Monday, March 17, 2014
Weather: Rain Friday, winds with some water Saturday. Ground friable Saturday morning.
No apricots this year. The trees started blooming Wednesday when afternoon temperatures rose to the fifties. The early mornings were in the twenties. The whitest flowers were on the trees nearest the village. Most turned dark.
What’s blooming in the area: Forsythia is ready to bloom near the village. Japanese honeysuckle leaves greener. Globe willows brighter green. Daffodil leaves coming up.
Men have been cleaning their lateral ditches, the ones that actually deliver them their water from the main ditches.
People have been flooding their fields every chance they get, even though the water doesn’t sink into the ground quickly. That seems especially true of water run in mid-afternoon, that sits overnight in the cold air and sometimes skims with ice. I suppose men want to let water sink deep, so the sun and dry air can pull it up through the roots in summer.
Beyond the walls and fences: Alfilerillo blooming in my drive, small purple mustard outside my doctor’s Española office. Probably some tansy mustard is blooming along the shoulders. Saltbushes leafing, yellow evening primrose and western stick seeds up, cheat and June grasses growing.
Russian thistles and pigweed have been on the move for weeks. They’ve been coming over the tops of my six foot fence from every direction.
In my yard: Tulip and bearded iris leaves coming up. Garlic and grape hyacinths never disappeared. Chrysanthemum and bouncing Bess have broken ground; snow-in-summer has new leaves; hollyhocks and vinca have some green leaves.
Flowering crab apple and potentilla are leafing. Fernbush has leafed. Other members of the rose family have active leaf buds, including peaches, Bradford pear, sandcherries, and roses. Lilac buds, in the olive family, have fattened into turbans, with green beginning to show in some.
Animal sightings: small birds.
Weekly update: Walls and fences have three predators.
Nature doesn’t affect granite or lava rocks much, at least in the horizon of human lives. In England, they date walls by the generations lichens on them.
Dry air does suck water out of limestone, which dries stuccos. It also dries water-based paints, stains and dyes, fading colors. Restuccoing and resurfacing have to be done.
Winds vibrate joints, so metal fasteners work loose and joints fail. Nails and screws have to be replaced. Bolts have to be inspected. Posts work loose and need to be reset.
Rain rusts untreated barbed wire. It has to be replaced. However, the rustier it gets, the more dangerous its scratches.
Fence posts and coyote poles last better than boards. There’s less exposed surface for bacteria to attach. Bark and outer dead wood in tree branches protect the interior. When that’s removed, the deterioration of the exposed surface is accelerated until nature produces a new protective coat.
The second predator is drunks, tired drivers, people with vehicles too big to handle. The excuses vary. Many have internalized a version of Rock, Scissors, Paper. They know a rock wall can seriously damage their truck or them. But, all a wire fence can do is scratch.
Stucco depends. It’s safe to brush against it, but not to confront it. Walls, fences have to be rebuilt.
The newest predators are teens with spray cans. They like smooth surfaces. Stucco
and wood fences get hit the most. It’s impossible to spray barbed wire. Rough surfaces, like rock and coyote are left alone.
It seems, the more work it takes to build a barrier, the longer it lasts and less maintenance it needs. Things made by man, boards and nails, don’t endure the way nature's trees and rocks do.
Man destroys things made by man. Nature protects things made by nature.
Photographs: Most photographs taken in the past few years in the immediate area.