Do you like nature? Yes, I thought so. Me, too. But sometimes people have very clear (weird) ideas about nature. I am a Realtor, so I spend a 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. They wanted to be “surrounded” by big trees. They found a house that they loved 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. No, this woman wanted me to identify the trees that “do not burn.”

I found the “perfect” acreage for a buyer. The problem was that the neighbor’s donkey, named Josie, kept walking up the fence line. The man said he cannot buy land with a donkey next door because they “bray constantly.” Then he asked me if I would ask the neighbors if they might “get rid” of Josie. When I told him I wouldn’t do that, he grumbled, “No one wants to live next door to a jackass!” On that point, we agreed.

I showed a couple a gorgeous home in Phoenix. 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 state land and they were protected, she hissed, “I didn’t come all the way from Chicago to look out at green telephone poles.”

I was in Phoenix recently when a haboob came sweeping through. It was quite an event. 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. The next day I showed a house to a couple from California, and the lady told me that she will only buy a house that is in a “haboob-free zone.”

A buyer from Ohio told me she “cannot live with the noise of cicadas” because they make her nervous. She wanted a house with “big trees.” 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?” 

A couple from Wisconsin 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,” the woman screamed, “The only good snake is a dead one!”

OK, some folks get upset by our “special” kind of nature in Arizona. I get it. Who wants to be surrounded by flammable trees, caught in a haboob, rattled by a snake or 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 cactuses, big trees and one fabulous braying donkey named Josie are just a few more reasons to call Arizona home.

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