After returning home from our 2019 summer road trip, I feel like one of the luckiest women in the world to have such a peaceful, wonderful place to live. While all the travel is fun and exciting, when I am home, there is a magical energy that cocoons around me.
So, I am just enjoying the good tennis weather with clear, sunshiny skies and puffy clouds every day. If you’ve seen my Facebook feed, you’ll know Bub has beaten me every match, except for two this summer. Glad that, in our 70’s, we have our health and the ability to have fun and be competitive on the courts most every day.
This summer has been different, weather-wise. Tucson hasn’t received the normal summer monsoons. Generally we get half of the yearly rainfall from July-September—3-4 inches. This year, at Fossland’s Paradise, we gotten less than a half of an inch. Eighteen raindrops one day. Thunder, lightening and clouds with 67 drops another day. On the road trip, through the Northwest—Oregon and Montana—we saw the opposite—rivers flowing up to the tops of their banks and overflowing. One upside everywhere is fewer fires this year.
We’ve had lots of visitors at Fossland’s Paradise. The animal kind! Because we don’t have dogs or cats, the birds and other animals feel safe. The Gambels Quails scurry around and are plentiful. Seems like they hatched their babies later than usual. Even mid-summer there were families with little ones.
Normally, we’ll see 10-12 babies the first week or so and then over the next weeks, there are fewer and fewer. The Roadrunners or others would pick them off until each family had 2-3 make it to maturity.
This year, we’ve had at least 3 families that raised 10 and it’s been fun to watch them. The Daddy Quail finds a high perch as a lookout while the Mommy and chicks forage.
The hummingbirds come to the front window by the living room and to my office window. We have at least 3, including the Anna’s Hummingbird Bub calls “the big guy” who will chase the others when they come to the feeder!
The roadrunner comes through the yard at least once a day.
What an assortment we’ve had! The Mourning Doves like our tall Palo Verde tree on the back porch and we can hear the cooing of a dozen or more most mornings. The Gila woodpeckers have bright red dots on the top of their heads and will peck on most anything. Curve-billed Thrashers chase off the smaller birds. Mockingbirds haven’t come often this year. Orioles and bright yellow and red Tanager fly through. I have some birding books and need to do a better job at identifying the others.
Rabbits are everywhere! The help keep the weeds down and trim back the scrub. I love watching their mating dance when they pair off, nose to nose, and then hurl themselves straight up 8-10 inches in the air and run around joyfully when they land.
Two Bobcats come to visit. A mom and a teenage cub. Every couple of days, they leisurely stroll through the yard or often, across the patio right in front of out picture windows. The other day, the young one jumped from the roof over the living room to the patio before disappearing down in the wash.
And then…there are javelina. If you don’t know what they are—they are the wild pigs that live in our Sonoran Desert. They usually travel in packs of 6 or more.
Sometimes one or two stray will come up into the yard. They really like the plants I have around our big Palo Verde tree. Some mornings, I know they’ve visited because the pots on the patio are all turned over.
We had one rattlesnake on the patio outside my bedroom door before the road trip, and then another last week that is still unaccounted for (meaning Bub did not capture it). My friend, Karin Treasure, has them all at her house, judging by her Facebook posts.
There used to be a gila monster living down by Bub’s garage, but I haven’t seen him this year. The quail eggs were a favorite of his.
We are home and life is good as we end the days sitting on the patio, usually with a nice glass of Keeling Schaffer red wine watching the sunset as mountains to the east turn bright, dark pink.