Sunday, November 03, 2013

Tucking In

Weather: Morning temperatures below freezing; last rain 10/30/2013; 10:13 hours of daylight today.

What’s still green: Juniper, arborvitae and other evergreens, garlic, yucca, cholla and other cacti; leaves on Apache plume, roses, fern bushes, Oregon holly, hollyhocks, winecup mallow, dog violets, Saint John’s wort, vinca, coral bells, bindweed, oriental poppies, scarlet and blue flaxes, Dutch clover, sweet pea, bouncing Bess, moss phlox, snakeweed, anthemis, grasses.

What’s red or turning red: Bradford pear, apricot, spirea, cherries, raspberry, coral beardtongue leaves.

What’s grey or blue: Four-winged saltbush, baptisia, snow-in-summer, pinks, pink salvia, catmints, baby’s breath, chocolate flower, golden hairy aster leaves.

What’s yellow or turning yellow: Peach, apple, rugosa rose, beauty bush, lilac, forsythia, cottonwood, weeping, globe and sandbar willow, German iris, golden spur columbine leaves.

What’s blooming: Chamisa darkening, Jupiter’s beard, broom senecio, chrysanthemums, tansy, calendula from seed.

Bedding plants: Snapdragons, sweet alyssum.

What’s blooming inside: Zonal geraniums, aptenia.

Weekly update: A week ago Wednesday, October 25, I saw smoke rising in the east. The Forest Service was running a controlled bun on Borrego mesa. That’s the area that burned on its own this summer in the headlands of the creeks feeding the Santa Cruz river.

I thought, "that’s nice, but it would have been nicer a year ago."

A day later, a storm moved through, dropping rain on its way.

I thought, "this is nice, but it would have been nice to let the fire burn a bit more, and it sure would have been nicer if we had the rain a year ago instead of drought."

Still, they managed to burn 147 acres.

In this erratic climate, one learns to appreciate random acts of nature and man.

That rain was followed by another that passed through this Tuesday with high winds. Trees and shrubs that slowly were preparing their leaves to drop, now are barer. More important, they started laying blankets to protect their roots in the coming months.

Catalpas are nearly nude. Their large leaves overlap to smother many things that try to grow. Broom senecio loves the protection.

Fruit trees have smaller leaves, but more of them. Their sheddings accumulate in layers.

Elms leaves are smaller still. So far, most are clinging to their branches. But, with so many, puddles are forming.

Shrubs with even smaller leaves are adding to their caches with debris from their flowers. Spent heads lay in the mix under roses of Sharon.

Native four-wing saltbushes are adding seed remnants to their middens.

Winterfat is filling with fluff.

Superstition says, when leaves fall early, the winter will be mild; when they fall late, the season will be severe. Also, if November is warm, the months that follow will be cold.

Tradition says nothing about what happened this week: native cottonwoods still have their leaves, and skunkbush is bare.

Notes: James White, "Weather Folklore and Sayings," NOAA ‘Bout Weather, fall 2010, available online.

1. Cottonwood down the road with snow in the distant Sangre de Cristo, sandbar willow between; 2 November 2013.

2. Elberta peach leaves around the base of a datura, 1 November 2013.

3. Catalpa leaves with blooming broom senecio, 2 November 2013.  Red leaves are from the sand cherry.

4. Neighbor’s apricot, 1 November 2013.

5. Siberian elm down the road, 2 November 2013.

6. Rose of Sharon leaves in my back yard, 1 November 2013.

7. Four winged saltbush debris in my yard, 2 November 2013.  Yellow leaves are from the peach.

8. Winterfat fluff in my yard, 2 November 2013.

9. Skunkbush branches and leaves in my garage dripline, 1 November 2013.

10. Trees of heaven growing along a ditch where they get cut to the ground every year, 2 November 2013. The young sprouts are bare; older trees still hold their leaves.  Siberian elms are green in back.

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