Friday, August 16, 2013

10 Tips and tricks for vacationing in Arizona

Grand Canyon

Vacation in Arizona tips:

1.     Visit in the summer.  I know it can be extremely hot, but since the peak season is March- May hotels and resorts are cheapest, sights, stores, restaurants are much less crowded during the off peak times of June-August.

2.     Arizona is a very cool place.  I am not talking the weather, however, because temps in the summer can be 108 almost every day.  I know you’ve heard the cliché that it is “dry heat”, but heat is heat so be sure to bring a cooler of water wherever you go.

3.     Sun block is a must because honestly it hardly ever rains and is sunny every day!

4.     The Phoenix Zoo is small but awesome.  You can feed giraffes, get up close and personal with spider monkeys and see all sorts of animals.  Go early in the mornings since in off-season the zoo is only open from 7:30- 2:00.  The day we went it was Tuesday and it was $10 Tuesdays, which is half off the regular $20 admission price.

5.     If the heat is becoming a drain, no worries, simply drive 2 hours towards the mountains and temperatures will drop by 20 degrees!  (Believe it or not in the winter there are parts of Arizona where it snows!) There are lots to see and do in wonderful little western towns like Williams, Flagstaff, and Prescott valley.

6.     No visit to Arizona will be complete without visiting the Grand Canyon.  It is a trek from Phoenix (about 3 ½ hours by car) so stay the night in Flagstaff or Williams.  By the way if you are in Williams take the Grand Canyon railroad train.

7.     Don’t forget your camera. Even though a photos do not do justice to the majesty of the Canyon, you will be kicking yourself all the way home if your forget it in your hotel room (Ha I swear I didn’t make my hubby turn around)

Beautiful Sedona
8.     Be on the lookout for the California condor while at the Canyon.  This is rarest bird in the world and the largest in North America.  In 1982 there were fewer than 25 left and facing sure extinction.  Now through captive breeding programs there are over 160.  There are 73 wild condors in Arizona.  While I was there I spotted and photographed 3.  They all have numbers on their wings so you can even look up their sex, when they were hatched and released in the wild.  Many people will never, ever see a California condor even in zoos. At the Grand Canyon you might just see them in their natural habitat! 

9.     If anyone in your party is 62 or older for a cost of $10 you can purchase a National park pass that will cover you and up to three people in your party at any National park, in any state in the country for life!! Yes I said for life.  If you want to go visit the Skyline drive in Va., the whole carload is free!  The only snag is it doesn’t work for non-citizens; they will have to pay $80 for a year.

10.  Hopi ruins are an interesting side trip.  Visit Montezuma’s Castle and Montezuma’s well, to see the ruins where prehistoric peoples lived and thrived. 

Montezuma's castle

I will post some photos of the condors on a later post so stay tuned, and enjoy the beauty of Arizona! (After all since they are so rare they deserve the spotlight)  

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Update: Hummingbird feeder thief

Well, I think that I have discovered the hummingbird feeder thief.  It couldn't be anything but a raccoon! Two days ago when I awoke I found the feeder gone.  I looked and on the ground the feeder was in pieces, and I swear that little sucker unscrewed it to the get the nectar out.  I apologize to bats everywhere, unless of course it is the infamous count  I doubt that they could have chewed the wire holding the feeder on the hook, took it on the ground and unscrewed the cylinder.  I should have known.  We put bungee cords on the trash can lids to keep them on and he hasn't figured out how to remove that yet.

Alas the feeder was damaged, chewing and a crack so it won't hold nectar anymore so I had to go out and buy a new one.  Every try and buy a hummingbird feeder at the almost end of the season?  Hard to find them but I managed.

Now I take the feeder in at night and replace it in the morning.  Everyone is happy--except maybe Rocky raccoon.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Bats in my belfry, or is raccoons on deck?

I love feeding hummingbirds so from early spring to late September they frolic and flit around my feeder.  Lately, however I am experiencing a bit of a mystery. Every morning I fill the feeder and at dusk there is till nectar in it, but by the next morning, it is empty.  This is no one time occurrence but happening every single night!

So since the feeder is not leaking, a nocturnal visitor must be the culprit.  What could it be?  My first thought was that it was a raccoon, but upon further investigation I am coming to believe bats are visiting my feeder.

Anyone have this problem?  I don’t know why it is-- but odd things always seem to come my way.  As it stands I am re-filling the feeder every morning.  I have sat up late, looked out on the deck hoping to catch the little thief in the act with no luck. Just last night the feeder was knocked off it’s pole completely.  

So, I am thinking  I have no choice but to take it in and put it in the garage every night.

Suggestions are welcome. 

Monday, August 5, 2013

Peanuts, peas, goober peas

So I come to the letter P and at first it was hard to figure out something I could write about that letter and then I came upon the obvious.  I though P, is for Pea.  But regular old peas aren’t very interesting and then I thought of another sort of pea. Since I am kind of a history buff, I knew that goober peas are in actuality peanuts.

What you may ask makes goober peas different from regular old peanuts?  The answer is simple.  They are boiled peanuts.  For all you northerners who have never had boiled peanuts, you are not missing much.  Personally I think they taste awful and the texture takes some getting used to, but during the civil war when rations were short, confederate soldiers thought of them as manna from heaven. They even wrote a song about it that you may have heard but didn’t know what they were referring to. The lyrics follow:

Sitting by the Roadside on a summer’s day, chatting with my messmates passing time away,
Lying in the shadow underneath the trees, Goodness how delicious, eating goober peas!
Peas! Peas! Peas! Peas! Eating goober peas! Goodness how delicious, eating goober peas!

When a horseman passes, the soldiers have a rule,
To cry out at their loudest “Mister here’s your mule.”
But another pleasure enchantinger than these, is wearing out your Grinders, eating goober peas!
Peas! Peas! Peas! Peas! Eating goober peas! Goodness how delicious, eating goober peas!

Just before the battle the General hears a row, He says the Yanks are coming, I hear their rifles now,
He turns around in wonder, and what do you think he sees, The Georgia Militia, eating goober peas!
Peas! Peas! Peas! Peas! Eating goober peas! Goodness how delicious, eating goober peas!

I think my song has lasted almost long enough, The subject’s

interesting, but rhymes are mighty rough,
I wish this war was over when free from rags, and fleas,
We’d kiss our wives and sweethearts and gobble goober peas!
Peas! Peas! Peas! Peas! Eating goober peas! Goodness how delicious, eating goober peas!

So now you know.  Peas, goober peas, peanuts, one and the same-- and P is for peanuts.

I just got back this weekend from a wonderful vacation in Phoenix, Arizona and vicinity.  In between the ABC book posts I am going to add some posts with travel tips, that I learned the hard way.  And also some interesting facts along the way, so stay tuned.  

By the way my very creative friend Annie has started a new blog, so stop by, visit and show some comment love...Adventures with Anniscrafts
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