Notes from early springtime


Spring came three weeks ago, definitively. A bit early. Some people didn’t trust the warmth would stay, but it has.

Hop-hop, the local one-footed wild roadrunner, reappeared after being absent for months, looking healthy. [That’s him pictured above.] He got some swiss cheese. He’s been by a few times since, came in the house once and wandered around the front living room. Incredible survivor/thriver, that animal. Cottontail rabbits have been venturing inside the fence. We try to chase them off, but what can you do? The cat got a young one Tuesday night and promptly chowed its head, as he does with mice and rats. I removed the remains well beyond our fenced land, where the rabbits’ more natural local predators (that is: coyotes) will find it. If they don’t, a turkey vulture will. Or the ants—the red ants are back as of Tuesday. Finches have been trying to nest on the western patio, despite our persistent presence—and a cactus wren’s. A different kind of bird had a nest happening on the eastern patio, near the garage door—until a few days ago, when we found three broken eggs on the cement below. Hard to say what happened. High winds? Intruder/predator? Abandonment? Meanwhile, the bats are back for dusktime. And some weird new moths we haven’t identified, like dwarf hummingbirds.

The two chinaberry trees have immediately re-leafed and flowered, as has the mystery tree on the south side. The dwarf apple tree, planted on the northside last year, blossomed quickly and now looks like fruiting. The grape reactivated and with our guidance has begun to vine up the side of the garden structure; it seems to be fruiting as well. Last autumn, we transplanted to the northside a sturdy mystery plant that had started growing spontaneously in the green cabin’s growshack soil last summer; it’s growing in now in a way that’s convinced Stephanie that it’s a peach tree. A plum tree sapling we got for cheap and planted a few weeks ago on the northside has also started leafing. One of the pomegranates has started fruiting as well. Several cacti are flowering, creosote too. Bees are abundant, busy, non-aggressive.

Somehow the water hyacinths in the greywater pond survived January’s five consecutive nights of sub-freeze and are now unfolding new leafs. The hyacinths are supposed to remove toxins from the water, but they can be overwhelmed by algae if the pond is out of balance, which is what happened last summer. I decided it was time to try a fish in there — they’re necessary to the pond’s health, as they eat algae and dead plant matter off the roots of the hyacinths. But apparently the water didn’t have enough oxygen in it — the koi lasted less than 24 hours. Hard not to feel like a careless torturer who’d cut a conscious being’s life short. I spoke to Permaculture Bill up in 29; he recommends we try some tilapia in there, which we’re going to have to mail-order. Hope this works. We need more life here.


About jay babcock

JT Homesteader, Arthur Magazine ... Joshua Tree, CA ...
This entry was posted in apple tree, bats, birds, cactus, calendar, cat, coyote, green shack, greywater, hyacinth, permaculture, plants, pond, rabbit, weather. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Notes from early springtime

  1. Pingback: HUMMINGBIRD MOTH HUMMING | Learning to Live Here

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