Welcome to my World

Welcome to the domain different--to paraphrase from New Mexico's capital city of Santa Fe which bills itself "The City Different." Perhaps this space is not completely unique but my world shapes what I write as well as many other facets of my life. The four Ds figure prominently but there are many other things as well. Here you will learn what makes me tick, what thrills and inspires me, experiences that impact my life and many other antidotes, vignettes and journal notes that set the paradigm for Dierdre O'Dare and her alter ego Gwynn Morgan and the fiction and poetry they write. I sell nothing here--just share with friends and others who may wander in. There will be pictures, poems, observations, rants on occasion and sometimes even jokes. Welcome to our world!

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Still more desert plants and rambles

Spring is fading into summer and it gets drier as well as warmer.96  yesterday at my house.. It's windy today and a few clouds but any rain will fall along the Colorado border or maybe the higher northern and central mountains. This is the season for dry thunder storms where there may be lightning but any rain that leaves the clouds evaporates before it gets near the ground. This causes some violent downdraft winds and of course the lightning can spark fires. Everyone is a bit on edge about that. Wind and dry and hot and lightning is a dangerous combination!

Anyway I continue to capture a few more photos on Ginger's and my walks. No new birds but I did find one of Gambel quail from Arizona that I will share. And of course more plants. At the left are some ocotillo in the wild--you can see they are more sparse and not as large as those that are getting special care. And below them the quail--it looks like a male and two chicks of different sizes. Quail families can be that way--usually a clutch hatches within a day or two but sometimes not and sometimes an orphan chick will be taken in by another pair of adult birds. And sometimes due to the high mortality rate of all quail at this season single parents raise a group of chicks alone. The cocks and hens look similar but the males have a black belly, a redder head cap and a larger plume.

Next is a desert willow. These small trees normally grow along streams or in arroyos where the water supply is underground but in reach of their roots. They grew along the Verde River back in Arizona and I find them again here. The flowers are beautiful, almost like small orchids. They are about a half inch across and an inch deep, mostly in shades of magenta as you see here. This particular tree happens to be in my front yard and just burst into bloom two days ago! Here is a shot of the tree and a second close-up of the flowers.

I have not uploaded them yet but I got a shot of a globe mallow this morning. They are all over the west and several varieties--some are smaller and lower to the ground. The ones here seem to be almost small shrub size and clearly perennials. They are a dusty green on the leaves and stems, slightly fuzzy or hairy. The flowers are always shades of red or orange, about a half inch across with a fuzzy yellow pistil in the middle.

In our family they are also known as "Louie Blossoms." There is a story behind that name. Years ago when I was a teen and brother Charlie just a kid, we had an old blackish-brown mule named Louie, In the spring when the first greenery appeared most livestock go after it eagerly. All the horses and mules ate filaree as I showed you earlier but Louie especially liked the globe mallow. I am not sure why but then I never tasted one. I do know they are not toxic though. Anyway from then on we knew them as "Louie Blossoms." Promise a picture soon but I'd have to leave this page and open another program to download and clean up my shots. So we will save that for next time.

Tomorrow Ginger and I have a different expedition planned. We will start off in the car and go to one place where there is some old barb wire fence down and scattered. I am going to cut and coil some of it up. I can use it to make wreaths and such decorated with beads and flowers and it will also keep any animals from getting entangled in it. Next I will get a bucket or two of extra sand from a nearby construction project where they've used it in mortar to build cement block walls around some new houses and last, we'll find a trail going up into the hills and I will trim a half dozen or so branches of ocotillo. With luck one or two will take root in that bucket of sand if I keep it moist for a few weeks and then I can plant them in a corner of the yard. That's about the only cactus I would allow inside my fence! I also saw some cholla getting ready to bloom and will watch to get some pictures of it at just the right time. Cholla will never be inside, for sure! They do not literally 'jump' as fable says but at the least touch they will stick and those barbed thorns are brutal to extract! Prickly pear is bad but cholla is fierce!! Do not ever fall into one. Yikes--I shudder at the thought. They too come in many varieties and are all over the west, some even in Colorado, normally not a 'cactus' place.

Oh, one more, the yucca. They are in the big aloe family which is all over the world at least in the temperate to tropical zones. The waxy flowers are very pretty and leave behind oval seedpods which cling to the stem for a long time. Some folks even spray paint a dried stem with those pods and make it a holiday decoration with tiny lights! They come in several sizes and kinds as well.

1 comment:

  1. Loved the post and the pictures. I was especially fascinated to learn about the quails. What wonderful creatures they are! Also enjoyed hearing about Louie. Loved the whole post. Brought a smile on a night I'm feeling so sorry for Oklahoma...