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?

One year ago we had a snow day!

coyote on wall

A year ago I posted these photos and video of our snow! It was so exciting and the coyotes frolicked around in the white wonderland. This year we have sunshine and chilly weather — but no forecasts for snow. Here’s what I wrote last year:

Just when I couldn’t get over the thunder, the wind, the hail — it started to snow. Snow was forecast for midnight and it was only 2 p.m. It not only snowed, it stuck! This is an area where snow is not common. It’s the Scottsdale area of Arizona, known for golf resorts and sunshine.

Next, I saw a creature race against our fence spiraling around the corner at rapid speed. I caught a quick look — it was a large coyote. Then I heard barking, barking and more barking out our front door. I stepped outside thinking it must be a neighbor’s dog who was threatened by the coyote. Maybe I could warn the neighbor? On the street in front of our house was the coyote barking with his mouth pointed up to the sky, all the while staring at me.

Although my video doesn’t capture the coyote, you can sure hear him:

While the coyote barked in the front yard, I went to get my husband so he could see him, too. We walked outside and there was no coyote.

We walked around to the backyard and there he was — on the wall. He stared and stared at us.

Sunday night, while watching football with my husband, the kitty jumped onto my lap and was terrified and trembling. Now I have a clue as to why. It could have been the javelina or the coyote — or both.

Yesterday afternoon, I was sitting at the table working on my laptop when I saw something scurry by the window. It looked like my big gray cat and I got a huge rush of adrenalin. I opened the door and called for kitty, but I was afraid to venture out. I don’t know how kitty could have gotten out, but my husband and I were in and out all day taking pictures of the snow and wildlife. Maybe she snuck out.

Since I had my doubts about going outside with a crazed coyote lurking by, I searched closets and under beds. Thankfully, I found kitty safe inside hiding. That creature who slinked by the window wasn’t my cat, so WHAT WAS IT?

Yesterday was truly a day like no other. At least we had our power, many people in the area lost theirs.

FYI, I figured out what the cat like creature what slinked by the window. It was our bobcat. I’ve seen it several times since.

What was an unusual day for you weather or animal wise?

Thoughts on Leaving California

One year ago in December we left California for Arizona. I’m loving it now. But I’ll admit it took me at least half a year to warm up to the move. During my week in California for Christmas, I got homesick for my new home, Olive the cat and our wildlife of coyotes, javelina, quail and the bobcat.

Here’s what I thought one year ago about the move when it was a couple weeks after leaving California:

archway gate
The entrance to our old home in Palm Springs.

Did you know there is a private Facebook group called Leaving California? I’m not sure how I ran across it, but before we made the move, I signed up. I was surprised to find out there are more than 30,000 members!

Scrolling through the posts made me feel sad in the beginning. I wasn’t convinced I wanted to leave. I loved our home downtown Palm Springs. We were two blocks from restaurants, shops and our views were breathtaking.

To add to my uncertainty, my “adult children” were beyond furious. That was the only home they’ve known prior to moving away for college and their adult lives. They both believe we made the biggest mistake in our lives by selling our home. It does have “location, location, location.” It is beautiful. But it also had its downsides. It was rustic without many modern amenities like closet space or a roomy kitchen. I was always freezing and my fingers went numb. It was big on charm, though. It was also big on expense. For some reason — partly because it’s located in California and also that it was built in the 1930s — it was terribly expensive to keep up.

birthday party for dog
My kids celebrating Natasha the rottie’s birthday.

The kids were so angry with us that they didn’t speak to my husband or me for a bit. This made me more sad. We invited them to come home to say good-by. We also asked the buyers if we could stay for one last Christmas. They said, sure, no problem — $8,000 and Christmas was ours. We passed and decided to bite the bullet. We left our home close to 30 days of selling.

I bring this up about my kids because I noticed this week on the Facebook Leaving California page, that a lot of people are going through the same thing with their adult children. The latest post garnered close to 400 comments. Most said “Tell them to buy it if they want it.” Others were a little more understanding to the kids’ feelings.

prom photos in backyard
Pre Prom Photo in our back yard.

I understand how my kids feel. My mom had to sell our childhood home, which was gorgeous with stunning views, too. Unfortunately, she had to sell after she and my dad divorced and she could no longer afford the expenses. I can tell you, that was an extremely upsetting way to lose my childhood home — and my nuclear family. I felt like my world turned upside down and there was no gravity to keep me on the planet.

My husband felt our kids were acting spoiled. They weren’t entitled to the house. He said he’d been working since age 13 and didn’t want to work until the day he died to pay to live in our home. Although, he’s still working now in our new home, there will come a day in a couple years where he won’t have to.

My kids are coming to accept our new reality. I’m looking forward to COVID-19 vaccines and their visits to our new home. I can’t wait to show them the hiking trails we’re discovering, the quail running through our backyard and the sunsets and sunrises.

Nothing can take away all the great memories we had of 28 years living there. I truly believe that home is not a structure, but is with the people who love you.

view of gorgeous Palm Springs backyard
Our former backyard all fixed up to sell.

What are your thoughts about selling a childhood home? Would your kids understand? How did you feel when your parents did the same?

Views from my visitor’s eyes

I had so much fun showing off my new home to my guest this week. I had the company of my sister-in-law to visit thrift shops, consignment stores and an outdoor mall called Scottsdale Quarter. We went out to lunch, had fun sitting around talking until late in the night — (anything past 8 p.m. is late to me!) We hiked, walked and swam in the pool.

We took her to the lake last night. She loved it and said she’s coming back with her husband. They have a boat and spend summer days on a lake.

We watched sunsets and of course the wildlife with our bobcat as the highlight. It was interesting to view my home of nine months through the eyes of someone who has never been here before. It was like seeing it for the first time.

These are the photos she took with her Android. I have an iphone SE and my camera isn’t nearly as good!

Saguaro at Lake Bartlett
Bartlett Lake near our home. My sister-in-law loved the juxtaposition of mountains, saguaros and water.
Lake views in Tonto National Forest
The lake is in the Tonto National Forest. Weekdays hardly anyone is there. The weekends are packed.
Bartlett Lake Arizona
We had a lot of rain in August and the water level looks better.
Sunset view from Raven's View
We went to a wine bar for a light dinner called Raven’s View. This was the sunset view.
Arizona sunset
It was a gorgeous sunset.

What are your favorite things about having guests? Do they stay with you or nearby? Do you like to cook for them? If you do, what do you like to prepare? If not, where do you like to go out?

It’s a jungle out there!

bobcat on the patio
This precious kitty was inches from my bedroom sliding glass door.

My husband called to me from the bedroom. “The bobcat is here!”

“Where?” I asked scanning my view past the fence in the backyard.

“Right here.”

Wow. The bobcat was lounging inches away from our sliding glass door. She looked hot with mouth open breathing. But instead of panting, she was scenting her next meal. My cat Olive used to do that when scouting for birds in our backyard — before we moved to the wilds of Arizona.

I called to my sister-in-law to come into our bedroom and we stood fascinated watching our very own “animal kingdom.”

The bobcat nonchalantly grabbed a bird midair and took it behind a potted plant to munch. She climbed a tree and came down with another snack of a baby bird. Another baby bird was hopping on the patio oblivious to the danger. That life ended quickly.

The bobcat moved into the shade and fell asleep on our patio, sated with an afternoon meal.

Climbing into a tree to fetch a baby bird snack.
Arizona desert bobcat
Acting casual before catching a snack.
She looks like she owns the place!

I’m a little nervous to go outside after dark. You don’t know what’s out in those trees or under our patio furniture. It’s literally a jungle out there!

Thanks to my sister-in-law for the amazing videos.

Olive cat the barfly
Here’s Olive our wild cat who is hanging out on the bar.

We have a visitor plus more desert blooms

skinny bobcat in Arizona yard
This is our bobcat who hangs out in our yard in broad daylight.

This is the first picture I’ve gotten of our bobcat. When we had a home inspection done, the inspector went on the roof and said he found bones. The previous owners said, “That would be from the bobcat. He likes to sit on the patio roof over the pool.”

I’ve been a little nervous and have had a few fleeting sights of the bobcat slinking along the wall right outside our windows. My husband spotted him (her?) a few days ago and I watched from the casita as she sat and looked back at me. Our windows have a reflective coating, so I don’t think she really saw me. I’m calling her a she now because we’ve read that the males are much bigger and heavier than the females. This creature is about two feet tall and SKINNY!

Here are a few more of the interesting sights I saw over the weekend:

Saguaro cactus blooms
Saguaro beginning to bloom. I never knew that had blossoms.
Desert Ironwood in bloom
Desert Ironwood with lavender flowers. Another thing I’ve never seen before.
yucca in bloom
Yucca in full flower against a brilliant blue sky.
This is in our backyard. One day it was a foot tall, next it’s soaring to the sky and blooming. From Wikipedia: Plant in bloom: the flower stalk may reach up to 8 m (26 ft) in height Agave americana, common names sentry plantcentury plant, maguey or American aloe, is a species of flowering plant in the family Asparagaceae, native to Mexico and the United States in Texas. Today, it is cultivated worldwide as an ornamental plant.

Here’s the bobcat walking away. She fits through our fence.