Sunday January 23rd, 2022
Sunday afternoon 72°F (21°C) an amazingly sunny day in Arizona, the next week is showing nothing but sunshine for our little piece of the desert. Just published last week’s blog and for a quiet week there was a lot of stuff going on and this week right now nothing is planned but I do need some repair time so I can work on some projects, but this afternoon I’m kicking back in the anti-gravity chair to confirm the results of last week’s beer tastings.
Miss Mary one of the horticulturist here at the arboretum, brought some devils claw for us to examine, it’s rather a unique formation, these are the seed pods and I suspect the shape is designed allow it to catch on animals to be transported to different areas
Well, the afternoon group on the patio grew with Tom & Kathleen, Lincoln, John & Karen, Rob & Twila and Miss Mary stopping by for a beverage. Miss Laurie rolled out a new version of last week’s whiskey sour, using lime juice and prickly pear syrup, it was a cocktail that she had seen on Facebook to celebrate the Arizona Cardinals football team as they prepare for Monday night playoff football game, I assume because of the red colour from the prickly pear syrup.
Monday, and I may have a bit of a fuzzy head this morning, just possibly I may have had a couple of beverages too many, so there is not going to be a lot happening in my world today. So here in the States, today is a federal holiday to celebrate the life of Martin Luther King, who was assassinated for demanding the right to vote for everyone regardless of colour, which seems so strange now as so many Republican States are passing laws to restrict the very thing he was killed trying to secure. But to celebrate his sacrifice the entrance to all National Park is free for the day, and here in Arizona state parks offer free entrance today as well.
At one time the arboretum operated under the Arizona State Park flag, but has not since 2019, but this morning as we watched the NBC weather, they reported todays weather for all the National parks in Arizona such as the Grand Canyon, then the next screen was a list of Arizona parks and tucked into the lower right corner of the screen was Boyce Thompson Arboretum, and it was right then that I said to Laurie that it would be a shyt show at admissions today, and it was, as hordes of people descend on the arboretum expecting free admission, a good day not to be working.
For lunch today Miss Laurie made Southwest Egg Rolls, in the air fryer, and while just her first attempt, I think they were a winner, great flavour, and not greasy at all. I had picked up a small roast of beef that was on sale to make a pot roast, and today was the day to make that happen, so after searing the roast on the barbecue, I put the Dutch oven on the induction plate and roasted it all afternoon, and while not a good cut of meat it turned out yummy, with some leftovers.
Tuesday, and the clouds have again rolled in, the temperatures today are cooler and we are under a possible rain event, they are forecasting less than a tenth of an inch, and only scattered showers possible. Not like our friends back on the east coast who are digging out after a snowstorm with more storms forecast for this week.
I ordered some glass frames from Warby Parker to try on, they let you pick five frames from their website and then they send them to you to try on at home, and if you find a suitable frame, their hope is that you will order your prescription glasses from them, in the mean time you send the five frames back with a prepaid return label. I broke my only recent pair of prescription glasses about a week before leaving Canada, so I have been wearing a pair of earlier prescription glasses, which have caused me some grief while trying to read books. So today I’m going to try the frames on, and anyone who has prescription glasses will know when trying on frames by looking in a mirror, knows that you can’t really see how they look until you have purchased them with your prescription.
So todays plan is to try each pair, and take a selfie, and look at them afterwards, I have not decided if we will venture to Mexico yet, where my last pair of glasses came from, as glasses are so much less expensive there, and usually ready the next day. So, which of these samples do you think looks best? Then the next major issue with ordering online, I’m concerned about not receiving the final glass fitting that you receive when you purchase glasses in store.
Sorry but I have to mention the total collapse of the Arizona Cardinals football team who got handed their butts on Monday night football by the Rams. This team has not won a recent game, and every week there is a long sad story (excuse), but I think the reality is that they are as bad as they have appeared, they are a young team and a lot of their earlier success was more luck than anything else, and the news casts this afternoon should be entertaining to watch, so “Go Bills Go“, and I will leave it there.
So, I decided to reseal one of the roof vents on the coach, and I knew it would be a major undertaking, but one that needed to be done, so the first stage which involved the removal of the Dicor, and then removing the attaching screws to allow removal of the vent from the roof for cleaning. That first little step consumed nearly three hours, then after cleaning the roof and vent surfaces, new butyl tape was installed then all the attaching screws installed and slowly tightened in sequence over and over again until the new butyl tape appeared to have sealed the two pieces together, after close to five hours kneeling on the roof, I made the corporate decision to wait till tomorrow to apply the new Dicor lap sealant.
Wednesday, and another cloudy morning in Arizona, today we are getting our booster vaccines, we made the decision to get the Moderna booster, as it was readily available close by (Gold Canyon) and now here in the States, they are saying it a good choice to mix and match vaccines. Miss Laurie booked our appointments at the Walgreens approximately a week ago, and unlike back in Canada there was certain no line up of people waiting to get our shot. After all there were only 23,000 new cases yesterday with 170+ deaths here in Arizona yesterday, and remember that less than half of the people in stores are wearing masks, because Governor Duffuss (Ducey) is against any type of prevention, to slow the spread, and as the Arizona Covid case count is only up 300+%, from the week before, and with only 58% (as of today) of the population fully vaccinated, and only 92% of those hospitalized are unvaccinated … so I guess that whole “right to choose” thing is working out well.
This afternoon, I added the Dicor self-leveling lap sealant to the vent, which seals over the attaching screws as well as the edge of the vent where the butyl tape oozes from the vent to roof joint. Tomorrow I’m hoping to install the new vent cover after our shift tomorrow.
Thursday, and we got off to an exciting early start as Mr. Sam caught a mouse that we have been trying to trap for a couple of months. We could hear Sam chasing something while we were in bed, but it is not unusual for him to play for a bit before we rise for the day, the only difference was it was a mouse this morning instead of one of his favourite plastic springs … I picked a good morning not to be the first one up.
Back to work this morning, and my left arm is a little tender after my booster shot, but not nearly as tender as my knees and hips from my little vent resealing project from Tuesday. The sky is clear, and we are expecting another 70°F (21°C) sunny day here in Arizona, as we watch another winter storm roll through the eastern side of the continent, fresh on the heels of last week’s storm.
Well, another day struggling with equipment at the admission office, couldn’t seem to get the credit card machine to work, so only cash and membership entries today. You know I’ve worked at a number of places, but this was the first place I have worked that when there was an internet or networking issue, the upper management just went home, like seriously, hello people, if there is an issue you stay and help until it is resolved, going home would not have been in any management vocabulary in my life as a manager, still shaking my head on that one.
I checked the seal around the vent this afternoon, and while the Dicor looked fine, it was still too soft to install the new vent cover, will have to check again tomorrow. Now Miss Laurie seems to be having a few side effects from her booster, having some chills and the sweats. So she was not just messing with me, when she decided we should have burgers tonight instead of the regular Friday night schedule. I have had no side effects other than a tender arm, and it was still no worse than my knees and hips … jus’saying.
Friday, and the forecast is for a few clouds and possible rain overnight into Saturday, but the forecast is for less than a tenth of an inch, but here in the desert every little bit counts. But as I sit watching the sunrise, the skies are mainly clear, it’s a cool morning but nothing like on the east coast. Our start time is 9am this morning, and we hope they have the systems repaired from yesterday’s network failure, but whether it is or not, we can only do what we can do with the equipment we are given.
Well everything worked and we had a good day, Miss Laurie spent an hour or so sweeping and cleaning around the visitor Center, then I spent most of the afternoon explaining the arboretum and some of the highlights to see, there were a lot of first time visitors today and a number now are members of the arboretum. I explain the arboretum as being Arizona’s best kept secret, and after that first viewing, so many fall in love with the gardens. We explain that they are not manicured like the botanical gardens, the arboretum is maintained and irrigated to keep it alive but it is a very natural setting, there was a report of a large cat in the garden yesterday, as reported by a guest but staff did not see it, it was reported as a lynx but there are no lynx this far south, we have bob cats and mountain lions. The arboretum is a sanctuary for many species of creatures and we do receive some damage from time to time, but being a research facility, it is understood that nature will effect us from time to time, and it’s not as much about preventing nature as how to respond to nature, as we are only 400 acres in a very huge desert.
Saturday, morning a cloudy grey morning, today is our possible rain day, but there is no expectations of any quantity of rain, just a few sprinkles here and there. Remember the cloudy nights are warm nights as the heat doesn’t escape so we were over 50°F (10°C) at 6am this morning, and the clouds make for some amazing sunrise photos.
Today is our long day so in the admissions booth at 8am, it’s not crazy busy in the mornings but there are a number of visitors out early before the crowds hit, I’m in the booth, and Miss Laurie is helping in the store, unwrapping merchandise, we have been amazed by how much product is sold every day in the store. But after our recent visit to Scottsdale, we know our pricing is very reasonable in comparison. So Miss Laurie is unpacking turtles, a very popular purchase by many guests, it has been a subject of many a conversation but every day dozens of these turtles disappear, it’s like a great magic trick.
I have been staying on top of the blog this week and in fact I’m typing on my phone in the admissions booth this morning. I realize that I haven’t been for a walk in the arboretum this week as I have added nothing to my park highlights for over a week, so tomorrow morning I will be going for a walk to check the gardens to better be able to answer the most common question, what’s in bloom? And right know the aloes are the main blooming feature, although with most days being over the average temperature for January, I expect that a number of things will be blooming in the near future.
The arboretum offers discovery tours of the Wallace Garden, The Arboretum, or the medical tour. The first two tours are no charge and there is a five-dollar charge for the medical tour. The photo below is of one of the host volunteers starting this morning’s Arboretum Discovery tour, which is a recommendation i would make for any visitor, you sign up for online up to a couple of weeks in advance and are done by docens, who are trained to give qualified tours.
As Saturday morning comes to a close, the visitor flow seems to lighten at noon, so we take turns sneaking to the courtyard to grab some lunch which Miss Laurie has prepared, the courtyard is located behind the store and is usually one of the quieter areas in the arboretum, many tables and chairs where we can usually find a seat in the sunshine. Today’s lunch is some left over pot roast sliced up for sandwiches, with some horseradish, mmmm good.
Admissions has been busy today, I always find it amazing how the visitors seem to arrive in waves, you look up and think some bus must have pulled in but, NO BUS. And don’t misunderstand me, we like to be busy so the more the merrier, when busy the shift flies by, it is the slow days that drag on so bring on the bus! Today we have had periods of sunshine, followed by the occasional gust of wind, then around our quitting time the sky turned dark, and we are seeing the occasional rain drop, as we cash out our tray, and again our work week over.
This is our long day and by the end of the day, you are exhausted from repeating the same welcome or introduction over and over again. So Saturday nights are usually pretty calm in The Buchanan coach, a beverage or two, a little dinner, and some mindless television before an early evening. This evening Miss Laurie is off chasing rainbows, and I’m watching some golf on the golf channel, because it’s a windy cool evening some spaghetti will hit the spot, the days are stretching out a little longer each day, so I have been watching the storm roll by just north of the arboretum from my lounge chair in the coach.
Sunday, and Miss Laurie is off to help in the visitor centre as there is a group of birdwatchers coming in at 8am, and the other volunteers don’t start on Sunday till 10am. And I’m heading into the gardens for a walk through and get some photos, for the blog, and it has been over a week since my last walk about. Not sure if the photos will make this week’s blog as I worked hard to close it out on schedule today
Now I have sat on this for a day and have debated whether to go here or not, but I just can’t let it go. So here is the story, at a school board meeting somewhere in Virginia, imagine if you can a mother threatening the school board that if they bring in a mask mandate for the students, to try to protect her offspring, that she will bring her loaded guns to the school on Monday morning. Now just pause for a moment to let that sink in. Covid is presently hospitalizing hundreds of children daily, some with serious consequences, so here is a school board trying to protect the students, just to have some “whack job” parent threaten to bring loaded guns to the school. There are a couple of issues here first this “whack job” would seem to be part of the special group that still most likely believes the pandemic is a hoax, secondly now the world knows she has threatened the whole school board on video, I personally thinking it is time for child services steps in to remove the children from her before she is able to do any more harm to them. And I pretty sure you can’t threaten to shoot up a school without some consequence even in Virginia. The question that comes to mind is what the he!! is wrong with people, how can they be so out of touch with the real world that anyone can think this kind of behaviour is OK.
As always be well, stay strong, and avoid the “Special People”!