The people who built our house and lived here for 15 years prior to us buying it, took good care of the backyard. They filled it with landscaping, potted plants and creatures.
It was cool enough to be outside last night to barbecue. While the tri tip was grilling, I took photos of the critters the prior owners left.
Here are some of them:
I had a friend over to hike last spring. She commented “You sure have a lot going on in your backyard.”
She’s right. All the statue critters are not exactly my taste, but they are growing on me. I’m not going to get rid of them, but I doubt I’ll add to the collection. The cactus and succulents are growing on me, too.
What are your thoughts about statuary in the yard? Are you a fan or not?
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.
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?
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:
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.
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.
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.
What are your thoughts about selling a childhood home? Would your kids understand? How did you feel when your parents did the same?
It’s been over a week without checking my steps and sleep on my fitbit. It went kaput and I wrote about that HERE. How have I survived? Well, the only complaint I have has nothing to do with fitness tracking, but the lack of toilet paper in the grocery store.
In fact, things are better than alright. When I’m on my morning walks or after a night’s sleep, I don’t focus on the device tracking my every move. I know if I slept well or not. I feel I’m more in touch with how I feel physically rather than being dependent on an arbitrary number. I don’t need to know how many steps I take each day. I get plenty. Although my husband still wants to compete. He’ll interrupt my writing to tell me how many steps he has. I look back at him with a blank stare.
Although the fitbit has it’s advantages, I’m not in a rush to get a new one. I feel I’m more in the moment watching the sunset, enjoying my wildlife, swimming, walking. I’m more focused on my surroundings. I also don’t need to know what time it is every few minutes.
I wonder If I’d feel even better if I point down the iphone? Not checking on electronics has its benefits.
Have you ever taken a break from your devices? How did it go?
How long do you think you’d last without a fitness tracker or a smart phone?
Last week we were fortunate to see our bobcat in action inches from our bedroom window. I posted photos and video HERE.
Sunday on our morning walk, I caught sight of a squadron of javelina. Yes, that’s what a group of them are called. These were six youngsters I believe, because they were smaller than ones I’ve seen in our yard. Also, they didn’t have tusks. I thought they were related to pigs, but a docent at the nearby preserve told us they are in the guinea pig family.
There’s never a dull moment in the desert of Arizona. I’m enjoying the surprises!
What are some of the creatures you have in your neck of the woods?