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.
If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I took another walk the other day when it was 92F, feels like 96F, and a bit humid. All quiet on the roadrunner front but I did see a few critters on the ground that would make good roadrunner snacks.
They were pretty large and at first, I thought they were locusts. A little research led me to identify them as pallid-winged grasshoppers. I tried to get as close as I could without them seeing me, but they flew off. Roadrunners would have to be pretty wiley to catch them.
You can see from the photo above that these grasshoppers could easily camouflage themselves.
Took a longer walk today, 91 F, feels like 91F according to the weather report. Ever wonder how they determine what the temperature feels like? I imagine a weatherperson standing outside and saying, ‘Hmm, feels like ______.’
During my walks, I can hear insects buzzing but cannot always see which ones are making all the noise. The wildlife often stays hidden. Did see a couple of roadrunners today. They can pop into view unexpectedly. They usually spot me and take off pretty quick.
We had an interesting speaker at my book club meeting this week. Her topic was Jane Austen who is one of my favorite writers. Usually, this topic would have held my attention, but I spotted a large roadrunner through the picture window behind her. I was tempted to call out, there’s a roadrunner behind you, or run over to the window and grab a photo. I didn’t do it, though. I don’t think she would have appreciated it.
*If you really want to know, the weatherperson determines how hot it feels by using ‘the heat index.’ This is the temperature combined with the relative humidity. You can see the chart here and read more about it. When they say how hot it feels they are referring to shady with light wind conditions according to National Weather Service. If you are in the direct sun or there is a hot wind blowing that is going to feel much hotter.
If we were having coffee, I would tell you it was 97 F, feels like 94F per the weather forecast, at 10:30 AM today. I decided to take a chance on a walk outside. Told myself if it was intolerable the walk could be a short one. I was able to walk 30 minutes tolerably. Inspired by the NYTimes Newsletter post ‘Slow Down’ by Melissa Kirsch about slowing down and mindfulness. It talked about just observing and not feeling like you need to take a photo. Oftentimes, my photo does not capture so well what I am seeing anyway. If I saw a roadrunner, I may have made an exception. I did see a little woodpecker and watched it for a bit. I did not want to disturb it as pecked its way around a tree. First woodpecker I’ve seen here.
On my walk it was relaxing to just enjoy the view.
If we were having coffee, I would tell you that Thursday will be the beginning of Fall here. It is predicted to be 98 F that day. Not time for hot cider here, maybe some pumpkin ale. Trader Joes has lots of pumpkin stuff. I do feel a shift. The breeze here seems a little cooler. The days will be getting shorter, and it feels like things are slowing down. Our citrus trees look healthier, with sun-burned leaves gone now. The grapefruit tree is full of green fruit. The fruit looks a bit small, like large oranges. I read this could be due to the summer heat. We will see if the fruit grows more by the time it is ripe this winter.