My Landscaping Crew…

IMG_8593The Harris’ Antelope Squirrel gathers and plants seeds (note the chubby cheek).

IMG_8615The Round-tailed Ground Squirrel aerates my soil.

IMG_8664The Rock Squirrel creates berms and swales for rainwater harvesting.

IMG_8624The Verdin removes bugs from my plants.

IMG_8650These Gambel’s Quail remove bugs from my soil.

IMG_8708This Desert Cottontail trims groundcovers.

Shrub-climbing Desert Cottontail

This Desert Cottontail trims bushes (he’s an arborist).

IMG_8745And this Desert Cottontail is clearly the supervisor (specializing in siestas).

They don’t work during the middle of the day in the summer and I wish they wouldn’t trim things back so hard but their rates are really reasonable and they work year round, so I guess I can’t complain.

Bears in the Pool

Yeah, I know, the web has been buzzing with this swimming bear family today. I enjoyed watching them frolic, they are so curious and have a lot of energy. I’m glad the pool owners’ shared their video (though to be honest, I highly recommend muting it so you don’t have to listen to the kids).

Towards the end it seems like Momma Bear just wants some time alone. With 5 cubs who can blame her?

Which brings me to the question – how in the world did she end up with 5 cubs?! Talk about exhausting – the average black bear (Ursus americanus) litter size is 2-3. I’d be swatting their furry bottoms too! *

Screen shot 2015-08-21 at 10.19.02 PM*Don’t stress, I don’t have kids so you don’t have to worry about me swatting anyone’s bottom.

Advice from Tigger

Life is not about how fast you run or how high you climb, but how well you bounce.

Sounds like excellent advice to me! Thank you A.A. Milne for sharing the wisdom of Pooh and friends.

Since I don’t have any Tigger photos I thought I’d share a picture of one of the bounciest critters that lives in the Sonoran Desert, a Harris’ Antelope Squirrel (Ammospermophilus harrisii). They run and they climb but they seem to prefer bouncing. I wish I had a shot of them in the act but this cheeky shot will have to do.

Sassy Squirrel

Harris’ Antelope Squirrel, June 2010, Tucson, AZ

Herd a Bison – Metaphor for My Life

Discovered this oh-so-true-for-me quote in the recent Nature Conservancy magazine:

“You can herd a bison anywhere it wants to go.”

Stubborn is one descriptor often employed for me. I like to think of it as determination and perseverance. I know I was born this way, “I do it myself!” was one of my favorite childhood phrases. Over the years I think this trait has served me well (mostly).

Good for a Back Rub (Bison bison)

Bison, National Bison Range, Montana, August 2008


I admit it, I am a pluviophile! Growing up in the Sonoran Desert molded me into a lover of water but especially rain. I watch the clouds and track the drops. Rain makes me and the plants and the wildlife very happy indeed.

The lack of rain during one of our 2 rainy seasons makes me crabby. I’m getting a wee bit fed up with the folks on the east side of town with their puddle photos. I’m tired of hearing about their inches of rainfall. Grrr!

Apparently, there needs to be a word that describes a rainless pluviophile. Come on, monsoons!

Sunshower! At least it started raining...

Sunshower! At least it started raining…

Snakes Alive!

A little excitement here this evening, we found a Common Kingsnake (Lampropeltis getula) in our yard. It was at least two feet long, glossy, and quite healthy looking. It quickly decided that it did not want to hang out with us and slithered under the fence. It feels good to have one living nearby since they are known to eat rattlesnakes.

Here’s a couple shots of the snake peeking out from its safe place. And the reactions from Bailey and Wylie. As you can see, old Bailey was not nearly as interested as young Wylie.


Jurassic World Vocals

Excellent article from Audubon showcasing the wide variety of bird sounds used to vocalize the dinosaurs in the smash summer hit Jurassic World. Very fitting since birds and dinosaurs are so closely related!

If you haven’t seen the movie yet, do so. It was a fun romp, the special effects are amazing, and there is a moral aspect to it that should leave you with plenty to ponder.

And because I’m a Parrothead – keep your eyes peeled for the guy “rescuing” not one but two margaritas. It’s Jimmy Buffett’s cameo and a perfect role for him.

11941813723_f0804daf35_bHarris’s Hawk, Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, 12-27-2013