Saturday, May 1, 2010

Nut in a Tree, Tree in a Nut

I should start off by explaining the Nut in the Tree. But before I do that, I'l back up a few days to tell about how the warm Spring weather we've been enjoying came to a sudden halt.

Thursday morning there was a skiff of snow on the ground. And throughout the day curtains of rain, snow and graupel would blast through town. Enough to temporarily turn our thoughts back to hot chocolate instead of gardening.

The garden was a worry. Thursday night it was expected to freeze, and it did, but not by much, and there was very little was damage to the young plants and fruit. And now, as I write this on Sunday, we've survived two more nights of potential freeze. Yea! We may make it into the full growing season without much of a problem this year. The cherries (not nuts) are still fine.
From dirt & dogs

Because of the cold and wet on Friday, we opted out of what would normally be a bike ride, and went for a hike. The dogs love to run with us when we're biking. But, being dogs, they also love to run all over, exploring and sniffing, when we are walking along.

I say "hike" but what we do is more of a slow meander, as we enjoy being outside, pointing out interesting rocks or plants, trees or clouds to each other, just absorbing details and not-at-all trying to get anywhere.

As we were strolling along a dry wash in the nearby desert, Zeek the PRT got the scent of something and became highly focused and animated, the way he does when he smells a rodent. So it was probably a rodent. Except that the rodent seemed to be living in an abandoned woodpecker hole, pecked long ago into a juniper tree which had, in the way of junipers, turned into a mostly-dead trunk supporting just a few clusters of live scaly green needles at odd extremities. Which left plenty of exposed branches for an agile terrier to use as a crude ladder to ascend to the level of the rodent-inhabited hole in the tree.
From 2010 Spring

The hole was too small for a terrier, but large enough for a terrier nose. And when the nose wasn't in the hole, we could see what looked like a rodent midden, but never saw a rodent. The nose was out of the hole repeatedly while Zeek climbed up and down the tree, and ran back and forth around the tree, and otherwise acted like a nut, trying to find a way to get closer to the smell inside the tree. Until we called him off and we all sauntered on down the wash.

Because of our slow pace, we managed to spy a small, rarely seen phenomenon taking place. A pinyon nut had germinated and the shell of the nut was still perched on the tips of the needles of the tiny, new tree. A tree in a nut. A small wonder we were happy to have witnessed.
From 2010 Spring

Small, stormy-looking clouds scooted across the sky, bringing us alternating sunshine and chilly shade. We saw our first wild claret cup cactus blossoms, their red almost too bright to believe. We saw rippled pages of juniper wood. And stumbled across what appeared to be fossilized straw, plant stalks and a few partial leaves in colored impression in stone. A sign of life from before what we now call life, a slow wandering across years of plant to mud to stone.
From 2010 Spring

From 2010 Spring

From 2010 Spring


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