Updates and Miscellany
Some time back, I mentioned that there was a mystery creature grubbing around on the back patio, knocking things over and making a little ruckus, nightly. That creature did turn out to be a skunk — in particular, a hooded skunk (Mephitis macroura). Since I was just sneaking a peek at it, I didn’t get a picture, and once it found out I was looking at it, it moved on and never came back, so I haven’t had another opportunity to get a picture. So, here’s a picture from Wikipedia.
News about the hole:
Just as I finished sifting most of the stones out of the dirt, the first showers of the winter monsoon arrived. I was prepared: I covered all my pretty dirt piles before the rain started. It rained for two days, collecting about 0.12 inches. OK, it obviously didn’t rain very hard, but it would have been enough to get the dirt piles to form a nice hard shell, in those places where the dirt didn’t just run off into the yard — both situations that I didn’t want. After the rain, I let all the dirt dry out for two days, and then it was windy, so no digging on the third day.
There’s actually a law in Arizona that prohibits stirring dirt around, especially important when it’s windy. I’m sure you’ve seen the pictures of the haboob rolling in over Phoenix. Not like my spade and I could possibly cause a dust storm, but it sounded like a good excuse to not work in the yard that day. And so finally after all that, I started mixing the dirt with some amending stuff I bought, and filling the hole in.
And my, oh my, this dirt smells good! I think it must be chipped and decomposing creosote bushes, my favorite Arizona smell! The bags say “Locally Made”, and if it isn’t all creosote bushes, then there’s a bit of mesquite thrown in, which is almost as good.
The chicken wire is supposed to be critter-deterrent, and will be the “last line of defense”, if the critters decide to go a-burrowing after having been thwarted by the fencing and netting and whatever else turns out be necessary.
Even after removing cubic feet (!) of rocks and stones, it looks like I’m going to run out of hole before I run out of dirt to put in it. Now I’m looking around the yard for somewhere that looks like it needs more dirt. But I hate to just spread it around randomly, since I went to all the trouble of taking all the stones out. I think it will go for path maintenance. In places along the paths, especially where they go downhill, the dirt on the path is washing away when it rains. So they could probably do with a bit of building-up. But not until the hole is filled. That won’t be long now!