It’s cold out there!

Teddy Bear Cholla

Teddy bear cholla down the street.

Monday we had snow. Tuesday it was 30 degrees when I got out of bed. I skipped golf on the snow day and I was feeling sluggish due to lack of exercise.

My husband and I bundled up Tuesday and took our usual walk around the neighborhood. Although it was so cold, it was bright and sunny and we didn’t die! In fact, I felt so much better after getting out and moving araound.

This is about the Teddy bear cholla or jumping cholla:

Teddy bear cholla, or jumping cholla (C. bigelovii), is native to northwestern Mexico and the southwestern United States and is sometimes cultivated as a desert ornamental for its showy golden spines. 

https://www.britannica.com/plant/cactus

I guess they’re called Teddy Bear because they are fuzzy looking. But they are not cuddly. They are a hazard. They’re called jumping cholla because they throw off little bundles of spines. If you accidentally step on one or brush them with your shoe, they may go all the way through your shoe to your foot.

My husband spotted this teddy bear cholla in front of a neighbor’s house. He pointed it out to me because of this:

In the center of the cholla is a bird’s nest. What a perfect place to keep eggs and chicks safe!

What’s the weather like where you are? Is it colder than normal?

What do you think of birds choosing a cholla for their nest?

What I missed

A neighbor’s Mexican Fence Post cactus with Santa hats to fight the freezing weather.

It’s been one week since I got a nasty cold with congestion and a cough. I tried really hard to get over it quickly so I went to bed for the weekend. I found once I got out of bed and resumed somewhat normal activities, I’d relapse a bit. I got tired quickly and I’d wake up in the middle of the night with major congestion.

Yesterday I was feeling much better. We went for our morning walk — even though it was in the low 30s! I realized I hadn’t walked in close to a week. That’s after walking practically every day for years!

I missed my morning walks so much while I was recovering from my cold. Normally, I’d push through and walk anyway, but I didn’t want to tire myself out this time.

We went on two walks yesterday and it was gorgeous outside if not cold. I bundled up in a ski parka, stocking cap and gloves. The air was bright and clear. I’m thrilled to be out and about and taking my daily walks. I think the fresh, cold air helped me feel better. I know the beauty did.

Have a great weekend! What are your plans for the last weekend before the holidays? Are you caught up with shopping, decorating, etc.?

It’s that time of year!

The cacti out the casita window.

Today we had a winter weather warning. There may be a foot of snow above the 3,500 foot level. Unfortunately, we’re at 3,000 elevation so I think it’ll miss us. I have to check with our friends one mile up the hill to find out if they get snow.

When we moved to Arizona this week two years ago, we were surprised to see styrofoam cups on cactus. We asked people about it while we were out on walks. We learned that cactus like warm weather (duh). They die from the top if it gets below freezing. The styrofoam cups offer a bit of protection and insulation. Some people get creative and put Santa hats on them, or wrap them completely in fabric.

It’s supposed to freeze at night this week, so it was time to get out our cups and protect our cacti. At least the styrofoam cups are reusable!

Last week we were out walking and met a couple we’ve seen, but never stopped to talk to. The husband warned us of the cold weather and asked if we have heat tape.

“Heat tape?” my husband and I both asked. We’d never heard of it living in Palm Springs for the past 37 years.

The wife got out her iphone and began to show us photos from a storm they had a few years before we moved here. They got feet — as in multiple feet of snow. Their neighbors’ water pipes burst and made eery patterns as water froze in the air. This couple is originally from Minnesota so they were prepared with their heat tape.

We got instructions to go to Ace Hardware, buy heat tape and wrap our water pipes. I’m urging my husband to do that now, before nightfall!

coyote on wall in the snow
A coyote jumped on our wall during the snow we got two years ago.

Have you heard of heat tape before? What do you do to prepare for cold weather? Or do you ever have any freezes of snow?

On the trail again

Mcdowell Sonoran preserve hiking trail
Hiking trail in the McDowell Sonoran Preserve.

The weather has definitely changed. Last week we topped 90 degrees every day. Saturday was a huge rainstorm with wind, thunder and lightening. Then Sunday morning the temperatures were in the 60s and the high was 70. What a wonderful change.

My husband and I hit the hiking trails. It’s been months since we’ve hiked because of the heat.

It feels so good to be out in nature. It’s good for my soul.

Here’s are some of the sights:

trails signs
The trails are marked with signs so it’s nearly impossible to get lost.
mountains and saguaros
Love this view of mountains with saguaros.
Saguaros on the Stagecoach trail.
Out on Stagecoach Trail.
hiking in Utah Ute gear
Our community is close to hiking trails! See the homes in the distance? That’s where we live.
Go UTES! They won against #6 USC Saturday night.

Have a great week! What exciting fun things did you encounter over the weekend?

A bit of beauty

Our gate looking out toward the street. It’s so beautiful with the plant in full bloom. Most of the year it doesn’t look like this.

This weekend I was stunned by the beauty in our neighborhood. I stop and take photos every day on my walks. I’ve posted several times about the desert in bloom, but more and more flowers amaze me.

Palo verde in bloom. They are all over the place in our neighborhood.
Ocotillo with red flowers


.
The color on this Hedgehog cactus is brilliant.
The cardinal has been back!
This beavertail cactus is beginning to bloom.
I love this Yucca at the entrance to our neighborhood.

What are your favorite flowering plants and birds in the Spring?

A bit of sadness

Century plant
I’ve been waiting to see this Century plant in bloom. This photo was taken two weeks ago.
Fast growing Century Plant.
Still waiting for the blossoms….Look how much it grew. This photo was taken a couple days ago. My husband said he thought he could watch it growing taller right before his eyes.

I’m enjoying the blossoms on cactus, but they are very short lived. One day there are furious blooms and the next day, they’ve expired.

I’ve been keeping my eye on the neighbor’s Century plant and wanted to make sure I wouldn’t miss the flowers.

blossoms on cactus
Look at the gorgeous blossoms on this hedgehog cactus. Tomorrow they’ll be gone.

You can imagine how sad we felt when we went on our morning walk today and saw this:

Fallen Century Plant before it bloomed
We will never get to enjoy the blooms. We felt like we lost a friend. It also reminded me of our saguaros we lost.

The desert in bloom

We went away for the weekend to Puerto Penasco and came back home to warm weather and the desert busting out in bloom. What I’ve discovered is the blooms don’t last long. One day a cactus may have a gorgeous flower — the next day it’s gone.

I’m amazed at how many flowers are in blossom in the Sonoran Desert.

I have a little plant guide from the McDowell Sonoran Preserve called “Wildflowers” that categories native blossoms by color. I’m doing my best to use the book to identify the plants.

Here are blooms I saw during my morning walk:

Hedgehog cactus in bloom.
Palo verde tree in bloom.
budding hedgehog cactus
Buds on a hedgehog cactus.
purple blossoms.
This looks like Desert Hyacinth according to the wildflower book. But since it’s in a yard, it might not be a native desert plant.
Century plant with tall bud
The neighbor’s Century Plant keeps getting taller, but hasn’t blossomed yet.
red blooms on hedgehog cactus
Another blooming hedgehog cactus.
red flowering desert plant
I’m not 100% sure but the closest I could find is called Hackberry Beardtongue.
Honeysuckle orange blooms
Honeysuckle in my back yard.
Pink Fairy-duster pink blooms
Pink Fairy-Duster. Isn’t that a great name?

Red Four O'Clock
Red Four O’Clock

What is blooming in your neighborhood?