Sunday, January 12, 2020

Desert Denizens

by Rain Trueax

There 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. 

Such 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.

By 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.

For 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.

My 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 paranormals).

Those 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 paths.

When we spend time watching, we get to see baby birds, like these quail, grow up. 

All 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. :)


  1. I love your posts about the nature around you. My husband and I enjoy the critters that come through our yard. I'm amazed at how many there are. We have birds, feral cats, squirrels, possums, raccoons, rarely a skunk, and the occasional fox. There's a large hawk that comes through periodically and is in the area now. He is BIG. Someone in the neighborhood thought he was a bald eagle. He thinned our little squirrels so we wish he would go elsewhere.

  2. That is the downside to nature. Predators though also have to live. We have raccoons here too but only know it because the wildlife cam has caught them. No skunks that we've seen but we do have bobcats.

  3. Hi Rain, I loved reading your post and I enjoyed your photos. I live in west Texas and we get to see a lot of the wild animals also. We do have rattle snakes over here though. We also have skunks. We have coyotes, quail, hawks, jack rabbits, raccoons, cottontail rabbits, and we have the cutest horny toads, and lots of lizards. I love living here very close to the desert , we walk our dog every day , so we get to enjoy the desert flowers when they are blooming and the cactus's. Yep, God's little creatures live in the desert and they make it on their own. Thank you so much for posting this, I loved reading it. Best of Luck to you. God Bless you. Have a Great week.

    1. Thank you, Alicia. I'll be at Smart Girls Read Romance where I feel my posts will fit better. I love Sweethearts for all the information shared here but felt I wasn't keeping up my end where currently my books are not historical-- hence not the research for them.

      Sounds like you have a great place with nature around also. I love that. We have rattlesnakes ans one was in the pool area that our neighbor killed since at that time we were VRBOing this house. I would try to remove them if I saw one close. So far, they've all be in the back. We do worry about the cats and hence the fence to keep them in and predators out. We hope...

  4. We built a second home in Henderson, NV to be closer to our son who is an instructor at Nellis AFB. Wasn't sure how we'd like the lifestyle, but love it. The desert and the mountains that surround it are awesome.
    Sure will miss you here, Rain, but wish you luck in your other genres.

  5. I love the desert but don't know a lot about it around Las Vegas. Glad you're loving it. I just felt I didn't have the historic notes to bring here and that it's why readers come. I'll be at Smart Girls; so come on over ;).

  6. Rain, you will be missed! Best of luck with your writing. I also write contemporary and it does seem strange to switch back and forth. Wishing you much luck.

    Your home sounds lovely. I, too, love nature and do what I can to encourage it. I love when I discover a little lizard in the garden or even a ring-neck snake. I just have to remember to look before I allow my small dog out at night because she will attempt to make friends with any furry/fluffy/feathered visitor in our backyard.

  7. Thank you, E. We also watch to protect the little lizards as our cats see them as a toy. Grrr but it's the nature of cats.

    1. My daughter's Yorkie that's they are... Who knows what he thinks, but he'll chase them and toads. Fortunately they are quicker!


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