December 24, 2015

Merry Christmas from the Desert Southwest

I wish I could claim this as my own, but I can't. This blog entry really belongs to my friends Phil and Marsha, who live in Las Cruces, New Mexico.

Phil sent me this photo of the wreath on their front door with a roadrunner perched in it. I thought the roadrunner was a stuffed bird and had some smart-alecky comment on who might be responsible for the bird's demise.

Then this photo followed and I realized the roadrunner is roosting there. Phil said it is a bit of a shock when he goes and gets the paper in the morning, but the bird hardly moves and shows no fear.

Merry Christmas to you, dear reader, and thank you, Phil and Marsha.

December 21, 2015

Black-tail deer sighting

What a thrill to look out the window while cleaning Brussels sprouts and see a beautiful young buck walk into view!

Our next door neighbor, Jim, who lives even closer to the Coronado National Forest than we do, has talked about deer nibbling in his orchard before he fenced it, but we have never seen a deer on our property. I think our buildings are too close together and our orchard, though unfenced, is along a path to shop/shed and the coop, and well-travelled.

This was a great looking deer, not a mark on him, and obviously in the prime of his life. Dan finally spooked him while taking his photo and he bounded off into uninhabited territory.

December 18, 2015

Home, sweet, warm, home ... for now

People may question our philosophy of live and let live here at the WD, but it makes for interesting experiences (and hopefully a more balanced environment). It is true that from time to time Rodie will pick off a finch or a baby quail, or a rattler will capture a rodent, but we all have to eat. It is not that there are no rules: the house is for people and pets, and in the garden I will negotiate.

Last year we replaced the wood siding on the coop with metal and evicted entire populations of mice, and there is a lot less evidence of mice getting into the chicken food or water. But there is one mouse that has gotten bold enough to make his bed in one of the nesting boxes. He, or she, made a nice little cup in the bedding and has pulled in a number of chicken feathers to stay warm. Initially I disturbed the little nest every day, but hey, it is freezing at night.

Of course I never see the mouse, he is long gone by the time I come to check eggs. I wonder though if he will show tonight. I came within 3 feet of a barn owl that was roosting on the porch of shop/shed, next door to the coop, at 9 this morning. Now if only I would have been able to get a photo of the owl.

December 14, 2015

A taste of winter

We are having a bit of a snow event. It is not the first one this year, but it actually looks as if some of the snow will stick. This is not a foregone conclusion when it snows here as the snow arrives horizontally: it blows like crazy.

There are no mountains and we are alone in the world, except for the poor UPS man delivering Christmas packages. Not all alone as there are lots of birds looking for food and shelter. I am throwing out various seed varieties by cup-fulls several times a day.

The horses have been left in their stalls; Bueno prefers it dry, but Cody, the Oregon-born, stands butt to the wind outside his enclosure. Hey, there is only that much one can do ...

Tomorrow it is likely to be all over and the world will look like this.

Snow does not last long in the desert.