The Mesquite Tree

I wrote this as a PDF file not really intending to make a post of it but since it’s all written and I need a new post pretty soon, just click on the link to read about my backyard bird feeding. You don’t have to download it, you can just click on the title to read it.

Meanwhile, here’s an abandoned Verdin nest that went down in the wind last night. They have several nests in our pine tree. No birds were injured or became homeless.

More of the Same

Since March 13, other than going to stores only when necessary, I have seen 2 people…a friend I’ve met in a park about 4 times and my husband. I’ve briefly spoken to a couple neighbors from a distance and waved at a couple others. That’s been my boring life and, now with Arizona having a huge spike in Covid-19 cases because of reopening too soon, I guess that’s all I’m going to be doing for quite a while. And now it’s too hot to meet my friend in the park so that’s over. The above 3 photos were from when I met her the other day.

Everything else is from our yard which is also very hot now but it’s my only outlet. Things suck pretty bad here but I’m glad some of these guys drop by.

Inca Dove

Female and male Gila Woodpeckers

Female and male Anna’s Hummingbirds

Verdins, adult and fledgling

My companion, Ferguson
Northern Mockingbird fledgling
Curve-billed Thrasher
House Finch, immature

I hope your life is more interesting than mine unless you’re in a Covid hotspot…then I guess our lives should be boring. Maybe someday it will improve…doesn’t seem like it can happen for a loooong time, though.

Skyward

On May 8, 3 WWII-era planes flew over the Phoenix area to commemorate the 75th anniversary of VE Day. They are part of the Commemorative Air Force from Falcon Field in Mesa, AZ. We went to a parking garage in Scottsdale and they flew right over us.

The lead plane is a B-17 Flying Fortress, known as “Sentimental Journey.” She has Betty Grable nose art. The other bomber to its left is a B-25 Mitchell Bomber, known as “Maid in the Shade,” which also has nose art, and the third plane is a C-47 Skytrain, known as “Old Number 30.” They fly out of Falcon Field in Mesa, AZ.

We had great views of them. I am partial to the Air Force as my father was in the Army Air Corps/Force during WWII. He flew on B-25s, B-29s, and AT-11 training planes as an instructor for Bombadier Navigators. Here is a photo of him and my mother after they were married in 1943 at Victorville Army Air Field in California (way before I was born, by the way):

The week before that, on May 1, 15 planes flew over the Phoenix area to honor first responders in the Covid-19 crisis. They flew over most of the area hospitals. There were 7 F-16s, 7 F-35s, and a refueler. They were from Luke Air Force Base, west of Phoenix. We went to a park closeby, thinking we would get a nice view but we didn’t really. When we got home, we found out they flew right over our street. I don’t really have any good shots.

But we were fortunate to be able to see both flyovers. This is the park we were at, Granada Park:

A few nights ago, we looked skyward and saw the Space Station going across the sky. If you want to see it where you live, go to this website and sign up. They will send you an email if it is visible from your location.

We also attempted to see Comet SWAN the other night, or rather, Tony did. He got up at 4am but couldn’t locate it in the sky. It remains to be seen if we will make another attempt before it disappears.

And that, plus the Flower Supermoon, from my last post, are all the sightings in the sky we have had lately.

But wait, here are 2 trees in our yard, reaching skyward, a Goldwater Pine and a Mesquite:

No birds in this post as I haven’t caught any flying lately. Next time…

A Brief Escape

Say’s Phoebe

We’ve been very good during this loooooong quarantine, only doing essential shopping and initially walking in a closeby park, which we quit doing because there were plenty of social nondistancers. But one day last week I met a friend at Rotary Park in Scottsdale, where we sat six feet apart, and talked and watched the critters fly around and other people walk around. It was a lovely day and nice to have a break in the monotony.

We sat by the Butterfly Garden but only saw a couple of butterflies.

Gulf Fritillary

This little Lesser Goldfinch was the star of our visit, being very brave and seeming to enjoy our attention:

A good time was had by all. Then a few nights later, this was the Flower Supermoon, the last supermoon until April 2021:

And…just so I can file these 4 photos away, Tony and I went to Reach 11 in Phoenix right at the beginning of the quarantine. We easily socially distanced because there was hardly anyone around including birds and other animals:

Cactus Wren
Round-tailed Ground Squirrel
What Lies Beneath
Ring-necked Duck, female

Do you think life will ever be the “old normal” again? I don’t…

Quarantine Times

One of my quarantine projects was to make Chocolate Mint Infused Vodka. I steeped the leaves in vodka for a week and thought it would make a tasty drink. I was wrong. It was not very good. However, I poured a bunch of Torani Dark Chocolate Sauce and a little simple syrup into it and it actually is quite a good liqueur now. Would I do it again? I don’t think so…

But it turns out that Chocolate Mint Tea is quite tasty: minty and refreshing on a hot summer day (which is what Phoenix is now having). Also amazingly tasty, with a light floral taste, is Geranium Tea:

Both of those will become regulars as long as I have leaves to harvest. Disclaimer: only geraniums that have scented leaves are edible. If they don’t have a scent, don’t use them! I also found a Geranium Cake recipe and tried that:

Tony made a delicious lemon glaze to put on the top. It’s really quite a good cake; you can subtly taste the geranium and the lemon complements it nicely. The basic recipe I used is here. It’s a nice, light cake but I’m not sure I would do it again. It’s good but there are other cakes that are better. Next I may try a chocolate cake with a hint of mint: by baking the leaves like I did for the geranium cake.

Tony also has been cooking and baking. He’s a far better cook than me and here are a few things he has done during the quarantine.

Lasagna, Pizza (he makes his own dough), and Pizzelles!

Gotta do something to kill time during a quarantine and it’s fun to try to harvest things I have growing in the yard. So, in that vein, I bought a raised planter online (from Home Depot).

It’s made of resin, has a drain plug, a water level gauge, a removable seed tray (which I probably won’t use much), a shelf below. It’s nice, here’s the link. I just hope the cats don’t try to jump into it. I have it on our uncovered patio where it will get sun for part of the day but we also have an umbrella in case the Phoenix sun gets too intense. I know summer may be difficult for some of these plants but, hopefully, they will bounce back in the fall. So far I only have Spanish Lavender and 2 small Basil plants in there. I’m hoping the lavender will get really large. Then I can make Lavender Tea, too, and maybe Lavender Cake although it’s apparently hard to get a cake that doesn’t taste like soap…yum. Maybe some sachets would be better…

And that’s what I’ve been doing. Stay home, save lives.