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?

The perils of book club

We now have three quail families who visit our backyard. This is one family. I never get tired of watching them.

I ordered the June selection for book club from Amazon. I’m facing a 500-page book that I have no desire to read. Is it rude to select a book that long? As a new member of our neighborhood’s book club, I realize why I never joined one before. Mostly I was too busy to have to read a book by a certain date. Also, I enjoy reading what I want to read. I have no qualms about putting down a book I don’t like and not finishing it.

I’ve read three books so far for book club. One I despised, one I disliked and then there was Hemingway’s “Old man and the Sea” which was a joy to read.

The latest book is called “The Extraordinary Life of Sam Hell: A Novel.” Has anyone read it? Can you tell me something encouraging like you loved it?

I’m not a quitter, but I’m considering that as an option.

Or, I could be a no show for June. We are going to a wedding out of state on several of the dates being considered for the next meeting.

The last book was “Less,” a Pulitzer Prize winning book about a gay man whose love was marrying another man. Arthur Less was an author who decided to accept all sorts of engagements around the world to escape the upcoming wedding.

There were good parts to the book, but I found myself not caring about Arthur Less. He was too self-deprecating and insecure. That made the book drag for me. But there was depth and humor to the story, too.

The conversation at book club got heated between people who “didn’t want the gay agenda shoved down their throats” and those who said “I saw it as a story that the main character just happened to be gay.” It went downhill from there to race and religion — which had nothing to do with the book. I left early to go on a walk with my husband. It went on for more than an hour after I left. I was relieved to get out!

This bird was hanging outside the window while I was writing.
Of course the birds have nothing to do with today’s blog post. I thought you’d enjoy bird watching with me.

What are your thoughts about book clubs? What do you enjoy about them? What do you dislike? Can you recommend any books for book club?

Do New Year’s Resolutions Work?

saguaro cactus
stately saguaro cactus in the preserve across the street.

Last year on this exact day, I wrote about my goals and resolutions — and if they work. Take a look of what I had to say:

This year, I’ve decided to not make New Year’s Resolutions. It’s not that they haven’t worked for me in the past, so long as I kept them small and not overwhelming. I view New Year’s Resolutions as a “don’t do this list” rather than “try something new.” Although that’s not totally accurate, it’s how I’m looking at it for 2021. Here’s the difference between resolutions and goals I found online:

Essentially, a resolution is something you will constantly be working toward, while a goal is specific and finite. Resolutions are made up of goals. While there is a difference between goals and resolutions, they are relevant and intertwined.

WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN GOALS AND RESOLUTIONS …

I’ve decided that I’d rather make a list of goals, not resolutions. Mostly it’s learning new things, seeing new places. In my new home, I want to learn about the birds I’m seeing, the plants, the trails and mountains.One of our first hikes in AZ at Cave Creek Regional Park.

So, a few of my goals — besides getting my house unpacked and in order — are:

  1. Start birdwatching — I already put a bird feeder in the backyard.
  2. Learn about saguaro cactus and other species of native plants.
  3. Hike on a new trail each week.
  4. Experience more sunrises and sunsets.
  5. Explore areas like the Grand Canyon and Sedona.
  6. Take a photography class online.
  7. Sketch or paint some of my new scenery.
  8. Begin a new manuscript, in a genre new to me.

Update Jan. 5, 2022: Out of my goals from last year, I did a lot of them, including enyoying sunsets and sunrises — and writing an entire manuscript in a new genre. I am birdwatching and learning about the native plants. We haven’t hiked a new trail each week, because we discovered the preserve across the street where it’s too convenient to hike and skip a 30-minute drive to get a trail. We haven’t been to Sedona or the Grand Canyon yet since we’ve moved to Arizona, although I’ve been to both in the past. That can be a goal for this year. I didn’t take a photography class, but I’m practicing on my own. I got out my sketch book and I’ve been sketching sporadically.

I think those were good goals and ones I’ll continue with in 2022.

What do you think about the difference between goals and resolutions? Do you have any you’d like to share?

desert sunrise
Desert sunrise from my back yard.

A moment of pure joy

We have babies! Quails that is.

I was so excited at the sight of baby quails in our backyard! It took me a couple days to get a decent video of them. They are bringing me joy as I watch the perfect miniatures of the mom and dad copy their every move. Mom jumps on a rock, the babies jump on a rock. I’m mesmerized watching them. Sheer joy.

Then there’s my favorite cardinal.

What are your favorite sights and sounds of Spring?