During the last half of June, July, August, and the first half of September we receive over half of our annual rainfall. This often arrives as brief, heavy thunderstorms. The mountains around Tucson receive the bulk of the rain and when they are visible, the storms are ultra-dramatic. We watched this small but strong storm travel along the Catalinas on August 31.
It's been a quail-filled summer. In late May we discovered that the Gambel's Quail frequenting our backyard seedblock had new babies. Five of them. The parents were very protective and lead the chicks to the seeds only once or twice each day. We watched them grow for weeks. This photo shows the babies at about a month old.
In June another pair showed up with one single chick. We're watching it develop now. Check out the Nature tab on the site for more quail photos. Our rear windows have become Quail TV for the summer.
Meet my li'l buddy. He's a Desert Spiny Lizard who lives in our back yard. He's about 6 - 7 inches long and very curious about his surroundings. He often comes up to the patio door to check me out while I'm typing at my desk. When he does his characteristic push-ups, he reveals his bright blue throat. This spring I was sorry to see he'd lost part of his tail but it is regenerating. We enjoy this guy and are grateful he's doing his part to keep the yard bug-free.
We feed birds year round in our back yard and we love watching their antics. Mourning Doves, a nuisance, are also attracted by the food and water source. We seldom get measurable rain here in the desert but when we do, the doves sit hunched miserably waiting it out.
In the spring, the Sonoran Desert is alive with color. The tops of the stately, prickly Saguaros burst with creamy, soft blossoms. The flowers are very sweet and attract swarms of bees.
I like to believe that the gods do not deduct from our allotted span
those hours spent making art.
We lived on Cape Cod for twenty years. We go back each year to visit friends and family. I don't miss the winters, but I sorely miss the seafood. Two of my favorites are here. Real lobster rolls with big, juicy chunks of meat. Whole claws even. That with a cup of steaming clam chowder and I can die happy. My guilty pleasure is fried clams at Cooke's. Wonderful clams, a few fries, and the very best onion rings anywhere ever.
I don't recall ever seeing an artichoke in bloom. We saw these in northern Oregon last month. Gorgeous, giant thistles.
The Sonoran desert is a never-ending wonder. We live near Saguaro National Park. I took some photos there recently and made a Planet image. Saguaros are a great subject for one of these creations.
In July we bake in Arizona's midsummer. The Monsoon rains were sparse this year so we were hot and oh, so dry. I was browsing through some of my January photos from when we were cooler and rediscovered this Queen Victoria cactus with a light dusting of snow. Yes, snow in the desert. This was in our front yard after a rare, brief overnight snowfall. This only happens every few years and when it does, I always rush out to capture the contradiction - snow/cactus. It looked so refreshingly cool I wanted to post it to defy the summer heat.
On May 2, 2013, we had three wild turkeys land on our back wall. Big guys.
As it turns out, these were Gould's turkeys and were among seventeen released in the Happy Valley area in February. They were being tracked and monitored by the Arizona Fish & Game Department. They were recaptured at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base and released without harm up on Mt. Lemmon on May 17. There are already a number of these birds in the Rincon mountains.
The Arizona Fish & Game Department with the National Wild Turkey Federation have been reintroducing them since 1980 into the Sky Island mountain ranges across southern Arizona. They now number around 1000.