The Wild West

Wasn’t able to post from Phoenix, Arizona while I was there for my 50th high school reunion – couldn’t get internet access.

I stayed with a wonderful high school friend, Sharon and her husband Norris.  They have an incredible house in Cave Creek.  Here are a few pictures of  their neighborhood!  (Except for the first picture from the plane and the last picture of the Mouse)


Flying into Phoenix





Holes in saguaro cactus where Cactus Wrens nest.

The Arizona-Desert Museum: The saguaro cactus (Carnegiea gigantea) is one of the defining plants of the Sonoran Desert. These plants are large, tree-like columnar cacti that develop branches (or arms) as they age, although some never grow arms. These arms generally bend upward and can number over 25. Saguaro are covered with protective spines, white flowers in the late spring, and red fruit in summer.


You find this cactus in southern Arizona and western Sonora, Mexico. At the northern portion of their range they are more plentiful on the warmer south facing slopes. A few stray plants can also be found in southeast California.

Life Span

With the right growing conditions, it is estimated that saguaros can live to be as much as 150-200 years old.DSCN5209


Saguaro are very slow growing cactus. A 10 year old plant might only be 1.5 inches tall. Saguaro can grow to be between 40-60 feet tall (12-18m). When rain is plentiful and the saguaro is fully hydrated it can weigh between 3200-4800 pounds.

Extra Fun-facts

  • The saguaro is the largest cactus in the United States.
  • Most of the saguaro roots are only 4-6 inches deep and radiate out as far from the plant as it is tall. There is one deep root, or tap-root that extends down into the ground more than 2 feet.
  • After the saguaro dies its woody ribs can be used to build roofs, fences, and parts of furniture. The holes that birds nested in or “saguaro boots” can be found among the dead saguaro. Native Americans used these as water containers long before the canteen was available.

DSCN5191 DSCN5214

Extra Fun-facts:

  • In Arizona you can carry a gun, concealed or open, without a permit!
  • Grasshopper mice are being studied about how they turn off pain pathways when being stung by scorpions. The  mouse is immune to scorpion venom and eats them like sirloin steak treats.
  • The first day I was there Sharon told me to keep a light on in the guest bathroom JUST IN CASE a scorpion decides to come in for a drink of water in the night.  (Next time I go I’m bringing a Grasshopper mouse with me) 
Grasshopper Mouse with his dinner snack

Grasshopper Mouse with his dinner snack

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