The Monsoons

This evening the clouds hovered darkly over the city.  Thunder rumbled as lightning flickered, most often lighting the whole sky.  A wind swept by, then came the staccato beating of rain.

I love the monsoons, cooling the earth and allowing weeds to be pulled easily.

The weather has been pleasant, only in the 90’s, with a lot of cloud cover and occasional storms.    But I have memories from 40 years ago when the monsoons brought daily storms, always at 5 pm, so that commuters would be struck in washes flowing over roads.  (At that time I lived at River and Swan; Swan had no bridge, and dipped down into the Rillito River.  When the river flowed I had to go way out of my way to get home.)   The Tucson roads were sloped so that the water flowed down the middle – no storm drains.  In intersections the road-streams would crash into each other dramatically.  And, of course, electricity and phone lines would often be knocked out by the lightening or winds.   (Although a week ago, July 19, the storm knocked out power to 15,000 residents overnight.)

Wildlife Update

Earlier the coyotes screamed and howled, but I have not seen one near my yard.  I did read about a coyote – The Daily Coyote by Shreve Stockton, the true account by the writer in Wyoming who adopted an infant coyote and raised it.   (  Enjoyable.

This morning my cat stalked the cottontail eating my rain lily leaves, just for practice I guess, ‘cause what would she do with a rabbit her size?  (She did catch a mouse last night and ate it on the deck, leaving the head and tail for me in a pool of dried blood.)

Yesterday when I returned from the library a deer stared at me from behind a neighbor’s yard.  After pulling into the garage, I ran in for my camera, but the deer had moved to the brush, and I had a hard time scrambling through the desert in my sandals.

No bobcats, but the herd of javelinas ambled by the fence in single file, not stopping for a mesquite seed snack.  (My largest mesquite tree has dropped thousands of delicious pods for them.  Maybe they munch at night when it is cooler.)   I only saw one baby, however.  Did I just miss the other or did a predator manage to snatch it from its mother?


Torpor – a state of motor and mental inactivity.

I returned to Tucson two weeks ago from my excursions into Cold Country tired.  I could handle the extensive walking, but painting above my head the last three days was a new exercise.  The other aspect was multiple new experience in a week (Botanical Garden, Anthropology Museum, Aquarium), to a brain conditioned to only one a week, overloading the circuits.  Hence torpor.

What struck me the most when I returned was the silence of my abode.  My son lives in the heart of Vancouver with its ambient noise, and my daughter‘s house backs onto a major road in the Phoenix area, so the quiet here seemed lonely.  Until I was awakened the next morning by trucks dropping loads of rocks onto the edge of the eroding golf course at 6:30 am, and a helicopter, blades whapping loudly, flying over, searching for a criminal on the loose?  Ok, I’ll take the stillness, punctuated by birdsong or the battering rain.

Keeping the Grandkids Busy

A week later the grandkids, full of energy and craving those new daily experiences.  We visited the Museum of Miniatures ( but my 4 ½-year-old granddaughter had not the patience to study the ornate dollhouses or rooms full of miniature towns decked out for Christmas or Halloween.  (However, my 1 ½-year-old grandson didn’t want to leave the cowboy animals on motorcycles circling around and around and around.)

“We” also turned my compost pile.  (Brianna does love to find worms) and after playing in my outdoor spa, we emptied it (which hadn’t been done in maybe a year; even with a cover, it collects minute debris), and sponged it down (which the kids enjoyed, wet and cool in the heat) before refilling it. 

Oh – and the marshmallows.  We made some from scratch, but when I had converted from metric to Imperial measure, then cut the recipe in half, I neglected to cut the gelatin amount in half.  The white balls turned out rather like kneaded erasers, although, of course, the kids loved them.  Anything for sugar.

So I am tired again, after only a few garden projects last week, replacing bad drip lines and the resulting dead plants.

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3 Responses to “The Monsoons”

  1. LYN KAGEY Says:

    You will have to send me the recipe for marshmallows – in American measure, please!

  2. Lynn Shore Says:

    Making Mashmallows from scratch-my daughter in law would like that recipe. Again in American measures!

    • notesfromthewest Says:

      I hope these work out better than mine!

      1/2 oz. (two 1/4 oz pkgs) unflavored gelatin
      just over 1 C. of sugar
      just under 1 C. of water
      1 t. vanilla

      Soften the gelatin w/ 1/4 cup of hot water in a double boiler.
      In a small saucepan combine the rest of the water and all of the sugar. Place over med high heat until the mixture reaches 240 F. (Use a candy thermometer.)
      Once the mixture reaches this temp, remove from heat, pour the sugar mixture into the gelatin mixture, and using an electric mixer, beat on high speed for 10 min. (Don’t use a glass bowl!)
      Add vanilla and beat for one more min.
      Pour the mixture into greased molds (I used mini muffin molds) and leave for at least 6 hours to set. Enjoy.

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