Saturday, April 19, 2014

Public versus Private Land Management Sedona, AZ versus Kanab, UT

Near Tom's Canyon Trail in Kanab, UT
I have spent my entire life basing all my locational decisions on the availability of public lands near my home.  I made career choices so I could live in the Adirondack Mountains of New York which had a spectacular arrangement of public and private lands.  When I lived near Elizabethtown, NY, I had an amazing array of public lands to spend my free time on.  I moved to Campobello Island, NB because of the Roosevelt Campobello International Park which is funded by Canada and the United States and is truly an international park, one of the only international parks in the world.  I thought I had found nirvana when I discovered Sedona, AZ, a small town surrounded by the amazing red rocks on the Red Rock District of the Coconino National Forest.  Within two years, I had bought a house there and made it my primary home.

My attitude has totally changed in the past week, however.  First, I discovered that the National Forest has been "sold" to 30 permit holders near Sedona.  Individual use is tolerated, but they would rather you go out on a "guided" tour in groups by jeep, mountain bike or balloon.  In the past few days I spent in Sedona, I found a forest parking lot off Lower Red Rock completely filled with balloon chasers hanging out and smoking at 7AM when I was hoping for some solitude.  Groups of mountain bikers have several times nearly mowed me over in the past few months. In fact, they would have if I had not jumped off the trail. The jeeps are everywhere and seem to be multiplying.  If you read this document you will see that they are permitted for many thousands of tours per year: Reissuance of large permits for Red Rock Ranger District for 10 years Obviously, it will not be getting better for those seeking solitude.  Therefore, I decided to see how other areas are handling these issues. I picked Kanab, UT since it has very similar scenery and is also a small town.  It also has a very nice stock of historic homes since it has a history dating back to the 1800's.  Things are very different here...  Kanab has a series of hiking and equestrian trails with wonderful brochures created by  The image at the top of the blog is from near the Tom's Canyon trailhead.  Many of the trailheads and most of the trails are on private land and are designated equestrian and hikers only! Who would have imagined that private land would be preferable to public land since they can institute any policies they wish.  I hope everyone treats this private land with care so it is not closed off to hikers and horses.

As a hiker, it is wonderful to not hear jeeps or ATV's grinding nearby and to not have to worry about a biker running you off the trail from either direction.  Horses are very compatible with hiking.  I would imagine most of the reason I have not seen horses in Sedona recently is that bikes and horses are not compatible uses on narrow trails.  I realized today that it was the first time I had relaxed while hiking in a long while.  I took hundreds of photos as the scenery matched and exceeded the views around Sedona.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Phyllis Lindberg Memorial Hike in West Fork and a Difficult Week with the Coconino National Forest Administration

We went to West Fork today and saw apple blossoms, vibrant spring green foliage, and many wildflowers. The entire time I was there I thought of my friend and fellow hiker and librarian Phyllis Lindberg who was killed by a tree falling last Fall on a sunny windless day. Phyllis always had time to educate you about many things and she had so much knowledge to share especially about the natural world. She was and is an inspiration to try and emulate. Wildflowers were a special topic for her and I saw so many beautiful flowers along the way, some I knew like white violets, columbine, and lupines and many I didn't, but she would have known the names of all of them and had interesting stories to tell.

It was so healing to the soul to be out in nature as we had an awful week which has put a large damper on our enjoyment of Sedona. Rather than rehash most of the issue, I will direct you to this blog post of Michael's which he wrote the last day of our Paint Sedona program:llocked out of the National Forest I just want to add that the students are the losers in this situation since alternative privately owned locations do not have the infrastructure that we have all PAID for with the Red Rock Pass Program: parking, pit toilets, a trail to discover the scenery of our grand public lands, and the right to be there all day if you want.

kaleidoscope of image above

kaleidoscope of unfurling fern and pine needles

This is my last blog before we set off for a retreat in Zion National Park and points east.  No instruction for Michael, just painting, bliss for him and hiking and photography for me!  Campobello Island here we come!  Home never seemed so alluring as the crowds are too large for us here starting in March  and April...  Winter is wonderful though.  My favorite month here is January!


Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Amazing Arizona Spring with Beaver Sculptures, Starpoints, Lilac, Swallowtails, and Columbine

The weather has been perfect here in Arizona for months.  The heat went off weeks ago and the coolers were started up today, but for now it requires no heating and cooling to be comfortable.  Dining outside is a delight on our screened in porch.  The first days of spring have brought temperatures that seem more like early summer!  There are many wildflowers in bloom and I continue to learn their common names--blackfoot daisy, indian paintbrush, manzanita shrubs and many other plants.

We have noxious weeds in AZ like the puncture vine or goathead:, but most "weeds" have a pretty flower like filaree or cranesbill.  However, my HOA wants us to eliminate all "weeds" and plant growth which I do not agree with, especially since for many that means spraying large amounts of glyphosate.  I am experimenting with orange oil, vinegar, and a miniscule amount of detergent in my sprayer.  So far it is taking gallons, and the insects in hte soil don't care much for it, but my beautiful green yard is beginning to turn an ugly brown!  I am doing this under protest as I love my filaree, london rocket, locoweed, bunchgrasses, starpoint/silverpuffs and daisy fleabane.  Every day it is different in my yard this time of year, but now it will have to be eliminated.  However, I love the common land trails by Oak Creek and Spring Creek so I comply.

Columbine in my garden

Starpoint or Lindley's Silverpuff in my yard

Swallowtail on My Lilac Bush!

Sculpture Done by a Beaver by Oak Creek

They are unfortunately taking down a lot of trees...

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Skunks, Indian Paintbrush, and Wonderful Spring Weather in Sedona, AZ

The calendar does not say Spring yet, but the furnace hasn't come on in weeks, we are sleeping with the window open, baby skunks are being born, and the flowering trees are in full bloom.  I even spotted an Indian Paintbrush in full bloom this week.  Of course, it could still snow, but this year has been exceptionally warm here although that is definitely not the case elsewhere.

The skunks kept us up the last few nights so we had to trap them.  The licensed trapper took the two we got last night at least 5 miles away as required by law.  Those particular skunks won't be back, but I am afraid we have an overabundance this year perhaps due to the warm winter.  Tonight we are having 5 traps set so we can sleep again!  Between the nocturnal noises and the smells it has not be easy to get a good night's rest recently!

Last night we attended on of the 3 openings that Michael had last night.  That was a record to have 3 shows opening on the same night that he had paintings in...  We chose the museum show since it was his first time to exhibit at the Phippin Art Museum.  It was a wonderful exhibit which is ongoing until July 13th in Prescott, AZ.  This gave me an opportunity to visit the Granite Dells once again with my camera in hand!

Indian Paintbrush

Sedona Colors

Sedona Skies and Clouds

Prickly Pears!!

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Cornville, AZ Attractions Eliphante in Kaleidoscopes

According to Wikipedia, my Arizona winter home town has only one attraction. I tend to disagree and think the fish hatchery and Oak Creek are pretty spectacular, but here it is in black and white:,_Arizona#Attractions. Interestingly, they call the attraction Eliphante: a kaleidoscopic, hand-built sculptural village in Cornville. The name sake Eliphante is one of the buildings which actually looks like an elephant's trunk on the exterior.  The green grass was beautiful against the wintery look of the large cottonwood trees.  Eliphante is still trying to get the last funds to own the land that the structures are on, please help if you can by donating:

Here are some links to eliphante for your reading pleasure:

Here are a few pictures and kaleidoscopes I made:

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Red Rock Country

Some things in AZ are too amazing to believe.  For example, in an arid land, look at how large the trees can grow!  Michael and I had an opportunity to spend 2 hours at Red Rock State Park this morning.  We saw amazing trees, beautiful red rock country, and beautiful water scenes.  I took 87 photos and had to be selective to ONLY take 87 pictures.  Michael has 5 more Paint Sedona workshops and 1 workshop through the Sedona Arts Center and then we are on to Kanab and Springdale, Utah where we are coordinating a retreat of advanced painters.  Then we will begin the month long trip East where we have many stops to make for professional and business reasons before we finally get back home to Campobello Island.

This became the kaleidoscope I call the Massive Cottonwood

House of Apache Fire

My Reflection Times Eight

Mr Sedona Red Pants

Two Beautiful Sycamores!

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Spring? in Arizona Blog Post 100

It is only mid-January and the nightime temperatures go below freezing every night, but miraculously I have pansies and paperwhites blooming OUTSIDE now.  The paperwhites have adapted to the temperature by sporting a very short stem compared to the bulbs I forced and have in my mudroom.

I am celebrating the 100th blog post of Fab Fabrications to announce my new project called Requilt.  This year, I will be concentrating on  repurposing vintage quilt blocks and quilt tops which never quite got made into a well loved quilt into vests, jackets and other household items like table runners and placements.  It's a form of recycling which is important to me.  I am finding lots of treasures on EBay because sadly I did not have parents or grandparents who made quilts.  The project is still in the "thinking stage", but it is starting to gel and should be an interesting journey.

In the meantime enjoy some kaleidoscopes of my "spring" flowers".

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Ice, Snow, and Winter in Arizona Finally Here

We are getting unseasonably cold weather now in central Arizona as is most of the country except Florida.  I managed to take a few pictures this week of the ice and snow. Michael is plein air painting with a student this week, but he did begin later than usual in the morning for the first two days of the week.

Obviously ice
$60 framed

Less Obviously Ice
$60 framed

Icy Cascade of Water
$60 framed

Rock and Tree Columns in Sedona under the Winter Sky
$60 framed

Snow on Path
$60 framed

Happy Holidays from my family to yours

Join us in purchasing NOTHING over the holidays unless it was made by hand in the United States or Canada by a self-employed artist or artisan!

If you are looking for inexpensive holiday gift ideas, consider a painting by Michael: or one of his recent daily paintings:
His regular paintings are available at:  

Have a Happy New Year!  My next blog will be in 2014 and will be my 100th for the Fab Fabrications blog!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Amazing Arizona

Most people think Arizona is hot and dry and it is in some places, but it has amazing diversity.  This week we got around 3 inches of rain and now we have below freezing temperatures in the mornings.  However, the daytime temperatures are IDEAL!  Along Oak Creek I found the most amazingly large fungi mass.  The sunglasses in the kaleidoscopes are put there to give a sense of scale!  And yes we have grass here also...

original photo is almost as impressive!
Fungi Mass along Oak Creek in Cornville, AZ

Come and visit us this winter.  Take a Plein Air Painting Workshop!

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Archaeology, Geology, and Red Rock Hiking

Besides fabric and photography, I enjoy archaeology, geology and hiking.  I was able to take a hike with my woman's hiking group to a remote cave this week which I used for some of the images.  These are subtly colored kaleidoscopes, you really need to look at them in full screen.

What did the handprints mean?

Native American food storage chamber?

The red rocks of Sedona

The leaves are changing color as seen in the center of the kaleidoscope

For a change of scene, tonight we attend the opening of the SAGA show.  If you find yourself nearby, come and buy yourself a holiday gift of locally createed art: