Sunday, May 24, 2009

Rain, glorious rain!

May 24, 2009

Years wrinkle the skin but to give up wonder wrinkles the soul.

Listen … you can hear the cactus and other desert plants saying ‘thank you God, we were so thirsty.’

In fact, when I arrived at Pancho Villa State Park, the sad condition of the cactus concerned me. The prickly pear pads were shrunken and actually drooping, the ocotillo had produced blossoms but not leaves, and there was not a weed in sight. Finally last Tuesday evening a gentle rain started falling; Wednesday, Thursday and Friday brought more rain. Even the rainy days provided delights.

One day as the storm passed, the heavens provided beautiful clouds.

At 6 a.m. on Thursday – when it was barely light outside – I noticed something large in a tree. Was it an owl, I wondered? Or? Fortunately the ‘something’ stayed long enough for me to get my binoculars and my new camera. What was it? It was a White-faced Ibis – a rare occurrence here.

My new camera

I braved the rain on Wednesday and took the Columbus to Deming shuttle bus – destination Walmart to buy a camera. It’s a $5 round trip ride; what a bargain.

Now I’m stretching my brain to learn about my new Canon Powershot S3 IS digital. The ‘basic’ instruction booklet is 25 pages; the ‘advanced’ one is 170 pages. The camera has 15 buttons and dials including the menu and function buttons that produce even more options. Whew! Fortunately I have time when I’m staffing the Visitor Center (things are slow during the week) and can explore the camera.

Even the instruction booklet made me laugh: In bold letters under the WARNINGS I read, “Memory card: If swallowed accidentally, contact a doctor immediately.”

One of my first photo subjects was the unusual Yucca growing near Jeremiah. Yucca’s produce one flowering stalk a season. The stalk looks like a giant asparagus and grows at a fast pace and soon flower buds form and then blossom. This particular yucca started out normally with one stalk, but about 4 feet from base of the plant it divided into two stalks. Right now the plant is between 12 and 13 feet tall and as you can see from the picture, the lower buds have opened; the upper ones will open soon. This plant attracts the insect- and nectar-eating birds and bees.

Birds are hilarious entertainment

The window seed feeder entertains both Cat and I. Frequent visitors are House Finch, Pyrrhuloxia, and Black-headed Grosbeak. The quail and sparrows reap the seeds that fall from the feeder. Then there are the White-winged Doves. They finally figured how to land on the top of the feeder – no easy feat because the clear plastic feeder is sloped on the top. When doves succeed, they try to figure out how to get to the seeds. Occasionally one lucks out and gets in. I looked up from my writing the other day to see three doves on top of the feeder! Two were balanced side-by-side; the third was standing atop the two – one foot on each back! Sure wish I had been able to take a photo of this odd sight.

More birds added to my PVSP bird list: Western Kingbird, Bendire’s Thrasher, Black-headed Grosbeak, Great-tailed Grackle, Roadrunner, Common Nighthawk, White-faced Ibis, House Sparrow, Brown-headed Cowbird, and Bronzed Cowbird.

Cat is adventurous, also

Cat is one happy feline – at least twice a day she goes out exploring. She checks all the smells, walks through the cactus with no apparent concern to the spines, and watches the birds and rabbits. She sleeps a lot during the day so she can ‘play’ at night. I leave the window blinds up at night so she can watch the comings and goings of other nocturnal critters.

Rabbits at play

We have both jack rabbits and cottontails. The other evening I was sitting out and saw two cottontails frolicking. They would face each other as in a stand-off, then one or both would lunge at the other, just before they collided, one rabbit would leap in the air and jump over the other one. They kept me laughing for a while when I remembered that my camera would take movies. Arghhh! By the time I got my camera and started figuring out how to do movies, the rabbits had disappeared in the brushy field.

My Personal Chef

I’ve been eating very well because daughter Sue – a retired personal chef – gifted me with some of my favorite meals. She cooked, packaged them into individual portions – my freezer is full! Some days, depending on the menu, I enjoy a hot meal at noon at the local Senior Center; only $3!

A gorgeous tote bag

A visitor at the Visitor Center was carrying a beautiful tote bag. Thought you’d like to see it.

I'll stop today with two things about stress:

Handle every stressful situation like a dog.
If you can't eat it or play with it,
Just pee on it and walk away.

Stress relievers from Daisy Hepburn

Forget the diet and send yourself a candy gram.
Make a ‘things to do list’ of things you have already done.
Retaliate for tax woes by filling out your tax return in Roman numerals.
Leaf through a National Geographic Magazine and draw underwear on the natives.
Brush your teeth vigorously with Cheez Whiz.
Pound your head repeatedly on a pile of Wonder Bread.
Stare at people through the tines of a fork and pretend they are in jail.