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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: 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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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

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Estrella Day 2: Timber Camp the First

Three tall conifers (Ponderosa pines?) stand out from a host of smaller trees, all against an amazing blue sky.

(not ‘part the first’ but ‘my first visit’ because why WOULDN’T I stop at such an awesome spot twice?)

What with one thing & another I had a choice the second day between reaching the Queen Creek Walmart at like 3pm OR finding a place to stop for the afternoon somewhere after Salt River Canyon, so of course I found a nice place to stop.

I mean. TREES. Continue reading Estrella Day 2: Timber Camp the First

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Estrella Day 2: Pintail Lake

A concrete path leads in a gentle curve through low desert brush dotted with evergreens, below a blue sky.

You see above a Good Path! It leads to Pintail Lake Wetlands near Show Low in Arizona, which was constructed to filter Show Low’s waste water & create habitat for waterfowl & all the many other critters that love wetlands.

It was a lovely day, I had plenty of time, & the path was promised to be short, so of course I walked right down it. Continue reading Estrella Day 2: Pintail Lake

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Estrella Day Mostly 2: Salt River Canyon

A big ol canyon with steep sides & a river at the bottom. The sun is about to set. I don't make good decisions, y'all.

Near the end of the first day, having gotten a good feel for how Tyrava pulls, I decided that I would challenge myself & see how well I was REALLY doing with this towing-a-big-trailer thing. I decided to do this by taking AZ60 through Salt River Canyon. Down through Salt River Canyon. The one with all the switchbacks.

… I didn’t say it was a GOOD idea. Continue reading Estrella Day Mostly 2: Salt River Canyon