Walking through the weekend

More trash on our trash walk

We saw this styrofoam on our walk. This is on the other side of the road from where we cleaned up last week.

As I wrote last week, we decided to have a quiet weekend without cooking, cleaning and entertaining.

It was lovely. We’ve been entertaining and going out with friends more than introvert me prefers. I don’t know why our neighborhood is so darn social. Maybe it’s the years of being shut down. The newcomers — like us — who moved during the pandemic were looking to end isolation and make new friends.

Anyhow, a weekend alone was much needed and appreciated.

Some of the highlights were our morning and afternoon walks. We decided to double up on walking and although my feet and knees hurt, I think it may be good for me?

Last week, we noticed trash on the side of the road and sidewalk. We picked up several bags and felt good about our good deed. I wrote about that HERE. After this weekend, we are up to eight bags of trash. The side of the road we started on looks wonderful. But then one day we ventured to the other side of the road — and it’s a mess!

As we were headed back to our garbage cans at our house with our stuffed bags and my husband holding random pieces of styrofoam too big for the bags, we ran into neighbors. They said they thought about doing the same thing. The wife asked her husband to take a photo of us holding our trash! She said, “You can put it in the newsletter and maybe it will encourage others to do the same.”

“That’s a great idea,” the husband said snapping our picture. “We’ll put you guys in the newsletter.”

I laughed along with the wife. He obviously didn’t know that I’m the one who writes and lays out the newsletter.

After they left my husband said, “Over my dead body.”

He explained that he likes to pick up trash because it makes the desert cleaner and it gives him a sense of satisfaction. He doesn’t want any recognition or attaboys for it. Thankfully, he doesn’t read my blog!

Another highlight of our afternoon walks, besides listening to the birds, who I can now identify by their calls and songs — thanks to Bird Buddy — was when a neighbor drove up the road and unrolled her window.

“Down across the street is a big bobcat,” she said.

We thanked her and I wanted to turn around. My husband pushed on. “They are afraid of us,” he said.

We walked to the end of the block and a few feet from us was a bobcat — who is much stockier and filled out than the skinny one we see in our yard. He walked nonchalantly across the road. He was in no rush and didn’t give us a glance. My husband tried to snap his picture — for the newsletter of course — but he quickly disappeared in the brush on the other side of the road.

Bobcat in the yard

This is our skinny bobcat on our patio. She passes through for a bird snack from time to time.

Saturday night we watched football. But in two different rooms. I’m a big Utah Utes fan. My husband is rooting for USC and both games were on Saturday night.

USC is already headed to the PAC 12 champs, regardless of what happened Saturday.

Utah had a few hurdles:

They had to beat CO — done 63-21

Oregon State had to beat Oregon — done 38-34

UCLA had to beat CAL — done 35 – 28

Washington had to beat Washington State — done 51 – 33

All the dominoes fell into place. Can you believe it? Our next game is Utah vs. USC for the conference title. I have a feeling we’ll be watching in separate rooms again.

What are some of the simple pleasures you enjoyed this past weekend?

Thanksgiving birds

Here are some bird photos from my Bird Buddy Gallery. The Bird Buddy is an AI bird feeder that my son was involved with bringing to market.

The first three photos are Gila Woodpeckers.

Gila woodpecker
Gila woodpecker
Gila Woodpecker

The Bird Buddy arrived last week and I’ve been having a blast with it. I am learning about the species of birds who hang out in our backyard. The app on my phone IDs the birds, gives me information about them and has recordings of the their songs and calls.

I decided not to cook this Thanksgiving, but we will go out for a simple meal. We’ve hosted Thanksgiving for most of the past 30 years and I don’t feel like doing the shopping, the prep, the cooking, inviting guests and cleaning up.

So instead of turkey, I’m sharing my Thanksgiving birds in my yard with my fellow bloggers and friends.

Gambel's quail
Mourning dove

Mourning Dove

Albert's Towhee

Albert’s Towhee

Cactus Wren
Eurasian Collared Dove

Happy Thanksgiving! What are your plans for Thanksgiving?

Testing my Bird Buddy

Bird Buddy smart bird feeder

My Bird Buddy arrived.

My son told me about Bird Buddy. The company he works for helped get it off the ground. It took more than a year to arrive due to supply chain issues.

I was almost ready to give up on it. I ordered one for myself and one for my dad — for last year’s Christmas presents. Now it’s here in time for this year’s Christmas.

I had difficulty with the assembly. Putting one little screw in the back of the camera to fasten it to the bird feeder got the better of me. I have shaky hands so I asked my husband to give it a try. He was able to get it done.

Also, the solar panel roof had to be plugged into the camera but the space was so tiny that my fingers got in the way. I managed after many tries.

Screenshot from the Bird Buddy website.

What so special about Bird Buddy? It’s a smart bird feeder that takes photos of birds who come to visit. It also identifies them. You can live stream from your phone, too. It sends notifications when visitors arrive. Plus, I ordered mine with a solar roof, so I shouldn’t have to take it inside to charge it.

One way to describe a Bird Buddy is a bird feeder with a solar powered Ring Camera.

Now all I need are some bird visitors.

Bird Buddy box

This is the box it came in. It was mostly assembled except for the two things I mentioned above. I had to charge the camera and pair it with my iphone. That went smoothly.

Live stream from Bird Buddy

This is a screenshot of a livestream from my phone. The Bird Buddy looks back at our home. It’s a pretty good camera. Come on birds — I’m waiting.

Have you ever heard of a smart bird feeder before? Have you ever participated in crowdfunding? For what type of product?

Gila woodpecker in my bird buddy

My first visitor. A Gila Woodpecker. Of course. They are bully birds that drain the nectar from my hummingbird feeder, create nests in our saguaro and scare other birds away.

Random thoughts

Roadrunner.
Roadrunner in my backyard.

On my morning walk I saw a huge coyote run across the street into my friend’s yard. I marveled at his beauty and wasn’t afraid like I’ve been before with a coyote sighting. His speed told me he wanted to get far away from us.

Olive the cat and I watched quail in our backyard. They were squawking and fighting as they scouted for birdseed. I’m amazed at how quickly the babies grew up. All the quail are the same size now. I wonder if the quail stay together as families from newborn chicks through adulthood?

I’ve been fascinated watching Harris hawks glide and circle above my backyard. I’ve tried to video them, but it’s difficult because the sun is in my eyes and I can’t see if I’m capturing them. Perhaps I shouldn’t put birdseed out because it attracts the quail — who then are prey for the hawks. I should have learned my lessons when the hawk crashed into a window and broke it!

I went to the hardware and grocery store and everything I needed was in stock. In the spring there were empty shelves. I remember looking for Tater Tots for weeks, but they weren’t available. We were having friends over for burgers and I wanted to serve Tater Tots.

During the pandemic, I would grocery shop for my dad who was in his late 80s (he’s 90 now). We didn’t feel it was safe for him at his age to go out. I felt like I was putting my life in danger grocery shopping. They were always out of my dad’s favorite Jimmy Dean’s sausage, egg and cheese biscuits.

Who would have thought Tater Tots and Jimmy Dean breakfast sandwiches would be in demand during a pandemic?

Quail in the backyard.

Watching a Harris hawk circling in the sky.

Besides toilet paper, what do you remember having trouble finding during the pandemic?

It’s all about simple pleasures

red cardinal in a tree
A cardinal enjoying our backyard.

There have been a few heartwarming and joyful moments the past few days that I captured with my iphone camera.

Several were simply watching our cat Olive. Then I spotted a bright red cardinal sharing a branch in a tree alongside 10 quail. I missed getting that photo, but I did manage to get the cardinal sitting by himself and quail enjoying the bird feed I put down.

pretty kitty staring at me
While I was reading, Olive sat and stared at me.
I never get tired of quail watching.


Nothing big and exciting has happened this week so far. But It’s been a a nice week of walking, reading, writing, ping pong and enjoying the quiet moments with the cat and wildlife.

Ten-year-old Olive is playful with tiny catnip mice. I laugh watching her, especially when they get stuck in her polydactyl claws.

How is your week going? What are your highlights so far?

Look who came back to visit?