Benefits of early morning walks

javelina in a neighbor's yard
Javelina

One of the benefits of walking at dawn is the wildlife we get to see. This morning it was this herd of Javelina in front of a neighbor’s house. I texted the photo to the neighbors to show them the shenanigans going on in their driveway while they were sleeping.

What is a javelina you might ask?

Javelina (Tayassu tajacu) also known as collared peccary, are medium-sized animals that look similar to a wild boar. They have mainly short coarse salt and pepper colored hair, short legs, and a pig-like nose. The hair around the neck/shoulder area is lighter in color giving it the look of a collar. Javelina have long, sharp canine teeth which protrude from the jaws about an inch.

One major adaptation for survival is the fact that javelina live in large family groups. The average group size is 10 or less, but a few herds have known to number up to 53 animals. Each group defends a territory which includes their sleeping and feeding areas. They communicate with their own family group and other groups using sounds and smells.

Javelina live in desert washes, saguaro and palo verde forests, oak woodlands, and grasslands with mixed shrubs and cacti.

They can be found in the deserts of southwest Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, southward through Mexico and Central America and into northern Argentina.

https://desertmuseum.org/kids/oz/long-fact-sheets/Javelina.php

Other creatures we have seen are tiny baby bunnies, quail families, coyotes and mule deer.

mule deer in the street
Mule deer that crossed the street at dawn.

We are going adventuring in the area this weekend and I’ll write about that next week.

Have you seen javelina before? What plans do you have for the weekend?

Busy busy busy

Palm Springs swimming pool with clouds
Where I used to lap swim. My new pool has only three lanes.


Thursday I was stressing about whether I should go to coffee with the women’s coffee club or stay home and work on the newsletter. After all, I had lap swimming in a few hours. This is what I was thinking when I wrote about “saying no” earlier in the week. You can read that post HERE.

I decided to go to coffee after all. I needed to run some errands and the coffee shop we were meeting at was close to the Post Office, hardware and grocery stores.

I met a new person who made me laugh. She’s lived in our neighborhood for seven years, but I’ve never seen her before. She had never gone to coffee club. She didn’t know there was a book club, either.

This woman said she was going to Ireland with her running group to run trails along the coast of Ireland. I asked when.

“In two hours,” she said. “I have one hour until my Uber driver picks me up.”

I laughed out loud and said I was worried about going to coffee AND lap swimming in one day! I’m glad I didn’t wimp out. Now it’s time to squeeze in some work on the newsletter before my swim. FYI, next this new friend told me about her trip climbing Mount Kilimanjaro.

Would you have coffee with your neighbors before you left for a trip to Ireland? How about swimming and coffee? Why do you think some people only like to have one event scheduled per day and others can do many?

What, me worry?

saguaro in the Sonoran Desert
Saguaro in front of a neighbor’s yard.

It’s snake season. And I’m not happy about it.

I am terribly frightened of snakes. I saw one the other morning at our park while on our walk.

A neighbor texted to tell me that another neighbor found a rattlesnake in her garage. Her husband trapped it in a garbage can and released it five miles away. I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t feel comfortable driving with a rattlesnake in my car — garbage can or not.

Then last week while we were walking, a neighbor warned us about a huge rattlesnake a few blocks away from where we were headed.

“I’m done!” I said and turned my back and walked back to the house.

Every time I step outside, I take a careful look around. No more walking while looking at my phone. My eyes are peeled. In fact, I’m not spending much time outside anymore.

I googled rattlesnake bites in AZ. This is what I found:

Joe Hymes at the Phoenix Herpetological Sanctuary in north Scottsdale said that with temperatures warming up, this is the time of year that they receive the most calls about snakes.

He told AZ Family, “Most of the time, they are just soaking up the sun, but if you give them space, they will leave you alone.”

Snakes generally hide in cool, damp places.

Hymes explained, “Anywhere [snakes] will not feel overly exposed. They’ll hide under things — bushes, flower pots, raised sheds in the backyard, behind A/C units, behind pool pumps where moisture might condense. Those are all prime rattlesnake hiding spots.”

https://www.iheart.com/content/2021-04-05-its-snake-season-in-arizona-heres-what-to-do-if-you-see-a-venomous-snake/

You know what? Reading that did not make me feel a bit better.

A childhood friend of mine lives in San Diego and was bitten while talking a walk on his lunch hour last week. He said the snake bit him in the calf from behind. He never saw it. He was hospitalized for four days and had one of the worst reactions to a rattlesnake bite the hospital had ever seen.

In Palm Springs, we had rattlesnakes but we saw them on the hiking trails in the surrounding hills, not downtown where we lived.

Do you think my worry about snakes is warranted? Do you have anything you’re afraid of? What the most dangerous thing in your area?

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?

A bit of sadness

Century plant
I’ve been waiting to see this Century plant in bloom. This photo was taken two weeks ago.
Fast growing Century Plant.
Still waiting for the blossoms….Look how much it grew. This photo was taken a couple days ago. My husband said he thought he could watch it growing taller right before his eyes.

I’m enjoying the blossoms on cactus, but they are very short lived. One day there are furious blooms and the next day, they’ve expired.

I’ve been keeping my eye on the neighbor’s Century plant and wanted to make sure I wouldn’t miss the flowers.

blossoms on cactus
Look at the gorgeous blossoms on this hedgehog cactus. Tomorrow they’ll be gone.

You can imagine how sad we felt when we went on our morning walk today and saw this:

Fallen Century Plant before it bloomed
We will never get to enjoy the blooms. We felt like we lost a friend. It also reminded me of our saguaros we lost.

A few random thoughts

bright yellow blossoms
I saw this in a neighbor’s yard today on my morning walk. I’ve never noticed it before. It must be the blossoms that got my attention. Maybe it hasn’t bloomed since we moved here until recently.

Thursday was a busy day. I had coffee club and I swam in addition to reading and writing.

My son called several times yesterday. He asked me about Wordle. We both got it done in four yesterday. He said “Four is a par and three is a birdie.”

I think he’s correct about the golf analogy. Two is definitely an eagle.

Coffee club was fun. I’m glad I went. I’m getting to know a few women in my neighborhood. We met at a local coffee shop and had breakfast together and talked.

I am reminded of when I was in kindergarten and my mom was in the neighborhood coffee klatch. She quit and said it was a waste of time. Her favorite word back then was “highbrow.” I have a feeling she didn’t think the women measured up.

At the pool I swam 1,200 yards. Just think, pre COVID I was swimming 3,000. I started at the YMCA swimming three weeks ago. I’ve made it twice a week for three weeks. Yay for me. I began with 500 yards, bumped it up to 1,000 and then 1,200. I hope to be at 1,500 soon.

I’m taking barre class later this morning. I’m also doing that class twice a week along with swimming. I feel like I’m getting stronger and in better shape — but I don’t recover like I used to. I guess that’s due to aging and lack of activity during the shut down.

Consistency is my key. I don’t talk myself out of going — I go. No excuses. I’m sticking to this schedule for the next few weeks to see if it gets any easier. Then I may add a third day of swimming or another class.

What random thoughts do you have today? What are you doing to stay in shape? Do you think the COVID shutdown affected your physical health?

The desert in bloom

We went away for the weekend to Puerto Penasco and came back home to warm weather and the desert busting out in bloom. What I’ve discovered is the blooms don’t last long. One day a cactus may have a gorgeous flower — the next day it’s gone.

I’m amazed at how many flowers are in blossom in the Sonoran Desert.

I have a little plant guide from the McDowell Sonoran Preserve called “Wildflowers” that categories native blossoms by color. I’m doing my best to use the book to identify the plants.

Here are blooms I saw during my morning walk:

Hedgehog cactus in bloom.
Palo verde tree in bloom.
budding hedgehog cactus
Buds on a hedgehog cactus.
purple blossoms.
This looks like Desert Hyacinth according to the wildflower book. But since it’s in a yard, it might not be a native desert plant.
Century plant with tall bud
The neighbor’s Century Plant keeps getting taller, but hasn’t blossomed yet.
red blooms on hedgehog cactus
Another blooming hedgehog cactus.
red flowering desert plant
I’m not 100% sure but the closest I could find is called Hackberry Beardtongue.
Honeysuckle orange blooms
Honeysuckle in my back yard.
Pink Fairy-duster pink blooms
Pink Fairy-Duster. Isn’t that a great name?

Red Four O'Clock
Red Four O’Clock

What is blooming in your neighborhood?