Posts Tagged ‘saguaro’


The desert landscape from my daughter’s Marana home on the southwest outskirts of Tucson. — Photo by Pat Bean

“Just sometimes every damned thing goes right? – Yhprum’s Law

Yup! It’s Monsoon Season in the Sonoran Desert

The ocotillos are lush-leafed and the saguaros are pumped. That’s what happens when you get a week or so of heavy downpours.

An ocotillo in bloom at Catalina State Park north of Tucson. I took this photo while I was still traveling full-time in my RV, and before I ever dreamed I would end up living in Tucson. — Photo by Pat Bean

These two cacti abound in Tucson, whose human development, especially in the Catalina foothills where I live, is tucked between and above the washes and arroyos that have been allowed to remain undeveloped so as to carry the falling water away quickly. The fact that there’s a bit of wildness remaining in the city, some of which is just seconds away from my apartment complex, is one of the reasons I’ve come to love Tucson.

I also enjoy the mountain ranges that encircle the city: The Tucson Mountains to the west. the Rincon Mountains to the east, the Santa Rita Mountains to the south, and the Catalina Mountains that are my backyard to the northeast. The sides of these mountains are now tinged a verdant green because of all the rain. It’s a cool view, especially after the 115 plus temperatures that plagued Southeastern Arizona for weeks.

I’ll enjoy it while I can, as soon the ocotillos will lose their green leaves to conserve the little water they’ll get in the coming months. They will become simply brown, tall thorny stems sticking up from the ground. The saguaros, meanwhile, will grow skinnier again, using the rain water they inhaled to maintain themselves through the waterless desert months.

Watching the changes that take place in the landscape around me, from day-to-day and season to season, gives me great pleasure. It connects me to Mother Earth.

Bean Pat: So Much Yarn https://theeternaltraveller.wordpress.com/2017/07/19 Take an armchair tour of England’s Yorkshire Market.

Pat Bean is a Lonely Planet Community Pathfinder. Her book, Travels with Maggie, is soon to be released. You can contact her at patbean@msn.com


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Thorny Neighbors

I call this saguaro Old Man. I found him while walking a wash near my daughter’s home here in Tucson. He fell over and bit the dusk not too long afterward. — Photo by Pat Bean

Saguaros come in all sizes and shapes. Is it my imagination, or do you think this one is giving the finger to the low-flying balloon. — Photo by Pat Bean

“Some people are always grumbling because roses have thorns. I am thankful that thorns have roses.” – Alphonse Karr

Heat’s Up in Tucson

A cholla cactus in bloom. — Photo by Pat Bean

The temperature was 115 here in Tucson yesterday. Yuck! You need to be a cactus to survive in this weather, I think.

And then I remember that in 1956, I moved to the Texas Gulf Coast and didn’t have air conditioning for the next 10 years. How I survived, while changing cloth diapers (four kids in five years) continually for seven of those years, I have no idea.

I guess deep down I’m as tough as a cactus. Or once was. My outdoor adventures currently are confined to walking Maggie in the early mornings when it’s still a bit cool. She just gets taken outside long enough to do her business after that.

And a barrel cactus. — Photo by Pat Bean

Anyway, it seemed an appropriate day to post some of my cactus photos. I hope it’s cooler where you live.

Bean Pat: One of my favorite blogs is Brain Pickings. And I especially like these words of Albert Einstein, which seem especially appropriate these days. http://tinyurl.com/ydhxg629

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“Lavender clouds sail like a fleet of ships across the pale green dawn.” – Edward Abbey. The Opposite of Bird Watching

White-winged doves to the left, mourning doves to the right. -- Photo by Pat Bean

White-winged doves on the ends, mourning doves in the middle. — Photo by Pat Bean

It is a dawn like what Abbey describes that makes me often wake before the sun rises. After watching the gray turn the landscape into a fleeting moment of golden glow, I began looking around for birds, knowing that when I return to my apartment I will note in my journal the first species of the day. More often than not it will be a dove, either a white-winged or a mourning dove.

White-winged dove on top of a blooming saguaro.  -- Photo by Pat Bean

White-winged dove on top of a blooming saguaro. — Photo by Pat Bean

Both these species are as common here in the Sonoran Desert as are the saguaro, which normally can only be found in Southern Arizona or just across the border into Mexico.

You can see a mourning dove anyway in the mainland 48 states, but white-winged doves can only be found in the more southern states. Here where I live, I often see them sitting atop a saguaro, especially when it is in bloom (like the photo on the left). Mourning doves more commonly tend to flock on the ground in bunches of two to six.

If I listen, as my canine companion Pepper and I make our morning circuit, I can hear the doves murmuring to one another. It’s an interesting chatter. The mourning doves have a mellow, cooing song, which sounds like a lament, but which also is close to the sound of our resident great horned owls. White-winged doves, named for just that, also coo, but there is more variation and cheeriness to their songs. It sounds to me like they’re happy to be up and moving, while the mourning doves are bemoaning having to get up.

Recently I added a bird feeder to the nectar feeder that hangs on my third-floor apartment balcony. Both the mourning and white-winged doves have been feeding from it. They empty it way too quickly, which is why I only partially fill it each morning. There is only so much bird seed my budget can afford.

The doves, having become familiar with my custom of putting out seeds after my morning walk, often gather on the tile roof across from my apartment in anxious anticipation. I think you can call that people watching.

Blog pick of the Day. Check it out.

Blog pick of the Day. Check it out.

Bean Pat: With Less Weight in my Back Pack http://tinyurl.com/z5kco7l Sedona area landscape — and the way I feel these days.

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The Women's Museum and the statue that prompted a question.

“There’s something that’s been bugging us Texans. And it’s time that we set the record straight … There ain’t no saguaro in Texas. It’s not the kind of cactus we’ve got.” Rev. Horton Heat


It’s always been my belief that every question deserves an answer. So today I’m going to answer the one from a reader who commented on the photograph of a statue that went with my Jan. 10th blog about the Women’s Museum in Dallas.

The statue features a woman atop a huge saguaro cactus, and the question was: “Do saguaro cacti grow in Texas?” Honky-Tonk comic singer Rev. Horton Heat says; ”No.” The plant experts agree, but with an addendum: No wild saguaro grow in Texas.

You might be able to forgive Rauol Jossett, the statue’s creator. He was a native Frenchman, who carved the plaster and cement statue in 1935, just two years after immigrating to the United States. Perhaps he got his idea from western movies of the period that featured huge saguaro in their supposedly Texas backdrops. Or maybe he copied the idea from other artists whose work depicts the huge armed cacti in their Texas landscapes.

No wonder Horton Heat wanted to set the record straight.

The Centennial Building and another of Raoul Jossett's giant ladies found at Dallas Fair Park

But now that I’ve answered the reader’s question, let me tell you what else I learned in my research. The Women’s Museum statue is called “Spirit of the Centennial.” It was created as part of the renovations to turn a 1910, double-duty stock coliseum-by-day/music-hall-by-night building into an administration building for Texas’ 1936 Centennial Celebration.

The model for Jossett’s sculpture was Georgia Carroll, the lead singer for the Kay Kyser Band. She later became the band leader’s wife and an actress. She just died earlier this month.

The administration building was converted into the Women’s Museum in 2000, and is located in Dallas’ Fair Park, where a stroll through its Texas sized, 277-acre grounds can turn up six other giant-sized ladies created by Jossett. Let me know if you find them all.

Meanwhile, I love questions. Anybody else with one?

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