Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Our Tree

December 21st, 2011 by pattiebell

Last year was our first Christmas at the Inn. We rounded up a few of the family’s Western ornaments and added some traditional Scandinavian straw stars that I found at our Unicef store. Mitzi, our massage therapist and neighbor, contributed her lovely bird collection. Then we went to town baking and decorating gingerbread cutout cookies in cowboy boot, cactus, chile pepper, and all the holiday shapes.

These I packed up and stored and was happy to find very much in tact a year later.  Next a shopping adventure at Borderlands, a great importer of all things Mexico. They have opened a big new location right around the corner from the Inn. There I collected a nice variety of painted tin cutouts, and some really sweet tiny hand blown glass bulbs.
Diana forged out on a cold and rainy day and chose this absolutely perfect spruce that reaches almost to our ceiling. A crackling fire and the Rat Pack Christmas album set the decorating mood. The candy canes are a nod to the Bells, but I must admit I draw the line at tinsel when it come to honoring family traditions!

The last piece of Carrot Cake…

December 4th, 2011 by pattiebell

I meant to take a picture of the whole cake, sitting regally on it’s stand before I served it Thanksgiving day, but that didn’t happen. So here it is… after all the guests are gone, along with the rest of the leftovers. The last piece of Carrot Cake…

As I savor the moment before I indulge I think about all the Carrot Cakes I have known.  If you are my age you remember the time BCC, that is before there seemingly was such a thing. You probably also remember how suddenly every restaurant you visited, every birthday party and special event you attended had a Carrot Cake to offer.

I have made a few and tasted many. In my catering days there was the ubiquitous Carrot Wedding Cake ~  prettily piped and adorned with fresh flowers. I especially and fondly remember the one I watched the Cream Cheese Frosting flow from as it awaited it’s ceremonious serving at an unrefrigerated beach wedding in North Florida (not to be confused with the rest of Florida).

It was certainly a first for me to serve one at Thanksgiving, and it was a big hit. I perused quite a few recipes and settled on this approach ~ carrots, crushed pineapple, shredded coconut, walnuts and no raisins.  The frosting was 2 to 1 cream cheese to butter, plenty of vanilla, and just enough powdered sugar to put a dent in the zingy tartness. Two layers were sliced into four with very thin applications of frosting between and on the sides. A little extra on top to make it look pretty and some more nuts pressed on the sides to cover any bare spots and voila!

I am going to miss having a polite slice every day, but it is, after all, time to make room for Christmas Cookies. More on that soon…

Owls in our neighbor's waterfall

July 5th, 2011 by pattiebell

Mother and Child

July 5th, 2011 by pattiebell

The Baby

July 5th, 2011 by pattiebell

Arizona Highways Travel Show

April 26th, 2011 by pattiebell

Love Arizona???   Love Travel???

Join us, The Inns at El Rancho Merlita,  and 100 exhibitors from throughout Arizona at the Arizona Highways Travel Show ~ May 14 & 15 at the Phoenix Convention Center.

Discount coupons are available at:

www.arizonahighwaystravelshow.com or www.facebook.com/AZHTS

Golden Rain Pods

April 22nd, 2011 by pattiebell

Green Golden Rain Pods

Golden Rain Blossoms

April 21st, 2011 by pattiebell

Golden Rain Blossoms

The Goldenrain tree or “Pride of India” (tree species: Koelreuteria paniculata) is an ornamental species from Asia that has been widely planted in the Spanish cities of Madrid and Barcelona.  The name “Goldenrain” refers to the bright yellow flowers that cover the tree with a golden color in late spring.

There are 2 of these unusual trees on the property. I have never seen one in Tucson before. They are similar to China Berries, with papery seed pods instead of “berries”.

2011 Top 10 Romantic Inn

March 31st, 2011 by pattiebell

Out of 30,000 Inns and Bed and Breakfast in North America, El Rancho Merlita Ranch House Inn, was chosen as one of the top ten most romantic by iLoveInns.com after months of research and deliberation.  It provides the perfect location, world-class hospitality, personalized touch and loving environment that dreams are made of.  As iLoveInns.com president and 30-year bed and breakfast connoisseur Deborah Sakach remarks, “These kinds of properties deeply touch the hearts of their guests.”

Butterfly Season

September 22nd, 2010 by pattiebell

Recently, when I was at El Rancho Merlita Ranch House Bed and Breakfast in Tucson, AZ, I was impressed by the number of butterflies flitting around.  It greatly enhanced the peacefulness  and the beauty of the ranch.  Here are a few of the butterflies I enjoyed:

The Arizona State Butterfly - The Two-tailed Swallowtail

The state butterfly is marvelous!

The Arizona Sister - Adelpha bredowii eulalia

Mormon Metalmark - Apodemia mormo mormo

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