AZ — Backyard PATIO

Raising sons in Arizona, this was our backyard: de facto home to a neighborhood’s worth of children / kids / teens, as well as the scene of countless sword/light-saber duels, squirt-gun fights, impromptu nature laboratories, rugged paintball contests (complete with full-scale barricades), dress-up / theater / 8mm movie productions, themed birthday parties (Pirates, with tailor-made, highly-detailed hats; an enormous Chinese dragon with the kids as legs and 1,000 year-old Chinese coins as party gifts; Knights, with reproduction armor and the coolest medieval props), model building constructions (and ‘destruction’), large & small sleepovers on the patio (and even the roof), elegant and/or creative breakfast / lunch / dinner parties … as well as exciting encounters with surprised-looking roadrunners and birds of all feathers, packs of brazen javelinas /coyotes, unseen bobcats, metallic-sounding hummingbird dog-fights overhead (and their super-tiny nests), tarantula dens, [evil] tarantula hawks (huge wasps with orange-red wings), fluorescing bark scorpions,  and population explosions of young praying mantises / walking-sticks, exotic geckos and colorful lizards of all types (including Gila monsters),  bullsnakes / kingsnakes / rattlesnakes (and many other snake species — yes, I caught /relocated the rattlers) — even swarms of killer (Africanized) bees (some of which we captured to ‘study’, before then releasing) …


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