Tuesday, March 14, 2023

Second Chance Cats, edited by Callie Smith Grant

As the subtitle says, this is a collection of "True stories of the cats we rescue and the cats who rescue us."  I really enjoyed it.  Lots of warm fuzzies.  A bit of heartbreak.  Some "Yes!  My cat does that!" moments.  Some laughs and smiles.  With such a collection, there are always stories I like more than others or think are better written.  A few got a little preachy or a little samey, but none were bad.  Of course, my love of cats couldn't have ANYTHING to do with my enjoyment level. 

Now I want to read some of the other collections edited by Callie Smith Grant.

4.5 stars.   

Thursday, March 2, 2023

Witches of Brooklyn: What the Hex?!, by Sophie Escabasse


This is another really cute instalment of the series.  There's good friend drama, creative magic, peaceful solutions to problems, a cute pet, and more.  I'm still loving the art, the characters, and the overall feel of the series.

4.5 stars

See my review of the first book here:  Witches of Brooklyn. 

Tuesday, February 28, 2023

Equity in the Desert

A strange thing about the desert:  some plants leaf out after a good rain.  But apparently not all plants have equal access to the rain.  Here are two ocotillos, one on the right side of the trail and one on the left.  They were close enough to touch at the same time (and I took the two pictures from the same spot).  Amazing.  And you can draw some interesting parallels to our society, no?  

Tuesday, February 21, 2023

Hummingbird in Phoenix

 While I was hiking at the Piestewa Peak area in Phoenix, I spotted this beauty:

I love  hummingbirds.

Wednesday, February 15, 2023

Fun Trail Signs--White Tank Regional Park, Phoenix

Fun trail sign at White Tank Regional Park:

This is on the Ford Canyon trail, and it's really not that hazardous.  But it IS a very fun trail, with a nice destination (little pools that hold water much of the year).    

Saturday, February 11, 2023

What Happened to the Sonoran Desert?

The Sonoran Desert may be the lushest desert in the world, but "lush" is relative.  Until yesterday.  I'd never seen it so green.  We've had more rain and cooler temperatures than usual lately, and the rain has been at better intervals than normal.  And this...this is the beautiful result.  One guy I met on the trail said, "It's like a golf course!"  So all the people who are in town for the Super Bowl and are out hiking are going to be like, "Why do these people think they live in a desert?"  

Pictures are from the Phoenix Sonoran Preserve (Desert Vista Trailhead).  The greenest sections were on the back end of the Desert Tortoise trail and the Valley Vista trail (which also appears on some maps as the highly accurate--as of today--Valle Verde trail).

The poppies were also out:

Hike Stats:

Distance: A little over 11 miles

Elevation Gain:  A little over 2700 feet

You can take much shorter hikes here.  I was training for the Grand Canyon.

My route:  From the Desert Vista Trailhead up the Hawk's Nest Trail, clockwise on the Dixie Mountain Loop to the Western Vista Trail (which I did twice), then to the Dixie Summit Trail (which I did twice), then to the Valley Vista trail, then clockwise on the Great Horned Owl trail just to the Union Peak Trail (which I did twice) and then backtracked on the Great Horned Owl trail and the Valley Vista trail to the Desert Tortoise Trail and back to the parking lot.  BEAUTIFUL hike in this weather and this green.

Saturday, January 28, 2023

Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum Book of Answers, by David Wentworth Lazaroff

This is interesting, well written, well-organized, and useful for those living in the Sonoran Desert.  It also has great pictures and useful appendices.  

It is a bit old (1998), so I fear a few of the sections may be slightly misleading because the author was speaking about the habitat destruction and climate change of 25 years ago, and I'm afraid that at least one of those things has sped up.  I would love to see a new edition with just a few small updates, because it's a great book.