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backyard  birds  camp  cats  cowbird  day  dog  don  good  life  lovebirds  mom  morning  shado  side  stella  summer camp  zkhat 
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Preview: Brenda's Arizona

Brenda's Arizona

A blog of a very simple life.

Updated: 2018-04-18T04:44:37.054-07:00


At the zoo


It's all happening at the Zoo...

The road most covered


A drink of nectar


Our backyard is musical with hummingbirds - music of their wing songs, their chirps, and cries of alert.

These gates


Through these gates... passes a bit of life everyday.

Into the woods


The winding road


The winding road of life.

Reflection, part 2




The sad illness and death of Elsa, my mother, return me to the sites of our world. Each day brings a touch of beauty that I wish she could see.

The world in his eyes


I was taking photos of the birds one day.  I had the gate closed so the dogs didn't chase the birds away. After taking a few photos, I looked back at Shado. He was looking VERY forlorn and abandoned on the other side of the gate. I thought it was a nice shot, so I snapped it.

When I imported the photo, I notice that the image was particularly sharp, and that Shado had something in his eye.

His eye showed the reflection of the yard! The tree with the love birds is surrounded by the blue sky, the fence posts are visible going vertical, the house is on the right, and the light colored canopy on the left is the gazebo where I was sitting, and the small dark spot in the center is me! 

The world. 
In his eyes. 
Yet profound...

Summer Camp


HollySchools start here next week. Summer Camp is over. We hosted a few weeks of Summer Camp. Think Doggy Camp. Ondine We offered swimming.  And outfield practice.  Whoops. Vinnie We perfected hours of quiet meditation. And took lessons in camera posing. VERY DRAMATIC POSE, no? And every evening we watch PASS TIME to improve our math skills and reasoning abilities. Vinnie needs to discuss the last run. And at the end of every day, we'd collapse and drift off. Camp is fun. I pout when it ends...Toby, pouting.Shado, pouting too. Camp is over for the summer... the campers have gone home and left us in the deafening silence and complete boredom. Time for the housekeeper to get to work![...]

Morning Yoga


The dogs and I enjoy our morning stretching exercises.Theirs' is called Doga. Mine is called Yoga.And then, there's the lovebirds. They stretch and do headstands and downward facing dog and all sorts of calesthentics before they attack breakfast. In each photo, check out their stretches, splits and dips.  STRETCH those legs!STRETCH the back!Finally, breakfast!Tomorrow, we plan on observing Lovebird Zumba![...]

Penpals and how to live with cats


Shado Our dog, Shado, has a pen-pal. Yep. Her name is Stella, and she lives in Minnsnowda. StellaStella lives with a cat named Zkhat (Stella also lives with a human, Jo, but that isn't of concern to Shado right now). We think this is ZkhatShado is perplexed.  He wrote to Stella. You can read his letter at What are you supposed to do with a cat? Why are they CATS and not dogs? Stella offers her sage advice, not just on cats but on other questions Shado asks. Stella is smart; she is a wealth of information for us. Hey, Shado!  Yes, it has been a long time since we have written each other.  You are always full of news with your four dog family, where I just gotta take what little I can find! I got one neighbor dog who has a huge fenced in back yard.  I can't tell for sure what kind of dog he is but he looks like Dennis the Vizsla dog and is almost as goofy as Dennis is.  He just tears around all the time he is outside and sort of scares me sometimes he is so wild. Then on the other side of me, I got a Goldendoodle who is pretty young, like seven months old.  She pretty and well behaved but she gets her two walks a day and thats about all I ever see of her.  CATS!  You want to know about cats!  Two things to start with:  One is that in Ancient Egypt, cats were considered SACRED.  They have never forgotten this and feel as if we are all servants to them (which is mostly true, if you think about it!)  The second thing is a Group of Cats is called A Glaring and I think my Cat Zkhat is president of that group since she glares at me every chance she gets.  She used to be very much afraid of me, and I do miss those days, but now our Mom says  Zkhat has learned that she is smarter than me and faster than me.  I am not sure about the smarter but definitely she is faster.  After supper, she gets up in my Mom's lap and gets a whole lot of snuggling, petting and scratching, which aggravates me to no end.  I get this in the morning when I wake Mom up for breakfast.  She pets and scratches me and talks very nice to me, but I deserve it and Zkhat doesnt! Scientist James O'Brien of the National Cancer Inst. in Frederick, Maryland said "Cats are one of evolution's most charismatic creatures. They can live in the highest mountains, and the hottest deserts.  They are everywhere except Antarctica!  So if I was you guys, I would just steer clear of them and mostly don't let them in your backyard where they would hurt or kill your lovebirds.  The only reason I don't do anything bad to Zkhat is that my Mom likes her and would feel bad. Shado, my Mom ordered Walter the Farting Dog from Amazon and it was only a penny plus postage.  Those used books are really good deals and Mom says she has never got a bad one.  Just savin' a few more trees here! You know what, the trouble with my Thundershirt is that I have furry thick curly furs and its always hot when the big thunder-boomers come, so I am not furry comfy with it on.  But here is the good deal, I am getting way better about the Thunder.  I don't like it, but like your Mom B., my mom talks to me, and reads part of her book to me, covers my head with a pillow, gives me treats and she loves to tell me she is not scared of the Thunder, so its getting a little easier.  I still don't like it, espe[...]

The morning ritual


   I never grow tired of these lovebirds. Every morning I await their arrival at the feeders. They aren't present at 4:30 a.m., nor at 5:15 a.m.But by 5:40, their chatter starts. They emerge from the leaves of our trees.They spruce themselves. Then they invade the feeders, holding on with beaks and claws.  They are a ray of sunshine as the morning begins.[...]

Elegance upon awakening


The elegant act of awakening...
the dance...
the arrangement...
the ballet of awakening
as performed early in the morning
by wild lovebirds in our backyard.

It goes


For those who need a lovebird fix, 
the count in our backyard has jumped to 22.
We haven't succeeded in capturing all 22 in one photo. 
But we hear them!

The count is eight


 The count of wild lovebirds at our feeders is EIGHT.Four females, four males; pairs for life. Nick & Nora, Liz & Dick, Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice Our mornings are filled with their beauty and their crazy chatter.Love (birds) is (are)  in the air![...]

Of what do they chatter?


 Even Gambel's quail awake early to watch the morning dawn. The silence is broken only by the birds' chatter. Are they singing the praise of the new day? Calling to each other with a  cheerful "good day, friend."?
Or do they just talk to themselves as they think of each task they attempt, each movement they observe, each thought they think?



The big sites we often overlook. 
Simple, quotidian sites.

"...they need not grind us down.
― Kathleen Norris, 
  The Quotidian Mysteries: Laundry, Liturgy and Woman's "Work" 

Just a bit more grazing


The sun sinks slowly as ranch chores slow and the day draws close. The horses know they have another hour of quiet grazing.

Hoot are you?


A breakfast guest yesterday morning.

The relative cowbird


 We have heard a new bird song in the morning. It is a nice song - strong, "a liquid-sounding series of low gurgling notes followed by thin sliding whistles". It is a unique song. I watched the birds, looking for the one singing those gurgling notes. It comes from a brown-headed cowbird. The house finches, goldfinches, sparrows and lovebirds all tolerate this visitor. He seems innocuous enough... but I am not sure I am pleased. Cowbirds are brood parasitic birds. They lay their eggs in other birds' nest. Their young are fed and raised by the 'host' parents. If the host 'knocks' the cowbird egg out of the nest, the adult cowbird may/often return to destroy the host's own eggs. It "seems that Brown-headed Cowbirds periodically check on their eggs and young after they have deposited them. Removal of the parasitic egg may trigger a retaliatory reaction termed "mafia behavior"." (Hoover, Jeffrey P. &. Robinson, Scott K. (2007). "Retaliatory mafia behavior by a parasitic cowbird favors host acceptance of parasitic eggs". PNAS 104 (11): 4479–4483).So it seems odd that the other birds at our feeders and in our garden sit along side the cowbirds. They eat side by side, they hop around on the grass together.  They don't fight one another, nor do they scream or dive-bomb each other.  (Photo above shows a cowbird and a lovebird sharing a tree)Cowbirds might be like some relatives... drop the kids and run. And I wonder whose behavior came first - the bird's or the relative's? You can bet I will be watching bird behaviors more closely now...  [...]



Oh, no!!!
Are we in trouble now...

A good hike


 A good hike is hard to ruin...

especially when your hiking companion is Shado.

Spring sites


Backyard sunflower

River with springtime flow.