Some scenes from my several day stay here over this Thanksgiving, on the sand hills west of the valley. Though I can see the lights of El Paso just 20 minutes away, it’s like being hours from anything.
Almost peaceful –
Jimson Weed / Datura wrightii after some hard freezes…another name for this or a related species is “Thorn Apple”
Notice anything about this Opuntia macrocentra…long, black spines and…
…cochineal, the whitish deposits…makes a sought-after deep red dye
…her “cactus garden”…she protects some other young plants from rabbits, using small chicken wire cages
the sunglasses on Caesar Augustus made it look like a Roswellian, especially with the other-worldly forms of Agave americana and Opuntia subarmata (?)…a hammock to try out if we get a warmer afternoon
…robust Cylindropuntia imbricata spinosior
…unsure on this Opuntia species, but I’m pretty sure it isn’t the local endemic in El Paso and Do ña Ana counties, Sand Prickly Pear / Opuntia arenaria (?)
…more long spines
…scalloped blocks are as New Mexico as unleashed dogs, or roadrunners carrying chiles by a Yucca elata…at least there’s no lava rock or railroad ties
…the band with diamond-shaped gaps filled with site gravel actually isn’t bad to apply somewhere…the edge, not so much
…did I mention dogs?
…try six dogs…at least there are miles of open desert just across the road…her babies, of course…..
…her pack ran up ahead of me, they are usually mellow…like the scene in the sandy arroyo bottom I hiked up…and a clump of stunted, spiny Prosopis torreyana in the bottom…this arroyo was probably running 2′ deep at times in the last monsoon season
…ocotillos get large along the sandy arroyo, with the extra water
…she’s an artist…and these use discarded foil wrappers and other packaging…her take on El Sagrado Corazon…is La Virgen next?
…a wood-burning stove combating these cold nights…almost winter
…pine needles to get that stove fired up, from the common high desert conifer, Pinus eldarica…when her pecans in back croak from dryness, that will make good wood for smoking, too
…where I might catch breakfast tomorrow, if the sun is bright…those Afghan Pine trees are almost surreal in this sandy desert