Our citrus trees are blooming. The fragrance is tropical, similar to gardenias. The grapefruit tree still had a lot of unpicked fruit. I harvested 20 more grapefruit off it. I have a picker tool but these last fruit are mostly up higher and tucked into the branches. My picker tool got stuck a few times and it was hard to pull the fruit out. My efforts shook the tree and some blossoms fell off. I do not want the tree to lose blossoms, but there are still a lot left on the tree. The tangelo tree is really blooming, and I think we will get a big crop this year. Even the other orange tree that hasn’t bloomed for a couple years has some blossoms and a small bird’s nest. Speaking of bird’s nests, the Say’s phoebes continue their construction over our patio door. I hope they are successful this year.
The roadrunners haven’t been around. It could be that there is a lot of man-made construction going on near our community. A large earth moving project to build flood channels. There will be another housing project going in east of us. I hope the roadunners aren’t driven off permanently.
Still adjusting to life almost post Covid. Our governor just tested positive recently. Just when I was thinking of giving up my mask while in crowds. A question in an LA Times newsletter last week, ‘How has your life changed since March 2020?’ I would say my life is more internal. It still takes an effort to do outside things. Although, I have always had a more interior life being an introvert. I do enjoy solitude and solitary pursuits. My writing voice has been almost muted.
I have been slowly emerging, taking tentative steps. A book club meeting without a mask, a road trip to San Diego. Maybe I can write more.
When I look out my patio window, I see the nesting birds are returning. I see their forays to take bits of nesting materials up to the top of our patio door, just like last Spring. Life goes on.
The moderate temperature and sunshine led me to sit out on our patio today and read a recent book selection from the local library, ‘The Rising Tide, A Vera Stanhope Novel’ by Ann Cleaves. The author has really got her Vera character down pat. Her mannerisms and humor clearly illustrated. It is very comforting to read mysteries that you know will be solved by the end of the book.
I thought while sitting outside that I don’t spend enough time enjoying our yard. I have missed out on what is going on out there. There are hummingbirds who fly under our lounge chair and peck around. I wonder if they’re gathering cobwebs for their nests like I saw the Say’s Phoebes do.
There is a bird nest in one of the citrus trees. It looks a bit messy. I am not sure if this is intentional or if the nest has been disheveled by the wind. The birds have not had a lot of success with nest building in our yard.
We have a low flow sprinkler system on our property. Around a fruit tree in the yard is a small tree irrigation ditch. When the sprinklers are on it fills up with water that is slowly absorbed into the ground. I recently noticed a group of finches making good use of the little pond. They were taking sips of water and jumping in to splash around. It was fun to watch them from behind my patio door. This morning there was a white-crowned sparrow in there.
We have been harvesting some of the grapefruit. Not as many as last year but still enough to share with neighbors.
If we were having coffee, I would tell you we can feel the season changing here. There is a chill in the air which is not at all unpleasant. It feels like a time to slow down and take stock as winter approaches. I want to pause and take time to think and not write. Writing is like talking for me and I need to be quiet and keep my thought to myself for now. I am taking a break at least until the New Year.
I would say that waking up with no obligations of any kind for the day is a dream scenario. In fact, when I wake up, I often ask myself what day it is and do I have anything I have to do, appointments or planned activities. If my day is free, I feel relief. If I do have something on the schedule, I usually check the time and calculate how much free time I have before I need to get ready to go. How much free time I have to do the things I like to do. Like leisurely read the morning papers with coffee and toast. Do the NYT Wordle and Spelling Bee. Check the weather report and gaze out my patio door to see if the nesting birds have returned, (they haven’t returned yet).
If we were having coffee, I would tell you that nesting birds do not like the sound of gas-powered hedge trimmers. Our gardener was here early Monday morning in the backyard sawing away at some of the bushes before I asked him to stop. I think it might have been too late for our nesting birds because their activity around here has dropped dramatically since then. I have not seen them at all for the past couple of days. They did like the site over our patio door. It is high up and sheltered by the patio roof. But it may get too much human traffic and noise for them to take up residence here.
I have not had much time for writing lately. I have been busy reading book reviews. I am looking for books that will interest my local book group and books that will interest me. I am casting a wide net for my own TBR list. I have 25 books on my library book list waiting for me to get back to them. It’s going to take a long time to read through them all because I keep finding more books to add to the list.
We went to a block party yesterday evening. It was great to get together with the neighbors. We haven’t socialized much at all the past couple of years since the pandemic. Starting to ease back into it. We were asked to bring some appetizers to the party. I am pretty out of practice with making appetizers. I bought some frozen ones. The instructions on the box said I should cook them on parchment paper. I only had wax paper and thought it would be a good substitute. On the wax paper box, it did say you could line cake pans with it for baking. It turns out it works ok for cake pans but not anything else. My appetizers baked onto the paper. I tried peeling them off but some of paper was baked on and I worried about people getting waxed paper along with their appetizer. So, I decided not to bring them. Luckily there was plenty of food at the party and nobody missed them.
If we were having coffee, I would tell you the weather has been cooler the past few days. Expected to get into the low 90s F today, and the breeze will make it feel cooler. There has been a flurry of nesting activity over our patio door this morning. The birds are bringing pieces of dried plant stems, small leaves, and cobwebs up to their nest.
I want to take a peek at the finished product when they’re not around.
If we were having coffee, I would tell you I lowered the umbrella on the patio this morning. There is a wind advisory in place through Sunday evening. We are advised to tie down lose objects if we live in the foothills or mountain areas and to expect blowing dust and sand. Driving conditions can be affected. We are expecting cooler temperatures down to 50 F in the early morning hours. The lower temperatures are a welcome change. I have no plans to be out in the wind except a quick run to the library to pick up some books I ordered. I may go out in the morning tomorrow to feel the cool air.
The Say’s Phoebes are building a nest over our patio door again. I see them flying up and down and sometimes they stop to rest on a patio chair. They are very hard to photograph because if they spot me in the window they take off. Their nests are sheltered from the wind under our covered patio.
If we were having coffee, I would tell you that the weather report said we will have thunderstorms moving through our area this afternoon. We started out sunny with a few white clouds this morning. It did feel humid. There is a flash flood warning. That usually doesn’t threaten us unless we are out driving over a wash.
We decided to make a run to the local grocery store. I did tell my husband there was a storm coming. He felt we could make it there and back before the storm hit. While we were inside the market, we heard the thunder. On our way out of the store the wind was gusting along with a torrential downpour. I pulled the car up to the curb. We were completely soaked by the time we got ourselves and the groceries in the car. On the way home we saw bolts of lightning shoot across the sky above us. I’m glad we weren’t driving over the wash. My husband enjoyed the adventure more than I did. He said it was the most fun he had in a long time.
If we were having coffee, I would tell you we had a small haboob come through Thursday evening. I first noticed the wind pounding against the screen door to the patio, and tree branches whipping back and forth. When I went outside it was like being inside a sand cloud.
That’s because we were inside a sand cloud. It was the result of the winds at the front of a thunderstorm blowing a huge cloud of dust and sand over us. Glad I wasn’t out driving. Haboobs are supposed to be rare here, but the weather report stated we could have another one if we get more thunderstorms nearby.
I learned that if I was driving when a sandstorm hits, I should pull off to the side of the road and turn off the car’s lights. If the lights are on, someone could plow into you thinking they are following the car in front of them. We usually get severe weather alerts on our cell phone. This haboob must have been moving too fast for an alert.