Gila Woodpecker Nest
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Useful trials and errors

I was walking one morning and discovered in an old sycamore snag, this entrance to a Gila woodpecker nest. The birds are opportunists and will dig out rotten bark to make a soft, protective nest for their young. What struck me about this opening, though, were the number of false starts that surround it. The…

Cat in sink
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A cat is a cat, and that is that

Leaf is a BIG cat, and barely fits into this bathroom sink. But Leaf is also an intelligent cat. He knows after a meal, I’ll come here to brush my teeth, so he dashes into the bathroom and curls up here. He understands he’ll get scritches and soft words to coax him to leave. His…

Clear Creek at Flood Stage
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The delight of winter water

Imagine standing by this water on a crisp winter day as the rush of cold breeze caresses your face. This is the Verde Valley’s Clear Creek at flood stage. In a normal flow, water is half this volume, but the creek bed anticipates change. Over the millennia the water has hollowed out a wide swath…

Colored pencils in a cup
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The texture of potential

This picture is on my computer screen saver right now. It’s not an extraordinary photograph but it contains everything I like: a coaster for my coffee, a cup with cats on it, light for reading, and an image-within-an-image of sunshine. When I view it, I enjoy its textures: the roughness of the sandstone block, the…

Rowboat to Eliphante
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Come with me on a magical journey

Several years ago I was privileged to be part of a group that did volunteer gardening at a former artist’s home called Eliphante. It wasn’t easy to get to. Here you see us pulling across on a rope tow, from the little town of Cornville in Arizona. For 28 years, Eliphante was the home  for artists…

painted schoolbus
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Tic-tac-toe, free-spirit style

This is one determined, retired school bus, pulling that old pickup along behind. It’s almost as though the decorations of new paint on the bus counterbalance the lack of paint on the truck. I can see in my mind’s eye the fun it must have been to inscribe all of those circles. Now I wish I…

Lake Michigan Cottage Cookbook
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Book Review: THE LAKE MICHIGAN COTTAGE COOKBOOK by Amelia Levin

I love reading cookbooks because I get to enjoy all that great food without any calories! THE LAKE MICHIGAN COTTAGE COOKBOOK takes you on a road trip all around Lake Michigan, the only great lake that is entirely within the boundaries of the US. They say the trip, which encompasses parts of Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana…

Reality imitating art
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The reality of art

The Phoenix Art Museum has a wonderful wing devoted to installation art, modern art, post-modern art. Imagine my surprise when I viewed this picture, looked for the artist’s name, and discovered it wasn’t “art” at all, but rather a shadowed window into the museum loggia. Great fun!  There’s a saying among prospectors. Go out looking…

Low water crossing in SILENCE IN WEST FORK
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Low water crossing in SILENCE IN WEST FORK

One of the fun parts about writing the Pegasus Quincy mystery series is to revisit favorite haunts of mine in the Verde Valley. This low-water crossing is featured in the SILENCE OF WEST FORK. Peg has just discovered that a possible witness to a murder lives in a hidden shack on the other side of…

Racing to the Finish
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Book Review: Racing to the Finish by Dale Earnhardt, Jr.

I love books where I sense the amazing complexity of human experience. RACING TO THE FINISH, a memoir by Dale Earnhardt, Jr., NASCAR racer, is such a book. Let me start by saying I’m not a NASCAR fan. I’ve never been to a race, although I’ve seen them on television. Who can forget the sight…