Good Morning Tucson

Our Morning Walk

DSCN0064

When we were ready to buy a house in Tucson one of our “must-haves” was a great view of the mountains.  As avid hikers we also hoped to find a house near one of the many trailheads in the area.  The home we moved to almost two years ago not only has views of the mountains on three sides but is also walking distance to Sabino Canyon, a vast and beautiful park in the Coronado National Forest.  Tourists to the area make it a point to visit this incredible natural setting, and the fact that we can walk right in still blows my mind.

At first, I would go off hiking in the canyon after David left for work and we would hike together on the weekends.  Last summer however we discovered that if we left early enough (we’re talking 5 am here) we could do a brisk four mile walk  in the canyon and David could comfortably get to work.  Early walking and hiking is pretty standard here because the searing heat of the summer months makes it difficult if not dangerous to hike later in the day.

So, we have been waiting patiently for the sun to rise early enough so that we could resume our early morning walks together.  This has been our first week back out there, and I wanted to share some of the amazing scenery of sunrise in the canyon.

The Walk Out

The photo above shows the saguaros that welcome us on our way in with the sun just peeking out in the east.  In a matter of minutes (seconds?) it looked like this:

DSCN0065

Because we are walking rather than driving into the canyon we enter by way of a road that is closed to visitors’ cars.  We then join with the main road (also closed to visitor traffic but used for service vehicles and tourist trams that run after 9am) that actually meanders for about seven miles into the canyon.  This is what welcomes us:

DSCN0073

The beautiful palo verde trees line this road, and while my camera doesn’t quite capture it, the contrast of the trees’ yellow blooms and the still-dark canyon is gorgeous.  In short order though the sun peeks out and the canyon appears:

 

 

 

DSCN0077

Sabino Canyon is a busy place, especially at this time of year, but in the early morning we can still feel like the only ones out there.   A wonderful experience of vast stillness and beauty.

The Walk Out

After about a mile into the canyon (and it’s pretty much all this spectacular) we turn to retrace our steps out.  By that time the sun is up and creating amazing views in every direction.  I’ll let these shots speak for themselves:

DSCN0092DSCN0100

The Road to Home

As we near our house we slow down and take a moment to reflect on how lucky we are to live in a place like this:

 

DSCN0102

Life is good.

Me Made May 2014

My Sewing Odyssey

A little over a year ago I began sewing my own clothes.  I can’t quite remember anymore what the exact impetus was for this but I’m pretty sure it had something to do with the difficulty I had finding clothes that were 1) age appropriate  2) suited to both my casual lifestyle and the Arizona heat and 3) cute!   I already knew my way around a sewing machine because I had been an avid quilter for many years.  So I dove in and was quickly hooked.

Because so few people make their own clothes (I don’t personally know anyone) I became ensconced in a vibrant online community of sewists (yes, that’s the word) from all over the world.  Each year a blogger in this community hosts a challenge entitled “Me Made May” in order to encourage sewists to actually wear their handmade garments and stretch their sewing skills. Participants’ reasons for joining the challenge are as varied as the individuals themselves but each participant makes a published pledge to be a part of the challenge.  Here’s mine:

I, lisainaz, sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May ’14. I endeavor to wear one handmade garment each day for the duration of May 2014.

In support of my efforts, I received this wonderful early Mother’s Day gift from my daughter Anne:

DSCN0053

My plan is to document my journey through Me Made May 2014 and maybe inspire some readers to join me in getting away from fast fashion and creating a handmade wardrobe.  So with only two days to go, here’s a preview:

DSCN0058

My intention is to publish pictures of me actually wearing my garments but right now my photographer/husband is at work 🙂

 

A Bounty from our Garden

OK, well not exactly a bounty.  But the experience of seeing this:

DSCN0032

become this:

DSCN0027

and then become part of this:

DSCN0028

 

was all pretty exciting to a brand new gardener like me. (That’s a red quinoa salad and the featured herb is cilantro).

Truth is, I never really tried to grow anything before, probably because my track record with even the most sturdy potted plant was abysmal.  I have failed to keep even small cactus plants and succulents going and that’s saying something considering how little attention they need to survive!

David and I had talked a bit about wanting to try our hand at organic gardening and after I was away for a weekend in January I returned home to this:

DSCN0045

David actually built this greenhouse complete with misters and solar powered fan!  Yup, he’s that kind of guy 🙂  After that he added this raised bed.

DSCN0034

Tucson has all kinds of gardening help in the community and we attended a free “getting started” class at the community garden and food bank. We gleaned what we could from them and escaped before the class moved into the dreaded “group work” phase.  So, we purchased our organic soil, organic compost, organic seeds and got busy planting.  We also bought a compost receptacle to start making our own.

There has been a ton of trial and error.  We initially started seeds in the greenhouse- tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, basil and dill- and planted arugula, kale, green onions, radishes, cilantro and carrots in the raised bed.  After the critters helped themselves to our first round of seedlings in the raised bed we put up a fence and also replanted most things in the greenhouse.  As the weather warmed up we started having some success and last night’s dinner also included this home-grown salad:

DSCN0029

This a mix of kale, uber-peppery arugula (pulled that too late), tiny little carrots (pulled those too soon), and bits of green onion that really resembled chives because they never really took off.

We are waiting on some zucchini, pole beans, tomatoes and basil and have planted some more pots of lettuces, carrots and radishes.  As the weather gets hotter I’m not sure how successful this round will be.  Apparently, the fall is the best growing season in Tucson and hopefully as we learn more about tending the soil and the plants we’ll see better and better results.

This process has been a fascinating one for me so far.  The truth is that there is a simple (ish) science to gardening–after all people have always grown their own food.  To me however, this simple and natural process has always seemed more like magic, and I was delighted and more than a little bit surprised when seedlings first peeked out of our soil.   I admit to having fussed and fretted over these plants visiting the garden multiple times each day- my need to nurture something (if we consider fussing and fretting nurturing) running the show. As I am reminded over and over, all we can do is provide the support and the ingredients to encourage growth.  The rest will happen as it’s meant to, right on “schedule”.

 

Welcome

DSCN0025

Hello and welcome to my first blog post!

The idea for this blog has been swirling around my head for a quite a while now with an ongoing parade of possible posts and topics.  Sewing, knitting and crafting?  Cooking and gardening? Arizona living and hiking?  Parenting and empty nesting? Remarriage?  OY!  The truth is that I expect I will have something to post about each of these topics at some time or another as my “third act”( post-stay-at-home-mom years) has so far been full of learning and growing in all of these areas.  I have evolved into an avid sewist, knitter and gluten-free cook and baker.  I have evolved into a wife for the second time and a parent of three grown children and two grown stepchildren. I have evolved into a fitness and health enthusiast.

At the same time and on a deeper level, I have been on a journey toward greater self-discovery and awareness-an evolution toward authenticity, honesty and deeper presence.   From a young age I was a seeker and a questioner.  A move from the east coast to the southwest twelve years ago provided me with the space (literally and figuratively) to begin this internal exploration which has taken many forms over the years- traditional therapy, education (Masters in Counseling),  books by spiritual teachers and marriage to an aware partner who shares my seeker’s heart and never tires of discussions about consciousness or anything else.

So this blog is about the celebration of the journey.  Mine and yours. My hope is that readers of this blog will be inspired to try new things and be more present in their own lives.  I look forward to sharing our stories.