OK, a few notes on Tucson’s weather and wildlife.
The monsoons started a few days ago. No deluge at my house, but, being able to see the whole basin that is Tucson, surrounded by mountains, I could see rain in the northeast corner of town at one point, the northwest corner at another. This morning a few sprinkles as I drove to work – not enough for the windshield wipers, but enough to bring the humidity up to 57%, such a nice contrast to the desert sun baking all of the moisture out of one’s body. Even though I am now visibly sweating when outside, the cloud cover keeps the temperature down, and the sun at bay. (It still is supposed to reach 102° today.) The humidity has encouraged the native whitethorn acacia to produce its little yellow balls, which pass for flowers.
This morning a large roadrunner dashed across the yard. It must have been after a lizard; they often pose for me. Yesterday a sole javelina peeked around the wall, peering longingly at my vegetable garden when I was in the shower. The evening before, washing dishes, I enjoyed the site of a deer posing under the mesquite tree.
The cicadas were trilling like crazy when I left work yesterday, but only crickets chirped in my yard. I noticed that cicadas get louder when you approach – since there are so many of them you can’t find an individual one by noise. Crickets, by contrast, stop chirping as you move towards them. I read the description of cicadas in Wikipedia1, and found out that they create their “song” differently than crickets. (Read up on it if you’re interested.)
Speaking of my vegetable garden, I had a couple of Japanese eggplants and miniature red bells from the garden for dinner last night (barbequed with Italian peppers and red LaSoda potatoes from the CSA). The green bell pepper and full-sized tomato that are not covered by leaves have sunburn. The cherry tomatoes are halfway to ripe. Finished the spinach the other night. It had bolted.
Because I had planted sage (the culinary herb, not the desert variety, bursage, which is not edible and has nasty burrs) in my vegetable garden this year instead of in my herbal pot on the deck by the kitchen, it is deliriously happy with all of the root room, so I guess I need to deep-fry a bunch of leaves, as I learned in my cooking class it Italy many years ago.
Salvia Fritta ~ Choose large, very fresh leaves for this recipe. Either offer them along with a nice glass of red wine, or use as a garnish for grilled meats or seafood.meats or seafood.meats or seafood.2
This just in (June 30, 5:45 pm): Just as I was pulling into my garage I heard crashes. Then I saw the hailstones, 1″ in diameter, bouncing into my garage, pelting the front of my house at a 45° angle, and the assault started – I thought they’d break a window! It was over in 10 minutes, and the hailstones melted fast on the hot driveway. Luckily my potted plants are in the back of the house, so they didn’t get ripped to shreds. But the fig vine climbing up the front of the house, and the agapanthus took it badly.
In the vegetable garden the peppers, eggplant, and sage were close enough to the wall to be sheltered, but my volunteer sunflowers and tomatoes, which I had photographed just hours earlier, were partially shredded, and two sunflower heads and three cherry tomatoes on the ground.
Because my TV is broken (the cable connection), I watch a lot of DVD’s.
I was watching an old PBS, To the Ends of the Earth, starring Benedict Cumberbatch. I remembered him as Alan Turing in The Imitation Game, but forgot the others, so googled. He is so versatile! He’s played a good guy, a bad guy, a dragon. He played Khan in Star Trek Into Darkness3:
Khan in 2259
Species: Human Augment
Affiliation: Section 31
Status: In Stasis (2259)
Born: mid-20th century
Marital Status: Single
and of course, Sherlock. But Smaug! How could he play Smaug, a dragon from Lord of the Rings. Googled and found these two great video. You must see! (This first is one of many.) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1 Then this one is just funny – watch it through to the end (and ignore the annoying commercial at the beginning). http://thecolbertreport.cc.com/videos/509747/smaug
The captain of the ship in To the Ends of the Earth looked familiar, so I googled Jared Harris. Ah yes, has been Lane Pryce in Mad Men.
And To the Ends of the Earth was based on William Golding’s trilogy. He was…
…best known for his novel Lord of the Flies, he won a Nobel Prize in Literature, and was also awarded the Booker Prize for literature in 1980 for his novel Rites of Passage, the first book in what became his sea trilogy, To the Ends of the Earth.