August Happenings

The change from July to August was noticeable at our house, gone were the massive monsoons that dumped several inches of rain in two separate events. Instead multiple smaller storms swept through, sprinkling our property just enough to keep the plants happy. The one similarity between the two months? Triple digits. The days were definitely hot but at least they were in the low 100s and not up in the 110s. I know it may not sound like much but it makes a huge difference.

Near the beginning of the month Lance shocked his body by traveling to fall weather—he attended WordCamp San Francisco. He had a bit of trouble packing since he had to dig out cooler weather gear; like jeans, long sleeves, and even a couple sweatshirts.

Lance was welcomed back to Tucson by a hot and humid weekend. Since we only have an evaporative cooler on our house the muggy days are the worst. On hot, dry days our cooler keeps us comfortable but when the air is moist, forget it.

The best solution is just to escape the heat for the day. So we drove up to Mount Lemmon in the nearby Santa Catalina Mountains. It was such a relief! The elevation difference from our house to the top of the mountains is roughly 6,500 feet. When you calculate that the temperature drops three degrees for every thousand feet of elevation gained it was a blissful twenty degrees cooler up there.

We whiled away the afternoon: lingering over a picnic lunch, watching a white-tailed deer in the meadow, admiring birds and a teeny-tiny horned lizard. As we finished our loop trail an unusual pile of brush caught my eye. A nudge of the branches with my foot revealed a metal vase that could only be one thing: a cremation urn. Closer examination proved that the dearly departed had departed.

Mount Lemmon is a beautiful place. I get that. So it makes perfect sense that someone might have wanted their ashes scattered up there (though it is United States Forest Service property and I’m not sure what their regulations are). What I don’t understand is why someone would leave the empty urn behind! Recycle it. Throw it in a trash can. Do anything but leave it for someone to find!

I am starting to take this personally since this is the third cremation-related discovery I have made in the last six years. The first one I stumbled upon was still occupied and it took a bit of skill to find Leroy an appropriate resting place (yes, that was his name—there was a nametag on the urn).

Roughly six months later Lance and I were hiking near Gates Pass, a popular place in the Tucson Mountains to catch the sunset, and I was picking up trash—a hobby I avidly pursue and I wish more people did. I snagged a small burlap bag out from under a bush and was surprised to read that it was from a local mortuary. Apparently a bag is an effective and relatively inexpensive way to move someone on to the next stage. Thankfully, the ashes had already been scattered.

Which made us think of that macabre yet hysterical scene in The Big Lebowski when Walter and The Dude go to the beach to spread Donny’s ashes only to have the wind blow the cremains all over them. I certainly hope the folks at Gates Pass did not suffer a similar fate.

So where were we before my urn diversion? Ah, yes. It was hot! In an effort to protect our house from the punishing rays of the summer sun we hired a contractor to extend our back porch down the length of the house. Our bedroom and the guest bedroom would get unbearably hot, baking in the sun all afternoon. The new extension shades the walls of the house and keeps it much cooler. And we have a new patio area to relax in—a win, win as it were.

The majority of the month we avoided the worst of the heat by venturing out early and late in the day. September promises more of the same weather patterns—the rain I’m looking forward to, the triple digits? Not so much…

Photos: View our photographs from August Happenings.

3 thoughts on “August Happenings

  1. Karen

    Love the photos! I know how good it feels to finish these house improvements. Congrats. Your nature photos are always wonderful Erin. Lance we look forward to hearing about all of the exotic places you have been lately when we get together next time.

  2. Heidi

    I agree that I love to see your photos Erin! I will share these with Andrew and Jed tonight. It is fun to see photos from our favorite trail on Mt. Lemmon! I also love what you have done with the porch and countertops…gorgeous work! Very interesting and tasteful design.

  3. Erin Willett Post author

    Aw shucks – thanks for your kind words, ladies. We love completing projects around here – we don’t always enjoy the sweat equity part but we do enjoy the results. Hopefully, now that it has started to cool down we’ll spend more time enjoying nature around here. Looking forward to seeing you both soon!

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