Wood You Be Mine?….Or not…

It IS that time of year….a frantic buzz of excitement- the chirps , squawks and squeaks- the birds and the bees are stirring!  Spring mating time is noisy! One of the more raucous merry makers, are the quail. Their distinct “cacaaawww…cacaaaaaaawwwww!” is heard frequently. They have a funny little ritual of climbing trees to call out their potential tweet-hearts! Let’s say, they get high on love 😉

Late afternoon is when they particularly like to ‘get high’. It was at that time, last week, when we witnessed  a would be wooer going wacky!

Todd had installed an ironwood quail carving on the branch of one of our mesquite trees a while ago. I never noticed that it had ever drawn any attention from the local bird population. That is, until a lovelorn quail discovered it and was apparently enraptured.

He climbed to the limb above, that had been conveniently cut into the perfect perch. There, he would try to get his wooden maiden to notice him….When she ‘wooden’t’, he jumped down and climbed back up again….and again….and again…putting his male to the quail…to no avail.

The poor guy was so distraught that Todd had to take down the tree trapped temptress.  I had to set this sad love story to little music…..

And with that, my friends, we raise our glasses to this lonely quail’s attempt at romance- certainly a great ‘CaCaaaaaws’!

Meet the Varmints- Episode 1- Rocky

Todd’s Backyard is filled with an assortment of furry little creatures….Varmints, if you will. In fact, we seem to have created a varmint paradise. Supplying a plentiful bounty for our birds, of course invites these little bastards. But, they keep the hawks, snakes, bobcats and coyotes fat and happy around here! You could call it Todd’s  Backyard Wildlife Diner!

Now, ‘Diner’ really fits since we got our new little Bird Photo Booth (www.birdphotobooth.com)- a feeder that is attached to a motion activated camera! We decided to introduce the contraption to the ground dwellers, as they might provide some entertainment before the jaws of nature snap them up.

The first varmint that decided to check it out was our resident rock squirrel, as we so dubbed him Rocky. Not totally original, but fitting….

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He figured out quite quickly, this was pretty cool…

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As did a few others.

Rocky got a nice dinner and gave us some great mug shots…

This photo is taken by AllWinner's v3-sdv

This photo is taken by AllWinner's v3-sdv

 

And that, my friends is Rocky!

 

Friskey Tango

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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Surviving Miss Daizy

She drives us crazy!…But, that’s our Miss Daizy. A puggle with a nose, that knows no bounds and a yard full of wonders with no fence that surrounds…So, guess what? This situation makes for some harrowing adventures, and sometimes, when we’re lucky, some laughable pictures!

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When the Jacktus popped out it’s ginormus blossoms, Daizy’s nose thought they were kind of awesome! Cool, too, were the bees which were flying about, until they put their stingers in her nosy snout :0

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Todd’s garden could be Daizy’s Eden…If no one was watching, she would be eatin’! But those chile’s might be a little spicy and what should come out of her other end could be quite dicey!

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Ma and the ‘girls’ think Daizy’s the shit! And she thinks likewise, especially when she can eat it!…I mean, chicken’s a great part of a dog’s daily nutrition, but chicken poop’s even better in Daizy’s opinion! Daizy would never eat these hens, because in Todd’s Backyard Dog is chicken’s best friend!

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Daizy stops at the pond when she makes her rounds, it’s peaceful, no one yells, ’cause it’s not out of bounds. The pond is a fun place to watch the fish, but this dog hates the water, so here she’ll just make a wish!

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Perhaps the most favorite of Daizy’s spaces and places is Gerti’s Garden where she can touch all the bases… Lush grass where she can lay and graze, baby buns to dig up and lizards to chase. It’s a part of the yard where there’s alot to explore and last week, there, she found something more! The strangest creature Miss Daizy had ever seen, was crawling about…was it nice?….or was it mean? Daizy crept near, with great apprehension, and when it’s head disappeared, she jumped back!…Wow! That caught her attention! So she sniffed and snuffed all around this strange shell, when the head popped back out, Gerti must have thought, “Oh, what the hell?” Gerti just kept going on her way to the grass, now attached to a dog with its nose up her ass.  I’m sure Daizy was hoping for treats like she gets from her rabbits. Just one of Daizy’s very, very bad habits!

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So, if you’re near Todd’s Backyard, you’ll likely hear, “Daizy! Daizy!… Get over here!”  Or Daizy! Daizy!…I can’t see you!”, then suddenly her little puggly face comes into view. Oh, even though our life now can be crazy, we still have to love our little Miss Daizy!

Puggled

One month ago, we welcomed a new member to our family….Daizy….A puggle! Todd and I have had several very special dogs we have shared our lives with over the past 20 years. All were spaniels (except Lulu, our chihuahua) and have inherent traits that we have grown accustomed to. Daizy, being a mixture of pug and beagle, is definitely a VERY different breed!

In, fact, I’m not sure she’s even a dog!

A master manipulator,  a crazy comedian, a stubborn brat, a 4 legged ball of non-stop energy…just a few things that could describe her. She keeps us screaming and laughing at the same time!

Unlike all of our other 4 legged kids, we’ve had to keep her ‘on-line’ when we are on the porch. This, after having to chase her around the yard, our neighbor’s yards and down the wash one too many times! Todd’s backyard is not a great playground for a young puggle with no desert experience. The first time she tries to jump on a cholla will be her last!…And I don’t think Jairy the javelina would be very tolerant upon a chance meeting!

So, poor puggle must be on a rope…

But, Daizy still finds ways to stay entertained! Just the challenge of untangling herself, keeps her busy…’follow the yellow steel rope, follow the yellow steel rope, fa la la la la la la la, follow the yellow steel rope!‘ Then it’s off to see what else she can find to do in her little patio kingdom!

She has staked her claim on a patio chair…

And has found a nice smooth rock she likes to push around with her nose…we call it rocky hockey!

Daizy helps Todd keep the porch clean, snuffling up any debris and rooting round the pots eating all the lizard poop she can find! She is also very good a catching and eating flies! But, when Daizy turns off her crazy, and turns on her lazy….oooohhhh….She just wants to make you to snuggle with the puggle! Just don’t let her kiss you on the mouth 😉

Oh Baby, Baby!

Ok….bring it on! The heat  apparently snuck up on us and now Summer-in-the-Desert is in full swing. What happened to the Spring? It has been strange year. The orange trees missed their blossoms, the cool days lingered a bit longer that usual, and the baby animals seem to be making their appearance a little late this season. But now, baby critters abound! And, all of the baby cuteness has alleviated a bit of the disgust that generally permeates our mood as the Summer heat starts to become oppressive.

This little guy found  a little cool spot under the mesquite tree off of our porch. We don’t often see bunnies this little… alive. Unfortunately, they make good eatin’ for the hawks, owls, snakes, bobcats, etc. Todd would probably prefer it,  if predatory appetites would lean more toward the dirt monkeys…

Why!…..  Why!…..Why do they have to be so adorable? It’s so much fun watching the little ones play and explore- treading on tip toes, their little tails standing at attention,quivering with anticipation. And of course they love to climb trees….

Awwwwww…..Look at his little hand!….So cute, you could just eat him up!

Geez, I hope we never actually have to….you know, eat them…when the world goes to hell…

Ok, back to cuteness-

Little baby hummer….chirp, chip, I love you!

And next, quite possibly the cutest pic ever…baby quialage…

One of my favorite visions of Todd’s Backyard, is watching little swarms of these fuzzballs,  parent quails in tow. Their little legs move so fast you can’t see them, thus giving the illusion of floating clouds of fluff traveling around the yard.

Of course we have a real soft spot for the quail after raising a couple from abandoned hatchlings. We still see our girls every now and then with their families!

Oh babies!…They just melt your heart! Ok..maybe the 109 degree temps have something to do with it as well!

 Happy Summer!

Dog Eats Orange…Goes Bananas!

It’s not often you find a dog who loves oranges! Our old dog Molly used to love them. We thought she might be kind of weird. Well…maybe not?

Tonight, we were sitting out on the porch and I plucked an orange off of the tree to sample with my sangria. Cooper took his spot in the chair next to me and immediately started giving me “Cooper Eye”….the look he gives you when he wants something really, really bad. If he throws you that look,  and doesn’t get what he want’s? Look out,  he starts his Cooper tantrum. So of course I obliged!

Mmmmmm……smells lovely!

Ahhhhhh….yesssss!  Lovin’ It!!!! Loving it……I think?

Ahhhhhhhh……

Oh yeah….that did me right!

Please Mum….Cawn I have some moh?

Creepy Cute

The creepy crawlers are coming out…well, they’re always out and about… but, with the approach of Halloween they seem to catch our attention just a bit more. This past week, we’ve  been collecting a few shots of our resident multi-legged mini monsters….

I swear these praying manitis’ are actually aliens! This little (big) guy greeted us on our front porch the other night. He seemed to listen to every word I said to him. After I took the photo and the flash went off, he got really friendly and kept trying to climb up my arm! I literally had to shake him off and run in the house! AAAAAHHHHHHH!

 

I love these beetles….I don’t know what variety it is, but they are really cute! (In bug terms)… We see them occasionally toddling along the porch, their over-sized antennas  swiveling around their heads like pointy radars. The dogs and cat will go give it a little sniff then leave it alone….maybe it’s a stink bug?

Yesterday, we found this humongus locust resting in our chili riesta. Probably seeking shelter from the big storm we had yesterday afternoon.

This little guy caught my eye, with his perfect web glistening in the sun. I can’t say that I really like the spiders, but this one did provide a perfect Halloweenish portrait.

Speaking of spiders, the tarantulas have been out at night, but we haven’t been able to get a good pic recently…..so I’ll go ahead and throw this pic in (taken a couple years ago)…

Sooooo cute and cuddly!

And then there’s  my may favorite little creature…. the ‘drunk bug’…

He come’s and shares a glass of wine with me almost every evening. I have looked on line to find out what it is, but I can not find anything about this bug….I really do think this one is an alien…but that’s for another blog post!

If anyone reading this knows what this bug is, don’t tell me….You’ll burst my buggy bubble!

In the house!

Todd has been killing himself building the perfect habitat and house for our new TBY resident….a desert tortoise named____??? Originally, we were going to call her Arby, but, it really doesn’t fit…she has sooo much personality, she needs a special name! Anyway, her backyard condo is going to be incredible when it’s done. Right now, it’s still  a work in progress…

After some initial disinterest, ‘Torti girl’ has decided to make it her home. It took a terrible monsoon thunderstorm the other night, for her to appreciate her new digs…Todd had to pluck her out of the bushes where she was sitting in an inch of water, trying to weather the storm, and he put her in her new house. We found her still there in the morning.


Our tortoise has really made herself at home!…In more ways than one!

It only took her one day to find the doggy door!

Un-phased by the dogs or other household hubbub, she marched right in the house, into our bedroom. It was our dog Lulu, that got my attention, and showed me her new buddy was in the house!

This is one of  her new favorite hang outs. She crawls up into the doggy bed full of doggy toys and sets a while, then makes her way to the bottom shelf of the bookcase  to take a longer nap.  She has done this now, at the same time every day for the past 2 days.

Today, she went a bit further..

She thought that she would share Zoe’s cubby hole. I had to grab ‘torti’ and put her outside, since I didn’t know exactly how her kitty sister would take the intrusion. But, once I put her back out the doggy door, she goes back to her tortoise paradise.

I can’t believe how this tortoise has a mind of her own…stubborn, courageous and sweet. Cooper, Baily and Zoe are in love, as are their parents!

Oh Baby!

The blistering desert heat seems to act as an incubator for all the baby birds! Everywhere we look, we can see full nests, or babies just leaving the nests. Baby doves wander up on the porch, seemingly tame. Probably because generations of their families have been born and raised just feet from where we humans hang out. The white wing doves seem to be the most prolific during the summer. They spend their summers here, just to have their babies, then they will leave and head further south for the winter.

Todd caught this picture just the other day! A pair of baby white wings….So ugly they’re cute!

‘Stripers’recently hatched quail chicks

The baby quail are thick! They are born in ‘stages’…The first ‘stagers’ hatch in May, the second ” around the first of July, and the third will show up around the end of August. So this time of year, we have two varieties of baby quail. The ‘stripers’ tiny striped balls of fuzz. And the ‘juniors’, gangly and half-grown, still following their parents around the yard. The family of 27 hatchlings we had several weeks ago, are now a mini horde of ‘juniors’. Unfortunately no longer 27 strong, but there are still a good 15 or 16!

Todd’s backyard also serves as nature’s nursery for other birds…the thrashers, orioles, sparrows, finches…More rare to see, are the baby cardinals…

So when we do see one, it’s a real ‘tweet’!