Posts Tagged ‘AZ’

Why we love Summer in Tucson!

June 5th, 2014 by pattiebell

83 degree Salt Water!

83 degree Salt Water!

We love Summer in Tucson because everything in general is calmer and more relaxed.

Less traffic ~ The absence of our winter tourists, who of course we love, quiets the byways of our town considerably.

No crowds to fight at our favorite restaurants  ~  For the same reason.  All businesses  are happy to see customers during the summer months in Tucson. It’s a perfect time to experience the many new eateries calling Downtown Tucson home.

Mount Lemmon ~ At 92,000 feet, the highest peak in the Catalina Mountains.  The beginning of the Catalina Highway which takes you there is just a 15 minute drive from El Rancho Merlita.  Hike in the tall cool pines. Enjoy lunch in the village of Summerhaven.  Ride the lift at Ski Valley.  Gaze at the stars from The University of Az’s Sky Center.

http://www.skithelemmon.com/page2.html

http://skycenter.arizona.edu/programs/public/skynights

The Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum’s Cool Summer Nights program.

https://www.desertmuseum.org/visit/events_saturday.php?ref=hp

The Ranch House front porch is the perfect place to watch the Monsoon storms roll in. The Monsoon is our summer rainy season. Typically it begins in early July and can last until mid-September, bringing the possibility of rain every day. The storms usually occur in the afternoons or early evening  and are accompanied by plenty of wind, thunder and lightning. They move around the valley swiftly and don’t last very long. Once a monsoon rain has fallen around you the air is cooled and refreshed.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/North_American_Monsoon

Our salt water swimming pool temperature is PERFECT ~  83 degrees.

Taking advantage of our seriously discounted rates means you can splurge on a massage.  Mention you have read this Blog post and receive $10 off One Hour, and $15 off a Ninety minute massage.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tucson,_Arizona

http://www.visittucson.org/

 

Spring Activities!

March 4th, 2014 by pattiebell

Although Spring does not officially arrive until later this month, it has definitely sprung early in Tucson this year. Wildflowers blooming, milder than average temperatures and that certain something in the air make it a great time to get out and enjoy the many activities being offered around town!

Did you know Tucson hosts the 4th largest Festival of Books in the country?  March 15 and 16 on the University of Arizona Mall brings us 300 presentations, 200 exhibitors, and tons of opportunities to meet authors, poets, screenwriters and journalists participating in signings, panel discussions and book sharing. http://tucsonfestivalofbooks.org/

Tucson’s proud and lively Irish community throws their 27th Annual St Patrick’s Day Parade and Festival in Armory Park in Downtown Tucson on March 15th. Guaranteed to get your green up! http://www.tucsonstpatricksday.com/

The Historic 4th Avenue Shopping District is home to the 4th Ave. Street Fair twice each year and this Spring’s event is Mar. 21-23.  Hundreds of juried artist and crafts persons, plenty of food and refreshing beverages, live music, kid’s activities and street performers. http://www.fourthavenue.org/fairs/general-information/

Are you a train enthusiast? Tucson has a very special transportation museum at the Tucson Historic Depot.  On March 22nd The Silver Spike Festival celebrates the 134th anniversary of the railroad in Tucson! http://www.tucsonhistoricdepot.org/

Theater buffs will be happy to know that the Arizona Theater Company presents “Around the World in 80 Days” through Mar 22. Boasting incredible sets and productions, our theater company makes its home in the beautifully restored Temple of Music and Art.  http://www.arizonatheatre.org/our-shows/around-the-world-in-80-days/

And Broadway in Tucson brings us “I Love Lucy: Live on Stage” March 25 – 30. This acclaimed show puts you in the seat at the studio where the famous TV shows were taped and includes plenty of the original music from Ricky and the band. http://www.broadwayintucson.com/shows_lucy_prices.html/

What says Spring more that fluttering butterflies? Experience a live tropical butterfly exhibit everyday through April 30th at Butterfly Magic at the Tucson Botanical Gardens.  http://www.tucsonbotanical.org/

The Arizona State Museum on the campus of the University presents “Edward Curtis Reframed: The Arizona Volumes” through July 30, 2015. The exhibit will display 20 of the famed photographer’s portraits of the American West at a time, rotating every 6 months, to show a total of 60 works. The State Museum also houses the world’s largest and most comprehensive collection of 2000 years worth of Native pottery making in the Southwest – that’s  over 20,000 whole vessels. http://www.statemuseum.arizona.edu/exhibits/index.shtml

This is just a sampling!  Visit http://www.visittucson.org/events/calendar/ for more.

 

COCOA CHILE COINS

July 5th, 2010 by pattiebell

THIS COOKIE RECIPE CAME TOGETHER AS I WAS TRYING TO FIND WAYS TO INCORPORATE MESQUITE FLOUR INTO SOME OF MY BAKING.

SIFT TOGETHER:  1 C FLOUR, ½ C MESQUITE FLOUR, ¾ C UNSWEETENED COCOA POWDER, ¼ t SALT, ½ t CAYENNE POWDER, 2 t CINNAMON, ¼ t CLOVES

CREAM TOGETHER UNTIL LIGHT AND FLUFFY (3 MIN. IN ELECTRIC MIXER): 1 C SUGAR, ¾ C BUTTER

MIX IN: 1 LARGE EGG, 1 ½ t VANILLA

ADD FLOUR MIXTURE. MIX UNTIL JUST COMBINED. TURN OUT DOUGH ONTO PARCHMENT PAPER AND ROLL INTO LOG 2 INCHES IN DIAMETER. ROLL LOG IN THE PARCHMENT PAPER. REFRIGERATE AT LEAST 1 HOUR OR OVERNIGHT.

PREHEAT OVEN TO 350. REOMVE LOG FROM PARCHMENT. LET SOFTEN ABOUT 5 MIN. ROLL LOG IN RAW OR SANDING SUGAR, PRESSING DOWN TO ADHERE TO DOUGH. TRANSFER LOG TO CUTTING BOARD. SLICE INTO ¼ INCH ROUNDSNN. PLACE 1 INCH APART ON PARCHMENT LINED COOKIE SHEETS.

BAKE 12 MINUTES AT 350, UNTIL SET AND RICH BROWN. COOL COMPLETELY ON WIRE RACKS. MAKES ABOUT 4 DOZEN.

NOTES: IF YOU DO NOT HAVE MESQUITE FLOUR YOU CAN USE ALL REGULAR FLOUR.  TRY USING OTHER KINDS OF CHILE, LIKE CHIPOTLE, WHICH HAS A NICE SMOKY FLAVOR, OR MILDER CHILE COLORADOS.

Molasses Oat Cookies

July 5th, 2010 by pattiebell

These simple crunchy cookies are packed with flavor and super easy to prepare!  I felt they could handle the addition of whole wheat flour, but you can use all white flour if you wish.

3/4 C white flour, 3/4 C whole wheat flour, 1 C sugar, 1 t baking soda, ½ t salt, 1 t ground ginger,  ½ t ground cloves

½ C melted butter, 1 large egg, ¼ C molasses

¾ C oats

¼ C sugar for rolling

Heat oven to 375. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment.

Sift first 6 ingredients in large bowl.  Add next 3 wet ingredients. Mix well. Add oats and stir to incorporate.

Scoop dough into balls using 1 oz. scoop.  Roll balls in sugar and place 2 inches apart on baking sheet. Bake until golden brown, about 12 minutes. Cool on racks. Makes about 18 cookies.

Night Blooming Cereus

June 19th, 2010 by pattiebell

Thanks to West Tucson guest Hope Green for sharing these great photos of our huge night blooming cereus. Thanks too, Hope, for the shoe sharing!!!

More Flora and Fauna courtesy of Ken VanHorn

June 19th, 2010 by pattiebell

Kitty Kitty

June 11th, 2010 by pattiebell

Green Valley guest Ken Van Horn got up close and personal with this Bobcat as he and Mary Ann were about to depart. After posing for this shot, the cat sauntered around to the patio off of our kitchen, where she took a 3 hour nap under the night blooming cereus (more on that subject next week) .  When I went out to water my drooping herb pots she just sat there and watched me before stretching and strolling off.

The Bobcat (Lynx rufus) is a North American mammal of the cat family, Felidae. With twelve recognized subspecies, it ranges from southern Canada to northern Mexico, including most of the continental United States. The Bobcat is an adaptable predator that inhabits wooded areas, as well as semi-desert, urban edge, forest edges and swampland environments. It persists in much of its original range and populations are healthy.

With a gray to brown coat, whiskered face, and black-tufted ears, the Bobcat resembles the other species of the mid-sized Lynx genus. It is smaller than the Canadian Lynx, with which it shares parts of its range, but is about twice as large as the domestic cat. It has distinctive black bars on its forelegs and a black-tipped, stubby tail, from which it derives its name.

Though the Bobcat prefers rabbits and hares, it will hunt anything from insects and small rodents to deer. Prey selection depends on location and habitat, season, and abundance. Like most cats, the bobcat is territorial and largely solitary, although there is some overlap in home ranges. It uses several methods to mark its territorial boundaries, including claw marks and deposits of urine or feces. The Bobcat breeds from winter into spring and has a gestation period of about two months.

Although Bobcats have been hunted extensively by humans, both for sport and fur, their population has proven resilient. The elusive predator features in Native American mythology and the folklore of European settlers.

Biscochitos

May 18th, 2010 by pattiebell

After tasting these great cookies in Taos, NM, where they are the official state cookie, I set out to find a recipe and prepare them for my guests here at the Ranch House. Traditionally they are made with lard, but I found a good approach using butter instead. This recipe is a redux of a few I considered, combining the best elements: plenty of anise seed, orange zest, layering the dough a bit, and dusting with cinnamon sugar.

Pulse in food processor until mixed:  2 C. flour, 3/4 C. sugar, 1/2 t. baking powder, 1/8 t. salt, and 1 T. ground anise seed. Add 12 T. cold butter cut into bits and pulse until mixture resembles course meal. Add 1 large egg,  1 t. vanilla, 2 T. ice water, the zest of 1 orange and pulse until ball starts to form. Remove to floured surface and knead a few times. Roll dough out with rolling pin, folding over and lightly re-rolling a few times.  Form into disc, wrap in film and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. Roll out on floured surface to 1/4 in. thickness and cut into shapes with cookie cutters. Place 2 inches apart on parchment lined cookie sheets, sprinkle tops of cookies with 1/2 t. cinnamon mixed with 2 T. sugar and place in freezer for 15 minutes.  Bake at 350 for 12-14 minutes until set, slightly colored on edges but not brown. Makes about 2 dozen cookies.

I love that New Mexico has a State Cookie. That is a state with it’s priorities straight!

Datura Bloom

May 11th, 2010 by pattiebell

Datura Bloom

Datura are herbaceous, leafy annuals and short-lived perennials which can reach up to 2 meters in height. The leaves are alternate, with a lobed or toothed margin. The flowers are erect or spreading, trumpet-shaped, and colors vary from white to yellow, pink, and pale purple. The fruit is a spiny capsule, splitting open when ripe to release the numerous seeds. The seeds disperse freely over pastures, fields and even wasteland locations.

Datura belongs to the classic “witches’ weeds,” along with deadly nightshade. Most parts of the plants contain toxic hallucinogens, and Datura has a long history of use for causing delirious states and death. It was well known as an essential ingredient of love potions and witches’ brews.

Common names include Thorn Apple, Pricklyburr, Jimson Weed, Moonflower, Hell’s Bells, Devil’s Weed, Devil’s Cucumber, and Devil’s Trumpet. Nathaniel Hawthorne refers to one type in The Scarlet Letter as Apple-Peru.

They are a very common sight in Southern Arizona, and this one cropped up right beside El Rancho Merlita’s  fire pit.

Visit from the Javelina

May 11th, 2010 by pattiebell

Visit form the Javelina

Javelina are peccaries – medium-sized animals, with a strong superficial resemblance to pigs.  Their preferred food consists of roots, grass, seeds, and fruit.  When they visit El Rancho Merlita they are particularly attracted to our quail seed block. They can wreak quite a bit of havoc in the hummingbird bed I planted earlier in the spring. This particular morning our guests had almost as much fun watching their innkeeper try to scare them out of said bed as they did seeing the javelina themselves. These 2 were part of a group of 4 who passed through during the breakfast hour.

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