Archive for August, 2016

  • As the twig is bent … : Highlands Nature Festival returns to Prescott

    Aug 26, 16 • ndemarino • 5enses, FeatureNo CommentsRead More »

    By James Dungeon [Editor’s note: The following interview was culled from conversations between the reporter and Mara Kack, education director at the Highlands Center for Natural History, which is hosting the second annual Highlands Nature Festival, Friday through Sunday, Sept. 2-4, find out more at HighlandsCenter.Org/events/highlands-nature-festival and register at HNF16.EventBrite.Com or 928-776-9550.] So, what is the Highlands Nature Festival? This is the second year. It’s a collaboration with nature-focused groups and organizations around town including Prescott Creeks, Native Plant Society, Prescott Audubon, the Sierra Club, Ecosa, and quite a few others. The goal is to get the community more ware of our local natural history and to celebrate the diversity of the Central Arizona Highlands — and emphasize how unique and beautiful our area is. … We’ve been attempting to develop the event to meet a wide audience range. The first year was definitely for adults who had some sense of the area already. This year we’ve planned several field trips for newer folks. There’s one trip to Watson Lake with Chris Hosking, of the City of Prescott, and Joe Trudeau, an ecological consultant, which will focus on local history. That would be a really wonderful trip for someone new to the area. There’s also a Prescott Creeks-lead field trip along the Greenway Trail that’s more focused on the urban water history of Prescott and natural history within an urban

  • Science … or industry?: A rash of supplemental reading material

    Aug 26, 16 • ndemarino • 5enses, Alan Dean Foster's PerceivingsNo CommentsRead More »

    By Alan Dean Foster Did you ever get the feeling when strolling through the vitamin and supplement section of a supermarket, general store (Walmart, Target), or specialty vitamin store that it’s a wonder you’re alive because you don’t take at least a pound of supplements a day? Between the relentless barrage of television ads touting unpronounceable medicines designed to cure all the diseases you don’t have, to the row upon row of supplements intended to fill all the empty places in your body, brain, skeleton, and neuromuscular system, you end up agonizing that you won’t survive until tomorrow unless you ingest half the Amazon rain forest. Just last year, Walgreen’s, Walmart, Target, and GNC were told to cease selling a brand of supplements because, well, the bottles didn’t contain the supplements they claimed. Or rather, the supplements were highly adulterated with other, useless substances. If you can’t trust add-ons sold by some of the biggest retailers on the planet, who can you trust? Maybe, after all, Aunt Matilda’s herb garden is a better place to look for peppers and mint. Purity and truth in advertising aside, unless you’re prescribed a specific supplement by a doctor, what’s the point? My mother’s parents both lived to be a healthy 94 and, to the best of my knowledge, never took a supplement pill in their lives. My grandmother’s idea of food supplementation was

  • Oddly Enough: September 2016

    Aug 26, 16 • ndemarino • 5enses, Russ Miller's Oddly EnoughNo CommentsRead More »

    By Russell Miller This strange looking pistol is called a Dardick Model 1500. It was invented by a man named David Dardick and was revolutionary in its design. It’s a firearm that incorporates an internal revolver action, fed by a magazine loaded into the grip. ODDLY ENOUGH …This weapon utilized another surprise for the owner, it fired triangular shaped cartridges called “trounds.” ***** This weird looking little semi-automatic pistol was designed in 1894 by Theodore Bergmann and Louis Schmeisser. Firing a bullet similar to a .25 caliber, this handgun utilized a five shot clip that fit into a completely housed magazine, forward of the trigger. The spent cartridges were ejected without an extractor by the residual gas pressure left in the barrel after the gun was fired. ODDLY ENOUGH … Although many features incorporated into this pistol were ahead of their time and many of its functions are still used today in modern weaponry, this German-made pistol never seemed to catch on. Regardless, the 1896 model did receive some mild interest by the military at the time. ***** Russell Miller is an illustrator, cartoonist, writer, bagpiper, motorcycle enthusiast, and reference librarian. Currently, he illustrates books for Cody Lundin and Bart King

  • News From the Wilds: September 2016

    Aug 26, 16 • ndemarino • 5enses, News From the WildsNo CommentsRead More »

    By Ty Fitzmorris September glows in golden light, rich with scents of late summer — its sunrises are heady with the fragrance of white Sacred Datura flowers, fading into the noontime butterscotch of sun-warmed Ponderosas, and then into the dusk sweetness of bricklebush. In much of North America, September marks the beginning of the colder part of the year, with last harvests and cold nights. But in the lower latitudes, such as the Mogollon Highlands of Arizona, September is still summer, though with hints and foreshadowings of autumn. The monsoon rains usually continue into the early part of the month, tapering off eventually into glorious sunny days with extraordinary flowering of purple four-o-clocks, asters, and morning-glories, red penstemons and Scarlet Creeper, yellow sunflowers and daisies, and the tall, strange tree-like Wright’s Thelypody (Thelypodium wrightii), with its white flowers. Insect diversity, too, continues to grow and change, with some of the largest insects of the year making their debut. Look for the large brown Rhinoceros Beetle (Xyloryctes jamaicensis), the Great Ash Sphinx Moth (Sphinx chersis), and the gigantic leaf-mimic katydids of the genus Microcentrum, as well as the harmless (though somewhat alarming) Giant Crab Spider (Olios giganteus), which is often seen in houses as temperatures fall outside. It is in this time of extraordinary plenty that many creatures begin to prepare for the coming cold season. Most of our woody plants

  • In the fast lane: Phone in faster internet speeds

    By Paolo Chlebecek Recently, while waiting for a download of the new Microsoft Office 365 at a customer’s premises, I realized something: Some Internet Service Providers are painfully slow. I already feel likemy life is just a progress bar, slowly inching across the screen. Then it hit me; why not use my 4G cellphone to connect the laptop to the internet. I did, and it was blazing fast by comparison. Why should you care? Because the world of the internet is about to get much much faster, thanks to 5G. What’s 5G? For that matter what’s 4G? I can’t say it’s a very imaginative explanation, but most tech nomenclature isn’t. The “G” after the number just means generation. A new mobile data system has developed approximately every 10 years since the first 1G system was introduced in 1982. The first 2G system was deployed in 1992, and the first 3G system appeared in 2001. 4G systems, like what is available in most smartphones today, were released in 2012. Move over 4G, it’s time for 5G. What’s the difference? Back in the ’80s, the speed of 1G wasn’t even considered for mobile data use, only up to 2.4kbps. At that rate, it would take almost five hours to download a 4MB MP3 song. By the time 2G and 2.5G came, we topped speeds of 64-144 kbps. The same file would then

  • Wearable Whimsy & Wanderlust: Unraveling the fabric art of Ashley Darling

    Aug 26, 16 • ndemarino • 5enses, FeatureNo CommentsRead More »

    By Robert Blood [Editor’s note: The following interview was culled from conversations between the reporter and fiber artist Ashley Darling. See more of Ashley Darling’s work at AshleyDarlingDesign.Com. Contact her at Ashley@AshleyDarlingDesign.Com.] How did you get started sewing? I can remember back to when I was a child looking over my mom’s shoulder as she sewed dresses and curtains. She was also the lead seamstress in the town I grew up in. My dad is probably one of the best upholsterers on this side of the U.S. The funny thing about all this, when I was growing up I had absolutely zero interest in learning the trade. I would rather be out playing in the trees in our back yard than sitting inside by some noisy machine. It wasn’t until I became a mom that I felt a desire to explore the talent sleeping in my genes. For my first project I made a curtain valance for my son’s nursery. I was having the hardest time finding anything in the stores that wasn’t teddy bears or trains and I wanted to do a whole nature theme with Classic Winnie the Pooh. From there I began designing dresses and other adorable outfits for my daughters that were 1 and 3. What inspired you to make your first coat? My first coat was inspired in part by my love of “treasure hunting”

  • A new look at ‘A New Look’: Students inspired by Dana Cohn showcased at The Raven Café

    Aug 26, 16 • ndemarino • 5enses, FeatureNo CommentsRead More »

    By James Dungeon [Editor’s note: The following interview was culled from conversations between the reporter and Emma Fenton and Billy Rose, all of whom are showing pieces at “A New Look: Art Under the Auspices of Dana Cohn,” which runs Sept. 12-Oct. 16 at The Raven Café, 142 N. Cortez St., 928-717-0009. The opening reception is 5-7 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 14.] Before we get to some of the artists featured in the show, Betsy Dally and Maria Lynam, the art directors of The Raven Café, wanted to explain the idea behind it. “So many of our friends and acquaintances have started their careers at the local colleges,” Lynam said. “Both Yavapai College and Prescott College are fortunate in having inspired instructors. Dana Cohn teaches painting at both institutions and we thought it would be a good introduction to the community to show them what can be achieved.” “Once we decided [on the show] … we selected work that includes oils,acrylic, watercolor and pastel,” Dally added. “It is from students who are in their teens to those whose interest in art blossomed in retirement.” ***** What was your art background before taking a class with Dana Cohn and what were your early impressions? Fenton: I’d only taken one art class before, and that was “Drawing 1” at Yavapai College, so painting was completely new. I’d kind of dabbled in painting on

  • Open doors, minds: Get ready for the ninth annual Prescott Area Artists Studio Tour

    Aug 26, 16 • ndemarino • 5enses, FeatureNo CommentsRead More »

    By Robert Blood [Editor’s note: The following interview was culled from conversations between the reporter and Lynn Schmitt, jewelry artist and a co-chair of the executive committee for the Prescott Area Artists Studio Tour. The ninth annual studio tour is 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Friday through Sunday, Sept. 30 & Oct. 1 & 2, via sponsored by the Mountain Artists Guild. Find out more at PrescottStudioTour.Com.] What’s your history with jewelry making? I started making jewelry about 11 years ago — I can’t believe it’s been that long. I started out designing slightly Victorian pieces because I had Victorian costumes and needed something to go with them. Nobody was making that kind of stuff, so I made my own. Now, I use mostly metal and wire. I like using wire to form things. You can be bold and very graphic or you can be quiet and subtle. I’m pretty much self-taught, but I’ve always made things. I come from a family of makers: my dad was an artist and my mom sewed. We’ve just always done things like that. I learn really well from reading and have a huge library, not just about jewelry making techniques, but also the history of jewelry, the history of gemstones, their meanings, where they’re found, those sort of things. I became kind of entranced by all of that. It’s become a passion. And your history

  • Bird of the Month: Yellow-rumped Warbler

    By Sharon Arnold   Arizona is famous for attracting winter visitors called snowbirds. In Prescott, a true avian version is the Yellow-rumped Warbler. Lower elevations in Prescott are often the spring and fall migration stopover and wintering haven for the Audubon’s sub-species of this colorful warbler. Although some of these “butter butts” are known to breed in our coniferous forests, most breed in mountainous states north and west of Arizona, in Canada and in Alaska. Now is the time to look for migrating Yellow-rumped Warblers foraging in trees and shrubs. Their sharp “chip” call notes give them away, and they may be traveling in large flocks. In summer, charcoal grey, black and bold white plus the five brilliant yellow markings including the rump spot that gives them their charming nickname, define these plump, 5.5-inch warblers. Winter birds may be a pale brown retaining their yellow rump and some yellow on their sides. They sport large heads and bills, flashes of white in their wings, and a long tail which is white underneath. Winter visitors begin migrating to higher elevation nesting areas by early or mid-April. These warblers commonly use older stands of Ponderosa for nesting. They are most abundant in cool mixed-conifer forests that include Douglas fir, white fir, and Aspen. In summer, look for them in the Bradshaw Mountains at elevations above 6,000 feet. Like other warblers males arrive

  • Plant of the Month: Camphorweed

    Aug 26, 16 • ndemarino • 5enses, Plant of the MonthNo CommentsRead More »

    By Lisa Zander Our plant of the month first caught my eye in early spring as it sprouted in profusion along the Prescott-area roads I bike and run. Curious about this plant that I’d never noticed before, I plucked off a small piece of a sticky, egg-shaped leaf that pointed skyward. When I crushed the leaf, a strong aroma was released. I became intrigued with this mystery forb and kept a watchful eye as it grew taller. As the spring and summer months went by, my frequent sightings of these same sticky basal leaves left me slightly concerned about the invasive nature of this common road-side weed. When it finally bloomed in late August, the big reveal were rowdy clusters of bright yellow disc and ray flowers — this plant was a member of the Asteraceae, the Aster Family. More specifically, through the Yavapai County Native and Naturalized Plants website, I identified the plant as Camphorweed (Heterotheca subaxillaris), and was surprised to learn that it is native to our area. And that aroma? As often is the case, the strong smell belayed the plant’s medicinal chemical compounds. The late herbalist, Michael Moore (not to be confused with the documentary filmmaker of the same name) wrote that Camphorweed can be used as an antiseptic and antifungal and that an ointment made from the plant may help to ease pain and inflammation

Celebrating art and science in Greater Prescott.

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