Operation Strawberry

The crew and I have been followed.

1-P1020529 - CopyI first become  aware yesterday morning that someone is stalking us. I spot the stalker peeking into the back window of the Best Little Trailer.

I recognize him right away — the black and white checkered suit, the little red hat, his hunched shoulders, thin legs, and that pointy beak. 

Oh dear, it’s him all right I was afraid this might happen.

Quickly I lower the blind.

Darn!  He knows where we are!   I wait a few minutes.  Then slowly I lift a slat and peek out.  Whew!  No sign of him . . . for now.  How did he find us so quickly? 


A possible scenario forms in my mind . . . .

“Okay, hombres.  Listen up.  We are about to deploy Operation Strawberry.  You four have been chosen for your flying skills, your reconnaissance abilities, and for your quick-thinking under pressure.  You’ve trained well.  I expect you won’t let us down on this important mission.”

Four red berets nod in assent.

“Here’s how it’s going down.  You’re gonna’ fan out to your designated location.  Then you’ll work your way back here, scanning the desert as you go.  You’re looking for a white fiberglass trailer quite possibly with a white Chevy van, a solar panel on top, South Dakota plates.”

He gives out the assignments.

1-P1020530 - Copy“Carlos, your location is Locomotive Rock.

Benito, you go to Cow Plop Mountain.

Pancho Gila, you take Black Mountain.

And Miguel, go to the copper mine.  Any questions?”

Pancho Gila hesitantly speaks up, “Perdone, commandante, what are you going to do?”

“I’m going to wait here in case she and her two companions return.  I’ll expect you all back here by oh-two-hundred hours.  Adios, hombres, and buena suerte.”

Meanwhile, I busy myself with housework, pushing the stalker out of my mind.

121882My work done, I stretch out on the bed with my kindle.  Bridget and Spike cozy up with me.  I’m surprised by a distinct tapping.  What the heck is that?

I sit up straight and strain to listen.  The tapping becomes louder and more insistent.

It’s him!  For heaven’s sake, he’s drumming on the side of the BLT! 

I dash outside in time to see him swoop to the top of a saguaro.

1-P1020553Oh dear, I can’t have him drilling into the fiberglass.  I might as well give up.  He’s certainly not going to.

I open up the PTV and pull out the strawberry hummingbird feeder.  I go into the BLT, pour a cup of sugar and four cups of water into a saucepan.

Before long I’m hanging the feeder full of sugar water onto the palo verde behind the BLT.

If you think I made this all up, you’re wrong. 

Well, the part about the commandos, but the rest is true.  All five gila woodpeckers — and I firmly believe they are the same ones from our last campsite — are now fighting over the plastic strawberry.  There’s a total breakdown in military discipline out there.


Canine Corner:  “A Secret” by Bridget and Spike


“Hey, Bridge, wait up!  I wanna tell you somethin.'”

“What is it, Spike?”

“Can you keep a secret?”

“What kind of a question is that, Spike.  What are you trying to hide now?”

“Oh, never mind.  You’ll rat on me.  I know you.  Little Miss Ratface.”

“Let me tell you something, Spike.  You’re a sneaky boy and everybody knows it.  So you better keep your secret to yourself.  I’m going to tell RVSue.”

“Tell her what?  You don’t even know the secret.”

“If it has anything to do with an avocado, you’re in big trouble.  Like the old saying goes, Spike . . . The truth will come out somehow.  Hahahaha!”


About rvsueandcrew

Fulltime nomad
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66 Responses to Operation Strawberry

  1. Pat from KS says:

    Oops! I don’t know what key I hit, but I lost my message. Anyway, we hope weather in southern Arizona continues to be balmy and we’ll be thinking about you three as we travel. Good luck keeping yourselves safe from the rapacious woodpeckers.

    • Pat from KS says:

      My original message was that my husband and I planned a trip to visit family in Phoenix. I think there are two Pats from Kansas. We don’t have a trailer. We travel in a comfortable sedan or our truck. But you have inspired us to explore the southern part of AZ on our way to Phoenix. Two days before we planned to leave a storm is expected to hit eastern KS. They said we’d have ice too. So we moved our departure up three days and will drive south to San Antonio and then travel west on Hwy 10. We hope to see some of the nice spots you have shown in your blog.

      I hope the avocado shows up soon. I often find very unappealing things rolling around under the seats of my car and my sister-in-law found a very ripe piece of meat in hers.

  2. Mary says:

    OMG! Thank you for the laugh! I can picture it as if I am there with you! Have a great day!

  3. cinandjules (NY) says:

    Uhhhh….I guess setting up the strawberry is going to become part of setting up your camp. Ya can’t have them pecking at the BLT! Or dive bombing you and the crew until you fess it up!

    As for the missing avacado………….the experts can’t decided on if they are good or bad for your dog. Can cause an upset stomach. Hopefully he didn’t eat the seed….that may be difficult to pass due to the size. Thank god they are slippery!

    Bridget, you are so precious! Is Spike missing his soakings? Miss seeing the pictures of him lying in the water.

  4. Leander Linda says:

    Great blog today. Beautiful photos as always! Such a pleasure.

  5. Love it!!!! Had me on the edge on my seat. LOL

  6. Adorable. Thank you so much! 🙂

  7. gingerda says:

    You had me going there…well for the first couple of paragraphs. lol. Cute post
    ginger Las Vegas

  8. Hotel California says:

    “You’ll rat on me”.

    That was excellent. Quite the wordsmith. Assuming you meant it the way I understood it.

  9. mary ann (pontotoc, ms) says:

    animals are so amazing~the birds here also have their ways of letting me know they want the feeders filled. great story!

  10. DeAnne from TN says:

    Hi Sue! Melvin and Alfie were so excited that Spike and Bridget had posted in Canine Corner. Of course, they can’t quite read yet, but loved when Mom read the story to them. They are a constant source of amusement and I’m so glad I brought them home. Have I told you that I’m taking boxing fitness classes?

  11. Pat says:

    Boy am I glad you put the strawberry out!!!!! One of the scouts was over here early this morning pecking on my home.

    Thanks for saving our homes.

    Pat, across the road

  12. Sunny says:

    Hahahaha! This story made my day!

  13. We’re going to have to get a feeder for our trip to the desert. Can’t have those little woodpeckers pecking on the Little RV. Another good tip in the form of a story from Sue and the Crew! Thanks Sue!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      I’ve learned that once you start putting out sugar water, you’re committed! I’m going to have to leave the desert to get away from these sugar-water-suckers!!

  14. Evan says:

    I can’t stop laughing 🙂 You blog is the best.
    Evan at base camp in Nevada.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi Evan,

      Oh how I want that Sirius XM radio! Can’t get one delivered here.

      I hope you and Wanda are well and happy. Nice to know you read and enjoy my blog.

  15. Mark Greene says:

    Reminds me of the time we watched a bird peck at a water container left on a table at a camp site until it put a hole in it. It then proceeded to drink the water. How did it Know there was water in that jug?

    Salina ks

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      These woodpeckers get impatient trying to stick their beaks in the little yellow flowers on the feeder. I see them drilling in the side of the red plastic sunflower. It’s out of control . . .

  16. Timber n' me says:

    Hi Sue..you can buy a Exm/Sireus satelite radio at Wal-mart, the higher priced one is the best…LOL on those birds and what Cindy n’ Jules said about slippery pits.,,, still lol,lol

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi Rusty . . . No Wal-Mart around here… I’ll get my radio soon.

      • DeAnne from TN says:

        Why can’t you just order one from Amazon? I’m confused…

        • rvsueandcrew says:

          I ordered a replacement sewer hose and a Benchmark map, but I didn’t get either of them. Since I don’t have a home in Ajo, I use General Delivery at the post office.
          Amazon ships a lot of packages via UPS and I don’t know if the post office won’t accept UPS packages or if UPS won’t deliver to the post office…. Either way, I don’t get my packages.

          Ajo is a tiny town. I don’t know of any place for UPS delivery here. I could ask an RV park to accept delivery, but I’d rather just wait until I’m not far from a UPS store. I’ve tried to resolve this issue with Amazon. No luck so far.

  17. Mary in Aberdeen, Wa says:

    sounds like a very exciting day…never a dull moment!

  18. Merle from (WA) says:

    Cute post Sue, loved the play on words by Bridget….. It’s never boring reading your blog!

  19. Donna D. (stickhouse in CT) says:

    Isn’t it amazing how something as small as a bird can learn and actually think things out? All of nature is amazing!

  20. Rita from Phoenix says:

    It’s not only woodpeckers who figure things out but remember I was saying the hummers at my sister’s house look through the window when their feeder is empty. Maybe you can put a fake owl on your BLT to keep the woodpeckers away. Several months ago, I remember a reader of your blog suggested no feeding wild animals (probably could include stray animals) cuz they get too use to humans and not afraid or want to be adopted i.e. stray dog in Nevada. Maybe that’s why park rangers post signs telling us not to feed animals. I still feed hummers but always afraid they may not move on to their summer homes…too hot for them in Phoenix in summer. As you said, ‘dam if you do, and dam if you don’t.’ I live across a public park and I’ve seen dog food and water put out for stray dogs but apparently it also attracted rodents, birds, and even coyotes so we in the neighborhood all received a mail flyer telling us not to feed stray cats and dogs. At the community meeting, some parents were concerned because some of the dogs have become very aggressive (the park is also next to a grade school). Now I call the dog catcher or humane society if I see a stray dog hoping they will be placed in a good home. Very tough to not feed the dogs knowing they are hungry and thirsty.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      I figure the woodpeckers will do fine as we are heading into spring and flowers will bloom, providing nectar, and the warmer weather means more insects out and about. The woodpeckers will do fine.

      Stray dogs are a problem. Check to make sure they go to a No-Kill shelter, if possible, or a rescue group.

  21. Rita from Phoenix says:

    P/S I have good intentions but sometimes it back fires on me.

  22. Kris OH says:

    too cute, loved today’s blog. Glad we didn’t have to worry about if the birds were residents or illegals (wink) but i’m glad you decided to give them a drink. I still think there is more to come about the missing avacado, a good “who done it” storyline is developing. Have a great wk sue! Kris

  23. i enjoy your posts. those gila woodpeckers, even the name makes me laugh. ‘gila’ in malay means ‘mad’. haha.

  24. Rattlesnake Joe says:

    Get a decoy of an Owl and put it near the Hummingbird feeder. Birds of pray are enemies of the woodpecker.

  25. placestheygo says:

    We have left AZ so I am having saguaro withdrawal. Keep those cactus pictures coming!!

  26. Susan in Dallas says:

    That Spike, Peck’s Bad Boy for sure. Bridget is smart to keep you informed! Bet they might know where that stinkin’ avacado is.

  27. Ms. Minimal says:

    You crack me up!! Woodpeckers can be nasty little birds. We had a couple that would peck on the sides of our house… little turkeys.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      It’s an adjustment to find yourself bossed around by a bird. The bunch of them make quite a commotion. Just imagine if I took up the feeder… I’d have five of them drilling on the fiberglass. When I break camp, the feeder is the last thing I’ll pack and then I’ll hit the pedal!

  28. Chuck says:

    You are a riot, Sue!!! but poor Spike: 2 againest one……the Kanine Kids

  29. Varmint says:

    I got a kick out of hearing how tyrannical those birds can be. Squirrels are another persistent critter, and creative, too.
    Regarding animals becoming dependent on humans….That’s not the reason rangers don’t wanting you to feed them. Such acts of kindness also attack apex predators such as mountain lions, which are attracted to the smaller critters, as well as bears, who eat anything else as well. I should remind you and your readers of the inescapable fact that bears, being bears, don’t like surprises for squat. Not even nice ones. You will quickly learn to appreciate the value of this should you stumble upon one while it investigates your “goodies”. You should also know that even a rather small bear can shame a D6 Catapillar. In other words, rangers don’t want you feeding critters because they don’t want you becoming their next meal, which is not unlikely if you should surprise one while exiting you humble abode, for instance. Did I mention they don’t like surprises? Bears, of course, are a minimal danger in desert areas, unless bordering mountain woodlands. Mountain lions are normal in both areas, as well as the usual bobcats and coyotes.
    Play safely, gang. And thanks, Sue, for continuing to share your wit and experiences with us!

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