Friday, September 26, 2008


My sister Sydney has told us for several years that Arizona's monsoon season is her favorite time in Bisbee. Big clouds, dramatic storms, rivers running full instead of dry... and the landscape turns green and lush as dormant grass drinks and grows tall. "You should come for the monsoon", she says.

Well, living in an RV in rain is not that fun. Three hundred or so square feet of enclosed space feels TOO enclosed when you are inside day after day, so we have not visited to enjoy the seasonal rains.

This year, though, we are just a few weeks past the end of the monsoon season, and the change is startling! Check out these pictures of the clay oven. The one on the left is from March, 2008, when we had just completed building the oven; I took the other picture yesterday when we went to visit Rosanna's ranch and see how the oven fared during the heavy rains. Look at the difference in the flora!

The oven itself, covered by the protective layer of cob, was in great shape. Rosanna has a sophisticated weather station, and told us that, during one monsoon drenching, the rain fell at a rate of 15 inches per HOUR.

At Rosanna's, horses large and small are turned loose from their corrals to graze on the grass and weeds. Besides saving hundreds of dollars on hay, they do a great job of reducing the mowing needed - and their stomping hooves warn rattlesnakes to STAY AWAY!

As we chatted near the corrals, both of the big horses demonstrated their pleasure in their freedom to graze with a long roll in the dust. Our friend Joann took this photo, and Doug and Joann let me snag it from their blog. Doesn't that look like pure JOY?

As we drove home from Rosanna's yesterday, it looked like the monsoon wasn't yet over. Dark, heavy clouds enveloped the mountains to the west, and rain obviously was falling hard in a few places. Later in the evening, we heard that there was a "small stream advisory" in the area.

This morning, we picked up my brother-in-law Frank and went off for a hike at the San Pedro river. Frank volunteers there, leading hikes. so knows his way around. Over and over again, he was surprised when taking a turn towards the river, only to find the river had overtaken the trail. In this photo, a "Trail" sign is half submerged at the far end of this temporary "stream".

We never made it to the riverbank, but had a good time hiking through waist high grass - a new experience for us in this corner of Arizona.

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