Prickling the Senses

Spring has sprung! And it has brought with it all of the wonderous desert, springy thingies, such as snakes and lizards emerging from their winter lodging, crazed rabbits zipping around the yard and shrieking birds feeding their babies. There is, in general, an overall hustle and bustle in Todd’s Backyard that we see only in the Spring. But the event that we look forward to the most this time of year, is the transformation of the usually drab desert, into an awesome spectacle of color and fragrance!

This beauty is actually in our neighbor’s backyard, where they have a fence to keep the javelina from feasting on their flowers! We had an electric fence around the yard last year, but ended up taking it down as it had been breached and broken, one too many times. So our yard has become a popular spot for the javelina to hang out! We have to get photos quick, before they come through and wreak havoc!

The hedgehog cactus blossoms are the javelina’s favorite!

Luckily, we did get a pic of this one before it was gobbled up! These, and the barrel cactus blossoms, are the most susceptible to javelinacide. Most of the other cactus blossoms such as prickly pear and cholla are out of their reach.

This  was the very first blossom we spotted, popping out just last week. It doesn’t take long for the rest to follow suit, and within the next few weeks, we should be in full cactus blossom mode!

The cacti are not the only desert foliage bursting with brilliance!

The Palo Verde trees not only look fabulous….they smell fabulous! Not so great for anyone with allergies, after about two weeks, we have a nice dusting of yellow ‘snow’!

The mesquite and acacia trees are also nice and fluffy right now! Talk about allergy misery!….

If you’ve never smelled a blossoming acacia tree, there is no other smell quite like it. The only way I can describe it is it’s like a super sweet piney scent. Wish someone could bottle it!

Everything is in bloom…Trees, Cactus…and of course the desert wild flowers! The rains this year, have resulted in a lovely array…

Bristly Nama

Penstemon

Mexican Bird of Paradise (My personal favorite!)

Needless to say, Todd’s Backyard is truly awesome in the Spring! Now….if we could just get the javelina to stop committing blossom-atrocities  we could really enjoy it!

Orange Blossom Bliss

For the past two weeks, we have been living in a state of fragrance induced euphoria! If you have never smelled orange blossoms…well….you are missing the sweetest, most lovely scent to ever tickle your senses! Planting two orange trees right off the porch is one of the best ideas that Todd has ever had:)

We don’t even have to wait for the actual oranges to get a buzz! Currently, loaded with blossoms, you can go stick your head up between the trees and get totally buzzed…by the bees! Hundreds of bees have been having orangy orgees that you can hear just sitting on the porch…BBBZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ! If you watch the trees from a distance and unfocus your eyes, it looks like they are moving, in a weird, supernatural sort of way!

In the mornings, as the sun is rising and there’s still a good chill in the air, it appears that a few bees have spent the night, too drunk on nectar to fly home. This bee was actually frozen like this on a blossom. Not dead, just really slow from the cold. When it warms up, he’ll be back at it!

After two weeks of this wild orangiastic activtiy, the trees have been, for the most part, deflowered. The ambrosian  aroma still lingers in the air….

And an orange is born…

I’m so looking forward to that screwdriver!!

Full

I think a better word for Fall, is Full. Everything is full…. the rain gauge (almost 10″ this year so far!), the billowing, late monsoon clouds, cactus loaded with fruit, trees lush with leaves, critters feasting and getting ready to  hibernate, hearts getting ready for the holidays. It has to be the best time to live in the desert!

The white wing dove’s nest’s are still full, with the 3rd and final round of summer babies before they leave for the winter.

The prickly pears are bursting with a bounty of fruit, ready to pick now through the end of October. We’ve already been picking some of the fruit for our favorite resident…

T.L.’s favorite!…and she is certainly getting her fill before she hibernates!

Our other favorite residents, Jairy (the javelina) and his buddies, are bringing their little one’s around so they can fill up for the cooler months to come.

The birds are thick….migrating through the backyard, keeping Todd on his toes, trying to keep the feeders full.

Not to mention the hummingbird feeders, which get drained every night (this time of year), with the bats coming through to feed! Although luckily, the hummers have a few other sources in the yard for their sweet sustenance.

We are looking forward to our own sweet treats later this fall.We are going to get the mesquite beans milled into flour. We’ve collected and filled two 5 gallon pails, which will hopefully yield enough flour to make…um…..something…sweet???

We should also have a bumper crop of oranges, come February! There are literally hundreds of little oranges growing on the two orange trees in Todd’s Backyard.

We are truly thank-full to have made it through the Summer to enjoy this beauti-full and bounti-full fall!

Sunday Morning Serenity

This morning started with a bang….literally! A large white wing dove hit the bedroom window, flushed by a hungry hawk. The impact shook the house and instantly killed the dove. It hit so hard, it left a ghostly an imprint…

Needless to say, it did’t seem like a great beginning to an otherwise peaceful Sunday morning.

However, we were pleasantly surprised to open the sliding glass doors to a cool breeze reminiscent  of cooler spring days and the yard drenched in a lovely late Spring, early morning light! The day was looking up!

As we sat with our coffee, taking in the perfect peace, our little ‘Chi-otie’ found a patch of sun to get her warmed up for the day…

And the succulents perched on the porch ledge, were soaking up the sun as well…

I think it IS going to be a lovely day!

All Hail the King Quail

Last Sunday we got to witness the spectacular tournament of the local male quail competing for the rights of ‘royalty’. There were about 2o gathered at the base of a mesquite tree. Each would take turns trying to knock off  the quail perched on the highest limb.

Each male quail would take turns. As one got pushed out of the tree, another would  fly up to take his place.

On the ground, the defeated were consoled  by their disappointed mates…

A perfectly princely pose!

And finally the celebratory KA-KAAAAW!…KA- KAAAAW!

All Hail the King Quail

KA- QURADULATIONS!

Sunrise or Sunset?

I don’t know about you, but it seems like every day I’m trying to pull my head above water and breath some optimism into my life. I don’t mean to sound morbid or depressed, but times now are kind of scary! Todd’s and my life has been blessed… But,  I’m more concerned for this world than I have ever known. I do pray everyday….And I’m not even a church goer!…Thats right…I Don’t Go To Church (God forgive me!)…But I know that I’m so blessed to have a sanctuary like Todd’s Backyard, to keep me focused and and centered in God’s love.  I pray for my family, I pray for my friends, I pray for this country, I pray for everyone in this world!

Some of the  most inspirational times in Todd’s Backyard, to me, are the spectacular sunrises and sunsets in the desert.

The most amazing sunsets are before, or after the worst storms!

‘The Eye of God’

The thing is, all of the photos that we’ve captured, have been of sunsets, even though the sunrises can be just as spectacular!

It makes me think about Benjamin Franklin, when he sat, in physical misery, at the Constitutional Convention. He kept his mind off of his physical pain by staring at the back of a chair which was carved with a sun…..He could not tell if, in this carving, the sun was rising or setting.

I think a lot of folks these days, think that the sun is setting, on their lives, on this nation, on this world….But I do believe the best could, and will  be ahead…because with the storm, the sunset may take your breath away, but there is always a sunrise to come!

Rockin’ the hood!

I don’t know if I ever mentioned…We live on a mine! Todd’s Backyard sits on the east side of Freeport Copper and Gold. When the city decided to improve our main thorough fare, we had heaps of rock piled along side the road. It looked like piles of  brown dirty rock. Our good neighbors, George and Eileen, suggested that we take a hammer and go investigate. Armed with hammers and a wheelbarrow, we journeyed to the road, determined to uncover something amazing. We were not dissappointed!  Below the brown, mud encrusted debris, we uncovered treasure!!….

I bet there’s gold in them, thar rocks!

If not gold…beautiful color for sure!

Turquois?

Azurite?

One of these days, we are going to prospect in the wash that runs behind Todd’s Backyard! Even if we don’t find gold, Todd’s already developed a treasure above ground! But it’s always fun to find what might lie below!