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The grace of nature

Saturday, September 21st, 2013

Today, we took in a deep drink of the beauty here — the golds, fuschias, and scarlets of the wild flowers; the huge, towering rocks hoodoos; the music of mountain streams swelled from the monsoons; the company of good friends; the exhilaration of knowing that life is sometimes very good.


(more pics here)

With a friend visiting, we drove through the mountains to the Chiricahua National Monument. It’s a short trip we’ve made several times without ever ceasing to be amazed at the surrounding beauty. The land changes radically with the season, the amount of rainfall, the light, and even our moods and the company we have along. Always, it makes me pause and wonder why I spend so much time worrying about things that don’t really matter.

Truly, this kind of beauty, the people we share our lives with, and the stewardship we exercise over both are the things that are essential.

Oh, and today I saw my first bear in Coronado. I’ve heard many stories about how plentiful bears are here. I’ve wanted to see a bear for a long time. This morning, I decided today would be the day. And thanks to Brad’s eagle eyes, we saw a bear.

It was a magnificent bear. Seen through the trees and across a small stream, it was just the distance from which I’d like a see a bear — close enough to get a good look, far enough to make both me and him reasonably comfortable. It was a large bear, larger than I’d expected, with a full, healthy coat and a solid rump. He looked at us, loped a little further up the hill, and then turned to take another look.

image credit: cogdog (Alan Levine) – CC BY SA


Office visitor

Thursday, June 20th, 2013

The grass is always greener

Saturday, June 1st, 2013

…and more plentiful on our side of the fence. This cow has managed to squeeze her head between our (unbarbed) wire fence to try it out.


There are lots of baby animals around right now. Calves, bunnies, and quail, which are especially cute. Very hard to get on camera though. I’ll keep trying.

This little piggy

Sunday, July 22nd, 2012

On Friday afternoon, we went for a drive and hike and saw some cute javelinas. This was the first pair we saw.

Then we ran into this bunch.

The babies were so cute!

Glad there aren’t any packs of these getting into our garden though.

Alien life

Saturday, June 9th, 2012

We get some weird bugs here. Shortly after I took this picture, this thing flew. It looked like a small bird.

Housing and a playground

Wednesday, January 4th, 2012

The wildlife around here seem to love all the things we are building. It’s housing (temporary, we keep reminding them), as well as a place to play. We have flickers constantly trying to nest in the new house, and a colony of rabbits have taken up quarters under the adobe bricks. Every morning we lie in bed and watch them come out and play on what will someday be the patio.



The other day we were working in the afternoon, and I asked if he thought the bunnies stayed under the adobe during the day. “Probably,” he said, and so I bent down and stuck my face in one of the dark passageways between two skids of bricks. Imagine my surprise to see two big glowing eyes looking back out at me. I backed up quickly.

When I told Brad that I wished he’d seen those eyes, he said, “It was much more fun to see your reaction.”

Kitty play

Friday, October 28th, 2011

Last night, just before sunset, the bobcat came around. Apparently, she was quite interested in the adobe. At first, she was trying to get under the pallets, where there are undoubtedly rabbits and mice that would make a tasty treat. When she couldn’t fit, she decided to climb on top.


The sandbags holding down the tarp were like big cat toys.



After play, some time to rest.


And finally a big stretch before moseying on.


We have seen the trogon!

Wednesday, August 17th, 2011

When people come to Portal to birdwatch, the elegant trogon is the treasured sighting everyone hopes for.

After almost three years of living in a world-renowned birdwatching area, we have gone on our first birding expedition, thanks go our friends Sukon and Michele and a new birder friend Elaine. And we saw and heard the trogon!

We spotted a wide variety of other birds as well, most of which I can’t remember, though a list has been recorded. My favorites were the red-faced warbler, the lesser goldfinch, and the lucifer hummingbird. (In fact, we saw something like seven different types of hummingbirds.) Thanks to great tutelage from our friends, we might even be able to do some birding with other visitors in the future.

Very exciting to us on this trip was that we ventured into the national forest for the first time since the fires and found that there was not as much damage as we feared. Many trees were burned, but not killed, and a lot of undergrowth has begun to grow back.


We also saw a lot of beautiful wildflowers, which have begun to come up with the monsoons.

It’s meant for drinking, not swimming

Tuesday, July 5th, 2011

I went out to water the garden this evening and look who showed up to take a dip in our animal watering hole.


This is our first turtle sighting of the year. And it hasn’t even rained yet.

A chance of rain

Wednesday, June 29th, 2011

It’s hard to believe that it’s almost the beginning of July, but here we are. I’ve been traveling a lot this month, which has meant not a lot of big work on the house, but I’m now home for a long stretch. With some big work projects completed, we are now full steam ahead on the house.

After two months, the fires are now finally safely far from us, though our thoughts are with those who are now affected by them. The firefighters’ camp has moved north. It was strange to see them all cleared out in just 24 hours.

Just as the fire updates stopped coming, we began getting warnings of impending flooding. It’s a littleĀ  hard to think about that since we haven’t had rain since last year, but the big monsoons are due any day now. In fact, I am writing this on a plane going back home and heard from Brad yesterday that we got our first sprinkle of rain. (I was in Philadelphia, and it rained there, as it often does. I had an overwhelming urge to run into the middle of the street and dance in the rain.)

The weather has been extraordinarily hot at home, hotter than it ever got last year. It has been between 105 and 110, and even the evenings have not been as pleasantly cool as they usually are.

The garden is thriving in the heat, except for the eggplants. The more I read about them, the more I think they don’t thrive in any conditions we are likely to have; they seem to be very sensitive to heat, cold, wind, and other variations. Ours are doing ok, but not exactly thriving. The tomatoes, on the other hand, are going crazy. At last count, there were over 50 fruits. I think we will be canning sauce and salsa soon. Brad has put in another bed for more garlic, and I look forward to having an even bigger and better garden every year.

The deer around the house each evening are getting more numerous and less shy, especially as it is so hot and dry, and we have water for them. Brad has won the latest round of battles with the bees in the front tree, but the war remains in question. (Any suggestions on getting bees out of a tree are welcome.) We have not seen even one rattlesnake this year. In fact, my only snake sighting was a very small garter snake that was nearly on top of my shoe one morning we went walking. Both the snake and I were quite startled by each other.

When the first rain comes, we will anxiously scout about for all the wildlife that seems to appear at that prompting. velvet mites, our lovely turtles, frogs, and whatever else might spring from the ground. It’s an exciting time that first rain!