Mid-April 2023 Update

April fools day, came and went with very little fanfare, Miss Laurie and I worked the admissions booth together today, the day was busy with the last of the spring breakers as well as many snow birders getting in their last visits before heading north. Our task in the booth is really very basic work, so we try to turn many visitors into members, and to entice people they offer to credit their admission tickets for today back towards a membership. So a dual membership that allows entry for two adults for a full 12 months is $75, daily admission for two is $38 so for only $37 more dollars they can have admission for a year. Plus the membership gets them 10% on most items in the store, notification of all upcoming events, and now they get the member reciprocity with over 300 other members of the AHS (American Horticulture Society) all over the States as well as a few in Canada. It’s not a difficult sell for any one that is local or snow birders that winter in the area. I will say that many of the visitors today were difficult to work with, maybe we are closing in on a full moon, so to wind down Tom and I had a couple of Scotches to soothe our souls for happy hour today, again Laurie and Kathleen made snacks for happy hour expecting a couple of the Arboretum staff members to stop by, but only one showed up, which just meant more snacks for Tom and myself.

Sunday was my short day, we are only supposed to work four hours to complete our twenty hours per week commitment, but it usually runs over that, last week bit was six hours before I could escape. So when Lynnea gave me the opportunity to escape at noon today I just said ok and headed to the coach. Miss Laurie who was helping in the gift shop ended up working till almost three, but she made it back to the coach in time for happy hour with the Andersons.

Today’s entertainment

Mister Sam, had been out in his tent on the patio while I barbequed a hotdog for lunch, and had been watching the birds on the feeders and the geckos as they scurried nearby but well out of his reach. And only after he had went back in the coach did they became my afternoon entertainment on the patio as I enjoyed a couple of cold adult beverages.

So this little video was taken with my iPhone of a gecko that seemed to be putting on quite a show for me. Unfortunately Mister Sam was asleep on big bed in the coach and missed the whole performance, and because of the cooler weather this year he has not started his tail collection yet this spring.

So now it’s Monday and I must say it is starting to feel like Arizona, the daily temperatures are creeping up a bit, and the cactus are starting to bloom. But today I wandered into the Arboretum to meet a couple of new residents, they have been here all winter but they were spending their time hibernating in their new habitats.

Thelma & Louise

Thelma and Louise are two desert tortoises that came to live in the arbouretum last fall, the arboretum had prepared a special area for them with an approved habitat and they have just recently started to venture out of their shelters and into view. They have not been officially introduced to the public but I suspect that will be happening soon.

I was able to complete my March review blog today and got it published, and immediately started into this blog. There is a lot of thing happening in the next couple of weeks, like Easter and one of my favourites “The Masters” golf tournament, and there is a new event on the books for the Arboretum “The Flavour of Arizona“, more on this latter. But right now the arboretum is providing some amazing shows like the Easter Cactus that has started to bloom.

Easter Cactus in Bloom

Then there is a hummingbird nesting just a few feet off of the main trail in the arboretum, Miss Laurie got a couple of photos.

Well it is Tuesday and it is windy, cool today. The warmth has been pushed east by yet another storm rolling into California from the Pacific Ocean, it’s almost like a stuck record needle with one of these storms hitting every week. But I’m looking ahead to this weekend and they are forecasting the first 90° days of the year, so from a heater to an air conditioner in just a couple of days … been crazy weather in Arizona this year!

We are meeting Al & Carmen for dinner at the Cheesecake Factory for an early dinner, as they are leaving the Phoenix area tomorrow. It has been great to have visitors, it sure got us off of our butts, golf, pickleball, walk in the arboretum, wine tasting, and a couple of dinners. And now we are heading home to the coach after a little grocery shopping, and the weather forecast for tonight is a dip in the thermometer to the freezing point! It’s April in Arizona!

Wednesday morning and the water is frozen in Miss Laurie’s bird bath, and it is the 5th of April in Arizona, and we have ice on the bird bath!

Well the week has rolled by with no issues, the days are warming up, so we have been celebrating with a few more happy hours with the Andersons, Miss Laurie is happy getting to sleep with her window open and we prepare for a busy Easter weekend.

The Master golf tournament has started in Augusta GA and I have been watching when ever I could, I watched some of the Par 3 game on Wednesday afternoon, and I was able to watch much of the first round on Thursday. Georgia is going to get some of that bad weather that we just had, by the weekend, that should make the final round on Sunday a little more interesting, but we have to get through Friday and Saturday in the admissions booth, and I suspect it will be quite busy with the weather being nice weather and then throw Easter weekend into the mix.

I was correct, it was a busy Friday and an even busier Saturday, the weather here has warmed up to around the 80F (27C) with little breeze and nothing but Arizona sunshine. Lots of large groups coming to the arboretum for picnics and family get togethers, and with two days under our belt we just had a half day left for our Sunday shift. Well Easter Sunday morning was a little crazy, with a lot of visitors wanting access to the Picnic area parking area, there are only so many parking spots and they filled up early to the chagrin of many visitors. And as the conveyor of bad the unwanted news, Laurie and I received some verbal abuse, so much for the Easter spirit.

I was able to escape by 12:30 and headed back to the coach to watch the final round of the Masters, Miss Laurie didn’t escape till nearly 3:00, as the gift shop seemed to be understaffed, too many staff members allowed Easter Sunday off I suspect. I was very pleased with the results of the golf tournament, with Jon Rahm winning the green jacket, the fourth Spanish player to do so. For you none golf people the PGA (Pro Golfer Association) over the last few years has been under attack from another golf association, one backed by an Arab country trying to buy it’s way into acceptance by paying a few players a stupid amount of money to get players to play in their league.

This is now referred to as “Sports Washing“, where sports figures are paid astronomical amounts of money to play in that country, drawing favourable attention to the country as opposed to the killing of news reporters. And as you all know I’m not a Tiger Woods fan, but at least he had high enough standards not to take the half a billion dollars that he was offered to join that league. While Phil Nicholson did join that league and then went on to condemn the PGA league that had been his bread and butter since his amature days. And a number of other players have been bought for the “Sports Washing” league, some of the players I thought would switch with no great lose to the PGA, but a few surprised and disappointed me. So this is one of the tournaments that the other league are allowed to play in, so it was good that a member of the PGA tour overtook a member of the LIV golf tour to win the Masters tournament.

We celebrated Easter with a wonderful dinner with Tom & Kathleen, a dinner of bacon wrapped pork tenderloin, almond green beans, Laurie’s potato salad, pickled beets, a lovely red wine, and a desert of strawberry shortcake (on real homemade shortcake). We will certainly miss our time with Tom & Kathleen, as they have seemed to be a stabilizing factor in the host volunteer group this year.

It’s Monday morning the 10th of April, which means we are only 21 days from our departure from the arboretum, we are also expecting some real warm weather for the next few days with the valley (Phoenix) reaching its first triple digit temperature day of the year. We also have visitors coming to the Arboretum today as well, Ray & Karen are making their first visit this year, and we are looking forward to catching up. right now I’m sitting on on the patio with the awning out, the sunshade attached watching the hummingbirds, gila woodpeckers, and the hooded orioles all battling for a spot on the feeders, the cardinal is in the bird bath and the buzzards (turkey vultures) are circling over head.

Well the Savino’s arrived just before eleven this morning, and it is turning out to be a very warm day, but there is a nice breeze blowing in from the south, as long as it does not trigger the awning to retract it should work out well. And it was ok for some time before a gust of wind triggered the auto retraction, so we headed into the Clam to catch up some more before heading into the arboretum for a walk. When we returned we extended the awning and Miss Laurie made some snacks for lunch, Tom and Kathleen stopped over for a while to catch up on this summer’s planned travels as Ray & Karen have a summer wedding up in Minnesota, that they need to plan around. Tom & Kathleen are heading back to Colorado and the fish hatchery for the summer and The Buchanan’s are heading back east to Ontario.

This will be a busy week for us, as the arboretum is hosting a huge fundraising event “The Flavour of Arizona Festival” that is happening on Saturday April 15th, the whole arboretum will be closed for this private event, there will be vender’s from across Arizona, cooking lessons, plant lessons, food, and beverages, along with music, taste and drink samples, and while not an inexpensive ticket to purchase it appears to be reasonable value for those 500 people or so that are going to take part. So there are a plethora of things that need to be accomplished before Saturday and even more on Saturday morning in preparation, and of course we have told Emily that we are here for her to do whatever she needs done. Our tasks for the actual day has Miss Laurie greeting guests, and as usual Tom and I will be behind the bar, helping everyone become a little more relaxed…

Tuesday and we are headed east this morning, first stop was for breakfast in Globe with the Andersons’, then off to San Carlos to see some more of the “spring bloom” on the Apache Indian reservation, we had a little difficulty finding the correct trail. But after a little off reading we were able to take in some of nature’s beauty. Here are a few photos from Miss Laurie and some drone shots as well.

Thursday morning, just a couple of days till “The Flavour of Arizona Festival” and today the “A team” (the Anderson’s) and the “B team” (the Buchanan’s) have taken over the laundry room and are hard at work washing and sanitizing over 700 silicone souvenir drinking glasses to be handed out during the event on Saturday. We also had a number of water dispensers that needed to be cleaned and sanitized as well, as one of the themes this weekend “less waste” therefore no plastic water bottles!

Here are a couple of photos of the A & B crew at work, and of course testing the glasses at happy hour later in the day. I was the glass washer, Tom was the rinse and sanitize guy, Kathleen was the stacker for drying, and Miss Laurie was the packer and stacker.

Friday morning and we are back to work in the admissions booth, and it was a busy day in the arboretum, the day was a true Arizona spring day, lots of sunshine, just a light breeze, and lots of new first-time visitors. The day flew by until mid-afternoon when the crowd started to die down, the evening was topped off with a happy-hour with the Andersons’, but it was an early evening as we have an early start tomorrow for “The Flavour of Arizona Festival“.

Saturday morning and its five o’clock in the morning, and we have to be at work at six o’clock setting up for the weekend. So this morning was spent setting up tables and displays for the festival attendees, such as our freshly washed and sanitized drink glasses, the rest of the day was kind of like a blur, as we were relieved of of tasks at three o’clock and as we made our way back to our coaches, for a needed sit down and a couple of cold beverages.

I will touch on the festival more in the next blog, but for the inaugural event, it was a booming success.

Are we ready for Summer?

Blog 476

Day 2021

5 thoughts on “Mid-April 2023 Update

  1. As always great pics and story Brian and Laurie of your travels it kept me going this winter.
    🙂 . Just heard you will be coming back to LHR Yeah !!!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hello Laurie & Brian- looks like you are having a great time as you are wrapping up your time in Arizona.
    Beautiful Mother Nature pictures.
    Question for you Brian (based on a previous blog- have you always lived in Ontario?) 🤔😊

    Liked by 1 person

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