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asploring: nature’s beauty

A small prickly pear cactus. Each pad is adorned with spines, some two inches long. The pads themselves are mottled green & red.

… or spikiness, as the case may be. But even the spiky can be beautiful.

I knew this flower as Indian Paintbrush but it occurred to me that 1) probably the name is kind of racist & 2) probably the people who lived here first have another name for it so I went looking. The Dine name, it turns out, is Dahiitįį́hídą́ą́’tsoh & you may click on it for the pronunciation. I will need to listen to it a BUNCH more times before I’m willing to give it a try on my own, but putting in the effort seems only appropriate.

Anyway, they’re really gorgeous. & it turns out the flowers are edible!

Low green plants. Each one has a single stalk from which grow lots of long, narrow leaves, & each is topped with a bright orange flower.

We walked out to the Grandmother Piñon. I wish we’d been able to get a decent picture to show how truly HUGE she is, but, alas. She is old, though, & strong, & beautiful.

Grandmother pinyon, from maybe five feet away. Her trunk is a foot & a half across at the bottom, & her branches spread & rise to the skies.  The photo was taken from under her canopy & most of her foliage isn't even in the shot, though there's a bit showing behind her branches.

Her limbs house colonies of symbiotic lichens …

A horizontal branch about a foot thick holds clusters of lichens -- grey, pale green, & small spots of dark orange.

… & she drips with piñon resin. I took some from the trees around her, carefully, but I left hers alone.

Looking up into some of her smaller branches. Blue sky is visible beyond, & several places on her bark are covered with amber-coloured resin.

I will SO VERY be going out there again, to sit & rest under her branches.

& maybe next time I’ll manage a decent picture.

(all photos by Inoru, who did just fine, Grandmother Piñon is just too big)


This was posted originally to my Patreon, a little over a week ago.

If you want to see these posts sooner, & not incidentally help support me & my cats in our travels & such, the way to do that is to sign up as one of my Patrons for as little as a buck a month.

I’d REALLY like that.

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asploring with a tomcat

Seen from above: Major Tom, a grey tabby, standing on ground that's mostly pine needles, next to where I'm kneeling on the ground.

mostly because he’s the only one of the lot who’ll happily follow along without buggering off somewhere & winding up across the street, YES, I’M TALKING TO YOU, LOIOSH

Me & my roommate Inoru went off walkies a day or two ago; I’d spotted a hrse skull I wanted to pick up, & they wanted to get out of the house for a bit, & we decided to let Tom come along too. He had quite a lot of fun, sniffed MANY things, & returned rather more dust-coloured than before.

He zoomed up a tree & then couldn’t quite figure out how to get down. We helped by laughing really hard & taking pictures.

Spot the cat toes!

A view up into the branches of a pinyon pine tree; blue sky is visible behind it. Just below the center of the photo, Tom's paw is visible, resting on a branch, with a bit of the rest of his leg stretching up to the right. The rest of him is behind the treetrunk.

He got it figured out …

Major Tom is perched in the branches of a pinyon pine, looking down & to the right. His perch is kinda precarious & he looks very intent.

… but it took him a while.

Pretty much the same spot but now he's looking straight down. He is SO DUSTY.

Yes, this is a grey tabby. Once he’s had a good wash, anyway.

He's laying on the kitchen floor, very much at his ease. His fur is basically brown. Even his belly, which is usually white, is reddish tan.


This was posted originally to my Patreon, a little over a week ago.

If you want to see these posts sooner, & not incidentally help support me & my cats in our travels & such, the way to do that is to sign up as one of my Patrons for as little as a buck a month.

I’d REALLY like that.

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asploring: treasure

A horse skull & three old bottles sit on a carpeted floor. Also, I need to vacuum.

We brought home LOTS of treasure. LOOK at all this piñon resin. It’s more than five ounces, & that long piece in the back is an ounce & a half all on its own.

A pile of amber-coloured resin. One piece, in the back, is like three inches long.

I found a cool carved-stone pipe that I kinda love.

The bowl of the pipe is very round, & it's cut from a peachy-white stone. The stem is short & cut from a light grey stone.

The horse skull is what I went out to fetch — a friend needs one, so I’m going to ship it to them — & it’s REALLY cool. Needs a wash though.

The horse skull, seel from directly above.

Excellent bottles:

Three glass bottles. The lefthand one is clear & about the size of a wine bottle; the center one is brown, the same shape as the first but larger around; the shirt is maybe half the height, clear, & flattened like a flask.

… yep, it’s Bacardi.

A close view of the lefthand bottle, which has the Bacardi bat logo cast into it.

Horse jaws & teeth.

A close view of part of the horse's lower jaw, with some teeth still attached. A loose tooth lays on the carpet next to it.

& lastly, two Very Good Rocks.

One rock is smooth & white, with patches of rougher pinky-tan. The other is rough, mostly pale orange, with a brown stripe running along it.

Always keep your eyes open — you never know what you’ll find!


This was posted originally to my Patreon, a little over a week ago.

If you want to see these posts sooner, & not incidentally help support me & my cats in our travels & such, the way to do that is to sign up as one of my Patrons for as little as a buck a month.

I’d REALLY like that.

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emergency road trip (everyone is okay)

I want to repeat that EVERYONE IS OKAY & I’m not gonna go into detail but note: if your cat is not eating & your vet in more interested in doing lots of tests instead of GETTING FOOD INTO YOUR CAT, get a new vet. AND GET SOME FOOD INTO YOUR CAT.

Hades is asleep on a wooden shelf in the van. In front of him is a lidded can of cat food & a syringe without the needle.

ANYWAY what with one thing & another I picked Loiosh up from the vet in Milan, used the squirty-syringe to get some A/D into his face, & then set out for Edgewood while dialing my old vet. Driving an hour anna half to make sure my boy is getting the RIGHT care? oh HELL yeah Continue reading emergency road trip (everyone is okay)

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this is the Very Best of all possible ideas

A pretty close view of me, but the important part is that I'm wearing a large basket as a backpack, & Major Tom is peeking out, just his pawn & the top half of his head visible. His eyes are REALLY WIDE.

(I did one loop around the house & let him out, he really did pretty well with it, but this is the funniest picture I have ever taken in my ENTIRE LIFE)

After that, though, it was time to stick Loiosh in the basket instead & go check the mail, because 1) he’s bored, 2) I’M bored, & 3) I had herbs coming. Not that kind. Continue reading this is the Very Best of all possible ideas