Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Amazing Arizona Spring with Beaver Sculptures, Starpoints, Lilac, Swallowtails, and Columbine

The weather has been perfect here in Arizona for months.  The heat went off weeks ago and the coolers were started up today, but for now it requires no heating and cooling to be comfortable.  Dining outside is a delight on our screened in porch.  The first days of spring have brought temperatures that seem more like early summer!  There are many wildflowers in bloom and I continue to learn their common names--blackfoot daisy, indian paintbrush, manzanita shrubs and many other plants.

We have noxious weeds in AZ like the puncture vine or goathead:  http://plants.usda.gov/java/noxious?rptType=State&statefips=04, but most "weeds" have a pretty flower like filaree or cranesbill.  However, my HOA wants us to eliminate all "weeds" and plant growth which I do not agree with, especially since for many that means spraying large amounts of glyphosate.  I am experimenting with orange oil, vinegar, and a miniscule amount of detergent in my sprayer.  So far it is taking gallons, and the insects in hte soil don't care much for it, but my beautiful green yard is beginning to turn an ugly brown!  I am doing this under protest as I love my filaree, london rocket, locoweed, bunchgrasses, starpoint/silverpuffs and daisy fleabane.  Every day it is different in my yard this time of year, but now it will have to be eliminated.  However, I love the common land trails by Oak Creek and Spring Creek so I comply.

Columbine in my garden

Starpoint or Lindley's Silverpuff in my yard

Swallowtail on My Lilac Bush!

Sculpture Done by a Beaver by Oak Creek

They are unfortunately taking down a lot of trees...

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Skunks, Indian Paintbrush, and Wonderful Spring Weather in Sedona, AZ

The calendar does not say Spring yet, but the furnace hasn't come on in weeks, we are sleeping with the window open, baby skunks are being born, and the flowering trees are in full bloom.  I even spotted an Indian Paintbrush in full bloom this week.  Of course, it could still snow, but this year has been exceptionally warm here although that is definitely not the case elsewhere.

The skunks kept us up the last few nights so we had to trap them.  The licensed trapper took the two we got last night at least 5 miles away as required by law.  Those particular skunks won't be back, but I am afraid we have an overabundance this year perhaps due to the warm winter.  Tonight we are having 5 traps set so we can sleep again!  Between the nocturnal noises and the smells it has not be easy to get a good night's rest recently!

Last night we attended on of the 3 openings that Michael had last night.  That was a record to have 3 shows opening on the same night that he had paintings in...  We chose the museum show since it was his first time to exhibit at the Phippin Art Museum.  It was a wonderful exhibit which is ongoing until July 13th in Prescott, AZ.  This gave me an opportunity to visit the Granite Dells once again with my camera in hand!

Indian Paintbrush

Sedona Colors

Sedona Skies and Clouds

Prickly Pears!!