Another delayed post means too many updates and too little time! We’ve crammed so much into the last month that even reflecting on it to write a blog post sends us into a whirl. We’ve transitioned into fall which means shorter days and cooler nights but the desert is still popping with life!
One of the most beautiful “pops” we’ve recently had are the Living Rock Cactus. Throughout the year they remain camouflaged, blending in to the rocks that surround them. Usually in late September to early October the cacti begin to bloom dotting the desert floor with beautiful magenta flowers, some outfitted in multiple flowers with bees buzzing close by in search of their nectar. For more information check out our plants page!
Bees aren’t the only things buzzing around right now! The Chihuahuan desert is home to 17 hummingbird species and there’s been quite a bit of Hummingbird traffic as our sunflowers continue to bloom. After seeing a few around the sunflowers, I put up a feeder so I could see them up close and try to identify the ones visiting us. We’ve seen a Black-chinned and a Lucifer, the others have sped away before I can get a good look.
Other exciting fauna sightings include a Horned Lizard! Also known as the Horny Toad because of its toad-like body. I spotted this little guy while I was working with a horse. This particular horse can be pretty nervous and flighty and in my excitement I dropped everything that was tethering us, ran to the car and back to get my phone, and was delighted to find that the horse excitedly ran along with me. Needless to say it was a good day of training!
Horned Lizard’s coloration acts as camouflage and the spines on their backs are modified reptile scales to aid in moisture retention while the horns on their heads are actual horns made up of bone. This particular species can also squirt blood from their eyes with up to a 5ft distance! The blood confuses predators and tastes foul to canine and feline predators. We’ve been looking for these cool lizards since we moved here and are so glad we found one!
On top of working with Bella and exercising Free and Easy, I’ve also been training a burro to drive. With Evan’s assistance we’ve made some serious progress and will have her confidently pulling a wagon in no time. We didn’t have her quite ready for the Jackass Flats Dutch Oven Cook-off burro race last weekend but I was able to race her by just leading her and she was excited by that to say the least. Stay tuned for next year’s race, we’re likely to take home the gold!
The Dutch Oven Cook-off is a three day event that takes place at Jackass Flats, the area surrounding The Little Burro Country Store just west of the base of Nine Point Mesa. It’s put on by the store and local sponsors and includes live music, delicious food, a potluck, an art sale, skeet shooting, goat roping, wagon rides, and the famed burro race. Most of the musicians and artists are local and we were able to set up a table to sling some creosote salves! It’s a spectacular West Texas party, information on next year’s can be found here.
Other exciting news include the arrival of Evan’s brother, Micah, a plentiful green bean and okra harvest, and beautiful sunrises and sunsets!