It’s wild!

bobcat
I’ve spotted the bobcat at our house two days in a row. I watched him leap over our fence and also walk along our windows on our patio like he owns the place.

When the bobcat arrives our yard is deathly silent. Gone are the squawks of the quail and woodpecker. The bees stop buzzing and the beautiful song of a cardinal is nowhere to be heard.

Normally our backyard is alive with sounds. I’ve spotted baby quails when I’m walking around the neighborhood. I put out seed on the ground outside the casita this week. I was thrilled when a family of quail visited our yard! They are the tiniest, cutest little things. The babies follow mom and dad in a line.

Here’s a video of the quail family eating the birdseed.

Mom and dad with seven or eight babies.

Another joyful sight was a cardinal who is enjoying the seed I put out. He is so gorgeous and his song is beautiful, too.

Our beautiful scarlet cardinal.

I had stopped feeding the birds last year because a hawk flew into a window with a plump quail in its beak. The window was broken and it scared me to death. I got a bill for $600 to replace the double-paned window. The quail and hawk survived, though.

But I’m back to putting out seed a year later. I hope I don’t have a repeat of the hawk incident. I’m enjoying the bird and bobcat watching. It’s truly wild!

Do you enjoy bird watching where you live? What types of birds do you have?

What type of wildlife do you have?

A bit of beauty

Our gate looking out toward the street. It’s so beautiful with the plant in full bloom. Most of the year it doesn’t look like this.

This weekend I was stunned by the beauty in our neighborhood. I stop and take photos every day on my walks. I’ve posted several times about the desert in bloom, but more and more flowers amaze me.

Palo verde in bloom. They are all over the place in our neighborhood.
Ocotillo with red flowers


.
The color on this Hedgehog cactus is brilliant.
The cardinal has been back!
This beavertail cactus is beginning to bloom.
I love this Yucca at the entrance to our neighborhood.

What are your favorite flowering plants and birds in the Spring?

Cacti update

giant saguaro.
View of a giant saguaro in our front yard.

The cactus doctor arrived Saturday evening to diagnose our fallen saguaro. He said it had been overwatered, got top heavy and crashed to the ground. Unfortunately, he said because of the trauma it suffered in the fall it wouldn’t survive being replanted.

Then he walked around our yard inspecting our other cacti. He drilled a hole in one saguaro and told us it had to be removed because it has bacterial necrosis. It’s leaning slightly and could crash into the house or damage the patio roof.

More bad news in the front yard. Our tallest saguaro with budding arms was declared dead. He said it died from vascular disease.

Saguaro with Bacterial Necrosis
This is the saguaro with bacterial necrosis.
Bacterial necrosis: this is where the cactus doctor took a chunk out of our cactus.

We learned that saguaros not only get water from their roots, but they have pores that open up in the day and absorb water from the air.

Another fact we learned was that a saguaro’s root system is twice the size of its height.

The doctor also told us how to spot native saguaro from ones that had been transplanted from other areas by the size of their bases.

dying saguaro
This is already dead. See how the base is brown and shrunken?

Not the news we were hoping for. Now we need to hire someone to take out two saguaros and remove the fallen one. At least the rest are healthy. I’m thankful for all the healthy succulents and cacti in our yard and that the bacteria seems to be only in one saguaro.

What are you thankful for today?

saguaro skeleton
I saw this saguaro skeleton Sunday on our walk. We may keep the fallen saguaro and the one in the front yard for their skeletons. They’d make interesting sculptures in our yard. The diseased one has to be hauled off.

The Cactus Doctor is coming

fallen saguaro
Our fallen saguaro in the back yard.

Diid you know that doctors still make house calls? At least the Cactus Doctor does. He’s scheduled to come to our house Saturday to take a look at our fallen saguaro.

A few days ago I was sitting by the window, typing on my laptop when I watched the saguaro quiver, shake and jump three feet and fall in a giant “T-I-M-B-E-R!!!!” I wrote about it HERE.

The doctor is a biologist that studies cacti. He is coming out to diagnose our saguaro. But he doesn’t treat them. He’ll take a look at our other dozen saguaros as well.

After we get a diagnosis from the doctor — we then have to hire someone else to treat what ails them. If it’s a bacteria, we’ll have that treated. If it was too much rain or freezing temps, we may have the saguaro replanted. If it can be replanted we’ll have to invest in a contraption to support the few thousand pounds of weight. If it’s beyond repair we’ll need to hire someone to haul it off. Or maybe we’ll let it deteriorate in the backyard and save it’s “bones.”

The skeletons of saguaros are sold in art galleries for thousands of dollars. I could have my own sculpture in my living room someday — free of charge. (Except for the house call by the Cactus Doctor. And whatever treatment he prescribes.

Who knew you needed to hire a doctor for a diagnosis — and then a technician for the treatment? This is new territory for us. The saguaro are so iconic and majestic I think it’s worth it to save this one.

chart of saguaro growth
This chart explains how old our saguaro is. Our is 9′ 6″ so around my age I guess.

Have you ever paid a professional to take care of your plants or trees? What was the reason? Would you hire a plant doctor?


Morning views from the neighborhood

Sunrise filtered through the branches of an Ironwood tree.
Sunrise view from the casita.

It takes a trip out of state to an entirely different environment for me to appreciate the beauty of my desert. I get used to it and lose some appreciation, but a trip away wakes up my senses. As I walked this morning around our neighborhood I was struck by the views of cactus, mountains and shrubbery. I like it out here. I’d like to see more some wildlife, too.

Mountain north of Scottsdale.
The mountain to the north. I think it’s called Black Mountain. I’m working on learning the names.
teddy bear cholla.
Teddy bear cholla with the sun peaking through clouds.
Cloudy sky in the desert.
Clouds. We should have an amazing sunset tonight.
saguaro with arms
A neighbor’s saguaro. We have lots of saguaro but only one has an arm.
A wash in the Sonoran Desert.
One of the things I love best about our neighborhood is all the open natural space.

What are some of the things you like best about where you live?