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Friday, February 15, 2019

So far, so good

Last week when freezes were forecast we sprinkled the apricot tree all night both times it was supposed to freeze. Then a couple of nights later, with no freeze forecast we didn't leave the sprinkler on. When we heard the next day it had gotten down to 25° I was pretty bummed. But it looks like the fruit will be OK this time. Tuesday another freeze is forecast so I'll stay on top of it. The whole family loves dried apricots, and you can't buy good ones at the store. The sulfured ones are yucky.

I photographed this plant at the oasis yesterday. I'm pretty sure it's Henbit (Lamium amplexicaule). We have lots of Henbit in town, but this is the first I've seen at the oasis. However, I've taken so much mulch from town to the oasis through the years, that I can't know if it's truly native there. I'm counting it anyway.

Oasis 2019

Alpine 2015

Thursday, February 14, 2019

My valentine to you

A local birder visited today and discovered two Rufous Hummingbirds visiting the feeders. I hadn't seen any for a couple of weeks so I think these are early migrants headed toward Alaska. One had a partially leucistic gorget.

Here's what Kelly Bryan said about the gorget.

 "The abnormal chin feathers is a feature that we have seen in several species & some hybrids. It is a rare feature and one that may point to a genetic problem."

Wednesday, February 13, 2019


Remember the horses I saw near the oasis on Feb 9? Well, turns out there were 10 in all that escaped from the Lajitas Stables on Feb 8th. Two caballeros have been tracking them ever since. They found the tracks across the fence from the oasis and hollered over at me. I made my way toward them through my arroyo and brush and they told me about it. Seems they recovered 6 of the horses but not the 4 that I saw. No telling where they are now. I did think it strange since everyone knows the fence won't keep anything in or out. Sorry, now that I didn't alert someone. It would have saved many days of tracking. Even as the crow flies Lajitas is a good 20 miles from the oasis.

After they left following the horses' track, I planted the Tree Tobacco around the tank. I have a few plants left over that I might add in later. I'll see how these do first. I tried removing the wind shields from them but put them back on. It's forecast to be real windy the next several days.

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Countdown to spring

In approximately two weeks the Lucifer Hummingbirds will be back. And for me, that's officially spring. Meanwhile flowers are blooming in spite of quite cold weather. Here's a photo taken in the Terlingua Ranch area by a resident, Tim McKenna, that illustrates the way it looks in some places.

And about 20 miles farther south at Study Butte, Big Bend Bluebonnets are putting on a show.

Photo by Eddie Sanchez
In the morning I'm going to CMO and take my own flower photos, though mine will probably be closeups of some I want to ID. 

I guess as winters go this one hasn't been so bad. I didn't get sick and had plenty to keep me busy, but it feels like every winter I'm punier than the winter before and that bothers me. Like will I ever be able to go up my mountain again?

Saturday, February 9, 2019

Wintery weather

Arrived at the oasis yesterday evening after dark, worried that my potted Tree Tobacco plants would freeze where I had left them outdoors. Luckily, they were OK but last night got way colder, so good thing I put them inside last night. The one I had planted by the new tank was the best looking one, so I planted five more today.

Got up this morning to a bad bout of vertigo. Had to take medication to function, but got done what I needed to. Tree Tobacco not making much of a showing by the tank but I hope it'll look awesome in a couple of months.

I saw some horses grazing on the ranch across the fence from the oasis. Since the rickety fence is pretty useless, I can easily imagine my next battle to preserve my habitat will be with that rich rancher. And it won't be the first time.

Friday, February 8, 2019

That time of year

It seems every February and/or March we fight to save our apricots. Yesterday, knowing the forecast was for a freeze last night, we set up a sprinkler under the apricot tree.

Here's what  it looks like this morning. Hope we saved the fruit.

Gonna have to do it again tonight. And probably more times.