A Summery Summary

It seems just like yesterday Spring had sprung, but before we knew it, Summer had begun. The mild temps and gentle  Spring breeze suddenly turned to a searing 100 + degrees!  But even over the Summer we love our desert home and will recount this season’s events with this little poem…

We  were pleasantly surprised around mid June with an early debut of the Summer’s monsoon! Quenching the desert and keeping it wet…

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And the cloudy skies painted the most brilliant sunsets!

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Everything slows down in the monsoon’s muggy heat. An afternoon siesta is a sweet Summer treat!

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Unfortunately, there’s some creatures that just dont’ relax…Like the pillaging, plundering, leaf cutter ants…

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In the darkness of night they march by the billions, causing so much destruction it shocks us human civilians!

IMG_7658The remains of a pepper plant in the garden.

Every night through the Summer Todd goes on the attack, with a flame thrower and flashlight he torches them back. It’s Todd’s futile fight and a nightly ordeal, but I guess playing with flame thrower holds some sort of appeal?

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We have a new resident we see quite a lot. He’s out and about when the day is most hot. But, lizards do love the heat, that’s in their code, I just can’t figure out why they call this lizard a toad?

POEM11Horny Toad 

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Summer brings hordes of tiny baby quail, lined up behind mom, with their dad on their tail.  Sadly, quail babies are easy snackable fowl, for hungry hunters out on the prowl. As the Summer moved on we watched their numbers shrink, but those young ones remaining have grown larger, like these getting a drink…

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The baby quail , if not born into a family that’s wary, could end up as unfortunate Road Runner quarry. Some folks think Road Runners are really cool, but we think they’re creepy, sneaky and cruel. Small baby critters snatched away in a wink, even humming birds are not as safe as you think!

POEM6Road Runner- (Primary baby quail eater).

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After our pond had been ransacked by a wayward heron last year, we  couldn’t bear an empty pond, as Summer drew near. So, Todd restocked the pond with some simple goldfish, hoping the heron won’t come back for another fishy dish.

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Todd then decided to put his construction cap on and build a shady shelter over the pond. It’s an attractive addition the backyard scene, keeping the fish happy and the pond from getting too green!

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With all the rain it’s felt almost like the tropics, making it seem possible to grow something rather exotic. However, a lush rain forrest we are not,  but something like pineapples, guess what, we got!

This is our neighbor’s amazing apple-of-pine…We helped them eat it, and it was divine!

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pineapple

Last year I bought this plant that already came with it’s fruit. We let it ripen, then we ate it, then planted it’s top to take root.

 Below is the plant thats growing from that little top. Who knew pineapples were such a yummy, recyclable crop!

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However, we won’t expect a fruit for another whole year… Lots of patience required for this kind of farming career!

Todd definitely has some magic ‘green thumb’ power…. Early, his garden produced some lovely cauliflower.

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There were also some broccoli and some nice chili plants. The chilis would still be chillin’ if not for those damn leaf cutter ants!

We do have another crop that’s just now ready to pick…the prickly pear fruit…we’ve never them so thick!

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We will pick and deprickle them, then squeeze out the juice, which we freeze in ice cube trays for later use! (…like margaritas;)

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Our Gerti has had an enjoyable Summer, hanging out with old friends and a few new comers.

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She’s shared her house with lizards, rabbits and mice. And we uncovered some rattlesnakes in her garden, twice!! Thankfully, she didn’t seem at all destressed , but we totally freaked out, I must confess!

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Gerti was introduced to her strange mini twins, she was not at all impressed, to our chagrin. Now, they’ve had a chance to get to know each other, I think the little ones think Gerti’s maybe their mother?

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This Summer was the first after many changes last year, the loss of loved many ones we held so dear. But, we’ve been nourished by all of our many blessings as the desert’s season’s keep on progressing. The Summer rains have washed away the tears and renewed our strength with hope and cheer. Cheers!

Life keeps on going as time marches along…

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And to this hot muggy Summer, we say so long!

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A Shot of Fantasy with a Beer Chaser

And perhaps a grain of salt...

The seasons have come and gone in Todd’s Backyard. Each year seems to blend together with the predictable cycles of blossoming growth and barren dormancy, the frost and the heat, births and deaths. It’s fun to witness and document this magical process with photos, even though we may have dozens of similar photos from year to year: the blazing sunsets, blossoming cactus, resplendent reptiles, cute critters…etc…etc. It’s a rare moment when you come across something unexpected and completely new.

So, it was last week, at the peak of the monsoon season, that we stumbled upon an interesting scene. A scene rarely seen in the desert. It was hidden away under a fallen palm frond.

Hmmm….we do get mushrooms popping up here and there in the summer rains, but we’ve never seen an entire toadstool patch/grove/or whatever it’s called.

It brought to mind fairy tales and folklore, not usually associated with the prickly hot desert. Could this be a gateway into a fantasy world we had yet to discover?….

I think yes…Todd thinks I’m crazy!

 So check it out….I discovered a fairy tale kingdom in Todd’s Backyard with a cast of characters that has kept me entertained for the past week or so (on my computer)!

Reigning over his cactus kingdom is his royal majesty, King Hummy VIII. Small, but mighty, he rules with a fierce tenacity to defend his treasure! (Hummingbird food)

The King’s valiant knight, Sir Quailiant, guards the kingdom with valor and vigilance. Protecting his brood from the forces of evil, such as roadrunners and bobcats!

The kingdom’s feathered foe lies wait in the trees. His stealth and cunning ways have kept him fat and happy!

Robin Hawk.

Unlike his folk-lorish inspiration, this bloodthirsty outlaw eats the rich…. and the poor.. and he doesn’t share! The only thing he gives is a good scare!

But there is a lighter side to this tale…

You jest! No…I don’t!

Jairy. Always entertaining, never scary! Although he is a bit mischievous, he  puts the Ha Ha in Javelina!

But it’s this prince, that presumes himself the star of Todd’s backyard Kingdom! He would be King!(Charles) if he were not so spoiled!

Or perhaps its just the beginning! Another chapter may be in store if opportunity comes knocking… at the backdoor! HuhZaa!

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!