Our monsoon season officially began in mid-June but the storms took their sweet time getting here. And when they finally did arrive that first week of July they refused to venture this far north and west. We sweltered as we watched the sky darken to the south and east of us. Record rainfalls received by some, 10 inches in 24 hours, while we counted the few fat drops of water that fell at our house.
Apparently Mother Nature has a wicked sense of humor. We recently installed gutters on our house. Their job is to funnel water from our roof into two 5,000 gallon cisterns. That collected water will then be used to irrigate plants and fill our rapidly evaporating pool. All the hard work has been done and the bill has been paid only one thing has yet to happen. It has to rain.
Last summer our side of town received twice the average monsoonal precipitation. This July our rain gauge gave us eight paltry readings, none of which topped a tenth. So, yes, I am convinced that Mother Nature has a truly wicked sense of humor. But I have faith that it will eventually rain over here and when it does, we will be ready.
Luckily we have landscaped our yard accordingly and even in the intense heat and thick humidity our plants are blooming away. Granted, we do water them but I know less hardy species would be reduced to brown sticks by now. The bright flowers seem to mock the severe sun. In the wee hours animals creep out from their shady resting places and feed on our green branches. Though they do much damage I do not get angry with them. Instead I admire their resourcefulness. When the rain finally comes, native grasses will sprout which the wildlife prefers and our plants will regrow. When the rain finally comes…
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.
This blew my low-brass mind. Seen at the Musical Instrument Museum.
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!