The bizarre-looking, slow-moving, plant-eating walking stick – among the most intriguing of the insects – has raised camouflage, mimicry and defense to a veritable art form. Through an adaptation called “crypsis,” it blends in so perfectly with its natural habitat that it often goes completely undetected by would-be predators.
November 7th, 2012 by pattiebell
November 7th, 2012 by pattiebell
September 4th, 2012 by pattiebell
August 11th, 2012 by pattiebell
The Coati is a raccoon-like omnivore, but is more slender and possesses a longer snout. It is a nosy, busy little creature with an insatiable appetite. The Coati is gregarious and noisy as it travel about in groups of from 6 to 24, holding its tail almost erect and chattering with others.
This grizzled gray-brown mammal grows 30 to 55 inches long and stands 8 to 12 inches high at the shoulder. It can weigh from 10 to 25 pounds. Males are almost twice as large as females.
The Coati has a long snout that is white near the tip and around the eyes, which often have dark patches above. The Coati has small ears, dark feet and a long, thin tail (as much as 2 feet long) with 6 or 7 dark bands.
Coatis are diurnal, spending most of the day foraging for food, which includes insects, lizards, roots, fruits, nuts and eggs. They are very fond of fruit, especially the manzanita berry.
Coatis mate in early spring and deliver a litter of 4 to 6 young after a gestation period of about 11 weeks. The female educates and feeds the young from the den site, usually a rocky niche in a wooded canyon.
The only other member of this species, the Brown-nosed Coati (Nasua nasua) occurs only in South America.
August 4th, 2012 by pattiebell
June 27th, 2012 by pattiebell
June 3rd, 2012 by pattiebell
Lately I have been enjoying the virtue of a fried egg or two on top of, well, just about anything. Pasta, a corn tortilla slightly crisped with some melted cheese, and salads. This one takes its inspiration from Salade Lyonnaise, with some ingredients I had on hand. Arugula, red onion, smoked salmon, roasted potatoes, and eggs over easy. Poached eggs are the French tradition, and once I had a marvelous version with a poached egg that had been lightly battered and fried somehow. I love the combination of cold crisp greens and warm runny yoke together. For the greens I simply drizzled some good EVOO and a squeeze of lemon, my go-to salad dressing these days. A nice summer supper, good and good for you!
June 1st, 2012 by pattiebell
This morning on my 2 mile walk along the Tanque Verde Wash I saw dozens of these distinct lizards. I have never seen so many of them in one outing – they were all over the place! With their rapid movement and tails curled up high, they reminded me of big scorpions scurrying about. It is the beginning of the season and I guess their numbers are high until Mother Nature pares them down by attrition.
February 25th, 2012 by pattiebell
1/4 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups sour cream
1/2 cup orange juice
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 cups small curd cottage cheese
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
2 egg yolks
2 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in sour cream and orange juice. Combine flour and baking powder; stir into egg mixture. Set aside. Combine filling ingredients in a small mixing bowl and beat until blended. Pour half of the batter into a greased 9 X 13 baking dish. Top with filling and remaining batter. Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees for 40-50 minutes or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean.
2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 cup orange juice
3/4 cup white sugar
In a saucepan over medium heat, combine the blueberries, lemon juice, orange juice, and sugar. Stir gently, and bring to a boil.
In a cup or small bowl, mix together 3 tablespoons cornstarch and ¼ cup cold water.
Gently stir the cornstarch mixture into the blueberries so as not to mash the berries. Simmer gently until thick enough to coat the back of a metal spoon, 3 to 4 minutes. Sauce may be thinned with a little water.
February 21st, 2012 by pattiebell
A real show stopper when planted in masses in the garden, spring-blooming Parry penstemon sports light to dark pink flowers on 3-4 foot flower stalks. Not only is it attractive in bloom, it is also easy to care for. An added feature is the tubular shape of the flowers which are perfect for attracting hummingbirds. Parry penstemon grows along washes, on desert slopes, and in canyons in southern Arizona and in Sonora, Mexico, generally at elevations from 1500-5000 feet. You occasionally see it in masses in the wild, but it is more common to see one or two plants here and there. This area is irrigated, which allows for abundant spreading as the plants drop their seeds each year.