The Wendesday Roam – #1 **

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I took a short roam around the place this morning trying to get a better attitude. It usually works for me. I’m irritated about my truck that waited for two weeks after the warranty ended to have transmission problems. I think they make them that way….there’s a little timer inside that knows when the warranty is over. Of course, they didn’t have the parts.

I usually do a walk-about every morning just to take inventory — see what new things arrived or left or started blooming in the night. Today’s was a pretty morning with fog rising off the river down in the valley and a few hot air balloons.  We are seeing more balloons lately as local balloonists gear up for the Balloon Fiesta in early October.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI fed the fish in the pond and they were happy to see me. It is so nice to be enthusiastically greeted in the morning.  They get excited at feeding time whenever that Big Thing shows up and food appears. I’m guessing that in their fishy brains there is some sort of template that prompts their excitement when I show up. The little ones have started doing it as well.  I have a couple hundred tiny fish plus my sixteen big goldfish. The pond has been behaving itself lately. Most of the algae that I had earlier is gone. The filter and skimmer can go a week or more without cleaning.  The water level drops a couple inches each week so I need to add some water today. I figure a bunch of those little fish are baby goldfish but they are not showing color yet. The rest are mosquito fish. I have snails and the occasional frog.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAs I’ve mentioned before, we are having a wet year — closing in on the record for rainfall. This comes after a long and severe drought. I lost my small pine tree this year. I guess it was too stressed by the drought although I fed it and watered it this spring and summer. It was doing OK but then turned brown in the course of a few weeks. My help was too little, too late I guess.  But, as a result of the increased rain, those native plants that survived the drought are now rejoicing in the wetness. This is probably as green as I will ever see the desert. I’m a firm believer in natural landscaping. I leave things alone, for the most part, unless they are inside my courtyard or close to the house.  The predominant wild plants are Four-winged Saltbush and several varieties of Sage and Chamisa.  These all have their own shade of green.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe chamisa will turn bright yellow in a few weeks. Mine are all mostly green and are looking pretty good. They die back in the winter unless protected and come up new again in the spring so they are never very big but often look like someone has kept them carefully trimmed. This pictured one is an early bloomer.

My quail are busy raising their young and doing quail things. My two quail friends, bachelors without mates, finally got lucky and settled down and became responsible parents. They used to follow me around wherever I went.  Now I only see them occasionally under the feeder or going in or out of the sage and saltbush thickets.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAInstead of quail, I now am closely monitored by several Sage Thrashers (Oreoscoptes montanus). These birds seem to be the disciplinarians of the area and keep close watch. They let me know when I’m doing something wrong and I’m almost always doing something wrong. They are related to Mockingbirds so they are not afraid of being in close proximity. They take particular umbrage whenever my cat, Watson, ventures outside. They will fly at him like dive-bombers if he gets very far from me. He gets peeved because all he wants to do is look for lizards….he isn’t much of a bird man.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWatson doesn’t go out by himself…he is high on the Coyote’s entre menu and is fourteen years old and partially declawed. Large owls and hawks will also go after him if they can. He thinks he should be allowed to go out by himself and has snuck out twice but luckily nothing happened to him. He is usually content to sit in the window and watch the parade of wildlife go by….rabbits, a couple rock squirrels, lizards and a Roadrunner on most days. More often than not he forgets what he is doing and falls asleep.

I will be going back to Missouri on Sunday (Road Trip!!) and will spend a few days catching up with friends and relatives.  I have a bocce game scheduled with my old bocce playing friends.  There will be a “Huzzlecoo” one evening with some of my old work friends from my long-ago. I’ll spend a couple days with my brother and sister-in-law in St. Louis. The purpose of the trip is to move my daughter, Jill, to Albuquerque where she will start a new job in a few weeks. With her move, my closest ties to central Missouri, a place where I spent some 38 years, will pretty much be over.  I’ll talk about the trip later.  Today, I need my truck out of the shop (!!) Uh-oh…attitude…attitude…take a deep breath. It’s starting to rain again….good.

**I’m going to try to make this a weekly series: The Wednesday Roam. It won’t be much…just perceptions or discoveries and things that tug at my thoughts. I promise not to make this a travel blog but there will be some of that as I roam around my habitat and occasionally break out. Not all of it will be related to Wednesday’s happenings but I’ll try to keep it reasonably current.

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