Archive for June, 2017

  • Stoned: Our obsession with rocks and gemstones

    Jun 30, 17 • ndemarino • 5enses, FeatureNo CommentsRead More »

    By Lesley Aine McKeown Who hasn’t walked a beach and come back with a pocket full of shells, or schlepped a five-pound rock back from a hike just because it was cool? We’re drawn to pretty things, unusual things, things with a story. To understand the natural world and possess a piece of it is what motivates us to collect rocks, gemstones and ultimately the jewelry made with these things. When Elizabeth I sanctioned privateers to loot Spanish ships off the English coast, it wasn’t to simply to gather loot, rather to find a single pearl called La Pelegrina, a betrothal gift to her sister Mary from Prince Phillip of Spain. On Mary’s death the pearl was returned to Spain, but Elizabeth had to have it, even at the risk of war. This desire to possess something unique, to the point of obsession, can drive any of us. It’s important to our nature, even instinctive. As a child, I’d often go with my parents down to the limestone cliffs by the Missouri River to search for crinoids, the stem of a fossilized mammal that looked like beads, round and plainly once alive. This fascinated me, quite possibly sparking the lifelong obsession with collecting rocks and gems that I’ve been able to turn into a business. Want to buy a gemstone? Looking for a specimen? Fascinated with fossils? Attending a gem

  • Rock enrolled: Prescott Gem & Mineral Show returns for 14th outing

    Jun 30, 17 • ndemarino • 5enses, FeatureNo CommentsRead More »

    By James Dungeon Rocks are pretty darn cool. That’s a pretty soft sell for the Prescott Gem & Mineral Club’s 14th annual show — the practically eponymous Prescott Gem & Mineral Show — but, it’s not a particularity hard event to sell. Come look at some neat looking rocks from around the state and around the globe. Lots of them are pretty. Maybe buy some and take them home and look at them some more, or turn them into jewelry. Whatever your thing is, really. Seriously. It’s rocks. And rocks are cool. The Prescott Gem & Mineral Show is 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Aug. 4th & 5th and 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Aug. 6 at the Prescott Valley Event Center, 3201 Main St., 928-772-1819. Tickets are $5 for adults, $4 for seniors, vets, and students, and free for children under 12. Linda Loschke, a board member and previous president of the Prescott Gem & Mineral Club, discusses this year’s show. Find out more at PrescottGemMineral.Org. Can you give us an overview of the event? We have more than 50 vendors who come and sell their different items. Some have beads, but it’s mostly rock-related cabochons. There’s cut and polished jewelry as well as unfinished specimens. We have a raffle, a kids activity area, geode cutting, and other demonstrations, but the main event is really the vendors who come and sell rock-related items

  • Stravinsky, dinosaurs optional Part I: On discovering a fantastical hearing aid for classical music

    Jun 30, 17 • ndemarino • 5enses, Alan Dean Foster's PerceivingsNo CommentsRead More »

    By Alan Dean Foster Here’s how you get kids interested in classical music: you throw out all the traditional “music appreciation” courses, haul your class to a theater, and have them watch the original Disney “Fantasia.” Then you go back to the classroom and spend a semester discussing it. That’s what did it for me, and I did my own homework because the class in question didn’t exist. I remember being taken to see a re-release of the film when I was about 7. We had a little classical music in our house. Beethoven’s Fifth, some Tchaikovsky, on 33 rpm records. My mother played a mean “Rhapsody in Blue” on her baby Steinway. But “Fantasia” simply overwhelmed me. I remember my initial reactions to it to this day. Confusion at the abstract visuals of Bach’s “Toccata and Fugue”, mild amusement at Ponchielli’s “Dance of the Hours”, quiet awe at the sheer beauty of Tchaikovsky’s “Nutcracker Suite,” wonderment at Beethoven’s sixth symphony, amazement that Mickey Mouse could do more than giggle in Dukas’ “The Sorceror’s Apprentice,” and yawning at the concluding Schubert “Ave Maria.” But … there were dinosaurs. Ah, dinosaurs! As part of the whole evolution them of the Stravinsky “Rite of Spring.” Stravinsky hated Disney’s take on his ballet, but the appearance of the score in Fantasia has probably sold more copies of recordings of “Rite” than all the

  • News from the Wilds: July 2017

    Jun 30, 17 • ndemarino • 5enses, News From the WildsNo CommentsRead More »

    By Ty Fitzmorris July in the Mogollon Highlands of Arizona growls with the rumbling of the afternoon clouds and rings with the first drops from the monsoon storms. After the high temperatures and low relative humidity of June, the plants and animals of the wild areas are at their most stressed and are at high risk of death from extreme temperatures and lack of water. But during this time, many species gave birth to their young, provisioned nests, and lay eggs in anticipation of a coming time of abundance and growth. Though this is a gamble, the first, massive raindrops near the beginning of the month, and the first flush of monsoon flowers that follow, prove it to be well-founded, and so the second grand flush of life begins. Though the climate of the Central Highlands can be harsh for part of the year — dry and fire-scorched in early summer, cold and snowy in the winter — these tough times are typically followed by some of our most exuberant seasons. So it is with the annual drought of June, which is followed by the coming of the monsoon rains in July. Especially in drier years, the July showers are a real cause for celebration. They are, however, something of a mixed blessing — they’ll bring a second wave of growth and flowering, but in the short term they bring

  • Myth & Mind: In the halls of the mountain kings

    Jun 30, 17 • ndemarino • 5enses, Myth & MindNo CommentsRead More »

    By Reva Sherrard Winter or summer, it’s cold in the mountain. The last time the sun touched this place was in the age when oxygen first accumulated in the atmosphere, hundreds to thousands of millions of years ago. It has been very quiet until now. I am on a bus, one of the modern heated fleet that punctually connects the villages of Western Norway to the towns and rail centers without fail, except in cases of natural disaster. The drivers are curt, competent, and speak no English. I am counting the minutes we have been inside the mountains and watching the kilometers tick by, four at a time, till we are out in the daylight world again. This is the Lærdal-Aurland tunnel in Sogn og Fjordane county, Norway, at 24.51 kilometers (15.23 miles) the world’s longest — but I didn’t know that when after a series of lesser entombments we entered this timeless hole. At three places along its length the tunnel widens and glows with eerily intense blue light, fading pale towards the ground, and you think you have begun to hallucinate. But it’s part of the design, meant to imitate sunrise according to the government. It does not. If anything it says you have left the living world behind and entered a place where flame burns blue yet gives no heat; you have been taken into the mountain

  • Prescott Peeps: Jonathan Best & ComMUSIKey

    Jun 30, 17 • ndemarino • 5enses, Prescott PeepsNo CommentsRead More »

    How do you introduce yourself? I’m a music gardener, that’s my title. I plant musical seeds and they grow and I tend them and water them and prune them. You could take that metaphor as far as you want. I just really live in music. What are you up to these days? In August I’m going to do this “Build the Bridges” tour along the West Coast. It’s part of a mission to build all kinds of bridges — musical, social, you name it. Someone, a student of mine, bought and donated a little upright spinet piano, a Melodigrand. I’m going to have this little piano on wheels. It’s light enough, I’ll probably be able to pull it with my bicycle. The idea is that I’ll be able to take it anywhere. The tour is based on the “Build the Bridges” song. Which is? Sorry, I’m not familiar with it. Ohh, well, I was at a Trump rally and making music. I believe that the more people who play music the better, especially in places where there’s going to be discord. I was there with my ukelele and I was trying to turn what they were shouting into music, into singing. I heard somebody shout “build the bridges, take down the walls,” so I started playing and singing that, and people started singing, and it kind of grew out of

  • Get Involved: Prescott Regulators & Their Shady Ladies

    Jun 30, 17 • ndemarino • 5enses, Get InvolvedNo CommentsRead More »

    In these features, 5enses highlights individuals and organizations in the community that are making a difference. They were inspired by Alert Reader Aarti Pani and community leaders Sadira DeMarino and John Duncan. Thank you, Aarti, Sadira, and John. Want to nominate a do-gooder or a doing-gooder group? Email tips to 5ensesMag@Gmail.Com with “Do Good” in the subject line. Don’t like who we feature? Do some good deeds or start your own group and tell us about it. Remember, our community is whatever we make it. ***** Get Involved: Prescott Regulators & Their Shady Ladies Who are you and what do you do? I’m Neil Thomas, president of the Prescott Regulators and Their Shady Ladies. We’re a 501(C)(3) and the official Old West Ambassadors of Prescott, Arizona. We do reenactments across the state. We’re currently 14-years-old and, in the last six years, we’ve won True West magazines’s “Best in the West” re-enactors four times. We have the annual “Shootout on Whiskey Row,” and we took the “Best Wild West Show” for 2o17 for that. We perform all over the state and, basically, we’re trying to keep the Old West alive as best we can. During the state’s centennial we were one of only three groups in the state to be involved in that with performances in Prescott and in Phoenix. For the city of Prescott’s sesquicentennial, we did the entire Western

  • Plant of the Month: Scarlet Beeblossom

    Jun 30, 17 • ndemarino • 5enses, Plant of the MonthNo CommentsRead More »

    By David Moll I have a personal connection with Scarlet Beeblossom. Long ago, I received instruction in botany. Afterward, I was on my own. One day, I noticed a wildly unfamiliar-looking flowering plant around the driveway. From a distance, the flowers of this plant were so unrecognizable that I had no idea where my investigation would take me. I took a closer look and was surprised, not by novel discovery, but by familiar recognition. We may recognize a willow tree just by looking at its general appearance — though there are look-a- likes. When it come to the more numerous herbs (and sometimes shrubs), the presence of a flower is going to get us further down the road of identification than using the vegetational clues. Flowers, the number and arrangement of their parts, are the pivotal characteristic for identifying flowering plants in the field. Scarlet Beebossom is a nice example of variation within a plant family (and now even within a genus). One of the categories of flower part arrangement is symmetry. The most common types of flower symmetry are radial and bilateral. If a flower can be bisected through its center by two or more planes and show symmetry, it’s called radially symmetrical; imagine a thistle flower. If a flower shows symmetry with one and only one bisection, it’s called bilaterally symmetrical; think Penstemon. The mystery flower along the

  • Bird of the Month: Yellow-billed Cuckoo

    By Russ Chappell High on the list of any Yellow-billed Cuckoo’s culinary menu are caterpillars. They are one of a few species capable of eating hairy caterpillars, and often consume thousands each season. A close relative of the Greater Roadrunner and Black-billed Cuckoo, Yellow-Billed Cuckoos have a croaking call they often voice in response to loud sounds, such as thunder, leading to the nick name “rain crow.” Fairly large, long, and slim with a long, primarily yellow, thick, downward curved bill and flat head, they are a distinctive bird with brownish backs, white underparts and yellow orbital eyering. They also display wide white bands mixed with narrower black ones on their tails. The parents share nest building, incubation and brooding of their young. Eggs are laid one at a time over several days, with the period between eggs being as long as 5 days, making the period from incubation to total fledging around 17 days. Chicks are born featherless, with the young fully feathered and ready to leave the nest within a week. Yellow-billed Cuckoos forage methodically in treetops for large, hairy caterpillars and live primarily in the canopies of deciduous trees in woodland areas. In the West, they are elusive and difficult to spot, normally found in Cottonwood-dominated areas near rivers flowing through arid habitats. They are visitors to the Prescott and Verde River regions in the summer and

  • Vegetable of the Month: Tomato

    By Kathleen Yetman The tomato is the fruit of Solanum lycopersicum — a nightshade plant in the Solanaceae family, which includes eggplant, peppers and potatoes. The tomato is native to South and Central America, where ancient peoples domesticated the wild plants. While the date of its domestication is unknown, records show that it was being cultivated in Mexico as early as 500 B.C.E. When the Spanish invaded Mexico, they took tomato seeds back to Europe, where varieties evolved and spread. Tomatoes are a great crop for the beginning gardener. Plants can be started from seed indoors and transplanted outside after the danger of frost has passed (usually mid May), or simply planted in the ground at that time. Plants are categorized as either determinate, meaning that they will only grow to a certain height, or indeterminate, meaning they will grow as wide and high as possible. In greenhouses, growers have mastered pruning and fertilizing techniques that keep indeterminate varieties vining for several years, continuously producing fruit. Tomatoes come in a variety of shapes, sizes and colors beyond read. Some tomatoes are green, yellow, purple, pink, orange, black, white, or combinations of those colors. Tomatoes are categorized based on their uses — plum tomatoes like Roma have a lower water content and are best for making sauces while Beefsteak tomatoes are best sliced on sandwiches. Heirloom varieties are increasingly popular with

Celebrating art and science in Greater Prescott.

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