I feel a bit out of my depth here, I'll admit. I'm not used to being quite so clueless about my surroundings. Our community relies on irrigation for farming, and they "turn on" the water in the Spring. I've never lived in a place where water is a seasonal commodity! There's a livestock sale building not far from us, and there are cows in every direction. And goats. So many goats. People still ride horses and rope cattle here, and "Ag" (agriculture) is an abbreviation I've quickly learned. It's a different way of life than I've been used to, and I'm eager to learn more while we're here.
Spring has brought an amazing transformation to the landscape, which was almost barren when we moved in January. Barren, but in a beautiful kind of way. I associate lack of foliage with drabness, but there was still so much color, even in the dead of winter. An unfamiliar palette, as so much here is unfamiliar. Now I miss the snow-caps on the mountains and the pale, leafless branches of the trees that I can't yet name. But I also love that the hills are purple now, that they change color as the sun shifts in the sky and the clouds form shadowy patterns on their flanks. And now that the silent winter calm has been replaced with bird song, I'll gladly wait a few months for those snow-caps to return.
Our back yard is entirely dirt and gravel -- in fact, landscaping with rocks is a bit of an art form here! It makes for easy maintenance, and our community center has a nice grassy patch when I'm craving some green. We do have a lovely little tree that's big enough to provide shade, and I like to park my folding camp chair under it and knit while Scout explores the yard. We've just put in two bird feeders, both seed and nectar variety, and within a few hours there were house finches and chickadees flocking to the feast. We've had a hummingbird visit several times now, too, so my avian joy is complete. Rosa was able to pet a chickadee the other day, lucky duck. Laddie also found a bird and brought it to me, but unfortunately his was deceased... cue thorough hand washing.
We've had to look up some of the other birds we've seen. I'm still startled every time I see quail scurry across the road, their little black head feathers bobbing up and down. I spotted a kingbird the other day, though I had no idea what it was -- and couldn't even see it clearly. I just snapped a photo with the zoom lens and identified it at home.
But far and away the most striking (and noisy) birds here are the yellow-headed blackbirds. They're quite stunning to look at, and I love to spot them down among the rushes in the ditch. Goodness, they can screech, though. Apparently we live in an Audubon "important bird area," so I hope to become familiar with many other species, too.
But for now, we're here in this valley, and we plan to make ourselves at home.