Monday, June 14, 2010

Light and Lightning


If you're anything like me, I love a good storm.  Being in the midst of an indefinite drought here in Arizona, I come alive during these thunderstorms.  Saturday was no exception.  It came as a surprise.  We were sitting down to breakfast and heard thunder in the near distance.  I remember looking at the temperature early in the morning and it was in the mid 70's. 

By the time breakfast was finished, Ralph looked out more closely at a wash down below us and realized it looked to be running.  "Where did all that water come from?  There was no rain up north."  Well, there was a very dark raincloud just north of us and that would account for the flash flood in the wash.  A few minutes later the valley down below was covered in a blanket of white!

Snow on June 12th?!  Wow!  These thunderstorms are so intense and expand so high into the atmosphere that they sometimes bring down a great deal of very cold air.  In this case we got hail!  Yep, that's a blanket of hail.

Looking at the temperature again, it was 48 degrees here on the mountain.

The first of June we began using our swamp cooler, at least two weeks later than the last couple of years.  Still, it wasn't up into the mid 90's yet.  Temperatures have been hovering in the mid to high 80's.  It gradually began cooling off a few days before this storm.  It's been a strange and unpredictable year so far.  Either way, we enjoyed the storm so much that we got the kids loaded up into the truck and headed off to take care of some errands.  We've been house-sitting for a couple of neighbors on the other side of the mountain.

This neighbor's place barely got any rain at all, maybe a few sprinkles but that's it.  As you can see, the climate is very different here.  Same mountain, just different exposures.  We live on the east side of the range, while this neighbor lives on the west side.  I love the Desert Bird of Paradise, Rock Roses, and Ocotillo they have in this garden.  In fact, this is where the Sonoran Desert and Mojave Deserts join.  It's beautiful.

The second neighbor's place is just slightly lower in elevation than the previous neighbor's.  This view gives you a great feel for the climate here.  Stunningly beautiful.  Hotter, but gorgeous.  I am intrigued by the multiple changes in flora and fauna as you climb up in elevation and eventually arrive at our high mountain desert climate.  Down on the valley floor below, you'll start with saguaros, creosote, ocotillo, mesquites, palo verdes, and crown-of-thorns (also known as Mormon Tea).  Climbing up the mountain you'll start to see more yuccas, barrel cacti, and sages, along with the intermittent wild burros.  Once over the crest of the mountain, the zones change entirely.  No longer do you see what you've traveled through, but instead junipers, manzanitas, pinon pines, mountain laurel, and scrub oak.  Now you see lots of quail, jack rabbits, cottontails, javelina, mountain lions, bobcats, deer, elk, hawks, and the occasional eagle.  It's a paradise.

Now that the house-sitting errands are done, it's time to get to work on our own property.

Ralph puts me into the Bobcat while he does maintenance on the small skid steer; his mistake, because I don't let him back in!

We are clearing some space in order to get our feet wet growing a crop of garlic for next year.  We are just learning about the different varieties of garlic and their climatic needs.  We may have narrowed them down to Racomble and Porcelain varieties.  I love garlic and all the different types are intriguing if not absolutely delicious.  You can never have enough garlic!  Hopefully we can find the varieties that work best for us and then sell them at the end of each season.  The idea of making the land work for us is a long standing one.  This idea has a lot going for it, and we are now beginning yet another adventure in discovery.

Here's the crew doing their part in clearing the debris out of the field! 
One day they will realize just how lucky they are to have grown up here, like this!

Finally I relinquish the controls and let my "Miracle Worker" husband of mine take over.  I call him the Miracle Worker because if it were not for him, I would not be doing any of this!  It is all because of his wide array of know-how and mechanical expertise that we are here at all.  After all, for any dreamer to realize a dream, the dreamer must have a few, if not a whole bunch, of miracles in order to realize the dream.  So, he is my Miracle Worker!

I now leave the Miracle Worker to do his magic while I go up to the house to start dinner and bathe the kids.  Another beautiful day in paradise!

1 comment:

  1. hey looking good, thanks for the pics and letting me know you. miss AZ, up here in NV is not the same. Papa Lizird