Sunday, December 26, 2021

Desert. What Desert?

We spend our winters in a desert--the Valley of the Sun, otherwise known as the Phoenix, Arizona, valley.  During the monsoon or rainy period during the summer, this area received 4.2 inches of rain--the third most monsoon rain in the past three decades.

The rain isn't done coming, however.  Friday, Christmas Eve, it rained all day in our resort in the east part of the Phoenix area.  Here are some pictures of what happened.

This is a catchment basin.  Since it rains so seldom, the rain isn't absorbed very easily.  These areas are built in to help keep the water.

Any ditch or wash quickly fills with a racing stream when it rains.  When we drive around in Arizona we often see signs reading "don't enter if filled with water.  It makes me wonder "why" until we experience a rainstorm like this.  

Normally, it is possible to cross this wash on a paved path.  Not Friday.

Here we see small lakes in a low-lying area.

Today, almost all of the puddles have dried up and the larger rainfall lakes are rapidly shrinking.  

We lived in Wisconsin for three years in the mid-1980s.  One year "only" 8 inches of rain had fallen by mid-summer.  That was what they call a drought.  Homeowners were out shopping for hoses and sprinklers so they could water their lawns and keep the grass alive.

The United States we live in covers so many environments, from deserts to rain forests.  Growing up in Colorado, lawns always have to be watered during warm weather months.  And that is the only way that green grass can be maintained here in the Phoenix area.  In Wisconsin, if it rains excessively, a windstorm could blow over trees with only very shallow root systems.  In the drier areas, roots go very deep to find moisture.

We have been so blessed to be able to travel throughout our wonderful country and learn about areas so different from what we grew up in.

Monday, December 20, 2021

Boxes, Boxes, Boxes Everywhere

 When our children were young, I remember having boxes and wrapping paper everywhere after gifts were opened on Christmas day.  Today, there aren't that many empty boxes and those we have are smaller than those that held children's toys.  

However, we still have many boxes around our winter home.  These are all made of wood.  John has made most of them. This 8-sided box is one of 5 he has turned.  Notice the small cord coming out of the left side of the box.  This is where I store my hearing aids when I am not wearing them.  The charger fits in the box--actually, the box was made to accommodate the charger.  John also has rechargeable hearing aids, as do our son Eric and his wife Liz and John's sister Cindy.

This is a gentleman's jewelry box.  

Here you can see the various crosses John stores in his box.

Here are three more boxes he has made.  The top one is my jewelry box.  It has a different eagle than the one on John's box.

The second box has turquoise inlay in the hearts on the lid.  The bottom box has an inlaid cross.

This box is marked with an L and R.  It was made to store the hearing aids John had that aren't rechargeable.  Our rechargable ones are color coded for right and left.  The battery hearing aids aren't so the letter make it easy to know where they belong. The bottom box shows the interior of the box holding the charger.

John isn't the only person making boxes.   The two on the left I made, using the band saw.  The triangle John made on the scroll saw.  The separate piece on the top is used to cover 2 interior compartments while you retrieve the items in the third compartment.  

He made me one that is heart shaped.  I use it to store my earrings.  Believe me, that extra piece means I don't have to either dump out all the earrings to get what I want or use tweezers to pick out the small items.

This is the box and the special pieces that each cover two compartments of earrings so I can empty out the third compartment.

This stunning box is made of padauk, a red colored wood, with turquoise inlay.  

One of my band saw boxes.

I really like this star-shaped box.  We have included it in our nativity set display for Christmas.  (It is an awfully large star compared to the manger and stable in those sets, but it does (sort of) make sense.


Here are three more boxes John has made.