I went out to the eastern part of the county, which is the site of the annual Fair. It follows pretty much the same template, year after year and is a celebration of rural life. There is livestock from large, like the milk cows and bulls to small, like the rabbits and chickens.
Or the large small animals like this giant Belgian rabbit. It was twice as big as my wild rabbits.
Or the miniature large animals like this tiny donkey and horse.
There were vendors selling an array of unusual products, like rhinestone cowboy hats, salvation and really hot hot sauce.
There is overpriced fair food, deep fried novelties or familiar comforts.
Various competitive exhibitors show off their skills, of course I always look for the quilts.
And there are the shows, usually music in the evening, and animal performers during the day. This year we were treated to the birds (previous post) and a sea lion show.
Living in a landlocked area, I think that we appreciate the athleticism and beauty of sea lions. In San Francisco they are seen as lazy nuisances, and they are everywhere (well, everywhere along the coast where they can scrounge fish).
And there was a dragon, they really are everywhere!
Okay, the title is misleading, these birds were spotted out in the countryside. But they are great so I wanted to share them.
This is an Andean Condor swooping down on command from a high perch. They are so huge that they can’t actually fly, they just glide.
She is the star of a bird show that was at the Fair.
There was also a South African eagle.
Most important to the show was the Australian conure that is trained to take money from tourists and stuff it into a box. This animal trainer obviously had a great love of these birds and they were truly amazing to watch in action. Then there are the native birds of the area.
The giant chicken to entice you to the roadside diner.
And the dockside (the only thing missing is a dock and water) pelican. This bird and it’s compatriots are there to entice tourists to stop at a roadside antique shop, and, if this works it proves that tourists are easily led.
One of the many joys of summer is enjoying the beauty of wildflowers. We have had a lot of rain this year, so there are a lot of wildflowers in bloom. Me and Miss P were out for our walk this morning, and found these beautiful specimens.
This looks like some sort of chive. It’s a gorgeous shade of pale lavender.
These tiny daisy-like flowers are very hardy. They bloom every year regardless of rain or the lack thereof.
Allium have these lovely triangular purple flowers.
Perhaps these are coreopsis, and they covered the hillside.
I have no idea what these weird alien-designed purple flowers are, I don’t ever remember seeing these in this color, they are usually white.
This was the only one in bloom in this field.
There were just a few clumps of these purple stalks.
We found all of these flowers growing in an un-mowed section of a city park. These flowers just are, they were not planted, they are not watered. I had fun photographing them and Miss P kept her nose to the ground to sniff out the creatures that had been here enjoying the flowers too.
If you go just 30 miles from town, you can quickly find yourself in a pretty rural area, especially if you go south, down by the military base. All the fancy, McMansion developments are north of town, by the military academy. As I slip out of any urban area, I always feel the pull of a bucolic lifestyle away from people. (Of course this is also a fantasy, it is a nuisance to have to drive miles for groceries, doctors, etc.) Some people’s idea of heaven is to have a cabin in the mountains, but my preference (as I am a flatlander) is for a ranch on the plains.
There’s a windmill to water your cows, and a lovely view of the Sangre de Christo mountains. This field has been somewhat over-grazed, because the cactus is taking over.
Spanish Peaks are visible on a clear day, down by the New Mexico border.
The old one-room schoolhouse is still standing, just barely. It’s a reminder of the rural past. My mom attended a school like this.
I would need to have a vintage tractor, to be just like the neighbors. It’s always fun, as a city person, to go out in the country because I am on vacation and not working. It’s relaxing with nothing to do and no worries. If I actually lived there it would be a different story (all work and plenty of worries 😉 ).
In the Disney movies ‘Cars’ and ‘Planes’ these mechanical objects are presented as human, with emotions and feelings. But as far as I know, they haven’t made a movie that speaks to the condition of rural machines (those city machines hog all the attention). So I would like to introduce you to some machines that I recently became acquainted with.
Oliver has a rather jaunty three color paint job, that lets you know who he is.
Co-op is no doubt short for Cooper, and he is a rather sporty orangey-red.
Tractors are given to informality, I’m sure that Case is just the diminutive for Casey. The streamlined radiator cap lets you know just how fast this tractor is.
John is a very popular name for tractors, there were quite a few hanging around that shared this name.
In the Disney movies, machines are always involved in a big race against all odds. So, there wasn’t a a race exactly, but these tractors gamely demonstrated their individual strengths for their humans by pulling increasingly heavy loads. But the humans get the glory (and the little hat pins that show who won) and the machines modestly retire until the next competition.
When I was a little kid I remember looking at an ‘Arizona Highways’ magazine and being fascinated by the pictures of wildflowers growing along the roadsides. I was amazed that flowers would grow, without anyone planting them or tending to them. Our backyard/baseball field was pounded into dirt, with a few scrawny flowers growing along the edges.
I took these pictures this afternoon as Miss P and I were out for a stroll.
This plant had flowers ranging in color from deepest purple to lilac.
Purple and yellows predominate.
Which really lets the Painted Daisies stand out.
Milkweed is a favorite flower of butterflies, and it’s a lovely pink and white.
And Queen Anne’s Lace is a nice contrast to the green of the native grasses.
My Mom loved flowers. I was talking to her once about how beautiful they were, and she asked me to send her some pictures. So I documented every different wildflower I saw in one summer, and there are a lot of different ones. I discovered that Colorado has highways that are just as beautiful as the ones in Arizona.
In the hilarious movie parody of Star Trek, Galaxy Quest, the catchphrase that is constantly repeated is “Never give up, Never surrender.” I would like to amend this to “Never grow up, Never surrender (your sense of humor). So here are some of my recent purchases of toys and my most recent knitting project that is not a scarf.
Paper dinosaurs that one puts together and runs with a wind up motor. Does it get any better than this? The single tentacle is a bonus.
Giant wind up bugs, how fabulous it that! They are definitely the largest wind ups I have.
This sweet faced pair scoot along, then roll over. They make me happy just to look at them. They are too cute.
He’s just a walker, but I couldn’t resist this tiny robot.
I know what you’re thinking, ‘hey these aren’t wind-ups. How do they fit in the collection?’ I know that they aren’t, but they were tiny and adorable. And who doesn’t like or need Nessie?
I am in two knitting groups (a bunch of ladies and one guy). In one of the groups we are having a dishcloth exchange. Everyone brings their dishcloth in a plain brown bag and we will pick someone else’s. Of course some are plain and utilitarian, but I saw this pattern for a Darth Vader square and decided that he would be the one I knit. I think it will no doubt be the coolest one there, and whoever gets it can use him in the washing up. Never grow up indeed!
Pamplona is famous for ‘the running of the bulls’. Bulls get to chase tourists for a bit, then they have to go to the bullring and get killed, which is a total bummer.
We have the annual ‘strolling of the longhorns’, which is done to promote a rodeo. Amateur is not the right word for this, but this rodeo is for working cowboys, as opposed to professional $$$ cowboys. Anyway, this is a lovely outing and no bulls are involved, just steers (former bulls), cows and their calves.
Since these cattle are walking down a city street, it had to be done in the time scheduled by their permit. So the cattle started off in a leisurely pace, following the lead animal.
The calves were full of energy and then they started trying to take the lead, which meant that Mom had to keep up, and cows are very good, caring mothers. I was strolling along with the herd, dodging other photographers, and admiring their beauty.
A cowboy realized that they needed to get the herd moved in their time limit so they speeded everything up and those cows were running along. I lost them when the crowds got too thick, but I enjoyed their company while it lasted.
It’s a good thing that they were running, because they missed seeing this! It’s supposed to be a bull.
On our way to the farmer’s market to get a sausage roll, I noticed that there seemed to be something going on over by Pulpit Rock. So after a stroll through downtown and the market (it was two for the price of one on sausage rolls, Miss P was ecstatic), I decided to check out the event. Turns out it was a major mountain bike race, again with competitors coming from across the US as well as international.
It was a nice day for riding uphill, it was 85 F (I have no idea what this is in metric, or whatever Europeans use).
Purveyors of fine mountain biking equipment were there to celebrate the brands.
Including a local company, Rox Shox.
The professional bike racing teams had their own support trailers.
Coming down to the finish here are two young women. The course was 3.5 miles, and included a bit up onto Pulpit Rock and had two laps on this day. This was a two day event and perhaps they will come back again next year because it was so much fun.