Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Not So Wordless Wednesday (Patagonia, AZ)

I'm happy to say no new sightings of the Mountain Lion, but the preserve has been closed which means less sets of eyes looking for it.  Still the preserve manager is searching the trails for signs that the big guy is still around.  So far nothing but a few paw prints and he isn't sure how old they are since the paw prints were not in a well traveled area by any of us.

On to Not So Wordless Wednesday!

While sitting outside yesterday, a Says Phoebe landed in a tree near my chair.  I had been watching the bird feeder with my camera to get some photos.  The Says Phoebe took the challenge to be my first feathered model and did some cute poses for me.

Here's my series of a Says Phoebe said 'Say What?!'....
Does she have a camera?

Oh!  I heard a click!

I'll do my 'Regal Pose'.

Don't forget a profile shot.

Here's my cute look!

Okay, one more close-up and I'm out of here...

Happy Halloween!

From the Vault: I See What You Did There

Meowloween Kitteh of teh Day: How Do I Turn This Thing Into Pie?

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Close Encounters With a Mountain Lion (Patagonia, AZ)

The Preserve will be closed for the following week:
The Mountain Lion returned two nights ago while Dan and I were finishing our dinner. He was stalking a doe and her fawn.

We first saw the doe and fawn running by the front of our motorhome. They stopped just past our rig. Mama was looking very agitated by stamping her hooves and making a loud blowing or crying sound.
old photo
Her attention was towards the back of our rig. Dan saw him first...yes, we are quite sure it is the same Mountain Lion that Dan met on the trail.
Dan's photo from the trail
He was hunched down under the tree and he was focused on the deer. Within seconds of discovering the lion hiding so close to our rig, he leaped out at the doe and fawn. The doe took off towards the open fields while the fawn escaped into the woods behind the lion's hiding place.
Mountain Lion here
At first, it looked like the lion was going for the mother, but quickly changed his mind and disappeared into the woods where the fawn had gone.

For the next half hour, Mama wandered around the field making the same crying sound. It was so heart-breaking. I'm not sure if she was calling to her little one or still hoping to get the lion to come chase her. I know this is part of Mother Nature's circle of life, but to have this happen right in front of us...well, it was hard to accept. I have a hard enough time watching a wildlife show when it is following a predator on a hunt.

Right now, the realization that just hours before we were sitting outside with the cats and seeing this Mountain Lion so close to our is a little unnerving.  Dan and I have been walking together on the trails, thinking there was more of a chance of running into the lion on the trails.  We have heard stories of people sighting big cats (Bobcats) on the nature trail just across the field from us.  Doe and fawn have been passing by our motorhome almost every evening.  It never occurred to us that the Mountain Lion might follow the doe and fawn since there is plenty of game spread out over the 320 acres. 
The Following Morning:
Dan saw a doe cruising the edge of the woods - probably the mother looking for her fawn.

Dan along with the Preserve Manager, and his ranch cattle dog walked the entire preserve trail system, checked part of the creek, and checked the area where the cat and fawn had disappeared. No sign of the kill, if there is one. But the fawn was small, the cat large, so it could have eaten some and carried the rest off across the creek a distance - where the men did not go.

The Manager has closed the Preserve for at least one week to visitors. He may contact fish and game who may or may not come out for a look. I'm hoping they will just monitor the Mountain Lion and not kill him for doing what comes naturally.  He looks young and hasn't learned how dangerous us humans can be when threatened.  He hasn't shown any interest in humans, but he doesn't seemed to be skittish of us either.

Dan weed whacked more vegetation all around the motorhome - 30 yards out for a better visual range. Most of it was already mowed, except under the trees were overgrown with 3-4 foot tall grass.

In the meantime, kitties will not be allowed outside and we will be taking walks together with our pepper spray.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Merlins and Lions! Oh My! (Patagonia, AZ)

Yesterday was filled with a couple of surprises....
photos by Dan
During our morning breakfast, a female Merlin landed in the tree right outside our dining room window.  It was one of those "Wow!" moments that makes you forget what you were doing.  She hopped from one limb to the other looking for the House Finches that had been eating bird seeds just seconds ago.  She kept getting closer and closer to our window.  It was amazing!  Of course, I was thinking "too bad I can't take pictures through these dark windows"...
The biggest surprise was what Dan captured on his camera today.  Yep, a Mountain Lion sitting in the middle of the trail.  The same trail I had been walking on only a couple of hours earlier.
Dan was walking with one of our preserve visitors when they saw this Mountain Lion sitting right on one of our trails.  He estimates they were 20-30 yards from the cat.  The  cat ignored them at first, then looked directly at them for a bit before it slowly sauntered down the small hill off the path. 

Since there have been no signs of a Mountain Lion living on the Preserve (scat, fresh kill), our manager plans to check around often to make sure he or she was just passing through the area.  Of course, he also mentioned that their territory can be up to 150 mile radius, so this one might show up again this winter.
I know!  I know!  I can't adopt this kitty...
Happy Trails!!

Monday, October 22, 2012

A Busy First Week (Patagonia, AZ)

Our manager told us the preserve received 14 inches of rain this year.  We expected to see the area looking pretty green, but not over run by morning glory vines!  This is almost as bad as the South's Kudzu dilemma.
They are still pretty and I do love them.  Too bad we were not here when they were blooming.
So, we are trying to get back into our work routine.  Wildlife and visitors were almost non-existent.  Which is good because it seemed a little harder this time to get into a routine.  I don't know if it is because it is slow or that we are trying to remember how we did it last time.  Either way, I feel like we spent a lot of time running back and forth from the motorhome to the office.  
Of course, it did not help when I got bit by a fire ant on my knee on the start of our first walk.  Actually, he managed to bite me three times before I could get my pants leg rolled up far enough to pull him off.  I'm hoping I gave him a major headache when I tossed him onto the ground.  Darn!  If that didn't hurt!

I put Cortisone on my knee, took a Claritin for swelling and went for our walk.  By morning, my knee was not only looking swollen and feeling like it was on fire, it also had three large blisters.  I finally broke down and took a Bendryl which left me feeling very lethargic for the next two days, but my knee got better and I'm back to normal...well, as normal as I can be....
Our manager told us that he had seen a 3-foot long black-tailed rattle snake hanging out around the office area.  He thought it had moved on since he had not seen it for a while, but he showed up again near a visitor's car so we are on "snake alert".  We check around the tall grass and the motorhome before cats are allowed outside.  I'm a little nervous walking to the office now.  We are hoping he will move on as the traffic of visitors gets heavier.

We have been hearing the red-tailed hawks a lot.  At one point during the mowing of the tall grass, there were four of them flying around.
So, I did not get a lot of quilting done and I did not take a lot of photos.  Maybe next time I will have more to show and to talk about...
Happy Trails!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Home is Where You Park It (Patagonia, AZ)

The last couple of days have been very busy.  Dan spent more time cleaning up around the office, our site, and along the trails while I spent time cleaning up the office.  I think the spiders were trying to take over.  Hmm, I wonder how good they are at greeting guests...
We have been walking the trails almost every day since we got here.  Mr. Owl is still in his favorite tree.
Western Screeched Owl
I don't know about the look he was giving us.  Sort of looks like a "well, there goes the neighborhood" look.
Well, there's a fine "Howdy-Do!"
Since we came back earlier than last year, it is rather nice to see the area looking green with a few flowers blooming. 
Wetland flower
The hummingbirds greeted us on our first day back by buzzing our heads.  We soon found out there was a nest in one of the trees near our door although it does not look like they are using it at the moment.  There are three of them - daddy? mommy? and baby?  Anyway, they are happy to have the feeders close to their home.  
This hummingbird is sitting on a cage that is surrounding its feeder at the preserve's office.  The bats like to drink the nectar too, but were swinging the feeder so much that it was empty every morning.  The manager hung the cage for the bats to hang onto without dumping the feeder.  It seems to be working.  I'm not filling the feeders in every morning like the manager had to do.
This big guy had to jump over 5.5 feet to land on the bird's feeder.  He looks like he was enjoying the view from above with no interest in having a snack. 
Yo Guys! Look at me!  I'm on top of the world!
Happy Trails!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

We're Baaaack! (Patagonia, AZ)

We spent yesterday setting up for our permanent winter stay in Patagonia-Sonoita Creek Preserve.  I had quite a few items to clean since they haven't been out since last winter.  With all our traveling during the summer, it was too much trouble to setup and breakdown.  Eh, call me lazy...
Bird feeders and Hummingbird feeders....check!
As soon as the motorhome stopped, we swear the cats knew our new location.  They tend to beg to go outside as soon as we stop, but this time it was different.  They were constantly in the stairwell trying to run out the door.
Lots of area to explore
All four kept saying:  "We know this spot!  Freedom!  No loud trucks, no people, and no leashes!"  But, we only let them out when we can supervise them and Hitch still needs to be on a leash.   
Dusty telling Dan he is one happy cat
So, they had to wait while we setup our site and spent some time with the preserve's manager to reacquaint ourselves with the office procedures.
Finally!  We opened the door and all four cats were out the door.  We did not have to ask them twice if they wanted to come outside.  Even Max immediately left the safety of the door to go explore.  All summer, it took a lot of coaxing to get him to take a step outside.
Hitch and Max
Squirrel spent the most time exploring.  We had to keep herding him back.  At least, he did not hiss at us for making him stay near the rig.  He was probably happy to be outside without the leash.  Yep, enjoy it while you can, because this will only last for 4 months.
Dan saw Havalina on the way into the preserve.  I was driving the car in front of him so I did not see them.  I did get to see a mama Coes Doe with her little one.  Our first sighting of many more to come!

 A lovely evening for a walk, right boys?  Meow!
Home is Where You Park It!  Happy Trails!

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Summer Days (Tucson, AZ)

I feel like summer has just started.  I actually pulled out my t-shirts and capris.  So nice to wear light-weigh summer clothing even if it is just for a little while.  I hear Patagonia is getting down to the low 50s at night....darn.  Oh well.
We have been busy this week doing a lot of shopping.  Stocking up for our winter stay at the preserve.  Of course, we can drive back to Tucson anytime, but we prefer not to do that very often.  

I did a shopping trip to Joann's during the Columbus Day.  So many items on sale for 50% off really made it hard for me to stay on course with my shopping list.  My main item was to buy a new OttLite bulb that usually goes for $34.99.  Pricey, but I have had this one bulb for over 6 years.  Not to mention, it has saved my eyesight. Lucky for me, Joann's had it for half price!  Yea!  I also stocked up on batting and a few other quilt-y items....okay and some fabric.

I also stopped by Trader Joe's and stocked up on a few staples like my favorite peanut butter, almond milk, and a variety of nuts.  We have also made trips to Walmart (of course), Target, and grocery shopping.  I am enjoying the warmer weather so much that I made some Quinoa Tabouli with fresh parsley for a quick snack.  Delicious! 
1/2 cup Quinoa
1 1/2 cup parsley
1 cucumber
3 medium tomatoes
1/3 chopped green onions
2 tsp. dry mint
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/2 - 1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. ground pepper
On The Cutting Board
During the last couple of weeks of travel, I have been keeping myself entertained with embroidering a new project from "All Creatures Great and Small" by Natalie Bird.  Aren't they adorable?  They are so tiny (4.5x7in) that I can finish one block within two days.  Once I have finished all of the blocks, I will add them to a quilt. 
Owl and the Pussycat
Oh, and I do plan to start working on some more Snowmen soon

The Devil's Puzzle: A Someday Quilts Mystery by Clare O'Donohue
The Devil's Puzzle: A Someday Quilts Mystery (Someday Quilts Mysteries)

I finished the last of the Someday Quilts Mystery series.  I hope Clare plans to write more.  I really enjoyed the quilt talking as well as the murder mystery.  This time Nell has been volunteered to organize a quilt show during Archer Rest's anniversary celebration.  I thought this can get quite interesting since I have never seen behind the scenes of preparing for a quilt show.  Even though it was fun to read, there wasn't a lot of detail on the setup.  I did like the visions of quilts hanging from the store fronts.  Sounds familiar, doesn't it Sisters?

Of course, having a body dug up in her grandmother, Eleanor's backyard was a big distraction.  I actually found this mystery a little slow compared to the previous books.  I think part of it was that Nell wasn't fighting with the Chief of Police and she did not seem very interested in solving the case.

I did finish it and I did enjoy the story.  Most of all, I loved a couple of things Claire wrote about quilters and quilting.  Here are my two favorite quotes:  "It is our meditation, our therapy, and our connection to the soul."   "We are all joined by a love of needle and thread, by the usefulness and the beauty of a quilt, and by the friendships that form because of it."
Happy Quilting!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Yosemite National Park (Tucson, AZ)

We are settled in Tucson for a few more days.  We have been busy shopping and getting prepared for our winter stay in Patagonia.  We plan to move to the preserve on Monday.  

I finally finished editing my photos from Yosemite National Park.  The scenic views were breath-taking and hard to capture with a camera.  We visited during the off-season and the place was still busy.  
Yosemite National Park - Valley
Traffic in Yosemite was almost as bad as being downtown.  They say this national park is one of the most visited parks.  I think that is an understatement.
Yosemite National Park - Valley
I did manage to get quite a few shots with no people in it.  Timing is everything!
Yosemite National Park - Valley
Yosemite National Park - Valley
Yosemite National Park - Valley
We had lunch at The Awhahnee in Yosemite Valley.  A little pricey, but my Waldorf Chicken Croissant was delicious!  Sitting outdoors on such a beautiful day was so relaxing.
 The Awhahnee
We had entertainment too.  This is just one of many squirrels that were running around under our chairs and tables.  Snooping for dropped food and every once in a while looking up at people to see if they would take pity on them.  One even tried to go inside except one of the staff saw him coming and scared him away.  
Got lunch?
Funny, he doesn't look like he is starving.  Oh, there were "Do Not Feed" signs up everywhere so it must be all those acorns he has been eating.

After lunch, we went to Glacier Point to see El Capitan and Yosemite Valley.
Yosemite National Park - Glacier Point
Now that's quite a view!
Yosemite National Park - Glacier Point
There was a B&W photo of women posing on this over hanging.  I guess they have no fear of heights.  I'll stay behind the railing, thank you!
Yosemite National Park - Glacier Point
Happy Trails!

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