A Javelina herd chomped their way through our front yard earlier this week, devouring many of our carefully tended plants. Their favorite “foods” are the starchy roots of our agaves.
Finishing off an agave together. Yum!
Tummy full and content.
Poke on the nose. Ouch!Discolored nose sets this one apart.
I suppose it is the time of year for feasting…
Recently read a paper from last month (dentist office, ‘nuf said). Came across a Mutts comic that featured the following quote by Hazel Nicholson:
A cat is a puzzle for which there is no solution.
I would say this applies to all cats (except Bailey, because he thinks he’s a dog). But it is especially appropriate for our little Wylie.
Here’s Wylie “helping” us rake up the needles from our Palo Verde tree. It is worth noting that even Bailey is thoroughly dismayed by her antics.
Bailey ponders the pile. Yes, Wylie is under there!
Wylie in her ‘nest.’
I recently came across a series of Christmas photo cards while sorting through some old family memorabilia. After putting them in chronological order I just could not get them out of my mind, so I thought I’d share them with you. Granted a few years are missing, but what remains is a visual record stretching over 20 years. I found the meticulously posed and painstakingly orchestrated cards frighteningly compelling. The people in the photos did everything humanly possible to portray a perfect, well-to-do suburban family.
There are so many fascinating aspects of this photo series that cry out for discussion. I’m curious, what stands out to you? Please understand that while I may be poking fun I mean no disrespect to the family—they were merely products of their time. Also, it should be noted that I am not related to this family.
1953 Talk about high expectations…no pressure little buddy, no pressure at all.
1955 Perfect little towheaded angel.
1957 Gonna be a Quarterback, just like daddy.
1959 Arts and culture, too. Note the painting of her in the background. Self portrait?
1961 Treasure chest from exotic travels to foreign lands.
1963 Look – a beautiful new piano!
1964 Copying Jackie.
1965 In their well-appointed library.
1966 Drinking tea from fine china.
1967 Never a hair out of place, never.
1968 Note Junior’s class ring.
1970 The 70s were wild times…
1974 Even the dog has to smile.
Can we say hot? Every single day in June was over 100 degrees with a few extra special days in the 110s. On top of that the humidity started to rise. Now I know that has to happen before our summer monsoons can start but that knowledge hardly makes it more bearable. Especially since we still rely on an evaporative cooler (aka swamp cooler) to control the temps in our house. Swamps work fantastic in hot and dry conditions but their efficacy declines drastically as the humidity rises.
Escaping from the heat was on our minds as we headed north towards Oracle to tour Biosphere 2 (B2). It was a first visit for both of us which is rather silly when you consider that we’ve lived nearby for all these years. B2 was a privately funded experiment designed to replicate Earth systems with an eye toward space colonization. Completed in 1991 the 3.14-acre enclosed structure contained five artificially created biomes (rainforest, desert, grassland, ocean, and wetland), an agricultural area, and crew living quarters.
In late 1991 eight researchers (Biospherians) were sealed inside the airtight, glass-domed enclosure with their tools and a few animals. The experiment was designed to last for two years with the intent of survival in a self-contained system. In theory, the Biospherians would live off the food they grew and would optimize their atmosphere by altering the amount of foliage grown.
If we didn’t know better we wouldn’t recognize Wylie Kitty as the injured, dehydrated, malnourished, pathetic little kitten that we found at Sweetwater Wetlands last month.
She has completely recovered from her puncture wound, she’s doubled her weight, and grown in size. She’s proven to be a smart cat and a quick learner, similar to Bailey in that way. She’s integrated well into our household; she started eating and drinking out of Bailey’s bowls on her own initiative within the first week, all cat toys are now hers, and just recently she started using his litter box. Yay—one less box for me to clean!
Considering all that Wylie’s been through she is surprisingly loving, outgoing, and fearless. Her purr is loud and she revs it up often. After her first nerve-wracking introduction to our backyard she now loves to romp out there. We watch as a grey blur zips by; dashing to the top of dirt mounds, hiding in the grass, catching (and eating) crickets, and climbing high in the trees. Bailey occasionally chases her but she easily leaves him in the dust…
Wylie is especially fond of Lance and it is adorable to watch them together—she still fits in his hand (he does have large hands). I get a teensy bit jealous but I recognize that I’m the meanie who took her to the vet twice (both rather unpleasant experiences with shots and such) and I’m the one who had to dose her with meds morning and night for three weeks. She’s really gonna love me next month when I take her in to get fixed…
All in all, we feel pretty lucky to have found her!
The month started off on a bad note, we had to find Keaton a new home. In one of those bizarre and unfortunate occurrences we had adopted a highly allergenic cat. Lance has one known allergy but I’ve never been allergic to an animal. Ever. I’ve been around animals my whole life. I grew up on a small farm where we had cats, dogs, cows, horses, pigs, sheep, chickens, ducks, geese, fish, tortoises, and even a parrot. Something about Keaton made us both miserable. It was so bad that Lance walked around the house with a tissue stuck up his nose. It was a difficult and sad decision to have to make.
That same week work commenced on our final porch project. We were excited to think that it would be finished by the weekend. After all, the other two porch projects went relatively well and we were using the same crew so what could go wrong? Imagine my consternation when I returned home the afternoon of the pour and found cracks running throughout the freshly poured concrete. I was not amused.
I called our contractor. He called the concrete crew. The concrete crew called the concrete company. All of them said they’d never seen anything like it and none of them knew what went wrong. And then the finger pointing began. I gritted my teeth and tried to remain calm though inside my head panic alarms were ringing (I’ve heard so many contractor horror stories). We braced ourselves for the worst—being stuck with cracked concrete and out our deposit.
Sit down and hang on because this is a roller coaster of a tale. It begins innocently enough. On September 13th, 1924 Charles E. Manier was out for a Sunday drive with his wife Bessie, daughter Ethel, and father J.E. Manier. As they tooled along Silverbell Road north of Tucson (coincidentally, not far from where we live) they espied an old limekiln in the hillside. Curious, they stopped to investigate. While snooping around Charles noticed a metal object sticking out of the hillside. Charles and his father set upon the caliche (a soil layer of calcium carbonate, similar to concrete, that occurs naturally here) and were rewarded with a lead cross, 18 inches long and weighing 64 pounds.
The Maniers took the cross home, cleaned it up, and found a Latin inscription that was shortly thereafter translated by Frank Fowler, a University of Arizona professor, as “Calalus, the unknown land.” While at the University the cross was handled by multiple professors in several departments.
Speculation about the object’s origin ran wild. Could there have been a Roman presence in southern Arizona? Was this evidence of a lost tribe of Israel? Could this be the great find that finally put sleepy Tucson on the world map? We may laugh at those ideas now, but keep in mind this was the era of astonishing discoveries; the richly fabulous tomb of Tutankhamen was uncovered just two years earlier.
After one last winter storm the second weekend of the month, March was warm and dry. Plants frozen back began to bud out, even some I thought for sure were goners put out new leaves. Resilient little buggers. Our Spring wildflower show wasn’t spectacular but it wasn’t half bad. Our yard had a lot less diversity but Scorpionweeds bloomed in large numbers dotted with a few California poppies. The gold discs glowing amongst a bed of purple was quite stunning. A small native bunch grass carpeted our yard; it looked lush and inviting. We enlisted a cadre of desert cottontails to help with the “mowing.”
Lance’s parents were the first to try out our new al fresco dining area created by the back porch extension. The weather cooperated nicely and our luncheon was a success. After the construction work ended Lance and I were finally able to tackle completing our backyard landscaping plan. Out here it makes sense to get as much done as possible before the searing summer heat.
We were excited to finally plant seeds in our raised beds. We have been pleasantly surprised by the success of our smaller garden this winter; lettuce, cilantro, carrots, garlic, and onions sailed through undaunted by the cold temperatures. The morning after every freezing night I would peek out the kitchen window at the frost covered ground and say, “Well, there goes our garden.” Thankfully, I was wrong every single time. We haven’t purchased lettuce in months!