Friday, June 26, 2009

Nature Watch Update...

*Lilies in the president's garden on campus blooming wildly
*Saw a roadrunner with a dead baby bird dangling from its beak ... it ran alongside us all the way from the back of the library, across the street, down the alley next to the president's flower beds, across Rodondo, and disappeared behind the Faculty Club. It was poignant. The limp baby; the sharp-eyed, purposeful roadrunner. Julia, who has two young children and works a full-time job said, "Hey honey, that's a long way to carry your groceries... !"
*Spotted the hawk I've heard was working the territory around the duck pond yesterday afternoon. About 8-10 inches in body size. Slate gray flat topped head. Tawny rust brown feathers. Long rangy hawk legs. A group of a dozen Barn Swallows drove it away from their nest sites back across the pond.
*G watered with the ditch water Thursday. No flow until almost 10, which made her day harder. Her neighbor Toby, has a very large field behind us. He is already harvesting zucchini and chilis. Our pepper poster child [link?] is now obscenely large: the plant is maybe 8" tall, the pepper nearly 4".
*G has been patrolling the squash plants several times a day. Caught and killed 3 Thursday--2 were in the process of mating. (Bring on the war metaphors!)
*G put up chicken fence around her new batch of buffalo grass. Then posted the huge plastic owl as a sentry. She's getting tough! "It works!" she told me later. "I checked several times during the day and there were no birds in that part of the yard." After mucking with the project for a day and a half, she does NOT intend for the birds to sweep in and casually make off with her $13/pound seed.
*She brought in a dozen blackberries and a little strawberry this morning. [I insisted she take a picture. Will post it eventually. They were so perfect in that wide white bowl.] I snarfed another cherry tomato yesterday.
*Locally heavy thunderstorms. Early this week it poured at UNM. Poured! I got home--bone dry. Nothing. Last night, it rained a bit on campus, and the showers spread a much wider net across town. Caught half a trash can's worth (the big ones--how many gallons?). I have this uneasy feeling that the weeds are going to explode.
*The Sunflowers from seed: s l o w motion like the Echinacea. Our first bloom had a tiny bit of yellow visible amid the dense greens. I can barely breathe.
*G's pink rose on the west side. I counted ~2 dozen buds. (*gasp*)
*G planted some of the Clary sage babies along the front of the fence, near the mostly dead ash, to the side of her current parking spot. I read they were biennials, so we'll have to hold our horses until next season to see what they really are all about.

*Non sequitur: Mary & JJ are off for Peru today!
*I've been doing some armchair travelling: started Marco Polo by Laurence Bergreen last night. Boat travel in the 1260s--aye gods! They were some tough bastards, the lot of them. Handy to have someone you know be elected pope though. And also reading the sumptuosly illustrated Plants in Garden History by Penelope Hobhouse. Medieval gardens. I find it humbling to consider how ephemeral gardens are... how changeable, and ultimately, how often they disappear without a trace. Maybe Paleobotany will grow in stature and popularity, and we'll have a few more studies to tell us what was where....
*And speaking of things very old, NPR reported a find of some 'the earliest undisputed musical instruments' ... flutes made not only from turkey bones (pretty easy), but from mastadon tusks. Now there was a carving project that would have taken you months, given the crappy tools they had on hand! Made me want a vacation even more emphatically!

*Also non sequitur: Farrah Fawcett and Michael Jackson both died yesterday. She was 62 and had anal cancer; that had to be a rough way to go. He was 50 and in crappy health. Who knows.

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