Monday, October 26, 2009

Let's walk to school!

I was interested to hear recently about National Walk to School Day, which was celebrated on October 7, 2009. It was an event to promote "safe walking and bicycling throughout the year", and consisted of events held all around the country encouraging kids to walk, or bike to school.

Today we started our own "walk to school" event which will I hope continue every day as long as this wonderful cool weather holds out. It is only about a mile and a half to Kendra's school, and most of it can be walked via fairly quiet streets so it is a perfect opportunity for us to get some exercise, while reducing our carbon emissions by a very small amount each day.

We are actually walking Kendra home from school each day because Emmie's school is still too far to walk to unfortunately so I will still need to drive her there each morning.

The girls were very excited. It was a little odd to me that something as simple as walking home from school could be such an exciting event for them, but then I am sure that it is a novelty for them to be walking anywhere within this suburban sprawl in which we reside. This is the perfect opportunity to start changing all that.

Now to get my bike back in bicycling order!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Slither

I have spent the past two days tidying up the front and backyard. Today as I was moving everything on the back patio to sweep it I found this, nestled between the edge of the patio and the house, just outside the back door.


Of course it is a snake skin, and perfect too, completely intact which leads me to believe that it is fairly fresh, and that the snake that shed it did so quite recently.

About two years ago I was outside at dusk, and I came across a snake slithering across the grass. It was very scared, but I still managed to run inside, get the camera, and get a poor quality photo which I can't find now of course. It was enough though for me to make a provisional identification of a Common Kingsnake which is found throughout Maricopa County, is non venomous, and can grow to be five feet in length. I have not seen it since, however hard I have looked, and I assumed that it was just passing through. Now though I am not quite so sure.

I have no idea where a snake would be living in our yard because the dogs are always running around, and Tex is of course constantly digging for anything that moves.

I think this is the same type of snake as the one I saw because you can see a vague outline of stripes on the skin, like the black and white ones on the Common Kingsnake.

Here are more shots, very poor quality I am afraid, but they give an idea of how long it is at about 28 inches.



Look at the end of the tail and how beautiful it is.


As always, I am happy to think that it has a home here, and that it found the side of our patio to be a quiet and relaxing place for it to shed it's skin. I am also happy that it is most likely a non venomous snake that shed it.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Selected

I was pleasantly surprised to hear recently that a photo of mine from my Flickr account had been shortlisted for inclusion in the ninth edition of the Schmap Phoenix Guide in the Desert Botanical Garden section. I didn't even know that things like this could happen from having a Flickr account.

Today I heard that my picture has been included to join many other beautiful ones of our ever photogenic Desert Botanical Garden.

I feel a little bit proud because it is a picture I love, and is actually the banner picture from this blog.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Happy Birthday Kendra!

I am so sorry Kendra, I am late blogging about your birthday this year. I know we celebrated it a day late anyway, but that is no excuse.

Happy birthday for the 13th my sweet little girl! I can't believe that you are six already, and in kindergarten. You make me proud every day, and I love you always.

Potential Harvest

I haven't harvested anything from the garden, (except basil, and a few handfuls of cherry tomatoes), since July 11th, and it seems like an awfully long time ago.

I am hopeful that the following will soon result in a fall harvest of sorts,

Carrots, Leeks, and beets, small but growing every day,


Peppers,


Pumpkins,


and Tomatillos.


The zucchini and cucumber plants don't warrant a photograph because they are really unimpressive at the moment.

This is for you Dad! It is the not so little lemon tree we planted last spring. It is flourishing now as you can see. Maybe next year we will have lemons.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Its been a long time since I rock and rolled..........

I am not sure what has happened during the past two weeks. I know that I have been busy, very busy, and it has all been self inflicted busy-ness, nothing that I can complain about, although at times I have wanted to.

It seems that the more I try to simplify my life and get back to basics, back to the things that matter, back to the things that I really love, the less time I have. I guess it's OK though really, because during the past two weeks of my uber busy life I have made the following discoveries-

1. The PTA isn't for me. I have really tried to get into it, but really, it just isn't for me. I can't seem to relate somehow even though the PTA women are generally outgoing, smart, assertive, go getting types of women. (Perhaps that is the problem because that description doesn't fit me at all!) I have decided to be happy with volunteering with Kendra's class every week, and getting involved with her school in other ways that suit me better such as helping the school nurse prn.

2. Vegetable gardening has no apparent rhyme or reason to it. This time last year I was getting bushels of cucumbers and zucchini. This year I have a few immature looking zucchini and cucumber plants with nothing on them except flowers. I have lots of bees doing their utmost to pollinate them too, but alas, nothing. I do have tomatillos though which is good because I failed in the tomatillo department earlier in the year. I also have many pumpkins, small but perfectly formed, and peppers, also small, but apparently growing which is more than they did last time. Everything seems to be very late despite my having planted it according to my low desert calender. Ah well, everything comes to he who waits right!

3- When volunteering ones time it is really important to ensure that the cause is something that one is really passionate about, something that one wants to fight for, and something that one really wants to be involved with because really, isn't that the whole point of volunteering?

4- And finally, sometimes one just has to take the time to play on a San Diego beach at sunset with friends and family, because that is truly what life is all about.