Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Roadrunner in My Yard

One afternoon, last week I looked up from my desk and saw a roadrunner just outside my window. I should have tried taking a photo from inside, but there are screens on the window. So, instead, I stepped as stealthily as possible outside. I was able to catch a quick shot (below) of him dashing across the rocks, and although it's not the best picture, it does show some of the bright colors on his tail and around his eyes that you would generally miss. Once he crossed my yard, he perched on our fence for a while.

Monday, September 28, 2009


The charity golf tournament we play in every year begins with bagpipes. It's always fun to watch him walk across the greens and a little ironic to see the palm trees in the background!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

The Red Garter

I looked back at some of my photos a few weeks ago from Williams and came across this one of The Red Garter Bed and Bakery in Williams. What caught my attention originally, of course, is the mannequin leaning out of the window, but I've learned this building has a fascinating history as well.

Originally designed as a saloon and bordello, this brick building was built in 1897 by German tailor, August Tetzlaff, who hoped to capitalize on an anticipated silver and copper boom at the Grand Canyon. The brothel, including eight cribs, was located upstairs, and the girls were known to hang out of the windows and call to the men below. A steep flight of stairs known as the "Cowboy's Endurance Test" led to the girls' rooms upstairs.

The building housed other vices and corruption. Two rooms behind the saloon housed Chinese railroad workers, who operated an opium den in their living quarters. Frequently, the sheriff would be called to the den to investigate a murder, only to find nothing out of the ordinary when he arrived.

Although Arizona outlawed prostitution in 1907, the law wasn't strictly enforced. The brothel and saloon continued to operate (even through Prohibition) until the mid-1940s when a murder on the steep back stairs led to a crackdown on prostitutoin.

The Red Garter Bed and Bakery opened in 1994. I'm not sure I'll be staying there anytime soon--it's reportedly haunted. Check out the Southwest Ghost Hunters Association (where I found a lot of information about The Red Garter's History) at http://www.sgha.net/az/williams/red_garter.html.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Roping Practice

I saw these guys practicing team roping when I walked my daughter to the bus stop yesterday morning.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Junior High Band

This is the Newell Barney Junior High intermediate/concert band performing last night at the Queen Creek Performing Arts Center. Newell Barney is the newest school in the district. Three years ago, when we moved here, there were four elementary schools plus Queen Creek Middle School and Queen Creek High School. Newell Barney opened last year as a middle school (6th, 7th and 8th grades).

In an attempt to save money this year, the district decided that instead of having two middle schools, they would have a middle school and a junior high. All fifth and sixth graders in the district attend Queen Creek Middle School now, and all seventh and eighth graders attend Newell Barney Junior High.

No changes were made to the overcrowded high school although I heard last night that nearby Combs school district, which sends its high school students to Queen Creek, will soon open their own high school. From what I've heard, it can't be soon enough!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Metal Donkey

I saw this donkey while I was golfing last weekend in a backyard along the course. I'm not sure what I liked so much about him other than he was life size and looked realistic.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Early Evening Quad Ride

The unincorporated areas in Queen Creek, like the one where I live, have dirt roads and open lots, making it a great place to introduce the family to riding quads. Not a day goes by that I don't see/hear half a dozen quads and dirt bikes zipping up and down the roads around our house and the lot behind it.

Check out the house behind my husband and my daughter. The windows, water heater, doors and anything else of value have been pulled out. The owner ran out of money in the middle of the build, and the property went back to the bank. The builder pulled everything he could out of the house when he realized that the owner couldn't pay him for his expenses and the work he had already completed.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009


Queen Creek has a mix of large horse/farm properties, subdivisions, custom homes and trailers. It's not uncommon to see a trailer like this next to a beautiful custom home. I liked this trailer because of its bright colors.

Monday, September 21, 2009


I've been trying to photograph this hummingbird for weeks. Today, he let me get closer than usual.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Another Saguaro

Look at all the holes made by birds!

I won't be able to post again this weekend. I'll be playing at a charity golf tournament at the Wigwam Resort on the other side of town. I guess "other side of town" is a bit of an ironic statement. The drive from Queen Creek to Litchfield Park/Avondale takes almost an hour and a half, without traffic, and there is no way the term "town" applies to the behemoth metropolitan area that is Phoenix. Look for posts of Arizona's favorite recreational sport on Monday!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Queen Creek Ranch

This is the entrance to a house at the base of the San Tan Mountains. Some of the properties here are larger, maybe 5-10 acres, with barns and riding arenas. I don't remember if this one had a horse set-up, but it definitely has that Old West ranch feel.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Storm at the Lake

This downpour seemed to be headed right for us Saturday night while we were at Lake Roosevelt, but it dispersed before it made it our way. In fact, we never did get any rain. Notice, though, how it's dark where we're standing and yet the sun is shining where it's storming. Odd!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Lake Roosevelt

We went camping this weekend at Lake Roosevelt, which is roughly north of the Superstition Mountains and Four Peaks. The facilities there are wonderful, but it wouldn't be my first choice this time of the year (we went with a church group) since it's still desert camping and temperatures hovered around 100 degrees late Saturday afternoon. Luckily, there was a nice breeze coming off the lake and a storm system cooled things down a bit early Saturday evening.

Friday, September 11, 2009


I saw this lizard on a hike in the area. I'm not sure what kind it is, but since it was so colorful, I had to take a photo.

Thursday, September 10, 2009


This is a fun picture of my dog, Charlie. He is a three-year-old German Shorthair Pointer who loves to run. He jumps this river bed several times a day in his mad dashes up and down our acre yard.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Monday, September 7, 2009

More Grand Canyon Railway

This weekend, the Grand Canyon Railway offered rides on steam engine 4960, something they rarely do because of the expense involved in maintaining the engine. (The conductor said it cost $1.5 million to initially restore the engine, and they have a difficult time finding parts.) My husband loves old trains, so we had to go.

Usually, the Grand Canyon Railway runs from Williams to the Grand Canyon and back (powered by diesel engines using vegetable oil). The train ride on Saturday went only a few miles north of Williams and lasted less than 45 minutes total. Still, it was an incredible experience.

Here's a quick interior shot of the car as we were leaving. These cars were built in the 1920s and are used only for special occasions like this and the Polar Express event during the holiday months.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Saturday, September 5, 2009

More Lightning

It's a little blurry because I didn't use the tripod (just grabbed my camera and tried to catch some shots).

Friday, September 4, 2009


Okay, this is not Queen Creek, but it's one of my favorite summer pictures, taken on Lake Havasu. I've done some travel writing (Great Escapes Arizona, Countryman Press), so I end up traveling throughout the state and hope no one minds me occasionally posting pictures from other areas. Tomorrow, I think we're heading up North, so watch for photos soon from that trip.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009