No, this is not some alien creature Kitty happened to catch on camera. It is Paul demonstrating to her a "game" he used to play with his children when they were very young. Paul had collected the used toilet paper cardboard rolls for when Micky's young children were visiting. Unfortunately, they were less rigid than in "the old days" and Paul couldn't let go of the ones at his eyes otherwise they would fall out of place - or maybe his cheeks are now less pudgy ;>) He regretted that he didn't remember to show this to Ofek and Shoshan Snir when they were visiting in February, though the latter may have cried at the sight rather than laughed as Kitty did while taking the picture - and does every time she looks at it. And to believe that there are some people who don't think Paul has a humorous bone in his body ;>)
Paul and Kitty enjoyed breakfast on their front walk in central Arizona until the weather got to be quite warm in the sun by late morning near the end of March. This day - March 17 - the Bishop's Hat succulent was blooming again in the foreground while Paul starts his breakfast - it bloomed some 5 times between February and early April. It was also a good time to take a "portrait" of the two of us - so Kitty set the timer and got in the shot too. And hats, usually in place, were put on the ground for the shot - and right back again immediately afterwards.
This series of shots (the first is the full view of the first close-up) was taken over 6 minutes from the front window of a spot just on the house-side of the driveway about 20 feet in front of where Paul and Kitty are sitting in the above photo. It was actually done in mid-February, but Kitty had no other reasonable place to put them, so they are here. These ground squirrels are fascinating little critters to watch but unfortunately some of them make pesks of themselves by periodically chewing at the drip water irrigation lines in various spots on our property. For now we just replace the chewed tubing and leave them alone to entertain us. These two did not show any animosity towards each other which is often seen in mid-summer. A burrow for one or both is just behind the rock near them.
Find the lizard in this picture from Kitty and Paul's living room window before looking at the next picture.
This spiny lizard, particularly regal looking with his relaxed "all-knowing" bearing, resembles in size the one Kitty named "Iggy" 2 years ago when first observed. (See previous photos in Spring 2003) We saw a similar looking lizard last summer and wondered the same thing, especially after what we thought (and Kitty described) was his likely demise in July 2003. This one however, has more the behavior of the original Iggy - somewhat aloof from mere humans. We'll be looking for him regularly now.
There are very few flowering plants in this immediate location (some on the other side of the wall out of view off to the right), but the hummingbird on the lowest limb in the center of the photo busied him(her?)self around our office window for almost an hour one afternoon. After hovering several times right in front of the window, and appearing to look right at us on the other side, he (she?) perched on the tree limb for almost 5 minutes, periodically looking our way. Then he few off only to return about 20 minutes later.
Kitty was prepared with the camera when the hummingbird reappeared and was able to get off one semi-decent shot of this fellow again apparently trying to figure out what he is seeing.
It hasn't been our experience that ground squirrels show any curiosity about our house. However, this one did in the early afternoon the week before we left for Canada. He had made a couple forays onto the back porch and Kitty retrieved her camera from the office in time to capture this photo - we wonder what was going through his mind. He (or she) might not have been able to see inside very clearly because of the sunlight darkening film on the inside of the window, which also had been well scratched in years past by the resident pet dog, Sleepy.
We look forward to seeing how flora and fauna are doing when we make our quickie mid-summer visit - and manage some fun while doing so.