Sunday, February 21, 2016

A Lovely Place to Visit...

My rental house has orange, lemon and grapefruit trees in the backyard.
"You need to eat more grapefruit."

So sayeth the owner of the house, that I am renting down in Cave Creek, Arizona.

I hear ya! I responded.

Well, actually, I'm hearing the grapefruit.

Plump, ripe fruit, dropping from the branches, with a resounding thud on the stone walkway beneath the tree.

It would be impossible to consume all of the fruit produced by these hard-working trees.

However! I have managed to strip the lemon tree bare.

I love, love, love the opportunity to slice up a fresh lemon, every morning, and add it to the sun tea jar.

The owner is hoping that I'm very happy down here. That I'll come back every winter and pay him lots of money to live in this house.

I haven't the heart to tell him this is a failed experiment. Mostly because I don't want him to kick me out early. :)

Took a walk with the dog yesterday.

He bumped into a Jumping Cholla Cactus, shrieking in pain from the barbs. It took almost 20 minutes to remove those thorns from his feet. He's still limping and my hands are still swollen from the pricklies.

At first, I was enthralled by the harshness of the desert. But, it's almost too harsh for my tastes. Something's always out to get ya!

Anyhoo, back to that perpetual summer... And, the opportunity to grow exotic things...

That, right there, was the number one curiosity that inspired me to try life in a desert climate for part of the winter.

To pick fresh fruit in your own backyard? Such joy!

Fairy Duster
To walk outside, barefoot, in February? How grand!
I rented my house to people who dreamed of a snowy winter vacation. Then I rented this house, in Arizona, to savor a second summer. Which, I imagine is every gardener's dream.
I forced myself to be here long enough to feel like a local. To meet people, make friends, slide into routines. Experience downsides in addition to upsides.

This is actually a sad sight, now that I've done some research on desert plants. 
Droopy arms on a Saguaro cactus indicate that it's sick and dying, 
though that could take many years. It's probably the result of freezing temperatures. 
Which is happening more and more frequently in Arizona. 
I fear it could spell the end of these magnificent giants.

Before I arrived...

I thought of Phoenix as a flat, dry sprawl of a town that didn't deserve to be here, because there isn't enough water to sustain it. How's that for being close-minded?

I still get a little freaked out when I walk through the neighborhood and see people washing their cars... precious water filling the gutters and pouring into the drain.

Using water as if it's a plentiful resource and will never run out.

I keep thinking about that book: Animal, Vegetable, Miracle. An Arizona native moves back east to try her luck in an environment, where water and soil and sunshine can naturally produce enough food to live on for a year.

Thank you, Barbara Kingsolver, for pointing out the error of my ways. :) The desert is a lovely place to visit. But, I wouldn't wanna live here.


black bear cabin said...

what a fun experience...though i wouldnt want to do it all the time either. My in-laws just moved to arizona, so i suppose we can enjoy wintertime visits instead :)
hope your pooch is feeling better soon....that looked rather painful!

Jodi DeLong said...

I don't have time to read all your Arizona adventures right now, but I have Arizona-envy, Kate! I'll be following closely, because the landscape is one I would dearly love to see....(and may I add, I have fresh-citrus envy!)