Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Spring Marches On

You can only call it spring on the calendar. Days typically are in the 90s, a couple each week over 100. But they're not calling it monsoon season yet, so for the native Arizonans I guess it's still spring.

The yard has been cleaned up. Filipe came over with his blower and rakes and got up the pine straw and accumulations of dead leaves so it looks neat again. The bird seed block had just been finished but we waited a week to put the new one out, mostly laziness since it was sitting inside the house waiting, and the seed eating birds are returning to the back yard. It's mostly pigeons and dove varieties, but quail are coming back as well.

I hadn't seen quail in our yard for a couple weeks, though I haven't spent time looking either, getting organized for the upcoming surgery. No further baby quail, or larger youngsters have been seen, so I'm thinking they haven't had a good year. We have a neighbor who lets a cat roam at night, and it's easy to pin the blame there. The first pair of adults hitting the block this afternoon caught my attention. I couldn't figure out why they looked weird until I decided the female was limping. A further look from a better angle showed she was sans tail as well, so just had some kind of narrow escape. The male was keeping quite close to her as they crossed the yard.

The best rain of the season just hit, bringing us up to over an inch YTD. It was the same day the back yard got cleaned, starting just as the tools were being loaded into the truck, and it was a joy to look out after it fell and see standing puddles in the low spots, including around the trees we haven't watered since we returned last fall. They are thriving, by the way. Our palo verde doubled its height this last year, the desert willow is just finishing blooming, and the palo blanco has a hummingbird who has staked out its territory among the dozen or so seed pods resulting from hundreds of fuzzy pale catkins it bore earlier. One sees them all in silhouette, so you have to sort out the pod-looking-thing with a beak from the others.

The new bushes from last fall are still being watered and are thriving. The only one not yet showing signs of blooming is the Texas mountain laurel, but it's still just 2' tall. Maybe next year. The ones lining Hwy. 60 that we see on the way to Surprise are bearing clusters of buds, still greyish at this point, but I remember their abundance of purple from last year. Our little sage has bloomed twice now, the orange bells has never stopped blooming from its original foliage and has sent up nearly twice again the number of new shoots for next year's blooms, and the yellow bird of paradise, of which we cut back its single stem in February, now has two very tall stems, one bearing a bud cluster looking very healthy.

The honeysuckle, also cut back last winter, is twice as tall and just as full. We don't expect blossoms until fall. The biggest and best surprise has been the San Marcos Hibiscus. It's first pale yellow bloom was both a delight and a lucky sighting as we have found out they open for only a single day. A closer look shows all the stems lined with buds, and while one may bloom from a stem every few days, with all those stems suddenly growing every which way, it's not uncommon to see six or seven blossoms in a single day.

The big old ocatillo in the corner has bloomed its prettiest that we've seen since moving down, thanks to a broken lemon tree branch across the fence that was shading it until last fall. The young ones along the east fence are thriving, especially now that we realized the rabbits were nipping them across their tops and we had to replace their wire cages with ones twice as tall. No blooms there yet, of course, but we started with 6" tall babies. The blue agaves planted between them along the fence are thriving, even the one I thought I completely squished when I fell on it while doing the planting.

Tough old birds.

Our red yuccas in the front are surviving despite rabbit predation early and ongoing, even with their chicken wire cages. But one is stubborn enough to have sent up two flower stalks this season, charming both us and the resident front yard hummer. It now bears several growing seed pods even while still bearing profusely. Of the rest of the front yard plantings, the healthiest are still the rocks, so I guess it's a good thing we have a lot of those.

I have four more days to get through before surgery #2 . I really miss my ibuprofin! For a week I have to forgo all medicines considered blood thinners, so all I have left are Percosets. Since everybody has decided, absent actual evidence, that Prince is merely the latest famous person to die from opioid OD, everybody's jumping on the no painkillers bandwagon, at least in public. That leaves me concerned, not about personal addiction, but about personal access to an effective supply after we head back up north. It's one of the reasons I've been working so hard to cut back my usage, i.e. stockpiling, the other being that I can. Doc prescribed 3 per day (5/325) for this week, but I've been limiting myself to two, taking half tablets 4x day. It nearly works, but I miss the ibuprofin most in bed when I go to roll over from one side to the other. Legs get tangled in sheets, or rest on the other at some non-flat angle, and "ow-ow-ow-ow" is how I wake up. About 6 times every night. I need my anti-inflamatory too, and won't get it for about three weeks. Good thing I can sleep days.

Otherwise, I've been having Steve drive me around for appointments, shopping, etc. There are no more 8 hour periods since the last Perc, so I'm not legal. Again. But groceries are stocked, laundry is done but not put away, Ellie is shaved down, the biggest Fred furballs are picked up off the floors, the wedding ring is where we both know how to find it after I can wear it again, the calendar is full of appointments. I got an unexpected one today because the surgeon forget this 2nd time to get a "long bone" x-ray so they can tell how long my leg should be when they are finished. No, they assure me they can't make me an inch taller in the process! Darn!

There's been a lot of sitting around, reading, catching up on missed TV episodes, watching everybody else's bad weather on the news, snickering at alarm over annother 2-point-something earthquake up in the northwest corner of the state, loudly contemptuous over news anchors who still think Arizona is going to become beachfront property. Even worse was the "expert" who assured them it wouldn't happen for at least a million years, totally ignoring that the California plate is riding up over ours rather than preparing to fall off into the ocean.


We definitely need a better educational system.

No comments: