Saturday, July 31, 2010

High Country Life

I imagined the desert to be rather desolate.   Prescott is high mountain desert and is full of amazing life!  Bugs, beetles, lizards, frogs, plants, everything is just so cool!  The life here is so vibrant and so unique. 

Shaun has been working two jobs.  Although he's at the tail end of one job and at the beginning of a better job, it's still a ton of work.  I've been working at Prescott College through the federal work study program doing grounds maintenance.  I'm always outside pulling weeds, gardening, and swinging axes at trees.  I really like it and the job will allow me the flexibility I need to go to school.
In our time off, we've been trying to get out and explore the area as much as possible.  I've found great pleasure exploring the rocks around nearby Willow Lake.  I try to make it to the rocks before sunset in order to catch the amazing colors.  The dogs have been so happy swimming, jumping off the rocks, and chasing lizards.
At night, we open up the house to cool it off, and have been often surprised by incredibly large beetles and quite a few dragon flies.  Unfortunately, lots of the insects meet untimely deaths at the jaws of dogs before I can catch them and return them to the outdoor world.
Our chickens our thriving, thankfully!  They've been enjoying the afternoon thunderstorms and the times we let them roam the yard to eat bugs.  They should be popping out some eggs any day now and I have a feeling they will be so so delicious!
Our new roommate, Niels, arrived a few days ago and we have really started to launch into home improvement projects.  Shelves, fence gates, and improved chicken coops are all on the list, as well as many cooking projects and fermentation experiments!  Beer, wine, kombucha, and kimchi are all soon to be bubbling in our kitchen and there has been no shortage of fresh baked bread and fresh cut herbs.  I have cuttings of rosemary soaking to form roots for planting, and my job at the school allows me to take home transplants like mint, and agave.
It's been a month and we are finally starting to make some friends.  Having jobs helps, and almost everyone on our street is a fellow Prescott College student with similar interests.  Even the dogs have made friends.  A couple of pooches from across the street like to come over for visits almost daily, however if they don't stop using the bathroom in our yard, I'm going to have to beef up our fence.
Life here is good.  And it's only getting better.  I can't wait to see what the future will bring us!

A good swim in the lake.

The sun setting over Granite Mountain.

Snails in my yard after a rain.

A long horn beetle on our porch.

Another gorgeous sunset over Granite Mountain.

Can it get any better?!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Things That Go Bump In The Night

Anytime you move or visit somewhere new, a lot of exciting things are bound to happen.  Really, it's just because everything is unfamiliar and there are a lot of new 'norms' to get accustomed to.
In the desert, not a whole lot gets accustomed to the mid-day heat, so all the action happens at night.  Here in Prescott, there have been live music shows, craft fairs, movies, and street dances almost every night in the Courtyard downtown.
And of course, after the lights go down and the crowds disperse, all those other more silent, sneaky things that go 'bump' in the night come out to play.

A couple weeks ago, Shaun and I went on a midnight bike ride to buy ice-cream, just a couple blocks from our house.  Just around a bend, Shaun stopped in the road to tell me he saw a javelina.
Upon hearing the unfamiliar word, I saw an image of a chupacabra in my head, and immediately flipped a U on my bike and was pedaling as fast as I could the other direction.
A Chupacabra is a mysterious dog-like/reptile-like creature of modern myth, mostly in Latin cultures, that kills farm animals and sucks out their blood.

Needless to say, I saw whatever Shaun was talking about out of the corner of my eye, lurking in the dark, and it scared the hell out of me!
Turns out a javelina is actually a Collared Peccary and we had rode through a whole herd of them, babies and all.
When Shaun yelled at me to stop and I actually got a good look at what I thought was surely going to eat me, turn out it was actually pretty cute with it's eyes shinning in my bike light.  I probably scared them more than they scared me.  
So, the javelinas scattered into the rocks and we bought our ice-cream, but my heart didn't stop racing until we returned to the house.

A couple nights ago I saw some huge dark lump crawling across the living room floor.  At first I thought it was a large cockroach, but it was moving rather slowly and clumsily.  The dogs were pretty interested in it, but good thing they didn't try to eat it, as it had some rather powerful mandibles.  I captured the crawly insect to discover that it was 3 inch long Longhorn beetle.  Cool!
(not my photo)

Not so cool... Last night I switched on the light and stepped out the front door to find myself face to face with a giant black widow!  The black beauty was mid-construction of her tangled web, right across our front entry.  I have never seen a black widow so big! 
I took a couple pictures until she shied away from the light and hid in a corner.  I called around town today to find out if there was any naturalist who would want the damned thing, but no luck.  I'm going to let her live in the dark on our porch until she starts making an egg sack, mostly because she is just too cool!, and partly because I am too afraid to get close enough to kill her.  
Normally I suck spiders up in the vacuum, but something tells me that's not gonna work on a spider of this size and caliber.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Two Dogs Free To Anyone Who Wants 'Em

Tragedy struck in the Karlan/Davis household today.
I got out of bed around 8 to find the bathroom door open.  I asked Shaun if he had already taken our little chicks outside to the coop.  
He said 'no'.

Harvey's favorite thing in the world is to pull the stuffing out of squeaky toys until he finds the plastic squeaker.  A whole box of squeaky things locked in the bathroom...  Poor Harvey, I can only imagine his disappointment to find that the fluffy little things had no squeakers.

But no matter how happy, sad, disappointed, or proud of himself he was, I can guarantee it was no match for how upset I was.

Of course, not all the blame can be placed on Harvey.  Suka has been know to magically open doors...

My first urge was to kick them out on the street with 'FREE' signs duct-taped to their faces.  Luckily for the mangy mutts, my rage was lessened by my attendance of a seasonal parade, and the fact that our neighborhood has at least two ice-cream trucks.

I guess I will consider apologies.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

2010 Roadtrip, Završni Dio, Arizona!

Final Part, The Grand Canyon State

My god, we've already been in Arizona three weeks.  So much has happened, I can't keep up.  I'm going to fly through all the details here in chronological order so I can get back on track.  

Here goes...
June 9- Drove across the Grand Canyon.  Wow!  Stopped at Lee's Ferry, where the Canyon raft trips start, and played in the water.  Drove to Flagstaff where we had some drinks with a friend, then camped in the woods and bouldered some until we found poison ivy.  Spent the rest of the evening catching ants to feed to antlions.

June 10-  Played frisbee golf in the park, then climbed for just a little bit in the afternoon.  We made it back to Flag to catch our friend closing up at work.  We proceeded to paint the town red and watched the sunrise from the top of the hospital parking garage.

June 11-  Nothing happened.  Too hung over to move.

June 12-  Shaun and I volunteered to work at the Flagstaff Pride Festival.  We sat in little cage and sold tickets for half the day.  We couldn't even see the festival happenings and the tickets cost too much, so nobody really liked us.

June 13- Left Flag around 8 am.  Made it all the way to Cottonwood, 30 miles from Prescott, and our car broke.  For some reason it wouldn't rev over 3,000 rpms.  All shops closed on Sunday, so we drove very slowly over the mountain, through Jerome, to Prescott.  Very pretty scenery and amazing views from Jerome.  Must have been Corvette day or something... every Corvette in the country was driving the road over the pass.  Probably saw 300 Corvettes!

June 14- Bought a hotel room for the week at Apple Creek Cottages.  Really cute little place by a stream, great courtyard with bbq grills, and very dog friendly!

June 16-  Found a house to rent very close to the college, very cheap rent, very cool landlord, and in the 'Eco-hood'. All college students, hippies, and chickens, with a garden in every yard! The landlord gave us the rest of the month free, so we could clean the needed it! Shaun and I each bought a new bike for commuting around town.

June 19- Shaun found a job and started immediately.  Little restaurant that really fills the niche for old people.

June 22- Got the car into the shop.  Fixed in just a couple hours and thankfully was cheap!

June 27- Climbing!  Too hot out and Shaun got a good burn.

June 28- Rode our bikes to the grocery store around 11pm.  Rode through a herd of javelinas in the road.  Scared the hell outa me!  They look like boars, but they are actually peccaries.

June 29-  New roommate showed up.  Really cool med student only staying for a month.  The room is super cheap and 1/4 mile from the hospital, so it worked out perfect for him, and helped us pay our first month's rent!  Someone gave us a young chicken, food, and feeders for free.  Yay!

June 30-  Bought a car and 5 baby chicks!

Now we're up to date!  So, today-  Young chicken disappeared.  She escaped from the yard somehow, and I don't think she's going to make it back.  Had to have the new car towed back to our house, but it's an easy fix and Shaun has done it before.  The High Sierra Music Festival starts today in Quincey, California.  We're not there, obviously, because we had to sell our tickets to pay our rent, but that's ok.  There is a lot happening in Prescott right now.  The world's oldest rodeo is going on right now, and there are events every day in the park.

Things seem to be working out really well, and I think we've broke the 'we-shouldn't-be-here' streak.  Bozeman feels very far away, but it's not a bad thing.  Prescott feels right.  

Photos of our home in Prescott here.