November 30, 2008
I took the picture with the greatest zoom option available so I could show it off. Here is what it really looks like from the horse barn.
This does mean that the trips to Riggs Lake, my favorite picnic spot, are over for the year as they close the road once it snows. We will have to go to the Chiricahua National Monument (in the mountains east of us) for a snow picnic as it will remain open year round. I do love picnics! Even in the snow.
November 29, 2008
The valley is very popular with birdwatchers because we have a lot of other overwintering birds as well, among them the various kinds of hawks, and in the Chiricahua Mountains (the eastern border of the valley) are some rare birds such as the Elegant Trogon that people travel far and wide for to see.
On this holiday weekend we took our visiting friends to Whitewater Draw to view the cranes, and have a picnic. The Thanksgiving storm is now completely gone and the weather was clear and warm. Some cranes, and Snow Geese among them, had already arrived although it is still early in the season, and we also saw a Black Phoebe and Vermilion Flycatcher.
November 27, 2008
November 24, 2008
November 21, 2008
However, we have entered a symbiotic relationship of sorts. We are still finding wood rats around the place and continue to live trap them (and marking them to check for repeat offenders). The only bait we have found to be reliable are mesquite beans, but on the bushes the beans are all gone: eaten up by the various desert creatures, including coyotes. Our little "oven rat" has an impressive stash in front of his little cozy nest. So, now when we need some beans, we gently lift the cover, excuse ourselves, and take some of his supplies. He has not come for us yet, so he must be willing to pay his rent.
November 19, 2008
It is difficult to believe that it will be Thanksgiving next week! Aside from the fact that time runs through my hands like water no matter how hard I try to hang on to it, it doesn't feel like the latter half of November. True, the tomatoes in the garden have just about had it, but we still have leaves on the trees! We have had a little frost and some high winds, but even the mesquites are still green. This morning a butterfly fluttered by, and a couple of hummingbirds continue to visit the feeder every day.
November 18, 2008
I am the only one that walks there it seems, but there are lots of animals that leave their marks. Horses for one, and sometimes I can judge which of my neighbors has been riding (Cheerio has large feet, being part draft horse). The other day somebody ponied a foal: small hooves and no shoes. But mostly it is tiny feet: cotton tail and jack rabbits, kangaroo rats (who also leave tail marks), javelina (sometimes with babies). I can't tell coyote from dog prints and of course there are lots of those with Emma and Shawna accompanying me every day.
November 17, 2008
We dreamt it, but I for one did not believe it would truly ever happen. What have we done to deserve this? I can only think of one price I have paid for this privilege: I have gotten old. Old looking I guess I should say, because I feel as I did in my 30's. What has happened to that face in the mirror? Too much sun exposure without sunscreen is the answer, but I grew up where too much sun was not an issue, and if I ever did get the opportunity to soak it up, by golly, I did! I guess I should look at those wrinkles as the fabulous vacation memories of my young years.
November 11, 2008
Unfortunately, we are catching other critters in the live trap, mostly in the potting bench. Granted, it is a wonderful potting bench; the potting bench to end all potting benches and a standard by which any potting bench should be measured. It houses all the garden tools, pots, anything one needs to keep a garden and landscape in tiptop shape. It is, however, not the most secure of places: the pack rats love all those nooks and crannies, and I have found a bird in there from time to time.
November 4, 2008
We have been very successful catching them recently: we are 5 for 5. We are setting the trap in either the tackroom or the potting bench, which ever shows signs of having been visited. The best way to entice them to step into the trap is with a mesquite bean or two, although the one this morning did not turn up his nose at a homegrown carrot.