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Sunday, October 26, 2014

The oasis-at-large

The phrase "community-at-large" drives me crazy. I can't really find a good definition of it. If it means community in general, why don't they just say that? The general community, or something. So I got to thinking, what if I said "the oasis at large?" (hyphenated or not, is also unclear) What would I mean by that? The oasis in general?

I'd rather move on to my Cyna story. Cyna Blue is a tiny Mexican species that wanders north into this area. I found them last year and this year in Alpine, even posted evidence that they breed in Alpine (post of Oct 24), but until today, try as I might, I couldn't find one at the oasis. So, after carrying my camera around while watering trees, and seeing nothing of interest, I put the camera down.... somewhere in the oasis-at-large. AND my sister,* who I frequently stop by and visit on my way to or from the oasis, seldom ventures up the bad road to my place unless I need her to check on something when I'm gone, or whatever.

Today, she came up for something while I was here, which was a treat for me. We love to walk around and discuss the wildflowers. She knows them better than I do. No sooner had she arrived (I had turned off the faucet anticipating a fun visit) than I spied a little butterfly that could be a potential Cyna. I asked her to keep her eye on it while I ran for my camera. Then I spent the rest of her visit totally focused on the butterfly. Gotta do what I gotta do. Good thing we're understanding sisters.

I never did get a good photo of it, but good enough that Brian could confirm it was a Cyna. I have plenty of good Cyna shots, just none from the oasis before today.

Neither of us could remember the name of the common flower it was feeding on.

Most of the ripe acorns are gone from the trees. The Western Scrub-Jay is still feasting on them. I was happy to notice that one small Live Oak tree still has a lot of green acorns on it, so I can look forward to the jay's continued presence. Maybe if you click on this photo you can locate a bunch of the green acorns.


* Andrea Ohl, a year younger than I, is an archaeologist for the Center for Big Bend Studies in Alpine. We were raised like twins. For the past 20 years, in her free time, she has been building her awesome unique home one mile north of the oasis. Like me, her body won't let her do all that she wants to do anymore, but her house is nearly completed. She hopes to focus on landscaping with wildflowers after that. On November 7th she'll be giving a presentation on stone tools at the annual CBBS conference.

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