Among the main reasons I wanted the Red Bird of Paradise shrubs in the courtyard was to attract hummingbirds and butterflies. I am not disappointed since both species frequently browse the flowers of not only the red birds, but the sage flowers as well, when they are present. With second spring coming, the sages should also have more flowers to attract the critters.
In addition to the hummers and butterflies, this year we began noticing Sphinx Moths, sometimes called “Hummingbird Moths” browsing both the red birds and the rosemary bushes out back. Interesting little critters, they are about ⅓ the size of hummers but act quite the same.
I photographed this encounter with a very pretty black butterfly about to descend upon one of the clusters of flowers on the red bird closest to the middle of the courtyard. Click on the image to enlarge.
We had a dinner guest today, our neighbor from across the road. Since it is a holiday weekend, we thought it appropriate to grill up a few beef tenderloin steaks. In the meantime, and before the steaks went on the grill, Verna prepared her wonderful broccoli au gratin and Danish stuffed potatoes for the side dishes.
Dinner was delicious and everyone enjoyed the meal. We had a chance to visit with the neighbor and to catch up on happenings in town, since he is out and about much more than we.
The dogs, who tend to be overprotective and territorial, finally settled down after a few minutes and welcomed our visitor as a friend. They must have sensed that there might be some steak tidbits if they were good and behaved themselves.
After the sheets of rain and the strong gusty winds subside, the aftermath of the big rainfall results in the road in front of our house flowing with whitecaps. I took this video from the garage with the wind and rain still blowing a bit. I panned up to the hill on the northeast of the property where lightning was still striking in the distance. Click on the play button to see the video.
Bob and I were in the courtyard a couple of days ago trimming up some of the shrubs there. Our Cleveland Sage bushes had their usual spring flowers and by the end of July, the flowers had mostly dried up with the protruding flower stalks remaining. We also trimmed the Cimarron Sages along the driveway where they were encroaching the driving space.
I stood on the driveway and took this photo of the courtyard entrance with the gate open. It stays closed most of the time, so it is somewhat unusual to see it open. Click on the image to enlarge.
I hiked up on the hill behind the house to look at some damage caused a couple of weeks ago by a severe thunderstorm that came through the area. There were some broken limbs and two toppled palo verde trees. There were also some uprooted cholla cacti. Luckily, none of our favorite cacti were damaged. I took a photo of the lone compass cactus on the hill with its crown of flower buds, one of which is open. Click on the image to enlarge.