Arizona Spring

This has been a three-snake week. All kingsnakes. A baby, an adult of moderate size, and a huge one. Although I’m not a snake lover, I do love that the kingsnakes protect our yard from rattlesnakes. Kingsnakes are not only pretty (black with cream stripes), they are pretty deadly to other snakes–even bigger snakes. What helps is that kingsnakes are immune to rattlesnake venom. Kingsnakes kill their prey by constriction, and they are powerful constrictors. As long as I don’t accidentally get too close to a kingsnake, I enjoy having them here, protecting us from other snakes.

Kingsnakes hibernate in the winter, so I know it’s spring when I see them roaming after months of absence.

I saw Perry watching the biggest snake from the window. He didn’t look very concerned, but I imagine he sees all kinds of animals outside that I don’t even notice. New cuteness about Perry: I am doing exercises at home for my shoulder on the days I don’t go to physical therapy. He copies me by lying on his back on the floor next to me. I hit the floor. He hits the floor. I get up. He walks away.

It’s been difficult to work on my memoir because my vision is so blurry. I’ve been trying to push forward, but it’s getting next to impossible. I have my next eye doctor appointment in a week and half, and I can’t wait.

This week many of our cacti bloomed. Click on the pix and use the side arrows to move from one to the other.

Make it a great week!



Filed under #AmWriting, #amwriting, #writerslife, Cats and Other Animals, Flora, Garden, and Landscape

86 responses to “Arizona Spring

  1. Your yard looks so different from what we see on the east coast. I’m not a snake fan but last year when I cleaned the pond, there were two garter (harmless) snakes in there. I’m not a fan of having them in the pond as they eat fish, tadpoles and small frogs. I removed them and rehomed them in our nearby preserve but I’m sure they have found my old yard now.

  2. Are these symptoms from Valley Fever? Bummer.

    • No, it’s just a constellation of c**p that happened during the pandemic hah. I do think the arm was made much worse because of the pandemic and then probably with the VF added on because I became more fearful of going anywhere (like to a doctor). And the eye is either age-related or could have been caused by the fall I took in December where I struck my right cheekbone full force on the concrete.

  3. Thanks for the info on kingsnakes, as I’ve never heard of them. As for cats, mine loved getting down on the floor with me when I used to do yoga. 🙂
    Sorry about your eyesight. I hope it improves soon.

    • Thank you so much. I hope it does, too!
      Aren’t cats so funny?! I’ve heard of cats yoga at yoga studios before, but I can’t figure out how they wouldn’t be getting in the way ;)! Perry has figured out not to. He just lies there, mimicking me. My husband said, “He looks a little confused like he’s trying to understand what the benefit is!” hahahaha

  4. I was going to say exactly what Kate Crimmins started with–how different your landscape is from ours. Your flowering cactuses are so pretty. Here everything is blooming–it’s suddenly turned so green. Thanks for the info about the kingsnakes. They are pretty–from a distance.
    Sorry about your shoulder and eye. I hope you see improvements with both–thank goodness for cat therapists to help.

  5. I *am* a snake lover, so I love to hear about your snakes! It makes me happy that you welcome the king snakes as protectors of your yard. 🙂
    (And I’m sending prayers and good mojo that your vision and other symptoms resolve quickly.)

    • Thank you for the prayers and good mojo!!!!!! Much appreciated!!!! Whenever I see a kingsnake I give a little prayer of thanks that he/she is around to protect my yard from rattlesnakes, which I do regard as the devil :).

  6. I sure hope they can do something about that swamp in your eyes. You’ve suffered with that quite a while now. It should be starting to clear up. Mine eventually did, but it took quite a while. Interesting post about the king snakes. I saw a live one that someone brought to school one day to show us. Beautiful snake. I wonder, though, about your cats. Are they in any danger from them?

    • They are so beautiful, and they are also gentle snakes. My cats would only be in danger from kingsnakes IF they got outside and IF they let themselves get bitten. The bite would release bacteria that could make a kitty sick. However, a cat can be dangerous to a kingsnake. Take a big cat like Kana or Felix or Perry: they could probably harm a kingsnake easily.
      Knowing that your eye swamp cleared up gives me such hope!!!!

  7. Amy

    I don’t like snakes. Any kind of snake. It freaks me out when I see them slither along. I guess it’s a good thing I don’t live in Arizona!

    I hope your doctor’s visit gives you some encouraging news about your eye.

  8. Oh my goodness…so many snakes in such a beautiful place! That’s hilarious about Perry and your exercises…our animals afford us limitless entertainment. Thanks for sharing – I can see it now. Too sweet, too.
    Feel better this week.

  9. So cute about Perry imitating you! Your yard looks so interesting. Hope the shoulder is improving.

  10. Those blooming cactus are beautiful. Thanks for the photos. I agree on the goodness of King snakes.

  11. Love the cacti, Luanne! I’ve visited relatives who lived in Tempe and saw lots of cactus gardens 😉 The kingsnakes are beautiful. I don’t know if we have any around here, but we do have plenty of snakes, including rattlers and moccasins. Usually they skeedoodle before we even see them, but sometimes we see them. Generally I don’t mind snakes. We’ve had gray rat snakes hanging out in our yard and they’re harmless to us. I don’t, however, like meeting up with poisonous snakes.
    And Perry is so cute. Wendy has on occasion tried to join me in yoga but usually she just likes to watch 😉 Hope your shoulder continues to improve and your eye! xox

    • Poisonous snakes do creep me out. And I know the SE has more of them than out here. Although I heard there is a gynormous number of rattlesnake types in AZ :(. Wendy is a good girl! Perry is being good about it, too, but he’s not sure why “we” do it haha. Thank you re shoulder and eye!!!!

  12. Your flowering cacti are fascinating–such interesting textures and shapes! I’m so sorry to hear that your eye is preventing you from working on Scraps! I hope your eye doctor is able to help you.

  13. I love the cactus flowers. None of our are blooming – they’re part of the natural landscape around the house, not in the yard per se. I like snakes, but prefer not to have rattlers in the yard. Since I quit putting out birdseed in summer, I haven’t seen any.

    I hope the eye problem gets better soon!

    • I love when they start to bloom. It makes all their spikes worthwhile :). Rattlesnakes are NOT acceptable. Hah. Last night on TV they had an expert say to just leave them alone, even in the yard. I am thinking, oh, that’s a good call for the kids and dogs!!!! Why not have them removed? We have a herpetological society that removes nuisance snakes. They keep a grid of the desert so they know where to place an animal. tortoises, too. They ask for a $75 donation, and I say WELL WORTH IT.
      Thank you re the eye. It’s so annoying!

  14. I do hope your eyes can be helped

  15. You have the most marvelous yard.
    I’m very concerned about your vision.

  16. I knew NOTHING about kingsnakes and thanks to you I’m informed and amazed at their abilities. I love your Arizona yard. Here in NE the daffodils are cheerily blooming. Finally, Thankfully. Good luck with your eyes. I’ve been going to two different eye specialists. One for “dry eye syndrome” (ugh, but prescription drops help) and one for double vision (thank goodness for prisms in eye glasses!). So, thinking of you and hope your vision improves. xo

    • Double vision sounds just awful. My mom has always suffered from the dry eye problems. I know that it gets very frustrating, Pam! Can you see daffodils without thinking of Wordsworth? I can’t!
      When all at once I saw a crowd,
      A host, of golden daffodils;
      Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
      Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

  17. I am continuing to pray for you with your eyesight! Do not lose hope…there is so much they can do these days. The field of medicine has certainly come a long, long, way. So lovely that your cacti are blooming. I am glad you have good snakes that keep away the bad ones!!! Your memoir will come along just like those blooms on the cacti. 🙂

  18. Good luck with your eye appointment, I hope you can get back to the memoir soon. You have a very exotic yard as far as I’m concerned, with your cacti and snakes!

  19. I’m relieved to hear that king snakes are more interested in other snake predators than human ones! It sounds like you’re dealing with some health issues (your eyes and shoulder). I hope they get resolved very soon. I enjoyed your latest published poem, too. Take care and be well.😀

    • Kingsnakes really do not want to get too close to humans. They are quite gentle. Thanks, Patti. I sure hope these issues clear up soon! I am working on it. Stay well. xoxo

  20. So sorry to hear about your eye and shoulder problems, Luanne. Obviously it’s far worse than the tired eyes I occasionally suffer with – but when writing, these days I always ensure my m/s pages are tinted – usually pale green or blue and it really seems to help. I also zoom in so I’m working at 125 or 130% which also helps. And apologies if I’m teaching you to suck eggs and you’re already doing all these things!! Reading the comments – I’d agree that the little paperwhite is far friendlier on the eyes than my Kindle Fire which I use for audiobooks.

    Thank you for the lovely pics of your garden, which is so wonderfully different from my own. We have far less worrying wildlife in the garden – the occasional fox, hedgehog and in the summer we see frogs and smoothsnakes, which are completely harmless and very beautiful. So cats tend to roam around the garden, especially as we don’t have any of our own:)).

    I do hope your problem with your eyes does clear up – and your shoulder becomes less painful. I love the sound of your yoga sessions:)). Have a great week, Luanne!

    • I really didn’t know that about the paperwhite, so I am so happy that I have that one. I hope when it comes time to replace it I will find one just as easy on my eyes. Thank you for the zooming idea–I usually write in 14 font and sometimes forget to change to 12 when I submit :(. It’s a better idea to just up the percentage! And the tinted. How do you do that? On the screen? Or are you talking about printouts?
      Foxes, hedgehogs, and frogs sound like fairytale animals to me!!!! In Michigan we had gophers, chipmunks, rabbits, birds, garter snakes, toads, and the occasional deer. But out here, wow. You know what we had too many of in California? Black widow spiders. Yeech. Here we have little sand-colored scorpions, but we get the house treated because I’m worry about my cats getting stung. There is a myth that cats are immune to scorpion stings, but it’s not true and they do die from it. The myth probably arose from the fact that a young healthy alert cat is much more liable to stab the scorpion before it has a chance to sting. But my old cats? hahaha You have a lovely week, too, Sarah! XO

      • I’m assuming you are using Word – if you aren’t, I suspect you might be able to Google this. It is on the screen – which is perfect for my needs, because when I go to print it out, it simply comes out white. If you did want to change the background on a hard copy, you’d have to use coloured paper. The only time I have to remember to change the setting is when I’m uploading manuscripts for self publication to Amazon – their program doesn’t like it much:)). And I would suggest if you submit, then do take the precaution to reverting it to white. If you look on the task ribbons across the top, choose DESIGN and click on it. Then look across to the right and you will find Page Color second from the end. If you click on it, you will find a range of colours – my advice is to start with the palest. I discovered how much easier it is to have a tinted page when working with dyslexic students as they find it easier to decode words if their pages are a particular colour. I hope that helps!

        Oh my goodness! Even your insect life is scary… We have literally dozens of different types of spiders and apparently a few do bite, but in all my 63 years I’ve never found one and I’m quite fond of handling them:)). Other than that, I have lots of bees in the garden, mostly the big fluffy bumble bees. We also have lots of ladybirds (ladybugs??) earwigs, with wasps and hornets later in the year. You can insure to get wasp and hornet nests removed from your garden or loft space if they swarm there. The idea of coping with scorpions and lethal spiders is boggling. Next time I get an invasion of ants in the kitchen, I’ll remind myself not to moan too much!! xxx

        • LOL, it’s true that we have a lot of little weirdos in the southwest. Knock on wood, I haven’t found one black widow in Arizona, although when I was in high school a friend moved temporarily to Arizona and was plagued with them. Maybe they have left Phoenix because it’s too crowded! But when we first moved to Cali, we had 1,000 black widows at our house the first year. New construction, new neighborhood. A pet sitter was bit by one at my house a few years later. In Michigan we always had daddy long legs, which of course are little dears. But the biggest spiders I’ve seen were in Oklahoma (Other than tarantulas in AZ and CA which are barely spiders) where my daughter went to college. Good grief. Monsters they grow there.
          Thank you SO MUCH about coloring the screen!!!! I googled instructions because I am still use Word 2003 and 2007 LOL. So easy!!! I’m indebted to you, Sarah!

          • Oh my word! 1,000 black widows??? I think my affection for spiders would take a massive dent if I had that to contend with. I regularly scoop them up with my hands if they are in the wrong place… It must make you VERY careful!

            I’m so glad you found my suggestions helpful! I very nearly didn’t mention it, because I didn’t want to pester you with a tip you’d already heard of a gazillion times:)). But I did decide to – because I know just how much it has cut down the pain I used to get with tired eyes since I’ve begun to use tinted pages on my manuscripts. So glad I did – and I really hope you also find it helpful.

            • I appreciate it so much! And I’ve ordered new glasses for the computer with the blue blocker thing, too. I’ll be honest: every one of those spiders got squished, if we could get to them. The only way we know it was a thousand was we started counting!

              • I really hope it helps! I’m not in any way comparing my own issues with your eye problems – but it definitely dented my ability to write as much as I wanted. And often my eyes were sore and tired, which messed with my concentration…

                As for your experience with the spiders – I’m boggled! My poor sister would have a meltdown – she gets a panic attack when a daddy longlegs is thrashing around the room…

  21. I didn’t know anything was immune to rattlesnake venom. Fascinating. I’m sorry to read about your eyesight problems. I sympathize. I hope the doctor can get you seeing clearly again.

  22. Interesting post!

  23. Sorry for visiting here so late, Luanne. I am so sorry about your eyesight problems! Have you been able to see the specialist yet? I hope you get help. Your story about Perry made me smile and reminded me of one of the cats I used to have years ago. It was 1985/86 and I had recently been diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis. There wasn’t much that could be done for me then except for strong painkillers. I used to have to climb the stairs on all fours really slowly, dragging myself up bit by bit. One day I noticed William struggling up the stairs and got worried in case he was hurt but no; he wasn’t! He was just copying me which made me laugh and cry at the same time. Such a clever cat!

    • Clare, the thought of you going through all that hurts my heart. Are you now on medication that keeps you from problems like this? I’m so sorry! Your sweet William! What a good and smart boy trying so hard to help out his Mum.

      • What a sweet reply, Luanne! I am so sorry it has taken so long to get back to you but the reaction to my second Pfizer Covid vaccine was quite violent and I’ve had to rest for a few days. Regarding my rheumatoid arthritis medication; I was put on new medication nearly twenty years ago which was very successful and eased the pain considerably. About eleven years ago they changed the medication from tablets to a weekly injection and the improvement since then has been remarkable. I have been in remission for about six years. I now also have osteo arthritis and nothing much can be done about that as you know. xoxo

  24. I hope the vision problems resolve soon, Luanne.

    And give dear Pear kitty a pat from me. 🙂

  25. Ha, your fellow-exerciser Perry reminded me of this funny video:

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