Quite a lot of the southwestern US, especially in California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas, is classified as desert. But not all of it is bare sand nor the towering saguaros show in many photos. Some deserts have no cacti at all and most do have a variety of plant and animal life. Not always obvious in many cases, but that does not mean it isn't there!
The kind of desert I like is 'high desert' marked by limited rainfall and falling below the chaparral and the alpine climate and environment zones. Some of the common plants in such regions are mesquite, creosote, prickly pear, cholla, barrel and 'pin cushion' cactus and a variety of small annual plants that occasionally produce the amazing array of spring wild flowers when the conditions are right. There may be a few running streams although not too many, some seep springs or small oases, and a lot of rock! Most are marked with steep and very rugged mountains, which are often highly mineralized and have been mined at various times for some of those minerals. Just the next level up, you will find Juniper, Pinon pine and some deciduous trees. Along the stream beds, even those that appear dry, there are cottonwoods, sycamores and willows. The latter appear across two zones, the desert and the chaparral or brush/grassland zone. A couple of my shots of local desert scenery at the bottom! My new home town, Alamogordo, NM is in the Tularosa Valley as is the White Sands National Monument--it really is some bare sand! Strictly speaking the view across the Tularosa is about at the border between 'desert' and 'chaparral' as there are some juniper trees and grassland in the foreground areas.
I was surfing the other night--on the net, not the ocean LOL--trying to identify a plant growing in our yard. It turned out to be, as I had guessed, a variety of Ephedra often called "Mormon Tea". But what I want to share is one of the sites I found--and how I had missed it before I do not know! Anyway for a whole lot of information about deserts, check out http://www.desertusa.com/ You can search for specific words or phrases such as a plant or animal, and other key words. Arizona Highways and New Mexico magazine also have great pictures and sometimes articles about features of the deserts in both states.
I also want to share a favorite site where you can find a lot of good information about dogs--especially pertaining to health issues and care, training, feeding etc. It is http://www.petplace.com/ They do have a lot of ads but I will put up with that to learn and see some cute videos people submit with their pets etc.
More soon! I will get to the story of Angus and Alanna before long, maybe next time!
|Looking east across Tularosa Valley, NM|
|Desert near Las Cruces, NM|