Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

PAII Conference Thoughts

February 8th, 2014 by pattiebell

In January I was fortunate enough to attend the PAII (Professional Association of Innkeepers International) Conference in Charleston, SC.  It is the big annual meeting of innkeepers from all over the country.  http://www.innkeeping.org/

We go to these kinds of gatherings for a number of reasons – to educate ourselves, to spread the word about our properties, to be inspired, and to enjoy the fellowship of other innkeepers.

When doctors and lawyers and teachers go to their workplaces, they usually work side by side with other doctors, lawyers and teachers. While we innkeepers enjoy the company of our many interesting guests, we tend to be isolated from colleagues by the nature of our work. So to be in the presence of hundreds of other innkeepers and vendors who support our industry for four full days is a pretty exciting thing.

I learned more than I wish I needed to know about the constantly changing face of the internet, our all-important marketing tool these days. I was truly inspired by a fellow innkeeper’s program for pampering cancer patients http://www.lavenderinn.com/inncourage/one that I hope to recreate here at El Rancho Merlita. I met some seasoned veterans of the Bed & Breakfast world, some keepers of newly established inns, and some aspiring innkeepers, doing their homework before they take the dive!  And most fun of all, I got to hang out with some Arizona innkeepers I have known “virtually” for a while but had never met face to face.

A big component of the event is the vendor show. Purveyors of all the many resources one needs to run a Bed and Breakfast Inn – linens, insurance, soap, china, PR and marketing services – put in long days schmoozing and sharing their wares.  I picked out some new sheets, found the perfect robe for our setting, and got to meet several people I have great long-standing working relationships with, though we had only ever spoken to over the phone.

Charleston is a great city to explore, bursting with history, beautiful architecture, delicious food and true Southern Hospitality!   http://www.charleston-sc.gov/

Music of the Monsoon ~ the amazing Spadefoot Toad!

July 13th, 2013 by pattiebell

Couchs_spadefoot_toad_frog_detailed

Found primarily in the Sonoran Desert, the Couch’s spadefoot  is named for the elongated, sickle-shaped, horny tubercle on the underside of each rear foot, which it uses to dig itself into the ground. There it remains buried in the soil for 8-10 months only to emerge at the onset of the summer monsoons.


During the first night of or after the first significant summer storm, Couch’s spadefoots move to rain-filled temporary pools for a night or two of frantic breeding and foraging, and then may remain active for as long as moist, warm conditions persist, often traveling far from the breeding ponds. Although most breeding is timed to the first summer storm, occasional breeding congregations can be found throughout the summer. Eggs are usually laid the first night that ponds fill, and are deposited on submerged vegetation in small masses that hatch within 36 hours.  Tadpoles can metamorphose in as little as 7-8 days. Drying of a pond stimulates rapid metamorphosis and smaller toadlets. The call, given by males as they float in the breeding pond, is a plaintive “wah! wah!”, suggestive of a bleating sheep. The call carries well on humid summer evenings and is a sure sign that the often long-awaited summer monsoon has finally begun.  

Couch’s spadefoot will eat anything that moves and fits into its mouth. Winged termites, which are high in fat content, also emerge with the first monsoon storms, and often make up a high percentage of the spadefoot’s diet. A Couch’s spadefoot can eat enough termites during one or two nights to survive and breed for a year. Tadpoles are carnivorous; cannibalism has been documented.

This species has benefited from construction of berms, cattle tanks, and other ground disturbance that promotes collection of rainwater. It is relatively long-lived; some live as long as 13 years in the wild.

Spadefoot ToadYouTube

A fine reward at the end of a blustery day!

March 9th, 2013 by pattiebell

sunset 001

Our Joshua Tree in bloom ~ can you see the bird house?

March 7th, 2013 by pattiebell

Joshua Tree Bloom 003

That’s right, snow in Tucson!

February 20th, 2013 by pattiebell

SNOW 004

Visit from a Walking Stick ~

November 7th, 2012 by pattiebell

The bizarre-looking, slow-moving, plant-eating walking stick – among the most intriguing of the insects – has raised camouflage, mimicry and defense to a veritable art form. Through an adaptation called “crypsis,” it blends in so perfectly with its natural habitat that it often goes completely undetected by would-be predators.

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!

Owl Visitor Playing in the Sprinkler

June 27th, 2012 by pattiebell

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

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!

1924 North Corte El Rancho Merlita, Tucson, AZ 85751-1017
Accolades | Press Room | Sitemap
Website Hosting and Search Engine Marketing
by InsideOut Solutions.
»