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Harsh, Beautiful Desert Life

Posted in Family, and Homesteading

Clouds over the desert mountains

Life in the desert can be beautiful, but it’s also steeped in danger. The harsh elements just dare you to get careless. Beauty and tranquility can change to danger and death in an instant.

On a day-to-day basis, we enjoy the beauty of the desert. Gorgeous sunrises and breath-taking sunsets. Clear night skies filled with stars. Blooming plant life after a storm. Amazing views that stretch for miles. Interesting rock formations. Entertaining wildlife. We have so much to do from hiking to climbing to riding to exploring.

While we enjoy mild temperatures for a good portion of the year, the summer brings scorching, dry temps. On the rare occasion where we do get rain, it usually means some flash flooding. Summer also means wildfire season, and it’s been a crazy season here thus far. Wildfires mean animals are displaced from their normal habitats as they flee from the raging inferno.

Coyote

As the new animals are introduced to the established habitats, the natural balance is thrown off until a new equilibrium can be found. This can lead to some chaos as the new feeding order is established – especially if a large predator is introduced to the area.

We’re experiencing this right now. There is a new large predator in the area. The coyotes are running scared, so their normal patterns have been thrown off. The huge flocks of ravens refuse to sleep near the ground as they have taken to the trees at night. Dogs in the neighborhood are on edge. The horses are uneasy at night. Strange sounds can be heard as the darkness of night descends on us.

This morning, the horses were acting odd and refused to eat. When I saw why, it was a little disturbing. The ravens had dropped the lower portion of a coyote’s leg with the paw still attached into one of the feed buckets. Yikes! The yelp that had been heard by our neighbor was indeed a coyote being taken down. The ravens, being keen scavengers who enjoy bringing us “presents”, decided to drop the coyote leg in the feed bucket.

At this point, we’re not sure what predator is out there, but we’re certainly taking precautions with the smaller animals and with ourselves – especially at dusk, dawn, and in the darkness of night. There is an uneasiness that comes with not knowing what large predator might be out there. The most likely candidate is a mountain lion, but since no one has clearly seen the animal and no clear prints have been seen, we will continue to be in the dark on the mysterious animal.

Horses enjoying a cloudy, foggy day

Life in the desert means enjoying all the beauty and mystery of the environment while respecting the dangers of the area.

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