Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Death of a Hummingbird

HB Our neighbor found this hummingbird in an indentation of a tree trunk, low to the ground.    I think it is a Black-chinned Hummingbird. It appears to have hit the tree and broken its neck.

As I watched, mother nature began to step in:

HBAntThe ant, looking enormous next to the tiny bird, thoroughly examined the remains, and was still meandering around when I left.  It will be interesting to see what, if any, remains tomorrow morning.

Friday, April 23, 2010

The “S” Word Hits Southern Arizona!

We are now in the latter part of April. We are in Southern Arizona. And we wake up to …. my fingers don’t even want to type the word… SNOW.

cactus Air temperature was 34 degrees.  Snow was falling on desert sand and cactus, coating everything in white. Little hummingbirds landed on the feeder instead of hovering, conserving as much energy as they could. Our steps were covered with slush, and the car had to be warmed up. How can this be?


On the plus side, John and I finished our Lead Guide training today, so we are almost graduated! We still need to be mentored for at least three tours, more if we choose.  We can choose how much we do on our own: a part of the tour, the entire tour, or we can just follow along and absorb a bit more.  John’s first tour is tomorrow, and mine is Sunday.


We may get a bit more rain tonight, but then the nasty weather should be gone, with temps moving into the 70s and 80s.  Of course, it’s always in the 70’s in the cave – with a 99% humidity.  Gives everyone a free facial and new hairdo!

Monday, April 05, 2010

An RVers Home Is His/Her/My/Your Castle

Location: Kartchner Caverns public campground

It IS an RV. It doesn't have slides, but it does have raisable turrets -- and three draw bridges and a water wheel. The two bedrooms in the turrets are carpeted with sheepskin, have comfy beds, and cannon ports. Cannon ports? And I haven't even mentioned the on-board blacksmith shop with two post vices, gas forges, and a 380 pound anvil!

This rig was parked in the Kartchner Caverns campground, and was an instant attention-getter. They have a sign on the back giving passer-bys the FAQs, and a link to their website: Gypsy Time Travelers, where they provide information about the shows they do on the road:

"Fabulous Storytelling with Live Anvil Accompaniment
We Make History Ring In Your Ears!"

Their website also has a section on the "Building Our Time Machine." Very cool, check it out.

Saturday, April 03, 2010

Scenes From Kartchner Caverns

John and I have arrived at Kartchner Caverns in southern Arizona to volunteer for a few months at one of the premier show caves in the country.

Kartchner Caverns is a new cave in the sense that it was discovered in 1974 and first opened to the public in 1999. Mother Nature, however, has been working on it for millions of years!

Kartchner Caverns is special in that it has never been raided, graffitified, littered, or tromped through as most other show caves have been. Until it was discovered, humans had never set foot in the cave, and the only entrance being the size of a grapefruit.

It is also special because it is a "living" cave -- water, the creator and decorator of the cave, is still at work making soda straws, stalactites, stalagmites, bacon drapes, and all sorts of frills and doo-dads. You can hear it dripping. You can see it fall.

Photography is not permitted in the caves, but some nice photos and videos are available on Kartchner's website (linked above). The caves are located in the Chihuahuan Desert, and we have an RV site where we can monitor mesquite trees, prickly pear cactus, and a few Black-tailed Jackrabbits (Lepus californicus) as they hop by. A windmill sits behind us, still pumping -- although we suspect the water is not flowing anymore as the tank seems empty.

We have a clothesline right behind us, and I dried the latest wash on it -- a task I have not done for at least 40 years. It dried quickly in the low humidity, but my biggest problem was trying to remember if pants should be hung from clothespins at the waist or legs! Anybody?