Thursday, July 21, 2011

Great day with the forest friends

Still recovering from surgery slowly. Tried doing yard work, pulling weeds with burs out and putting them in bags so they couldn't reseed. I noticed one thing interesting about the weeds and plants, there was several growing seasons this year. It looks to me like three seasons of weeds this year. In January we had a summer like two months where the weeds started the first time. Then it got cold with snow and rain knocking off many blossoms from the fruit trees. The snow and rain also knocked off many of the developing cherries and plums which are in the same family of trees. After an extended winter and spring we went into a two plus month of heat where it was close to 100 degrees every day. There was a short period of rain and cool weather which some people said was unusually cool but was normal compared to the 100 degree days which are now becoming the norm. It should be in the mid eighties here during the high of summer heat with only a few days reaching a hundred. Having hundred degree heat for months at a time is abnormal. Just like it's abnormal for Phoenix to be covered with a dust storm that reaches up two miles high and a hundred miles wide. But times are changing even if some republican law makes say it's a political debate and not scientific truth. The rest of the world is working on the reduction of Carbon Dioxide but here corporate money trumps logic. For a while the religious right followed the neo-cons talking points until they discovered they were being a part of the destruction of the planted. The neo-cons will do anything for money even poison Americans with anthrax to create fear and start wars with a country that wasn't even involved in 9/11. After that was even proven the extreme right still didn't believe it like telling the sky was blue and they were told by the party it wasn't so they went along with those talking points. So we have to get used to living in a more weather turbulent world with bigger storms, bigger tornadoes, bigger hurricanes, higher sea levels, hotter hots for longer periods and colder colds with more snow to areas that never had snow before. This will cause more flooding to some areas because we build our flood control to the past history and not the future which is changing. Some plants and animals will have to migrate this includes humans mammals too.

Back to the weeds with burs. The seeds have hooks like Velcro and stick to every part of your body and clothing. They hook on to hairs of everyone. When the hooks break off they become embedded into your skin for weeks. I've found that I can pull some of them out by dragging a razer blade over my skin but it doesn't get the deeply embedded ones out. I filled up six 50 pound grain bags with weeds. Also setup a sprinkler to spray out over the field. The mint plants were looking a bit dry and I see that  they perked up along with other plants in the field. I have a few different variety of sages that moved in as it's been getting hotter here. One sage has bright red flowers. There's moths that pollinate the sages. With the decline in bees over the past few years I was surprised to see the amount of honey bees this year pollinating the cherry trees.

I have a rare succulent that's on the watch list flowering this year. It's the first time I've seen them ever flower. So far it's been only in a few places here and grows very slowly. I've had to watch out for the plant to keep it growing. I have one pot I put a little piece of it several years ago and now it's a good sized plant. It hangs over the pot to the ground where it's starting to take root. That's what interesting about succulents is the root when resting on the ground. It's a great strategy for growth. It's always looking for the best and wettest places. The ground needs to be damp all the time for it to grow.

While weeding I noticed the short forest, the plants that grow under all the other plants. There are plants that are so small they live under the grasses flowers and plants. You need to get on your hand and knees to get close to them to see them. There's a whole world under the small plants just like grasses and flowering plants are under trees. Some of these plants have tiny little flowers that are only 1/32 to /1/16 in across. What growing right now is a pink flower in one area. I've noticed that some of these plants will only grow in one part of the forest and not in other areas. Some of the grasses are like that too. I've got several variety of sedges moving in over the years from the valley floor. Many of them usually grow around the edge of rice fields. One variety that has long waxy blade or leaves has a stem that grows from the center of the plant and has a seed clump that grows ant the end. This clump grows until it's heavy enough to fall over about 24 inches long. That's where it drops it's seeds for the next plant to get started. The seeds are very light and will blow in the wind but having a stem drop hundreds of seeds right on the ground insures that they will make it into the ground for the next generation. I've found you can cut them like grass and they are impossible to ignite because of the high amount of water stored in them. So even in the driest part of the year when it's extremely hot they are green. They are very decorative too. There are one variety that grows about six inches tall and that's it. It's got fine blades so it's really soft in feeling. There's one type that has long slender shape and it works well on the retaining wall because they hang over very nicely. There's a center stem like the others thats sort of round with a little clump of seeds at the end. Another real slow growing variety has round blades that are somewhat stiff so it looks like a pin cushion. Each blade or leaf is about 12 to 14 inches long and they grow tightly together in a clump. I've noticed that all of them have a good tight roots which holds them in the soil. You can dig them out but can't pull them out so they are good to hold soil on hill sides that would slide other wise.

The last two years I haven't been able to work on my garden area and it's over grown with native plants. Many of the plants I've never seen before and many of them I've never seen this size because the animals would keep them cut down. One thing about the native plants I like is they are green right now and just starting to flower unlike the European grasses and plants which turned brown months ago. The European grasses grow here in the spring when there's a lot of constant rain and while the ground stays wet just like European countries which are further North. Native grasses have extremely long root which goes down to the water table so they can be 12 feet long where the European grasses are right at the surface. The wildlife doesn't eat the European grasses which took over. It's good if you have European animals that eat European grasses.

While pulling weeds my deer friends showed up. They came over to where I was to see what I was doing because they are always interested to see what is changing. I shook the apple trees and several hundred small green apples fell to the ground. I had to help the deer with some of the apples that because stuck between logs or under plants where they couldn't see them. It was great having a dozen deer walking around me. I'd be pulling weeds and shoving them into the bags. I'd come across a apple and toss it to the closest deer. It was something you might watch on a fictional movie or in a fairy tail but for me it's a part of my forest and forest friends. I'm afraid that the two baby deer I posted pictures of are no more because of the heat. I do have water here for the wildlife which does help them. I also had bears hanging around here while it was cooler when they should have been migrating up the mountain. I can't blame them for anything because they are doing what comes natural for them like all mammals and birds just trying to survive but the humans believe they are expendable. One thing I try to tell people is that when you don't see wildlife it's not because they moved it's because they are gone. Deer live within two miles of were they are born. When the food runs out so do they. Migrations for wildlife is slow just like it's slow for plants. They can't hop in a car or jet and move off to another better place.

I did way too much yesterday and when I was hurting I just took a pain pill to keep going. I've always been like that, keep going no matter the amount of pain I'm in. I guess that was instilled in me when I was younger in the Boy Scouts. When I was backpacking and became tired or hand aches and pains I couldn't stop. In some cases it would have been deadly to stop and give up. So these days I'll put off getting water or running to the bathroom as long as possible because that would take me away from what I'm doing.

Stepping outside I can expect to see something new every time. Whether it's a new plant, flower or even bug there's always something new to see along with the sounds here. I'm always listening to the birds and noises to tell me where creatures are and who is there because they all have their own unique sounds. Now to figure out why I can't post pictures of my adventures here on planet earth.

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