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Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Alpine habitat vs CMO

The past ten years of creating a habitat in Alpine have really been difficult and frustrating. Our soil here is the most impervious clay there can be. The ponds hold water so good that a couple feet away from them the soil is rock hard. And nothing grows fast. We planted a couple cottonwoods some years ago and they're barely surviving no matter how much water we flood them with.

On top of that, deer strip everything, fences and cages notwithstanding. When I chased this deer away and examined the poor mulberry tree that has been struggling for many years, unlike those in the sandy soil at CMO that are huge, I see the deer chewed the twigs right off, even as far as 6 inches inside the cage. Alpine is overrun with deer. If you want a million bucks, this is the place for you.

Don't even get me started on the fire ants. And goat-heads that are so big they go right through the soles of my shoes.

CMO certainly isn't without its challenges, but the deer don't bother it (except in the record drought of 2011), no fire ants or goat-heads. And when the tanks don't leak, an awesome habitat with interesting and rare birds, butterflies, and dragonflies, is an exciting reality.

I can only survive Alpine because I have the oasis to go to for recharging my batteries. The first thing that I notice when I get there is the quiet. The magical quiet liberates my soul to breathe. It energizes my creativity. No stifling barking of dogs, nor oppressive trains with whistles screaming, night and day...... even now as I write this.

But I'm not complaining. I get a four-day vacation every week. Few people are so lucky. Meanwhile, I try to make the best of my time in town.


  1. Sandy/Odessa and AlpineNovember 19, 2014 at 7:18 AM

    And Alpine is my retreat from Odessa, all a matter of perspective or whatever. But I am glad to hear about your difficulties with growing things there. Growth of anything has been so frustratingly slow, glad to hear it's not just me!

  2. Yup, all a matter of perspective. If I lived in Odessa I'd be delighted to visit Alpine too.

  3. I'll trade Sunset Heights near the middle of too-busy El Paso anyday for trains in Alpine! Even clay soil. Hang in there...can be worse.

    Hopefully soon, I'll let you know when I might visit your oasis down in the desert.

  4. Thanks. I know I'm lucky to have what I have and I appreciate my life. I truly wish you will visit soon. You too Sandy.

  5. Sandy/Odessa and AlpineNovember 25, 2014 at 7:46 AM

    Thank you for the invitation. I lost my sweet husband the same evening I wrote that note to you. I think coming out to your place and soaking up the quiet and beauty would do my broken heart good, so may take you up on your offer sometime

    1. Oh, Sandy, I am so sorry for your loss. Please come visit. It'll help renew your soul.