February 2023 Update

On the morning of February 26 this was the view from the admissions booth window, and yes it was beautiful in its own way, but so very ugly in another way. Heck I couldn’t even see Picket Post mountain which was covered in fresh snow and obscured by low level clouds, and I know everyone back up there in Ontario is thinking suck it up and just quite complaining…

But we sat out and enjoyed happy hour in my shorts and shirtsleeves just the afternoon before with 70°F (21°C) temperatures, and today’s forecast high is 48°F (9°C)!

So the first hour of being open this Sunday morning netted only 3 visitors, and it was almost ten o’clock before we managed our way to double digits of visitors. But the phone calls kept me amused, in fact I think I could write a whole blog on the questions that we get on the phone on a daily basis.

One of the most popular questions I got today was (is it raining?) and of course I had to answer NO, because at the time it was snowing. And another popular one (are you open?) and of course we were, with only a half an inch of snow, there would be no reason to be closed. Or (will I be safe to drive here?) my answer was maybe, I watch the Phoenix news every morning and there are dozens of accidents on a clear dry day, so on a wet snowy day, I’m sure it would be considered high risk at least.

But the good news was that by eleven o’clock most of the snow was gone, and just a few scattered rain showers were the norm, till near one o’clock, and then in true Arizona desert fashion the clouds started to break up and Miss Laurie was able to snap some great desert sunset pictures.

Other than the weather, which has restricted most of the adventures that we would have liked to do, we have enjoyed the company of some visitors that, have stopped by. We also have met Tom and Kathleen’s daughter, her son and her significant other. Lincoln (the gardener from Boyce Thompson that we stopped to visit up in Portland way back in October) flew in from Portland, Rhonda (whom we had met at the Beaver Rally back in 2020) was down escaping the Wyoming winter, Randy & Deb (who were part of our Mexico caravan) from Vancouver Island stopped by, as well as Corrine, Kathy, & Mary from Country Maples Resort, from back in British Columbia.

Rooster Cogburn’s Farm, was our only real adventure this month, and the term adventure is kind of a stretch. But it was an entertaining morning as we drove south to near Tucson, then we were allowed to pay to feed their animals, it was was entertaining at least, and I can see it being a great day for some one with children. There were miniature donkey, deer, goats, ostriches, ducks, rabbits, tortoise, sting rays, budgies, and lorikeets. Located in Picacho Arizona, this was an ostrich farm that added a location to stop and see and feed the ostrich, now it has grown into a feeding zoo attraction, and realistically speaking the $15 charge included enough feed to enjoy all the creatures as well as feeding squid to the sting rays. the most entertaining area was the lorikeets as you would take the container with the “nectar” into the cage, hold it in your hand like an ice cream cone, the lorikeets land on your arm, take the lid off of the container then proceed to drink the nectar while on your arm.

And yes winter has hung with us throughout the rest of February, I’ve had the Clam collapsed this month more than it has been up, because of both the snow and 70 mph (120 kmph) winds. So it just seemed prudent to batten down everything that could become airborne, and even the rocks that we had on the camp rugs moved and the rugs were all folded up and jammed under the coach.

Here is where I spend most of my time, while I’m putting in my volunteer hours, there are two admissions windows, but during slower times only one is open, the second window is to try and expedite member into the arboretum, another perk of membership.

As we look ahead at the March forecast, it looks like March will be coming in like a Lion, which should mean that it will go out like a Lamb, and there appears to be lots of warm weather in our near future.

With spring just three weeks away, I’m only thinking of spring flowers!

Blog 473

Day 1974

January 31st, 2023

Sunrise view from our site

Well I figured it was about time to get back to writing, I have not hardly written anything since Mexico, and things are still happening for the Buchanan’s.

Our first walk through the Arboretum

So to ease back into the groove, I thought I would just write a brief summary of all our activities from our January at Boyce Thompson. I just have to touch on this January’s weather, which has been unusual by Arizona standards, from our years in the desert we have grown to love the sunny days with cool nights. The poor weather girl from the local NBC station has totally exhausted all of her descriptions for this unprecedented weather. It has been colder and wetter than any January going back more than two decades, in actual fact pretty much since the start of the Arizona drought over twenty years ago. So let’s just say that Januarys weather has been quite a chance from what we experienced in Mexico November and December.

Our view of Picket Post Mountain & some low clouds

Other than the weather what have we been up to?

Blooms on the Cardón Cactus

Well to be real honest not very damn much, we have walked the arboretum a number of times but not nearly as much as normal, we have both had colds and I’m not sure that we are not still having some after COVID symptoms, or it could be just a needed rest after just over three months of vacation. We have a different site at the arboretum this year, it is probably the nicest site available, we still have the view of the Picket Post Mountains, the amazing sunsets, and I’m sure the sun rise’s will be as spectacular as ever once the weather gets back to normal.

Queen Creek after the storms

The arboretum has undergone multiple changes over the summer, the admissions booth has changed a lot, with the addition of blinds to control the glare of the sun. The phone is in the booth now which is definitely not a good thing, but because the gift shop has undergone some major changes it had to move from the gift shop to admissions for now. We have had a few days of internet issues, but because of the cold wet weather, the crowds have been down as well.

Preparing for another dinner in the Clam

We have enjoyed being back with Tom & Kathleen, for some happy hours as well as a few meals in the shelter of the Clam™. I have been trained to work in the store, so I can fill in when needed. Lynnea seems truly glad to have us back, and we have been shifted onto the highest traffic days (the weekends), which is great because the days pass by quickly when we are busy. Tom and I just bartended our first concert of the year on last Sunday, and while a reasonably good crowd the music was not my taste, the majority of the people seemed to enjoy it, and the band was still playing as we shut down the bar.

Bartender view of the concert

I would be amiss without mentioning that the Arboretum which is now 99 years old and will be celebrating its centennial next year, which is an amazing feat, for a research facility that has turned into an amazing destination. The arboretum is a not for profit organization which receives no direct support from either the State or Federal governments, and totally survives on daily admissions, yearly memberships, and donations and fund raisers such as the concerts in the park.

View of a reverse sunset from our site

The cold weather has done much damage to many of the most tender vegetation in the park, the staff has covered as many plants as possible but when spread over 135 acres, it is just impossible to protect everything. But despite all of the cold night there are still many plants that are starting to bloom as the desert moves into springtime.

Our “Maple Wi-Fi” has not been working the best here in the Superior Arizona area, at least not nearly as well as the “Nomad Internet” system from last year. The difference is the cellular towers our Nomad service was T-Mobile and the Maple uses AT&T. And I think that Verizon has the strongest signal in the area, but we has been able to stream at most times of the day, with early evening being the worst times for streaming video.

Our patio area

With January coming to a close, the weather seems to be changing, and we are looking forward to happy hours, and adventures to come as the daylight hours start to increase and the Arizona sunshine starts to bring some real warmth. We are getting some use of our sun screen on our patio


That’s all folks!

The End

Be well, stay strong, and travel if you can!

Blog 471

Day 1946