A special thank you to all of the new and loyal readers of Arizona Oddities. 2014 has been another exciting year in Arizona, and we look forward to 2015. Looking back, here’s an overview of our most popular posts this year. Lots of wildlife and nature lovers out there!
- How to Keep Scorpions Away from Your Home – There are about 35 species of scorpions in Arizona, but only five or six in the Phoenix area, including our personal favorite, the giant hairy scorpion.
- The Legend of Red Ghost – Most folks will tell you camels are not found in Arizona’s high country. Truth is, those adaptable beasts can thrive in just about any kind of terrain. The U.S. Army introduced camels to the Southwest back in the 1850s, using them as beasts of burden while surveying a road across northern Arizona. But, the Civil War interrupted the great camel experiment, and most of the homely critters were sold at auction.
- Why Do People Paint Citrus Tree Trunks White – To celebrate, we asked an actual newcomer in the office if she knew why citrus trunks are painted white, and she said it was to repel insects. These comical newcomers.We were going to laugh at her until we remembered she is much higher up the food chain than us and holds what passes for our career in her elegant and well-manicured hands. So we didn’t laugh.
- Why Don’t Palm Trees Blow Down in the Wind? – This is the deal: Palm trees are monocots as opposed to other trees, such as paloverdes or oaks, which are dicots. Kim Stone, a horticulturist at the Boyce Thompson Arboretum near Superior, went to some pains to explain the differences to me. He is a very patient man.
- How did Arizona Get its Name? – The name Arizona comes from the Papago “ali-shonak” meaning “small spring.” The name became popular following the discovery of rich lodes of silver “so pure you could cut it with a knife,” some 25 miles southwest of present-day Nogales in 1736.
- What Kind of Plant is a Tumbleweed? – Tumbleweeds really are a specific plant, the mature form of the Russian thistle, Salsola iberica.We think of them as being a real symbol of the West: wide-open spaces and the Sons of the Pioneers and all that. The fact of the matter is tumbleweeds are immigrants from the steppes of Asia.
- What’s With All the Cockroaches in the Valley? (And How to Get Rid of Them) – Roaches. We hate ’em. God probably had some good reason when he created them, but it’s a mystery to mortals. Perhaps it was to keep us humble. Scientists have said their survivability is such that, in the event of a nuclear holocaust, roaches would dominate the charred new world.
- How to Keep Javelinas Away from Your Yard – Q: We have a herd of javelinas that have decided to come down to a common area in our neighborhood directly behind our house and use it for a latrine. If you’ve never smelled javelina poop, it’s something else. Is there anything that will repel these creatures?
- Creosote Bush a Killer Plant? – Anyone who has ever wandered into an Arizona desert has undoubtedly encountered the rather plentiful, but inconspicuous, plant known as the creosote bush. They’re not much to look at — spindly shrubs that stand anywhere from three to six feet tall and measure about two to 10 feet across.
- Whatever Happened to Ike Clanton? – Do you ever get to wondering whatever happened to Ike Clanton? He survived the infamous Gunfight at the OK Corral, but then where’d he go? Well, he died anyway. Fatally wounded in a different shootout.
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