Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Waiting on Fall

I was hoping that once fall arrived we would turn an obvious corner here in the desert, but so far it has just been a subtle slope.  We've been bouncing back and forth between day time temperatures in the high 90's and the 100's.  The only noticeable difference is at night because the night time temperatures are now dropping below 80 degrees and our air conditioner is running less often.  Some nights I even feel a chill and turn off the ceiling fan.

I keep two weather gadgets on my home page -- one for where I live now in the Arizona desert and one for where I used to live in the Sierra Nevada.  My old home has been dropping below freezing at night for a couple of weeks now.  I often reflect on the two extremes and wonder if there is any place in the United States besides California where the temperatures are comfortable for the majority of the year, as opposed to just three or four months.  My problem with California is the smog.  If you live there, you get used to it, but if you visit there, you get this pinch in your lungs and a burning in your eyes that is downright painful.  If I spend more than an hour in it, I get debilitating headaches.  Just traveling through California on my way from Nevada to Arizona was so painful for me that I wouldn't even stop to visit relatives, get something to eat, or take a pit stop.  I held all of my needs until I got into Arizona, where the smog miraculously disappeared and I felt so much better.

I'm not saying we don't get smog in Arizona or that there is no place in California where there is clean air.  I'm just reflecting on my experiences. I keep watching the weather forecast and thinking that next week I will be able to get all the rocks out of the paddock, lay down sand, and ride some horses, but then next week comes and it is just as hot and sweaty as the week before.  I contacted a man three times for help removing the rocks, and he told me he would come, but never showed up.  I'd be a fool to waste anymore of my time calling him.  I guess some people just don't want my business.  You'd think in today's economy they'd take every job they can get.  I think when I told him where I live, it scared him off.  He said the rocks are really bad where I live.  He's probably worried that they will ruin his machinery.

The past couple of weeks have brought aggressive flies and spiders of all sizes.  The flies are so obnoxious.  One of them will attach itself to you and dive bomb your face, trying to get in your eyes, your ears, up your nose and in your mouth.  You can't breathe with your mouth open or talk when outside, or even sometimes inside in restaurants because of the dang things.  Fly masks on horses are a requirement -- not an option.  We've had tarantulas on our doorstep, black widows where they please, and a variety of other spiders weaving webs overnight on everything you haven't touched within the past few hours.  I think it's the boldness of the wildlife in the desert that amazes me.  I'm used to animals trying to avoid people, but everything around here has the attitude that if it wants to get into your house or your orifices, it is going to whether you like it or not.

Some evenings I go outside to find half a dozen desert cottontails feasting on top of my haystack.  Some are bolder than others and wait for me to reach out and touch them before they will hop away.  They don't consume too much hay, but I'm sure my horses don't appreciate all the rabbit turds in their feed.  Other nights I go out and don't see a single rabbit, but plenty of prey birds coasting overhead.  Nature is ever-changing here.

Some nights I step outside and hear noises I can't identify out in the desert.  I know they are coming from animals, but I don't know what kind.  The heat of the day keeps them quiet and at bay.  I suspect I will find out what animals they are once the temperatures cool down and they get bold enough to investigate my property.

Anyway, if you are wondering why you aren't seeing any posts from me about riding the horses, it's because of the heat.  I can't be outside raking up rocks until the sun sets, and then I only have a few minutes before it's pitch black.  All the horses are still limping around despite me putting them on MSM / glucosamine chondrontin.  It's been so long since I've ridden a horse that I'm afraid I don't remember how.  But I know I won't have to wait too long.  We can open our windows once the sun sets and actually have it be cooler outside than in the house.

One question for people who have brought in sand or some other substance for riding arenas:  How deep did you make it?  The D.G. I have in the barn is two inches deep.  I'm thinking of making the riding area three inches deep.  I want it deep enough that it will be soft, but not so deep that it will pull tendons.

13 comments:

Paint Girl said...

My climate and yours are so similar in that you get hot, hot, hot 8 months out of the year and I get wet, wet, wet 8 months out of the year which = no riding. LOL! So I totally understand!!
When I had sand brought into my arena, I have about 4-5" of footing. But with the kind of riding you do, you would probably be fine with 3". The only thing you have to worry about is the base below. Depending on the type of sand you got, and if the sand moves a lot, when the horses hit the base, it can be slippery!
Hopefully you will get some cooler weather soon so you can get back to riding!

strivingforsavvy said...

Oregon is wonderful!

Reddunappy said...

I am with Striving!! LOL The NW is great! he he he

Yes the weather is changing! The spiders are busy here too! Thank god they are only small!!! LOL

anita said...

My climate is cold, cold, cold 8 months of the year! Be nice if we could just even all these extremes out and ride all the time.

Dreaming said...

If you ever find the perfect place to live - let me know!

Snipe said...

Creatures in the desert live on a fine edge, and they are willing to take some chances in order to survive.

Have you tried Ortho Home Defense? I'm giving it a shot and it's pretty promising. I sprayed it on three huge black widows at my place and they died in a few minutes. It's supposed to deter a lot of bugs and spiders.

Rebecca said...

I use Ortho Home Defense here in NC too. Every once in a while I will see a spider along the baseboard in the house, but its always dead. I don't bother them outside, but their taking a big risk coming in the house hehe. :)

thegianthorses.blogspot.com

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

I imagine with such a harsh environment to live in, desert critters don't give up even an inch of possible territory if it means their survival.

I'm pretty sure that central New Mexico is as close to perfect weather as any state in the United States. Most of Central New Mexico is High Desert, so temps rarely ever get above 100 even during the hottest days of summer, and they always get cool and comfortable at night.
Winter is very mild with rare snow at the 5,000-6,000ft elevation along the Rio Grande, and it's perfect riding weather all year round.
It's true that people will drive the 45 minutes to Santa Fe to go skiing in the morning and then drive back to Albuquerque and go golfing before dinner.
I have friends that live in the Bosque not far from the Rio Grande in Corrales, NM and they ride all year round and only rarely ever experience now, and even then usually only a dusting.

Up here above 7,000ft it's much different, and winter begins in early November, with possibly snow flurries in late October. Winter can last all the way into late April/early May. So, I just head to the lower elevations and out of the mountains if I want to ride.
But our summers from May to September make it all worth it with temps staying in the 80's with cool mountain breezes. We haven't turned on our swamp cooler for the past 4 years. We just haven't needed it.

Temps are getting cooler up here now with upper 70s during the day and 50's at night. It's wonderful night and day, and I wish it would stay like this for several months.

I hope you get to ride soon. If I go more than 2 weeks without riding I go through withdrawal symptoms. Riding is good for my mind, body and soul.

We rarely ever see insects or spiders in or around our house, probably because we have free-range chickens. They eat anything moving. lol!

~Lisa

fernvalley01 said...

I don't know girl, we freeze aur arses off half the year, and boil a bit the other half, I think wherever you licve you learn to adjust , this is your first year in Hell (sorry Arizona) and maybe by next year you will have found your median temp that is most comfortable for you to work in.

Cut-N-Jump said...

It's not too bad if you can head out around 4-5pm. You get a couple of hours to work before losing all hope of light. It's either that or up with the sun around 6am.

I will throw feed and often hang a feed bag/hay net for the horses to snack on as I groom and tack up. They get used to the idea of being able to leave their food and (Surprise!) It is still there when they get back. I like them to have a little something in their gut while we are out. Makes for a bit happier horse by showing them a bit of respect.

You will get used to it here. It doesn't take long. And the rocks are everywhere. Even out in our area, even after raking and picking them up.

Cut-N-Jump said...

It's not too bad if you can head out around 4-5pm. You get a couple of hours to work before losing all hope of light. It's either that or up with the sun around 6am.

I will throw feed and often hang a feed bag/hay net for the horses to snack on as I groom and tack up. They get used to the idea of being able to leave their food and (Surprise!) It is still there when they get back. I like them to have a little something in their gut while we are out. Makes for a bit happier horse by showing them a bit of respect.

You will get used to it here. It doesn't take long. And the rocks are everywhere. Even out in our area, even after raking and picking them up.

Breathe said...

New Mexico gets my vote, the Texas hill country really only has 2 or thee bad months.

Bugs. That alone was a deal killer for my daughter. After our experience with scorpions she has decided she's a city girl. :)

Cindy Durham said...

Ah yes, that post sure brought back some memories! Trust me though, a few months from now when we can only ride in indoor arenas and even then still have to bundle up. You will be enjoying perfect riding weather pretty much every day. We will all be jealous and envious of you. :)

I'm going to give you a heads up on the critters invading your home. The black widows are everywhere, and although they can be dangerous, they tend to run away from people. Still kill them when ever you can. There is nothing worse than finding one in your bed at night. The Brown Recluses are the ones you have to watch form they have a fiddle shape on their backs. They are aggressive. If you enter their territory they will come after you, and they can do some real damage. Tarantulas' are completely harmless and kind of fun to watch. That great big spider in the pic is harmless also. I think it is a sun spider.
You may already know these things, but I always tell new comers to AZ. The most important rule in AZ...NEVER EVER PUT YOUR HANDS OR FEET WHERE YOU CAN'T SEE THEM.
Knowing that rule can save your life.
It is supposed to snow here this week. I'd rather be there fighting off the heat!