One of the things that I love about living in the Southwest, is the monsoon season that arrives every summer.

Sporadic, often violent storms come and dump a lot of rain in a short amount of time.

To deal with the large amount of water, you will see catchment basins in neighborhoods and also around businesses.  These catchment basins help to keep areas from flooding.

In our neighborhood, we have a few catchment basins and when they fill up, it is time for fun…
My husband, our two youngest kids and our dogs came out to play in the water.

The dogs jumped right in….so did the kids.
Our two little dogs, Tobey and Max had to swim because the water was so deep.
I was surprised that they liked it as much as they did.
Gracie and Kai decided to race across the water.
Gracie won, but then I think that Kai fell on purpose because he wanted to get wet all the way.  It’s funny how that seems to happen to Kai a lot.
Tobey took a break from the fun and watched Kai challenge Max to a race…
Max won….because Kai fell in the water again 😉
We had fun playing in the water, but soon it was time for the fun to end.
Kai needed a little help getting home….

I do hope that you all had a wonderful holiday season filled with friends and family.  Have you already put away your decorations?  I certainly haven’t, but I usually get it done by New Year’s Eve.  I still turn the lights on my Christmas tree because it looks so pretty, even though it is a little bare without presents underneath.

We did experience some illness in our family over Christmas.  My daughter, Gracie, had a fever and a horrible sinus infection so she missed much of the festivities.  The blessing was is that she felt so sick that she really didn’t mind….as long as she still got to open her gifts 😉  She is much better now.

I have been watching the news and seeing how much snow has fallen all over the east coast.  It strange to think that I was just there 2 months ago when the leaves were turning and much was still green.  

We are expecting some very cold (cold for us) and rainy weather tomorrow.  Highs will maybe hit 50 degrees and the lows will get down into the 20’s, so I will be bringing out my old towels and sheets to cover my sensitive plants.

A couple of weeks ago, we had some wonderful rain.  I love rainy days because we do not get them too often.  I usually stay indoors, but stepped out into the garden to let the dogs out.  It was then that I noticed something so beautiful in my vegetable garden.

 My nasturtium leaves each had a large raindrop centered in the middle of each leaf.
Now you may be asking why I have nasturtiums in my vegetable garden.  Well, they actually help to repel damaging insects that would eat my vegetables.  
They have been working very well and I just love how pretty their leaves are.  It was fascinating to see how the raindrops would fall into the center of each leaf to form a large drop of water.
Now I do not normally stop to look at raindrops on my plants, but it really can be quite beautiful.  
I discovered how pretty it was when I downloaded the photo below….

Look at the tiny raindrops on the edge of the leaf…..
Okay, enough about raindrops and leaves……I have a New Year’s giveaway that I am excited about.
I have made a 2011 calendar using pictures from my garden, Double S Farms and some beautiful scenery from our desert.
I must admit that I had so much fun making this calendar and I still had lots of beautiful photos left over.  I will definitely need to make another one for 2012.
Most of the pictures are of my garden, but I also included some from Double S Farms which is one of my favorite places to take photos.

There are also pictures from some of my travels around our beautiful desert as well.
So, if you would like to win this calendar – just leave me a comment or send me an email and I will pick a winner at random on January 1st.
Good Luck!!!
**If you do not win, I will be more then happy to order new ones and send them to you for $25.

I love it when it rains.  Actually, most desert-dwellers welcome the rain.  Believe it or not…the rain is a welcome change to bright, sunny days.  

The park near my home is starting to fill up with water – this is supposed to happen.  Two previous storms this week have started the process, but we are expecting a very large storm to hit today which could bring 3 – 4 inches more (which is a lot for us).

I notice the park filling up when I took my children to school this morning, so I ran back home and got my camera and returned to take pictures.

Look around an urban desert landscape and you are likely to find examples of the above, which is known as a detention basin or dry pond.  The purpose is to hold large amounts of water from rainfall and keep it from flooding the streets.  

During the summer months, we often receive periodic torrential rains over a short period of time.  These dry ponds rapidly fill with water, which helps to prevent flooded streets.  The water in the pond is then slowly released via a small outflow opening.  Water usually stands in these basins for 24 – 48 after rainfall ends.

Most parks in our area are dual purpose; they serve as a park, but also as a detention basin.  The edges are raised up, forming a bowl shape, which allows them to hold water.

I snapped this photo this morning of a group of Mallard ducks taking advantage of our now wet ‘dry pond’.

Do you want to know what my favorite part is about the rain?

It is how the desert looks afterwards….