Desert Vegetable Gardening has Unique Challenges and Benefits:
World Naked Gardening Day is the first Saturday in May, but here in the desert, our gardens can run year-around. The winter is mild, with only a couple of freezes for a few hours generally. We can plant a wonderful variety in the fall.
Spring’s last frost is usually before Easter. The previous several weeks of potted seeds will give us such fun as tomatoes.
In June, shade netting is required. Plants being stimulated by the 100F plus temperatures, wish to go to seed.
It is time for a garden. We start with the soil. I live in a desert meadow, where the soil has accumulated for centuries on top of a mountain of solid granite. It digs easily and is rich in nutrients, a wonderful sandy loam. With a few organic addendums, we have healthy plants.
Water is a problem. It is expensive and precious. It rarely falls freely from the skies. Watering in a city can knock the cost of homegrown veggies to having no savings at all. The rains are sparse to drought prone and then they are often a deluge. We set in a drip system that pops on for a half an hour a couple of times each day. The summer heat can dry the soil within hours. Desert plants are crafty. Typical vegetables are not. Shade netting is often essential.
On this Tuesday, we have gone down to Nogales, Mexico, to save some money on some dental work and have lunch. We decide to turn off to the west of the Interstate and explore the Ruby Road, up through the town of Arivaca and then out to Amado.
2014-09-22 and the week that follows:
Tiredness wears off with infusion of the invigoration of the fun of it. I decide to explore a bit further in search of shade and adventure. I just go off carrying nothing, wandering, wearing absolutely nothing. Followed by Elaine, we climb upward. The usual route is cut off with hard flow. We have to climb up a small foothold, a line of cleavage on a boulder, then pivot around one limb at a time in balance to get to the other side, like some gymnastic exercise. I place one foot, then another further up, gripping to the rock. Then, as I push up with the lower foot, it slips. Fortunately I still have a two hand grip and one foot hold and don’t fall off. Elaine follows carefully.
The familiar place with two trees has had a nice sandy beach on its west side, but now, this has been washed away in the flooding torrents. We cross the stream, climb up the sheets of granite and find that there is a cliff bottom in shade. It should remain so all day. We would need no tarp here.
There is a constant light breeze of cool air here on this nice flat shelf. It has something to do with the air currents and the cooling effect of the water’s humidity and the shade. It might as well be air-conditioned. The rest is in the 90’s F with the radiant reflections off of the granite. This will make a good base for the heat of the day, nude. The view is wonderful, there is a smooth granite slope right into the waters below. Our stuff will be safely kept, as it is difficult to get to, if we were to leave the spot.
As we are climbing back to get Buck, a young lanky young man comes through. He will be the last person that we will see here today. After gathering our belongings and Buck, we return to our perch under the cliff.
We all sit, or lay about. We have a snack lunch.
The recent heavy rains from the Mexican hurricanes have replaced the monsoon rains that had been missing AND then some. Yep, it’s Arizona and we have had a drought. I knew that Redington Pass would be flowing well and didn’t want to miss the opportunity. Monday would be a day with no threat of more rain and a consequent flashflood.
I made the time, but DF couldn’t do the same. I decided to invite friends who were available for a Monday excursion. I found two.
We left somewhat early. One picked up the other and arrived at DF’s place to meet up and get into my 4×4.
They look at my wraparound and fivefinger shoes attire. She remarks with a curious glance, on how “minimalist” my hiking attire is. These are two friends that DF and I have spent extensive time with nude, but their concept is driving there and then stripping down. Mine is of course…different.
Elaine hadn’t been out hiking in a few years. Buck had yet been to the nude area of the canyon at Redington. It has been many years since he visited and that was before the lower area had been inundated by the textile clad. This begins conversation about nudity laws, free range naturism, and anecdotal stories of the ilk. The discussion lasts all the way out to the pass. She is learning more about a zealot’s attitude about getting around naked and today will become a time of many eye-opening lessons. He on the other hand has been around this for a while.
DF and I had been there a few weeks earlier and it had been barren, with little water. It had been disappointing. Today, as we begin to drive into the area, I am impressed by the green coloring of the hills and mountains. On a Monday, I am also surprised that there are a few cars already there when we arrive. There is no one with these cars, so I immediately stuff my wrap into my bag, just in case I need it, when I return to the parking area. For now, it is the last thing that I care about.
Skinny Dipping at La Paloma
La Paloma is a wonderful resort perched up in the Catalina Foothills, an upscale part of Tucson. There are all of the amenities and plenty of golf.
I’ve lifted several photos from their website to illustrate our story. It is actually as nice as the pictures. Their Website: http://www.westinlapalomaresort.com/#2
We met friends at the Westin La Paloma Resort to celebrate DF’s Birthday. We populated the happy hour with several tables of friends after work. We lavished ourselves on cocktails and horduerves as the party conversed. DF opened presents, as well wishes and affection washed over her.
Inside there is Opulence
As things were winding down, about 7:30, DF decided that she would like to take a walk around the grounds. This is a very elegant resort, multilevel with staircases and large windows looking up at the Catalina Mountains north from their foothills. To the south, as the sunlight disappeared, the famous lights of Tucson twinkled below in the valley. We meandered about and then out the doors with their brass bars. We strolled through the outdoor dining and fire pits and into the pool areas.