Archive for March, 2012

The Gift
March 22, 2012

“Just what are you doing?  Why are you cutting that perfectly good five-gallon bucket?  What are you making?”

“Questions!  Questions! Questions!  Why not wait to see?”  My husband quipped.

Impatiently, I watched as he cut the bottom from the bucket.  It was one of many left over from building our new home, but five-gallon buckets can be used for so many things, and they are hard to come by.

He continued to sever the white bowl from its towering sides. With his special jigsaw, he cut it carefully and precisely along the border he had penciled. Then, with his metal file, he smoothed the rough edges left by his cutwork.  He ran his aging hands over and over the cliffs until he could feel no more roughness.

The next thing I knew, he was marching out the garage door holding the dish he had made tenderly in his arms.  He made a sharp turn around the shell of our retirement home to a pipe protruding from our water supply.  It was above an indentation he had made in the softened ground.

“I noticed we have quite a few desert visitors, and I thought they might get thirsty.  Besides, this connection drips at just the right pace to keep this filled.”


Day after day, the creatures came.  First, it was the sparrows, thirsty from their nourishing visit to our bird feeder on the other side of the house.  Then, the cottontails dipped their little lips to the cool drink.   Soon, the quail coveys paused in their rapid dash across the harsh ground.

One day, there was a little quail form in the water.  I opened the door and  ran to rescue the little one, but I was just not quick enough.  My “St. Francis” husband installed a little green fence netting held by miniature boulders so that even the tiniest creature could drink safely.

Did I say “drink?”  Now, the sparrows, chickadees, and finches use this small white basin for their weekly bath.  They flitter around, shooing off their companions with water pellets, or taking turns hopping into the drink, testing the temperature.

It seems even a mystery guest under our deck has discovered the convenience of the water works.  I suspect it is that pesky raccoon who washes left over pumpkin pieces gathered from our patch.

My husband is gone now, but the desert dwellers continue to seek “the gift” of his making before they continue their trek across the mountains and deserts of the high country.

There are more five-gallon buckets, but the one cut off and buried in the ground is the most appreciated by the creatures–and I, who derive so much pleasure from witnessing their antics.


















The Eight Lives of Sam The Dog
March 12, 2012

Sam is a junkyard dog–a “Heinz” (57 varieties) dog, but above all, Sam is ours. He has had eight lives, that we know of.

Life #1

Sam lived in the city dog pound.  Dad brought him home to live with us. Dad just had to save Sam’s life. He seemed like a nice-enough dog, friendly and all that, but…Sam did not like to be kept in a closed space, and we lived in the city.

Life #2

 Like, I told you, Sam did not like being closed in; he burrowed holes under the wooden fence–once, twice…so many times, I thought Mom would kill him.  Not even the splinters in his paws, or a broken tooth would deter him.

Life #3

Sam finally made it!  He sped out into the street.  The cars honked and beeped, but that didn’t stop Sam.  Not even the squeal of their tires threatened his freedom.  Luckily, neither Sam nor the cars ever made contact.

Life #4

Sam fell into the pool once, twice…so many times, and someone always fished him out.  He was usually an ugly sight! Long hair soaked, hanging drippy, shivery Sam, but he still lived.

Life #5

We decided to move to the desert.  Sam wanted to go out at night.   We had no fences (which was fine with Sam).  Outside, we heard him growl and make a mad dash for the bushes.

“Sam! Sam!  Come back.  There may be danger there for you.”

When we saw a bobcat take off across the field, we knew Sam had handled that.  He trotted back to the house, triumphant conqueror.

Life #6

Sam had never seen a cactus.  He did not know you were not supposed to run through them or step on them.  Sam had so many cactus needles in his paws, I was sure he would never survive.  He whined and cried, but we got them all out, I think.

Life #7 

Sam barked to go outside.  He ran back and forth in front of the windows.  He whined and begged until we finally let him out.  Then, he sped to the edge of the clearing.  He planted his feet, beared his fangs,  and growled savagely.  We thought he had gone mad…until we saw the coyotes scatter.  They didn’t even have time to howl, and Sam came away with not a tooth mark on him.  Sam made it again.

Life #8

Sam was alone.  He did not like to be alone in the house, all closed in.  He scratched the door.  He gnawed the window sill.  Then, Dad saw the mess.  I was sure all of Sam’s lives were over.

With one more life like that

I’d be telling you about a cat!