My Back Yard

It’s been unusually cool for mid June in the Phoenix valley. We’ve been able to enjoy the back yard when we normally would be hibernating in the living room with the blinds closed trying to keep the heat outside.

This morning we headed to the patio, coffee in hand, to savor a few quiet minutes before the day started. The orchid tree has finished blossoming and now is dropping its giant seed pods. The mourning doves love these seeds. But since the tree is pretty close to our chairs they are torn. Should they be brave and take advantage of the opportunity to gorge or hang around the outskirts waiting for me to leave? One intrepid dove decided to take a chance and we watched him timidly walk closer and closer looking for his breakfast. Any movement on our part startles this bird with a very tiny head, but finally he found his treasure. He called to his mate but she sat up on the roof talking to him. I’m not sure if she was telling him “All is safe,” or maybe it was “Watch out can’t you see those people sitting right there!”

I am always surprised at the hummingbirds in the yard. They zip and zoom from one tree to another and appear to have staked out territory. For such little birds they are surprisingly aggressive. Of course, they are no match to the mockingbirds who apparently “own” the Australian Bottle trees in the far corner. The big black grackles come in and try to boss everyone around but the mockingbirds will dive bomb and pester them until they move on.

Our apple tree is loaded this year and about two weeks from being ready to pick. The apples are still pretty green and very sour–I know because, not being as observant as the birds, I took a big bite out of one yesterday. The birds are out early each morning checking on the fruit and I expect they will be calling in their friends as soon as its eating time.

Time for another cup of coffee…but first we have to watch the house sparrows chittering to each other. They always seem to travel in flocks. And out of the corner of my eye is a desert cottontail. I expect, like Peter Rabbit, it has high hopes of finding something good to fill it’s tummy…and like Peter Rabbit it knows exactly where the hole in the gate is for when the dog finally takes notice.

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