Posts Tagged ‘baby rabbit’

Spring Break

March 25, 2014

Baby Rabbit
Saturday afternoon I was sitting in my kitchen upstairs, the cat resting on the deck, watching the desert. All of a sudden she rushed to the glass slider, her tail completely puffed out, her coat bristling. I let her in and went to see what was out there. A large, beautiful coyote was chasing something in the yard. Couldn’t see what it was, but there are no ground squirrels around and mice and packrats are not out during the day.

I had a feeling it was the baby rabbit I had accidentally uncovered that morning while raking up some leaves next to the house, and where were the parents? Anyway, I yelled at the coyote to get out of the yard, and when he ran between the posts (4” o.c.), he barely got out, and they were vibrating from being pushed apart.

That evening I discovered the rabbit dead in the yard tools room, which the cat gets into via the dog door. So much for interfering with nature. I tossed it over the fence so that the coyote can eat it after all. Sigh.

Some of you may speak disparagingly of cats, but you’d have to have a fish in a tank to keep your pet from eating the flora (a friend said her dogs eat the grasses in the yard and throw up as my cat does, but that’s another story) and fauna. My Airedale ate quail eggs that the bird had laid under a bougainvillea, thinking that the thorns would keep them safe, and another friend’s dog ate a bunch of quail chicks that couldn’t fly yet. (And two children were eaten recently by a python which had escaped from a pet shop in Canada…)

Spring Break
Many of my students were off to Puerto Peñasco, Mexico last week for our spring break (I can feel the sun on my skin and taste the lime squeezing into my Dos Equis cerveza) but admittedly I couldn’t keep up with their soccer game on the beach, so I hosted friends from San Diego in town to see the sights.

Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum
Seven hours at the Desert Museum, including a nice lunch at their Ocotillo Café.

I thought that the highlight was the Raptor Free Flight. The last time I’d seen only Red-tailed Hawks1.  This time we saw a lyn&price 008Chihuahuan Raven, a Great Horned Owl, a Prairie Falcon, a Ferruginous Hawk, and a Red-tailed Hawk (which flew up to the top of a saguaro and sat there watching the desert, rather than flying over us and eating its treat). Missed some of the shots as they flew so fast and what seemed to be a few inches over our heads!

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Check out the web site – their photos are better:
http://www.desertmuseum.org/visit/rff_index.php  (I should have read it more closely before we had gone. We could have done the Raptor Free Flight again in the afternoon and seen a Gray Hawk, a Barn Owl, a Peregrine falcon, and a Harris’s Hawk.)

We saw the entire site! The weather, of course, was beautiful. (Sorry, you people back east still getting snow. It was 82°.)

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Tucson Museum of Art
We spent another day at the Tucson Museum of Art. Miradas: Ancient Roots in Modern and Contemporary Mexican Art Works from the Bank of America Collection and Rose Cabat at 100 [as in years old!]: A Retrospective Exhibition of Ceramics. Loved Rose’s ceramics!  Photos were not allowed as these were private collections, so photos from TMA’s website.

rose cabatHernandez(Both days were free as I am a member of both the Desert Museum and TMA and have guest passes. But when we got to the Pima Air & Space Museum “we” – as in P. – coughed up money – you would think that it was Disneyland!)

Pima Air & Space Museum
The Pima Air & Space Museum is located next to Davis Monthan Air Force Base.  In my 40+ years in Tucson, I had never been there.  (Assigned the babysitter to take the kids.)  We got there when it lyn&price 053opened to catch a bus for the “Boneyard” (the 309th Aerospace Maintenance And Regeneration Group – AMARG) bus tour. The 4,000+ aircraft and 13 aerospace vehicles are from the U.S. Air Force, Navy-Marine Corps, Army, Coast Guard, and several federal agencies including NASA in varying degrees of storage or being regenerated/recycled. I tried, in photos, to convey how many there are.

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lyn&price 062We made the mistake of then getting on the 1-hour Tram Tour that takes passengers through the Museum’s 80 acres on a 1.5 mile circuit to view more than 150 planes. (The Boneyard is part of Davis Monthan; this is part of the Museum, which runs on volunteers and the fees to take the tours – no government dollars.) Even P, who wanted to see all of the planes, having jumped out of a few of them, got overload.

The volunteer docents for both the bus and the tram, retired Service people, were great – they recited details about all of the planes without even looking at notes!

lyn&price 059The main Museum building had a variety of interesting planes, such as this tiny one.

Hangar 3, with a B-17 and bomber jackets and photos of guys who flew in them in WWII, also had one of the pilots!  Richard Bushong, Colonel USAF Retired, 91. He was telling stories of the war (as he does each Thursday) and autographing his book.

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Saving the Wild West

June 24, 2010

Another Hummingbird

I had the kitchen door opened for the cat while I was having breakfast.  Hadn’t noticed her coming in with a tiny bird.  She had it downstairs in the bedroom.  It appeared to be unharmed (just traumatized), so I put it outside, on the edge of the birdbath, as I figured that would be best in this heat.  (It will be cooling down to 105° this weekend said the weather report.)  It didn’t fly away, but slid down into the water, getting its tail wet.  So I presumed it couldn’t fly.

It looked like a female hummingbird – just a brownish color, with a long thin beak. Holding it in my hand I went online to see if there was a hummingbird rescue in Tucson.  Ended up calling a number in Phoenix that was on the Web.  The woman said that she’d give me a number in Tucson, so I set the bird in my lap to hold the cell phone and write at the same time, and it started to fly!  What a rush!  Gave the woman a quick thank you, grabbed the cat and shut her out of the room, cornered the bird and put it outside where it immediately flew away.

Baby Rabbit

Before I made the call I had considered what I would have to do to nurse it to health myself (this before it flew), feeding it sugar water with an eyedropper.  Too much trouble!  But I remember when I was a little kid some boy in the neighborhood (back in Michigan) found a nest of baby rabbits (who knows what had happened to the mother) and gave one baby to each of us on the block.  Ours was the only one that lived ‘cause my mother fed it pablum from an eyedropper, probably every three hours, even in the middle of the night!

My father made a cage for it with a welded wire bottom so we could put it outside on the grass if it wanted to munch on green.  My brother and I would sometimes take it out of the cage to play with it.  One morning we lost it behind the couch in the living room just before the school bus showed up, so we had to leave Mom with the problem.

When it was a few months old we took it out into the country to let it go in a meadow next to a forest.  Probably got eaten by a predator, but my parents weren’t up to a pet wild rabbit, and we already had a dog.

Mice

At one point, however, I did have a few white mice.  They were for a junior high science experiment.  I had each one of the four in a different color aquarium to see how color affected activity, which I noted every few hours when I was home.  Three of the aquariums were the primary colors of red, yellow, and blue, and the other clear, as the control.  However, my younger brother liked to take them out to play with them (no doubt messing up my experiment).

One day he and a friend had them in his bedroom running through the arms of their winter jackets which were spread on the floor.  My mother returned from grocery shopping to a note on the kitchen table.  We have lost one of the mice.  Have gone out to walk the dog.  When the boys returned my mother bellowed so loud that the friend ran all of the way home.  She imagined the mouse getting into a heater duct and dying, the rotten smell permeating the house.  She was vacuuming for her bridge party when she spotted it on my dressing table.  She shrieked, and my brother needed to “save” her.  I had to get rid of the mice after that.  The experiment was inconclusive.

A Bunny for Easter

April 4, 2010

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.