by Rain Trueax
are many ways to live in the desert. You can be in a walled community, a
condo, a mansion on a ridge, or in a small development on one of
Tucson's many ridges.
a ridge is where we found our dream, second home over twenty years ago.
I wanted desert around the house and a feel of an adobe (though it's
slump block). I wanted the denizens who live here to feel it was as it
always had been for them to come through-- and it is.
having an acre and a third, we have been able to leave the kind of
vegetation seen in open desert. Some, who live in the Santa Cruz River
valley bulldoze off the natural growth and build walls. I suspect some
of that is fear of rattlesnakes-- not an unreasonable concern in the
desert. I'd rather live with the rattlesnakes than have to keep out all
the others. That snake below, swimming in the little desert pond that
came with the property, is not a rattler. Most snakes here are not.
their safety, we do keep a small fenced yard for our cats to be out
when they wish but still protected from the predators (coyotes,
javelina, raccoons, and bobcats are most prevalent), who might find
plump cats a tasty meal. By law, we also have to fence the swimming pool
but the cats don't get access to that either for their safety-- unless
we are out there.
When we first bought this house, I had no idea that javelina could be predators as I thought
of them as more scavengers. We adopted a desert cat when we first
arrived. He had no owners and showed up needing food and care. Every
time he saw the javelina through the glass doors, he'd growl. I thought
that strange but knew they could rip up a person's leg. Once a herd of
them killed our neighbor's dog, I better understood our cat's reaction.
He'd often be on our roof-- definitely a safe place for a fluffy black
cat as no hawk nearby could threaten him based on his size.
love of the desert has found its way into many of my books from
historical to paranormal. I have always regarded nature as a character
in my stories. This is especially true where it come to the Sonoran
Desert. By living with those who also live here, I don't write them as
Bambis but let them be what they are-- part of nature and life for
those who watch (well, except for those who can talk in the
denizens who never leave here, who come through or call this place
home, they know this land better than I ever will. they do not claim it
because it's not what they do. They just own it by nature. They are born
here and likely will die here. They know where the food is and for what
to watch out. Once in a while, I am fortunate enough to cross their
When we spend time watching, we get to see baby birds, like these quail, grow up.
the photos were taken on our desert home, which we call Casa Espiritu.
The black and white one was taken with the wildlife cam as javelina are
jittery around humans during daylight. They can be legally hunted in
Arizona, and I am told they are good to eat, but I would not know.
This will be my last post at Sweethearts. Currently, my writing has gone to contemporary and paranormal, which means I am not doing enough historic research to feel a good fit here. Love the group and will definitely keep reading it regularly. :)