Archive for the ‘Nature’ Category

Desert Blooms


Saw the first saguaro bloom in my back yard this morning. Nothing as rich as the one in this photo, but it’s a start. Usually the flowers wait until May to bloom. This bodes well for ground water levels for this summer, at least. And for the next couple of weeks, the drive up into Black Canyon will be a photographer’s dream.

So far, though, the mighty saguaros have been outdone by the Palo Verde trees that have put on a colorful show all over southern Arizona this spring.


The Palos in my yard have barely begun to blossom; when they do I’ll try to get pix. I love how in spring these trees create carpets of yellow wherever they grow.

“Palo Verde” means “green stick” in Spanish. Literal, if not as poetic in English (the trees have green bark).


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Spring Has Sprung!



At any rate the globemallow are out. And the fields around my house are glorious with color. The creosote bushes are ubiquitous, literally lining both sides of the roads with yellow blooms.


And in another sign of good things, this morning I heard a denizen of my little resort town telling another that, quote, “Trump is a fool.” Said denizen went on to complain that Trump has already spent more money traveling that Obama did in an entire year.

I couldn’t hear more because I was trying to walk past the conversation at a normal pace and I had a hugely suspicious smile on my face.





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No Picnic Today


 Trep’s back porch.

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Rodentia Familiaris

spermophilus_variegatusNot Tufty But A Reasonable Facsimile

A wonderfully playful squirrel visits my back porch nearly every afternoon. She (I presume her gender) perches on one of the concrete blocks that support the roof posts. Sometimes she chases birds who wander into her territory, but more often she simply lies there for as long as an hour, taking in the sights and the sun.

The internets tell me that Tufty is probably a rock squirrel, a species native to Arizona. She seems not to be afraid of predators but then she no doubt knows the coyotes and hawks and, less often, bobcats who visit my back porch usually appear in the very early morning hours. Luckily for her, none of my neighbors allow their dogs to run loose.

I have named her “Tufty” because something (or someone) once took a chunk of fur out of her otherwise luxurious tail. The tuft that remains near the end of her tail is a sign that the daily appearances are indeed made by the same squirrel. It’s nice to have a pet (sort of) who is so entertaining and who does not require regular feedings. I sort of hope that rock squirrels don’t hibernate.

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Shades of Hitchcock


For the last couple of weeks I’ve scattered birdseed on my back porch every morning in order to entertain Sassy, who seems to enjoy watching the gathered birds.

The local birds must have some sort of internet, because the group has become larger as time has passed. The daily gathering features mourning doves, chiefly, but also the occasional quail. Twice an actual roadrunner appeared, scattering smaller members of the group back to safety in nearby ocotillos and chollas. Small brown birds (that’s their scientific name) hover on the edges of the feeding frenzy, hoping to snatch the random isolated morsel.

If the group gets any larger I may have to stop scattering seed. The more birds there are, the more likely it is that larger birds will attack smaller ones who offend some invisible pecking order (ha ha). The other downside is the steady accumulation of birdshit on the porch. Plus I don’t want the local birds to lose the habit of hunting for seeds.

Maybe I should buy Sassy another ball to play with.



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It’s here!  Right on time!

After this June, I welcome the ten-degree drop in temperature that accompanies a monsoon. The fact that 83 degrees at four am is cause for celebration should give you an idea of what the weather has been like here in the Valley of the Morlocks this past month.

Showers are forecast for this afternoon, and as I sit at my computer with all the doors open, smelling the damp ground outside, I couldn’t be happier about that.

Hoo effing hah!





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You may recall this photo of the agave in my front yard, which I posted on February 17. This plant has been in my yard for fifteen years, and for all that time it just looked, well, leafy.  Then the cool stuff began to happen. When I took this picture it was just beginning to “bloom,” if that tiny word fits what agaves do in their last days.  I posted more pictures on February 29.

Here’s what happened in March:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe stalk got bigger, and began to produce blooms:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIt kept on growing until:


Zowie! Taller than the house!  The stalk attracted lots of bees in this stage, which I was happy to see. It still pretty much looks like this, except the blooms are dying now.  And to give you an idea of how much energy all this required, here is the base of the plant as of this morning:


Yes, my agave is dying. It’s what they do, alas.

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