Out Arizona Way
#61
(10-15-2019, 05:01 AM)Tyson Rayles Wrote: So you keep posting these upbeat stories to make sure nobody else moves there?  Big Grin

Well,, uh, hemmmm, hawwww, Icon_redface Icon_redface we uh try uh, not to make that obvious, but it seems to be working.... 2285_ 2285_
Don (ezdays) Day
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founder of the CANYON STATE RAILROAD
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#62
Desert Beauty,
(a bit more upbeat, really.... Icon_e_biggrin )

The first thing many people think about when hearing the word, “desert,” are rolling hills of just sand, kind of like the Gobi Desert. Well, there is such a desert nearby, but it’s not in Arizona. It’s in Southern California, just a few miles west of Yuma, Arizona. This is a place where many desert movies are filmed. If you see any greenery there, it’s all movie magic or as a prop on a movie back lot. Indeed, there is nothing but sand where we call “the dunes.” Many ride their sand buggies (we call them “Dune Buggies”) there, frequently camping out in their RV’s. To be sure, some even have live-in trailers with garages to house their play toys. Another concept of the desert is what we see in our western movies, not much sand, but lots of cactus and tumbleweeds with no shade for miles around. That may be closer to reality, but that scene changes depending on the weather. Yes, the weather has a profound influence on the appearance of our desert.

Let me explain. Probably the most beautiful and active time in the desert is the days after a rain. Things that were bleak looking and devoid of life before the rain came, suddenly sprout leaves or somehow magically turn alive overnight. The desert becomes a sea of color and life. I say “life” because there are creatures that basically hibernate when it’s dry and come to life when there’s water, such as the lowly frog. We have frogs that burrow into the sand and change their metabolism such that if you were to dig one up, they show no signs of life. These creatures have situated themselves in an area that would naturally collect a pool of water, so when the rains do come, they're ready. Within minutes, they come to life and do what frogs do. They hang around as long as there’s water, perhaps just a few hours or days. Frogs aren’t the only things that spring to life after a rain; many desert plants do as well. Some cacti will suck up their fill of water during a rain storm, and sustain themselves until the next one, cutting back on growth when needed. The ocotillo is a tall spiny-like plant that spends much of its life dormant. A few days after a rain, the spines are green with small leaves from the base to the top, and at the very top of each spine will be a vivid red bloom. Take away the water and the ocotillo soon looks like a dried-out bunch of sticks. We have a tree in our front yard that I was sure was a goner, until the recent rain. Here it is October, and it's sprouting leaves like it was early spring.

We're blessed every spring with wildflowers, the more rain we get in the winter, the more prolific the wildflowers are. When we lived in Wickenburg, the we had a large wash on the back of our property that would run like a river whenever there was heavy rain in the desert. Sometime around March, the banks and beyond would turn yellow with Mexican poppies. There are many other types and colors of wildflowers, and lots of places to see them, just don't pick any because they are protected by law, just as all our cacti are.

Don't get me wrong, I love the beauty of those grassy, wooded and hilly areas that I see in other states, but if one is patient, there's plenty of beauty in what some might think is a barren desert.
Don (ezdays) Day
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founder of the CANYON STATE RAILROAD
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#63
"the banks and beyond would turn yellow with Mexican poppies"
And after you process those poppies how much per ounce to they supplement your Social Security by? Icon_lol Icon_lol Icon_lol
Mike

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#64
(10-25-2019, 06:26 AM)Tyson Rayles Wrote: "the banks and beyond would turn yellow with Mexican poppies"
And after you process those poppies how much per ounce to they supplement your Social Security by? Icon_lol Icon_lol Icon_lol

Well, from what I understand, there are those that process their flowers a bit different than we do. Maybe that's one reason they're protected from picking by law here. Awesome
Don (ezdays) Day
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founder of the CANYON STATE RAILROAD
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#65
"Maybe that's one reason they're protected from picking by law here."

That's O.K. Don, we here at Big Blue won't rat you out to the cops and tell them what you are up to!  Icon_lol
Mike

Sent from my pocket calculator using two tin cans and a string
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#66
(10-26-2019, 07:17 AM)Tyson Rayles Wrote: "Maybe that's one reason they're protected from picking by law here."

That's O.K. Don, we here at Big Blue won't rat you out to the cops and tell them what you are up to!  Icon_lol

Thanks, the poppy seed bagel business is enough of a hassle without having the cops lining up thinking I'm making donuts... Crazy
Don (ezdays) Day
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founder of the CANYON STATE RAILROAD
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#67
Been hesitant about posting this because of it's rather mundane subject, but here it is anyway, it came from an article I wrote back in 2010... hmm, did I say, “back in”?:

Farming in the desert
Thinking about development and “progress”, we see how our farming industry is being reduced or pushed further and further away. Yes, we are in a dry area and rainfall is frequently below ten inches a year, but ever since the days of the Hohokam Indians, we have been very resourceful about obtaining and conserving water. Arizona is a state of extremes. Just about 100 miles north of us you will find the largest forest of Ponderosa pines in the world, along with a vast area where temperatures fall below zero and there is much snow. We here in the desert rely on the snow melt each year for a source of water that we lack in our rainfall. There are a number of rivers that run though the area including the Salt and Gila rivers. Canals were the most common way of getting water from these rivers to where the water is needed. The Hohokam had a network of canals that can be traced back to over 1000 years ago, and many of the canals we have around the area today follow those same routes, I guess some people were too lazy to dig new ditches... don't know that for sure.

Citrus groves have been around our valley since early in the past century and we grow just about every type of melon imaginable. It’s hard to sustain these types of crops without a lot of water. Cotton is another crop that you used to see outside the city limits in just about any direction. Unfortunately, growth and urban sprawl is taking much of the land once used for farming and converting it to a sea of houses and shopping malls. These areas are not hard to spot; many housing developments retain a lot of the citrus trees that were part of an active grove. You’ll find tall date palms throughout a development where a date palm grove once stood. The man that landscaped our new house a few years ago said that he had helped farm on the very spot that our house stood on.

Anyway, just about a mile west of where we live is an area of a few square miles still being farmed. I can’t always identify the crops, but I have seen trucks loaded with carrots and radishes and do see corn, lettuce, cantaloupe and flowers growing. Yes, I said flowers; many of the flowers you find in your local florist shop are grown right here in Arizona. Where do you think a lot of the fresh flowers come from in December? Back some 50 years ago we had what we referred to as “Japanese Gardens”, a beautiful attraction, acres and acres of flowers, now replace with progress. The thing that I wonder is just how far out can we push these farmers since every time they start a new farm beyond the urban areas, they are removing pristine desert. I guess development cannot be stopped and one day, the ever-growing concrete jungle will consume even these farms. Oh, and that area to the west of us, well, it’s already on the books for commercial and housing.

Just one more strange sight, many older developments that were built on farm land that had water rights, and still maintain those rights. Front yards there are surrounded by berms. Periodically, these homeowners open vales and flood their lawns, much like the farmers did there for their fields. Fortunately, newer developments don't have those same rights, many think this practice is a waste of precious water, but that's how things are living in Arizona.
Don (ezdays) Day
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founder of the CANYON STATE RAILROAD
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#68
(Yesterday, 08:19 AM)ezdays Wrote: Been hesitant about posting this because of it's rather mundane subject...

On the contrary, I found it rather interesting.  This area of the Niagara Peninsula was once known as the Garden of Canada, with orchards and vegetable farms lining the shores of Lake Ontario from just west of Trawna (Toronto) to Niagara Falls.  The CNR ran dedicated fruit trains during the harvest season, carrying produce all over Canada and to parts of the northeastern U.S., too.

While there are still orchards between Stoney Creek and the Falls, all of the small towns in between those two towns have grown considerably, with most of the growth taking place on lands formerly dedicated to orchards.
A lot of the vineyards which grew grapes for juice production took out their vines when the provincial government decided to subsidise the grape growers to convert to wine grapes when the juice industry began to fade out.  Some farmers also took out their orchards to cash-in on the windfall.

There are a great number of greenhouses in the area, too, and those not converted to- or built for- cannabis production, are used for either vegetable or flowers.  Most of them, especially the latter, are owned and operated by Dutch immigrants, many of whom came here in the '50s, when Holland was offering cash for people to leave, as at the time, it was one of the most densely populated countries in the world.

With these farms and greenhouses spread out along the plain between the Escarpment and Lake Ontario, they have a readily-available supply of water, and this entire area of southern Ontario gets ample rain, too, with Lake Ontario to the east and north, Lake Erie to the west and south, along with Lake Huron and Georgian Bay to the west and north respectively.  No matter which way the wind is blowing, it's passing over large bodies of water.

Wayne
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#69
My father taught geography (inter alia). He said that the characteristics that make farmland attractive -- flat, few obstructions -- also appeal to housing developers. Except the housing people don't care about the quality of the soil.
David
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Perth & Exeter Railway Company
Esquesing & Chinguacousy Radial Railway
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#70
Thank you Wayne, I found yours of interest as well. I like to hear about how life is in other areas, this is the reason I started writing columns for a newspaper in Cincinnati and another one in Tahachapi, I got to read their paper every week and know things about their everyday lives. I was interested, even though I never set foot in either town. That's also why I started this blog, hoping to get this kind of feedback. Incidentally, I got the job of writing for the Tahachapi paper though our forum. Mikey got an email asking if he knew of anyone that would write about trains and he let me know. I wrote for them about two years until the economy went south in 2008 and the paper folded.

David, I agree, thanks for that insight. Flat, level land is easy to build on, but they can charge a lot more when they start building houses on hills. One problem we have with building on fertile soil is weeds. Most homes here have little grass, just crushed rock for lawns, but come the rains and we find a field of green, lots of weeds. A frequent HOA violation is "weeds in the gravel, remove before ____ or be fined".
Don (ezdays) Day
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founder of the CANYON STATE RAILROAD
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