What the F?

Frozen, Frantic, and Fierce!  Never in the history of our desert region (supposedly since 1913) has it been 15 degrees! We woke up this morning to a frozen desert.Which meant frozen solid hummingbird feeders…which turned our local hummingbirds into some fired up, frantically fighting food fighters!  In other words…they were pissed! We could hear them before we opened the door to a blast of frigid air. Todd rushed out to collect all of the feeders to defrost under hot water…pronto. I went out to help, and could not believe it!  I had not felt this kind of bitter cold since I last visited Michigan last year at this time. And the poor little hummers, in their frenzy for food, were whizzing about. Probably the only way they could stay unfrozen. One little guy buzzed by my head so close I felt his wings on my cheek. The hummingbird  ‘chatter’ was deafening…..We quickly concluded there is nothing as frightening as a huffy heat-deprived hummingbird!

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Brrrrringing in the New Year!

As 2010 came to a close, and a new year began, the temperatures dropped. Todd’s Backyard saw its first frost  of the year and even a few snow flakes! There’s a new dusting of snow on the mountains, creating a dazzling desert winterscape.

The  reptillish residents and small ground dwellers are hopefully tucked away, safely sleeping underground. This time of year, the most activity we see are the hummingbirds buzzing around, fiercely guarding their feeders. And the wrens and thrashers busy pecking around the frozen ground trying to find a little grub. Some grub eaters have even resorted to an easier meal…

Our desert landscape has thinned out. The vibrant colors have dimmed except for the festive red dotting the China berry bushes.

With the temperatures plunging into the teens at night, and not getting above 40-something during the day,  some things  prone to freezing,  had to get bundled up…

Yeah….I know…what a pussy!

Winter Glow

Todd’s Backyard is starting look a little different as Christmas approaches and winter sets in. Surprisingly to some, it’s very festive even before we’ve put up our Christmas lights! Of course, we don’t have the snow, (but then, you never know!). However, we do enjoy the winter glow…

The chilly mornings take on a different hue as the moon rises with the sun. At the same time, to the west, the ‘Christmas Tree of Lights’ sits on the hill overlooking Todd’s Backyard, still lit in the early hours of the morning…

The  winter days tend to warm back up, but the evening and morning chill has taken it’s effect on the desert residents. The dirt monkeys, squirrels, lizards and tortoise are burrowed in, hibernating until spring. Some of the other residents have put on their winter coats….

 

And for those of us who are not ready to put on our winter duds…Todd created a cozy hangout where we can enjoy the winter season in the warm glow of  friendship, fine wine, and a toasty fire….ahhhhhhh……

We are so looking forward to the Holidays!

Mesquite Mess-take

About 6 week ago, Todd and I decided to harvest the mesquite beans that were bursting on the trees! Something we had thought about, but never got around to actually doing it!

I had done a little research and found out that there are several ‘milling events’ around this area in the fall, to mill these beans into flour! We were really excited because we had a bumper crop of beans that appeared to be perfect for this process!

We selected the best beans from the trees and filled two 5 gallon pails, which should yield enough to make several loaves of bread….ahhhhh fresh baked bread with sweet mesquite dough! Every time I think about it my mouth waters…I can just smell it…

But, alas,  this vision will only be in our imaginations since we messed up our delectable plans with procrastination.

We were supposed to  place the beans in the oven right after we picked them, and bake at 120 degrees for 2 hours to make sure that they were dry enough to mill. Well, Todd put the buckets ‘o’ beans in the garage, cleaned and covered, to await the baking process. It was finally about 2 weeks ago, we decided to start the ‘bean bake’…..but bugs beat us to the punch! Arrrrggghhhh! Apparently, baking not only dried the beans, but killed any little buggy things that might be inside them! Oh well, another year, another lesson!

It’s Barrelly Fall in the Desert!

It’s almost Labor Day, which brings with it the promise of fall. When the rest of the country enjoys autumn with lowering temperatures and colorful trees, we desert dwellers, enjoy it a little differently….The mesquite and palo verde trees stay green and the temps don’t really drop until later, in October. We are, however, treated with a brilliant display of fall color – bursting on the barrels!

The barrel cactus dot the yard. Their flowery crowns in fiery shades of reds, oranges, golds and yellows, infuse the desert with fall color!

As they start to blossom, the buds look like flames. Then, when they are in full bloom, burst into fall fireworks!

Who says you can’t enjoy the seasons, when you live in the desert!