Exploring the Neigborhood

We’ve had an exceptional week, weatherwise here in Green Valley, AZ.  The temp is about 15 degrees above normal, putting daytime temperatures in the upper 70s to mid 80s. 20140214_110724It’s cool and night, and still pretty cool when we take off in the morning to hike or bike.  Perfect – quite a switch from this time last year, when it didn’t seem to get out of the mid 50s.

Started our week on Monday with an 11 mile hike – quite a surprise, since it had been posted on the hiking board as a 6.5 mile trip.  We were dragging by the time we finished – good thing the terrain was fairly flat.20140210_114039 Not the most interesting or scenic, but always fun to explore new area.  Part of this took us through an open range area, which is common out here.  It’s unnerving to find a big steer in the middle of the trail.  Mostly, they just passively watch us and chew slowly as we pass.  Many don’t even bother to glance up.  But still….

Cycling this week has been perfect.  It feels so good to really reach – ride nearly as hard as I can to keep in the paceline, or maintain decent speed up Helmet Peak Road, a 5 mile climb (probably 4% grade).  It’s nothing severe, but certainly a longer climb than we find in Michigan.  Once we hit the top, there are 5 miles of good rollers, then 5 miles downhill.  Tomorrow’s ride to the Mission San Xavier involves about a 10 mile downhill on a fabulous stretch of new pavement, then uphill on the way home.  One of my favorite rides.  It’s why we love coming here.

It’s been wildlife week here at our house.  One evening, two huge javalinas strolled down the street.20140209_174544 I grabbed my camera and headed off after them, anxious to get a good photo.  They are often called wild pigs, but are actually members of the rodent family.  In any case, no one who ever call them handsome!20140214_110547Yesterday, we were heading out in the truck, and saw a bobcat race across the street in front of the truck, and climb over our neighbor’s garden wall.  John slammed on the brakes, I grabbed the camera and high-tailed over to get a photo.  Very suspicious – me stalking the bushes around the yard, wanting to see the bobcat again, but fearing that it would see the leaves rustling and come leaping back over the wall.  Our other fear was that it would go from the neighbors yard, over the 3′ wall to our yard.  We had left the sliding doors to the patio open.  Visions of Jezzy seeing the bobcat, tearing through the screen, and the two of them jumping over the wall and out into the desert passed through our minds.  Bye-bye security deposit!  Worries (whew!) unfounded.  Lynn says that since we didn’t get a photo, it doesn’t count as a sighting.  Bah!

20140214_110056Today, I srolled to the Arid Garden, a project of the Green Valley Gardeners, right around the corner from us. It’s a beautiful desert garden, with all the cactus variities labeled and lovingly tended.

Chaste Tree

Agave

African Sumac

Fishhook cactus

Fishhook cactus

African Daisy

African Daisy

20140214_110214I need to make another trip or two early or late in the day when the sunshine is not so intense.  Flushed up a bevy of quail in the desert on the way home.  Such a ruckus!

T@DA friends Vern and Ilene Baker shared a beer with us at Barrio Brewery – a new watering hole for us.  Great beer (Ben’s IPA!) and wonderful fish tacos.  We will be back. 20140213_170827 We were hoping a train would pass through while we were sitting there (note the special price on the bottom of the menu), but it was not to be.

And today is Valentine’s Day.  Grillin’ on the patio with friends and family.

Been a good week…..life is treating us very well right now.

12 thoughts on “Exploring the Neigborhood

  1. Great posts and great pictures. Glad you are having better luck with the weather this year. It was in the 70’s here today, will be in the 80’s the next 5 days at least.

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  2. You: basking in the sunshine, exploring Arizona and drinking reasonably priced beer
    Us: digging out from 18″ of snow while it continues to fall, dreaming of camping in our T@DA and spending beer and wine money on fuel oil

    I so enjoy reading your travel posts. I lived in AZ for 6yrs—Nogales, Tucson and Prescott before returning to my beloved home state of VT. Every place you mention brings back memories. :)

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    • I do feel bad commenting about the nice weather we’re having, knowing that so many friends are just trying to hang on for a few more weeks for a bit of reasonable weather. If it makes you feel any better, we got our gas bill for heating our house to only 50 degrees last month while we were gone. It was still over a hundred dollars.

      Looking forward to having conversation with you about life in Arizona.

      Hang on. Spring will come.

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