Red Hot Summertime

Back in the days before central air (the dark ages), an afternoon nap was mandated.  We would lie down while Mother read to us.  Soon she would be asleep, and we would be restless and anxious to get outside again.

Today, any work that needs to be done outside must be finished by noon.  This morning I mowed and moved the pots seen in this picture.  So it looks much more manicured now.  Coral Drift Roses still blooming.  If they are deadheaded, they will bloom until frost.

Salvia Greggii holds up well in the heat.

Today there are so many different Geraniums on the market.  The colors and scents vary.  They do better here if they only get indirect sunlight or early morning sun.

Flame Acanthus or Hummingbird Bush (Anisacanthus quadrifidus var. wrightii (A. wrightii)) provides nectar for pollinators.  It can take poor soil, hot sun, and is root hardy to zone 7.

Critters visit off and on all day.

The bright red of Strawberry Fields Gomphera (Gomphrena haageana) draws attention like a neon sign.  They are native to Texas and Mexico and are strong reseeding annuals.  Away from the yard, they pop up around the compost heap.

Pink Coneflowers (Echinacea) attract butterflies, who like to land on their dome shape.

Roadrunner strolls across the yard nibbling here and there.  He froze when he sensed my presence at the door.

So thankful for A/C, shade, and iced tea.

“Both the cockroach and the bird would get along very well without us, although the cockroach would miss us most.”  Joseph Wood KrutchSave

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Beep, Beep

When you hear the phrase “Beep, Beep”, what do you think of?  If you experienced Saturday morning cartoons in the fifties, sixties and seventies as a child or an adult who had a child, you will probably think of the Roadrunner and Wile E. Coyote.

The coyote was always trying to catch the roadrunner.  What was the company that the coyote ordered from to purchase devises to nab the roadrunner?  Acme.  Somehow, the traps or whatever always seemed to backfire.

roadrunner                        The Warner Brothers cartoon roadrunner.

All this to say that recently we had a roadrunner in the yard long enough for me to snap some photos.

roadrunner6He appeared to be a young one and not as inclined to run as most do.  Roadrunners (Geococcyx californianus) live in deserts and all of the arid southwestern US.

roadrunner4The Roadrunner is also called the chaparral cock.  Since they can only fly a short distance, they prefer to run and can reach speeds up to 17 mph.

roadrunner3Because of their lightening speed, they are one of the few creatures that feed on rattlesnakes.  Using its wings like a matador’s cape, it snaps up a coiled rattlesnake by the tail, cracks it like a whip and repeatedly whacks its head against the ground until it is dead.

Its speed also enables it to catch a hummingbird or dragonfly in midair.

They also eat insects, scorpions, lizards, rodents, other snakes, and even other birds.  It swallows its prey whole but is often unable to swallow the entire length at one time.  The roadrunner continues to walk around with the snake dangling from its mouth, consuming another inch or two as the prey is slowly digested.

roadrunner2Roadrunners are uniquely suited to the desert climate since they eat moist food and reabsorb water from their feces before excretion.  A nasal gland eliminates excess salt, instead of using the urinary tract like most birds.  They also tend to stay under a shady cover in the heat of the day.

“Life is like a ten speed bike.  Most of us have gears we never use.”  Charles M. Shulz