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First freeze

Monday, November 20th, 2017

This is the annual recording of our first freeze of the year.

It was 27 degrees when I went to work this morning. Brrr…

We’re hoping for a year of minimal cold and snow this year. (Last year was the first year since we’ve lived here that we had no snow at our house. I didn’t miss it.)

Heat wave

Sunday, June 19th, 2016

I suppose you’ve heard that there is a heat wave, and if you are in the southwest, you may be experiencing it too.

I just looked at our temperature gauge, and it’s 111 degrees in the shade outside, and 86 degrees inside (with no air conditioning). I guess we built our house ok.

The greenhouse is up to 138 degrees, but things inside are looking good. Edamame, eggplant, radishes, and chiles all seem to like the heat. And of course, I water every day.

I did laundry today, and the clothes on the line were dry faster than they’d be in the dryer I think. Simple solar power.

What is saving us right now is the fact that the nights are still cool. We open the windows as soon as the sun is down, and by morning, the house is quite cool.

We’re supposed to be in the low 100s for the foreseeable future. (We’re glad we’re not in Phoenix where temps are overĀ 120.) Keep cool.


Sunday, December 27th, 2015

And lots more cold weather in store for this week.


First frost

Friday, November 6th, 2015

A hard first frost here last night means a harvest today of these guys.

Green grasslands

Wednesday, August 26th, 2015

The monsoons have stretched out this year and have provided good, solid rains for two months now. They could end any day now, and we are enjoying them while they last.

The grass is tall and green, and we have actually had to cut the grass in the courtyard between the houses a couple times now.

On a walk the other day, we surprised a few javelinas, which looked rather like dolphins on the ocean as they lept through the tall grass.

This morning, looking out at the cows, they appeared to be floating in the field.


Monsoons have arrived

Saturday, June 27th, 2015

The eagerly anticipated monsoons have arrived here this week. (Did you know there was a monsoon season anywhere in America? I didn’t before I moved here.) This is big fun for us. Billowy clouds build up over the mountains during the hot, sunny days, gradually darkening and getting more ominous, and then bursting into violent thunderstorms in the evenings. Sometimes drenching us with torrential rains; other times surrounding us with downpours that seems to be everywhere but on our little piece of land. It’s an adventure every day to see what happens. One of my favorite times of year here.


The sky is falling!

Friday, January 2nd, 2015

Two days ago a big storm system swept through the southwest. We were supposed to get a couple inches of snow. We got a little rain and barely a dusting of snow. Not very exciting.

Yesterday, there was no precipitation forecast. Then I woke up to this.

Currently, we have about 4 inches of snow. This is the most we’ve had in the 6 years we’ve lived here. And it’s still snowing! (The weather forecasters seem to have no clue. The forecast is getting updated every hour or so for the snow we’ve received so far. This doesn’t exactly seem like a “forecast.”)

One of the interesting things is all the wildlife I saw while I was walking around in the snow this morning. In particular, there were tons of rabbits. We often see a couple, but nothing like this. I’m not sure if they were drawn closer to shelter or if it was just easier to see them against the snow. All the tracks were pretty fascinating too.

It has been very cold this week so I don’t expect this to melt soon. It would be nice to see the sun again though.

More pictures here.


Wednesday, December 3rd, 2014

Many of you who have visited have enjoyed a drive back into Horseshoe Canyon directly west of our house. It is national forest service land and has many hiking trails and camping spots off the dirt road.

Since Odile though, the road has been closed at the mouth of the canyon (at the old corrals for those who’ve seen it).

Last weekend, we decided to take a hike back to see what the damage was like. In a word, it was unbelievable.

Much of the valley floor has been washed away. There are stretches where you can see that the raging water must have been more than a hundred feet wide, and there is nothing left but rock.

lots of rocks where there used to be dirt

lots of rocks where there used to be dirt

The road is completely gone in many places, and in some there are holes that go ten feet below what used to be the road level. While navigable by foot or on horseback, it would be impossible now for any motorized vehicle to get through.

where I'm standing used to be the road

where I’m standing used to be the road

It is hard to imagine what would need to be done to repair or more likely build a new road. And with all the other more used canyons here, like Rucker, Price, and Cave Creek, this would be at the end of a long list.

So for the foreseeable future, if you want to see the interior of Horseshoe Canyon, bring your hiking boots.

Getting ready for winter

Saturday, October 18th, 2014

This week we did a lot of things that anticipate the changing of the seasons. While it’s still in the mid-80s during the day, the nights are dipping into the 40s, and a frost could be around the corner.

First, we finished the repairs on the driveway after the post-Odile floods. This ended up entailing bringing in a whole truckload of gravel. In addition to fixing the damage, we filled the depression near the gate that always fills with water when it rains.

In the garden, we cleaned out some beds and got our garlic planted. (Separate post coming on that.) I planted a few leeks and some winter lettuce; am hoping to get fava beans in this week. We’re also disconnecting the drip irrigation and going to hand watering for winter. (Connected hoses can freeze and break pipes.)

We finished processing apples. Yay! We’re both a bit sick of them. We have found some new delights to make with apples though, including an apple french onion dip that was amazing.

On the houses, I worked on resealing the door frames on both houses. The combination of hot sun, gusty winds, and blowing dust is quite hard on things here.

We had more rain a week ago and are supposed to get yet more this week. It almost seems as though we’ve finally gotten enough rain, but I’m not complaining.

Flood update

Monday, September 22nd, 2014

We are both back home now and are seeing the consequences of the flood here. My email box is full with updates, pictures, and videos. It’s big excitement here.

Cave Creek flooded, and Portal is cut off. There is no power in the canyon for a week or so. Horseshoe Canyon (the one behind us) is washed out and impassable even by four-wheel drive.

Fortunately, we had no damage here. The driveway is a bit washed out (passable with the truck but not the car), so we’ll be working on that today. :) Otherwise, all is well here.

Here’s a video from Portal (you might start watching at about 3:00 or so; sorry for the poor quality; this isn’t my video); those of you who have been here will recognize “downtown” Portal with the library and post office.