Monday, May 4, 2015

Post Rainy Morning Musings

After about a third of an inch of rain overnight, enclosed in enough thunder to remind Ellie that it still terrifies her, I stepped out this morning to that wonderful fragrance of fresh-washed desert air, part sage, part... life. Ahhhhhhhh!

We've made it over 100 two days in a row already, hot enough that I gave in and turned on the house's AC. For a few hours. Each day. Then off as soon as we could stand it. The heat is triggering some nearby saguaros to bloom early, though.

It's impossible to sleep in, no matter how late I stayed up the night before unable to shut the mind down. A loud chorus of doves and quail, along with several other species of birds, all think it's time to impress the ladies starting about 3AM, and yes, the windows are open then to cool down the house. The neighbor across the back fence set out a corn feeder before they left for northern climes, and makes sure his irrigation system for his citrus trees also fills bird baths on the ground while it runs. While it's nice to watch the accumulated wildlife while we're awake, there is a down side.

There's another down side as well. The new crop of bunnies loves the corn too, and the spillover to my yard is fierce. They have learned to tip over the chicken wire protecting my plants, eating several aloes and agaves down to brown nubs an inch below ground level.  The youngest mobile sets of teeth can get through the chicken wire to gnaw the green bark of my palo verde trunk up over a foot high, turning it into a collection of white branches. As even the adult rabbits can hop through fences as if they weren't even there, even the coyote packs have little success controlling them. I sincerely do wish them better luck this summer. The coyotes, that is. The dogs just ignore the rabbits in favor of chasing the birds, but only if they're feeling in need of some exercise. Chances are they got enough of it inside the house running around to find new vantage points to bark away passing dogs taking their owners out for a stroll and some bend-over-touch-the-ground-and-bag-it stretches.

The outside house wiring got moved in record time. The new box looks great, incorporating the meter inside itself rather than as a separate unit on the wall.  Incidentally, the old box got - you guessed it! - a new cover made for it to keep the elements out, just as part of the project. Irony? The breaker box didn't have to move as far as the electrician wanted. The new location would have put the wires well away from the big pine but right in the path of the newly planted trees after a bunch of years. APS, our power company, nixed that. Now it's free of their future growth, and mostly out of the way of where the pine is likely to spread to. The shorter distance took a few hundred off the total bill, always a welcome bit of news.

The baby quail are getting hard to find. Not sure how much of that is attrition from predators and how much is just wrong place / wrong time observations. I do regularly see a family with one baby, but I could actually be seeing several different families whose brood size has shrunk since hatching. The one chilly post-rain morning was the only time any held still long enough for some photography. Mostly they are spotted running from here to elsewhere, and even more so behind a fence or under bushes, completely impossible to shoot. I did get a chuckle one early evening as a threesome ran across the street into the front and then side yard. Crossing the street the baby scuttled along behind its parents waving its wings madly as it tried to catch up as if that could make it run faster. Who knows? Maybe when you're that uncoordinated still it actually helps.

Now that we're no longer waiting on the electrician, we're starting to seriously plan our northward trip. The where is pretty well figured out. The when is a little more iffy. When I'd like to go puts us smack dab into holiday traffic, making accommodations harder to come by, especially traveling with dogs. Back when it was October through March down here, not such an issue. Plus, routing south through Texas rather than up through Colorado, not such competition for spaces. I mean, who actually chooses the panhandle for anything other than something they need to get through as quickly as possible in order to go somewhere else? But the Rockies? Oh yeah!

But I wish I could safely put out poison for those pesky greedy rabbits as we leave!

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