Mountain, Cross and Shuffleboard Nats

pixychick

JORBA: Ringwood
JORBA.ORG
Pictures continue then .....

Wednesday was warm ( 70's) and we ran into 3 Gila monsters and a snake on our ride. We are still riding 3 days a week from our house and staying off the trails on weekends to allow for more casual trail users to have more space. Casual trail use is up which is both good and bad, I suppose. It has not rained in about a month and storms are brewing for today, which is a good thing. Every day a few new blooms and a little rain will certainly extend spring blooms.


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kdebello

Well-Known Member
definitely keep posting pictures! Between the nature and the work on the house, it makes me happy to see something positive.
 

pixychick

JORBA: Ringwood
JORBA.ORG
As I said before, weather has been ideal out here. Next week, things are going to warm up .... upper 80's and maybe a 90. Today was the first day I got up early to ride, mostly because we had a noon service contractor coming. So while some things are shut down out here: schools, malls and restaurants, .... service contractors are still working. Food stores are open with new restrictions, but cosco is the only one with big lines. I had not seen toilet paper in 4-5 weeks, but Thursday, I scored a pack of toilet paper. It was sort of random, as I has been out shopping late, off peak and early bird 60 plus at 6:30 and never saw any. I asked at check out to see when TP was delivered, and they said "daily, you have to come early". I said I tried all times including 6:30 am. They then said "if you need it, we have one here" . This all seemed like BS to me, but I took a pack non the less. I only shop once a week so my cart looks like I am a vegetable hoarder for sure.

My neighbor has a spineless cactus, which grows to be 20 feet tall. It is cold by his house and the arms fall off in winter because it is so cold. He said we could take all the dead arms and re plant them up at our house. We did, and they all are blooming only weeks after planting, which is really exciting. They love the warmth at our place. The flowers are orange. Transplanting cactus is really easy. You just take cuttings and stick them in the ground. They root with little water and bloom in weeks if it is spring. They are great !

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pixychick

JORBA: Ringwood
JORBA.ORG
Every day more blooms. Some anticipated, some a surprise. More birds migrating and I watch the soaring vultures gather. First one or two and then four. After a week, a kettle of seven or more work the thermals. Things go on as expected.

Today we headed down to Starr Pass for several reasons: to collect and pay for a case of wine we split with a friend, to get rid of our recycling and to ride somewhere different. I have been riding from the house for six weeks. I love the local riding, but it was a nice change to go somewhere different. The weather was awesome today, high seventies and breezy. It was a great day!

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pooriggy

Well-Known Member
Team MTBNJ Halter's
The Osprey's have been returning to NJ. They are such a big hardy bird, but despite there size, I just read that they overwinter in South America.

Well anyway they are building there nests, fishing and squawking from high overhead.

Also, dogwoods starting to bloom.
 

pixychick

JORBA: Ringwood
JORBA.ORG
The Osprey's have been returning to NJ. They are such a big hardy bird, but despite there size, I just read that they overwinter in South America.

Well anyway they are building there nests, fishing and squawking from high overhead.

Also, dogwoods starting to bloom.
Osprey are a really cool bird. I have a good memory of one flying near the beach with a wiggling fish in his talons. Many raptors are gaining numbers and moving into neighborhoods near people. Great to see them!
 

pixychick

JORBA: Ringwood
JORBA.ORG
I am excited to report that I have a few tomatoes and a few peppers starting to grow. On the squash, there are mostly male flowers now, but the first female looking bud is starting. I will try my hand at pollinating if I do not see bees on it. First harvest could be few weeks out if I am lucky, and something does not get them first.

One of our saguaro has buds too. I have never been here or seen any of ours flower, so this is exciting. Black headed grosbeak, lazuli bunting spotted. Curved bill thrasher sitting on eggs in a nest along our driveway. Being that we will be out here later this year, I am hoping to see a western tanager. They are beautiful and I have not seen one in person. Some good things happening while social distancing.

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pixychick

JORBA: Ringwood
JORBA.ORG
The furnace is starting to "kick in" outside and the A/C is now on inside. 95 degrees at 3pm and still rising. It could be over 100 on Thursday at our place, which could be 106 downtown, 110 in Phoenix. I took the weekend off from riding, but if I decide to ride tomorrow, I will need to get up early in the morning to try and get back before 9. Meanwhile, the plants seem to love it! Lizards and snakes liking the heat as well.

As temps rise, the neighbors gigantic, hairy dogs swim in our fountain at night. Today was my first day of removing gobs of white hair from the fountain. I will probably need to change the water more often from now on. Not a bad thing when it is warm. I often think of giving a kiddie pool to the neighbors, so they have their own. Not sure how well that would go over with them. For now, the white fountain is an open critter pool at night. Water in the desert attracts more than just the birds. It is a life line.

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pixychick

JORBA: Ringwood
JORBA.ORG
Yesterday was hot. I did my outdoor yard work all before 11am. When available, the shade of a tree is a help, but when working under the sun, a wide brimmed straw hat is a must. The air is indeed dry, but on days with no breeze, the sun can be oppressive. Afternoons should be spent indoors with the A/C, or in the shade. There is a reason for siesta time. ;) I have my sewing machine with me, so yesterday I made some extra masks. I was lucky to have extra fabric and elastic within my sewing supplies.

Today is not quite so hot: 94. Art and I got up early to ride and be back home by 8:30. It was quite nice and the morning light was beautiful. We actually saw a bunch of people out riding early as well. I guess early riding is the norm out here because of the heat. We saw a few jack rabbits and a beautiful gopher snake on our dirt road commute to and from the trail.

Things are going ok but my mom is starting to think about getting back to NJ. It is looking like this virus thing may be around for the summer, and while Art and I may be ok with staying out here for a bit, my mom may want to get back to her home in NJ, even if there are restrictions. Restrictions here have stayed in place until May 15, but may not be as strict as NJ. I have not had to wait on a line to grocery shop, but shelves are not fully stocked. Plenty of fresh produce, which is my staple. Some stores have discontinued their 60+ hours as of today. Just as well for me b/c I would rather make use of my mornings outside riding or gardening and shop in the heat hours.

Parks and recreation land other than city parks, remain open in Tucson. I am happy to hear that NJ has opened most trail systems! :) That is good news for all of you that want to ride. Enjoy !
 

pixychick

JORBA: Ringwood
JORBA.ORG
Yesterday our saguaro started to bloom. The buds open at night, and close by 11am. Blooms only last one night each but the many blooms can spread out the blooming experience over a week or two. Bats will often nectar at night on these. Full moon only a few days away could make for some night viewing. I salvaged a handle and re-purposed it into a snake stick to pull back brush to check for snakes when working in the garden. Have not run into any yet, but my neighbor has already spotted a few rattlers in his yard.

Once again, unusual heat wave in place and I am in the house before noon. It is 99 right now, and will probably hit 100. When I was watering this morning, the tops of my feet felt like they were burning in between my sandal straps. The sun is incredibly intense. I added another shade cloth to the west side and top of my garden structure as per the advise of neighbor. This will give my vegetable plants some relief from the late afternoon sun. In this heat, I water those plants twice a day. I am still playing the waiting game with male and female buds on my squash. It seems like I first got all male buds, and now all female buds. Buds only open a day, so I need both open on the same day to cross pollinate. The few squash I have will probably die, but I see some of both coming in the next round, so hopefully I will get some pollinated and get fruit.

I am happy to see temps may drop in the next few days, so maybe a ride will happen. :) I am also happy to see that the awesome Ringwood Trail crew installed a new bridge. There are great things happening back there thanks to James, Tom, Steve, Marianne, Dar, Jen, Chris and volunteers. .....Thank you!!!

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pixychick

JORBA: Ringwood
JORBA.ORG
I survived 2 short heat waves of close to 100 degrees. Today it has clouded up and should top out around 93, which is not too bad. The next week has reasonable temps predicted. I did not ride today, but so far it has been an excellent day.

I went out to my vegetable garden in the early am to check squash blossoms and 2 females were open. Three males were recently closed so I opened them up and rubbed the pollen stamen on females. I am not sure if that will work, but I thought I would give it a try. I heard a rustle behind me, and when I turned around there was a javelina running away. He must not have seen me in the structure until he was close. He stopped about 30 feet away and we just looked at each other. I am not sure how well they see. I think they go by noses. I wonder if he liked the watermelon rinds I left him a few days ago. Art has me chopping up discards so they each get their own piece to chew on. I feel bad because I do not leave them as much as I used to b/c I do real compost now. However, I try to leave them some treasure now and then.

At breakfast I saw a flash of yellow land in a tree, but could not get a good look. I went to get my glasses and the bird took off and Art identified it as a western tanager. So I did not actually get a good look, but apparently they are here, which is cool. I will keep my eyes open.

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pollen on spider webs:
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pixychick

JORBA: Ringwood
JORBA.ORG
We were up at 5:30 this morning to try and get out to ride by 7:00. It was 64 degrees on our roof, Yipee! That translates to the upper fifties when we get down to the wash on our commute to the trails. After a week of hot weather, the cool air felt so good on my arms. Other than the cool temps, it was like usual, as we saw the same 2 jack rabbits at the Baker property just before entering the trail. I have been seeing jack rabbits in this area for several decades. Even before we had this house.

Climbing up the 50 we saw a tarantula and a pepsis wasp, aka: tarantula hawk, in the trail. The tarantula was already paralyzed. These wasps sting and paralyze tarantulas and drag them into the spiders hole, and lay eggs with the still alive tarantula for the larvae to eat. ...Pretty gruesome. Sounds like a horror movie. The wasp was about 2 inches long with bright rust colored wings. This was a small tarantula of less than 3 inches. Supposedly the wasp sting is very painful. We have a bunch in our yard, so good chance we have tarantulas too.

We got up to the high stuff today to do some tech and to check out the crested Saguaro on the upper 50. It had some blooms which is pretty cool to see. Some super fun stuff up there as well as some stuff over my head. I managed to get through the go arounds without running into any snakes. However, we ran into a rattler on the main trail. Critter pictures by Art as his came out better than mine.

While on the trail I forgot all about lockdown and people getting sick, my mother and all the other stress right now. I guess that makes it an awesome ride full of natural surprises. We saw 2 mountain bikers and 3 equestrians while we were out. I would say that between the jack rabbits, wasp, tarantula, rattlesnake and crested saguaro, we got more natural cool stuff than people. +1 for social distancing.

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pixychick

JORBA: Ringwood
JORBA.ORG
Finally our lady finger cactus bloomed. They are my favorite and bloomed quite late this year. The cactus itself grows like a ground cover of segments. The blooms are quite showy. I look forward to the few days of blooming each year.

I saw another pepsis wasp dragging off a tarantula on the trail and snakes and gila monsters in our yard. Actually, the gila monster was on our patio. I did not see him until I was right on him. It was a "oh no" moment for the both of us. he went and hid his head under a flower. I gave him some space, and 10 minutes later he was gone. .... Cool stuff every day.

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