A Wet Dry River

A Wet Dry River

There has been a significant amount of rainfall over the past month in the Hassayampa Valley and the mountains up near the headwaters. For the past several days, we have seen a good deal of above-the-ground water flowing in the Hassayampa River.

This shot (courtesy of The Better Half) shows the water flowing just north of the bridge crossing the river along US 60 in Wickenburg. We have seen the water flow above ground during the past week as far south as the US 60 highway parallels the riverbed, roughly down to the railroad bridge across the river ten miles south of town. It’s still raining in the area, so we expect that the river will continue flowing above ground for a while. Clickable image.

Broken Palo Verde Limb

Broken Limb

Yesterday, I climbed up on the hill to inspect a broken palo verde limb we saw the last time we were up there. Unfortunately, the limb had come to rest on a patch of hedgehog cacti, which we admire for their beautiful spring cactus flowers. I got close enough to test whether I would be able to move the limb off of the cacti. I grasped one of the thicker parts of the limb and gave it a tug and with a little elbow grease, it came out of the spot where it had wedged itself. I pulled it away from the area where it had come to rest and put it into a clear spot nearby. Clickable image.

I can’t leave it there because the next big wind or intense thunderstorm may wash it down the hill where it could do some damage. In a few days, I plan to drag it down the clearing on the east side of the lot to road level where there is an existing pile of deadwood. Some time after that, I will have our landscape guys come and cut it up and haul the entire pile away. It’s just a matter of time and money.

King Snake

King Snake

Last evening, The Better Half noticed something moving by the tandem wheel cover on the trailer. I walked over and saw a king snake crawling along. I took my camera out of my pocket and took this (clickable) image. In June, we found a dead king snake near this same area. It’s good to see a live one. Our friend Crotalus tells us these are good to have around.

According to reptilesofaz.org

This is a powerful constrictor that preys on snakes (including rattlesnakes), mice, rats, lizards, amphibians, reptile eggs, small turtles, and birds.

Bill of Health Update

caduceusI posted on this topic in June and thought an update would be in order since I visited the urologist yesterday. He took a look inside my bladder to recheck that there is no recurrence of tumor growth. He saw both ureters to be functioning normally including the one that had been occluded from which a stent was removed in May. Although everything looked normal, he wanted to take a biopsy of some tissue near the site of the tumor.

I am set to review the biopsy results in a couple of weeks. I expect there to be no problem with the biopsy as I spoke with one of the doctor’s assistants on the procedure I had. She said that the doctor “routinely” does a biopsy and that she didn’t see anything on the monitor to indicate any abnormality.

All indications are good that The Better Half and I will be able to take off for a short September vacation without worrying about clinics and appointments. We’re looking forward to that.

On The Hill

Fallen Palo Verde

The past couple of days have been relatively cool, with temperatures below 100°. This has enabled us to do some yard work including trimming a couple of creosote bushes and cleaning up some of the debris left by the recent monsoon storms.

After today’s yard session, The Better Half and I decided to venture up on the hill behind the RV drive to inspect some of the damaged trees and cacti up there. We found two palo verde trees that toppled and several others with broken limbs. We also found a couple or three cholla cacti on their sides.

The tree in the (clickable) image probably went on its side more due to the damage being caused by beetles or termites to the roots and trunk. The other palo verde that blew over seemed to have been healthy prior to the storms.

Nothing we saw poses any sort of immediate danger to us or the house, so we’re going to leave them where they are for the time being. When we engage the excavation company to start on the berm and fix the RV drive, we will have them remove the fallen trees and cacti.

Screwed by the Union - Again


I couldn’t resist using the title to this article. The well known fact that the left uses labor unions to dick with the economy and pass on the extra expense to the consumer. But, enough of that.

The Better Half photographed the plumbing union that sprung a leak and flooded the California house. The leak was located behind the cold water valve on the upstairs tub behind the outside stucco wall on the second floor. You can clearly see the cracked union in the top photo and you can see daylight through the threaded inside of the joint in the bottom photo. Clickable image.

I theorize that the union must have started to leak just after our February 2014 visit to California. It was not until April that I noticed that our bi-monthly water bill had almost tripled the usual amount I see when paying on-line. I contacted our son who went to the residence and discovered the damage. He shut off the water and I contacted the insurance company the next morning.

It’s hard to believe that a small crack could cause such a terrible amount of damage, but I guess over a couple of months while we were absent, it took its toll. And our insurance woes plus the rest of the aftermath are just beginning.

Runoff Damage to the RV Drive

In the aftermath of the most intense and damaging thunderstorm to hit Wickenburg in years (the worst we have seen in three monsoon seasons), the RV drive was severely impacted. Runoff water cascaded down the drive washing away much of the one inch Sedona red gravel and leaving deep trenches. We certainly can not drive over this area, let alone tow the trailer through. Click on the slideshow above to alternate between the before and after images.

One of the neighbors had similar damage to her access road and yesterday she had a contractor up there restoring a culvert under the road and covering it with a bituminous topping, similar to asphalt. We are considering having a construction engineering company come in and build a berm to divert the runoff to the little natural wash west of the RV drive. (To the left in the images above.) We contemplate having the road surface covered with something more substantial than gravel.



Guess what The Better Half found in the garage this afternoon? A foot long Western Diamondback Mojave Rattlesnake (see comments). Not to worry, though. I persuaded it to get on the blade of my shovel and tossed it out in the desert next to the house where it slithered off to the underbrush. The bulge in the back part of the snake’s body is likely a small critter it recently devoured and is still digesting. Clickable images.

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