Giant Sunflowers!

November 7th, 2012 by pattiebell

Our assistant extraordinaire Molly and the tallest wild sunflowers we have ever seen!   One gallon starters the spring before last, they die back in the winter only to explode in the Spring and bloom again when Autumn rolls around.

Fruit from our Peruvian Cereus Cactus

September 4th, 2012 by pattiebell

 

 

While we leave most of them for the birds, we enjoy tasting the light, slightly sweet crunchiness of these amazing fruits!

Possible Coatimundi sightings at the Ranch!

August 11th, 2012 by pattiebell

We have had reports from several guest about an unusual looking visitor to our water bowl.  The description fits. Here’s the lowdown~

The Coati is a raccoon-like omnivore, but is more slender and possesses a longer snout. It is a nosy, busy little creature with an insatiable appetite. The Coati is gregarious and noisy as it travel about in groups of from 6 to 24, holding its tail almost erect and chattering with others.

This grizzled gray-brown mammal grows 30 to 55 inches long and stands 8 to 12 inches high at the shoulder. It can weigh from 10 to 25 pounds. Males are almost twice as large as females.

The Coati has a long snout that is white near the tip and around the eyes, which often have dark patches above. The Coati has small ears, dark feet and a long, thin tail (as much as 2 feet long) with 6 or 7 dark bands.

Coatis are diurnal, spending most of the day foraging for food, which includes insects, lizards, roots, fruits, nuts and eggs. They are very fond of fruit, especially the manzanita berry.

Coatis mate in early spring and deliver a litter of 4 to 6 young after a gestation period of about 11 weeks. The female educates and feeds the young from the den site, usually a rocky niche in a wooded canyon.

The only other member of this species, the Brown-nosed Coati (Nasua nasua) occurs only in South America.

Young Cooper’s Hawk at his favorite watering spot~

August 4th, 2012 by pattiebell

Owl Visitor Playing in the Sprinkler

June 27th, 2012 by pattiebell

Thanks to Prescott guest Judy McCormick for catching this rare moment!

Eggs are not just for breakfast ~

June 3rd, 2012 by pattiebell

Lately I have been enjoying the virtue of a fried egg or two on top of, well,  just about anything.  Pasta, a corn tortilla slightly crisped with some melted cheese, and salads. This one takes its inspiration from Salade Lyonnaise, with some ingredients I had on hand.  Arugula, red onion, smoked salmon, roasted potatoes, and eggs over easy. Poached eggs are the French tradition, and once I had a marvelous version with a poached egg that had been lightly battered and fried somehow. I love the combination of cold crisp greens and warm runny yoke together. For the greens I simply drizzled some good EVOO and a squeeze of lemon, my go-to salad dressing these days.  A nice summer supper, good and good for you!

Zebra-tailed Lizards

June 1st, 2012 by pattiebell


This morning on my 2 mile walk along the Tanque Verde Wash I saw dozens of these distinct lizards. I have never seen so many of them in one outing – they were all over the place!  With their rapid movement and tails curled up high, they reminded me of big scorpions scurrying about. It is the beginning of the season and I guess their numbers are high until Mother Nature pares them down by attrition.

Blueberry Blintz Souffle

February 25th, 2012 by pattiebell

Light and rich at the same time, this dish offers the beauty of blintzes in an easy casserole. I assemble the day before, refrigerate, and bake it off in the morning. Always a big hit!

BLINTZ BATTER:

1/4 cup butter, softened

1/2 cup sugar

6 eggs

1 1/2 cups sour cream

1/2 cup orange juice

1 cup all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

FILLING:

2 cups small curd cottage cheese

1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened

2 egg yolks

2 tablespoon sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in sour cream and orange juice. Combine flour and baking powder; stir into egg mixture. Set aside. Combine filling ingredients in a small mixing bowl and beat until blended. Pour half of the batter into a greased 9 X 13 baking dish. Top with filling and remaining batter. Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees for 40-50 minutes or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean.

SAUCE:

2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries

1/4 cup lemon juice

1 cup orange juice

3/4 cup white sugar

In a saucepan over medium heat, combine the blueberries, lemon juice, orange juice, and sugar. Stir gently, and bring to a boil.

In a cup or small bowl, mix together 3 tablespoons cornstarch and ¼ cup cold water.

Gently stir the cornstarch mixture into the blueberries so as not to mash the berries. Simmer gently until thick enough to coat the back of a metal spoon, 3 to 4 minutes. Sauce may be thinned with a little water.

Bon Appetit!

Parry Penstemon

February 21st, 2012 by pattiebell

A real show stopper when planted in masses in the garden, spring-blooming Parry penstemon sports light to dark pink flowers on 3-4 foot flower stalks. Not only is it attractive in bloom, it is also easy to care for. An added feature is the tubular shape of the flowers which are perfect for attracting hummingbirds.  Parry penstemon grows along washes, on desert slopes, and in canyons in southern Arizona and in Sonora, Mexico, generally at elevations from 1500-5000 feet. You occasionally see it in masses in the wild, but it is more common to see one or two plants here and there. This area is irrigated, which allows for abundant spreading as the plants drop their seeds each year.

New Year Violets!

January 5th, 2012 by pattiebell

Where I grew up in Western Pennsylvania, violets peeking through the last of winter’s snow announced the arrival of Spring. This little patch of them growing right outside the Ranch House entrance (possibly planted by Merle herself in the ’50s?) seems to be wishing us a Happy New Year!

1924 North Corte El Rancho Merlita, Tucson, AZ 85751-1017
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