A special thank you to all of the new and loyal readers of Arizona Oddities. 2015 has been another exciting year in Arizona, and we look forward to 2016. Looking back, here’s an overview of our most popular posts this year.
- 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.
- 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’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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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?
- 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.
- Can You Get a Sunburn Under Water? – We are recent transplants to Arizona from Washington, where it rains a lot, so we never had to worry about this before: Can you get sunburned under the water?
- Did You Know it’s Against the Law to Grow Morning Glories? – Yes, indeed, it is against Arizona law to grow morning glories. As far as we know, no one has ever been sent up for this offense, nor have there ever been, that we are aware of, turf struggles between elements of the criminal underclass vying to control the morning glory trade.
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