Wednesday, August 5, 2020

Hello Arizona!

"Sometimes I feel like somebody's watching me!"
Photo by Darla Sue Dollman, 2020. 

I am in Arizona! Surprise! I didn't like the freezing temperatures in Wyoming; had limited access to wildlife. Between the wind and snow it was difficult to reach places where I could view the blessed little creatures! There are plenty here in Arizona, though. Not the big creatures I saw in Wyoming, like antelope and buffalo, but little creatures, like wasps, bees, beetles, scorpions...

Palo Verde beetle, Derobrachus geminatus. Photo from Wikimedia Common, Public Domain. 

So here I am, once again in triple-digit heat and a high-desert region where I am surrounded by creepy crawlies, like the 3 1/2 inch long Palo Verdes beetle, Derobrachus geminatus, that was hiding beneath my pool deck. My dog, Emma, found the creature and pestered it so much that it snapped at her back leg..oh yes they do bite, and hard! I did a catch and release with the beast and set it free in the alley behind my house. 

Bee on Sunflower. Photo by Darla Sue Dollman. 

And I have a swimming pool, complete with all the critters, such as bees, wasps, dragonflies, mosquitos, ants, and every other little creature you can imagine. They do need water. My pool often fills up with bees, and it's heartbreaking. We need bees! In Arizona, however, 90% of the honey bees are now Africanized, and they have nasty tempers. As I swim around the pool I try to fish out all of the drowning bees and they often buzz me and occasionally reward me with a sting. Not particularly grateful. The wasps ignore me. I swim around them, and they swim around me. Wasps land on the water with all four legs spread then dip their heads down for a drink. Apparently the chlorine doesn't bother them. Bees, on the other hand, often end up with wet wings, splashing and floundering around until they drown. In the mornings, I use the net to retrieve dozens of drowned bees from my pool. It's sad, but I haven't found a solution yet. 

Darla's ducks. Photo by Darla Sue Dollman. 

And I have ducks. Many, many ducks. This isn't the first time I've raised ducks. I had ducks when my children were young and although I am a vegetarian I do eat eggs. I love duck eggs. They are large and packed with protein. 

Cheesy, a Pekin duck. Photo by Darla Sue Dollman.

I was actually excited about having ducks and eggs, so I followed my neighbor's advice and stopped at the local farm supply store. I was told I should adopt at least twice as many as I needed in case some died because they were weak, or they were attacked by cats or dogs. Hmm. Doesn't sound fair to the ducks! I wanted four, so I adopted seven, and all seven are now happy and healthy and living in the duck run I built for them on the side of my house, or sleeping beside my swimming pool. 

Flippy duck tails. Photo by Darla Sue Dollman, 2020. 

There's only one problem with my plan--six of the seven now have flippy feathers on their tails. According to my neighbor, that means I have at least six male ducks, possibly seven. I still don't have any eggs and stopped hoping for them, but I have many duck friends!