Posts Tagged With: Southwest

Rural Suburban Surprise

It’s Gratituesday! Today I’m grateful to walk less than a mile from my home and find a bit of country life.

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These guys look like mischief just waiting to happen, don’t they?

I’m not kidding. There are little “county islands” that haven’t been incorporated into our town that still boast acre lots, with quite the variety of farm animals. Some Clydesdales hang out for part of the year across the sidewalk from the Riparian Preserve. A small flock of emus and a steer or three wander a two acre corner lot. Of course that one also backs up to a major intersection of power lines where you can hear the buzz of electricity overhead. Still, the cattle moo with all the gusto of country cows, and the roosters still encourage the sun to hurry up and get on with things.

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I couldn’t even begin to tell you what breed of rooster this guy is.

On a recent walk we spent a few minutes watching a determined rooster dig for grubs. Oddly mesmerizing and fascinating if you’ve never seen it before. A few goats also joined in the entourage thinking maybe we’d brought them something to eat. Sadly we hadn’t. And a tiny Shetland pony nuzzled up to the fence looking for a bit of love and a nibble.

I felt transported for those few brief moments, leaning against the bars of the fence. Soaking in the pastoral wonders led me to wishing I had an acre lot of my own.

You’d never suspect it driving the streets of our little town now, but when we first moved here seventeen years ago, I often spotted a fox or coyote loping across a field as I drove my two oldest to high school. Seeing huge jackrabbits almost two feet tall wasn’t unusual. Smelling a dairy farm came with the territory of living here.

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What a sweetie!

Now those things are rarities. The building boom ten years ago tripled the size of our town and pushed most of the rural life further into the desert.

Happily, several weeks ago we did see a coyote run through the park across the street. I imagine he’s found an easy to reach hen-house nearby and has made a few raids. Poor lost little guy. It’s not that difficult for most wildlife to follow the canal roads from the mountains down into the valley where the pickings seem abundant and unaware. I hope they don’t get caught.

I’m a lucky woman to find such variety in close proximity to my home. I like to think there’s still a bit of wild in the wild west where I live. Thankfully, I’m finding evidence of that every time I venture out.

Categories: Gratitude, Gratituesday, Outdoors, phoenix | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments

Desert Weirdness

I just don’t get it sometimes. Nature, I mean.

Some things make no sense to me.

Pseudacris triseriata The trail was dense with...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

For instance, there are these cricket-sized frogs that hatch out en masse at a certain time every year here. The air overflows with the raucous miniature croaking. An occasional bike path or sidewalk crawls with the tiny hoppers migrating from some unknown place to another nondescript and unknown place. This event last three or four days max. Then, from what I’ve been told, the little critters burrow back under ground for another year.

What’s up with that insanity?

The spines of Fouquieria splendens (Ocotillo) ...

The spines of Fouquieria splendens (Ocotillo) develop from the leaf petioles (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Then there’s the Ocotillo. This strange plant looks like a cluster of dead sticks for eleven months of the year. Then, if there is any decent amount of rain, it turns green all over and pops out these flame orange tiny blooms at the very tips, ten feet in the air. Four weeks later it’s a bunch of dead looking sticks.

The point is?

I have a cactus in my front yard. It’s green, pokey, mean looking. A couple of times a year it pops out flowers. Big gorgeous blooms, stunning creamy whitish yellow-orange hand-sized beauties. At night. That’s when they bloom. By time the sun is up they’ve closed up. Somehow they manage to get pollinated, a very few of them, because there’s kiwi like fruit on the thing later on. But why only at night. I have to set an alarm and remind myself to go take a look to enjoy them. Yes, I’ve heard of night blooming gardens. Yes, it sounds delightful, if you’re a night person, which I’m not.

Whatever.

Palm Trees with Sun Behind Them

Palm Trees with Sun Behind Them (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

And someone thought the desert would be a good place for palm trees. Why? They provide about as much shade as an airplane flying overhead.

There are also, inexplicably, long needled pine trees, big hulking masses of messy brownish, grayish fluff. In the desert? I don’t understand. Really, pine trees? In the desert?

Of course people thought we needed lakes in the desert with houses around them. So, naturally, there are manmade lakes in the middle of the desert. We’re not talking a reservoir for irrigating and providing water to the farmers and such. No, this is nonsensical, let’s-pretend-we-don’t-live-in-a-desert-but-lakeside-in-the-mountains kind of thinking.

Silliness.

The desert in Southern California. Somewhere i...

The desert. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

What I’m the most mystified by is that people thought settling in the middle of the desert was a great idea. Who thought of this idea? Who followed the dude who thought of the idea and went along with it? In the foothills, okay, maybe, I can see that. But no, we’re in the middle of the middle of the desert here.

Can you tell I’m getting pre-meltdown-summer crankiness?  My own special brand of PMS.

The thermometer breached the nineties already and it’s not even the merry merry month of May yet. Gaaaaaaa!!

The desert is all about adaptation and survival. I get that. I’m not feeling very adaptive or survivalist today.

Call it fascinating. And mystifying.

It’s weird.

Categories: Nature, Outdoors | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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