Twofer Tuesday: raincatcher edition

Birds frequently perch on the wire outside my kitchen window, but I’ve never seen this before:

June 6, 2022

It’d started to rain and these two Mourning Doves each lifted first one wing and then the other to catch the moisture, and then proceeded to groom themselves.  It was almost like watching synchronized swimmers (although I’m pretty sure the doves didn’t have to hold their breath) and I felt strangely honored to witness their routine.

I just did a quick online search for information about this phenomenon and came across a few posts on forums stating the equivalent of “I didn’t know doves did this” and “Very cool to witness.”

Have any of you seen doves bathing in the rain?

Magic is welcome here

Poppy’s world is a magical place, and it’s the most free part of the entire universe.
~ Poppy

June 19, 2022

Confession: I didn’t know there was a singer-songwriter-YouTube-personality named Poppy, but when I went in search of a poppy-related quotation and happened upon their above quote, found myself in complete agreement.

A poppy is most definitely a magical place. How else to explain these other-wordly images of my neighbors’ front yard poppy-crop?

Gratitude to these trippy flowers for helping me find joy and wonder during these very difficult days. Magic is always welcome here.

It’s been a day, here’s a pretty picture

Until a minute ago, I thought today was Wednesday. All afternoon, I planned to share this photo from Staunton State Park for a “Wordless Wednesday” post.

June 7, 2022

So what took me so long to post the photo?

Well, I used Microsoft’s OneDrive in the early days of the pandemic when  I was doing housing justice work, and somehow today when working on revisions in a Word doc, I activated that stupid program again. And somehow my photos ended up in there? I don’t know. I’m still not sure what’s going on with my computer and am ready to scream, so will stop here and gaze upon that lovely vista. And breathe . . .

Happy not-Wednesday to everyone.

Thankful, mostly

After staying safe and healthy for the past 2-plus years, Zippy has Covid and is quarantining in our home. I’ve done two rapid tests that came back negative and this morning felt good enough to do a 4-mile run. That’s very good news. The other very good news is Zippy no longer has a fever (his temperature was 101 on Tuesday when he tested positive). The bad news is I am very much aware that a “mild” case of Covid can cause long-term health issues and am trying hard not to think about the possibility of Long Covid.

Which is why I was exceedingly grateful to be able to run today. It was my first run since the BolderBoulder and I ran up our street to the trailhead, eager to be in my happy place again. About fifteen feet in, there was a broken robin’s eggshell in the middle of the trail. No sign of a nest or baby robins, but that bright blue shell was my first bird-related sighting. A few minutes later, four magpies few over head as another flapped-flapped-flapped to catch up. Farther along the trail, Spotted Towhees sang “sweet-sweet-teeaaaaa.” Later, a Western Meadowlark sang from its perch on a rabbitbrush. Absolute bliss.

But that wasn’t all: a bunny ran across the trail right in front of me! Insects chirped! Several other runners and hikers passed with dogs happy to be out on adventures! A good day to be alive.

There was some sadness, though. For the past couple months, I’ve checked a little round cactus at the turnaround spot, hoping to see signs of life. Hoping it was only temporarily dormant. Today I had to face reality and admit it will never bloom again. Fortunately, Zippy photographed it for me years ago so I have documentation of it in all its prickly and pink glory. Here it is again:

Thank you for the joy you brought me over the years, little cactus. You won’t be forgotten.

Bunny Monday

Look at this beautiful bunny. So very mellow and timid-looking.

May 23, 2022

Wrong. This rabbit was sitting there when I came out with my camera to photograph my snow-downed poppies after last month’s big snowstorm. Not knowing it was there, I’d made zero attempt to walk softly. Despite me being practically close enough to tug on its ear by the time I spotted it, this bunny was not at all phased by my presence.

Time to face facts: brazen little bun-buns have taken over the neighborhood. Ah, well. Probably beats an alligator invasion.

In case you’re curious, this is what two feet of wet, heavy snow does to poppies:

Help! I’ve fallen and can’t get up.

Sunday Confessional: out of hiding

The last several weeks have been especially hard days on the planet and I haven’t had the energy to post anything in a while. But we just experienced a brief thunderstorm that’s made the air clean and fresh, and I’m motivated to poke my head out again.

March 1, 2022

Tomorrow is the Bolder Boulder 10k and it’s supposed to be only 50 degrees at the starting time for our wave. That’s fine by me as I prefer running in cooler temperatures, as long as my hands are warm. So I just mended a pair of super-lightweight gloves that I’ll wear with my shorts and short-sleeved shirt.

While I had the sewing box out and the needle threaded, I also mended the sleeve on my Bolder Boulder shirt from 2016 (the last time I ran the race). Now I can wear that shirt again without worrying the sleeve would completely unravel . . . and it only took months for me to take action!

The last time I posted, we were expecting rain and/or a heavy snowfall. We ended up getting rain and then about two feet of snow which was welcome moisture, but also anxiety-producing because of the leafed-out trees. Zippy and I went out four times during the storm to knock snow off branches (note: it’s surreal to smell lilac blooms during a snowstorm). I also tossed balls and a broom in the upper part of our red maple where we couldn’t reach with our poles, but my aim was mostly pitiful.

May 21, 2022

Also, the balls and broom all got stuck. Fortunately, the tree released them back to my custody.

Unfortunately, when prying snow-laden shrub branches with the broom I snapped off the extra handle we’d taped onto it for longer reach. But overall, it was a better outcome than expected in our yard and we only lost two branches. It is heartbreaking, though, to drive around the city and see the many limbs on the ground. Poor trees.

I’ll stop here and wish everyone a good weekend. Be safe and be well. 💚

On rabbits and drought

When glancing out my window the other day, I briefly thought someone had tossed a rabbit carcass in our yard. Happily, this bunny was very much alive. The same can’t be said for our “lawn.”

May 15, 2022

The neighborhood has been bunny-rich for the past several years and they’re slowly eating away the grass, leaving behind larger and larger bare spots. Fine by me. Colorado is in extreme drought (I learned this morning that the current statewide snowpack is 53 percent of median) and none of us should be dumping water into lawns. The good news? We’re supposed to get rain (and snow!) on Friday. I’m hoping for more rain than snow because the trees and shrubs are leafed out and that extra weight will break limbs. Still, let it rain OR snow! Whatever needs to fall from the skies is one hundred percent welcome here!

Here’s one more bunny pic to calm the climate anxiety. These two started fussing with each other and became so aggressive they frightened the above dirt-lounger into hiding. They chased and tussled all over the place, including in the iris fans and lavender.

Here’s hoping they’ll be tucked away somewhere warm and dry during Friday’s storm.

Happy #Caturday

Marcel and Loki are indoor cats, but we allow them supervised time on the deck. The only rule is they must stay where we can see them and aren’t allowed around the corner where the bird feeder and bath sit next to the patio. Loki always immediately cruises down the deck and around the corner where he flops down and begins rolling around. Unfortunately, his outdoor time is nearly nonexistent because he still hasn’t made the connection between that behavior and getting put back inside.

Marcel, however, abides by the rules. Here he is this morning, strolling the deck railing, as Zippy and I stretched after our run.

I missed a great photo opportunity of him sniffing at the budding maple leaves, but did capture this tender moment between Marcel and Zippy.

Marcel is intensely interested in odors — ALL odors — and was fascinated by the post-run aromas coming off Zippy. Glad someone appreciates them because . . . WHEW. 🙂

Update: treading lightly

After another burst of pain earlier this week, I finally made an appointment to have my finger checked out. Today, the orthopedic doctor was pleased the tendon seems stable and believes the pain is only due to inflammation that can’t settle down. She offered a steroid injection and, while I’m no fan of sharp needles, I said YES, PLEASE!

We’re hoping that shot is a one-off and that my left hand will fully recover. I’ve currently got my two fingers taped together and will do so for the next few days, but then the tape comes off and I (hopefully) will resume my regularly scheduled life and activities (that will include gardening!)

May 22, 2020

Until then, I’m going to follow the lead of this butterfly and tread lightly.

Sunday Confessional: not this time

It’s good I have photographic proof of flowers that bloomed in my garden over the past two Mays, because they’ll have a hard time showing up this year in my weed and grass-choked beds.

May 2, 2020

For the past month or so, I’ve either had to wear a splint on my left-hand ring finger or tape that finger to the middle finger in order to immobilize it. I strained the tendons badly (at least, that’s what I’m guessing) while trying to rotate our compost tumbler that sits on casters (the tumbler we built in order for me to know how to write a how-to book for young readers)  and so haven’t done any bed clean-up in front this spring. One-handed gardening is above my pay grade.

As we returned from a walk just now, I averted my gaze from our front yard. Poor little perennials, struggling to push through the dead and mess I can’t remove. Zippy has no time or energy for yard work because he’s working hard to finish the van build and the quotes we received from clean-up businesses were very high, so the mess will remain.

Lucky for me, vinca is a hardy little plant.

May 7, 2021

It always finds a way to make its presence known.

Who knows where the time goes?

Somehow it is seven o’clock and the daylight’s fading fast.

April 20, 2022

Here I am , still wearing the running togs I wore on the trails this morning, hair a mess and body somewhat odiferous.  In between that run and this blog post, I did some stuff, mostly little bits of this and some of that. But instead of feeling anxiety at the end of such a piecemeal day, I’m at peace.

Who knows where the time goes? Who cares?

Listening to the trees

April 20, 2022

I like to take the time out to listen to the trees,
much in the same way that I listen to a sea shell,
holding my ear against the rough bark of the trunk,
hearing the inner singing of the sap.
It’s a lovely sound, the beating of the heart of the tree.
~ Madeleine L’Engle

Twofer Tuesday: antelope edition

Last week after leaving the Crow Valley Campground, we drove the 21-mile Birding Tour in the Pawnee National Grasslands. Alas, due to strong winds and dust, there weren’t a whole lot of birds out and about (aside from a huge number of Horned Larks which we’d never seen before plus some hawks on the ground that were too far away to identify).

However, we were gifted with antelope sightings. This small herd ran away from us as we sat idling on the road way far away from them. It seems antelope do not take any chances and will bolt at the first sign of danger.

April 21, 2022

And here they are after reaching a distance far enough away to feel safe. They stopped and wheeled around to watch us.

The scenery for that entire bumpy drive on the gravel roads was brown-brown-brown and we constantly scanned for movement. My (hopeful) eyes were often tricked into believing I saw running antelope, but it was almost always tumbling tumbleweeds blowing across the desolate landscape. Those tumbleweeds moved very quickly and I would’ve loved to see one blowing alongside the running antelope in order to compare speeds.

The antelope, though, brought me the most joy. No contest.

Bee calm

A little reminder to focus on the tiny, intricate miracles all around us.

September 12, 2020

This sedum isn’t blooming right now and I doubt many bees are currently buzzing in my yard, but . . .  someday soon.  In the meanwhile, I can gaze upon this image and will my mind and system into calm. *deep breaths* Maybe it can do the same for you. 💚

Sunday song

We took our first camping trip of the year at the Pawnee National Grasslands. That area is supposed to provide a magnificent night sky and we went in hopes of seeing the meteor shower. Turns out we didn’t put much effort into the sky because the high winds made it unpleasant. So unpleasant, in fact, that we came home a day early.

The good news is, there was a lull in the wind on Thursday evening and we walked the trails around the Crow Valley Campground. The lighting was divine as birds serenaded us. Here’s a Red-winged Blackbird in song:

And here’s an American Robin singing as it perches on the fence next to a couple of the MANY tumbleweeds in the area  (which I either leapt over or plowed through when running on the trails the next morning):

Here’s a Western Meadowlark singing its heart out:

This last one–Turkey Vulture– was silent, but it was a thrill when Zippy spotted it because on our maiden voyage last April, a whole bunch of Turkey Vultures roosted above our campervan.

Others may disagree, but I consider a Turkey Vulture sighting a good omen for the coming camping season.