Cube and sphere

These two rocks with very different shapes sit alongside Sabino Creek in the Santa Catalina Mountains, Arizona. The difference in their shapes probably reflects their different origins. It’s probably a safe bet that the rounded rock was sculpted by the stream action of Sabino Creek. The squarish stone most likely fell here from the canyon walls above, which here feature rocks with that same sort of blocky shape. Also, it is composed of the very same type of rock, banded Catalina gneiss, that forms the walls of Sabino Canyon.

Multiplicity

This photograph was taken in Saguaro National Park’s eastern unit in the foothills of the Rincon Mountains. The large Saguaro (Carnegiea gigantea) in the foreground is notable for having multiple trunks.

Lava flows and sandstone bluffs

The Zuni-Bandera volcanic field stretches out from below a series of sandstone bluffs in El Malpais National Monument in Cibola County, New Mexico. The black patches visible on the valley floor are exposed lava flows. The last eruption in this area is believed to have taken place sometime around 1170 BC.

Saguaro boots

When a woodpecker excavates a nest cavity in a Saguaro (Carnegiea gigantea), the cactus responds defensively by sealing off its living tissue and produces a protective callus material heavily impregnated with lignin. As it continues its excavation, the bird first drills an entry hole into the cactus and then turns downward to hollow out a space for its nest. This results in a boot-shaped callus-lined cavity. When the Saguaro dies, the softer fleshy tissues rots away, leaving behind the woody ribbed skeleton of the Saguaro as well as any “boots” created by nesting woodpeckers. This Saguaro boot was found amid the woody ribs of a long dead Saguaro in the Rincon foothills of Arizona.

The blanketing shadow

This stretch of arid grassland sits at the base of the Mustang Mountains in an area known as the Rain Valley in Santa Cruz County, Arizona. A passing cloud has draped a blanketing shadow over the little mountain range, accentuating the tall golden range grasses in the foreground.

The quorum

In certain ideal sites, Saguaros can grow in stands of increased density in response to the favorable conditions. Here, in this photograph from Sabino Canyon in the Santa Catalina Mountains of Arizona, the favorable conditions once included the the presence of a large Palo Verde that served as a nurse tree for this tight “quorum” of Saguaros. The Palo Verde is long dead now that the big cacti are all grown up. The only evidence of its existence is the tangle of trunk and branches strewn about the bases of the Saguaros, along with the dense stand of cacti it helped nurture that we see today.

Looks like home redux

The old Jay-Six Ranch west of Benson, Arizona was a well regarded cattle operation run by a man named Jack Speiden. A large parcel of well-preserved mid-elevation grassland remains where the Jay-Six herds once roamed. Rancher Speiden followed sound range management practices and today’s flourishing grasslands are a testiment to his stewardship. A small piece of that land is now home to me and my family. Nowadays on maps and roadsigns the written form for Jay-Six has been simplified to J-Six or just J-6.

That’s how my second post read when I began this blog. A few months back, I was beset with some technical issues outside my control. Those issues have since been corrected, presumably at the source, as I did not cause them nor did I fix them. I did lose some content, resulting in a gap from March until now. I plan to rebuild with new material and republish some existing posts with new photos and discard some of the posts that I find are not as sharply focused as I would like. In the meantime, I probably lost most of my readership, but I’m just happy to be up and running again.

First out of the box redux

“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step”

– Laozi

This is my single step. Fittingly, this photo was taken just steps outside my own backdoor looking north toward Rincon Peak in southeastern Arizona.

That’s how my very first post read when I began this blog. A few months back, I was beset with some technical issues outside my control. Those issues have since been corrected, presumably at the source, as I did not cause them nor did I fix them. I did lose some content, resulting in a gap from March until now. I plan to rebuild with new material and republish some existing posts with new photos and discard some of the posts that I find are not as sharply focused as I would like. In the meantime, I probably lost most of my readership, but I’m just happy to be up and running again.