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Saturday, July 14, 2018


Today I just puttered around the place in town, giving away apples and grapes, and picking and drying peaches. Made a little grape juice too. You can see by this tree that I've got a long way to go.

So tomorrow, more of the same I reckon.

Friday, July 13, 2018

Wore myself out

Yesterday I did Lajitas and today I watered and serviced feeders at CMO. There are a lot more hummingbirds at CMO than there were a week or two ago. Migration starts mid-July so I guess it's normal for this time of year. Going through sugar water fast.

I don't remember if the ratios are normal.  Black-chinned numbers have surged significantly, and  Lucifers are almost non-existent. I saw only 3 or 4 today, but admittedly, I didn't sit and watch. Too busy watering and sorting through butterflies. The reason for so few Lucifers, I'm sure, is because there's good stuff blooming out on the mountains. Otherwise, they'd probably outnumber the Black-chinneds. Not worried. They'll descend on the feeders soon enough.

Lyside Sulphurs and American Snouts are literally swarming the beebrush and soapberry blooms. 
Lyside Sulphur on Western Soapberry
I squandered my nap-time this afternoon playing on my ancestry tree. So fun and addicting. I needed to come to town  and didn't arrive until nearly 10 PM. Gotta pick peaches and apples tomorrow.

Grapes are ripe but I'm just going to let the birds have them. There's just so far I can push myself.

Thursday, July 12, 2018


My husband left this morning for Colorado to spend a few days with his kids, grandkids, and a great-grandson, so I feel less pressure, with more discretionary time. Therefore, I decided to see if odes were more plentiful at Lajitas.

No sooner did I walk over to the edge of a pond than I was assaulted by fire ants. In just a few seconds my body was covered with them. Had to take my jeans off, but fortunately no one was in sight. Once again, no mosquitoes or insects (other than fire ants). I do watch carefully for them but where I stepped was in deep grass and couldn't see the mound. Also, always on the lookout for golfers and their stray balls, besides trying to be alert for birds, odes, and butterflies.

I wandered farther than I usually do to this device that seems to be putting sulphur in the water. White fumes are coming out that taller pipe, but didn't affect my breathing.

I'm pleased that my photos are better without carrying that formidable Canon. Here are a few from today... juvenile and adult Rambur's Fortktail.

Common Green Darner

And my Lumix takes video. Here's me sitting beside an odeless stream, but lovely nonetheless.

2018 7-12 LJ (1)

Back at CMO I shot a couple of ordinary butterflies. Here's an American Snout, which is fairly abundant these days. It's in a relatively new stand of soapberries that have come up along the settling pond. This year it's blooming and making a good showing.

And no lack of insects. They're annoyingly abundant.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Taking what comes

My pickup's transmission is shot. They're going to put a rebuilt one in with a good warranty so I should be good to go for a year or two. Gonna cost $4000, but my husband is paying for it. Meanwhile, I'm driving a pickup belonging to my son, so I'm managing.

The pump still isn't fixed and haven't heard from the electrician. Hope I never do. I'm getting by. Getting a few small rain showers but hoping a big one will happen before monsoon season is over and fill my tanks.

Saw a couple of lovely Palmer's Metalmarks on Western Soapberry blooms. Love that soapberry!

And this moth caterpillar is like none I've seen before. Will update when I get an ID.

UPDATE: I joined a moth identification group on Facebook and got it ID'd as a Wilson's Wood-Nymph (Xerociris wilsonii). Here's what it will look like as a moth. I don't think I've ever seen one.

Monday, July 9, 2018

CMO or bust

I borrowed a pickup from my son and came to CMO to water and service feeders. I'll find out this week if my pickup needs a new transmission.

Sierra Woolly Indian Paintbrush (Castilleja lanata)
So many lovely paintbrush growing along the banks of my arroyo that has dams to divert water into my tanks. Vegetation along there loves the extra soaking, especially the soapberry trees.

Friday, July 6, 2018

Pickup down

Well, hindsight is always 20-20. A week or so ago I thought my pickup was a little slow to shift once in a while but didn't see any fluid under my vehicle when it was parked so didn't go to the trouble to figure out how to check the fluid. Then yesterday evening going through the Border Patrol checkpoint I smelled a rather strong chemical smell. Thought maybe from the BP station. Then my pickup was slow to shift driving away, and the smell didn't go away. When I got to Alpine and the gas station I got worried. It was hardly shifting at all. Since I was a few blocks from home, I continued on. When I got to the house, fluid was running out under my pickup. Not good.

Wish I had stopped at the BP station and looked underneath, then called someone to come bring fluid so I could have made it back to town without chancing damage. Sigh! The mechanic towed it off this morning and will either fix the leak or, worse case scenario, put in a new transmission.

It's always something. The pump still isn't working and haven't heard from the electrician. But I have water and no health problems at this time, other than the ever-present arthritis pain. I'm optimistic.

Alpine has been getting daily rains and cloudy weather, so not much butterfly and ode activity.

Common Sootywing

Mating Blue Dashers