Sunday, May 30, 2010

Heartsick

The environmental disaster that seems to be never ending in the Gulf is leaving me feeling desperate and scared. The news yesterday that the top kill failed literally gave me palpitations.

I am at the point of being almost unable to watch the images of the thick, unstoppable oil as is spreads through the marshes, clogging and killing everything in it's path. The people who live there don't have that choice.

I mourn for the loss of the unique habitat and wildlife, and for the loss of livelihood for so many who had just started to get their lives back in order following the devastation of Hurricane Katrina.

My Dad made a comment the other day, that we all have a responsibility in this for as long as we continue to rely on oil to power our life styles, and for as long as we choose not to make more environmentally responsible choices.

Right now I am completely at a loss because really there doesn't seem to be anything that is working to stem the flow of oil at this point. I feel helpless. I am sure the people who live and work on the Gulf coast, and who are watching this disaster unfold right in front of their eyes feel a great deal more so.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Nature Abounds

We seem to be attracting all kinds of nesting birds this year in both our front and back yards. I have already posted about the lovely verdin nest in the backyard, the occupants of which have now hatched out, and are flitting around all day. I have never managed to get a picture unfortunately.

Now we have another nest straight outside our front door.


It is still under construction and looks very similar to the verdin nest to me, but the bird building it is plain brown, and somewhat smaller. I wish I knew more about birds to be able to identify it accurately, although I think it probably is another verdin's nest.

We have all been enjoying fleeting sights of a quail family complete with it's brood of chicks roaming around our neighbourhood over the past week or so. They have been in our backyard more than once, but try as I might to get a picture I have only been able to capture Daddy quail sitting on our wall guarding me from coming any closer.


The chicks move like lightning!

Just now Robert was out in the front yard and he came across the entire family of quail on our front step. They all ran away immediately but he saw that some had run under the large prickly pear in our front yard. He went to investigate and found this........


It would appear that the quail family was incubated and hatched in our front yard right under our noses and we never suspected a thing! Amazing. I am not out in the front yard that often so I am sure that is why they managed to stay so well hidden. Very clever.

I am glad that my somewhat wild style of gardening seems to attract so much wildlife, for here in the suburbs at least. I am sure the fact that leaf blowers are banished, plants are left to flower and go to seed, and that there are so many nooks and crannies helps.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Desert Willow

Here finally is a picture of my new Desert Willow tree. I have been waiting to take a picture until I had cleaned up the back yard so that it would look at it's best.


It is a little difficult to see with the creosote bushes in the back ground but you probably get the idea.

And here is a picture of our back patio. It is starting to look like I have always envisioned now that everything is growing so well this spring.


It is really nice sitting out there and enjoying all the birds. we seem to have many more kinds this year than we have ever had before. Makes me happy!

Monday, May 17, 2010

My Trees

I love trees! I grew up deep in the English countryside surrounded by woods full of trees, and my childhood memories are full of times spent within them. When I moved out to the desert one of the hardest things for me was the lack of trees, or at least trees of the kind I am used to.

My husband to be's backyard was completely devoid of all trees when I moved in. Well actually it was devoid of any kind of vegetation apart from a patch of scratty grass, and that was just the way he liked it. Fast forward ten years or so and unsurprisingly perhaps that backyard is now full of trees, plants, and vegetation. My husband is a patient man!

The trees have to be thinned at least once a year so that they don't blow over like the one that did last fall. I used to be able to manage completely by myself when they weren't too big, but of course now they are really big and I have problems getting to the crowns, even on a ladder. This has caused seemingly endless conflict in our marriage. The trees are a financial priority for me, but not for Robert. He didn't want any trees in the first place. I understand this but at the same time I get really stressed about my trees. As a result, about this time every year we have a ridiculous tree pruning feud that continues until one of us backs down. It usually ends with a poor compromise of getting someone unqualified in pruning trees to prune them. They usually end up looking awful, and then I feel awful, and then so does everyone else. (Remember last year Kavita?)

This year I decided I was going to use a real tree company with actual trained arborists to do the job properly after years of my poor trees being hacked to pieces. I was expecting an even larger feud due to the added expense. Amazingly though my DH seems to have finally surrendered to the trees, (or maybe to me), and resigned himself to the expense. Ah, the wonders of compromise in a marriage! :)

So, here they are, my beautiful, pruned trees. They made an absolutely amazing job of them, the nest is still in place, and I feel happy and relieved. Hopefully they will withstand this years monsoon without sustaining any damage. Priceless!


Thursday, May 6, 2010

Nesting

I have a cute, and extremely noisy Verdin nesting in one of my Palo Verde trees in our backyard.


I know very little about birds and their nesting habits, but this little bird follows me closely every time I am out there making sure that I am not anywhere near it's nest.


Very sweet indeed! I can't believe how loud it chirps, and it does it ALL DAY, literally, from dawn until dusk. I would never believe such a loud noise could come from such a tiny bird.

As I write there is a team of tree pruners out back working on thinning out my trees. This is the, (I hope), final outcome of a long and drawn out issue of conflict between my DH and I. A long story for a future post. Needless to say they are under strict orders not to disturb my little bird and it's nest. I have my fingers crossed.