January 03, 2013

random photo catch-up

yup, we're still here! We had a pretty low-key holiday that was spent mostly at home, with Christmas day spent at the home of some very close friends. I didn't really take many photos over last few weeks, but here's a few random ones:

Holiday flowers: Christmas cactus and Amaryllis
A couple weeks ago, I went to the local grocery store to pick up something food-related, and came back home with these! I entered the store through the greenhouse section- what can I say? LOL! These flowers remind me of the holidays growing up, because Mom and Grandma would both have their houses full of amaryllis (what's the plural for that, anyway?) and Christmas cacti during the winter. The white Christmas cactus is going gangbusters, while the magenta one, being smaller (it's the one on the left that's hard to see), has only got one flower open right now... the only word to use for the amaryllis is amazing!! There are two flower stalks: the first one has six (!) flower buds, and it looks like all six of them will actually bloom! Hopefully they'll all last, and I can keep them alive through the summer. (I'm not sure if my Midwestern-raised green thumb is up to the task here in the desert.)

Holiday dogs! L-R: Prescott, Bisbee, Krista
 One of the Christmas presents we gave to the dogs (and ourselves) was taking all three of them to the groomers... don't they look pretty?!? It's a big job with a long-haired dog (way too big for us to want to tackle it on a regular basis), and the groomers definitely earn their money! (by the way, Tom is off-camera holding up a treat- that's why they're all sitting so attentively. They don't sit still on command for more than about 1 1/2 seconds, otherwise- lol!)

winterizing in the AZ desert!!
We've actually had a freeze warning in effect for the last couple days, so we had to 'winterize' a few of our plants- the Styrofoam cups protect the growing tips of the cactus arms from getting frostbit. It looks goofy, but it works! This is our night-blooming cereus, which is doing really well, so I don't want it to get frostbitten.

Winterizing method 2- this method doesn't work on cactus, lol!
The plant under here is a natal plum, a low-growing evergreen
shrub native to South Africa: click here to see a photo of it
Mom was asking me recently what winter in AZ is like, and if we really notice a difference. Besides the obvious temperature changes (it does get down to freezing occasionally at night, and every once in a great while- like every 5-10 years- there might be a visible snowflake or two falling somewhere in the Valley), there are some other differences. There are some deciduous trees that lose their leaves; the quality of the light and sunshine is much weaker (it's still lots better than having gray skies for months on end, though); it gets dark much too soon for my taste; and it rains occasionally (not like a monsoon storm, but a wet, damp, cold rain).  

One other way I know it's winter is when I'm running the water inside the house- the water takes forever to get warm or hot when you run it! LOL!! It's an odd thing, but there's a good reason for this: since the ground doesn't freeze here, our water pipes are buried very shallow underneath the ground. Because of this, the water never actually gets bona-fide 'cold' during the summer, and it also takes much longer to heat up during the winter. 

Afternoon-sun-basking kitties
One other way I know it's winter is that the cats get a lot friendlier, both with us and with each other. They get very 'cat-like' and hang out in the sun, or curl up on any blanket or afghan that looks comfortable. (including right on top of us, if we're sitting still!) They would never do this in the middle of the summer (not that they could sit in the sun even if they wanted to, since we have the sunscreens up to block the light). 

So, now it's on to 2013- both Tom and I are sort of glad to have 2012 over with, actually... what with my two surgeries and a cancer diagnosis, a cat illness and surgery, and a mysterious dog sickness (he's finally back to normal, thankfully), 2012 wasn't exactly a barrel of laughs, and we're not sorry to see it gone. Here's looking forward to a year of better health and good things to come, for all of us! 

(except for those pesky New Year's resolutions, one of which is for me to clean up my craft room: we were watching a Hoarders television show marathon over the holidays, and some of it was hitting a bit too close to home for comfort-- lol!)

1 comment:

Mare said...

Oh i loved all your pictures! LOVE the houseplants! I am as bad as you-i try to avoid the plant ailes in supermarkets! Your animals look so contented....and i laughed when i saw your cactus with the styrofoam cup hats! Happy New Year my friend!