A Jairy Javalina Tale

Tonight one of our Javalina buddies stopped by to say hi. It’s illegal to feed them, but it’s hard to resist their pleading little beady eyes, dancing snout and permanent smile. The Javalina are so ugly, they’re cute! This guy is a regular visitor. We call him Jairy- (The J is pronounced H, as in Javalina)….

On his frequent visits, Jairy usually finds time to take a quick nap!

Sometimes we get the entire family. There’s about 5 in a group that come around fairly often. This guy is a loner. Maybe because the males separate from the group when it’s mating season…but honestly, I don’t know for sure. What I do know, is they stink! I mean really, really stink….like skunk! We love them anyway!

However, on a sad and serious note, we believe that someone in our neighborhood is setting down traps to keep them away. We’ve noticed more than a couple that seem to have injured feet. We also had a bloody trail crossing our driveway in the front. We know that the Javalinas can be a pain in the neck. They’ve caused lots of damage in Todd’s Backyard, but we solved the problem by putting up an electric fence…not ideal, but effective! It’s doesn’t seem to have hurt their feelings what so ever!

Tickled to be Prickled!

Cactus are amazing! I always thought that they were the ugliest plants…in fact, I never even considered them plants. But the longer I live in the desert, the cactus have really grown on me! And sometimes even stuck on me….not so much a cactus fan when I step on a cholla or back into a prickly pear. But they still amaze me. We have a many varieties of ‘prickleys’ in Todd’s Backyard.

Cactus are particularly beautiful when they are blooming!

“Old Man Cactus”

And sometimes they are just weird!

“Funny Bunny Cactus”

OUCH!!

The birds don’t mind the prickles! Many make their nests among the spiny arms.

The Cholla are especially popular nest sites for birds. Even though the needles are poisonous! You could even die if you fell into a cholla and got totally embedded- not just because of the poison prickes, but you probably would not be able to detach yourself from it! Danger abounds in Todd’s Backyard!

But then, we do have the healing Aloe Vera growing like weeds! Not only useful, but beautiful when they are in bloom!

“Santa Rita Cactus” or  commonly called Purple Cactus

More on cactus to come….We should have an amazing blossom season in May, as we’ve had a pretty wet winter. Springtime in the desert is truly when we are ‘tickled’ to be prickled!

Peckasso lives in Todd’s Backyard

Those little peckers have some talent!

Todd decided to put a seed block out for the birds. He thought it might cut down on the massive $$$ we spend on bird food every month….I think the birds eat better than we do!   The seed block was a big hit with the local quail, thrashers, cardinals, woodpeckers and other assorted birds that come to feast in Todd’s Backyard. Little did we know, that the birds like to play with their food….In a very creative way!

"Translation and Transformation"“Translation in Transformation”

We thought this was pretty cool!……

Until we saw the next one!…..

"Rabbit in Repose"“Rabbit in Repose”

I can’t wait to see what they do with the next block!

Dirt Monkeys

It’s that time of year when all the little dirt monkeys come out of hibernation and start multiplying.

babies

Sickeningly  cute when they are little, they do grow up and tend to overrun the yard eventually. They do get thinned out a little by fall, since they provide a nice feast for the hawks, roadrunners, coyotes,  and snakes!

Zoe would love to get her little paws on one!

Come on out little dirt monkeys!….We’re ready for you!

Sundogs… Going to celebrate this weekend!

I’m home sick and sun deprived! I’ve spent the past week in cold, snowing and gray Ann Arbor Michigan during the worst snow storm of the year! (so I’m told!)  I’m just trying to imagine the sun soaking into my bones, and smelling Todd’s mesquite grill!  I cannot wait to be back in Todd’s Backyard!!!

Lulu BlissHang in there Lulu!…Mommy will be home to enjoy the afternoon happy hour with you soon!!

The BoysSoak up some sun for me!

ToddCelebration this weekend!….with a beer and a BBQ! I can’t wait!!

A Quail Tale

We rescued 5 abandoned baby quail on July 4th, 2009….the day they were born. Quail aren’t that smart…at least the parents of these babies. They built a nest in a planter where the babies could not get out after they hatched. They do this every year. This year, they got 5 out and left 5 in the nest.

That’s where we stepped in.

We called them the Whootoos-

Their call: ” Woooo Tooooo! Woooo Tooo!”. They quickly adapted to their penned life and started to thrive. Our dogs, Lulu and Baily claimed them as their own. The only way the baby birds would settle down is if Lulu or Baily were in attendance.  Unfortunately, 3 did not make it. Only 2 survived.

We released them in September. This was the first thing that they did…plunked down in the grass and lounged!

They spent many happy hours on the porch with us.

At the end of each day, when the sun started setting, the whootoos would make their way back to the fenced area where we released them.

This is where they roost for the night.

Although, sometimes they would take a little nap on the porch!

As the weather started to cool, the whootoos spent more and more time out with the wild quail in the yard. Eventually, one of them (we had dubbed Hook)  joined a covey and she did not come back to the porch. The other, we called Hootch, still came back to the porch now and then to do a little socializing.

This was the day Hootch came to say farewell.

She sat with us for about an hour, said her goodbyes, and left for the wild. We see Hook and Hootch everyday. They still roost where we released them.  They  both found groups and hopefully mates. We will anxiously wait to see if they have their own babies and possibly bring them by for a visit!

We will also see if there is another batch of babies to rescue from the planter this summer!