Caring for Cat and House in Paradise Valley, Arizona

We're back from our 3 week house and cat caring assignment for friends in Paradise Valley, Arizona.   
 Every day the temperature showed a balmy 23o to 25 o C.  "Free Vitamin D".  Sun and blue skies every day. We were lucky.   

 Henri with new friend, a Bengal cat
The cat we were looking after is a Bengal, which is an unusual hybrid cross between a domestic cat and Asian leopard cat. He displayed some of his partly wild nature by covering over his food bowls with the small carpet on which the bowls stood.   This brings you back to the wild, in the jungle where big cats bury or cover their quarry. Instinct is strong in the animal realm.
 Saguaro Cactus
Outdoors a distinctive feature are the Saguaro cacti.  It can take 75 years to grow a “branch” or arm.  They’re all over the town we were in, reminding us there was only desert where are now houses and roads. Still today, however, over half of Arizona is desert.   
"Beep Beep!"
We went out to see the well-known Desert Botanical Garden research centre and spotted our very first Roadrunner. We only knew them from cartoons, “Beep! Beep!"  Agave, Fairy Duster, Prickly Pear, Aloe, Boojum and Organ Pipe are just some of the vegetation to be experience at this centre. 

Henri with two "Indian chiefs" at Gilbert Ortega, Old Scottsdale Town
We learned the word paradise comes from the Arabic, meaning ‘walled in garden’.  In Paradise Valley there is still lots of desert landscape.
Prickly Pear Cactus 
Quails and rabbits which are kept under control by the coyotes, hawks and pumas.  Nevertheless, the bird feeder is mostly visited by quails and lovebirds.  Grapefruit, orange and key lime trees everywhere.   Mesquite, palm and Joshua trees are among the many trees to be seen.
Newly-planted palm trees with timber supports
Some homes are landscaped with palm trees. This is an elaborate process that involves having the newly-planted trees supported by wooden slats, which need to remain for several months before the tree can stand on its own.  In Arizona, water supply will become a problem in the future, but for now, all seems to flourish.  Arizona basks in sunshine while 90% is in the icy grip of winter.

Henri van Bentum