November Monsoon?

Just spent the last two days getting hammered by wind and rain. We had a very monsoon like storm hit us. I say “monsoon like” because it is November. Monsoon season supposedly ends in September.img_7364

Our heat had started to drop back down into the low 90’s and a few 80’s. So that would be one difference, monsoons are usually during our extreme heat. Storms seemingly pop up out of nowhere and beat the heck out of us from June through September when we reach record setting heat almost every year. Think 110 degrees for days and days. I believe it is one of the reasons people start going crazy out here. Too many days in an oven. We can discuss that another time.img_7376

Nov.3 2016 the valley also saw a haboob roll its way on in along with some serious rain. A haboob is a massive wall of dust blowing across the open and mostly flat desert. When a storm comes up from the south it pushes miles and miles of extremely dry sand into the air and blows on towards PHX until it swallows us up, surrounding us in brown. The valley saw it but we did not because we are kind of tucked into the hills and mountains.img_7386

The radar and most of the weather focus for our news is PHX and the millions who live in the cities surrounding it “The Valley of the Sun”. I would say Gold Canyon is on the far right of the screen where they show weather or traffic. They don’t seem to be as concerned with us and Apache Junction.  We have flooded out here and in AJ before the news even mentions a “possible chance of showers”.

I send my videos in to the T.V station regularly with subjects like “It’s flooding in Gold Canyon!” I don’t expect them to use my videos. I am trying to let them know immediately that in the two minutes of rain they failed to warn us of, we now have dangerous flash flooding. PDR (positive desert reporting)

Flash flooding is just that. It happens in a flash. All that rain hitting concrete like baked earth rolls FAST into the washes and gulley’s. It’s not a day of rain, not even hours of it that causes devastation. It can be as little as a couple of minutes of heavy downpour that turn roads into dangerous riversimg_7536

If you are from a place that it rains a lot, this makes no sense to you. I get it. Go dump a bucket of water down your driveway. That’s what our ground does when it gets hit with a lot of water fast. It doesn’t absorb the water; it almost repels it. Still, all of that water needs to flow somewhere.IMG_7515.JPGimg_7523

We see people all the time out here get stuck in their cars. AZ has a stupid motorist law that if you try to drive through one of these washes and need to be rescued you are in trouble…that is if they were able to  save you. IMG_7553.JPG

We also had extreme wind gusts and thunder and lightning the past two days. Very Monsoon like. But again it is Novemeber and the experts will just say it was just a storm.IMG_7429.JPGNov.4 2016

Today is Nov.7 2016. Most of the water has dried. We have a few spots of muddy and the driveway will need to be raked back into place.

 

My Own Private Nightmare

As a kid I remember a movie I saw on TV. Giant ants were attacking everyone. Horrified and mesmerized, I watched the entire movie barely blinking. From then on, every chance I could, I tried to see if they were showing it again. Seems I have always been drawn to the scary and the strange. That movie sits in the recesses of my brain. It still haunts me. Much like the original masterpiece the Fly.

Turmoil makes for great writing. So does hard ship and suffering. All that fun, gut wrenching pain life throws at you seems to draw out creativity. Apparently flash flooding helps my campfire story writing.

As I sat waiting for the next round of storms to ravage my back yard some more ideas literally came flooding in to my brain. A sinister smile crept over my face like I had morphed into the Grinch as I typed away my madness.

Currently 20 short campfire stories are in progress for October. In addition to my own crazy ideas, I asked a number of people I know to come up with a title. Nothing more. Give me a title then my mind could run wild creating the story to go with it. They out did themselves. Trust me October will be fun.

Gray gloomy skies are not our normal in the desert. Big happy blue skies are. Sure that’s wonderful and hard to complain about but it makes writing creepy stories harder. Monsoon season rarely disappoints. This year it has given me double rainbows, lightning storms, laser like sun beams and massive flooding. I’m in writing mode.IMG_4514

I finish one rough draft and send it off to my critics. They were asked by me specifically for this role as I knew neither of them would hesitate to take my ideas and bat them straight out of the air. Being half my age they are more aware of current things then I am. Trust me they spare no feelings. It’s what every real artist needs in their life. Honesty. Don’t tell me everything I do is good. It’s not. I actually worried about them when we first started because they seemed to honestly like the first few stories I kicked their way. Lots of positive feedback and excitement.

Then it happened. A story I was enjoying developing got swatted down so hard it made my head spin! Nope. Not scary. Nope. We don’t care. Next.

I don’t watch a lot of what is popular at the moment. Living way out here the reception is not the best and honestly I just don’t sit and watch that much TV or movies.

The story I sent over yesterday recieved a good response I guess if “RAMSEY!” means anything to you. It had to be explained to me. Then I worried about my mental state and stopped writing for a while. I really like that story…

I have been a fan of scary shows since I can remember. Anytime they can harness up a camera to a real family and lock them into a known haunted castle ( Leap Castle is top of my bucket list) I’m in. I’m sure most of the shows are edited and made to seem creepy but there are real places in the world that defy logic. I believe when large amounts of energy gets deposited in one location due to unthinkable horror that energy seems to linger. Call it what you want but the energy is there.

Exhausted from a week of too much, I climbed into bed with the puppies and turned on a very old, possibly original series of Ghost Adventures. It was filmed long enough ago that dudes jeans aren’t bedazzled and their responses feel more legit so I watch.IMG_4904.JPG

Our driveway had run all the way down to the street during this last storm. My husband was down there trying to rake enough of it back before the next storm hit and our driveway ended up on the 9th hole. I feel guilty I’m not down there helping him but I really just can’t at this point. My shoulders barely move from dumping buckets of water from the pounding we got on Tuesday. Shoveling mud and rocks is just a no. But I pause the show to look out to see how he’s doing down there.

Cue the horror music now.

I step outside my bedroom door and turn to the left to see the wall is COVERED with enormous red flying ants!!!!@#$@#!!!IMG_4914.PNG

Fear sends waves of panic through me. I don’t know what to do. I run to yell for my husband to come then turn to see the wall around the corner has them too! The flood has brought out some frightening creatures!

HUGE red ants! Not little picnic ants. No these beasts you could ride without a saddle! Genetic mutations. I have no idea but they are my worst nightmare.

I scream for help to a sweaty, over worked and now confused man who I’m pretty surer at this point just thinks if he ignores me I might go away. I’m yelling at him from 2 acres away that I have ants invading!

We have nothing for this. No spray. No chemicals. I think bleach. I run and grab the almost empty gallon in the laundry room and run to the swarm on the wall and pour the little I have in the hole only to have about 9000 more come whizzing out at me and up the walls into a crawling red nightmare!

I scream. I run to the back to grab a hose thinking I will drowned them. This house is old. Built in the 1940’s. Nothing works exactly like it should. I run to the hose and unscrew it not realizing this too has it’s own idiosyncrasies and I can’t just take the whole thing off without water blasting me directly in the face! It won’t turn off!!!!IMG_4901.JPG

I run to the panel and shut off the pump but water is still flooding out, ants are crawling all over the other side of the house and my brain is having a meltdown.

Frantically I run around to the other side and yell to my husband to get up here NOW!

I am now at full level 10 crazy.

I run back to the gushing faucet and try to re -screw this stupid hose back in place. I’m soaked.

Seriously confused as to how his wife who had been chillen’, watching a favorite show all cozy in bed, is now soaking wet, flooding the side yard and hysterically crying about the ants, reaches over, turns the knob and stops the water.

I have never been so pissed at an inanimate object before in my life. I wanted to rip that damn pipe clean from the wall! He turned it and it shut off!?!? I turned it and got more water! I turned it the other way and more water! I’m not NEW to how a faucet works. I have owned a hose.

Still doesn’t solve my ant invasion. Fuming mad and dripping wet I drag my hero over to the wall that now is not as horrifying because the little bleach I did pour in their hole managed to piss the ants off enough to start relocating.IMG_4915.PNG

He acts like he understands my horror…

Ajax powder did the trick.

This morning there is no trace of huge red ants anywhere.

Jumpy, tired and edgy I sit out here under the gray sky waiting for the final round of storms…writing more campfire stories.IMG_4905.JPG

You can thank me in October.

 

Flash Flood

The weather during monsoon season is unpredictable. The intense heat mixing with tropical moisture can bring some crazy storms our way. They seem to pop up out of nowhere if you watch the news radar.image

If you sit on my porch you can see it come straight at you!

The news reported a pretty good storm off the coast of Mexico and knew it would push some rain our way. They just didn’t seem to know exactly when or how much. The general warning becomes “hey guys if it rains expect it to flood.”

Flash flooding, for everyone reading who does not live where this happens, seems almost unbelievable. A few minutes worth of heavy rain is going to move a car? Yes it is.image

See our ground out here has baked and baked in oven like temperatures. The ground does not absorb the rain immediately. The rain runs off of it like it was concrete. It pools, it runs, it floods.image So yes a few minutes of heavy rain with nowhere to go becomes immediately dangerous.image

I saw the clouds. I turned on the news. They said we would get nothing until later in the evening.image

11 am I am in the middle of this.

I run to the TV positive this flash flood was being reported only to hear “ Dust warnings are in effect…”

My attitude flares. They will interrupt regular tv shows with “BREAKING NEWS!” about something as stupid as Donald Trump farting but I am over here watching animals gathering up their belongings and floating down the wash on rafts they made out of twigs and we get  “oh there’s dust coming…” Thanks news reporter. There’s more than dust coming.

Apache Junction got over 2 inches of rain and flooded before any news stations even knew about it. The sky opened up and dumped on us.IMG_4700

We are under a flash flood warning all day today and we have already seen a light shower that did not show up on the radar or my phones weather.image

there’s a storm moving in…

The other night I was out trying to film bats. I have no hope taking a still photo of one so I figured let’s try a video and see what happens. As it turned out I got a fun video but it had all kinds of problems downloading for me. So I set out last night to re-create my bat video only this time I planned on keeping it short. I’m guessing it was the length of the other video that was the problem with downloading.

There is a storm down to the south that has no plans on making its way to us dry and scorched desert dwellers. No the storm is going to sit far enough out that we feel the humidity and even get whiffs of the smell of rain and get to enjoy the sky it brings but that’s it. No rain.

The bats are not cooperating. Though they hang out in the same location, last night they were flying so zig zag and sideways and all over that it was next to impossible to not fall over trying to film them. It just wasn’t our night.

But to the south a fun lightning show was happening. I turn to film it and catch a sliver of a lightning bolt! I’m now obsessed and sit for the next  half hour trying to catch a better video. I have an iPad and I am miles and mile and miles away from this storm. But check out what I caught!

 

 

A little dust

The monsoon season can be very unpredictable. Where the rain falls, the strong winds blowing down trees, major flooding and fire causing lightning strikes all are up for grabs when one of these storms blasts its way through the Valley of the Sun.IMG_2326

(6:17 pm )

We have gone about a week or so since our last round of monsoon storms. It has been hot and extremely dry. Nothing happening in the sky just big and blue and radiating heat.

Then yesterday the storms rolled back in! The sky started to change and roll and move. Out here in Gold Canyon the storm brought us very little if any rain but flooded areas only minutes away. These storms are dangerous so everyone out here in the desert watches the radar and news reports closely. Walls of dust come at us and can blind drivers.IMG_2379.JPG

(6:30 pm)

The randomness of these storms must throw the desert animals off their routines a little. I caught a quick set of coyote howls right at the start of the storm. Seriously I dismissed it as a dog until it got going but didn’t catch all of it. No others answered the call like they normally do at night. (6:22 pm)

Strong gust blasted areas. I caught a little on video for us but again this is a dust storm so being out in it hurts the eyes.  (6:39pm) We were spared over here from any major damage as the storm split and headed off to the north but as with every storm it’s disappointing to not get any rain.

The clouds made for some really fun imagery. Maybe I have written about ghost birds too much lately but I swear a few of those clouds were birds! It was like they flew in with the storm. Ok, maybe I need more sleep.IMG_2344IMG_2353

(6:20 pm )

We are expecting another round tonight. Fingers crossed for a nice amount of rain and some more fabulous images in the sky!