I wrote MAM's musings weekly for almost 10 years. I began it with the Silver City Sun-News. When the editor who had taken on the column left the paper, I offered it to the Silver City Daily Press, and the editor, Richard Correa, grabbed it. Since early 2001, it appeared every Friday in the Daily Press, with the exception of two times that I recall. I'll update it as new sightings happen, so check regularly.

So MAM's musings has been re-created as Just Call Me MAM with a similar topic and musings about the outdors.

It comprises my observations and my opinion.

For loon lovers

I'm a fan of lots of birds, but the haunting cry of a loon, which I've heard only a few times, always has intrigued me.

Thanks to my friend, Caroline Baldwin, she had shared photos of loons and their chicks from her friend and photographer Ellie George.

Here are the latest Ellie photos of loons and their chicks.

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Prediction that monsoon ended last night

sunsetphone 090521 3509Yesterday evening’s blaze of a sunset soon after 7:30ish

Prediction —Take it with the same grain of salt you would take a weather prognosticator’s prediction. 

By Mary Alice Murphy

I predict that yesterday was the last day of the 2021 regular monsoon season in southwest New Mexico. Sure, we can still get some showers.

Why do I say that? For the next week, the greatest chance of precipitation is 8 percent one day, with most days being 0 percent to 3 percent.

More than a week out, weather forecasters are saying a 24 percent chance of rain exists and then it drops down into the single digits again. [Yes, I’m using the weather prognosticator’s predictions to base mine on, with the same grain of salt.]

The end of the monsoon went out with a bang. Lots of bangs from thunder and the lightning that caused them. Not a drop of rain where we live, but at least four or five big thunderstorms went through the area. 

And the daytime ended with a blaze of a sunset, pictured above.

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Clouds often tell stories

n.america mexico central am and south america in clouds copy

I very often "see" things in clouds. In fifth grade, we were studying the British Isles. I looked out the window and the clouds formed the British Isles. I pointed them out to the teacher and she showed them to the whole class. She was an excellent teacher and one of my all-time favorites! She let us think!

Tonight, I was outside watching the clouds change color after the sun went down behind Bear Mountain. Not in the actual sunset, but more toward the southwest sky, this image got me to take a photo. I thought immediately of what it said to me:

North America, Mexico, Central America down to the top of South America. 

The Bear, part 3

By Mary Alice Murphy

The latest in the nightly-large-critter saga took place Monday evening. I was still up and the lights inside were still on, but I heard the bear crunching on an apple. He sure makes a lot of noise when he eats.

Probably 10 or 15 minutes later, I heard an enormous crash with the distinct sound of wood breaking. I flipped on the outside lights, but they aren’t terribly bright and are pointed mostly downward, so as not to pollute our wonderful night skies. I do like to watch meteor showers and the phases of the moon.

So, other than knowing that something wooden, like branches of a tree, had broken, I didn’t fully realize the damage until daylight showed me I had a mess to clean up.

Fortunately, I got sleep that night, because either I slept through bear’s return or he was quieter than usual.

Oh, yeah, he left immediately after the crash. He didn’t stick around at all. I have no idea if he is injured and I hope not badly, but I also didn’t hear him last night, but then with not much sleep the past few nights, I was still pretty tired.

In the light of day, I realized that two large branches full of apples had completely torn away from the tree, not at all neatly. Simply a large gash of raw wood where the two split away.

I figure what he did was try to get up to the tippy top of the dying peach tree to get the last peaches that even I with a tall picker couldn’t reach. And it’s precarious up there, so I figure he fell, because the two branches that tore away were directly under the part of the peach tree with the remaining few peaches. I’ll leave them to the birds or whoever eats them off the ground.

I probably have enough for a peach crisp when I find time to make one, soon, before they get too ripe.

And yesterday, after hauling away the large branches, lots of apples were left on the ground. I picked up a few of the not yet ripe apples that weren’t bruised, and invited a friend over to get some, too.

When life hands you lemons, you make lemonade. When bears hand you unripe apples, you make applesauce and add some sugar. That’s what I did yesterday afternoon. And it’s good!

May your musings bring you beauty!

Another encounter with the large critter

By Mary Alice Murphy

Last night was another evening of bear. We heard him arrive fairly early after it had gotten dark. Our talking loudly scared him away, but he showed up again about 10:30 or so. He crunched his way through an apple or two and then left without my yelling at him/her.

But this morning, we saw the havoc he wreaked. He had moved out front. Two suet holders had disappeared. He (I’m going to presume the bear is a he.) had also opened the holder for a seed block and although he very nicely left the wire cage for it, he removed the seed block. As collateral damage, he knocked down the thistle feeder, which did not break. However, while removing the seed block holder, he managed to also knock down a hanging planter that had a geranium growing in it. He left the plant, so my husband replanted it this morning.

Then, while out on my morning walk, I saw the neighbor down from us walking his dog. He at that point hadn’t seen any sign of bear, but after arriving home, he and his wife went out to survey their yard. 

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A large critter kept me awake

By Mary Alice Murphy

Last night was an interesting, if not very sleepful night.

I was asleep, when I heard what I at first thought were large raindrops hitting the windows. I woke up and listened more closely and realized it was something chomping on apples.

It wasn't a deer, because I couldn't hear the click of hooves on the gravel in the yard around our house.

The tree was so full of apples that the branches were almost to the ground.

I flipped on the outside light. And a large blackish blob seems to be just sitting there snacking away, about 6-8 feet from the house. I tried knocking on the window, because the light didn't faze the critter. No reaction. But when I opened the back door, it got the beast's attention, and it moved slightly away from the tree.

Read more ...

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