Saturday, June 27, 2009

Pecos Thistle Portraits

Milk thistle.

Thistle friends.

I somehow felt as though the thistles were having a conversation. With me, or themselves? About the weather? The visitors? Being a cool thistle?

The second photo was taken before I found the macro setting. The top photo was taken with the macro on.
Here are a couple of super duper closeups. I can't decide which one I like best, the closeup of the purple tips, or the slightly farther out view that shows the circular rhythm of them:


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Friday, June 26, 2009

More Mullein, to Scale

How utterly goofy of me to leave my feet in the picture. LOL! But this gives you an idea of the size of this plant. Quite a lavish specimen.
I love mullein. 8-)
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Mullein After the Rain

No, this picture is not out of focus. It's the center of a mullein plant, which is so fuzzy fuzzy, just after the rain. I finally found the macro lens on my new/used digital camera. Shazayam! The picture above is about 1/2 size.


The whole plant.
We were walking along and a very well educated [cough!] student was walking behind me. She said to her friend, "That's mullein. It's a weed." I swear my jaw dropped open. How can you call a native plant A WEED??? I turned around and said, "It's for your lungs. It's an HERB." She pointed to some thistle and said, "What kind of thistle is that?" To quiz me? I dunno. I couldn't remember the name until I got home, so I said, "Well, its name means 'big ginormous thistle.' Yea, SCHOLA! (rhymes wit "holla") ;-)

P.S. Mullein grows for 2 years. The first year, it looks like the above. The second year, it shoots up those big spikes, then reseeds itself. I didn't take any pictures of the spikes, because, frankly, I was having a hard time turning the macro back off.
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Thursday, June 25, 2009

Four Scenes From the Pecos

A hillside that was burned in a fire a few years ago

Just your average high altitude dirt road

A short view of a long, wild stream


The church ruins at Pecos National Monument
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In the Pecos

This week a handful of my coworkers and I have been tagging along with a group of student interns and yesterday we all went up into the Pecos National Forest to see how the rangers do their thang. (Thangs??) It was awesome! Here are a couple of shots of my work buddies:


Help me up!!!

In the Aspens, in the rain.

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Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Fishy Father's Day


We had a most enjoyable jaunt early Sunday morning, just down the road really, to celebrate Father's Day at Isleta Lakes. I must say, the fish weren't biting much but the bathrooms were immaculate! State of the art, in fact. The lights turned on when you opened the door, and the toilets and water turned themselves on and off as if by magic. Yeah, I've seen it before -- but at a fishing lake? And Joe the guy in the golf cart came around every hour or so to empty the trash cans. Shocking!

We did come home with a 4-filet catfish, straight from Arkansas I'm told, that almost got the best of Junior AND the MOTH (aka man of the house). As usual, Mr. Moth was fishing with two poles (he plays 6 or 8 bingo cards at a time, too), so when he saw the nibble, he handed the pole over to Junior, who is no stranger to the art of reeling in a big one (he got his first child-size pole when he was about 3 or 4).

Junior had his back to me, and I could see that his arms were flexing really strong, but I couldn't see what was happening. Apparently while Mr. Moth trotted back to his other pole, the reel fell off the one Junior was using, but he was trying to wind it in anyway. Finally Dad ran back and gently pulled in this rather large catch and we all decided it was worth getting up at the crack of dawn for.

A few hours later (when this photo was taken), we headed back home but the cat was not finished with us yet. He was flopping around so much the cooler was shaking, and he was MOANING so loudly from inside the cooler, our friends thought Mr. Moth has passed gas! LOL. Finally, after we put the cooler into the back of the truck, he flopped around for one final escape attempt and actually opened the lid of the cooler! I screamed, of course. A rowdy Arkansas catfish -- I think that's a darned fine Father's Day gift. ;-)

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Summerfest Cajun Night with Cedric Watson

Here's who was the first main act at Summerfest last night on Civic Plaza. I'd like to say I "saw" them but actually I "heard" them cause I was volunteering at the OFFCenter art projects booth (and I have the inky sticky hands to prove it! hehe). I could only see the washboard rasta guy but oh boy! they were good and I wish I could have gone down and danced. I liked them better than the later act actually.

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Friday, June 19, 2009

Social Butterflies 8-)

Wow, I called Nikia on her cell today and she wasn't driving across country or setting up for a show. Me, Nikia, Deb and Gene met up at the Fiber Fanfare show at OFFCenter, and accidentally got front row seats, with a table even, for the fashion show and storytelling. (I am love you are love we are love...not to mention the spiders and their skinny waists) Sorry, no pictures, I'm too tired! But yay, 3 more converts. ;-)

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

The Peace of Wild Things

Quick! While I still have Internet access...

The Peace of Wild Things
When despair for the world grows in me

and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children's lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

— Wendell Berry

Greetings From Cave City


Junior and I are taking a quick trip to my old Kentucky home and last night we bopped down to Mammoth Cave for the coolest evening tour by lantern light. Living in New Mexico, we had visited the amazing Carlsbad Caverns with its eerie formations (and Disneyland-esque lines, international visitors with cameras, and, I kid you not, underground gift shop). But Mammoth Cave (named for its size, not big beast bones...) is a dry cave with, as our guide put it, a good roof, so there are fewer formations. It's kind of like being in a really huge unfinished basement.


We hiked in with 40 people and 10 lanterns, tiptoeing at first, and chatting excitedly. I could hardly contain myself. You can have San Francisco, give me a mother of a cave. Not to mention the temperature was cool enough that you could exert your fat self and not even sweat. Speaking only for myself of course. And with Junior, you never know what will entertain him -- but he has fallen in love with Kentucky.

The night before we had walked my old neighborhood where I was reunited with (and he was awestruck by) fireflies in the grass, towering oaks, gracious maples, peeling-bark cedars, crabapples and dogwoods. The neighbors I've long forgotten -- I couldn't even remember for sure where my old boyfriend's house was. But the leaves reached out like the hands of old friends.

The evening before we had hiked my sister's river preserve with her big dog (not her preserve, just the one she contracts to assess as an environmental biologist), where we brushed angelica taller than a basketball player, grasses and wildflowers she had seeded the year before. We tiptoed down to the river to throw a stick or two, and Junior declared he wanted to live there. On the way back, the great blue heron we'd spotted on the way down raised up, circled the meadow, and flew out of sight between high trees.

Sigh. I do need to apologize to old friends and new for not arranging a get together. You understand why. Thank you 8-) Next time, I promise.
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