Saturday, October 17, 2015

Tales from Tucson!

Found out the other day that we have a 'northern' mocking bird visiting--or at least passing through. I hear him or her (or maybe one of each?) in the morning first thing, their calls intricate and varied. I had to look up their sounds on the internet to truly figure it out--the quote I got was "if you hear several different birds that you can't identify, more than likely you have a northern mockingbird."

When he flew and I saw the white patches on his wings I knew he was not a curved bill thrasher which is what I originally thought, since they also have a varied repertoire.

My husband has been on a pack rat tear after another $1500 charge for car damage. They invade our garage and the car we leave outside despite leaving lights on all night long. My car had a terrible smell and when I took it in they found a nest which they removed--luckily no damage this time! So Jim has been placing haveahart traps around--(pack rats are nocturnal) and we've caught two so far and relocated them into the desert behind our house. Apparently they like cactus and so we released them into a clump of prickly pears in hopes that they will build another midden and enjoy the solitude of the desert. They reproduce at alarming rates and are the favorite food of owls and coyotes. I wrote an earlier post about them and how long they've been around--Pleistocene era--astounding! They're cute and I wondered about taming them until I remembered they were nocturnal!

We have had a ton of rain this year so far--nearly an inch just yesterday. El Nino? I wonder why California hasn't benefitted from this weather pattern. Everything is green and happy except for the poppies which were in short supply this summer. Maybe they need to be stressed to grow?

I love the cooler weather which allows me to pick and choose when to go for a walk instead of getting up before dawn. Buddha is happier too and leaps for joy when he goes outside. As you can see he likes to read.

Thanks for reading!

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Monsoon madness

Tonight I went out to make an offering of vegetable scraps, bread and celery to the javelina king who visits our compost heap from time to time with his subjects. Thunder rumbled in the distance, the near full moon covered by mysterious clouds that obscured her face. The miasma  of sage and more pungent odors wafted by on the humid air.

The monsoons have finally arrived, bringing high winds, lightning and rain that is not the soft soaking kind but more like it's coming from the sky god's anger and frustration--I understand how they feel. I am angry and frustrated too, every day more appalled by man's inhumanity toward his home. We hurtle toward some sterile place that feeds the greedy and has nothing to do with those who care, who love, who live close to the earth--a copper mine on sacred Native ground, drilling for oil in the Arctic, fracking in our national forests.

Today Greenpeace prevailed against Shell, stopping their ship about to bring the means to Alaska to drill in the pristine waters of the Arctic. I'm sure only a delay to their plans but hooray for them. And on the same day I hear about an oil slick off the coast of Santa Barbara that is 1000 miles long. No one seems to know where it came from.

I try not to listen, I try not to fret but ultimately it is my grandchildren who will inherit this world. What do we want to leave for them? Do we want a country in which the prevailing power is corporations or do we want to take it back? What about all these beautiful creatures?

Sunday, July 19, 2015

monsoon madness!

This summer has been unlike the last three I've experienced here in the Sonoran Desert. Is it El Nino or La Nina that is causing the cooler temps and scattered storms? Or is it simply global climate change?

May was wonderfully cool and June was hot but cooled off mid month when the early monsoon rains began. The monsoons have not been violent as in past years--these rains have been soft, soaking. I know the plants love it. I have heard the coyotes just recently again--I surmise they've been busy with their pups and hunting closer to home. The rabbit population where I live has expanded in their absence. The javelinas are less noticeable but still cleaning up our compost pile--I hope to see some babies sometime soon.

My Bufo toad disappeared at the end of last year. I'm not sure how long they live. We have another smaller one now but I haven't determined where he hides during the day. It amazes me how they live at all.

Thunder is beginning now and we may have another storm this afternoon. I'm always up for it, especially when the winds whistle through the palo verde trees, scattering dried leaves and cleaning off our patio.

And the clouds have been nothing short of amazing--animals drifting slowly by and changing from dragon to bear to fish as we watch. This is the scene on my walk this morning.

I like this time of year when traffic thins and restaurants are less crowded. There is a camaraderie with those of us who tough it out during the heat of the summer months. Life goes on at a slower pace.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Beauty and the beast

My morning walk in the desert was like being in paradise, the sound of birds, the smells of Catsclaw Acacia blooms and Palo Verde blossoms filling the air. I am so grateful to live in such a place.

But underneath my happiness lies the truth of what's going on in this country and around the world, the assault on animals. First it was the killing contests here in Tucson and then I heard that the Fish and Game Department is not only condoning these practices but encouraging them. Grizzlies, an animal I thought was protected, are being killed, as well as wolves and other predators. I've sent money, I've sent letters, I've posted on FB, I've tweeted. I am now going to write a letter to Obama and see if I get a response. We have to preserve these creatures for future generations. Without animals this earth would be a bitter place.

I blame the lack of concern or even awareness partially on electronic devices. This morning a man jogged by me with earbuds--listening to music instead of taking in the music of the desert. Kids are no longer allowed to wander the woods and examines the bugs, snakes and creatures who inhabit this planet along with humans. Fear drives everything. Pesticides are being dumped into the environment in the name of food production but in reality they are poisoning the earth and making it harder and harder to raise crops without them. The GMO companies like Monsanto are taking over food production across the globe and there is no entity strong enough to stop them.  Insects, butterflies, bees and frogs and a million other creatures are disappearing quicker than we know. If you can, support your local organic growers--this is the only way to combat big agra.

I have several links to share that can bring you up to speed if you are not aware of what's going on.…/wildlife-services-04-1…this one is horrifying. This is an article addressing the pervasive attitudes that need to stop.

Here's a link to an organization dedicated to preserving coyotes:

There are like minded people out there but in order to stop the government organizations and the attitudes that go along with them we all have to raise out voices.

Thank you for reading.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

The next installment

I wrote last time about the Predator Master's group and the killing contests. This is a follow-up:

The Tucson city council voted unanimously to stop these killings in Pima county. However, the state legislature will not ban them. I just wrote an e-mail to a Mr. Pratt expressing my disappointment. As an animal lover I can't understand anyone wanting to kill animals indiscriminately. It turns my stomach to even think about. The wolves are being treated in the same manner. There is tons of information out there about the necessity of predators in the environment--how important they are in the scheme of things. And yet we allow people to shoot them for no other reason than they enjoy killing! I say send these shooters to war and let them get their rocks off there! There are plenty of wars going on right now where they could go.

As you can tell by my writing, I am horrified by all this. And as a citizen of the earth feel helpless in the face of it. If any of you readers feel what I feel, please go here: and do what you can to preserve our wonderful wildlife. Nearly every state has some form of these killing contests, except the few who have banned them like, California and possibly New Mexico, although it may still be being negotiated there.

A group has been formed here in Tucson: Tucson Wildlife Advocates. To find out more please e-mail Greg hale at There will be a meeting tonight, Mar. 18th at 6:30 at the Global Justice Center 225 E. 26th street. It is sponsored by the Friends of Wild Animals.

May the forest be with you!

Friday, February 6, 2015

Coyotes and other beautiful creatures of the Sonoran desert

Found out early this past week about an organization that is nationwide called Predatory Masters. What these people do is travel  around the country to go hunting, mostly killing coyotes and leaving their carcasses in the desert to rot. And to lure these unsuspecting creatures they use calls of baby coyotes in distress. They are about as despicable as they can get.

When I contacted the organization by e-mail  with questions, the person who answered me had something like this to say:
'We do this because these animals compete with us for food' oh really? I haven't eaten a wild rabbit lately or a ground squirrel or even a mouse or rat. And I haven't seen a coyote bring down a cow lately.

"We are a superior race," was his other comment which I also beg to differ with--who besides humans soils their nest and kills just for the pleasure of it?

I cannot even express how upset I am about this. These hunters are banned in California and New Mexico is working to ban them but here in Az. the fish and game give them a green light with no limits on kills...who is protecting these creatures who live here?

There are several protests scheduled this weekend with the hopes that they will realize they aren't welcome here but anyone with this kind of mentality will not be scared away by the likes of us, I'm sure.

We need to write letters to fish and game who are complicit in all of it and demand a stop to it!

If you live in Az and feel the way I do please do whatever you can to put a stop to this practice--nothing is protected here, not even mountain lions.

Thanks for reading.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Humans encroaching!

I moved to the Sonoran desert for several reasons: one was to be in an area with fewer humans where my dog could be off leash without annoying everyone. I also moved here to experience wildlife in a place that was not built up. Two and a half years later the building going on in Oro Valley, and I suppose Marana as well, is absolutely astounding! I don't begrudge anyone the right to live in a beautiful place but without proper water usage regulation, water catchment basins and planning for the influx of people it's very upsetting to witness. (composting toilets maybe??) On my last trip to the zoo I read a sign that said our water table loses 3 to 4 feet every year. Does anyone care? I heard MaCain say we won't turn anyone away.

Oracle road is being widened to accommodate the rising population and telephone lines have appeared where there were none before. An over pass is being built for animal crossing...are you kidding? are they planning to put a sign out for the coyotes, that says 'cross here'? I've been seeing a lot of dead coyotes along the side of the road already. But to be fair at least they're thinking about the animals--maybe there's a way to do it. I'm very glad to live a few miles away
in an area of double wides and manufactured homes and only hope that the state land behind us doesn't suddenly decide to cash in on the housing boom.

Recently I was up visiting a friend in Silver City who has 40 acres on a mountaintop. I've always loved being there because there's so much wildlife. She's even had bears on her property. But this trip was disturbing since the two women who sold her the property have hired a trapper to set traps to catch the critters who are eating their chickens. These are the ones that catch an animal by the leg and maim it. And why in hell they can't enclose her chickens is beyond me! Indiscriminate killing over a few chickens? Give me a break! and yet my friend says that she has no recourse to stop this since there is no law against these inhumane traps.

The world is shrinking around us and wildlife is disappearing as the human population grows. My husband says people want no surprises. They want their lives to be predictable and controllable. I wish they understood the web of life. Without critters we as a species will not survive. I don't understand the mentality that fails to understand what wildlife has to give. I don't want to only see animals in zoos.

On a lighter note the coyotes have been calling at night but their calls are high-pitched and far away. Javelinas have been chowing down on our compost. We bought a fire pit and have had several bonfires in the past weeks. I think the birds are beginning to nest or at least build nests. The desert behind us still retains its magic and the cloud shadows on the Catalina's still mesmerize.