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Around the Bluhmin’ Town


Judy Bluhm

Do you like Nature? Yes, I thought so. Me too. But sometimes people can have very clear (weird) ideas about exactly how they want to live with Nature. I am realtor, so I spend a whole lot of time listening to people’s “special requests.” And sometimes, what I hear is not to be believed. Read on.

I had clients who wanted a “house in the pines” in Prescott, so they could live in the cool, mile-high climate. They wanted to be “surrounded” by big trees. They found a house that they liked and then the lady asked me which trees were “flame retardant.” Confused, I pointed out that trees can burn and you need a certain amount of clear space around buildings, which she did not want to hear. No, this woman wanted me to identify the trees that “do not burn.” I gave her the number of the fire department.

 I was working with a couple who wanted to buy horse property. They found a house on five acres that they loved. Problem was that the neighbor’s little donkey, named Josie, kept walking up to the fence line. The man said he cannot buy a house with a donkey next door because they “bray all day and night.” Then he asked me if I would call the neighbors to see if they would “get rid” of Josie. When I told him I wouldn’t do that, he grumbled, “No one wants to live next door to a jack-ass!” On that point, we agreed.

I showed a couple a gorgeous home on the golf course in Anthem and they loved it. It had amazing views from every window. But the wife said she couldn’t stand to look at saguaros – they would “have to go.” When I explained that they were on private property and State Land and I couldn’t move them, she hissed, “I didn’t come all the way from Chicago to look out at green telephone poles.” Yikes, did I hear that right? Telephone poles?

One man from Canada asked me when I was showing him a house in Scottsdale if I had ever seen a scorpion. “Yes,” I replied. Well, how many he wanted to know. I told him I have lived in Arizona since 1991 and seen “quite a few” and that was it. He said he couldn’t live in a place that had “deadly critters” that could “sting you to death” while you were sleeping. I told him I had never heard of that happening, but he said if I could “guarantee” he would never see an evil scorpion he would buy a house from me. I gave him the number of an exterminator.

I was in Phoenix recently when a haboob was sweeping through town. It was quite an event. I was in the parking lot of Walmart and suddenly a yellow haze came over the sky, followed by fierce wind and then the devil of dust storms. I sat in my vehicle till it passed. I showed a house the next day to a couple from California and the lady asked me how many dust storms come through a year. I shrugged my shoulders and said, “I have no idea,” and she told me that she wants to buy a house in Phoenix that will “be out of the path of all storms.” It’s good to want things.

While showing a couple from Ohio a house in Prescott, the wife told me she “cannot live with the noise of cicadas” because they make her nervous. She wanted a house with “plenty of big trees” and I pointed out that cicadas like trees and we don’t control them. She became rather indignant and asked, “What kind of town lets these noisy pests run wild?” I gave her the number of the local police.

One time I was with a couple from Wisconsin and they were horrified to see a bull snake slithering across the driveway of a house they were thinking of buying. When I tried explaining that bull snakes were “good snakes” and we usually just left them alone, the woman screamed, “The only good snake is a dead one!”

 Okay, so people get a little touchy with our “special” kind of nature in Arizona. I get it. Who wants to be surrounded by flammable trees, stung by a scorpion, caught in a haboob, bit by a snake, rattled by a cicada, bothered by a donkey or annoyed by green telephone poles? We do! And that’s why, Dear Readers, we love this wonderful place. Crazy weather. Wild critters. Noisy insects. Amazing cacti. Big trees. And one fabulous braying donkey named Josie, are just a few more reasons to call Arizona home.

Oh, the final straw was when a man told me he will never buy a house in Arizona unless we “get rid” of all the lizards. I gave him the name of a good doctor (psychiatrist). Arizona is not for everyone! Just for those of us who have good taste. Dear Readers, may your week be filled with the wonders of Nature.

Judy Bluhm is a writer and a local realtor. Have a story or a comment? Email Judy at