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Monday, February 8, 2016

Pinyons and stuff

The first trees I planted at the oasis were four Mexican Pinyons. At the time I understood Remote (Papershell) Pinyons would be the most suitable for my elevation and climate but I couldn't find any. I was told the surest way to kill Mex. Pinyons was to give them too much water. This was 20 years ago. So I watered them a little, and figured when they looked like they were dying that I was watering them too much. Only when it became obvious they were dying and I had nothing to lose, did I water them heavily. They perked up and all survived and now are doing good, although during the drought a couple looked really bad. They get the little pinyon nuts on them every year.

My favorite trees are always the evergreens, and since I originally set out to get only pinyons, I guess they were my favorite choice. I love palm trees but have had no luck with them.

About ten years ago I found some Remote Pinyons for sale and purchased four of them. I was surprised when they didn't seem to do as good as the less suitable Mexican Pinyons, but they are trucking along, slowly but surely. This winter is the first time I've had any pinyon nuts on any of them, so that's exciting for me.

My habitat is just as important to me as the wildlife it attracts. Lovely that I can have both, although water is a determining factor in both, and I'm not comfortable with the water situation right now. I'm rationing big time and hoping for the tanks to fill up sooner rather than later. I'll always have enough habitat for Lucifer Hummingbirds and dragonflies, etc., just maybe not as lush a habitat as I would want. And of course, I can always attract birds with seed feeders like this American Goldfinch from yesterday.

And I'll believe this when I see it....

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Clues to spring

Heading to CMO from Alpine today the air had remnants of smoke from last week's Big Bend National Park grass fire. The fire is out but I noticed smoke settled in low areas.

I had hoped since we hadn't had much spring weather maybe things wouldn't leaf out too soon only to freeze in March (or even April). But no such luck. The Fantex Ash in the courtyard is a slow learner.

I've long ago stopped worrying about it. If it dies, I'm smarter now and will replace it with something more suitable. Half the tree is dead but not from frost. Drought. I wish I would have planted something else there 20 yrs ago. Now it's going to take longer than I have to get a good-sized tree there.

This seems to be the time of year the Arizona Cypress put on their golden blooms.

And House Finches are in their brightest breeding plumage.

My cholla patch is getting big. One of these days - years - maybe a Lucifer Hummingbird will build a nest in it. Here's a fruit, left over from last year, I guess.

Friday, February 5, 2016

Through a window

Lucifers will arrive in a couple of weeks; how bad can it be? Meanwhile, I'm in town watching out the window. And just to be sure I still remember how to take a photo, I took a couple of practice shots through double panes of glass. Bad I know, but better to come soon.

White-crowned Sparrow at suet tray

Yellow-rumped Warbler leaving suet tray

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Still winter

I stayed indoors working/playing on ancestry but my husband insisted I photograph a helper cutting a limb from our biggest pecan tree. The limb broke during a bad ice storm awhile back. My husband and I cut off what we could get to at the time, but weren't up to climbing the tree So here it is.

Ho-hum! But what was more interesting was my ancestry day. Included in that was a photo. You see, quite awhile ago (obviously I lose track of time) a contact furnished me with a photo of  the wedding of my first cousins twice removed (isn't it splendid of ancestry to keep track of all that for me). These ladies married brothers, also related to me. 

Only problem was, the top of the head of one of the brothers was cut off on the photo. It didn't bother me that much, after all, it is a distant relation. But this contact wanted to use the photo for something or the other and urged me to find my source of the photo and see if I could get the whole picture. Well, one thing and another, and I finally located the person who provided the link to my source, but no luck. That was all he had or knew about or something. So I just took matters into my own hands and whipped up a head-top on photoshop. That should solve that!

Thursday, January 28, 2016

A bird! A bird!

That Bullock's Oriole that I had visiting the feeders mid-December in Alpine is back!  Not great photos through a window, but documentary.

The oriole works very hard at getting sugar solution from the feeder.

Three days until February. And in February the hummingbirds will start arriving. How cool is that! Meanwhile, I'm having fun working on my ancestry tree. I was contacted by a distant relative, related through marriage. He had a couple hundred pages of letters written by my first cousin twice removed, per ancestry lingo. (Per my lingo she's the niece of my beloved great-grandmother.)  He shared those letters with me. I'm transcribing them and putting them onto my tree for posterity. Fun stuff!

Wednesday, January 27, 2016