Thursday, May 24, 2012

Quote of the Day

"A woman is like a tea bag; you never know how strong it is until it's in hot water."
-- Eleanor Roosevelt

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Breaking News -- Donna Summer Passes

Those of you who are old enough to remember the disco era from the '70's and 80's will no doubt remember such hits as:  "Bad Girls", "Last Dance", Love to Love You Baby" and many more.  These were songs with an infectious beat.  Admit it, how many of you would hum or sing "Toot toot, ah beep beep".  I particularly remember the lyrics to this song (Bad Girls) from my dance class as a kid.  That's why it was sad to hear of Donna Summer's passing this morning, which was apparently due to a battle with cancer.  Whenever a music icon passes we remember where we were or what we were doing in our lives when we first heard their songs. Sometimes the memories are fond, other times the memories are difficult, but either way music has a way of transporting us back to another time and place.

So do you have a favorite Donna Summer song?  Or perhaps you weren't a fan at all.  But either way, you have to admit that she made an impact on the music industry.  What music transports you back to another time filled with fond memories?   Whatever it may be, I'm sure you'll reminisce about it with a faraway look affixed to your face and a smile threatening to escape your facade.  But for now, I'll leave you humming a little disco melody, "Toot toot, ah beep beep . . . toot toot, ah beep beep . . ."

Quote of the Day

Clouds come floating into my life, no longer to carry rain or usher storm, but to add color to my sunset sky.
-- Rabindranath Tagore 

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Quote of the Day

"Those who mind don't matter, and those who matter don't mind."
-- Bernard M. Baruch

Monday, May 7, 2012

Birds of a Feather . . .

Ah, Spring.  So far the majority of our “free time” has been occupied with building raised garden beds.  This has had its challenges due to the dry and windy climate here, but I will tell you more about that another time.  

What I really wanted to report to you today is that I think one of things that has amazed me the most about living in the high desert is the amount of birds we are seeing and hearing.  Frankly I didn't know what to expect considering our deficiency of trees.  However, I have been pleasantly surprised.  Each day starting in the early morning, we are being serenaded.  The songs continue throughout the day with an abundance of melodies, and last into the evening as we watch the sun slowly retire behind the mountain range. 

We are noticing a wide variety of birds (new to us), and I was able to identify a few right off the bat, such as the familiar Mourning Doves.  However I needed assistance with others and consulted the Web.  I stumbled upon a helpful website,  You can search by area, habitat, size, color, wing shape and many other identifying markers including listening to their song.  Now I knew that we had Western Meadowlarks, Mourning Doves, Roadrunners (very cool to see these) and confirmed what we suspected were House Finches, but there was a yellow and olive gray colored bird we were unfamiliar with.  So plugging in the criteria, I believe I have identified the Cassin’s Kingbird.  We see these birds throughout the day, but also notice them in the evening flying around our flowering plum trees. 

Now another thing I have noticed is that birds are not unlike humans.  We have two bird’s nests in two of our plum trees.  I am not certain who has inhabited the one closest to the garage (mourning doves nested there last year, see photo below ), but I believe the Kingbirds may be inhabiting one of these this year.  You see, these birds like humans, scoped out the neighborhood first by flying around doing drive-bys and hopping from tree to tree to see if they liked the area for their new home.  Then, once they moved into their new nest, just as humans do, they started redecorating. 
Mourning Doves nesting in flowering plum tree
The first thing I noticed was that they built an addition onto their home with the accumulation of some fresh greenery, a bright green branch of needles from a nearby pine tree.  Then, they acquired some new furniture consisting of some fuzzy type of material which lined the inside of the nest, and now they are happily flying around and just hanging out.  So it appears that Elvis and Priscilla have finally settled in (sorry, but they are Kingbirds after all – get it?  Yeah, yeah, I know.).  Anyway, now I just need to identify those little sandpiper looking birds that hop around on the ground.  We've nicknamed them bandits because of the black band across their eyes. 

It certainly has been interesting seeing the different wildlife here -- found a dead gopher snake this weekend just outside of the fence at the furthest point on the property.  Yes, the bad news is that it was a snake.  The good news however is, that it was a “gopher snake”.  The point thereby being that maybe they will help us with our battle of the pocket gophers!

So rest assured I will continue to update you on our encounters, including a future blog on our little Ornate Tree Liizards, and if one day we happen to see the elusive Javelina, I will be sure to tell you!

Have a great week everyone!