Saturday, August 26, 2006

Summer Monsoons -- The Desert Reborn

This monsoon season, which officially began on June 28, 2006, has been very good, despite some damage from the winds. Tucson and the entire southwest has been in a prolonged drought. It has been so dry that even some cacti on my property died before the monsoon season. How dry? Well, between October 1, 2005 and the beginning of the monsoon season, Tucson had received less than one inch of rain. That is almost 9 months with virtually no rain (our normal annual rainfall is over 12 inches).

But, this has been a bountiful monsoon season. Since June 28, I have recorded over 9.50 inches of rain. The rains have brought the desert to life. The mesquite, acacia, and palo verde trees and the prickly pear and cholla cacti have all added significant growth, the desert is lush and green, and desert wildflowers are blooming everywhere.

The cacti are blooming.

The sweet acacias are blooming (my granddaughter, Bella, insisted on getting in the picture).

The creosote bushes, the source of the wonderful desert aroma after rains, are blooming.

And all sorts of flowers, whose names I don't know, are blooming.

Yes, without a doubt, our precious Sonoran Desert has truly been reborn.

Friday, August 18, 2006

This Weekend in Tucson August 19 & 20

Friday has come around and figuring what the weekend will bring. Our monsoon season has been great. The desert has bloomed with the rains, cacti that had been near death from the drought have put on new growth, and wildflowers, nonexistent in the Spring, have bloomed.

So, what's in store this weekend? Well, on Saturday, we go to my granddaughter's best friend's birthday party, then to a Mexican barbecue at the parents' house. Great taquitos, rice, beans, and beer. What more could I ask for?

For Sunday, I think my own barbecue is in order. I have become pretty good at my ribs, but need more practice before getting in another contest. I slow smoke them in one of my three smokers -- two offset smokers and one vertical water smoker.
The water smoker is what the AZ BBQ Association guys call an "ECB" (el cheapo brinkman). It may be cheap, but it does a pretty good job if it isn't cold, rainy, or windy. But I will use my trusty New Braunfels smoker and do 3 slabs of baby back ribs.