Friday, September 25, 2009

This is Hilarious!

Arizona Ice Cream Truck

I received this in an email from Nikki Rainha this morning. Thanks, Nikki!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Palm Creek Wildlife

No....this blog entry isn't about wild happy hour parties....but is about the birds and four legged critters that reside here. Everyone knows about our owls, but there are other visitors to brag about as well.

The grand trophy for bird photos goes to Bill Wrightson for these great shots of a nesting nighthawk. As a lifelong avid bird watcher, I LOVE these photos and eagerly want to see a nest like this for myself. Thank you, Bill, for sharing!!

Here Mom is sunning herself in the nice warm gravel. Nighthawks are great insect hunters and catch most of their food in flight. They're awesome to watch in early morning or at dusk as they swoop through the air in pursuit of a juicy bug. They nest on the ground in gravel areas so Bill was lucky enough to come across a nest. Their camouflage is amazing at how they blend into their surroundings.

Will Updyke (Palm Creek Maintenance Manager) was recently called upon to investigate a furry critter seen lurking among the village homes. He set a live trap and wound up with this adorable little gray fox. After a short photo session, Will lovingly released the little guy back into the desert where he will be safer.

Being the nature buff that I am, I had to look up some internet info on the fox:
The Gray Fox is the only member of the dog family that can climb trees, usually to seek refuge or in search of roosting birds. It can reach a speed of 28 mph for short distances and has lived for up to 10 years in captivity; longevity in the wild is probably much shorter.The Gray Fox is smaller in size than the Coyote -- usually 32 to 45 inches long, and weighs 7 to 11 pounds. Its coloration is grizzled gray on top, with a white throat extending underneath; it is rusty-red along the sides. The tail usually has a black mane along the top, with a dark-gray or black tip. Gray Foxes have elongated muzzles and forward-pointing ears.Although primarily nocturnal, The Gray Fox may sometimes be seen foraging during the day, seeking primarily small mammals, but being an omnivore, it will also eat eggs, insects, birds, fruits, acorns and berries. If not using a hollow tree, the vixen (female) may dig her den into soil or enlarge the burrow of another animal. This den may be as much as 75 feet long and can have 10 or more exits. There are also numerous side chambers used for food storage and for the transfer of young, once a chamber becomes too soiled to inhabit.
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This has been a good season for our burrowing owl population! You can regularly see four of the cute feathered creatures at the entrance to their burrow right outside the front Palm Creek entrance. They're especially visible in the early morning or toward dusk when the temperatures are cooler.

Bill Wrightson captured this fantastic photo near the RV storage area. He said he frequently spots this little guy peering over a mound of dirt in that area. Perhaps there is another nest in the vicinity. Since Bill is out in the early morning chasing his golf ball around the course, he has great opportunity to come home with some trophy photographs.

There are four more owls usually perched on top the park model along the north wall. They must have a burrow right outside the wall or across Cottonwood Lane.

Visit Site 1160 along the north wall in the early morning. The little critters will be waiting and are quite patient while you ready your camera.
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Friday, September 18, 2009

TV Reception

I can surely tell that summer is winding down and the snowbird season is starting to hatch. As we drive through the park, I see more and more cars in driveways at the park models. Don't see too many RVs yet, but the park model folks are arriving daily. We also got our 2010 park stickers for our cars. We've had a definite break in the weather and it is beautiful outside this morning. It's after 9:00 am and my windows are still open with a lovely breeze blowing through the house. Love it!!

Today's mail included the following notice about the upgrade to Dish network TV. Sounds like it will be installed and ready for you when you return.

Have a GREAT day!

United Football League at Practice

WOW!!! Don and I (and friend Mel Heckman) drove out to Francisco Grande this morning to check out the United Football League progress at the new playing fields. We were awed by the construction and organization we saw. What used to be just plain desert dirt 5-6 months ago is now green sod covered playing fields of at least 4 football fields. The sports facility is HUGE and really looks nice.

There is still a lot of construction underway but it is truly amazing at how much has been accomplished so fast. Hats off to the organizers for a fantastic job. In this photo, you can see the Francisco Grande hotel in the background at the left side. The huge building in these photos is all sports complex for training rooms, offices, etc. We didn't attempt to go in since there was so much construction going on but I plan to check out more on my next visit.

We were able to drive way back to the practice fields (all nicely paved road and parking lot now) and we stood to watch the practice. We only planned on a brief drive by but we wound up staying at least an hour because it was fascinating to watch the drills. There are no bleachers so next time I'm lugging along a lawn chair and an umbrella for shade. I could sit there for hours watching. This photo shows how far behind the hotel we are......and its all now green grass!....and notice all the huge lighting fixtures. (Ignore my thumb in the upper corner!)

I'm hoping you can zoon in on these pictures to see the players in action. We were quite exhausted just watching the work out exercises!

There were a good number of the blue "carts" on the field that raise up in the air so the camera crews can get good video. All were occupied and recording away. The organization and preparation it takes to make all this happen so fast is really impressive.

As we were walking through the parking lot, we passed this worker finishing up on a very complex sprinkling system. Couldn't resist another picture. I'm always impressed to learn about the "behind the scenes" work and things like this that we seldom think about when we pass a pretty flower bed.

Our son, Anton, is a bartender at the Holiday Inn where most of the players are staying. He said the first night he walked into their banquet room, he thought he had shrunk a foot of height overnight. He said all the players are HUGE. You won't find any of them at the bar though as alcohol is not in their contract.
The teams are holding a scrimmage match Thursday night, Sept 24 at 7:00 pm at Casa Grande Union High School. I definitely plan to attend!
California Redwoods vs Las Vegas Locomotives

For more info about the league, go to their website at:

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Diamondbacks Game

The beautiful Mexican sage bushes are in full bloom. Aren't they gorgeous?? There are many of them along both sides of McMurray Blvd and I get to enjoy them every day on my way to work. This little beauty resides on the street right behind my house by Norm and Sue Jones. Awesome.

My boss (Vicki at Print & Pack Express) has fantastic season tickets for the Diamondbacks games. She had a schedule conflict for last weekend so gave me the tickets for Sunday's game. I haven't been to a pro baseball game in many years so it was a treat for me and a fantastic opportunity for my son Kevin. Kevin is an avid fan of most any sport....knows the players, their stats, etc. so he was my choice as a guest for the event. Don was left home to watch it on TV.
Along with the season tickets comes special valet parking which is really icing on the cake! A driver whisked away our car and we walked about 30 feet to the special press entrance. We already felt like VIPs.
Once inside, we found our section and started down the stairs to the field where we were greeted by an usher who took us to our the third row right behind home plate!! We then met our hostess who explained about the private lounge to which we had access and said she would take our order for lunch and bring it to our seats. We had but to ask (and tip of course).
The stadium is really nice. I think any seat in the house would be a good seat to watch the game. We arrived early so we had plenty of time for a good tour. By game time, there were 22,000 people in the seats.
The Diamondbacks lost to the Brewers (5-3) but we had a good time anyway. Thank you, Vicki and Jack, for a great day and very memorable event!
Palm Creek sponsors several Diamondback bus trips during season. I'm thinking I'll go back again for more peanuts and crackerjacks at the old ball game. I now have a Dbacks hat...can't just let it gather dust in a closet.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

UFL Training starts Monday

Big headlines in the Dispatch today read: "UFL Training Starts Monday at new Casa Grande Facility".
Earlier this year, the land north and east of Francisco Grande Hotel & Golf Resort was barren desert. Beginning this weekend, a 50-acre site there will host the Las Vegas Locomotives and CaliforniaRedwoods pro football teams as they begin training for the inaugural United Football League season.
In a span of a little more than four months, the area has undergone a remarkable metamorphosis. Six full-sized sports fields are waiting for the 127 players. Additionally, a 58,000 square foot building is nearly complete which will house locker rooms, a training center, rehab and sports medicine facilities, classrooms, storage and equipment space, and offices.

Most of the players, league officials, media, etc will be staying either at Francisco Grande or the Holiday Inn. Our son, Anton, is a bartender at the Holiday Inn and he's definitely looking forward to all the activity the sports complex will bring their way.

More BIG news: The weather forecast for the next four days calls for highs only in the 90s!!!! Hooray!!!! This I can handle!! Cooling down at night into the 70s. Awesome.

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A while back, I asked you readers for some advice on steam cleaning our new laminate flooring. Thank you for all the great feedack. Most everyone replied how much they liked their steam cleaner and how well it worked although some still had to dry the floor with a terry towel to keep it from streaking.

Don saw the Shark on sale at Target last weekend so rushed out and bought one for me to the tune of $129.35 including tax. We took it out of the box and tested it in a small section of the bathroom just to see how it works. It appeared to work just fine and is quite an impressive little machine. I was just leary about using it though based on what I read at the website of our flooring manufacturer so luckily opted to wait until I heard back from the company. The website didn't mention anything about steam cleaning but did say that the flooring should not get wet and should only use a slightly damp mop. I wrote them an email and asked about the steam cleaning. WOW!! Here is the reply I received from Quick Step customer service: "The steamer will ruin your floors and void your warranty. That amount of water on the floor is bad and will warp the boards. The steam will open up the joints and allow water to penetrate the HDF (high density fiberboard) and causing the boards to swell. This would be maintenance related damage and not covered under the warranty. " there anyone out there interested in buying a brand new Shark steamer???? We, unfortunately, already threw away the box so can't return the product. Another one of life's hard earned lessons.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009


Hello Readers--

We had RAIN this week!!!! Beautiful precious rain for about half an was wonderful. The temp dropped down to 78 and it rained hard enough to wash everything nice and clean. We were practically dancing in the streets. Everyone I talked to the next day said they were out sitting on their patio to enjoy the fresh air and the smell of rain. I tried to take another video of the rain, but blogger says it can't recognize the file and therefore wouldn't upload. I must keep trying. Meanwhile, you get a still photo to look at.
Don and I had morning coffee on the patio for three days in a row cause it was below 80 in the mornings. Here's hoping we've turned the corner on the excessive heat and record breaking temperatures. Whew! It was nice to be able to sit outside and chat with the neighbors as they were out walking their dog or just out for some exercise. How many of you know the familiar face of Kelly Kerns and his puppy dog "Miss Murphy"? Murphy keeps our house on her rounds so she gets a friendly pet and a cheery good morning.

We had a very nice Labor Day event up at the clubhouse Monday with over 60 people in attendance. The park provided brats, polish sausage, and beverages and we guests brought a tasty side dish. We certainly have some excellent cooks in this park. Food was A+++ again. Thank you Diane Gaines and crew for another fun summer time event.

I doubt you can recognize many folks from the back of their heads, but no one was interested in looking up to the camera when they had all that good food in front of them.

A few weeks ago I wrote a quick paragraph about the well digging truck that was working here. Since then I've learned a few more facts about that well. The repairs cost the park about $35,000. Ouch! That well is an astonishing 1,207 feet deep!!! I also didn't know that Arizona has some strict laws about the amount of water that can be used on a golf course. I guess we have some way to meter how much goes to water the course and how much to regular landscaping. It would be interesting to learn more about what it takes to keep this place running. Perhaps I'll don a reporter's hat and scope out for more info.

Friday, September 04, 2009

Another Boring Weather Report

September marks the end of the official "monsoon season" in Arizona. This year the "monsoon" seemed non-existant. We only had two events that I would consider "storms". The first one I documented for you with my first ever video clip (I didn't say anything about professional quality) and the second was just yesterday. We had some dirt and wind last night but not of the strength that lured me out with camera in hand. We were hoping for some rain but had to be satisfied with a superb lightning show. Somewhere...someone...must have gotten precious rain, but it wasn't here. We did have a 13 minute drenching rain one night last week but in total, we've had less than one inch of rain so far this year. Even with the aftermath of the Baja hurricane headed our way, the forecast still only calls for 30% chance of isolated thunderstorms. I hope one finds Casa Grande.

Thursday, September 03, 2009


It's a busy morning for many of us today. After morning household chores (empty dishwasher, dust, vacuum) I hurried off to water aerobics, then home to shower, then returned books to the library and picked up tickets for the upcoming Labor Day BBQ and ice cream social. Of course, I had to stop and chat with everyone I met along the way.

Maintenace crews were busy out on the golf course, doing some repairs at the hot tub, and replacing light bulbs and washing light fixtures. Unfortunately, this gent didn't see me approach with camera in hand and when the flash went off, he thought a bulb had blown up or something. We laughed, I apologized and went on my way.
I also saw the ladies from the housekeeping staff out scrubbing up the BBQ grills and getting them ready for the Labor Day party.

On the way back, I saw this gentleman climbing the palm trees along the path between the tennis courts. He climbs way up with the heavy chain saw hanging from his belt, manages to get past all the picky thorny dead leaves, saws them off and then climbs down again. One tree after another after another after another. Whew!! I chatted with him briefly and he even seemed to be in a good mood.