Well just like in the movie “Ground Hog Day“, it’s now early February and Tom Brady has announced his retirement again, and of course he has announced it just before this years Super Bowl. I know I may sound bitter, but quite seriously I do not give a shake whether Tom Brady has retired or not, and the NFL will continue just fine after Tom Brady no different that the PGA tour has continued without Tiger Woods. Oh I understand they have both contributed to their perspective leagues, hell yea they have, but so have dozens of other great players before them, and just like their predecessors their records will stand, just until someone a little better comes along, because someone a little better always does.
But lets talk about someone more important that those guys, me, well at least in my little world. It is now the middle of February, the Super Bowl has came and went, and it was one of the best I have ever seen. Tom & Kathleen Anderson, hosted a Super Bowl Watch Party, and it is always a great to be able to sit and watch the Super Bowl outside and even better is to have it be over by nine o’clock in the evening, just another reason to winter in the Arizona Desert. And Scottsdale Arizona has just hosted another Waste Management Open tournament at the TPC golf course, which is now known as being the loudest event on grass, yes the PGA golf tournament in Scottsdale has became well known for it’s 16th hole, a par three that is surrounded by grandstands, where the partying never ends. It is certainly not your regular hushed golf crowds, and the tournament is usually boosts the highest attendance of any golf event of the year. And while this event has seen snow delays in the past, this years event only had a few frost delays to add to the madness that is the TPC at Scottsdale.
So a perfect Sunday afternoon in February, I got to watch the golf tournament then refresh my cocktail and head outside for a Super Bowl party, Tom prepared a couple of dishes, a regular chili as well as a chicken stew made with green hatch chilies. While I never had any of the chicken stew the two bowls of chili that I devoured were excellent, along with a number of offerings brought by the other host volunteers, of course Miss Laurie, prepared her cheesecake brownies for desert, which made the perfect ending to a great day!
So lets talk about wintering in the Arizona Desert, during one of the coldest and wettest winters in decades, as we are closing in on the middle of February we have a forecast for snow at elevations as low as 2000 feet (609 meters) and we are at 2400 feet (731 meters) so we will most likely wake up to some snow this week.
And while snow in Arizona is not uncommon in the highlands such as Flagstaff and around the Grand Canyon area. Getting snow or even threats of snow is not common in the “valley” which includes Phoenix and the surrounding municipalities that make up the area.
This is not the weather that we normally get in Arizona, but as we sit in the sunshine these afternoons and suck in the warmth, it still seems worth it. And if it moves this amazing State out of the severe drought condition that it has been in for over two decades, than that is a price that we are willing to pay.
Well there is BIG news for this summer, apparently I’m not going to be able to take the summer off and enjoy the heat and humidity back in our home province of Ontario. Oh no, Miss Laurie has found us a job for the summer, so I guess I need to kickback and enjoy these next couple of months sucking in the dry desert heat and drinking these cheap American beverages.
We are enjoying out time here at Boyce Thompson Arboretum, our shifts are on the weekends when the arboretum is the busiest, and that is great because it makes the work days slip quickly by. We still love this area of Arizona, the Arboretum as well as the little town of Superior that seems to have more than its far share of excellent restaurants. We have been heading up the mountain to Globe for our grocery shopping, there is a Fry’s store there that is neat, clean and has wide isles. Walmart has managed to annoy Miss Laurie by not having any cashiers, and making everyone become an unpaid employee by doing their own check-out and grocery bagging. And the drive is so much prettier than the drive to Mesa where the Walmart is.
We have got to visit with Ray & Karen Savino in Mesa, at their new home location, where they have purchased a RV pad for the winter months. Their new park offers a number of activities, such as woodworking, rocks, glass, and the like of shops. As well as offering multiple pools, hot tubs, pickle ball courts, and of course all the regular get togethers such as Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years, and such. They seem to have settled in and have been enjoying the amenities of the new park, once the weather warms up we will get together with them for some kayaking most likely on the Salt River.
As you may have noticed, I have been reading instead of writing as I’m now on the 27th book in James Patterson’s Alex Cross Series, so now I have had to wait for the books to become available at the library. I have been reading them on my iPad using the Libby app, it replaced the old Overdrive app and seem to be working better with the addition of more libraries, so what started with three libraries is now a group of six, and when your like me and want to read the series in the proper order, it has made life much easier to find the next book. And as much as I like to hold and read a good hardcovered book, the iPad allows me to read at night without a reading light providing three different light settings and of course there is the variable font size which makes reading more pleasurable. But now I think its time to start cleaning up a bunch of partially finished blogs, some about travel, some reviews of campgrounds and attractions, and a couple of monthly reviews as well.
Here at the Boyce Thompson Arboretum we are seeing signs of spring with regular spring flowers like daffodils, and of course there are aloes in bloom from around the world that seem to bloom all through the spring time period. We still are seeing covered plants through out the arboretum, as the staff work to protect the most temperature sensitive of the plants. But there is no way to protect everything with in the 135 acres of maintained gardens, and covering material is limited, so choices have to be made, some choices we may not agree with, but people way above our pay grade have to make those tough decisions. The sunrises still are wonderful and I’m up to see most of them, at least for now, I haven’t been walking in the arboretum as much as normal, either because I have become a wimp from the cold weather, or all this cold damp weather is causing havoc with my old bones. But I get around enough to see that there are definatly signs that spring will be here in Arizona soon.
There is lots of drama amongst some of the host volunteers, but we are now back to covering the busiest times in the admissions booth which means we are working the weekends and usually three days in a row. And as usual Miss Laurie is most in demand, as she is now covering time in the Membership office, the gift shop, and helping the garden staff when she is allowed. As seems to be the standard with so many volunteers here, there is lots of whining about work schedules, and of course the need for days off for illnesses and lots of other excuses. So when we speak with our supervisor and tell her to just “tell us what you want us to do” it is met with a lot of gratitude and offers of favors, for just doing our job.
The photo above is of “Ayer Lake” here at the Arboretum, it is not a natural lake, it is a man made lake caused by placing a retaining wall across a small canyon on the property. Then pumping water from a well near Queen Creek which is just the other side of the ridge behind the lake to fill the canyon it was then named after the founders attorney. It is used as a reservoir for the irrigation system, here in the arboretum and has been home to pup fish which are native to Arizona and were introduced into the lake many many years ago. I have taken this photo because they are in the process of draining the lake, for a number of reasons, the first is to repair the retaining wall that holds the water back. Then people had dropped off unwanted turtles into the lake which while may look nice at the time they are not native to the area and are causing issues with some native species. So it is a good time to remove lots of invasive creatures and plants, that cause undo damage to native species. The next phots you see of the lake will be totally different, and I can certainly see the difference form last years water height already as those rocks were barely visible before.
Well I will end this blog and get it published, before I have another thought that holds up another blog.
Come on warm weather!