Saturday, June 6, 2020

An Unintentional Hiatus

From then (mid April) to now (already June)
Tombstone, Arizona

In mid-April there was hope that the curve of the pandemic could flatten, and life would once again return to normal over the summer. Today the curve is more of a roller coaster, reacting to inconsistent strategies and individual beliefs. As we enter into June, normal seems ever further away as the murder of George Floyd has flamed the already blistering embers of fear and frustration. Ugly times for sure.

So without ever intending to do so, I stopped blogging - even reading my friends has been put on hold for a few weeks now. I write this blog to keep a record of our travels and adventures, and to stay in touch with friends old and new. Even though we've continued to see and do enjoyable things, and we're very happy in our desert home, the over-arching theme of "bad times" has quelled my enthusiasm :-(

Alas I will regret not capturing our fun with Ezra, lovely sunsets, progress with the yard, interesting Jeep drives, Jeff's arrival, and the blessing of having this safe and peaceful place.

I'd like to share photos of the over 20 birds visiting our property, but have only managed to capture a handful so far. I have enormous respect for those of you who consistently post beautiful and diverse bird photos!!

These Ring Necks are one of three species of Dove living here. 

By far the flashiest of our neighbors are the Northern Cardinal. We also have Desert Cardinals.

Second only to our House Finch population, we have lots of Gambel Quail. 

The Chihuachuan Raven has a smaller body and larger beak than the Common Raven. We have both.

A young Curved Bill Thrasher, the most aggressive bird in the community. Adults have more pronounced curves.
Our first Quail babies arrived in mid May, a covey of ten. They are now juveniles but there are only four from this family. Several more have joined us, over 25 in a couple covies!

Mama Quail take dust baths. This one really dug in and covered herself!

Road Runners are loners amd we only see them on the outskirts of the yard.
White Winged Dove
House Finch are abundant and talkative. They have a couple nests we can see, and we've watched the babies grow into their colors as they learn to feed themselves at our feeders.
We have some very colorful orioles (2 species), Goldfinches, Ladderback Woodpeckers and even one Lazuli Bunting, but I've not captured them yet. More common Cowbirds, Canyon Towhees and Black Throated Sparrows (a favorite) frequent the feeders, but never when I have my camera. Bewicks Wrens eat the moths and other bugs from the rafters on our front porch, a pair of Cassens Kingbirds have a nest in our Sycamore, and we've just recently started seeing Barn Swallows flying over. There are more too, and it seems like we add a new one every couple weeks. And boy can they eat!!! Bird feed has become a new staple on the grocery list.

Our winter Mule Deer population moved to the mountains as the temps rose and now it is just the occasional small herd we see. Their colors have changed with the season as well, looking much more brown than gray now. Cottontails have new family members, and every day we have big and small making a visit.

Looking well groomed.

So precious.

We see you!
Out gathering weathered wood and unique rocks for our cactus garden we came upon these newborn chipmunks. They were about the size of Bill's thumb. We left so mom could come back and put them safely back in their burrow.

The Dragoon Mountains to our northeast have several beautiful drives. In 25 miles we go from desert plains into forested mountains. The rock formations and creek beds provide unique views and make for great day trips. And of course we rarely see anyone else. 

Hmmmm, wonder what's in there?
Tall inside, but too dark (thankfully).

Getting to share our safe and beautiful home with family has been the best part of this unexpected season. At four years old, Ezra is full of questions and giggles, high energy and soft cuddles. Seeing the birds and cactus and sunsets and critters through his eyes makes everything even more special. Making it easier for his dad to work, and his mom to attend school, makes us feel like we're doing something positive in difficult times. 

Watering an Ocotillo transplant.

Being four.

Launching the car into the dinosaur.


Meeting his first Horned Toad.

He named it Bronco

Learning why we can't keep Bronco and saying good-bye.
Fire in the sky!

A drive north along the San Pedro River took us through beautiful blooming cactus and old horse paddocks. We turned around when we reached the Saguaros.

Where the river cut deep.

We have a lot of open range, and it's amazing to me the variety of cattle. One day trip took us through a herd of very beautiful and healthy animals. All were curious and calm. Tessa is always enamored with them, and they with her. Maybe we should get her a playmate??

Jeff (my youngest, our number four) lost his job and has been hunkered down in Seattle doing freelance writing and editing while seeking other employment for a couple months. With no end in sight to the uncertainty, he decided to move here for a bit. We've been wanting him here so it was great news for us! With the motorhome hooked up with 50 amp and water there's plenty of space for all of us. It also gave him a safe place to quarantine for two weeks.

Ezra helping get Jeff's place ready.
Our short Spring brought bright Ocotillo blooms.

And a burst of Bunny Ear flowers.
So we've been just fine, and have kept busy enjoying family and our lovely desert. Seeing the world turn upside down is unsettling, and it's hard to feel like it will ever be the same again. In many ways we have the opportunity to make it better, we can only hope. We are blessed to be where we are and have what we have. 

I'm committed to getting caught up with all my blogging buddies, I do want to know what you've all been up to! I'd like to say I'll stay current on my own blog, but we'll see :-))))