All posts filed under: Nature

Wednesday What’s That?

Weather in Arizona – usually temperatures are described as warm, warmer, hot, hotter, or real hot. So far this year, though, warmth hasn’t been a factor here at all. With that thought in mind, can you guess what these close-up photos are? The top photo is frost on the fabric top of a convertible. The middle photo is frozen rain drops on the shark fin antenna of the same car. The bottom photo is hail as it fell onto our patio table. I’m not complaining about our Arizona cloudy, cool, sometimes rainy weather though. Our home in Canada is just coming out of ‘Deep Freeze’ mode. Wind chills have been in the -40°C to -50°C range. Sure glad we’ve missed that…

Moon and Venus Sunrise

Morning is wonderful. Its only drawback is that it comes at such an inconvenient time of day. – Glen Cook, Sweet Silver Blues – Early morning cheerfulness can be extremely obnoxious. – William Feather – It sounds plausible enough tonight, but wait until tomorrow. Wait for the common sense of the morning.” – H.G. Wells, The Time Machine – I get up early and go to bed early. The Car Guy gets up late and goes to bed late. That gives each of us a 2-3 hour bit of solitude. As Martha Stewart would say, “It’s a good thing.” Are you a morning person or a night owl?

First Big Snow – It’s a Home Day!

There is a reason why we talk about the weather so much here in rural Alberta… Early October, and it is the first big snow of the 2017-2018 Winter. The good news is: the UV and Pollen Counts are really low. The not so good news is that the tractor is still set up for mowing grass, not plowing snow.  More snow is in the forecast – possibly 20-30 cm (7-12in) in total. The Car Guy is doing an effort/time/temp/risk/reward ‘put blade on tractor’ analysis as I write this. I think he is going to take the optimistic approach – Mother Nature will remove the white burden for him by the end of this week. The photo above shows most of our ‘fleet’ docked on the driveway. None of them will be going anywhere until the snow melts and they can be moved into the garage for the winter. Hey car buffs – can you identify them with their snow coats on? A few days ago, it was still fall, though the temperatures were more …

Playing with Snow

Not enough snow to play IN! Just enough snow to play WITH! Photo filters are courtesy the program Topaz Studio. Any interesting weather in your part of the world today? When was the last time you had a snowball fight or built a snowman?

Great Horned Owl Update

We haven’t seen the Great Horned Owl Family very often this past month, but I now have a permanent set of Owlet triplets to remind me of how special it was to watch the Owls. I crocheted my own owls from a pattern at Jacquie’s Website. Jacquie says “If you are proficient at crochet you will be able to make one of these sweet little owls in no time at all.” Proficient is the operative word. My crochet skills were rusty, and apparently my counting skills were too. ‘No time at all’ took several weeks. There are many fiddly bits to the project. The hardest part, however, was getting a decent photo of them. Their light weight little bodies didn’t want to sit on the branches of the trees. I finally had to wedge them between branches or skewer them a bit with the poky thorns. As for real owls, two of the owlets were hunting here on July 19. There were several other owls too, but they didn’t land. The original un-retouched photos are …

The Robin Welcome Wagon

Two years ago, a pair of American Robins built a nest on top of the electric meter box near our front door. (See this post: The Endless Quest for Food.) Yesterday, a pair of robins were checking out the same location, but almost immediately afterward, a magpie landed on the meter. This seemed to dampen the enthusiasm of the robins. They haven’t returned. The Car Guy and I remembered, though, that the previous robins had a great deal of difficulty building a nest on the narrow, smooth surface of the box. It seemed to us that it might be a good idea to mount a platform on top of the box that would make it easier for the robins to anchor their nest. This is what The Car Guy came up with. Just to make it very clear to the magpie that this was for the robins, The Car Guy added the name of the intended occupants. A wall, an electrical meter box, the robin platform – do you see anything else in this photo? …

Right Place, Right Time

Every now and then (but not if I’m in a line-up at the store) I’m in the Right Place at the Right Time! Here are three photos to illustrate what I mean. In 2011, I wrote a post titled Lady’s Slipper Orchids – Surprise in the Ditch. At that time, the orchids were growing in a ditch – about a 5 minute walk from us. Not a great distance, but they were easy to overlook in the tall weeds and their blooming season was short. I only saw them once again after that. A few days ago, I was very surprised to find the pretty yellow orchids again growing in the ditch –  but this time right at the end of our driveway! It would have been easy to miss their yellow flowers, surrounded as they were by clumps of yellow dandelions. But, they must have whispered to me… “It’s your lucky day – we’re your  neighbours now!” I’m a Canadian ‘Snowbird’ who spends part of the winter in the USA. Last winter I went …

Springtime Blooms – Arizona and Alberta

My Place in the World is in the Garden with my camera! The best part about living part time in Arizona is that I get to experience spring twice! In April, when Alberta might still be experiencing snow storms, our Arizona home is at the height of spring blooming! We have a large old Ironwood tree on our property. It is estimated that these trees can live for hundreds and hundreds of years. It sheds its leaves annually just before it blooms. The flowers are pea like (because it is a member of that family) and the entire tree becomes a dusky pink colour during full bloom. The Ironwood often serves as a backdrop to the giant Saguaro cactus. The Saguaro can live for 150 to 200 years and it can grow 40 to 60 ft tall (12 to 18 meters). It is very slow growing and can be decades old before it sprouts arms or blooms. The Prickly Pear cactus is the ‘rat’ of the neighbourhood for the simple reason that the resident rodents …