Squawk! Squawk! Squawk! Squawk! I thought my cat had caught a woodpecker as I ran up the outdoor stairs after her. She did put it down when I told her to; it was a baby rabbit. What a racket for a creature so small! It was not hurt, but I hadn’t been watching the cat, so I didn’t know where she’d caught it. I let it bounce away by the saguaro, hoping that it knew its way home. Also, it’s noon, too hot for other predators, so if its parents find it, it’ll be ok. A bunny for Easter!
A few days ago, her tail furred out, my cat ran up the spiral staircase petty fast. Since nothing was behind her, I figured it wasn’t a bobcat, which could go through the fence, but a coyote. I saw nothing; but coyotes are more skiddish than bobcats, and their tan fur is great camoflage. We had seen one exiting the drainage wash to cross the street yesterday. (She had been inside, so she growled.)
My three windbells, hung from different trees, give an occasional chiming. Wednesday was so windy I didn’t open up the house, but Thursday the breezes were pleasant. A desert marigold beyond my fence is in full bloom, as well as the creasote. Hope the palo verdes explode into yellow before I leave in a week.
I tried buying “wild finch blend” bird feed, rather than all thistle, for my feeder. The finches are not happy; only the gila woodpecker likes it, and the Gambel’s quail and white-crowned sparrows who pick up the seeds on the ground. Guess I’ll be back to the nyjer thistle.
The weeds have covered half of the yard and my rabbit friend had been dutifully munching. The area for my wildflowers is one of the few bare spots! So I ordered more wildflower seeds from www.nativeseedsearch.com Have been soaking the ground where I’m putting in more plants. Amazing how hard the dirt is when it’s dry, but how much easier to dig through when it’s wet.
The past two days I’ve been entertaining my four-year-old granddaughter. A few hours in Sabino Canyon ( http://www.sabinocanyon.com); probably busier than most Fridays because children were out of school on Good Friday. We took the tram (which has no discounts for seniors, although my National Parks pass let me park free), and stopped at The Beach, an expanse of sand filled with children from a gaggle of preteen girls to one toddler in a diaper, many with grandparents. The water was frigid from snow melt on the mountains, but the kids enjoyed making very modest sand castles and wading back and forth across the creek, getting their clothes wet in the process. I explained how the rushing water, when the creek is high from rain, knocks the rocks against each other to make sand, so she practiced making sand.
We took the tram a bit further (to the waterless latrines) and clambored over giant boulders. We identified many cactus, but most of the wildlife stayed clear of the people. We saw no fish in the water, no lizards (guess it is too early in the season), no squirrels or rabbits or coyotes or deer, a few butterflies, but even few birds. We had mostly a “walking” picnic, in between bursts of activity.
She was also fascinated by my new art creation, an idea stolen from Felix Gonzalez-Torres, Cuban-born American, 1957-1996 (shown at left). Because I used blue lights (from Xmas, of course), I believe that it looks a bit like a waterfall, bubbling at the bottom.
Saturday we dyed the requisite Easter eggs, and went “bushwacking”,
bushwhack To make one’s way through thick woods by cutting away bushes and branches.
picking our way through the mesquite, palo verdes, creosote, broom, and cactus behind my house to the wash. Screams whenever we passed by a cactus or a bee on a flower (of which there were myriad). We returned up through an empty lot four houses down and cut a nopale for lunch.
Nopales (from the Nahuatl word nōpalli for the pads) are a vegetable made from the young pad segments of prickly pear, carefully peeled to remove the spines. These fleshy pads are flat and about hand-sized. They are particularly common in their native Mexico, where the plant is eaten commonly and regularly forms part of a variety of Mexican cuisine dishes.
If you shave off the immature stickers, wash it and cut it in slivers, grill it and serve it with olive oil and squeezes of lime it is quite good. (Of course, that is my opinion, not hers.) That combined with creme cheese on recently-baked chocolate bread and slices of apple made a good lunch.
We spent a lot of time in my too-hot outdoor Jacuzzi, and found worms in my compost pile for her to take home. Amazingly enough, she spent a great deal of time “playing” with the worms, stretching them out, talking to them, feeding them leaves. When we called her dad to arrange her ride home (we meet in Casa Grande), he asked us to wait another half-hour as her one-year-old brother was sleeping, and she wanted to go bushwhacking again! (After all of her screeching about thorns and bees and this was too hard!) Go figure. But we were already cleaned up, so we took a boring walk around the block.
My packing is going well for the Amazon as my daughter saw the listing of items needed on this blog and is loaning clothes and giving me permithirin, cipro, etc. from their trip to Thailand. And I got a beautiful tan backpack for joining the Sierra Club.