A run-in with a skunk

posted in: Living in the Southwest, Nature | 0 | This post may contain referral links. See privacy policy for more.


Frequently while we are out delivering our newspapers, we see, hear and smell all kinds of wildlife. Last week, we posted about seeing a mule deer doe and her baby, we even posted a great picture of the two of them. Most of the time though, we are not so lucky to capture pictures of the creatures we see, which is the case of the skunk Al stumbled upon last night.

As mentioned above, we included smell and boy do we smell a lot of skunks while we are out. Everyone once and awhile we will see them from our cars but never face to face. That all changed last night! Al was delivering papers in a very large apartment complex and as she walked around a corner, there was a skunk standing in the middle of the sidewalk. EEEEKKKK! We startled each other! Al took a step back and the skunk slowly turned around and showed her its lovely raised tail and tush. Al stood still and silently pleaded with the skunk to not spray her. Luckily her prayers were answered and the skunk crept into the bushes and Al continued on with her delivery.

This interaction led to some research about skunks that we thought we would share with you:

  • Skunks can be found from the southern parts of Canada, throughout most of the United States and into the northern parts of Mexico.
  • They have great sense of smell and hearing but poor eyesight. They can only see about 10 feet in front of them.
  • They can spray a target 10 feet away (Al was definitely in the spray zone).
  • Skunks are omnivorous.

Hopefully one day we will be able to capture a photo of a skunk without being sprayed!

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Photo Friday: Mule Deer Doe & Baby

posted in: Living in the Southwest, Nature, Our Work, Photography | 1 | This post may contain referral links. See privacy policy for more.

We work at night, driving around Tucson, delivering newspapers and this affords us the chance to see various types of wildlife that we never get the chance to see during the day. Growing up, we would see street signs on our nearby streets that warned of deer as seen below.

We always laughed, “There aren’t any deer around here!!!” We soon discovered after starting our delivery job, they do exist around here. We see both bucks and does, but we usually se them alone, never in pairs or groups. They also move very fast so we have never been able to take a photo of them. That is until last night! We spotted a Mule Deer doe and her baby. They stood still long enough for us to take this awesome photo. The baby didn’t want to turn around for us but it was super cute!


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Wordless Wednesday #26 | Gulf fritillary on lantana flowers

Wordless Wednesday #26 | Gulf fritillary on lantana flowers

posted in: Living in the Southwest, Nature, Our Work, Photography, Wordless Wednesday | 0 | This post may contain referral links. See privacy policy for more.

gulf fritillary on lantana flowers arizona
If you enjoy this photograph, you can purchase a print of it through our Zazzle store, where you can order prints of our other photographs as well. A card version and postcard version of the this photograph are also available. Happy Wednesday!

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Wordless Wednesday #25 | Vermilion Flycatcher

Wordless Wednesday #25 | Vermilion Flycatcher

posted in: Living in the Southwest, Nature, Our Work, Photography, Wordless Wednesday | 3 | This post may contain referral links. See privacy policy for more.

Vermilion Flycatcher are members of the tyrant flycatcher family which is the largest family of birds with over 400 species. Vermilion Flycatchers are unique to the family because most are a drab brown color and these guys are bring red/pink. However this coloring only occurs in males while females are brown; this phenomenon is called sexual dimorphism.
vermilion flycatcher
If you enjoy this photograph, you can purchase a print of it through our Zazzle store, where you can order prints of our other photographs as well. A card version and postcard version of the this photograph are also available. Happy Wednesday!

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Wordless Wednesday #24 | Giant Swallowtail on a Desert Bird of Paradise

Wordless Wednesday #24 | Giant Swallowtail on a Desert Bird of Paradise

posted in: Living in the Southwest, Nature, Our Work, Photography, Wordless Wednesday | 0 | This post may contain referral links. See privacy policy for more.

We love butterflies. Lucky for us, there are 250 species of butterfly in the Sonoran Desert. Giant Swallowtails are an interesting species because of their unique flight pattern; they appear to be hopping through the air. We caught this one while on a mid-afternoon stroll, having a snack on a Desert Bird of Paradise.

giant swallowtail on a desert bird of paradise
If you enjoy this photograph, you can purchase a print of it through our Zazzle store, where you can order prints of our other photographs as well. A card version and postcard version of the this photograph are also available. Happy Wednesday!

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Wordless Wednesday #23 | Female House Sparrow in a Saguaro

Wordless Wednesday #23 | Female House Sparrow in a Saguaro

posted in: Living in the Southwest, Nature, Our Work, Photography, Wordless Wednesday | 0 | This post may contain referral links. See privacy policy for more.

This week’s Wordless Wednesday photograph is of a Female House Sparrow nesting in a Saguaro. House Sparrows are usually very flighty and don’t stay still long enough for us to take great pictures of so this was a pleasant surprise.

Sparrow in a Saguaro

If you enjoy this photograph, you can purchase a print of it through our Zazzle store, where you can order prints of our other photographs as well. A card version and postcard version of the this photograph are also available. Happy Wednesday!

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Wordless Wednesday #22 | Juvenile Roadrunner

Wordless Wednesday #22 | Juvenile Roadrunner

posted in: Living in the Southwest, Nature, Our Work, Photography, Wordless Wednesday | 2 | This post may contain referral links. See privacy policy for more.

Today’s Wordless Wednesday photograph is a juvenile Greater Roadrunner. We normally only see large, adult roadrunners in our area, so this was a first for us.

Roadrunners are members of the cuckoo family and can be seen as far west as California and as far east as Louisiana. You can read more about them and hear their castanet-like rattle and other unique calls at Allaboutbirds.org.
Wordless Wednesday Juvenile Roadrunner

If you enjoy this photograph, you can purchase a print of it through our Zazzle store, where you can order prints of our other photographs as well. A card version and postcard version of the Juvenile Roadrunner are also available. Happy Wednesday!

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Wordless Wednesday #20 | Flowers of Madera Canyon

Wordless Wednesday #20 | Flowers of Madera Canyon

posted in: Living in the Southwest, Nature, Our Work, Photography, Wordless Wednesday | 0 | This post may contain referral links. See privacy policy for more.

Last week, we shared photos from our trip to Madera Canyon. We had a few more that didn’t make that post. Wordless Wednesday seemed like the perfect day to share them with you! We were able to identify these flowers from a bit of research…

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Bigelow’s Beggarticks

Bidens bigelovii

We found the first two on wildflower.org, the website of the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center in Austin.

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Prairie Verbena or Dakota Vervain 

Glandularia bipinnatifida

This last one was a bit more difficult because it looks like many other yellow wildflowers in Arizona. In the end, we found it the swbiodiversity.org SEINet catalog of Arizona flora.

woof-trekking-at-madera-canyon-9

Lacy Tansyaster

Xanthisma spinulosum

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Woof Trekking Dispatch #12: Madera Canyon, Santa Rita Mountains, September 2016

Woof Trekking Dispatch #12: Madera Canyon, Santa Rita Mountains, September 2016

posted in: Dispatches, Living in the Southwest, Nature, On the Road, Woof Trekking | 2 | This post may contain referral links. See privacy policy for more.

A couple weeks ago, we decided to go on a spontaneous Woof Trek. We hadn’t gone Woof Trekking for several months and everyone was ready to hit the road. We hopped in the car and traveled across the valley to Madera Canyon.
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Madera Canyon is about 30 miles south of Tucson and is located in the Santa Rita Mountains. The Canyon is part of the US Forest Service. When some people think of the desert southwest, they think that it is just a flat desert, however that is not the case. Madera Canyon is a perfect example of this.
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Tucson itself is surrounded by four different mountain ranges, with the Santa Rita’s being the one to the South. Madera Canyon is big birding location as it is a stopping point during migrations north and south. We missed the migration this year, but will be returning in the future to see some of the unique birds. We packed a picnic lunch and drove up to the highest paved area, called the Mt. Wrightson Picnic Area and Trailheads.
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The elevation at this point was 5400 feet and it was slightly cooler than the valley but not by much. Izzy and Nana were itching to go explore the Canyon, but had to wait for us to eat lunch first.
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We brought a little battery operated fan because Izzy runs warm temperature-wise due to all her fur. We needed a bigger fan – like one of those on the sidelines at football games. But she stayed hydrated and that’s most important.
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After lunch, we set out on a couple of the trails. There are an abundance of trails in Madera Canyon, but we are amateur hikers so we didn’t go too far. Our first little hike was at Madera Canyon Picnic Area. We walked over to see the creek that runs down the canyon.
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Nana wasn’t a big fan of the running water, but Izzy was fearless.
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She hopped up onto a giant boulder and smiled.
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We drove up around the camping area and saw a couple of plants we don’t normally see in Tucson. We saw an agave with these crazy looking seed pods growing out of the center. It was unlike any agave we had ever seen.
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We also saw these pretty bottlebrush flowers.
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Our final stop was the Proctor area, near the entrance/exit to the Canyon. At this stop, we hiked around a paved loop that was about 2 miles long.
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When we were eating our lunch earlier in the day, we saw some blue colored berries on the ground and we didn’t know what kind of tree they were from. On this trail, we found a sign that said that the area has a lot of Alligator Juniper trees, thus solving the mystery of the berries. If you look at the bark, you can totally see why they named them Alligator Junipers.
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Another interesting feature of this trail were these boxes on posts. They are houses for bats! We knew that Arizona had a lot of bat residents but from informational boards on the trail, we learned that of the 45 bat varieties that live in the Unites States and Canada, 28 can be found in Arizona. Wow!
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As we walked further on, we found a wooden bridge that crossed the river.
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Sun’s out, tongue’s out.
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Overall, Madera Canyon was great fun! We will definitely be back!

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Review: The True Meaning of Smekday

Review: The True Meaning of Smekday

posted in: Book Reviews, Our Work, Writing | 0 | This post may contain referral links. See privacy policy for more.

A couple of years ago, we attended the Tucson Festival of Books and we attended a panel where Adam Rex was a speaker. The panel was called “i-Illustrate: Art, Technology and Picture Books” in which panelists discussed utilizing Photoshop and other technologies, like SketchUp, to assist in the creation of illustrations.

Panelists included Adam Rex, Chris Gall, and David Diaz.
The panelists gathered around a painting David Diaz created on the spot. Adam Rex is on the far right.

Adam Rex is a writer and illustrator of children’s books. He also is a University of Arizona alum and according to Wikipedia, a resident of Tucson. He has a long list of books to his name, 51 according to Goodreads. While perusing the shelves at the local library, I stumbled upon his first book.


The True Meaning of Smekday is about a girl named Gratuity “Tip” Tucci who lives in an urban city similar to New York City. The earth is being invaded by aliens called Boov, who are forcing all residents of the United States to move to Florida and then to Arizona. On her way there, she meets a Boov named J.Lo and discovers that he is quite friendly.

We follow along with Tip and J.Lo and their adventures cross country to find Tip’s mother. Along the way, we find out that J.Lo accidently tipped off another species of aliens, the Gorg, and now they too want to take over Earth. The unlikely pair work to save the world from both the Boov and the Gorg. This book was particularly enjoyable for me to read because it featured our home state of Arizona.

In 2015, The True Meaning of Smekday was adapted into an animated movie, Home. Rihanna provided the voice for Tip and Jim Parsons as “Oh”, the movie version of J.Lo.

If you enjoy quirky, off-the-wall funny books, you will definitely enjoy The True Meaning of Smekday!

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Wordless Wednesday #14 | Gila Woodpecker and Cactus

Wordless Wednesday #14 | Gila Woodpecker and Cactus

posted in: Living in the Southwest, Nature, Photography, Wordless Wednesday | 0 | This post may contain referral links. See privacy policy for more.

Gila Woodpecker and Cactus

A Gila Woodpecker takes a break from his cactus fruit snack to see who is taking his photo.


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Woof Trekking in Willcox: Apple Picking and Cowboy Crooning

Woof Trekking in Willcox: Apple Picking and Cowboy Crooning

posted in: Dispatches, On the Road, Woof Trekking | 0 | This post may contain referral links. See privacy policy for more.

The official start to fall isn’t until next month, but with local schools back in session, it’s easy to get lost in a bit of autumnal enthusiasm. In this spirit, we share today’s post.

Apple Annies in Willcox Arizona

Apple Annie’s is our favorite Pick-Your-Own Produce spot in Southern Arizona. It is located near Willcox, a small city with three main attractions. The first is Wings Over Willcox, a birding/nature festival in January focused primarily on the annual Sandhill Cranes migration stop in Willcox. The second is Rex Allen, who we’ll discuss more in a minute. The third is Apple Annie’s.

 
We have visited Apple Annie’s twice, once in 2010 without the dogs and again in 2012 with the dogs, once we discovered pets are allowed in the orchards.

Apple Annies in Willcox Arizona

Their orchards feature many varieties of apples, pears, and peaches, all available for purchase by the pound.

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Izzy and Nana quite enjoyed roaming through the rows of fruit trees, sniffing everything they could. They didn’t attempt to eat anything, although they do enjoy a bit of sliced apple as a snack at home. Apple seeds contain cyanide and consumed in large quantities can be dangerous for dogs.

Apple Annies in Willcox Arizona


Pets are not allowed in the produce and pumpkin section of Apple Annie’s. Luckily, we had already visited that area in 2010.

Apple Annies in Willcox Arizona

They had a huge field of sunflowers, pumpkins and squash galore, as well as plenty of row crops like green beans, tomatoes, and chili peppers.

Apple Annies in Willcox Arizona

With our bags full of produce, we headed back toward Willcox. Our next stop was a visit with the city’s favorite son: Rex Allen. The actor, singer, songwriter and narrator was a contemporary of Roy Rogers and Gene Autry and has his own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Apple Annies in Willcox Arizona

Rex Allen is celebrated in Willcox every fall during Rex Allen Days. This year is 65th Annual Event and will be held September 29th – October 2nd.

Apple Annies in Willcox Arizona

Across the street is the Rex Allen Museum. Our grandparents were huge fans of the old westerns and would have loved to have visited. If you love cowboy movies, then you will probably enjoy it. See Trip Advisor for tips before you go.

Rex Allen Museum

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Woof Trekking in Willcox Arizona

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Valley Fever and Dogs: Facing the Desert-Dwelling Fungus Among Us

Valley Fever and Dogs: Facing the Desert-Dwelling Fungus Among Us

posted in: At Home, Woof Trekking | 0 | This post may contain referral links. See privacy policy for more.

Earlier this week, we talked about the dogs’ Homemade Dog Food. Now, we want to take you way back to that fateful day in 2012 when we saw Nana in the window.

When we went in to inquire about the dog that had captured our hearts, we discovered she had Valley Fever. They assured us that this was not a difficult condition to treat.

You Can't Tell Nana has Valley Fever by Looking at Her
You can’t tell Nana has Valley Fever by looking at her.

But we already knew that since our first dog, Mya, a retired racing greyhound had the same condition. Furthermore, at least two other dogs in our neighborhood also have Valley Fever.

According to Mayo Clinic, “Valley Fever is a fungal infection caused by coccidioides (kok-sid-e-OY-deze) organisms.” Valley Fever is fairly common in Arizona with 65% of all US cases occurring in our state, as reported by the CDC.

Spring at the Arizona Sonoran Desert Museum
Spring at the Arizona Sonoran Desert Museum. Prime turf for the fungus that causes Valley Fever.

There is currently a vaccine in development at our alma mater, the University of Arizona, that could help prevent dogs from ever contracting Valley Fever in the first place.

The prognosis for Valley Fever in dogs can vary. Some may only need to take medication for a year, while others may be on it for life. Nana falls into the latter category.

***Consult with your veterinarian before making any changes to your dog’s healthcare. This article is about our experience and is for informational purposes only.***

The treatment for Valley Fever is the antifungal medication Fluconazole. Nana has been on this medication for all four years of her life with us. It currently costs about $45 at our local compounding pharmacy. We gladly pay it because we love her so much!

However, fluconazole can cause some complications with the liver. Consequently, she takes the following additional supplements.


S Adenosyl 225 (SAMe) for MEDIUM / LARGE DOGS 225 mg


Grifron Maitake D-Fraction Professional Liquid, 2 Ounce


Nature’s Way Reishi Capsules, 100-Count

Our vet practices both conventional and holistic medicine, consequently he is 100% onboard with the use of mushrooms as supplements. He also gives Nana chiropractic and acupressure treatments every couple months for her lower back. We will blog about our experience with that later this month.

Nana’s blood work showed a vast improvement and total demeanor since we started her on the mushrooms, a healthier diet, and chiropractic treatments. We are so grateful to have our girl back, especially since we thought we might lose her last year. She is such a blessing and so is our veterinarian! If you are unsatisfied with your current veterinarian, don’t be afraid to change – it might just save your pet’s life!

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