Spring comes and Sonora goes
Well, it's been a very 'eventful" April. Even more rain and gradually warming temperatures have everything finally leafing out- even the reluctant Catclaw Acacias (Acacia greggii) are showing green! The rain and cool spells between the warm- ups has stretched our spectacular wildflower season out even longer than usual: the hillsides are still covered with glorious yellow Brittlebush. This is contrasted with the blue- purple of the lupines and punctuated with the large brilliant magenta flowers of the hedgehog cacti (Echinocereus engelmanii).....In the many trees on our property, Doves, Sparrows, Cactus Wrens and Cardinals are nesting. We keep many feeders in the trees, and all are welcome. And already there are baby birds, mouths wide and wings a- flutter, begging their busy parents to feed them.....In a huge clump of rosemary in my herb garden, Mother Goose carefully prepared a nest and is sitting proudly upon one egg. Father Goose struts around, on guard. On Easter morning, Wire- Walker, an Araucana hen, presented us with 11 baby chicks!.....The most momentous event of this spring: a very great MIRACLE has occurred: Our young horse, Sonora, who was supposed to be crippled for life, has been found to be sound and healthy! With the additional assurance of many tests, the vet has declared it to be so. She can be used for pleasure riding, and she can carry a foal. I cannot possibly take the credit for this- all we did was give Sonora time, space, care, and love- God did the rest. I have a very good friend, Becky Hagan, who has a little place over on the San Pedro river outside of Mammoth, Arizona. She's an experienced horsewoman who has been without a horse for a while, and because I think they fit together nicely, it is with a measure of sadness and yet with greater joy that I hand Sonora's lead rope to her. May they have the joy of many years of companionship. My dear old companion horse, Surprise, doesn't mind this change at all, by the way! She's always wanted all the attention- been a little bit jealous of the time I spent with Sonora. And now Surprise has me all to herself- she didn't grieve over Sonora at all. Every morning we take a long walk together- I let her stop often to find good things to graze on. I also give her massages and we have long talks. So far this spring her arthritis hasn't bothered her at all, she seems to feel wonderful- neither looking nor feeling like a horse who will be 26 years old this summer!.....In the nursery, all the free flowering cacti are showing off in a riot of color, and the ocotillos are waving their red plumes. All the prickly pear cacti are adding new pads, and are budding up to flower.....I did 2 art shows this April instead of my usual 1- after the "Art Happening" on April 5th, I did a 2- day show at the Biosphere on April 18 and 19. This was kind of hard, a bit too much pressure, maybe. Because of the flurry of preparation, I did not finish the painting I have been working on yet- I will not rush a work of art, 'tho- I will not compromise the quality of a piece to meet any deadline! I did finish 2 sculptures, however, a very colorful "Grandfather Toad" and "Red Sunflower"; a woman in a sunny dress carrying a very large vessel on her head! I like getting out and meeting/talking to other artists, but I'm glad I have no more shows 'til fall- I can settle back into my quiet work routine, and the art and the plants can evolve naturally at their own pace!.....I call this month the "Month of Flowers.
Well, we had a cool (but not cold) and wet February- 7 inches of rain for us- that's 1/2 of what we normally get in a year! But we need it so badly! I may be one of the few (besides the Desert itself!) who appreciate El Nino! And so far in March we've had 2 inches! Everything has started to turn green- green grass covers the banks of the washes. The Palo Verde tres are leafing out and showing new growth. Lower down; in Tucson, the wildflowers are incredible and the mesquites are leafing out: the Sweet Acacias are covered with fragrant pom-pom blooms. Up here, the wildflowers are just starting and the mesquites are still holding off...but the ocotillos everywhere are leafing out now; and the native hedgehog cacti are budding up for a spectacular display of magenta flowers around the first week in April. In the Catclaw Acacias behind the sales greenhouse a pair of Curved- Billed Thrashers sing melodiously as they build a nest. In the Tortolita Mountains west of us; and in the Catalinas to the east, little streams are running in the normally dry wash beds: as they do in the spring of a good rain year.....Fluffer Butterball, a Silkie hen, has 3 baby chickens. Every morning on their walk, the horses revel in munching the long green grass growing along the wash in back- I sit and watch them graze: how could I possibly deny them this most natural of pleasures? In the nursery, the Tomatoes, Peppers, and Heirloom Corn (the only veggies I grow much), are about 8 inches high and comming along nicely. And my desert and ethnobotanical plants for the year are sprouting up: Penstemon; Devil Claw; Brittle Bush; Luffa Gourd; Epazote, etc. I just planted this year's cactus seed: Gymnos; Mams; Notos; C.Peruvianus; Barrels; Saguaros. And this year I'm trying some Christmas Cactus from seed! Next fall I'll be potting up the first of them for sale.....I finished my "Many Bundles" woman sculpture; put her out in the gallery- and 3 days later she sold! I didn't even get to photograph her! But I'm so grateful that someone loved her and took her home. I truly feel that there is a rightful owner out in the world somewhere for each piece of art that I do- sometimes they turn up sooner; sometimes later. In this case it was sooner! Right now I'm working on a large sculpture of a horse who will be wearing "Magical Tack"; and a large toad who tells the story of how Toad brought Corn to the people. The horse will be in Celestial colors of stars and night sky. The toad will be bright yellow, green, and turquoise. I am still working on the "Walking Baskets" painting- I hope I can finish it in time to show it at an arts event where I'll be exhibiting on April 5th.....This is an exciting time of growth and creation- I call this time the "Month of New Green".
Come back next month for the April journal- it will be in the space above, replacing February.