Thursday, February 28, 2008

Backyard Wildlife

As I sit here in my office typing, I can hear our Sophie the cat in the kitchen, making her clucking/purring sound. There must be some sort of wildlife in the backyard which she can see through the patio doors. It could be almost anything. We have a wide range of birds back there, including a green parakeet, hummingbirds, and all sorts of more mundane looking things. I heard a woodpecker back there while we were moving in. We've also got lots of bunnies, on the lawn, in the hedge, nibbling on our vegetables. My mom was out there early in the morning last week, and said that she saw a coyote! It saw her, then spooked and ran away, leaping over the 6+ foot tall fence. A couple of days ago, Jaime and I were driving home just after sunset, came around a corner, and saw a BIG bird on the road. As we approached, we saw another, and another, five in all. They were red-tailed hawks (we think), and they had caught a prize (I mentioned that there were lots of bunnies around...). It was into twilight, and difficult to get a clear picture without a tripod, but the picture above is my best shot. Between the hawks and coyotes, we've decided not to let Sophie wander around outside without parental supervision.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Life Roars On

Wow, a week just flew by there without any posts. I was busy hosting and entertaining a bunch of family and friends here at the new house. My parents showed up last wednesday night. Jaime's parents came in on Thursday, and Andrew (Spaz) and Julia came in on Friday. Friday night was Jaime's installation ceremony at the temple, and on Saturday we invited lots of people over for a house-warming celebration. The house was full of our guests, mostly locals, but also Greg, Ilene, and Ilene's mom, who had driven up from Tucson for the weekend. The house quieted down on Sunday evening, and then on Monday Jaime, my parents, and I drove up to Prescott Valley to visit my great Aunt Lilo, whom I last saw when I was about five years old. That was fantastic, and we continued on to Sedona where we spent the night (sans Jaime, who had to go back to Scottsdale since she was working Tuesday) and yesterday morning, hiking and exploring art galleries. We tried to hike the west fork of Oak Creek trail, but there was a good layer of snow all over the trail, and the creek was running high, making the water crossings cold and somewhat dangerous, so we didn't get very far. I'll try that trail again in a couple of months once it's warmed up a bit and melted all the snow.

Anyway, I hope to be posting lots of pictures from the past week, but I'll start with this rushing torrent of oak creek for today.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Beef: it's what's for dinner

We are settling into the new house. It's been a bit of a tug-of-war to decide on food each night. We want to start using our new glorious kitchen, but after a full day of moving and/or shopping we feel exhausted, and its a bit easier to go out, or pick something up to bring home. Saturday we were feeling energetic, and decided to cook beef shortribs, following a recipe I found online. Short ribs are a slow cooked food, necessary to get the meat nice and tender. Unfortunately, we didn't start cooking until after 8pm, which meant that the ribs were finally ready to be eaten around 11:45pm. Late dinner! Jaime whipped up some garlic mashed cauliflower to go with the ribs, and it was a very yummy meal. The herbs for the ribs came from our garden, so we really got to put our new house, garden, and kitchen to good use. The meal was quite filling, and it helped power my early Sunday morning, when I was up at 7am to finish (mostly) the moving process, meeting up with a couple guys and their truck at our old apartment to move all our furniture to the new house. That's done now, and we realized the new house (at ~3000 square feet) is much bigger than the apartment (~1000 square feet), so we needed to buy some more furniture, which we did during a sunday and monday furniture shopping spree. That was a doozy, and we picked out counterstools for the kitchen, a couch, chair, and daybed for the living room, a table and chairs for the dining room, and a bedroom set for the master bedroom. I'm now feeling especially poor, but we sure do have nice stuff. There's still some more things to buy to get the house fully set up (I went light-bulb shopping yesterday to set us up with at least one backup bulb for each bulb type in the house (5 different types)), but I think I'm going to declare March a month without purchases. I'll buy only food (and gasoline), and try not to get any more stuff. That will be quite a relief, I think.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Fresh Juice

I walked into the yard this morning looking for some breakfast. It's so much earthier than peaking in the fridge. Anyway, it's citrus fruit season out back, with oranges and grapefruits filling the trees. We've got three orange trees (navel, mandarin, and juicing orange) and one big grapefruit tree. The mandarins are ripe, the navel oranges are quite sweet, and the juicing oranges are a bit tart still. But proper combination of the three should produce perfect juice. I just need to go out and buy a juicer first (yes, I could do it all with a fork, but there are ALOT of fruit hanging from the trees, and I'm investing for the future. I'm not a big grapefruit fan, but my mom is, and she's coming in just a couple days for a visit, so the fruit is ready for her. Also, our peach tree is now in full blossom. Apparently it fruits sometime in May/June. So now I'm looking around for some good fruit beer recipes to use all these fruit with.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Desert Rain

Well, looky here. 60 hours into my blog, and still only one post. That's hardly a daily schedule. I had plans for a picture yesterday, but I needed help to take the shot, and things didn't work out. Maybe another time. I was going to try to get it today, but the weather didn't cooperate. I went to play ultimate last night, and got hailed on. This morning when I woke up and looked into the backyard, the pool surface was disturbed by the pitter patter of raindrops. It was only a light drizzle, but it's still cold and kind of wet outside. I did some moving of stuff this morning, during a dry spell, but then spent the afternoon holed up in the house, trying to figure out the best settings for the thermostats. Tomorrow I'm off on a bike tour, first up to REI, where they are having their (semi?)annual garage sale. Then I'm thinking of heading way down to Mesa, about 20 miles away, to attend the 8th annual Strong Beer Festival. I won't be able to bike back from that (too many miles, too much beer), so I only get to go if my princess in shining blue armor (that would be our Mini) is able to come pick me up afterwards. If not, I'll just go for a ride somewhere else and save the beer drinking for another time.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008


Howdy All, welcome to the new blog. It's experimental at this point, and may serve to replace my Chilean pic o' the day site (or this might be further replaced by a real website... we'll see). My old website got started shortly after I moved into my first house in Chile, 5+ years ago. So it seems appropriate to start this one now, on the first day after moving into my (our, with my wife, Jaime) new house in Phoenix, AZ. We got the keys about a week and a half ago, and had our Chilean goods delivered last Wednesday. I spent the following ~five days unpacking lots of boxes, and then, once that was done, started transferring things from our apartment to the house. Yesterday we got the phone, cable, and internet installed, which was the last roadblock before we could move in. So at 1pm, after the internet and cable checked out okay in the new place, I picked up Sophie the cat, and brought her over to the new house. Once she transferred, we were officially moved in. There's still lots of stuff at the old place, which I'll be bringing over later this week, but we sleep here now.

Moving into a new house is expensive. Primarily, the purchase of the house itself, but then also in buying new things to put in the house. This place is bigger than our house in Chile, and also bigger than Jaime's old place in Austin, so we don't have enough furniture already between us to fill the new place. Consequently we are in furniture buying mode. We have plans for couches, but the first purchase was a chair:

Purchase number two was a new HD LCD TV. It's big. Too big too fit into my camera, so no pictures of it yet. Happily, it wasn't too big to fit into our mini car, so it is already in the house. We've got one more week to try to get everything purchased, moved, or set up, before our first guests arrive (our parents). So I'd better stop writing this, and get cracking on that.

Oh, one more note readers of my old website: Unlike that old one, this new one uses real blogging software, so you can write me comments and give me some feedback (hint hint).