After such a cloudy, snowy, rainy January in Idaho, I decided I should escape to sunny Arizona again and visit my sister, Ms. R. Last year I went in March, and it was a little warmer and greener than it is right now. Still, temps in the 60s is a vast improvement over temps in the 30s.
I had only been at my destination two hours on Saturday afternoon when the excitement began! Walking back from the community hot tub, we smelled smoke, and then saw a big plume of it over the nearby buildings. Ms. R. and her significant other, Mr. S., became concerned that it might be coming from their house. It turned out to be three doors down, at the opposite end of their 4-unit townhome. A neighbor was just calling the fire department. Three police cars and two support vehicles arrived before the fire trucks, but soon they were dousing the fire. By the time we had retrieved our phones from inside the house, the worst of the flames had already died down. The lights in the photo are from the emergency vehicles.
They cut a hole in the garage door to access the fire, and, of course, went up on the roof to make sure everything was out. They grabbed everything that was in the garage and tossed/pushed it out onto the cement apron, including a piano and some easy chairs. The good news: the occupants got out safely.
Sunday morning, everything was surrounded by a yellow "keep out" tape. Probably because I am a pianist, I thought the blackened piano was the saddest sight. The woman who lives there used to be a music teacher, so it was no surprise to see charred music books in the heap of rubble. It was a windy day, and stray pieces of paper blew all over the neighborhood.
Despite the stiff breeze, we took the dog for a midday walk. It seems as if most of the flora in this part of Arizona is prickly and stabby, but this variety of cactus is actually smooth and soft.
I've been trying to figure out the name of this cactus, but haven't succeeded. Can anybody help?
We used to see cardinals when we lived in Minnesota, so I was pleased to discover them here, too. But they are quite uncooperative when it comes to getting their picture taken. There is one near the top of this tree, 'way off in the distance, and even with the zoom it can barely be seen. Just as I snapped the photo, another bird flew up and perched below the cardinal. I'm still trying to identify that one.
Stay tuned for more posts about my Arizona adventures over the next few days!