Home

Gray Rock

1 Comment

Or is it grey?P1000592A recent crossword puzzle had the clue: “grey and ochre”.  I knew as soon as I counted the squares that the answer was “colours.”   It’s that British “U” as in honour or labour.  I might not have caught on right away if I hadn’t been thinking about gray and grey – because I tend to switch between the two.  And I wasn’t conscious that “ochre” was a British spelling.  The “U” problem I had learned from work as a copyeditor.

This gray is Deer Isle granite.  On closer inspection it turns out the color is a combination of gray, white and black bits.  When it is polished the black shows up even more.P1000589This small rock I found on our beach.  The large one is from a recent hike.  Nearby, I saw these flowers, whose names I wish I knew.P1000594

Advertisement

Shore Hike

1 Comment

Maine is a huge state, but there are small hiking trails tucked away in unlikely places.  One is called Shore Acres, a walk through woods to the eastern shore of Deer Isle.  P1000568The trail is often swampy, but this year it was dry.P1000565

There’s plenty of moss, even in the middle of the trail.P1000567

Huge granite boulders are characteristic of the eastern side of the island. P1000569

This pink granite is not Deer Isle Granite, however.  That has more black and gray, less pink. It was near high tide, when the boulders look their best, I think.P1000570

The trail back from the shore to the parking area is called Stonewall trail.  Who is Stonewall, I wondered.  Here he is.P1000580

A short walk, only a mile and a half, but someone has to maintain it.P1000582

This sign made me think of blogger Russel Ray (http://russelrayphotos2.com/)  I suspect he could make a whole post about this Anonymous, to whom we owe so many traditional songs and melodies.  And this Anonymous works all year, on an island that depends on summer people.

Hiatus

1 Comment

Hi-ā-tus.  Comes from the Latin hiare, to gape.  I wonder if that is connected to the fact that the “ah” sound is when the mouth opens widest.  The “a” turned long in hiatus, a word which first appeared in 1563, according to the OED.

I’ve had a number of gaps in my blogging in the past year, because other things got in the way.  Unscheduled interruptions.  I am now taking an intentional break.  I’m heading east and attending my college reunion.  I won’t have my laptop there.

My garden is sending me off with some healthy looking flowers.  The pansies have given me color all winter and haven’t quit yet.P1000508

These yellow daisy-like flowers are called Chocolate Flower.  Supposedly they smell like chocolate if you brush past them early in the morning.  I’ve never caught the scent.  Maybe it’s not dark chocolate.P1000506

I plan to be back in action about June 1, with pictures, I hope, from past and upcoming travels.  And the new thoughts that being in a new place sometimes brings.

Sunrise, Sunset

3 Comments

Laurie Smith has a stunning sunrise on his blog this week. https://laurie27wsmith.wordpress.com/2015/05/08/fire-in-the-sky-at-the-writers-room/  It makes me think about how the setting of one’s house favors either sunset or sunrise, but rarely both.  We have sunrise over the mountains here. He gets lots of sunsets.  To get the picture, he had to look back over his house.

Now and then there’s a sunset here that brings a lot of color to the clouds in the east, as in this photo I took recently.

Sunset in the East

Sunset in the East

Laurie is a better photographer than I am, and the area around his Writers Room, located somewhere in Australia, has animals as well as plants to see.  Have a look at his blog.

More Spring Color

1 Comment

About two weeks ago, the blue iris burst out.P1000417

These came with the house.  That is, I found two very small clumps of leaves.  I didn’t know what they were.  When someone said they looked like iris leaves I transplanted them and they began to expand.  Only this last year did I get a lesson in when to feed them.  They appreciate being looked after.

Another plant which came with the house is Indian Hawthorn, now in bloom.P1000418

In the space vacated by a very overgrown sage plant (why would anyone plant something that wants to get six feet wide in a less than two foot wide strip?) I put this small cactus.  Its blooms, photographed last week, are already spent.P1000432 cactus bloomThe mesquite tree leaves are filling out.  That pale green color is appearing all over the desert areas: there’s a lot of mesquite in the area.P1000434One of the two little iris clumps turned out to be a white iris.  It is now in full bloom – but only one – while the blue ones have faded.  Obviously, this color is more finicky.  I’m hoping more attention will increase the blooms.  This one is planted outside my study window.P1000435

What’s There to Say About Poppies?

1 Comment

The poppies started showing up last week, here there and everywhere, and this week, some in our yard.P1000408

When they arrive I want to celebrate.  It’s spring.  I thought about poetry in their honor.  Could I do a riff or a twist on Wordsworth’s “Daffodils”?  It didn’t work.  The following is all I could come up with.

Gluttons for sun,
they shine it back,
closing at night.

They persist, pop up
every year, sometimes
fewer, sometimes more,

not in the same spot,
windblown annual
new every spring.

Poppies.  Spring.
Nothing more
to be said.

While poppies are the most colorful sign of spring, it is the mesquite tree that has the honor of signaling when winter is really over and there is no more concern about frost.P1000414

You can see how close I had to get to one branch of the tree to show the leaves beginning.  The apache plume, on the other hand, didn’t wait for any signal.  It went ahead and bloomed.P1000415If there are no poppies where you are, I hope the daffodils are coming up!

The Old and the New

4 Comments

This post is about what’s new and what’s not so new in my garden.penstemon 2This past year I added two Penstemon superbus plants.  One did not make it through the fall and winter.  This 50 percent ratio is typical of my efforts in the garden.  But the one that has survived makes me want to try again.

Chamisa, Fall, 2014

Chamisa, Fall, 2014

This winter I cut back the out-of-control chamisa, as close as I could get to the ground.  I thought perhaps it would give up.  As you can see, it did nothing of the kind.  chamisa

I can only hope this growth will be thicker and sturdier than last year’s, when I did not cut it back far enough.  The plant growing around the stumps is Mexican primrose, which has spread as if it, too, thought the chamisa was not coming back.  mexican primroseBut what is this little blue and white flower?  pansy

It’s a pansy from a seed that wafted from another part of the garden.  I am delighted when nature adds its own touches to my efforts to work with plants.  I can pretend we are a team, though I know I have much still to learn.

The Other Side of the Mountain

1 Comment

Recently I wanted to get out into some green.  I decided to visit Picacho Peak.  The name is redundant, since “picacho” is Spanish for peak, but that doesn’t seem to trouble anyone.  There is one in Arizona, too.  Like the one near Las Cruces, it is an isolated mountain.

Looking west from Las Cruces, the mountain looks very dry.  To climb it, one goes through several housing developments and some private land to a BLM parking lot on the western side.mtn from parking area

To get to the peak from the parking lot one must go through an arroyo and a few other ups and downs.arroyo

After that the trail is surprisingly straight.  In this closer picture, the hole at the right is along a particularly steep part of the trail, which then angles up across the picture to the outcrop (a small dark splotch) at the left. closer to mtn

That outcrop was a far as I got.  The trail is steep and I was definitely out of condition. I don’t think this trail was laid out by recreation experts, but by people who wanted the shortest way to the top.  I estimate I got about half way up the one and a half mile trail.outcrop

But it was nice to be on a green slope for a while.  Here’s a view from part way back toward the parking lot. to parking area

Ft. Craig, Part II: Long Term Rivalry

1 Comment

Ft. Craig sits on the western side of the Rio Grande.  In this photo the river is hiding below that dark line, where the land drops to the river’s level, and soon rises to the mesa on the other side.rio grande

To the west, there is mesa for some distance to the mountains.  These mountains are one set of geologically recent protrusions which have pushed up at intervals, scattered across the landscape.  This view is taken from a lookout site at the top of one of the large storage structures.366west warmer

These photos are closer to what I experienced as the color of the land and bushes than the ones I posted in my previous post.

And to the north is Black Mesa.  On the north side of Black Mesa one of the important battles of the Civil War in New Mexico took place.  The site is Val Verde, a set of arroyos and streams that drain into the Rio Grande.  The Confederate troops came up the eastern side of the mesa; the troops from Ft. Craig went up on the western side.black mesa 3.warmer

While the regular soldiers fought, New Mexico Volunteers, led by Kit Carson, held the fort.  The South won the battle, but the New Mexicans would not give up the fort.  The Confederate troops did not have enough resources to lay siege, so they withdrew.

The Battle of Val Verde took place on February 21, 1862.  On March 28 that same year, the Confederates lost a battle at Glorieta Pass, near Santa Fe, and their push to control the west was over.

I wondered why the New Mexicans were so supportive of the government from far away.  I was told it was because the Texans had already made a grab for New Mexico land earlier.

Kit Carson Slept Here (maybe)

Kit Carson Slept Here (maybe)

This rivalry continues.  I heard two instances of it just last week.  In a meeting about education in the state and financing, the new PARCC testing was discussed.  This testing is created by the Pearson company.  How much are they benefitting from adoption of this testing?  The question was asked “How much money is going to Texas?” where Pearson is based.

On another occasion, in a discussion of Voter I.D. laws a researcher, whose work had led a Texas judge to decide against a new law for that state, got a big laugh when he said, “Let’s see what we can learn from Texas.”

New Mexicans around here go down to El Paso often.  Some even work there.  But they still like to put down Texas.  After all, the Texans did try to take our land.

Ft. Craig, Part I: Ruins

Leave a comment

I drove up to Santa Fe to visit the Legislature this past week.  When I make a trip like that I think it is good to mix some pleasure with business, so I stopped at a historic site I hadn’t been to before.  Ft. Craig is near the Rio Grande roughly 100 miles north of Las Cruces.  It is located just south of Black Mesa, which was a landmark from the earliest years of Spanish travel into what is now New Mexico.  The Rio Grande curls around the mesa.

Black Mesa

Black Mesa

Ft. Craig was the largest of several forts built around the time of the Civil War, partly because of the war, partly to secure the area for people moving in to territory which had been acquired by the United States in 1848.  This fort was in use from 1854 to 1885.  Most of the buildings were built of adobe which has collapsed.  A guardhouse was built of stone.guard house

The remaining walls of the commanding officer’s quarters have been covered with material to preserve them.   Paths have been created by the BLM (Bureau of Land Management, which has jurisdiction of this property) around the parade ground which doesn’t look like one anymore.

Parade Ground

Parade Ground

Some mounds turn out to be walls.

Wall

Wall

Other walls remind me of Robert Frost’s “Mending Wall” poem.  I associate this poem with ruins like this because there are wall long & signmany collapsing territory-marking walls back east in what is now woodland.  “Something there is that does not love a wall,” I used to think as I walked a section of the Appalachian or the Horseshoe Trail.  Yet parts of them persist.storeroom above

Adobe work can be seen in a set of large storage buildings, which were buried in dirt after construction, the only way to keep things cool in hot New Mexico summers.

Storeroom

Storeroom

I took so many pictures I’ll save a few for my next post.  And maybe before then I can figure out how to correct the color in these photos.  The yellow of the grass and the green of the bushes do not come through as they should.  New Mexico is not really this purple.

Older Entries Newer Entries