15. March 2017 · Comments Off on Bee’s Knees Eased · Categories: Places · Tags: ,

These are the first result of what was originally an effort to prevent bees from drowning in a birdbath, which they were doing frequently. I placed some rocks of various thicknesses and slopes in the center so the bees would have easier access to water that the precipitous glazed sides of the birdbath, and also have something to grab if they did fall in. They drink about half the water out of the birdbath every day, so the water level drops. So far the rocks have worked very well.

17. April 2015 · Comments Off on Delving · Categories: Places · Tags: ,

“Killer bee” (which actually make fine neighbors) meets New Mexico Thistle flower.

Bee Thistling
27. June 2014 · Comments Off on Big Green · Categories: Places · Tags: , ,

From the Valley of the Mammoth Saguaros, glimpses of sheer mass.

09. May 2014 · Comments Off on Prickly Poppies · Categories: Places · Tags: ,

Late spring in the Agua Verde Riverbed. Bees working Prickly Poppy flowers, cryptic messages awaiting discovery, animals scurrying out of sight, lizards popping out of their beds in the sand to dart to safety. A privilege to be there, even passing through.





12. May 2013 · Comments Off on Stepping Up · Categories: Places · Tags: , , ,

A morning full of good things. Managed to walk a decent distance and really explore for the first time in weeks, found some magenta flowers on a purple cholla, and then look who’s making themselves at home as I return!

05. May 2013 · Comments Off on A Minor Intervention · Categories: Places · Tags: , ,

Stopping to snap some prickly pear cactus buds, I noticed a bee not leaving one, very unlike a bee to hang out on an unopened flower like that. Ah, the front leg is stuck in the folds. A tiny stick and some gentle prying and the bee takes off, with a combination of irritation and relief, the latter winning so I don’t get stung, but he does hover and look me over for a bit. And then goes right back to work in the adjoining open flower, coming out festooned with pollen and hopefully some of what he needed to gather for his part in the day.

Also, the night-blooming cereus are beginning to bud. Not easy to find in the first place, nondescript dead-looking stalks in the middle of mesquite bushes, the buds are tiny red bumps on that enigma wrapped in a nurse tree.

23. September 2012 · Comments Off on Attract More Bees With Honey · Categories: Places · Tags:

Some bees have been visiting recently, very thirsty so I thought I’d see if they were hungry as well. Fascinating to watch them slurp up some delicious wild desert honey in the sunlight.

Bees and Honey
05. July 2012 · Comments Off on Pollen Party · Categories: Places · Tags: ,

A fallen century plant in bloom provided a closer look at the flowers and the pollinators.

15. August 2011 · Comments Off on A Neighborhood Survey · Categories: Places · Tags: , ,

Monsoon is moving along nicely around here.

The bees are buzzing and slurping…

Bees Drinking


Some locals have gotten, belatedly, into the goth thing…

Goth Snake


And some sleeping things are better left that way…

Sleeping Rattler

Beware snake with striped tail! Saw a similar tail in my headlight beam along the edge of the road last night, raised in agitation at the traffic. The snake they’re attached to can be long. Years ago in the mountains of New Mexico I came around a corner at night and one was stretched the entire width of the road. Ever since that encounter I have wanted one of those pogo-things that a car in a Saturday morning cartoon had, that would let it leap forward just a bit.

As always, click any photo for a larger version.


28. January 2010 · Comments Off on The Property Hunt Chronicles, Part One · Categories: Places · Tags: , ,

I’ve decided to catch up on some older stories that got bypassed due to travel or work exigencies. For a while I was looking at various properties in the southwest with a view towards making a life there.

This one is about a set of adjoining properties near Douglas, Arizona. I was interested in possibly buying both, totaling about 80 acres, and went looking for property markers. Looking at the plat, one of the markers was clearly going to be near the top of a ridge, so I drove up to the base of it, near where the owner had a camper and storage container, and then hiked up the side of the hill likely to be the corner.

The evening before I had hiked up an unimproved road that borders the property to see if the marker was further east than I had projected, but I did not find it. Here’s a shot looking back south toward my car, mostly taken because I liked the thunderhead.

Next photo was taken during my return trip a few minutes before I passed a coyote going the other way. The coyote was very gracious and took the long way around me after appearing ahead out of the crepuscular light…

back road

Next morning I returned and started heading up the hill. From the first step it was all scree. The owners had built a pathway to where they planned to put a well, so there was a flat place to stop for a second, and then it became steeper, with the scree leaning more toward talus in some spots.

Even early in the day, it was already going on 100F, sun bright and hot, no shade. I was getting near the top when I noticed I was being “buzzed” by honeybees, usually means that I’m too close to a hive. Also it was likely that they were the “killer bees” given their behavior and my location. The important thing about these is that after the first one stings, they all sting (perhaps they should be called rugbees). So it’s helpful to avoid the first one. I located the hive by watching them after they buzzed me. They were living in this rock formation…

Cochise Beehive Rock

Thought about going the other way around, but there wasn’t one, just a sheer dropoff that I hadn’t realised I was close to until I looked that way…


Looking back down toward my car and the container…

Car Below

I dropped back down, went around and under the beehive rock, and up the hill on the west side, giving the bees plenty of room. When I got to the top I was relieved to have made it, but then found that nearly every kind of flying stinging insect in Arizona was making a home there, and none were acting particularly welcoming. I was being buzzed by wasps and other aerodynamically adroit little pests pretty fiercely. Some were merely gliding by to gauge my temperament, while others were actively escorting me. But I was up there, so I canvassed the whole peak quickly, which isn’t very large, and took a couple of shots before heading down.

Here’s a look north towards Castledome rock…

Northward Look toward CastleDome

And one south towards Douglas and Mexico…

south to douglas

I never did find that property marker, and found another property I liked more.

On the way back to the car I spotted a pollen-laden bee at work…


And the bone of some hapless ungulate trapped in the rocks…


On the way out I took a look back up the hill…


A fine outing in a lovely spot. More to come.