Thursday, July 29, 2010

Assorted July

This summer seems a bit warmer than previous ones. We had our first 43c (110f) day back in June and for most of July the afternoon high hasn’t been under 38 (100f) with nighttime lows above 29 (84f). There has been no rain for quite a while; thunderstorms were predicted for yesterday and we woke up to lots of clouds. At our house it was 30 at sunrise and we soon heard some noise out in the back yard. We’ve got a large metal cover above the back patio, which makes for a very noisy sounding board when it rains. The rain yesterday started out with just a few plinks every few seconds and quickly grew to a roar and just as quickly tapered off to nothing. We ended up with an official rainfall of zero – not enough to measure, but I did step outside and get wet just a little bit. Right now there are a few puffy clouds up in the bright blue sky with a 20% chance of precipitation

The cicadas are out in force, filling the trees with constant buzzing all day and night. If you haven’t seen them, cicadas are small beetle type insects, about 2cm long and a dark brown. They can fly, but usually just sit on tree branches buzzing for mates. The then lay eggs on the ground, with the young spending a year or more as grubs underground before coming up for a few days to buzz and breed before dying. And the buzzing is loud – you can hear them from over a block away, and if you are under a tree where one is then you cannot really hold a conversation with someone because of the continuous sound.

We have a cover on our pool which we normally keep closed; it stops evaporation and keeps the water clean. It’s a rather large backyard pool, being about 7x12 meters (22x40 feet), and I’ve learned over the years to set the pump timer and have it run the filter at night. If it runs during the day the water temperature gets really high because of the sunshine on the cover. Right now the water temperature is about 35 (95f) which is a bit high. I’ve got to keep the cover off for a few nights so that evaporation will cool things down before it gets too hot to swim in. But it is really nice to float in and watch the sunset at this temperature.

We have some palm trees running down one side of the pool. When we first moved in I was able to use a ladder and get up to trim them, but they have now officially gotten too high for this old guy to do that. I don’t like having someone spike their way up to the top for trimming; it can introduce fungus into the tree leading to decay, so we now have the tree guy down the street do it for us. His crew stopped by last week to take care of the four trees, as they did last year. They only get trimmed once a year, now in July when the trees flower. This type of palm has long spikes filled with little tiny flowers, and when they fall off our pool gets filled with them. So we like to get the trees trimmed after the flower spikes come out but before the flowers dry out.

I would highly recommend these guys: Ryan's Tree Care, call him on his cell at 702-497-0435. They use a boom truck instead of spiking up the trees, do not over trim, and do a great job at cleaning up. They also take all the fronds instead of bundling them and leaving them in front of your house for trash pickup. Ryan also lives just a few houses away, so I can walk down and yell at him if they mess up.

Just to post another picture: a few months ago we went to the Red Rock Station casino and I stopped to take a shot of the houses to the west. This is one of the latest areas of the valley to get filled up with housing tracts. Most of these houses are less than five years old, and there is a lot of empty space for the developers to start up again when the economy improves. It’s just a few miles around that hill to the Red Rock park, a great area for hiking and biking, and where Michele Obama appeared a few weeks ago to talk about childhood obesity.


SOL's view said...

Ah, cicadas. Gotta love that summer time sound. NOT! :D

Lisa Rullsenberg said...

You've just clarified what potentially that West Coast buzzing may be I have heard. Do them cicadas travel to California as well?

BTW we've had fairly limited rainfall here but it doesn't half make people cranky when it floods in a place and there's still a hosepipe ban...

Jammie J. said...

It seems our summer is cooler so far. We had one week of really hot weather, and now it's cooled down again. Famous last words.

Man, I wish our community would hire tree guys like yours. The joy of having an HOA manage the common area.

I wonder if cicadas are what I heard when I visited my cousin in Nebraska one year. Hmmm.

Don said...

This must be the year for cicadas; another blogger was writing about them in Colorado as well.

Love Red Rock; at least when it's a bit cooler outside!

Froggy said...

Cicadas are quite prolific here. Especially in the bush lands. I remember going on a walk through a dense bush area once, and the ringing of the cicadas was overwhelming!

Still, it is a part of nature and now I live in the city I really do miss it!