Friday, May 23, 2014

Summer approaches the Sonoran desert

The weather has been very windy these past weeks, following an incredibly dry winter that made records! I haven't seen a Gila monster, Javelina or coyote in a very long time, although the coyotes have been active at night. The wind has broken our outside table and a chair and broken off several plants. Can't say I enjoy it--had thought the winds were only this bad during monsoon season.

Walking in the desert I've been astounded by how nature survives these weather changes...just today I saw many blooms on the purple
Chollas, and several wildflowers that were still going strong. This is without a good rain since the beginning of December! And the wind has been  hellacious, sucking any residual moisture right out of the ground.

 The Saguaro's bloomed at least a month early this year, but the white winged doves who come for the blooms have been oddly sparse. When I asked a man at 'Native Seed Search' about this, he told me that the native tribes gear the blooming of the Saguaro's with the ceremony to bring the rains.

Since these incredible cactus usually bloom in late May or early June, it takes until late June or early July for the fruit to ripen. They harvest the fruit and make the wine and then they have their ceremony. He said he wasn't sure if this early bloom meant earlier rains or if it was just an affect of global climate change. It will be interesting to find out.

I've seen only one rattlesnake so far this year, and that one seemed oblivious of me or my dog, lying immobile in the middle of the narrow wash I was walking in. I jumped over him and continued. I miss the snakes, not the rattlers, per se, although I do like them, but the King snakes and the Gopher snakes. The year we moved here they were around, but now they're not. We even had a Gila monster that first year! Perhaps human activity and dogs and cats caused them to change their habits.

We are planning a trip in early June up to cooler climes in the Pacific Northwest, but it will be hard for me to leave. There is something magical about this place even when the temperatures soar. I don't want to miss any of the strange and wondrous insect invasions or the baby quail coming to our feeder...(they've been here but I have yet to see them) But as my friend in New Mexico said: "The best thing about living in the desert is going away and coming back."

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