The saga of saguaros

Missing saguaro
The empty spot where the saguaro once stood.

The saga of the saguaro goes on.

Friday afternoon the doorbell rang. A man stood at the doorstep and said he was a building inspector with the City of Scottsdale.

“What?” I asked confused.

“I’m here to look at your saguaro,” he explained. “Is it the one out front?”

dying saguaro
The building inspector was referring to this one with budding arms that’s 20-feet tall and unfortunately dying.

It turns out you have to get a permit from the city to remove or transplant saguaros. I led him to the backyard and pointed out the one with bacteria necrosis that we needed to remove before it spreads in the yard.

He took photos and said he’d approve the permit. He noticed the one on the ground and asked if we were removing it. I told him we wanted to keep it for the skeleton and the same thing for the one in the front yard that was dying.

Saturday the door bell rang and it was the Cactus Doctor. Not the Cactus Biologist who diagnosed our cacti, but the removal team. The Cactus Doctor said the dying saguaro in the front yard was already dead but he explained what we needed to do to “skeletonize” it.

He explained that saguaro may look majestic and strong but they are in fact fragile when it comes to disease and water. He said they like to be left alone with no shade and no watering — preferably on a hill or elevated space.

My husband wasn’t thrilled with the cost to remove the saguaro. He said it was an easy job he could have done himself. But I would have had to been the one tugging on the rope as the cactus fell. See the video below:

The majestic saguaro coming down.

There is no way I wanted my husband out there with his chain saw and me at the end of the rope. The Cactus Doctor also disinfected the area and hauled off the infected saguaro. It was a lot of money to hire a biologist, get the permit and hire the Cactus Doctor to remove the saguaro, but I think it was better than doing it ourselves.

What’s your opinion on us hiring experts versus doing it ourselves? Did you ever think it would be so involved to remove a cactus?

Life in the desert

The nature preserve across the street with 130 miles of trails

Here are a few photos from my morning walks this week. The weather is so much cooler. We went from too hot to walk to 48 degrees in the mornings. Unfortunately, my pool is too cold to use now. I was enjoying it until a week ago. I asked the pool man how to turn on the heater. He looked and couldn’t find a pool heater. Oh well. We didn’t heat our pool in Palm Springs, either, but we lived one mile from the city pool. I need to get in the car and drive 30 minutes to a pool to swim laps here. I’m spoiled and it’s tough to get motivated to drive that far to swim.

yucca flower stalk
This is the stalk of a yucca in a neighbor’s yard. It once had gorgeous flowers
Did you know that yuccas are in the lily family?
yucca plant
I thought this was another yucca. But after some research I think it’s called a sotol.
skeleton of saguaro
This is a skeleton of a saguaro cactus. Indians used them for building structures and tools.
 Silhouette of saguaro
A  silhouette of a saguaro cactus in the morning sun.

I mentioned that I was interviewed for a survey of American Families recently by writer Jennifer Graham. Here are links to two articles where I have a quote. Click on the headlines to read:

What worries families the most in 2021

Only about 1 in 10 Democrats worry about cultural issues, but there‚Äôs widespread concern about the costs of having a family By Jennifer Graham@grahamtoday  Oct 12, 2021, 12:01am MDT

Did the pandemic restore our faith in government?

Trust in institutions has been declining for years, but Americans generally give them high marks for their response to COVID-19 By Jennifer Graham@grahamtoday  Oct 12, 2021, 12:01am MDT

What do you think are some of the biggest problems facing families in 2021?

I answered: the cost to raise a family, too much social media and screen times leading to depression and anxiety — and political divides within families.