This year is fascinating with all the blooming cacti and plants. This is my third spring in Arizona and it’s truly amazing. I’m sure it was the rainy winter we had that is encouraging all the plant life to come alive with flowers. Right now the saguaros are blooming, something I didn’t see much of the past two years.
We have a nature’s preserve across the street and it’s gorgeous to see saguaros topped with white flower crowns. They remind me of the floral crowns we swim moms ordered for my senior day for my daughter’s college swim team.
Saguaros topped with white crowns of flowers at the McDowell Sonoran Preserve.
A saguaro in bloom at a neighbor’s house.
In our back yard.
What unusual plants, flowers or wildlife have you seen this spring? Did you have more rain or snow than in the past few years?
Our yellow lab Angus (RIP) on our chaise-and-a-half lounge.
I finally let go of our chaise lounges. We moved them from Palm Springs at my insistence. My husband wanted to leave them behind.
I recently wrote about my mom’s unnatural attachment to her flute and her reluctance to let it go HERE. Then I realized I was doing the exact same thing with two chaise lounges we’ve owned since the kids were little. For sentimental reasons, or for what those chaises represented, I couldn’t let go.
The chaise lounges in our Palm Springs backyard.
For the two-and-a-half years we’ve lived in Arizona, we’ve never once sat on our chaise lounges. They’ve been sitting under waterproof covers. Their fabric was deteriorating. But someday I was going to do something about that.
I watched as a chipmunk made trips across our patio, back and forth, with something white and fluffy in its mouth. I finally figured it out. I lifted the cover to a chaise lounge and there was a one-foot hole in the cushion. The chipmunk was using our chaise lounge to “feather his nest.”
Because of harsh desert weather, I’ve had the chaises recovered several times through the years. One of my best friends has an upholstery and sewing business. She recovered them for me at her cost. We used to live close enough to drive them to her.
I shopped online and the chaise-and-a-half cushion is not a standard size. I’d have to have them made to order and now it’s no longer the fabric, but the stuffing is ruined too. For a little more than the cost of new custom cushions, I ordered two standard-size chaises from Costco. We’ll even be able to lounge on them!
What did the chaises represent to me? Why couldn’t I let go? We got the oversized lounges so our young children, dripping wet from the pool, could snuggle in next to us. Angus our lab would spend evenings laying by my side as we watched the sunset. That was one of his favorite things to do. Mine too.
Those years are gone and nothing will bring them back. Not even holding onto chaise lounges that hold my dear memories.
It is bulk trash pickup week. I finally let go and my husband took the chaises to the curb.
The chaises were picked up from our curb — before the bulk pick up truck made it to our neighborhood! I hope they found a nice home and the new family enjoys them as much as we did!
Have you ever been attached to a physical object for sentimental reasons? Was it clothing, art, chaise lounges or something else?
I was talking to my dear friend on the phone in my backyard. I heard the door to the casita smash shut with a gust of wind. When I came back inside the house, I walked past the front door on the way to our bedroom.
I noticed that not only the front door was open, the screen door was open too. My heart stopped.
I’ve been told by neighbors when we moved here to keep my cat inside. That’s because of coyotes, bobcats, javelina, owls, snakes and huge hawks. My cat would last an hour, they said.
Shaking, I yelled at my husband. “You left the front door open!”
He insisted he was innocent. But I immediately jumped to blame him, because I knew I didn’t.
I got Olive’s favorite treat out, Lil’ Soup by Friskies.
“Kitty soup!” I yelled and repeated. She always comes running and answers “Meow oop.”
We checked under beds. Then went outside to call “Here kitty, kitty, kitty!”
I was crying. I haven’t been so worried since I lost my last cat who got outside at age 17 at our old house. The neighbor’s dog jumped their wall and killed my cat Sherman who was lounging in the driveway of the empty house next door to them.
Calling and callling, getting more and more frantic, I realized Olive went out our front courtyard and would turn right towards the wash, rather than head to the street. At the side of the house, with both of us calling, she appeared.
She nonchalantly sniffed the gravel, looked at me, then my husband — and ran for her dear life into our courtyard and waited for us to open the front door.
I don’t think she’s going out again soon. She spent the next 12 hours hiding under our bed. She must have smelled something that was threatening to her.
If you have pets, what close calls have you had with them?
This is Olive when I found her trapped inside our SUV. I wrote about her car misadventures HERE.
I’m working on my community newsletter and my co-editor Sherry and neighbor Shirley put together fun facts about quail. I learned a lot of quirky things about quail I never knew before.
Here are the facts:
A group of quail is called a “covey.”
Males and females pair for life.
The male has a top knot plume that is actually six feathers together, and is used to intimidate other males.
Their food of preference is wild bird seed, followed by uncooked rice or sunflower seeds.
Nests are mostly in pots or window boxes, and are made by hollowing out the nest in dirt.
There can be a total of 7 to 28 eggs per nest, with the female laying 1 to 2 per day. It is common for two females to share a nest, which is called “egg dumping,” and the female only sits on the nest after all the eggs are laid.
Eggs are speckled brown and arranged in a neat oval called a “clutch.”
Incubation is 25 days at a temperature of 100 degrees, and eggs are turned often.
Before hatching the babies peep inside the eggs.
They are born with a full coat of feathers, eyes wide open, and are able to feed themselves.
They all hatch on the same day and leave the nest immediately, usually in late June.
From MY HOA SPRING 2023 NEWSLETTER — Written by sherry and shirley
I told one of my friends I discovered this nest of quail eggs and she asked when I was going to “pick them.” I told her we’re letting them hatch and that I can’t wait to see the babies line up behind their mom and dad and follow them around our yard. They are so cute!
She said, “But quail eggs are so delicious.”
“I can buy them at the farmer’s market.” And I did!
These are the quail eggs I bought at our local farmer’s market. The vendor assured me these didn’t come from someone’s yard, but he buys them from a quail egg ranch. Somehow that makes it better. I can’t imagine stealing the eggs from the quail living in my yard!
I asked the vendor at the farmer’s market what they tasted like and how to prepare them. He said most people hard boil them and put them in salads. He also said they taste exactly like chicken eggs.
I looked up how long to hard boil quail eggs and of course it’s much less time than chicken eggs. 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 minutes. My friend was right — they are delicious!
Have you ever tried quail eggs? If so, what did you think about them?
Would you harvest quail eggs from your own yard? Why or why not?
A common theme this week is the color yellow. There are yellow blossoms on trees, cacti and bushes.
My week included enjoying my Bird Buddy. This is a juvenile Cardinal. His coat is getting hints of red. Males are brilliant red while females are brown.
Blooming yuccas at our neighborhood park.
This staghorn cactus is bursting in blooms.
Palos Verde trees are common in our neighborhood. They are in their full glory of yellow blossoms.
I can’t help but remember my daughter who loved the color yellow but called it “lallow” as a toddler.
Our house guests are gone, we have friends visiting from Seattle who arrive today. We swam and walked, I cooked, I was productive in my new space. We made it to breakfast last weekend at our favorite cafe and I had a delicious latte and bagel with lox and cream cheese. It was a good week!
A fountain at Carefree Town Center where they hold a farmer’s market each Friday.
Have you noticed when businesses use touchscreens for payment, they now include a tip screen with 18%, 20% and 30%? I first noticed it at Starbuck’s. Most of the vendors at the farmer’s market in Carefree use touchscreens, but I don’t remember seeing a screen for tips. At least not yet.
My hair dresser uses a touchscreen for payment. The coffee shop and even more formal restaurants have waitpersons come to the table with a card reader and they wait while we tip.
I’ve read a number of articles where people are feeling guilt over tips. Instead of the old fashioned tip jars at coffee shops, butchers and bakeries with counter service, you stare at a screen that may have choices much higher than you wish to tip.
“I was somewhere spending $23 on just coffee and pastries and the suggested tip was another $8 and I simply said no way. I’ll give a dollar or so as a custom tip amount, but let’s have a reality check here,” said Jared Goodman, a 26-year-old recruiter who lives in Brooklyn. “Recently I got a quick bite with my girlfriend and the suggested tip amounts were 25, 35 and even 40%. That’s just insane.”
Another complaint I read in other articles was self-service kiosks in airports that include a tip screen. Not only for snacks and drinks but for self check-in and bag tags. Think about that for a minute. What is the tip for?
What are your thoughts about the touchpads that include tips? Where have you noticed tip screens? Do you feel pressure with a person hovering over you while you select a tip?
After waiting patiently from January until now for a new solar panel for my Bird Buddy AI bird feeder with a camera, I made the executive decision to take it out of storage, charge it up and use it without the solar panel roof.
I emailed the company and they said I should receive it this month. Until then, I’m enjoying Bird Buddy and have to charge the camera every four or five days.
I’ve written about Bird Buddy before. You can read those posts HERE and HERE if you missed them.
My son works for a crowdfunding company that helped raise money and marketed Bird Buddy. I think it was one of their more successful campaigns.
In one of my prior stories I wrote about my trouble setting up Bird Buddy. There was an awkward small space to plug in the charger or solar panel. I found it frustrating and I had to get my husband to help me. However, when I set up my 91-year-old dad’s Bird Buddy, he cleverly showed me you can plug in the camera before you put it inside the feeder! Duh!
This is a House Finch who can eat a lot of sunflower seeds!
Bird Buddy takes “postcards” (these two photos are examples.) There was an update to the software and now there are videos, too. It works with an app on your smartphone, identifies birds, gives details and you can play their songs and calls.
Here’s a video of a House Sparrow and Cardinal competing for the bird feeder:
What birds do you have in your neck of the woods? Which are your favorites?