Today I took a little stroll in the front yard, armed with my iPhone to take some Instagram shots to share with you. Now you can see what I see every day when I wake up here in Southern Arizona.
This first photo is the ubiquitous Saguaro Cactus, found exclusively in the Sonoran Desert. They are the largest cactus in the United States and can grow anywhere from fifteen to sixty feet tall. They are known for their water storing capacity and after rains have been plentiful, a fully hydrated saguaro can weigh between 3,200 to 4,800 pounds. With the right growing conditions, they can live to be two-hundred years old.
Next we have one of the many Palo Verde trees you will see in most areas of the Southwest. Spanish for "green stick", it alludes to the general color of the bark of the tree. When the trees flower, they produce a bright yellow flower. Most of the year though, they look like this. These are some of the spines found on the Saguaro; they cover each of the ribs on the columns of the cactus. Saguaro ribs are often used on furniture and in a decorative manner after the cactus has died and dried out. This is the path from the front door of the house looking out towards the cul-de-sac. As you can see, there isn't much landscaping. Most homes, unless landscaped with decorative rock and native plants, or fake grass (real grass is rare as it's very labor intensive to keep green), just have dirt in their yards. Neat, often raked dirt, but dirt nonetheless.This is an Agave plant, commonly referred to as the Century Plant. Alot of people confuse it with Aloe because the leaves look similar. It's also not cacti, even though it seems to love living among them, the sharp spine at the tip of each leaf leaf allowing them to blend in seamlessly.
This next photo is our view of the Santa Catalina Mountains. It's the "preferred" view on the Northwest side of town. We've had this view for over thirty years, long before it became desirable to have this view.
It's the most prominent mountain range in Tucson (the city is ringed by five mountain ranges) and it has the highest elevation at 9,157 feet. Often in the winter, we'll see snow on top, sometimes halfway down the peak. Most of it melts quickly, leaving the bulk of it on Mount Lemmon.
I think I only remember once (or twice) that I've been here when there was actual snow on the ground, it doesn't usually make it that far. My best friend asked me if the sky is really that blue. Yes, it really is. It's rare that the sun isn't shining here (one of the reasons I'm not crazy about the place), and you can plan a picnic for any date, during any month, at any time in the future and be pretty confident that you won't be rained out.
This week has been in the high seventies during the day and the low forties at night, but thankfully we're going to get back into the sixties, which is where I like it.
Hope you enjoyed the tour!