Saturday, July 10, 2010

Tis' the Season - Flora & Fauna moment

It's hotter than blazes this summer and the only creatures that are active outside in the SW are the Round Tail Ground Squirrels. They provide endless fascination for our kitties because they come close to the windows to sit and eat in the shade. Obviously they are smart enough to know the cats cannot get them.
This guy is eating a mesquite pod--oh the joy! Did you know that Mesquite pods have served as critical food for indigenous people. The pod has a thin skin, within which lies a mealy pulp (containing the seeds), which is quite sweet (about 20% sugars). The seeds are about 35% protein -- a very high proportion, making it a high-quality food. This is where mesquite flour comes from. We tried using the shells for papermaking but it is really difficult to separate the woody shell from the seeds.
Okay, that's the end of my Marlon Perkins moment but there will be more. I forgot to photograph the small snake we found in our air return closet or the coyote that I had to chase out of they yard. It goes part and parcel with living in the desert. I keep trying photograph the 2 covey of quails that have been hanging out in our yard --one set of parents with 9 little offspring and the other set with 5 teenage offspring. (I'm sure that's why the wily coyote was in the yard!) As soon as grab my camera, the quails seem to know and they run out of the yard--even though I'm inside the house.