From Death to Drenched

The Southern Arizona Summer engulfed us last June, like like the fiery blazes of hell! 120 degrees for days…100+ for a month. The only thing that kept us sane was looking forward to the cooling rains of the Monsoons, officially declared to start on June 15th. Sometimes- I think last year, in fact- they started early. We were hoping the same this year, we desperately needed the rains…the desert was dying!

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By the end of June we still had no rain. Not even a hint. The heat was depressingly oppressive!  You know its bad when the drought tolerant/heat tolerant cactus start to shrivel up and die…

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We thought this poor agave was a goner!

June dropped off the calendar-still with no rain.We started feeling like the cactus!

But, the 4th of July would be here soon, and we ALWAYS get rain on the 4th!! However, independence day came and went with only the booming of fireworks- not the booming of thunder we had counted on. Aaauuuuughhhhh the agony!

Todd even went to the extremes of putting sprinklers in the yard on some of our cactus to try to salvage some of  them! Something he had never had to do before. We noticed some of our neighbors were doing the same.

It wasn’t until about a week after the 4th, that Monsoon finally arrived! As we watched the lighting streaked clouds come rumbling in, Todd stationed himself on top of the shed to act as a human lightning rod….

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Here’s a little taste of the desert monsoon….

An no…Todd was not still sitting on the roof as I shot this!

I wish I could share the smell the rain drenched desert and feel the cool mist floating in the air. A mist that’s created as the rain dances on the parched desert ground. There is nothing like it! The temperature generally drops from 100+ to about 75 in a matter of minutes! The relief is almost euphoric!

Since then, over the past month, it has rained, and rained- one of the best Monsoon seasons we have had in years! Todd has marked over 7 inches of rain so far! Most of the plants that melted with the heat, rebounded!

Here’s the heat ravaged agave- unbelievable that it came back to life!….

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Now as Fall approaches, we can enjoy the beautiful desert, revived, refreshed and blooming! We celebrate nature’s gift, even though the ‘dry heat’ has turned muggy and mosquitoes  abound- we raise our glasses to Mother Nature with a toast: “Even though you can be a ‘bitch in heat’ or a frozen mother ‘f’er, when you pour…girl, you Reign!”

 

 

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The Lizard of Ahhhs

The lizard has become an iconic symbol of the desert Southwest for a reason. The desert is full of them! And there are many different kinds of lizards that live in Todd’s Backyard. I used to hate ’em. Lizards and snakes. But, having lived here now for awhile, I have come to love the liz! Their fierce scaly bodies and beady little eyes, have become no- so-creepy as I have witnessed their antics!  Having been close up and personal with a few, I must admit they are truly beautiful and intelligent creatures! Plus, they are nature’s best pest control, eating bugs and such   <_> j””””’j——–~

 

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 This Tiger Whiptail is a gorgeous fellow! We caught him hanging out, sunbathing on the side of the house!

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The Spiny Lizard is a spectacular species! We see them everywhere including the trees! When the males go into a mating frenzy, their stomachs turnbright turquoise!  And they are frisky little buggers…

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Actually, not so little…they reach up to 12″ long! We had one last year that started hanging out on our porch begging for a bit of fruit! He eventually would take food right out of my hand!

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Above is a Western Fence Lizard we caught a pic of on our wood pile. We don’t see these very often!

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These are two Zebra Tail lizards I spied doing push ups together on a nice warm rock. The male’s colors are amazing!

Although, all of these lizards are certainly AWEsome!…. There is one lizard that IS the ‘Lizard of Ahhhs’!…

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The Gila Monster!!!

One of only 2 poisonous Lizards. It can get up to 22″ long! This guy is  our local Gila Monster…we believe that his burrow is in our neighbor’s backyard, where this photo was taken.

And, I have a story….

The day before yesterday,  Todd an I were sitting in the living room when I saw this Gila Monster marching up to our sliding glass door!! For a minute, I thought he might scratch to get in, but instead, he found a nice shady spot behind our flower pots and laid down for a nap. Of course, we couldn’t let our dogs out, but we grabbed the camera and went out on the porch to get a few good photos…

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I’m not sure if you can appreciate the size, but he was at least 20″ long! Quite startling to actually see on up this close!  He ended up spending the entire afternoon lounging on our porch, going from spot to spot to find a comfortable place to rest, I’m assuming after a large meal! I figured, if he was ok with me sitting outside at our patio table having a beer with him, he might be amenable to a little love pat. I’ve always wanted to touch a Gila Monster! Todd wasn’t  around, so I did…just a light rub across his stubby tail. The Gila Monster only slowly raised his head a bit. Didn’t seem disturbed at all. But, I did not test my luck and try it again! When I told Todd what I did, he just about bit my head off, as the Gila Monster could have easily bitten my hand off. Or, at least, I could have lost my hand had he bitten it!  But come on, this is what I’ll do for a good story 😉 The large lazy lizard stayed on the porch for another few hours, then went on his way!

Mr. Gila Monster hasn’t been back on the porch since. I hope that if he does come back, he will have the curtesy to knock on the sliding door and let us know he’s out there. I don’t think he would be as well mannered if he were to be stumbled upon!

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OxO j””””’j——–!

The Bobcat that Ate the Owl

Based on a true story….

There once was a bobcat that ate an owl. You might ask why….or you might ask how?

It was nine o’clock this fateful night, when all was quiet and dark. The stars were bright. Nothing was stirring, the landscape serene, except for the darting eyes watching and waiting, unseen.

Finally, a small noise broke the silent surveillance.The watcher’s gaze zeroed in, hungry and intense. A shuffle came from the porch where humans sit by day. But tonight, it was where little mice came to play!

Another night stalker’s ears perked as well,  perched by the pond where his thirst, he would quell. Mice would be nice, perhaps for a snack.  But, would it really be worth his time to attack?

As he pondered at the pond, a drink?… or a swim?… His revery was cut short, when a silent swoosh flew past him.  Oh my! What’s this? A bird out at night? And it landed right by him, to his feline delight!

The mouse, by the house had eaten a crumb. The owl ate the mouse, but this move was quite dumb. The cat ate the owl…Dumb luck may say some. Nay, I cry foul!!…Or fowl?, this should not be! If you are an owl, please, stay in the tree 😉

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Happy Hummer Days!

It’s Christmas morning….for us, with out kids, all is calm and all is quiet. We celebrated with our family and gift giving the previous night, but it was this morning we got a most wonderful, and unexpected gift!

The weather was sunny and mild, so we took our coffee out on the porch to enjoy the beauty of Arizona this time of year! As we watched the morning sun streaming through the yard, we could catch glimpses of sparkling color among the branches of the trees and shrubs. Just like little Christmas ornaments, the hummingbirds were decorating the desert landscape, as they woke up, preening and warming in the rising sun. Perfect timing for getting some great new photos!

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We wandered through the yard, as if on a treasure hunt, looking for all the little jewels among the branches.

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We are so lucky to be able to spend Christmas with our little hummer friends, as folks in colder climates don’t get this opportunity!

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And, this Christmas morning, the hummingbirds were out in their full glory, chirping, buzzing and trilling!

We were having such a great time! And it got even better when this little broad bill posed for me…

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And gave me my best Christmas present!…Photos of a lifetime…

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Hummmazing!!! A glorious day to celebrate all of God’s blessings 🙂

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Wishing everyone a very Happy Holiday season from Todd’s Backyard!

Holiday Cheer!

HERE WE GO WILDCATS, HERE WE GO! (STOMP! STOMP!)

HERE WE GO WILDCATS, HERE WE GO! (STOMP! STOMP!)

Tis’ the season to be jolly, especially since the Arizona Wildcat’s have been on a roll! Tomorrow’s game might clinch them the #1 spot in the College polls!

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GIVE ME  A J….JAAYYY, GIVE ME AN O….OOOHHHH, GIVE ME A Y…..WHHHYYYYYY!

Wishing everyone a joyous Holiday Season and Happy College Basketball Season, from Todd’s Backyard!

A Bird’s Eye View

One afternoon, in the soft Autumn light, a figure appeared that caught everyone’s sight. Sitting tall and calm on a twisted tree limb, he surveyed his surroundings to see if the pickin’s were slim.

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The visible visitor was very pleased to find, the pickin’s where plenty and amusingly terrified! He always loved to watch the show, as his prey panicked and scurried and freaked out below!  Now, satisfied he would have a nice hearty meal, he sat back and relaxed to watch everyone squeal!

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The sparrows swarmed and hid in the bushes, the quail dove under cactus to cover their tushes. The doves left the scene in a winged whoosh of flurry and the squirrels dove in their holes in a psycho crazed hurry! All the while, their feathered foe took his time, primping and plotting his culinary crime.

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When he was sufficiently refreshed and ready to rock…”Now, my little morsels, time to eat!” Screeched Mr. Hawk. His tail twitched, his eyes focused as he scanned Todd’s Backyard. He looked and he looked, he looked very hard. Something was amiss…where had all the food gone? He knew he had seen it!…Had he been wrong? Then he reminded himself, he chose to snooze, and of course you know what they say….

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Keep your eyes on the prize!…And don’t be a fool 😉

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NOTE: All events are true and captured as it happened by Todd this morning, over the course of about 1 hour and 1 pot of coffee. (For best entertainment value, read with a Southern drawl)….

Out back by the chicken coop, if you take a stroll,  ya’ll will find some high ground, full of little round holes. We call it this little rise ‘What-the Hill’… And, it’s where the tarantulas live and get on their thrill!

It just so happened, this Sunday morn, Todd stumbled upon some big spider porn. It was actually Daizy that found the big fella who was just out lookin’ for a little tarantella.

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This eight legged dude, with his ass in the air, was prowling with purpose and tarantula flare. In the rain he had been waiting all night, to find to girl of his dreams and do up right!

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He knew what he wanted, and he was on the right track, to his gargantuan gal with a big fuzzy rack. When he got to her place, he gave her a shout, then when he saw her, he thought, “That’s what I’m talkin’ about!” He never expected this lovely blonde beauty with 8 gorgeous eyes and a nice fuzzy booty!

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“Come on baby, let’s give it a whirl!…You are the most super, spectacular, spiderlicious girl!”

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But she just turned her back and went back down under, making him think he’s made a big blunder. What had he done?  What had gone wrong? Maybe he had come on to strong!

Or maybe, just maybe he wasn’t playin’ her song….

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So he started to sway and he started to stomp, she poked out her head and said ‘Ok, boy, I guess I’m ready to romp!

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They started to two-step then went to full eight. This wern’t just a flirtin’, it became a full date! They danced and danced…and danced… and danced. They were in a frenzy, they were totally entranced!

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And so was Todd as he captured these pics…Like a Nat Geo photographer out in the sticks! The story that went with them was one to be told…The tale of the day two tarantulas tangoed!

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