decided the route was no longer relevant and had been replaced by the Interstate Highway System. Portions of the road that passed through Illinois, Missouri, New Mexico, and Arizona have been designated a National Scenic Byway of the name Historic Route 66, which is returning to official maps and Google Maps (Wikipedia).

Maybe this 1937 Terraplane traveled on The Mother Road, its most enduring nickname, during its glory days.

And doesn’t this Vette make you want to hit the open road and have a few adventures?

It’s summer, the time for roadtrips…

I’m ready, let’s go…

Encroaching

This is the last growing season at the Valley of the Sunflowers.

The bulldozers and cranes are encroaching and soon this former dirt field that became gloriously yellow will be a construction site for the future Phoenix Biomedical Campus and the Arizona Cancer Center, already in progress the next lot over. Fortunately, for those of us who loved seeing the sunflowers, there are plenty more vacant lots in downtown Phoenix and the sunflowers have been such a hit that they will probably be back a few blocks away.

The sunflowers have been an A.R.T.S. (Adaptive Reuse of Temporary Space) project sponsored by the Roosevelt Row Community Development Corporation in collaboration with Arizona State University, University of Arizona, Intel, Bioscience High School, and others.

Harvest Time

Well, I was a week too late to see all the sunflowers in bloom at Valley of the Sunflowers (which I have blogged about 1, 2, 3 other times since September) because they had started to harvest them 2 weeks ago. Today the rest will be harvested to be made into biodiesel fuel and soon the field will be back to brown and they will start the cycle all over again…one more time, in February. After those flowers are harvested, building is scheduled to begin in the formerly empty field. But you will still be able to see, from these photos, how quickly the sunflowers grew and how beautiful the field was…briefly.

And, yeah, their signs got tagged 😦

There have been a lot of articles in the local media in the past couple of weeks. You can also keep up with this truly awesome project in real time on their Facebook page.

They’re gorgeous!

Some bees are going to be very unhappy when the flowers are all harvested.

Bye, sunflowers…

Photo Year in Review

Hope your shiny new year is off to a great start! I wasn’t planning to do a 2011 year review but it seems like a good idea to take stock now and then and look back but, mostly, it’s an excuse to use photos I already have since I’m running low right now. So, in no chronological order, here are some of the highlights of my blogging year (some coincide a little with my personal year).

In April, after 17 years together, Tony and I got married.

We had a little wedding but a big party.

I made the invitations for the party.

We went on a staycation at the Hermosa Inn in Paradise Valley.

I did some “imaginary vacation” photos around town in the heat of summer when I couldn’t think of anything to photograph. The first place, El Maya, was torn down a couple of weeks after I photographed it. Oh, and I learned how to do rounded corners and played with textures a lot more in 2011.

A few weeks later I did another local imaginary vacation in the sweltering heat.

We did a day trip to Sedona, I took a lot of photos, and got 2 blog posts out of them. It’s really hard to take bad photos in Sedona. One of those posts was Freshly Pressed on WordPress!

2011 was the year that I FINALLY got some good butterfly shots! Some Giant Swallowtails:

Some Skippers:

And a Variegated Fritillary:

As if that weren’t enough, 2011 gave me some good hummingbird shots, on two different occasions, something I had also never gotten before.

I continued shooting murals in downtown Phoenix, something I’ve done for 2.5 years now.

I got all enthused about another downtown Phoenix project, the Valley of the Sunflowers, and will post some new shots in a few days.

I took a lot of photos of our 3 indoor cats as well as our numerous outdoor cats. Sadly, 3 of our outdoor cats died in 2011, including WB, our faithful friend for many years (as well as Snowy and Isabella).

My hibiscus plant was the subject of a few posts. It almost croaked last winter through a few frosts even though it was covered. It recovered and thrived through the spring and early summer. Again it got very sickly looking during the intense summer heat, and now it is once again thriving…

I learned how to do animated gifs, providing myself hours of fun!

I got hooked on my old 50mm f/1.8 lens from my old Nikon film camera and have to shoot manually when I use it on my DSLR which is fun. I like the looks of the photos with it, too.

We grew a giant basil plant from seed and it provided a lot of seasoning for us until quite recently when it died. We’ll be doing that again as soon as it gets warmer. They flourish in heat and sun, which we have plenty of here.

I took a zillion rose photos, some got texture added to them, some didn’t.

We took another train ride on the Verde Canyon Railroad with Tony’s sister and her husband when they were out visiting in November. The railroad asked for permission to use a couple of my photos, this one in particular, and in return sent us two first-class passes for another trip (and a photo credit, of course). Someone else has asked for permission to use another photo from that same train ride and it will also result in a photo credit and some goods that I may mention at a later date.

Some photos I liked, just because.

And a lot of my photos were just taken around my yard and neighborhood.

So that about sums it up for 2011 on this blog. Thank you to all of you who read it and I really enjoy reading yours, too, and seeing your photos of your lives. Photoblogging is one of my favorite pastimes as I’m sure it is for most of you, too. I hope we all have a fun, productive, creative 2012 blogging experience.

From Brown to Green to…

Yellow! Well, not quite yet. Yes, this is another update on Valley of the Sunflowers, my favorite local project right now, in the heart of downtown Phoenix. You can see my September shots, when the field was being readied for planting, and my October shots, soon after the seeds were sown, and compare them with my November shots, the other day, right here.

Look! It’s a field of green.

See how tall some of them are already?

That’s Bioscience High School in the background where the students will be using the sunflower oil to make biodiesel fuel for their hybrid vehicle.

The sunflowers in this post are from across the street at Roosevelt Growhouse, a community garden. Kenny Barrett, a local artist who started the Growhouse, was the driving force behind Valley of the Sunflowers.

And soon there should be a lot of these at Valley of the Sunflowers:

*Oh, and unfortunately, their Kickstarter did not raise enough money so was not funded 😦