June Grass is Greener

This is my pick for photo of the week. These are wild sweet peas growing along with the grass in the alfalfa field back behind my house. The idea was pestering my mind last week to walk over to the orchard to discover if I could find any baby fruits, hopefully to photograph, so took off in good light late one day. First I became enchanted by these flowers along the path and took several shots, even picked a few on the way back.

I found little indication there will be any fruit to speak of in the orchard this year. Not a surprise really, but surely a disappointment. As I walked around inspecting the trees I flashed back on memories of the abundance of last year, the colors and the tastes of things. These babies above will become apples if they don’t run into any more big obstacles. The month of June should usher them into the safe zone, at least safe from cold temps, but after what we’ve seen here this spring nobody would bet on it. I found some young pears as well but those shots were out of focus.

Here’s that “greener grass” I was talking about. There’s something universal in the old memory bank about walking through tall grass about to seed itself. I was feeling it when I took this while appreciating the form of the apple tree in the background. Speaking of seeds, there is an annual art show by that name, SEED2, that I blogged about last October. I found it so beautiful a focus for art. Dear to my heart. It even has an educational component. School kids are brought around to visit the show and try their hand at some seed artwork. Anyway, I was accepted into this year’s show, SEED3, which opens October 8th so expect more photos and chat about seeds being the most important thing on the planet.

I planted my corn yesterday using seeds saved by corn seed expert Ron Boyd. He and his wife (Mergirl Gardens in Alcalde) have a booth at the Saturday farm market. So Saturday we had a long discussion about growing corn and my various choices from what he could offer. I’ll keep you updated on that project. I’m going to see if I can also get some seeds from him next week for a climbing bean and a couple of squash so I’ll be planting the Three Sisters together.

Not exactly news but these extravagant orange poppies are staring to bloom all over town. These are also a local favorite in the mountains of Idaho thus nostalgic for me. I took this in front of a charming adobe house along my road, Maestas, that is often vacant for periods of time. The owners should hurry to get here before the blooms are finished. Think I can picture a poppy seed in my future.

To back up my story about paying attention to all things “seedly” I’ll toss in a couple of seed photos here at the end of my blog. When I noticed these seeds I really got it how flowers and fruits are delivery systems for seeds. Really! Somehow this small demonstration was suspended in time from last fall, or whenever those seed matured but then stayed with the flower shapes all winter. As you can see from the size of my thumb this is the kind of thing that could easily be overlooked, except by fairies of course.


A Cow & Magpie Morning


Beautiful spring morning here in Talpa as I head in a northerly direction on the property to investigate the loud and mournful sound of cows. They’re obviously new to the neighborhood and are expressing their dismay for all to hear. I think it started around dusk yesterday and sadly continued through the night.

Along the way I connected with this charming magpie who let me get pretty close before flying off. I have an eye on a possible magpie nest with the theory that there will soon be some baby magpies joining the numerous birds who seem to make their home around my house.

Yes, I know those are llama, not cows, but if you look closely beyond the second fence you can see a couple of cows. They appear to be brown cows, for what that tells you. There are three llamas living here, next door, but they are quiet and content. They do seem to like to have me take photos of them, as I have several times in the past. So, the mystery of the crying cows is solved. Perhaps they’ll settle in to their new home and be good neighbors like the llamas?

Looking back to the south you can almost see my house, just to the left of the middle of the photo, the taller and smaller of the two structures. In the foreground, the alfalfa field, and to its left, one of the acequia ditches that crisscross the property. Those houses in the distance on the upper right would be part of Llano Quemado I believe. They have great views back toward the Sangre de Christo Mountains that frame Taos proper.

Speaking of acequia ditches, this one is pretty close to the main ditch. When open it sends water east along the back of the alfalfa field and feeds into the south ditch along the fence I showed before. This snapshot in time shows the mix of new grass and old you see everywhere now. I looked for buds on bushes and trees that I could photograph as signs of spring but so far not much to see in my neck of the woods.

Lots of trees in the orchard. This shot takes advantage of the strong shadows on this garage that’s facing the morning sun. I believe this is an apple tree. Just to the east of this tree is a clump of purple plum bushes that produced the most incredible fruit in my memory of last summer and fall eats from the orchard. It’s kind of a secret location and I’m grateful to the landlord for turning me on to it last fall when there were more plums than he could keep up with. Seems like a dream to me now.

Another magpie letting me get close enough for a recognizable photo. This is an old but strong pear tree that has been properly pruned somewhat recently. Just now as I’m typing at 11 AM the wind is starting to pick up and will likely blow the rest of the day, reaching speeds of 25 mph. That’s how it was yesterday and most days last week. Glad I got out this morning early. Guess I have the cows to thank for that?

Couldn’t resist sharing this macro shot with you. Wish I could give you the name of the plant. It’s something that came up among my flowers in the sunny, south-facing bed next to the house. I’ve just applied to get in to the SEED3 show next October here in Taos so I have seeds on my mind. This is the third year for this popular art and educational event and it will be difficult to get in. Speaking of “getting in,” I CAN report I’ll be one of the local craftspeople showing their work at the Taos Folk crafts show next holiday season. I consider that an honor as it was generally lauded for its high-quality and affordable crafts last year.