A Lonely Desert Grassland Road

The last day of my long weekend, I was ready to be back home.

But first, after breakfast, I finally drove out on Pinto Canyon Road, into the pastoral morning light.


After one truck there was not one more vehicle, for miles. In fact my entire 30 minutes there.


New agaves a start to a stronger entry?



Gracious yet expansive. Peaceful.




Some Little Walnut / Juglans microcarpa trees where the occasional stormwater collects along the draw…



…the effects of a late spring freeze on these trees’ foliage.



Almost back in Marfa, this looks like someone is working on the concrete buildings Donald Judd sketched but never realized.


Or are these remnants of incomplete construction when Judd was alive?



A simple but bold monument to enter a small housing area, complete with some of the finer plants in the desert world…



Home on the Range

“Xeriscape (native plants) won’t work with this kind of architecture.”
– ex-clients


I don’t agree, either. That Alpine TX front garden is simple yet interesting, but it does take some savvy. Which is easy if one steps back and organizes just a little.

Hence a reason I drove 4 hours SE instead of 3 hours N…

My last day in Marfa, I cruised down Ranch Road 2810 aka Pinto Canyon Road, which leads far beyond town to the south.


Had I driven one more mile, I might have never returned home to my job – too alluring. So, I turned around at this modern version of a Texas ranch gate.


There’s a house way back, so large it’s actually in scale with the vast scenery.

Returning, I saw this before the drive home.



Across town, these neighboring houses…


Agave parryi var. truncata is a ball-like sculpture with a regular spacing, adding interest to the other plant massing.



I like the idea of walking through a gate and an Opuntia ellisiana hedge.


A former industrial building is now someone’s house. Good use of Fouquieria splendens and Agave scabra.


Lodge On the Desert Grassland

A client in Marfa told me how their new 4 story hotel is actually causing more tourism there than the no vacancy signs it may have alleviated. Another man I met on a sidewalk who retired there in the late 1990’s from Louisiana via Houston, noted how Marfa has become too busy and has lost its quiet charm.

You may laugh if you see tiny, isolated Marfa on a map.

Both people above are really saying something. Both accounts seem like a mixed blessing, though perhaps more bad than good.

I found something off the beaten track, to stay at.


Greeted by Agave scabra in small gravel, plus a hipster panel gate.

Once inside, it was very quiet and private, making up for the week-long convection oven this whole region has been in. Dry heat – ha!



This was a good place to sip coffee before heading out for the day.



A lone Hesperaloe parviflora ‘Yellow’ stalk…



Inside, thick adobe walls offer their typical sound dampening qualities and solace.


I had a mostly-good trip, though I concur with the Louisiana man.

The influx of immigration into Marfa is not all bad or good, but it is not the same as people once again “pioneering” that area. It is much about commodifying.

Really – must saving a dying place always shut out more than not?