September 22, 2017

Even though here in the Valley of the Sun the transition from summer into autumn isn’t quite as drastic as it is back home in Massachusetts – the trees aren’t changing color (at least not down here), and the days and nights aren’t that much cooler (if that’s the word!) than they’ve been, but the signs are nevertheless there both to see and to feel.

Here at The Great White Shank’s hacienda, the most obvious change is in the swimming pool. It was only two weeks ago that the water temp was still hanging around 90 degrees – absolutely the best! – but it takes only a few nights in a row where the air temps drop around 80 to make it barely swimmable. Today I thought about hopping in to reattach my refurbished pool vacuum, but it only took one step in for me to realize that doing it from the warmth of the pool deck was the better option. I took a look at the pool thermometer; no wonder – it read 81,a little brisk if you ask me. Still, if the day is warm enough and I’m all sweaty and grimy from hitting balls or doing backyard work it might be worth one more shot before calling it a season.

While it’s not officially the end of monsoon season – we still have another couple of weeks before its “official” end – you can tell it’s over for all intents and purposes. The humidity, and the clouds that hovered daily over the Superstitions to the east and off to the southeast towards Tucson for the last three months are gone, leaving the sky a brilliant and iridescent blue. It doesn’t sizzle like it did even a month ago, and while the sun is still hot on the skin, the days lack that edge to them. There’s a big difference between 108 and the low ’90s, I’ll tell you that!

Another sign of fall around here in the Valley? The golf rates are about to skyrocket as the snowbirds start to trickle in from places like Nebraska, Iowa, and all points north to Canada. It’s great for the local economy, and the local courses, bars, and restaurants that have been just hanging on since May are ready to welcome back their regulars for another season.

With the “cooler” weather here, it’s time to give the backyard some attention. This weekend I’ll be backwashing the pool filter and washing and scrubbing down the patio and patio furniture and the Tiki bar. Now that we’re pretty much over dust storm season – and this year we had a heckuva lot more dust than rain – everything gets a much-needed washing and cleaning. The Tiki bar deck will need to get re-painted and re-stained, and all the tikis and silk flowers will get another coating of Krylon Clear. It’s also time to steer the queen palms into their winter dormant period; today they’ll get their semi-annual fertilizer injections and I’ll knock the watering back from one hour three times a week to 30 minutes twice a week.

The other big chore this weekend is fall planting. Which for me means taking the beautiful hydrangea out of the front pots and replacing them with some fall colors. The hydrangea will be washed down, dried in the sun, then bagged until Memorial Day weekend next year.

Of course, anyone unfamiliar with this area who come out here would immediately think they’re still in the middle of summer. But the days are getting just as short as they do back home – this week was the first week I had to turn on the lamp in my office for my 7 AM calls. And pretty soon the daily highs will drop below 90. The 80s only last a few weeks; around Halloween the heat gods will officially “flip the switch” and we’ll be in that truly delightful time known as “Arizona winter” until things start heating up around mid-March.

We’re coming into a nice time of year, and I’ve grown to like it more and more over the years. Sure, I miss the trees turning color, the cool nights, and the various doings and events that are unique to fall in New England, but it’s what comes after that, that I don’t miss. And like they say out here, you don’t have to shovel sunshine.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 01:31 | Comments (0)
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