It's definitely summer in the desert! I'm pretty sure that every day of June was over 100 degrees. And while people here in Tucson seem to relish complaining about it as much as people universally love to gripe about weather, I actually haven't minded it too terribly much.
My desert wildlife sightings have most certainly continued this month, and I got to check some previously empty boxes. New sightings included two bears (YES, BEARS) while hiking at Chiricahua National Monument, wild horses while tubing the Salt River, and two bobcats at my apartment. I've also spotted plenty more rabbits, lizards, and a javelina. I have still not seen a scorpion or a gila monster in the wild, but perhaps they're next. Oh, and before you lecture me about being cautious (which I am), I promise you that all of these critters were more afraid of me than I was of them, something that so many people seem to just not understand.
After a couple of months of saguaro cactus blooms (and some are actually still blooming!!), my giant prickly friends began to produce fruit this month. The fruit is green on the outside, but eventually bursts open to look almost like a red flower with its pulp showing. The birds have been seen delighting in this sticky, seed-filled treat, and the local Tohono O'Odham Nation has been harvesting it for their traditional uses. The saguaro fruit harvest and the arrival of the summer rains signal what their culture considers to be the beginning of a new year.
The monsoon season officially began on June 15, better known as my 42nd birthday. Unfortunately, we were in Phoenix that weekend, and while Tucson got a hefty storm, we got mostly sprinkles. I hear that we may get rain again next week, though. ((fingers crossed!))
We finally made plans to visit "Arizona's beach" this month. Indeed, there is ((almost)) oceanfront property in Arizona. Puerto Peñasco, also known as Rocky Point, is located just over 4 hours from Tucson in Mexico, at the northernmost tip of the Sea of Cortez. Also known as the Gulf of California, the Sea of Cortez was clear, blue, and very warm. The landscape there is still very much the desert, with rocky mountains and dusty sparse landscape surrounding the water's edge. Aaron and I drove to Puerto Peñasco and felt completely safe driving through Mexico and while on our little getaway. It's so nice to be so close to the sea - we'll definitely be back!
My last little treat in June was the realization that Kate, one of my closest friends who lives in southern Indiana, was going to be in Sedona. I couldn't resist making plans to see her, and I spent a fantastic day with her and her family at Slide Rock State Park, where there are natural water slides carved into the rock.
And yes - despite all this traveling and activity - I was much more productive with my artwork this month! Hooray! I changed some things up and have listed my drawings for sale on my website as well as some options for framed art. I'm still deciding if it's 100% finished, but I'm pretty sure I have completed the first painting from my watercolor class with instructor Larry Wollam (also my drawing teacher), and I'm very pleased with how much I've learned in just a couple of months. I haven't listed it for sale yet, as I am considering entering it into an upcoming juried exhibition in town. Wish me luck!
Some of the pieces I made this month are sold, but several are still available, too. So if one tickles your fancy, you'll sure make my day if you shop now ›