A special thank you to all of the new and loyal readers of Arizona Oddities. This has been another exciting year in Arizona, and we look forward to 2017. 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 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.
- 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 Did Phoenix Get its Name? – Arizona’s capital city might have been called “Salina,” “Stonewall,” or even “Pumpkinville,” had it not been for a spurious English “Lord” named Darrell Duppa. Duppa was a well-educated world traveler who, it was rumored, was given a substantial allowance by his wealthy English relatives to remain permanently at large.
- 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’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.
- Odd Ways to Hydrate Your Christmas Tree – I got a letter from a woman whose husband wants to soak their Christmas tree in the pool for a couple of days before putting it up. She sounded quite worried about this.
- 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.
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