Monday, April 25, 2011

House Sit Found!

After what seemed like endless searching, we finally have not one, but two house sits!  The ads were posted on the same day, along with a third one, so I applied for all three.  Quickly heard back from two, each party liked what we saw, and VIOLA!  house sits!

The first one is in Carrieres-Sur-Seine, France, with a cat named Dasha.  This is on the outskirts of Paris, so we will be taking the train into the city to play tourist.  We have already booked our tickets to fly into Paris, using our American AAdvantage Miles.  Total cost for the two of us:  $10!  

The second house is in Shropshire, England, where we will be staying with Ziggy Stardust, a Cob Pony, and her friends.  Ziggy has quite a lot of friends, so it will be a busy stay.  For this sit, we will be renting a car, as the home owners are taking theirs on holiday with them. 

There is a bit of time between these two, where we could fit in a sit, if we find one, or go ahead and ride the ferry to Dover, then tour around eastern England and the Midlands before arriving in Clun.  We will continue looking for another house to care for during September into October, as we can't book our flight home until after October 15, when the rates go down.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Look Up!

When I read about Gila Monsters, it said they ate bird eggs.  I thought about quail, since they nest on the ground.  WRONG!  Yesterday afternoon there was one in the front yard.  When we went out to look, he proceeded to climb the mesquite tree.  Very agile, too.  When he was about 15 feet up, he stopped in a crook of the tree and looked down at us.  Yep, this guy is going for the big eggs, no tiny quail eggs for him!  Look out you big birds, your nests are no longer safe!  Will upload a picture soon.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Tucson Botanical Gardens

Driving on Alvernon in the middle of Tucson is hardly where one would expect to find  acres of beautiful gardens.  When the original owners of the land moved there, it wasn't even close to mid-town.  They used it as a home to raise their children, as a cattle ranch, and for gardens where they grew and sold plants for the growing community.  When the wife was old, she gave it to the city with the caveat that it be a botanical garden, and so it has remained.  Now it is run by the Botanical Garden trust, who do an amazing job. 

The gardens are divided into areas.  A home garden for the desert, complete with a beautiful circle herb garden.  Huge old shade trees keep the walks bearable during the summer heat.  The desert garden is full of wonderful specimen plants that make one want to hurry home and plant, so our yards will look like this!

They have plant sales throughout the year, where local growers bring their goods in.  Sort of a one stop shopping of local plants.  We have gone to two of them and have always returned with our hands full!  Plus, we have found new places to shop for plants. Their next sale is this month.

During the winter months, when it is cooler, the greenhouse is turned into a butterfly exhibit.  Many different kinds of butterflies are hatched and fly free.  The butterflies will land on your hands, head, clothing, most anything that attracts them.  They especially seemed to like reds.  You can't stay long in the greenhouse, though, it way too hot and humid.



Saturday, April 16, 2011

Shoot Out at the OK Corral!


Finding a little of the Old West in Tombstone.
 The first time I visited Tombstone, was the summer I turned 8.  Not a lot has changed in the intervening 50 years.  Well, they have added gravel to the graveyard, so it isn't bare dirt.  It is still a tourist place.   They have blocked off the OK corral, so you have to pay $10 to see inside.  You do get a show, complete with shoot out, for you money.  More bang for your buck? 

The original courtroom.

There is a grand old courthouse, which is now a nice little museum.  You can see the old cells, newpaper articles from the shoot out, as well as how several locals felt the Earps were not the heroes of the day.  Vigilantes, was one description.  Clothing, household goods, shop goods, even the bar from one of the most famous saloons;  we spent over an hour looking at all the exhibits.  We also found out that the shootout really didn't happen in the OK Corral, but in the street in front of it.

The actors for the shoot out.  Drumming up a little business before the show.

The old buildings are worth looking at, many are gift shops, some selling nice, some selling tacky.  Stepping inside the Birdcage Theatre's lobby was a thrill.  The owner pointed out all the bullet holes around the room.  The steps up to the rooms of the "ladies of the night" were on the left; those steps were really worn!  Business must have been good!

Tombstone is also home to the largest rose in the world, a Lady Banks rose, planted in the mid-1800's, to cover the center courtyard of a home.  The home is still owned by the original family,  the current owner is the High School principal.  It wasn't in bloom on this visit, so we plan to come again in April.

On the way out of town, we stopped by the infamous cemetery.  Wooded grave markers, with names, dates, sometimes the reason of death.  One even apologised for hanging the man by mistake. At least they admitted their error on his tombstone for all to see. 



Here lies Lester Moore
Four slugs from a 44
No Les, No More

Billy Clanton
Tom McLaury
Frank McLaury
Murdered on the street of Tombstone
1881

Friday, April 15, 2011

Tucson Desert Museum

West of Tucson, across the Tucson mountains, is the Desert Museum.  The museum, while having a few buildings, is literally the desert itself.  There is a pathway that wanders through enclosures of native animals, gardens of desert plants, and shade structures to give you a break from the sun.  One could easily spend most of a day seeing all the wonders of the Desert Museum.
Twice a day, there are rapture shows, where a family group of Harris' Hawks show off their hunting skills, with daring feats of swooping, flying, turing about in mid air and generally giving all us land bound animals a good thrill.  This alone is worth the price of admission.

On our first visit, we discovered that buying a year family membership, not only got the two of us in, but free admission for 3 guests.  This took care of the five of us who were there.  Now we have free admission for the rest of the year.  I think we will go back often, especially as during the next few weeks all the desert plants will be in glorious bloom!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Frustration

Our internet is so slow that I can not upload photos most days.  We live 1/4 mile from the city limits which, unfortunately, means our internet is provided by satellite, with the speed being  only a tad bit faster than dial-up.  For  the small sum of  $10,000 we can have a cable buried to our property to receive DSL.  For some reason, that does not seem to be a viable option; we are weird like that!

So, I have decided to just keep posting but without pictures, unless the satellite gods are smiling on any given day.  Or I feel like driving to the Safeway parking lot and using their free wireless internet.  Ah, the wonders of modern technology!

Arriving in Inverness

Flying into Inverness, we were met by Karen and Barry.  Their smiling faces told us everything we really need to know; they are lovely folks...