October Craziness….Cactus, Spiders, Stormy Weather and a Mixed-up Bird

October Craziness

From the title of this post, you might surmise that I am somewhat distracted because I have a lot on my mind.  Well, I am quite busy at the moment getting ready for our upcoming trip along the east coast, which is why I am a bit behind on posting….

I do love this month and it’s cooler temperatures, pumpkins and the beginnings of holiday decorations.  In fact, the other day I was on my way home for a consultation for a friend of mine when I drove by the ‘cactus house’ in our neighborhood.  I call it the ‘cactus house’ because they have a lot of cactus in their front garden.  Now don’t get me wrong, I do like cactus, but not as the main plant type in a garden.

Okay back to what I saw in the front garden of the ‘cactus house’.  In the center of the garden there is a beautiful Organ Pipe cactus.  Well, the cactus is not what caught my attention….it’s what was crawling on it…..

holiday decorations

Holiday Decorations

Can you see it?

holiday decorations

Yes….that is a scary spider crawling up the cactus.  Believe it or not, cacti are often used for holiday decorating.  Wait until you see what people do for Christmas here in the desert.

My second topic has to do with the weather….

Last week, we had a huge storm blow through.  We are used to strong storms during the summer monsoon months, but generally not in the beginning of October.  There were tornadoes in the northern part of our state while people in our area received a lot of rain and hail.

holiday decorations

I always have trouble capturing rain with my camera.  But the rain and wind was impressive.  We had about 2″ total that day, with four different thunderstorms hitting us.

Okay, now for my last topic…..

Like many of you, I have a hummingbird feeder that hangs outside of my window.  My kids gave it to me for Mother’s Day.  I love seeing these tiny birds fly up and take a sip and then leave again.

Whenever I am in the kitchen, I am usually on the lookout for any activity outside of my kitchen window.  Well, the other day I saw movement and my hummingbird feeder was moving and turning.  I was sure I had a little visitor and so I grabbed my camera….

holiday decorations

I couldn’t see my visitor clearly, and so I waited for the feeder to turn my way….

hummingbird feeder

At this point, I began to see more of my visitor…..

hummingbird feeder

 Well, she is definitely not a hummingbird.  This little sparrow was absolutely determined to get some nectar out of my feeder.

hummingbird feeder

Despite her efforts, she was not able to figure out how to get any food out of those tiny holes.

hummingbird feeder

I should probably fill my regular bird feeder with birdseed 😉

A Few of my Favorite Things……Hummingbirds

Noelle Johnson, aka, 'AZ Plant Lady' is a author, horticulturist, and landscape consultant who helps people learn how to create, grow, and maintain beautiful desert gardens that thrive in a hot, dry climate. She does this through her consulting services, her online class Desert Gardening 101, and her monthly membership club, Through the Garden Gate. As she likes to tell desert-dwellers, "Gardening in the desert isn't hard, but it is different."
15 replies
  1. Floridagirl
    Floridagirl says:

    Hehe, your post reads like one of mine…all over the place. My mind is always in a flurry. Anyway, love that view from your kitchen window! I saw that very giant spider on a house in town a couple days ago! I have to say it startled me at first glance. And right across the street, a huge stand of night-blooming cactus was strung heavily with spiderwebs and smaller spiders. I couldn't help but thing how awful it would be to remove that stuff. I could still see the bright-colored fruits through the web. Love your bougainvillea, by the way, and congratulations on the rain!

  2. Darla
    Darla says:

    I am curious to see the cacti in your area decorated for Christmas now. I can see the rain and the weight of it on your crape tree. Funny little Sparrow.

  3. One
    One says:

    Hi Noelle, Despite the storm, I still see a lot of beautiful flowers in your garden. Could the sparrow be looking for a bug at the bird feeder?

  4. rohrerbot
    rohrerbot says:

    Love your post and I love what the neighbor's did with their Halloween decs!! That is so much fun….and for Christmas, they put all kinds of pretty decs on the tips…I'll snap pics. It's really a lot of fun.
    The rain storm was incredible and we were very lucky to have it…I feel bad for the people who lost their homes up in Flagstaff. Storms are great until someone gets hurt. Don't stress about your trip….:)

  5. Elephant's Eye
    Elephant's Eye says:

    That spider almost made me yell out loud. I can deal with life sized ones, but not that. Wonder what their visitors do??

    Our feeder for the sunbirds is a homemade one. So far the sugar-water has gone to bees. Sparrows (yes!) And weavers. Glug glug and off they fly. The sunbirds it was FOR, prefer real nectar from the flowers.

  6. Rose
    Rose says:

    The spider on the cactus made me smile, and I'm sure it's made a lot of passersby smile as well:) This reminds me of the first time I visited my daughter in December–seeing Christmas lights on cacti was certainly a new experience for me.

    That is quite a storm you had!

  7. Andrea
    Andrea says:

    Happy trip to the east coast Noelle. Will all the children be with you? I also like to post things like that, everything which i see coming my way. But certainly that is so near the heart and so very sincere. We have very strong typhoons too, those that make landslides and kill lives, and those which bring lots of floods rendering people homeless. I hope they dont come that strong this year as they wreck havoc last year. God bless.

  8. Carol
    Carol says:

    Coming to the East Coast? That spider is creepy and what a hoot about the sparrow… guess he or she was thinking … NOT Fair! Seems they have a sweet tooth too. ;>)

  9. Pam's English Garden
    Pam's English Garden says:

    Hi, Noelle, That spider makes me shudder … I really don't think it is funny. I expect I will like the Christmas decorations more. Your weather has been unusual lately, but your garden still looks great. Have a safe and happy trip! Pam x

  10. David, Melanie and family
    David, Melanie and family says:

    I love the spider, but I'd hope noone turned the corner and got the view without a warning. Yipes!

    Re: the non-hummingbird. I found a lizard on my hummingbird feeder the other day. It found a way to climb a slippery pole! Great post. 🙂

  11. Grace Peterson
    Grace Peterson says:

    Hi Noelle, I have never seen a sparrow at a hummingbird feeder. Cute little gal. … Two inches of rain? Wow. The weather has been doing strange things up here too. I'm sure glad we don't have spiders as big as yours, LOL.

    BTW, I haven't forgotten the oxalis. It will be in the mail this coming week I'm pretty sure. I'll let you know.

  12. Becca
    Becca says:

    Hi Noelle, I love your rain shot! I sure wish some of that would head to Vegas. There are dark clouds near the mountains, but most of the time nothing ever happens!

  13. Candy "Sweetstuff"
    Candy "Sweetstuff" says:


    Hey I like Cactus being the center of attention in a garden! But that's just me. LOL I would love to see that house and love the spider. Great idea! And I have a hummingbird also but have never had a sparrow try to drink out of it. So funny. Your pics are great!

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