Archive for May, 2014

San Pedro River Nesting Birds

May 26th, 2014 by Mike Hug

San Pedro River nesting birds can be found at Down By The River B and B

San Pedro River nesting bird picture

Black-Throated Sparrow will nest in places that make you wonder why they picked that place.

There are many chances to see San Pedro River nesting birds during the spring months. We have had bird nest all over the property at Down By The River B and B. Hummingbirds have nested in the carport. House Finches have been in the trees next to the house. Black – Throated Sparrows have been in baskets in the breezeway and a Virden has been in the cactus next to the house.

San Pedro River nesting bird picture

The Say’s Phoebe has been nesting on the porch beam for six summers.

But the most persistent bird has been a Say’s Phoebe that has built and maintained a nest for 6 Springs now. She has built the nest in the patio beams at the dining room windows of Down By The River B and B. It has been a lot of fun to watch her do the repairs to the nest prior to laying the eggs. She has had to rebuild the nest once because of a heavy monsoon storm that blew the nest off the beam.

The Phoebe starts the nest by bringing in mud to anchor the materials to the beam. She then brings in straw, twigs and string that she finds in the area. Soon the nest is built up almost 3 inches allowing a little space between the next and the roof of the patio. This year many of the birders that visited were able to listen to the chicks peep for the male and female to return with food. The adults were constantly on the move to find insects to feed the three young.

San Pedro river nesting bird

The last fledgling remained in the nest while the other two and the female were flying around.

Finally two were out of the nest and flying short distances. They stayed together but followed the female. She would fly to a tree and call them. They would call back and finally fly to the tree. The third one was still weak and you could tell that it didn’t want to venture far from the nest. The next day all three were out flying but we believe that the weaker one was finally caught by a Roadrunner.  I came out to see the Roadrunner leaving the yard and the female Phoebe buzzing it and making a lot of racket.

San Pedro River nesting bird picture

One of the young was perched on the sill when I was out with the camera.

We tracked the Phoebe’s for days and finally they weren’t around anymore. Occasionally we see the female back around the nest but we have only glimpsed one bird we think might be one of the younger ones. We have had a lot of our birding guests watch the San Pedro River nesting birds during their stay. The Say’s Phoebe and the activity at the nest are just an example.

The female did finally come back to the nest by herself. She has been flying around catching insects on the wing. This is her territory and she has laid claim to it.

San Pedro River nesting birds

The female would move to a tree and then call her young to get them to fly to where she was.

Down By The River B and B Recipe

May 20th, 2014 by Mike Hug

Down By The River B and B recipe for peach pancakes with raspberry sauce is a must have for our guests.

b and b recipe peach pancake picture

Our peach pancakes are served with a raspberry sauce to accent the egg cups.

The Down By The River B and B recipe for peach pancakes with raspberry sauce that we serve to our guests has been requested many times after the morning breakfast.  We do delight in making something that our guests will not normally find in a franchise restaurant. We like going out of our way with something that our guests will find simple and easy to prepare when they return to their home. That way they will try it and not have fears that it will not be good when they make it.

Our Cheddar Cheese and ham egg cup is one of those breakfast recipes which we have blogged about. It is flexible so that we can make it gluten free, vegetarian or lactose free without much trouble or change of ingredients. Check the recipe out by clicking this link for the egg cup recipe.

Peach Tree Picture

Peaches are just hanging from the trees and are just right for out b and b recipe for peach pancakes.

We always provide a side when we make the egg cup dish and that can be berry nut French toast, other French toasts, waffles or pancakes to name a few. But now I am going to focus on just one of those sides that we give our guests. The recipe I am going to give you is the Peach Pancakes with the raspberry sauce. But first I want to tell you that we go to Apple Annie’s for our peaches. They are ripe and fresh and so much better than store bought. We also pick large peaches for this breakfast. The peaches are 3 to 4 inches in diameter. After you prepare the peaches, you can freeze them for later use.

Ingredients:

  • Pancake mix – use one you like or make from scratch
  • 1 – Peach (use freestone) We hand pick the ripe peach from the tree since it is so much better than what you find in the stores. Slice the peach in half and remove the pit. After the pit is removed slice rings about 1/4 inch thick. . Set aside after peeling. (1)

(1)   We remove the skin after the peach is sliced. It is easy to put the knife against the skin and rotate the peach removing the skin. You can get 4 to 6 slices of adequate size out of one peach.

Sauce

  • 1 pint – fresh raspberries
  • 1/ 4 cup – pomegranate preserves (Optional)
  • 2 Tbsp – liquid honey
  • 2 Tbsp – Cointreau liqueur, Grand Marnier, or Triple Sec.

Preparation:

  • Put the sauce ingredients in a pan and simmer until the raspberries are breaking down. Stirring occasionally.
  • Take off heat and put in bowl for later use.
  • Pour pancake batter onto skillet about 6” diameter.
  • Place peach centered on pancake press into batter
  • Cook one side and flip with peach face down.
  • Finish cooking and set on plate with peach face up
  • Garnish with fresh raspberries if you want.

b and b recipe picture

Press the peaches into the pancake batter.

Serve with the sauce drizzled on the pancakes. The tartness of the Raspberries and Pomegranate accent the sweetness of the peaches. Enjoy the flavors.

Rex Allen Museum

May 14th, 2014 by Mike Hug

The Rex Allen Museum in Willcox celebrates the life of the cowboy in rural Arizona.

Rex Allen Museum

The Rex Allen Museum is an early adobe construction from the 1890s.

Rex Allen Museum Guitar Picture

Rex Allen’s original guitar and fiddle are on display at the museum.

The Rex Allen Museum is located at 150 Railroad Avenue in Willcox, Arizona. The Museum was opened in 1989 to honor Rex. He was born and raised in the Willcox area, became a singing star and was the last of the cinema’s “Singing Cowboys” that included Roy Rogers and Gene Autry. Interestingly Roy Rogers was a friend of Rex’s and had a home in Apple Valley, California near my old home town. Now you may never have seen any of Rex Allen’s movies but I am sure that you know his voice and would recognize it if you heard it. Rex was the narrator for the nature films that were seen Sunday night on “The Wonderful World of Disney”.

The Rex Allen Museum also houses the Cowboy Hall of Fame which was opened in 1983. Now you won’t find actors or cowboy wannabes inducted here.

Rex Allen Museum Cowboy Hall of Fame Picture

The Rex Allen Museum also houses the Cowboy Hall of Fame.

The honorees are long time Willcox area ranchers and cattle men and women who through their determination eked out a living in this part of the Territory and later The State of Arizona. Willcox in the 1930s was the largest railroad shipping location in the US and became known as the Cattle Capital of the World. Today there are 300 commercial cattle ranches in Cochise County with nearly 18% of the livestock in the state grazing here.

Autographed Republic PosterThe Rex Allen Museum covers Rex’s life from his youth growing up north of Willcox. His first guitar and fiddle are on display along with early photos. There are a total of 15 exhibit areas in the museum. These include his music and recording career with WSL in Chicago and then Mercury and Decca Records. There are exhibits of his film career with Republic Pictures from 1950 to 54. There is also an exhibit of the actors that he worked with during his tenure.  A Republic Pictures Poster that has autographs of many of the actors that worked for the studio is framed and prominently displayed. Like Roy and Gene, Rex tried transitioning into TV with a series called Frontier Doctor in 1958 to 59. The last area focuses on when he was working at Disney.

Railroad Park on the south side of Railroad Avenue also has a bronze statue of Rex Allen and a bronze plaque for his horse Koko. Koko is buried in the park near the plaque. When Rex died in 1999, his ashes were spread in the park. Railroad Park is the venue for the Willcox Wine Festivals and Railroad Avenue is also the home of the Marty Robbins Museum, the art deco design Willcox Theater which showed Rex’s Movies, and 3 wine tasting rooms. So there is a lot to do in the area and you can spend your day enjoying the wonders of Willcox.Rex Allen Sculpture The Rex Allen Museum is a short drive of about 45 minutes from Down By The River B and B in St. David.

Willcox Wine Country Festival

May 8th, 2014 by Mike Hug

The Willcox Wine Country Festival Is Just Around The Corner

Flag and Willcox Wine Country Festival Sign Picture

The Flags at the Willcox Wine Country Festival sign greeted you as you entered Railroad Park

The Willcox Wine Country Festival is only ten days away. May 17 and 18, 2014 are the dates of the festival and 21 different wineries will be serving their fine products from 11 AM to 5 PM. There are nearly 100 different wines that you will be able to sample. The festival site is Railroad Park in downtown Willcox. There will also be vendor booths selling different unique items. Besides the local restaurants that are within walking distance, there will be food services available at the park.

Tickets and glass picture

The Willcox Wine Country Festival sold tickets and a commemorative wine glass for $15.

For the price of $15, you receive a commemorative glass and 6 tickets for sampling your choice of wines. Angie and I usually share the sample and that way we can taste 12 different wines. Belong to a wine club? We belong to some and when we stop at that winery location the samples are free and they don’t ask for the ticket. Needless to say with only 12 tickets we go to wineries that we don’t frequent often such as ones that grow their grapes in Willcox but the tasting room is located outside of Willcox or Elgin. By going to the festival you can sample wines that you may not have had the chance to taste.

The best part of the Willcox Wine Country Festival is that you are able to sample many different wines at one location. This gives you the opportunity to focus on what you want. Maybe you only want to taste one type of grape, only dry reds, or only whites. If you already know the wines you like you can taste others and then purchase the ones you know you like at the festival. There are a lot of options available for you. More information is available at this website.

T Short PictureAngie and I are pretty lucky because we are located between Elgin and Willcox. Our B and B is called Down By The River B and B and we are located in St. David. This is about 45 minutes from both wine country locations. Because of that we have many friends that are the owners of the wineries and we have many guests that stay here because of our centralized location.  So if you can’t make the wine festival this year in May there is the next one that is held in October. Remember Down By The River B and B for your lodging choice when you visit Southeastern Arizona’s Wine Country.

Birding The San Pedro House Trails

May 2nd, 2014 by Mike Hug

Birding the San Pedro House trails can keep you involved all day

Birding the San Pedro House trail

Birding the San Pedro House start with the trail heading east to the river.

Birding the San Pedro House trails is the next thing to do after viewing the area around the old ranch house. You can read what I wrote about the San Pedro House Birding activities in my last blog.  In this blog I will tell you the experience we had walking the trails from the visitor’s center to the river and then along the river and ponds at the San Pedro House. The trail system is quite extensive and when completed will provide about 30 miles of trails running from the ghost towns of Fairbank and Contention in the north down into Hereford. It uses trails along the river and old railroad beds that were abandon long ago.

River path photo

Birding the San Pedro house river trails is a tranquil and soothing time.

From the San Pedro House, we took the direct route east to the San Pedro River. There are no facilities along the trails so take plenty of water with you. As you near the river the trail splits with one section running north along the river, ending on Escapula Road just north of the old Clanton Ranch ruins. Yes this is ranch homesite of the Clantons who were in the OK Corral Gunfight. The trail follows the river north under the Arizona 90 bridge over the San Pedro and up to an old railroad bed. Follow the bed to the north to the Clanton ruins or back south while birding to the San Pedro House.

The riparian forest in this part of the river is shaded and if you are patient you will see birds flitting around the trees and underbrush. We were watching Ladderback Woodpeckers, warblers and some unidentified brown birds. We spent some time watching the birds but decided that if we were going to get a perspective of this preserve we needed to head south to the pond areas. The trails gives you a choice of directions. You can head over to the Dry Ox Bow which is a Cottonwood Grove was on the river at one time but now is dry or follow the river. We decided to follow the river and see what activity we could find along the San Pedro.

Unidentifed brown bird photo.

An unidentified brown bird is found when birding the San Pedro House trails.

The tranquil setting is perfect for birding the San Pedro House trails. Down along the banks of the river you find different insects that provide food for the birds. Tent caterpillars were all over in the trees. There is a good flow of water in the river at this point. Birds can be seen in the trees and brush. We enjoyed the Northern Flicker as it moved in and out of our sight on the tree branch. We also discovered a Ladderback Woodpeckers nest in a tree. It flew to a tree so I thought it would be a good place to get a photo.

I looked for a while and finally saw him stick his head out of the hole and chatter at me to leave. The female stopped by and stayed a little above on another branch waiting for us to leave. We finally obliged and headed off to Green Kingfisher Pond. The Green Kingfisher Pond is an old quarry that has filled with water over time. It is not connected to the river but remains filled. At this pond we were greeted by an American Coot, the Vermillion Flycatcher and Wilson’s Warblers.Ladderback Woodpecker in the nest photo

We decided that we would head back and not go to the Black Phoebe Pond. Our time was starting to run short and we wanted to get to Bisbee before the day ended. There weather was also starting to get a bit blustery and we didn’t want to be caught in the rain. It started drizzling as we reached the car so it turned out to be a good decision. We definitely enjoyed our outing and it will be on our list to return here in the future to do a little more exploring. The San Pedro House is a short distance from Down By The River B and B – The Lodging Hub of Cochise County.

Green Kingfisher Pond photo

The Green Kingfisher Pond can be found when you are birding the San Pedro House trails.

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