I may chat about my books, what I'm writing or reading, or just general thoughts. You may read posts about my cats or just my crazy life in general. Comments are welcome, if anyone wants to interact with me. Maybe we can share war stories, whether it's writing related or just about life in general.

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Triple Digits are here

Heat Wave - Free Clipart

Of course, what do we expect living in the desert? We are really in for it though the next week at least, with not much of a reprieve. It is 101 here today with tomorrow 105 and going into the 112 range here for the rest of the week. The poor workers out there paving our street today must be sweating buckets.

It is hot enough inside the house because we keep the thermostat set at 83 to save on the power bill. I’ve been working downstairs except for today because I wanted to clear out some files and move things to the external drive. It’s too hard to take that thing downstairs, so I use a thumb drive down there. We try to leave the A/C off up here, so its 92 right now.

Some different critters are visiting our yard, probably coming after the water I suspect. We have water pans all over the place. I thought I’d share a few pictures with you.

Squirrel enjoying a peanut in the shade
Sunni's Photo's

We haven’t seen this guy much since last year. I think this is one if the babies because his tail is skinnier.

Of course living in the desert we’ve seen our share of snakes, but not as many as you’d expect. This year they are out all over.

This is a Bull Snake, very similar to a rattler, but with no rattles. My husband touched his tail as he slithered up under a rock in the front yard.

I don’t know what kind this is but it comes to drink on the back patio now and then and then disappears back into the desert.

Snake that visits the patio water bowl
Sunni's Photo's

Sunni's Photo's

Sunni's Photo's

We have many pigeons around here that come and get in the birdbath around sunset. They love to get their feet wet. I guess it must cool them off. This is the frost one like this we’ve seen. Usually they are gray with a black neck ring. Once in awhile we see an all white one.

Sunni's Photo's

And this is another chipmunk making himself at home on our table.

Enjoy your day everyone and stay cool out there.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

I had a great respite week

Flowers - public domain

Sometimes it is nice to have peace and quiet and to be alone with your thoughts. My husband was out of town last week, which doesn’t happen often. I enjoyed myself a lot, despite having to spend my birthday by myself this year. I got a lot of writing done and was able to keep my own schedule. I really like doing this occasionally. It makes a lot of difference when I don’t have to watch the clock, cook and clean, eat and sleep on a certain schedule.

Of course, this can be good and bad because I don’t keep a normal routine, if left to my own devices. I eat little, preferring to “graze” when I get hungry. It is too hot to eat much of anyway this time of year. I also tend to burn the candle at both ends, so I get little sleep. Usually by the time he’s back, I’m ready for a good rest. Like anything, the time always goes by excessively fast and there’s always more I’d like to accomplish in the way of my projects.

No Schedules for eating - that speaks to me

Besides write, I did do some visiting with my girlfriends, picture taking, watching the wildlife in my backyard, reading, and catching up on some recorded TV, but for the most part, it was quiet with no TV or radio blaring away. The best part is, besides being able to stay up half the night, not having to listen to any politics. Yeah! I can clear my mind and focus on my book when that isn’t on. As an added bonus, I didn’t have to cook and wash dishes. Double yeah! I can survive on salad, especially in the summer.

But life is back to normal now with having to watch the clock, cooking, cleaning, sweating, daily politics, and constant noise. The cats and I have company again and it’s nice to have him home, but I cannot say that I missed any of this normal routine stuff. I hope that doesn’t sound horrible to you guys because I feel more refreshed.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

More plants making a comeback

This Paloverde survived the winter
Sunni's Photo's

The palms weren’t the only thing that froze around here last winter. We had two Paloverde trees in our backyard and one of them died, or so we thought. My husband decided to cut the dead one off below the ground even though I wanted to give it a while longer to see if it would rejuvenate itself. So, we cut it up in April and put the pieces in the trash. He tied off the drip line and covered up the stump.

This Paloverde is making a comeback
Sunni's Photo's

Of course, we were shocked when we came back from San Diego a month ago to see it making a comeback. Apparently, it had been growing all this time under the ground to reach the surface. It was about six inches high when we arrived home and all this growth with no water. It didn’t take long for the chipmunks to discover it. In fact, I’m surprised it wasn’t eaten to the ground.

This is how we protected it when it was about 6 inches high
Sunni's Photo's

We erected a makeshift cover around it, the evening we arrived home, by using a piece of old chicken wire we had laying around on the side of the house. Naturally, this thing was stiff and rusty. In the process of surrounding the plant, a rusty barb stabbed me in the forearm. I have to wonder why I always hurt myself doing a project. It doesn’t pay to be too hasty with anything, but sometimes patience is not in the vocabulary.

After we completed the project, I came in and doctored myself with peroxide and Neosporin ointment. I did not intend to have to go and get a tetanus shot. Besides this was Friday night and the weekend was here. Everything had closed except the emergency room. I just kept my eye on the wound and kept it doctored and covered for a week. Since then I have healed up and I seem to be fine, so I guess everything is okay.

The plant now has the cover off because it is big enough that the chipmunks will leave it alone. It is actually a giant bush, having grown at least ten times its size already. This plant wants to live. There’s no doubt about that.

The rescued Elephant's Foot - It looks a bit like a person doesn't it?
Sunni's Photo's

Here is another one that wants to live. I’m so glad because this plant was a rescue from the trash when we lived in CA. This is an elephant’s foot and was very tiny when we saved it from its fate back in 1979. I would be sad to see it go after all these years.

I wrap this up every winter too, but this winter was a rough one. It lost all of its “leaves,” which look more like a horse’s tail than leaves. It takes a lot for me to give up on anything, so I watered this faithfully and it is finally growing. It’s going to be a one-of-a-kind plant that’s for sure and probably a conversation piece around here. When we lived in CA it was twice this height, but the top part got broken off in the trailer on the move to the desert. The poor thing has been through a lot.

I have to use great care with things here that aren’t desert natives. But care seems to pay off most of the time.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Sometimes you have to be resourceful

This is very true in many things, but today I’m going to talk about how it’s saving my plants. I had to put on my thinking cap and come up with something that would keep the chipmunks out of the ones they seem to be craving right now. They usually eat the flowers right off of my potted plants as soon as they appear. I think the bright colors attract them. That hasn’t been the usual problem yet, after I moved the lobelia to the courtyard. They don’t go there as much as they hang out on the back patio, probably because it’s in the shade by noon.

This is what the Sego Palms should look like
Sunni's Photo's

My poor Sego palm trees have had it after the terrible winter we had. They lost all of their fronds this year despite me covering them up, as I do every winter. I have been coaxing them along since chopping all the dead fronds off and finally they are rewarding me with a few shoots to show me they’re still alive. Of course, I had not given up on them yet.

Chipmunks - These critters are the problem
Sunni's Photo's

Now the problem is the dozens of chipmunks in our backyard. They are ravenous and decided they like the tender new shoots, so I had to come up with a plan to give the plants a fighting chance. Mind you, there is plenty to eat out in the desert this time of year, but they prefer the oasis of my backyard instead. I keep numerous pans of water out there, as well as throw birdseed and peanuts out. The only way to keep them off my plants is to cover them with makeshift gadgets that I put together.
I had a cover that I made for the top of a dove nest when we lived in CA and a pair decided to nest in one of our hanging pots. The crows would hang about wanting to get at the eggs, so I took hardware cloth from Home Depot and cut it into three triangles to make a cone that I could place on the nest to keep them at bay. I cut three doors big enough so the parents could come and go and that worked out beautifully. It was worth scraping my arms up wiring the thing together. The crows never bothered it after that, although they could have easily gotten into it via the doors too. I guess they didn’t want to go to that much trouble and wanted easier pickings. Two eggs hatched. It was a joy to watch this marvelous sight of the little ones growing up and eventually leaving the nest.

Big Mama Palm with Chipmunk Proof Cover
Sunni's Photo's

When we moved here, I decided to keep this apparatus not knowing if it would come in handy. Now I’m glad I did because I am using it to place over “Big Mama” palm to keep her new sprouts safe. The problem here is that I needed another one because I have one more palm that hasn’t sprouted yet, although I suspect it’s getting ready to because the chipmunks have been working it over. Naturally, we don’t have near the amount of stuff accumulated as we did in CA when I could go out to the scrap pile, if I needed something for a project. This was my dilemma yesterday after I got tired of chasing the little critters off those plants.

This palm has the new cover on it from nursery flats.
Sunni's Photo's

I finally decided the only thing I had, short of going to the hardware store, was some plant flats from the nursery. I decided to cut the bottoms out of these and use them for my project, so I went to pick the best ones that would work from the pile of stuff that we have on the side of the house. This turned into a two-hour venture because that plastic was heaver than I thought and I had to use a pair of scissors to cut it with because I didn’t have anything else. Once I cut the pieces, I took some twine and laced them together in a cone shape. Then I installed it on the plant. Voila! It fit nicely so I was excited and anxious to see what the little critters would do today when they discovered that the plant was no longer free pickings. By this time, it was getting rather late and most of them vanished into their burrows earlier.

Notice the growth in the center on Big Mama palm
Sunni's Photo's

After I watered the plants, I came inside to eat something because I hadn’t eaten all day. No wonder I was starving. It was almost nine PM. This week is my week of “batching it” with my husband in OR, so I keep my own schedule, which is really no schedule. I love it because I hate the rigidity of watching the clock all the time, but that is for another post.

I know they aren’t very glamorous, but what do you think of my creations?

Sunday, June 16, 2013

The Story of a Lizard

Lizard - Sunni's Photo's

We have many lizards here in the desert. I’m not sure what kind this is, but they are plentiful around my house. The colors range from a light brownish-red to a dark brown color. Most of them have black bands around their neck. I got on Google, but  I’m still not able to decipher which kind of lizard this is. My best guess is a Great Basin Fence Lizard.

Lizard's Back - Sunni's Photo's

My husband was mowing the grass a few days ago and he almost ran over this guy. He stopped short and the lizard was by the wheel of the mower. Stunned, he didn’t move and my husband was able to touch him and said his skin was very rough. In about a minute or two, the lizard took off as fast as his legs would carry him. However, he didn’t go far and got under the honeysuckle bush we have on the fence. A lizard liked to stay around there, so I’m thinking this was this one.

Lizard's Belly - Sunni's Photos

Sadly, the next morning he was still there and dead, so I went out and buried him under this bush. I looked at him closely then and he was gorgeous with beautiful fluorescent colors on his belly that we humans would never see. I took pictures to share with all of you. The male lizard is the more colorful one, which seems to be the way it is with all animals and birds. We are thinking he died of old age since most lizards this size live 3-4 years, if that. Or perhaps he had a heart attack, scared to death by the motor of the lawn mower and his narrow escape. I don’t know if lizards have heart attacks.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Blog Awards

free clipart

Back on May 24, I received two blog awards from Kristen Dyrr. This was during the “blog every day in May” event, so I’m just now getting around to accepting these awards and giving a thank you to Kristen. Here is Kristen’s blog. Give her a visit, especially if you love animals. She rescued seven cats and has a dog.


Kristen bestowed on me the Liebster Blog Award and the Very Inspiring Blog Award. This is my second time to get both of these, so I’ll try to come up with some different answers than I posted last time around.

The problem with these awards is all the questions to answer and selecting blogs for these awards. This takes more time than writing a regular blog post because of trying to keep this short. I’m not good at keeping things short.

Here are the rules:

1. List 11 facts about yourself.

2. Answer the 11 questions given to you.

3. Ask 11 new questions for the bloggers you nominate for the award.

4. Choose up to 11 up-and-coming blogs (with less than 200 followers) to nominate.

5. Go to each blogger’s page and let them know about the award.

6. Thank the person who nominated you and link back to their blog.

1. Display award logo on blog

2. Link back to the person who gave you the award

3. State 7 things about yourself

4. Nominate 15 other bloggers for this award and link back to them.

Liebster Questions: 11 facts about yourself

Here are my facts for the Liebster:

1. I LOVE cats! Okay, I probably used this last time too.

2. I love color so that is why I use bright colors on my blogs and a different every time I post. Black and white can get so boring, although I do wear a lot of black, especially in the winter.

3. I absolutely HATE the cold! I would be happy if it was 80/85 year round. It’s too bad there isn’t a place like that with any humidity.

4. I can’t stand politics, but get my daily dose of it around here because it is always on everyday.

5. I really like the peace and quiet, preferring it to music sometimes. If there’s too much going on, I can’t concentrate, if I’m writing.

6. I love potatoes and hummus and could probably eat this everyday, along with salad and fruit.

7. I only do housework and cook because I have to. I’m not fond of either one, although I love a clean and orderly house. I can go all day without eating anything. I prefer to “graze” instead of having a meal.

8. I hate clocks and having to watch the time all the time. When I can really retire, if that day ever comes, I’m having a “break your alarm clock” party.

9. I don’t care for conifer trees at all, even though I spent five years in Alaska and two in Oregon. I prefer palms instead, or big sprawling shade trees.

10. I like to stay busy doing creative things. I have dabbled in many areas in my life and have enough craft, sewing supplies, and books to open my own store. I always want to learn something new, or try it if I haven’t done it yet. This drives my husband crazy.

11. I stayed up for three days straight a couple of times and never went to bed because I was writing.

Questions for nominees:

The Most Inspiring Blogger Award doesn't have questions, but you are welcome to answer the first seven questions (or more) instead of listing seven random facts about yourself if you wish.

Here are Kristen’s questions:

1. What is your favorite video game (if any)? This can include mobile games and Facebook games. I don’t play video games.

2. Do you like to sleep on a very soft surface, or a harder surface? Soft surface although I can sleep on the floor if I have to or am tired enough.

3. What is the most unusual food you have tried? Poi when I was in Hawaii

4. What is your favorite odd food or meal (if you have one)? As mentioned earlier, I like to graze, so this could be just snacking on various things, such as trail mix, cheese and crackers, chocolate and animal crackers.

5. What is the first sense you turn to when describing something in your writing (taste, smell, touch, sight, etc)? Hmmm ... Probably sight

6. What is one of the cutest things you have ever seen in your life? Baby critters (kittens, chipmunks, quail, etc)

7. What is the ugliest thing you have ever seen or experienced (this can have to do with feelings, or inner ugliness, etc)? A few things can go here, so I think I’ll skip it for now.

8. Do you prefer typing or writing with a pen or pencil and paper? I ALWAYS use a pencil when using paper, but I usually type it, unless I’ve been on the computer too much, or can’t get on it for some reason.

9. What is your favorite thing to drink? Lemonade and water in the summer, but I do like smoothies, and something alcoholic now and then

10. Do you prefer road trips, airline travel, train travel, or other (when going long distances)? Definitely the airlines have it for travel long distances except the altitude plays havoc with my ears big time.

11. What is your favorite way to watch TV, movies, and videos? For example, do you watch everything on your computer or sling it to a big TV? Do you use a Tivo, a DVR, or Netflix? What is your set-up? I would die without my DVR because I can never watch anything when it’s on. Now I love skipping over the commercials. I rarely watch videos, preferring to read the facts instead. I do watch movies and TV shows on the TV.

The nominees are:

http://summersvoice.blogspot.com/ - My Inner Fairy
Because I love fairies and collect them

http://pullupatoadstool.blogspot.com/ - Tracy Moore
Because I’m interested in tarot

http://jcckeith.blogspot.com/ - J. Keith – Inspiring blogger for you because you have more than 200 followers
For some entertaining posts

http://sandysanderellasmusings.blogspot.com/ - Sandy Sanderella

http://brandysbustlings.blogspot.com/ - Brandy
For Photography

Funny posts and he has a cat

http://designsbyrow.blogspot.com/ - Rowena

Vashti Q-Vega - Google+ - Vashti Quiroz- Vega
Good story and interesting guests

http://justgoodstories.weebly.com – Shirlene Corcoran
Good stories

http://lorrainemariereguly.wordpress.com – Lorraine Reguly
Book Reviews

http://tossingitout.blogspot.com – Lee Bird
For his encouraging words to others and controversial subjects

http://linnannpike.blogspot.com – LinnAnn Pike
For the funny posts about your life and for the tenacity you must have to keep going

http://jamesosbornenovels.com/ - James Osborne
Homey stories

Prescription For Murder
Interesting facts about many things

http://nouveauscarecrow.wordpress.com/ - Michael Cahill
Beautiful poetic writing

You may give the 11 random facts about yourself, or answer the questions I answered. You pick.

If any of you have more than 200 followers, you can ignore this, of you want to. It is impossible to tell on some of the blogs. That is why I nominated more than eleven.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Babies in the Yard

 Baby chipmunk - Sunni's Photo's - Isn't it adorable?

 These babies of the animal variety show up this time of year. They are so cute to watch as different groups come all day long to eat and drink from the pans we have placed about the yard.

More baby chipmunks - They are everywhere - Sunni's Photo's

The adults are very protective and go to great trouble to make sure other animals aren’t getting too close. The parents will sit on a high perch, like our wall or a rock, and keep a look out for predators. The male and female take turns. The little quail are very obedient as they follow mom and pop, doing what they do. They are so funny doing the “chicken dance,” as they scratch in the dirt for seeds. It doesn’t take them long to catch on. Adult quail can get quite aggressive with other birds. I saw a papa getting into it with a pigeon today. Neither one wanted to back down.

Baby Quail - Sunni's Photo's

We have little animals in varying stages of age right now. I imagine we get more in our yard since we back up to the desert and their natural habitat.

More Baby Quail - Sunni's Photo's - You have to look closely on this one.

There was no choice but to block off part of the areas where the rabbits can get in because they eat the plants up, not always satisfied with munching on the lawn. However, the little ones still get in and once in awhile a big one as well, which leads me to wonder if they have flexible bones.

I have taken tons of pictures because I take more each year. They all seem to look alike, but I can’t help myself when the young ones are too cute to pass up a shot with my camera.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Re-blog of writer, Jackson Baer, interview

Today I’m re-blogging a post from Vashti’s blog on bullying. She had an author visiting her site a few days ago, Jackson Baer. This man’s philosophy in raising his kids impresses me. I wanted to share this with all of you, if you didn’t see it originally. That post is here:


Jackson Baer Family

Here is Jackson’s interview. Please check out his links at the bottom.

I’m the father of four children, three of whom are in elementary school. There are few subjects that I care about as much as bullying. I’ve always been someone who stands up for others when they’re being picked on, and I have tried to instill in my children the following principles:

• Be a friend to everyone because you never know what others might be going through.

• Accept people who are different because you are different, too.

• Don’t judge anyone based on race, religion, or sexuality. People are who they are, and if any of those things bother you, that’s your issue—not theirs.

• Be kind, and treat other people like you want to be treated.

Often, a bully acts out in response to a tough home life or other difficult circumstances, reducing emotional pressure by heaping abuse on a victim. If you stand by and do nothing to intervene, you send the bully the message that this kind of behavior is acceptable. The victim, meanwhile, might feel the whole world is against him. That’s why standing up for those in need is one of the greatest virtues. I have tremendous respect for my kids when they tell me about how they stood up for a classmate. Over the past year, there have been a handful of incidents where my kids have told a bully to stop picking on another kid, or where they’ve had to ignore bullies to avoid becoming targets themselves.

We have to pick our battles in life, and not everything is worth fighting over. Standing up for and befriending those who are vulnerable, however, is worth pursuing, and is a message worthy of sharing with our kids.

“Kindness is the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see.” ~ Mark Twain

Jackson Baer’s Links





If we all lived in this frame of mind, the world would be a nicer place.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

An Accident that Turned out Okay

  Hummingbird - Sunni's Photo's

We have large windows on the back of our house. From them, we can look out at the patio and the desert landscape beyond. Since we’ve lived here, many birds have hit the windows. Some of them fly off and others aren’t so lucky. The windows are low E and double pane because it is very hot here in the summers. We need all the help with the heat that we can get. We do have roller shades, but the windows are reflective and it looks like the desert to the birds, reflecting the scene behind out house.

Hummingbird - Sunni's Photo's

A couple of days ago, two hummingbirds were playing chasing each other as they darted back and forth, landing on the feeder and then the trees. They were having a gay time when they both hit the window. As always, we hated to see that happen. Usually other birds hit the windows. I always wonder if I’ll have to dig another grave. It takes the birds a bit to come around. They sit there awhile until they steady themselves and get oriented again. I’m sure they’re wondering what just happened to them.
Hummingbird - Sunni's Photo's

We both went outside after one of the hummingbirds flew off. The other was lying there askew, so my husband picked it up. After another couple of minutes, it started to wiggle a bit and then sat up. I ran and got the camera to get these shots. We both touched it and it was so soft. It sat staring at us the whole time. My husband says, “It’ll probably poop on my hand.” I just laughed, glad that it was okay as it wiggled a bit more and gradually made its way to his fingertips. A couple minutes later, it flew off to the bird feeder where it sat awhile before flying into the desert.
Hummingbird - Sunni's Photo's

I wanted to share this story. The only other time we’ve been that close to one of the hummers is when we rescued one that was stuck in an open house we visited years ago. Someone left the front door open and it flew in and to the big window where we found it. It didn’t know how to get out. My husband grabbed it by the beak. The little thing was wearing itself out from flapping its wings so hard to fly away, so it wasn’t that hard to grab. We let it go at the front door, glad that we came by because it probably would have died in there.