Eat, Drink, Be Merry…and Some Other Shit

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The heat is starting to prickle here in the desert. This week promises temps between 100 and 110…. aaauuugggghhh! So, it’s not surprising that the feeders, water dishes and pond are popular hangouts for the local wildlife. Every morning and late afternoon we see it all! Birds, rabbits, squirrels, javelina, lizards, bobcat, coyote, and just the other day our ‘creature from the desert hollows’ (the toad), crawled out of his hole to find refreshment. When it’s just too hot to do anything else, just eat, drink and be merry!…


Five finches find food at the fully filled feeder.

A quail couple chow down on the ‘Peckasso’ block seeder.



Baby buns have fun nibbling in the cool grassy place.

A red winged black bird gets photo-bombed while stuffing his face!



Hummingbirds flirt and hover around their honey hole hangout.

This Baltimore oriel takes a sip stop on his way-back-home Northern route.




This starling likes to take a sip and a dip.

The bunny takes a drink to put the hop  in his hip!



 The hawk  takes a water break and claims his domain.

 Mr . Toad  took a sip and a dip now just waits for the rain.




The coyote gets a cool drink, soothing and calm.

A closer look reveals…yes it is…another photo bomb!  (Silly quail!)



And be Merry…



 The javelina , you would think, might want some water to swallow. But, they would rather tip over their drink and make a nice mud wallow!

Eat, drink and be merry, then what do we do?


Guess the only thing left…. you just gotta poo!     (Pictured above, a lovely specimen of javelina shit 😉 )

A Hibernation Happitat!

It’s finally hibernation time for our resident tortoise, Gerti (a.k.a. the Torta Lisa). A few weeks ago, Todd built a beautiful new tortoise habitat, with a warm southern exposure. Luckily, she seemed to like it, taking right to her new burrow. The rest of the ‘gang’ likes her new house as well!

Even as of  last week, Gerti was still poking her head out to enjoy a little warm afternoon sun. Cooper has found a new spot for winter sunbathing as well….

Gerti’s burrow sits in the perfect spot to stay warm in the sun, until it sets. So we won’t have to be too worried about her freezing!…..I hope!

We haven’t seen her for the past few days, so I think Gert is down for the winter. When she wakes back up in the spring, Gerti will be greeted with a new landscape which will include a shallow pond, a lush grassy lawn of tiff and clover, and native plants that tortoises eat, such as hibiscus, morning glory and of course her favorite prickly pear! Todd’s already started with some clumps of deer grass….

And then, Todd’s next project is going to be cementing and painting the wall, then cap it with brick….should be a great addition to Todd’s Backyard!

I just wonder how the rabbits, squirrels, lizards and other assorted yard dwellers are going to share Gerti’s little plot of paradise! Hopefully, it will put a little happy in everyone’s habitat!


A Tortoise Adventure

Our torti girl is getting ready to hibernate…but she doesn’t like the burrow that Todd built her.

At least not for her winter hibernation. (She loved it this summer!)

Todd talked to an expert today, and he said that the desert tortoises winter burrows need to face south. Unfortunately, the wonderful summer burrow faces north….and Tortalee does not like it!  She has not been sleeping in her house with the temps staring to dip!  I found her the other morning, under a bush on the south wall of the house, groggy and grumpy.

Sooo…. we are going to embark on the construction of a  new enclosure, that’s just off the back porch, with lots of sunny southern exposure for the winter. In the mean time, TL came in the house today (through the doggy door), to make her laps around the house. I think that she may be looking for a good place to  hibernate in the house.

We have friends that keep desert tortoises and they let them hibernate in their house….in a box….in the closet! I just don’t see that happening here! But, I guess if that works, it works. But, hoping that TL will adapt to Todds Backyard (Outside the enclosed potty garden where she lives now),  I thought that I would let our little torti girl out on the porch to investigate her future home. And, she had quite the time!

One of the first things she did, was wander off of the porch and  find the pond. When she is attracted to water it usually means that she’s thirsty. So, before she plunged head first into the pond to drown, we turned the hose on the pavers and she waded and drank to her heart’s content….then made her way in the opposite direction, to explore some more!

Ohhhh! Prickly pear fruits…TL’s favorite! So, she made her way into the yard, finding all of the fallen fruit, (prickly pear). But what was really cool is that she got to discover the fruit herself, instead of being offered on a platter of  veggie delicacies. She sampled various fallen fruits as she made her way deeper into Todd’s Backyard.

But then, to our surprise, she found her way back to her favorite spot!

Tomorrow, Todd will be working on TL’s new space….It will be outside! …It will be facing South! …..And she will be sleepy, sleepy, happy, happy, there this winter!

The Torta Lisa

Our lovely tortoise girl has become one of the family. Although, we have not been able to settle on a name, ( Todd calls her Gerti, Donna calls her Daisy, Mom calles her Torti), I call her Torta Lisa. It fits, as she is beautiful and she always has this mischievous little smile!

Or perhaps she’s just pissed off!

She really shouldn’t be!…Todd’s built her a spacious tort-house with designer touches and beautiful tortoise-friendly landscaping…She seems to find it very agreeable as she is spending a lot of time there!

She has a lush yard of grass and clover for grazing. We’ve found that her very favorite treat is prickly pear fruit. Lucky for her, it’s just starting to ripen, so she will be able to get her fill, before she hibernates.

Plus, the prickly pear provide a soothing facial treatment, perfect for her delicate complexion!

She finds her way in the house about every other day, where she does laps around the kitchen and living room. Torta-L is committed to keeping in shape! Although, she sometimes finds a comfy place to take a little nap from time to time…

Her obvious vanity rears its head when she constantly flirts with her admirers as she makes her rounds!

For Baily, it’s a severe case of puppy love!

But how could anyone not love her! She may be a little vain, but she is funny, friendly and well-mannered…(Well, she did potty in the living room once!) But, luckily, her shit doesn’t stink! (Lulu obviously doesn’t think so either, since she likes to eat it!) (Gag!!!) Bad Lulu! Maybe it’s just a jealousy/girly thing?

But, we really do love having Torta (gerti-daisy-torti) Lisa as part of our family. We will miss her, for a few months, when she goes into hibernation this fall. I’ve got some great pics though, so we can gaze into her lovely face from time to time, when we are pining for her!

‘The Torta Lisa’…Classic!

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!

Tortoise Among Us!

We’ve been talking about adopting a desert tortoise for some time. Todd’s Backyard would be the perfect home for one (there actually may be some here, but we’ve never seen them). We would also love the opportunity to expand the variety of natural desert dwellers. As fate would have it, we got our wish last night!

After a botched attempt to meet up with friends for some Saturday night socializing…(we got lost in Tucson trying to find the party…aaggrrhhh), we sadly went back home to spend the evening pouting. Todd decided to go to Arbys to get some dinner. He returned, not with the medium roast beef sandwich I had expected. But, with a rather large tortoise!

Apparently, on the way to Arbys, he found it sitting in the middle of a busy street. Since there wasn’t any natural desert around, Todd decided the best thing to do was bring it home, as it would surely get run over!

So, meet the newest member of the family….

A beautiful, 20 something year old girl (I’m pretty sure) We are thinking about calling Arby! But, we are open to suggestions!

We put her in the ‘potty garden’ (a lush, fenced in area in the backyard) equipped with all the features required desert tortoise digs…Except a burrow- Today, Todd is building one and turning the area into a ‘fairytale’ tortoise habitat for her.

For now, she is busy marching around her new yard, investigating her surroundings.  Hopefully, she will be happy here! The dogs have met her…Cooper is scared of her. Baily and Lulu are like….’whatever’. They gave her a little sniff and went about their business.

It’s going to be a learning experience, and is likely to be tortally cool adventure!