Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Life with Nature

PUBLIC INFORMATION STATEMENT
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE FLAGSTAFF AZ
915 AM MST TUE FEB 7 2006

...RECORD DRY CONDITIONS CONTINUE OVER NORTHERN ARIZONA...

FOR THE PERIOD OF SEPTEMBER 1ST 2005 THROUGH FEBRUARY 6TH 2006... FLAGSTAFF HAS RECEIVED ONLY 2.49 INCHES OF PRECIPITATION (INCLUDING MELTED SNOW). THIS NOW SURPASSES THE PREVIOUS DRIEST AMOUNT WHICH WAS SET IN THE 1950-1951 SEASON. THE 2005-2006 PERIOD NOW REPRESENTS THE LEAST AMOUNT OF PRECIPITATION EVER RECORDED FOR THAT PERIOD IN THE HISTORICAL RECORDS WHICH BEGAN IN 1898. ... THE NORMAL SEASONAL SNOWFALL FOR THIS PERIOD SHOULD BE 56.0 INCHES. ... WINSLOW HAS ONLY RECEIVED 17% (0.62") OF THEIR NORMAL PRECIPITATION FOR THE SEPT 1ST THROUGH FEB 6TH PERIOD.

I live northeast of Flagstaff and my weather is more similar to that of Winslow than Flagstaff. We haven’t received one inch of precipitation at our house.

Two weeks ago I was getting a load of water and was watching hundreds of small blue birds checking frozen puddles. They were waiting for the ice to melt in puddles created from spilled water. Two robins were among the blue birds. There was a woman getting water who appeared to be in her seventies. I asked if she knew the name of the blue birds and she said she did not. She commented that this was the first time she had seen this species of bird and she had never seen robins in the area in January.

I’m noticing what I interpret to be signs of increasing stress among plants and animals. When we first moved to the land, Julie and I purchased a small tub to provide water for animals. At the time, our intention was to attract wildlife to be able to watch and photograph them. Now, my intention is to provide some water to alleviate stress during the drought.

When our septic system was installed, the backhoe uprooted but didn’t harm a prickly pear cactus. I moved it to a safe position and left it lying on top of the ground for about two or three months. I planted the cactus near our house and it did well and bloomed last summer. Recently, I noticed something had been feeding on it but the damage was not serious. Last Saturday I saw the culprit – a small chipmunk. I didn’t do anything to protect the cactus because I figured the small animal needed food and moisture. A few days later I arrived home and the cactus was gone – including the roots.

Recently, I have been seeing more antelope near the house. Interestingly, antelope will drink if water is available but can get their water from food. For so large an animal, that’s amazing to me.

Times are hard and will get more difficult. This will probably be a summer of numerous large forest and wild fires.

On a brighter side, Julie ordered a new bird feeder recently. The feeder fits into a window by our kitchen table and extends into the room. On the weekends, it’s quite enjoyable to have breakfast while watching birds only two feet away on the other side of the one-way glass. Also, the small bird that is obsessed with her reflection is hilarious.

Life with nature is wonderful!

7 Comments:

Blogger Buffalo said...

We can only hope it is a cycle, not a change.

2/08/2006 10:47:00 AM  
Blogger Gaye said...

I love to watch birds around feeders; especially bluebirds...

2/08/2006 10:55:00 AM  
Blogger anonymous julie said...

Very different from the weather I know here in the Midwest, and thus really interesting to read and to imagine experiencing. Thanks!

2/08/2006 02:51:00 PM  
Blogger The Michael said...

I just heard on the news that roughly half of the Evangelical Christian denominations are siding with the rest of us on the issue of global warming, as, DUH, you would expect people who claimed to have "Christian" values to do. Of course, the other half, including the Southern Baptists, are still in denial, which is no big surprise to me, which would infer by association that their favorite president isn't sitting at the right hand of God. Their belief in and interpretation of 'the second coming", which lets them off the hook because God is going to clean it all up anyway, is going to kill us all.

Alaska is experiencing the same problems, only worse. The permafrost is melting, heaving up the earth all over the place, species are migrating North, and the animals used to colder climes are under extreme stress. I hope your location isn't seeing a permanent change in climate.......even a desert can die.

2/08/2006 06:22:00 PM  
Blogger Anvilcloud said...

Wow! the desert is just that. We once had a little feeder that attached to the window. I wonder (as opposed to I_Wonder) what happened to it?

2/09/2006 09:28:00 AM  
Blogger still waters said...

I didn't know that about antelope. You're right, that's pretty amazing that such a large animal can survive on the moisture content of its food.

2/09/2006 10:19:00 AM  
Blogger Norene said...

it sounds wonderful where you live. antelope and birds at the feeder. the animals are lucky to have you there looking out for them.

2/10/2006 01:41:00 AM  

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