Thanks a lot, October

Deck and red maple tree on October 10, 2019.

Yesterday we had a high of 80 degrees which then swung to a low of about 20 degrees today. We’re currently at a balmy 25 degrees. Hooray?

I’m praying to the goddesses that we don’t lose trees and shrubs as a result of the temperature swing. The last time this happened, many trees and shrubs (including our own) died. And I’m talking old, well-established trees. It was heartbreaking. The only upside to this current situation is that the snow might provide enough insulation to keep them alive. Last time, there was no moisture involved in the temperature swing.

I’m beaming toasty thoughts to the trees and shrubs. Please hang in there!

Tiny matters

Ladybug on Apache Plume in backyard.                        March 12, 2019.

The older I get, the more I’m conscious of ways very small things can make a change in the world. Tiny little things, but the world is made up of tiny matters, isn’t it?
~ Sandra Cisneros

Dancing with the stars

We’re told to reach for the stars, but sometimes they’re not above us. Sometimes those stars are next to the trail, close enough to touch.

And sometimes if we keep very, very still we  might also catch a glimpse of a fairy dancing among the stars.

Here’s wishing for a magical Monday . . .

 

Hitchhikers

This morning Zippy and I ran on the trails in the open space. It’s hot here so I carried a full bottle of water in a waist pack. I drank it all as we went along (sharing a few swallows with Zippy) which lightened my load. When we got home I removed my shoes and sweaty socks. This is what I plucked from them:

Look at all that extra weight I unknowingly carried. What clever little hitchhiking seeds!

Memory lane

I took this photo with my phone last week and just rediscovered it.

Milkweed plants conjure up many childhood memories. Striped caterpillars with black antennae. Green chrysalises. Monarch Butterflies. Sticky “milk” on my fingers. Splitting open pods to reveal the silky seeds. Throwing said pods at my brothers.

I was so happy to spot this plant and only wish a Monarch Butterfly had also been present to complete the tableau.

 

Exploring the Chiricahua Mountains

Zippy and I’ve been traveling since Sunday. We camped at the Valley of Fires Recreation Area In New Mexico that night and yesterday afternoon arrived at Cave Creek Canyon in the Chiricahua Mountains of Portal, Arizona:

I had to stop and take this photo when we reached the entrance to the canyon.

We got settled in and then did a short hike. We heard some birds but didn’t see any.
Lots of interesting flora, though:

This morning we got up early for a short hike and on the drive there,
saw a Wild Turkey. This was our hiking destination:

The photo doesn’t do justice to the Cathedral Vista. It’s a truly stunning view as you emerge from wooded trail out into the open. And on the way back to where we’re
staying we located this Whiskered Screech-Owl in a sycamore tree:

Photo by Zippy.

Our hosts had told us where to find the feathered friend. Apparently,
the owl hangs out there all the time, watching the comings and goings in
the canyon.

And now we’re off for more adventures!

Beautiful stranger

I took this photo from the boardwalk at Kapok Park and just did a quick online search in hopes of identifying the plant. I was unsuccessful.

However, I don’t need to know the name of this lovely flora to appreciate its beauty. But if anyone out there can identify it for me, I’d welcome the information.

 

Have machete — will garden

Apache Plume (left) & Mountain Mahogany. Blue = compost tumblers.

About seven years ago we spent a bunch of money on landscaping design and installation. We’re very happy with the native shrubs in our backyard, but are questioning the placement of some of those shrubs. Case in point: the two Apache Plumes planted right next to a Mountain Mahogany (which was planted next to an existing volunteer Cotoneaster).

I’m headed out right now to prune and de-crowd this area of the yard. All the while I’m gonna be fighting the urge to call that landscaper and ask him WTF.

Coneflower as metaphor

Parts of this photo are in focus, but much of it is not. And that sums up where I’m at with this first draft of my new manuscript. Several key elements are firmly in place while other elements were either abandoned along the way or inserted later in the narrative. In a few places the draft reads like a jumble of characters and motivations.

But the moments of insight counteract that blurriness, giving me faith it’s all gonna be okay. I will prevail.

Let’s hear it for volunteers

This weekend many, many people are volunteering their time and energy and money to political candidates and causes. I am grateful for the collective passion and commitment aimed at turning this ship around.

This cotoneaster was a volunteer in my yard. I didn’t plant it, one day it just showed up. And now it’s among the most beautiful and vibrant bushes in the garden.

Volunteers are the very best, whether flora or fauna. Thank you all.

Today’s special guest

Our guest next to Zippy’s hand for scale.

I spent the afternoon working in the yard in preparation for the winter storm and below-freezing temperatures on the way. I cut back perennials and chopped up greens to add to our two compost tumblers and standing bin. Zippy joined me after his bike ride and made the plants from his vegetable garden compost-ready. As he stood over the bin and chopped up tomato plants, he discovered a guest he’d been dreading all summer: a tomato hornworm.

He showed me and said his friend had told him that hornworms turned into swallowtail butterflies. That didn’t sound right so I checked. In fact, tomato hornworms turn into the five-spotted hawkmoth. Either way, that’s quite the transformation. (I do think it’s kinda too bad the horn gets lost along the way.)