Monday, November 26, 2007

First snow..., not here in Tucson itself--but in mountains nearby.
About 2 hours to the east are the Pinaleño mountains, just north of the agricultural area around Wilcox. The highest peak is 10,720 ft. (3267 m.)-high Mt. Graham. (Incidentally, it is the 20th highest peak in the lower 48 states.) A couple of days ago, we were in the area, and as we we drove by, the clouds cleared and on the forested summit--just a hint of white--the first of the season:

I love the contrasts here--up or down, and you're in a different world.
(We're still waiting for the first blanket of white to cover the Catalinas here in Tucson...)
To the NE, heading closer to the border with New Mexico, is the old mining town of Clifton,
in the gorge of the San Francisco River;
late fall, cottonwoods:

Like so many towns out West, this 1800's town has been through boom and bust...
The historic main street even has 'ruins' (the arched façade of a movie theater that burned down decades ago.)

From the neighboring, much higher, town of Morenci, where the huge Phelps-Dodge mine is located, you can look down on the valley, cut deep into the naked geology of the high plains all around:

And this would be part of the mine itself, scouring away the mountain...And bust is becoming boom again--copper prices have gone up, since demand is rising--newer hybrid cars are fueling (ahem) the need, since they require copper parts!

People come from all over to work at the mine--the only real source of employment in the area.
They even still have a 'company store,' and 'company housing.' And one of the people who lives and works there said that they're expecting some African immigrants pretty soon to help work the mine--cosmopolitan, eh?

And then heading back toward Tucson, as we approached Mt. Graham again, some 'god-light' appeared:

...maybe even suitable for a cheesy Hallmark calendar? Oh, wait--there are no kittens or flowers in the foreground...maybe next time...


Our final few tomatoes are hanging on, ripening as December approaches, on our front porch. Cilantro's doing well, now that it's cooler. (I actually wore wool to work for the first time today.) We've had our first couple of oranges from 'our tree.' Got some containers to grow lettuce and spinach--our 'winter crops.' And that's tonight's weather/produce update from Tucson.

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