Having only spent one complete winter here (this is our second), I can’t purport to be an expert on weather trends in the Valley of the Sun. However, Jen and I came to Phoenix every Presidents Day weekend for, I don’t know, a half a century, and Bill and I have spent a lot of time here in the winter since we bought the house, so I’m not a complete neophyte. What I know is that winters in the desert are unpredictable. Some years we were able to swim in the heated hotel pool on Presidents Day; some years we wore sweaters or coats.
This Presidents Day 2014 I wore shorts and a sleeveless shirt. Spring is here to stay I think. I am very happy about this fact. The people who live here year round are not quite so happy. They look ahead to the long summer – seriously something like six months of 100 plus temperatures – and think “don’t start already!”
Bill is in a continuous fight with our Acacia tree in the front yard. He has it nicely shaped, no easy task as the son-of-a-gun is loaded with sharp thorns, making it difficult to prune. And while the tree catalog says it has “golden yellow puffballs that provide lovely color late winter into spring” (and doesn’t that sound pleasant?) what it doesn’t say is that these “golden yellow puffballs” drop like rain onto the ground, making a terrible unsightly mess that requires constant raking. That wouldn’t sound nearly as nice in the catalog. Furthermore, once the “golden yellow puffballs” are finished puffing, little hard brown pods appear and ultimately
fall onto the ground. Don’t put that rake away yet. It really is one continuous battle. By the way, Bill doesn’t call them “golden yellow puffballs.” He calls them beebleberries. Do any of you Baby Boomers remember Little Lulu?
Anyway, the good news about that Acacia tree is it seems to be the location selected by our lovely little mockingbirds to nest. I hear a lot of rustling going on in the tree (thereby resulting in more “golden yellow puffballs” dropping onto the ground). And the mockingbirds have taken residence there in years past. I’m keeping my fingers crossed. The other day there was a bird on our neighbor’s roof having quite a conversation with one of the birds in our tree. Back and forth. The mockingbird would give two whistles, and the other bird would give two whistles in return. It went on for 10 minutes or so. Very funny.
While I love to see the cacti come alive as spring fully develops (I will post photos because it really is gorgeous), the warm weather bring out more than flowers and mockingbirds. The news people are already talking about the rattlesnakes coming out as soon as the weather reaches 80 – and yesterday and the day before, the temperature was near 90. Yikes.
In fact, the other night we had an unwelcome visitor – a centipede. Seriously, what in the world was God thinking? It was making its way across the floor of our den when I spotted it and hysterically hollered for poor Bill. I must admit I always feel a bit guilty making him kill the critters as I’m certain he doesn’t like them any more than I. But I pick out the grandkids’ birthday presents. It evens out.