Don’t Fence Me In!

Gerti’s baby bunny busted out! Now, about 4 weeks old, he’s ready to leave his tortoise ‘mom’s’ plush digs. I got to witness the event, one early morning,when I let the dogs out. The little guy had emerged from Gert’s house and was finally big enough to hop up on the wall and get his first glimpse of the big scary (and prickly)  world that surrounds the tranquil tortoise garden.

He sat on the wall for quite a while trying to decide if he really wanted to go out there. Then, finally he started hopping round and found a little spot in the fence where he could squeeze out.

Once outside the fence, he scooted  under the first prickly pear cactus he saw…the one where the rattlesnake lives.

We wondered if we would ever see him again…and luckily, we have! He hangs out close to the house and we’ve seen him on several occasions. We can tell it’s him because his little ears stick straight out…not up! I’m thinkin’ that they grew that way, living in Gerti’s tight quarters for the first few weeks of his life!

So adorable!!! I call him Floppity:0 It’s fun watching him explore the yard and checking out the delectable array of desert edibles!

Some of the other larger local varmints, have been checking out the delectable edibles as well. Although they are finding that some of them are now off-limits!

Advertisements

Gerti’s House

We always get a little nervous in the Spring, because you never know, after 6 long months, if Gerti, our desert tortoise, survived the Winter. She heads into her den around mid November and sleeps until the heat starts kicking in mid May.

Gerti’s House

This year we were especially nervous because  it’s hit 100 degrees and we still hadn’t seen her. That, and she has collected a variety of roommates that are sharing her den! So we didn’t know if they’ve moved in because she had ‘checked out’! Finally, this past week, Gerti did emerge!

Gerti emerges from her winter digs in need of a bath!

And it seems that her being awake does not bother her live-in friends!

A pair of large collared lizards have made their home in Gerti’s den and have been busy populating the tortoise garden with baby lizards.

Lizard Love

Apparently, so have some rabbits! I don’t know how Gerti feels about this, but her roommates seem to be very comfortable sharing a space with a large, shelled reptile. There have been 2 baby rabbits born somewhere in the tortoise garden, maybe even inside Gerti’s house, but whether they were born in or out of the den, they hang out in there! It’s funny seeing a tiny ball of fluff sitting inside Gerti’s house! The first one grew and moved out several weeks ago, and now there is another one! I would imagine that mama bunny knows that she’s found a pretty safe spot to spit out her babies, so it will probably become a pretty common occurrence.

Unfortunately, not a great photo, but you can see his little eyes aglowin’!

So, it could be a Summer long party at Gerti’s house!

Gerti and her roommates

Mother Nature, May I….

…Take some photos?

The blossoming, pollen packed trees have dropped their adornment, and are now lush, green and shady. The temperatures are gradually easing us into the blasting heat of Summer. The nests are full of baby birds, chirping for their mothers. And it is in May that the cactus are in full bloom, providing the perfect subjects for awesome photos!

We can never get enough photos of the cactus blossoms! Thank you Mother Nature!

May I wish my mother and Todd’s mother (and mother’s of all species), a beautiful and blossoming  Mother’s Day!

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!