Friends in the greater Phoenix area keep telling me that they hear of heavy rains in the Wickenburg area. I don’t know what channel they’re watching, because that’s nowhere near the truth.
I’ve never seen it this dry. We have to oil our catus to keep the prickly pear pads from clattering against each other in the breeze.
On a few afternoons, it has been cloudy and dark, and the wind has come up, and we’ve heard thunder. But the “storm” barely wets the bottom of the rain gauge. I’m tired of being mocked.
In a “normal” year, Wickenburg would have received more than five inches of precipitation by now. Last week’s Wickenburg Sun reported that total rainfall for the year was 1.22 inches.
Here at The Wickenburg Institute For Factual Diversity, in east-central Wickenburg, we’ve had MINUS five inches for the year.
I hate to split hairs, but I must, for the sake of honesty. Arizona, the Federal Writers Project (WPA) guidebook published in 1940, pointed out: “Desert rains are usually so definitely demarked that the story of the man who washed his hands in the edge of an Arizona thundershower without wetting his cuffs is almost credible.”
Almost? It has rained on the north side of the Institute, but not on the south side, where the rain gauge is. We had a new roof put on last winter, and only the north half has been tested, right up to the ridgeline.
Furthermore, it has been blisteringly hot, which is not news to anyone in Arizona or California. This has seriously interfered with my exercise program.
I abused my body badly in years past, never expecting to live this long. Since I am this old, and am apparently going to get older, I keep a rowing machine on the patio and work out a couple of times a day.
In the mornings, I like to row across the Hassayampa River and back. This would not work well on a regular river, because the rowing machine leaks like a screen door. But as you know, the Hassayampa is dry, and apparently will be dry for the foreseeable future.
While I was across the river yesterday, I stopped to look for Geronickers. I had to walk through some tall, dry grass, left over from 2005, when it rained. I was arrested for rustling.
You ask, “What is a Geronicker?” Technically, it is called the Arid Mojave Geronicker, and it has been migrating from Twenty-nine Palms, California, to Wickenburg, looking for a drier climate.
From here, it migrates into the Phoenix area, where it is raising some minor havoc.
Unlike the Keyhole Snake that we warned about in our last Journal, the Geronicker is not venomous. It doesn’t even bite.
A Geronicker has an undercarriage like a tarantula. Its top looks something like a toadstool.
The Geronicker likes to attach himself to the bottom of an automobile. That’s how he gets from place to place.
If a Geronicker loses is grip and drops off onto the highway, he explodes with the sound of a shotgun blast. It sounds like a blowout for sure. I’ve seen several cars pulled off U.S. 60 between Surprise while drivers walk around, inspecting four good tires, and scratching their heads.
The real fun is when a Geronicker gets inside your garage. The little critters love to play with garage door openers. They wait until you go into the house, and then start messing with the door switch. Up. Down. Up. Down. Up….
Actually, a Geronicker likes to push any button he can find. Geronickers got into the elevators at Bob Hope Airport in Burbank the other day, and shut down the airport for four hours.
Anyway, the Geronicker is having a good time with your garage door. Pretty soon, your neighbor comes over and tells you your garage door is open.
You look suspiciously at your spouse. “Did you leave the garage open?”
“No, I always close it. You must have left it open.”
It is not unheard of for recriminations to follow. Geronickers have started arguments that lasted for days, and I know of one case ended up in domestic court.
The only thing that will still Geronickers is a good, drenching rain. They can’t stand moisture.