It's rained each day in July. The clouds that serve up our luscious monsoon rains blanket the skies in typical dramatic fashion. This is why I live here.
Sunday, July 21, 2013
Friday, July 19, 2013
I was awakened just before dawn to the sound of thunder, lightning, and rainfall. We've had rain at my house everyday since the first of July. July is our rainiest month as the Southwest monsoon season brings us rain from the Gulf of Mexico. This morning's total so far is .35 inches (9 mm). My home is located in Sandia Park on the eastern side of the Sandia Mountains (about 25 miles from Albuquerque and 1500-2000 feet higher) and our average annual precipitation between 1981 and 2010 was 18.93 inches. But in recent years, we've had reduced snow and rain levels so we are officially in a drought After months of no rain at all, we have had more than 2 inches of rain since the 1st of July!
Now for you in wetter climes, you may well scoff at our paltry precipitation levels, but truly the monsoon rains are saving New Mexico this month. Here in central New Mexico, where half our state population lives, the average annual precipitation for Albuquerque is 9.1 inches (or 240 mm). Yes, other cities in New Mexico average double digit annual precipitation totals (Clovis to the southeast gets 19.1 inches, and to the north, Santa Fe gets 14.2 inches and Taos gets 12.8 inches, and Ruidoso, our southern skiing paradise, averages 21.8 inches of precipitation each year). Now some of that annual precipitation comes from snowfall from October through May, but half of our annual precipitation falls in the summer in two and one half months (July to early September). New Mexico has been in a severe drought so we are very thankful for these daily rains. As of this morning, Albuquerque's July precipitation has totaled 1.2 inches, twice the average July precipitation to date. The July rainfall has allowed the Cibola National Forest Sandia District to once again open our National Forest near Albuquerque. I am hoping to resume Wildflower Walks that were cancelled in June because of the drought and lack of wildflowers. Here at my house, the trees, shrubs, flowers and vegetables are drinking up the delicious rainfall.
|The distressed pinon trees are beginning to recover.|
|Most of my plantings are native plants that are xeric|
|Vegetables in my garden have doubled in size|
|My rain barrels fill up in a few minutes|
|Tomatoes, Chile Peppers and Cucumbers|
|My Cottonwood tree loves water but sustains itself through long periods of drought|
|Pinon Pine getting their annual ration of monsoon rainfall|
|With more rain, perhaps a pinon pine nut crop may come next year|
|My lower patio is flagstone with Creeping Thyme|
planted in between the stones
|Upper patio and deck is planted with wildflowers to attract birds|
|A Lesser Goldfinch stops by at the feeder for breakfast|
|More rain barrels behind the garage catch rainfall|
|My xeric garden of Butterfly Bush, Sages, Germander, |
Perky Sue, Red Yucca,
and Native grasses (Blue Grama, Buffalo, and Blue Avena)
|Cat Mint, Germander, Butterfly Bush and Perky Sue|
|My lawn is composed of Blue Grama and Buffalograss |
that need as little as 6 inches of water per year to survive.
|Xeric plantings of Red Yucca, Butterfly Bush, |
Blue Avena, Texas Sage and Lavender
|My Japanese Honeysuckle is not a xeric plant|
and does need regular watering
|My front porch is a great place to sit and watch the rain.|
|Hope you are having a wonderful summer where you live.|
Monday, July 15, 2013
We returned home Saturday from our annual vacation to Breckenridge, Colorado. This annual affair began 10 years ago when by chance I purchased from a private party, sight unseen, a timeshare for use in early September. I had never even been to Breckenridge but I love mountains and you can't beat the Rocky Mountains for a mountains-themed vacation.
|Main Street, Breckenridge, Colorado|
|French Ridge Interval Condominiums|
Breckenridge is an historic mining town that has grown into a huge tourist resort with marvelous winter skiing and other year-round wonders. It seemed that half of Denver was there over the 4th of July weekend. As usual, the picturesque streets and yards of Victorian-style residences were full of summer flowers.
In the center of town, the Blue River flows alongside shops, restaurants, and walking/biking paths:
|View from my vacation condo's deck in September, 2004|
(a dusting of snow is not uncommon in late summer)
|My French Ridge Condo (upper two floors tan unit)|
|The lovely glow of golden aspen was everywhere|
|Will, Anne and Milla with the Collegiate Peaks behind them|
|Rafting the Arkansas River through the town of Salida, CO|
|This was an easy going :float trip without much "white water"|
|This mine opened in 1887 and|
produced gold, silver, zinc and lead
until it was closed in 1945.
|We descended 1000 ft. into the mine shaft|
|We learned a lot about the hard life of miners|
|An early morning hike on the Tenderfoot Trail with awesome views|
|and lots of wildflowers like this Blue Flax...|
|... and here is Yellow Stonecrop along the trail|
|Even 5 year old Milla hiked the mile or so scenic trail above Lake Dillon|
|Indian Paintbrush and Colorado Columbine|
|Elephant's Head Pedicularis groenlandica|
|View from the trail with Mt. Quandary on the left|
|Colorado Columbine Aquilegia coerulea v. coerulea|
(Colorado's state flower)
|The lower falls|
Friday night, we headed for nearby Frisco for dinner followed by a movie in Dillon. We saw The Lone Ranger which we thought was great fun and not as bad as the reviews had led us to believe. Johnny Depp was marvelous as Tonto and much of the film showcased our home state of New Mexico. Returned home via Hwy 285 on Saturday. With a stop for lunch in Alamosa, we were home in seven hours. Happily, the monsoon rains have arrived and we enjoyed rain for most of our drive through New Mexico.