Trash to treasure

Am I the only one who is thrilled to take a trash can to the curb?

One of the benefits of being a long-time boondocker is the appreciation one develops for features of modern life that most civilized people take for granted, such as regular trash pick-up.  Having to drive around in search of a legal, environmentally responsible place to dump one’s trash while camping on public land prepares one for a rush of happiness when one is blessed with regular, sanitary disposal service.

It’s a gall-darn marvel that someone else is going to come to my house every week and take my trash away for me.

I’m not kidding.   

Anyway . . . .

Lantana is flourishing!

I’m trash-bin-happy as I head out to the street to retrieve the just-emptied container.  At the same time, here comes the guy in a wheelchair pulled by his brindle-and-white dog. Almost every day since moving into the house last May, this pair passes our house.

“Beautiful day, isn’t it!” he calls out cheerily.  As if on cue, the dog pulls him over to me.

“Yes, it is!  One right after another!”

And so I meet another friendly neighbor.  

We exchange names and particulars, like where his house is located in the neighborhood, when we moved into our house (last May), and how long he’s lived here (25 years).

I don’t know the name of this plant.  It came from the garden center and I don’t have the tag.  I love it!  Every day it puts out new blooms that dance in the breeze!

I learn that he likes plants, too.  

“There’s this pretty vine that grows somewhere around here in the ditches,” he tells me.  “It has purple flowers, like little trumpets.  It’s a native Arizona plant.   Grows wild.   I have a wire fence along my back property line — It’s metal-wire, not chain-link like yours.”

“I know the kind you mean.  I had a fence like that.”

“Well, I’d like to put that vine in front of each of the four posts.  Do you think it’s okay to do that?  Move a wildflower?”

I think for a moment.

“Generally I’d say no, it’s not okay.  In this case I don’t see why it would be a problem.  If it’s growing in a ditch along the street, a big truck would come by and mow it down anyway.”

“That’s true.  I think it would look nice covering up that fence . . . . and it’s free. ”

He introduces a new topic.

(I love it when I meet someone with whom I can converse with hardly any effort at all.)

“Did you know we have a wild boar in the neighborhood?” he asks, grinning at being the bearer of this exciting news.

“No!  Really?”

“Yeah, really.”  He explains the location where the boar hangs out.  It’s at the edge of the neighborhood, next to open grassland.   “He’s been around for a couple weeks.  I came upon him one morning and he charged right at me.”  (Remember, the man is in a wheelchair.)

“I pulled my handgun but I didn’t have to use it.  Emma here (his dog — bulldog/terrier mix?) let that boar know it’d better turn around and leave.  Which it did.”

(The term “boar” is used to refer to a male javelina of the peccary family.)

Lesson time!

“The primary habitat of the Javelina are the central and southern areas of Arizona in desert-like terrain near washes with dense vegetation. They are in abundance on the outskirts of Phoenix and Tucson and are found south of Flagstaff and Sedona. They have become accustomed to people and it isn’t unusual for them to live within the desert areas just outside suburban communities. In fact, you can frequently see herds walking down neighborhood streets and foraging through garbage receptacles. . . . When full grown they weigh between 35 to 60 pounds with males being slightly larger than females.”  —

In the video at the above webpage, the announcer reports there are over 60,000 javelina in Arizona.

Meanwhile Emma is sniffing my shoes.

Reggie and Roger are about 30 feet away, watching from behind our fence.

“You are a good dog, Emma!”  I scratch under her chin.

“That’s not all,” the man continues.  “I’ve seen a sow!  We’ll probably have babies running around after a while . . . .”   He adds, “I love the wildlife around here.  I see deer when I let Emma out during the night.”

We wrap up our chat with a shared moment of admiring the beautiful clouds and the blueness of the sky.

“Nice meeting you, Sue.”

“Same here.  We’ll talk again, I’m sure.”

–Photo taken previously.



This was a sweet camp shared with Spike and Bridget in the fall of 2013.

Alabama Hills, Lone Pine, California.  See October 30, 2013 post: “Dawn and dusk at our desert camp east of the Sierra Nevada.” 

~ ~ ~


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Posted in At home in Arizona | Tagged , , , | 112 Comments