The Creature from the Desert Hollows

It was another muggy Monsoon afternoon in the mid-summer Desert. The humidity hung in the still air, the dark foreboding clouds collected in swirling pockets above Todd’s Backyard. Our skin crawled as deep thunder rumbled like warning drums….something wicked this way comes….

Family and friends gathered on the porch, cocktails in hand, awaiting the outcome of Mother Nature’s tricky plan. Rain, or not to rain? All was still, as the desert creatures stood in their heat beaten habitat waiting for the answer.

It was then, that we heard it….A blood-curdling sound….a deep rasping….croooooooaaaaaaawwwk!

Just then, a raindrop hit my arm, sending shivers down my spine. Another “Crrrooooooaaaaaawwwwkkkkk!” Then a small group wet drops splattered on the ground, followed by a burst of lighting and clap of thunder! The eerie desert drama started to unfold. Todd grabbed the camera to capture any evidence of the events to come.

He made his way into the yard, amid the sporadic droplets of rain….Then, Todd saw it! So, hideous, he was speechless!

There it was.

THE Creature

Staring up at him from the depths of hell. Beady eyes glowing with wild anticipation of the rapture that awaited him. Soon his ultimate power would be restored with the one thing that he craved above anything. Human blood!

Ok, not really!.. The thing he craved was rain.

But he was not to be tempted out of his den, as the pitter-patter of rain came and went. The clouds parted. The sun returned. The creature retreated back beneath the earth to await the next croakin’ joke Mother Nature might have in store him. Perhaps, next rain, we will get a glimpse of his toadally ugly self!

Aaaauuuuughhhhhhh!

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The Hell-Bent Storm!

When the Summer Monsoons start building in the afternoons, they often just tease us with some ominous looking cloud formations.Maybe a little lighting and rumbling. And if we’re lucky, a few spurts of rain. When we await these storms with anticipation, Todd’s favorite expression is: “Maybe this will be the ‘hell-bent’ storm, baby!”

So it figures, that after our own personal ‘storm’, (Todd had an appendicitis while we were in Mexico over the 4th of July), a real tempest would be soon to follow….

It began yesterday afternoon. The clouds started to build and the humidity started to rise. It came upon us suddenly. The wind… then rain, then bigger-harder rain, hail…..

You know it’s a good storm, when the house starts rattling with the deafening sound of rain beating on the skylights. We opened all the screen doors and windows…ahhhh so refreshing! With the hail, the temperature plunged about 20 degrees!

But usually, these things stop as suddenly as they start. A 10 minute burst is usually about all we get!

About 20 minutes later…

Our porch soon became part of the wash. The water started rising throughout the yard…

By this time, our power had gone out and we were getting a little nervous as the water kept rising.

The washes that run through the back of Todd’s Backyard were overflowing. It sounded like we were on the banks of a raging river…And we were!

I think the storm may have lasted for about 40 minutes until, the rain turned to a drizzle and the water started to subside. With the power still off and nothing better to do, Todd and I decided to investigate .

THE AFTERMATH…

The washes ran for a couple of hours.

We even had a little beach front property for a while…

It’s hard to believe all the critters could survive. Perhaps many of them didn’t. We certainly haven’t seen the usual amount of wildlife activity this morning.

As we walked around Todd’s Backyard after the storm, we encountered many drenched birds…

Todd  plucked a baby bird out of the sand where it had been half buried in a wash. It was still alive, so I scooped it up and got it going…

It seemed to be ok after she warmed up a bit and shook all the sand out. She flew off without  being worse-for-wear.

And Todd, not worse-for-wear in Yasar Arafat mode, hobbled around the yard, still recovering from his appendectomy…

So this morning, after surveying the mess, it looks like I get to help Todd with the cleanup. Thank goodness, we didn’t lose any trees, but there are a few that need to be pulled upright. Let’s hope that this is the only hell-bent storm we get this season or for that matter the next decade….I think one is enough!

Quenched & Drenched

We’ve had 4 inches of rain, and still, the monsoons rage across the desert. The ground is soaked, the trees are green, the air is thick and mushrooms of various types are sprouting all over the yard.

I think this might be the wettest season I have experienced since living here! At this rate, Todd’s Backyard is likely to become a jungle!

We actually had a pretty wet winter. This is what the quail pavilion looked like around March…

This is what it looked like this morning! We’re lucky if it gets this green by the end of the monsoons (around mid September). We should have a great crop of prickly pear fruit this fall…mmmm….can’t wait for those margaritas!

I don’t know if the resident wildlife are happy this time of year. I can’t believe it’s easy for all the birds to weather the raging storms. The squirrels must be miserable getting flooded out of their underground homes.  The javelina have to love it…they get a nice bath (which they really, really need!) But for sure, all of the plants and the cactus are getting fat and happy!…Well, maybe…

Our old man cactus looks a little grumpy. But I guess his budding blossom would mean otherwise!

Water Works and Sky Lights

A season to feed the soul…

The monsoons finally got whipped up about 2 week ago, bringing with them dramatic displays of nature and a refreshing break from the heat. This promises to be a pretty good season, Todd’s rain gauge has already documented almost 2 inches.

We love this rainy season! Even when all the patio furniture gets water-logged before we can pull it up under the porch. You can’t get enough…The smell of fresh, moist earth after the rain. The cool mist that brings the temps down about 20 degrees…at least for a brief time. The plants getting fat and lush. The toads invading the yard (mmm… ok, it can live with that)… But most of all, we love the monsoon season because it provides a veritable feast of photo ops!

When the storms start brewing, the cloud formations can make you feel like you’re in heaven on earth!

These views never get old!

It’s quite exciting to see the washes running. There are many washes that run through Todd’s Backyard, the largest runs along the back perimeter.

This is what it looks like normally.

But, when we get a good storm it quickly turns into a raging torrent…

After the rain starts pouring, it only takes a few minutes for the water to get to this point. Then as quickly as the wash fills, it empties, when the rain stops.  When we get a ‘hell-bent’ storm, as Todd likes to call them, the first thing we do, is go run out in the rain and watch the wash run!

Ahhh, and the lightning… another spectacular feature of these temporary tempests!

Unfortunately, we don’t have the best camera for capturing nature’s fireworks. But, we did get this shot of the view from the top of Todd’s shed…would have been perfect, if it hadn’t been so blurry…still kind of cool!

And, of course the rainbows are plentiful!

But, we still haven’t found a pot of gold. Still looking though!

We only have about 2 months left of monsoon mania…

Can’t wait to see the mouth-watering visual vittles this season will serve up!