Spring here in the desert means wild flowers everywhere,  they blanket the desert and also pop up in the yard.  Poppies are happy flowers and penstemons are delightful but at the first heat of summer they all shrivel up and look, for all the world, like weeds.  Palo Verde trees are all dressed in yellow blossoms in April. The breeze sends the blossoms scurrying circles around the yard. We have artificial turf next to the patio and we’ve never found a successful way to pick up the blossoms except the tried and true, crawl around and gather them.  Over the years that has become my spring time after dinner ritual. 

 Monty and I moved into our home, about twenty-three years ago.  One of the reasons we love it is because of the several well established trees in the back yard.  We had an arborist estimate our mature mesquite was about forty years old when we moved in.  It is a great old tree and part of the family.  There are several other thorny trees in the yard that lack the charm of the mesquite but we keep them, because, after all, they are trees.   

The mesquite looses its leaves in the winter, unlike hard wood trees that drop big leaves that can be raked up, the mesquite looses tiny leaves about a half inch long.  These little leaves are too small to pick up by hand and a rake is useless.  A broom is the only answer. A shop vac is tempting but then it requires dismantling and cleaning.  So the broom remains the answer.    

Did I mention this is a very large tree with lots of leaves?  When the leaves are finally through falling along about February the tree is rather stark, but the bare branches let the winter sun into the yard.  New leaves arrive in April when we are ready to welcome the shade.   If that was the only cycle with this tree it would be nice but noooooo, there is more. We are entering what we call, the fuzzy season.  The tree is just fully leafed out and already we see the beginnings of the fuzzies.  Fuzzies are like yellow caterpillars about three inches long made up of individual tiny seeds. They are impossible to pick up because they disintegrate into a fine powder at the slightest touch.  So out comes the broom again, sweeping becomes an endless chore during this time of year.  The fine yellow powder is tracked into the house by man and beast and the whole house requires vacuuming.  Maybe this is where the term spring cleaning started, it is an endless cycle of cleaning all spring.  

But wait there is more!  Following the fuzzies are the beans, yes we have long strings of beans. On windy days the beans scoot across the patio, sounding like a dozen rattlesnakes.  Can you guess? These too require patio sweeping, to add to the continuous clean up it is impossible to rake the beans out of the gravel. The only alternative I’ve found is to squat in the yard and reach out to gather as many beans as possible, take a few steps, squat and repeat.  It is a great part of my fitness program but the yard quickly becomes very large.  

If we are fortunate to take a spring road trip we haul out a bunch of old sheets and cover the turf so the fuzzies don’t just disintegrate into the plastic grass.  Actually it works great, when we get home we simply gather the sheets up and go shake them out in the arroyo behind the house and the turf looks good as new.  No sweeping involved.  

Trust me, I’ve thought about using the sheets every spring but it sort of defeats the purpose of have cool green turf to enjoy while sitting on the patio.

2 replies
  1. Cindy Lutz
    Cindy Lutz says:

    All sounds so very familiar. We also deal with the sap falling on our pickleball court. We did at one time put up a diaper and wrap it in burlap which worked quite well. But now the sap is coming further up the tree making it impossible to reach. I thought of putting down something like a old rug mat to catch the sap.


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