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Wednesday, September 11, 2013

The oasis downside

Besides the obvious anxiety over rain and water, tanks leaking, being tied down and can't ever go visit loved ones, there's the unwanted wildlife the oasis attracts. I'm referring to javelina that root around under everything, digging out the mulch and moisture I'm struggling to retain. And the jackrabbit that consumes all the Red Yucca. I've totally given up on growing any of that. The deer were originally a problem, but not so much anymore. Right now, as I write this, some caterpillars are consuming a huge swath of my precious Chinese Pistachio tree.

Even birds can be a problem. Remember the devastation the sapsuckers wreaked on some of my trees? But no one appreciates a good rain like I do. Some people even get depressed on rainy days. And after I started this post I was treated to a good rain that filled my one dirt tank with water. So I'm busy transferring that to another dirt tank and from there to the stucco tank. I'll be up all night pumping, but I never complain about that. This will give me a couple months more water in the spring when I'll need it the worst (if the stucco tank doesn't leak too bad).

On top of that, I photographed a rare butterfly at the oasis today. It's a funny story. There's this sweet lepidopterist that I send my butterfly photos to ID when I can't. So I sent him some today. I included a photo, of what I believed was a Giant Swallowtail, not to ID, but because I thought it was such an impressive looking butterfly. In my email I said I need help with the others, but I know the swallowtail (meaning "Giant" of course). Immediately I got an email back saying, "Whoa!" And he explained that it was an Ornythion Swallowtail, and why. He wanted me to take more photos to see if he could tell if it's a male or female, but it started raining about then, I lost my internet signal, and had to run to Study Butte for gas for the pumps. Maybe I can relocate it tomorrow.

And when yet another visitor tells me visiting here was the highlight of their trip to the Big Bend, you can bet I've long forgotten the downside.

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