Posted in Animals, Inspiration

Here, pretty pretty

My moments involving animals are always special to me. It’s a living being, a soul I, and every encounter is always a bonus to me.

Posted in Animals, Leisure


We’ve asked for it and it’s finally here. The seemingly never ending winter has made way to a heatwave and fire season. It is almost 100 degrees with hot air blowing into our faces. The good news for me is that it is dry air and not the humid stuff that always makes it tougher with the RA (rheumatoid arthritis).

The cold and shivering is over and already we are looking to cool off at an alpine lake swimming hole. The conditions are perfect and I’m sure I will bring the bathing along on this week’s hike and test the waters. But today it wasn’t only me who seemed to be sweating to the heat, and one of my little silverback babies (squirrel) enjoyed a little shade on the patio, legs stretched away from its body, just chillin and cooling his belly. They are getting big already and I enjoy their daily visits. Another cute thing I got to witness today was when Momma Silverback came by, grabbed the babies face with both hands and made contact which looked like a loving kiss. Awe… my heart melts and animals are the best.

Posted in Animals

New Babies

New Babies have arrived since my mourning doves have left the nest. Momma Silverback (which I named the squirrel) has introduced her babies to the backyard feeding site and they figured out quickly where the grub is being donated for daily consumption.

Further the pregnant lizard in the front yard had her babies as well and they are frequently spotted sunning themselves on top of the warm dirt in the flower bed.

Partridge babies proudly follow Dad through the yard with Mom as the taillight making sure no one is left behind.

I am still waiting for a raccoon to show up and a donkey wouldn’t be bad either 😉

Posted in Animals, Birds

Farewell, little ones

I woke up to an empty nest and my little mourning doves have left into the world. I knew it was coming, watching them spread and flap their little wings, while outgrowing their small nest. This was the last picture I got of them, just taken yesterday.

I will definitely miss them, and I already do. I couldn’t help but feel so grateful to have witnessed this precious gift of life being born almost right in front of my eyes. To watch them grow from little naked chicks into their full glory of feathers. To have received their trust, by choosing my patio as the ultimate nesting site was pretty awesome, and made me feel like their caretaker. We survived the stray cat that stalks the yard from time to time, and I learned so much about these beautiful little birds. I feel like something is missing today, and while I am so proud that we did it, that the chicks survived and are just starting their life, I also feel a bit sad and emotional. Gee what a sap I have become.

In the meantime I have a partridge family with chicks, a baby bunny, and a pregnant lizard that has moved in to distract my attention.

Posted in Animals, Birds

Lolek & Bolek

Front view of my little mourning dove chicks (Lolek & Bolek), now nearly one week old and growing fast. They are fed and watched over by both parents that take shifts, sitting in the nest to keep the little ones warm and fed. It’s a wonderful privilege to watch them so close. Does it sound weird to say that I miss them already, because soon they will leave their nest. 💙

Posted in Animals, Spirit animals

Lovey Dovey

A couple of mourning doves have entrusted their nest against the patio wall, in an empty little planter. I’ve noticed it last week as I kept seeing a shadow flying towards the house. After a little inspection I found the small nest in the planter, and soon after a dove was sitting in it. What I had seen were the shadows created during nest construction. At first I was worried as my resident squirrel, named “Silverback for his mostly gray back” comes by regularly and feeds only a few feet from the nest. So far, so good and both don’t seem to mind each other all that much.

Last Monday I had to go on the patio for a moment and as careful as I was, the dove flew off. I’ve been out several times since and the dove has trusted me enough to stay in her nest now. I took a quick peek at the nest during the first time out, and saw one small egg in the middle of it. I realized that Dovey was planning to birth her offsprings in the very nest she had built. “What an honor” I thought, glad that I wasn’t considered to be a threat and that Dovey (What I call her) was building in such close proximity to me. By Wednesday I noticed a second egg, which are now the twins (Lolek & Bolek), ha, I’m losing my mind.

Since then, I watch her every day, say good morning and goodnight, and did a fair amount of research. I learned that mourning doves mate for life and have one partner. Both built the nest in joined forces and are lousy builders. True it looks a bit like a hot mess but no doubt is it obvious that love went into building it. Every once in awhile one brings an additional little twig for added comfort and it’s so cute. Both take turns sitting on the nest for a incubation time which will take about two weeks, so around next Monday I should have baby chicks. They lay one to two eggs, and if two eggs are present, one will hatch a day earlier, which explains why not both were laid at the same time. Once hatched the parents leave the nest, leaving the chicks to themselves. I hope they can stay warm on their own with this El Niño weather we are having. Parents will return for 11-12 days to feed the chicks from a milk like fluid that builds in their throat. If the chicks haven’t left the nest by then, trying to fly, the parents simply don’t come around anymore, forcing the chicks to make an attempt when they get hungry enough, and this is exactly where my horror begins.

The nest is several feet off the ground which is good since I have a stray cat stalking the yard and my squirrel. I’ve been chasing it off, scaring it half to death in the hopes it won’t come around no more. I even use my slingshot (yep I got one) to shoot rocks against the metal shed, which believe me the sound of it just about scares the pants off of you.

But now I wonder, and I’m afraid a chick might fall out off the nest and I don’t want to find a dead one on the ground. I am so sensitive seeing dead animals and I feel their loss to the core. It’s quite a tall order to take your first flight attempt while being several feet off the ground. I imagine it to be like running off a cliff not knowing how this will end up or work. But if I put the nest on the ground, I think it makes them even more vulnerable. It says that of course the first two weeks they are the most vulnerable and need bushes to hide in. With that I am afraid if I move the nest to a bush the parents may not find it or abandon it all together thinking a predator has messed with it. Can you see my dilemma? I want to provide the best possible chances for the chicks to survive.

If you have any input, please let me know what you think I should do.

Dove spirit animal message:

Express your love to as many people as possible in words and in deeds, even in small yet significant ways. The soul of someone who has recently passed is making a smooth, peaceful and joyous transition. This is a powerful time of prophecy and clear vision, and now more than ever you’re able to glimpse the future. You’re experiencing a spiritual renewal that’s the result of a period of intense self examination and challenges. This is a good time to stay at home and enjoy your domestic side. It’s important to nurture yourself with loving care.

Posted in Animals, Inspiration

A little cuteness

Just a little cuteness to start your day with this little rascal that stole some of my Chex mix.

I truly have missed seeing all the critters such as this one over the past 10 month while being here in Germany. Believe me, there are critters here too, but they are far not as cute as this little guy, and the ones here were stinging and biting me, leaving big, itchy and often painful marks that are still visible month later. Simply incredible and it won’t be a thing I will miss.

I won’t miss the humidity either, although even there was something good to be found, and I wasn’t in need of a moisturizer at all. My skin looked good without and had a natural glow. This will change when I return to my dry desert landscape. I have to say that allergies where at a minimum too, and where I needed daily eye drops multiple times throughout the day in the states, I haven’t used any at all here. It’s pretty incredible given that it was one of the worst years for allergies.

As with everything there is always good and bad, give and take, push and pull. The trick lies is picking the things that serve us best and incorporate them I to our daily lives as best as we can.

Posted in Animals, Pets

The heart of a lion

It’s always a great honor when a fellow blogger believes in what you have to say, and asks you to do a guest post on his/her blog. It’s exactly what happened when notdonner from a asked me to do so. I was so humbled and happy, yet it has taking me eons to respond back and finally write my contribution. I could blame it on a number of things but I won’t. There simply is no excuse as to why it has taken me so long, and a huge thanks goes out to notdonner for inviting me. It means a lot, and here it finally is. I hope you enjoy this little story.

I want to talk about Nikki and the special bond that we shared. This story is about overcoming challenges and the things we can learn from each other. I’m sure these lines on here will find nothing but dog lovers, although I’m aware that somewhere else she might appear as just a dog, or a pet. But Nikki was so much more than that, she was my fur baby, and over the years she taught me a thing or two.

Her life started very rough, coming from an abused background, which took years of rehabilitation to regain her trust. Humans had done her wrong in the worst way during her short one and a half year old life. What was left were broken bones and a malnourished, scared, little soul that was nothing but skin and bones after an initial brushing.

It was no wonder that she was food aggressive in the beginning, and would inhale anything she was given. Despite of being the second to come into the family, she quickly put my same age Akita Pit mix in his place by making it known that she was the boss now. After a few weeks and a few flesh wounds, biting him, I was near the unwanted decision of having to give her up to a shelter. I knew it couldn’t continue the way it was, and my loyalty had to be with my first dog which I had raised from little on. He could have easily hurt her, but he grew up as a gentle giant and without aggression. It was as if he already knew about her painful past and therefore never bite her. He simply showed patience and endured. Even if it meant gaining painful wounds from her razor sharp fangs. He too taught me that sometimes we have to endure the storms and it’s not always wise to fight back.

I remember sitting with Nikki, holding her, and telling her that she needed to stop. As if she could understand, I talked to her as if she was a person. “I can’t keep you if you keep this up” I told her, while pleading with her. Miraculously she stopped shortly after our talk, and now took on a motherly role. The flesh wounds turned into loving licks and kisses and it was the end of all the fighting. She replaced her food aggression with daily grooming sessions that Sparky had to endure. She wouldn’t stop until he was properly groomed, and if he turned his head away from her, she simply walked around to the other side to continue her task. Much had changed from fighting for scraps, defending herself, and being on her own. She had adapted to her new role full of compassion and harmony. The transition was quite remarkable, she had found her forever home and was loved in a way to make up for all the bad she has encountered before. I’m sure she never forget, but the gratefulness in her eyes is something I will never forget.

Eventually she wasn’t afraid of the hand reaching down to pet her, and stopped ducking. It became play, and years later she turned into her true self, a compassionate, but feisty and playful little pup. It was the first time I got to see the “Shiba 500”. If you don’t know what that is, it’s when your dog all of a sudden takes off running as being chased by the devil, from one end of the house to the other, around in circles, flying and leaping through the air, with ears back, smiling like crazy, bowing their front legs with their bottoms up in the air, only to take off running again. It’s the funniest thing you will see as you take cover to get out of the way.

Nikki was heartbroken and went into extreme mourning as my other dog passed. He had become everything to her and she stopped eating and lost all joy of life. I had to intervene and it was then that Nikki took up hiking, late in life, but not too late. She eventually found purpose again and a passion for Mother Nature. She loved her time outside and we helped each other get past our loss. She was the best dog anyone could ever have and lived for nearly another two years. Looking back, I’m not sure who saved who, and our bond and relationship was very special. So special indeed that I became a lifelong fan of her breed.

What I learned from her is that sometimes you have to stand up in life and defend yourself. That sometimes you just have to be the boss and take ownership, but you can just as quick lay down the role when it no longer serves the situation. She demonstrated so beautifully what a big heart she had and that it is possible to forgive those that harm us and move on. We all get hurt along the way, and it’s par for the course. It shapes us into who we are ultimately meant to be.

Nikki reminded me that there will be moments where you have to adapt and compromise. Not necessarily because you have to fit in, but to hold on to your uniqueness while respecting others to live and let live. To love unconditionally, and to never take a day for granted. She had the heart of lion and never gave up, despite her health challenges along the way. Her frail bones ached as she struggled to adjust to her age, but her heart remained full of adventure and spirit. She was a fighter and showed me that it is possible to overcome great loss, although I never managed to get over losing her. There are days I find little consolidation knowing that I alleviated the suffering for her in the end. It’s something I constantly have to remind myself of when my heart aches because I miss her. I wish that I could hold her and see that crazy smile, running through the house again. Nikki was a special family member and I know you understand. I’m sure you also have a beautiful story to tell about your special relationship with your four legged child.

I’m sending a giant hug to you and yours tonight with a reminder to hug tight and love like no tomorrow.

Thank you so much for letting me share this story and for your time. And please don’t forget to stop by at notdonner if you haven’t already and pay a visit. ❤️ #notdonner