They have yet to drink

Coyotes at the watering hole.  Barking Dog.  Coyotes no more.

So it’s not exactly a haiku but that is the gist of it.  There wasn’t enough time to grab my camera and now the dog is mad at me for not letting her out.  When she barks indoors, my ears hurt. I don’t know how to let her know that by putting a small fountain in the backyard, I invited them. 

Since creating this water feature, I’ve seen them 3 times.  They have yet to drink. 

Surely, the love for water is stronger than the fear of a barking dog.  Maybe, it takes time to trust that there is water in this dry desert where it has not been before.  Or, maybe, a treasure like this must be shared and so the coyote trotted off to gather others. 

In any case, I hope the dog is distracted elsewhere next time they come.

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Desert Bones

In Arizona, it feels like my bones are warm in a way that is familiar to me but that I have not felt in a long time.  I tell my countrymen and the ones living in Windsor understand.  I’m not sure the ones living in Arizona can relate to my ecstasy.  It is ‘hotter than hell’ here for part of the year.  A purifying heat if you let it into your soul.  With time, the heat can dry the emotions and turn into ash that which was becoming moldy.  And then, when you least expect it, a drop, just a drop of water is all it takes to grow something anew.  Fresh.  Bursting with renewed energy.  Maybe a love blossoming.  It is impossible to stand under the big skies at sunrise and not feel the hand of something greater here. It is impossible to see the saguaro skeletons and not know that your bones are strong as well.

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They’re Everywhere

I have a catch and release policy when it comes to creepy crawlies.  But… I find my space overrun by small black bugs with a red/orange line outlining their wings. 

I have been using my Dustbuster to gather them up – there are too many to catch one at a time as I quickly discovered yesterday and last night – and the Dustbuster doesn’t kill them. 

I have a bright green and yellow bug catcher that I keep handy for the occasional cricket or spider.  It is one of my favorite possessions.  It used to be part of a nature exploration play set that my kids used to discover the natural world around them.  I love the magnifying glass feature branded the Carson BugView.  I’m not sure what happened to the small screened cage that looked like an old fashioned lunchbox with mesh sides and a circular Plexiglas door.  The last time my son used it, I think he was stung by a bee. 

deadly bubble bath

In Googling the bugs, I found out that although harmless, they are numerous and they multiply exponentially.  They can survive the winter by hiding inside and outside the house.  I wondered if by taking them outside, I was making the problem worse.  Inside, they are eventually drowning in the sink, cat and dog water bowls and getting swatted by others who do not share my philosophy of live and let live. 

If they just lingered on the kitchen window and screen, or on the white walls, or around a light fixture, I am OK with the occasional sweep with the Dustbuster and the release into the backyard, but last night it was impossible to work as they were drawn to the glow of my laptop screen.  I was wearing a tank top and found it annoying to keep having to remove them from my arms and shoulders where I could feel them crawling.  And, it seemed the more I removed the more there was to remove. 

This morning, they are more attracted by the bright light of the large window next to my desk.  I will leave them alone for now. 

I don’t know what I will do late tonight when the brightest light in the room is my laptop screen.  If insects are as smart as I think they are, they may find their way out before nightfall.

For the curious in you, I used Google and found the BugView online – Carson BugView.  I’m not affiliated to these people in any way shape or form… but I love my bug catcher and wanted to share.

Here’s the link to one article I found about similar (maybe the same) bugs.


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Smart Move

The dog growled as the javelina crossed the courtyard.

Photo Copyright F

Normally, she would spring up alert with her nose pressed against the window.  Normally, she would have paced impatiently back and forth between the window and the front door letting out a whistle that could only mean “let me at it…”  She would nudge the front door handle repeatedly to get my attention if I wasn’t yet up from my computer at the dining room table.   Normally, she takes her job of ‘securing the premises’ very seriously.  But this morning, at 5:00 AM, she knew that it was already too hot.  And so, she stayed reclined on the carpet under the fan uttering a token growl as we both watched the intruder strut out of sight on the way to the make shift watering hole under the yucca.

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Thirsty Cardinal

The cardinals came to drink at the fountain today.  The female was clever and did not allow me the opportunity to get a good picture.  But the male as you can see is such a poser.

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Bittersweet Silence

Tonight, I found that the bees have moved on.  Even before I had a chance to blog about them which I was planning to do – promise!  Maybe I still will post this year’s experience.  I say this year because this is the second year that the bees have come to visit.  This year, I allowed them to linger longer because they happened to be outside and I’m OK sharing the outside of my home with them.  This year, they were here long enough that I started fantasizing about next year, when I would share raw honey with my neighbours.  But now, I’m left with the bittersweet silence they leave behind.  I had grown used to the familiar hummmmm that at times felt like an Ohm being sung just for my soul.  I think I will miss them when I let my dissapointment surface but for now, there are too many other distractions, like dinner, and children, and getting ready for work tomorrow after a wonderful long weekend.

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Fireworks in Cave Creek

It’s been a great weekend in Cave Creek, spent with family and visiting friends.  The fireworks displays have not dissapointed and we were lucky to have them for two nights in a row.  The display on July 3rd was sponsored by Harrolds and tonight’s display (see photos in this post) was sponsored by the Cave Creek Coffee Company

While standing in the courtyard watching the fireworks at Harrolds yesterday, we noticed another display to our right – we figured it was around the area of Cave Creek rd and Spurr Cross.  No sooner that we all turned to look that the desert caught fire.  A stressful feeling for sure since the breeze was feeling more and more like a wind.  Thankfully, we heard sirens as we started to smell the thick smoke.  And, not long after, all was under control. 

Recently there’s been talk about legalizing the sale and use of some fireworks in Arizona.  A scary thought.  Fortunately, the town of Cave Creek is already looking into developing an ordinance to protect our desert and keep everyone safe.  Here’s the article from AZ Central

Last night was a reminder not to play with fire.

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Welcome to my Love Cave Creek AZ Blog.   Everyday is an adventure in the Sonoran Desert. 

From beekeeping, gardening, to co-habitating with the wildlife, there’s never a dull moment here.  So look before you step and leave your wrist watch behind.

In March, the desert marigolds bloomed and the cardinal returned to the birdfeeder in the backyard. 

In April, the oriole set up house in the palm tree, the bees moved into the electrical box on the back patio and started building comb at an amazing rate.  The ocotillo tips burst into their familiar fiery orange.  I photographed a quail’s nest with 11 eggs in a planter next to the bathroom window and worried that the large raven would loot the nest. 

In May, a baby bunny distracted me from my morning journaling, a bevy of quail fed on birdseed in the backyard and the new owlet was fully grown by the time I went down to the wash to photograph it.  The bees could no longer stay on the patio and I relocated them under the large mesquite in the backyard. 

It is early June and yesterday we had to relocate two large diamondbacks away from the stairs leading to the garage.  This is only days after one of them reared its head and threatened my husband. 

I can’t wait to see what the July to December time frame will bring.

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This blog post is not for the faint of heart.  Yesterday, while helping me trim some plants on a landing that is next to the steps leading to the garage, my friend shouted “there’s two”.

Earlier in the morning, I warned him that we had spotted a diamondback just under the step where we were working.  And to confirm, I leaned down to pick up a large piece of recently shed snake skin.  It was still moist and supple.  He cringed as I rubbed my fingers across the ridges of what was the underbelly.  “Just make some noise and don’t put your hand where you can’t clearly see.” I told him.  “The snakes are more scared of you than you are of them.”  I could tell he was not convinced.  “But be careful, my husband was almost bit on the weekend when he stepped too close to the snake sunning itself on the concrete step.”

Of course, he ignored me until he heard the rattle and when he looked, he saw two.  In this video you can only see one.

… we eventually had to move the two snakes in order to finish our work and we relocated them just to the other side of the house.  I did not let my friend handle them with the rake like he wanted to.

Rattlesnakes move very fast and can strike with incredible speed and their venom can be deadly.  I don’t understand what part of that is difficult to understand.

Moving snakes is not for amateurs…

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The Earth Is My Witness

The Buddha reaches down and touches the earth and says “the earth is my witness”.

I live in the desert where the wildlife and I connect at the threshold of my front door.  A moment of slight inattention, where a door is left ajar may later require the careful use of a broom to escort the latest curious visitor outside.  That’s what it took to help direct the large ugly toad back to its natural habitat.  I’ve also removed a tarantula with a glass jar from the carpet at the foot of my bed.  Fortunately, I have never had a diamondback inside my kitchen.

The closest one was on the back patio approximately 4 feet from the threshold that separates us and that is just enough space for me to freeze and catch my heart in the back of my throat at the sound of the familiar rattle.  As I try and will myself to relax, I feel grateful for the warning but quickly I find myself in a state of shame about my lapse in memory.  What part of “look before you step” is difficult for me?

Sometimes, I look, but I just don’t see.

Twice, in the same day, a bull snake slithered between my legs, as I stepped outside.  And, twice, I startled.

Although the snakes are not welcome in the house, they are welcome in my garden.  You see, the snakes eat the rodents that could destroy my plants.  When I’m in my garden, I’m not in my head.  Close to the ground there is no separation between us and the diamondbacks have never rattled.  In my garden, I have almost touched them.  Not that I wanted to.  When I found my hand inches from one lying on its back sunning its belly under my peppers, I took my cue and left.  Yes, it is My garden, but the responsibility to stay out of their way is also mine.

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