Cactus in January

Far South of home, in Organ Pipe National Monument, it is warm and the cactus are soaking up the sunshine. So, we headed down to do the same with my parents for a camping trip. It was lovely to be outside and not freezing, to be able to more easily spend time safely with my parents and to enjoy the sights and sounds of Southern Arizona.

We hiked and chatted and ate cold s’mores (because we couldn’t have a fire there).

We read and watched birds and walked miles each day to and from the bathrooms. The campground had one set of bathrooms open one day, the other the next so sometimes it was only a short walk but other days it was a bit farther and with multiple trips, we racked up the miles!

We watched the rain transform the desert and just as quickly disappear.

I took pictures of plants and used iNaturalist to identify them. I tried to take some of birds too and got a few but the funniest moment was when I got a picture of half of a birds beak with an almond in it, after the bird almost completely avoided my shutter.

We found old mines and beautiful rocks.

We joked and snacked and admired the big views and the details.

Life is good.


ghost town

It’s felt a bit springy here and I had a hankering for adventures so we left to discover a ghost town we’d never visited before: Silver City. It was a mining town, as are most ghost towns in these states around us.

It’s closer to home than many others and there are no intact buildings but so many fascinating walls and foundations left! The smelter is huge! There were several areas with pools of water and one underground room that we could just peer into that had water about 4 feet deep.

We found crucible bits (used for melting glass and metal in) and lots of bricks, core samples, and other odds and ends.

We found a new friend. It’s some kind of horned lizard but I’m not sure which variety. It was quite willing to let us stroke it’s back and hold it and even had to be nudged to leave my palm after we were finished admiring it.

Afterward we drove up the canyon a bit to see if there was more to explore and it looked quite promising so we will be back soon.


owls, bison and ghost towns

We’ve been heading further out lately to enjoy the fall weather and look for wildlife and ghost town remains and beautiful views.

Antelope Island is an amazing place to see bison, antelope, birds of all kinds. We found an owl but missed the burrowing owls and plan to go back soon and look again. We had fun looking at the old farm machinery and buildings and spotting so, so many animals.

We drove south to see if we could find the ghost town remains we’ve heard rumors about. It took us two separate trips to find what we were searching for but we got lucky and found a great spot with old mining town remnants. Most of the structures we found were collapsed but Lilah found some pottery, we found some old metal mining cable, and this that was still upright.

I love ghost towns. I love the mystery and romance of them and knowing that what I see today may be gone by next year, or not. I love watching nature regain her territory, root and branches, wind and snow and time.

I love exploring and I love watching my kids enjoy exploring. This Earth is such a beauty filled place!



ghost towns

Chris had a day off this week to spend time with his family and friends so we decided to take a day trip to some nearby ghost towns and explore.

We stopped at Homanville first and didn’t find a lot other than some brick foundations and a large cement structure. It was interesting nevertheless, to see the many broken bottles and rusted cans, deer bones, printed bricks, and try to guess where things might have been before the town was swallowed back up by sage brush and sand.


Then we went to Eureka, which is not a true ghost town as there are some people still living there but it’s chock full of abandoned historic buildings and fascinations. Especially interesting was Main Street, with the jail, post office, bank and police office.

Next we visited Dividend, in the hills not too far from the other three towns. It has many remnants of buildings and structures and a few still intact. We really had fun exploring the buildings, foundations, peeking in mine shafts, looking at the water towers and even finding some pyrite crystals. On the way home we did some research and found that Dividend was one of the most lucrative mines for silver in the area and had quite a large operation going on for many years by the Tintic Standard mining corporation, also running things in Eureka and probably many nearby mining settlements.

Here are some cylindric stone pieces we found lots of in one corner of a foundation:

Are they testing materials for ore? Are they used in the refining process? Are they remains of some game or recreation activity? Are they rubbish left from some processing or other? I don’t know.

Here is Lilah spying on Chris through one of the pipes that go through the ceiling, letting spots of light into the otherwise dark interior of this cement building:

On our way home we stopped briefly at Thistle, a ghost town due to flooding. Here’s what we found:

I’ve been itching to go visit more ghost towns and we were all so pleased that Chris could join us for this particular excursion. We’ll definitely be doing more ghost town adventures as well as rock hounding adventures which the kids are quite excited about.

After a full day of adventuring we had a lovely dinner at our favorite Thai restaurant and then we were off into bed and dreams.


hot days

Recently we have been enjoying

kaleidoscope play with patterns and mirrors

reading and reading and reading some more

a mining party where we searched for and cracked open geodes, panned for gold and identified gems in a raw state

playing at the museum

puppeteering and castle building at another museum


tree climbing



earthquake testing on different structures

IMG_5291fireworks watching and cuddling with Grandpa

exploring up Storm Mountain with Daddy on a Sunday, trying rock stacking after watching a video of a man nicknamed Gravity Glue who makes huge and amazing rock stacks in Colorado rivers.