Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Some More Wildlife

We had quite an exciting week, weatherwise! Monsoon storms all over the place, although not really right where I live. Sunday I woke to an absolute downpour Sunday morning, and it rained most of the day. It was magical. It's been cooler (90s) but grossly humid. This week we get back into the 100s, with lower humidity, but still high for this area. 

There were magnificent clouds and skies all week. But the weather seemed to cause a large increase in anxiousness and stress, both in myself, other people, and the dogs I groomed. This week everyone is calmer. 

My view from the backdoor of my job. 

Since it was randomly storming all week, I took of Truby's fly sheet. Didn't want her to get soggy and moldy under it! Plus the flies weren't as pesky. I took the time to clean it and hang it up to dry and air out a bit. Unfortunately I waited a day or two too late to put it back on. Poor Princess Pony got all bitten up! She was itchy, but didn't seem to be painful. Looks ouchy. Neither one of us seems to handle Tucson fly bites well - we both tend to overreact. 


I did go back and look for her water tub tarantulas. They were both gone, so I'm gonna assume they were both alive and the one wasn't a shed skin. One the day I took the first two pictures in this post, I happened to notice something moving across the driveway when I was leaving. I stopped my car, got out, and sure enough, there was a tarantula walking across the driveway. I assume it was a male out lookin' for love. I hope he found it, and didn't get eaten after.  

They seems MUCH bigger when they're walking

I haven't been riding much at all. Not that we were hardcore athletes before or anything, but it's dwindled to nothin'. It's just so HOT. And recently, HOT and HUMID and GROSS. Basically Florida weather, except I'm no longer used to it. I've been trying hard to get more consistent with my own exercise. I've actually been doing better than usual! So I decided I really needed to get more regular with Truby as well. No reason we can't at least walk for 15 minutes, right?

Yesterday I got on with the plan to walk a lap or two in the ring, and then go on the Backyard Trail. Ease into life with just some little walks. About 2 seconds after I got on, I heard coyotes everywhere. These guys in the video were yipping and crying to the north, and there was howling from the east, and even a yip or two from the south. They were WOUND UP. By the time I decided to take a video, they were starting to settle down, but we stayed in the arena anyway. Just in case. 

Afterward I got to talking about desert wildlife with the guy that takes care of the horses (Let's call him A). A is from Mexico, and his English is pretty good, but he's still learning. My Spanish is minimal, but I know a few words. He was telling me about Bobcats, apparently he's seen them at the barn, in the early mornings. Walking the washes or snoozing in trees. New goal: go to the barn super early at least once a week and look for Bobcats! He was also telling me of seeing a momma bobcat and her kits a few years ago. He couldn't think of the word for baby bobcats, so he just called them "leetle meows". It was 100% the cutest thing I've ever heard! I think I need to start calling kittens of all kinds leetle meows! 

A also told me about hiking in Mexico and coming upon a lion mountain that was sunning on some rocks. Can you imagine? We do have mountain lions in Tucson, but I'm not sure if they'd be near enough that Truby and I might come across them. It would be so cool, but also terrifying, I imagine! 

Ready to find wildcats 

And cookies.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Oh My God, there's TWO

This week has been all about waiting. Waiting for storms. We've had a ton of monsoon activity in the area, but all of it has missed where I live. Storms in Tucson can be extremely localized, and the 'it's raining on one side of the street but not the other' is common. I've been trying to learn more about monsoon science, and it usually starts pinging my BS meter. Weather here is so WEIRD.

These two storm clouds went northwest. Losers.

No love from this, although it was pretty

Today it finally rained where I am! We had some thunder, and a gentle rain. No real storm or downpour, but I'll take it! We have some moisture coming up from Mexico, and apparently "if the sun is out and it gets hot, we'll get monsoon storms. If it stays overcast, we'll get showers." Okay...guess the sun didn't heat things up enough. The clouds were at least beautiful and absolutely stunning and my phone didn't really capture just how amazing desert clouds get. 

I stopped by to visit Truby after work yesterday, just in case I got monsooned at home. It was hot and the ponies were sleepy. I thought about giving her a good grooming, but there were so many flies I didn't want to take off her fly sheet. I noticed her water tub was low, and I decided to pull it out and scrub it before filling it up. As one does. It was a little heavier than I thought, so I had to rock and slide it out of the corner of her stall. I got it out, glanced into the corner...




Yup. that's a tarantula. I got the heebie jeebies and the twitchies and the omg omg omgs. I try to be tough, but I'm NOT a creepy crawly girl, especially when I'm not expecting it. My father is an entomologist, so I was raised with bugs and respect them, but some of them are still just NOPE. 

So I took some pictures, like I do, and then continued to slide the water tub out. Then I thought "hmmm, better make sure there's nothing on the sides of the tub!" Nothing on the sides...but then I saw...

Still nope

Yeah, there's TWO

I was pretty sure tarantulas are not threatening to people or Trubys, so after dumping and scrubbing out the water tub, I carefully put it back. They might be alarming, but they have just as much right to be there as anyone. Probably more, actually. I did check and Google says Arizona Blonde Tarantulas are pretty okay. My dad wondered if the second one is a shedding, so I guess I'll go check that out tomorrow. It is mating season though, so I won't try too hard to figure out if we're a real tarantula or shed skin. 

Truby cared not at all

These are the first tarantulas I've seen 'in the wild'. No lie, I'm okay with them being the last tarantulas I see in the wild! I have yet to see a rattlesnake or scorpions. I'm okay with that too.

Auri is doing well and more adorable by the day!
Not normally cross eyed :P 

Wednesday, July 4, 2018


Loose horse!!!

Not much going on here in Trubyland. It's hot. It's dry. We were expecting to get some monsoon storms last week, but at the last minute they stayed south. I was really looking forward to it and was disappointed they didn't make it to Tucson. They're calling for monsoons again this weekend, but I'm not getting my hopes up this time!

Truby is doing great. She got a new, larger water tub in her stall. She's doing a great job of staying hydrated! She loves to nap out in the sun in the afternoon, even if she has the option of being inside her stall under her fan. She loves that too. She's well balanced.

Morning rides are best rides

Last Friday I got home a little after 4pm. I was HOT and TIRED. The heat is draining everyone's energy, according to my own informal poll of people I meet. I was hot because I hate using the AC in my car. Don't ask, there's not a good reason. Anyway, I asked my husband to go pick up a package at the front desk, so I could lounge on the sofa and drink some icy water. 

He sent me a text saying there was kittens at the front desk. Husband is NOT a 'let's get a kitten!' kinda guy, so I just texted him back to bring me a kitten and the packages. I knew he was joking, and wasn't surprised when we came back sans kitten. But I WAS surprised when we told me the kittens were really pretty, I should go get one. We had no plans to get a kitten. Too soon after loosing Sara. We might move at the end of the year. We had a chance to foster/adopt a beautiful and sweet young tortishell cat, but passed. Just not right. Not ready.

So when we were up at the apartment office and holding pretty little kittens, I was still suspicious. My husband told me if we got one, I'd have to go out and buy some kitten food. And then we were walking back to our apartment with a tiny kitten in my arms. 

Sent husband to pick up an Amazon package, 
came home with a kitten

Apparently at the beginning of May, one of the residents here found a momma cat and her three tiny baby kittens inside a big clay pot on her patio. One of office employees ended up taking them in. She's keeping the already spayed momma cat, and one of the kittens. We took the prettier and friendlier of the available pair. It's been a few days, and she's settled in quite well. She's silly, and playful, and into everything. Just the way a kitten should be!

 She's fallen into the window behind her a time or two...

She loves being under the sofa,
but is happy to come out and play!

I haven't had a kitten in almost 15 years, since I first got Sara and her two tiny kittens. That's a long time! Both husband and I are completely enchanted by her. The cats we've had since getting together have always been MY cats, and husband never really connected much. He's in love with Auri, and it's so nice to have a kitten together.  

She got her name almost as soon as I met her. Having reread The Slow Regard of Silent Things just a few days before, Auri seemed like the perfect name for the tiny, dainty little kitten that so unexpectedly appeared in my life. 

So yes, in some ways, these would be enough. But how awful would that be? How terrible to live surrounded by the stark, sharp, hollowness of things that were simply *enough*? 
Sitting on the warm, smooth floor of Mantle, Auri shivered at the thought of moving through a joyless world like that. Nothing perfect. Nothing beautiful and true. Oh no. She was too wise to live that way. Auri looked around and smiled at all her luxury. She had a perfect loving leaf and lavender. She wore her favorite dress. Her name was Auri, and it was a shining piece of gold inside her all the time.

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Here Comes the Rains Again

Happy Monsoon Season! I'm running a week behind. It's actually the first day of summer, but let's face it, it's almost always summer in Tucson. Monsoon Season runs from June 15 to September 15, and is when we get most of our rain. The storms we got were actually the remnants of Hurricane Bud, so not technically not monsoons, but any rain that falls during that time period counts as monsoon rains, so we got off to a record start. Yay, Bud!  

Friday afternoon, waiting for Bud

I went to the barn after work on Friday, hoping to get a little Truby Time before the storms came through. I needn't have worried, a gentle but steady rain fell almost all night in Saturday morning, but didn't start until later Friday evening.

Truby and I went for a short little ride to enjoy the cool temps (in the 80s!), feel the breeze picking up, and feel the excitement of a Big Storm Coming. I didn't want to feel it TOO much, so we stayed in the safety of the riding ring.

I was pretty disappointed. I was expected big storms, not gentle pitter patter rain. When I woke up Saturday morning, I got the storms I wanted! A huge thunderstorm went right overhead, with heavy rain, big thunder, and blinding lightning. Even better, it was over by the time I had to leave for work.

Some more short heavy downpours and another thunderstorm blew through later that day, and by afternoon, they were gone. It was hot, sunny, and humid.

Truby seemed to have enjoyed the rain, judging by her muddy coat on Sunday! She's not enjoying her new flysheet though. The flies are really bad, and in the last few weeks Truby's gotten really itchy. So I got her a super fancy flysheet. It's helping, but she's not thrilled.

Loves it. Its great. Yup.

I had to get a CT Scan on Monday, so I lost the early part of this week to barium. I had to drink a couple pints of that nasty stuff, which made me feel dizzy and nauseated. Luckily that's over with, and I'm probably fine, but I felt pretty lousy until that stuff worked out of my body. I even went TWO DAYS without visiting my princess. Spoiler alert - she's fine!

Wednesday, June 13, 2018


It's been quiet over in Trubyland. The desert is really heating up. The last time it rained was the end of February, so it's also incredibly dry. Humidity is in the single digits.

This sign is located a little past the entrance to Truby's community. Last year the Burro Fire started by some kids shooting cans not too far from here.

I saw a coyote crossing the road when I went to get the video. I got a surprise when I got back in my car though...doesn't he look like he's a kid posing for tourist photos?


I hastily rolled up the windows when he walked OVER TO MY CAR

He was kinda scrawny and sketchy looking. The coyotes in the Cebadilla neighborhood are usually plump and sleek. Still, it was a neat encounter! At least...until he headed right over to my car. I'm pretty sure he would have jumped in given the chance.

Truby is handling the heat just fine. She has a nice shady turn out area, and she loves her cool, airy stall and her fan. She also loves her attached run. I often see her dozing happily in the sun! 

Flies are getting really bite-y. 

Last weekend we went for a little bareback ride on the Backyard Trail. The first time we did that I dragged the mounting block out to Kilo Turnout, and got on there. That was months ago. We've handwalked many times since, but haven't ridden out. This time I got on in the ring, walked around the barn and through Kilo. Truby was a little jazzed up, but was great! She walked at normal speed on the trail and we enjoyed ourselves. 

Going on an adventure!

On the way back to the barn

Begging for watermelon 

We're definitely in the red, maybe getting some purple

The next few days are supposed to be insanely hot and dry. But this weekend tropical activity "Bud" is going to bring some rain! A lot of rain, hopefully. We're expected to get "exciting" storms Friday and Saturday, and much color temps. I have to work those days, but I'm still really excited! 

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

And Life Goes On

Despite the fact that Sara is no longer with us, life continues on. Which is good, of course! The day after I dragged myself out to the barn first thing. Well, second thing. I had to mope around first. The heat of summer worked in my favor for once. As much as I wanted to just lay around all morning, I knew I had to leave the house before it got hot. Yay?

Single boot in the desert. Weird.  

I grabbed Truby, tacked up, and we headed over to the trail. Truby seemed happy to be out and about. She's almost at her normal walking speed when I'm riding her on the trail. Last time we went out by ourselves we walked to the first corner of the Loop, which goes right behind our barn. It also has a little turnout in the corner. So last time I used the turnout and we just had a short ride. It was a great little plan at the time, but I figured it might come back to haunt me.

And it did! We approached the corner, Windy and Cowgirl started whinnying, and Truby expected we'd turn around and head back. Instead I headed north to continue up the Loop, ready for resistance. Which I got, as Truby tried to turn around and go home instead of directly away from home. When I corrected her, she actually kicked out/crowhopped against my leg. It was kinda funny - she was mad!

I kept her walking though, and she reluctantly continued up the trail away from home. She was definitely tense though. She wasn't quite a giraffe, but she did have her head up and back in a way where I had no connection to her at all, and if I needed to use my reins I was going to have to shorten my reins to about 3 inches and do weird things to make it work. Yeah, no fun. I gently urged her on with mild seat and leg and voice. After a few hundred yards I hopped off. We'd overcome our tantrum, I'd proven my point. Rather than continue until we ran into a problem, I decided to avoid it all and walk. While I know I can ride bad behavior, spooks, and tantrums, I really DON'T want to. With a capital DON'T WANT TO. It's slower, but the baby steps Truby and I take work and are better for my wussy psyche. Oh, to be young and dumb and limber again! Still, it works for us.

Truby expected that we would head straight home, and sulked a bit when I continued along the Loop. After a few hundred yards, she perked back up and we enjoyed walking the rest of the Loop together.

Posing with a flowering Saguaro

My plan is to continue this way, slowing increasing how far I ride before switching to walking. I'll also work the tricky line of staying on as long as possible vs hopping off before a problem brews. I don't want Truby to think I'll get off if she's tense or spooky, that would be a terrible thing for a horse to learn! I also think I'll add getting back on when we get back to the trailhead and reriding areas she feels safe on. We'll see how it goes. I'm still really excited that I can go ride the trail with Truby - I don't mind taking it in tiny steps.

This cactus is on the Loop. It looks like a shy little girl 
hugging herself .

This morning she offered me flowers

Spring blooms have faded. The prickly pears are done flowering, except for a few shaded cactus. The creosote bushes have long lost their blooms. The desert is starting to look hot and dry. And then the Saguaros start to flower. The blooms are located on the crowns, and saguaros can be really tall. My favorite shy Saguaro offered me a beautiful gift at eye height. Thank you, prickly friend. 

Last year at Sabin Canyon

Last year again. Miss the big puffy clouds!
It's drrrrrrry right now.

When we got back to the barn Windy and Cinco galloped up to meet us. Cinco for fun, but Windy seems to have some separation anxiety about Truby. At least Truby seems to ignore it most of the time. Truby and I split a Gatorade to rehydrate a little, and I hosed Truby off. She enjoyed a good roll in the sand after.

I love watching her roll, she has so much fun!

The rest of last week was a mix of grieving for Sara, and trying not to fall into a depression. While I don't feel guilty or remorseful about letting her go, I do miss her. So I'm taking the time to feel sad. She may have been a little cat at only 8 lbs, but she's left a huge hole in my life. But it's okay, and it will be okay. Haiku hasn't noticed any changes. In fact, once we left that day, it's like all memory of having a cat in the house were erased. I think I'd rather go through the grieving process with all the hurt and sadness than completely forget Sara ever was. Still, it must be easier to be a cute little dog than a person! 

Sara's ashes came back and I settled her with my mom. Years ago we scattered my mom's ashes like she wanted, but I kept some to bury with her horse. I thought they would want to be together. Unfortunately I wasn't able to bury Delta and Mom's ashes are still with me. Sara lived with my mom for a number of years, and they loved each other. It's good to have them together again. Silly, but it helps. 

Hanging out together in the afterlife...or at least my curio cabinet! 

Truby being silly at twilight

Some More Wildlife

We had quite an exciting week, weatherwise! Monsoon storms all over the place, although not really right where I live. Sunday I woke ...