Archive for the ‘Spring’ Category

New Year Violets!

January 5th, 2012 by pattiebell

Where I grew up in Western Pennsylvania, violets peeking through the last of winter’s snow announced the arrival of Spring. This little patch of them growing right outside the Ranch House entrance (possibly planted by Merle herself in the ’50s?) seems to be wishing us a Happy New Year!

Amazing Quail Egg!

June 28th, 2011 by pattiebell

Apparently the egg is malleable enough that the hatchlings can peck a semi-circle and squeeze out without breaking the shell. This was dry and firm when I found it. We have not had nearly as many quail babies this year as last, but a couple families are passing through regularly. We had to give up the quail seed blocks because the javelina were devouring them in a matter of days!

Breakfast Bokays

June 6th, 2011 by pattiebell

These flowers were all picked on the property!

Latest Javelina sighting ~

June 6th, 2011 by pattiebell

Pair O' Bunnies

May 14th, 2011 by pattiebell

I came upon these critters when I moved the trash cans they were hiding behind out for pick-up. Thanks to guest Steven Schlecht, who was celebrating his birthday with us, for the photo!

Night Blooming Cereus

June 19th, 2010 by pattiebell

Thanks to West Tucson guest Hope Green for sharing these great photos of our huge night blooming cereus. Thanks too, Hope, for the shoe sharing!!!

More Flora and Fauna courtesy of Ken VanHorn

June 19th, 2010 by pattiebell

Kitty Kitty

June 11th, 2010 by pattiebell

Green Valley guest Ken Van Horn got up close and personal with this Bobcat as he and Mary Ann were about to depart. After posing for this shot, the cat sauntered around to the patio off of our kitchen, where she took a 3 hour nap under the night blooming cereus (more on that subject next week) .  When I went out to water my drooping herb pots she just sat there and watched me before stretching and strolling off.

The Bobcat (Lynx rufus) is a North American mammal of the cat family, Felidae. With twelve recognized subspecies, it ranges from southern Canada to northern Mexico, including most of the continental United States. The Bobcat is an adaptable predator that inhabits wooded areas, as well as semi-desert, urban edge, forest edges and swampland environments. It persists in much of its original range and populations are healthy.

With a gray to brown coat, whiskered face, and black-tufted ears, the Bobcat resembles the other species of the mid-sized Lynx genus. It is smaller than the Canadian Lynx, with which it shares parts of its range, but is about twice as large as the domestic cat. It has distinctive black bars on its forelegs and a black-tipped, stubby tail, from which it derives its name.

Though the Bobcat prefers rabbits and hares, it will hunt anything from insects and small rodents to deer. Prey selection depends on location and habitat, season, and abundance. Like most cats, the bobcat is territorial and largely solitary, although there is some overlap in home ranges. It uses several methods to mark its territorial boundaries, including claw marks and deposits of urine or feces. The Bobcat breeds from winter into spring and has a gestation period of about two months.

Although Bobcats have been hunted extensively by humans, both for sport and fur, their population has proven resilient. The elusive predator features in Native American mythology and the folklore of European settlers.

Yuccas in the Moonlight

May 28th, 2010 by pattiebell

Yucca in the Moonlight

Close-up of Yucca blossoms

Datura Bloom

May 11th, 2010 by pattiebell

Datura Bloom

Datura are herbaceous, leafy annuals and short-lived perennials which can reach up to 2 meters in height. The leaves are alternate, with a lobed or toothed margin. The flowers are erect or spreading, trumpet-shaped, and colors vary from white to yellow, pink, and pale purple. The fruit is a spiny capsule, splitting open when ripe to release the numerous seeds. The seeds disperse freely over pastures, fields and even wasteland locations.

Datura belongs to the classic “witches’ weeds,” along with deadly nightshade. Most parts of the plants contain toxic hallucinogens, and Datura has a long history of use for causing delirious states and death. It was well known as an essential ingredient of love potions and witches’ brews.

Common names include Thorn Apple, Pricklyburr, Jimson Weed, Moonflower, Hell’s Bells, Devil’s Weed, Devil’s Cucumber, and Devil’s Trumpet. Nathaniel Hawthorne refers to one type in The Scarlet Letter as Apple-Peru.

They are a very common sight in Southern Arizona, and this one cropped up right beside El Rancho Merlita’s  fire pit.

1924 North Corte El Rancho Merlita, Tucson, AZ 85751-1017
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