In the garden- cleaning up after the summer.

This poor little lamp has seen better days. I will have to fix this later.

       “Into every garden a little rain must fall.”


Yes, we made it. We got through another summer in Phoenix Arizona.That’s a big deal if you are not from this area, it gets deadly hot here. This was our hottest summer on record and we have gone without rain now for over 100 days. My garden is in a sad state.

The soil is terrible, rock hard and nothing grows in the desert. Plants that I have had for years did not survive this record summer of ours. I lost some trees, a couple of ferns and even some cacti that I over watered or something. Oh, and all my second generation Spider plants are gone but I still have the first and third generation plants hanging in there. I hope they come back in full shape with baby spider plants to grow again. The other day I checked on them, I have four right now, and there was new growth.  

 It’s time to tidy up and make the garden look pretty again

My husband and son will be redoing this baker’s rack. Who knows when that will happen but I do love it and would love to save it if at all possible.

 Fall/ Spring are great seasons for gardens here in Arizona. For flowers at least.

I think we are headed towards a dry spell for the coming year as well.  Seems to be the pattern lately. When we move from the city here, hopefully in 2-3 years (waiting for the kids to be finished with the university), we will be looking for a place farther outside the city and a home with no pool.

This house we have here in the city was up for auction and we got it for a bargain. We were not thrilled with having a pool because our children were very little when we bought it. They had both started swim lessons from 9 months old to the present time of purchasing this home but we still worried. There are so many dangers of having a pool with preschoolers and young children. In Phoenix swimming lessons are so cheap, everyone signs their kids up for them.

We bought it because of the price tag, a cheap investment we were originally going to flip. We decided to keep this one. Had to fix it up, it was a terrible mess, just like Our Little Red House up north that was built in the 40’s. Both houses were broken and sad when we got them. No one wanted them.

Anyway, next house hopefully will have a place for a larger garden with some goats and no pool. Now that summer is over, it is time to clean up the dead zone outside, which is what  we call our garden during the summer. Once the temps cooled down some, we were all able to work on a little clean up back there. We did not get the rain storms during our Monsoon season but we did get the winds. It made things a huge mess. Leaves, twigs and dried up dead plants were every where.

The quail are doing okay, although they are not laying like they used to.

We have friends and neighbors asking for quail eggs but we barely have enough for us and my mother-in-law down the street who loves eating them for breakfast every Sunday. Actually we only have enough for her to be honest. They are tiny little things. My husband said he has too many roosters with the hens and may have to separate them all or sell some roosters. We have done this before and it works really well. They are fun to feed when they eat out of your hand.

In the summer egg laying slows down. The chickens aren’t even laying as much.

To save some of my plants over the summer I brought then inside to our Arizona room. I was able to save the rubber plant I had for a decade but barely. The other day I was so happy to see new growth. It’s a pretty hardy plant but this summer was an unusual one.

We have raccoon’s in the city. Neighbors everywhere are taking photos of them climbing on block fences and rummaging through garbage. So strange to have raccoon’s here. Up north…sure, but here?. I haven’t seem one but the other night while swimming late at night I let the moonlight light up the back yard instead of turning on the pool light and saw something. Over in the far corner where my aloe garden is I thought I saw a shadow move. This freaked me out because I am in the pool by myself late at night and I would have to cross that area to get back into our Arizona room that leads to the back of our house.

 These older homes from the 50’s have a weird layout. I ignored it thinking I was seeing things, knowing that I had checked the back gate that leads to our garden area and it was locked. I told myself there was no need to worry. I used to keep the gate unlocked but a couple years back the homeless situation (actually big Pharma’s Opioid situation) brought in a lot of people that started stealing things from our backyards.

My son lost a couple pairs of jeans one night that he was drying outside. Another neighbor had several tools stolen from his shed and the neighbor across the street said someone left his glove compartment open but nothing was stolen, but they left a knife in his trunk. This was all done on one night, years ago that is. I think someone spooked the prowler because he left his tool (the knife to open locks maybe?) and one pair pf pants was left by my neighbors recycle bin folded up nicely. After that we all locked our gates and vehicles.  

Anyway, the shadow I saw was not too big, about the size of a small child. The next morning when I went out to water I noticed my aloe garden was ripped out like something had pulled it up. And that is when I told everyone “I think there was a giant racoon in our yard last night when I went swimming”.

I told my family that it was about the size of a small child “Do raccoon’s eat Aloe roots?” because Aloe is toxic if eaten wrong. Now I have to clean up my aloe garden. Add that to my crazy list of unfinished items.

The temps are still kind of high being in the 100’s today while I write this. But the pool is getting cold. Our neighbors are not using their pool anymore, too cold I suppose. I used to hear lots of splashing and kids playing in the pool when outside. I will use the pool a little longer, cold water doesn’t bother me too much but at the end of the month I believe it will be too cold even for me. My husband still jumps in up to January when there is ice coming out of the garden hose. Hard to believe but even here in the Sonoran desert it freezes. We do not have a heated pool. So if you jump in you will start to shiver after awhile. It can be very refreshing though.  

To my regulars, you have read this next sentence a lot in my garden posts, sorry about the repeat but we do love our trees in this family. The tree we have growing above our pool was almost chopped down before we bought the house. My daughter (she was so little then) ran up to it and told everyone “YOU BETTER NOT CUT DOWN THIS TREE, IT’S MINE!” of course my husband and I being tree lovers ourselves knew at that moment where she got that from. My son was barely speaking at the time or he would have said the same thing I believe. There were many times he would be outside climbing up that tree and hanging out up there while watching the chickens down below.

I started collecting my yearly curly Q’s from the grapevines. I use them for felted pumpkins to display around the house for Fall décor. I have a whole bag full to make a bunch of pumpkins with now.

In Hydroponics we grew mostly basil. Yep, we are still trying to figure out how that all works. The basil was transplanted into dirt so it is struggling at the moment. Hopefully it will be strong enough to survive. Every day we learn something new.

My husband got a free planter for a survey. It has a little flap on the bottom that opens up when you need to collect your potatoes. No potatoes yet but I think this is a cool idea.

I finally found those flowers I love getting every summer. They are called sun roses. The other morning there were several bees all over them, that made me happy. And while I was swimming a blue dragon fly kept taking little dips in the pool around me. In the evening when I went out to give the wild doves some more water in their dish, there were bats flying down around me as well. I am not afraid of bats. They are tiny here and they eat the bugs and mosquitoes. I haven’t seen bats in awhile and was surprised to see some.

It is nice to see life coming back into the garden. My giant cacti that was gifted to me when we first bought our home is starting to bloom again. So shocking because these cacti usually only bloom once a year and at most one or two flowers a year. The flowers are giant. Regular followers of mine are probably tired of me writing about these flowers but you are not going to believe this, they are blooming again. I was surprised one morning when I walked out and saw several staring to form and bloom. Starting the first week of October there would be 6 buds forming. After September (it was a rough month in our family) I took this as a sign from above. In all the years we have had this cactus, it has never bloomed so many flowers as it has this year of 2020. What a special gift from above.

We still have a lot to clean up and I have more pots to transplant but all in all it was a good month in our garden for the beginning of Fall. Hope you all are having a good season with your gardens as well. Happy gardening everyone.

   Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.

                                       James 1:17

9 Comments Add yours

  1. Sheree says:

    « Dead zone » love the description!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It is always hard getting through our summers here.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Gersom Clark says:

    Thank you, Cheri for the update on the quials. It seems the quails are under stress.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. We separated some of them to stop the roosters from picking on each other. Sometimes this happens. We will be taking some to our neighbors up north eventually. When they are little they get along well but as soon as too many roosters hang out they are not happy.


      1. Gersom Clark says:

        That is a great technique, Cheri! I though all the while it was stress or weather. As soon as there are many females, the roosters can reintegrate in the community. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      2. The white quail are better suited for the heat, so that is what we are sticking with from now on. When it got dangerously hot we brought the chickens in (didn’t have a lot) and the quail to our Arizona room. All the quail used to be on the back side of the yard where my husband keeps the edible garden. Usually we don’t have birds by the pool area but the trees on that side make things much cooler. I hope they like it better there, it is much prettier that’s for sure. But you are right about heat here, it can get so bad. I wish they would plant more trees here, desert trees can provide some shade too. Think the whole planet would be happy if we had more trees. We need some rain too, no rain for so many days is never good.


  3. Well, I hope you get some more rain soon, but the garden that is left looks nice at least. I love all the photos of the flowers and of the quail.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Lisa. I am happy for what did survive. I started planting ferns and Elephant food plants everywhere to keep some green in the second half of our garden. Years ago, it was so empty back there. I will have to find a before photo from years ago.

      Liked by 1 person

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