This year is fascinating with all the blooming cacti and plants. This is my third spring in Arizona and it’s truly amazing. I’m sure it was the rainy winter we had that is encouraging all the plant life to come alive with flowers. Right now the saguaros are blooming, something I didn’t see much of the past two years.
We have a nature’s preserve across the street and it’s gorgeous to see saguaros topped with white flower crowns. They remind me of the floral crowns we swim moms ordered for my senior day for my daughter’s college swim team.
Saguaros topped with white crowns of flowers at the McDowell Sonoran Preserve.
A saguaro in bloom at a neighbor’s house.
In our back yard.
What unusual plants, flowers or wildlife have you seen this spring? Did you have more rain or snow than in the past few years?
We’ve lost three saguaros since we’ve moved here. The fourth one went down last week.
I was sitting by the window in the casita and glanced outside as a huge saguaro crashed to the ground. I was glad I wasn’t standing in the way! That was the first one we lost.
We called a cactus doctor and he walked around our yard diagnosing saguaros.
He found one with a disease and he recommended having it removed or the disease would spread to our other saguaros. That project included not only paying the cactus doctor, but getting a permit from the city. An inspector came out to look at the saguaro and signed off on the permit. Then we had to hire another company to cut down the saguaro and remove it. That was saguaro number two that bit the dust.
The third was in the front yard and one of our only ones with arms. It was turning brown from the base that was slowly creeping up. The cactus doctor told us we’d need to brace it if we wanted to keep it. A neighbor told us that the previous owners had that saguaro treated for something a couple times. One day we walked out the front door and it was down.
Then last week after all the rain and a big wind, this smaller one was laying on the ground. The cactus doctor told us that once they fall they are traumatized and can’t make it if they’re replanted. In spite of his words, I wish we would have tried to replant the first one that fell.
We asked our gardener to try to save this guy. There’s a crack along the crown but we hope it lives.
This saguaro has been given a chance to live.
What special plants or trees do you have that need attention?
That’s me standing next to a giant Saguaro that must be several hundred years old — at least.
Sunday morning we woke without plans except to go for a walk. I suggested going out on the hiking trails at the preserve across the street. It’s been a while since we’ve been out there. That’s because the weather has been literally freezing cold with strong winds.
It was a perfect temperature Sunday, around 60 degrees with clouds in the sky to block our strong sun. I can’t express my joy at getting out of the house, being in the middle of nature. We’ll try to get out on the trails twice a week until it’s too hot and snakes come out.
Here are photos from Sunday’s hike:
A view of a saguaro framed by two distant mountains. Staghorn cactus in the foreground.
I couldn’t believe how green it was. Grass was everywhere thanks to our rainy days.
I think this is a Soaptree Yucca.
The McDowell Sonoran Preserve has signs everywhere so you can’t get lost. They are numbered so if you need help, you can call and tell someone what number sign you’re near.
I wanted a picture of my husband. This was all he agreed to.
We spotted two Harris Hawks checking us out at the top of two Saguaros near the end of our hike.
The trailhead starts and ends near Power Line Trail. Notice the Harris Hawks followed us back to the end of the trail.
When I got home, I stood in our freezing cold pool for as long as I could, then elevated my legs on the gravity recliner and watched the birds in our backyard.
P.S. I changed my avatar photo. My old one was at least nine years old when I started this blog. I felt it was time to update it. The new photo is from last Christmas.
It’s official. We left California for Arizona two years ago! I can’t believe how quickly our years flew by — and in some respects how long it has seemed.
Here’s what I thought about moving two years ago today:
Friday was moving day. Our movers arrived at 9 a.m. and we thought it would be a couple hours and we’d hit the road. No, we were wrong. By 5 p.m. the movers realized their truck was full and we still had a bunch of stuff in the garage like bikes, a wheelbarrow and my daughter’s desk. Plus the STORAGE UNIT where we’ve been squirreling away boxes and stuff for months.
Yikes! The movers had to rent a U-Haul and we gave them the keys to our storage unit. Of course there weren’t any U-Hauls in town and they had to drive to San Diego or some place to find a U-Haul. They said they’d come back to our California house the next morning and pick up the rest of our stuff in the garage when our housekeeper and dear friend Delia would be cleaning.
We drove to Arizona and our new home, minus our furniture that night. We thankfully packed suitcases and bedding. Our fellow swim team parents and close friends drove one of our cars packed to the hilt, plus their car complete with all the stuff from our freezer and fridge. Now, those are true friends who volunteer to drive an 8-hour round trip to make our move easier!
I have driving anxiety and panic attacks driving on freeways. I couldn’t face the four-hour drive on Interstate 10. Our daughter promised to fly down from SFO and drive one car and help us unpack. Then California went into lockdown. Our daughter didn’t feel good about flying. So our friends volunteered to help us out and meanwhile our daughter’s supposed flight was cancelled. It all worked out in the end.
We got to our Arizona home at 10:30 p.m. We unpacked our suitcases, settled into bed around midnight exhausted beyond comprehension. Thank goodness we bought the furniture in the casita from the sellers. Otherwise, we’d have been on the floor. We never saw our friends who drove our car for us. They not only drove our car, but they filled our fridge with all our condiments, frozen foods and perishables — before heading back to California.
The next day, the moving van and U-haul arrived at 2 p.m. We worked throughout the weekend to get the kitchen in order and our closet organized. Kitty is stressed and hiding under the bed in the casita, where we’ve been living.
I don’t recommend moving after living in one house for 28 years. It’s an unusually hard task, mentally and physically. But, when we’re more settled the sunsets will make it all worthwhile.
What’s the longest you’ve lived in one place? How did you handle packing and going through years of stuff when you moved? Did you think of moving during the COVID shutdowns? A lot of people did move.
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:
Have a great week! What exciting fun things did you encounter over the weekend?
I am terribly frightened of snakes. I saw one the other morning at our park while on our walk.
A neighbor texted to tell me that another neighbor found a rattlesnake in her garage. Her husband trapped it in a garbage can and released it five miles away. I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t feel comfortable driving with a rattlesnake in my car — garbage can or not.
Then last week while we were walking, a neighbor warned us about a huge rattlesnake a few blocks away from where we were headed.
“I’m done!” I said and turned my back and walked back to the house.
Every time I step outside, I take a careful look around. No more walking while looking at my phone. My eyes are peeled. In fact, I’m not spending much time outside anymore.
I googled rattlesnake bites in AZ. This is what I found:
He told AZ Family, “Most of the time, they are just soaking up the sun, but if you give them space, they will leave you alone.”
Snakes generally hide in cool, damp places.
Hymes explained, “Anywhere [snakes] will not feel overly exposed. They’ll hide under things — bushes, flower pots, raised sheds in the backyard, behind A/C units, behind pool pumps where moisture might condense. Those are all prime rattlesnake hiding spots.”
You know what? Reading that did not make me feel a bit better.
A childhood friend of mine lives in San Diego and was bitten while talking a walk on his lunch hour last week. He said the snake bit him in the calf from behind. He never saw it. He was hospitalized for four days and had one of the worst reactions to a rattlesnake bite the hospital had ever seen.
In Palm Springs, we had rattlesnakes but we saw them on the hiking trails in the surrounding hills, not downtown where we lived.
Do you think my worry about snakes is warranted? Do you have anything you’re afraid of? What the most dangerous thing in your area?