Ah,….Spring!

Posted on March 27, 2008. Filed under: Culture, Musings |

I have a rather odd habit in that I like to sit and read, in the easy chair by the glass doors which look out into my back garden, just before sunset. The light is dimming, and it gets harder and harder to discern the page in the dwindling daylight, but there is much yet to see.

A movement catches my eye. I smile as a cottontail rabbit comes into view. She twitches her nose and munches on a few grasses (all right, I’ll admit it—weeds :) ).

rabbit_ctntl.gif My garden is very minimal: Just a few desert plants, lots of rocks and pavers, and one of the best views of the Santa Catalina mountains on offer. The back yard is much as it was when I moved here. I added a tortoise, a pagoda, and a Buddha image, all of concrete. To me, the unobstructed splendor of the mountains needs no other frame.

I feel fortunate I don’t have a dog, not because I don’t like them—I do—but because the rabbits wouldn’t come into the yard if I did. The bunnies squeeze themselves into and through the decorative drainage openings in the low brick wall surrounding the garden. Those openings are necessary because of the flash flooding we can get in the desert. The water rises quickly, and alarmingly, and needs some place to go.

The bunny feels safe here, walled off from predators, but still with several escape routes at her disposal. I see her friend or mate watching from the other side of the widely spaced iron-bar fence. I can see see right through the fence, but it keeps the coyotes and wildcats out. (Don’t ask about the snakes!)

What’s that jumping up and down at the top of the rise? I’ve not seen a roadrunner act like that before. Could she be making a nest? Or ferreting out some prey?

Now there’s a quail. I have mixed feelings about them. The tufted quail are among our most common birds here (the others being doves and roadrunners). The quail arise with the sun—and I do not. This would be fine if they’d keep quiet about it. They insist, however, on greeting the dawn with the most appalling sound; something like a cross between a “hoot” and a “caw”, at a pitch and volume destined to penetrate my dreams.

hatchlings.jpghatchlings.jpghatchlings.jpghatchlings.jpg quail-adult.jpg

Soon, though, the first hatchlings of the season will appear. Quail have about 8-10 chicks each hatching, and although less than half will live to torment me as adults (the rest being snatched up as tasty lunches for roadrunners, owls, and hawks), when I see the line of tiny cherry-sized little fluff-balls-with-feet, who follow both their parents everywhere; whose two parents wait patiently and help them jump down from the bricks of my wall; I forgive them everything.

As the last light fades I spot a bright red cardinal preparing a late night snack. I can no longer see to write on this, my favorite day.

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11 Responses to “Ah,….Spring!”

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bunnies are cute!! i love bunnies. too bad they’re so shy… why can’t cute creatures like that visit my house? instead of bold stray cats (one even entered the house through an open window when i’m in the house, and only ran when i finally saw it) and fearless rats… bah! :) haha.

sulz, our bunnies look just like the one in the picture. They are shy, and would scamper away if I walked right up to them, but if I’m quiet and stay several feet away, they don’t seem to mind me. Your stray cat wouldn’t last long around here, I’m afraid. The coyotes eat them! People have to keep them indoors, or have screened-in porches. I sometimes see evidence of packrats, and I encourage them to go elsewhere, as they have some unpleasant habits. Not as cute as the bunnies!

Living as I do across from a lake my landscape is populated with ducks, geese, and the occasional heron. The geese rule! Last year the township got all upset about how many geese were around and had them gassed! Yipes! I felt myself mourning for weeks. Yes, they can be a bit messy, but mass murder??? This year the numbers are way down………. Oh yeah, lots of little chipmunks around too. No bunnies.

Hooray for Spring! It seems to be a little late arriving over here, but I’m glad to hear that you’re enjoying Springtime.

I think bunnies are some of the cutest animals ever, but I’m glad we don’t have any in our garden – they eat vegetables!

I really do sympathise about the quails, having had a nest of sparrows above my bedroom window for about thirteen years!

I love the style of this post, by the way.

Ur little friends are so inspiring..Very nice post MoonMuse..Lovely..

yogini, I mourn with you for the geese. When I visited Vancouver, a Canada Goose nipped me in the tush! “Goose” indeed. Still, the bold bird didn’t deserve a death sentence for that. We don’t have chipmunks—probably the closest critter is a prairie dog. I didn’t know what those were back in California (where we did have chipmunks), but I’ve learned they’re very intelligent and have their own language. I’m imagining your lake. Ahhh. I’m at some distance from a body of water (except during the flash floods) ;)

This is true, Bobby, the rabbits will eat anything! I have not tried to grow vegetables or any leafy plants out there, but the bunnies seem to find a few things to munch on. After a rain, when the prickly pear cactus (one of my few plants) has sucked up a lot of water, the bunnies even chew on that! Thank you for the compliment about the style! It means a lot to me coming from you. I was feeling particularly muse-y and began to wax a bit poetic.

Thank you very much, CV. I do enjoy all my little friends I get to see, even the lizards. We have geckos, too, and gila monsters, and even horny toads! I’m so glad you were inspired.

Here on the coast we have to be cautious not to gloat while others are still shoveling snow. We have crocuses, daffodils, flowering plums and forsythia. I live in the country among the wildlife and song birds are already nesting. Yay! I love spring.

‘Tis difficult not to gloat, bf. But then, when the temps reach 105F in June, here, others get to gloat back. Looks like you have some absolutely gorgeous sights in your woods. :)

[…] pair’s reproductive urges. I enjoy seeing a nest, and watching the babies hatch (except for quail, perhaps. Gila Monsters eat Quail eggs, heh) This was just an impossible situation for us all, […]

[…] that, there are always one or two quail willing to contribute their opinion. Have you heard a desert quail‘s call? It’s just the most appalling melodious sound, kind of a combination of a duck […]

[…] Oh, quail! […]


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