by Mary Alice Murphy

Once I get rolling in this column, it might turn into more treats.

Of late, early morning has given us the pleasure of hearing coyote choruses. I've always treasured hearing the barks, yips and howls of coyote families. Well, not always. When I was a child, and the coyotes sounded like they were right outside my bedroom window, which they may have been, it used to scare me, especially if it was dark. Now, I relish the sounds.

A thorough joy was the downpour of rain at our house. Monday afternoon brought us a third-of-an-inch of rain, which is a decent amount. Then Tuesday afternoon, when I was in town, I missed the big event. That deluge put eight-tenths of an inch of precipitation in our gauge. Wednesday, while I'm writing this missive to you, it's drizzling and has been for a while. Earlier today, it was raining hard in town.

The rainy season began quite late, and usually by now, the rain is starting to fade away, but we seem to be in the thick of it this September. I'm not complaining, as this is probably my favorite season of the year. I noticed this afternoon that W Mountain is as green as or greener than I've seen it this year. Nice!

Several more treats to go.

The rain Monday and Tuesday seems to have brought to our hummingbird feeders an onslaught of hummingbirds on their way southward. I was just whining last week to friends that we barely have any hummers visiting our feeders anymore. One neighbor, who says he has 88 places for hummers to feed, told me he is going through 10 pounds of sugar a day. That's a lot. I'm not going through that much, but I've been refilling the feeders on a daily basis, which hasn't happened in years.

Today for the first time, right after I rehung the freshly filled feeder, two females and a juvenile fed from it, just inches from me. Now, that's a treat!

I'm thinking the rain and the blooming salvia, which have been fairly dormant, except for a few leaves this summer, have brought the wee birdies to visit and eat. Most of the males seem to have departed, and it's just the females and young'uns.

NEWS FLASH: Saw a male broad-tailed this evening.

While I was washing dishes Tuesday evening, a few Gambel's quail wandered in to eat the seeds that have fallen to the ground, knocked there by other birds from the hanging seed feeder, which hangs on the portal just out the kitchen window.

First, it was four or five quail, but more kept coming in groups. At last count before something scared them and they FLEW away, instead of just scurrying away as they usually do, there were at least 15. Sometimes, it's hard to count them when they are coming and going under the feeder and back to scrounging under the piñon tree. I love quail, especially the Gambel's and Montezuma, which we see at our house or in the neighborhood once in a while. The Gambel's quail, with varied plumage, especially on the males' breasts and tummies, and their bobbing topknots, are just a treat to see.

I love the cool-down after the rains. It makes sleeping with open windows a real treat.

What treats have you experienced this season? Please email me at justcallmemam@grantcountybeat.com. I relish receiving your notes and hearing from you when I see you.

May your musings bring you beauty!

Live from Silver City

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The Grant County Beat continues to bring you new columnists. New this past week are the Christian Corner, for those who are already Christians or are exploring the beliefs.

The second is a business-centered column—Your Business Connection by the New Mexico Business Coalition. The group works to make policy in the state of New Mexico better for all businesses, large and small.

The Beat has a new column for you gardeners out there. The Grant County Extension Service will bring you monthly columns on gardening issues. The first one posted is on Winterizing your houseplants and patio plants.

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