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Re: Checking back in
gardenchat@hort.net

Check out the Tucson area. My son in law is assigned there with the AF, and I have really enjoyed my visits. Not anywhere near as congested as Phoenix, and has a "small town" feel, even though it isn't that small. Is still desert, and home to Sahuaro National Park. There are mountains around the city, especially north, with conifer forest and cooler temperatures. We will probably end up in the western St Louis suburbs when our energy runs out trying to maintain 2.5 acres!
Cathy, west central IL, z5b

On Aug 15, 2014, at 5:50 PM, Cyndi Johnson wrote:

Nice to see some activity on the list. I actually replied to a couple of the messages, but apparently my work email address is not getting through. Half the other lists I belong to dumped me because of Yahoo, now I’m trying Gmail. We’ll see how that goes.

Anyway here in the high desert we continue in drought.  We are watering just enough to keep the front yard plantings alive, but it looks pretty poor. It’s kinda discouraging and I’m avoiding looking at it, which I know I'm going to regret. Actually I’m hoping for some sort of epiphany about what to do with it as it clearly needs to be redone for drier conditions.  The two giant sycamores are somewhat limiting the options, and then when I think about digging up thousands of daffodil bulbs I get all sad and stop thinking about it.  Although lack of water may solve that problem for me.

My vegetable garden is also not so great. I planted less than half of what I normally do to cut back on water. Between diseases, drought, record high temperatures at the wrong time, and the critters all I have left is one bed of pepper plants. In a normal year I'd be spending every weekend putting up food...oh well. I did get a few jars of canned tomatoes, a few packages of frozen green beans, and I canned some zucchini soup.  But there are potatoes and onions in the spare fridge, those came out okay. And you’d think with nothing to harvest I would spend more time on the front but no, I’m just riding my horse more often.  

DH and I are now doing serious retirement planning. If all goes well, he retires next January and I go out some months later. We decided we’d rather not stay here – I hate the continuous wind and he just doesn’t like the area.  We took a few scouting trips and are giving a lot of thought to Phoenix Arizona.  My inner gardener is astonished - one of the places we looked at was Medford OR, so green and lush - but I guess I’ve just been in the desert too long. Looking at the Sonoran desert makes me happier than the forests of Oregon. Who knew? Of course they are in drought too, and most horse properties we looked at get their water from wells…it’s a risk.  
Tomorrow we'll go to the local fair. It's been a few years since I entered any canned goods or vegetables.  I wonder what the entries will look like this year, hopefully not everyone had as bad a year as I did in the garden. Entries in the home arts and agriculture have been dropping steadily for a while now as the emphasis shifts towards concerts, rides and cheap vendor booths.  However our "Rural Olympics" event is still a big draw. Wish we could be there for it next week, I suspect several people I know have entered the Women's Horse Trailer Backing competition.
 
Cyndi



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