It was an overcast day, slightly cool. Not a good one for hanging on the beach. So Alfredo and I decided to head out east of town into the desert to see what we could find.
Mostly, we found plants. This is an area of many cardones but few saguaros, though the locals often call the cardón a saguaro. I wanted to get up close to the giants. This ancient one is maybe thirty feet tall.
I loved how its base had a kind of grotto.
Natural, as in perhaps a lightning strike? Or did an animal, perhaps even a human animal, carve it out for some reason?
The old ones have a thick brown base and are surrounded by a network of roots.
When they, die, they look like this.
There were also cholla, but a different kind than we have in Southeastern Arizona.
When they die, they look like this.
There were a number of ocotillo. A US nickname for them is the devil’s walking stick.
They don’t look like anything special until spring when are topped with beautiful orange-red blossoms. In summer, and spring and fall if there is rain, they leaf out and look beautiful.
Here as in Arizona, people cut one limb, let the cut end scab over, and then plant it. Do that repeatedly and you get a living fence.
See? A few leaves, though I can’t imagine how it got enough water to leaf out.
There were even some interesting small plants. Wildlowers on the last day of December!
This little one was only about an inch tall.
Alfredo wandered down the road and I was roaming a different area looking for more flowers when a truck came down this road out in the middle of nowhere. The driver spotted my car, then spotted me, and stopped to see if I was okay. I told him I was taking photos of flowers, and I think he must have believed I was a bit nuts.
However, after a few minutes of conversation in which we disclosed he raised goats at a little ranch back up the road, Alfredo and I were soon invited to follow him to his ranchito to meet the mamas and new babies.
Pascual had a piece about 100 meters by 100 meters totally fenced in ocotillo.
One lone dog guarded the goats. Pascual led us to the pen of mommies and babies explaining that the males were loose in the desert, guarded by six very brave and fierce dogs.
Mom is grabbing some lunch, while a youngster tries in vain to sunbathe.
The youngest are about ten days old and the ones slightly larger are about a month old.
Pascual also has one pig who complained bitterly about not having enough food, though being a pig, my guess is he’s almost never satisfied. He was quite a well-rounded pig.
Pascual also has a small garden going. Watermelon, squash, and a few fruit trees lined the western edge of his property. Quite a project since he has to haul all the water to the ranchito as he lives in town.
As we chatted with Pascual, several trucks went by loaded with firewood. Preparations for outdoor barbacoas tonight, New Year’s Eve.
Clearly Pascual is ready for a small fiesta here, too.
But not tonight. Like us, Pascual will be spending New Year’s Eve in town.
Happy New Year everyone!